Sipping on social media

I was invited to hang with some local online-industry professionals at the Mill last Wednesday. I’ve been invited a few times before, but I kept having to cancel at the last minute due to schedule conflicts and I’ve been bummed to not get to attend. With my DVD copy of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long blog in tow, I headed out to meet the gang (for reals) this time.

As I arrived with Jacquie & Alexander, I carefully negotiated traffic with my head lowered, intent on checking-in on #foursquare. I was disappointed to find that someone else had beaten me to the designation of mayor (if you are the Mayor at the Mill – you get a free beer!!) but I soldiered on. I had met (or recognized) most of the people at the table before being introduced since it’s such a small industry. I’m also not that hard to pick out as I’m always the “noisy” kid in seminars & events. You remember the kid that sat at the front of the class and would answer every question (even the rhetorical ones)? I’m afraid that was me – and growing into an adult hasn’t rid me of my gregarious nature.

The planned conversation for the evening was primarily focused on social interaction, the latest games/apps that were currently being used heavily and how they effected the industry. I admitted to checking-in as I arrived as the talk turned to foursquare and twitter. The table was still pretty divided about whether or not twitter and social check-ins were a good idea. In fact, yesterday, @Miss604 was on CKNW discussing the implications of Twitter & social games and echoed many of the same points that we brought up in our round table. I still feel that common sense is the best tool that anyone can use when navigating the world of social media – but it is ignorant to assume that everyone has a ready supply of that available. However, let’s not blame a lack of intelligence for the problems with social media. I believe the biggest hurdle for social media is the disadvantage of trust.

I’m always talking about how p2p is so powerful. Our friend recommends a brand & we’re more likely to give it a try. A Facebook friend hated a movie & we’re less likely to want to go. The influence of peer to peer communities is mind boggling and I’m shocked at how often I, too, fall prey to a social recommendation. By that same token, I believe some people fall victim to a mindless trust that makes fools of people that we would never think to label as unwise. Our friends or family are doing something – so they must have thought it through, right? Consider how fast the social world is growing and how many new people are added to networks due to a peer association. If everyone is thinking that someone else must have taken the time to ensure this network, action or game was secure or safe, it’s not difficult to believe all the silly mistakes people make online.

My favourite part of the evening was when we started to talk about conversion rates as it related to mobile & display. We were all sharing case studies with each other (minus brand names – which is more difficult than you might imagine) and when I started to talk about how frustrated I was that one of my campaigns was going really well, but that my client didn’t want to credit any of the search conversions to display, Tricia and Josée both raised their hands and shouted CONVERSION FUNNEL! I was so tickled. I wish I had filmed the moment to post in future presentation decks. How awesome would it be to be in a meeting, talking about how display drives clicks lower down the conversion funnel only have this echoed by the enthusiastic cheers of industry professionals?

I find that this has been a reoccurring topic in most of my campaigns of late and I thought I would take a moment to talk about driving clicks. Everyone is excitedly taking advantage of the proliferation of CPC offerings and are disregarding CPM as a antiquated and inefficient way to buy online. This is starting to become a bit of a pain in my butt as I have to repeatedly explain that running CPC is all well and good to drive inexpensive blanket coverage, but that it is inefficient as a stand-alone tactic – especially if you need a quick awareness campaign for a specific demographic. Just as you can get inexpensive tonnage in TV or Radio, remnant space in Print and RON in out of home, there is a time and place for each tactic. Throwing out CPM with the bathwater and only looking to clicks is limiting your options and potentially hamstringing your media. As I am always pointing out, no medium is an island (hoo boy – I’m full of clichés today) and they all work together towards your planned goal.

Three cheers for the conversion funnel!

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