Review of ad:tech Chicago Keynote by Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired

Chris Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine and celebrated author (under fire recently for) of The Long Tail.

The Google model acknowledges that we all have unique interests. For example, Chris Anderson has his own personal blog for UAVs called DIY Drones which he builds with his kids. I noticed that he runs Google adsense ads on his blog which he said he places mostly to see what unique ads pop up there tied to his blog posts. Not a bad way to do primary research.

Narrow audiences are now reachable since niche publishers don’t need to really know who the advertisers are and they don’t need to know you but each are obtaining benefit.

He even pegs the day of the grip of the MSM ended – March 21st, 2000. This day saw the release of the Nsync album “No Strings Attached” which went on to be the best selling album of all time with over 10 Million copies sold. He is now discussing a chart that shows the massive downslide of album sales since that point. Still, while there are over 70,000 albums released each year there has not been (and will not be according to Anderson) another album that sells at that level. Indeed, today’s platinum and diamond album sellers are no where near this watermark.

Minority tastes can now find markets as we no longer have the herd keeping a lockstep mentality among personal consumption habits. Tv, for instance, now offers more choices but have created more fragmention. So, while there is more tv than ever before but we are not all watching the same thing at the same time (time shifting anyone?).

The monopoly of the blockbuster or “hit” is over and it’s a cultural phenomenon. Since 1992, all of the big three networks have seen sliding market shares from a high of 9-10 million HH to “high” now of only 5-7 million HHs. “I Love Lucy” had 70 million HH watching which was dang near everyone with a tv set in the 50’s while the new #1 show today, CSI (Vegas) only yields around 16 million HH. The peak of the ‘water cooler era’ is over.

We need(as an industry) to de-stygmatize what success means at lower levels against past history. He offers no examples of how to do this but the rally cry has been issued.

Per capita attendance for films is dropping even though total attendance is up due to population increases and WOM is one of the key reasons for this he asserts.

WOM vs Mktg….avg second week box office drop percentage used to not happen for 3-4 weeks after a film’s initial release. Now a film’s “legs” are cut out from under it by lthe lightning speed of WOM which kills bad and even not very good films off very quickly.

Classic bell curve dynamics (shoot for the fat middle) – frequency and variety – expensive distribution requires this (hello, line extensions).

Long tail graphic showing popularity and products. 80/20 rule. (80% of the wealth being in the hands of 20% of the people). European example pre-WW2 and the failure of marxism, communism. The head of the long tail quickly shows where the shelf space limitations rears its head. However, the non-hits and non-blockbusters add up to a 1/3 or 1/2 of what the head of the long tail graph shows us.

Amazon total inventory is about 1.7 million books…avg B&N is 100,000 books. Viva online! 25% of Amazon online sales are from non-hits busting the idea of 80/20 or nothing to the curb.

Zappos.com has 750,000 skus of shoes! Whoa. For example, vegetarian shoes (made without animal products). Did you know that the #1 vegetarian shoe (who would have thought was a niche to be mined?) is Converse (made with canvas and rubber). BTW – Converse is owned by Nike. So much for not supporting Nike sweat shops, hippie boy. Avg turns are 2 per year for Zappos. The Avg retail store must have turns of 2 per week to make it in the brick and mortar biz.

Beer maker AB is seeing one size fits one (sorghum made Red Bridge beer) rather than one size fits all (budweiser). Home schooling industry fueling magazines and web sites just for those that want to home school their kids.

Second Life experimen failed…or did it? Finding out those better measurements beyond page views is the mantra at this conference.

Your brand isn’t what you says it is it is what Google says it is. Use google trends to search for ‘your company” +sucks and see what people are saying about you online.

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