Marketing to Women: Endorser Ads Starring “You”

October 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

65a15f5839fa11e393b222000aa8011b_6Are you an unwitting testimonial in a social ad?  You might be.  Google is just the latest to roll out “shared endorsements”, which post users of Google+ and Gmail as endorsers of products they have shared using Google+.

These online testimonials will be shared beginning November 11 on Google products such as Google Maps, Gmail or Google search.

sharedendorsementexamplesAccording to a recent LA Times post by Jessica Guynn, “any time someone “likes” or links to a product on Facebook, there’s a chance Facebook will put that person’s name and face in an ad endorsing the product.  More of these ads are flooding the Web as companies look to exploit what has long been so effective in the offline world: a personal recommendation from a friend.”

Facebook is already doing it, so what’s the big deal?  Sounds like great marketing?  It seems that advertisers and social media are the only ones profiting from this relationship.  It may be the price we pay to have free use of social media.

But here is the rub.  The endorsements are trusted by consumers, yet may not be a true expression of the endorser.

Some 68% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations or “earned advertising” from other consumers, according to a 2013 global survey by market research firm Nielsen, up from 61% in 2007. Consumers also put less trust in ads appearing in newspapers (61%), magazines (60%), television (62%) and radio (57%).

After seeing a friend “like” a product on social media, 29% of U.S. Internet users check out the product, 14% visit the product’s website, 11% visit the product’s social media page and 5% “like” the product, according to research from Adobe Systems.

Many of us have “liked” a page, only to enter a contest, or get a discount, or to create a wish list on Amazon or eBay.  That encounter does not always mean we have a relationship with the company.  As I expressed in the recent LA Times article, the ads are not an authentic representation of the consumer.  The “free love” period of social media is over.  Doesn’t seem too free anymore, does it?

As marketers, I think it is important for us to be aware of the full story for endorser ads, and to advise our clients appropriately.

Marketing to Women: Get Ready! New Face for Facebook!

March 9, 2013 § 2 Comments

When Facebook announced its new design for the Facebook newsfeed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it was their goal to to give everyone in the world “the best personalized newspaper.” Who is everyone?  The 67% of online adults that use Facebook —  71% of women and  62% of men.  Read on to see what it means for consumers and marketers.

What does this mean for consumers?

Larger Images.  Well, it means there are larger images in your feed.  According to Facebook, photos make up 50% of all news feed stories.  So the new news feed takes up more of your Facebook page.  They call it putting a spotlight on what friends are sharing.  The shared articles also feature larger images and more information like longer snippets. Check-ins are also more visual with large map images, as is content from third-party sites like Pinterest.

Multiple Feeds.  Content specific feeds will allow you to sort between a range of different categories: Close friends, all friends, music, photos, games and people and brands you “follow” (as opposed to friend). And you can still see the chronological news feed.

Continuity in Look across All Devices.  Instead of a different interface on all media, Facebook has figured out how to incorporate the same look across smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Okay, how do I get it? Well, there’s a site for that and it’s pretty simple.  But don’t hold your breath, it’s a rolling conversion so you may have to wait awhile.  First, go to  Second, click the big green “Join Waiting List” button at the top of the page. Done!

What do marketers need to know?  

facebook-hangoverGood news here:  Ad Are Much Bigger!  Even the sidebar ads look bigger.  The larger canvas is good news for creative – but will it by annoying to users?  It will need to be engaging.

New Opportunities for advertising.  Promoted Posts, Sponsored Stories, and Page promotion ads can be visually engrossing - to flow with the rest of the news feed.

Filters for content are a question mark.  Facebook says there’s been consumer demand for filtered content like photos and music.  But will users use the filters.

If the filtered feeds are used, it could make for a splintered, hard to reach audience.  If people use the feeds, it will fragment the audience.  And, if they only use their friends feed, advertising will be lost to them.

Filtered feed might become sponsorship opportunities.  No real news here but if the music feeds and other entertainment feeds take off, sponsorships might follow.

Marketing to Women: Advertisers Don’t Understand Women!

January 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Some 91% of women don’t think advertisers understand them.  These same women make or influence 85% of all purchasing decisions.  ALL PURCHASING DECISIONS.  Women are purchasing more than 50% of all traditional male products – automobiles, electronics, home improvement products.   Seventy five percent of women are the primary shoppers for their household.

