Realitus wins Interactive Media Awards for 2010

In July 2010 Realitus were awarded the an IMA award for the design of The Watch Hut e commerce website. The Interactive Media Award (IMA) is the most prestigious of international awards for web design. The reason is that the IMA does not focus on coding issues, but addresses user focused criteria that impact on how effective a website from the customer’s perspective.

The website was designed substantially throughout November and December 2009 and then technical issues and development flaws ironed out with Netsposure, the site’s developers. The site launched in June 2010 and the award was made only six weeks later in July 2010.

David Yates, of Realitus, the designer of The Watch Hut website said:

My starting point was a rather frightening set of challenges. I first realised how much detail there is in some watches, how many technical features, stylistic considerations, sizes, colours, materials etc. not to mention price bands, and brands. You then have to multiply that by six thousand watches to arrive at the enormity of the task. And the question facing you is ‘create an interface so that people can navigate through all of that and choose the right watch within three clicks’. I realised that a selection and purchasing interface for The Watch Hut was going to have to incorporate some new and very radical ways of doing things.

So, when I redesigned www.thewatchhut.co.uk I had to find a way to provide, in a single simple view, all you need to locate, explore and examine any of 6000 watches, from Tag to Swatch and everything in between.

The design initially focused on the the product page. This is like no other purchasing interface on the web. It is a purchasing dashboard containing all the information you could ever need from: 3D video; large images, specs, ordering information, advanced navigation and filtering – everything in a single view.It tells you by the second how long you have to order the watch for next day delivery, it shows packaging options and technical specs and it does it in a clear and neat interface.

award winning web design

The Product Page - an advanced 'purchasing dashboard'

But the key to the design is in how simple it is to use it all. Moving from a home page the site dynamically generates landing pages collecting together all watches defined in any way the user wants. You can start by looking for any single attribute from the brand to the colour to the price – whatever you want and the site then presents you with all those watches in a single landing page. But it also gives you a really cleaver set of tools to allow you to hone your selection. It is possible to start with a view of six thousand watches and with two or three clicks on a filtering panel on the screen, eliminate all the watches that do not fit your view or your preference, leaving you with a personalised selection of watches all fitting your own choices from style to function to affordability.

Advanced yet simple filtering get you from 6000 watches to one in a few clicks

The judges at The IMA have endorsed this approach with a massively impressive set of scores. From a maximum score of 500 the site scored 468 points, scoring:

  • Design: 92
  • Content: 97
  • Feature Functionality: 98
  • Usability: 96
  • Standards Compliance & Cross-Browser Compatibility: 85

There were 57 entries submitted under the ‘E-Commerce’ category in the 2010 award year from around the world and the award has been made to only four sites, with the Watch Hut being the only UK site honoured.

The award is published online though the IMA website at Interactive Media Awards Winner 2010 – Outstanding Achievement for The Watch Hut

‘The Social Media Question’ – PowerPoint Presentation for download

The Realitus Social Media Question presentation was created in conjunction with a test site (trialzone.co.uk) as a broad overview of the Social Media phenomenon and illustrates the way connectivity, user generated content and viral dynamics operate through social media. You are free to use it with the proviso that it must be credited on any reproduction of the content, verbally in presentation and as a printed credit otherwise.

Download Link (Warning this file is about 62 Mb)

NB: About Trialzone.co.uk

Trialzone.co.uk is a live presentation (and occasional test environment) which we have used as a live site during client presentations. The site itself is largely filled with placeholder content or RSS imported content and has been set up so as to not appear through search engines. In this way any imported content will be viewed as duplicate content anywhere on the web.

WordPress security

The WordPress community has been shaken out of it’s smug superiority with the news that it is being targetted by hackers. Pete Cashmore’s Mashable site has put the word out on the web. And WordPress has released the news itself through the WordPress users CMS screens with the rather helpful inclusion of an instant upgrade to sort it out.

But WordPress gets hacked all the time. The problem is that it is so popular. Anyone with a modicum of web knowledge can set up a WordPress site and after that, a good many of them forget about their sites. I thought I would take a look at this site and upgrade it today and guess wha,t it had been hacked. There were some hidden links to drug websites. I clicked the upgrade link and not much happened. I noticed that the site was trying to reference a site called jobmarketeconomist[dot]com. Weird. I looked at that site and sure enough it was about the job market.

