3 New Ways To Think About Amazon, YouTube And LinkedIn

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Are you experiencing any digital marketing fatigue?

Thinking about what’s coming next? Curious about what is around the corner? Just this week, three interesting news items emerged that demonstrate some big shifts in three of the major online social channels.

  1. Amazon Adds Ability to Buy Goods From Within Mobile Apps. Buying virtual goods in-app is nothing new, but buying physical goods in-app? This is the convergence of a movement I discuss in-depth in my second book, CTRL ALT Delete, about how physical becomes digital and digital becomes physical. Now, developers will be able to create applications that enable consumers to buy physical goods from within the app and receive a commission for these sales from Amazon. From the Bloomberg news item: "Imagine a developer of a nutrition and fitness app can now offer their customers the ability to purchase vitamins, supplements and fitness gear within the app, directly from Amazon." This a big deal for brands. Brands can create an app of full-on utility, but have the flexibility to sell (and make money) through in-app purchases. This adds a dynamic new layer to e-commerce and the convergence of marketing and commerce.
  2. Forget Amazon. YouTube Is Where Shoppers Do Research. Back in 2008, the big news was that YouTube had become the second largest search engine in the world after its parent company, Google. This data point still surprises many people who see YouTube as a simple online video platform. When considering a purchase or wanting to see a product demo, where do you turn? More often than not, somebody, somewhere has created a video of almost everything. This AdWeek article further substantiates that as YouTube matures and more and more consumers find it increasingly easy to create video content (you can shoot it and upload it directly from your smartphone), that YouTube morphs into a destination for product discovery, review and a massive engine of influence. Who would have thought that YouTube’s commercial value extends to become a heavy influencer in the purchase decision?
  3. Ad Agencies Love LinkedIn but Not SlideShare. What social media tools do marketing agencies use to hustle down new business? It turns out that LinkedIn is the clear winner. From the AdWeek article: "46 percent of 300 agency honchos described LinkedIn as the ‘most important’ social media vehicle for generating new business leads, well above blogging (24 percent), Facebook and Twitter (both at 14 percent) and Google (just 2 percent). The same poll, though, found that only 21 percent use SlideShare to market their agencies to prospective clients. Interestingly, SlideShare has been around nearly as long as LinkedIn–seven years compared to 10. So, both are ancient in the realm of social media, but obviously LinkedIn is a bigger name in b-to-b networking." The reason LinkedIn is so popular? Apparently it’s this big, because it requires the least amount of effort to maintain effectively. That’s a (somewhat) sobering (and sad) statement, but everybody is looking for shortcuts. What makes this interesting is how our virtual and physical networks are not only blurring, but how multi-million dollar deals are now being brokered through relationships that have been initiated because of the power of social media and online social networking.

Don’t always look at what is coming and what is new.

While reviewing these three disparate news items, it was refreshing to get a new perspective on how these channels are both evolving, and how they are maturing as engines of marketing and commerce. The smart marketers will take these three news items and (hopefully) get creative by thinking about new brand solutions. It feels like some new and exciting opportunities that can be capitalized on as everyone else continues down the same, old path because they’re not paying attention to just how much the audience is evolving over a short period of time.

Fascinating stuff.