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Firefox 22 Will Block 3rd Party Cookies, Cookie Blocking Patch Live In Aurora Version

Firefox 22 Will Block 3rd Party Cookies, Cookie Blocking Patch Live In Aurora Version | |

If you are the least bit involved in the Online Advertising Industry, you’ve likely heard about the new version of Firefox (22) coming this summer that will block 3rd party default cookies. If you are not aware, let me give you a quick run-down:

  • Basically, Firefox 22 will block ad network cookies by default
  • Firefox will have an option that allows you to accept cookies from the sites you previously visited
  • Users of this build of Firefox must directly interact with a site or company for a cookie to be installed on their machine. The patch also provides an additional control setting under the “Privacy” tab in Firefox’s Preferences menu.

Now, at the first of the year when all of this was coming to light, it didn’t seem too much of a big deal because it usually takes Mozilla a long-time to get releases fully in use. Well, that is until this Tweet popped up the other day:

The company has just added the cookie-blocking patch to the “Aurora” version of the browser, according to Stanford grad student Jonathan Mayer, who developed the patch. After testing the feature in Aurora, Mozilla will migrate it to the Beta version, and then will release it in the next version of Firefox — currently slated for release this June.

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TV Viewers Aren't Thrilled with Second-Screen Synchronized Content, Study Finds

TV Viewers Aren't Thrilled with Second-Screen Synchronized Content, Study Finds | |

Call it app-athy: While many TV viewers sit on their couch with a mobile device in hand, most think second-screen content synchronized with a TV show is just… sort of OK.

According to a new survey, just 42% of people who use a smartphone or tablet to access related TV show content have tried synchronizing the second-screen experience with live TV. And only 13% of those said it makes their program viewing experience “much more enjoyable.” The majority (67%) said it made TV viewing just “somewhat” better — nice to have, but not a necessity.

The research, released Thursday at the 2014 International CES, was jointly commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Assn. and National Assn. of Television Program Executives (NATPE).

The study’s sponsors looked at the silver lining — concluding that industry players have untapped potential. More than half of those who access synchronous second-screen content do so during commercials, according to the survey, which the groups said highlights an opportunity to provide synchronized content during ad breaks. The use of mobile devices among TV viewers is prevalent: More than 75 percent of TV viewers usesmartphones or tablets while watching television, according to an Ericsson study released in November 2013.

The CEA/NATPE second-screen study shows that there are “opportunities for consumer technology device manufacturers to market connected devices and potentially collaborate with content producers to enhance and improve the second-screen experience,” according to CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro.

The report recommended that second-screen content be better targeted to specific demos — like millennial viewers or parents — and that it should be device-agnostic. ”We know TV viewers are beginning to use the second screen because it has the potential to extend enjoyment of the viewing experience,” NATPE chief Rod Perth said in a statement. “We believe this research study will illuminate new entertainment possibilities for consumers as well as content creators.”

The online survey of 2,531 U.S. consumers (13 and older) was conducted by E-Poll Market Research between Oct. 18 and 28, 2013. The respondents all reported accessing some kind of second-screen content, whether that was synchronous with live TV or not.

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Report: Online wide open for CPG brands - Research

Report: Online wide open for CPG brands - Research | |
While retailers, auto manufacturers and even pharma brands have hit the ecommerce space hard, new data out from Deloitte shows that CPG brands have a way to go when it comes to digital shopping. Researchers found that while CPG execs expect strong growth over the next three years, consumers say they'll be digitally buying CPG goods at an even higher rate.

The Deloitte research shows:

• CPG execs believe digital growth will range between 35% and 76% over the next 3 years
• Consumers say their online CPG buys will increase between 67% and 158%
• 92% of execs say ecommerce strategy is important
• 43% believe their brand has a clear, executable digital strategy

"Increasingly, consumers desire the convenience of the online channel to purchase their groceries," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and consumer products sector leader. "Although consumers are changing their behavior, CPG companies are not as prepared as the data suggests they should be to take full advantage of this growing opportunity. The importance of e-commerce to CPG companies has not, in most cases, translated into a fully-developed strategy for capitalizing on this channel."

Researchers found that more than 40% of consumers are indifferent about shopping at grocery stores; those shoppers along with those who actively dislike grocery store shopping will lead the digital charge for CPG brands.

"To successfully capitalize on the e-commerce channel, there are a number of critical steps CPG companies can take," continued Conroy. "Executives first need to establish a clear and well-understood digital commerce strategy. They should collaborate with retailers and social media platforms, and build a single view of the consumer. In tandem with that approach, they need to foster and build a talent base within their organization that includes digital commerce skillsets."

Those who don't like grocery shopping note inconvenience and crowds as the leading reasons they dislike the activity.

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Standing out with Cross Media Marketing

Standing out with Cross Media Marketing | |

In a world inundated with marketing messages and ways to receive them, it is hard to stand out in the marketing mix. Cross media campaigns are essential strategies for reaching your market, allowing you to interact on multiple channels, providing various opportunities to reach every recipient. Single channel marketing, will result in being lost, and causing lower response rates and falling short of campaign goals. You have an important message- make sure it is heard!

Cross media campaigns can combine web, cross-substrate print, mobile, email, social platforms and targeted landing pages to create more opportunities to communicate with audiences. A successful cross media campaign delivers content and a call to action throughout multiple channels simultaneously as an integrated campaign.

“Brand awareness is fueled 44% by print & 37% by online media. Incorporate both for even better results.” - Measuring the Effectiveness of Cross Marketing Campaigns

Successful cross media campaigns begin in the planning stages: Develop a well coordinated message, a strong database, a way to strategize and streamline content and actions and develop artwork that will work across channels.

Once you know your audience, identify which platforms they engage with and deploy your message on those platforms. Start with a 2-channel campaign, test the waters then add a 3rd channel once you have developed your best practices.

Because each form of media has a different ability and benefit, identifying the audience is the first step. For example, reaching out to an older audience using SMS or Social Media, might not be as effective as reaching out to a younger audience using these forms of media. Print media provides a physical piece of advertising that buyers can hold in their hands; when an email campaign is supported with a print piece, it creates a better rate of response than when using email alone. Combine web with print for greater impact, and response rates.

Marketers report an average improvement of 35% for multichannel campaigns over single channel campaigns – Print in the Mix

Once you know your audience and which media to use, determine the message you want to deliver and what the call to action will be. Be consistent with your messaging, using the same images, color schemes, and other elements across all platforms to amplify and reinforce your marketing message.

What makes Cross Media campaigns effective for marketing is the ability to collect response data, and apply that data to generate interaction with leads and customers. Ideally, a campaign will drive the target audience to one action (visit a landing page, register for an event, follow on a social media channel..) where activity can be measured and interactions understood.

In the end, a successful cross media campaign should help promote brand recognition, develop customer relationships and engage customers with an interactive marketing experience to reach the campaign’s goal. Remember, the more forms of media, the more interaction and engagement from your clients.

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How effective is the online video ad?

How effective is the online video ad? | |

Last month, direct-to-home (DTH) player Tata Sky made the television set mobile, quite literally, with the launch of Everywhere TV. Subscribers can, at a monthly fee, now access 50 television channels via an application, downloadable on the mobile handset. This launch, combined with other similar 'mobile tv' applications available today, is indicative of a definite shift in video content consumption pattern. An increasing number of consumers are looking at their second screens - mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops - for video consumption.

Take a look at the numbers: according to ComScore's video metrix report, released in May this year, online video consumption has doubled in India over the past two years. The number of videos viewed per month has gone from 1.8 billion in March 2011 to 3.7 billion in March this year. The total online video audience in India has grown 74 per cent to 54 million viewers over the period, with the average viewer watching 18 per cent more videos and spending 28 per cent more time viewing.

Quite naturally then, advertisers have taken note of this shift in the consumption landscape and followed the viewer into this new device. The only problem: while traditional television offered a way to gauge reach and popularity - through the much disputed rating point system - there is no such yardstick available in the online video world. Sure, you can see the number of views a video has attracted. But what's the assurance that the video with a million hits will generate a million - or less - customers? In the amorphous world of the internet, there is a huge bank of content to choose from, which also makes the job of identifying the right content much more difficult.

