Facebook and Fickle Fans

America Online, circa 1995
Is Facebook, 2013 simply America Online, 1995 redux? And what is its value, really?  The technology of social networks is seemingly easily propagated (LINK to wpmu.org). And mobile is where it matters now. The next generation flits on over to tweet (LINK).  And all this time, energy and money that businesses have put into their FB presence?  Wasted?  Probably not . . . but how valuable is it?

Facebook = AOL?
Not exactly.  Facebook has a tremendous technological foundation, which America Online never really fully realized in the 1990′s and end of the 20th Century.  But this foundation does not really maintain its advantage in the mobile realm. where any number of new applications can find their existence on platforms ranging from Android to ios to Windows 8 to … [fill in the blank].  The script is still being written; so we’re not really going to write the epilogue here.  But business does need to ask these questions every day…. [LINK – Wikipedia]
History of America Online (and AOL): LINK.
America Online Stratup Page from 1995. Click for the current AOL.com
Image left, courtesy Tumblr (LINK).

Television and the Yellow Pages

TV is not the Phone Book
What’s the difference between the yellow pages and television?  There was an old adage in advertising, back when the Yellow Pages was a relevant advertising medium:  Folks don’t pleasure-read the phone book.  But they do use TV for entertainment.  In short, one of these media contains data.  The other contains art.  (Or, lack thereof.)
“Television” contains light.  Yes, the transmission of light; but also, television broadcasts enlightenment (at least in theory, if not always in practice).  TV is simultaneously the container for art – just as the YP was/is a container for data (supplanted by Search) – as well as the physical container itself.  These containers will continue to exist in some form, whether they are a 70″ DLP in the living room, or a 7″ tablet in the palm of someone’s hand.*
Kedrosky Tweet
What inspires this article?  It’s a tweet by Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky), in which he asks: “Newspaper cos buying TV in 2013 is so cute. Like buying yellow pages cos in 1990s, what could go wrong, other than everything?“  Of course, it’s a valid point!  From a business sense, these acquisitions may make no sense whatsoever.  And Paul may not have been comparing the two mediums; simply the acts of buying the different companies.  After all, what does a NEWSPAPER company know about TELEVISION???  An agreeable argument.
But if one media contains “art” and the other contains data, is there a sufficient difference to merit the speculation that perhaps buying a TV station makes more sense than buying a phone book?  Earlier this week, it was reported in AdNews (LINK) that Tribune bought Local TV Holdings, LLC.  There’s a single key word to note in the name of the acquired company … LOCAL.  That is, the stations are local; and they are affiliates.  Affiliate content is a somewhat capricious variable.  Is it worth anything?  Yes.  How much? …. well, …. depends if it is CSI or American Idol or Beyond the Dome … OR local News. [About affiliates | Wikipedia.]
Local News
Local is everything.  Everybody acts local (whether we think Global or not LINK).  Social interaction happens locally; politics happens locally; commerce functions locally; … The News that appears on affiliates is mostly local.  The weather is local.  The sports are local.  Local High Schools; local colleges; local little leagues … local festivals, fairs, farmers’ markets … local celebrations, tragedies, anniversaries, obituaries ….
Notice this story has nothing at all to do with “appointment TV”.  Appointment viewing is likely dead.  But it’s simply one method of presentation.  The media isn’t dead, dying or even sick – in the way Google so swiftly killed YP. … Don’t be evil??? Okay.
The debate will go on … thankfully!  Thanks for the tweet, Paul
*For a unique exploration of light, take a look at James Turrell at the Guggenheim (LINK).
Comments? Thoughts?  Reply below; or nathan@ayersads.com

Do you see a twit in your TV?


The Most Interesting Man on YouTube

The Most Interesting Man in the World?
“His two cents is worth $37 and change.”  And he’s everywhere!  The Dos Equis “spokesman” appears on YouTube:

Dos Equis and more Social Media
Believe it or not, while these ads are entirely creative & quite entertaining to many, Dos Equis’ brand philosophy actually follows from its history. Here’s what the Company says on its Facebook page: “Created in Mexico by a German brewmaster, formulated in the 19th century to welcome the 20th, XX is simultaneously a mysterious dichotomy and a world-class beer brand.” (July 2, 2013.)  So, that’s where “The Most Interesting Man in the World” comes from!?
Screenshot from Facebook:
Screenshot, July 2, 2012. CLICK to visit Facebook page.
And he’s on Instagram, too (LINK) And Twitter (LINK). And Foursquare (LINK). And … well, you get the idea.  Or, just go to DosEquis.com …. Stay thirsty, my advertising friends!