Then I looked it up on Google and the site description showed it as having lots to do with pharmaceutical stuff. And sure enough, once I looked at the source code for their page there were over 4000 hidden links to web pages from the grubby end of the pharmaceutical market.

Now this isn’t the great master hack that everyone has been talking about – our database seemed unaffected, and the links in the site were working, but it has been a sobering lesson. I take care to secure and update this site regularly, but some piece of work somewhere has managed to get a piece of software to find the site, get into it and start invisibly using it to send links to nasty websites.

Fortunately, we are able to take it apart and sort things out. But if you are not able to do this, stick to the hosted version of WordPress. Otherwise, visit your own site from time to time and keep it upgraded.

The Benefits of Social Media

The benefits of running Social Media are initially ‘soft’ benefits. Accumulated, these benefits build to reinforce you, your company and your ideas as good, strong and worth heeding. Benefits of social media would therefore include:

  • People purchase from a trusted source
  • If you ‘know’ an expert you take their advice. You trust their decisions and you act accordingly.
  • Free Advertising
  • Customers that evangelise your product.
  • Repeated and permanent mentions of your web site and product on the web
  • Free Gigantic Focus Groups
  • Discussing of the pros and cons of your products in
    Blogs
    Forums
    Microblogs
    OnLine Mainstream Press
    Review Sites
  • Detailed Customer Behavior Info:
    Conversion rates from specific campaigns
    Community response to specific campaigns
    Sites where conversations about your product occur
    Sites where traffic to your site originates
    Purchasing behavior in your store
    Products affiliates will group your products with
  • Relevant Ideas:
    New product ideas
    New campaign ideas
    Product improvement ideas
    Packaging ideas
    Partnership ideas
    Sales Channel ideas
    Ideas generation (the more people the more ideas)
  • Credibility:
    Recognition of company and staff as experts
    Recognition of company and staff as people (trustworthy)
  • Naturally Occurring and Unexpected Sales Channels:
    Sales can now flow from anywhere, based on the networks of your new evangelists. (e.g. one of your products is for e.g. a disabled person. One of your followers thinks it is really good. They may well be part of all the disabled groups and users on the social media networks. By leaving a good comment about you on your faceBook page, all their connections see it also. Suddenly you have lots of free exposure to exactly the right people voiced by exactly the right person)

Objective

More business
Targetted visitors
More market information
Better search engine placement against a range of search terms
Brand development online
Credibity of brand and personalisation of the organisation
Elevate Westland above competitors and ‘claim the online gradening space’
Establish Westland as ‘The’ online gardening people

The main benefit is in and around the brand. It establishes your company as the easiest and best resource for expertise. If you are first onlne and you get it right, it creates barriers to competitors. It sets a standard and owns the relationship as contacts are established and become direct marketing contacts.

DIY Social Media campaigns

Notwithstanding all the idiosyncrasies of each individual organisation, it is possible to put together a basic template for a social media campaign.

Working on the notion of a client ‘Client X’:

DIY Social Media Campaign Template

  1. Create Client X accounts on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites. These accounts act as a billboard in those communities and bring Client X interest back to the Client X site.
  2. Monitor all discussion forums, blogs, and other information sources on the web for mentions of Client X.
  3. Create community tools on their own web site to encourage discussion, lead generation, and product development support.
  4. Participate in every discussion about their product that happens on the web, even if only to thank people for discussing the product. Through this they personalise interactions between consumer and product.
  5. Automate the monitoring of the web for the popularity of their products and those of their rivals.
  6. Actively track performance measures of the sales of their products and their social media reach.
  7. Update their blog daily and participate in other blog discussions across the web.
  8. Be a person! Participate freely in conversations on the web that they are just interested in not necessarily about product or subject matter – unless specifically asked about it or it’s obviously relevant.
  9. Demonstrate competence through their blog. This means most posts are not directly about their products, but provide value beyond their products. One post may talk about a new product being released, followed by ten related tips.
  10. They build product reach using interactive tools like affiliate programs, business partner linking and some contests like “name the product” or “design a product” or “find the shop on a map.”
  11. They reward good behavior in their communities and on the web. They personally write to / acknowledge their biggest fans. They invite people who are knowledgeable to write in the Client X blog and participate in the site. They gracefully acknowledge expertise, enthusiasm, and participation.
  12. The application of social media systems involves the participation in the greater social web community. The directors and their staff need to be good ‘community members’ in order to reap the benefits of social media tools. (They have to honestly give to honestly get).

Tactical Social Media Campaigns

It can be effective to run social media campaigns alongside regular social media activity. These would be specific events designed to stand out and create a noticeable impression. These tend to rely upon viral dispersion but often get talked about by others online and in printed media as well.

There are references to many such campaigns online. I can case study our Australian partners Bendall’s involvement in the campaign with Australian PM Kevin Rudd

following the devastating bush fires in 2009 and others. Some are convoluted and others strike a chord with people out there. You might as well give it a go, it will attract attention and give your audience a flavour of the sort of people you are. Social Media is all about people.

Bringing It All Together

Social Media is a platform. You build things on it. In order to build an effective campaign it has to be coherent, participatory, maintainable and acceptable to the public. That’s tricky, but it has been established that successful campaigns aren’t just acceptable, they are valued by the public.

Social media is a social contract – you are inviting your public to work with you.

Social Media for Business

Social Media is problematic for business. Business websites are being circumvented in favour of information available through social media sites. Information given freely through a social network is likely to be trusted while there is a cynicism associated with corporate information. Social Media can make marketing control difficult: It is viral and bad news can travel fast; subject related traffic can create competition in search engines for keywords; more dynamic competitors can steal a march. However, the medium is established. It’s use is growing exponentially.

In 2008 Forester reported that:

Employers are finding the benefits of using social media: 63 percent are using social media to build and promote their brand, 61 percent are using it to improve communication and collaboration, and 58 percent are using it to increase consumer engagement;

75 percent of employees are already using social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn for business purposes, up 15 percent from 2007;

Use of internal-facing communities is on the rise with 6 percent of organizations already reporting they deployed internal-facing communities, while 33 percent indicate their organization plans to implement internal-facing social media initiatives;

Similarly, external-facing communities are increasing: 27 percent of respondents said their companies were planning to deploy external-facing communities while only 13 percent indicated their organisations already have external-facing communities;

Online communities directed at specific interests and groups of people allow for more targeted marketing techniques and better results so for this reason 37 percent of organisations have specific areas of focus for their communities.

Business opportunities through Social Media

There are business opportunities through Social Media. Popular bloggers, like journalists and magazines, have their followers. They might be considered influencers from a commercial perspective and it is worth building a relationship with them. They are however not journalists or magazines and it is not necessarily wise to assume that cosying up to a popular blogger will do anything positive for your products or yoiur brand – the opposite can happen.

More certain is a social media strategy based upon engagement and participation. It is possible to extend the functionality of a WordPress website, publish content to it and have that information automatically appear across a range of social media sites such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. These posts should be complimented with dedicated activity on these media.

Openness and honesty are the watchwords of social media. Companies who have actively ecouraged their stasff to have social media accounts in the their company name and to use them come across as straight, honest companies airing their openness. Others will deliver through a social media persona operating for a company within the ‘social media sphere’. It might be a real person, it might be lots of information being fed through a single persona and it might be ghost written. Some of this does not sound completely truthful of honest, but it is a practical way around getting things written well, put in places where it will count and actually getting created at all after the first initial flush of activity has died down.

Typically (not exclusively) a busines social media campaign might involve :

  • Running a subject based blog
  • Entering subject related debates/forums/user-groups online
  • Seek to achieve positive ‘redistribution’ of the information
  • Posting tagged content on Flickr, YouTube, iTunes etc.
  • Creating Twitter, Facebook and other accounts
  • Linking all this together so that you can post the information in one place and it then distributes itself either automatically, or through others passing the word on.
  • Engaging in the ebb and flo of information online – even if it is not specifically about your subject. This is social media not corporate media

The general objective of a social media presence would be to:

  • Generate a following
  • Branding (as in promoting the correct perception of your company)
  • Have a direct relationship with a highly targetted audience
  • Establish a definitive position on the web
  • Build backlinks
  • Create a networked critical mass of activity and content
  • Become a trusted part of ‘the community’
  • Initiate viral distribution
  • Initiate a response

What is Social Media?

Social Media is a part of what has become known as Web 2.0. Web 1.0 would describe static websites where information flows one-way from website to reader and any dynamic functionality tends to be socially remote (forms, transactional etc.).

Web 2.0 broadly refers to a trend where the reader has turned publisher. Early examples were forums, still popular for Q&A research. An example of a Web 2.0 site would be Wikipedia. A reader can seek encyclopaedic information on a subject. Any reader can amend and add to the definitions on Wikipedia. The body of knowledge is created and maintained by readers not a central authority.