Let us assume though, that by some stroke of luck, you have managed to identify the video guaranteed to attract eyeballs for a long time. You need to now identify the best way possible to place your advertisement within the content where it drives your objective, be it to up the brand awareness or brand loyalty or create engagement. A recent study by Akamai Technologies, a US-based internet content delivery network, titled 'Understanding the Effectiveness of Video Ads: A Measurement Study', aims to address such questions about the most accurate, definitive way of measuring the online advertisements' impact.

The first question is that of placement. What 'spot' should you pick? The 'spots' in question for online videos are categorised as pre-roll (before the video begins), mid-roll (in-between the video) and post-roll (after the video is done). The study's finding that mid-roll spots work the best, enjoying the highest completion rate of 97 per cent, is not very surprising. This explains why mid-roll advertisements rarely come with the skip-ad option. Pre-roll follows in second place, scoring over post-roll with a completion rate of 74 per cent as compared to latter's 45 per cent. There is really very little incentive for the viewer to watch the advertisement completely post completion of the video, after all.

Apart from the placement, the advertisement's duration and the time of the day when it is being viewed also influence the completion rates. A longer duration commercial (like 30 seconds to a minute long) would mean definite abandonment. Similarly, if the video is being viewed in the evening or on a holiday, the viewer is presumably in a relaxed frame of mind, clocking a spike in completion rates.

Many of these insights are culled out through the tonnes of data generated by the viewer's online behaviour. Some of it is intuitive, possibly the researchers' personal experiences as viewers acting as the guiding lights. However, even if you choose to rely on the numbers, the question persists: does a high completion rate automatically translate into the brand's objectives being met, considering the ease with which viewers can switch windows and simply wait out the advertisement's runtime?

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Digital and radio will amplify your campaign six times over

Digital and radio will amplify your campaign six times over | |

A wealth of research confirms that digital and radio work well together. One survey by Commercial Radio Australia and TNS found that people who hear a radio ad with a digital call to action are six times more likely to visit a brand's website than those that don't. Seventy-eight percent of those who heard the ads took some form of digital activity within 24 hours.

That's according to Julio Rodrigues, convergence manager at Mediamark. He says that the implication for advertisers is that the two channels are a perfect pairing for a wide range of campaigns and brands.

"Listeners are becoming an even more integral part of radio station programming, thanks to digital technology. They vote in polls, share opinions and news tips with presenters via email and social media, visit radio station websites, and more. Listeners are able to vote, tweet, like and comment on topics instantaneously," he adds.

"This is a friendly relationship of dialogue. As a trusted companion, radio can give an emotional texture to a digital message. It's worth remembering that radio reaches people in the workplace as they have their web browsers open. Radio and the Internet are often consumed simultaneously. They have converged in users' lives."

Rodrigues says that radio has always had an interactive element, thanks to call-in competitions, talk shows, song requests, and so on, all of which have enabled listeners to build relationships with radio personalities and stations. Now, digital technology is taking the interactivity of radio to the next level by making it even easier for DJs, presenters and stations to interact with their listeners.

"Radio, especially regional radio, is as much a part of everyday life as it ever was. In their cars and at the workplace, it is a constant companion for millions of South Africans," says Rodrigues. "Interactive, live, local, human and omnipresent, radio is still one of the most personal media types available to advertisers. The rise of digital media is, if anything, amplifying radio's characteristics. The immediacy of digital makes it an exciting tool for radio stations."

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Programmatic Coming To A Living Room Near You

Programmatic Coming To A Living Room Near You | |

Extending the programmatic ad platform from online display to create addressable TV ads has been one of the industry’s pet fantasies since I started covering it back in 2001. It always segued into that other longstanding living room dream: interactive TV. 

Well the hardware is pretty much here. The new generation of set-top and cable boxes are full-blown, connected computers sitting beneath the TV screen. Big data mashers are coming online that no doubt could render all of those remote control clicks into fascinating new affinity maps of people’s tastes, proclivities and clicker habits. Some, like the newest gaming consoles, even have motion detection on board that can recognize specific faces present in the room. Talk about a people meter.

And of course we already have the programmatic trading and targeting of digital video advertising well along from the Web world. The pieces are waiting to be put together.

Comcast apparently will be taking a big leap in this direction with its first attempt to target ads to specific households within linear programming. Targeting of this sort has gone on for a while in the on-demand space, which of course has fewer insertion points and complexity to manage. But in this next stage, the Comcast advertiser will be able to target spots according to household demographics. Perhaps it isn’t the one-to-one addressable media some have promised all along, but it is a start.

Comcast VP Andrew Ward told FierceCable last week that a trial will start this quarter so that the platform will be in place next year. The company plans to use ad tech from Invidi for the program. In addition to targeting ads to households, the platform will let Comcast use some of the locally available TV inventory to sell additional Comcast services to its own customers. So, for instance, Comcast could use the system to target ads for specific services like home security to customers who have not yet ordered that service.

One of the more interesting tidbits in Ward’s interview involved multiple screens. The master plan is to have Comcast send ads not only to linear TV programming but also to tablets and other devices using IP within the home. Clearly Comcast is aiming to get a piece of the emerging second-screen experiences.

But it will be interesting to see how the company tries to insinuate itself into the other IP nooks and crannies that come from an explosion of connected devices and hardware. MSOs struggled for years to avoid becoming the big fat broadband pipes they eventually became. One wonders if the emergence of the all-powerful and important home WiFi network is another way MSOs hope to get back into the digital ad and e-commerce ecosystem. The company is already targeting ads to the tablet apps its customers use to control the newest digital cable boxes.

Behind all this is data, both homegrown and third party. Ward says the company is building a database that cross-references the names and addresses of the Comcast households against third-party credit data, as well as public census data on likely attributes.

by Steve Smith

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Marketers Struggling To Integrate Media Channels

Marketers Struggling To Integrate Media Channels | |

Integrating media seems too complicated, internal marketing teams are not set up to support multiple channels, and data is not centralized. These are some of the perceived challenges to an integrated digital marketing strategy, according to marketers that participated in a recent survey. About 24% do not have an attribution strategy in place, nor do they measure how one online media influences another, according to an IgnitionOne study.

The ability to accurately measure the impact of marketing activity and how one channel affects another continues to become more difficult during the past year, but brands have not come any closer to perfecting the process. In fact, 49% still have separate channel owners, although the latest Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) study suggests that more brands have combined duties for SEM with social campaigns.

While many marketing teams share goals, 24% say their companies are not set up to support an integrated digital marketing strategy, according to IgnitionOne's study, "The 2013 Integrated Marketing Survey."

A majority of those surveyed are looking to increase their digital advertising budgets within the next 12 months, and 22% want to increase their company's budget by 20% or more. The biggest growth areas are mobile display and mobile search, followed by social ads.

Some 46% of marketers plan to increase budget allocation between 11% and 20% to digital advertising in the next 12 months, and 36% predict their organization will increase investment in mobile search in the next 12 months. More than 70% of marketers plan to invest in mobile advertising in the next 12 months.

Findings from the survey also explore integrated digital marketing strategies that aim to answer how much progress has been made toward fully integrating digital marketing. It also analyzes the challenges holding back marketing organizations, how marketers leverage cross-channel attribution, where they plan to invest budgets, and how marketing and IT teams are working together.

Despite its widely recognized inefficiencies, the last-click attribution remains popular. Some 58% still use the last-click model, 18% of organizations use a sophisticated cross-channel attribution model, and 24% don't track how one form of paid media affects another. About 38% say the technology to build an integrated digital marketing strategy is too complicated, and 96% are working closer with IT to achieve marketing goals.

Marketers have begun to understand the importance of cross-channel attribution, but there is still work to do. The biggest issue, says IgnitionOne, is the lack of urgency. We are there.

by Laurie Sullivan, Yesterday, 6:28 PM

Media Post Publications

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Study Reveals How Online Video Is Being Used by Marketers

Study Reveals How Online Video Is Being Used by Marketers | |
Video isn't niche for marketers, anymore. Nearly all the respondents of a national survey said they included online video in their toolsets.

Online video is obviously an important new tool for marketers, but how is it actually being used? A 2013 survey by the Web Video Marketing Council offers several pieces of evidence. This third annual survey questioned 600 marketers in the second and third quarters of this year.

First off, the survey found that nearly all marketers used video in their online marketing efforts. While only 81 percent said they used video in 2012, that number rose to 93 percent in 2013. In case anyone was wondering, online video is now completely mainstream for marketers.

Marketers are also overwhelmingly happy with their online video results. The survey found that 82 percent said online video had a positive impact on their businesses. No wonder, then, that more money will be going to online video marketing: Online video marketing budgets will increase for 71 percent of the respondents. In fact, only 1 percent said their online video marketing budgets would decrease.

If online video is having such a positive impact on marketing efforts, why aren’t marketers doing more of it? According to the survey, there are four key reasons: the cost of producing video (37 percent), the difficulty in producing premium quality video (27 percent), the challenge in integrating video into current marketing programs (22 percent), and the availability of video assets (14 percent).

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The $20 Ad Campaign: Alternatives to Google AdWords

The $20 Ad Campaign: Alternatives to Google AdWords | |

Upstart ad companies such as Outbrain and Virurl employ new publishing tools and social media to offer small businesses effective, inexpensive online promotional campaigns.

Gerald Gorman, who runs online businesses such as, pays Google(GOOG) $100,000 a month to place ads near search results and on Google’s partner sites. While the ads have proved effective at attracting customers, their increasing price tag has led Gorman to look around for alternatives.

In the past, Gorman would have been out of luck. That’s because, despite the Internet’s rapid growth, most small and midsize businesses had few viable online ad options beyond Google or Bing (MSFT). This is changing, however, as upstart ad companies tap into new publishing tools and social media to offer effective online campaigns for as low as $20 a pop.

In Gorman’s case, he laid down $1,000 on two such companies, Outbrain andVirurl, and was delighted with the results. While he pays as much as $10 for a customer to click on one of his Google ads, he found he paid 8¢ and 5¢ at the other sites and also earned surges in traffic.

This may sound too good to be true. But for the growing number of businessespriced out of Google Adwords, it could be the real deal.

Instead of buying a search keyword, as they do with Google Adwords, advertisers such as can pay Outbrain and Virurl to act as distributors for their messages. They supply the message in the form of a link to a piece of content—a picture, a story, or a video. Outbrain and Virurl then spray the link across the Web via third-party publishers and on social-media sites such as Tumblr and Twitter.

Compared with Google Adwords, the upstart services are remarkable for their simplicity: Outbrain and Virurl provide a website for the advertiser to upload a content link and to set a budget and duration for the ad campaign. While Outbrain has traditionally worked with publishers to augment and monetize their traffic, it recently added an advertising tool called Amplify for small and medium-size businesses.

The advertiser can use a credit card to get the campaign up and running almost immediately, compared with the five days Gorman says it takes Google to approve content (the delay is important for brands that want to jump on time-sensitive adopportunities such as Big Bird). As for the money, the advertiser’s allocated budget is depleted every time someone clicks on the link; some of the money goes to the publisher that hosts the ad and the rest goes to the distributors—in Gorman’s case, to Outbrain or Virurl. The distributors also share real-time analytics that let the advertiser monitor the campaign.

To be clear, the two would-be Adwords competitors have different business models. Outbrain is bigger and works primarily with major publishers, including premium ones such as CNN and Time (TWX), to augment traffic or to find spots for ad-driven content. Virurl, on the other hand, is aimed at getting ad content to go viral on social networks, such as Twitter, where “influencers” retweet the links and are paid for clicks.

But from a small business perspective, the underlying strategy is the same: Find ad content that people want to see and pay to distribute it.

Gorman notes that the young ad companies’ geographic targeting isn’t as good as Google’s. (“You can target down to the lamp post with Google AdWords.”) He says, however, that they permit users to choose between U.S. and oversees viewers. He also says they have been forthcoming about fraudulent clicks and will refund money for suspicious traffic.

The advent of cheap, easily managed ad campaigns is good news for companies like There’s a catch, though: To sign up for these distribution networks, a company can’t just show up with 20 bucks. It also needs to have a piece of content people want to see.

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Branding Your Company in the Digital Age

Branding Your Company in the Digital Age | |

While some may think that branding—at least in the traditional sense—is not nearly as important as it once was, it’s still essential to the long term success of your company. But while some fundamentals remain the same, branding in the digital age has evolved considerably.