Heineken Deja Vu

Heineken Stays Risque
Beer maker Heineken has always had a somewhat edgy marketing image.  Still a bit on the wild side, the brand’s YouTube Channel lays out a theme, where viewers can “follow one man’s legendary journey to exotic nightclubs around the world before he finally arrives in New York City.”

From the video:
From the YouTube video. Click for the Heineken website.

Outdoor Signage: Digital

Digital Reshapes Outdoor Advertising
The future of “Outdoor”?  As reported for many years, everything is going digital … and the future is here for Outdoor.  Well, it’s been here for quite a while.  Just now, advertisers have realized it & have begun to adopt in earnest the new techniques reshaping good, old fashioned “billboards”.
Signage and out-of-door can be one of the trickiest of the advertising arts.  Indeed, it’s among the most involved and even slightly abstruse.  So much goes into making a good campaign.  It’s a little bit like asking the age-old question, “What makes a good ad good?”  Of course, the hard-core science provides the foundation: reach, frequency, demographics … but of the psychographics?  And design?  Graphic arts for the digital age?  And the true art of getting all of the pieces of the puzzle to fit together?
Most often, it takes a team of professionals to get it right.  And certainly, budget threshold plays a big role in making it work.
CBS Outdoor from YouTube….

Outdoor’s Changing Roles
Billboard for the Red Cross, ca. 1951. Found on EBAY (CLICK for LINK)
Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) have been a big part of Outdoor Media’s inventory for many decades.  Check out the Outdoor Advertising Association of America’s Website (LINK HERE).   ClearChannel even recently implemented a program that in essence participates in the Emergency Management Alert System.  Press Release from ClearChannel:
New York, NY – February 8, 2013 — To provide citizens across metro New York City area up to White Plains, New York, with up-to-date information on this weekend’s blizzard, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (CCO), one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies, is displaying real-time storm information from WNBC on its network of digital billboards…. [CLICK HERE to read full press release.]
The 3-Second Rule
CONNECTEDSIGN.COM recently ran an in-depth expose about the current state & future of Digital Outdoor.  Connecting with an audience in the shortest amount of time possible is still a major concern of Outdoor.  Among the major concerns:  “Often a popular commercial stands out in people’s memories, but too often the commercial is remembered and not its message. Clever punch lines or payoffs, controversial content or  innovative approaches, these are just a few of the tools that can help hook an audience. But hooking an audience without delivering a message is no better than disappearing amid the wall of sound.

While commercials have time to connect with an audience with humor, character, or story, a sign stands alone. First glance may be all your sign has to forge a connection to your audience. Celebrities, bold statements, or something as simple as bright colors can help, but with the number of images competing for focus it’s important to stay at the head of the pack with connective technology.“  [SEE THE FULL ARTICLE – CLICK HERE]
So, is Digital Outdoor right for YOUR business?  Probably.  But you’ve got a whole bunch of questions to answer first; not least of which is:  What does my advertising plan say?  Don’t have an Ad Plan?  Hmmmmmm…….
Opinion? Comment? Email Nathan: nathan@ayersads.com

Tribune Buys TV Stations

Largest Television Station Operator in the United States
The Tribune Company is to become the largest local TV affiliate station operator in the U.S., having just announced an acquisition of 19 stations from Local TV, LLC.  The “local” theme continues to run high in media headlines for 2013 … all things being local.

In its press release, Tribune says, “Tribune Company and Local TV Holdings, LLC, today jointly announced they have entered into a definitive agreement for Tribune to acquire all of Local TV’s 19 television stations in 16 key markets for $2.725 billion in cash. Coupled with Tribune’s current 23 television stations, superstation WGN America, Tribune Studios, Tribune Digital Ventures and its eight major market newspapers, the transaction makes Tribune a multi-platform content and distribution powerhouse. Local TV is principally owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners.” Read the Full Press Release (click here).
Local TV did not appear to have an immediate response on its website (LINK).  But Local TV has had an apparently rapid growth curve, having been founded in 2007 by purchasing 9 TV stations from the New York Times Company.   The media carousel continues to turn … stay tuned

Yelp To Business Owners: Stop Accusing Us Of 'Extortion' (YELP)

Yelp has been the subject of a new crop of stories from business owners claiming they are being shaken down to become advertisers.
Last month, LA Times columnist Sandy Banks reported on a sign she saw at a local restaurant: “Stop the Bully. Boycott Yelp,” it read.
That lead to an outpouring of reader comments from business owners who complained that “good reviews routinely were hidden and bad ones displayed” until they became paid Yelp advertisers.
We also recently reported on restaurant manager Ed Wells who told us that bad reviews started pouring in after he refused to advertise on Yelp.
That’s nothing short of extortion and it’s an old accusation. It even led to a flurry of lawsuits in 2011 which the courts ultimately dismissed.
But the stories persist. Yesterday, the Washington Post followed up with a video news report on Yelp.
So today Yelp’s top PR honcho, Vince Sollitto, fired back with a blog post denying claims of “extortion” and daring people to use a Google search to “see for yourself.”
Here’s his explanation of why these accusations won’t quit:
“Ironically, it stems from Yelp’s efforts to protect consumers from those who are constantly trying to game the system. Yelp uses automated software to showcase the most helpful and reliable reviews from among the millions submitted. Those that don’t make the grade — about 20 percent — are posted to a separate “Filtered Review” page. So, in trying to prevent unethical wrongdoing on Yelp, Yelp gets accused of the same.”
He also admitted that the algorithm isn’t perfect.
“One downside of having automated software screen more than 39 million reviews is that some perfectly legitimate reviews are inevitably caught in the filter. This is the price we have to pay given the reality of efforts to mislead consumers.”
Given the ongoing stories from business owners, Yelp is struggling to shake off this perception.
SEE ALSO: AWESOME PLACES TO WORK: These Startups Have Better Perks Than Free Food Or Beers On Tap

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What Jif Peanut Butter Had To Say About GIF's Official Pronunciation

Earlier this week, Graphics Interchange Format (also known as GIF) creator Steve Wilhite gave the final word on the proper pronunciation of the word.
“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Wilhite told The New York Times. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”
Like any social media savvy brand, Jif peanut butter tried to jump into the conversation with a relevant tweet:
Which of course linked to a GIF:

This is just like that time Red Vines immediately posted a six-second video following the launch of Vine.

While it is a clever brand opportunity, not everyone loved the tweet. Ad agency R/GA tweeted its dismay:

Why Social Media Advertising Is Set To Explode

It’s not difficult to understand the lure of social media advertising.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are daily destinations for millions of consumers. Increasingly, their ad products offer targeting according to specific demographics, social connections, interests, and habits. 
As brands look across a fractured media landscape, where few digital properties offer any scale, social networks offer them an interesting proposition. 
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we analyze the state of social media advertising and where it is heading, offering a comprehensive guide and examination of the advertising ecosystems on Facebook and Twitter, offer a primer on Tumblr as an emerging ad medium, and detail how mobile is an important part of this story as mobile-friendly as native ad formats fuel growth in the market.
Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>
Here’s an overview of some major players in the mobile advertising ecosystem:

Social media advertising offers a potentially unique advertising opportunity massive: As brands look across a fractured media landscape, social networks offer them an interesting proposition. Social networks have scale –  enormous user bases and deep databases. And they have high engagement and desirable demographics – Americans were spending an average of 12 hours per month on social networks as of July 2012, with 18-24 year olds averaging 20 hours. 
Even conservative estimates predict huge growth: BIA/Kelsey recently came out with a study that offers one view – forecasting $11 billion of social ad spend in 2017, up from $4.7 billion last year. Social media advertising is a young and growing market and, so far, it only represents 1% to 10% of ad budgets for a wide majority of advertisers. There’s significant opportunity for that share to grow.  
Increased mobile usage will be a huge growth driver: Both Twitter and Facebook have passed the 50% mobile usage mark and, given the continued growth of mobile devices, it will only rise. Mobile accounted for 11% of Facebook’s ad revenue last year even though it didn’t release mobile ads until the tail end of the second quarter. By the fourth quarter, it was up to 23%. And now, Twitter is reporting that its mobile ad revenue now regularly outpaces its desktop ad revenue.
As in-stream advertising, easily transferable across devices, drive the change: According to social ad optimization platform TBG, Facebook’s mobile ads have the highest click-through rates by a substantial margin. Furthermore, native in-stream ads are perfectly transferable across devices, whereas display ads can have issues on a smaller screen. The BIA/Kelsey prediction calls for mobile to account for only $2.2 billion of that in 2017 – a 20% market share. It seems highly unlikely that mobile will account for only 20% of the social ad market come 2017, especially as usage habits continue to change.

The report is full of charts and data that can be easily downloaded and put to use. 
In full, the report includes: