Editor’s note: Milo Yiannopoulos is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Kernel and yesterday he gave a talk at LeWeb London entitled “Why the Sharing Economy is Bollocks.” It certainly proved a divisive argument and today he’s summed it up in this politically-charged post. Think he’s gone too far or missed the point? Maybe you agree with him? Leave a comment and let us know.
I believe the sharing economy is rooted in ideology that runs utterly contrary to human nature, entrepreneurship, free-market capitalism and even common sense. What’s more, the expression itself does not survive the most cursory scrutiny.
Airbnb is a great business, by some metrics, but what it offers is not “sharing”. Strictly speaking, it’s buy-to-let for short-term rents. Uber is the same: it may be making a market more efficient, but no one runs a cab because they’re an altruist. None of the car rental services are “sharing” either: they’re rental. You pay and you drive. If it doesn’t work, you call the company and complain. This is not sharing.
Nor is the sharing economy an “economy” either. It might even be the opposite: the “locust” behaviour that products like Groupon encourage brings promiscuous customers and encourages them to be even more promiscuous. Central tenets of small to medium enterprise – loyalty and repeat custom – cannot survive in the locust economy. And the number of people able and willing to fill the void left by mom ‘n’ pop bed and breakfasts that will be driven out of business by Groupon is minuscule.
The sharing economy is dangerous. There have been [editor's note: isolated] cases where Airbnb has put prostitutes and drug addicts in people’s living rooms. Car sharing services allow people to drive unlicenced or uninsured because keycards can be shared between friends (this is a looming PR disaster waiting to happen – we’ll see it first on the continent, in cities like Berlin where car-sharing penetration is higher than in London). I hate to say it, but regulation and licensing are there for a reason, and the hotel industry has learned over many years and many hideous accidents what short-term private landlords never will and Airbnb has an incentive to ignore.
The sharing economy is bad politics. In fact it’s shot through with loopy left-wing politics and Western guiltmongering. It has so much political baggage it might almost have been dreamt up in the comment pages of the Guardian. We’ve been told by lefties in the media for years that we consume too much, and those of us living privileged metropolitan lives are encouraged to sneer at the hapless trailer trash who can’t say no to supersizing their Big Mac Meal.
We’re told we should be living more austere lives, sharing our possessions and consuming privately, if at all. Sorry to be rude, but: fuck that.
I wonder how many people in the booming economies of China or India lie awake at night, desperately wringing their hands with anxiety over their supermarket purchases, wondering if someone can assuage their guilt by offering a sharing platform for washing powder? The truth is that the sharing economy is simply an extension of Krugmanesque, New York Times windbaggery. This is society in decline, eating itself, crippled by the politics of posture.
After all, the sharing economy only works for rich people. If you believe the hype, you might think that Airbnb and other property loan services are radically transforming the concept of personal property. That’s mostly spin – at least for now. In truth, travel and high-value goods are a luxury for the middle classes. In order to have a surfboard, or to borrow one, you have to be a surfer. The last time I checked, people trying out Airbnbs can well afford hotels. It’s a novelty, not a necessity.
Sharing initiatives and communitarian, collaborative consumption systems are not new. But they have never been self-sustaining. Either they never achieve critical mass because the economic incentives for participants aren’t there, or they’ve been supported until their eventual collapse by the government – or, in our case, venture capitalists.
There’s always someone – generally the organizer – scraping off more than they ought to. Those who run the sharing economy are not sharing the wealth it creates for them, that’s for sure. Eventually, participants in such systems realise this and stop playing the game because they think they’re being screwed. For more evidence, consider the Soviet Union. These are not models – economic or moral – that feisty, free market startups should be emulating.
The sharing economy is also emasculating, dispiriting and demotivating, because property rights are the basis of our society and the sharing economy fails to respect how much of our identity we invest into the things we buy. When we make big purchases, we are engaging in a process of consumer choice that advertises to the world who we think we are, what our aspirations are and how we would like to be considered by others.
Sharing the results of those purchases devalues our personal investment to the point of irrelevance and robs brands and consumer products of the ability to reflect something about their owners’ identities.
So a “you can have it all” attitude to high-value goods not only encourages the same dirigiste Brussels entitlement culture that the welfare state does, discouraging aspiration, it also robs us of the ability to discover, design and express ourselves properly through the things we own and the spending decisions we make.
The sharing economy sounds alarmingly like a cult. As with so many buzzwords and movements in technology – big data, transparency, open data and, oh dear God, “lean startup” – when you drill down into the detail you find little of intellectual or economic substance and much that derives directly from the marketing departments of rapacious and structurally unsound companies like Groupon.
When something becomes a dogma in the tech industry, it’s a red flag for free thinkers. The problem with the sharing economy being waved through as doctrine is that it comes loaded with political baggage that is antithetical to the spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurship.
I strongly object to the social pressure it generates, too: being made to feel selfish or wicked, just because you don’t feel like throwing open your home or giving away everything you’ve worked hard to achieve. Call me selfish, but I work hard to provide nice things for my family and no, I don’t want strangers touching them. In that, I believe I am in the majority.
In any case, the best things in life – that is, the experiences we’re prepared to overpay for – can’t be shared with strangers. Children, pets, holidays – in fact, all the things we’d pay most to have, to secure or to improve are immune from the charms of sharing. Look at the success of startups like GetYourGuide in Berlin and you realise that the trend toward beautiful, bespoke, personalised experiences and products is what normal people want.
