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Viral Brand Marketing Fuels MySpace Ad Mix

Viral branded marketing is the new way to get noticed on MySpace and other social networks, according to Marketing Evolution, whose report stressed the benefits of embedded interactive marketing programs, also called "widgets," as being more effective than TV advertising. Why? Embedded marketing messages require user action. Users post them to their pages, and friends can add them, too. This is engaging, "pull" advertising.

What kinds of programs are we talking about? Branded clips (movies, video-game trailers) wallpaper, even branded user-generated video. MySpace digital chief Peter Levinsohn says the success of these "widgets" has helped turn the tables on MySpace's revenue mix. A year ago, 70 percent of the site's advertising came from click-based direct response ads, like search engine marketing, the rest from branded advertising. In the past few months, the trend has reversed, as 70 percent of ad revenue is now coming from branded ads.

"We build these custom communities within the MySpace ecosystem," Levinsohn said. "And the more integrated they are, the more we can charge advertisers." He added that Fox Interactive Media, the online division of which MySpace's is a part, is still on the lookout for promising startups.

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