Sunday, March 25, 2007

Digital Outlook 2007

Avenue A Razorfish released its 2007 Digital Outlook report. It was on the agenda for last weekend, but I decided to go climbing in the Idaho mountains. This weekend I finally got some free time to read through the report. If you haven't seen it yet, its definitely worth reading or skimming. It gives a great overview of where the digital media space is moving, how it has changed from last year and offers some interesting insights into the connection between digital media and culture.

Some of my key take-a-ways:

- In 2006 communities as a defined vertical spending group were up 69% year-over-year and 216% since 2004. Communities tied with Entertainment as the vertical with the largest share of billings. This does not surprise me since communities can be view as another form of entertainment and likely are taking away eyes that would be on the entertainment vertical.

- While many traditional media companies have made a significant push to extend their brands online, it remains an uphill struggle. I think this is due to the lack of consideration of the differences between the channels. The online channel is fundamentally different than current media channels, however companies are having trouble making this transition.

- Across all media channels, marketers face the difficult challenge of 'breaking through the clutter' as the scale of the media immersion in daily life exceeds all prior benchmarks. The sheer volume, variety and availability of media channels have resulting in cultural change. So to have consumer behaviors.. I like this comment because this is one of the issues we are trying to solve at Balihoo.

- There are six broad themes driving changes seen in media today: Personalization, Collaboration & Community, Visualization, Ubiquity, Immediacy, and Monetization. What strikes me about these themes is that all except for monetization are also key aspects of a cultural shift taking place.

- 2007 is going to be a year about sorting out how to monetize all the new media real-estate. Creating the right ad model for revenue - the right value to the advertiser, but also the right experience to the consumer, at the right price, and in the right format.

A Framework for assessing Emerging Channels

  • Audience and Reach: "Is there an opportunity to interact with a sliver of our target audience more deeply, or in a new way on this channel?"
  • Accountability: "Knowing that measurement abilities among emerging channels vary can bw learn something about our audience we don't typically get to see?"
  • Investment: "Since this channel is new, and hasn't yet reached critical mass what level of investment do we need to make to ensure our test will be a success?"
  • Risk: "Realizing the open nature of this channel carries with it risks, so how can I construct a responsible framework for testing and learning that allows me to reach my customers without damaging my brand?"

Key insights into user behavior and expectations for the next iteration of the Web
  • Human-computer interaction is about to get intense: intersection of biology, technology and media.
  • The network is ubiquitous: We are no longer computer specific - we just want on the network. User experience or a media campaign must be ubiquitous as well.
  • There is no middle: In every category traffic will flow to a few big players and a host of niche players. Playing the middle will get you squeezed.
  • The internet is where general interest goes to die: Niche is king. Long tail theory.
  • Information Seeking equals entertainment: Internet has created the reemergence of play in new ways.
  • Transparency is king: People see little difference between online and offline company identities. Talking with consumers is smarter than talking to them.
  • Social networking ascends to utilitarian status: social networking is moving from fun hobby to everyday utility, with the behavior increasingly embedded into the culture.
  • Lets stay friends: See also this article on the concept of friending.
  • Giving back is good
  • People are open to new forms of content distribution.
  • Blogs have yet to achieve media brand status: Currently genres are still more important than specific blogs.
  • More mobile phones, less talking: Mobile phone use will grow, but not for talking.

No matter what business you are in, and what your title, everyone has to be a marketer to some degree, and whether or not it is a full time role or just part time, the digital landscape and the trends taking place are important for everyone to understand in the new economy.

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