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ICA presentation - disclosure of material connections in social media

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ICA presentation - disclosure of material connections in social media

  1. 1. Plug Away: Disclosure of material connections in social media channels David Kamerer, PhD, APR Loyola University Chicago Follow me on Twitter @davidkamerer
  2. 2. Organic content or commercial?
  3. 3. Disclosure of material connections 16 CFR Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Resource: FTC “dot-com” disclosures guide
  4. 4. Failure to disclose is not new Payola In-program selling Product placements in film/TV
  5. 5. Ann Taylor FTC: it is the advertiser’s responsibility to assure disclosure, not the blogger’s
  6. 6. Legacy Learning Systems $5 million sales $250,000 fine
  7. 7. Reverb Communications memo: Reverb employs a small team of interns who are focused on managing online message boards, writing influential game reviews, and keeping a gauge on the online communities. Reverb uses the interns as a sounding board to understand the new mediums where consumers are learning about products, hearing about hot new games and listen to the thoughts of our targeted audience. Reverb will use these interns on Developer Y products to post game reviews (written by Reverb staff members) ensuring the majority of the reviews will have the key messaging and talking points developed by the Reverb PR/marketing team.
  8. 8. Online, ads don’t work
  9. 9.
  10. 10. Typical response rates Targeted email 5.00% Direct mail 3.00% Rich media 0.14% Banner ad 0.08% The failure of outbound tactics Source: Ad Age, 2010
  11. 11. How are blogs funded? • No funding – hobby • Banner ads • Search ads (Google AdSense) • Affiliate programs • Pay per post • Free goods & services Rarely: ecommerce, memberships
  12. 12. The advertiser’s view: •No one looks at/clicks on banners •Bloggers have negotiable standards •It’s easy to purchase influence
  13. 13. The blogger’s view: •Not making much from ads •Eager to monetize site •Open for business •Rationalization: “I received X from Y” “But the opinions are my own”
  14. 14. Two inquiries: 1.Study of top style blogs 2.Examination of celebrity Twitter feeds
  15. 15. Method, style blog inquiry: 1.Sampling frame: top style blogs as curated by 2.Only U.S. blogs included, N = 68 3.Rubric: PageRank (scored 0-10) Link score (0-10) Unique IP links (0-15) Alexa rank (0-15) Twitter score (0-10) Facebook domain activity (0-15) Google blog links (0-15)
  16. 16. Results: many revenue streams
  17. 17. Tracking software shows ad relationships Average of 14 tracking services on style blogs •Analytics •Share buttons •Third-party ad networks (source: Ghostery plug-in) At left, tracking software from the blog LoveMaegan
  18. 18. Almost three-fourths of the sample did not disclose in-post
  19. 19. Examples of in-post disclosures
  20. 20. Not quite a disclosure: c/o (“courtesy of”) In- post Site State- ment
  21. 21. Influencers/Advertisers • Always disclose, even if in doubt • Only work with ethical influencers • Also use a site statement, linked on home page • Goal: to avoid consumer confusion • FTC dot-com disclosures Consumers • Media literacy • Understand the ad-supported (free) web • Search engines are complicit
  22. 22. For more information: (search for “corruption”) On Twitter: @davidkamerer Email: Thank you!