Yesterday I attended Social Media Business School by SocialMedia networks. The vision Social Media networks has is to bring together advertisers and application developers to create better advertising for social networks. As a whole, social network advertising has failed to engage users. And yet, social networks offer brands the opportunity to reach high value targeted traffic. They provide a place to communicate with prospects and customers. Still, brands are just beginning to understand that advertising on social networks is different. Brands must be relevant and engaging to succeed in this space.
The main audience of B-school was application developers. The agenda covered solutions for application analytics, marketing, business modeling and hosting.
The room was full of developers looking for solutions to make money from their apps. Some in attendance had already witnessed great viral success, like the developer of hotties for sale, with 55680 daily active users. But others were brand new to the space hoping to be the next Slide. I spoke to Travis Kauffman who launched his first app, Socster powered by www.socster.com, just a few days ago. Socster is about playing pickup soccer – it helps you find a game to play in or organize a new one. Travis was there to plan his next steps. He launched his app and now what? I initially became excited about connecting Socster with a brand. Microsoft and Xbox 360 recently announced sponsoring the Seattle Sounders. If it fits within their brand strategy, why wouldn’t Microsoft be interested in looking at the sponsorship of an appplication to reach this targeted audience?
There is an opportunity for brands to run traditional banner ads on popular application pages and target by age, gender, and geography. Of course this ability to target is extremely valuable. But I think the true opportunity is within more integration within the app itself. To promote Sweeny Tood, a branded quiz titled ‘Best Johnny Depp Characters’ was featured within the popular Likeness application. A ‘sneak-peek’ video clip of Tropic Thunder was featured on Super Wall to stimulate viral distribution and buzz for movie.
The idea of connecting smaller developers with brands makes sense. There is a lot of innovation out there. Brands can benefit from integrating with these innovative niche applications and connecting with users of social media in a meaningful way.