Finally, after many mis-starts and social media product debacles, Google gets their social networking offering down right. The downside is, there’s no reason to call this a “Plus”, it’s just catchup.
Google has learned from failed attempts
Historically, Google has been complacent when it goes to social networking, not having realized how quickly Facebook was going to grow many years ago, innovation in this category was lackluster. Amid several attempts most have failed (see the chronology of failed Google attempts), there is hope with yesterday’s announcement. In previous launches, their efforts were mere copies of Facebook’s (+1 vs Like) or struggled with too much complexity (Wave) and privacy woes (see my additional analysis on Google vs Facebook vs Twitter).
Yet strikes the right balance with Google+
Although I’ve only spent a few hours cruising throughout Google’s latest endeavor, “Google +1″ I found myself strangely comfortable with the feature set. Groups (now called “Circles”), A wall with a cascading microfeed, Chat tools, commenting tools. In particular, great care was taken to craft the “Share” feature which makes it crystal clear on which circle or even in public you’ll share information. In the past, both Google and Facebook have miffed on how information will be shared. Being a late adopter has given Google the advantage here, they’ve had a few mistries, seen where Facebook has fallen, and have put the right features together.
But offers no reason to migrate From Facebook…yet
Yet, despite the familiar balance of features and site structure layout, this looks like a bare bones version of Facebook (minus the excessive ads, applications, yesterday tabs, and confusing user interface). As a result, I don’t see how this differentiates from Facebook. There is one saving grace that could make this tool unique, “Google Sparks” which is a conversation starter around different topics, that could leverage the Google search and media features.While only on the first week, I’ll reserve final judgement, but there isn’t a compelling reason why someone would switch to Google+ after setting up their social connections on Facebook.
The Bottom Line:
When it comes to features, Google is at parity with Facebook, but isn’t compelling for a mass immigration of social behavior. They must quickly integrate Google’s unique products like YouTube, Gmail, Apps, and others to slowly attract users over.
Acquisition of ‘Powered’ Grows Social Software and Services Footprint in Enterprise Companies. Austin based Dachis Group, who has a war chest from Austin Ventures, has been on a buying spree and has pre-briefed me in their acquisition of Powered, a social and marketing platform with strong social media services, who they recently acquired, including Crayon, Stepchange and Drill Team (read my analysis). To date, Dachis Group has acquired seven firms such as Xplane digital management and change management orginization, the adoption council 2.0, a user community, and many of my former team mates from Forrester’s social computing research group.
Dachis, An Enterprise Contender, Threatens Incumbent Consulting Firms
In this mornings post (coincidentally timed) I released data how social media boutiques, like Dachis, are winning deals against incumbent traditional agencies. Jeff Dachis, former agency maven, has clinched a sizable acquisition investment, and has experience growing digital agencies, such as Razorfish in the first wave. Expect Dachis to compete strongly with incumbent consulting firms. I asked Peter Kim, (former Forrester Colleague) about their vision and he replied their vision is “Holistic point of view stemming from social business design, and how to formulate a strategy, activating them, understanding collaboration and company culture”. The last time we heard this type of chanage management vision was 10-15 years ago with ERP deployments.
Industry Impacts: What You Should Expect Here’s my industry analyst perspective on what these changes mean:
Raises questions about being a platform provider –beyond just services. Dachis purchased Powered, which offers a marketing platform with social business software features and poses. This will pose questions from customers who don’t want to be funneled into a platform owned by a partner, especially if they have their own platforms in place.
Threaten incumbent consulting firms. Although outnumbered, Dachis has over 220 employees now globally, and can work with large multi-national firms threatening IBM Global Services (see recent announcement), Deloitte, KPMG, Accenture, and even Forrester’s consulting group.>
Scrutinized as a hodge podge of acquisitions without a common vision. Dachis Group had formerly released a confusing framework of social business design, but has since started to crystalize their messaging around social business design. Yet expect buyers and competitors to point out how Dachis’s acquisitions of seven firms in a short period of time really is only an assorted mixture of companies.
My Take: Strong Move For Dachis Group, Furthering Credibility as a Social Business Firm
Dachis Group made a good move, this gives them them software infrastructure to lay out into brands and then have sticky deals with recurring revenues. Furthermore, their growing staff gives them ability to take on larger deals where incumbent firms already play. I asked Peter Kim about the terms of the deal, what will happen to the Powered team and software, but he was unable to comment. To overcome challenges, Dachis Group must prove to the market they are one consolidated offering (not just a mixup of acquisitions), and clearly articulate how they’ll work with other software and service providers in the industry.
The Situation – C Round Funding Jive, who recently raised a $15mm in 2007 has capped off their war chest with a hefty $30mm ‘C round’ for a total of $57.5 million in total. Why this large amount? ‘D rounds’ are virtually non-existent out of Sand Hill road, and if they need investment they’ll have to get from a partner corporation.
Altimeter Group SWOT Analysis
Jive has been hailed as a leader in the social software class, (Forrester Wave, and three Gartner Quadrants), and continues to show growth with large clients, claiming sales in the range of “$75,000-$150,000 per customer, closed ten $1 million deals, four of which closed in the last two quarters. While Jive is not yet cash-flow positive, he company has 3,000 customers, 15 million users, and will end the year on a $100 million run-rate” (source). Their recent acquisition of brand monitoring company FiltrBox demonstrates the pre-cursor of SCRM systems, and have made a variety of strategic partnership including with early-to-market social business consultants Dachis Group. They’ve recently hired a new CEO, Tony Zingale who is a seasoned leader of Mercury Interactive, where he clinched $1B revenues and lead a $5B acquisition to HP. Lastly, they’ve shifted HQ from Portland to tech (and VC) centric Palo Alto.
They’re undergoing a cultural shift from a hip Portland startup, to becoming a tried and true enterprise player. With a new CEO (Tony Zingale), and with a new CMO (Kiker has moved on) to take the helm soon, they’ll have to undergo both an internal mindset change as they shift to battle enterprise players. Also, as Jive takes on larger clients, they risk alienating their small and medium size clients who can’t afford, or can’t scale with Jive’s new value proposition.
Expect this war chest to be used to bolster the sales and marketing team. C-rounds often focus on getting the company ready for a “material” event. Jive will most likely use this time to build out significant partner channels and business development with enterprise clients. Platform investments should support new partner models that support value added service growth. Altimeter expects Jive to focus on bookings and immediate recurring revenue in order to maximize value for a “material” event.
Key threats come from larger vendors who may suddenly gain a “social” religion, they’re moving from dominating the small pond of community platforms to big and must bolster for a new type of battle in the enterprise application market. Should an Oracle or SAP decide to enter the market, it may make overtures for an acquisition. Salesforce.com and RightNow are the biggest CRM threats as they have integrated with key social business constituents and Chatter offers competitive features on an existing footprint of customers. Mainstay social business platform Microsoft Sharepoint can continue to win favor through having a large direct and channel sales force, and new vendors like Broadvision who stem from a traditional eBusiness heritage. Although they’ve been compared with Lithium in the past, we don’t see them as a direct competitor as both these vendors will develop friction directly with the larger enterprise software players. Jive’s CEO Tony Zingale has been quoted as diminsihing the incumbents as having Social media “bolt on” features and Jive bloggers are already throwing bombs at CRM vendors. Yet, expect these incumbents to use their existing enterprise footprints, CIO relationships, and direct and channel sales teams to their advantage.
Altimeter Group’s Take
Jive has hit a milestone moment, as this 30mm dowry prepares them to move into a new category, this is an accelerant. This money will be used for rapid expansion as organic growth will not be enough to achieve velocity that existing enterprise incumbents may already be able to leverage.
Jive must partner with more system integrators, enterprise class software vendors, and integration providers to gain a solid foothold with enterprise buyers. The money is clearly in the enterprise buyer market where existing ERP, CRM budgets can be gleaned.