What do consumers think about advertising?  A new report from market research firm Lab42 revealed that 76% of those surveyed think advertisements contain exaggerated claims, and only 3% think ads are “very accurate.”  Some 58% think ads are somewhat exaggerated.  Thirty-eight percent (38%) wish for more accuracy in advertising,but only 17% would like to see more laws in the U.S. that regulate advertising.

We know that weight loss ads are Photoshopped, that women in beauty ads are re-touched, that food is styled, and that only 3% of creative directors are women.  Both men and women think they are not portrayed accurately in advertising.

But at the end of the day, advertising does provide new information to shoppers.  Thirty-one percent (31%) think “advertising should make me aware of new products” and “20% think it should educate me.”

Here’s a great infographic put together by Lab42 to visualize their new research.


Marketing to Women: Why Marketers Don’t Understand Women

January 6, 2013 § Leave a comment


Things are changing for women.  For the first time in history, women now outnumber men in the workforce. We are more educated, accounting for approximately 58% of students in tw0- and four-year colleges.   We account for 85% of all consumer purchases, and we are not just talking about diapers and milk.  Our purchases include homes, healthcare, cars, travel and computers.  And 96% list “being independent” as their single most important life goal.

So when research says 91% of women don’t think marketers understand them, what are we saying?

First, women don’t feel they are being accurately portrayed.  Using the color pink is not advertising.  Women respond to marketing in a more emotional level.  Women place importance on personal and proactive customer communication.  We want authenticity, relevance, honesty and an exchange of information.  Also, families don’t look like the stereotyped mom, dad and 2 children.  Some 40% of all births today are to unwed mothers.  Only 4% of families with kids under 18 fall into the working father and stay-at-home mom model.   And many young say being a good parent is more important than marriage.

Second, men control much of today’s advertising messages.  Only some 3% of advertising agency creative directors are women.  Why is that a problem?  The female perspective is not always accurately represented.  We have men left to their own to interpret how they communicate to and with women.  That’s why campaigns from advertisers like Dove celebrating real people and Chico’s use of older models and stars are seen as rare and innovative.

Third, many marketers have overlooked the dominance of women online.  Women dominate social networking, instant messaging and email.  Women compose 56% of the social media population; that’s 81 million of us.  Women dominate Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  Women spend  8% more time online daily and 40% more time on social media than men do.  And peer-to-peer recommendations are trusted more than any type of advertising – 92% rely on people they know!

Fourth,  smartphones are the most important tools in women’s handbags.  50.9% of smartphone users are women and we are using smartphones to stay in touch with our families and friends, interact on social media, and shop, shop, SHOP!!  If women can’t easily find you on their mobile phone or if you are not competitive, she will move on to another source.  Moms are on their phones six hours daily and  readily admit that their smartphones are more important than sex!

Use 2013 to understand your target audience better.  Chances are a large portion of your audience are women – smart, connected, independent and pink-resistant.

This is a guest post on, a great blog on getting seen on social media by Robert S. Kims, Guerrilla Marketing Korean.  

Marketing to Women: Facebook Targets TV Dollars with Video Ads

December 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s all about Facebook, isn’t it?  First it was Instagram/Facebook obtaining our photos surreptitiously, then it was $1 messaging and now it’s video ads on our Facebook news feed.

facebook-video-popup-ad-500x242While we are all stuffing ourselves with sugar plums and Christmas pre- and post-sales, Facebook is planning to launch new video-ads sometime in the first half of 2013.  Ad Age reports by April, Facebook will offer advertisers targeted video ads to large numbers of Facebook users in their news feeds on both the desktop version of Facebook as well as on Facebook apps on mobile phones and tablets.   Oh, and you will see them, because the ads will automatically play.  And there is a lot of emphasis on the mobile capability for tablets and smartphones.

I am conflicted about all this Facebook news – as a marketer, I can see interesting and impactful users of this new ad feature.  But on the other hand, I am wondering if Facebook will lose its soul and lots of followers by commercializing each and every part of the social network.  Will users start migrating to other networks that offer less advertising intrusion?

As a marketer, we are always looking for ways to repurpose messaging and Facebook video might provide a strategic medium for some advertisers. Facebook’s ability to target gives it an edge over other forms of broadcast.

Marketing to Women: Instagram or Instagrim? New Policies Announced

December 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Instagram PoliciesI really love Instagram.  Apparently, others do as well.  There have been 5 billion photos shared through the network.  But there are new Instagram policies brewing giving marketers and personal users some things to think about.

The free photo-sharing social media program released an updated version of its privacy policy and terms of service today (December 17) and they include lots of long stipulations on how photographs uploaded by users may be used by Instagram and its parent company, Facebook.  Alert!  Alert!

Remember that Facebook bought Instagram for a measly $1 BILLION recently and then we all started having problems with our Instagram photos on Twitter because Instagram had disabled Twitter integration. These new policies seem to hint at adding advertising to Instagram.  

So now, what’s up with the policies that go in place on January 16, 2013?  Apparently they will not apply to photos shared before this date.  Instagram says that the new policies would primarily help the company combat spam, which has grown along with the popularity of Instagram.  The new policies will not alter how it handles photo ownership or who is able to see the pictures.

Here’s five important considerations that the New York Times reported today:

1. Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook, its parent company, as well as outside affiliates and advertisers.  They say it’s to make functionality and sharing easier between the two groups.    But certainly this information will inform targeted advertising for Instagram when and if that happens.  And allow Facebook advertisers access to Instagram information.  So, this is probably good for marketers.

2.  You could be featured in advertising without your knowledge, just like Facebook does now.  Instagram will also be able to use your photographs and identity in ads.  The “Rights” say “You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”  So let’s say you upload a picture to Instagram of yourself and others who are not users of Instagram or Facebook.  Bam!  They may be in an ad along with you.  Maybe not so good for users or marketers if the images are not appropriate.

3.  The unsolicited use of photos applies to underage children as well.  Instagram requires that users must be at least 13 years of age, but the new policy states that they are agreeing that a parent or guardian is aware that their image, username and photos can also be used in ads.  This use of underage children is troubling.  Not so good for marketers.

4.  Ads may not be labeled as ads.  There may be no disclaimer that says you are viewing an ad.  “You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such,” says the new Instagram policy.  Maybe okay, but does not smack of transparency.

5.  Are you in – or are you out?  Deleting your account is the only way to opt out.   If you log into Instagram  through the Web site, mobile applications or any other services offered by Instagram, you  are agreeing to have your content used in ads. Instagram’s new terms of service say that “by accessing or using the Instagram website, the Instagram service, or any applications (including mobile applications) made available by Instagram (together, the “Service”), however accessed, you agree to be bound by these terms of use.”  Guess that’s what happens when your service is free.

Marketing to Women: Emotional Connection Important for Healthcare

November 14, 2012 § 5 Comments

For many business people, it is about facts and ROI.  We live in a rational world, but consumers make decisions based, in part, on emotional connection.

A new study shows that 85% of consumers say it is important or very important to them to do business with a company for which they have strong emotions, per survey results released in November 2012 by rbb Public Relations.  And the industry for which it is most important is healthcare.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of those responding feel that an emotional connection is very important with healthcare providers, more important than other industries.

Value is connected to that emotion – of the 2,000 adults surveyed, 83 percent are willing to spend more on a product or service if they feel a personal connection to the company. One fifth of respondents said they would pay 50 percent or more if they felt the company put the customer first.

Some of the brands that provide that “love” that consumers are looking for are – Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Southwest Airlines, Chick-fil-A, Toyota, Nordstrom, Starbucks and Ford.  Each one of these brands has a very well-crafted brand strategy that identifies with their consumers wants and needs.  That relationship keeps us coming back for the newest iPhone, free shipping, low prices, Rapid Rewards and the skinny Peppermint Mocha Latte.  Missing from the top achievers are healthcare companies.

Marketing to Women: Daily Deals Losing Their Allure

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

It looks like daily deals are being dealt a double blow – their business model is flawed and consumers are losing interest at the same time.  The average revenue per customer at Groupon  fell to $63.96 in the 12 months ending September 30 from $76.49 a year earlier. Merchants are finding out that their effectiveness is waning. A  recent Raymond James survey of some 115 merchants that used daily deals services during this found that 39 percent of merchants said they were not likely to run another Groupon promotion over the next couple of years.

