2011 has been, in many ways, an eventful year for all of us at 22squared. So the opportunity to represent our agency at the iMedia Agency Summit and the 2011 iMedia Agency Awards came as a much-needed experience to network with industry peers and refresh my perspective on the industry landscape. The best part of the experience, however, was having the incredible honor of accepting our award for Best Agency for Social Media.
While it absolutely humbles me to think that just two years ago, I was just a college kid sitting in advertising class, that same thought also invigorates me as I consider just how far I’ve come since then. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to begin my career than at 22squared. As the second hire to come aboard a budding social media department, being honored with an award that declares 22squared as the Best Agency for Social Media speaks volumes not only in regard to how much impact our social team has been able to have on the industry, but also to the agility and innovation of an agency with a rich history in traditional advertising. What excites me the most about 22squared being recognized as a leader in the social media space is that, as a team, we all know that this is only the beginning. The best is, truly, yet to come.
This year’s iMedia Agency Summit was my first iMedia experience, and I must say, the event was very well organized. Here are three things I appreciated most about the event:
1. 1:1 networking sessions coordinated ahead of time. I appreciate it when reps do their homework and try to approach me as an individual, as opposed to just another agency with money to spend. But ultimately, I’m a sucker for efficiency. The quick, 10-minute format for the 1:1 sessions was just the right amount of time to develop rapport and provide information regarding the agency’s needs and the seller’s offerings. Often times at industry events, I’ll end up being conversationally pinned down by a single sales rep that will not let me go. The 1:1 rotating format at the iMedia Agency Summit allowed agency people to be free of any obligatory conversational pressure and instead, get straight to the chase. At the end of the 1:1 sessions, I ended up with a three-inch stack of business cards from various companies, many of which I plan to follow up with in the coming weeks.
2. Seller variety. I’m in the middle of my transition from a strategist working purely in the social space, to one who works across digital as a whole to ensure cohesion and connectedness among brand experiences. Throughout this process, I’ve been introduced to all sorts of technology companies. As someone whose role it is to act as a strategic bridge among the various departments within our agency, the variety of sellers—from mobile ad networks, to location-based behavioral targeting, to cloud-based creative optimization—present at the iMedia Agency Summit allowed me to immerse myself in many different sectors of the digital advertising landscape.
3. Collaboration among buyers and sellers. This event truly brought both sides together. There was a sense of mutual appreciation among buyers and sellers that pervaded the entire event. This collaborative atmosphere isn’t promoted enough in the industry, and the folks at iMedia Connection deserve much appreciation and respect for the types of relationships they’re striving to foster among agencies and vendors. It’s apparent they understand the importance of developing strategic partnerships among sellers and agencies, and I applaud them for all the hard work they put into organizing the iMedia Agency Summit.
I didn’t even go into how beautiful the resort was, or how decadent and lavish the receptions were, because content and business opportunities are much more important when evaluating events like this. I’d definitely consider attending more iMedia events and wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to recommend it to any of my peers. Be sure to check out iMedia’s upcoming summits.
Researcher Jakob Nielson suggests that when considering the internet as a network of communities, most large-scale communities consist of users who don’t participate very often. He also explains that most of the content contributed to these communities originate from a small majority of very active users. Nielson refers to this discrepancy as participation inequality and speculates that it typically follows a 90-9-1 rule in which users fall into one of three categories: Lurkers, Intermittent Contributors, and Heavy Contributors.
The 90-9-1 rule aplies to even an inherently social platform such as Facebook. As shown by Adam Mosseri in his presentation presentation during UX Week 2010 about user data’s impact on product design at Facebook, 20% of users generate 85% of content on Facebook. This data comes as no surprise. Many users have those two or three friends within their own communities of Facebook friends who comment on what seems like every status update on their wall and update their own status a hundred times throughout the day. Mosseri makes an important point in citing the Facebook product team’s commitment to accommodating not only to those 20% of power users, but to the lighter users as well.
As brand Pages on Facebook amass millions of fans—becoming large-scale communities—participation inequality challenges brands looking to build a community of advocates on Facebook. The existence of participation inequality within brands’ Facebook communities demonstrates the existence of another hierarchy similar to the one Nielson describes. Brands must recognize the existence of these different types of fans, as they represent varying levels of value for a brand.
In fact, Facebook inherently acknowledges this notion, as evidenced by EdgeRank, the algorithm that programmatically decides which stories appear in a user’s News Feed. Firstly, affinity—one of three key components in EdgeRank—draws upon historical interaction data between the viewing user and the originating source of the News Feed story. The premise is that activity from a brand Page that a user interacts on a more frequent basis signifies a more important connection to the user than one with which the user rarely interacts. Therefore, a fan that interacts more frequently with a brand’s Facebook Page holds greater value for that brand. Whereas affinity signifies the frequency of activity, weight, another factor of EdgeRank, demonstrates the different types of activity a fan may take to interact with a brand Page’s content. Simply stated, actions that require more effort from the fan (such as a comment or share) signify greater weight values than lightweight actions (such as a Like). In order to maximize visibility and engagement within the News Feed, then, a brand must incorporate two elements of News Feed Optimization into its Facebook content strategy:
The existence of these different types and values of Facebook fans further proves that marketing on Facebook—or any other social media network, for that matter—requires a long-term commitment and insightful strategy. Furthermore, the notion of participation inequality supports the claim that when it comes to social media, content indeed reigns supreme.