Atop Techmeme is the CNET blog post "Analyst: Half of 'social media campaigns' will flop". It's a gloomy headline clearly written to grab the eye and drive traffic (it worked - after all, I found it on Techmeme); but despite the strong title, the article's guts are actually quite insightful and on-point. The core arguments by Gartner analyst Adam Sarner is that half of social media campaigns fail because advertisers only deliver half of what needs to be delivered in social media campaigns:

- a medium to convey and promote your brand - a medium for social interaction and engagement

I've written about the three elements of compelling, engaging widgets before - and it echoes this point:

1. Give Users a Reason to Come Back 2. Make it Customizable 3. Market Softly and Carefully

Baby Ticker Widget Widgetbox

"(Businesses) will rush to the community and try to connect, but essentially they won't have a mutual purpose, and they'll fail," Sarner said. By a "mutual purpose," he means a way to serve both the company putting out the campaign and the audience interacting with it: finding that balance is not easy. The quirkiest and most addictive campaigns often provide little value for the company and turn out to be fads, whereas marketing efforts on the Web often don't go over as well with the public.

He cited the Facebook craze as an example. The social network is "more for the community than it is for the bottom line," and it's tough for marketers to get their message in on a site that's focused on communicating with your friends rather than finding stuff to buy...

... There's obviously no universal solution to social-media advertising and marketing, because every company is different. But Sarner offered a preliminary tip: to make sure that there's a clear reason why such a campaign is instituted, and "get people talking" isn't enough. "Are you discovering what's going to be the new black next season?" he suggested as an example of a trendspotting-focused strategy.

Once you've answered that question, it's time to pick and choose: whether to use existing technologies or build them in-house, whether the focus should be video or discussion or Digg-like yes-no voting, ad nauseam.