Tuesday, November 23, 2010

T3 Number 5

One of the coolest things I've heard about this past week was the announcement by YouTube that they were getting ready to debut a new way of advertising.  The current system involves traditional banner ads, featured videos and more recently a video advert that plays before your selection plays.

It is this last feature that 'erked' me the most, both as a consumer of social media and a marketer.  YouTube makes it's money by selling ad space, so it is logical that they would introduce this form of advertising.  However, I feel that it violates one of the most important principles: permission.  Banners and featured videos?  I can choose engage in those forms of marketing, but when it comes to the forced video ads, I have no choice because it is 'interruption marketing', as Godin would have put it.  This is where the new "TrueView" comes into affect: it is what Godin would have called permission marketing.  Sort of.

Irina Slutsky reported on Adage that TrueView is a platformed "designed to give users the choice of which ad they watch - even if that choice is to watch none at all".  This means that YouTube will no longer be interruptive but more permission based.  The idea is that for short movies, a user might get an "in-stream" ad, which [they] can skip if [they] wish".  For longer movies, consumers can have a choice: watch a "video with ad breaks or ad-free after watching one of three ads first", ads which may not be skippable.  As a consumer, I am pleased because now I can enjoy my involvement without being pestered or frustrated.  However, it's a more complex issue when it comes to the marketer in me: how do you attract companies to continue to use you as a medium for advertising when consumers can choose to skip your ad-space?

Slutsky explains that companies wouldn't have to pay for skipped ads, much the same way that pay-per-click works.  Also, and possibly more importantly, Slutsky explains how TrueView will "allow you to reach the opted-in engaged audience at scale", rather than annoying an audience who is not engaged in your message.  And I have to say, it makes sense for all parties: YouTube, companies and the end consumer.

This past week saw the return of Tiger Woods to Twitter.  Why?  I think this is the start of Woods trying to rebuild his image and personal brand, and that's pretty obvious.  However, many people are writing off his attempts to rebuild his brand as a poor attempt with poor timing.  Poor timing because he is starting this attempt near the 1 year anniversary of the car crash that brought the whole scandal to light.  Poor attempt because just having a Twitter feed doesn't a new image make.  But that is where I think they're wrong.

I'm currently reading a book by Mitch Joel called 'Six Pixels of Separation'.  In it, Joel makes it clear that branding isn't an overnight phenomenon.  Creating and strengthening a personal brand (or any brand of that matter) takes trust and loyalty.  These things are earned slowly: months, years or even many years for that matter.  You need to be consistent and create value, and create trust over time.  In Woods' case, might take longer than others but with time, consistency and value, I think it's possible to rebound.  So lets not judge him too quickly: these things take time so judging the attempt now is like calling the winner of the Stanley Cup from the pre-season.

Another big news item, and I have to admit a bit of a disappointment for me, was the announcement from Apple that the iTunes Store would now carry the Beatles.  I know that last week I commented that it was likely that iTunes would announce this, but a little part of me wanted there to be something else.  No, not a Beatles themed iPod like U2 had a while ago (although don't rule it out, anything is possible!).  But I was kind of hoping something else would be announced in conjunction with the Beatles songs.  They've been on such a roll lately, I guess my hopes were a bit high.  But whose fault is that?  If you're constantly hyping, consumers are going to be expecting you to constantly be delivering.  Consistency is king: as Joel says, lean on the side of consistency and don't over promise.  Failing to deliver on a promise is a worse fate then promising less and over delivering.

Does Apple 'over promise'? Well, maybe.  Or maybe it's just that they have been doing so well in the marketing department that our expectations are that much higher.  After all, they really are a 'one-of-a-kind' marketing machine nowadays.