Below is a recap of the five advertising/media stories that I found to be the most interesting/important/informative from this past week, along with a brief POV on each issue.
FACEBOOK WILL PUT ADS ON YOUR PHONE IN 2012
Why it matters: 350 million consumers access Facebook through a mobile device. So even if they only run ads on their own apps, Facebook could launch their mobile ad platform (Sponsored Stories on the mobile newsfeed) with nearly as much reach as Apple and Google have on their entire networks of apps and mobile websites.
POV: Despite the fact that Apple still doesn’t quite have a handle on how to build a mobile advertising business, and Google is shying away from an important segment of the smartphone audience (iPhone and iPad users), Facebook won’t just be able to march in and take ownership of the mobile ad market unless they come up with something better than newsfeed impressions. The one thing Apple got right was the iAd creative platform – extremely engaging, high-impact ads. While Facebook might have the reach, they’ll have to prove the mobile newsfeed impressions can have an impact on consumers before they can expect big investments from mobile advertisers.
FACEBOOK IPO IS COMING… AND IT WILL BE HUGE
Why it matters: Sometime in Q1 or Q2 of 2012 we might see the biggest initial public offering ever (twice the size of HP or 3M) at potentially $10B for a $100B valuation. But the real question is what will happen to Facebook after they go public?
POV: Facebook is peaking right now, in front of our eyes. There isn’t a whole lot more they can do to increase their audience size or their social dominance. That said, there are a few cracks (social gaming companies moving off their platform, decline in users in some key markets and demos, privacy issues, ad avoidance tools) that could be an indication that Facebook is past its prime. And with Zynga’s much-hyped IPO coming up shorter than analysts predicted, it might make more sense for Facebook to move a little quicker than planned.
DIGITAL ISN’T JUST DIRECT RESPONSE
Why it matters: This matters to Ignited because we are constantly asking our dollars to do more than deliver clicks or online sales (because most of our media clients aren’t in the clicks to sales business). We’ve built a large media practice on using digital media to influence offline actions and this article confirms that we’re on the right track.
POV: Many marketers and digital media experts still live and die by the click. There are heated debates about what we should be measuring in digital media and until recently most of these debates landed on some kind of direct response metric. But with the proliferation of online video advertising, we’re asking our dollars to do a lot more than deliver a click. And that means we’re asking a lot more of our creative. We are on the verge of a digital creative revolution that will be fueled by our ability to impact consumers’ hearts and minds through connected, measurable ads.
ZYNGA ISN’T THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN
Why it matters: This is a great article about one of our clients, Trion. Trion consciously decided to buck the trend of multiplayer games becoming more social and more casual, and jumped head first into a category where so many games have tried and failed. This is a story of belief and persistence and one great game.
POV: With so many players now spending their time snacking on mobile and Facebook games instead of the epic gaming sessions of the past, many game companies are shifting their strategy away from selling boxes and into selling virtual currency and goods. When you add an 800-pound gorilla like World of Warcraft to the mix, the idea of trying to compete for gamers’ time gets even scarier. The story of Trion and Rift (more than 1MM players to date) proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
COLLEGE KIDS HAVE NO CORDS TO CUT
Why it matters: There’s a lot of talk about cable-cutting these days. The idea that we can watch our favorite content over the internet without expensive monthly cable bills is a hot topic for the cable companies and the content creators who depend partially on subscription revenue (which for now is still very healthy) for their survival.
POV: This latest research is showing that young adults who have grown up watching video content on demandreally don’t feel like cable TV is an important part of their lives. Part of what we’re seeing is generational (when I was growing up having cable meant having MTV, and that meant something to me and my friends). But as more and more of these young consumers (who will eventually have jobs and cars and families and mortgages) are harder to reach through ads on broadcast or cable TV, brands will have to adjust their strategy and come up with new ways to make an impact on them.
Bonus of the week: SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENTS FROM 2011