Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monitoring for Monetization

There are two common themes in most writing about marketer use of social media:

1. It’s difficult to monetize
2. Managers are afraid to trust their brands to the social media environment.

Glam Media has come up with a creative way of monetizing, in this case a widget, by developing an environment that managers would find comfortable. Here’s the widget and here’s what the Venture Beat blog said about it

Glam’s entertainment editors decide which users are allowed to tweet in the stream and culls those who post what it feels are inappropriate comments. This way, Glam says, advertisers can get comfortable with the conversation. As a result, Glam has been able to sell sponsorship of the Oscars widget to Aveeno, a woman’s beauty brand (see its branding [below] on widget).

There was, and still is, a lot of activity around the Oscars on the Glam Entertainment page. If you couldn’t get a ticket to the Oscars, and didn’t want to sit home in front the the TV and Tweet, you could attend an advocacy event sponsored by Leeza Gibbons, Olivia Newton-John and others, promoted by a video on the Entertainment page. The purpose was to encourage philanthrophy, apparently not to support a specific cause. It seems to have been a great success; all the tickets were sold and it looks like a great party! In the promotional video on the Glam site Leeze Gibbons thanks Aveno for helping with the event, so they obviously got a sponsorship package with the widget being one part.

Glam is a fascinating site, highly engaging to young women. If you stop to think about it, they’ve essentially created multiple channels for reaching their target audience in the context of a multichannel site, their print publications, and offline events like the one on Oscar night.

But back to my original point. We have to create safe social media environments in which marketers can comfortably engage participants with their brands. Monitoring is a solution that seems to have worked in this case. I looked around a little, and I didn’t see any complaints about not being permitted to Tweet or having a Tweet not published. The registration is now disabled, but I’m willing to bet there were terms of use that set clear expectations when viewers attempted to register on the widget.

All in all, it looks like a successful experiment. I’m not sure whether it can be precisely replicated in other contexts, but it certainly provides social media food for thought!

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