Social marketing platform Unified gets more Yammer-like

Enterprise-focused social marketing startup Unified Wednesday released an updated version of its social operating platform that layers on a Yammer-like user experience to the workflow specific to a brand or agency executing multiple social media campaigns.

How to succeed on Broadway? Mix Facebook, fans and video

How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying is making a big push on Facebook, with a contest to find its biggest fan by asking users to record video testimonials. Those testimonials become great word-of-mouth advertising for other potential theater goers.

Yahoo growth options dwindle

Yahoo reported another disappointing quarter, with core revenues down 5 percent to just over $1 billion. Its display advertising business was up 5 percent, but it appears to be losing share to companies like Google and Facebook.

Yahoo is still one of the biggest online properties in the U.S., with fairly sturdy content and communications assets, but its options for restoring growth are getting fewer. If Yahoo cashed out its assets in China, it could use that money for other acquisitions and investments to bolster online advertising and gain a little social media momentum. If Yahoo can’t reenergize its business around video, a social advertising network and/or syndication, as I detail in my weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required), I suppose it could try to sell itself to Microsoft or AOL, assuming they’re still interested.

Google can’t rest on its laurels

Google revenues were up 32 percent, to a record $9 billion. Android activates 550,000 devices a day. Google+ had 10 million users in less than two weeks of limited availability.

But Google can’t ease up on the accelerator. Though Google dominates search, U.S. query volume is flat and paid clicks and average prices sluggish. Google could address potential threats to its search and advertising business with better product integration. It needs to double down on display advertising and show a plan for ads on Google+, because that might be its next big source of page views. To read about more about the places where Google could connect the dots, check out my weekly update at GigaOM Pro.

Opportunities for Facebook’s Next Billion-Dollar Business(es)

Among reports that it was having trouble unloading $1 billion worth of shares at a very rich valuation, Facebook last week tweaked an existing advertising service and started testing its first home-grown social commerce product: Facebook Deals. Will that be Facebook’s next billion-dollar business? Possibly. But it already faces stiff competition from Groupon and LivingSocial, not to mention a new Google entrant. More importantly, Facebook should consider exploring other growth- and revenue-generating opportunities.

Let’s examine each of these potential new revenue streams.

Facebook makes its money from low-priced display ads and the commission it takes from social gaming companies using Facebook Credits for virtual goods. Facebook’s three best new business opportunities are:

  • Rich media brand advertising. To get beyond low-priced display ads, Facebook needs a big ad unit that supports rich interactive media and video. If the company is worried about user resistance, it can show the ad only once a day. Other than Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL, no other site has inventory with the audience reach for this kind of advertising, which commands $30+ cost per thousand pricing and is usually sold out. This one should be a slam dunk.
  • Deals and social commerce. Facebook’s toe is barely in the social commerce water – it’s testing in only five cities, sourcing deals from partners, and not charging merchants yet. Facebook is focusing on more social, shared-experience deals like restaurant discounts or concert tickets. Local deals require an expensive local sales force that Facebook doesn’t have.
  • Connect-based ad network. Facebook has access to ready-made, desirable space through Connect services such as its Like button, sign-on and comments. Facebook could show contextually relevant ads just like Google’s AdSense network. If publishers balked, and weren’t cowed by their need for the traffic Likes generate, Facebook could always share a piece of the revenue.

There are plenty of other potential revenue opportunities, but to capitalize on the ones above, Facebook will likely need to form strong partnerships. For more on the possibilities there, read my latest Weekly Update at GigaOM Pro.

Image courtesy of flickr user stevendepolo

Social Media and Privacy: Get Serious or Get Regulated

Privacy isn’t just Facebook’s problem. The whole consumer Internet and media industry had better devise a plan for facing the privacy issues fast, or get ready to face serious consumer backlash and, perhaps worse, government regulation. Here are a few steps social media companies can take.

Facebook Dominated the Social Media Pack in Q3

For third-quarter social media and real-time technologies, most of the action was in consumer services, and much of it — from social gaming to location-based services and advertising dollars — was influenced by Facebook. Here is a brief look back at the NewNet action highlights from last quarter.

How to Get a Jump-Start on Real-Time Advertising

Even if you don’t believe real-time feeds will become the dominant content consumption paradigm, they’re clearly a growing force. Consumer-paid access to real-time feeds is largely for paid mobile apps, and advertising is the immediate payoff. So here’s how social media companies can best cash in.

Social Media Advertising: Who Measures, Who Wins

Some recent stories about social networking companies and third-party data suppliers highlight a key challenge currently facing social media: advertising measurement. Companies that best address this challenge by pairing the new medium with more traditional media buying will be the ones to get the advertising revenue.