Archives for posts with tag: Google


By now, everybody knows that customers to Yahoo!, Facebook, Google, MSN, NY Times, WSJ, etc. are not the visitors. Advertisers are the customers. All these sites make money selling advertising. Over time we learned, placing ads on Facebook is much less effective than placing them on Yahoo!, WSJ or even MySpace.

How come? Wasn’t the narrative that Facebook knows everything about us? That they unlocked the gate to the holy grail of marketing? The frictionless sharing paradigm will lead us to the golden ages of marketing, including fountains of youth and unlimited budgets.



Think about what you do all day and what you share on Facebook. (Forget about the few exceptions that share everything.) I bet it’s less than 0.1% for 99% of all Facebook users. I would even bet it’s less than 0.001% for for 98% of all Facebook users. You do thousands of things today and you may share 1-2 posts daily, if you’re a heavy users.

Compare that to major sites. They’ve been around forever. Some, like Yahoo!, Google and MSN, have their own email product. You read news on Yahoo or MSN, never on Facebook. If you want to find a local movie, you visit Bing. If you want to see TV listings, you go to Yahoo! While so many people proclaim Yahoo! is already in the coffin and rotting away, have a look at the rate of interaction on some of their sections. More people search on Yahoo! than on Facebook.

Since Yahoo (and all these other major sites) are connected to massive ad networks and ad exchanges, they track what you like, what you do, where you live and understand more about your real digital life than Facebook could ever imagine. Google didn’t build Maps and Google Documents to help you through your daily life. They build all these tools to understand each user better.

Facebook doesn’t have acces to that information. Yet. That’s why I get these silly ads.

Screen shot 2012-07-08 at 7.18.49 PM

I don’t care about any of these products. Ever.

This doesn’t mean the future is a black hole for Facebook. The future might be all rainbows.

The present? A different story. When brands tell me they want to increase their Facebook ad spending dramatically in the next 6 months, I wonder if it’s because the bandwagon is coming through their town or because they see real business results. Sure, there are brands that are successful using the Facebook ad project. The majority should be looking for other (“OLD”) targeting tactics to get good results in the short-term.

A few weeks ago, I started working with a new client, a mid-size business. They started using Social Media a few years back and, over time, developed presences on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, a blog, Facebook Places, Tumblr and just started on Pinterest. Their previous Social Media consultant operated on the premise: Businesses need to be on as many social media channels as they can.

Why? In this rapidly changing world, businesses never know where their customer is going to be, so a business needs to be everywhere.


Mr. Consultant, stand in the corner and write “I will never recommend something that insane again.” 10,000 times.

There are two reasons why consultants, experts or agencies would give obnoxious advice:

– They try to fleece customers.

– They don’t know what they are doing.

I won’t even bother with people that try to fleece brands. Ultimately, brands will see through it and end the scam prematurely.

I’m much more concerned with people that believe in the philosophy that brands should be everywhere. Should Axe advertise on each TV Channel, even the Hallmark Channel? Should PETA run an ad in the Hunter’s Journal? Should Obama advertise on the Rush Limbaugh show?

Social Media shows its immaturity when “being everywhere” is still an advice I hear every day. Just like traditional and digital media, social media needs to rely on research – for example a social media audit. Understanding demographics, psychographics, spend decisions, social network use, day/time parting – all the good stuff and more that helps you understand where you need to be, when you need to be there, and what you should be doing/saying while you’re around. This helps brands and their community not to waste anyone’s time, helps to achieve goals and measure results.

Don’t be everywhere. Just be where your research tells you to be.


My daughter is in an interesting phase: She can read but she can’t comprehend fully what she’s reading. A picture book with a few sentences per page is perfect for her developmental stage. No, she wants to read a chapter book without any pictures. She proclaims proudly: “I’m on page 55.” When I ask her about the content, the answer is very sparse.

When she gets her homework, she wants to get it done in a few seconds: “Easy peesy, lemon squeezy.” Once I note a mistake, she freaks out and never wants to touch any homework again.

Typical behavior for brands in the emerging marketing space

Many brands have not yet fully deployed all basic digital marketing tools. Instead of focusing on getting the fundamentals right, they rather develop a comprehensive Social Marketing strategy.

Others have deserted Facebook/Twitter/YouTube presences. Why bother improving these important platforms for their brand? Let’s just start a Google+ page.

The fancy commercial not matching the dirty store layout.

The radio spot not matching the horrendous attitude of your employees.

