Battelle led off with a bang by saying he missed yesterday at the event but read the blog coverage, and so everyone should “turn off their fucking cellphones”. A funny reference as many phones seemed to go off during speakers throughout the day.
He went into a background of himself through Wired, Hotwired (where he was then offered the Editor in chief job at Yahoo which he turned down thinking portals were stupid), and then moved on to starting the Industry Standard. TheStandard.com spent $16 million to get to the point of 500,000 visitors a month, which they were very proud of. Hotwired was also where the first banner ad was supposedly born as they chose to take the idea of the constant ad on Prodigy at the bottom of the screen and turn it into a banner ad.
The Industry Standard was going great until the boom in 2000 hit, and he was out of a job as the company that owned his company put him out of a job.
It was back to Berkeley to start teaching journalism, and he started Searchblog in 2003 because he wanted to publish as a professor and he was fascinated by search, and he started working on the book The Search.
Battelle also got interested in the newer companies that were forming that were different and started the Web 2.0 Conference with Tim O’Reilly. Shortly thereafter, BoingBoing called him with a problem that their $500 hosting bill was too much and they needed to do advertising. Battelle asked how many visitors they had, and the reply was 500,000. He noticed that obviously a huge shift had occurred when it took TheStandard.com $16 million to achieve that, and it now was costing BoingBoing $500.
He thinks the shift that occurred was basically that the back office got digitized, then the front office got digitized, and the shift was that the users/customers were now digitized. Search had now become the new interface or navigational device to our computers.
Next on the list was a discussion of Web 2.0 principles:
- The web is a platform
- The architecture of participation
- Lightweight business models
- Innovation in assembly
- The long tail
And then Web 2.0 search principles:
- The driver of Web 2.0 businesses
- Our culture’s point of inquiry, the spade with which we turn the web’s soil, artifact of a new culture.
- A new reality for all forms of traditional businesses
Battelle then spoke to how amazing seach is for it’s ability to keep our search history forever, and the implications of it. Who owns our search history? Who owns our search data? Can we give our search history for our grandkid?
The next point was that search rules for marketers is because it has the cheapest average customer acquisition cost of any advertising medium. As users we declare our intent into a little box, and then search forms the world around us for what we want to see. Traditional advertising means trying to find the audience where they are consuming content, and try and gain their attention from it.
Search also drives people to social media sites, because that’s where conversations are occurring and new content is being created and aggregated. In traditional media attention is controlled by distributors, and now it’s controlled by consumers. There are new centers of attention, and content is king with landing place as queen. “All businesses must join the Point-to Economy (links = votes = attention)”.
The promise of the web is the ability to know what your customer wants, or to invite them to tell you. This requires a new set of skills, new tools, new thinking about media buying, and venturing away from the comfortable.
Next up was the idea that marketing has evolved into the architecture of participation. So this led into showing a case study of their first participation advertising done at Federated Media. They ran a campaign for Lenovo that invited users to vote. Lenovo was a bit uncomfortable, but they got over 200,000 votes in the campaign.
Another example was that Microsoft ran a campaign on WiFiNet News, and the initial creatives for the campaign were kind of irrelevant. Glenn Fleishman at WiFiNet News suggested that they change the creatives to talk about the Office wireless features. Microsoft’s agency worked with Glenn to write the copy for the creatives and it got a 60% improvement on click-through rate. A step in the rate direction for having the publishers participate with the advertising.
He followed up with a couple of more examples, and then went into FM’s business model of FM bundling quality sites together, selling them individually and as groups, and promoting conversations between the advertisers and publishers. They feel their key business value is their relationship with their publishers, and the value they create through their work. They focus on quality and engagement.
An interesting talk overall on the history of Battelle’s career and what they are trying to accomplish at FM.