Viacom has unveiled the results of a new study exploring the social TV phenomenon through the lens of the viewer. While fairly nascent, social TV and co-viewing trends represent a shift in TV viewing from what Viacom calls a “lean-back” to a “lean-forward” experience. If there is a takeaway for advertisers, it is that those “behind the scenes” streams, additional scenes and blooper reels that networks run on their websites are pretty valuable ad real estate.
Viacom finds that viewers engage in an average of seven different types of social TV activities – online or offline – on at least a weekly basis. The most common activities include watching TV with others (85%), searching for supplemental content (61%) and viewing TV show clips on social networks (58%). The new research reveals that consumers engaging in social TV activities "C's the moment" primarily by communicating, consuming content and checking comments.
The two-phase study involved 24 ethnographies in Boston and San Diego with VMN viewers aged 13-52 that engage in social TV activities on at least a weekly basis. National online surveys were conducted with over 1,500 VMN viewers aged 13-54. When asked what social TV means to them, the most commonly reported words were "interactive," "friends" and "Facebook "or "Twitter." The leading source of discovery of social TV services is through search (38%), followed by social networks (26%) and ads run on shows (22%).
"One of the main goals of this research was to understand how to inspire social TV activity among our audiences," said Colleen Fahey Rush, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Viacom Media Networks.
Content is king for social TV users. Viewers want something special from their social TV services rather than commoditized content that can be found through online searches. The number one request for content is full-length episodes (88%), followed by sneak peeks of new episodes (75%), and behind-the-scenes extras (71%) and highlight clips (71%).
The majority of TV socializers are interested in rewards with real value, like free merchandise or signed cast photos. When putting aside the material aspect, virtual rewards offer an emotional pay-off, described as being similar to the feeling when 'liked' on Facebook. Trivia and casual games related to a show are of greater interest if they offer some kind of reward. Real fans want to have their knowledge and skills tested, and expect the game to be challenging.
Communicating is a top priority for social TV users. Many respondents described cobbling together unique communication systems to interact with different social circles while watching a show. "When I'm watching Jersey Shore, I have Facebook chats with 10 friends and I'm texting a dozen people, and I can be on the phone to my best friend," said one participant.
There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of chat options. Of those interested in chat features, 56% prefer communicating through the social TV app/service, 53% through Facebook, 50% through individual or group texts and 38% through Skype or Apple FaceTime. For those that use check-in services, 71% check in to a show to let their friends know and 64% check in to let other fans of the show know. Check-in services are a unique way of communicating viewing activities while simultaneously encouraging others to tune-in and join a shared experience.
Smartphones dominate the use of social TV apps at 82%, trailed by tablets at 18%. For services that are delivered via HTML websites and associated apps, 52% of usage occurs on smartphones or tablets, followed closely by desktop or laptops at 48%.
Social TV users check comments about their favorite shows for a variety of reasons. Comments provide a different point of view, can pick up on something a viewer may have missed on their own and most importantly, create a direct connection between fan and show. "I love reading Daniel Tosh's tweets while watching Tosh.0. It gives the show a whole other dimension," said one survey respondent.
Not all sources of comments are equally valued. The number one source viewers want to hear from is a show's cast and crew, followed by the people they know. Audiences are sensitive to the quality of comments from a show's cast and crew – they look for authenticity and prefer the star(s) to be in character.
Social TV Users "C's the Moment" During Live Viewing
"Viewers C's the Moment" reveals that live TV show viewing unlocks the real value of social TV services and co-viewing activities. Features relating to communication, content and comments are twice as likely to be used during live than time-shifted viewing. Social TV enthusiasts reported feeling "left out" of the conversation if they missed a live airing.
One respondent said, "I'm most likely to engage with Social TV networking when it's live. So when a new show comes on, I'm very likely to check-in just before the show, see comments from other people, [and] make my own comments during the show as well."
Social TV activities also increase directly after a live show, when viewers can access exclusive content like sneak peeks without interrupting the live viewing experience. "I go to the website and watch the director's cut…after it airs as I like the extra scenes. I like to feel that I am getting something extra and it extends the show," said a participant.