The list is endless.

We should strive for innovation and amazing ideas.

First, we need to clean-up the store.

Change the attitude of employees.

Get the fundamentals of marketing right.

Get the fundamentals of the business right.

Then, and only then, should you consider the newest platform aka toy.

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Google just rolled out a new product aimed at providing additional revenue for publishers. The new product, Google Customer Surveys, is being marketed as an alternative revenue model for publishers weighing whether to erect paywalls on their sites.

How does it work?

When users visit the web sites of Adweek, New York Daily News or the Texas Tribune, they’ll find some articles that are partially blocked. If they want to continuing reading, they’ll have to answer a question or two. Thank you, Google.

It might be questions like “What’s your favorite alcohol? Gin, Wodka, Beer, Wine or Whisky?” or “Are you planning to buy a smartphone in the next 6 months?”

Advertisers pay Google to run the surveys and gain insights, and Google pays sites 5 cents per response. Publishers can choose to frequency-cap or erect the survey-wall on all stories.

Will it work?

It’s increasingly hard for brands to gain insights through surveys. Too many of them and slim chances to win the all-elusive $10 Amazon card. People just stopped answering questions. While Social Media delivers actionable insights, many smaller or mid-size brands don’t have the money to pay for the luxury of social insights. In my personal experience, the first time I encountered the microsurvey, I was surprised. Still, since I wanted to read the content, I answered the questions truthfully. Within 2 days, my behavior changed dramatically. Whenever I go to an Adweek article, I expect the survey and my mind goes blank until I answered the questions without even reading them anymore. Even worse for publishers: Whenever I encounter a link from surveywall, I hesitate to even click on it because I know I have to do work to get to the content.

My expectation: You will see more of these microsurveys because they are a bit friendlier to users than strict paywalls. Over time, the survey results will become useless and the readership of the survey-wall sites will decrease. That will be the end of it. And the publishers bandwagon of finding new ways to monetize will move on.


We have this view of the world that the super-mega market leaders in one niche or market have a superpower that will guarantee success in new markets. The current Facebook S1 release is just another sign of this irrational view. “Facebook dominates advertising.” “Facebook more important for advertisers than Google.” “Mark Zuckerberg for President.”

The majority of brands are only good at doing one thing. If you hit the jackpot, they are good at 2 things. Almost nobody is good at three things. Remember when Facebook Places was launched and every dopey pundit proclaimed the end of Foursquare? (Including this dope.) Or when Google Wave launched? Google Buzz? G Phone? When Yahoo tried social. (Let’s not hate on a corpse.) When Microsoft got into mobile hundreds of years ago and never achieved their goals? Or when Apple tried social?

Size does matter. But it’s not everything.

There are rare instances where companies can crush a competitor: IE vs. Netscape comes to mind. But it’s not common. That’s why you shouldn’t be brainwashed by the size of a company, focus on the excellence of a company. Facebook is really good at growing their user base, allowing us to share information with family and friends. They belong in the user baser growing Hall of Fame. Does Facebook do anything else that belongs in the Hall of Fame? Deals? Places? Commerce? Advertising Conversion? Monetization. Nope. They didn’t even make the roster, riding the Minor League bus.

Will Google ever succeed in social? Google+ is doing okay but it’s not in the same league as Facebook and Twitter. They even show cracks in their dominance of the search business. Microsoft’s browser domination is gone. Soon, Facebook will see increasing fatigue and the brainwashing of a new shiny tool. While we live longer, social platforms life expectancy tends to decrease.

Don’t get fooled by size. On Sunday, many advertisers will link their advertising to Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. That’s foolish. Facebook owns all the data. Who guarantees you that they don’t sell it to your closest competitor?

Look at the big picture and have a long-term strategy. If you put more and more eggs in Facebook, you need to move some out and put them in different platforms. It’s not about new platforms, it’s about experimenting with better ways to market, platforms that convert and technologies that are effective in achieving your business goals.


I get up in the morning, check my email first and then explore what happened overnight on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. My streams are littered with reactions to some software updates or a new app release, musings about social platforms and why they’re dead or half-alive, food posts, complaints about flight delays, snarky remarks about politicians or pundits.

It’s my fault. I created this virtual world.

These are friends, colleagues, acquaintances, thought leaders. I chose to follow them. I created this stream. Sometimes it seems silly.

We have so many problems in this world. Our institutions don’t work anymore. We have a crumbling infrastructure. Debt everywhere. People kicking cans down the road. I’m worried about our future. I’m even more worried about our kid’s future.

