This week's insights into Monetization and Social Media

August 26, 2009

2009 Is the Year of Social Media
Twitter today is the first place you go to when there’s breaking news. Sites like Digg, Reddit, and Facebook can now leave a huge impact on the real world; lives are changed, important questions are asked (and answered) there. Many milestones have been reached; the growth of nearly every aspect of social media has and continues to be enormous. (

Facebook has launched an application that allows users to simultaneously update both a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. This is intriguing for a few reasons beyond the simple utility of it, as it could be a sign of things to come in terms of integration between the two social sites. (

According to a recent study from PR firm Burson-Marsteller, 54 percent of the Fortune 100 companies have a Twitter presence, 32 percent have a blog, and 29 percent have an active Facebook Page. Moreover, at companies using only one of these tools, at 76 percent of them, the tool of choice is Twitter. (

Earlier this year, it was reported that 63 percent of companies planned to increase their spending on social media in 2009. Thus, it’s not too surprising that a recent study from the Association of National Advertisers reveal that 66 percent of marketers have now used social media in some capacity in 2009. The top platforms being utilized: Facebook (74%), YouTube (65%), Twitter (63%), LinkedIn (60%). Combined, this usage represents significant growth from 2007, when the same survey indicated that just 20 percent of marketers were using social media. (

Spending on social media marketing is expected to rise at better than 30 percent annually over the next five years. The research firm, eMarketer, projects that MySpace revenue in the US will total $495 million this year significantly ahead of the $230 million in domestic revenue they expect Facebook to generate.

Twitter has left many critics silent by continuing to grow. It’s all about the people and how the service has been put to use by the millions. Whether using it during their everyday lives, marketing a business or reporting on tragic events, users have shown the value of Twitter and will continue to contribute to its growth. (

@DellOutlet has been one of the biggest success stories amongst big companies using social media. For those unaware, @DellOutlet is a Twitter account owned by Dell that tweets out major discounts for Dell computers and products. All of the deals on @DellOutlet are Twitter-exclusive.

It has gained quite a following (620,000+ followers) and sold a lot of computers – at the end of last year, they surpassed $1 million in revenue, after about a year and a half’s worth of tweeting. Twitter’s phenomenal growth and Dell’s social savvy have pushed sales from Dell Outlet to over $2 million, in 1/3 the time needed to pass the first milestone. And @DellOutlet is still on the rapid rise. (

Mig33, a mobile social networking service, has raised $13.5 million in funding, adding to $10 million the company raised in May of last year. If you’re not familiar with the company, it’s relatively new to the US, initially gaining traction overseas, passing 6 million members last summer.Since then, the company has re-located to the US and now claims more than 9 million total users. (

For non-profit organizations and other charities, social media is potentially an incredibly powerful tool to get the word out, connect with constituents, rally support, and even raise money. (

Mashable’s first ever Social Good Conference is approaching. Held on Friday, August 28 at the historic 92nd Street Y in NYC, the conference will be a one-day educational event celebrating the finale of the Summer of Social Good charitable campaign. The conference features keynotes from Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg and All For Good’s Jonathan Greenblatt, and presentations from well known and respected organizations and professionals within the space focused on the theme of “Social Media for Social Good”. (

How agencies are integrating social media services into their operations

AdvertisingAge has been exploring how various agencies are integrating social media services into their operations. Some like Edelmen have hired inhouse social media teams; others, like BBDO are using young mentors to teach all their executives how to Facebook, Blog, twitter, and otherwise function and think like authentic socail media players.

Doug Checkeris, CEO of MediaCom North America, how they are handling integrating social media services.”There are lots of ways for us to get the individual components done by specialists. We don’t necessarily need to bring all of those resources into the building and make them into a socail media team. What we need to do is have a clear idea of what we want to do and get the best people in the business to work on it. In terms of bloggers we can find them. Every situation will require different blogging specialists. We can search that and source that. We want to concentrate on understanding the inside driven strategy and how it relates to choosing social media and how we apply it to an integrated campaign.”

Attending Extreme Site Makeover with senior Google employees

Extreme Makeover: Live Site Clinic

This interactive session takes volunteers from the audience and examines their websites live to provide general feedback about improving them to gain more traffic from search engines.