The sharing economy is the latest example of “sharing gone mad”. It’s a terrifying development: just as we were getting over having our private lives public and permanently online, suddenly the demands made against our privacy are encroaching on our physical space and our possessions too. This is more intrusive and more oppressive than any snooping government. It’s the private sector saying: we don’t just own all your personal data on the internet, but we want to cream a percentage off the things you own in private, too.
Having private cognitive and physical space is essential to good psychological hygiene. But our safe spaces are being eroded all the time, which is why this new movement unnerves me so much. And far from being the latest, opportunistic capitalist fad, I find its philosophical underpinnings to be an ugly throwback to the dark days of socialism.
Image credit: Håkan Dahlström / Flickr
Something strange happened in Iceland at RIMC. About half way through his talk on networks, Matt Roberts from Linkdex analysed the ‘network’ of speakers at the conference to identify ‘who he should take for lunch’ i.e. who was the most influential speaker who he wasn’t already connected to. To my surprise, I was that person.
By strange coincidence, Matt and I were sat opposite at the speaker’s dinner. After catching my first glimpse of the Northern Lights and being initiated to Icelandic ‘Black Death‘, I (probably not so soberly) asked Matt whether we could analyse the whole music business community as a network using Linkdex.
What you’re seeing here is a map of who influences who online in the music business community. A few things to bear in mind:
Let’s dig in.
While there is no clear individual influencer at the center of the music industry, there are a handful of people who collectively influence a large portion of the music business community online: Mark Mulligan, Dave Haynes, Adrian Fusiarski, Ian Hogarth, Jonas Woost, Stuart Dredge, and Ian Rogers. Out of the bunch, Mark is arguably the most important to this community based on influence alone.
Billboard? Music Week? Hypebot? I analysed the network influence of each news vendor to find out how similar or different the paths by which they influence people in the music community are.
Billboard Biz is heavily influenced by Music Ally, Mark Mulligan, and Ian Rogers. Billboard Biz influences Hypebot, but not vis versa – although Hypebot does influence Glenn from Billboard.
Hypebot is not being influenced by many of the key music community people via Twitter, but it is influencing them. Again, Mark Mulligan, Music Ally, and Ian Rogers are the most influential people who are currently influenced by Hypebot.
Music Week is a slightly different ball game. Music Week is influencing Sean Adams (Drowned in Sound), Darren Hemmings, Chris Cooke (CMU), Jonas Woost, and Mark Mulligan. Unlike Hypebot or Billboard, it’s not directly influencing Ian Rogers.
So there’s no clear winner, but perhaps it’s fair to assume that Billboard Biz & Hypebot share roughly a similar audience, whereas Music Week caters to a slightly different one.
When you break down an industry as a network of people, and you know where you and others fit in within that network, you can be more effective in how you distribute your time, energy, and budget to meet more of the people you want to meet.
For me personally, while I have no interest in becoming the center of this network, it has made it clear that there are people who would be good to meet. Why have I not gone for a beer with Mark Mulligan, Dave Haynes, Chris Cooke, Ian Hogarth, or Sean Adams, when we’re clearly connected to so many of the same people, have very similar interests, and are all based in and around London?
Mark, Dave, Chris, Ian, and Sean: If you’re reading this, let’s make it happen.
As a marketer responsible for creating and distributing content campaigns on behalf of brands in the music industry, viewing this network in this way has helped me appreciate the role that certain brands and people play in the spreading of content throughout the music industry.
Following years of doom and gloom surrounding the rise of internet piracy and the death of physical formats, we’re finally hearing some good news from the UK music industry.
In May the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) announced that UK digital music revenues overtook those from physical formats. It means that the UK music industry is finally catching up with the US and China who were already earning the lion’s share of their revenue from online digital music distribution.
The BPI report states that consumers spent a total of £155.8m on music in the first quarter of 2012, with 55.5%, or £86.5m coming from digital music revenues. This trend is set to continue with the growth of music downloads as well as subscription and ad-funded music services.
According to an IFPI report digital music revenues received by record companies grew by 8% in 2011 to $5.2bn, as new global markets were tapped into.
In 2011 there were 3.6bn paid music downloads, up 17% on 2010. Music distribution is relatively well-established online, compared to other entertainment industries, and there are two distinct ways that music is marketed and distributed online.
The main divide in online music distribution is between access and ownership, and there are important developments on both sides.
Access refers to services which offer consumers the ability to listen to music without owning it. This includes streaming services, which are either treated as promotional content or paid for through advertising revenues, and subscription services such as Spotify.
Spotify is the biggest player in the music subscription market. Since its launch in 2008 it has gone from strength-to-strength, and last year moved into the USA, the biggest music market of all. It is paid for through paid subscriptions and advertising which is played between tracks.
Ownership is the old model of music consumption, pay once and listen forever. Mp3 downloads are growing in popularity, whether it’s mainstream music downloaded on iTunes or independent artists’ music on sites like Band Camp.
Many consumers still live in the ownership age, and don’t see the value of music access; they want to own the music.
Consumer demand for music is being driven by the growth in popularity of smartphones and tablet devices, as well as growing broadband penetration. Increasingly users are looking to replicate their record collection on iTunes or a mobile device.
