January 4, 2016 § Leave a comment
So, the Force has awakened! No, not Star Wars; it’s social media advertising. While we were posting our holiday pictures, social media has moved from a “free” social platform for conversation and awareness to a bona fide advertising medium.
Social media is now a performance-driven marketing channel that delivers highly targeted audiences, new ad formats and a wide variety of measurement tools. On Facebook, desktop ads have 8.1X higher click-through rates and mobile ads have 9.1x higher click-through rates than normal web ads. And Promoted Tweets have shown average engagement rates of 1-3%, much higher than traditional banner ads.
Here’re the facts:
- According to Pew Research, 65% of all adults use social media.
- Women still lead men in the use of social media but barely. Since 2014, the differences in usage by gender have been modest. Today, 68% of all women use social media, compared with 62% of all men.
- Marketing will spend 13.2% of their budgets on social media this year. And of the $137.53 billion global digital ad expenditures in 2014, $16.1 billion was spent on social media, a 45% increase over 2013.
Targeting is key and social media has acknowledged their fierce advantage in geography, specific target audiences and engagement.
Facebook and Instagram are serious contenders for video advertising. Since the two share the same advertising platform, it’s important to look at them together. Oh, and Facebook has been tweaking its news feed algorithm in the past year, favoring videos users are more likely to watch. Facebook reports users view about four billion videos on the social network each day.
Twitter is also making changes that will bode well for advertisers. Twitter is the second-most popular social media platform among marketers with 77% of B2C and 83% of B2B marketers using the network. The new news for Twitter is their testing of displaying tweets based on curation rather than chronological order. Curation could help brand engagement. Twitter is also looking for the video audience and is providing new ad options.
Pinterest added buyable pins last year but is still struggling to make pins into sales conversions. Pinterest seems to be more aspirational than real like Instagram.
So what to do in 2016?
Here are some tips. Make sure you are spending a portion of your advertising dollars in social, testing the effectiveness for your business and honing your messages to your target audiences.
- Know your campaign objectives. Are you wanting to increase conversions on your website, promote your social media page or get your content seen by your target audience?
- Have relevant content. Use your free social media to beta test relevant social ads. Figure out what is resonating the most with your customers and build social ads around these topics.
- Know your customers so you can use the amazing targeting features of social media.
- Rotate messaging to mitigate ad fatigue and test content.
- Design content for the social media you are using and the engagement you desire. Create a video strategy.
- Think mobile. Most social media is consumed on our smartphones so make sure you social media ads are optimized for mobile.
October 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
The space between television and online videos is narrowing. Facebook confirmed last week it is launching a new product to let advertisers buy Facebook ads based on Target Rating Points in hopes of getting a larger share of media dollars currently spent on TV.
The product named TRP buying is a nod to the time honored way of purchasing media, with target rating points in mind. Facebook has a partnership with Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings division to verify video ad performance in conjunction with TV spots.
The idea is that media planners can build a campaign across TV and Facebook with a TRP target in mind, based on Nielsen verification. The tool will allow TV campaigns to be extended and augmented through Facebook video ads.
And the results should be interesting. The Facebook blog post says that Facebook and Nielsen studied 42 U.S. campaigns and found a 19% increase in targeted reach when Facebook and TV ads were combined versus television along. When they looked just at Millennial consumers, the reach was 37% better.
Facebook also says that Facebook video impressions were two times more likely to hit their target audience than TV impressions. Of course, most of us know that Facebook has quickly become pay-to-play. Not surprisingly, since February, Facebook has seen a 25% growth in ad buyers.
Of course, the majority of consumers being targeted in Facebook are women. This year’s Pew study found online women are more likely than online men to use Facebook and Instagram. Some 77% of online women are Facebook users, compared with two-thirds of online men.
July 1, 2015 § 2 Comments
Today you start seeing buyable Pins on Pinterest. According to their blog, when you spot a Pin with a blue price that means you can buy it. Pinterest is rolling it out to U.S. Pinners on iPhone and iPad, so make sure you have the latest app version.
Buyable pins are simply the way you buy your favorite products on Pinterest. The pins will be viewable in your Home feed, boards you visit and in search results. After putting in credit card information, users will get what they purchase delivered to them once they click the buy button.
What makes this so great is that Pinterest users generally have a strong purchase intent. They are in a planning mode and that might make them closer to a purchase consideration. They are searching for ideas for a new nursery, a wardrobe or their next party. So rather than going to a specific merchant, you are going to a bazaar of ideas that leads to a purchase.
Retailers will be in charge of applying the buy buttons so it may take a while for Buyable Pins to be prolific on the site. Two-thirds of content on Pinterest is pinned by businesses. Pinterest says within a few weeks there will be 30 million Buyable Pins all over Pinterest, from name brands like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.
