On Tues­day, Effi­cient Fron­tier hosted the first Social Media Upfront in NY.  The event was held at Stu­dio 450, a fan­tas­tic space with 360 views across Man­hat­tan and over the Hud­son River.  Over 400 peo­ple span­ning direct clients, agen­cies, pub­lish­ers, and part­ners joined Effi­cient Fron­tier for a great after­noon of con­tent and net­work­ing.  Many thanks go out to our good friends at Still­well Part­ners for help­ing us put the day together and to all those who par­tic­i­pated and attended.

We kicked things off with Tom Arrix from Face­book in con­ver­sa­tion with Betty Liu of Bloomberg.  Tom focused on how FB had been focused on the user expe­ri­ence and is now focus­ing on how to bring this to life for adver­tis­ers.   He also art­fully man­aged ques­tions from Betty Liu from Bloomberg about ad rev­enue and their poten­tial IPO.

Social Upfront 005 In the next ses­sion, a diverse panel from Huff­in­g­ton Post, Liv­ing Social, LinkedIn, and Cur­rent TV dis­cussed the new mon­e­ti­za­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties in social media.  Eliz­a­beth Harz from val­ued EF part­ner Chegg did a fan­tas­tic job mod­er­at­ing the panel and direct­ing the con­ver­sa­tion in a num­ber of inter­est­ing paths.  Per­haps the high­light of the panel was my for­mer Yahoo col­league and cur­rent Liv­ing Social sales leader Mitch Spolan’s video pre­sen­ta­tion on the need to dif­fer­en­ti­ate offer­ings in a crowded, com­pet­i­tive world with incentives.

Before any­one could catch their breath, Jonah Peretti deliv­ered a high-energy and enter­tain­ing inter­view with Jamie Colby from Fox Broad­cast­ing.  Jonah is clearly a big thinker and empha­sized the need to test and learn quickly in social media.  Jonah also talked about how you develop ideas into com­pa­nies, a con­cept he’s done suc­cess­fully with both Huff­in­g­ton Post and BuzzFeed.

Next, Chris Karl from Kon­terra and Jeff Semones from M:80 tack­led the topic of acti­vat­ing social con­tent in paid media.  Then a group of the hottest con­tent pro­duc­ers, agen­cies like Bar­barain Group and Mekanism, talked with Kevin Baren­blat from Con­text Optional about the new cre­ative needs in social.  The crowd was intro­duced to the new Beastie Boys video as a good exam­ple of unique con­tent that goes viral.

We ended the day with a fan­tas­tic group of clients and agen­cies pre­sent­ing case stud­ies on mak­ing social work.  Lynn Girotto of Bing gave a fan­tas­tic exam­ple of a social giv­ing pro­gram and the suc­cess it pro­duced.  Andre Louis of Taxi walked us through a unique approach of alter­ing pro­file pic­tures in Face­book to show sup­port for a cause (in this case breast can­cer research).  Mike Mar­golin of RPA showed us how Honda engages their loyal base in social.  And finally Matthew Turner from Sky pre­sented their stream­lined approach to social and the results a smart approach is producing.

Social Upfront 020

Andre Louis, Mike Mar­golin, Matthew Turner, Lynn Girotto, & Justin Merickel

After a day of great con­tent, we all filed out and up to the roof deck for music by the leg­endary QTip from Tribe Called Quest and food and drinks.  He even played some Chaka Kahn. The view was amaz­ing and most of us found our­selves soak­ing in the final sun of a beau­ti­ful NY day. 

I want to again thank every­one who came for join­ing us.  We’re already think­ing about next year’s event so shoot me a note if you have any­thing you’d like to see.  Get a sense for the con­ver­sa­tion by search­ing for #su11. 

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Justin Mer­ickel, VP of Mar­ket­ing and New Prod­uct Development