Welcome to the Interact Congress Blog. We have invited some leading European guest bloggers to share their observations on interactive marketing and communication skills within the integrated experience. The blog also offers you a first opportunity to interact with your peers.

For more information about the congress, please visit www.interactcongress.eu

Friday, 18 April 2008

Hands-on guide to UGC and social media

Interactive Advertising Bureau released the whitepaper "User-Generated Content and Social Media Advertising Overview” (PDF, 3.4 MB), a hands-on guide to social media, focusing on terminology, practices and standarts.

Social Media
Interesting Snippet by lynetter

The document intends to clear some of the fears that brands and agencies might have on using this dynamic medium, framing the whole UGC movement and reminding brands that user reviews are just like personal recommendation, one of the most effective forms of advertising.

Social media advertising
Source: eMarketeer

Blogs, wikis, UGC and Ad Networks are described, with several examples how to integrate advertising with social media. The myth that Social Networks it's kids stuff was also debunked, by showing that "more than half of MySpace users were over 35 years old" and "LinkedIn, reports that its average user is 39 years-old and has an annual income of $139,000".

With all the buzz surrounding social media, it's easy for brands to jump into the bandwagon, and try to push their messages instead of engaging into conversations with their audience. Marketing author and blogger Seth Godin brilliantly states it on his latest book "Meatball Sundae", reminding companies that just because they put money into new media that doesn't necessarily translate into effective customers. Be ready to fail, experiment, optimize and most important, be ready to listen.

The document is a valuable first time reading for professionals that want to get acquainted with social media. For a 17 page paper, it manages to get a good overview that you can enrich with several web resources , such as Paul Isackson's recent presentation, or from Fallon planer Aki Spicer:

Content is king on and offline

An article in "The Guardian" on 15 April called "survey shows darker picture for the TV channel" caught my eye. Although the story, for me, stated the obvious - it did make we wonder if others saw the world differently.

The article by Katie Allen starts: "Television remains people's favorite mass communication format but viewers are more loyal to a program than a channel, according to a survey of TV viewing around the world" (The survey was done by Accenture among 7000 people).

Isn't this obvious? Content is always the king. That is what I have always thought. In fact, during the dotcom boom and bust days this was a hot issue and topic. The point being that the survivors would be and were not the ones with clever technology and functions - but the ones with great content (where content may be enabled and realized due to technology like the Amazon "you may also like" content feature). Boo.com, which blew some crazy amount of money ($100 million) being one of the most dramatic examples.

But I have always believed in any interface with consumers that content is the king. Even a presentation that is dry but has relevant and great content will beat the no content showy one.

I guess though that the rapid expansion of the multi-channel mass media has possibly made this more obvious. Any user of Sky Plus/ Tivo knows it is all about capturing the content you want to consume. Not about the channel.

The massive success of the BBC iPlayer that allows people to catch up online with shows they missed in the last week also shows how it is all about content. The study suggests that in the US 46 percent of 18-24 watched a show on something other than a traditional TV.

Content has to be king, and getting the best content has to be the goal. Be it if you are a TV station owner or a brand marketer talking in advertising, PR, booklets and on your website. It is not about how technological advanced your site is, but what the content is.

For more visit my blog Gary Bembridge's Unleashed on Marketing

Thursday, 17 April 2008

UGC: show me the money!

eMarketer has an interesting question today: Can User-Generated Content Generate Revenue?: "“Since many of the growing numbers of Internet users creating social media are also consuming it, this is a content chain that feeds on itself,” says Mr. Verna. “There is a seemingly infinite demand for content, and there are legions of Internet users armed with laptops, cell phones and digital cameras ready to deliver.”"

Despite the large usage numbers, advertising revenue for user generated content is still painfully low. Not because, as Andrew Keen puts it, “Nobody wants to advertise next to crap.” But because advertisers and their agencies are not willing to let go of control. They want to keep their eye on the prize: their company or product logo, displayed as BIG as possible. Anything else is only adding more noise to the signal.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

What's next in marketing!

Excellent presentation on a possible route for the future in advertising.