Posts

Showing posts from February, 2008

Social Networking and On-Line Advertising

On-line Advertising is a big business. Actually, it is a HUGE business. And the big and small Social Networks are trying to take their cut of the pie.

There are many estimates of On-Line advertising:
- Rayport estimates the US market to be $28 Billion, with the Big Three (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft) commanding 85% of that market. (Business Week)
- Jerry Yang estimated the worldwide on-line advertising market to be $45 Billion this year and growing teo $75 Billion by 2011 in his recent letter to Yahoo! stockholders.
- Google had revenue of nearly $5 Billion last Quarter – so a $20 Billion run rate by themselves that is mostly advertising based. Yahoo is at a nearly $7 Billion run rate.
- "Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL each regularly see a minimum of 100 (sic) million unique visitors each month, according to research firm comScore (SCOR). Advertisers that want to reach a big audience are still likely to gravitate toward an established portal.” (Business Week)

Advertisers are spen…

Why Build Social Applications into a web site?

Social Networking is something that any company can build into their web site. The questions is: Why?

We are seeing 4 core benefits from the companies implementing social networking as a part of their web sites:
1. Engagement. Users find social applications more engaging. This keeps users on your site for longer periods of time.
2. Loyalty. Turn your customers from web site visitors into web site contributors. This has a way of increasing the loyalty that your customers have for your products by becoming a closer part of your organization.
3. Viral. Have your web site visitors invite their friends and colleagues. This type of referral is much more meaningful and sticky than a search engine advertisement.
4. From Personal to Social. Many web sites have become personal. My www.hilton.com web site says “Welcome, Bob” with a list of the hotels I have stayed at over the last year so it is very easy to click on one to make a new reservation. Social takes it the next step and can turn t…

What are Social Applications?

Image
While Social Networking is all the rage, there is a second phase coming – the Social Application.

Of course the social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace offer a variety of social applications – like connecting with friends or colleagues, blogs, picture sharing, walls, event sharing, polls, etc. There are three main features to this new social wave of the web:
1. User generated content – allowing for self expression
2. Social connections – friends, groups and ways to organize and communicate between them
3. Social applications – combining user generated content and social connections with traditional content and applications
The large social networking sites provide the generic social applications. By opening up their API’s, they have allowed others to create social applications. Many of these new applications have targeted fun and interesting ways of getting user generated content with applications like “Super Walls” or connecting to friends (and enemies) with “Vampire Bites”.�…

Do you want to make your web site more engaging?

I was meeting with the CMO of a large e-commerce company yesterday talking about the use of social networking approaches for existing web sites. He echoed what he felt was most compelling about Ringside’s plans:

“If you go to any person responsible for a major web site and ask them if they want to find a way to make their web site more engaging to their users and create better ways to lead new users to their site, they will all say ‘YES!’. And it is obvious that making social applications a part of the web site will do just that.”
Of course being in the e-commerce business he needs to see proof and an ROI on the promise of increased user engagement and virality with the big social networks. Right now this company is dipping their toe in the water by opening up their own web services to allow affiliates to build applications in the large social networks – thus driving traffic and sales towards them.

Later this week and into next week I plan on doing a series of blogs about the benefits…

Social Apps for a Running Store

Building our running store site convinced me to join some others to start Ringside Networks. I figured if a little running store web site could use social applications, then almost any web site could use social.

But what are some examples of social applications for a running store?

Well, of course there is the ability for runners to keep profiles of themselves and to make friends. Kind of a different set of information than a typical Facebook profile - like how many miles per week do you run, what pace, what are your PR's, what are your favorite runs, etc. These all potentially allow runners to hook up for runs with compatible runners. I'm not talking eHarmony here - just someone to run with.

One of the other things that runners like to do is keep track of their mileage in logs. I've started keeping mine on Facebook with Runlicious. If I could run this Facebook application on the running store web site, that would be pretty cool. We have thousands of runners in South J…

How Many Social Networks?

A lot of people in the social networking space talk about the need for only one social network (Metcalf's Law), or that we should all have one user profile (OpenID). They talk about how this is limiting social networking because if a site gets too big and powerful because of the network effect, then it loses what originally brought people there, becomes too commercial, etc. This of course gives rise to lots of "mini" social networks (Ning hosts 160,000 of these!).

I think there is another phase to social networking that is coming - social applications, not social networks. Facebook unlocked this first with the open API that allows developers to develop "social apps" that cooperate with the social network.

The next limit to bust thru is to federate the social networks more. Open Social's promise is to do that - of course that is still very new and the social networks supporting it are still developing it. So the developer community building social applications…

Social Notworking

Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester had an interesting blog on "The Many Challenges of Social Networking". Several of the replies referred to a growing trend of "Social Notworking".

Well, of course social networking is growing rapidly, but I still like one of the tenants that Google keeps repeating - it is all about the Internet. One site - even as great as Facebook or MySpace are - will never satisfy all of the needs of users. The Internet has created a level playing field.

To me, there is tremendous value in this new wave of social networking. But it can not be the captive domain of a few megasites, even if those megasites are dominant. Every web site needs to be able to take advantage of the power of social networking. And it is more than just blogs and walls. Companies will weave social networking into their applications to make their web sites more engaging. This may mean some of the ad money spent on banner ads - even targetted banner ads on the mega-social net…

Social Networking Advertising

Social networking and the advertising money behind it are growing very, very fast. Ad spending on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook is going to grow from $1.2 in 2007 to $2.1B in 2008.

However, a recent article in Business Week talks about the growing disillusionment of online ads. Average time spent on sites is actually decreasing. And click-thru rates are anemic - averaging as few as 4 click-thrus in 10,000 page views. While there is promise in the increased targeting (I like running, therefore my friends should get Asics running shoe ads on their Facebook pages), I'm still not sure banner ads will continue to provide growth in this market.

Perhaps what is needed is something even more open to unlock the power of social networking for web sites other than MySpace and Facebook...

Back in the Technology Business...

Thru a series of events, I am back into the technology industry. When I left JBoss nearly two years ago, I had a goal of spending more time with my coaching of high school runners (www.moorestownxc.org) and investigate becoming a high school teacher. Well, my high school daughter thought it would be a good idea for me to wait until she had graduated before I entered that profession. So I decided to extend the running theme in my life by opening up a running store.

Last Spring I was building a web site – www.runningco.com for the store. I had partnered with Dave Welsh from the Haddonfield Running Company to open the Moorestown Running Company. We run old-style running specialty stores on tree-lined Main Streets in quaint towns. We did not want to sell on-line, but create an extension of the running communities in our stores. Having daughters on Facebook, I naturally started thinking about putting some social features onto the site.

Well, it turns out that is easier said than done.…