The cool and not-so-cool from SWAT Summit

by David Spark on July 17, 2008

I attended the SWAT Summit, a conference about advertising and social media, at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis. There was a lot of discussion, case studies, and research reports on advertising and social media. Here’s a summary of some of the cool and not-so-cool issues, research, and companies that presented at the conference.

Not-so-cool (but has potential to be cool) – IDC’s shortsighted social media and advertising analysis. IDC conducted an analysis of consumer social media use and attitudes towards targeted online advertising on social networking services (SNS). Most of the information was not eye opening and it unfortunately didn’t go deep enough. The obvious question to me was, “What do people use vs. what do people say they want?” How do those two issues collide? IDC interviewed people and asked them what they used in terms of social media and Web 2.0 services, plus they asked them “Do you want services tracking your online behavior and information so as to serve you more targeted advertisements?” And as you might imagine, a high percentage of people said “no” to that question. But that’s what people say. I’m more interested in what they do, and if there’s a discrepancy. I expect there is. For example, some people might say they don’t want services to track their information or behavior, but they probably happily use services like Gmail, which tracks content in their email in order to serve up targeted ads. Did the person answering the question about tracking behavior know that services they use are already doing that? Maybe not or maybe they do and they don’t care. But it’s also possible that they didn’t connect that question to their actual behavior.

During the question time I stood up and asked the presenter if IDC cross referenced that information – use of social media services vs. level of privacy people say they want. She said no. But she has the information and said she would send it to me. When she does, I’ll post it, and I’m sure it’ll be “cool.”

Ultimately though IDC’s data didn’t go deep enough, and it’s so easy for them to. What I’m more interested in knowing is when people are told that the social networking services they’re using are tracking their behavior, how would they react? Would they dump that service, change privacy settings (if possible), or change their answer to that question?

CoolSocial Networks and the eight levels of user engagement. Engagement is the biggest buzzword that’s gotten the least traction in this area and for far too long the definition has been elusive. David Smith of Mediasmith hopes to change this by tackling this issue. He offers eight new valuable levels of user engagement. They are:

  1. Vehicle distribution engagement – Loyalty of viewing or circulation and regularity of visits.
  2. Vehicle exposure engagement – What’s the level they consume the media? Do they consume all the way through, or do they cut out early or right away?
  3. Advertising exposure engagement – You can be exposed to content, but not be exposed to the advertising.
  4. Advertising attentiveness engagement – Pure engagement statistic.
  5. Advertising communication engagement – Do they remember your ad? We want to know if they actually “get” the message.
  6. Advertising persuasion engagement – Changing people’s predispositions. Often this happens through a “trusted friend” endorsement.
  7. Advertising response engagement – What’s their clickthrough to take action, view, or interact with? This is not a measurement of just clickthroughs with no action.
  8. Sales response engagmeent – How does this turn into actual sales?

Not-so-coolHey! Nielsen. This is a social networking service with Digg-like voting for people to talk about their opinions towards entertainment media. It was produced by Affinitive. Here’s an example of how the social site works: post a comment about what you like or don’t like about a TV show or movie and people can vote on or add to your comment. This presentation was touted as a “successful” case study, yet by my estimation it’s far from successful. Here’s my reasoning: It’s not original (although they claim it was), the engagement is banal (all you can really do is say, I like this and I agree or don’t agree with you), and while Nielsen said it has an amazing amount of information they didn’t actually share that information on this site. What they’ve created is a site to only let others create user generated content (not that extensive) and then Nielsen admittedly plans to collect and take advantage of that information. Nielsen needs to take the first step and expose some of the valuable information it has created and give us something to talk about.

Also, I severely don’t believe Nielsen’s claim that AVERAGE engagement on the Hey!Nielsen site is 32 minutes. BS. I couldn’t last two minutes. Kind of makes you question all of Nielsen’s numbers if you haven’t already.

CoolFuel the Change video contest – After listening to iMeem’s completely pathetic case study with no results, quantitative or anecdotal, it was great to see Votigo’s well presented and successful case study for the Fuel the Change user generated video contest. The goal of the contest was to educate consumers on the benefits of ethanol while also generating quality content that can be used in future marketing campaigns. They loaded the site with a series of the well-known social media engagement features within the site and through widgets. As a result, the audience created fifty five :30 second video commercials. There were 19,000 unique users, 170,000 page views, and 2,400 registrations. The pass along features they built into the campaign created 500 viral emails and 2,000 viral referrals. The company was so happy with the results that they reallocated its marketing budget more into editorial and social media.

As a closer, the presenter offered five experiential tips for those looking to repeat their success creating a social media campaign:

  1. Clearly define your objectives
  2. Choose the right partner
  3. Promote it
  4. Make it social
  5. Use the results

Previous post:

Next post: