Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mobile Affects Purchases Way Before the Store

Thanks to mobile devices, consumers now start researching retail products way before they step into a store to buy, according to a June 2014 study by Ninth Decimal. The research found that 81% of US mobile users turned to their devices to research retail items at home or work—meaning before heading to a brick-and-mortar—while 19% engaged with mobile during a shopping trip. 

The average lead time for researching retail products via mobile among smartphone and tablet users varied by cost, with research for items priced at $1,000 or more starting 45 days in advance of buying, on average. Even for the lowest price range though, $1 to $49, research typically began about 10 days before the purchase was completed.
Likely a result of their out-of-store research habits, mobile users were most likely to engage with mobile retail ads before they shopped, cited by 73% of respondents. In comparison, the remaining 27% were more apt to respond to ads on their mobile devices while on a shopping trip or in-store.
Retailers serving ads that include discounts and sales may stand the best chance at grabbing mobile researchers’ attentions. Fully 60% of mobile device users said they were likely to respond to retail-related mobile ads that contained information about discounts and sales, the most popular response by a long shot. Product reviews (36%) and product information (35%) rounded out the top three.
The opportunity to reach mobile retail researchers is huge. According to eMarketer, there will be 145.9 million US mobile shoppers this year. Among this group, which includes mobile users ages 14 and older who use their mobile device to browse, research or compare products via mobile web or app, nearly 70% will make a mobile purchase.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Make Social Commerce More Appealing

Social commerce isn’t new, and Twitter’s recent announcement of an in-tweet “buy” button is yet another effort to fuel customer purchases via social. But how many digital buyers in the US actually take the final leap on a social platform? Not too many, according to August 2014 polling by Harris Poll for DigitasLBi, which found that just 5% of US adult internet users had made a purchase on a social network such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. 

Based on the research, better security measures could motivate social networkers to buy through a social platform. Fully 42% of users said they would be more likely to make a purchase via social if they knew their credit information was secure, while 38% said knowing their purchase wouldn’t be shared would increase their likelihood of completing such a transaction.
One-third of respondents would be more apt to make a purchase if the total was under $25, and further responses indicated that cost definitely had an influence in whether or not users clicked the social buy button. The majority said that price played a big role in their decision to buy something on a social site, and 35% would even use a social hashtag if it meant getting a discount.
And despite many showing a desire for security around social purchases, about one-quarter of respondents said they wouldn’t hold back from buying via social even if that meant a brand would know their purchase history.
eMarketer expects the number of US social network users to rise by 4.5% this year and hit 173.2 million people. This represents 68.5% of internet users and 54.3% of the population—as well as a big audience for retailers trying to up social commerce.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Which Mobile Location Ads Are the Most Accurate?

Mobile location-based ads help advertisers improve targeting, up engagement and generate better creative—if the data they rely on is accurate, according to a September 2014 Thinknear/Telenav report. The firm defined “location accuracy” as the proximity of a user’s stated location per the ad request, compared with his or her actual location in the real world—which can vary by a matter of feet or even hundreds of miles—and called out assisted GPS as the most accurate source of mobile location, followed by Wi-Fi and cell towers. IP address ranked fourth, while user registration was the least effective. 

Broken down by location, hyperlocal campaigns grabbed the largest share of accurate ad impressions served in the US in Q3 2014, at 46%. This was up from 34% in Q2 2014, at the expense of regional and multiregional ads. Local campaigns held steady as national impressions increased their piece of the mobile location accuracy pie.

Research released in July 2014 by xAd and Telmetrics, based on February and March 2014 polling by Nielsen, indicated that mobile users were pretty fond of location-based ads. The majority (51%) of US mobile device users agreed that they liked mobile ads with geographically relevant info, compared with 36% in 2012, while 19% disagreed, down from 31% in 2012. It makes sense, then, that advertisers are expected to up spending on mobile location efforts as they aim to improve the accuracy of their location data and give consumers the ads they want. In April 2014, Berg Insight estimated that spending on mobile location-based ads and marketing worldwide would rise from €1.2 billion in 2013 ($1.6 billion) to €10.7 billion in 2018 ($14.3 billion). 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Online Discounts vs. Free Shipping: A Battle of the Ages

Who doesn’t love a good deal when online shopping? Pretty much everyone. But not all offers are created equal, and in July 2014 polling by Retention Science, percentage discounts led the pack as the most effective customer incentive.

