IAB Announces Q1 Online Ad Revenues of $7.3 billion

This morning, the Interactive Advertising Bureau announced that first quarter online ad revenues reached $7.3 billion, a 23% increase since last year.

What does this mean for aspiring advertisers like you and I?

More jobs and more money to be made in advertising. More and more ad dollars are moving online and there is an enormous opportunity to grab a chunk of this growing market.

If you could capture just a tiny section of this rapidly growing market, you could make yourself a lot of money.

@NewInfluential

2010 Online Ad Revenue; source: Search Engine Land


Why I Want To Do My Own Music Marketing

This past semester, I took my first two music classes at Duke in Electronic Music and Music Composition. Since then, I’ve been creating my own beats and with enough practice, I hope to become a full time musician.

But until then, I need a day job to pay my student loans; part of the reason why I want to pursue a career in marketing and sales. As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, I’ve got goals that I want to accomplish, and two of those goals are being an expert ad salesman and social media marketer.

I am passionate about both fields but of late I’ve begun to notice an ulterior motive for why I am pursuing a career in marketing.

Let’s say I were an aspiring musician growing up in the 90′s. I would have to send out demos and play at local clubs and bars for the chance of getting a record deal and becoming a star.

Sure, I could have good music, but that didn’t necessarily guarantee that I would make it big. What did guarantee stardom was the record labels and their marketing power.

They could get me on the radio, television, and print, and then I would be a star.

Record labels still can do this, but in today’s digital age, you and I can become sensations all on our own.

I read a post today on Social Media Today titled, “How Emerging Artists Use Social Media“, and it talks about 18 year old Travis McDaniel, a young musician and songwriter who is using social media to grow and build his fan base.

But the author cautions that it is not easy to build an audience; it takes a lot of effort.

I would agree. Just like it’s hard to build a dedicated following on Twitter, or get a lot of subscribers to your blog, creating a rabid fan base using the internet takes time, dedication, and effort.

Which is why I am pursuing a career in marketing.

You see, I could probably launch my music career now. Except that 1) I’m not that good yet, and 2) I’d much rather wait until I have marketing experience to do so.

By waiting until I have the requisite experience, I can ensure that I when I do launch my music career full-time, I’ll know what I’m doing and won’t have to pay anyone else.

By then I hope I’ll have built relationships with the blogs and other press, and I’ll have the marketing know-how and connections to plaster my name across the internet.

When I launch, I want to do it right, I want to do it professionally, and I want to do it myself. I could pay someone to do it for me, but where’s the fun in that?

The fun comes from working hard and seeing yourself succeed. At the end of the day, I want to be able to say that I’m responsible for my own success. #selfmade

@NewInfluential


Opportunity Overload

I’m at a really momentous stage in my life right now. I just graduated college, and I’ve just moved back and begun my search for my first job. I should be elated that I just graduated (I was) but I can’t help but feel somewhat miserable at home.
It’s not necessarily because I have less freedom (my dad still runs the joint) or that the prospect of home really bothers me that much. Rather, I am somewhat miserable because I am confused about what I want to do and where my life will take me.
I know that I want to get a job in ad sales because I want to start my own company someday, but I am still frustrated because there are so many other things that I could see myself doing as well. I could be a blogger, or a social media manager, or a musician (I’ve started producing my own music).
There are so many opportunities created by the internet that frankly, its frustrating.
You see,  the problem with the internet isn’t necessarily that we face information overload (although this is a big problem), but rather that we face opportunity overload.
I know that I’m smart and driven enough, and that there are enough resources on the internet, that  I can learn to do or become almost anything. I have so many interests and yet there are only so many hours in the day I can devote to pursuing those interests.
So I am finding that I have to concentrate on the few things that I am most interested in and master those interests to the best of my ability. Right now I have goals to become an expert digital ad salesman, somewhat of an expert on social media, a blogger and also a musician. (I also have plans to write a novel, but that’s something I’ll wait to do when I’m in my 30s :)
Those are 4-5 areas where I realistically think I can make an impact without doing overextending myself. I’ve set certain goals for the things I want to achieve in life, and I’ve created a plan to get there.
How are you handling the opportunity overload created by the internet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
@NewInfluential

What I Learned From Harold Camping This Weekend

Source: nymag.com

First of all let me say, I’m baaackkkkk! It’s been 2 months since my last blog post and my conscience has been kicking my butt ever since. I knew I had to start blogging again but I couldn’t think of anything to say.

Thank God for the world ending this weekend! (or not ) and providing me with some nice fodder for a blog post.

Let me start off by saying that I won’t use this post to ridicule those Christians who believed that the world would end on May 21. (OK maybe a little, since the Bible does say, and I’m paraphrasing here, “No man knows the day or the hour of when the Lord shall come”. You think they would’ve read that part huh?)

But all jokes aside, I want to focus this post on the leader of this movement and Family Radio Founder and CEO, Harold Camping. I’ve listened to Harold Camping on the radio many times before, and never once upon hearing his radio show did I think he was crazy (OK, except for that one time in 1995…but I was too young to remember that anyways).

So when I read about him making another prediction that the world was going to end, I smhed, or smacked my head, or whatever smh means.