The fact is, the proliferation of the Internet, social media and mobile—and their vast impact of society and consumer behavior­—has changed things substantially for marketers. Successful branding is no longer simply creating a great logo (while still very important) and developing the most clever advertising campaign possible.

Successful branding involves a myriad of strategies, concepts and channels—a mixing of tried and true principles and an ever-evolving, agile adaptation to the digital age we live in.

What is a brand?

A brand is more than a name, a logo or a product, but rather an idea and a position that exists in the mind of your audience. It’s the gut reaction people have when they see or hear your company name—the collected sum of their thoughts, feelings and experiences with your company. And how they think and feel is a result of both the tangible and intangible attributes of your brand that they perceive through their interactions and experiences.

Jeff Bezos, founder of, really sums up the concept of a brand: “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” I really like the second half of his quote because it nails the fact that a reputation is really built on quality in the details. And building and maintaining a brand without a doubt is hard work, but those that do it well instantly stand out in our minds.

The goal of branding

Branding was originally a very simple and practical concept: distinguishing your cattle from the cattle at the ranch next door. But while the idea of simply distinguishing your company from the competition is still at the heart of branding, it’s a much more complex process. The process of branding is defining, conveying and maintaining your brand’s core value—figuring out who you are, what you stand for, conveying that to your audience and then maintaining it.

But the end goal of branding is getting past the tangible attributes of your company (the who, what, when, where and how) and tapping into the emotional triggers of your audience by conveying intangible attributes (the why factor) that are not easily imitated by the rest of the pack. Because intangible attributes are felt emotions. And everyday, regardless of the industry, both B2B and B2C, people make decisions based as much on their feelings as logic.

How branding has changed

Branding in the past was solely a one-way communication. It was all about telling people how they should think and feel about your brand through exposure—clever advertising and an abundance of frequency and reach. The idea was that if you shouted loud enough, often enough, and in as many places as possible, then people would start to believe what you were telling them. And today there’s now A LOT more ways to expose people to your brand. Traditional media still has a place, but now there’s websites, social media, mobile apps, blogs, video and countless other channels for exposure.

Branding has changed because consumers have changed

The digital age has fundamentally changed the way people shop, research and make purchasing decisions. 89% of purchasing decisions begin with a web search and B2C and B2B prospects alike are reading blogs, reviews, articles, websites, etc. Today’s prospects are smarter, savvier and less likely to believe you’re the best choice just because you say you are. And consumers are now in control and have become conditioned to ignore traditional, interruption-based marketing messages. As marketing authority Seth Godin first pointed out several years ago, brands now need permission to engage their audience.

Branding is no longer just about exposure

Branding is no longer simply about a prospect’s exposure to your company; it’s about their experiences and the various interactions they have with your brand. And there are a lot of interactions: seeing your logo, speaking to one of your employees, browsing your website, interacting with your Facebook page and visiting your store or office. All of these “touch points” need to be considered as part of the overall brand strategy.

Branding is now real-time

Perhaps the biggest change to branding is that it’s now real-time and consumers are as much a part of telling your brand story as you are. And due to the viral nature of the web and social media, a brand can be built up or torn down overnight. We can all think of examples of brands that have been impacted—some positively and some negatively—because of a viral video, a social media post or an online review.

How branding is done in the digital age

As mentioned before, branding in the digital age is a mix of tried and true principles from the past and new approaches that are necessary in today’s landscape. So here are some fundamentals for branding in the digital age:

Differentiate – You still have to stand out from your competition. People have to have a clear understanding of what makes your brand unique.

Be authentic – A brand can only reflect what really exists. So make sure your brand promise is something you can live up to.

Connect emotionally – As BMW has said, “We realized a long time ago that what you make people feel, is just as important as what you make.”

Be consistent – Consistency across every touch point and every communication is critical. People should get the same feeling whether they are in your store, browsing your website or on your Facebook page.

Understand your audience – Intimately knowing who you’re trying to reach, their wants, needs, interests, pain points, etc. and addressing those in your marketing is absolutely critical.

Personalize the experience – Marketing can no longer be to the masses. People want to feel that their interactions and experiences are personalized and directly relevant to them.

Pull them in – Branding is no longer a push strategy, it’s got to be a pull strategy. Consumers want you to add value not volume, so content marketing combined with an inbound marketing methodology is the way brand communication should be done today.

