A return to blogging

With my last startup sold and a number of interesting projects completed this year, I thought it an opportune time to return to blogging.

I’ll be posting a few linked articles to start, followed by a number of case studies showing reach and presumably ROI.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!


Facebook Advertisers React to Leaked CPC Memo

Originally posted by @chrisclickz at Clickz

Faccebook’s leaked memo to agencies about how clicks will be distributed via its CPC and CPM ad-buying models has got the attention of advertisers. First reported by AllFacebook.com on April 30, the letter had this to say about potential changes in the frequency of ads being delivered:

“CPC advertisers [advertisers who have chosen to bid ‘cost-per-click’] may receive more clicks. CPM advertisers [advertisers who have chosen to bid ‘cost per thousand impressions’] will continue to receive impressions but may receive less clicks.”

CPC ads can cost significantly more when compared to CPMs. When asked whether or not CPC inventory was being increased at the expense of CPM advertisers, Facebook spokesperson Annie Ta responded via e-mail: “The changes that we will be implementing over the next few weeks will affect how we deliver ads based on advertisers’ objectives. This will not affect inventory for people running either type of campaign.”

Facebook.com advertisers speaking with ClickZ rejected, for the most part, the simplicity of the Palo Alto, CA-based company’s public stance. “My reading of the update led me to believe there is more than meets the eye,” said Derek Pangallo, an ad buyer who received the Facebook memo.

John Keehler, director of digital strategy for marketing agency ClickHere, said that the changes would “certainly” increase available inventory for CPC advertisers. “However, it will likely also increase ad revenue for Facebook by ensuring that more clicks are funneled towards these CPC ads.”

Michael Scissons, CEO for the social media firm Syncapse, speculated brand advertisers will not be dramatically affected by CPM/CPC changes that Facebook appears to have in store. At the same time, he agreed with Keehler that the social site is moving towards a platform designed to significantly spike ad revenue.

“This is a good move on the part of Facebook as it will help increase revenue from local and regional markets, while allowing them to build consistent algorithms that govern performance ad units,” Scissons said. “I believe Facebook has the most opportunities of any of the online players to capture advertising dollars at a mass scale from local [and] regional markets.”

Some suggested that Facebook’s newly available data from social plug-ins would not only cause a shift towards more CPC but also higher rates. Oz Sultan, executive advisor for Perks Consulting, said Facebook appears to believe the data it will collect from the universal Like button and other sources will allow it to rewrite many of the current rules for online advertising.

“They must feel like the data will make the [clicks] statistically better for advertisers,” Sultan said. “This move signals that they are confident about what the CPC model can [achieve].”

Facebook could be leaning towards using a targeting system that leverages behavioral, contextual, demographic, and cookie-based data, he said. “It looks like they are going to change the entire ad model,” Sultan said. “It’s the only thing that makes sense. They have way too much information they are not doing anything with.”

Since announcing its so-called social graph on April 21, Facebook has been the buzz among marketers,lawmakers, and late-night talk show comics due to newly created data-collection practices and privacy concerns. The latter issue appears to be gaining steam in the political realm.

Earlier today, former Facebook privacy chief Chris Kelly distanced himself from his former employer while releasing a statement in connection with his run for California Attorney General. Kelly, who helped oversee the ill-fated Beacon ad system that became a privacy brouhaha, said he’d hold the social site accountable if it broke state laws.

“Facebook’s recent changes to its privacy policy and practices with regard to data sharing occurred after I left the company,” he said in a statement. “When I am Attorney General, Facebook, like every company, will have to comply with its obligations to adhere to the law, provide truthful information to consumers and to keep its promises about their privacy rights.”

Original Article: http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/1701385/facebook-advertisers-react-leaked-cpc-memo

New Facebook Policies Clamp Down on ‘Loose’ Ad Copy

Originally Published by @chrisclickz on Clickz.com

Facebook is attempting to put the kibosh on marketers that loosely employ user profile attributes – such as gender, age, and location – in their ad copy, ClickZ has learned. During the past two weeks, the Palo Alto, CA-based firm has implemented an evaluation program – part automated and part human – designed to decline ads featuring user attributes that are deemed irrelevant to the actual offer.

Ads that are legitimately either locally targeted, gender-specific, or aimed at an age demo will apparently not get struck down while going after those audience segments. However, ads submitted with arbitrary profile-based copy – such as “37 and male in Los Angeles?” – have been met with rejection, some marketers say. A similar system is being used to weed out ads that incentivize a click-through (e.g., “Get A Free Laptop!”) but do not deliver on the promise for several pages – if ever.