I thougth to myself, isn’t this guy supposed to be an expert on the bible??? How can he predict when the Rapture will happen?

Still, Camping went through with his plan, creating a media frenzy with high profile interviews and millions of dollars worth of advertising, many of it other people’s money.

And while it might be easy to dismiss Camping as a crazed idiot or religious fanatic, I would say that Camping has one important thing to teach us:

Don’t be afraid to Fail!

I, like many others, am afraid of Failure. It’s one of those fears that prevents you from talking to that girl you think is cute, or starting your own business, or losing that 15 lbs off your waistline.

The fear of Failure is something that I am trying to overcome by putting myself out there and taking risks. Because I know that even if I Fail, I’ll get another chance to succeed by learning from my mistakes.

Harold Camping must have thought this in 1995. Sure, it must have been crushing to make such a public declaration and Fail, and 2011 surely must have been epically (is that a word?) crushing, since it was a Failure of such epic proportions.

But after reading some articles about him and his followers, I have no doubt that Camping will be back, trying to predict the end of the world again. Why? Because he believes so much that it will happen, that the thought of Failing won’t even occur to him. Here’s a direct quote from Camping’s interview with NY Magazine a few days before the supposed end of the world:

Interviewer: If six o’clock rolls around and there are no major earthquakes, are you going to start to get worried?

Camping: It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. I don’t even think about those kind of issues. The Bible is not — God is not playing games. I don’t even want to think about that question at all. It is going to happen.

And that is a lesson we all should take from this. There are things that we are afraid of trying or doing because we know that there is the potential of failure. If we could just apply a similar mindset to the ideas that we have (which are most likely not as far-fetched as Camping’s), then we have a good chance of being successful. You may not be successful the first, second, or third time, or maybe even at all, but at least you tried.

And until you try and fail, and then try again, you have no idea if that dream of yours will come true.

So what are you waiting for?


Why We Need Social Scoring

The social scoring service Klout has been generating a lot of press lately, both good and bad. If you don’t know what Klout is, it is a service that assigns a single score (out of 100) to an individual as a measure of how influential they are online. Since Klout came onto the scene last year, a whole host of similar services have popped up. All claim to measure online influence, but they do so using different criteria and algorithms.

While some have embraced social scoring, others are wary of some of the potential implications social scoring will have for society going forward. One of those implications is the creation of a social media caste system. People are worried that businesses will discriminate against individuals with low social influence scores.

The idea is that marketers target those with the highest scores and provide them with perks, (like a better suite at the Palms in Las Vegas), in the hopes that they will spread the good will to their networks, resulting in more customers for that business. The only issue is that if you have a low Klout score, then you do not receive these perks or advantages.

Think of your Klout score as a credit score. Just as you are not entitled to those low levels of interest with a low credit score, you may not be entitled to certain perks at restaurants and hotels because you have a low Klout score.

That being said, society needs social scoring. Today we are living in an attention economy, where we face a continuing downpour of data and information. If we don’t figure out a effective method of sifting through all this information, we’ll drown.

That’s where social scoring comes in. When I want to find content that is relevant, useful, and/or entertaining, I turn to my friends, trusted publications, or people that I know are considered experts in their fields.Those are the new gatekeepers.

By creating or curating information that has relevance and value I am more likely to pay attention to them. I spend hours reading Mashable every week because I always learn something new. And I follow Brian Solis on Twitter for the same reason as well.

My attention is just like a currency, a currency I exchange for relevant information.

Of course, there were going to be attempts to measure online influence. Humans have always sought to align themselves with people more influential than they in order to achieve influence themselves. However, I believe that social scoring services like Klout should seek to measure influence only when it pertains to specific topics, such as SEO or dubstep.

A key component of online influence is relevance. Take Britney Spears who has millions of Twitter followers. She has a high Klout score but does she exert any influence in the SEO industry?

No.

But she might exert some influence when it comes to dubstep music, because her latest song has some dubstep elements, and you know there will be at least 200 dubstep remixes of any Britney Spears song.

Imagine if there were directories you could look up according to topic. At the top, you’d be able to see individuals, blogs, products, services, etc., with the highest influence scores. Then you’d be able to make a more informed decision depending on what you are looking for. It’s not that you or I are want less information. In fact, we want more. We just want it to be the best, most accurate, most relevant information we can get.

Does the concept of social scoring raise some legitimate issues? Yes, but ultimately I believe the benefits of social scoring will outweigh the costs.


How I Spent My Spring Break (It Was Not In Punta Cana)

You know what’s really frustrating?

Being on Spring Break and seeing all the annoying Facebook and Twitter status updates that read, “Puntaaa Cannaaa”, and “We About to Get Loose!!!”, and “Shots, Shots, Shots!!!!”

Or something like that. Either way it’s been pretty annoying.

Or maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part because I didn’t do something wild and crazy for Spring Break. (Senior year I know right?)

Anyways, I decided to be productive and make some moves on my life after Duke.

While at home I reformatted my resume and wrote cover letters for a few job openings, but the single most important thing I did over Spring Break was network.

And my emphasis on networking yielded some fantastic results.