Listen and respond – Branding is also no longer a one-way communication, but now a two-way conversation. Listen to your audience, respond to their comments and incorporate their feedback.

Keep them coming back – We all know it’s much easier to sell to existing customers than gain a new one, so creating both a remarkable product or service and remarkable marketing will lead to passionate brand advocates that do the selling for you.

Every company needs a strong brand and branding is still a relevant process for a company to incorporate in every facet of their business. With so many channels, options and distractions for consumers today, brand building has to be done differently than it has been done in the past.

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Internet vs TV: is the Second Screen the New First Screen? - Business 2 Community

Internet vs TV: is the Second Screen the New First Screen? - Business 2 Community | |

Kids these days, they don’t remember floppy disks, and they’ve never seen a phone that wasn’t smart.

They’ve never used a hulking desktop computer. And pretty soon, they might not even recognize a TV.

An exaggeration, of course, but not far from the truth. The way we watch TV is changing. From online streaming to mobile devices, the Internet is gaining more and more ground in the television landscape.

Are people turning away from traditional TV in favor of computers, tablets and even phones? Has the Internet finally taken over TV? Let’s take a look.

Broadcast TV: the beginning of the end

According to a Nielsen survey, Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 – the target demographic for most major networks – are watching TV 45-60 minutes less per week than they did a year ago.

TV subscription growth has started to slow, too. Cable and satellite TV providers gained just 46,000 new customers from the more than 974,000 households created in 2012 and the number of households watching TV fell by 500,000.

People may be watching less traditional TV, but they’re watching more television content. They’re just doing it online.

Online streaming

As traditional TV viewership shrinks, numbers are on the rise for online TV streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Netflix has 29.8 million U.S. subscribers, and the service added 630,000 subscribers just between April and June of 2013. Hulu boasts 30 million unique monthly visitors, and made $690 million in 2012.

What’s the draw of these online streaming services? Cost and convenience.

Netflix, Hulu and other similar services cost under $10/month for virtually unlimited TV streaming. The selection of shows might be limited compared to broadcast TV, but the savings can’t be beat, especially in the face of cable and satellite subscriptions that can top $100/month.

And unlike broadcast TV, online streaming allows viewers to watch the shows they want, when they want.

Online subscribers don’t have to wait until the shows air. They can watch them anytime they want. And as more networks realize the value of streaming, more and more shows are available online.

Is the second screen the new first screen?

The ever-increasing prevalence of laptops, smartphones and tablets has given rise to a phenomenon called “second screening”: viewers using Internet-connected devices to access additional content while they watch TV, everything from information about a show to social networking sites.

But TV viewers aren’t just supplementing the traditional TV screen with the second screen. Many are replacing their TVs completely with mobile and Internet-connected devices.

Americans are on pace this year to spend more time on digital devices than they do watching TV.

That doesn’t mean they’re not watching TV. In fact, they’re spending a lot of that time on digital devices watching television content. According to a Motorola survey, 40% of viewers have watched TV on smartphones and tablets at home.

But the beauty of watching TV on the small screen is that you can take it with you wherever you go. Viewers who watch TV on mobile devices aren’t restricted to their living rooms.

They can tune in at the gym, on their lunch break, while they wait at the dentist and anywhere else.

Can TV keep up?

More and more people are turning to the Internet for their television content. But that doesn’t mean traditional TV has fallen off the map. Networks and providers are getting smart and following their subscribers to the Web.

Many major networks have deals that allow online streaming services access to shows after they air. And some even provide online streaming themselves.

Networks including Fox, ABC and NBC offer recent episodes of popular shows on their own websites.

The smartest networks are getting in on the mobile streaming game, too.

HBO allows its subscribers to access its shows on any device with the HBO GO® mobile app. And television providers are following suit. Verizon has begun to offer Flex View, a mobile streaming service, with its TV service.

So, has the Internet taken over TV?

Not yet. But TV networks and providers will have to keep up with online streaming and mobile devices to make sure they don’t fall behind.

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Big Banks Roll Out Social Media Command Centers

Big Banks Roll Out Social Media Command Centers | |
More banks are relocating their social media teams into snazzy high-tech, high-profile spaces, signaling the increasing strategic importance of social channels among the world’s largest financial institutions.