Social networking refers to self-published content and sites where content is contributed by many and read by many. They gravitate around social relationships or topics of common interest. There are platforms such as Facebook and MySpace, but the platform owners do not publish, they simply provide a place for others to publish and functionality to allow subscribers to share their content with others either openly or in defined groups.

Text, Images, Video and Audio

Since the web is easily able to accommodate media such as audio, images and video as well as text, social sites supporting these media have emerged. Well known sites would be Flickr, YouTube and iTunes. YouTube as an example allows you to create and post video, keep multiple videos in personal collections, tag with keywords and make the video available for rating and search by viewers both from within YouTube and through search engines.

Other social media activities have sprung up such as microblogging, primarily Twitter where users will publish small snippets of content. Content is published often frequently, either spuriously about mundane things or as a type of short-hand logging of information around subjects, conferences, projects and so on and as short cuts to more comprehensive articles on websites. Users follow and get followed by other users and in addition users will follow subject based posts and search for posts on a subject within the system.

Blogs

Perhaps most importantly, blogs have formed one of the foundation stones of social media. A blog is a ready-to-run website designed to take diarised content and index it by date and subject. Blogs can be centrally hosted or self-hosted. They are simple to use and platforms such as WordPress are ‘open source’ providing complete access to the code for the site, its underlying system and the way it operates. WordPress therefore allows a designer to turn a blog into a website yet retain all the linking potency of the original blog. Customisation, redesign and functionality extension is relatively simple for a designer. It means that anyone can have a website and easily create content. Part of the dynamic is the ability to link blogs to social media platforms and social media platforms to each other.

In addition a series of social media support functions have appeared. It has its own search and referencing sites, both as a central resource in the form of Technorati and also in the form of sites such as Digg and Delicious where readers inform these platforms about ‘good’ content. Links created on these sites are becoming trusted reference points and there is some suggestion that Google reflects this in its algorithms

Web 2.0: In case you wondered what it was all about

Most people have lives. they are interested in real things and every now and then a computer generated buzz phrase rises without trace and everyone expects you to know what it’s all about. One of the recent ones is ‘Web 2.0′ (pronounced “web two point oh”

Web 2.0 is a techie joke for and by techies. If you’ve ever tried to hold a conversation with a computer programmer, you’ll realise what an oxymoron the term ‘techie joke is’. The side splittingly funny thing is that when you release a piece of software it is called ‘software 1.0′ minor patches and upgrades will be given the suffix 1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1, etc., etc. When a major change, overhaul and shift in the product is released it will be called software 2.o. So there we have it web 2.0 means a major change, overhaul and shift has happened on the web. But we have apparently overhauled and upgraded ourselves as much as anything else, because web 2.0 describes both new types of web sites and recognises that people are using the web in a different way. Now take some time to breathe deeply and get over the uncontrollable laughter.

Back in the day you could have a web site and tell the world to buy your stuff. You could sell from it and make lots of other things happen, including inviting two way dialogue with customers and others.

Then sites which specialised in two way dialogue appeared. You have probably heard about FaceBook and MySpace. But other sites were also doing it – forums and wikis. These days if you want to find out about something, you will often look it up on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. If you disagree with the definition, you can change it, add to it or create a new entry for the world to see. If you want to find out if a product is any good, you don’t go t their website – that is just propaganda. You do a search and look on a  series of forums or blogs and find out exactly what is being said then make your purchasing decision.

This new generation of websites that enable conversation and content sharing both underpins and is web 2.0.

And there are lots of these things. Twitter to microblog, from your Flickr for pictures, Vimeo, Delicious. You really Digg it if you want to. So how do you work out what is relevant for your business?

Building an effective presence for your brand online these days requires far more than a brochure-style website. Yoiu need a web strategy – a series of activities designed to achieve something beyond workds and pictures on a screen. When you consider that the web is built on technology primarily designed for communication, it makes sense that the exchange of information should be two-way  i.e  what web 2.0 does.

David Yates, the MD and founder of Realitus, has found such tools invaluable. “I use all these tools to build up my personal brand and move my message beyond my own website and onto places where people I want to communicate are likely to be.”

Finding the right medium

Video might be very useful for some people but her style is more “wordy”, he explains. It’s important to find a channel which you’re comfortable with. It’s perhaps no co-incidence that David Cameron appears far more often on the Conservative party’s YouTube page than Gordon Brown does on the Labour party one.