Expect Jive to bolster recurring revenues, and stabilize growth, and prepare for an IPO in 2011 –an achievement we haven’t heard much about here in Silicon Valley for nearly 10 years.
The Bottom Line For Competitors – Don’t Be Last To Play Catchup Market and solution footprint consolidation will continue around the key components of social business. Expect market laggards and legacy competitors to work out their build/buy decisions over the next 8 to 12 months. Most legacy software vendors lack not only the R&D prowess, but also the DNA to successfully launch a social product. Early consolidators will gain the best deals. Laggards will be odd man out during the rapid consolidation in the next 18 to 24 months
The Bottom Line For Buyers – Invest In Jive But Keep Them Vested In Your Success Jive will emerge as one of the winners in providing social business solutions. The company has the potential to IPO and succeed as an independent provider. Other competitors will emerge and play catchup over the next 24 months. However, should an IPO event succeed, the funding will provide Jive with the war chest to go after adjacent competitors and build out its base. During the journey towards an IPO, customers and prospects must keep the management team focused on investing in successful deployments and outcomes, ensuring they get rapid service and support despite focused on top line growth.
The Altimeter Group is a Research Advisory firm focused on disruptive technologies, located in San Mateo. We believe in openness, and disclose our clients with their permission, as a result, we hope you’ll trust us more.
Today marks yet another important era in Facebook’s saga, they are expected to make a big push to extend the Facebook experience to every webpage.
Today, I attended the f8 developer conference hosted by Facebook, they’ve made some key announcements on what they want their developers to do. While there’s a lot of news sources and bloggers rehashing what was announced, I’d like to go a step deeper and talk about the ecosystem impacts, opportunities and threats, and provide some insights. Here’s my take:
Matrix: Facebook’s Crusade of Colonization
I just finished watching the keynote, while there’s a lot of folks rehashing news, my goal is to tell you what it means, and the impacts it has.
What It Is
What No One Tells You
An open protocol that’s designed to aggregate all social activities from your friend back to Facebook
This makes Facebook a social inbox, regardless of the service: Pandora, Yelp, your corporate site
Email providers like Gmail/Buzz, Microsoft Windows Live, Yahoo, and AOL all want to be those destinations, now competing with 500mm users in FB
Facebook wants to be the starting point for your world –the new email inbox. If they turn on advanced search tools, this can threaten google.com
Social Plugins: “Like” button
Allows website managers to quickly embed ‘like’ feature on website, like other social features. This will aggregate on FB, and is a form of social bookmarks
As users go to websites (Like CNN) they can see which one of their real friends like which article.
Now your friends are the editors, threatening traditional editorial process. Threat to social bookmarking tools like Delicious
All this social aggregated content will yield a powerful database of what you and your friends like, the precursor to customized web experiences and social advertising.
Social Plugins: “Social Bar”
A floating bar at the bottom of a webpage embedded by simple code allows for EVERY page to be quickly social.
Everywhere you go online your friends can be with you, forever connected
Google Side Wiki,Meebo, and Liveworld’s Livebar (unless they both integrate Facebook FB API). Disclosure: Liveworld is a client
Now as every page can be social, there is no reason for consumers to make buying mistakes –their friends opinions are always there, diminishing power of marketers.
A partnership with Microsoft that allows Microsoft office docs to now be social with your Facebook friend
This can extend collaboration with your friends to the office environment
Unsure if this use case makes sense, are your friends those you want to collaborate with? This is a direct threat to Google Docs
Facebook and Microsoft are in bed, to team up against Google. Expect advertising based on social context to appear soon.
“Presence” Location based data
Facebook handed out in every attendees page an RFID tag that allows you to swipe it at kiosks to indicate your locations, see mine.
Although experimental expect this to extend to location base applications, eventually tying into credit cards, and mobile devices
Location based social networks like Yelp, Gowalla, MyTown, Foursquare and Twitter already allow people to do this –the difference? Add these chips to physical objects
Expect this technology to extend to mobile phones, credit cards, and future consumer products –allowing for unique social interactions.