Technological developments are changing the way that we manage and store music. iTunes launched Match in November 2011, a service which allows users to access their iTunes library across a range of devices without having to manually transfer files.
The service costs $25 per year and is licensed by record labels. Google Music was also launched in November for the Android platform, which also helps users to access purchased materials from a cloud to multiple devices.
Access might be the future of online music distribution, but for now ownership is here to stay. Only a small percentage of the customer base is active in digital music currently, and many of these are the people who still value the ownership of music as a physical product.
As the younger generations (who currently use free music access services such as Spotify, YouTube and Pandora) begin to acquire spending power, they are likely to heavily influence the development of paid access-based and subscription services.
Until then, the older generations will continue to value ownership of music despite advancements in music access.
With subscription services and music access, users understand that the content cannot be accessed when the subscription has ended. They also understand that when they buy and own music, it is theirs for a lifetime, just like a CD, cassette or LP.
Today the average consumer has numerous devices which they might wish to play music on, some connected and some not: car stereo, Walkman or mp3 player, phone, computer.
Music subscription services have made progress in recent years, especially with the arrival of mobile sites and smartphone apps, but they still don’t offer the same degree of device ubiquity as an owned Mp3 which can be copied and transferred between devices whether they are internet-connected or not.
The downside of ownership of music is that size restraints can mean that a whole music collection can’t be mobile. Music subscription could be seen as the answer, since all that is needed is network connectivity, but ubiquitous connectivity still hasn’t been reached.
It’s only when you compare the prices of owned vs. accessed music that you begin to see why subscription and access services are so appealing. It could cost thousands to build a significant collection of mp3s going the ownership route, while $10 per month will buy you “all you can eat” on many subscription services.
Allowing access to music online can be a great way of promoting releases, events and other related products. Not only could users who access the music end up purchasing it at a later date, they could share it on their social media profile and promote it to their followers and contacts.
There are several embeddable music players which can help distribute music to different social networks. Zimbalam, SoundCloud or Bandcamp apps all allow tracks to be streamed from other sites. Artists also now have a specific ‘listen’ function built into their Facebook pages, further evidence of the tight integration of music with social media.
Many music access sites not require users to login via Facebook, with SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Spotify being built around that platform. It means that activities on these music sites can translate into visible activities on Facebook which promote the artist, music, event or product.
Music is an inherently social experience, even more so than any other form of art or expression, and digital music is no exception. While sharing owned music is technically illegal, and can involve creating additional physical copies, streaming services are designed with sharing in mind.
Giving away free downloads might seem like the wrong way to promote music, but streaming doesn’t work for some audiences – they are only interested in owning music. These users are far more likely to buy music and related products if they are given a free download.
Some marketers giveaway low bitrate mp3s for free in the hope that listeners will end up paying for a high quality mp3, wav or flac file. This works particularly well for DJs who need high quality audio to play at high volumes on large sound systems.
When giving away music, it’s advisable to ‘gate’ the content in order to get something from the downloader, and this could include social actions such as:
A ‘share2download’ Facebook app can gate content and ensure that various social actions are made before a user can download a track for free. Meanwhile, unsigned and indie artists use Bandcamp to capture the email address of anyone who wants to download free music.
These email addresses can come in handy at a later date to promote releases, events and merchandise.
Music isn’t doomed, it’s just that the way it is being consumed is changing. As the industry begins to get to grips with new technology we can expect to see musicians and record labels do a better job of marketing, distributing and monetising digital music online.
When Twitter introduced Vine on Jan. 24, it quickly encouraged musicians to get creative: "Artists, Vine is out now! ... Show us your world ... in video," tweeted @TwitterMusic.
Celebrities, rising artists and music brands responded, giving fans a visual and auditory glimpse into their lives with intimate 6-second, GIF-like videos.
Here is how Vine's music-friendly early adopters have used the app so far:
"In honor of the 50 year anniversary of #TheBeatles' 'Please Please Me,' here are some of our Beatles covers"
"Can you name this song...?"
"That's one big bra... @pitbull [video]"
"Thanks to @missgraffyt for pre-ordering LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS!"
"One step closer to 5/7/13...here's the cover of our brand new album! #annieup"
"Just getting ready to perform... #NoFreedom #hotelrehearsal"
".@Pink has flown through every area of this entire soldout show! #TruthAboutLoveatour Tickets:"
"On my way to the #GRAMMYs woohoooo!!!"
"Music Meeting at record label.. It's about to happen!!! ;)"
"We got a sneak peek of @falloutboy's pre-show handshake!"
"Pedi Cab n it! SXSW"
"LEDs pressed against the iPhone camera"
"Happy Valentine's Day from @MindlessBhavior!"
"Golf tournament today"
"Scenes from our friend's pad in Miami. About to play Ultra. #DancingWithStrangers"
"Tonight at 12:30 #JimmyFallon #NBC "
".@TalibKweli freestyling #SwaySXSW."
"Sound check at the living room NY ...can't wait for an intimate session!"
"On the road again."
"Putting things on Gus!"
"What do you guys think of @RobbieWilliams tonight?"
"Backstage at Leno. Waiting."
"Travis is so happy with his food"
"Nick Cave live in Mexico City. He'll be answering your tweets tomorrow. Ready? #askNickCave"
"Y'all aren't even ready!!!! #rehearsal #blessed #perfection #attack"
"Normal warmup before a show"
".@paramore #sxsw THAT'S WHAT YOU GET!"
"She'll never stop @emelisande!!! Not even after we reach the top ;)"
"mixing gnarly basslines today"
In the last two years, the forward thinkers in Internet marketing have gently (and thankfully) shrugged off SEO as the primary audience-building tactic, in favor of branded content -- the practice of publishing stories, status updates and other media to attract people to a brand via social and e-mail. Many major publishers receive the majority of day-to-day traffic from sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and e-mail, where individuals, eager to impress our own audiences, share millions of pieces of content every minute. As such, many have declared "shareability" the superior measure of a good Internet marketing campaign. Myself included.
But as brands increasingly dive into publishing (recent studies, such as Adobe and Econsultancy's Digital Trends Briefing, put "content marketing" as the most important priority among marketers in 2013), perhaps we ought to ask ourselves, is sharing really the best measure of a brand's content success? The answer depends on a brand's goal, but for many it's probably no.
Good branded content can be divided into two categories: consumable and shareable. They're not mutually exclusive, but neither are they joined at the hip.
Chances are, if my editor puts a splashy headline on this column, half of you will share this without reading the entire way down. That's the reality of the Internet.
If he puts a great big photo at the top, possibly with an attractive model or a red panda doing something funny , even more of you will be inclined to share. Research shows that headlines and imagery boost blind sharing by a big factor. Since headline+photo is what people see on social networks and "related-stories" thumbnails on news sites, that's what will or won't entice people to click, share, and sigh with relief. Stream updated.
But what if I care more about engagement than reach? How much time are you leaning forward and paying attention to me, versus indulging ADD for a microsecond between browser tabs?
Perhaps my brand (me, personally, or my company) will benefit more if you read this post, like what I say and decide one day to investigate what it is my company does, than it will if a million people simply glance at the top of the story and share it. To do that, I need to optimize for engagement: how much time people spend with my material and how enriched they are because of it.
Engagement-optimized content is what I call "consumable content." In recent years, we've seen some advertisers and publishers use CPE (Cost Per Engagement) as an alternative to CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions), but I think we're soon going to start seeing CPE measurement based not only on whether or not people "engage" an ad by hovering or clicking on it, but by how much time people spend with what's on the other side of that click. This makes the most sense when what's behind the door is a great branded story, versus a sales page.
Interestingly, Medium.com, the new publishing platform by the creators of Blogger and Twitter, has created built-in publishing metrics around the concept of engagement. Every story a writer (many of the active beta users currently represent companies) posts is tracked by three scores: Views, Reads and Recommendations. Who saw it, Who spent time with it, and Who thumbed it up. Interestingly, the prominent statistic in the current stats dashboard is the percentage of viewers who read a whole story. It appears that Medium/Twitter/Blogger founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone are betting on the future of content being measured by consumability.
How can a brand achieve consumability -- and therefore engagement -- with its content? Tell better stories. Teach better lessons. Surprise us. Keep us reading. That means, often, spending more time and thought in the ideation and production stage in order to make content more original.
For those to whom reach is all that matters, prepping the social package -- headlines, subheads, photos, humor, emotional response -- trumps everything else. Perhaps these brands can be less concerned with length, depth and sophistication. This is why, you'll notice, certain media companies get wicked sharing (and great ad-impression counts) with shallow content and thrive. In contrast, other media companies cultivate trust through deep, consumable stories. Brands as publishers will be no different.
Then again, perhaps consumable vs. shareable, engagement vs. reach, is a false dichotomy. Perhaps we ought to package our consumable content to be more shareable anyway. Perhaps shareability should be inherent to every content campaign, like proper spelling and punctuation.
Perhaps the question every brand should ask itself is, do we want to invest in making our shareable content consumable, too?
Mastering Twitter can be tricky and most organizations are playing defense. They are playing an intense game without rules, where new players can arrive on the scene at any time, and where one mistake can set the organization back for months. But those that have mastered Twitter are creating extraordinary opportunities for their organizations and they include such juggernauts as Walt Disney, ESPN, NBA, MTV and NASA.
These companies and the 25 others listed below understand the power of engagement. In order to find them, Nestivity (a client of mine) asked InfiniGraph Co-founder Chase McMichael and Dr. Natalie Petouhoff to conduct the research, “The 30 day analysis is based on the InfiniGraph Engagement Analysis Platform, which compared the average number of re tweets (RT) per post from February 2nd to March 5th 2013, using proprietary algorithms for determining Twitter responses, content trend scores and clicks on links and other content,” McMichael told us.
But high engagement isn’t limited to the big companies.
Number 1 on the list @Notebook is owned by Branden Hampton of the Influential Media Group. Hampton serves as a sort of Zen master for brands that want high Twitter engagement. While most companies are struggling to create any sort of meaningful engagement on Twitter, Hampton has Twitter profiles that are outcompeting large brands with millions of customers. “Because we understand how to create engagement in our niche categories, we have a fitness page, that’s more engaged than Nike,” Hampton told me.
For me, in speaking by phone directly to 10 of the top 25, I’ve concluded that to create and maintain high engagement – you need to understand how to emotionally connect with your audience and to convey your industry’s message (and not your own business’s). In other words, be the Forbes of your industry while delivering relevant, P.T. Barnum-like content.
#1 “For us, data is the greatest and most important aspect of using Twitter properly. While the data can be fuzzy, it’s part of our social media decision making process around our programming,” Lila King, Senior Director for Social News told me. In fact they use the data to decide how to improve programing how to increase interactions.
#2 “Instead of the State of the Union, we created a “Tweet of the Union and built a database of members from the House and Senate,” King said. This clever social campaign connected brand CNN with the country’s most influential politicians and thus created a lot of buzz and Twitter engagement. Imagine how this can be done in your industry.
#3 Perkins Miller, EVP of Digital Media for WWE believes the brand must tell a story, “We’re in the business of telling stories, 52 weeks a year. When our talents get out there and our fans watch their stories, they just flock to Twitter to continue the conversation.” The WWE has figured out how to create engaging story lines and then encourage its talent to help enhance them with their audience. That’s something we can all learn to do.
National Geographic @NatGeo
#4 How can a 125 year old organization rank among the most engaging social brands? According to Robert Michael Murray Vice President, Social Media of National Geographic, “It’s not the fact that we’re a magazine brand. It’s the fact we’re born out of this idea of being a society. And we bring together people who are like minded around geography, who want to share and distribute knowledge.” In fact, Murray has learned that Twitter can be used to create a community around important scientific discoveries and causes. They use their content to raise the issues and they use Twitter to discuss them.
#5 According to John Yembrick, Social Media Manager at NASA they use influencers to create high engagement, “We try to engage influencers. We tweeted a happy birthday to Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy, engaged with Tom Hanks reliving the making of the film Apollo 13 and were also engaged and got retweeted by Justin Bieber (who has over 36 million followers).” Since Bieber has a large amount of young female followers, chances are some of them may be inspired to explore STEM careers. Most importantly, industry influencers can have a dramatic impact on your engagement levels. Learn how to work with them.
#6 For Arsenal it’s all about connecting fans to the teams and players. It’s also about monetization, “I would say that of course, if you reach and engage fans – that has long term financial benefit. But I’m primarily trying to connect with the people who love the Arsenal Football Club,” Richard Clarke, Managing Editor – Arsenal Media Group revealed to me.
#7 Content + social broadcasting are king and queen. At least Tom Fishman, Director of Social Media at MTV Social Networks thinks so. MTV creates a lot of content, and they like to amplify and then engage in discussions about it with their audience. “Twitter is massively important to achieve our objectives. We have a huge content machine around celebrity news, music and shows and Twitter is a great way to broadcast and follow up in engaging way,” Fishman said.
#8 Tell a great story and bring your partners along for the ride. Fishman explains, “Watch how Tom Shoes and Starbucks tell a story and drive emotion. It’s really a great strategy to how they add to the brand. They are just coffee and shoes, but we believe they are something more meaningful. Our advertisers are happy because we help them succeed by doing the same thing. We tell a story and include them in our story line.” That’s strategic partnering, that’s something we can all learn from.
#9 Patrick Starzan, VP of Marketing for Funny Or Die, “Twitter is part of our DNA — a major initiative to help us grow. When we think about what content we’ll publish, we ask, “Is this something people will laugh at? Giving people access helps them feel more a part of the Funnyor Die community – with behind the scenes pictures, and etc.” In other words, they understand their audience and connect and engage with them by making them laugh. They are keeping the brand promise alive by continuing to serve laughs via Twitter.
#10 Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, Senior Vice President, Marketing at National Basketball Association (NBA) told me it’s all about the fans and the players, “We want to include them in almost everything we do online.” What I found most unique (among their many campaigns) was their recognition of the best NBA Social Media Moments in 2012. The fans determined most of the awards by voting across several NBA social media sites. This type of engagement produces off the chart opportunities.
While all of the top 25 most engaged brands have more than 1 million followers, 70 percent of the least engaged brands do too. This is to say that counting followers in an engagement exercise is pointless.
For me, Twitter engagement is like walking into a large convention hall and observing which organizations have the most people in their booth. These current and prospective customers are listening, are actively engaged or are sharing the organization’s discussions with their friends. In principle, this type of engagement demonstrates the effect the brand’s products, message or brand promise has on people.
Infinigraph has measured this engagement in digital form on Twitter. What’s important here is to understand that engagement has the potential for reduced costs and increased revenue. High engagement doesn’t necessarily mean higher revenue or reduced costs, but increases the likelihood substantially.
A few years ago, the idea of a music industry body as technology-trends predictor would have been laughable. Yet in 2013, that’s exactly what British body the BPI is doing with its new Digital Music Nation 2013 report.
The aim: to spotlight some of the tech innovation that will drive digital music growth in the coming years. That said, the barely-hidden secondary aim is to provide some positivity amid widespread concern within the music industry about the troubles of retailer HMV.
“There has rightly been a lot of focus in the past few weeks on High Street music retail. That will continue – we must do all we can to serve music fans who love CDs and vinyl,” says chief executive Geoff Taylor.
“But as well as great music stores, Britain is blessed with a world-beating array of digital music services, which fans rate very highly for ease of use and value for money. And this is just the beginning. Labels are striking innovative new deals with mobile networks, hardware manufacturers, app developers and start-ups. The music fan will be the clear winner.”
The report aggregates a bunch of surveys and statistics from the BPI’s own data and other sources, including the claim that 27.7% of the British population bought or streamed digital music legally in 2012, while 19.6% of British music buyers have “fully transitioned to digital music” – they don’t buy CDs.