Social Media was supposed to change the world

We finally had a voice. We finally could speak out. But we tend to talk mostly about entertaining issues: TV shows, sports, weather.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming anyone. I’m just blaming myself. We’ve been given this fantastic technology and we tend waste it on trivial matters.

Since I called myself out…

Over time, I will try to make a meaningful effort to add more compelling content into the stream. And stop bothering people with the triviality of my existence.

The Arab Spring, the London riots, the storm in Los Angeles: Examples were Social Media was used beyond marketing.

Take this video:

A racist woman on the tram.  The viral video – named My Tram Experience – shows a white woman racially abusing Black and Polish people on a train from Croydon to Wimbledon.  The video, which is extremely uncomfortable to watch, sparked millions of tweets on the subject.  The hashtag #mytramexperience was the top trend one day and soon the video had been watched million of times.  Later, following outrage from the general public and many celebrities, the woman, later named Emma West, was arrested.

That is the power of Social Media. And we should remember it when we tweet or post the next time.


Groupon’s IPO: We’ve wasted too much time, writing about Groupon’s problems, challenges, opportunities and internal machinations. I’m as guilty as anyone. The IPO filing moved the conversation from pundits to the market. As it should be.

2. Google+: Since we don’t have to focus on Groupon anymore, Google+ gave marketers more fodder to discuss the problems, challengesand opportunities of Google’s innovative social layer. The combination of SEO and a huge user base makes it likely Google+ will be a success. It’s not the new Facebook, but it’s a new Google.

3. Zombies cling to life: Just a few deaths of 2011: The Web, micro site, print, display ads, television (a golden oldie) and radio. I’m glad to see all these zombies looking pretty much alive. Some of them need some drastic procedures to move them back to a real healthy existence, others need a good rehab to reset their mission and vision. Still, they are alive, nobody died and no need to write more obituaries.

4. Josh Williams, Gowalla: It’s good to see a CEO pivot in the right way. He knew he lost the “check-in war” and changed the vision of his company from “I was here” to “I wish you were here.” Check-ins were always kind of stupid: marketing opportunities are limited (Since most people use location-based apps as personal branding tools, the opportunity for businesses to conquest seems minimal), and the user base was even more limited. Foursquare cornered that small opportunity and we’ll see if they can get traction outside of the geek crowd. Gowalla’s mission change to craft the narrative of your life is fascinating. I wish them well.

5. Content Marketing: Let’s be honest here: We didn’t feel needed anymore. People just blocked us out. Banner blindness, DVR, apathy, ignoring our messages. Content marketing gave us an opportunity to go back to our roots of communicating with our customers and prospects without selling. Instead of being the parrot-on-the-shoulder-crazy-colored-blazer-wearing pitchman, we can deliver now messages that make our buyers more intelligent. Beautiful.

6. Steve Jobs: Simplicity and purpose. A powerful vision for all of us.

7. The GOP primary: Some of the candidates remind us of marketing lessons we should never forget:

a. Rick Perry: Never overpromise and under-deliver. Always under-promise and over-deliver.

b. Herman Cain: Always be prepared for everything. You lose all credibility when you don’t know the basics of your profession.

c. Mitt Romney: It’s not good enough to look and act the part. You need substance.

d. Rick Santorum: Brand Awareness is important.

e. Jon Huntsman: If there’s no demand for your product, you need to create demand.

f. Newt Gingrich: Lies only get you so far. And they will always come back to haunt you.

8. John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” We all thought this would change with the digital revolution. Not so fast, friends. Clearly, we still haven’t figured it out and John Wanamaker’s quote will be around for many decades to come. Maybe not, since some claim 90% of advertising is wasted.

9. Mark Zuckerberg: The inventor of the Zuckerberg dance: Introducing new features, protest dances by a minority of users combined with flaming threats of an even smaller minority to leave for good, Mark and his team dance the apology tango, retreating slightly with a waltz and the users go back to do the Facebook Polka. Thanks, Mark, for keeping us all in motion.

10. All the people that dedicate their lives to help people in real need. You have my deepest thanks. You do work that really matters.

Last but not least, thank you to everybody who reads my posts. I feel humbled and quite lucky to have the privilege. Thanks for being here, for making a difference and changing the world.

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For its annual look at the blogging world, Technorati interviewed 4,114 bloggers in 145 countries. The focus of this year’s report was on why and how they blog, how they connect with brands and the usage of Social Media.

