Advertising 2.0 – the Web as platform

By in Inspiration on 2007/02/12

* Part 2 of 3 of my lecture “Advertising 2.0″ [read part 1]

In 2006, Chevrolet launched a website endorsing the reality show “The Apprentice”. Users could play with the site tools to create their own version of a Chevrolet Tahoe commercial, mixing several audio and video clips. But not everything went the way it was supposed to …

Of course there are also some positive examples, like this one, created by Firefox fans.

This new voice of consumers grew along with the so called “Web 2.0“, a term coined by Tim OÂ’Reilly in 2004 depicting several common features embodied in 2nd generation web sites (*see also my own take on a Web 2.0 definition), sharing principles such as mobility, convergence or folksonomy.

web2 graph

The web is now taking advantage of its collaborative capabilities, with new communication tools – like social networks – establishing new dialogs and enabling the sharing of content between consumers.

If we imagine the web as a brain, the links between pages are just like the synapses, which get stronger and stronger as we keep repeating and increasing the connections. Many of the web 2.0 applications take advantage of such features.

  • Google uses the structure of connections between web pages to establish the search result relevance.;
  • eBay has increased efficiency thank to the huge participation of the users.
  • Amazon remains the top online bookstore by encouraging users to give feedback and review, and profiting from the massive analysis of shopping habits.

Web 2.0 trend map

© Information Architects

If links are the web’s synapses, data is it’s DNA. Companies on the forefront of the new web – Flickr, MySpace and, of course, Google – all have a huge amount of data available. These companies, with access to crucial user data such as location, identity or shopping habits, will surely have a competitive edge on the future of the web.

Web based software, like Gmail, is now the favorite platform for many users, providing services constantly updated with the latest version and accessible from anywhere. The users of these applications are also seen as co-authors (with their feedback constantly improving the service) and are also trying to find similar experiences and interfaces as the ones found on the desktop, but keeping all the advantages of the web.

Web 2.0 encouraged the creation of a lot of content with users starting to have a serious problem of information overload. Hence that many of web 2.0 tools were created to enable the filtering of information and provide only the relevant content. Google’s search engine is the main example, a service that became essential to our use of the web.

Other services such as personalized homepages, social bookmarks and content syndication by RSS were also created to serve as content filter. Rss is one of the great novelties of web 2.0, working as a telex for the digital news – we read what we want, without having to browse to the provider website.

With such amount of technology, no wonder that consumer felt empowered, with one of the greatest forms of expression of web 2.0 being online video. And most of it was on YouTube.

Looking backwards, it almost seems that Youtube is here for a long time, when in fact it went live on November 2005, but achieving impressive numbers in less than a year.
So, a question arises: Is YouTube the future of television? Unfortunately for TV, the answer might be quite concerning.

YouTube as the next TV

With more broadband access and the launch of Apple TV or Windows Home Server, using the Internet as an entertainment medium will be quite usual. Some TV networks already offer full online episodes of their series, supported by ads on the downloaded videos.

But online video doesn’t speak the same language as TV. Communication should be tailored to take advantage of interactivity and hyperlinking, and not limited to the classic 30” commercial, adjusting the message to specific marketing niches.
Online video has also one direct advantage over traditional advertising: metrics.
Video analytics is more accountable, specific and actionable, offering real time feedback on frequency, streams ans interactions. In a near future, technologies allowing voice and visual recognition will enable contextual advertising together with online videos.

(to continue on part 3)

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