Among US online retailers, 30.9% said a percentage discount was the most effective customer incentive, the No. 1 response. Meanwhile, 21.8% cited shipping incentives—free or discounted—as offers that worked best for their customers. Though percentage discounts were the favorite, amount discounts weren’t very popular, with just 12.7% of respondents. And despite consumer demand for personalized experiences, only 7.3% of online retailers said dynamic offers were effective. Loyalty programs and multiple purchase discounts rounded out the list, with respective response rates of 5.5% and 3.6%. 

However, a Q2 2014 study by Flagship Research for BlueHornet found age played a big role in whether US internet users preferred a percentage discount vs. free shipping. Consumers ages 18 to 45 favored discounts, while 46- to 75-year-olds preferred free shipping—indeed, shipping costs are a top digital shopping pet peeve for older generations. Older millennials—the 25-to-34 age bracket—were the biggest fans when it came to getting a percentage off a purchase, with 34.1% of respondents from this group saying so, and they were the least likely to favor free shipping (13.9%). On the flipside, 56- to 65-year-olds were the age group most likely to prefer free shipping, at 35.5% of respondents, and showed the least interest in discounts. 


Innovation in Traditional Places

With new apps and technologies being released every other day, brands don’t have to look far to find a new way to market their product. But where does that leave the more traditional channels like couponing and print? How are they keeping up? With their own form of innovation, of course!
Below are a few examples of brands and channels that have learned how to keep up and stand out in this changing advertising marketplace.
1. Couponing: Zealios Skin Care
Rather than just serving up your typical coupon, Zealios is letting consumers pull up a sun-activated coupon on their mobile device. If the device’s ambient light sensor detects sunshine, it will link to a 50% off digital coupon and sun safety tips.
2. Magazine Cover: Marie Claire & Guess
For Marie Claire’s denim issue, they worked with Guess to create a unique event for their readers. Consumers were able to “unzip” the cover of the magazine by pulling a perforated strip that looked like a zipper and revealing the magazine’s true cover surrounded by Guess logos. While it sounds simple, this distinctive experience drove high recall and engagement for the brand.
3. Catalog: Target
Target’s In a Snap mobile app works with the retailer’s fall print catalog and certain print ads to drive ecommerce sales. Once they’ve downloaded or opened the app, shoppers can hold their mobile device over a catalog page or print ad and be taken to that product’s page on Target.com. They can then purchase the product without ever leaving the app.
By thinking out-of-the-box with traditional methods, brands are creating valuable, one-of-a-kind experiences that resonate with consumers.


One nerdy, yet cool technology – predictive analytics

It’s easy to see that technology is continuing to play a bigger and bigger role in marketing today. One nerdy, yet cool, technology is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is a data analysis tool that takes data, learns from it, and then can predict decisions based on the data it has been given. Cool, huh?

For example, data can predict that a young child has high probability of touching a hot stove, but predictive analytics learns that once the child has touched the stove the probability of doing it again decreases.
Just as a child learns not to touch a hot stove, the same can be applied to consumer choices. For example, Target wanted to know which female customers are expecting a baby in the near future. To do this Target used predictive analytics to determine pregnancy based on purchasing patterns and behaviors.
Target started to “learn” purchasing patterns and behaviors from moms who have registered on the baby registry. Once the predictive model was generated, Target could then start applying it to Target customers who have not registered on the baby registry but have a significantly high probability of being pregnant based on purchasing decisions.
Target found 30% more female customers that were most likely pregnant and had not registered on the baby registry. With this data Target could then start promoting pregnancy-orientated promotions toward those women.
In 2012, the New York Times and Forbes Magazine reported about an angry father in Minneapolis enraged at Target for sending his high school daughter coupons for baby clothes and cribs. The unhappy father accused Target of trying to encourage his young daughter to get pregnant. A few days later the father apologized after learning his daughter was in fact pregnant.
This story depicts the accuracy of predicate analytic used by Target. Consumers should know, however, that Target carefully follows all privacy and data-use laws. The primary basis of Target’s modeling is from consumer purchases.
Pregnancy predictions are not the only way predictive analytics is being used, and Target is not the only company using predictive analytics either. In 2009, H1N1 was discovered and many public health agencies believed it would become a pandemic. At that time, no vaccine was available.
The goal of public health agencies was to reduce the spread of the virus. To do this the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) asked doctors to report all flu cases, so the CDC could track the location of flu cases. Unfortunately this method had a two-week lag time.
Google shortly discovered that certain searches for flu-related information could show the spread of the virus. Out of the three billion search queries a day, Google was able to accurately identify areas infected by the virus. As you can see predictive analytics is highly versatile, effective and a little nerdy.
Target and Google are not the only masterminds of predictive analytics. A majority of major retailers, banks, grocery stores, etc. have all started implementing predictive analytics—even the Post Office uses predictive analytics. Technology is drastically affecting today’s marketing efforts and predictive analytics is just one nerdy, yet cool way.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Twitter Lets You “Buy Now” With Their Latest Test

n early September, Twitter announced that a small number of consumers could make purchases within Twitter via a new “Buy” button.
According to a blog post on Twitter’s site, “After tapping the ‘Buy’ button, you will get additional product details and be prompted to enter your shipping and payment information.” Thankfully, that information is then securely stored so you don’t have to re-enter it again if you want to make additional purchases.
But don’t expect to see this button on your native ads just yet. The test is starting small with just a “small percentage of U.S. users,” but with the plan to expand as soon as possible.
Also keeping the test small is the number of brands participating initially. Twitter is focusing on music artists, nonprofit organisations and just a handful of brands.

Why Marketers Still Haven't Mastered Personalization

Marketers have heard it loud and clear: Personalization is important. But they’re still struggling to execute it. A critical issue? They haven’t mastered the development of a single customer viewpoint, and according to a July 2014 survey by Forbes Insights in association in Sitecore, fragmented and siloed data systems were a key factor preventing this. 

Senior executives polled in North America said their companies were using an average of 36 different data-gathering systems and vendors—and some used more than 100. It comes as no surprise, then, that just 24% of respondents said the various customer communications and data-gathering systems they used were integrated or connected across their organization. On a more positive note, 56% said such systems were partially integrated, indicating they were taking steps toward a more streamlined future.

Senior execs’ priorities highlighted just how critical integration efforts were. Fully 62% said that creating a single, central customer marketing database that housed customer experience information was a priority, and 59% said the same about having a single system to deliver customer experiences across all potential digital channels.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


History of Marketing Channels Revisited

Facebook ad revenue: more money for less time

eMarketers Facebook Digital Ad Dollars
A lot of people spend a lot of time on Facebook. That’s a given. But when eMarketer broke down the numbers, they found something very interesting. When you compare time spent on site and ad dollars as a percentage of the whole, it simply doesn’t add up.

Looking at all digital activity in a day, Facebook users spend about 21 minutes on the site (that’s a lot!) which is 6% of all digital time. (That’s not so much.) Let’s be clear, those numbers are for the entire population, about half of which doesn’t go on Facebook at all. When you look at just adult Facebook users, time on site jumps to 39 minutes – feels longer. . . .
Getting back to ad spend. . . as you can see from this chart there is a norm. Usually, percent of time spent goes far beyond percentage of digital spend. People spend 15.9% of their digital time watching video but advertisers only allocated 11.7% of their digital ad budget to video.

