Social Networking for Baby Boomers
As SVP of interactive marketing, Paul Brienza handles branding and marketing for Laughlin Constable clients such as BoomerTowne, a baby-boomer-focused social network owned by Concierge Care. Laughlin's other clients include Firestone, HBO and McDonald's.
eMarketer asked him how BoomerTowne stands out in a crowded field and how online video fits into its content and ad inventory mix.
eMarketer: How do you differentiate yourselves from other boomer sites?
Paul Brienza: With content and community. We built an informational site, and found that people didn't necessarily want to come back frequently to the site. They'd use it, learn information from it and then move on. So we developed BoomerTowne to be more of a social networking site that's rich in content.
eMarketer: It seems like such a targeted audience would be great for your CPMs.
Mr. Brienza: We've done very well with the healthcare-supported side. Associations like AARP like working with us as well.
eMarketer: What do most of them want in the way of advertising? Are they trying to chop your user base into even smaller demographics, or do they want to use certain types of ads like video?
Mr. Brienza: Advertisers want to buy banner space within the content sections of our site, because those are a lot richer. On any social networking site people go and bounce around on the profiles and do not necessarily focus on the ads. But it works well when you have a drug company that can go to the health section and put ads in context.
eMarketer: How do you use online video on the site?
Mr. Brienza: When we originally launched we had experts like Terry Savage doing finance, Dr. Bob on talking about staying fit, Denise Austin about fitness and Montel Williams for social issues.
We needed a player to play the 300+ videos we had. But then we started receiving some feedback from our community saying, "We like the expert, but what we really want is to share videos."
eMarketer: They wanted YouTube for BoomerTowne.
Mr. Brienza: Yup. [But we had to] build in a review process. That's one of the things that differentiates BoomerTowne. Everything on the site that's socially generated gets screened before it's posted, which can be costly, but we found out through research that these people wanted a quality site.
eMarketer: How do you see social networking evolving?
Mr. Brienza: It changes every month. For baby boomers, I think it's going to be a way to share pictures of their life post-work: of their grandkids, different places they're visiting or have visited. Instead of being mobile and meeting people, or being at the office, or bumping into people in the street, they will extend those relationships online.
Advertisers will start to see microgroups or clusters form. They'll be able to target those people, and maybe not so much in the CPM or traditional banner standpoint, but more on a sponsorship standpoint, where they sponsor various sections of a site, and not just hit them with a 300 by 250.