API: Advertising Propagation Interface


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The new interface between marketing and technology: How APIs go beyond crowdsourcing and create new kinds of meaningful work, easier to propagate.

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  • Hi there. \n\nI would like to congratulate the SWITCH Conference team for putting such a great event and kindly invite me. I’ll try not to ruin the next few minutes, and stand on the shoulder of my fellow speakers who have presented and discussed great topics previously.\n\nSo, on with what brings me here: a different kind of API. Or not.\n\nOne of my latest talks on a similar event to SWITCH also had a 3 letter acronym UFO, standing for Unidentified Flashy Objects. The audience appreciated this shorthand so I’m giving it a second try with my newly made up term: API - Advertising Propagation Interface.\n\nBesides the mnemonic advantage, it’s also a great way to wrap diverse topics into one unified, let’s say, personal theory.\n\nSo, we have API. Not the programming API — which we’ll eventually discuss — but a new way by which marketing and technology can communicate with each other.\n\n
  • \nWe’ll have a look on the challenges for the Advertising industry in this day and age, approach a different kind of delivering commercial messages — Propagation and end up with Interface, we’re I’ll try to make sense on how technology and marketing can get along.\n\n\n
  • Not only Marketing and Technology can get along, as they probably end up being placed by consumers on the same dark side. The one trying to control people.\n\nFrom CRM to Data Mining, from Social Media to Augmented Reality, these two — Marketing & Technology seem to be getting along just fine these days. So enough about the talk that suits & geeks can’t talk to each other. They can.\n\nAnd from what i can figure out from this audience or events like SXSW, there’s a renewed interest on technology by ad people.\n\nAdvertising agencies are starting to adopt techniques like Agile development, version control or collaborative platforms, with a new kind of hybrid professionals beyond the traditional art director & copywriter. People who can quote both David Ogilvy and David Heinemeier Hansson. For the record, the former was one of the great advertising masters and the later, the creator of open-source web framework Ruby on Rails.\n\nBut with more pressing demands from clients, most agencies aren’t able to keep up. They simply don’t have the talent or can support the headcount to keep pace with all the new technology: from HTML5 to Arduino, from mobile to social CRM. \n\n\n
  • So brands take desperate measures. They crowdsource. \nOr at least that’s what they call it, since they’re not really sure what crowdsourcing means.\n\nUsually they take the low hanging fruit: it’s a cheap way to do speculative work.\nWhat brands seem to disconsider are the other transformative features of crowdsourcing, like participatory design and innovation networks. But there is a better side to crowdsourcing.\n\nIn part, advertising agencies are responsible for these shortcuts taken by brands. Agencies are in the service business, not in the product business like tech startups, which brands are increasingly turning their attention to.\n\nNot only startups ship — unlike many agencies who sip — but they have a keen eye for consumer needs. Startups not only contribute to culture with new services, but they participate on building that culture. Unlike agencies who are known to be the vampires of culture.\n\n\n
  • Consumers are thus enamored with the solutions provided by small startups or agencies acting like small startups, who participate in culture, creating work that matters, using the web as platform.\n\nAd Agencies can thus be more like a startup: communicate about a product they use and believe, fail fast, create enduring products and services and actually change behavior.\n\nFrom helping rebuild communities, doing mashups, sponsor a live concert on YouTube or creating ads worth spreading.\n\nAnd then, advertising the hell out that meaningful work.\n\n\n\n
  • \nWhich takes us to the next item: Propagation.\nPropagation, in the TED way: Making ideas spread.\n
  • I used to say that we, ad people, are in the business of changing behaviors.\nBut that’s no longer enough. We’re in the business of spreading change.\n\nMaking other people believe in our stories and spread it. And hopefully amplify the change of behaviors. Whether it’s buying a new shampoo or donating to Red Cross.\n\nAnd sometimes, one of the best ways to spread those stories is to invite users to create them. Even with the inequality of participation, the famous 1-9-90 by Jakob Nielsen. \nFrom customer service to branded utility, once we include consumers, those stories spread faster with their help. \n\n
  • Empowering consumers can amplify the regular 3 media buckets (courtesy of Diageo), thanks to a spillover effect.\n\nBut it’s not easy as it seems. When people talk about integrated, they usually don’t have a clue how hard it is to make it all work together. \n\nPropagation goes beyond creative cohesion. It involves thinking beyond the media plan or know which are the secondary targets. For instance, when talking about consumer electronics, propagation planning needs to figure out who are the power users writing on blogs and how to involve them with both our products and our creative campaign.\n\nOther example: thinking about how to shift your campaign when your online video gets picked up when it goes “viral”. What should you do? How to deal the tons of comments? Should we push it even further with media or not.\n\nTake all this interesting questions, change ad agencies with startups and entrepeneurs can learn a trick or 2.\n\n\n
  • Another key feature of propagation planning, both useful for ad agencies and startups, is t think about the network first.\n\nWhat happens to a consumer product or a startup service once it’s seen through the network lens?\nThe basic stuff involves knowing where in the network nodes you should put your product or service, or using Duncan Watts words (from Yahoo Research), you need to LIGHT A LOT OF SMALL FIRES.\n\nAnd making those small fires easy to spread, afterwards. And again, one of the ways is to make it easier for users/consumers to access information and build on top of it.\n\n
  • Which takes us to the my final topic. Interface.\n\n
  • And now we get to the real APIs.\n\nMost of the audience is familiar with these:\n- Facebook Graph API and the Twitter API are probably the most famous\nbut other entreprise APIs are blooming: Tesco or Zappps are example of what’s to come.\n\n(oh, and btw, we’re way over 1000. According to the site ProgrammableWeb.com, it’s more like 3000)\n\n
  • For those not familiar with the API, it basically serves as an interface between programs.\nA Customer requests the API some information according to rules, which are read from a service and a response is given by the API back to the customer.\n\nAnd though the description might seem boring, once you abstract the meaning, things get really interesting.\n
  • Thanks to this layer of abstraction, APIs, consumers can access and build on top of huge piles of data.\nQuoting Tim O’Reilly: data is now the Intel inside.\n\nAnd with the help of this data abstraction, thousands of mashups and services can be built.\nForm Ushaidi (which the next speaker Jakub-gornicki is a member) to the more casual WhereTheLadies.at, which uses Foursquare API to find girls nearby, there’s tons of examples.\n\nProbably the most useful examples have born from the Twitter API, which reveals one of the few disavantadges of APIs: what happens when the the interface is no longer.\n\n
  • But my point in this talk is not really about implementation but rather process, and how that process brings closer marketing and technology, in a meaningful way.\n\nAPIs (the real ones) can be one of the best ways to do stuff for people and make a message spread faster.\n\nWe take the data (brand data), create platforms and make it easier to develop around it.\nOnce it’s available on the network, we can subject it to analysis or do pretty infographics or allow people to collaborate and find new uses.\nAnd finally, we make it available to people, in a meaningful way, accessible and allowing users to interact with it.\n\nThere’s a great service called Rapportive, kind like an email plugin, that uses APIs from Google, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter, and displays on the sidebar of each Gamil message all the social data of the epople messaging you.\nIt takes the API data, provides a new form of visualization and delivers a meaningful service.\n\n\n
  • Using APIs and public webservices is one of the best ways for companies to innovate.\n\nAll this participatory culture needs a new interface. A new way to connect the dots between companies and the new consumer. It’s not enough to have it on Twitter or Facebook. We need an API for consumer goods, for TV stations or even for taxis. But for that to happen regarding brands, brands need to ship their own APIs. \n\n\nNew startups like Milkinc by Kevin Rose - of Digg.com fame are paving the way for the new hybrid model of Agency+Incubator: use web technologies and APIs to develop products and services — fast, cheap and with a high frequency. \nPick one idea that the network responds to and build on top of it. \n\nFor marketing and technology to get along, there needs to be room for this kind of experimentation.\nThe same way we use a programming API to create new ways to look at data, marketing needs to look at technology (and startups) as an extension of their capabilities, encouraging collaboration.\n\nThere’s one final subject I like to address. I love to tinker with APIs and figure out how they can be applied to advertising/marketing. Unfortunately clients aren’t there yet and agencies won’t put up the effort for a non billable project.\nBut we should try nonetheless. \n\n\n
  • So my plea to all developers and entrepeneurs in this room is to do something with those APIs.\n\nOne of the cornerstones of innovation is placing technologies in the hands of people like you, who have a fresh vision. Once brands release their APIs, innovation can happen where you least expect it. \n\nAnd if you happen to be an intrapeneur, push for your company’s API. We need more of those.\nIn any case, just do something to or for APIs.\n\nSo my final advice is start. Just start. Start using APIs, encouraging open research, looking for sinergies between marketing and technology. \n\nIt’s like jogging. If at first the benefit doesn’t seem obvious, once you start to do it regularly, you always try to go further. And in that run, perhaps you’ll realize that advertising is an opportunity not the dark force.\n\nSo just start. \n\nOr in the wise words of Master Yoda: Trust the API, young padawans.\n\n\n\n
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  • API: Advertising Propagation Interface