War Horn Sounded For Developers To Spread Facebook Experience:
A Precursor to Social CRM. All of the social data that is now being aggregated to Facebook is the foundation for Social CRM. As Facebook captures each ’object’ whether it be a song, restaurant, person, or ‘like’ they are now assigning a Facebook ID (primary key). This unique identifier will allow every person, object, and piece of media to be trackable and have associated metadata. In the future, expect these objects to be used by developers to quickly assemble experience in context, right on the fly.
Corporate websites can now be social –yet beware the tradeoffs. Corporate websites are plagued with inflexible archaic content management systems. Rather than wait for IT to develop a social roadmap for the corporate website, brands can now embed Facebook social features on corporate sites, serving up interaction and allowing users to find content their friends also like. Yet beware, by allowing Facebook to be the primary login, this reduces the traditional way of capturing leads and populating your database. Secondly, by doing this once, you’re setting the promise that Facebook will always be part of our corporate experience.
Facebook goes more public, and threatens Google –but users may revolt. Facebook’s roaring growth is a threat to Google and other web portals, and as more developers deploy these hooks, they spread their colonies all over the internet. Yet Facebook’s core conundrum is they’ve made the promise to their users to keep the experience private and closed. Expect continued scrutiny over privacy as Facebook struggles to go open to compete with Google, dragging along users to be more public every step of the way. Facebook’s battles are both external as well as internal.
The Altimeter Group was pre-briefed by Twitter COO Dick Costolo last week about this upcoming launch, we’ve had some time to think over what it means to the industry. Help your boss fight through the clutter, send them this post.
Summary: Twitter has launched Promoted Tweets, combining paid and organic media. Brands can now advertise promoted tweets on search pages, however the community has power over which tweets will appear measured by Twitter’s new metric called “resonance” which factors in behaviors like the retweet, at, hash, avatar clicks. Brands can now purchase CPM based ads to promote these popular tweets at the top of a Twitter search term –even in categories they aren’t well known in, influencing awareness. Marketers beware: unlike traditional advertising or social marketing this is both a combination of earned media and paid media. For Twitter this experimental move makes sense as it taps into deep pockets of online advertisers without jeapordizing sanctity of the community as users will self select which tweets will resonate and thereby become promoted ads.
How it will work, a likely use case scenario:
Twitter users will continue to interact with each other, and popular tweets will receive a high ‘resonance’ score from Twitter. Some of these Tweets will be created by brands, and some by the users themselves.
Tweets with heavy resonance can be purchased by advertisers in a CPM basis to appear as the first ‘sponsored’ Tweet on a search term. (Update: Just saw Dick’s recent video suggesting that promoted tweets will appear in other locations beyond search) The sponsored tweets will be clearly labeled and have a different background color.
These promoted tweets will only stay if users continue to resonate with them, those that don’t will disappear and a different tweet with resonation will appear.
Matrix: What Twitter’s Promoted Tweets Business Model Means to the Ecosystem
This has several implications to the ecosystem as a whole, we’ve broken down the impacts to the various players in this matrix:
What They Will Do
What No One Tells You
Finally gets a business model beyond search deal partnerships with potential to scale. Taps into deep pockets of online advertisers.
Experiment. Expect black and gray hat marketers to try to game this system, in order to obtain resonance. Twitter will constantly tune algorhythm like Google does.
Expect this to cascade to their partners and grow into the ecosystem as Twitter aggregates resonation on other 3rd party sites
Have power over which promoted ads will stay visible
Initially be shocked by changes, then learn they can help self select tweets that will be promoted.. In the real time resonace world users have a lot more power
Power tweeters like celebs and digerati will be targeted by marketers to engage and resonate tweets. Twitter users that retweet tweets may be surprised to see their promoted tweets in search engine results ads.
The conversation is now being monetized, with changes to the outcomes of whats expected of the online conversation and engagement.
Educate traditional marketers. These folks will try to increase resonance of tweets by interacting with community. Will build an inventory of top promotable tweets
Don’t go overboard, make sure you think of this in the larger context of integrated marketing. Avoid shiny tool syndrome. Must pay close attention to what terms are resonating with community to build inventory
Direct Marketers and Advertisers
Finally traditional advertisers and direct marketers have skin in the social game in a way they know.
