Monday, October 29, 2007

notes pt5

man - i think 2 and 4 are from teh same panel - gotta go back and look at that

interesting info from a guy from Turner - they're not cable channel anymore - they see themselves as content aggregators, goal is to build audience to sell to advertisers, they build groups of niche audiences

now with broadband content - can go after smaller niches, let in user generated content

content is not independent of time, space and device

communication, gaming, computing, broadcasting - all converginging

VW environments with built in social networking, multimedia tools, user controls

cool part - here's what Turner wants to learn from tehir VW experiments - how people socialize while using media, what's happening wiht contextual viewing, can they create virtual TV networks and watch how people watch it, what else they do while watching, see how they talk about the niche content

disney fireside chat - disney has a lot of online properties now -, toontown online, a faires world, there's a priates VW coming - and now they have club penguin
- story driven MMO - 1 endpoint kind of like a disney ride with structured activities and cooperative play
- Disney likes structured activity sites because audience mostly kids, Disney good at storytelling so gonna provide the environment to tell good stories, gets people deeply immersed int he brand (ex: Fairies - kids create fairies, publish it on the web, make a home page for their fairy - 3 million fairies created, get kids immsered int eh Disney created fairty cultures)

movie directors typically like the idea of virtual worlds because htey have whole worlds created in their heads for their movie - they have side characters and settings lots of things that couldn't fit into the movie - ex: John Lassiter from Cars)

(SL is unstructured space and people use tools to create structure and events, many people uncomfortable in teh chaotic situation)

cool space - story, balance of structure and creativity, people so steeped in story that they could create additions to the story that fit

not all business models good when working with kids, hard to advertise to kids, it has to fit the story, maybe microtransactions

notes pt 4 VW conference

panel about Entertainment - called It's a Game, It's a TV

people just want to be entertained, don't care where. the line between types of sties/media are blurring

people want stories, narrative, want to be involved
the question becomes how do we tell a story in environments that aren't really set up for that - we have to develop ideas about non-linear stories, open ended content so users can insert themselves into story - users want control not static sites, want content available when they wnat it (and htey really want it yesterday) and they want constant stream of new content

need compelling, fresh content
my friends need to be there so it's worth my (user) time
everybody (companies, users) have to be willing to experiment, take small steps

people like branded merchandise and don't care if it's officially licensed or not

VW - a communication medium where people can be together, it's experience not traditional story
stories have to be something users can have an effect on, so users can help determine outcomes, each persons story can be different

no good case studies for designers to show customers or management

problem - hard to scale VW up to large enough audience for VW to be interesting to advertisers, to make the development costs worth their while

notes pt3 VW conference notes

a cool idea - other parts of the company benefit (or could benefit) from these in world experiments

companies get consumer research opportunities, new product development ideas

ROI needs to include positive changes in attitude towards the brand, along with increased sales, increased traffic to website

ROI - might get more data from same budget, more sales from the same budget because of multiplication of effort

we're in world to learn - tht's hard to remember - it's not about the nubmers at this point

im going to come back and pull all the roi stuff together once i get hte notes typed in

Saturday, October 27, 2007

notes part 2 from VW conference 2007

people want to be entertained, don't care where, lines between types of sites blur
- people want stories, narrative, want to be involved
- the question becomes how do we tell a story in an environment not really set up for that - non-linear stories, open ended content so users can insert themselves into story

VW are the first communication medium where people can be together, most projects for hte design company not for entertainment compnay but for brand/products
- VW are replacement for tradiitonal media ads - because people not watching,using dvr's --- so engage online

stories have to be something users can have an effect on, determine outcomes - brands have to give up control
VW not traditional story - it's experience - story elements, but users build story, each user's story can be different
- no good case studies yet for designers to show customers or to show management

hard to scale up to large audience in VW to actually be interesting to advertisiers, to make development costs worth their while
- need compelling fresh content - liek the CSI effort with their new mystery every month
- has to be someplace you can hang with your friends like on myspace and facebook
- companie shave to be willing to experiment, to take small steps

Better late than never - my notes from the virtual world conference San Jose 2007