    1. 1. 16th and 17th of April, 2011AdvertisingPropagationInterfacea different kind of API. Or not.
    2. 2. “the new model of marketingAdvertising is to do stuff for people and then tell everyone else about it with advertising” — Faris Yakob
    3. 3. MARKETING & TECHNOLOGYhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2849598009/
    4. 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilestreetlife/4179063482/ CROWDSOURCING
    5. 5. PEOPLE FIRST.“the new model ofmarketing is to dostuff FOR peopleand then telleveryone elseabout it withadvertising”— Faris Yakob
    6. 6. Propagation
    7. 7. “Once we were inthe business oftelling stories.Now we are in thebusiness ofgetting others totell stories for us”— Edward Boches http://www.flickr.com/photos/hamedmasoumi/3008188345/
    8. 8. NETWORK FIRST. “If you’re a publisher who wants your content to spread, you have to think of the network and not the individual” — Jonah Peretti
    9. 9. Interface
    10. 10. LET 1000 APIs BLOOM
    11. 11. “An application programming interface (API) is a particular set of rules and specifications that a software program can follow to access and make use of the services and resources (...) It serves as an interface between different software programs and facilitates their interaction” — in Wikipedia CUSTOMER “An abstraction SERVICE that hides complexity” Request Write Database Software API Database Response ReadGoogle and Facebook have more than 5 billion API calls a day.
    12. 12. http://www.ushahidi.com/ http://wheretheladies.at/ http://dev.twitter.com/“the power of consumers to selforganize and find the data is goingto carry the day”— Alex Bogusky
    13. 13. API FIRST.API Network People Technology MarketingData Analysis ServicePlatforms Visualization TransparencyDevelopment Collaboration Interaction Embracing APIs is one of the best ways to do stuff for people and make a message spread faster.
    14. 14. TECHNOLOGY(INTER)FACING MARKETINGhttp://milkinc.com/
    15. 15. Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.http://www.flickr.com/photos/xtyler/3215653831/
    16. 16. THANKS.I’d love to chat with you afterwards.Or you can reach me @armandoalvesBlog:http://www.asourceofinspiration.com