Flail. Many will try to buy their way in and obtain resonation without asking why a tweet resonates. Will fight over top searched terms in Twitter, expect a lot of contests to promote tweet engagement.
Expect tension between this marketer and the social marketer if education is not completed.
Developers and Agencies
A clear goal (resonation) has been put forth, with opportunity to get a cut of the incoming advertising dollars.
Developers are waiting with baited breathe for Chirp developers conference this week to see how this will be tied in. Twitter has indicated that promoted tweets will spread to clients, expect revenue sharing to be offered
Don’t buy the first ‘resonation solution’ that comes around, expect half a dozen vendors and agencies to approach brands in the next quarter offering the ability to increase ‘resonance’ and case studies will show increase in resonance.
Competitors and Search Engines
A new player being in town a new form of advertising is afoot changing the game.
Expect nervous deals to come to the table on how search engine results can factor in Twitter’s resonance. Expect players like MSFT and Yahoo to quickly launch their version of defining how the social web should be categorized.
They will have the advantage of built in ad base of advertisers and millions more users. Expect existing Twitter partners Google Search and Microsoft Bing will fold this in and reward resonance and combine with page rank, or will create their own metric to reward social engagement
For Resonation, Brands Must Pay Closer Attention To Users –This Isn’t Traditional Spray And Pray. Power continues to be in the hands of the users, however brands that pay attention to why tweets resonate will have a leg up. here’s how you should approach this new space:
Change your mindset, as organic and paid merge: This is a combination of organic and paid ads, you’ll need skills from both worlds to be successful. Direct marketers should educate social marketers, and social marketers should explain how resonation occurs in the conversational web. Remember, this gives top tweets staying power beyond the constant stream of chatter. In the end, remember that users have power over which advertising inventory will be created, chosen, and allowed to stay as a promoted tweet.
Remember Twitter users have power over which promoted Tweets will work: Remember that users they get to choose which tweets can be put into the advertising inventory as their interaction will self select which tweets can become promoted. Secondly, promoted tweets that don’t yield community engagement will also fall off the stream. is that in the real time resonance world users have a lot more power. Brands must analyze what works for users first before promoting tweets.
Then, carefully pick tweets to be promoted by analyzing the conversation: First, monitor which tweets are already resonating with your brand, take note of what is causing it to resonate and in what context. Secondly, recognize that these tweets should have long term impact, not a daily special as the tweet is promoted, users will interact with it, forcing it into a viral loop. For best results, experiment with promoting tweets from your customers –not just those that you create.
Recognize that ‘Resonance’ is the page rank of microblogging: Advertising agencies and social marketing agencies will come out of woodwork with “resonance solutions”, yet most will do it wrong. Instead, look for a sophisticated partner that knows the value of social conversational marketing to create an inventory and the long term experience of an advertising agency. Expect resonation to also cascade to other social networks like Facebook and even community platforms and content management systems to derive what content should surface. Twitter has made nods to new dashboards to appear, expect your agency partners to align around resonation as the new ROI.
Web Strategy Summary
Facebook to now offer Paypal as an additional way to buy advertisements and virtual currency for social games (press release). This paves a way for Facebook to reach global advertisers who prefer PayPal vs traditional credit cards. Although this partnership is limited in parameters to those two specific use cases of ads and virtual currency, this is yet another testing ground for developing Facebook into an eCommerce platform with over 400 million global users.
Update: Facebook contacted me after this post went up, and made it clear, this is announcement is not intended towards eCommerce, and is really just limited to the two use cases. While I understand and agree with the scope of today’s announcement, as brands interject more money into Facebook via advertisements, and on the flip side, users are more comfortable purchasing goods (albeit virtual) this continues to be an opportunity for brands and their members to get comfortable with monetary exchanges. As such, I’ve removed from the title of this post “Testing ground for eCommerce”, although the rest of the post stands.
