Time to Show Our "Stuff"

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caption.pngRecently, I sat down for lunch with John Schneider, Vice President of Sales at Federated Media and my newly appointed co-chair at the IAB Social Media Committee, to prepare for our first meeting today, February 23rd. Our heads are abuzz with new ideas for 2011, so we thought it would be best to tee up our first meeting with a blog post outlining our thoughts in order to really encourage discussion.

The first thought, and this is probably on everyone’s mind, is whether “Social Media” has become too broad of a category. Social Media is really all things… games, mobile, video, etc. I’ve written about this before (See: Accept Everything We Do Is Social (And ‘Like’ It)), the trend of all media becoming social. This being the case, the question we face at the IAB is: how do we encourage collaboration between the Social Media Committee and other IAB Committees - such as the Games, Digital Video, and Mobile Advertising Committees, among others, to move the interactive advertising industry forward? In the long run, does it make sense for the other Committees to roll into the Social Media Committee, should the Social Media Committee break up and become part of the other Committees, or will we be able to maintain a delicate co-existence through clearly defined rules and boundaries? These are questions we don’t know the answers to, yet.

But until then, our roles as the Social Media Committee co-chairs are to make sure we drive forward. We need to get the right companies involved. Some - like Zynga, Twitter, and Groupon - are not, yet, IAB members and need to be recruited, while others are IAB members that need to be engaged in the right ways to ensure their involvement and insights.

As our Committee membership grows, our audience’s interests become more diverse. That means that for any topic we discuss, it will appeal to some participants and not others, and that’s okay - we need to make it easier for members to self-select the discussions and topics that are relevant to them, perhaps on a quarterly basis.

How do we get actionable content to the marketplace quickly and consistently? You shouldn’t have to wait all year long for a white-paper or buyers guide that is out of date by the time the next one comes along. Can we create something digital? What about an agency day or thought pieces produced on a quarterly basis?

We’d love to hear feedback on these questions. The term “Social Media” from an advertising standpoint includes various pillars, such as media, community management and activity, and our role in driving the social marketing landscape is more important than ever. We need to start taking a more fine-grained approach to understanding the social activities taking place on various social mediums, whether on apps, mobile or the Web, and then we need to lay down guidelines for how advertisers can add value. I’d like to end this post with a quote from someone I’ve followed for a long time - Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and formerly of Morgan Stanley, “Advertising,” she says, “… we think it’s ripe for innovation. We’ve been waiting for online advertising to show its stuff for about 15 years.” I couldn’t agree more. Through “social” we have the opportunity to throw out the digital playbook of today and show our “stuff.”

Let’s make 2011 the year.

Chris Cunningham is co-founder and CEO of appssavvy and co-chair of the IAB Social Media Committee. Reach him via email or follow him on Twitter @appssavvyceo.