That's cute, all that attention to the 300,000 people who bought iPads. Now let's go back to the real world driven by content, not spooky layered Lucite.
Club Penguin (www.clubpenguin.com) is a brilliant online community designed by a diabolical group of people in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The usual metrics shouldn't apply to successful software. (If your company doesn't have a Club Penguin subscription for six bucks a month, well, you're out of the loop. Almost fiscally irresponsible.)
Club Penguin members' select a penguin and then they take it through various challenges and activities. Participants play to win coins. The coins allow members to buy furniture, clothes, igloos, pets, props and beauty treatments for their penguin. Club Penguin challenges are not easy.
INTERACTIVE ON EVERY LEVEL
Club Penguin is interactive theater. Theater is not accurately measured in meaningless terms such as "Unique views," "views," "attention," "Time spent," "daily reach." All of those labels are great if you're running a newspaper in 1952, a radio station in 1983, or a Web site in 1994. But today, studying those creaky metrics is a hobby for bankers, but won't tell you if a Web product will sell your product. Club Penguin could sell ANYTHING. Just ask a parent whose children are addicted to it.
CLUB PENGUIN TURNS CHILDREN INTO COMPUTER THIEVES.
Club Penguin fans will go to any length to steal your computer from you to win coins for igloos.
Anything. They will scream, stomp feet, cut school and pretend to give up other luxuries just to play Club Penguin. One well-known 7 year old who goes by the name of Dorothy actually gets up an HOUR EARLY before school just so she has more time to play Club Penguin.
She is not alone. Their numbers are vast. About 17,000,000 impassioned gangsters a month enter the Club. BUT, and here's the key, the Club requires absolutely no adult supervision or explanations.
PARENTS' REPULSIVE SECRET.
After the children have been yanked from the grown-ups' computers and sent off to school, many parents harbor a secret life. They go to the Club while at their jobs to win extra coins for their precious ones.
The measurement of passion among Club Penguin fans is far more vital than viewzzzzzz.
THE METRICS OF PASSION.
Fantasy OTX survey question: "How often have you had to fight to get the computer back from a person using XX software"?
Membership in Club Penguin is coveted, prizes are shared with friends, peers, and ultimately superiors want to join the fun. What a fertile place to put your product message, right? You can't. No ads. Subscription only.
Wouldn't it be great if a brand could find that level of passion in an online product that would take advertising?
WHICH LEADS US TO SXEPHIL, iJUSTINE, WHAT THE BUCK, THEHILL88 AND KATERS17.
SHOWS, they are called shows – drive audiences to passion and action. Sales action. Online, the most watched shows are not produced by ABC or CNN, they are created by webstars with names like Shaycarl, and Community Channel. This elite group of webstars attracts FANS who watch their videos passionately, for hours. Their online videos are short, about 4 minutes. Typically they produce skits or driving commentaries. You can see them on numerous sites that allow video uploads, their own sites, or samples at www.hitviews.com. Their fans request their shows, receive email alerts about new shows and are waiting in their seats for the next webstar appearance.
YEAH, BUT ARE THEY BIGGER THAN OBSCURE CABLE, WHERE WE WASTE MOST OF OUR MONEY?
The average webstar video pulls over 300,000 views in less than a week. (99%+ of all online videos receive fewer than 300 lifetime views.) The top stars have attracted an average of over 200,000,000 cumulative lifetime views.
Under the right circumstances the webstars will place a brand message or product within their videos. Nope, money is not necessarily the deciding factor.
The fan passion level is the same, or higher, than the fan passion levels found at Club Penguin. Just like Club Penguin, webstar shows are shared with friends. On average, 10% of the audience writes – either a comment or question. Super Bowl ads do not get that volume of fan mail.
Demographics? You select. Location? Name it.
Hitviews is a company that works with brands to put their messages and products within online webstar shows. The stars shape the brand messaging so it is attractive to their audience. The integration is seamless and entertaining. The Brand becomes part of the fun, rather than part of the hostile landscape defined by "skip advertisement" or an X in a circle. No, you can't do it yourself. Webstars are hard to contact, they use a unique language and 99% of the few brands that have tried it themselves have had bad results.
Typically a Hitviews' webstar campaign pulls several million views. Some campaigns have had a 6.8% click through rate to Web sites via embedded links. Others have had a 30% conversion rate of audience webstar viewership to sponsored sites. Many brands have used webstars to launch movies, albums, and new consumer electronic products – or just to get a cool buzz.
TRUE METRICS: PASSION PIT OF PROFIT.
Brand pioneers include Andy Pray of Ruder and Finn for TiVo, Stephanie Gaines at CBS Television Network, Devaunshi Mahadevia at MTV, Bill Bradford at FOX and Edelman's Microsoft team.
TEST IT? Test what? Test that. Don't test product messaging withinonline webstar videos; lock them up. You wanna waste time on a test rather than investing in a million dollar campaign? You'll have to deal with her: