As an avid pinner, I’ve been silently championing Pinterest’s maturation from a startup social network to one of the most visited sites. In the back of my mind, I always knew the day would come when they’d start down the dreaded road to monetization. I just didn’t know they’d grow up so fast!
Pinterest’s roll out of free analytics tools last week wasn’t my first clue that they were getting ready for the big time. I’ve been gearing up for their debut ever since they put out their business accounts and tools in November 2012. However, seeing the pairing these two mechanisms make, I’m mostly just glad Pinterest paid attention to those who went down the treacherous path to monetization before them. Unlike Tumblr, who began asking for large sums without having analytics and measurement tools in place, Pinterest will be ready when the time comes.
Pinterest’s new analytics are very basic, and seem to aim at a top level understanding of what gets pinned and why. Site owners can track pins, repins, impressions, reach, clicks, and unique visitors. While these metrics don't hold a candle to the more robust third-party Pinterest analytics systems like Pinfluencer and Curalate, they provide more than enough motivation for timid business owners to start building a relationship with the network, especially in the face of recent Pinterest performance data.
According to ComScore, Pinterest surpassed 11 million unique monthly U.S. visitors in less than a year, making it the fastest standalone site to cross the 10 million mark in history. Not only are traffic numbers huge, but surveys show the social network is starting to gain traction with B2B marketers, with 19 % using Pinterest in some way. Many of the big B2B marketers, like Cisco Systems, General Electric, FedEx Corp., and IBM Corp, are all pinning.
Last week’s tools were accompanied by a note from Pinterest, saying they hope to add more new tools and increasingly detailed insights in the coming months. I can only hope each new offering builds upon the solid foundation they’ve laid, and that when monetization begins in earnest they don’t do something to make me regret my favorable, if optimistic, views outlined here. You won’t make it look a fool, will you Pinterest?
Can the Oscars be Saved?!
OK. Maybe that’s being a little dramatic. Ratings are still comparatively high, ad sales were great this year, and adding “Award Winning” is a proven sales driver. So, the Oscars are a good thing – but oh so ironically dull!
Don’t get me wrong, I love doing my ballot but I can’t understand why a show rewarding greatness in entertainment is notoriously lifeless. When ratings began to make it clear that the allure of watching glamorous people win awards was waning, the Grammys were transformed into a star-studded performance show. Now they have increased coverage, more social media buzz and higher ratings than the Oscars.
Meanwhile, the Oscars floundered. It felt like the overall strategy was just to get through it as quickly and efficiently as possible, hoping people stayed awake. It wasn’t that they weren’t trying, necessarily; it’s just that nothing seemed to be working. However, with a buzz-worthy host and plenty of box office stars in the running, the Oscars may have a shot at turning the whole thing around this year.
The two men charged with the miraculous 180 are veteran musical producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The duo plan on modernizing the show and already announced some interesting segments, including a 50 years of Bond tribute and, taking a hint from the Grammys, re-instating live performances of all nominated songs as well as creating a Movie Musicals tribute with live performances. It appears the pair will leverage the talents of all the celebrities in attendance, not just its boisterous host, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
While the producers say Seth “embodies kind of a post-millennium host in the tradition of Johnny Carson,” I can’t shake this image from when Family Guy rivals were nominated for best song.
I feel there is huge potential to revitalize the show this year. However, just having a strong, edgy host and lineup of great acts won’t be enough. The measure of success for the Oscars has always been in comparison to the Super Bowl and the Grammys. While ABC was able to lock in advertisers early this year, the show will have to continue to perform highly and, comparable to the other programming behemoths, to continue to demand a similar advertising rate. To this end, the show will have to cultivate a similar splash across the social sphere.
For the past three years, the Academy and ABC have collaborated on an award-winning app that acts as a companion to the Oscars. This year’s iteration offers Android and Kindle Fire support as well as Facebook and twitter integration. Before the Oscars, users can check the app to find out the latest Oscar news, watch interviews with insiders and access Oscar trivia. Oscar Sunday, the app turns into a second screen companion with Backstage access to over a dozen live cameras placed throughout the Red Carpet and inside the Dolby Theatre. The app also allows Facebook users to have their ballot updated in real time and ranked against their friends.
What is unclear is how shamelessly the classy event is going to push social media during the show. The Grammys have made huge strides in social, using hashtags in their marketing, on camera during the show and from the lips of the host himself. The Grammy’s also leveraged its stars, who have some of the largest followings on twitter. With all the heavy lifting, the event sailed past the social phenomenon caused weeks earlier during the history-making Super Bowl blackout.
So, what is my prediction for the Oscars? If they are able to heighten their entertainment value and classily intertwine social media, they should have no problem taking their rightful place alongside the Grammys and the Superbowl. If they continue to flounder this year into next, the whole thing's gonna crumble.
On a lighter note, I predict we will witness a relatively new phenomenon – let’s call it the Oreo effect. After the Superbowl, many brands are working to capitalize on a real time event. I predict we see more than a couple attempts during the Oscars.
Starbucks social campaign tying into a blizzard was so-so, whereas Poland Spring failed to capitalize on Rubio’s sip of water during his rebuttal. The story went viral. Rubio’s twitter following skyrocketed and he is now selling his own branded water bottle.
In the end, it will doubtlessly be some celebs leg that gets the glory.
Soon after her arrival at the red carpet last year, a Twitter feed dubbed “Angie’s Right Leg” was launched, accruing more than 12,000 followers within hours. Meanwhile on Tumblr, people began uploading various photoshopped images of Jolie’s leg-revealing pose. It also spawned a photo fad, “Joliening.” Then began the “legbombing” craze of plugging Jolie’s leg into various images.