MySpace: Friending Is the New Ad

19 Comments

MySpace, hoping to prove it is a new type of marketing platform, commissioned research firms to look at its user habits and responses to marketing campaigns. The results, released today, were unsurprisingly positive — but they’re also interesting.

myspacemarketing1.jpg

“Friending is the next advertising,” proclaims the report. And 40 percent of social network users claim to have “discovered brands and products that [they] really like” through the websites.

The report looks at two campaigns in particular, in which adidas and EA created communities that

  1. made their brands into persona,
  2. enabled sharing (e.g. forward this to a friend) and
  3. “[gave] the consumer a chance to realize their dream/fantasy.”

adidas and EA spent $1.87 and $1.19, respectively, per MySpace user who said because of the campaign he or she intended to buy the company’s product.

But based on the viral nature of these projects, independent firm Marketing Evolution says the companies reached far more people. That’s indicated by the “momentum effect” in the chart above.

Of course, all this is exceedingly hard to measure and exceedingly easy to brag about — but Marketing Evolution claims adidas directly influenced 1.2 million people to purchase its product and, after those people talked to their friends, influenced 4.2 million more people. Similarly, EA directly influenced 1.8 million consumers and indirectly influenced 4.5 million consumers to say they intended to purchase its products.

That added “C2C” marketing is the power of social networks, says the report. Not that people don’t talk to people about TV commercials, but perhaps that’s even harder to measure.

19 Comments

Craig

So where do I get hold of the report?

I’ve been googling for it without success.

Ted Rheingold

This is very important topic. Jemery just did a nice job of elevating the report into a request for the IAB to seek standards for social-oriented placements. Don’t miss the comments there as well. This is a topic very important to to

For exmaple, why isn’t there a standard on a advertiser sponsored profile page in a network.

An IAB standard would make it much easier for large companies to do wonderfully successful campaign like we did with Disney.

Lady and the Tramp characters got their own pages and groups on our site and were a huge hit.

Lady
Tramp
Lady and Tramp Group (over 1200 members)

soxiam

The fact of the matter is no one knows how to advertise against social network audiences. They see some incredibly powerful reasons and incredibly diverse platform but it’s all beta test and feeling the water for now and it will stay that way until advertisers (particularly brand advertisers) see measurable ROI. And I don’t mean ROI from a study commissioned by MySpace.

Andrew

also worth noting that although the hype is around spend moving from offline to online, not every product is suitable for advertising to these audiences and through these methods. its a new way of looking at things for the big advertisers… but they aren’t going to pull the plug on their offline spend just yet…

jeremy liew

The broader theme here, IMO, is that of users voluntarily affiliating themselves with brands. Online this is a relatively new forms of advertising and it shows itself in mutiple ways – from “friending” on myspace to choosing a “Casino Royale” theme for your Rockyou slideshow. Offline its the nascar jacket/concert T-shirt market – not only does it advertise your brand, but users PAY for the privilege of doing so.

As always, when you see offline analogues to online behaviour, its a good sign. But new forms of advertising are hard until standards emerge. I blogged about this topic in Feb – click on my name in this comment if you’d like to read about it

Ty Graham

I’m really glad people keep saying this type of marketing is in it’s “infancy”. Just gives more weight to my patent filed years ago. I still don’t understand why no one just out right says the one thing that will tip this market into reality. I tried to pitch the idea to investors and even to myspace a while ago. But they don’t have the vision to see that friending is really lame, and spammy. Especially when those brands are no longer cool and you have to cycle through page after poor-designed page of finding that spam friend to delete. What’s worst is that the way bulletins are set up, you have to be logged in to read it and like the other reader said you need tons of friends to make it useful. Spam friends leave spam bulletins and eventually they will get even more clever and mess up my comments again or lie in bulletins. This survey only proves one thing: Myspace knows Myspace is the boss here. They know they can get $35-100k for a PROFILE creation deal with an advertiser and that’s what’s putting food on the table. It really sucks that they are not user oriented and the very notion of google buying a widget company to do widget ads on myspace should trigger a class action suit by all members for every widget company they banned for widget advertising. The funny thing is, social networking sites are not the end all as said, it’s just what’s around now. It’s less than 30 days now, because soon, everyone is going to get blipd!

Damn this is so cool. I’m going to flip ya’ll heads.

Chase McMichael

The influencer model is vital to any brand building a social presence, however, you need to know what your target consumers affinities are if you going to be “in code” with them. What is lacking in social networks is the base understanding of community structure and who everyone is connected to and why. Understanding social behavior enables brands to position themselves along with other media elements that the consumer community cares about letting the brand into their world.

We see many branded social sites in the marketplace but most sites lack of clear direction. They lack a vision as to how to build a social community around their brand. They go for quantity of users without understanding that the quality of those users is also important. Retention and viral growth are true signs that a brand is socially resonating.

The community, however, has to feel a sense of purpose to dive their friends to share in the experience. This is why it is vital when building a community of people who want to be part of a brand’s site. Getting communities of people who well bring in their friends requires a deep understanding of the psychographic dynamic of the entire community the brand wants to attract.

To see a very cool social demographics of Nike Soccer we did some time back check out http://www.unboundsound.com/fananalysis/NikeSoccer.pdf

Chase McMichael

The influencer model is vital to any brand building a social presence, however, you need to know what your target consumers affinities are if you going to be “in code” with them. What is lacking in social networks is the base understanding of community structure and who everyone is connected to and why. Understanding social behavior enables brands to position themselves along with other media elements that the consumer community cares about letting the brand into their world.

We see many branded social sites in the marketplace but most sites lack of clear direction. They lack a vision as to how to build a social community around their brand. They go for quantity of users without understanding that the quality of those users is also important. Retention and viral growth are true signs that a brand is socially resonating.

The community, however, has to feel a sense of purpose to dive in and ask their friends share in the experience. This is why it is vital build a community of people who to be part of a brand’s site. Getting communities of people who well bring in their friends requires a deep understanding of the psychographic dynamic of the entire community the brand wants to attract.

To see a very cool social demographics of Nike Soccer we did some time back check out http://www.unboundsound.com/fananalysis/NikeSoccer.pdf

Phil Dunn

I don’t get the following:

adidas and EA spent $1.87 and $1.19, respectively, per MySpace user who said because of the campaign he or she intended to buy the company’s product.

What is this describing? Any more details? Thanks ahead Om.

Peluka

Liz, is an interesting post. How can we access the sources? Is there any way to see this document so we can better understand it and make our own conclusions?
Thanks!

Nick Hawkins

If by “friending” you mean spam adds to your myspace friends, then yes, it’s the next level of advertising.

aldomatic

MySpace bulletins can also work like digg.com except no one can digg it only view it. Make interesting bulletin posts and link to the article, Works well if you have tons of friends that have the similar interests as your post.

Patricia

I disagree with the emphasis on social networking. I think it’s niave to think it’s the end all, put all your eggs in thing a lot of people believe it to be. It’s a tool, a feature – but one of many you better have on your site or in your ad package, because it’s not the only way users engage and it’s going to become less and less as passive entertainment moves in and users become more comfortable with other ways of interacting.

I picture websites as entertainment, information or ecommerce platforms in the future – and social networking is either a feature that makes sense or isn’t, depending on the focus and content. Different users engage in different ways. You’d be surprised at how many online users ignore “social networks”.

KR

with all the promise of the social networking web 2.0 impact, it is interesting to see some analytics on the marketing influence/impact. even though social networking is no longer new, the ability to use this medium to reach and virally market to this community seems to be in its infancy.
the opportunity for marketers to understand and gain from these networks is huge. as the success formula becomes more evident, i expect making a big impact using this medium will be tougher to achieve as the noise and competition for these valued consumers increases.
all major consumer brands will eventually devote resources and money towards social network marketing over time, in turn creating an opportunity for vertically-oriented social networking sites to monetize their sites similar to how cable tv works. sites like dogster can become the next animal channel in effect.

Sergio

I think that we are just starting to scratch the surface of social advertising. Nothing has as much power to influence consumers as recommendations from friends, family, and other trusted individuals. I think that one untapped resource is social-circle-based advertising. Netflix does it to some extent by giving you recommendations based on data from users with similar movie tastes. Now imagine the kind of potential that would have on, say, MySpace. If I click on an ad, chances are that my friends would also find it interesting. If I give a thumbs-up to the latest gizmo, chances are that my friends would also prize it.

Creating a profile for a movie or a product seems rather archaic to me; it seems odd to add Heroes to my friends, for example. However, add a little contextual advertising mixed in with social preference tracking and you’ve got an advertising platform that would make AdWords look like newspaper ads. Not to mention that users spend a boat load more time on MySpace than most other big-name sites like Google.

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