The Bloggers

The majority of surveyed bloggers were hobbyists (61%) with varied frequency of posting. 11% of the surveyed bloggers post daily, 13% are hoping for extra income and only 5% are professional bloggers. The majority of bloggers are educated, married parents between 25 and 44 years old. The majority continues to be male (59%), we experience a slight gender shift from last year when 64% were men.

80% of surveyed have been blogging for over two years, and around 50% for over four years. They tend to juggle an average of three different blogs, last year the average was two years.

The Platform War

The term ‘blogosphere’ is hardly used anymore because it’s hard to define the line between a blog and another social network. Is Instagram a blog? Twitter? Foursquare?

51% of surveyed bloggers used WordPress, followed by Blogger (21%) and Blogspot (14%). Social Media continues to be biggest traffic driver (Facebook, Twitter, and new face in the crowd, Google+). The average number of Twitter followers for a blogger is 847, jumping to 1,674 when we’re talking about a professional blogger. Interesting to see how quickly professional bloggers jumped on the Google+ bandwagon to further syndicate their content. Still, this is not an indication that Google+ has any staying power.

90% of professional bloggers use Twitter to promote their content, 40% of them use automated tools to syndicate their content, 37% link their Twitter and Facebook accounts so they only have to post once. Besides Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn was the next most popular social platform followed by YouTube and Flickr.

The majority of traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter, followed by LinkedIn, YouTube and upstart StumbleUpon. Additional traffic is derived from tags, comments, Google, Technorati and SEO.

The Blogging Business

2/3 of bloggers post about brand, and a 1/3 do reviews. Brands are intrigued by the power of bloggers and they tend to aggressively court them. A third of hobby bloggers are approached by brands twice a week, while professional bloggers get approached an average of eight times a week. Some bloggers receive up to 1,000 pitches a week.

Still, bloggers feel undervalued by brands – 60% feel they’re not treated as well by brands as the traditional media. Often, brands don’t research the blogs well enough and they are not interested in building a real relationship with the blogger. Less than 25% of respondents said brands provide any value.

When bloggers sign a deal with brands, 86% disclose the nature of the paid post and 58% disclosed when they were reviewing a product they had received for free. (This is a disturbing number: Brands need to require bloggers to disclose their paid posts and free products 100%)

Who influences bloggers? Other bloggers. In 2010 only 30%, in 2011 68% of other bloggers influence them. The other influencers (in decreasing importance): friends, social media, print, family, major news sites and TV.

An interesting report you need to read in detail before connecting a brand with blogger.

Here’s the full report.

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)


While online advertising is booming, it’s still not on par with time investment by people per medium. Print is hugely overpriced, representing 8% of people’s time and 27% of ad spending. Contrast that to mobile: 8% of time spent and 0.5% of ad spending.

Content Creation

Content creation has become a commodity. Newspaper continues to decline while we experience the golden age of content aggregation.


E-commerce now represents 8% of all retail commerce and will grow dramatically. Retailers beware: The #1 reason for customers to abandon the in-store purchase is because they found cheaper options online. #2 reason: They found a cheaper price at a different store.


We might muddle our way through it. Or the economy collapses. Nobody knows. This uncertainty is the biggest challenge for politicians, economist and people. Uncertainty might be the new normal.

Empowering people

More people have access to the wireless grid (85%) than electricity. Over 200 million farmers in India receive payments via mobile devices and they have become instrumental during disasters.


While we talk in our echo chamber all day long about Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google (and they remain global mega-leaders) Internet giants from China and Russia (Baidu, Tencent and Yandex) are catching up quickly.

Here’s an eye-opener: 81% of users of the top global Internet Properties are outside the U.S.


A big challenge for all of us: How will identify and authenticate the almost billion Facebook customers with the 1.4 billion mobile customers by 2012?


The economy is down but U.S. mobile innovation is still the global leader: Made in the US-smartphone operating systems – Android, iOS and Windows Mobile – have increases market share from 5% in 2005 to 65% today.


Mobile subscriber growth is more explosive than the initial Internet adoption, leaving TV adoption in the dust. Smartphone shipments have surpassed feature phone shipments.


Usability matters and it will become even more important over time to deliver complex services to people through a simple interface. The next revolution? Between your ears. Voice recognition, sound creation and sharing, and audio interfaces.

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Yahoo!, the last traditional media company, is in deep trouble. Just like AOL, MSN and – 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.