Supernova 2007: The Changing Forces in Advertising

A panel hosted by Deb Schultz with Leszek Izdebski of Cisco, Ted Shelton of Technorati, Dick Costolo of Feedburner, Ryan Freitas of Adaptive Path, Evan Williams of Twitter on "where's the money? If business is invested in more traditional advertising, what will happen as individuals continue to exercise their increasing power?"

Shelton: Creating a new group, the Technorati Services Group, taking the technology and bringing to agencies and brands and learn how to do advertising right, or in a new direction. Talk to people that measure the world that they live in in ways that don't make sense anymore in this new world. Continuous partial attention - people are doing multiple things at once, simultaneously, and as a marketer you have to think of the relationship in an entirely new way.

Freitas: We're seeing a lot of fear in the marketplace on what is going to happen next. People are dabbling with new ways of generating ad revenue, but there is still the old school revenue flow - keep it flowing while the market changes. There are some groups that are trying to keep it free-flow.

Williams: People are looking at Twitter as an advertising vehicle, but we only see it working for marketing as an opt-in opportunity. It can be used as a communication vehicle, which is opted in. There is no way the users will put up with it, as it is unique and real-time and mobile, and there are companies that are using it for deals (such as Woot and Dell). How do companies like Twitter get more users?

Costolo: There are a lot of attempts in conversations in the space, and a lot of people are failing. It's the economy participation now, with a lot of potential up-results.

Izdebski: It's about creating new things, and we work with media and advertising companies on creating new things and new ideas for the space.

Shelton: Public relations and advertising are interested in trying to understand social media, and the relationship of conversations with what used to be called "customers." PR would approach in a more informed way, you would think, because PR is about taking messages that are being communicated to its audience, and making it interesting, engaging. Advertising is about tricking you into something sticking in your brain. PR has grown up to being mediators between companies and relayers of information (journalists) - and there are structural problems with this - it's journalist relations, not public relations. This is about engaging in conversations that they care about, but being

Freitas: Exclusivity is what people are after. Instead of being where the conversation is, or going to the conversation, people are trying to get people to come to their conversation. The same audiences are going to come from one property to another, because they are allowing more people to do multi-platform watching (online or via television - for the broadcasting example). Take the understanding of what is happening, and apply it across the board.

Izdebski: Companies are looking at the new ways to do things, but the focus is slowing down in the budget standpoint.

Costolo: What you are disinterested in is important to marketers. There is the chance for significant ROI because there is information on the interest and disinterest.

Shelton: Attention has value, despite the cost. To get the attention of the person for a broad-based consumer brand, depending on the brand and product and audience, there is a set dollar amount. There is an annuity in attention that has not been there before - unless it's a great ad that we are still talking about (eg, 1984 Apple Ad that we are still talking about today). If you can create something that gets people to stay, the value is higher because it costs less to get the next person in because the first person stays, and you don't have to bring them back in. Can I get my audience to come to me, to my walled garden, or do I have to go where the conversation is already? You go to the individual blogs, rather than have them come to you.

Izdebski: we are still using traditional terminology, looking at the separate budgets. The world is integrating more and more - and budgets are moving. The marketing budgets look at the separate buckets, and not moving to behavorial interactions (of the individual) but rather just an entity.

Costolo: Two issues that are a challenge - the first is user generated content. Within an agency, there are a lot of folks that it strikes them as common sense that MySpace blogs and Nick Carr are the same thing. There is no distinction between the two, but the desire to protect them from user generated content. The second is that the traditional does not work - there is no connection between ads and content, such as Dell ads on Jeff Jarvis blog.

Williams: The relationships that matter are interpersonal, not to brands. The most influential things are the ones I know, that I am interested in are how user generated content is important. If you look at things like MySpace or James Hong's Hotlist - here are the brands and products that I like - it seems that it can be influential. In the future, companies might pay to be on the Hotlist (a future as PayPerPost).

Freitas: Small, dumb eager dogs that bring you new things. Either brands bring or do too much, or they are so scared - operating from fear - so you have these dumb distribution platforms where people want more control. And, the same time, opportunities to engage are being missed.

Costolo: There are companies that would love to buy personalized, geo-location media. It takes time, and it is easier to do banner ads. RSS should eliminate those problems, where you can now buy feeds and allow ads to subscribe to that content, that populates the standard ad information.

Shelton: Advertisers are way behind in attention - the spend to attention in social media, is twice as much on the Internet than is done today. Advertisers allocate a certain amount to the Internet, but when it comes to pulling the trigger, the planner and client decide to spend on the old platforms that they know and can measure.

Costolo: The agencies that we talk to, they do get it. We are seeing two things: the way it was, the way it is moving to. A lot of the agencies we talk to want their ads to be content, rather than static images. It's less brand, more content. Instead of just getting the brand out in front of people, we present marketing content to be the advertising content. We got this content that we want to get in front of the right people.

Izdebski: Ad agencies don't not get it, it's hard for them to be able to do it. It's so fragmented, it is hard to manage the costs because of the new complexities. It is trying to figure out the new complexities.

Shelton: We are all working on this on the fly, we are all working in a fluid environment. It's true that we do not have the metrics to prove what we think works will work. It's a starting dialogue that we all need to take place in, to move forward.

Williams: For transparency with HotList, I do not know how you are going to police it. I have not talked to James about the idea, but it is a natural extension and interesting possibility. But the blogosphere tends to sniff out fake things.

Freitas: Things are exposed when they are fake in the blogosphere, but when you get to MySpace, do people really care about transparency?

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