A week ago I met up with an older friend who works for the social media marketing agency M80, owned by media agency Mediacom.

It was probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve had to date.

I really loved the casual environment of the place. It was how I imagined a media agency to be.

Wide open spaces. Free food. Everything was laid back. There may have been one guy in a suit. Foul language was encouraged. But apparently not when using a brands Twitter account :)

ESPN was there doing a Lunch and Learn. (Foolishly I did not stay for lunch)

But those are just semantics. The real important part was talking to the employees. I was fortunate to have someone come up and talk to me and explain exactly what it was like to work in a social media marketing agency.

Here are some things I took away from my experience:

1. Think about using social media from a brand perspective.

When I first sat down to talk to my friend’s colleague, the first question he asked me was, “Why do you want to work in social media?”

I paused and thought for a moment. Why do I like social media?

I couldn’t really come up with a satisfactory response so I said, “Because I love connecting with people?”

Apparently this was not good enough, and I got a harsh reality check.

Just because I have a Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin account does not mean that I know how to utilize social media effectively. There is a big difference between using those channels for personal use and using them professionally for a Fortune 500 company.

Although to my credit, when he began telling me about their sentiment analysis tool, I brought up Dell’s social media command center and how difficult it was to measure sentiment. He was impressed.

2. The social media space is still evolving.

After getting thoroughly grilled, I was able to ask some questions of my own.

“What is the typical workday like?” I asked.

“Typical?” he responded. “There is no typical workday. Every day is different.”

I loved that answer. Basically what he meant is that there is currently no rulebook for practicing social media like there is for traditional marketing. These guys are making it up as they go along, seeing what works, what doesn’t, and adjusting accordingly.

Which is incredibly exciting (at least for me) because I can pave my own path to success in social media.

Which leads me to the third thing I learned,

3. Pick an area of expertise, and dominate it.

I wrote a post last week about finding a niche and owning it, and the same advice seems to keep popping up. It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be real estate or medicine.

By practicing social media in your own niche, you’ll be able to see what works, what doesn’t, and then you’ll be able to apply what you learned if you ever get hired as a social media marketing manager or whatever.


Millions and Millions of Eyeballs, And Everywhere A Niche

The other day in New York it was raining out. Hard.

Not like the annoying drizzles I’m used to experiencing in North Carolina.

This was a legit downpour.

Soaked, cold and clammy, I walked to the corner of 1st Avenue and 14th Street and entered the subway to get uptown.

Disclaimer: If you were the person I bumped into while walking down the stairs into the subway, I’m sorry. I had my headphones blasting and whatever curses you yelled my way I didn’t catch. My b.

Boarding the L train to 8th avenue, I sat down on one of the yellow seats and took a look around the train…

Stop.

Right there on that L train was a perfect snapshot of New York City.

There were children as young as 10 and adults as old as 70.

There were white people, black people, and Asian people.

There were people who were well-off, people who could be considered poor, and people in between.

But it wasn’t the differences in the people that I noted; it was the similarities.

In the hands of many on that train were smartphones of every kind (iPhones, Blackberrys, Android), gaming devices (PSPs, Nintendo DS’, iTouches), tablets and laptops.

And from what I could tell, each and every person was doing their own little thing, encased in their own little connected world.

Of course I had known our society was so connected. I read about it all the time on blogs such as TechCrunch and Mashable, and at Duke it seems like every student, professor, and employee has a smartphone or some connected device.

But those are my own little connected worlds and I guess it was enlightening to see everyday people using the same devices I was.

As I sat there on the metro, my thoughts (as they are wont to do) began whizzing, wondering, and whirling.

You know when some things don’t truly sink in until you see them or experience them for yourself?

Well that’s what happened to me on a dreary Monday evening in a NYC subway.

For the past four months, I’ve been reading up on thought leaders (like Seth Godin) in the online space who talk about finding a niche and then dominating it.

But I’ve always been like Screw that! I wanna rule the world!

Yet sitting there, cold and clammy on the metro, I realized how wise that advice is.

As I sat there, cold and clammy on the metro, my brain began multiplying the number of eyeballs glued to connected devices, times the number of trains running in NYC daily, times the number of trains running daily in metropolitan areas across the country, times the number of trains running daily all around the world.

My eyes widened.

Ohhh s**t! That’s a lot of eyeballs!!

Then I realized that I could find a niche, and still have potentially millions of eyeballs to attract to my blog or website.

Let’s say that I really love the game Farmville, (which I don’t) so I start a blog all about Farmville. I provide commentary on new add-ons to the game, in-game purchases, I provide FAQs and How-To guides, so on and so forth.

That might not sound like a viable niche for me to dominate.

Except when you consider that over 30 million people play Farmville.

Daily.

Obviously smarter people than I have realized this and capitalized.

Look at AllFacebook. All they talk about is Facebook. All the time.

Granted Facebook is huge (600 million and counting), but it just goes to show that you can be a niche site and still have a readership of millions.

So from now on, I’m going to be looking for those little nooks and crannies that I can squeeze my brain into and hope I can attract millions of eyeballs.

Are you thinking of or are already dominating a niche? If so, share your thoughts in the comments below.

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