Wednesday, December 31

Caveat Social Emptor

With the new year upon us, it is time once again for the 2009 Internet Predictions game.

Before releasing my own personal wisdom, let's review the current environment. Specifically social media, since that has been the #1 Internet Hype of 2008.

In the last month:

eMarketer reveals that Social Networkers Aren’t There for Ads. But MediaPost claims Social Media Wins In Marketers' '09 Plans. Forrester warns that Consumers Don't Trust Corporate Blogs. But Buzzlogic claims that consumers trust ads on blogs more than social network sites.

Doesn't help that eMarketer adjusted their 2008 forecasts for MySpace/Facebook revenue. Which makes it seem like the sites are tanking, even though it really just shows that eMarketer's predictions in May were completely wrong.

Depending on who you trust, widgets are either vastly underutilized by marketers (AdAge = Bob Garfield Examines a Tool That Is Cheap, Easy and a Great Expression of the Post-Advertising Age) or a complete bust (AdWeek = Apps: The Newest Brand Graveyard).

And even before the economy crashed, the days of unlimited VC funding for widget startups was declared expired. Start-ups tried the old game of using different words to describe themselves and avoid the taint (social entertainment applications?) Yet they continued to receive more cash.

Meanwhile social networks -- sensing the impending backlash -- try convincing marketers to support the consumer-generated bootleg brand pages already on their sites (MySpace Exec: Marketers Should Embrace Fan Sites). Which is like hitting the hyperspace button in desperation -- hoping you don't end up in the path of an oncoming asteroid -- since they don't make any revenue off these pages.

How do you explain such ying yang reports? Is it really that confusing to determine the state of social marketing?

Desperate times call for desperate analysis. Desperate analysis of an emerging medium provides too much leeway for personal opinion and uneducated guesses. Even for the professionals. Caveat social emptor.

1 comment:

Akash said...

I was hoping you would quote: when Advertising Age called branded widgets the “refrigerator magnets of
the Brave New World.”