Sunday, March 1, 2015

How Marketers Use Social to Promote Events

Social media provides marketers with an opportunity to promote events before, during and after they take place. A September 2014 study by FreemanXP and Event Marketing Institute took a deeper look at how marketers were using social throughout the event process.

US marketers were most likely to use social pre-event to increase awareness, cited by nearly nine in 10. Driving attendance and providing event details such as schedules, information and news were also main use cases. Just under half of respondents were focused on building engagement among their social communities. Facebook was the most effective social media platform during this stage, while Twitter and LinkedIn ranked second and third. After event kickoff, marketers were most likely to promote specific event elements and features via social (73% of respondents). Posting and sharing photos (55%) and content (50%) were also popular, while around one-third of marketers leveraged social to promote education and content or contests and giveaways, amplify product announcements, or measure and assess the experience and feedback. 

During events, Twitter proved to be the most effective social platform, followed by Facebook and Instagram. The event doesn’t end once the final session is over. Social media marketers focused on reliving highlights of the experience and leveraged influencers. More than four in 10 provided a summary of event content, while 36% focused on the future, promoting their next events. Here, Facebook returned to the top spot for most effective social network, with YouTube and Twitter at No. 2 and No. 3. 

November 2014 research by Regalix found that among business-to-business (B2B) marketing executives in North America, social media was used most during events, cited by 91% of respondents, while 79% used the channel for pre-event promotion and 52% for post-event efforts. Overall, 87% of B2Bs used social media to promote events—the third most popular channel—and it ranked as the second most effective channel for event promotion, tying with websites at 68% of respondents. 


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Video Advertisers Increase Cross-Device Campaigns

Cross-device campaigns expand share of digital video ad impressions to 51%

Video advertisers are expanding efforts to reach consumers across devices. That’s the finding of recent research released by Videology, which reported that the share of US cross-device digital video ad campaigns rose from just 17% to 51% between Q1 2014 and Q4 2014.
Among cross-device digital video ad campaigns served by Videology, those run across PCs, mobile and connected TVs were the most popular by a long shot, at 39% of impressions—the second-highest share. PCs and mobile accounted for 11% of impressions—more popular than mobile- and connected TV-only campaigns—while PCs and connected TVs hadn’t really linked up, at just 1% share. As a result of the rise in cross-device efforts, marketers were increasing their cross-screen analysis capabilities. Among respondents using advanced measurement, 13% of digital video advertisers said they used cross-screen metrics in Q4 2014. While this percentage is still low—landing in second-to-last place—it was up from just 4% in Q1 2014. This 225% growth is close to the 200% rise in cross-device impressions during the same period. 
Rising video consumption across devices means advertisers need to cast a wider net. eMarketer expects the number of US digital video viewers to hit 204.2 million this year, representing 78.6% of internet users, or 63.5% of the country’s population. The majority of digital video viewers will watch on their mobile phones, with video viewer penetration among mobile phone users expected to reach 41.5% in the US this year, or one-third of the population. And among tablet users, we forecast that 100.5 million will view digital video, representing nearly half of digital video viewers, 63.3% of tablet users and 31.3% of the population. 
Meanwhile, eMarketer estimates that the number of US connected TV households will rise 22.4% this year to reach 67.9 million, or 55.9% of total households. Low-double-digit growth will continue through 2017, and by 2018, the number of households with connected TVs will total 93.1 million, representing 75.2% of households in the US. 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

What Digital Video Ad Format Is the Most Affordable?

US digital video advertising spiked 56.0% in 2014 to reach $5.96 billion, eMarketer estimates. Based on data from TubeMogul, pre-roll placements were the most affordable ads in the category throughout the year.
The video ad platform found that the average weekly cost per minute viewed for pre-roll ads was 3.2 cents in Q4 2014—the lowest price, and one that had held relatively steady throughout 2014 (up from 2.8 cents in Q1 and 3.1 cents in Q3). Social was the most expensive, at 18.1 cents in Q4, but this was down by about 8 cents since Q1 and 3 cents quarter over quarter. 

Mobile and connected TV both came in at around 5 cents in Q4, with mobile rebounding from 4.2 cents in Q3. Average viewability rate for online pre-roll video ads in the US was 32% in Q4 2014. While this was 6 percentage points lower than in Q3, it was up nearly 14.3% since Q1. TubeMogul blamed the decline in part on advertisers’ less selective end-of-year budget spending and expected the rate to rebound as the industry places more emphasis on viewability this year. US desktop pre-roll video ads purchased via programmatic direct had higher viewability rates throughout 2014. 

While viewability of ads bought directly from publishers fell 26 percentage points in Q4 to 53%, from nearly 80% in Q3, this was still more than 20 points above the overall average. Above-average performance could push programmatic pre-roll activity up this year. According to November 2014 polling by Undertone, 64% of agencies and 56% of marketers in the US already purchased pre-roll video ads programmatically, and 46% of publishers sold them this way. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mobile's Still Far Behind Desktop for Retail Ecommerce Revenues

Desktop and laptop PCs still account for an outright majority of retail ecommerce site traffic, according to Q4 2014 data from MarketLive—and an outsize amount of total retail ecommerce revenues, as well.
Though mobile shoppers accounted for 75.9% of all US digital shoppers in 2014, and mobile buyers for 63.7% of digital buyers, eMarketer estimates, MarketLive found that nearly 56% of traffic to retail sites came from non-mobile sources, as did three-quarters of revenues. Tablets, which are typically understood to have a digital shopping use case closer to that of PCs than to that of smartphones, accounted for almost as much revenue share as traffic. 
But smartphones only accounted for about one-third as much revenues as traffic, supporting the position that smartphones are more commonly used for browsing and research activities than for actually completing a purchase. By several other metrics, including bounce rate and add-to-cart rate, smartphones were the odd device out, with tablet and desktop behaviors more similar to each other. 
Evidence abounds that mobile phones are still for upper-funnel shopping activities, with users more likely to close the deal in person or on a PC. According to the MarketLive data, smartphones drove the lowest revenue share for catalogers and housewares and furnishings, at 7.9% and 9.0% of the total, respectively. 

Smartphone revenue share topped out at 13.3%, for apparel, footwear and accessories retailers. Traffic share for smartphones was higher across retail sectors, with a low of 23.7% of catalog site traffic and a high of 35.7% for beauty and health retailers.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Measurement Frameworks: Focus on the Metrics That Matter

There is certainly no shortage of data available to marketers, but the problem is often in knowing how to structure the data to get the most out of it.
In this age of "big data," we’re not short of numbers are we? We generally have access to vast amounts of data from all sorts of different tracking and analysis systems. We’ve got digital data, and we also have user data such as that from voice of the customer surveys and remote user testing programs, and increasingly we’re combining that with transactional and non-digital data sources. So we generally don’t have a problem getting hold of data anymore. For many the problem is in knowing how to manage it and to structure it in a way that allows it to tell us a story.
This is why we need to develop measurement frameworks. Measurement frameworks are a way of structuring metrics and those all-important key performance indicators (KPIs) around the strategy, goals, and objectives of the business. The key thing about a measurement framework is that it’s coherent and helps the business to understand the relationship between the metrics as well as the metrics themselves.
Different frameworks are needed for different use cases and there are various styles available. Balanced scorecards are an example of very strategic measurement framework, looking at the performance of an organization as a whole. Functional areas many have their own measurement framework to provide structure to their own metrics. A good example I came across years ago was a framework developed by some people at Google to understand the user experience of some of their products. They called it HEART.
HEART stands for Happiness, Engagement, Adoption and Retention, and Task Success. They used this framework to understand the user experience across their various different products and the important point is that the metrics that make up the framework came from a variety of different data sources. Happiness, for example, is measured using attitudinal metrics gathered using survey data; adoption and retention may be measured using customer data; and task success by using remote user testing methodologies. The actual metrics used to measure the user experience vary from product to product depending of the nature of the product. For example, the way that Gmail is measured is different from the way that Google Maps is measured, but the HEART framework is the rigour and coherence to the individual metrics and usually describes what is being measured and to some extent why. It also always helps to have a good acronym!
To develop a framework you need to go back to the objectives and determine what it is you need to measure and why. In a straightforward e-commerce scenario, for example, a measurement framework may be based around the transactional environment looking at sales, order, average order value, number of customers, number of orders per customer, and so on. The framework would highlight the relationship between the different variables and how a change in one might or might not influence the other.
Another scenario might be in customer service. In a previous role I was asked by a client to help them think about how to measure the success of various customer service and self-service initiatives. In line with many companies, they were looking to increasingly address their customer service needs using various online channels such as websites, live chat, forums, and so on. One typical measurement perspective would be to focus on some of the core digital metrics, such as visits to the customer service section, number of downloads, number of chats, etc. These metrics were certainly useful in terms of understanding what’s actually happening in the digital channels, but were not necessarily indicative of whether the initiative overall was successful or not. To do that we needed to develop a wider framework that looked at the customer service section in the context of the overall customer journey.
The framework included measurements that looked at to what extent customers knew about some of the digital services, whether they would use them or not, and what they thought of the experience. The framework essentially told the story about the migration of customer service from offline channels to online channels and allowed the organization to understand where the focus areas needed to be. Did the site need to improve or what is good enough? Did they need to focus on educating customers about the digital channels and the benefits they offered? The development of a specific measurement framework was able help the organization understand the most effective way to hit the initiative’s goals and objectives.
With data everywhere it’s easy not to be able to see the wood for the trees. Developing multi-faceted measurement frameworks is the way to add structure to your data and to really focus on the metrics that matter.