Whether one person in your business is involved or many, a blog is a great way of communicating with your customers, potential customers and peers, and getting feedback from them. Remember: communication is a two-way thing. There’s no point in having a blog if you don’t allow people to comment on what you’ve said, or (almost as bad) don’t reply to some of those comments.

Talking about Twitter

Twitter is a fascinating tool that takes some getting used to, but has a large and growing group of fans who swear by it. It works rather like a very large, open version of an instant messenger programme. You can build up a list of interesting Twitterers to follow and some will start following you. You can post questions and interesting links, or give advice and discuss topical issues (in 140 characters or fewer. Brevity is crucial in the Twitterverse).

Twitter has around six million users, and there are hundreds of brands using the service including WholeFoods, JetBlue and Dell. Just as with blogging, Twitter provides a platform for you to talk to people with the same interests as you and build credibility for you and your work.

Keegan has found that the service is a lifeline if you work at home or in a small office – it can act as a virtual water cooler so you can chat with like-minded people about the issues of the day. “There are musicians, researchers, consultants and journalists using Twitter – it would be churlish to dismiss it as a geek tool,” she says. “We all have technology as a big part of what we do now.”

When we think of social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace usually leap to mind. They’re a great way of sharing photos, videos, links and news with your friends and family, but many people have found it tricky to juggle personal and professional identities on them. You never know who might see those drunken pictures of you with the crazy face paint at that music festival last summer. LinkedIn is a safer option, as it is structured specifically for the business community. It enables you to present your CV well and build up some useful contacts. It also comes with some handy recruitment tools – the site has seen one new member sign up every two seconds since the economic downturn began.

Keegan has overcome the reluctance many feel when dipping their toes into the social networking world: “I think women, in particular, can be more reluctant to reveal details of their personal lives online, though I gave up trying to keep a separation between work and home a long time ago. But it is becoming essential to have a LinkedIn profile … I’ve made between 50 and 100 contacts through the site.”

Don’t fake it

It is hard to generate any direct revenue from social media tools. What they do do, says Keegan, “is create a brand that is front of mind in people’s heads” and cut marketing budgets to a fraction. Above all, many web 2.0 tools are designed for one-to-one interaction, which is why the best examples of their deployment in the corporate world are from articulate, energetic individuals with the skills to write, engage and inspire interest. Hiding behind a brand name just doesn’t work.

There are some other pitfalls to avoid. Andy McLoughlin, the co-founder of Huddle.net, itself a web 2.0 service that provides a web-based collaborative tool for businesses, says: “Don’t do [the online equivalent of] a Gerald Ratner – go on TV and say your customers are bloody idiots.”

Keegan also has some words of warning: “Common mistakes on Facebook and Twitter are people being too pushy – only sending out links to their blog posts and not joining in the conversation.”

It’s also hugely important not to fake it. Don’t pretend to be something, or someone, you’re not. Some very large and (apparently) sophisticated companies have had their fingers burnt trying to fool the online community.

But McLoughlin is adamant that there are few firms who would not benefit from exploring these tools: “Take a long hard look at your business – you are probably spending a lot of time and resources trying to do all these things in a different way. It’s easy to be cynical, but if you’re a very small brand, social media is all you’ve got. Like anything, you will start to see the benefit once you’ve used it for a while.”

It takes skill, patience and no small amount of bravery, but putting yourself out there in the digital space could be the best thing you ever did. Just keep an open mind and enjoy the conversations. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about your industry and your brand.

 

Based on an excellent article in The Guardian 22 January 2009

Corporate Blogs are for PageRank not ChitChat

So you have got yourself a brand new shiny social media consultant. They jump right in talking about corporate blogging as meaningful connection with “the community”. Here’s what you now do: Fire that consultant.

Your corporate blog is wood warpingly, paint dryingly banal and boring to most people, probably including yourself. If not you are wasting your time, because as interesting and concise and readable as you make it, it still won’t be read.

A corporate blog has one main job: distribution. This is not corporate marketing brand distribution through dedicated followers of your worthy blog. No one else finds it interesting – I’ll let you into a secret it is really boring. Take a look at the Google blog now …I bet your back in ten seconds. Its all about ‘Me” as in Google talk about themselves, their products and their greatness. They try to be relaxed and chatty. They come across a anal and a bit boring.  