The BPI also hails 30.5m digital albums and 183.3m digital singles sold in the UK in 2012, as well as more than 3.7bn streams, while suggesting that “the music streaming market is now worth more than £49m to British record labels, accounting for 15.2% of digital trade income”.
In fact, the BPI claims that digital music services “became mainstream” in 2012 in the UK, noting that the 27.7% of consumers who downloaded or streamed legal music is nearly double the number of British people using P2P networks for illegal filesharing – these are Kantar Worldpanel stats.
The same company’s research indicates that 80.6% of consumers have at least heard of one or more of the leading music streaming services, with 68.8% aware of Spotify, 63.8% of Napster, 34.4% of Last.fm, 13% of Deezer, 12.8% of we7 and 11.7% of rdio.
We suspect the Napster awareness is based much more on past (in)glories rather than the low-profile modern-day service. These stats also show how Deezer and Rdio have work to do in 2013 to drum up awareness within the UK.
So what about those technology predictions? The BPI focuses on five specific trends, each supported by a forecast from Futuresource Consulting.
First: connected cars (more than 50m cars with 4G or Wi-Fi connectivity to be sold every year by 2017). Second: tablets (more than 18.7m owners by 2016, with around half of current owners listening to music on them).
Third: networked hi-fis and speaker systems (more than 3m annual sales by 2016). Fourth: 4G mobile networks (nearly 44m subscribers by 2016, with music one of the services offered by operators). Finally, smart TV (17% of current owners are already streaming music on them, apparently).
The big challenge for music rightsholders is how best to foster the growth of digital music revenues from these trends: how to form lasting and trusting partnerships with the companies in these areas, rather than viewing them merely as new cash-cows to be milked.
IAB Europe’s annual AdEx Benchmark survey - the definitive guide to the state of the European online advertising market - was released today at IAB Europe’s Interact conference in Barcelona.
The AdEx Benchmark research revealed that online was the best performer in the advertising market with an overall growth of 11.5% in 2012. Europe continues its strong growth curve in both early adopter and emerging markets. Diversity of online advertising was a strong contributor to ongoing European growth in spite of continuing macroeconomic volatility.
Kimon Zorbas, CEO of IAB Europe, said that the trajectory was positive. “With a 15.3% growth in 2011 and continuing strong growth of 11.5% in 2012, our sector is bucking the trend in Europe. Display advertising has continued its renaissance, driven both by the recognition of online display as a branding medium and the explosion of the big data economy. Big data relies on the rich metrics delivered through the online medium.”
Continued strong migration of ad spends online, which followed media usage patterns, underpinned the overall strong growth. Demand for online video advertising increasingly acted as a major draw for brand advertisers growing by 50.6% in 2012, to nearly €661.9M. This is the first time in Europe that online video has grabbed double-digit display market share, jumping to 12.9%.
Mobile advertising also continued its surge, growing 78.3% to nearly
€392M in total value. Mobile advertising now accounts for 5% of all
online display spends in Europe.
The IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark study splits the online ad market into 3 top-level segments: Display, Classifieds and Directories and, Paid-for-Search. Growth in these online advertising formats has been underpinned by shifting uses of devices and changing consumption patterns.
In 2012, the Display Ad market experienced a like-for-like growth of 9.1%, with a total value of €7.8bn. Growth was mainly driven by mobile and online video. More reliable audience metrics, better campaign measurements, improved automation and simplification of purchasing online advertising space developed by industry, increased confidence amongst marketers in the online ad medium.
The 2012 market value of Classifieds and Directories was €4.5bn and
was underpinned by strong redistribution of spends on classified from
print to online. Continued consolidation in the sector enhanced the
scale of classifieds sites, making them more attractive for
advertisers. The strong legacy position of Classifieds and Directories
in Scandinavia also continued to boost the European market. Outstanding
performances were noted in Denmark - up 20% - and Sweden - up 23.9%.
Paid-For-Search experienced the strongest like-for-like growth of 15.5% - and had a market value of €11.9bn. Dynamic results from Russia, which grew a whopping 44.9% was an important influencing factor. However, even some of the largest and most mature Search markets in Europe, such as Germany and the UK continued to grow, helped by larger volumes of Search ads. Increased ad spends from small advertisers and mobile search using smartphones and tablets were a significant contributor to this shift.
Daniel Knapp, Director Advertising Research at IHS Electronics and Media, and author of the research said,“ While the macroeconomic situation in Europe pointed to a challenging year for the media industry in 2012, online advertising tells a better story. Our study shows that growth engines are not just markets, which are developing from a low basis. Double-digit growth from mature online economies such as Scandinavia and the UK demonstrates that investment in technology, improved measurement and strategies to monetise the increasingly mobile consumer facilitate sustainable growth of online advertising."
The top 10 list remained the same, with the exception of Russia
moving from 5th to 4th place, replacing Italy, which dropped down a
place to 5th. Top Individual market growth was registered by Russia
34%, followed by Turkey with 30.4%.
Top 10 Rankings
About IAB Europe’s AdEx Benchmark:
Compiled by IHS Screen Digest, the research covers the entire European region, from the mature markets of Western and Northern Europe to the emerging markets in Eastern and Southern Europe for the calendar year 2012.
Note to Editors:
*The figure would be 3.6% were online advertising to be included in ‘all media’. Source: IHS Screen Digest.