Going to be spread over a couple of posts - i'll put in pics later

First thing - there are a ton of virtual worlds for kids - webkinz, club penquin, barbies, bratz, nictropolis, Ty Dolls, horseland
Sibley Vebleck of Electric Sheep predicted probably 40 VW for kids in 2008 - and really brutal competition between them leading to lots of failure
he thought the competition would be good tho because it would drive innovation adn enhanced user experiences, maybe new business models and ways to market

gotta thing about kid safety - make sure there's no predatory activity
- content has to fit the expectation of ht eaudience, the age level, lots of worlds don't let in R or X stuff
- give users tools to give you feedback about the brand, let them talk about what they did with the content out of world - did they buy product, see your movie...) - this is true for adult worlds as wella s kid worlds

There was a panel about advertising in virtual spaces
- audience wants to participate in media, not just consume
- advertising system kind of in chaos now - don't know where or how to reach people, how to let them participate
- no standards, data different from world to world, objectives different for each project and for each world
- one big measure tho is engagement = time spent iwth brand - people think its key and VW give that kind of engagement, people spend a long time in world and there htey can spend time playing with your brand
- VW don't sell in terms of CPM tho since smallish audiences
- another measure - impact = expeirence with brand, impact on sales, and on attitude towards the brand
- VW have to start talking the language of ad agencies and marketing cmopanies, have to start talking metrics, hours of engagement is good unless the goal is sales
- as TV audience continues to fragment, VW are another channel to reach audiences with deeply engaging intera tive experiences, not a static billboard, attitude change takes time - VW engage people over time much more than does 30 second spot
- other measures - time spent, number of steps in the environment, tshirt worn, customizable things customized, number of freebies taken - proxies for standard things like attention to message, impression (see the ad) in VW
- braod categories of measures - exposure, interaction, engagement, adoption (invention, buying), momentum, pass along (tell friends)

- organizations should set goals first - goals different for each world and each brand
- eyeballs see my brand, talk about my brand, post pictures about my brand, blog traffic as measure of mindshare
- time spent in different areas of your site and doing different functions on your site, unique visitors, visits by core demo, information about user about whether they're heavy vs light users and how big their network of friends is and whether tehy're leaders or followers, can do surveys for brand impressions

- attach brands to experiences - people go to experiences that interest them - so things need to be contextual, the more you know about users the better you can do contextual ad placement, can reach out to groups in world
- metrics not standardized - we're experimenting - IAB type standards don't work, web type banner ads and signs don't work in virtual worlds
- one measure - what did we learn that we can apply to next project, for when there are 10 mllion users in VW
- VW needs to educate ad agencies, bigger agencies trying to figure out the world and measures, brands don't know who to go to - world makers, design companies, ad agencies - don't know where to start
- world building companies spend most time building own world
- ad and design agencies develop the brand experiences to drop branded experiences in world - these experiences make people happy with the brand and with the virtual world - - so they stay in world longer

VW should be part of a campaign - messages reinforce each other, not all messages cause you to buy, some help you learn about brand, others let you market to others by wearing brand, would be cool to track users across paltforms, across messages

VW have to make it easier to buy VWs - takes time to complete project, and we need a few projects complete so we can look at numbers and outcomes, figure out what's important, develop some case studies and ideas about best practices

lots of room for independent desingers - they help bring in new clients, worlds supposedly give access to tools and demographics because the VW want more users

connection between people - that's important in VW
- different goals, different desired outcomes, different costs
- don't just go because competition isin world or because it seems cool
- costs are small compared to tv/msm - but still have to account for the costs

other measures - dwell time, activities engaged in, engagement
- send email with product sales messages for real life based on what htey did in the VW
- PR coverage for your build and for what people do iwth it, tiein with other marketing activities of the brand in RL
- example - Pontiac wanted to reach tech savvy early adopters - that's what SL did for htem - other ad $ spent on Maxim and college sports

- may be lots of other parts of hte comany that could benefit from the build to increase ROI - like consumer research,new product development --- people in world building dream cars, dream clothes --- take advantage of that
- bad ROI if world not cnvenient, doesn't give user control

