Search: Jobs for search optimizing professionals grew in 2008 as more and more companies recognized the benefits of appearing on the first page of Google results for their own names as well as other industry terms. Those specialists are being sought to not only build links but also to come in at all stages of design and make sure a corporate site is optimized for search.
Social Networking: While utilizing Twitter and Facebook for brand/product promotion is a great strategy, marketers shouldn’t become too reliant on them since they are just tools. More specifically their tools that are looking for their own way to make money. Even more than that, they can potentially disappear without any consideration to the audience you’ve cultivated there. They can also turn off your account without notice if they think you’re violating their terms of service, which is just as damaging.
Controling your online identity can help reduce the risk that a criminal will hijack it on a social network, something they can do relatively easily by combining the publicly accessible information already out there about you. Simply creating your own profile on a social network, even if you don’t use it regularly, is the best defense against happening.
Facebook has joined the OpenID Foundation. While the motives for doing so remain unclear, other than a desire to build a better standard. Facebook has not said it will implement OpenID since it has its own Facebook Connect that it’s trying to position as an alternative, but its an interesting move nonetheless.
Newspapers: Unique monthly visitors to newspaper websites grew in 2008 to 67.3 million, a 12% increase from 2007. Despite that, revenue from online advertising actually fell throughout the year, largely due to the larger economic climate, but also just because more and more spending is going elsewhere. Media analyst Steven Brill thinks papers need to start (or, more accurately go back to) charging for their online content and the New York Times appears to be thinking about doing just that. Rex Hammock rightly says the audience is not to blame for the collapsing revenue at papers. Going back to a paid wall would mean pretty much all bloggers would stop linking to those papers and they’d likely see a decline in traffic – leading to an even steeper decline in ad revenue – that’s not going to be offset by the small handful of people that are going to start paying for online reading.
Advertising: Variety’s editor doesn’t think switching to an online-only model would work for the trade, largely because he doesn’t think the studios would see the same bang from their buck with online ads, which don’t have the staying power of print publications.
Hyperlocal blogs are gaining an audience and making some money, but they’re doing so through ad networks and not direct sales, largely because there isn’t a hyperlocal ad market there for them to tap into.
Social networking application maker RockYou is getting into video ads. This should surprise no one.
WPP’s GroupM is trying to get media companies to agree to new service terms that would make the data generated by the delivery of ads – including any subsequent clicking and such – the property of the advertiser. Previously the standard was that the data was the media company’s. This might not be such a big deal, but more and more publishers are trying to regain control of that data so they and not the advertiser can use it.
Community Interaction: Because Pandora had invested the time and energy in building a big base of fans of their service they were able to call on that community – which didn’t exist in a single place but was instead dispersed across the entire Internet – when it appeared government regulations were endangering its existence.
Brian Oberkirch brainstorms with others on just what the role of “community manager” is, exactly.
Social Media: Is it time for a professional organization for social media marketers? One that could set some standards and guidelines and best practices?
Yes, Steve, all media is social. But that doesn’t mean you’re not three years late in coming to a realization that a holistic media approach is needed.
A study by Razorfish and CafeMom shows that young mothers value online and mobile tools as a way to stay connected to each other, get recommendations, advice and more. Older moms also use social networks to monitor their older children’s lives. The report is meant to show marketers where they need to be placing their messaging in order to reach that audience, one that’s traditionally been eyed as the key household influencer of purchasing decisions. But that doesn’t mean they’re not going to ignore your ad and instead take the real recommendation of someone they’ve developed an online relationship with.
Online Retailing: Forward-thinking e-tailers have rethought their promotions and search functionality as well as site navigation as a whole in an effort to close the sale when someone visits their site. They’re also implementing more community features that allow shoppers to share or comment on items and other pages.
Media Relations: Todd Defren of Shift Communications shares a case study based on a successful online media outreach campaign for their client Slydial.
Likewise David Armano is sharing how a campaign by Critical Mass to get some Mercedes into the hands of moms turned out generating great online discussions.
Mobile: The goal of a new mobile campaign partnering digital media shop ID Media and ShopText is to get consumers to request samples, coupons and more product information. The structure of the campaign allows for advertisers to choose cost-per-response/lead/redemption model so they feel more comfortable experimenting.
Google’s Latitude, a mobile friend tracker, is huge and just might dominate the space, but the idea has more potential on other social networks like Facebook where your actual friends are, as opposed to the mish-mash of email contacts and others that are connected with you haphazardly through various Google products.
Google and Amazon seem to be prioritizing book avialability on mobile devices, which could signal where those companies think the real future of the market is.
Publishing: Turns out there wasn’t the huge audience for a Conservative-leaning blog network some peole thought there was. Pajamas Media has shut its doors and repurposed itself as a video network, which it has yet to sell ads against but is now looking into.
Retailing: Members of a brand or retailer’s rewards or incentives program are more likely to recommend the sponsor of the program to others. That is a sign to marketers that finding ways to utilize the “champions” within that program should be a priority since they can be activated and generate sizable ROI.
I think it’s a little off the mark to say that consumers are avoiding car buying because the brands are so tattered with fears of bankruptcy and other bad news. It’s kind of a specious conclusion to reach when it’s more likely it’s just the overall economic situation and consumer’s own pocketbooks that is causing the slide in car sales.