The USA Network has recently announced results from a recent campaign to enhance site viewership through a point based, game like system called “Character Rewards”. The points can be redeemed for both virtual and real life branded goods. Ultimately, the system rewards viewers for loyalty and taps into their nature as fans. The result? An over 30% increase in viewership since launch.
This example of social media success begs the question, what is it that keeps customers attracted? While having an attractive site design or a catchy message can capture the attention of a potential customer, the effectiveness of a campaign is limited if that customer doesn’t keep returning.
In this particular example, the force that kept customers returning to the site was one of the most compelling drives in today’s attention starved populace: the desire to game. The same force that keeps millions logging into farmville and makes World of Warcraft a multi-billion dollar industry is the driving force behind USA’s success.
But the real message to be taken from this is that social media succeeds when it is in alignment with the customer’s desires. Taking the habits of television show fans, who consistently develop loyalty for a show, and creating a complimentary program for these habits is what drives success. This same initiative, used for a movie, for example, would most likely not have had the same effect.
Social media needs to be carefully coordinated and in touch with the customer if it is to succeed.
That’s right. Also more time than you employed folks happen to be working.
“Citing a new Ipsos OTX study of 7,000 online consumers ages 13 to 74, Friend said that thanks to smartphones and laptops, people are now spending one-half of their waking days interacting with media, and have increased their media consumption by an hour per day over the last two years. That’s more time than they spend working or sleeping,”
The implications of this are obviously momentous for social media advertising. According to a recent 2010 study, the average American watches only four hours of television a day, compared to over eight as recently as 2006.
So, is it the multimillion dollar television campaign consumer products manufacturers want to look at, or the riskier but much more rewarding social media campaign, with easily accessible analytics, clickstream and continuous presence?
Ross Hoffman of Twitter’s Business Development team has recently announced plans to release a free analytics dashboard in the last quarter of 2010. The dashboard will have full functionality for those looking to see how their network functions in terms of retweets and the overall effectiveness of their communications. Tools for analyzing individual users, networks and influence will be included.
Although the service was announced at a summit for sports management, it is sure to be of use to all sorts of businesses seeking to interact through twitter. Now analytics will be available past abstract measures of success beyond followers and number of retweets.
The decision is an interesting one on twitter’s part. The company, which has had trouble with coming up with monetization as part of its business plan, is currently planning to offer the new analytic functions for free. The question is, will it stay this way? It wouldn’t be surprising to see Twitter rolling out another version of the analytic software with improved functionality a few months down the line, or starting to charge for the current analytics package (although this would likely cause a loss in good will that would be dangerous for a social network company)
Photo courtesy of Keven Lin
This week saw the re-release of a series commercials reach 1.5 million views on youtube (and counting) since an upload five days ago. The incredible reach of this video reveals an important insight about the nature of internet users: we like bizarre.
While the jury is still out on how well the series did for Panda cheese when it was released over the air in Egypt, it is absolutely certain that the brand has gained considerable exposure in a limited amount of time. The rate at which views are being accumulated for this video indicate that users are sharing this in a way that promotes future sharing.
But what is the root of this? The commercials themselves are unexpected, for an actual commercial to portray a Goodfellas-esque Panda threatening shoppers into buying cheese is a concept that many users find shocking. The humor is in the expectations of a conventional commercial which are broken by the actual content.
For brands that are trying to reach an online audience, this means that a different skill set is needed than conventional marketing needs. What we have seen time and time again is novelty appealing to the internet population. There are no formulas which can be applied to what captures the increasingly diminished attention span of internet users. But when something is created that does, the results are enormous.
The saga of Paul “Double Rainbow Guy” Vasquez continues with the release of a new double rainbow application for the iPhone today. When we last covered Double Rainbow Guy, he was slinging photo editors for Microsoft, but this newest of developments may have further entrenched his position as viral sensation gone sellout.
While the Microsoft ad was fairly relevant and the result of clever marketing by the friendly fellas over at Microsoft, this latest development is much less shiny. The app displays a single screen and then superimposes a double rainbow on whatever photo is taken with the iPhone. And it’s a steal at 99 cents.
Whether Double Rainbow Man ends up making a profit of this remains to be seen but one has to wonder at which point he decided investing in an app developer was the best thing he could do with his money. Regardless of what happens, it seems he has gone… ehm.. all the way.
Andy Warhol famously commented that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. Perhaps he should have also said that in the future, everyone would try to cash in on those fifteen minutes.
Is this the new model of entrepreneurship? Are we headed towards a dystopian tomorrow in which the entire population vies for attention through Johnny Knoxville-esque antics to survive; meme’ing away to survive? Sound off in the comments.
This morning, Google announced that there will soon be releasing a Google Docs app for the iPhone and Android. The fact that an app is being released is not the news story here, but rather the story is that the app is not coming out for Blackberry.
If you work closely in a team at work and are always sending documents back and forth with your coworker, but you’ve never used Google Docs, it’s high time you start. It’s quite wonderful, since it allows you and others to edit the same document simultaneously. The fact that we will soon be able to do it on our mobiles is just another step the business world is taking towards the full virtual (or mobile?) office.
Although it may not seem like that big of a deal for Blackberry, keep in mind their market share has been steadily declining and are very close to being officially “struggling to compete”.
Foursquare – Foursquare has unveiled it’s College/University program, which basically allows students to share notes and information about classes, as well as reward them with badges for being at the library and such. It’s only available at 20 schools in the States for now, but a new school page can be added easily by any student who signs up. Is it me, or does this seem to come about 3-4 weeks too late?
iPad – Katy Huberty from Morgan Stanley is claiming that the iPad is partially to blame for the mass decline in labtop sales over the past half year. Of course, her data is based on a study of American consumers, and there are other tablets out there not made by Apple. But one has to wonder whether this means consumers are simply over the notebook, or if they are waiting to see if tablets will take off before making their next purchase. Full Article Here from Fortune.
The Fighter – Movie coming out in December featuring Mark Wahlberg as a washed out boxer and Christian Bale as his over-emphatic half brother. Now before you call this the most original movie concept ever, watch the trailer which reveals the entire plot.
See you Monday.
With the recent launch of Digg version 4, the once invincible social media Goliath may finally be on its last legs. And fittingly, many speculate the social news site bound to take the throne is the much smaller, user driven Reddit.
Digg’s version 3, in effect since 2006, propelled the site to massive success, with valuations of up to $250 million by some and an offering of over $200 million from Google in 2008. But it was ridden with problems. Certain power users and groups of Diggers could effectively control the coveted front page, dramatically altering the dynamic of any company seeking to pay for adspace. It was clear that Digg needed a change, and that change eventually came with the launch of Digg Version 4.
The new version, in addition to containing a good deal of outright mistakes like a recommended user list, but the architecture of the site was altered too much for many of the dedicated users. While optimizing the site for more traffic, Digg also changed some features to make the community more accessible to mainstream users.
The result? Many of the once dedicated Diggers were alienated from their favorite social news site. Many transferred directly to the competition, reddit, after hearing about it through social media platforms like twitter. Reddit’s community centered site structure drew many Digg “refugees” after the change.
What is the implication for social media today? This shows that smaller players can dwarf companies with massive staffs and funding (Reddit is run by a 6 person team) by getting close to the community. In web 3.0, the end user is the ultimate bottom line