Marketing Presentation from Blue Glass Conference

Posted on May 10, 2012 | 34 comments

Marketing Presentation from Blue Glass Conference

I recently spoke at the Blue Glass conference on the topic of marketing.

I’ll write up some thoughts in a blog post format soon. I’ve been spending time looking at marketing conversion metrics at portfolio companies lately. We’ve been testing things like:

  • How do Facebook “Likes” perform relative to FB ads that drive you directly to a web page
  • How do brand pages convert relative to the Timeline
  • How do integrated Twitter campaigns work relative to “promoted Tweets”?
  • How well do YouTube ad campaigns work? (hint: remove links and they convert much better. I don’t know why … it just is – or so the data I’ve seen has shown)
  • How well do “sponsored stories” work? Are they authentic enough?
  • Can you do brand integration on YouTube? (hint: yes, it is performing off the charts well.  crazy well.)
  • Do vanity metrics matter? (likes, fans, clicks) … (hint: use – I’m an investor along with Foundry Group. But I promise the data will show you how well you convert versus tracking just clicks).
  • Do celebrity endorsements work?

I talked about these topics in this presentation. Hopefully you can get a sense from the PPT. Hopefully I will teach myself Keynote soon and give up PPT. Hopefully I’ll remember that my high school teacher told me not to use the word “hopefully” this way but it still sounds better than her suggestion, “It is hoped.”

Anyway, if you want me to cover one topic before another feel free to drop me suggestions in the comments. I’ll try to pick up on some of these themes over the coming month or two.

Here’s the deck on DocStoc
Final BlueGlass _April 2012_

  • ChuksOnwuneme

    Nice, Mark. Much needed in today’s business climate. As someone with a slightly ‘different’ perspective with regards to the importance of celebs, I’d be curious to know your thoughts about celebrity endorsements. My assumptions are celebrity endorsements should be geographically focused, i.e. i may be a well known celeb in LA, but either unknown or disliked in London, so marketing to folks in London as well as in LA with this celeb might not work out afterall =:)


  • Adam Stein

    Here’s a vote for brand integration on Youtube. On a related note, I’m reflexively skeptical of Facebook and Twitter as marketing channels for enterprise SaaS focused on niche verticals, but if you think I’m wrong to be, would love to hear why.

  • marklanday

    Nice presentation.  I think the multiplies used in valuation of B & C round financing may be interesting.  How much do you assign to top line revenue?  In consumer, what value is each addition monthly unique over x million? Other metrics that go into the calculation and the weight and value of each, may make for an interesting post.

    Mark Landay
    mark at dynamic synergy dot com
    Dynamic Synergy – Executive Recruitment 

  • Deboprio Ghosh


    May be you can do a post on “Top 5 KPI’s of a social media campaign”. I am sure you have deepr thoughts on them through your portfolio companies.

  • Barbara Tien

    Mark, presentation a great reminder to all of us out here in startup land that however fancy the new tech gets, it’s the creativity and willingness to experiment that will ultimately determine the winners.  Hopefully, we’re up for the challenge 😉

    Good guidance: Integrated, targeted, personalized, measurable.  As you ask for topics: Any thoughts on the challenges to developers in implementing these strategies while protecting our users’ privacy?

  • Rajarshi Mitra

    thnx that was really helpful

  • Magnemg

    Nice presentation. I’m most interested in learning more about:
    “How do Facebook “Likes” perform relative to FB ads that drive you directly to a web page”

  • awaldstein

    Looking forward to the post Mark.

    Big believer in measurement as a veteran of the e-commerce and PPC/SEM glory days.

    But a strong doubter that the idea of every social gesture as a measurable drip as a pipeline to a sale is either viable or useful.  This is especially true around Facebook as it becomes more clear that the platform while valuable for brand building and essential as a social playground for fans is mostly devoid of transactions.

    Some recent thoughts on this: The community commerce conundrum

    I would love to adopt a changed point of view on this. You may have the facts to do this.

  • mike scorelle

    You mentioned Gravity. I tried to find more information about them, but a Google search for “gravity” proved futile. Can you share a URL, please? 

  • Cookie Marenco

    Mark, you’re reading my mind again!  How do you do that?  :)  “Vanity Metrics” is a great term, thank you!  Part of my job as a consultant in the music industry has been to join or try any new product/service before we recommend them to others.  We use our inhouse label as the guinea pig.

    The question that comes to my mind is “how much time and money is required to turn any new  platform into sales.”   Soon followed by, “how long is this platform going to last and will it convert enough sales before it crashes and burns.”

    Myspace is a perfect example of littering the web with the “promise” that you’ll get traction.  Dead. 

    Facebook is the next biggest offender.  The likes on our “must be represented on Facebook pages” are less than .5% of our actual user base (which is growing at 11% a month, whereas Facebook grows at 1% a month).  Why would we spend money driving traffic to “like” our Facebook  page over driving to our own website?  Ego?  So we can shout how many likes we have?  Give me a sale any day.

    The test we’re currently running is Facebook ads vs. Google Adwords.  Place the same ads with the same spend in both and what happens.  Mark, are there existing reports on this?  I’m curious.  I’ll let you know our results.  My suspicion is that Google will win.  Facebook ads have not done well in the past.

    We have hope for YouTube.  I won’t get into it here, but we feel the potential is enormous not only for exposure but for sponsorship, new influence channels, programming mock radio, etc.  Even if remote, the possibility that one can generate revenue from ads is exciting, not to mention the traffic that is already there.

    All that said, Google Analytics empowers startups and creatives with free tools that are incredible.  “Referring sites” in analytics.. now can you not love that?  Go to any site in the world that is sending traffic your way.  How long does it take to go to the forum sending hundreds of people to your site and say “thank you and you might like to buy something”.  Then use Google translator (could use improvement but still..) to talk to anyone in the world.  Amazing. 

    Differentiated products, dedicated forums and humanization — the ability to make one person feel special who will then tell hundreds..  kind of old school, but still works. 

    Will this method scale?  If the goal is 1 billion followers, maybe not.  If the goal is $1 Billion in revenue, I think so.  Take the ego out, follow the money, love what you do.

    Hopefully, my rant wasn’t too long.

  • lizgebhardt

    All excellent and important topics in the list. My vote is in for (1) YouTube ad campaigns and (2) Brand integration on YouTube – Thanks!

  • Andrew K Kirk

    I would be interested to learn about brand integration on YouTube and anything about, just because it is such a cool team with a very smart product!

  • msuster

    I’m going to wait and do a full post but thanks for the suggestion!

  • msuster

    I think the data would show that both can be effective if properly targeted. 

  • msuster

    I think every company / situation may be different so I can’t say universally; however, my experiences so far:

    – timeline converts 5x better than newsfeed. this might be skewed because my companies were early to timeline and it will get more crowded
    – playing down of newsfeed makes brand pages less valuable than they once were. aren’t you glad you paid for all of those “likes”?
    – buying FB ads that convert direct to your landing page were more cost effective in the data I saw than buying “likes”
    – FB *can* be very cost effective if properly targeted and if you know the lifetime value of your customers once they convert
    – Twitter provides **unbelievable** signaling information. To learn more check out

  • msuster
  • msuster

    thanks, andrew. will cover both soon.

  • msuster

    great. thanks, will fit them in soon.

  • msuster

    your goal in using “platforms” is to convert new (and returning) users but once at your site you have to convert enough of them to newsletter subscribers or registered users (or cookie) in order to communicate with them directly down the road. What platforms bring you is volume.

  • awaldstein

    Thanks Mark.

    The amount of BS and useless information around this topic is rather astounding.

    Every week my clients ask for data. And every week, I work with them to spend their dollars in other ways.

    I would like some straight talk with facts and marketing sensibility on all of this.

    We could fill a room of marketers in NYC any night of the week to tear this stuff apart and field questions.

  • Cookie Marenco

     Well said.  The platforms that drive the most traffic to our site have been been from niche bloggers and online publication mentions.  Maybe these aren’t real ‘platforms’ but for the sake of this comment I’ll use the term. 

    A news clip from Wired and an unknown Japanese blogger in our niche drove 60% of our new conversions last month.  Twitter and Facebook represented less than 1%.  Over the last year, we converted 80,000 visitors to 14,000 to opted in users.  I’m encouraged by that.  We have 210 Facebook likes, most already opted in members.  When we choose between time spent with blogs or time with Facebook..  well, Facebook loses.

    In that same vein of thinking.. I visit most of the sites you recommend in your blog.  My guess is the companies you mention get qualified opted in members from your recommendations because we trust your opinions.  I know I’ll signup to try them.

    Our strategy is to exhausted as many niche blog sites to get qualified members, sales and evangelists.  After we’ve exhausted the niches, we’ll spend the resources to go for growth, hopefully with an army of evangelists behind us. 

    Any information you can offer on YouTube advertising is very interesting.

    Thanks for responding and encouraging me to think about this.

  • William Mougayar

    These are the right questions, and there is a more around studying the impact of all the social gestures out there. Here’s a hierarchy/taxonomy that I started to document 

  • William Mougayar

    You’ve just described a conference…not just a panel. 

    I’m starting to imagine a matrix with each social gesture on the horizontal row and each type of social network/community in the vertical one, and you place the various marketing methods in the intersecting boxes and discuss what works, how to do it, metrics, etc…

  • awaldstein

    I agree. There is a huge need for discussion around these topics.

    But beware of attempts to categorize human nature as a map to channeling it. Invariably you will force the input to feel good about the output.

  • William Mougayar

    So the value is in the engagement itself. I agree. What happens after is too unpredictable to be measurable.

  • awaldstein

    To me, much of the KPI thinking and measurement has been a monitoring without intelligent clues for action.

    I’ve searched out folks to be convinced otherwise but outside of value to the largest enterprises who look at monitoring like they look at advertising data, I’ve yet to change my behavior or my recommendations to clients.

  • William Mougayar

    And the enterprise and consumer mindsets are definitely different when it comes to user motivation, metrics and outcome.

  • DavidNimaSharifi

    Good to see you on the last panel at Demo Day. Hopefully, you will talk more about branding and sponsored stories and how marketers are starting to look beyond the CPM model and placing more value on engagement metrics, like how long the user played their facebook app. Great deck.  

  • Gillian Gover

    Great presentation. I seem to be in the minority but would appreciate hearing more about how well sponsored stories work, and how this can be improved. 

  • kourosh shafi

    A full post or a talk/presentation would be much appreciated. thanks

  • customer feedback software

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  • mike scorelle


  • Jamesswinter

    Interesting and readable thoughts as ever.  I would say though that ‘integrated, targeted, personal and measurable’ has been the mantra of interactive advertising since day one (and I’ve been there a long time!) and yet somehow the tech, or more often the ad content, means the ads are nowhere near the ideal.  Maybe with deeper ad content coverage, and deeper targeting via social graph etc, we’ll finally get there.  

  • Go_Public

    Great back and forth exchange between you two. Our company has been online for years but we are still learning how to best utilize social media. Vanity metrics made me lol too.