Day One – iStrategy Amsterdam 2011

On the face of it, iStrategy day one held much promise. Great speakers, excellent panellists and a true mix of digital media presentations.

Paul Chaloner with Randi Zuckerburg.

The opening keynote delivered by Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg, through to the closing keynote from Julien Codorniou, delivered an interesting and engaging day of exposure to social media and its surrounding topics.

Randi’s opening gambit certainly got many in the room fired-up.  Her pitch perfect delivery, down-to-earth approach, and very comfortable speaking style certainly helped, but it was the content that came across particularly well.

For Fresh Egg at least, nothing Randi said really made us stand up and take notice, but it was a heavy-handed pat on the back for our philosophies and standards in social media, and that alone was worth attending.

Delivering a top ten of social media tips, Randi covered all bases.  It was good to hear her talk not only of Facebook, but of Twitter too, where she said in relation to using social media as a customer service outlet, “Twitter is especially good for this.”

Conference Room.

With plenty of discussion and networking done in the break, the conference moved on to a panel discussion around, “How to make a video go viral.”  We were especially interested in this.  Sadly, the panel didn’t really give us what we wanted.


Although much anecdotal evidence was shared, the main theme appeared to be, “Spend lots of money and your video will go viral.”  This led many, including me, to question if a viral video that had thousands of pounds spent on it was actually a viral video at all, and instead simply ad spend.

When posed with the question, the panel drew a blank, except for one member who said, “If a video doesn’t get ad spend to make it go viral, it needs a miracle.”

The first workshop was next, and a tricky decision to be made for the Fresh Egg crew. I opted for the Silverpop presentation on, “Integrating email marketing into your social media.”  Being a firm believer that the two can co-exist, this interested me greatly.

Richard Evans from Silverpop was really engaging, and delivered a well thought out set of ideas, options and tips on how to gel your social media to email marketing.

It was perhaps the most practical presentation of the day and I came away with plenty of thought-provoking ideas and questions, which Richard happily answered after the presentation.

Sharing some of those points here; while Facebook has 800 million users, and Twitter over 200 million users, there are still two billion active email users, which shouldn’t be ignored.

In addition, of the top 500 brands in the world, 78% have installed social media links in their emails, which can be directly attributed to increases in engagement and fan/follower count.


Old mouse, new mouse.

Some great points came out of this session in the form of Mocial, or Social Mobile. Again a fantastic set of ideas and tips were presented to make emails much more mobile friendly, including the fact that people use their fingers as the mouse, which means closer attention has to be paid to layout, button size and font size.

All of this is perhaps obvious, yet less than 10% of companies tailor emails this way and are consequently missing out on connections to links. Finally, including reviews in emails where product images are shown has also seen a massive increase in conversions on this medium.

With lunch dispensed (cream cheese and ham sandwich if you must know), we went into the afternoon sessions with a keynote panel discussion around TLDs, but not before a session on social gaming, which failed to deliver anything of real note, despite having some interesting panellists.

Now, before I get into the TLD presentation, let me just say, it costs over $200k a year to run a new .brand style TLD, and if this fact had been put up at the start of the panel discussion, 90% would have walked out. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t get mentioned until the end, when the lead speaker, Tim Callan from Melbourne IT DBS, said, “If you don’t have 200k a year, then this isn’t for you,” which alienated about 90% of the audience.

It did spark some interesting debate, and despite the obvious costs, the new .brand and .activity TLDs do offer both exciting opportunities and potential for serious disaster.

Despite one person offering that it seemed like the perfect solution to a problem which doesn’t exist, most agreed it would have a massive impact on SEO but perhaps not until 2015 at the earliest.


The second-to-last keynote session was from a company called Indelible Media.

While Ross Glick (the CEO and speaker) was full of fantastic pieces of insight, his credibility suffered somewhat with the news that his company had just 37 followers on Twitter and five fans on Facebook; yet here he was delivering to a social media conference the idea of best practice around social media!

Needless to say it didn’t go down well, but that would be ignoring the obvious but useful insight he gave in his prepared, written speech.

Possibly the best presentation of the day was that delivered last of all by Facebook’s Julien Codorniou.

Julien discussed the numerous advantages of the Facebook platform, giving some very useful insight, and answered questions positively throughout, including ours regarding when timeline would come out for businesses.  The answer: not for a very long time!

Among the plethora of stats and information Julien provided was that one Facebook fan has an average of 130 friends, which ultimately means a post could reach more than 2.1 million other people.

We also learnt that Spotify picked up more than 5.4 million new users since partnering with Facebook a few weeks ago, and that a successful app for Facebook uses just 20% of its budget to build it and 80% to promote it.

Day one provided much insight, and if day two can do any better, it should be excellent.