CES: Social Networks, Mobile Need Better Metrics, Creative Platforms
"There has been a crisis of confidence in social media--a lot of what happened in 2008 didn't work," says Carter Brokaw, chief revenue officer of Meebo, the instant message digital communications media company.
Brokaw was speaking at a panel at the International Consumer Electronics Show here called "Advertising NEXT: Social Networks, User-Generated Video, Blogs, IMs, Podcasts, Broadband and Mobile - It's the Breakthrough Year!"
Brokaw added that social-networking providers need to do a better job: "We have to get on board with metrics [marketers] understand. We need to figure it out as a industry, and frankly we haven't done a very good job."
Part of this has to do with media agencies, some of which are behind the curve.
"There is still no recession in consumer adoption of digital media--particularly mobile," says Michael Zimbalist, vice president of research and development operations for The New York Times Company. "What we need to see in mobile is the creation of some new formats and new ad dollars. But it's just not there yet."
Others were a bit stronger in their language: "My opinion is [that] advertising agencies are getting more and more successful in committing suicide," says Mark Walsh, CEO and Chairman, GeniusRocket.
Walsh reiterated that the creative process is undervalued and under-used, especially as new Internet digital areas. He repeated a remark--which some modern ad agencies still cling to--that was recently used in the AMC cable show "Mad Men," about a fictional agency in the 1960s: "We charge them a commission on the media buying, and give the creative away for free."
Walsh believes the recession will accelerate the change in this formula; media agencies will need to form better partnerships and deals for their clients, especially when it comes to new digital creative platforms.
"If you talk to the agencies, the Achilles heels are the creative execution," Brokaw says. "There is not a lot of constancy with social media today." He notes that some of the bigger players -- Facebook, MySpace -- need to get together and focus on five to seven different metrics that advertisers can rally around.
Zimbalist says: "Marketers want to inject themselves into the culture. It's becoming harder and hard to do this." But Zimbalist is intrigued, on social networking areas, with the growing practice of users sharing ads with others, which he feels could be a boom for advertisers.
Another panelist says starting new digital businesses now -- even in a recession, and especially in the mobile area,is a good move "There are four billion mobile users around the world; 300 million in the U.S," says Alexandre Mars, CEO of Phonevalley, Publicis Groupe's mobile media agency. "It's a best time to launch a business."