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Communications technology company Cisco took its second straight People's Choice award in the tech company category, recognized this year for a viral video campaign in support of its ASR 9000 network router.
While watching a live streaming video, viewers were able to operate a robot arm to yank a switch processor card out of the ASR 9000—essentially, to break it—to observe the impact on video performance.
The 100-second invitational video was posted on YouTube in October 2010 and promoted through banner ads, blogs, email blasts and social networks. In the first four months, the promotion drove nearly 6,000 video impressions, 500 contacts from interested users, 216 demos and 60 qualified leads.
"Our goal was to empathize with customer challenges in producing high-quality video delivery," said Stephen Liu, director-service provider marketing at Cisco. "We wanted to make high-definition video delivery synonymous with our product."
Cisco also had upfront revenue goals for the campaign. It was able to attribute more than $80 million in revenue to the campaign.
Cisco has had continuing success with social gaming. Last year at BtoB's inaugural Social Media Marketing Awards, the company took home a People's Choice award for its myPlanNet campaign, a downloadable simulation game in which participants played the role of a corporate CEO solving business problems using Cisco products.
Database information company LexisNexis won People's Choice honors in the non-tech category for its closed community, the LexisNexis Investigators Network, designed to provide peer-to peer networking between law enforcement investigators who currently subscribe to the company's Accurint law enforcement database service.
The company not only wanted to drive engagement, but also to distinguish itself from competitor database products. The solution was to provide an exclusive community where local, state and federal law enforcement officers could swap ideas, track evidence and share best practices—to provide a service, in other words, well beyond data.
"We wanted our law enforcement customers to entrench with us, stick with us," said Terri Beck, senior director-marketing for the company's government and health care division. Launched in April 2010, the community currently boasts more than 6,200 members.
"The community provides a venue for officers to talk to each other, helping them solve crimes," Beck said. "Our C-suite kept urging us to add members, and we did, but I kept urging engagement, how many people are continuing to come back to the site, and their time on the site."
The rate of returning visitors is averaging 17%, Beck said, with an average time on the site of about 13 minutes.
Other People's Choice finalists were EMC and Microsoft Corp. in the tech company category, and Firehouse.com and Omni Hotels in the non-tech category.
Below is a list of this year's Social Media Marketing Awards winners: