Thursday, February 2, 2012

Engagement as the rule, not the exception

Earlier this week, Steve Ressler of the Huffington Post posed a question: How do
we measure social media success if we are looking to track quality, as opposed to quantity, of interaction?

It is becoming ineffective to measure the success of a social media campaign through the number of followers/likes one receives –as these numbers are stagnant and one dimensional. An audience needs to engage and participate rather than being detached beyond the click of a "like" tab. As Ressler states, "people come to seek information about a certain event --not to be consistently involved."

One sector doing an excellent job in keeping the audience committed is the entertainment industry. Increases in the public's familiarity with social networking platforms has forced companies to come up with new approaches to viewer engagement, transcending your familiar "check-out the recap of this week’s episode on Facebook!" There are countless examples of musicians, movie stars, and TV Networks utilizing these necessary new methods of attracting an audience online. Enthusiastic fans can participate in live question and answer sessions with celebrities. Networks like FOX have even been allowing the audience to vote online for their favorite contestants, in shows like X Factor and American Idol. This method allows FOX to get honest and constructive feedback while allowing viewers to have an impact on the outcome of the show.

Getting viewers from the TV set to the computer isn't strictly reserved for sitcoms, reality shows, and broadcast programming. This Sunday, while the New England Patriots battle the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI, Coca-Cola will be implementing its own clever social media campaign involving the Coke Polar Bears. Tune in to see the Polar Bear's live play-by-play reactions to the football game –including touchdown celebrations, disapproval of competitors commercials, and hundreds of more responses.

Engagement is no longer the domain of the social media nerd in the marketing department, but an integral part of any company’s brand strategy. Without a progressive and truly enriched experience consumers will move away from even the largest of industry stalwarts.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mobile Virtual Goods are Taking Off

One of the fastest growing parts of online business today is Virtual Goods. They are defined as non-physical objects purchased for use in online games or online communities. Since developers started building these games on Facebook's developer platform in 2007 the market has grown explosively. The overall market in the US in 2011 was $2.2 Billion and is expected to hit $2.9 Billion in 2012, according to a report from Inside Virtual Goods. Facebook encompasses more than half of the virtual goods market.

But why has buying seemingly fake items in a virtual world been so successful? Based on a study on happiness there are 4 key reasons people are buying virtual goods in games and other sites:
1) The experience the good provides matters, not the good itself.
2) The purchase, or idea of buying something, creates it's own positive emotion
3) Small, frequent purchases often provide more happiness than infrequent large purchases which are more common in the real world
4) Virtual goods are readily available at your fingertips for extremely low prices in real terms

All in all consumers want to buy an experience with engaging content. Virtual goods offer both sides of this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Multitasking in the Multimedia World

In yesteryear we plopped down in front of our television sets to watch our favorite shows just before they aired for the week. This game has changed due to the breadth of on demand content available via the internet. What we're doing while watching has also changed due to the expansion of smartphones, tablets, and laptops into our daily routine. A recently published study from the Nielsen Institute shows that more and more Americans watch TV with more than one screen on hand. According ot the study roughly 40% of smartphone or tablet owners use their device daily while watching TV. The study further reveals what they are doing during their TV consumption: with more than half of smartphone or tablet owners checking emails during programs or commercial breaks, and 45% surfing the web for unrelated content.

This means big changes for the TV and advertising industry. The main change will be the result of the fact that the attention of watchers decreases as they use their second screens during programs and commercial breaks. The way out is for entertainment companies to recognize the shift and not be reactive, but rather proactive in seeking external content on, around, behind, and after a show airs. They need to embrace the second screen and find how they can fit in the void of boring commercials and the 23 hours a day their program isn't running live.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Entertainment Moving Into The 21st Century

The pace with which technology is transforming the world around us is incredible and indisputable. Even certain archaic industries such as Hollywood have come to embrace the swift changes, and benefits of the internet age. While the living room broadcast experience is still most common, the move to update more than screen resolution is upon us.

The largest and overarching shift is towards Social TV. Social TV is a general term for technology that supports communication and social interaction directly in the context of watching or enhancing the content itself. Often these systems integrate voice communication, text chat, TV recommendations, ratings, video conferencing, and cross platform connectivity with an internet connection. Google, Microsoft, and Apple are trying to support the backdrop of this on the main screen, but a host of innovation is erupting on the second screen. From the super-cool sound signatures of IntoNow, and the check-in conversations of Get Glue these support services to traditional programming offer more interactive engagement and valuable assets for getting sponsors and advertisers.

Entertainment will surely continue to make the wide turn towards interconnected, online experiences for their programming. Advertisers will be slower to adopt, but at some point the massive television ad spend will begin to find value in the targeted and customized experiences available on smartTV’s, second screen apps, and socially connected online shows.