Retailers don’t pay for the pins, and Pinterest won’t be currently taking a percentage of purchases. Advertisers will pay to promote the pins as native ads however. Pinterest did their homework and found users wanted buy buttons. Almost 90% of pinners have made a purchase because of Pinterest, according to a recent study by market research firm Millward Brown found. With 70 million monthly active users, these Buyable Pins could make Pinterest a major e-commerce player.
Buyable Pins will not be available for Android users or desktop users for a while, but it’s coming.
October 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
There is so much talk about the close relationship between television and your second screen but new reports show that the relationship may not always be as close as we think. We need to understand our target audience and what they are doing on that second screen.
We might think the top shows have the most Twitter traffic but that’s not always the case, it depends on the audience. While CBS had five of the top ten broadcast shows for the 2013-2014 season, they don’t have the most Twitter active crowd. You see, CBS has an older audience among networks, with a median viewer age of 58. And it follows, older adults use Twitter less. Pew Research says 9% of Americans 50-64 and 5% of those 65 and older used Twitter in 2013, compared to 31% of those 18-29 and 19% of those 30-49.
Who did have the highest Twitter traffic? Blockbuster events that cross many age groups like the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Oscars score high on Twitter usage. The Super Bowl had 1.8 billion tweets and Ellen DeGeneres selfie-stunt was shared some 1.1 million times and even knocked Twitter offline for a few minutes. “Breaking Bad” had the highest traffic for a single airing of a show and of course, it was the finale. And that amazing Bryan Cranston had 6 million followers. Other popular Twitter shows include “Walking Dead”, “Pretty Little Liars”, “The Bachelor”, “Game of Thrones”, “Teen Wolf”, “American Horror Story”, “Scandal” and “Dancing with the Stars”. These shows have a younger audience and some of them use Twitter in an interesting way. Variety reports “The Voice” set a record for most tweets during their May 13 telecast. Some 1.92 million posted #VoiceSave to rescue their favorite contestant. Nielsen research shows the volume of tweets can relate to statistically significant increases in live ratings in some 39% of the episodes tested.
Twitter has their own study that says 48% of Twitter users said that after seeing a brand’s on-air ad they were more likely to remember seeing a tweet from that brand.
Television and the Second Screen
The most common use of digital is while we are watching TV, but it doesn’t always mean our activity is directly related to the show or ad we happen to have onscreen. According to 2014 Millard Brown study, some 78% of US internet users accessed second screens during shows, compared with 71% who did so during ads. And it seems that most of our second screen viewing happens during the show, not during previews, credits or commercials.
What are we doing online while watching TV? We are reading our email, checking into social media, texting, calling someone, searching online and shopping. Only some 4-7% of viewers are actually looking at the product being advertised. So, it seems that a large percentage of our second screen time is not triggered by the program or advertising calls to action. When we plan synergistic activities, we should understand our demographic and their online habits to know how best to interact with them.
May 26, 2014 § 1 Comment
The Gray Lady has problems – more than just the firing of Jill Abramson or lack of reporting on Jill Abramson’s demise. It seems the Times is behind the times in all things digital. On May 15, Buzz Feed leaked the 96-page New York Times Innovation Report that candidly describes the digital struggles and weaknesses of the legendary print icon. The report focuses on digital providers like Vox, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and BuzzFeed. The report describes the institutional inertia that is keeping many businesses from embracing the new face of marketing. And in some terrible irony of ironies, it was that upstart BuzzFeed that leaked the story.
Key learnings for all marketers today.
1. Beware of Disrupters. The news biz is changing like all business today. Once small outsiders like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post are now garnering more traffic than the Times. Sound familiar? Like Amazon, AirBnB, Uber and other disrupters? The report gives some of the hallmarks of disruptive innovators – introduced by an outsider, less expensive than existing products, targeting new or underserved markets, initially inferior to existing products and advanced by an enabling technology. Sound familiar in your business category? Your competition may not be who it was yesterday. Today the New York Times is facing disparate competition such as LinkedIn’s Pulse Publishing platform, Flipboard’s visual presentation of news, Vox as a collector of live blogging in passionate verticals, or Yahoo News that has hired Katie Couric and repurposes the best of news.
2. Stories Find Readers Today. The Times identified a trend showing that users are moving away from browsing and actually expect the news to come to them through social media, mobile notifications, aggregators and more.
Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of The Guardian’s website says, “The realization that you have to go find your audience — they’re not going to just come and read it — has been transformative.”
Death of the Home Page. Only a third of readers visit the home page of The New York Times. And those who do visit are spending less time on it. Page views and minutes spent per reader dropped by double-digit percentages in the year 2013. Where do people see your content? We cannot expect our website to be the first view of information.
News from Social Media. Less than 10% of the New York Times traffic comes from social media compared to Buzzfeed who gets 60% of their traffic from social media. In fact, I read the story about the New York Times report on LinkedIn and Mashable first.
Marketers cannot expect just one media to work for them. It takes multiple ways to get your important news out. Social media, email marketing, guest posts, podcasts, interviews, speaking engagements, search marketing and even advertising, if well timed and placed.