“The quality of ads is important to us, and we’re always going to take steps to make sure that people on Facebook see the best ads,” said Annie Ta, spokesperson for Facebook.

The new restrictions likely won’t affect Fortune 500 brands, because they typically don’t use the tactics being taken to task. However smaller lead-generation marketers for direct-response niches have seemingly been thrown into a bit of a tailspin. Dan Sommer, CEO of Caridan Marketing Labs, has clients in verticals like financial services and higher education, and he said their click-through rates have dropped since Facebook’s policy shift. Sommer said a fall in their completed lead-gen forms has manifested, as well.

“If I can call out [in an ad] that you are a male in New York, that is a major driver for click-through rates,” he said. “Because they are not allowing that anymore, [the ads] are going to be a little bit less engaging and relevant.”

Oz Sultan, executive advisor for Perks Consulting, buys Facebook ad inventory for several companies while also working with some of Sommer’s clients. Sultan stated that his clients collectively advertise to the tune of $250,000 a month on the site.

The policy changes are “having a cascading impact,” he said. “Because if you are running CPM deals on Facebook and you are looking for the conversions you were getting even a month ago – you are not necessarily going to see those. [Also], we are not actually going to know the outcome to all of these policy shifts until they are done. We are just kind of getting the ‘bear with us’ [talk] right now.”

Sultan and Sommer indicated the buzz in the marketing community was that a fairly large queue of advertisers had called Facebook either to get explanation on the policy changes or to complain. Facebook’s Ta said, “As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on our discussions with our advertisers and partners.”

Meanwhile, Sommer was diplomatic when addressing Facebook, comparing the situation to how Google altered search policies 10 years ago. “It’s kind of like the early days of SEO…where all of the sudden you’d be off the first page and undiscoverable, and it’d really interrupt your business,” he said. “You really have to stay [alert] and work with Facebook very closely to figure it out. We are seeing a lot of ups and downs right now because of that, as Facebook tries to strike the right balance for consumers.”

Original article at: http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/1707658/new-facebook-policies-clamp-down-loose-ad-copy

Iconizing the Iconoclast

Numerous articles / postings have been written, no doubt, on the value that twitter provides by building one’s “fan base”. The concept of possessing individual supporters or “fans” across your social circles and professional verticals is a simple and significant way to either build constituency or to iconize one’s self.

One of the most interesting extents of this phenomena is the ability to instantaneously create micro-events, meetups or flash mob style gatherings.

If you’re a “with-it” technology user or budding iconoclast – you’re connected through SMS, MMS, Picturemail, corporate email, one or more private email accounts, social networks and potentially a number of phone specific social networks. Connectivity through these services can range from instantaneous to passive depending on your access point (smartphone / web) , hardware (computer or phone platform) and speed of access. Communication, while even instantaneously transmitted, may require a a significant periods of time for more than a single party to reply.

With twitter the foundations of tweetups through low cost messaging has a phenomenal value to businesses and individuals alike. Individuals can extend their internet or off-line personas to develop their personal brand, in ways that engage the masses while carrying a distinctly personal message. Your personal style, sensibility and humor as well as cultural constructs are easily parlayed through short posts and messaging. Businesses, as the technology shifts from social acceptance to business productivity could shortcut costly / cumbersome wireless communication, while integrating both web console access of the platform and wireless productivity.

Companies and personas are now free to develop followers taht are interested not only in their activities but their musings, updates and offers as well. Take Tony from Zappo’s post  earlier today:

“Fun little youtube contest we’re doing: “Coolest thing you can do w/ a shoe?” Winner gets $500 Zappos gift cert. http://tinyurl.com/5zwmx7″

Tony is following ~7500 people and has garnered ~7000 followers. Across a wide swath of the social graph, he is able to involve people who may syndicate his tweet to people within their swaths of the social graph. As popularity or notoriety grow, an immense ability to influence and involve people becomes possible.

As we speak, I just received notice of a tweetup at sweet and vicious tonight.

This is a sign of things to come, 20% at a time.

Welcome to Fuller’s Law

In the beginning (well the earlier part of the 20th Century), Buckminser Fuller postulated that all things new should be, in essence, 20% new and 80% old. The rule or “law” is based upon the concept that most people cannot accept things that are too “newfangled” or beyond reasonable comprehension.

The “law”, or this blog is intended to expound on social media advances and deliver insight and commentary.

I hope you will find this both informative and enjoyable.