Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Learnings and Takeaways from the Web 2.0 Expo.......

This past week I spent time at the Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco, at the Moscone Center. The event attracted a few thousand people, from 59 countries -- all hoping to learn new aspects of the ever changing media landscape we are a part of. My goal was to be educated on new technologies, and seek to understand how these new concepts and applications impact Media 2.0, for consumers, publishers, and advertisers. Another goal was to meet key industry people, and form a few good relationships, with individuals who I feel could be excellent customers for my company, and potentially benefit from our technology..

Before I dive too deep into my learnings of the expo, I want to preface my words with the following:

"I attended over 10 panels and discussions on many different topics over a 3 day period....much of what I learned I will be sharing over the next few posts......but, I apologize upfront to any of the panelists or speakers who ideas I'm sharing, words I may use - and most importantly - concepts that I'm creatively plagurizing...."

I'm sitting on a plane at 30,000 feet trying to resurrect a head full of ideas.....

First off, the portal is dying a slow death.

Portals like Yahoo, AOL, MSN, will always exist - but over the next 2-6 years you will see the audience numbers for the major portals begin to decline.....

Why will portals die?

They will slowly fade into a mass of media because portals were built on 3 basic assumptions:

1) Content creation is hard
2)Content aggregation is difficult
3)Bandwith is expensive

The above 3 points are no longer true......
Content creation is easy, as we have millions of people blogging - and sharing ideas
Content aggregation is easy, now that users can assemble their feeds, and data sources in a format that is most accessible and relevant to them. (Newspapers are dying too)
Bandwith costs are decreasing, and we have much richer forms of media (video, audio, etc) that can be shared quickly......

So, (I believe we can agree) that major changes are underway in the creation, distribution, and consumption of media.

Portals will fade. The " Horse and Buggys" manufacturers business slowed as the auto approached....
Electricity illuminated dark places.....changing the lantern manufacturers, and their destiny.....

The same fundamental shift is taking place today on a daily basis, and I'm afraid it will have major, and sometimes negative implications for slow adopters......

My question is:
"Where is the concept of Advertising 2.0?"

I heard a lot of data at the conference......most of it was excellent, but very little if any talked about how, MARKETERS AND BRANDS CAN EMBRACE AND WIN IN THIS MEDIA 2.0 world....

Here goes my most important learning, (of the event) and much of it validated why I founded, and creating my company --Lotame.

"There is a fundamental need for advertisers to plan and execute massively different and unique strategies in this new Web 2.0 world. Many marketers and brands are slow, or afraid to try and learn how their consumers are using, sharing, and interacting with - THE FUTURE.
Advertisers need to test buying media from online properties (publishers) IN THE SAME PRECISE WAY THAT THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS (USERS) CONSUME AND INTERACT WITH IT. It means that CPM's are out......and "verb targeting is in". It means agencies need to push publishers to sell them BEHAVIORS of their community based on "consumption metrics" and not fixed placement......"

It means that ADVERTISERS need to:
A) plan for this evolutionary change immediately, be willing to extend their brand....

B)design new creatives and new media concepts around USERS controlling who and what they interact with - not traditional media planning tools or metrics.

C) create a new dynamic with brand managers and agencies to PUSH them, and make them uncomfortable - as they learn and explore new ways of reaching consumers who are relevant to a marketers future success.

D) promote the heck out of a new concept, and share the companies willingness, to be a market and industry pioneer.....

E) distribute it widely, and let your consumers tell you the story.....don't tell them how and when - or why......let them dictate it to you - and be willing to listen.

F) measure consumption metrics across properties in order to refine future media placements, and optimize message.

G)let DATA dictate success.

H) repeat and improve, because the ride for a major brand is JUST STARTING.

A recent example of the last five years was how keyword buying, for brand marketers on sites like Google and Yahoo drove results, and sales, and visits to a company site.

Yet, these companies (Google and Yahoo) run keyword buying marketplace - and 2 things that you cannot control when buying keywords are:

+ the amount of searches for a particular term
+ the price to purchase your best term.

I sat with a CEO recently who said to me,
"We love Google, but 2 things we have noticed is that we want more volume from them, and that our best converting (sales) terms are becoming too costly because our competitors are bidding up the price......."

I told him that is why it is critical that your agency presents you with a plan, focused on ADVERTISER and CONSUMER 2.0.

He said, "we've been told that Web 2.0 is hype, and that we should continue our ideas and follow them through."

I replied - "when did you agency start buying these keywords from Google for you, that you love so much?."

He smiled, "18 months ago."

I ended our conversation, as I took out my business card -- "your agency was slow to react, Google was selling terms that you like 5 years ago --and all the keywords WERE MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE then - they were slow to embrace search engine media for you, and I have no doubt that they will be slow when it comes to planning out your strategy for Media 2.0"

I made my point.

His realized his agency cost him money (or let consumers who looking for his company go to his competitors who "got it" before his ad agency did 3 years 4 years and 5 years ago) - because they were SLOW TO EMBRACE change, and plan for it.

This CEO realized that he may have, "left money on the table" by not testing Google 5 yrs ago.

Where do you think those potential customers went before his agency started buying keywords on his companies behalf?

His competitiors......his ad agencies "slowness to embrace change" may have cost him a lot.

Change and Evolution are in the air, and I'm excited that we at Lotame, can help both publishers and advertisers create winning strategies -- to plan for the.......death of the web portal.

More to come on other, key takeways from Web 2.0.

Rock on.

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.


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4:44 AM  

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