Social TV can also help foster show discovery. Features like check-ins, viewer comments and shared video clips help viewers discover shows, incentivize them to watch and encourage them to join the live conversations.
“There is hardly a program or ad on TV these days that doesn’t ask its viewers to like its Facebook page or tweet about it,” opined Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch. But what do they get out of accepting that invitation? Therein lies the rub, found Accenture.
The industry analyst group surveyed 1,000 U.S. TV viewers, to find that nearly two-thirds (64%) recall seeing social media symbols such as Facebook "Likes" while watching television, and one third (33%) interacted with social media, after seeing a social media symbol on their TV screen.
This is good news for advertisers, believes Robin Murdoch, Accenture’s global Internet segment managing director. "This has huge revenue growth potential as social media applications build program viewer loyalty and drive online advertising opportunities."
That one third who interacted with the symbols while watching TV did so by "liking" the TV program on Facebook (20%), scanning a QR code (11%), searching for the Hashtag on Twitter (7%) or scanning the Shazam symbol (5%).
But what do viewers want out of it?
Obtaining more information about a show, product or service was the greatest motivator for interacting with a social media symbol while watching TV; cited by 43% of the participants who have done so. Other motivations included:
- getting coupons and promotional codes (32%)
- entering a contest/sweepstakes (31%)
- watching another video (26%)
- interacting about the show or product on social media (26%)
- connecting with others with similar interests (21%)
- sharing or recommending video/program to others (20%)
- making a purchase (16%)
To put a pencil to it, of that 33% who interacts, 16% of them makes a purchase - so, just 4.8% of viewers, which is still a good figure. About 10% of viewers overall will go for coupons and promotional codes, or enter to win a contest, so the advertising/marketing/engagement possibilities are strong.
Surprisingly absent from the list is interacting with the show. They appear to enjoy interacting live with questions (e.g. through Twitter to interact with the “Walking Dead” and “Real Housewives” recap shows, voting on “American Idol”). But interaction does not drive viewers to watch lousy TV. The Ford Motor Company-funded unscripted show “Escape Routes” has tanked miserably on NBC on Saturday nights, with ratings shares as low as 0.3. “Escape Routes” is a broadcast/interactive mashup with six teams of two participating in a road-trip competition with real-world challenges, all while driving the new Ford Escape. Viewers can interact real-time with the teams through Google Hangouts, among other social methods; but so far, they haven’t.
Demographics play a role
As expected, the demographic of social-interactive viewers skews young. The majority of participants between the ages of 18 and 24 (63%) said they have interacted with social media symbols while watching TV. For older age groups, the numbers dropped to 46% among 25-34 year olds, 44% among 35-44 year olds, 19% among 45-54 year olds, 24% among 55-64 year olds and 11% of those 65 or older.
Both men and women participants who interacted with social media sites were most interested in getting more information about the show (39% and 48%, respectively). Women were also motivated by getting coupons or promotional codes (40%) and registering or signing up for something (34%). Males were more interested in interacting with social media to watch another video (35%) or entering a contest or sweepstakes (34%).
In terms of engagement, most viewers are just satisfied with what they get out of the social engagement. They are neither thrilled nor displeased. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those who received content via social media symbols while watching TV (those coupons, recommended videos and so forth) said it just "met expectations," compared with 10% who said the content "did not meet expectations" and 15% who said it "exceeded expectations."
The survey also showed that the greatest barrier to adoption is lack of interest among consumers in the content available through social media interactions. When participants were asked why they had not interacted with social media while watching TV, 60% said they did not think they would be interested in the content they would receive. Fewer participants said they were not sure how to interact with social media symbols (23%); had not downloaded the necessary application for scanning social media symbols on their mobile devices (15%); or, did not have time to scan a social media symbol because it was not displayed long enough on the TV program (11%).
The survey pointed to dramas and comedies as the top genres where consumers would like additional information and interactivity. Asked what type of show they would be interested in interacting with, 35% of participants said dramas and comedies, compared to news programming (31%), sporting events (29%), reality shows (23%), lifestyle/cooking/home shows (20%), game shows (19%), talk shows (16%) and live non-sports events (15%).