Reasons cited by businesses not choosing to run deals again were:

1.  high commission rate

2.  low rate of repeat customers gained through offering a promotion

3.  losing money on the promotion

4.  daily deals seen as less effective than other forms of advertising

As retailers cool on daily deals and are turning to other methods of marketing to women, companies like Groupon and Living Social are trying to reinvent themselves  through ventures such as Groupon Goods and LivingSocial’s Shop that offer more traditional offers.  Currently Groupon holds about 50% of the daily deals market.

Marketing to Women: Just in Time Emails

October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Holiday marketing has begun. Does it matter when your email arrives in your target’s email box?  Well,  a new survey sheds light on how timing of an email reaching a recipient’s inbox affects engagement and purchase behavior.  Conducted in September 2012, the StrongMail Email Delivery Performance Survey 2012 included more than 700 business leaders participating in the global survey.  Some of the survey highlights include:

– 80% have seen performance increased for emails delivered during a particular time of day

– 61% cite a decrease in performance when emails don’t arrive at scheduled time

– 74% would like more control over the arrival of their campaigns

– 53% are not currently testing for an optimal delivery window for their email campaigns

– 61% are not currently doing any segmentation of email campaigns by time of day

When Consumers Prefer To Get Emails

Most consumers have a preferred time of day to shop online, but  research shows retailers are not aligning their email campaigns with those preferences, according to an October 2012 report from Yesmail. Here’s the kicker.  This report shows consumers (39%) preferring evenings between 6PM and 10PM as their preferred online shopping time, while just 5% of the email campaigns by top brands tracked over a 3-month period were delivered during that time window. The research suggests that the night time preference might be attributed to commuters shopping on mobile devices. Every target audience and geography has a preference of is own that should be determined by the marketer.   The majority (41%) of retail email campaigns are sent between 2AM-6AM, with another 31% from 6AM-10AM. These two time periods were preferred by just 5% of the consumers surveyed.

Marketers should consider timing their email campaigns based on subscribers’ channel preferences, as consumers who shop in-store indicate very different patterns than online shoppers. For example, 79% of in-store shoppers prefer to shop over the weekend, versus 31% of online shoppers. Among those online shoppers, 47% who identified a day-of-week preference selected a day between Monday and Wednesday.

What Consumers Want in Promotional Offers

What type of promotions get our consumers’ attention?  Consumers say the promotions that most influence them are percent discount, free shipping, money off, buy-one-get-one-free, gift with purchase and rewards points. When actual email promotions were tracked for a 3-month period, they measured up to consumer desires.  Discounts were the majority share (54%) of email promotions, followed by free shipping (30%), money off (13%), rewards points (2%), and a gift with purchase (1%).

For those of you who have not sent your first holiday season email, here’s some news that might give you pause.  Fifteen percent of top online retailers sent their first holiday email campaign in September this year.  That 15% is up from 11% only two years ago.  Everyone is vying for holiday dollars this year.

 Shopping Begins in October.  

Most consumers (51 percent) start their holiday shopping in October or November.  Twenty percent start their shopping before October, though 24 percent wait until December.

Marketing to Women: Building Better Facebook Ads

June 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Facebook has been under scrutiny recently for advertising performance and stalling growth.  But what if some of the fault is with advertisers and their ads.  Some examples of strong and weak Facebook ads have been reposted here from The Advertising Research Foundation.

Strong Facebook Ad

What makes a better Facebook ad?  Well, some of the tried and true methods will make your Facebook ads stronger. A new study has found that some of the old tenets of advertising are still true for Facebook today.

The  Facebook study had professional marketers evaluate 400 Facebook ads against six traditional criteria for advertising creative.  Those criteria will ring true with those of us who grew up in advertising:

Does the ad have a focal point?

• How strong is its brand link (ie: how easy it was to identify who the advertiser was)?

• How well does the tone of the ad fit the brand’s personality?

• How noticeable is the ad?

• How effective is it at getting its point across?

• Is there a “reward” for reading it (ie: Did it make you feel good? Did you learn something? Is there a specific offer?)?

Weak Facebook Ad

The study looked at how well the ads performed, using two traditional advertising measures: ad recall and purchase intent.  The ads that performed best were the ones that had a focal point, brand link, and appropriate tone. And the most important criteria was that the ad needed to have some kind of reward.

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