- just bulidng isn't enough - bad advertisign is still bad advertising, gotta add value tothe virtualworld, enhance, add expeirences

measures - positive change in attitude, increase sales, increased traffic to website
- not just word of mouth PR - lots of things you can measure, people treat virtual brand expeirence same as traditional media expeirences - memories and attitudes don't distinguish between rl and vw

- ROI can be threatened by griefers - strong communities are self-policing - maybe amount of griefing is a measure of success (g) because only go to hassle successful sites
- ROI might come from getting more data for same budget, more sales from same budget, because of multiplication of effort
- dn't get hung up on the numbers - it's about what you can learn so you're ready when the worlds explode, get more numbers later, maybe money for VW experiments should come from R&D budget not marketing
- Pontiac started by talking to car people in SL, held car camp, learned they wanted more realistic cars, did in world research before starting, already lots of fantasy flying ufo cars, people wanted name they could recognize on their car and wanted to drive like they do in rl

CSI and SL

I was on the Dr. Dobbs island with a bunch of other folks, dancing, talking about the SL-based CSI episode and waiting for the grid to crash from all the news members the promoter/LL/we hoped the show would attract. We all liked the show pretty much - we want the wall-screen size television. we all wanted to be the white rabbit or at least a cybercelebrity.


Looks like the powers that be may have overestimated the appeal of csi:ny in sl - - the grid didn't crash tho the sl web site did. the OnRez site crashed too it seems. There are lots of empty islands. There were almost 500,000 signups/registrations, but they didn't all come in (at least not all at once).

the idea was great - you can be the csi types and do the crime solving; the was product placement to make it seem even more real; the islands looked like city setting; they had greeters on the island that first night anyway and lots of signs nad arrows to help people move around

why didn't people jump on the idea?

- is it possible people didn't relaize the virtual world was real, tha thte commecial was real?

- my students said that of all the csi's, ny was their least favorite - it did fairly goodin the ratings - according to the overnight ratings reported in cynthia turner's cynopsis ( it did 8.9 rating/15 share - the highest for the time slot on any network. The show before it (criminal minds) did a 9.6 rating so csi lost some of the lead-in audience. The bad thing about the audience tho is cbs overall does the worst of the 4 main networks among the audience advertisers want, 18-49 year olds. and that age group is the one most likely (at this point) to hop online nad check things out. So older audience might not be the right one to target for an online adventure

- are people leery of downloading anything these days? At a presentation at the Virtual Worlds conference in San Jose in October,2 07, a representative from Puzzle Pirates said that only about 30% of the people who came to their site downloaded the app - and about half of those who downloaded stopped the process when they got the screen that mentioned it was a signed java application and they had to agree to something. People stopped because they were afraid - was this a sign of something wrong, something would happen totheir machine... ----- so maybe people didn't want to downlaod someting outside their browser, maybe they didn't know how to download (see the bit about the older audience above?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Advertising 2.0 panel at ONA - notes

can't just buy easily packaged set of the right eyeballs

used to be that everyone on the commuter railroad read the print paper - not any more - many more interactive devices - audience fragmented and moving away from mainsream media - another example of hwy ya can't buy easily packaged eyeballs

uncontrollable viral
PR people becoming more important to busienss because advertising not as effective

media not just a place for content, but platform for development - let user play with your content nad mix it up
need to add developers, get used to working with api's, develop own api so others can develop with your stuff

gotta think long tail for revenue generation
what's traffic unless people do something
your current customers (advertisers) could become your biggest competitors because now everyone can create and package content around niche audiences and they have lots of resources to satisfy that niche - and they're trying, experimenting -, wrigley's sites

think about web as peanut butter jelly sammich - can't tell where one starts and one ends, your jelly might make a good sammich with someone else's peanut butter (, and someone else might stick in pickles to enhance your sammich beyond what you envisioned), one brand advertises on another brands content site because they want to reach the same audience (axe on bud site)

people learn about brands by how the brand lets the people interact with the brand

cheaper to do a site to adv brand than buy lots of ads on tv - and you still control the audience --- but it's a lot of owrk, lot of risk

reach and frequency - people going to facebook, youtube, and myspace - line between off-and on-line blurring

