Social Media Week New York featured so many amazing moments from Eli Pariser taking to the stage to talk all things Upworthy, for the first time since the site has become viewed by over 60 billion people a month, to Vice’s discussions on long form video to JWT stressing our need to change as images take over the web.
Below, we pulled together the best ideas that came out of last year’s sessions. Are you ready for more? With the all-inclusive Insider Pass to the standard Campus Passes to just scoping out the HQ, we want to give you the opportunity to see it all. Starting Wednesday, November 5th, SMW NYC Passes will be available at a Super Early Bird discount, saving you 50% off the standard price. This flash sale won’t last long — just 48 hours — don’t miss it!
What’s trending isn’t always important
Good news organizations (and brands) bring together aspirational and behavioral signals to balance their content. Both need to be treated equally and both need to be fed. This includes looking at what people do (share, click, create community action) and what they say.
Is the content both compelling and substantive? The answer should be yes. And importantly, companies like Upworthy are looking at a new engagement metric they’re calling attention minutes and are going to the community to get their feedback on what they want the future of content to be.
By reading behavior in the context of aspirations, we should now look at content in terms of “Am I doing it right?” and not “Are they interested?”
Data will rule – but we won’t care
Data is becoming more relevant and accessible and more tailored to our personal interests. By 2020, we might see Google Now-like technology permeate our lives, making data available before we ask for it, and helping us keep track of our habits and routines. Our main function will be to optimize the feed, or adjust it in the moment.
Any app that’s relevant to you will be able to provide alerts or info, relevant to you, at a key time, possibly before you ask for it. For example: Your fitness-activity monitor, which knows you go running every Tuesday and Thursday, will let you know one of the streets on your route is closed due to construction and will know how to adjust your route, while keeping your distance, elevation, and other metrics generally the same.
The leaders of the next digital revolution will be unexpected
Steve Case, CEO of Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm he co-founded in 2005, is best known as one of the founders of America Online, launched when only when only 3% of personal-computer users were online. AOL was the first Internet company to go public, in 1992, when it had only 200,000 users. “You just gotta persevere,” he said.
To find innovation, it pays to look beyond Silicon Valley and New York City. “Good ideas can be anywhere,” Case said, citing hidden gems like Austin and parts of North Carolina. Young entrepreneurs live in a world of greater diversity and opportunity where the people behind the company matter less than the quality of the idea.
To fully access troves of talent, America needs immigration reform to compete with countries with more lax laws, Case said.
The death of CPM ad units is near
Storytelling is exactly the same as it was 50 years ago. That’s how we like to consume information. The “way” we tell stories is what has changed. Can’t just put an ad on the internet because it doesn’t make sense.
Native advertising has a great role to play in the solution, but makes up a very small amount of ads. We have developed banner blindness – so we can develop social sponsored blindness too.
Advertisers should be scared by the prospect of Pandora One, Netflix – places where consumers pay to not see ads. Just because attention is there, doesn’t automatically mean advertising will follow. But if we do have the attention, the frequency model goes away. Everything changes.
Great content will come from anywhere
We need to be more creative with multimedia in an age of social and mobile. At one time, text was the main tool of reporting news. But with more people creating rich media content, mainstream reporting has discovered new ways to use multi-media.Anything that doesn’t entertain, engage and inform will not break through the noise. Ironically enough, the most accessed and engaged content on the NYTimes.com website isn’t even a feature or news story. It was a quiz that identified your regional dialect though a clever quiz…written by an intern!
This is proof that great content can come from anywhere, not just professional sources.
Things designed to be shared will have higher value
Trust is the most profound part of this collaborative economy. In a sharing economy, buyers and the sellers are peers, and entrepreneurs are designing things that are more easily shared because we want them to go through many hands. Thus, things designed to be shared will have higher value. For example, people drive 80% less when they use Zipcar than if they owned their own vehicle—and 40% of users have never owned one, which has led to our streets being filled with 40,000 fewer cars.As Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar and Buzzcar noted: “You have to be building community in everything you’re doing.”
Longform video works…if you do it right
The whole notion that people don’t want to watch long stuff on the internet is not true. People are watching longer videos than ever before and not just the 2 minute plug & play. Of course this only works if they are packaged effectively. It’s more about how you package and showcase a story than having a well-known celebrity in your video.Where do publishers like Vice and Motherboard get their stories for videos? By reading everything and being early to report. It’s about working with what you’ve got. If you have a good story, go out and make it.
“When we look for a great character, we look for someone is going to be open and has a great personality,” said Motherboard’s editor-in-chief, Derek Mead.
A cleverly staged moment in a long form piece, can result in a genuine emotional reaction from your viewers but if the story drags on, it won’t work no matter the length of the video. Always leave them wanting more.
Content lasts longer on Pinterest
Each day there is 60+ million users, 100s million pins, 1B+ connections on Pinterest. It’s a very aspirational platform and allows you to show who you want to be. On the other hand, Twitter is about what you are doing and Facebook is about who you are.It makes sense that the half life of a tweet is 5-25 mins, the half life of a Facebook post is 80 mins, and the half life of Pinterest content is >1 week. This means you MUST think about quality rather than quantity when you pin, and determine what the best content is around the topic that you can curate? It’s especially important as pins are more than images. Rich pins provide context, commercial foundation, and addresses stale links.
As content lives longer, if you want to get people for the Christmas rush, posting in November is too late. The optimal time to pin for Christmas is August or September due to the long half-life.