Archives for posts with tag: aol

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Yahoo!, the last traditional media company, is in deep trouble. Just like AOL, MSN and Forbes.com – dinosaurs founded in a time where media agencies had to manage scarcity. The Yahoo! Homepage used to be part of a digital media plan just like buying commercials during the NFL season for beer brands. Two things changed: ad networks, DSP’s and ad exchanges changed the focus of media agencies from placement buying to audience buying. And, more importantly, people are less interested in reading professional content and pay more attention to content created by their friends.

What is Yahoo’s response to a changed marketplace and customer behavior?

More content, more video, more, more, more. I wonder if Albert Einstein’s “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” has become Yahoo’s mission statement. More is not the answer. Traditional media companies will never be able to compete with the amount of content created on Social Networks, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Blogs, sites, Tumblr, etc. I’m not predicting the death of Yahoo!, nothing ever dies. VCR’s are still flashing “12:00” in millions of households, papers are being delivered to millions of door steps each morning and millions of faxes are being delivered each week. It took decades after the telegraph

was invented until the last telegraph was sent. (January 27, 2006, to be exact.) Yahoo! will be around for a long time to come. More irrelevant and less valuable by the day.

The demise of Yahoo! points to an important development

Online advertising is in the middle of a radical evolution but the majority of agencies/brands are acting as if it was still 2005. During that period, the majority of digital marketers were complaining about silos and the fact that they were cut off from the traditional campaign. Digital advertising had no place at the table and was not more than an afterthought: “Make sure the banner ad looks like the commercial.”

The disconnect is now between display advertising and social media

I see more integration between TV/Print campaigns and Social Media compared to Display Advertising and Social Media. The challenge is that Display Advertising continues to be deeply anchored in the world of Direct Marketing, creating a massive disconnect between that display advertising and Social Media. When your goal is to convert prospects into leads, a Social Media integration seems nothing than a silly distraction. Or, is it?

We’re reliving 2005 in the display advertising space: SEM/SEO is always at the table, Social Media the hot new toy and display advertising was relegated to the basement and algorithms.

What is the remaining value of media buying agencies?

The agency role in this new ecosystem will be re-evaluated by brands. The main challenge for media buying agencies will be their unique value proposition. It used to be access, buying power and custom tools. That competitive advantage is slowly disappearing because content created outside of traditional media properties gains importance and relevance over time.

The secondary challenge is the lack of trusted measurements. Ask 100,000 marketers about trusted and reliable measurements and you will get 150,000 answers. Is it impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement, connections – what the hell is it? It’s a lack of industry leadership but also a lack of confidence by agencies based on the fickle brands. “Oh, you focus on conversions? Sure, we can do that.”

Sorry, I don’t know the answer. I just have a lot of questions.

The marketing landscape continues to evolve rapidly. We’re still trying to answer the questions of 2005, while our clients expect us to answer the questions of 2012. As a industry, we need to find better ways to measure, to attribute and to communicate our value proposition to clients.

The conference season is upon us. I hope we can spend less time talking about case studies and acting as if we knew the answers. Instead, let’s ask more questions.

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First there were portals. AOL, Yahoo and all the other sites with names we don’t remember anymore.

Then came Google.

And now there’s Facebook.

History has shown us that early dominance doesn’t translate into long-term leadership. While Google is still a dominant player in search, they are struggling to remain relevant. Their latest move to tie bonuses to social success smells like Microsoft with a hint of Yahoo!

Facebook is as vulnerable as AOL Google.

Facebook is the dominant Social platform. No doubt about it. But just like Google, they own only part of the pie and the majority of the pie is up for grabs or still in development.

Facebook has been successful in aggregating our social graph. For most people, it’s a mess of friends, co-workers, family and weak ties. Our social graph has become a very weak social network: difficult to navigate, even more difficult to control. The truth is: we have hundreds of networks. Our work network, our employer network, our commute network, our hobby network, our family network, our local community network. There are opportunities to develop networks for sporting events, movies, any shared interest.

While I’m writing this, I’m watching the Masters. I would love to tap into a temporary network to share my viewing experience with others. Facebook is not the right platform for it.

I would love to tap into a temporary network of my office building to help with improvements or get to know other tenants better.

I would like to meet somebody within 2 miles to go out for a run. Facebook can’t help me with that.

Disposable and temporary networks

The answer could be to develop thousands of disposable and temporary networks. Many location-based apps feel that way: Foursquare is a great tool when attending massive conferences like SXSW but it’s a daily nuisance to see my friend checking in at the same Starbucks over and over again. Color has gotten a lot of attention (mostly because of its disastrous launch and $41 million investment) but it’s an interesting attempt to tap into network for a moment in time.

However, when I look at all the apps battling for attention on my iPhone, I hope there will be aggregators that can develop disposable/temporary networks based on my interest and location. And integrate new friends into a bigger network. Such a platform would make Facebook feel like Microsoft: too big to be agile.

Former Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker, now at Kleiner Perkins, just published her newest slideshow about the rise of mobile computing.
A few observations:
  • Slide 19: 60% of time spend on smartphones is new activity for mobile users. That’s an amazing stat. Just think about how hard it is to change behavior. Not in the mobile world: Apps, Social Networking and games make people change their daily behavior. Think Foursquare. Think Yelp. The question is: How long is that window of opportunity open? When will it close?
  • Slide 22+: Mobile Advertising -growing pains but huge promise. It’s a short-term promise. Once advertisers flood the market with mobile ads, users will be turned off and tune out very quickly. We need to focus on utility, not advertising.
  • Slide 35/36: Mobile Shopping changing behavior. Once again, we need to focus on this changing behavior. How we can add more utility to this behavior, make it more valuable? NOT disrupt it with ads.
  • Slide 42: “Gamification of apps is the ultimate way to engage a new generation of audiences.” YUP!
  • Slide 50: Google, AOL, eBay, Yahoo! and Amazon are shaking in their boots. Pretty convincing slide documenting the wealth creation, destruction cycle
  • Slide 54: Pretty poignant on this day, watching the events in Cairo: “Empowerment – impact of empowering billions of people around the world with real-time connected devices has just begun.”