Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Social in the Media Age

A number of interesting articles about how various social media phenomenon came into being and have grown over time.

1. The argument that Snapchat is like a TV channel and so may be better for brand advertising:
If the growth in Ads is primarily all driven by higher click-through rates due to better relevant ads on mobile, than all of the private mobile companies that have a great medium for advertising will be viewed much more favorably and be more valuable…Specifically if ads on mobile are more engaging for consumer and more relevant than desktop ads than the addressable ad market for mobile will be bigger than desktop ad market and the valuations of mobile companies will be greater than desktop all else equal on audience size etc. This would be a very positive factor for Snapchat.
If Facebook knows this to be true it would result in them being willing to pay higher valuation for mobile companies than other acquirers because Google won’t know nor will yahoo msft etc because none of them have scale in mobile to understand these powerful secular trends and in essence they under value mobile vs FB and thus under invest and fall farther and farther behind.
Viewers, particularly younger ones, may be viewing more media on Snapchat, but have there been any truly aspirational marketing messages on mobile (aside from the inherent "medium is the message" quality inherent in the device and popular apps themselves?). My experience with FB is that it's driven by being the only channel you can make a mass buy in which delivers installs because it has good size. And the buys are made because it's the only way to get into Apple's top 10 lists. If/when Apple develops it's own Adsense, FB's mobile market goes away.

2. Great essay on the history of YouTube. Nice to see how the positive feedback mechanisms created social economies of scale. This is something I see a lot of in consumer facing entertainment businesses.
The constant stream of copyright-infringing Family Guy and Daily Show clips fed YouTube’s exploding traffic. Uploaders of “user-generated content” (as YouTubers used to be called) were able to mooch off of some of that traffic, and so chose YouTube either when starting consistent projects or uploading potentially viral videos. YouTube built the initial audience, and the more content it had, the more that audience grew.
3. In music, the artist is now the product:
There have been numerous successes in the music industry in recent years that were clearly not built on music, but on the extreme popularity of an artist’s online profile. Some artists branded themselves and promoted themselves to the point of becoming veritable online reality stars, before they had even released any music. Some of these online reality stars were picked up by large record labels; their music was just good enough to release, and with the notoriety already established on social media, the artist became a marketing machine for the record label.
In these cases the music was a loss-leader; it was showcased as the product being sold, but all of the money the artist generated was through ancillary income: touring, merchandise, endorsements and live events, maybe even public appearance fees. Nobody was buying their music, people were buying their image. These artists essentially achieved some sort of twisted fame, but not on the strength of their music.
People were never buying the music. They were buying the zeitgeist. Art is called into being to fill the space which precedes it. Venue first, content second.


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