"The challenge to providers unlocking this enormous growth is convincing viewers that interacting with TV programming is valuable to them," said Murdoch. "You do that by offering compelling content that enhances the viewing experience coupled with things that extend the value into other areas of their lives. In parallel, you might make social media easier for viewers to use by integrating these capabilities into your existing distribution infrastructure."
Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18% since 2007, according to a new study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15% in four years.
Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries shows that while nearly half (47%) of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads, confidence declined by 24%, 20% and 25% respectively since 2009. Still, the majority of advertising dollars are spent on traditional or paid media, such as television. In 2011, overall global ad spend saw a seven% increase over 2010, according to Nielsen’s most recent Global AdView Pulse. This growth in spend was driven by a nearly 10% increase in television advertising, with countries, including the U.S. and China, attracting more advertising dollars versus the year prior.
“While brand marketers increasingly seek to deploy more effective advertising strategies, Nielsen’s survey shows that the continued proliferation of media messages may be impacting how well they resonate with their intended audiences on various platforms,” said Randall Beard, global head, Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. “Although television advertising will remain a primary way marketers connect with audiences due to its unmatched reach compared to other media, consumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible. As a result, successful brand advertisers will seek ways to better connect with consumers and leverage their goodwill in the form of consumer feedback and experiences.”
Nielsen’s survey shows that 58% of global online consumers trust “owned media,” such as messages on company websites, and 50% find content in emails they consented to receive to be credible.
Forty percent of global respondents find product placements in TV programs to be credible, while 42% trust radio ads and 41% trust pre-movie cinema messages.
Trust in Online Ads
Thirty-six percent of global online consumers report trust in online video ads, and 33% believe messages in online banner ads, up from 26% in 2007. Ads viewed in search engine results are trusted by 40% of global respondents in Nielsen’s survey, up from 34% in 2007. Sponsored ads on social networking sites are deemed credible by 36% of global respondents.
“The growth in trust for online search and display ads over the past four years should give marketers increased confidence in putting more of their ad dollars into this medium,” said Beard. “Many companies are already increasing their paid advertising activity on social networking sites, in part due to the high level of trust consumers place in friends’ recommendations and online opinions. Brands should be watching this emerging ad channel closely as it continues to grow.”
Trust in Mobile Ads
According to Nielsen’s survey, one-third of global respondents trust video or banner display ads on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones. Approximately one-third (29%) of global online consumers said they trust mobile phone text ads, an increase of 21% since 2009 and 61% since 2007.
When considering ad relevance, 50% of global online consumers find TV ads to be personally relevant when they are looking for information on products they want or need, particularly among consumers in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, where 65% find TV ads to be highly pertinent to their needs. By contrast, 30% of European respondents consider TV ads to be relevant.
One-third (33%) of global respondents find online banners ads to be relevant, compared to ads on social networks (36%) and online video ads (36%). Forty two% of global consumers find ads in search engine results relevant.
“The high cost of advertising in today’s fragmented media world forces marketers to strive for the most effective and efficient ads,” said Beard. “In order to boost advertising ROI, marketers need to make sure an ad’s content and message is relevant to the consumer who sees it. While we expect to see high relevance levels in ads where the consumer is actively seeking information, such as on a brand’s own website or solicited emails, Nielsen’s survey shows that there is still much potential for marketers looking to reach the right audience through advertiser-driven messages.”
- A New York appeals court has resurrected “an epic copyright case over whether Google should be liable for movies and tv shows uploaded to YouTube” during its early days, reports PaidContent. A lower court judge had dismissed the case in 2010 stating that Google was protected by a “safe harbor” law distanced hosting sites from infringing content uploaded by third parties. Viacom counters that Google actively enabled and encouraged the practice, and claims it is owed $1 billion in royalties over 79,000 clips of shows like “John Stewart” and “South Park.”
- Twitter is opening offices in Detroit, “looking for better proximity to car companies with hefty ad budgets” according to a Reuter’s story. This following a notable financial recovery by General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler from years of restructuring and depressed auto sales. Google. Google claims it will have a "handful" of employees in Detroit, focused on working first-hand with automotive brands and advertising agencies.
