In my last post I only gave a summary for 2 of the 5 sessions I attended. Here I will provide key takeaways from the following sessions: Social Advertising and Social Media, Widgetizing the Web and Designing the Mobile Web.
Social Advertising and Social Media
Moderated by Barbara Coll, Founder and Search Specialist at WebMama with the following panelists: Cam Balzer, Vice President of Emerging Media at Doubleclick Performics, Rajiv Parikh, CEO of Position2 and Kent Lindstrom, President of Friendster.
Cam was a big promoter of advertising on social media sites where 20% of the internet visits reside. He specifically used Facebook as an example where he touted the ability to target your ads based on demographics and geography as well as keywords based on profile content. You can run target counts from the Facebook site without having to pay any ad costs here.
Rajiv promoted TubeMogul where from one site you can have your videos posted to multiple sites including YouTube, MySpace, Google, Yahoo!, MetaCafe, and Revver. Rajiv also provided some obvious and useful tips when it comes to advertising:
- Know your target audience
- Develop content and apps that appeal to the audience
- Reward helpful and valuable users (ie. those who contribute)
- Be consistent
- Continually optimize
Kent talked about Friendsters popularity with 10B page views/month with an average engagement of 220 minutes/month however he took the opposing view of Cam and questioned the ability to effectively advertise to this audience for the following reasons:
- The state that users are in - the are not there to buy
- Ability to create inventory
- Quality of targeting - "we know a lot but it's not always valuable"
Widgetizing the Web
Named moderator was Neil Patel, Internet Marketing Consultant and PronetAdvertising however he didn't play that role and instead just took up a seat on stage. Panel speakers included Hooman Radfar, CEO of Clearspring, Pradeep Javangula, CTO of Tumri and Gary Baker, CEO of ClipBlast!.
Unfortunately this session was a waste of time. It had no structure and even the panelists bored and uninterested - at one point is looked like the moderator was dozing off. I ended up taking this time to catch up on a few emails...
Designing the Mobile Web
Moderated by Julie Ask, Vice President & Research Director of Jupiter Research. The panelists included Barbara Ballard, Founder & President of Little Springs Design, Ain Indermitte, Senior Developer Relations Manager of Forum Nokia and Brand Lassey of Mozilla.
I thought Julie did a great job moderating this session although I heard others say she was a bit combative towards the panelists. I found it entertaining and she kept the session on topic and didn't let the panelists dance around a question.
> Why go mobile?
Brad shares the growth of mobile access by telling us know that more first time internet connections came from a phone as opposed to a PC and argued that since this is their first experience with the internet it's worth the investment to ensure it's a good one. He also mentioned that Barnes & Nobel and Amazon have been mobile since 1999 (I thought that was interesting). Although on the flip side he pointed out that less than 5% of phones in the US offer a browser experience.
Barbara says it only makes sense for the "head" (not the long tail) and it just depends on who and where your users are. She also made the point that if your targeting India the answer is a definite 'yes.'
Ain talked about Nokia's mobile offering and says that there are now phones that retail for under $100 that offer internet browsing. This will surely effect that 5% number that Brad mentions within the next few years. He also talked about the enhanced web experience that can come from a mobile phone based on location services and the fact that users are voice and camera enabled.
> How many mobile users are looking for specific information vs.. surfing the web?
Brad - Users want to get information and they want to get it fast.
Barbara agreed which is why it's important to optimize the site upfront for mobile users but at the same time, she warns not to lock users out of the full site and to offer links for more information.
> How much should people allocate to building a mobile web?
This ended up being a repeat to the first question and the answer boils down to 'it depends' - if your users are mobile that you should definitely have a mobile site but if they are not then it probably doesn't make sense. There is also some degree of strategy and how having a mobile site will effect your brand.
> What does a 'smaller' mobile site need?
Here are a few tips from the panelists: Less is better and make sure to put your key messages at the top. Design for 'blind users.' Barbara recommended Little Springs Design. There was a small debate on the use of apps but my conclusion is that most phones aren't ready for them yet so don't waste your time/money but it's a space worth following especially if your users are mobile.
The most important point - don't just shrink your site, you need to build from scratch.
> What does Mozilla's mobile browser and roadmap look like?
- The engineering effort has been launched
- There will be a new look and user interface
- Integrate with desktop Firefox with added ' send to phone' options
- Fully support AJAX and trying to work with Adobe for Flash support
That pretty much sums up this event. Although I am a big fan of WebGuild I have to admit I wasn't impressed by the overall schedule and organization. Next time I hope they'll take things a little deeper rather than trying to pack the day with 45-minute sessions that just scratched the surface.