Facebook Trials ‘Engagement Ads’

22 August, 2008

After the disaster that was Beacon, Facebook  have announced they are continuing to pioneer the pathway to understanding how to monetise social media with testing of ‘Engagement Ads’.

Basically, it’s a new ad format that allows users to comment, become a fan and give gifts.

Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, has a thoughtful look at  what ‘Engagement Advertising’ Means to Brands.

AdViking likes this because even though it will probably fail at least they are trying to innovate and take advantage of being the #1 social network in the world.

Though AdViking has to say this is all great and exciting the real news of late from Facebook and what’s going to deliver a heap of money to the coffers is that the alcoholic beverage industry can now advertise on Facebook!  This will be one sure way to increase the problem of the lack of beer money in digital.


Facebook World’s Largest Social Network

22 August, 2008

Following on from the news that Facebook is growing unbounded in the UK, comScore has released data that shows this being a global phenomenon and Facebook is #1 of the social networks.

What’s also interesting is that this growth as been fuelled by Europe and the rest of the world with North America growing at a fairly flat 38% y/y.

This is particularly interesting to AdViking as you can then correlate this to advertising spend of country and can see that a lot of innovation in social ad models will be coming from Europe.

Microsoft Announces Live Search Deal With Facebook

24 July, 2008


AdViking actually thinks that with all the news breaking in the industry at the moment it’s probably just easier to move to micro-blogging…might look into how to pull Twitter into WordPress.

Anyway, during Analysts Day in Redmond, Microsoft announced that it would be providing Live Search and Ad Center ads in the SERP to Facebook.  Deal is only for the US site.

Facebook currently doesn’t offer a web search so no real idea of what the volumes will be.  What’s interesting is that  Facebook will be getting the API to then build layers on top, kind of like a bespoke BOSS for one the high traffic Publishers.

It’s also pretty nifty when you consider the Powerset purchase by LiFacebook Friends Mash Search?ve…think semantic mashup with a decent index and heavy, I mean heavy social graph clickstream influencing of the results.

AdViking asked UK social media pundit and Facebook Developer Garage London host, Toby Beresford for his comment:

I think Search is really important addition to the Facebook experience. It’s just too difficult to find stuff at present.
What’s most interesting for me is their opportunity for more sophisticated searches, along the lines of that envisaged by the semantic web, find me the John Smith who is a lecturer at Kings College for example. Or perhaps all brand pages for cinemas near where I am now that are showing The Dark Knight…

Seems like AdViking and Toby are on the same page here and let’s hope for some exciting revolutions of the Search flywheel on the back of this deal.

Social Media – A PR Minefield?

22 July, 2008

AdViking came across the story about how in Canada Corporate Craziness Gets the Ice Cold Beer Guy Fired, which is all about how a beer vendor at the Toronto Blue Jays stadium got fired for not checking ID of a mystery shopper from his employer who was of age.

But that’s not the real story, what is that fans of Wayne McManhon are using the tools available to them in the Web2.0 era and have started a Facebook group (15,954 member at writing) and started more formal action at PetitionSpot to get ARAMARK to hire the cult Ice Cold Beer Guy his job back.

This reminds AdViking about the Diet Coke + Mentos videos on YouTube and how Mentos embraced things heavily while Coke went the other way.

Now that everyone is a content producer and there are a heap of tools to quickly marshall forces, AdViking states the obvious in saying that PR folks really need to get their game on otherwise they will feel the bite of the consumer.

What’s then therefore interesting is to extrapolate this to the wider digital advertising field and suggest that there’s plenty of gold in those social media hills but no-one is really on top of the best way to mine it.

Facebook, MySpace, et al = Double Bubble?

26 June, 2008

AdViking has good days and bad days when pondering Social Media and sometime this means quitting Facebook and sometimes heavy use of Twitter.  Generally, the main point is that we are in the early iteration of the what and how of Social Media and we’ve got a long way to go before it’s all pervasive and delivering true value to the user.

Recently came across Charlene Li‘s deck on the Future of Social Networks on SlideShare and thought it was worth sharing as some solid consolidation of thoughts flying around the ether.  i.e.:

  • The youth are all ready heavily into this stuff (e.g.:  Club Penguin)
  • Your Universal ID has to be easier to use
  • AOL, Google, Microsoft will be coming hard into this space

Obscene Valuations?

Anyway, onto the main point and that is there’s a lot of debate if the valuations the Social Networks are getting ($15bill Facebook, $1bill LinkedIn, $850mill Bebo, $580 mill MySpace) are just crazy and more proof points that we are on the cusp of bubble2.0 or are just fair indications of value.

There have been some recent work in just this area that is useful to ponder.

First, Andrew Chen had a stab at looking at MySpace versus Facebook: Analysis of both traffic and ad revenue, using Google Trends.

Second, Michael Arrington did some Modeling The Real Market Value Of Social Networks.

The later piece is the real interesting one to digest, mainly as they start from looking at a wider set of networks, use comScore data for the traffic and also the recent PWC ad spend numbers.  And though Arrington is the first to admit there’s some flaws in the model (e.g.:  LinkedIn comes out low but the actual traffic could be considered high value), you can still take it as a starting point based on some data rather than just plain rhetoric.

The Rise of the Nano-Publisher

7 June, 2008

AdViking is following closely the attempts to monetise social media and with great interest read that Affiliate Windows has recently released wishlist Facebook application.

AdViking has installed it and will hopefully report back with news of all the free beer money earned from getting friends to buy things but current understanding is that Affiliate Windows have made a good stab at trying to enable the nano-publisher.

By that, AdViking views that Beacon, etc. have failed to date as they didn’t cut in the individual into the pie.  wishlist appears to enable Facebook users to create lists from various merchants (e.g.:  Play.com, John Lewis) and then get a cut (called Social Reward) that gets paid into PayPal.

From a quick look around it seems the feedback is fairly negative but AdViking thinks this is actually an interesting move and one to track the progress of.

Google’s Brain Tsunami Continues

15 April, 2008

In the recent months there has been a decent trickle of news of important Googlers leaving the fold and the main discussion has been if there is or isn’t a brain drain?

Some of the moves have included:

And now, AdViking can confirm with the following news that it’s not just a Brain Drain at Google it’s actually a Tsunami!

Josef DeSimone, the Executive Chef of Google is leaving to become the same at Facebook!

For some further reading check:

  • Wired has a great article that tried to keep up to date with what people from Google have gone on to do (build the next Google maybe?)
  • And Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineLand has an immense analysis of senior management changes from 2000-2008

Eric Dela Cruz: My Life As a Google Chef