5.21.2008

i have advertising thoughts.

so, after having the luck to engage in an interesting conversation with Ian Schafer, a very smart man, yesterday via Twitter, i decided to delve deeper into the advertising thoughts i initially considered in "huge tracks of land."

i asked what he thought of socialvibe and its implications, after reading something written in Adweek (wish i knew what it was, the link is gone now). he felt skeptical because it gives incentives for a given behavior, but felt that the fact socialvibe benefited charities may even it out. i replied that i liked it because it enabled users to choose what their profiles support, giving street cred to the ads.

he argued this would be problematic if all users were allowed to select their own advertising, because some advertisers wouldn't be selected, and users would inevitably support 'prom king' brands. which, naturally, has a lot of merit. because it's true.

but, nevertheless, the concept i'm talking about would only apply to a user's specific profile--not the apps page, or the main page, or 'common areas' owned by more than one person (ie, events or groups). in that way, less popular folks could still get the word out on the same platform, while making advertising more relevant on personal spaces. agreeing in theory, examples he offered were like nascar or skate decks.

i then asked him if he thought incentive was a bad thing to offer users, since it is the users who bring value (data) to the networks. after all, if the users weren't valuable, advertisers wouldn't be up in arms trying to sort out how to reach them effectively, and there wouldn't be such a bid on Facebook's ownership. and guess what? kids are starting to realize this. i wish i had the Facebook link, but kids were responding saying they wanted money for their data being used. i was floored.

in comparison to giving up cash flow, what's wrong with perk compensation for choice advertisements? ian replied saying that, "playing devil's advocate, isn't using a service for free compensation enough for seeing ads?" initially, i say, yes, by far it's compensation enough, even on a place like Twitter, where i'm not giving out a lot of data value. but on Facebook or Myspace? it seems the perfect way to solve the ad-relevance problem.

+ let users choose the ads their profile page sponsors.
[on social media sites in which the users offer up a lot of personal information, like Facebook and Myspace]
- give them the option of using socialvibe in its place.
[so that if they should want, they can donate to charity through their ads. not all users will opt for this, though, since i doubt socialvibe could host the multitude of sponsors kids will want, and i doubt those multitude of sponsors all want to donate to charity.]
+ use the socialvibe method for incentives
[each day the ad is up, you get 1 Entry. on a given day, there are drawings for incentives that support the user's chosen sponsor. IE, a $20 gift certificate to PacSun for those whose ads are for PacSun. this promotes brand value at the same time as not too much monetary loss. this also fosters elitism and competition, which also adds brand value.]
+ in this way, social space advertising becomes relevant
[if the ad reflects my friend's interests, i'm going to be equally as interested in his or her brand choices as their music choices. we show our sponsors on our tee shirts, from brands to clothing companies to coca cola; showing our preferences on our profiles will only add to this level of sharing. in fact, limiting the amount of sponsors a profile can have will become necessary, likely only 1-3. this increases response rate to advertisements. it also makes users feel like a worthwhile part of the cycle, rather than having ads be something purely ignored.]

these are my current advertising thoughts with regards to social media networks.
i'm already a walking advertisement. i'm supporting my socialvibe charity as i type this in my TWLOHA shirt while wearing matching MAC eyemakeup. why not capitalize on these tendencies and harness them to make advertising more useful without being more intrusive?

6 comments:

dearjanesample said...

allow consumers to choose their OWN advertising? My god the shock that is revebrating through out the BDA's at this!
It's a good idea and I don't think the Prom King brands would necessarily win out. A lot of brands that are considered "counterculture" would greatly benefit from this. Which in turn would make them prom king brands, forcing hipsters to look for new counterculture brans to identify with.

Ian said...

Ok. First of all, I still freak out when someone calls me 'a man'. I prefer 'guy'. Makes me feel less old.

Secondly, I actually do like SocialVibe very much, especially because of the charitable elements. Just wanted to make that clear.

Thirdly, non-prom king (why not queen? that's right. i'm progressive.) brands would certainly be given an opportunity, but mainstream brands are where the money is for publishers. There's a big of a conundrum here. In order for these huge properties to live, they need their revenue to scale.

So while allowing people to choose their sponsors is definitely a good move, i still feel the future of advertising is in rather permanent brand communities that act as a CRM function, proving that those brands do, in fact, listen. Those that don't, will die.

the girl Riot said...

dearjane - great point. i didn't think of the intrinsic counterculture that would arise from this sort of choice. i love that.

ian - sorry! you're a very smart guy and i appreciate the conversation immensely. i know you like socialvibe, i was just trying to think about what i had been arguing for further.

Brian Morrissey said...

Come on, Ian, you're all man. I'm not sure if SocialVibe is the ultimate social media ad model. There needs to be something more than brand communities. I think of it very much along what Facebook tried to do with Beacon: put the social into advertising. The notion of people actively endorsing brands will end up being attractive, yet as Ian points out, who is going to endorse toothpaste? But that's the job of the agency, to create content and assets people want to associate with. SocialVibe uses the example of SprintNextel sponsoring Nascar to attract people with content they want.

The big question for me is whether all of this is just an inevitable effort to "monetize" our relationships. The charity bent is smart because it makes people feel less Amway-ish about the whole endeavor. Still, I wonder whether things like this and BzzAgent will be seen as a net positive for people's regular interactions. Must we always be hawking things?

Make the logo bigger said...

People will see through a charity angle if it doesn’t ring true for them. Look at the pushback for ( RED ) when it seemed more like a photo op for Oprah and Bono than something that actually made a difference.

AS for choosing their own ads, slippery slope, no? Because if people choose brands based on how they're compensated, how would I trust them any more than the celeb who doesn't use the product they shill?

At the end of the day, no amount of ads in someone’s online footprint will make me want to engage the brand/buy the product if I don’t first connect with it on my own terms.

the girl Riot said...

...why would you want to be compensated (as the user) for a brand you don't use? wouldn't selecting brands you actually support, even if there are (or are not) perks involved be self-evident, moreso than celebs who get paid in cash?

i don't think perks are a mandatory asset, i think being able to select what my profile endorses is, for me, benefit enough.

but for those who it isn't, i don't think brand-compensation cheapens the issue. that would certainly be the case if it was cash, or, if you were compensated every time. that reinforces behavior solely, rather than makes it fun or competitive.