Monday, September 22, 2014

In two years, mobile video viewers have increased 400 percent

There’s a very good chance that your customers are watching a video on their smartphone or tablet as we speak. Ooyala says that mobile video views have increased 400% in the last two years, doubling in the last year alone. Right now, 25% of all video views are happening on a mobile device and that number is expected to double again by 2016.
For those who prefer a visual representation, here’s one from the Ooyala Q2 2014 Global Video Index Report:
Ooyala mobile video growth
Look at that! That’s quite a climb.
There are a number of factors that contributed to this pretty picture; devices with bigger screens, more access to fast connection speeds, an increase in the number of videos being uploaded every day and then there’s the young millennial factor.
What are people watching? Most of the time (45%), they’re watching short videos, six minutes or less in length.
For longer videos, those 30-60 minutes in length, most people picked up a tablet or sat down in front of a desktop. For videos over 60 minutes, tablets were by far the most popular choice – unless you include connected TVs
The obvious takeaway from all of this is that the longer the video, the larger the screen. It’s a pure comfort issue.
Cold Weather Watching
If you are a creator of long-form video, there’s good news ahead. Ooyala found that when it’s cold, people watch 29% longer than they do when it’s warm. When it rains, desktop video consumption has been known to rise almost 40%.

Here in Southern California, we’re on our third day of over 100 degree weather so I guess that means long-form video views are down. What’s up? Short video views on the smartphone. It’s the perfect thing for getting our minds off the blazing sun while we’re waiting in line for a coffee. (Why are we always waiting in line for coffee?!)
The takeaway from all of this is that video is booming and if you cover your bases, you’ll be a winner, too. Long-form, short-form, monetized on desktop, mobile and gaming consoles – the more bases you can hit, the better off you’ll be.
And though it’s still scorching out here, it will soon be cold all over the US so get those new videos in the can and line up your video advertising because it’s going to be a record setting rest of the year.

Is That a Gap in Your Brand Story?

Successful businesses not only tell a good story, they also 'do' a good story. Here are some examples of 'storydoers' and how you can spot them.
In days long gone a company’s brand story typically emanated from a single place, from the company itself. Today, technologies like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, Yelp, and (insert technology dijour here) have given customers a powerful platform to get in on the act. Too often there are two completely different brand stories being told; the story you tell yourself about your own brand, and the story your customers are spreading. Which version of those two stories is most likely to be believed by the public at large?
In fact, customers are so empowered now that even your company’s partisan leanings are now fair game.
The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive
You must accept the reality that large swaths of your company’s brand story are no longer in your control, and that isn’t a bad thing. You can write, plan, and tell the perfect brand story about how your products are relevant and how your company desires to be perceived, but any incongruence between your story and the actual customer experience will become fodder for public consumption. If you fall short, that story gets told. If, on the other hand, you meet or exceed the expectations set by your brand story, that story spreads like fire as well.
Smart companies embrace their customer’s narratives, especially the negative ones. By understanding the stories that your customers are actually experiencing with your brand in the real world, you can then use that data to optimize your products, your marketing campaigns, and your customers communications. It can even reveal who is and isn’t a likely prospect for your offerings.
Ty Montague author of True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business says that good companies are storytellers but great companies are storydoers. He outlines how to spot a storydoing company.
  1. They have a story.
  2. The story is about a larger ambition to make the world or people’s lives better.
  3. The story is understood and cared about by senior leadership outside of marketing.
  4. That story is being used to drive tangible action throughout the company: product development, HR policies, compensation, etc.
  5. These actions add back-up to a cohesive whole.
  6. Customers and partners are motivated to engage with the story and are actively using it to advance their own stories.
It’s no longer enough to tell a great brand story, you have to work to live that story. Start by uncovering the stories that customers are telling and believing about your brand. Incorporate those narratives into the Buyer Legends you use to plan creative and customer experiences. Be prepared to find some surprises both good and not so good. But have no doubt you will also find a treasure trove of new opportunities.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

APAC Ranks No. 2 Worldwide for Social Network Ad Spend Share

North America is still where a plurality of worldwide paid media spending on social networks originates. But Asia-Pacific makes a strong second-place showing ahead of Western Europe, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. 

Nearly three in 10 paid media dollars taken in by social sites will come from Asia-Pacific this year, we estimate. The region’s share will rise by almost 2 percentage points in the next two years as North America’s declines somewhat.

Social network ad spending in the region is expected to exceed $5 billion this year, an increase of more than 53% over 2013 spending levels. Social networks will account for 12.2% of digital ad spending in Asia-Pacific—higher than their share in the UK.
By the end of our forecast period, we expect 16.1% of digital ad dollars in the region to go toward social networks, or $8.60 billion.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mobile Commerce in Asia Continues to Zig as the World Zags

Mobile Commerce in Asia: Key Figures

  • By 2014, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is expected to become the largest e-commerce market in the world, led by China, India, and Indonesia (eMarketer, 2013) 
  • In 2013, Pizza Hut sold $2 billion worth of pizza online in Asia, and 72 percent of this was done through mobile transactions (Media Masters Conference, 2013) 
  • In 2013, Mainland China overtook the U.S. to become the largest smartphone market in the world (eMarketer, 2014) 
  • Asia-Pacific is the number one region globally of Facebook user growth, at 900 percent in 2013, with 92 percent of Japanese accessing Facebook via mobile (Facebook data, 2013) 
  • APAC consumers lead the world in multi-screening at 439 minutes per week versus 417 globally. Thirty-six percent comes from smartphones. (Millward Brown study, 2014) 
  • Forty-five percent of APAC consumers use mobile phones to compare prices. This is the highest globally, with the U.S. coming in at 28 percent (eMarketer, 2014) 
  • South Korea, at 51 percent, is the top market for mobile banking use. China (41 percent), Australia (40 percent), and the U.S. (38 percent) round out the top four. (eMarketer, 2014) 
So what are people buying? Well in Asia, apps are still the number one purchase, according to Warc, with Thailand at 37.9 percent, Vietnam at 31 percent, and Malaysia at 30.4 percent. However, we are starting to see a shift from people purchasing digital-only goods via mobile to the purchase of higher-end retail goods such as fashion, grocery, and even auto in certain cases. 

The main mechanisms people are using to buy goods are the mobile Internet at 36 percent, mobile apps at 24 percent, SMS at 19 percent, and NFC (near field communication) at 12 percent. 

SMS payment is mostly used in China and represents 30.5 percent of all mobile payment solutions in that market. Mobile phones linked to a credit card make up just 13.6 percent of mobile payment solutions. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Google's My Maps Upgrade Presents Opportunities for Local Search

Google has announced upgraded My Maps features, which, by the end of the year, will replace classic Google Maps, it says.

How Does Google My Maps Work?

When users land on the My Maps homepage, they are immediately prompted to either create a new map or open an existing saved map.
They can begin searching for location-based businesses and begin adding them to their maps.
See a search for "Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA" below.
Next, they can add specific locations to the maps.
Once they have added a few different locations, they are able to connect maps to form a route and even determine the exact distance between locations.
Perhaps the most interesting feature is the ability to add descriptions of locations as well as images. Currently, users cannot upload images, but they can do Google image searches or enter specific URLs.
Once users have completed their maps, they can share them publically, keep them private or provide access to select users.

What Does This Mean for Local Search?

Perhaps the biggest potential impact on local search is tied to the ability to create "experience" maps that include information about businesses.
For example, if Seattle-based Café Campagne wanted to draw in consumers, it could simply create a "Tour of Pike Place Market" map. This map could include a morning starting with the best stores to find art, clothing, etc. and end with a fantastic lunch at the café.
There is definitely opportunity for businesses to utilize My Maps to their benefit. It will just take some creativity and additional effort to drive users to them via local search.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kraft Using Big Data and Digital Marketing To Spur Sales in Center Store

A new emphasis on Millennials and Hispanic consumers is driving a huge shift in the way Kraft markets its vast menu of center-store brands and products. The food marketer is now relying much more on applications of “Big Data” and digital marketing to continue to reap gains in an area of the supermarket it has traditionally dominated.

