SWAT Summit: What went down

The SocialCash team and I are camped out in SFO for a bit, so we wanted to give everyone a quick debrief from the SWAT Summit yesterday. Here’s the quick and dirty:

About: SWAT is a conference focused on how social networks are transforming advertising (and vice versa). Speakers included David Smith (Mediasmith), Sonya Chawla (Slide), Chris Cunningham (Appssavvy), and Ian Swanson (Sometrics). It was a good time.

What we thought about: This was a speaker/panel conference, but much of what went on was focused on identifying the right questions to think through. Here’s what was on everyone’s minds:

1. Which metrics are important for engagement in different social application settings? Advertisers want tangible metrics, and there is a bit of tension in environments like Facebook that have myriad methods of interaction. It seems as though more and more advertisers are starting to involve tangible actions (giving email, fan page additions, etc.) to help them quantify engagement.

2. Social networks and apps are melding communication and entertainment. How can brands become part of the conversation w/o interrupting it? The brands desperately want to get in, but they are concerned about maintaining control. The thing is that to really get in the middle of the user experience, they have to cede a fair amount of controlWe talked through case studies of the Acura TSX, Nielsen, and the Ethanol Information Council. Everyone seemed to agree that adding either a discovery experience or way for users to express themselves in a different way was highly effective. The Ethanol Council hosted a “Fuel the Change” video contest, but then gave users myriad ways to express interests or opinions.

3. How can we give advertisers better information about the users on social networks? It’s a bit of a problem, but with emerging platforms like Sometrics, we’re slowly figuring out better ways to summarize user data and couple it with engagement data to give advertisers a full picture. All of us are excited to see what tools develop over the coming months.

After the panels were done, we went for drinks and mingled with the people. Alright — back to DC for us. See you all at F8.

Gordon Peters is the General Manager of SocialCash, a leading monetization engine for social networks.

SWAT Panel Photo