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Tag: sponsorship

Who Trumps How Many: This Week in Startups with Jason Calacanis

Earlier, in my brief examination of social whoring, I included a mention of “who” being more important than “how many.”  The basic idea: 10 Twitter followers truly locked in to you – your persona, your concept, your product, your service or your brand – are more valuable than 1,000 followers who are just hanging on for the follow-back.  Not genius, but fundamental and oft overlooked.

For several  months, I’ve been watching This Week In Startups with Jason Calacanis.  This morning, I realized that a) I should bring this excellent, entertaining production to your attention and b) it perfectly illustrates the idea.

Regarding TWiST itself: It’s a YouTube channel under the This Week In web TV network.  It’s a round table format about – obviously – startup companies, entrepreneurship, venture capital, angel investing, founders, CEOs, etc.

Guests have included Gary Vaynerchuk, Groupon founder Andrew Mason, David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals, the founding developer of WordPress, the director of search at Bing, the founder and CEO of Gowalla, the founder and CEO of EventBrite and more than a hundred others.  Themed segments and episodes include Shark Tank (very frequent, idea pitch and judgment), Founders Roundtable, Global Meetups and more.

Regarding who versus how many: Dozens of the episodes (of which there are 120 or so) have fewer than 100 views.  Most have views in the 100-1,000 range.  A handful of views are in the 2,000+ range.  Total subscribers … 402.  Note: this does NOT take into account the live audience of each show.

A traditional take on these kinds of numbers – unimpressive.  A local television station provides 2,000 simultaneous views for even poorly-watched programs.  Though insanely inane, other YouTube channels have far greater reach – like ShaneDawsonTV2 with 250,000,000+ video views and 1,600,000+ subscribers.

So how do Calacanis and company land sponsorship from leading software companies like email service provider Mail Chimp?  (Note: my ESP of choice is BombBomb, who’s putting video inside the inbox).  Those few hundred subscribers and few thousand viewers represent a tight, high quality community of entrepreneurs, tech/web people, investors and financiers.  It’s probably as dense a concentration of these types as you can reach.

I guarantee that buy isn’t on an old school cost per thousand basis.  I’d also bet that if you looked at the sponsorship (however it’s structured) on a CPM basis, the CPM would be astronomical compared to most online buys.  There’s a premium on concentrations of smart, shrewd, softwarey people.  Yes, I made that last adjective up.

The point?  Sure, more viewers and subscribers would be good for TWiST, but who makes up that audience is far more important than how many there are.

Here’s an embed of a recent episode with Tony Conrad, co-founder of About.Me (sold to AOL for $800M four days after launch) among many other projects and successes.  If for no other reason, you should watch this to learn how the About.Me team lined up that killer url – obviously a fundamental piece of their overall strategy.

More on Jason Calacanis on Wikipedia.
Follow Jason Calacanis on Twitter.
Check out my About.Me page.

Groupon Investing in Traditional Media: Smart Play?

This morning I met for coffee a friend whose website I’m writing.  It’s a pretty casual shop that opens at 7am; the owner was still getting everything together at 7:05am.  Part of the process: firing up the music.

“I can’t think of it … what’s the radio on the internet?” she asked.  “Pandora,” I immediately replied without thinking twice.  “Yeah, that’s it,” she said, adding “I like Slacker, too.  It’s deeper.”

Pandora’s built from the Music Genome Project, which started in 1999.  In its current form with which you’re probably familiar, the website itself started in mid-2006.  In less than 5 years, then, “Pandora” has come to mean “radio on the internet” on a fraction of a moment’s thought.  I don’t even use Pandora and the connection is instantaneous.  That’s an important and impressive achievement.

If Pandora’s growing by anything but word of mouth, social networking and maybe some online banners, I”m not aware of it.  I’ve never seen an ad for it in any form.

Meanwhile, “the fastest growing company ever” is now “experimenting with what’s now typically referred to as traditional advertising – TV, print, radio, outdoor billboards – to maintain momentum.”  The former quote comes from a Summer 2010 story in Forbes; the latter comes from this week’s Ad Age.  Both are about everyone’s darling, Groupon, the company that can say no to Google and its $6,000,000,000.

Groupon, Collective Buying Power, logo, corporate logo, social coupon, group

Groupon and Traditional Advertising: Is that what it takes to be a premiere brand, a true household name?

Written by Rupal Parekh, the Ad Age piece is built on the fact that Groupon tried to buy Super Bowl ads, but settled for title sponsorship of the Super Bowl pre-game show because the in-game inventory has been sold out for months (at $2.8-3M per :30).  It goes on to detail their engagement with Crispin Porter + Bogusky for creative and talks with cable networks about their new agency Starcom.  It seems like they’re embracing establishment in hopes of becoming a premiere brand.

Attention traditional media: put Groupon on your “new client that’s ripe for courting” list.

Neither LivingSocial, Groupon’s chief competitor, nor Facebook, which has 50% more users at 600M than Groupon at 400M, has spent any serious cash on traditional media.  Apple, on the other hand, can’t be avoided if you watch an hour of prime time network television.  Google falls somewhere in between, but much closer to LivingSocial and Facebook.  Microsoft also falls somewhere in between, but much closer to Apple.

It’s worth noting that Pandora passed the 400M user mark more than a year ago, a mark Groupon hit at a much faster pace, achieving it in 2010.

Questions for You

Is the Super Bowl a smart play for Groupon?

Is traditional advertising still a basic requirement for a brand to become top-tier, to become a true household name?  Do the spend and presence add credibility to a brand?

Does Groupon need an agency, a creative shop and traditional media?  If so, why?  If not, how might tens of millions of dollars be better spent?

I’d really like to hear what you think – please leave a comment below.

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