"local" has been the next big thing for about 10 years - not happening - local has the same problems as national except local doesn't have the tools for reaching audience, local is smaller advertisers and they're not as net smarter - maybe create a niche site for a group of small advertisers, and local advertisers aren't necessarily focused on local business anymore - can ship anywhere, world getting flatter

start with the idea that it might not work and figure out what you can measure, know your exit strategy/when to cut nad run and change tactics, think of how you can setup content for peopel who want to use it on yoru site nd how to package site for people to 'take away" - rss feeds, email newsletters...

advertising in rss feeds - not very successful at this point, rss helps you build an audience - and they can help your advertisers build their own audience without you for distributing specials and ad content, RSS feeds give you a lot of data that you can use to sell your content

everybody experimenting, nobody has an answer - secondlife experiments are an example (value so far is the mainstream press coverage of the involvement)

companies spending money on search, media making money on adsense

need to build a relationship with the advertisers - tv hs gotten really creative with advertisers, letting them help create content, putting the products in the show (Axe and MTV - mtv let axe create a show or work closely with them on the creation, some branding, reaches the right audience) - creates reach and engagement - - like advertisers creating own content sites

video - easy to sell, easy to create, but hard to get peopel to watch the video ads on the net, youtube has some interesting video advertising experimetns to keep an eye on

ad agencies want internet video ads to work and are willing to spend money on this kind of ad - they know how to make 30 second spots and have assets to use, on a lot of sites, the video ad space is sold out especially in the prime locations, want to know how to stay in business in era with less mainstream media power, but people don't really like them

they think it's a way to build their brand online - with video - - it's an open question however - banners and buttons didn't work, can you base a brand building campaign online or is web a part of a brand building campaign

google - cheapest reach you're going to get
look at the sponsors in rocketboom
what's a banner ad, what's a widget, what's editorial content - - lines blurry -- check out google widget ads - can create fun things to paly iwth that show up as ads

gotta get people to the site, gotta get them to interact with the content or doesn't matter hwo much you spend on the advertising on the site

not just reach - it's the quality of the reach

gotta use the analytics - but advertisers want the info before they buy, not after

this is about the math - getting best reach for your money
use your own tracking, use google analytics

advertising recession - for sure, when is the question - may carry over ot online if the marketers don't figure out what works, probably going to fall back to reach and frequency

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

At the Virtual Worlds conference in San Jose

more people but much bigger space - less claustrophic than in March in NYC

So many more companies are here as presenters and exhibitors. I wish i was 2 or 3 people because at some time slots there are multiple presentations that sound great. I'm going to stick with the entertainment and marketing track today i think and tomorrow hop around to different tracks. Fun fun fun.

opening keynote from Sidney Vebleck of ESC -
more than 30 wv, 100 speakers, 25 exhibitors, 1100 participants from around the world

preteen/kids VW market - doing well, very established and financially successful
ex: webkinz and club penguin with interesting business models
nicktropolis and barbie world - set up by estab lishe brands with all their marketing weight behind them
he expects probably 40 kid oriented virtual worlds - tons of brutal competition and lots of failures to be expected - scary time but lots of innovation driven by the competition so gotta keep a close eye on this part of hte market - he expects lots of new sutt in enhanced user experiences, different business models and marketing, new ways to make cool world without downloads and on lowerend ocmputers

teen vw - gaia and imvu are examples
they combo communication tools and vw components - added value from teh combination to increase entertainment - the comm tools are things they're used to from other platforms with social networking
- MTV has been really successful in this market - branded worlds
he predicts more in this area with more use of hte comm tools like profile pages, synch and asynch comm tools

braod market VW - still developing, not as successful as the kid worlds
business models not strong yet
should do more in the shopping-ecommerce realm because vw could totally enhance the shopping experience over shopping on a website

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

At the Virtual Worlds conference in San Jose

2 days of workshops and keynotes on SecondLife and a bunch of other virtual worlds. I'll be blogging when i can - i'm looking forward to the entertainment track!

You can check out the schedule here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Here's a youtube video about a good place to visit in SL - a fun house. It uses sound, music, and strange visuals. And it's russian, gotta love that (Hey - i got my undergrad degree in Russian Studies back when it was still Soviet Studies!)