Display includes PC-based and mobile banners, rich media and video formats.
The data has been compiled by IAB Europe based on information provided by the national IAB offices around Europe. It is then processed and analyzed by IHS Screen Digest. The report includes market size and value information for the full membership of the IAB Europe in 2011 including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, Russia, Spain, Slovakia, Serbia, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The data represents the calendar year 2011 January- December. This is the sixth edition of AdEx which began in the calendar year 2006.
About IHS Electronics and Media
IHS is a global information company with world-class experts in the pivotal areas shaping today’s business landscape: energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply chain management. We employ more than 5,500 people in more than 30 countries around the world.
Explanatory note on IAB Europe/IHS Electronics and Media Digest AdEx Benchmark figures
Each national IAB in Europe runs its own annual online advertising spending study and the IAB Europe AdEx figures are based on these results. As the methodology of the studies varies country by country, IAB Europe and IHS Screen Digest have defined methodology rules to represent the figures in such a way as to make them realistically comparable. This involves:
A lot can happen in six seconds. You can text your mom, read an email (or delete 20), or give an epic high five. But can you create a lasting impression within six seconds? Marketers seem to think so. Since Twitter unleashed Vine unto the world last month, brands have been quick to use the 6-second video app as a free marketing platform. Because you know, not all brands have over $3 million to spend on a 30-second Super Bowl spot.
Additionally, a 6-second video app caters to our shrinking attention spans.
Excuse me for one second.
Sorry about that, was refreshing my Instagram feed. We can pay attention for six seconds, but are marketers prepared to tell us a story in that short time span? Below are some examples of businesses proving that Vine can be an effective marketing platform, and that you can say a lot in six seconds! I dare you to get distracted.
PSA: If a video clip below doesn't display (it appears Vine
videos have intermittent rendering issues), please follow the respective
Vine.com link in the tweet to view the original source.
UK-based online-only retailer ASOS used Vine to put a clever spin on the limits of online shopping. A survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that customers prefer the in-store shopping experience over that of online shopping. Trying clothes on, bringing your friends, and seeing window displays are what make shopping fun. Getting a brown box on your doorstep, somehow, just isn't as glamorous. So ASOS took to Vine to spice up the online shopping experience by showing how gratifying opening up a box can really be.
Hosting a giveaway is a tried and true promotional tactic, but giving customers an early sneak peek of the giveaway items through Vine is a pretty new one. Gogo, an in-air internet provider for business and commercial flights, got its Twitter followers riled up by posting a quick clip of what they could win in the upcoming giveaway.
Animate & Create is a UK-based animation studio that creatively combined old-school and new-school tactics via Vine to showcase its design talents. Using good ol' paper and pencil, the company produced a basic flipbook lending itself perfectly to Vine's stop-motion nature. With so many modern graphics in our face all the time, the stick man is quite refreshing.
Lights, camera, action! SweetShot Photography is a boutique photography service that successfully used Vine to promote headshot sessions. @sweetshotphoto posted a quick clip of the production behind headshot photoshoots, and an empty stool waiting for your to sit and flash a smile.
The next day, @sweetshotphoto tweeted that it had generated new leads thanks to the Vine post. I guess you can make an impression in six seconds.
Forrester Research estimates that $22 billion was spent on automotive advertising alone in 2012. That's a lot of shiny car commercials with James Earl Jones-esque voiceovers. Toyota took its cars off-road with this entertaining Vine post from Toyota Spain.
Malibu Rum makes you want to party on the beach. This 6-second clip from the rum company tells that story pretty well. The pineapple and Malibu Rum bottle are dancing ... then they dance a little closer. Suddenly, they realize they're perfect for each other and blend into one tropical refreshment for your drinking pleasure. Sounds like a fast-track to a romantic comedy.
This popular brand of skincare and shower products got playful back in 2004 when it launched Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, where women of all shapes, sizes, and ages showed how comfortable they were in their own skin. Continuing to innovate with upbeat, creative campaigns, Dove created this clip on Vine starring a bar of soap playing the role of bowling ball.
RedEye, a Chicago-based newspaper covering cultural happenings around the city, used Vine to make its music reporting a little more ... intense. RedEye posted Vine clips on its music Twitter account from punk band Fall Out Boy's concert. Below is my personal favorite of band member Pete Wentz catapulting into the crowd. What a wild six seconds to capture!
I think I speak for women everywhere when I say fitting a lot of items into my purse is vital. There are the essentials like my keys, iPhone, and wallet. Then there are the not-so-essential essentials like lipstick, mints, hand sanitizer, and Sudoku. Monica Botkier designs luxury bags that look pretty, and now I know they're big enough to hold all my stuff, thanks to her recent Vine post showcasing the Valentina Mini. Check it out!
The Glitch Mob, an electronic music group from California, gave fans an exclusive look into how they make the magic happen by posting a Vine clip of behind-the-scenes production on their upcoming album. This is a great way to create anticipation around the album, and remind the community how awesome The Glitch Mob is.
Wheat crackers are a pretty dry product to market. So why not turn them into a piece of art? In the spirit of the San Francisco 49ers making it to the Super Bowl, Wheat Thins launched a Twitter campaign in the city where you could win boxes of the product for game day by tweeting #SF #MUSTHAVEWHEATTHINS. The brand used Vine's quick visual capabilities to film the crackers spelling out the two hashtags. I guess it's okay to play with your food if it's during the Super Bowl.
Publishing a newspaper every day is tough stuff, but someone's got to do it. Rhein Zeitung, a German publication, used Vine to playfully convey how much work goes into producing new content for print. The clip suggests you need to start from scratch each day when aggregating and writing news; after all, how else would we hear anything through the grapevine? (Pun totally intended.)
Two rum brands in one blog? That's right, I wanted this post to be loaded ... with the best Vine posts out there. Bacardi UK made the most of six seconds by showing how its product is best served. Cocktail recipes can provide too many ingredients and instructions; some people just want to know what mixes with what. Personally, I think Bacardi mixes well with Vine.
This one might be my favorite. And no, it isn't because orange is HubSpot's favorite color. Orange is a French telecommunications corporation creating innovative products and services worldwide. Orange's Livebox Play is the company's newest product released this month. Executive Director of Orange France, Delphine Ernotte Cunci, said of the product: "In combination with the Livebox Play packages, customers will be able to use all their screens to enjoy a vast range of uses, including browsing the internet, playing games, and social networking." Sounds cool, right? Orange used Vine to show just how cool Livebox Play is with this quick demo.
And of course, we couldn't wait to get started with Vine, ourselves. We have some new swag we're pretty excited about, so we decided to use Vine to show it off.
Which business do you think used Vine the best? What could you say about your business in six seconds or less?
Image credit: clasesdeperiodismo
by Ryan Sommer
If you missed last week's video expert series on channel integration, catch up with a quick read on some of the key points here!
We missed out on being able to include Murray Izanwasser from Biztegra due to technical difficulty, so hopefully Murray will add to the conversation below in comments.
Kudos to our own David St. John Tradewell: VP Client Development, North America, Econsultancy, for keeping the conversation moving!
After being siloed for years, marketers are now looking at their respective channels and how they can integrate not only teams but thought processes.
This 60min+ session (still available to check out on our YouTube channel) looked at examples of how channels have been integrated and effective/ineffective approaches levergining case studies in B2B and healthcare from Dave and Liz's personal client experience.
Here are some choice bits from the dialouge.
Humans have integrated experiences, and the problem is that customers now expect to be treated like humans at every point of the marketing process, and technology has created far more immersive environments.
I expect my friends, the companies that I am able to do work for...etc to be able to use and coordinate all of their resources online and offline, and when you don't have that happen, it creates an inauthentic experience.
As marketers we've spent a lot of time on the individual channels where we just push, and we have failed to look at the content. We never looked at how the experience manifests from the user's side, and we are now being forced to because of social. Being truly integrated means listening to the consumer.
I do think it has a lot to do with the way people are compensated. Even up to the c-suite. Our compensation is currently just like the way we do the attribution modelling: the guy who made the sale gets the reward.
We are beginning to change this. In the CMO Council state of marketing study for 2012, we asked what is your compensation model, and found that marketers are in some cases not being tied to silos, they are being tied to business results. Business packages, especially at the CMO level often now include stock to make it so that if the business does well, you do well.
The elephant in the room when it comes to agencies. According to our surveys, marketers are becoming unhappy. Their patience and willingness to churn from longtime agency partners is ratcheting up. The reasons behind this are a lack of innovation, a lack of understanding about the business, and a failure to integrate campaigns.
Agencies need to integrate to the needs and imagination of the client, and not the tools. You can't outsource experience. At best, it is co-created.
I don't think anyone should get a hall pass on having a bad digital exerience. Google and Amazon selling in B2B has raised the barrier to entry in the B2B market because they truly understand how point-to-point works within the process.
Because value of sale is often quite high in B2B, often times they are ahead in their thinking. Digital tools are an important part of scaling. If you have a global sales team of 10,000, it is a huge task to get your workforce to change their relationships. It is a task that companies take on, and it takes years to do it well.
Once you have a service designed, scaling the service designed is really quite efficient, there is good technology in place, and you are able to programmatically shift that, which by doing first, allows all the people of the company to line up behind that as a tangible touchpoint.
I think there are areas of technology that lend themselves well to integration. Systems that are able to use context and data interlinked are able to create better experiences. So if you have a content management system, and it is able to interface with CRM data, and recognize users, it is able to serve a more personal webpage. If you have email marketing that is able to interact with customer data, you'll be able to break that message up and serve dynamic pieces of content.
All this requires being really clear about the activity that we are trying to enable people to complete with the experiences we make. That's a huge shift from "I'm a communicator with a static page of information," to "We want to enable you to do this, it has four steps." So increasingly marketers, are going to be tool makers.
I think that the biggest issue is the tenant "Fail fast and fail often" -- I think a lot of people use this as a crutch and just stick a toe in. The reality is that new tools likes apps and social can be very powerful on the customer engagement side, but there has to be a strategy. We need to think of marketers almost as product managers, even if it is a content product.
Editors note: Our next Google+ "On Air" Hangout for the video expert series around #IMW13 will be on Wednesday, May 29, 2013: Noon EST. The topic is managing integration, and the panelists include: Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, Co-founder and COO of Digital Brand Architects and Scott Molitor, Managing Principal at the Acxiom Institute.
To get a 10% discount on Integrated Marketing Week tickets where topics like integration will be explored by some of the top marketing minds and brands (including Seth Godin, Macy's and more) visit and complete the registration page here before May 31!