from eMarketer DECEMBER 28, 2009

Market maturity affects activities

Worldwide data from Trendstream and Lightspeed Researchsheds light on the user-generated content activities of Internet users around the world.

In the US, a mature Internet market, managing a social network profile was the top online user-generated content activity, participated in by 44.2% of Web users. This was followed closely by uploading photos. Uploading video, blogging and microblogging were significantly less popular.

Online User-Generated Content Activities of US Internet Users, June 2009 (millions and % of respondents)

Users in the UK and Canada had similar rates of social network use and photo-sharing, and also tapered off dramatically when it came to more advanced user-generated content activities.

Japan, another mature Internet market, has markedly different participation in user-generated content activities. Much lower percentages of Web users manage social network profiles or upload photos, for example. The “Global Web Index” report notes that this is actually a sign of advanced behavior: The survey measured only activities conducted on a PC, and in Japan, many such activities are now mobile-based. For example, 34% of users accessed social networks only via mobile during the month of the study.

Online User-Generated Content Activities of Internet Users in Japan, June 2009 (millions and % of respondents)

Meanwhile, participation was generally high in China, where overall Internet penetration is only 29.6% according to eMarketer estimates. A majority of users uploaded photos, and nearly one-half had a blog. More than one-fifth used a microblogging service, far ahead of the more advanced economies.

Online User-Generated Content Activities of Internet Users in China, June 2009 (millions and % of respondents)

Trendstream and Lightspeed noted that microblogging usage was fairly low across the board, despite the hype surrounding services such as Twitter. The 7% of US users participating in microblogging was somewhat lower than eMarketer’s estimate of 11.1% Twitter penetration this year.

I was reading Jeffbullas’s blog earlier about the 25.4 BILLION reasons why search engines want social media video and pulled this paragraph to comment on: “Comscore announced in August 2009 that over 25.4 Billion video views ocurred in the USA alone (Yes…. Billions not millions). This is up from 14.3 Billion In December 2008. This is a 78% increase in just 8 months. Google’s sites such as YouTube  had a 39% market share with the closest competitor being Microsoft sites with 2.2%. (Google owns YouTube by the way).”

For us, it’s great to see this validation by ways of numbers and the more articles like this that are shared helps in client meetings when we are proposing a mix that includes video.

One thing we know is that you can’t expect to post some videos to YouTube and make millions for your clients. An experienced, full-service marketer is always looking for the value of the product to solve the “consumer of the products” problem AKA “pain points”.

Blending traditional marketing with new media, mobile and social marketing require skills that some of the social/new media “consultants” don’t have expertise in. Our firm started providing video as part of a way to communicate to our clients “audience” in campaigns three years ago and now have rolled streaming into the mix.

There are so many components that can be used to create a successful campaign – but nothing is cookie cutter and you want to be able to show an ROI as adding video or any social media component makes the campaign a high-touch program that many clients don’t have time for or don’t want to pay for.

Remember, when you start engaging in conversations with your “audience” you need to be prepared to manage your reputation and build on that relationship. It does not work on autopilot. Consumers are smarter now and you need to know how to find your audience and engage WITH them.

Written by Geoff Ramsey—CEO, Co-Founder, eMarketer December 14, 2009

It’s that time of year again—the season for looking back, reflecting on what transpired over the course of the year, and simultaneously looking forward, to formulate thoughts, and perhaps some hope, for what the coming year will bring.

Like last year, I have seven predictions I’d like to share with our readers, many of which will get underway in 2010 but gather momentum and take on greater importance in subsequent years.

1. During 2010, as US ad budgets crack open just a little, look for an accelerated migration of ad dollars from traditional to digital media. According to Forrester Research, 59% of US marketers plan to increase their budgets for digital by pulling funds from traditional outlets. Other sources support this shift, including a recent survey among Association of National Advertisers members and a separate study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Areas of Marketing Spending Growth in the Next 12 Months According to US Marketers, July 2009 (% change)

Next year, while broadcast television, radio, newspaper and magazine spending continue to downsize, though more slowly than in 2009, online ad spending will enjoy a nice bump-up: eMarketer currently forecasts 5.5% growth. And the increase won’t all come from search—banner ads will grow 3.3%, and online video will jump by 40%.