Background Facebook has been testing the ability for users to purchase virtual Facebook credits for over a year, allowing users to send virtual goods to each other, as well as purchase additional features in third party social games. Over a dozen of these third party games already exist extending created by playfish, Zynga, CrowdStar, and others.
Increased revenues for Facebook –and PayPal. For Facebook, and their new partner PayPal, this deal makes sense, as they can continue to grow scalable, low-touch revenues streams by cultivating international advertising dollars, where there is clear global growth. This spurs international brands to continue to deploy Facebook ads, likely in the SMB space as international companies that are enterprise class would delegate ad buying to their digital agency. Although Facebook touts their advertising program, no official case studies or data has been released by them or third party researchers to my knowledge.
Additional channels to monetize heavy game players. For the game heavy , perhaps the 43 year old middle age women with disposable incomes, this gives them new opportunities to play games with increased functionality.
More use cases for game creators to test virtual goods, with brand sponsors. Game creators should allow for virtual items to be introduced into their games, and be sure to have a business development opportunity for large brands to participate –and offer branded virtual items in context of a social game.
The big opportunity? Testing ground for ecommerce within Facebook.
Facebook should roll this out to the application developer community to allow ecommerce functionality to the platform, starting with an application from eBay, the owner of PayPal. Brands should carefully watch how these early test by Facebook occur –and expect by end of year that Facebook will start to experiment with allowing ecommerce happen directly on Facebook Fan Pages. This is, of course, extremely exciting –but could be very terrifying to normal users.
Left: Inline with the Google style guide of primary colors, Google launches a new logo for Google Buzz, using familiar “chat bubble” iconology.
Google launches status update features
Google launches Buzz, which many will find similar to Friendfeed now part of the Facebook family. Google Buzz will enable content to be aggregated, and then prioritized based upon the people you already email with, which Harry McCracken and I call this a social graph based on history, “Historical social graph” or HSG. Secondly, this Google Buzz feature will rate and rank content based on activity and interaction within your social group. Users can choose to publish the Buzz in public, which will display on the Google Profile page. They also announced the ability to input this data from mobile devices and showed a voice to text scenario. They plan to make more announcements based on enterprise versions –and more at their IO developer conference.
Enough about news, I’m sure you’ll find more on Techmeme, here are my insights.
Analysis: Impacts To Industry
Google continues its prime directive. At the high level, this is a strong move for Google, they continue to aggregate other people’s social content, and become the intermediatry. This helps them to suck in Twitter, Flickr, and any-other-data type as the APIs open up, giving them more to ‘organize’. This is Google acting on it’s mission to the world.
Privacy woes will scare consumers –yet adoption will continues upward. For consumers, the risk of privacy will continue to be at top of mind. Although the features allow for sharing only with friends or in public. expect more consumer groups to express concern. Overtime, this will become moot as the next generation of consumers continues to share in public.
Buzz could have faster adoption rate than Twitter. For consumers, this could potentially have more adoption than Twitter as Gmail has a large footprint Google told me it’s tens of millions (active monthly unique). Of course, most Gmail users likely aren’t Twitter users, but there could be a large platform to draw from.
Physical businesses lose more control over search strategy. For small busineses and retailers, this will impact their search engine results pages, as a single top ‘buzzer’ could cause their content to be very relevant, if that person was relevant, then their influential content could show at top of SERP pages. Expect Google to continue to offer advertising options now around buzz content –fueling their revenues.
A direct blow to Facebook, they must accelerate go to market. To Facebook, this is a direct threat, these features emulate Friendfeed and the recently designed Facebook newsfeed. Expect Google to incorporporate Facebook connect, commoditizing Facebook data as it gets sucked into Google and displayed on Google SERP.
Great for Twitter now –yet painful in the long term. This is good for Twitter in the short term, as it’ll amplify tweets, and suck them into a new system and give additional reach. Yet over time, status features will become a commodity, and Twitter as a destination will fade into the background.