Transformation of consumer demographics and habits by Millennials, Hispanics, tech-savvy consumers and those mostly concerned about nutrition and health, as well as some other groups, “is challenging the investments the CPG industry is making in our historical vehicles,” Deanie Elsner, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the Northfield, Ill.-based CPG giant, said during a presentation at the Barclays Back-to-School Consumer Conference in Boston earlier this month.

Digital Offers Boost Retailer Brands and Shopper Loyalty: Forrester Study

Digital coupons are positively affecting the retailer’s brand and boosting shopper loyalty, says a new study by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by RetailMeNot, a web site displaying  offers from merchants and brands.
According to the research, digital coupons are as relevant as ever as retailers’ omni-channel sales strategies become the norm. Additionally, the study reviews how people are thinking about digital couponing and provides insight into omni-channel offers in the offline-channel world, as well as insight into how mobile affects in-store traffic and sales.

“This new Forrester study reiterates key findings from a similar 2011 study, while highlighting how digital promotional strategies are driving, and will continue to drive, meaningful positive impact on retailer sales through both e-commerce and in-store channels as mobile commerce grows,” says Jill Balis, SVP of Marketing for RetailMeNot. “How we research, plan and shop is evolving beyond the e-commerce site to include our mobile phone and tablet, yet the basic premise of coupons has remained the same. A great offer can drive incremental revenue, reduce shopping cart abandonment and result in happy repeat customers.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Micro Moments: The Crown Jewel of the Customer Journey

Using geo-fencing and geo-location technologies is an effective way to integrate and personalise the online to offline retail experience.

Marketing trends and technology, particularly around mobile, are changing rapidly. And operating systems, devices and applications are being developed quickly. Apple's recent announcements for its iPhone 6, iOS8, Apple Watch and Apple Pay are yet more evidence of the fast-paced growth in technological capabilities and the consumption of communication and media. 
So how can mobile technologies and data help us to manage the customer journey, and engage the customer better? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Majority of Marketers Say 'More' to Brand Awareness Efforts

An outright majority of marketing professionals worldwide plan to increase their spending on brand awareness in the next 12 months, according to research conducted for eMarketer in August 2014 by InsightExpress—compared with just over four in 10 who said they would be spending more on demand generation. 

Nearly 56% of eMarketer Daily Newsletter readers and visitors to eMarketer.com said they would be spending more on branding-related activities over the next year, while another 27.0% would maintain current spending levels. Brand awareness was a higher priority for eMarketer’s audience than demand gen, global business expansion efforts, or spending on events—none of which attracted a majority to increase spending. 

eMarketer Daily readers in Latin America and Asia-Pacific were even more likely than average to say they would increase spending on brand awareness, with 59.0% and 60.6% of respondents planning to do so, respectively. Demand generation also garnered a bare majority in those regions saying they would up spending in the next year. Marketers in Canada were the least likely group to say they would increase branding spending, though even there, 51.1% planned to. Demand generation spending increases were also less likely in Canada than anywhere else, with just 33.7% of responses. Overall, the findings suggest that digital display spending, a major component of online branding activities, has a rosy future as marketers look to increase awareness in the coming 12 months. 


Monday, September 15, 2014

10 Online Shopping Personality Traits

Dramatically increase sales and boost margins by discovering what drives your shoppers to buy.

Retailers have typically approached marketing from a product-centric standpoint, but behavioral commerce technology now on the market enables retailers to take a more people-focused approach for giving shoppers an incentive to complete a purchase.
As online shopping gains momentum, shoppers are looking for online retailers to provide them with more personalized shopping experiences. Marketers can tailor these experiences to specifically defined target audiences by understanding the shopping personalities and buying behaviors of customers. Because when you've discovered what drives specific shoppers to buy, you're able to increase sales and margins.
Shopping behavior data derived from a behavioral commerce analytic platform used by several prominent online retailers was analyzed to determine the 10 most common shopping personality profiles.