Other researchers and investment banks are even more bullish on digital ad spending next year, with many predicting growth rates exceeding 10% (e.g., JPMorganZenithOptimedia, Forrester, Collins StewartCiti Investment ResearchCredit Suisse and Oppenheimer). Only one researcher, out of the 23 eMarketer is currently tracking in this area, is forecasting negative growth. The Yankee Group believes online ad spending will take another hit in 2010, dropping 1.5%.

2. Even post-recession, aggregate media dollars will fail to return to former levels. Looked at another way, while total US media spending will decrease by 14.6% this year, the $192 billion spent in 2008 will represent the absolute peak of media spending—at least for the next decade. I don’t believe we will ever return to that historic level, for these four reasons:

  • The measurement and accountability mandate will intensify demand for lower-cost, more efficient media.
  • Media fragmentation will force marketers to target their messages to ever smaller niche audiences.
  • Digital technologies are creating new opportunities for firms to self-market, such as a company’s own Website, online videos, e-mail marketing to existing customers and so forth. These channels end up bypassing paid media such as yellow pages and direct mail.
  • There will be a continued emphasis on “earned media,” such as on social networks and other consumer-generated community platforms. This will also siphon dollars away from paid media.

For decades, the entire multibillion-dollar media industry has been puffed up beyond its true value because of waste. Marketers paid huge sums to maximize reach, while knowing that thousands or millions of the people seeing their campaigns would never buy their products. Gradually, though, as the financial and housing markets are doing, media will shrink to match the true value it is delivering to marketers. That “true value” is being unearthed by better measurement systems, such as more efficient targeting.

For decades, the entire multibillion-dollar media industry has been puffed up beyond its true value because of waste.

3. While media dollars have imploded, media consumption will continue to explode. Due to increasingly empowered consumers and further advances in technology, look for media to become more:

  • Distributed—the same content will pop up in multiple locations, formats and channels.
  • Personalized—media will be tailored to reflect what consumers have watched, read, experienced and shared.
  • Contextualized—when and where consumers get their information will dictate its content and format, and that, in turn, will shape how they interact with and share it.

Each of these trends will lead to more precise targeting, which will also reinforce trend No. 2, the stagnation of media spending.

4. Advertising will support less and less of the load for content and entertainment. Fueled by the low cost of digital distribution, combined with vast amounts of consumer-generated content in the form of blogs, social networks, photo- and video-sharing sites, and rampant Twitter activity, media choices have exploded. There is no way advertising can pay all the freight for this media tonnage. In addition, marketers are clamoring for more direct contact with consumers, especially to engage with them on social networks, and this will divert ad money and attention away from third-party publishers.

Advertising will by no means go away, but it will play a smaller role as paid content and hybrid models emerge.

5. Advertising on social networks will never attract a large share of marketers’ ad dollars. eMarketer estimates social network advertising will grow only 7% next year to $1.3 billion, accounting for a mere 5.5% of total online ad dollars. And while ad spending on these sites will never represent a significant share of total online ad dollars, spending on non-advertising forms of social marketing will rise significantly next year and beyond.

Marketers are more interested in genuine engagement with consumers on social platforms, and less in opportunities to flood them with banner ads.

Social marketing works best when it’s earned, not paid for.

The spending emphasis is on internal staffing, and building structures and systems for two-way, real-time communications with consumers—and not so much on deploying ads. Social marketing works best when it’s earned, not paid for. It’s a matter of leveraging the inherent trust consumers have in each other.

Eventually, online social activities and connections will be baked into every form of digital content on the Web, from brand Websites and shopping sites to search engines, traditional media sites and entertainment portals.

6. Marketers will be increasingly willing to trade off reach for deeper engagement. This goes right along with the drive toward improved targeting and increasingly efficient media buys.

Rather than try to reach every conceivable person who fits a particular demographic, marketers will be looking for technologies and ad solutions that allow them to reach only the people who—by their past surfing behavior, search queries, online purchases, social connections, Twitter posts and other digital footprints—indicate that they are likely prospects.

The analogy here is to search. The search advertising market has been so successful precisely because it captures consumers’ intentions. When a user types “hotels in Bermuda” into a Google search box, you can be pretty sure they have an intention to reserve a hotel at that destination, and they are therefore likely to click and convert. Marketers wanting to capture intentions higher up the purchase funnel will want to identify people who demonstrate a likely desire to interact with the marketer’s brand, possibly leading to a purchase.

