This was a fascinating week for social media and disruptive innovation in marketing.
Take these 4 stories:
Yesterday, eMarketer reported that people all over the world are spending more and more leisure time online, on both a daily and weekly basis. A study by TNS Global found that in 2008, US adults spent 30% of their leisure time on the Internet (in China, that number is actually 44%). In the US, the amount of time spent online per week has skyrocketed from 8.9 hours in 2006 to 15.3 hours in 2007 — and far more expected in 2008 and 2009. Since there are still just 24 hours in the day, time and attention is a zero-sum game — other media, activities, and experiences are inevitably being displaced.
So people are spending more and more time online. No big surprise. But what are they doing, and what does that mean for marketers?
Financial Times reported that social networks threaten advertising growth: according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), two-thirds of advertising agencies are not prepared for the industry changes prompted by social networks and new forms of digital media. Although there are a few stand-out exceptions — the Cadbury “Gorilla” spot and Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” — most agencies are not adjusting quick enough to the new landscape of social media marketing. Moray MacLennan, CEO of M&C Saatchi Worldwide said, “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.”
How much of a challenger? That brings us to our next story, possibly a Google challenger…
Bernard Lunn at ReadWriteWeb posted a somewhat controversial article: Sorry Google, You Missed the Real-Time Web! After witnessing a lifestreaming mashup — compiled from Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube — of the incredible story of US Airways Flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River — Bernard hypothesized that this new real-time web has the potential to overshadow not just traditional media companies, but even the almighty Google search, which is more like a library of the historical web. Of course, Google will survive, just as IBM and Microsoft still carry on, despite being eclipsed by disruptive innovations. Microsoft disrupted IBM with software, Google disrupted Microsoft with search, and now Twitter (?!?) disrupts Google with the real-time social web? Whether or not that specific scenario plays out remains to be seen, but Bernard’s point is right on: giants such as Google are rarely toppled in their main line of business, but are instead eventually sidestepped in the market by a disruptive innovation that was never even considered as competition.
And speaking of disruption, file this last story under “social media disrupts marketing, so marketing disrupts social media”:
Burger King launched another social media marketing win — the Whopper Sacrifice campaign — that offered people a free Whopper if they unfriended 10 people from Facebook. The sacrificed souls actually received a notice that they were “sacrificed for a Whopper”. (Oh, the shame!) Apparently 82,000 Facebook users deleted over 230,000 friendships before Facebook had the app shut down, because technically, Facebook prefers if the unfriended are not notified. Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Refresh Media developed the campaign, which arguably got as much viral branding from being shut down as they did from actually running the app.
What does this all mean? I don’t know, but points on the curve:
- Everyone is spending more of their time online.
- Social media is becoming the heart of the online experience.
- Social media has real-time fluidity that is, frankly, astounding.
- Most marketers don’t know how to engage in social media yet.
- Even Google may be surprised by social media.
Continues to raise questions about the future of social media management — what patterns will eventually emerge and how will people optimize and scale them? Or are the very concepts of optimization and scale destined to be disrupted themselves?