- Elsewhere in Twitter news, it is actively protecting users and advertisers against spammers. The company said on its blog that “Our engineers continue to combat spammers’ efforts to circumvent our safeguards, and today we’re adding another weapon to our arsenal: the law…we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers. With this suit, we’re going straight to the source.” As ClickZ details, the defendants include three companies and two individuals: TweetAttacks; TweetAdder; TweetBuddy; James Lucero; and Garland Harris. “By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal,” stated Twitter.” Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.
- Facebook is also cracking down on spam, reports ClickZ. It has filed three separate lawsuits in federal court this week, alleging violations of the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, (known as CAN-SPAM). The suits name two individuals, Steven Richter and Jason Swan, and one company, Max Bounty, Inc., of “using deceptive practices to trick Facebook members into handing over personal information, spamming friends or signing up for fake offers.” These filings come just two days after the Wall Street Journal alleged that makers of the top-10 Facebook apps (including Zynga of FarmVille fame) were transmitting Facebook User IDs to outside companies, violating Facebook's terms of service. Bad timing, with an IPO pending that is heavily dependent upon advertiser value.
- Time Warner Cable is promising an app for Android-based phones and tablets before Memorial Day, reports Multichannel News. But, not many Android devices currently on the market will be able to run it. The TWC TV app will run only on devices that support Google's Android 4.0 (known as “Ice Cream Sandwich”), and which few devices yet support. Still says TWC, it is “The only version of the Android OS that allows us the security and stability necessary to distribute video over our private network." The TWC TV apps for iPad released in April 2010, followed by versions for iPhone and iPod touch.
- Fox has taken an equity stake in an interactive television technology provider (ACTV8), reports MediaBistro. Fox will "ACTV8" several its primetime series, beginning with the “New Girl” second screen app, now which is available on iTunes App Store for iPhones and will be available on iPad and Android platforms in the coming weeks. Using the apps, viewers can interact during live broadcasts of Fox shows by chatting in real time, earning badges by watching and answering episodic trivia.
- In search-engine marketing news, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser has started to regain share of the browser market, reports ClickZ. It does so at the expense of rival browsers, particularly Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome. According to data from Net Applications, IE has increased its market share by 2% from December 2011 to March 2012, for a total of 53.8%. The browser was losing share before that, losing more than 5% of users between May and December 2011. Firefox usage has declined since May 2011 through March 2012, dropping 2% for 20.6% of the market.
- Turner Sports lost some digital traffic with its streaming NCAA coverage, reports Multichannel News. Between paid subscriptions and the trials of TV Everywhere authentication, Turner Sports traffic to NCAA.com and March Madness Live broadband and mobile services declined 6% from the 2011 basketball tourney, to a still colossal 51.6 million visits, between March 11 and the April 2 title game. On a daily basis, NCAA.com and March Madness Live averaged 1.1 million daily unique visitors, which was down 10% from 2011, and averaged 473,000 daily uniques on mobile, down 1%.
- Google Ads has created a Google + page for advertising partners, where it will provide the latest Google advertising product news; training and events; tips; and Google Hangouts, with product experts. Google is promising that advertisers can “Stay ahead of the curve with the latest launches and updates for Google's advertising solutions, including search, display, mobile, social, YouTube and Google Analytics. Receive how-to information, best practices, and recommendations.” The latest how-to entry is “Fast facts about targeting ads to the modern digital mom.”
- “New dads are big-time social media newsers,” reports eMarketer. Fathers, particularly first-time fathers, engage in the same social media activities that new mothers do, according to a February survey by Edelman and The Parenting Group. The survey revealed that that 42% of new U.S. fathers who use social networks write family-related status updates on a daily basis. Further, 56% of new dads post family photos at least a few times a week, while 21% post family-related videos.