If a marketer is successful at the above—zeroing in on a narrow group of likely prospects—then there is a much better opportunity to engage with those consumers on a deeper, more meaningful basis.

In effect, less is more.

7. The classic interruption/disruption model of advertising, whereby marketers insert unwanted, usually irrelevant ads as a price the consumer must pay to view desired content, will erode, if not fade away. Consumers in the digital age simply have too much control over their media environments these days for marketers to be pushing unwanted banners, buttons or videos. This raises the bar for marketers and their agencies to develop new forms of messages that are not even perceived as ads, but rather as welcome content. The challenge will be twofold:

  1. To better identify likely prospects (as in prediction No. 6 above)
  2. To create communications that are so compelling, entertaining, informative or useful that the consumer is not only happy to receive them, but also motivated to share them with others.

Advertising creative, as well as the targeting technologies needed to identify likely prospects, will have to step up to this challenge.

Whether or not the recession ends, 2010 will bring about monumental change. Are you prepared to capitalize on it?

Geoff Ramsey speaks about digital marketing topics and trends at major conferences and industry events around the globe.

Who is MomTV? Engaging LIVE Conversations, Your Authentic Voice for Brand Campaigns

  • MomTV is an interactive LIVE community where the audience can chat (via video/text) live with the web show host and members – we stream ninety (90), hour long, “Social TV” broadcasts every week
  • MomTV is also media sharing community where members can watch video on-demand, join groups, create video and text blogs to share with other mom and dad members
  • Brands can engage with the MomTV audience with an authentic voice and increase Word-Of-Mouth exposure and engagement with specific call-to-actions around campaigns

More moms are being drawn to social engagements – online and offline

  • Moms are connecting more online through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, video, conferences, text messaging, mobile and on MomTV
  • Moms are also looking for friends, parenting information, ways to save money, ways to be green, fit & more
  • Social TV: Social Networking and Video sharing and video chat is a fast becoming an integral part of engagement online for moms and dads at home. Why not build exciting brand engagement party that is streamed LIVE on MomTV, enabling moms to invite their local and online friends? (We did this recently for a Los Angeles mom’s night out party featuring several brands – click to watch video recap using an integrated, on/offline social media campaign for several weeks leading up to the event.)

MomTV can offer 3 dimensional campaigns where products/services are discussed, sampled, reviewed, offered for purchase, or redeemed off-line with coupon sales; making MomTV the perfect vehicle for brand engagements at a low cost and high profit margin

MomTV launched in May 2009 as the first live online community for Moms. We have broadcast over 1,000 LIVE, hour long web chat shows since our launch and have 90 shows airing weekly with a goal to deploy 250 live, weekly video chat shows in 2010.

The current Alexa US Traffic Rank is 13,505 out of over 13 million websites.

Site visitors come to MomTV for (A) Live Shows and (B) Social Networking, Video/Blog Sharing. Here’s how the traffic breaks down:

  • A. Viewers of MomTV LIVE Streaming Web Shows: Most of our shows run 60 minutes long with a mix of 95% Moms to about 5% Dads attending & engaging in live chat (monthly average: 75,000 viewers)
  • B. Membership in the MomTV Community: 90% Moms 10% Dads (community activity monthly averages 175,000 page views)
  • Demographic break-down of membership by ethnicity: 68% Caucasian, 20% African-American, 8% Hispanic, 4% Asian
  • MomTV’s sphere of influence outside of our community: MomTV has 100K+ followers on our MomTV Twitter Network – including regional breakdowns based on state (i.e. CaliforniaMoms, FloridaMoms) as well
  • Many of the MomTV shows are hosted by popular Mom & Dad bloggers, Parenting Experts, Fitness Experts, and Celebrities. They also feature MomTV webcast replays on their sites as well as promoting MomTV to their respective fans, readers, clients and more.
  • MomTV is also available today on your Smart Phone for LIVE viewing and text chatting on the go!

As Social TV grows in popularity, there are several factors to consider from audience demographic to level of interactivity (social) to brand engagement.

Don’t forget the UGC! YouTube did not grow to the size it is by having produced content. User-generated, live streams are growing in numbers.

As video consumption sites grow in viewers they are also trying to be more engaging by creating communities around viewers. Personally, I’m watching the show online at Hulu or other site, not chatting.