So if a blog = distribution but not branding? How does that work? PageRank. Use your blog for link-building and SEO.

Take a look at Mint.com’s blog. Mint is a finance tool – software for bookkeeping. Mint publishes massive articles about personal finance to their blog, and have legion readers. Not a bad trick, but the main thing is that their content is useful. It’s a mag about personal finance without the advertisements. Social media channels cannot help but find picks Mint’s content, there is lots of it, mush of it useful and it gets refreshed frequently so it receives lots of inbound links.

Mint milk these inbound links. That’s the trick. At the bottom of every blog post is a list of key words which link to internal pages containing high level snippets about the topic

Mint is maximising their PageRank with the popularity of the blog. If you’re a personal finance website, you will want to optimise around some of these keywords. And it’s really working for them.

Take a look at Google’s Keyword Tool and look at the traffic for these keywords. Then put them into a Google Search and see where Mint appear in the return. Then multiply keyword traffic by the distribution of clicks for the top results in Google, you’ll see that Mint is getting at least 100,000 uniques per month from Google for these keywords.

If you hire a copywriter to post on your own corporate blog, you could achieve the same result. You need a writer whose words are worth reading. A decent freelancer churning a blog post of 1,000 words, at least once per week. 5 posts like this per month will cost £1000 – £2000.

You could buy the traffic from Google by bidding on these keywords. A generous estimate of a bid price for keywords like this is 10p  (if you are lucky). To buy 100,000 uniques would therefore cost you £10,000 per month, and you will not get the PageRank.

Of course, the success of this strategy isn’t as quantifiable as buying ads, but it will get you traffic. Any decent writer will be able to garner attention via social media sites like Digg and Reddit, generating backlinks. All you need to do is find out what keywords to optimise for, and put them in the blog template.

This Article is based on a brilliant article by Ted Dziuba on January 19, 2009

Corporate Blogs: It’s The PageRank, Stupid

Social networks threaten advertising growth

Two-thirds of advertising agencies have been taken by surprise by social media, a report has found.

 

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which will publish the “Social Media Futures” report compiled by Future Foundation next week, shows ad agencies fgrowing just 1.2 per cent a year by 2016 unless they can get to grips with the impact created by sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Advertisers have had some impact with e.g. the Cadbury “Gorilla” spot being viewed over 10m times on YouTube as well as being aired on television.

The Dove “Campaign for real beauty”, which advertised Unilever’s cosmetics range, was also boosted by a YouTube video showing a high-speed transformation of a model’s natural face to the made-up and touched-up final version which appeared on a billboard.

But not enough agencies are adjusting to the online world, the IPA warned. In its worst-case scenario, the resulting decline in paid-for advertising space could see £16m ($23m) of revenues lost by the industry by 2016, if agencies fail to create new products and services to cater to the social media world.

However, the report says that two-thirds of that decline could be made up by creating new forms of web content that contains branding messages, and by analysing the data expressed on the web.

Clients’ investment in new content and rapid data analysis will increase by around 5 per cent, according to the IPA’s survey. Other sources of revenue derived for social networking include consultancy and e-commerce.

“The current downturn will accelerate these trends in agencies as everyone is looking to innovate and stand out from the crowd,” said Moray MacLennan, IPA president and chief executive of M&C Saatchi Worldwide, an agency.

“I don’t think [social media] is a replacement for paid-for media, it is just going to be a challenger for [consumers’] time and attention.”

David Yates of Realitus, Social Media consultants and designers commented,

“Social networks themselves are still figuring out how to make money from advertising on their sites. Pricing for generic banner advertising on social networking is relatively low compared to other sites, because their users are logging in for communication rather than commerce. But the strategy, the generation of content and the placement of that content is of more direct use to the marketer. The monetisation of sites is less of a concern. It may create room for a commercial platform if the content is attractive enough. But as it stands social media is here to stay, people are visiting and referencing the sites and advertising agencies are going to have to work out a place for themselves in this mix.

David Yates continued.

“New media take-up has prompted both networks and advertisers to look for more innovative ways to connect with consumers. People do not really believe advertising any more. It has little more credibility than propaganda. So, as people go about purchasing decisions differently, they now seek information themselves rather than just receiving it, and advertising agencies are increasingly talking to the walls they usually stick their ads on” he said.

Based on an article in the FT By Tim Bradshaw, Digital Media Correspondent: January 15 2009