A Solution Set of Services Bolsters a Marketing Platform
I’ve heard of crayon, and have many conversations and even podcasts with founder Joseph Jaffe, I’ve also spent time with the Powered executive team last year. Stepchange is a 13 person team out of Portland focused on Facebook Apps and mobile, and Drillteam, from NY, has been around for 10 years and focuses on experitntial and advocacy marketing, such as connecting events to online like street teams, guerrilla, and ambassador programs. Powered isn’t just a community platform, I learned they have other marketing features that really intent to provide a suite of offerings.
Natural Evolution Of A Growing Market:
Consolidation happens in downturned markets. As the recession starts to show signs of it lifting, now’s a great time for companies to come together and create a greater value. We saw this type of acquisition behavior from agencies during the first boom, and we should expect similar patterns here.
Acquisition provides key services software platforms can’t fill. It makes sense for Powered platform to partner up with a service(s) teams that have already been successful for some time, this improves the time to market to deployment. In addition to coming with a book of business, they can quickly deploy the Powered platform, expanding the software footprint. Joseph Jaffe has strong thought leadership, an existing marketing brand, and reach needed to the group.
Yet, brings risk for Powered and new partners. First of all, there are some big names coming together, the real stress will be can these cultures, and their strong willed leaders, be able to jive together. Secondly, it’ll be interseting to see if Crayon and services teams forces stragies on their clients that involve the Powered platform. I asked if there are any layoffs coming from consolidation, they haven’t made any plans, but when you have 4 companies coming together expect redundancy.
Impacts To Customers, Partners and Competitors:
Social Agencies should rekindle and bolster relationships. This impacts other social agencies like Stage Two Consulting, Social Media Group, AdHoc, Ant’s Eye View, ForumOne, Community Roundtable, Shift Communications, Dachis, FutureWorks, New Marketing Labs, who may be at medium and small tier, they should quickly partner up with other firms to increase their value.
Customers of crayon, Drillteam, and Stepchange should request agnostic recommendations. Any client of these three agencies should make sure that the strategy they are being offered includes other vendors and platforms –not just the Powered platform and Facebook platform. Remember, first find out where your customers are online before choosing the tools to use.
This is competition for larger agencies –yet savvy agencies will partner. This is a threat to large agencies like Organic, Razorfish, Ogilvy, and Edelman. Yet the smart agencies won’t get defensive, they should partner with this team, and figure out what offerings they can offer that they don’t have in their portfolio.
Congrats to the Powered, crayon, Drilldteam and Stepchange team for this merger, I’m excited to see the industry emerge from small disparate startups to a larger entity going forward.
Connect the Affluent, Educated, and Active Community To Your Site The stats are obvious, they have a network of 52mm (a sixth of the size of Facebook’s 300mm+) engaged individuals that represent decision makers and those that aspire to be upwardly mobile in their career, view the stats page to learn more. In fact, over 51% earn more than $100k+ a year, and 23% earn more than $150K+ annually. Over 77% of community members have a college degree, making this an educated bunch, yet It’s not just about quality of community, their is an apparent degree of site activity, LinkedIn’s site rivals that of Forbes, and even the WSJ.com, according to Compete.
Your Business Applications And Website Should Never Be “Alone”
If your company is in B2B or trying to reach business professionals, chances are you have an application for them to use. Now, as you launch them, you can quickly integrate with the LinkedIn platform, this way personal data is already populated. This also goes for your corporate website, provide your users the ability to see which one of their LinkedIn contacts has been there, and encourage them to interact with your site and trigger messages back to their LinkedIn news page –fostering word of mouth.
LinkedIn Data To Be Pervasive
CIOs must wake up and realize the value of social networks, even last week, LinkedIn announced a partnership with Microsoft Oulook, extending it’s profile information to legacy email systems. Data will get pre-populated, meaning your contacts can be viewable within the context of your existing emails, empowering you to know more about who you’re meeting even though you’ve never met. We should expect in the future that existing Intranet networks will connect their LDAP to the LinkedIn profile.
And yes, if you haven’t noticed yet, the speed on innovation on the social web is increasing at a rapid pace, things are happening faster than ever. To get a good sense of the evolution of LinkedIn, I’ve created this matrix which shows it’s evolution and some predictions of where things are to head.
Web Strategy Matrix: Evolution of LinkedIn
Destination Social Network
LinkedIn is a destination social network, users to there, login and only communicate within the confines of the domain.
Since it’s inception in 2003, this is how it’s been.
Allows third parties to build applications that sit on the LI domain and interact much like Facebook’s Platform
In Oct 2008, A small hand-selected group of companies like Box were allowed to do this, it’s not currently rolled out to others.
Third party websites can allow users to login using LinkedIn identity, see which friends are also present, then spread information back to LinkedIn.com.
This is today’s announcement, Nov 2009
Personalized Experiences on Third Party Sites
Third party websites can provide personalized content to first time users by recognizing their LinkedIn profile.
Prediction: Mid 2010
LinkedIn partners with SalesForce, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, to allow data in LinkedIn to quickly be exported to CRM systems. As customers have queries or support issues, the CRM systems will trigger notifications to brand managers.
Prediction: Late 2010
Using mobile devices, users can quickly hold a device up a cell phone in front of a peer to see their LinkedIn data –without even having a conversation.
(Left: I met and interviewed MySpace’s team Will and Jim)
I just got back from the brand spanking new SF MySpace office, an event tonight that was catered to the new developer platform which they announced today. This post isn’t aimed at developers, but at the Web Strategist (web decision maker) here’s what you need to know:
Here’s what to expect:
After watching this space, talking to MySpace techical staff, and talking to many developers at the event, here’s my predictions and insights.
1) MySpace builds strategic relationship with widget developer community
MySpace’s new SF office is a great foothold into Silicon Valley, in particular, to the widget developer community. Most of the widget network developers are located in this area, and by buidling relationships with them, there’s an opportunity they’ll launch their widgets on their container, fueling the next generation of MySpace. The schwag (pics below) really catered to the developer: a backpack full of shirts, flip video player, and a few toys for the beach. (for the sandbox)
2) Unlike Facebook, Developer and MySpace will partner and monetize Unlike Facebook, it’s expected that developers will have direct access to monetize utilizing MySpace’s advertising tools. Although it wasn’t formally announced, expect hyper targeting, and other monetization opportunities to be available to developers.
3) MySpace respects Privacy MySpace, a later adopter to this movement, let Facebook make it’s mistakes (newspage and Beacon) and will not suffer from the same issues. Expect Myspace to play it safe, and play it right, leaning on the mistakes from Facebook.
4) While not fully developed, expect platform to slowly evolve It was very clear (I talked to many developers in the room) and they were all waiting to see what the platform was like, as very little was released, miany documentation. I asked during the Q&A session when all the APIs will be available, and they said “tonight…(looking over at colleagues) right?” Laughter from crowd erupted. There will be three APIs released each with different abilities. Also, applications can display in 5 different locations within MySpace, including a private area for the user to see the application without anyone else seeing it.
5) Widgets on MySpace react different than other Social Networks Even if widgets can be easily ported over from Facebook to Myspace don’t expect them to work the same. Demographics (who they are), Psyhographics (their emotional drivers), and Technographics (how they use technology) will all be different. Expect very few of the successful applications in Facebook to perform the same way in MySpace.
6) MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo coexist I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked “is Facebook a Myspace killer?” the answer is no, they are different tools from different audiences. They will coexist.
What it means:
Expect a lot of trial and error development to occur, this is really and experimentation stage for the next 3 months. The platform will ilkely have a lot of tweaking and expect a lot of experimentation from the developer community. In the long run, MySpace will be able to successfully monetize, developers will profit, and brands will start to get involved. Hopefully, the user experience will respect the wishes of the users, and it will be a win for all.
Recommendations to the Web Strategist Unless you’re already a successful widget developer you should not engage, instead you should Wait and Watch, and see what applications work, and what won’t. Then, consider contacting those developer networks to rebrand successful applications, or go a step further and create interactive of social campaigns partnering with them, and lastly, developing your own widget.