Thoughts about user currencies

Considering DiCoDE as a Value Chain, we need to see, in the end, which currencies user uses to pay for the digital content he receives. I plan to tackle this topic in the book and am even considering inviting a guest writer. I am of course thinking of Alex Osterwalder who wrote Business Model Generation. I’ll try to contact him.

I listed 4 user currencies: attention, engagement, data and money. Today (or at least until yesterday;o), main currency used was attention. For several reasons, media integrated attention-based advertising at the core of their business models. And even on digital media, where analytics and interactivity are enabled, main players used, until Google entered the game with AdWords and AdSense, bannering and CPM as main advertising means. So Google pushed efficiency-based (CPC) ad models and started gathering user data, preparing the next wave. They also enabled, like many other players, money-based models (CPL, CPA) thanks to unique ID (gmail account) and services like Google Checkout.

My take for DiCoDE present is that, after having been used in this particular order, these currencies are now used the other way around. Money is easier to get from users thanks to increased awareness for e- and m-commerce, increased possibilities for micro-payment (PayPal, SMS or even credit cards) and capabilities to offer a good much easier (virtual goods or delivered physical goods). Data is the new oil are claiming Gerd Leonhard and other futurists. It seems obvious seeing stakes in privacy and data collecting from companies like Google and Facebook recently (don’t forget: Regulation strikes back!). Engagement is the basis of augmented advertising models we see popping up, with Nike+ as the best example (and furthermore since they integrated Facebook connectivity to have your friends motivating you while running). This structural trend is named Branded Utility or Branded Services. And finally attention will increasingly lose momentum when you see that banners are not clicked anymore, that user’s eyes are now used to avoid advertising space and that other models (listed before) will take more space in the Ad Universe.

In the graphic attached to this post, I tried to link each model to a department in the company, trying to map where these models will have to be followed and which business (department) models will be influenced: Communication, Marketing, CRM and Customer Service and Sales. As we agreed with¬†Georg Petschnigg, advertising will more to either a (direct) marketing channel, either a sales channel. Why keep on promoting a product on digital channels when it’s as easy selling it?

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