Elisabeth Osmeloski, Director of Online Media, Adventures in Search
Tiffany Lane, Search Quality Team, Google
Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC
Matt Cutts, Software Engineer Guru, Google Inc.

A successful website gets as much traffic, leads and sales from social media as it does from search engines.

SM is a channel just as powerful as Search.

A successful website gets as much traffic, leads and sales form social media as it does from search engines.

Small and medium size businesses are recognizing that social media is THE major source of traffic.

You are not succesful in SEO today unless you have SM driving people to your site.

Mike Volpe, VP of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot

Attending Igniting Viral Campaigns: Leveraging Consumer-Generated Content

Igniting Viral Campaigns: Leveraging Consumer-Generated Content

How can businesses leverage social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more to break through and create buzz, encourage word of mouth, and establish relationships with potential customers? This session unveils the secrets of Web 2.0 techniques and technologies that enable companies to stand out and be talked about.

“Provide the community
Engage with the community
Spread the word
Suggest an action”

Barbara Coll, CEO, Inc.

Listening to Director of Monetization moderate Turning the Social Web Into Real ROI panel at SES 2009 San Jose

Turning the Social Web Into Real ROI

Today the social web is essential to how we live our lives and how we stay connected. We use it to keep up with friends, family, colleagues, and even public figures and businesses. But does it really present an opportunity to marketers? The social web has proven to be effective in helping marketers reach the right audience at the right time. The way we stay connected has moved beyond email to a world of real-time reciprocal communication. With more time spent on Facebook than email these days, marketers are able to reach a large and interested audience and engage in a two-way dialogue with consumers.

This session will explore best practices in how marketers can leverage the social web as a simple way to quickly build and manage effective campaigns. Our panel of experts will share their first-hand experience and help marketers gain a better understanding of what they can do to maximize their success through the use of these tools.

Tim Kendall, Director of Monetization, Facebook

Sean Heywood, Managing Partner, MR Barber Shop & Urban Lounge
Claudia Virgilio, Vice President Western Region, Performics
Rogelio (Ro) Choy, Chief Revenue Officer, RockYou

(these are all direct quotes from these leaders)

Conversions 11% higher with social media properties involved in campaign

Campaigns typically double ROI when social media is involved

Virality is the driving force in Social Media
But how you measure it?
Click throughs on notification and then whether that person forwards it

More focus on fan pages vs. web pages….dynamic, growing, community….value of fan page vs. web site (fan page FACEBOOK hands down better due to MULTIPLIER EFFECT!)

52%-58% higher ROI through Facebook in a targeted test of online marketing of different web properties – Claudia Virgilio

3 to 1 ROI on FB for my clients on average – Claudia Virgilio

If we reach a 30% forward rate, we know it is viral and we get really excited. -Rogelio (Ro) Choy, Chief Revenue Officer, RockYou

There was much conversation during this talk about the Facebook fan page vs. traditional landing pages and other web properties in terms of ROI. All agreed the ROI due to the MULTIPLIER EFFECT was huge).

FB and social media in general offer businesses super niche , super specfic campaign opportunities. Again, conversion is 11% higher through a FB fan page than a landing page. – Claudia Virgilio

More focus on fan pages vs. web pages….dynamic, growing, community….value of fan page vs. web site (fan page FACEBOOK hands down better due to MULTIPLIER EFFECT!)

52%-58% higher ROI through Facebook in a targeted test of online marketing of different web properties – Claudia Virgilio

3 to 1 ROI on FB for my clients on average – Claudia Virgilio

If we reach a 30% forward rate, we know it is viral and we get really excited. -Rogelio (Ro) Choy, Chief Revenue Officer, RockYou

There was much conversation during this talk about the Facebook fan page vs. traditional landing pages and other web properties in terms of ROI. All agreed the ROI due to the MULTIPLIER EFFECT was huge).

Social Media observations – August 11, 2009

Social media has been in full swing this week, from Google Wave to Susan Boyle. Both Google and Microsoft decided to launch new products, while the social media starlet Boyle sang her heart out on the finale of Britainís Got Talent. There has been no shortage of social media buzz.
[Read More]

Social Media observations – August 1, 2009

It’s no secret that social media has been blasting off like a rocket ship. Today, social media encompasses social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, mobile platforms, information sharing, online video, and far more. There are now thousands of professionals and companies that are deeply involved in the social media sphere.

