As I reflected on the visit, it occurred to me that Yahoo and Twitter are content platforms. They are more than tech companies, they are media companies, like the New York Times – and they make money through advertising.
In July, Yahoo had 196.6 million unique monthly visitors. Games, e-mail and real estate led the way for Yahoo. According to Quantcast, the New York Times has about 18 million users a month.
A little under 180 million less than Yahoo.
Investing in tech
The New York Times is a media company that is turning into a tech company. Yahoo is a tech company that is turning into a media company. Both look for eyeballs and then sell those to advertisers. Both pay people to create content, and both make money selling eyeballs to advertisers. The difference is in how they think about readers.
As a traditional newspaper, the Times thinks about relevant content for readership en mass. They are the very definition of a mass advertiser, where an ad in the paper goes to millions of people.
Yahoo, on the other hand, is a tech company first. Alongside the content, they have tools like mail, Flickr, Yahoo Finance that ask for a log in. Since people consume the content while logged in, Yahoo collects data about the people. Yahoo (along with Twitter, Google and Facebook) then create detailed personas based on real information. Yahoo knows what people look at when logging into their site.
Unlike other online media properties, Yahoo can deliver ads based on interest – a more powerful argument for a brand. Facebook, Twitter and Google also do this, and if the New York Times wants to survive, they’ll have to think like a tech company.
What do you think?
Here it is:
Seeing messages in social media from our alma mater adds to the already existing positive associations.
These messages strengthen the positive response people have toward the school. Reminding people of the good times, memories and moments further strengthens the bonds.
Look, all that already has to be there. A nice picture on Facebook isn’t going to strengthen the bond an alum has if the alum doesn’t have a bond. That said, most people who graduate from a residential liberal arts college have a bond to the school. Social media can remind people of that bond.
The goal of Facebook is to make the world more open and connected. It talks about giving people the power to do this, but the Facebook platform is the things that does it.
Facebook is a massive pile of data, ready for scraping. Anyone can look at all the data on Facebook and learn about clusters of people. What do men who like Target generally like as a favorite movie? Do women who like soccer also like tea? You can find this out on Facebook. I’m not sure what you’ll do with it, unless you’re thinking about making tea bags shaped like a ball.
opening up its gates and trying to learn your likes and interests. By now you’ve heard about the Like button, and how it’s creeping around the internet.
Facebook and and Google might know more about you than your family. (Though they promise not to share it, and in the case of Google, they promise not to do evil.)
So we share our data. We share it because in return, we get something. Often we’re not sure what we get – in the case of Facebook, we get connections. In the case of Google, we get more relevant searches or ads.
The digital web works better when it knows more about us. The more we tell Facebook, the better it is connecting us to people like us.
Ten years ago, a brand had to promise me something in return for my information. If they wanted my e-mail address, I needed value. Value usually came in the form of a promotion – give your e-mail address for a chance to win a new car.
These days I’m thinking about privacy, and the things we’ll gladly share in public, and the things we won’t. I’m thinking about it because of this:
Find people, reunite. For some people, the results might be a little unnerving (depending on how deeply you’ve dived into social media). For others, this might mean nothing.
It meant something to me so I went to their blog and read this about Your Privacy:
Spokeo People Search finds only publicly available information by default. Previously this information had been scattered across the Web and ignored by major search engines. Spokeo is the first service to aggregate this user-generated content from over 40 Web services, giving you new insight into your friends’ online content.
Spokeo compiles a list from all the places one might have a profile, and generates insights about people. As people share more and more, the pile of data out there will get bigger.
Search engines that comb through it all, collect it, and make sense of it will be ubiquitous. Our data has always been protected because it’s been hard to gather into one place. As we share more and more, it’s getting easier to collect.
Storytelling, or to use crazy marketing speak, ”story-driven online content” is the buzz-word of the new internet. It isn’t an app, or a solution, it is the way to add content to the ever-expanding web. (It is also one of the reasons I was so excited to go and work at a University full of stories.)
The University where I work doesn’t advertise in the classical sense. We tell stories. Which is good because the future of ‘advertising’ online isn’t sending ads to people, it is sending relevant stories to the relevant people and engaging in conversations.
Consider the word storyteller. Prior to the Internet, marketing was designed around the word tell. Marketing is ‘telling’ the target market something. In higher ed, it could be facts about the school or outcomes of alumni. Incidentally, it could also be images and movies. Images tell very distinct stories.
But what if the web isn’t all about storytelling as much as starting a story and letting the correct people add to it?
On the social web, it’s important to start with a story, but it’s less important to keep the focus on telling. There’s a moment where the story shifts and becomes a conversation. Yes, that’s a buzz word, but as a guy who has spent the last 6 years watching conversations develop, I can vouch for their power to inform.
It is important to map out possible lines of conversation, to listen (or monitor) and watch and see how the conversation unfolds. From there, add elements to it, keep it going,
But we have to start it.
I don’t pretend to know what will come next, you never know what the people will say or post. However, the strategy to start with a story and then let it unfold to a planned outcomes is the winning the direction. Assuming the brand can jump into the conversation without appearing needy and confused or telling (or selling).
This isn’t easy. As soon as the conversation starts, the message has to go off script. That is one of the reasons people fear social and digital media. It’s the rare movie that works without a script. Stories usually have scripts – If they don’t, they aren’t called stories, they’re called conversations. Perhaps that’s why people like the term conversations.
The age of storytelling will be the end of banner ads and e-mail marketing. We need to tell stories, and get those stories in front of the correct people. Chances are it will be with a platform that allows them to respond.
This is a bunch of thoughts that are full realized. What do you think? Semantics? Storytelling?
We share a lot. You might even say “People like to share” a lot.
We share Twitter posts, photos, movies, text, data, location.
Oh, and images. There are smart people all over the place who are thinking about ways to organize it. The data I mean.
Like this place.
This is a map of the world that curates all images from Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. All images that are tagged with a location are placed in the location.
This is either a risk or an opportunity. If you use digital media for a purpose, it is an opportunity.