Ad spend to move from buying media to participating in it?

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I have been wondering for some time whether the next wave of ad spending will be spent on participating in social media rather than buying media in the traditional sense.  I think this could be a very big deal for brands – as the promise is to be in perpetual conversation with their customers, which is great for both marketing and research. 

The implications for the advertising world would be profound, as budgets would shift from purchasing ad slots to paying for bums on seats to participate in conversations.

And, surprise, surprise, there might just be a startup opportunity or two lurking in here:

  • Technology for monitoring conversations
  • Analytics to tell us what they mean, and
  • Tools (and maybe people) to help instigate and manage conversations

European companies I can think of in this space from the top of my head include FreshNetworks, Whitevector and The Conversation Group.

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