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Marketing platforms: the who, what and where

Since the late nineties businesses have been thinking of the Internet as a marketing platform and for the most part have been relatively successful at leveraging it. When ecommerce happened even the naysayers expanded their concept of the Internet from a cost center to a method of generating revenue. I thought I would take a few minutes and describe the newer platforms that we’re just figuring out how to use.

If the Internet was a vast sea, Facebook would be a very large island. (In fact if it had marsupials as members, you could technically think of it is Australia. I’m sure it does have its share of criminals.) Facebook has 400 million users and half of them claim to log in every day. All creating content; adding comments, talking about things they’re interested in, things they’ve done and things they’re going to do. Here are some of the hard cold numbers from TechCrunch (October 2009) and remember Facebook now has over 400 million users so these numbers are higher now.

* Users spend 8 billion minutes online everyday using Facebook
* There are some 2 billion pieces of content shared every week on the service
* Users upload 2 billion photos each month
* There are over 20 billion photos now on Facebook
* During peak times, Facebook serves 1.2 million photos a second
* Yesterday alone, Facebook served 5 billion API calls
* There are 1.2 million users for every engineer at Facebook

That island is going to sink under the weight of it’s own data! Facebook is a tremendous platform that many applications have been written for, advertisements served into, numerous virtual goods are sold from, etc. Facebook is who we are.

There is this little web/mobile application called Twitter. You may have heard of it. Every day, millions of Americans (and quite a few Brazilians dump and amazing amount of data into the Twittersphere. The focus of this data is an abbreviated version of topical information (some of it self-help focused: RUN AWAY!!) and businesses are able to monitor the health and well-being of their brand via search. Although there is still some skepticism Twitter is becoming the an amazing platform with an staggering number of tools plugged into its API (2,415 according to oneforty to be exact; as of 2.9.14: 8:29 am, MST). Businesses are increasingly looking to Twitter for real time information around consumers intent and brand sentiment. This will not stop anytime soon and even though the numbers seem to have flattened and some are passive Twitter users Twitter will be important to marketing and consumer product goods. Twitter is what you are doing.

The last platform that is coming into existence as we speak is where. (This last sentence may read as a question; but it isn’t.) There are several businesses that want to own this platform with Google leading the way and Apple following closely. The method of ownership they want to utilize is advertising and with the acquisition of AdMob and Quattro, respectively, they mean business. Even Yahoo! owns some valuable patents that may in the end help them create a chunk of compelling functionality beyond advertising. Businesses like Foursquare and Brightkite are positioned well within this market to take advantage of utilizing location as a business differentiator. You guessed it; location is where you are. (literally)

Now, as I’m sure you noticed, no one company owns the location space. In regards to advertising, it’s going to be a big fight between Google, Apple and another upstart called Facebook (who may actually win). Because of this, look for Apple and Google to acquire businesses such as Foursquare & Brightkite to get the location part of their offering right. (Foursquare is already building their offering at a record pace.) Either way, it will be important to participate on all of these platforms as 2010 is positioned to be the tipping point for location. Even if there are no acquisitions, the concept of location will be added to both Faecbook (who + where) and Twitter (what + where), thus providing better information on users. Obviously over time there will be much overlap between Facebook and Twitter (who + what + where). I’m not sure if there is room for a why category as that is usually just the content and I recommend getting in on the location platform as early as you can.

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