5 Questions to Consider When Thinking About Bidding on Brand Terms

The practice of bidding on your own brand terms is a topic that has two divided camps among search marketers. Bidding on your brand terms can provide a lot of benefits - they tend to have a higher click-through rate (CTR), and they help promote your brand alongside the organic results. But bidding on your brand can be costly if you have a lot of competition that is bidding on those same terms. So is bidding on your brand always the best strategy?
Below are five key things to think about when determining your strategy for bidding on your brand terms, and some insights on each:
1. I have a strong brand presence organically; do I need to have my brand show in the paid results as well?
This is a very common question marketers ask -should I spend dollars on search when I am showing up in the top positions organically? If you have a strong dominant brand presence with little to no competition and a strong customer base, bidding on your brand isn't necessarily going to provide a tremendous amount of benefit. This tends to be more the exception than the rule for most companies, however. Target, for example, does not bid on its brand term - because it doesn't need to.
Most of us, however, are not Target. If your brand terms show up well in the organic results, bidding on your brand term can provide the "1-2" effect. Showing up in the paid and organic search results communicates to the potential customer that you are relevant. And helps your brand to "own" the search results page.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Facebook Is No. 1 for India's Social Networkers

Facebook remains the most popular social network in India, drawing some 58.1 million unique visitors in March 2014, according to comScore. When blogging networks were not counted, LinkedIn was the second most popular social network, with 11.1 million visitors, followed by Twitter (4.2 million), Yahoo Profile (4.1 million), Pinterest (2.1 million) and Tumblr (1.9 million). The usage of orkut, once the most popular social network in the country, plummeted over the past year. 

India is among the markets in which mobile messaging apps have the potential to displace traditional social networking platforms, although their popularity still trails that of chat apps in many Southeast Asian markets. Still, Facebook-owned property WhatsApp told media outlets in April 2014 that it had more than 48 million active users in India, and it was adding new users at a rate of about 4 million per month. Other internationally popular properties, LINE and Viber, are also making inroads in India, although user numbers in the market are difficult to come by. Foreign-based mobile apps also face competition from domestic companies such as Hike, which launched in December 2012 and had about 15 million users as of early 2014—though not all of its users are in India. 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

The social media habits of Fortune 500 CEOs

Domo and CEO.com released their third annual study which found that 8.3% of Fortune 500 CEOs now have Twitter accounts, compared to 5.6% last year.

  • However, among all CEOs on Twitter, only 69% are active, tweeting within the last 100 days.
  • The average frequency of CEO tweets has remained flat. CEOs averaged 0.488 tweets per day, compared to 0.493 tweets per day in 2013.
  • 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs still have no presence on any of the major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Instagram.
However, there is a small social-savvy breed of Fortune 500 CEOs emerging. Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Jonas Prising of ManpowerGroup have been on Twitter for 1,961 and 2,145 days respectively.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Google’s AdSense for Shopping Takes PLAs to Retail Sites

Google announced it has launched AdSense for Shopping, a product it says will help retailers like Walmart.com monetize site traffic.
According to Google, by opting Shopping Campaigns into Google's search partners, these retailers can now reach users as they search for products on retail and commerce sites in the Google Search Network.
That's because AdSense for Shopping allows retailers to place Product Listing Ads, like those they see running on google.com, onto their websites. Similar to other AdSense products, they earn revenue based on the performance of those ads on their sites, Google says in the AdSense help forum.
Extending Shopping Campaigns to these sites helps retailers reach qualified users beyond google.com and Google Shopping, the search engine says. Product Listing Ads are displayed alongside contextually relevant results, determined by users' searches, product categories, or product names, Google adds in a blog post.
Google uses the example of a retailer selling tailgating grills on Google Shopping. Users that search for tailgating grills on retail partners' sites may now see Product Listing Ads from the initial retailer.
Further, AdSense for Shopping provides an easy path to purchase for users searching for products on "high-quality retail-oriented websites and an additional high-margin revenue stream for retailers that allow these units on their sites," Google says.
As of September 9, the product is available to a limited set of retail and commerce publishers but Google says it plans to open AdSense for Shopping up to interested publishers in the "near future."
Aside from Walmart.com, which is mentioned in the blog post, a Google rep says the search engine is "not sharing other participants right now."
According to Google, advantages to publishers include helping users find what they want, encouraging repeat site visits, showing rich product ads that are contextually relevant to the users visiting a website and monetizing mobile site traffic.
"As we release the product to more publishers, we expect advertisers with Product Listing Ads opted into search partners to see increased traffic to their sites," writes Jesse Adkins, product manager of Google Search Ads, in the blog post.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Paid Social Ads Convert More Customers

The digital marketing world has been abuzz for months about Facebook’s dialing-down of organic brand content in the average user’s newsfeed—and the declining importance of the “like” or page follow in its wake. But Q1 2014 research by Convertro and AOL Platforms suggests that even if Facebook is doing what it can to push brands from an earned into a paid media model, paid ads on social networks do have better conversion rates than organic content.
On Facebook, the jump in conversion rates among Convertro platform users worldwide was just 0.1 percentage point, but on Twitter, ads were more than twice as likely as organic tweets to convert users. On Pinterest, the situation was reversed, but overall, brands using Convertro saw around a 25% lift in conversions with paid social ads vs. organic social content. 

For the most part, though, social media is not the last or only touch for consumers on the path to purchase. According to Convertro’s figures, 87% of interactions with social content were a middle touch, while just over one interaction in 10 was either the last or only touchpoint. Still, some social venues are more geared toward conversion than others. YouTube stood out in Convertro and AOL’s research as the most likely social media property by far to turn a prospect immediately into a customer—likely because video content like that hosted on YouTube can provide 100% of the information an online shopper needs to make a purchase decision. 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Paid Media Is the Future

We know as digital marketers that the landscape has evolved to a complex world of options. "Back in the day" of digital advertising you could spend your money with Google for search and the rest went to the portals (AOL, MSN, Yahoo). Now we live in a world where Google still has a large market share, but the rest has shifted to social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Amazon has built a very large digital advertising business. So what does this all mean? For me it means the rise of a new level of skills becoming the expectation. In my opinion we are evolving away from paid search and display specialists and into paid media specialists. There are three reasons why I believe this to be true.

1. Media Mix

One of the major challenges with all these fragmented publishers where you could spend your advertising dollars is how to allocate your spend. What platform is the most effective given your business challenges for that next incremental dollar? When that question is asked to a paid search manager their answer will most likely be into more keywords and for a display person it’s more display. In my opinion, the only real way you get a true answer is to have a person who is responsible and knowledgeable in all aspects of paid media. Then their job becomes much less about protecting their tactic and more about doing what’s right. The old adage "When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail" is what you experience when you ask that question to a team member who is focused on a specific tactic.

2. The Rise of Paid Social

Facebook is now making $2.5 billion a quarter in ad revenue and Twitter just delivered 124 percent growth in revenue to $312 million. Just a few years ago Facebook and Twitter made ZERO dollars. Where are the ad dollars coming from? What types of skill sets are needed to run this type of media? These dollars are coming from both digital and traditional ad budgets, and the people running them need both display and search skills, or PAID MEDIA. Twitter and Facebook ads are very native to the platform and bought on an effectiveness model. These elements sound a lot like how search operates.

3. Real-Time and Programmatic Buying

Display media is largely moving away from traditional fixed CPM ad buys. The days of RFP’ing multiple publishers and researching sites that index high for a given target are gone or going quickly. The market has shifted to be increasingly based on programmatic buys, which have a large real-time bidding component. So in order to be effective in this space you need the skills of display to determine the right audience, creative, and copy to run in combination with the skills of an experience bid manager. You got it…paid media.
A question I get a lot when discussing these points and the future of this role is the tradeoffs that are required. For example, "If I know more about all of paid media, how can I be the deep expert that I am today on display?" That is a fair question and I do think the balance between an inch wide and a mile deep will swing. However, the knowledge of a broader paid media landscape will far outweigh the value of that depth once proper media allocations are made. Strategically sound can also equate to advantages in addition to tactical advantages. I look forward to the future of paid media.