- “This is getting ugly,” as Wired describes the Yahoo/Facebook fracas. Three weeks after after Yahoo filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook, the social media outlet fired back yesterday (March 3, 2012) with a counterclaim alleging Yahoo has infringed on 10 Facebook software patents. Ted Ullyot, general counsel of Facebook, said in a statement that “While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo’s short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation.” Facebook alleges that Yahoo infringed on basic web functionalities including search, headline feeds, photo tagging, and, of course, advertising. Facebook’s rapid response suggests it is clearly “spoiling for a fight,” reports paidContent. “Ordinarily, a defendant in major litigation will use procedural tactics to delay filing its defense or counterclaim.”
- The Facebook suit comes at a bad time for Yahoo, which is laying off “a whopping 2,000 staffers,” reports MediaBistro. New-ish CEO Scott Thompson expects the move to save the company $375 million a year. As Huffington Post describes, this marks Yahoo’s sixth mass layoff in four years, under three CEOs. Thompson claimed “Our goal is to get back to our core purpose — putting our users and advertisers first — and we are moving aggressively to achieve that goal.”
- OpenX has announced a deal with mobile device maker Samsung to supply a mobile, private ad exchange infrastructure called "the Samsung AdHub Market, Powered by OpenX," reports AdExchanger. Launch is scheduled for latter 2012, with a real-time biddable exchange that "enables advertisers worldwide to purchase mobile inventory from mobile developers and Samsung Electronics within a closed marketplace environment, allowing easy targeting of desired audiences.”
- Daily deal site Groupon is “fast clinching its reputation as the bad boy of the IPO circuit,” reports paidContent. Less than four months after going public, Groupon is facing a Securities & exchange Commission (SEC) probe, and shareholders are suing for “gimmicky accounting practices.” A Chicago man is seeking compensation on behalf of Groupon shareholders who were feel the stock price was artificially inflated. The charge is that Groupon failed to set aside adequate reserves for customers seeking refunds through its “Groupon Promise” program. Groupon’s liabilities increased, while the company’s IPO filings predicted refund amounts would shrink.
While broadcasters envision fans interacting with reality TV stars or voting for their favorite singers with apps, it turns out there’s a “higher purpose.”
Fans' primary reason for participating in social TV activity is to “keep my favorites on the air,” according to TVGuide.com user research, released in partnership with the Social TV Summit. In a survey conducted in March, 76% of respondents said keeping favorite shows from being canceled was their main motivation for social activity, up from 66% in 2011.
The definition of social activity in the survey included a broad variety of social actions, including posts, status updates, check-ins and comments on social networks, fansites, official network sites, and entertainment sites and apps such as TVGuide.com. TVGuide.com, which has more than 24 million monthly unique users, leads the mass market in mobile and social TV with over 6.5 million mobile application installations, 500,000 social Watchlists created, 7 million TV check-ins, and Social Power Rankings, a daily curated feature of user-generated activity.
Additionally, the survey found changing behavior related to when TV fans participated in social activity. Of those who participate in social TV activity, 95% said they do so after watching a show (up from 68% last year), 40% participate during a show (up from 33%), and 53% before a show (up from 52%).
Fans also experimented with a variety of different social apps, websites and experiences related to major live TV events:
- 62% had some intention to use apps/websites/experiences during the Super Bowl, while 58% actually did
- For Grammys and Oscars on average, 57% had some intention to use apps/websites/experiences, while 80% actually used them
- 33% of respondents said they participated in social activity because they wanted to say something about the event, while 69% wanted to see what others were saying
Proving that The Los Angeles Times has a sense of humor, LAT and Nerdist Industries have announced creation of “Hero Complex: The Show” an original entertainment news program for the new Nerdist Channel on YouTube.
Nerdist Channel debuted on Monday (April 2, 2012), and is the latest venture of Nerdist Industries, a multi-platform creator of genre and popular culture content. Nerdist “Has emerged as one of the most respected tastemakers in genre entertainment,” said Times Director of Entertainment Advertiser Marketing and Hero Complex General Manager Jeff Dellinger. “’Hero Complex,’” an LAT blog, “is one of the leading sources of all things geek, and creating a show for their new channel presents exciting opportunities to extend our brand with the audience that matters most.”
