I just attended a fantastic, standing room only SXSW panel titled "Why Social Ads Work. Ignore Facebook Naysayers" with Kurt Abrahamson, the CEO of ShareThis, and Brandon Rhoten, the Director of Digital Marketing for the Wendy's restaurant chain. Both Kurt and Brandon spoke very openly about digital advertising, and social ads in particular.
Wendy's is a $9 billion company with over 7,000 locations in US & Canada (although only 150 locations in CA). Its biggest competitors are other QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) like McDonalds and Burger King, but Wendy's is more interested in what newer chains like Chipotle are doing than these more traditional competitors, since Wendy's biggest business challenge is to have 20 and 30 somethings choose Wendy's over chains like Chipotle (Wendy's does very well with the older demographic, though, since it's a 60+ year old brand). The entire QSR industry is a $519 billion industry.
Here's the video of the event (sorry for the poor video quality; I was barely able to squeeze into the room)
Kurt kicked the session off mentioning that Twitter is scaling revenue significantly with promoted tweets and API ads interface, and Tumblr is now selling 'stories' & implementing other native advertising discussions. He and Brandon went on to talk about topics including:
It was a great panel, and a bunch of people gave me their biz cards afterwards, asking me to send them the video. Hope it's helpful! If you have more questions for Kurt or Brandon please write them in the comments below and I'll do my best to get you answers.
Really interesting stuff. It's really interesting that they are focusing more on QSR's and not the traditional fast food industry. I'm sure health concerns and quality transparency with customers are really driving that.
I've really enjoyed reading through all of this. The F1 Geekspeed challenge is pretty smart. Oh and by the way, I want “The AngelList Materials”. [email protected]
There's a great BusinessInsider article about how Facebook has recently begun focusing heavily on retargeted ads. The crux of the story is this: The holy grail in advertising is knowing a user's "intent," because if you know what they intend to do, you can influence their behavior through advertising. Facebook has been working for years to discern "intent" via a complex formula that creates a social graph for each user, with big data mining algorithms that seek to divine what a user will be interested in based on that graph, so ads can be targeted in real-time to those users.
And instead, what's proving best at monetizing off "intent" is good, old-fashioned ad retargeting, which Facebook has recently started doing.
What struck me is that for the first time in years, a Facebook ad recently caught my eye. And it was a retargeted ad.
Doing stuff without understanding why.
A few months ago there was a post on a moderately popular marketing forum asking something about email marketing service providers, and AWeber specifically. There were questions on pricing and if there were some free alternative available.
The forum poster also asked what he should send to his list. What would he write in the emails?
Errrrghhhh. That's completely back-assward.
My point was this: If you don't know what you're gonna write, don't start building your list.