3. Content Packaging is as Important as the Story. Journalists have thought that the story is the thing. Build it and they will come. But today, a journalist must craft the right story for the audience, understanding the reader relevance. I was stunned by a story from Forbes writer Kashmir Hill who took an anecdote buried in a 5,000 word article in the times and repackaged it as “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did.” Her Forbes article has been viewed 2,455,821 times, and was the chief traffic driver for the Times story. Crafting the right point of view takes a real understanding of your target audience. And then, you have to position your story appropriately, with engaging content.
4. Timing is Everything. The Times is publishing their best content on a schedule meant for print. They publish the majority of their content in the late evening, in order for it to make the morning paper, while the majority of their traffic is in the morning hours. The biggest stories are published on Sundays for the venerable Sunday Paper, even though Sunday is the slowest day for traffic online. A lesson to marketers here is are you publishing at times when you audience will see them? In today’s world, the news is a 24-hour operation and news consumers expect to have it on a 24-hour schedule.
5. Every Story Needs A Promotional Strategy. All content needs a promotion strategy. The publishing of the story is just the beginning. What is the social strategy? Is there a checklist for publishing that includes search headline, tags, images, pre-written Facebook and Twitter posts?
“Even ProPublica, that bastion of old-school journalism values, goes to extraordinary lengths to give stories a boost. An editor meets with search, social and public relations specialists to develop a promotion strategy for every story. And reporters must submit five tweets along with each story they file.”
How can you repurpose the content? The Times report tells, “On a whim, Andrew Phelps created a Flipboard magazine of our most important obits of the year and it became the best-read collection in the history of the platform.” The Gawker took a 161 year old story from The Times to help introduce “12 Years as a Slave”.
Consumers Expect Personalization. The Times is looking at new engines to foster personalization online. Increasingly, consumers are expecting to have options served up to them based on preferences. Can readers follow their favorite columnists?
Engagement is everyone’s job. A key learning is that you need to engage with your audience – respond to comments, answer emails and converse on social media. Equally important is looking at the list of influencers that can help spread your message and interact with them. Or events that help create community.
6. Silos are out, teams are in. Here is the telling statement: “Our Twitter account is run by the newsroom. Our Facebook account is run by the business side.” Departments need to break down walls and work together. The refiguring of team is important to create more harmonious efforts. The Times has recognized the power of collaboration focused on reader experience. What a wonderful concept!
The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. So, as The Times goes, it seems they are embarking upon an important journey.
May 13, 2014 § 1 Comment
I recently heard Bridget Brennan of The Female Factor speak at the M2W Conference about the immense impact of popularity on society today. It’s not the popularity that we dealt with in middle school or high school.
Today, it is the pressure to be interesting online. How interesting are your posts? How many people follow you? How many times have your posts been shared? We check our stats incessantly. Heck, some job interviewers even want to know your Klout score.
Why is Online Popularity Important?
Today some 98% of persons online in the US use social media, so does social media relate to social capital? Social capital has always been important. It is considered to be the sum of the networks, connections, influence and interactions people have with other individuals. There have always been different types of social capital based on your sphere of influence, your wealth, your status in aristocracy, your celebrity and your accomplishments.
In today’s world, online influence can be measured as those with the most Twitter followers – Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Barack Obama or top Facebook Pages for Shakira, Rihanna and Coke. Bloggers like The Pioneer Woman have created complete media platforms from their original blog, and LinkedIn has introduced us to the Influencers. Digital influence raters like Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred are investing millions of dollars to understand how our social media activity translates into influence.
It seems that you can increase your social capital online if you follow some important rules. If you use social media to communicate directly with other individuals—by posting valuable information, commenting on friends’ posts, regular posting, being helpful—it can increase your social capital. Personalized messages seem to have more value than “one-click communication”. Just reading and occasionally posting does not add to your popularity.
Brands are beginning to learn that scores do not matter as much as engagement and real relationships. Businesses need to develop meaningful social influence strategies and define their desired outcomes. Not all followers are created alike. Just like in high school, not all popular people were really fun to be around.
January 29, 2014 § 1 Comment
Working Moms may have had a “pink collar” image in former generations, but today’s working mom is quite a different person. They are more educated, more affluent and more wired than ever before. Working Moms represent 40% of moms.
Scarborough has surveyed this group and come up with some interesting statistics that marketers need to market to women, particularly working moms. Here are just a few to whet your appetite. For more, see the infographic below.
95% of working moms agree that spending time with their family is their top priority
27% of working moms are much more involved in their finances.
72% of their households contributed to a charity in the past 12 months.
Working moms are spending less for name brands. They use coupons and shop at Nordstrom Rack, Kohl’s Macy’s and TJ Maxx Home Goods.
Working moms shop online and own smartphones, laptops, iPads and more.
Working moms are 22% more likely to attend professional sporting events and 24% more likely to have watched ESPN in the past 7 days.