The Social TV model is growing into communities that are building for their niche audience, such as upstart MomTV.com (where they host over 80 live hour long video broadcast web interactive chat shows weekly on the web and via smartphones and have an online social network video sharing community = Social TV for Moms – a $4 Trillion Dollar Market). These “MomTV” shows have hour long, live conversations via video stream and text chatting – love Oprah, but it’s still a one way push, when you are live with your audience and talking to them and they are giving you live feedback, then it’s engaging and more join in and connect. Having a viewing room where you think people are going to engage in conversations is a step, but it’s a half step, not a future step.

MomTV is just an example of how a niche Social TV site is perfect for marketers from Agencies/Brands who are looking to engage in the Mom market and where the advertising dollars will see a ROI as the engagement is with their target audience.

Couple Social TV with a forward thinking advertising campaign and you then have an interactive engagement for brands that is adapting to the audience that they want to reach.

SOCIAL TV is a two way street… Be where your audience is and be there for the conversation

Originally published on Media Post: Stephanie Piche, Nov 25, 2009 09:34 AM under the Engage Moms Blog

If you really want to engage with Moms, you need to adapt your strategies to understand what the influencers are. From spouses to children, health to finances, friends to colleagues, finding the triggers to how a mom engages is not an exercise for the weak, nor is it one that is going to be delegated anytime soon.

I like to watch people and follow trends, including reading research about who is doing what and why. For 20 years, I’ve been a sales and marketing executive, responsible for creating go-to-market strategies to lower costs with shortened sales cycles to increase sales, so observing and adapting have been vital keys to successful programs.

One of the lessons I learned as a sailor and use often is that you need to constantly be adjusting your sails or you’ll end up on the rocks. This lesson holds true for influencers or those wanting to engage with moms. Take this case in point: my son and his method of adapting to engage his mom.

One of my favorite pastimes was spending Sunday mornings going through the newspaper while my son looked through the circulars. He would circle the items he liked (a/k/a wanted) and then share them with me, communicating his desire for specific items especially prior to birthdays and holidays. Over time, this tradition evolved to surfing the Internet and instant messaging the links, subtle hints about items he liked.

Whether I bought them or not, it provoked engagement, conversation and provided me with the information as a call-to-action, making it easy for me to click and buy. As a professional marketer, I couldn’t help but be amused at the way my son was learning to adapt and engage me, to influence me so he could get to “yes” (a/k/a mom buying what he wanted).

So, why do brands and agencies still think engagement consists of consumers clicking on banner ads, when a recently released report pointed out that just 8% of Internet users click on 85% of banner ads, and speaking as a mother, moms are not part of the 8% who are clicking on those ads.

Recently, I found a newly released white paper published by Advertising Age, titled the “Rise of the Real Mom.” In it, Boston Consulting Group states Moms control $4.3 trillion of the $5.9 trillion in U.S. consumer spending, or 73% of household spend. Hoping to find that the researchers who wrote this paper have hit the Holy Grail in helping marketers engage with the highly coveted “mom” demographic, I instead found parts of it to read more like a scene from “Mad Men.”

The most startling paragraph contained suggestions that were offered up to guide marketers, including:

- not to just “communicate goods and services they offer are practical and convenient; they also need to make real moms feel confident and in charge”

- “empower female consumers to delegate to others (spouses, children, brands) so they can have more time to be who they want to be”

- “use new ways to reach a population that rarely has time to sit down and read or watch or enjoy something without simultaneously doing something else”

Wow, okay. I scrolled down the page past lots of impressive pie charts as I had to find out who wrote this 28-page whitepaper and, you guessed it, they were two women who aren’t moms.

News Flash: Moms are empowered, confident, and in charge. We are ahead, way ahead, of the curve. We have adapted by embracing technology and are highly functional multi-taskers. We use our smartphones on the go to find products and services, VoIP products to stay in touch with family and friends and to meet and connect with other moms using Twitter, blogs and Facebook. We engage in real-time conversations daily on the Internet using “social TV” that goes beyond what traditional television is trying to morph to today on MomTV.com.

Moms are learning, growing and changing, but that does not mean childcare and household duties shift over to our spouses because of our pursuit of personal goals. It’s just not how moms (or dads) are wired. The “mom target market” has moved light years ahead of “Mad Men” mentality. It’s time for brands and agencies to get ahead of the curve and adapt their strategies to reach and engage moms with an authentic voice in a two-way conversation.

“The great secret of succeeding in conversation is to admire little, to hear much.” Benjamin Franklin