If a YouTube channel seems—well—well, unfitting for the LAT, a quick check of the Nerdist channel reveals targeted local ads (e.g. for a Jeep dealer within 10 miles), plus banner and video ads for the upcoming film release “Battleship” and the small business website provider Getyour.net.
Set to debut the week of April 9, “Hero Complex: The Show” fittingly brings The Times pop culture writer Geoff Boucher together with a who’s-who of fanboy superstar talent on the channel, including the Nerdist himself Chris Hardwick, Neil Patrick Harris, the Kids in the Hall, Harry Knowles, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Rob Zombie.
"No one gets the kind of nerd culture coverage that Geoff Boucher is able to get, nor at his level of quality, which one could only describe as amazetastic," said Hardwick. “Were I smaller, I would stow away in his pocket so that I could be present for his one-on-one interviews with the actors, directors and writers that I idolize. Since I'm not, I've somehow tricked him into doing the next best thing: capturing it on video. I am incredibly lucky that Geoff has decided to port the genius of Hero Complex over to Nerdist Channel." (Among Hardwick’s offering: a countrified song about mucus membranes called “Holes.” “Tubes connect your holes to your holes to your body/Makin’ sure of what comes out and where.”)
The first of 15 planned episodes of “Hero Complex” will feature a one-on-one interview with legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott, who created much of the visual language of contemporary science fiction with "Blade Runner" and "Alien" and this summer returns to the genre with "Prometheus." The director of "Gladiator," "Thelma & Louise" and "Black Hawk Down" will discuss his past, present and future in cinema, from his painting studies with David Hockney to his intriguing thoughts on another "Blade Runner." The second and third episodes will feature "Star Trek" icon Leonard Nimoy and Eisner Award-winning comic book writer and cartoonist Ed Brubaker ("Captain America," "Criminal") respectively. Available on both Nerdist Channel and Hero Complex, each show will offer Boucher’s unique perspective and voice on a broad range of topics, from the newest nerd crazes to films with massive cult followings to the most appropriate way to swing a cape while wielding a pen.
“Living in Los Angeles and watching the explosive growth of Hero Complex and appreciating what it has come to mean to genre fans, fanboys and fangirls everywhere, it gives us tremendous pleasure to announce this joint effort with Geoff Boucher, Hero Complex and the Los Angeles Times. A common thread throughout our Nerdist Channel lineup is the authenticity of the people and properties we are collaborating with; Geoff and Hero Complex set the standard in that arena,” said Peter Levin, Chief Executive Officer of Nerdist Industries.
Hero Complex debuted in 2008 as the first major mainstream news site dedicated to the increasingly influential realm of science fiction, fantasy and superheroes. It has rapidly become one of latimes.com’s most popular offerings and won numerous awards. Hero Complex stories are now regularly published in The Times print edition and its ongoing expansion includes the Hero Complex Film Festival and screenings of fan favorites and upcoming releases with artist Q&A’s throughout the year. It also anchors a dedicated area for comics and graphic novels at the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (April 21-22), which continues to grow in scope and distributes special glossy magazines at San Diego & New York Comic-Cons and WonderCon.
More evidence of confidence in digital—but not in digital advertising. As eMarketer reports, a February report from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) that surveyed digital advertisers worldwide found they are investing a greater portion of their total marketing budgets online in 2012. Fully one third expects to invest 60% or more of their ad budgets digitally.
But while paid digital and traditional media are still important investments, 25% of respondents planned to significantly increase their digital owned and earned media spend, compared to just 8% who planned to do the same for paid digital media and 4% for traditional media.
One factor in the shift is the explosion of social media and its significance in the marketing mix for both traditional and digital media. “For a lot of advertisers, social is actually the bridge of their understanding between the traditional world and the digital space,” Michael McVeigh, senior vice president of strategic services at Zeta Interactive, told eMarketer. “Social is where brands start to see how many people they have reached throughout their network, much like those big, overarching air powers of TV and radio.”
The social media significance goes beyond shifting budgets, and is affecting organizational structures. Almost 73% of client-side marketers surveyed are transforming the structure of their marketing departments. Of those, 45.8% have created cross-departmental groups to leverage social media monitoring and other socially obtained insights throughout the company. In addition, roughly a third is specifically integrating “social listening” with its traditional research departments.
Incorporating earned and owned media (like social media) into the marketing mix can also reduce overall advertising costs. A February 2012 study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found that 84% of US advertisers said they currently face challenges in identifying cost savings and reductions for their 2012 marketing efforts. This number was up from 77% last year.
ANA found as well that B2B and B2C organizations have trimmed costs through savings on travel and departmental expenses as well as agency costs, and apparently view advertising as a similar expense. Fifty three percent of B2B marketers planned to reduce campaign ad budgets, and 44% of B2C marketers plan to do the same. That’s less than their B2B counterparts, but a greater number of B2C marketers (45%) looked to alter the marketing channel mix to reduce costs.
B2B marketers reported being less likely to reallocate their marketing mix: just 31% planned to do so in order to reduce marketing expenses.
- In an apparent vote of no confidence, ABC News appears to have abandoned Tumblr, the microblogging-plus-video social media site, reports Digiday. While Tumblr has a huge audience, Digiday describes its benefit to publishers as “uncertain.” ABC had run at least three Tumblr feeds (called “Tumblrs”), including for “Nightline” and “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” for over two years. ABC has declined comment. Digiday speculates that ABC may have been concerned about the liability of sharing content on Tumblr. ABC News has a strong presence on both Twitter and Facebook, with the Twitter accound @ABC has having more than 1.6 million followers and its Facebook page with more than 492,000 likes.
- Apple kept its word to developers. Apple on Sunday, April 1, announced to developers that it has increased their share of revenue in iAd from 60 to 70%. Also true, as AdExchanger reports the significance, advertisers can now spend as little as $100,000 to initiate mobile campaigns, down from a $300,000 threshold that went into effect last July. That is just a fraction of the “lofty” $1 million minimum for entry when iAd launched in 2010, and of the $0.5 million entry from last February.
- Google and Starbucks are planning a Google Offers campaign for this week, reports ClickZ, which “should be a boon for Google Offers subscriber numbers,” given Starbucks' popularity. Starbucks joins such national brands as REI, JetBlue, and Toys R Us which have partnered with Google Offers since Google launched the deals platform 10 months ago. Groupon still reigns as the source for bargains at local businesses.
- “The Economist” is putting the brakes on the “everything is free” ethos, reports Digiday. The magazine’s Managing Director for the Americas Paul Rossi called the free or lower-cost digital model “suicide.” Rossi spoke at Digiday’s Publishing Summit last week, and told the crowd that “It makes no sense in my mind if you think a mag on a news has a [value] to a reader of $4.99 that you sell that to a reader digitally for 99 cents or $1.99…I don’t understand the logic.” Rossi also addressed the problem of digital advertising not coming close to replacing print revenue—partly because lower- or no-cost content devalues digital ad placements.
- Business Insider has published a provocative article called “This Is What Advertisers Hate About Facebook,” citing a “top ad executive at a company that helps brands market on Facebook.” Among the dislikes: unreliable APIs. “[Google] technology has been reliable for the past 15 years. With Facebook, you feel like you're dealing with three developers in their garage changing their mind every week.” Also, ownership of data and content, particularly customer data. Facebook says it’s theirs, brands think it’s theirs. Finally, analytics. “It's not just that the functionality is lacking, the executive said, it's that the stats are virtually unusable,” says Business Insider. The executive cited disbelief that a big brand with a Facebook page for a small-town subsidiary had supposedly “reached” 1.3 million people.
- NBCUniversal has penned a multiyear agreement with FreeWheel to use its ad-management system to serve online and mobile ads across some of NBCU's network and cable digital properties, reports Multichannel News. Those properties include NBC.com, NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com, CNBC.com, USANetwork.com, BravoTV.com and Telemundo.com. NBCU will use FreeWheel's Monetization Rights Management system for multiple sites, including NBCOlympics.com in connection with NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. NBCU reports that advertisers have already bought more than $50 million in digital inventory for the Summer Olympics. With the FreeWheel system, advertisers can now buy specialized digital ad packages such as exclusivities, sponsorships and other converged-ad campaigns.