Archive for the ‘interactive audience’ Category

How do you justify a $10 Billion Valuation?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Geoff Lovatt

This article was contributed to CongRegation 14 (#cong14) at congregation.ie in which the author participated. Visit the website to view this great social media gathering event!

 

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Astronomical valuations for tech companies are nothing new, in fact it’s commonplace nowadays. The tricky part is justifying these sky high estimations and that problem becomes even harder when the company doesn’t have any real turnover to date. This is Snapchat’s problem. Yes Snapchat, the app made famous for being used by teens and others alike to send each other disappearing sexts, is apparently worth US$10 Billion! Maybe proving once and for all that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

So how do you attempt to validate, and more importantly monetise, an app with such a large estimated worth but no real turnover? Snapchat might just have the answer. Earlier this year Snapchat added a new feature called Our Story to its Recent Updates section. The Our Story feature is a central live feed of user generated videos and pictures usually lasting 2-3 minutes from a particular global event. Users can contribute to the Our Story feature by having their location services enabled to prove they are at the event before submitting their content for review by Snapchat. All of the content from the live feed can be viewed multiple times but only lasts for 24 hours or the duration of the event.

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Initially Our Story was tested at a handful of music festivals like EDC and Lollapalooza and after great engagement with users was rolled out to more events such as American College Football games, The FIFA World Cup and even things a bit more obscure like Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0BclkfvvZ0) in Mexico City and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot air balloon festival. The addition of the Our Story feature has proven a roaring success for the company. According to Snapchat the number of daily views for their Stories has now surpassed the number of daily views for individual snaps and stands at over 1 billion.

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What’s more impressive than the numbers though is the thinking behind the move towards live events. In doing so, Snapchat has created a new era of event participation and live broadcast by giving users the chance to experience, and contribute to, global events from multiple points of view in near real time with ease and convenience. The Stories are always expertly edited and deliver exactly what the name implies, a story of the given event from beginning to end, and for the first time ever allows users access to what in the past would have gone unseen. The American College Football Stories usually show fans en route to the game, behind the scenes footage from both teams dressing rooms shot by the players themselves, a fans view of a touchdown from the packed crowd, songs being sung by the fans and finally who won! According to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel more people are watching College Football on Snapchat than on TV (100m vs. 2.6m). This high level of engagement not only helps to build a sense of community for Snapchat it also attracts new users who may have been turned off in the past by their unjust seedy reputation.

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In October the company expanded its Stories feature to include College Campus, a brief insight into daily college life at 4 US colleges, UCLA and Penn State among them, with a live feed of campus generated content. Except this time Snapchat tried a bit of clever marketing by limiting the ability to both post and watch the feed to users actually on the college campus. Creating exclusivity around the College Campus Stories feature is a great way to increase demand for it and who knows maybe even improve class attendance rates for fear of missing out!

By making the move into live broadcast Snapchat has not only diversified its product and strengthened its brand, they’ve also managed to figure out a way to monetise an app for self-destructing photos and videos. One option available might be to offer sponsorship of a live event in the Our Story feature. This would be less intrusive to users than sponsored ads on or before individual snaps and also offer advertisers better targeting and fit for their brand. In October this year Snapchat rolled out its first sponsored ad. A twenty second trailer for the horror film Ouija, paid for and specially edited by Universal Studios to play in a similar fashion to other Stories. And this is what excites marketers and advertisers most about Snapchat, it’s not their 100 million monthly active users, although that sure helps, it’s the similarity to TV advertising that their platform provides. For now the Stories only last for between 2-3 minutes, but this could easily be increased as could the 24 hour lifetime.

Snapchat has also reportedly held negotiations to distribute other media content from both traditional mass media outlets like Time and CNN as well as new media from Vice, Spotify and Vevo in a new section within the app called Discover. And the news earlier this week could give a hint of another possible revenue stream Snapchat has in mind for the future, SnapCash. A joint venture with Square to offer users a Peer-to-Peer payment feature that has initially been advertised as being a handy way to send friends money. But who’s to say it couldn’t one day be used to pay for admission to an event, or extended behind the scenes footage, or a new music video not available elsewhere. The possibilities are limitless, much like Snapchats future seems to be if they can continue to grow and innovate with such ease. $10 Billion could even end up looking like a bargain in a couple of years!

Which? delivers “satisfaction”, on the phone too!

Friday, January 27th, 2012

I recently visited Which? to look up a product, and took up their offer of £1 membership. This allowed me to get into the members area where most of the articles and reviews reside. Within the week I got the latest issue of the magazine and a cover letter. After reviewing my product and looking through the website I realized that Which? is UK-centric and whilst the product reviews are still apropos much else simply doesn’t apply. I wanted to cancel my subscription before the standard monthly charges begin!

The Which? cover letter had 5 color blocks on the right with all the contact details I need, plus my details and Membership Number. All very handy & practical. So I called the Which? Helpline and met their automated phone system. I fully expected the usual hellish experience. The first thing that struck me was the calm, level male voice giving me 5 options. They were clear and unhurried. Reassuring. I chose option 2 to cancel my subscription. A brief moment of music and “Richard” came on the line: “Hello, how can I help? Do you want to cancel your subscription?” He confirmed my name and address, gave me a cancel ref code and thanked me for telling him why I didn’t want the subscription. All done.

I came off the phone thinking this is the smoothest automated phone system I’ve encountered in a long while. Everything worked. There was no rush. No barrage of options. No wrong clicks – no dead ends, wrong department, try again. It just worked. I’m sure the folks at Which? know they have a great system. I would encourage any businesses that use automated phone help and directory systems to dial up the Which? Helpline on +44 1922 822 800 and listen to how they do it. Which? has proved their goal is quality. They focus on creating satisfaction for their customers. Even the ones who are signing off. That’s class!

Which? website - which.co.uk

Which? integrates website, print and phone with customer satisfaction as priority.

Wordnik LOVES words

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Wordnik is the new online dictionary that takes the stuffiness out of lexicography. Unlike a traditional dictionary which can take years to approve and update, Wordnik “gathers” definitions and examples live from the web. So you can usually find the newest and most obscure words you won’t find elsewhere. If you subscribe you can join the Community and contribute to the love of words. Wordnik is likely to become the Google of Words: the single-purpose front screen asks you to do just one thing – look for a word. You can’t get simpler than that.

Wordnik's single-focus is on finding the definition of a word.

Wordnik delivers the definitions for the word you search – drawn from live web sources, together with synonyms and hypernyms (similar but more generic words) as well as Lists. Why no Antonyms? You’ll also find Comments and Visuals. That is packing a lot of “finds” in one search. Give it a try!

Social Media for Business

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

"How to Profit from Social Media" Chambers InBusiness magazine Spring 2011

 

I teamed up with Eoin Kennedy of Slattery Communications for this brief but comprehensive overview article – just published in Chambers Ireland’s InBusiness magazine. Click here to read the full 4-page article online. You’ll find Eoin’s blog here and Chambers website here. Enjoy!

SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOW THE MAINSTREAM. No longer the territory of nerds and techies. Globally it has come of age. However, the idea that social media marketing can be achieved by tinkering for a few hours online is entirely false. While it is easy for individuals to engage, making social media work for business requires knowledge, skill and insight. Social media is the public space and for companies wanting to leverage this new market, real expertise is needed. It requires clear aims and clever thinking to get good results.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr and Pix.ie are all social media portals. Facebook is by far the largest with over 500 million daily users worldwide, including 1.5 to 1.9 million in Ireland. Social media is where we find the majority of people hanging out these days, where users share news, photos and gossip with friends and colleagues. It has spread all over the globe and is ever present.

In the social media world it is the public who rule the airwaves. It hasn’t taken long for businesses to realise that’s a lot of people and a vast potential market. In the past couple of years we have seen huge growth in social media campaigns, from some of the largest global brands to some of the very clever smaller companies too.

The term ‘going viral’ belongs to social media and is the Holy Grail when ‘talking up’ your brand, product or project. It can spread instantly around the globe. But how do you ensure that your message stays on track and doesn’t backfire? This has already led to a new service offering called reputation management and is changing how the public and media relationship works.

To read how you can make Social Work for your business – click here to read the full 4-page article online. InBusiness is published quarterly by Chambers Ireland – click here for website. To view the InBusiness magazine archives – click here.

Why Customer Satisfaction is No.1

Friday, November 5th, 2010
Andrew Lovatt editor "Why Customer Satisfaction is No.1"

Click above to read full color version online.

The Autumn/Fall issue of Chambers Ireland’s In Business magazine is out. For this issue I wrote a 4-page article focusing on why Customer Satisfaction is No.1. Here’s the intro. (Click on magazine cover pic on right to read the full color magazine online.)

“To really win (customer) loyalty, forget the bells and whistles and just solve their problems,” says an article in the prestigious Harvard Business Review (July-Aug 2010). Andrew Lovatt agrees that problem solving is the Number 1 “satisfier” but argues we shouldn’t overlook the need for good business design and helping customers every step of the way. Customer satisfaction should be the aim. Your reputation hangs on it. If you get it right, you can take it to the bank. What is your website doing for your bottom-line?

Fast and efficient problem-solving should be the Number One goal but it is all about Customer Satisfaction. To achieve this, you will need to sit in the customers‘ seat and test your website as if you were seeking a solution. See if you can use it to solve a set of “customer problems” – whether this is finding the right PDF document to download, filling out a request form or contacting Customer Support. See how long it takes you. Look carefully at the screens and see how “easily and quickly” you can solve the problem. Don’t be surprised if you find the solutions hard to find. Your aim should be to get the solution right in front of your customer as fast as possible.

EFF’s 20th Anniversary Video

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which was founded in 1990 by Mitch Kapor (of Lotus 1-2-3 fame) and John Perry Barlow (the Grateful Dead lyricist and the man who coined the term cyberspace) and other early ‘Net leaders, celebrates 20 years of battling for citizen / netizen rights with a cartoon tribute from Nina Paley – which is funny and painfully true. It fits the brief for EFF. This is what they’re about.

How much surveillance is good for us? EFF (www.eff.org) has battled in the courts and on the airwaves for individual “user rights” from the beginning… and the fight goes on. A worthy group to support too, if you have a few dollars to spare.

I saw John Perry Barlow a few years ago at the IFI, talking about how the internet was no longer free and open. In Ireland we were in the throes of the Net Boom and no one in the audience was interested. Instead they asked him how to sell things online. He must have gone away with a raw impression of uz!

On the other hand… Ken Wilber

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

A friendly critic took me to task for being “harsh” about NeoOgilvy. I trust no-one at Ogilvy took personal offense, if they read the review at all, at all. To balance the picture, I’m reminded that Flash isn’t always a no-no. There are times, places and “interactive audiences” (for want of a better term) for whom it works and fits perfectly. An excellent example is the “very flash” American philosopher Ken Wilber. This is no dry and crusty academic. Ken’s all about now, both spiritually and in contemporary-ness, and his site uses Flash to perfection – a total integration of sound and visual and interactivity. You’ll find Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, and social media channels all integrated neatly. Go see it at http://kenwilber.com. If you haven’t downloaded the latest, now bug-free, Flash browser plugin from Adobe you can get it free here.  (The new Flash plug-in finally fixes security and machine-crash issues – at long last! Bravo to Adobe. Now, maybe, Steve Jobs will let you put Flash on the iPad. But somehow I think he really likes the power of HTML5.)

Ken Wilber's integrated Flash website. All singing & all dancing. And philosophy too!