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. 

 Qa foto


Justin Merickel, VP of Marketing and New Product Development