Follow the Money – VC’s Forecast

social mediaWhere are Silicon Valley investors investing in 2014, and what are they saying is going to be hot?

The Market Overall

Todd Chaffee, IVP: Watching out for some sort of black swan market meltdown.

Mike Maples, Floodgate: Nervous about the froth.

Scott Sandell, NEA: Thinks we are in a healthy market for startups and venture capital in general.

Richard Wong, Accel: Cautiously optimistic because the IPOs coming to market have great fundamentals, and not the flakey ideas you see in a bubble.

Consumer Technology Investments

Michael Abbott, KPCB: Wearable devices, ephemeral content, and secure content: “the end of passwords as we know them”.

Todd Chaffee, IVP: Facebook will dominate as social, Twitter will dominate as the information network, and LinkedIn will own the business network. Nothing new there – but YouTube will grow more powerful as a player in the media world, and SoundCloud is a sleeper.

Jeremy Levine, BVP: Amazon will continue to steamroll and eat all ecommerce sites!

Mike Maples, Floodgate: Thinks Uber and Lyft point toward more services going mobile.

Scott Sandell, NEA: Educational technology will become more mainstream, no clear winners yet.

Enterprise Technology Investments

Asheem Chandna, Greylock:  Big emphasis on security for large enterprises and organizations, more services available on mobile, and Cloud Access Security Brokers.

Jeff Jordan, Andreessen Horowitz: Disruptive technology in the financial services industry, banks are risk-averse and technology is lower cost and more efficient.

Jeremy Levine, BVP: Small businesses buying software/online services.

Peter Levine, Andreessen Horowitz: On the horizon: an operating system for cloud infrastructures that takes your data centre and converts it into a huge supercomputer. New applications will only require cheap, commodity parts – more efficient, more economical.

Mike Maples, Floodgate: Security for large organizations, and security for individuals, especially with mobile.

Harry Nelis, Accel: More enterprise-oriented technology investments, financial services disrupters.

Original article in Forbes here.


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Social Listening: the Popular Dance Partner

Altimeter Group has released a new report called “The State of Social Business 2013.” In their research they discovered that many businesses were still unsure of the role social media played enterprise-wide, other than in marketing and communications. They also learned that:

• 52% of companies say that their executives are engaged and aligned with the enterprise social strategy

• 26% percent of companies have an enterprise-level vision and strategy

• 17% of companies are being truly strategic in their execution of social strategy

As well, listening/monitoring, analytics, and community platforms are the largest social technology budget items. Listening/monitoring takes the top spot overall.

social listening
Source: The Altimeter Group

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Facebook Video Ads

Facebook video adsFacebook is testing a new ad format – video ads that play without sound or prompting. They will play as soon as they appear onscreen, although the sound will be muted (until the viewer chooses to turn it on). The video will also play fullscreen if chosen to to so.

The new ads will play in the News Feed, and will continue to play silently as you scroll by them. For mobile users, the video will be downloaded behind the scenes, so that users’ data plans are not impacted by the extra data video commercials need in order to display properly.

By its very nature, video has a higher conversion rate than just picture or text ads, so it will be interesting to see how effective this new ad product is for advertisers.

“Video ads were the fastest-growing category of online advertising in 2012, with U.S. ad spend increasing 46 percent to $2.9 billion. While that’s still a far cry from traditional TV ad budgets, marketers and brands continue to move aggressively into the online video space. Expect even more of this growth in the coming year as audience insights become more sophisticated and financial returns more apparent.” – Bismark Lepe, Ooyala

Meanwhile, customized video ads are making a large impact on the web overall. Video technology company Eyeview provides personalized videos. As an example, the video ad will be localized to reflect the city or neighbourhood it is seen in. In studies by the company, consumers who watch personalized video ads have a 73% higher chance of recommending the product or service, and a 37% increase in the likelihood the customer would visit the business again.

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Startup Discovers What Marketing Actually Works

Kiss that $7,000 goodbye.

Backblaze is an online backup service for your computer.
It stores photos, music, and files on the cloud for $5 a month. The company recently wrote about their efforts to market themselves, using everything from appearing on a TV talk show to billboards and Google Adwords.

What’s interesting is what didn’t work as opposed to what did.
The exciting stuff you think would work, like appearing in front of 6 million viewers on a show with 11 million Facebook fans – didn’t! The boring stuff worked great. Their metrics for effectiveness are based on the actual cost per customer acquisition. What was acceptable was one year’s revenue from a new customer, which is the equivalent of $50.

