I recently attended Karsten Weide's, IDC's Program Director for Media and Entertainment, present results from IDC's latest surveys on consumer online behavior and attitudes. Mr. Weide's "Online Consumer Behavior Trends and their Impact on New Media" presentation was full of thought starters. Here are some highlights altered (butchered?) by my perspective:
Experiment vs Innovate
According to Weide, "experimental" advertising will be a loser in 2009 because no marketer will be willing to defend advertising that is not delivering results. Mr. Weide was kind enough to respond to my inquiry for further clarification. He made sure to point out that innovative advertising that delivers results is not the same as experimental. (Weide's examples of experimental included social networking advertising and in game ads.) In a tighter economy, marketer's will need to justify their plans all the way back to the CFO, so the story will need to be results based, and not just be seen as the "hip" thing to do. Overall, IDC 5+% decrease in online advertising in Q1 2009 as it is caught in the overall advertising downturn.
The tremendous growth of smart phones is a major event and has changed the mobile landscape. The change between 2007 and 2008 is dramatic; MySpace, YouTube, Yahoo, eBay and Facebook mobile usage have exploded and now mirror desktop trend of evolving from utility tasks (weather, directions, etc.) to social applications and entertainment.
There is even more pressure on advertising and marketing to be relevant. And the idea of relevancy is always narrowing. I'm summarizing about half of the presentation, but the basic story is
a) we receive over 1,500 marketing messages a day.
b) we [must] tune out the majority of the messages
b) people are resistant to the idea of behavioral targeting...but they respond better and want the results of better targeting.
c) Social networking advertising claims relevance -- and in theory, should be relevant -- but it has not been successful so far because it people see are not in a "researching" mode and therefore the advertising is distracting rather than supporting the users behavior. One to one communication is not receptive to advertising, as we've seen from webmail advertising.
It's important to remember how early we are in the development of online advertising. I think the safe bet for this year is to go with online advertising channels that can:
a) show innovation to break through the clutter
b) go with partners who can report on performance in a way that makes sense
c) supports user's actions with direct functional benefits or more compelling content that supports a user's research objective (aka, think like a publisher)
d) use search...but also realize that the online world a lot richer now and supports more than search engines for searching
Mr. Weide just touched on some of the online brand qualities research they've conducted and I'd like to hear more. Google dominated the all of the brand categories, with eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo being the other three online power brands. No web 2.0 companies broke through the dominance of the top brands, and Microsoft has a lot of work to do to leapfrog any of these four.
No Pretty Pictures
IDC is a paid for their thoughtful research so I don't have any free links to share. If you find one that is condoned by IDC, let me know and I'll post. Otherwise, I recommend you sign up with IDC or be on the lookout for their events.