Social Media marketing is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 34 percent for the next five years, according to Forrester Research’s Interactive Marketing Forecast – faster than any other form of online marketing and double the average growth rate of 17 percent for all online mediums.

Forrester estimates that $716 million will be spent on the medium this year, growing to $3.1 billion in 2014. At that point, social media will be a bigger marketing channel than both email and mobile, but still just a fraction of the size of search or display advertising ($31.6B and $16.9B, respectively). (

More than 82 million people in the U.S. created content online during 2008, a number expected to grow to nearly 115 million by 2013 according to numbers released by eMarketer. The bulk of content creators are social networking users that post photos or links, but there’s also a quickly-growing number of people participating in more involved activities like blogging or uploading their own videos.

71 million people created content on social networks last year, while 21 million posted blogs, 15 million uploaded videos, and more than 11 million participated in virtual worlds.

According to a new study released by Aberdeen Group (published today by eMarketer), 63 percent of companies plan to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2009, despite the current weakness in the economy.

The world’s largest blog, Mashable, founded in 2005, focuses exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news.

With more than 6 million monthly page views, Mashable is the most prolific blog reviewing new Web sites and services, publishing breaking news on what’s new on the web and offering social media resources and guides.

News monitoring service VMS estimates that Twitter’s mentions in the media were worth $48 million over the past 30 days. That’s about 80 times more than Bing got in the last 30 days ($573,834); in fact, that’s more than Google gets, and Google is a verb, used everywhere on a daily basis.

The numbers are even more impressive if you look at impressions (when a person sees a mention of Twitter on Oprah, for example, that’s one impression) – Twitter received 2.73 billion impressions in the past month,

With an estimated $48 million worth of exposure in the media each month, Twitter’s homepage is undoubtedly being hit by the likes of Larry King, Oprah, and Ellen viewers.

A study was released last week by the Altimeter Group, run by former Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li, that analyzed the 100 most valuable brands (according to BusinessWeek/Interbrand) and how they engage across 11 different online social-media venues, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The study was billed as creating an “engagement database” and ranked Starbucks No. 1, followed by Dell and eBay, based on their breadth and depth of social engagement. Google, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Nike, Amazon, SAP and Yahoo/Intel (a tie) round out the top 10.

What was eye-popping was the correlation they made between social engagement and financial performance. There are a lot of factors that influence a company’s financial performance, which makes such a correlation questionable. But good use of social media could be seen as a proxy for an innovative culture, eagerness to engage with consumers and take risks, a net positive for any business.

The bigger takeaway from the research is in examining how these companies were able to build their social networks. They all innovated early, often and, sometimes, incrementally. Consider that:

■Dell and Starbucks were some of the earliest adopters of corporate crowd-sourcing. They launched ambitious sites on’s platform in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

■Many embraced Twitter early and in innovative ways. EBay, for example, was the first to live-tweet earnings calls in 2008. Amazon started offering deals on Twitter back in 2007.

■Several were quick to build out robust communities that connect customers and employees. Microsoft, for example, launched its inventive Channel 9 platform for developers back in 2004. It followed up with similar sites for other key stakeholders.

■A few of these companies were among the first to let employees openly blog. “Microsofties” began blogging in the late 1990s. Yahoo and Google debuted corporate and product blogs in 2004.

Social capital goes to those who innovate early, often and with excellence—and repeat this process over and over. That is what the research spells out. (

According to Forbes, US companies love Twitter, and many of them have frequently updated Twitter accounts.

Translated, this means the following: US companies have PR and media experts who told their CEOs “You thought that blogging was stupid, and look where it’s at now. You don’t want to miss the Twitter train, because Twitter is the next blog.”

Brand sponsored social media campaigns are everywhere. From SeaWorld, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts, to Cadbury, A&E, and even Universal, it’s officially the hot trend to replace or supplement traditional marketing campaigns with social media.

Huggies, the maker of diapers, training pants, and other products for babies and young kids, has decided to jump on the social media bandwagon too, but by going straight to their target audience — moms — by way of the popular mommy social site, Circle of Moms. The mom-centric site is leveraging its partnerships with MindShare and AppsSavvy to fully integrate a Huggie’s branded experience within their site and Facebook app.