Examples of marketing tactics that didn’t work –

• Appearance on TV show Ellen, giving away 300 free iPads – Cost: $150,000/Result: Approx. 250 customers

• Billboard on San Francisco freeway – Cost: $7,000/Result: zero customers

• Twitter Ads – Cost: $.90 per click/Result: zero customers

• Google Adsense – Cost: $.65 per click/Result: zero customers

Examples of marketing tactics that worked - 

• Blogging – Cost: Free/Result: 1,500 new customers

• SEO – Cost: Free (internal staff)/Result: 20% of new business

• Affiliate Links – Cost: 10% revenue share/Result: 15% on new business

• Google Adwords – Cost: $2.00 per click/Result: $3.00 per new customer


More details about this on Forbes

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Brands LOVE Instagram

Large consumer brands – and even General Electric – are using Instagram to promote their image and attract followers. The list includes Nike, Starbucks, NBA, Adidas, Vans, NFL, Red Bull, Victoria’s Secret, and even more, as you can see on this list of the top 50 from Nitrogram 50.

Instagram currently has 130 million users and there have been over 16 billion photos uploaded to Instagram in the last six months alone. The high growth rate of this social media channel is very attractive to brands, especially since everything is free – at least for now.

Keep in mind you can’t post your products and put a link to them – Instagram is all about building brand awareness through compelling imagery and creating a culture that resonates with your audience. Hashtags can reflect that sentiment, or an idea – and hashtag image campaigns can be created around it.

Nitrogram: Instagram Analytics and Engagement Platform
Nitrogram: Instagram Analytics and Engagement Platform

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Facebook Ads – Some Thumbs Up, Some Down

Orginally Facebook promoted their advertising platform as having an algorithm that translated likes into real ad preferences, giving the advertiser the option of laser-targeting marketing campaigns. What it delivers is ad products that are much like what the competition offers elsewhere, with ad positions in the news feed as well as in the ad column on the right hand side of the screen. Facebook also offers retargeting, as well as custom audiences (demographic and interest-based profiling).

According to Adobe and Kenshoo Social, the reports are all positive.

Facebooks ad clicks, ad impressions and advertiser’s ROI were higher in 2013 than 2012. Facebook ads were clicked 29% more, and return to investors was 58% higher than last year. Adobe is saying that advertisers are mistakenly using the “last click model” for Facebook, meaning that if a user sees an ad on Facebook, and then buys the item from the retailer website a day later, Facebook does not get the credit.

Kenshoo Social found that Facebook ad clicks were up 14%, and returns for advertisers are 3 times higher than last quarter.

According to Forrester, Facebook is “Last Choice”

Nate Eliott is a principal analyst at Forrester. He’s written a critical report of Facebook’s advertising platform called: Why Facebook is Failing Marketers. His main complaint is that Facebook has become a traditional ad seller, and has become the “last choice” for marketers when compared with other promotion channels.

“The least valuable tactic within Facebook? Those paid ads onto which Facebook has shifted focus.” – Nate Elliott, Forrester Report

Marketers are telling Nate that Facebook ads generate less business value than ads on other sites. Other marketers concur that Facebook “likes” may be cheap to get (through an ad campaign in the platform) but they don’t necessarily translate into sales.







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Pinterest Increases Market “Share” reports that Pinterest has increased it’s market share of overall sharing destinations by 4%, with Twitter gaining 6% in Q3. Facebook’s percentage drops 9% from last quarter. In Ecommerce, Pinterest has the dominant position, and this may increase with the release of new Pinterest API’s that allow businesses to showcase their pins on their own websites and mobile apps.

Gigya Report on Sharing Destinations













Reference File:

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Twitter + TV Ad Targeting = Advertising Success

Twitter + TV AdvertisingTwitter gets traction with Twitter promotions running in tandem with television ads to boost sales and generate leads. The social media platform has introduced TV ad targeting for advertisers in the U. S., and rolling the ad product out to other countries soon.

We believe Twitter and TV are highly complementary, and we’re working hard to make the Twitter x TV experience better for users, networks and advertisers alike. As we design products and experiences, we frame our work around questions like: How can we make Twitter more engaging for consumers as they interact with TV? 

Over the next few weeks, we will begin our first major wave of international expansion, bringing TV conversation targeting betas to advertisers in Brazil, Canada, France and Spain, with more countries to follow. – Twitter

Twitter reports that the customer acquisition cost using TV commercials is 36% lower when Promoted Tweets run at the same time as TV ads (as opposed to just TV ads alone). They also say when TV advertising is matched with Twitter ads, the TV ads get 8-16% more direct sales.

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Referral Traffic From Facebook Mobile – Huge!

From Sept. 3012 to Sept. 2013, Shareaholic’s Social Media Traffic Report shows that publishers saw referral traffic from Facebook mobile grow 253%. What this means is that with all the people using Facebook’s mobile app (and there are 874 million of them), many of them are clicking on links inside posts and underneath pictures and videos, and visiting those links through their mobile browser.

So if your web content is NOT mobile-friendly (meaning it only behaves well with a good user experience on a desktop or laptop computer), it may be time to be proactive and implement a responsive design.

responsive design
Other reasons to consider adapting to mobile:
  • 88% of U.S. adults own a cell phone of some kind, and most of these owners use their phone to go online.
  • 45% of those who use the internet on their phones prefer browsing on their mobile devices.
  • Not surprisingly, responsive website design can boost the number of leads for businesses by up to 60%, and conversion rate improvement by 50% or more.


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