Not more than three or four years ago, financial institutions began to realize they would need more staff to manage the massive workload required to maintain an effective social media presence. And once banks started hiring social media specialists, it was inevitable that these new employees would eventually get their own digs.

In late 2012, NAB in Australia became the first bank to open a “social media command center” when they opened the doors on a new space for their seven-person social support team. Then there was MasterCard, with their “Conversation Suite.” Now, two more banks are following in their footsteps: Wells Fargo and Chase.

Chase Bank’s Studio Turns Social Media Into a Sidewalk Show

Earlier this year, Chase moved its 12-person Twitter team out of the corporate netherworld into a fancy facility in the bank’s sprawling campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The new command center is situated on the ground level across from the office park’s Starbucks outlet. Encased in glass, the command center puts the social media team’s activities smack in front of the 10,000 bank employees working at the complex. If you can imagine, it would be like working in a fishbowl, where your daily job responsibilities become almost a form of performance art.

“No more jeans for us,” says Bianca Buckridee, Social Media Operations Manager for Chase. “Definitely business casual.”

“You can stop by and on the side of the building what you’ll see is two huge monitors,” Buckridee explains. “You have individuals standing there looking at a scrolling feed of the actual tweets from our customers, and they’re saying, ‘Wow, we didn’t even know Chase was on Twitter.”

“This gives us a ton more visibility,” Buckridee adds. “We’ll be there, working in real time."

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The decision to situate the social media team in such a high-traffic location isn’t unique to Chase. MasterCard made a similar move this year when they plunked their“Conversation Suite” right in the middle of an open-air atrium at one of the financial giant’s HQ facilities.

Chase Bank’s Twitter team was created in early 2012 after Buckridee was recruited from SunTrust where she started a similar customer service Twitter team. Previously, Buckridee’s social media team shared space within the bank’s other customer service groups.

At many big banks, customer service specialists are segregated by product line, where each division is essentially responsible for handling its own problems. But not at Chase, where the social media support team includes a mix of representatives from across the organization.

“I have specialists from retail, credit cards and home lending reacting to customer inquiries in real time,” Buckridee explains. “For the first time at this bank, you have customer service specialists from each line of business sitting together and working together on Twitter.”

Christina Smith, SVP/Group Director at Media Logic, sees symbolic and strategic significance in giving social media teams their own dedicated workspace, particularly when putting it in such a high-visibility location. She likens Chase Bank’s command center to NBC’s street side studio for the “Today” show at Rockefeller Center.

“By physically changing and elevating the social media team — as opposed to the other valued, but more traditional, service teams it formerly shared space with — Chase is making a statement about the nature of social and the need for social media efforts to be integrated and assimilated into corporate initiatives,” Smith says.

Wells Fargo: Doubling Down on Two Coasts

Wells Fargo plans to open two “social reputation command centers,” with its main base in San Francisco and a secondary hub located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Renee Brown, SVP and director of social media at Wells Fargo, says the command centers will help the bank respond to issues and concerns that arise online. The command centers will allow the bank monitor consumers’ reaction to its marketing efforts, helping Wells Fargo executives understand how its messages and activities are being received, where it can improve and what resonates with customers.

“We are building social enterprise as its own business,” Brown told the Charlotte Business Journal. “It touches every single one of our businesses.”

Brown says her budget is slated to double next year, as Wells Fargo ramps up its use of social media. Part of that budget will be used to fill new positions in the bank’s new command centers, starting with an on-site supervisor for each location.

Wells Fargo created a new role for two “Social Media Command Center Leaders” who will be responsible for empowering the bank’s social teams to build relationships with digital influencers, monitor for brand-threatening issues and lead customer service resolution. The main responsibility of the command center leader will be to triage incoming issues from all social media outlets and escalate, respond or forward to the appropriate area within the company. Ultimately, they will determine whether, when and how Wells Fargo should participate in any given online conversation.

Command center leaders will also work closely with the bank’s analytics department and content creation team to uncover relevant insights that could impact the brand, customer service and day-to-day operations.

More broadly, command center leaders will be expected to help educate internal stakeholders about the importance of social media to the overall Wells Fargo brand and build internal support for social media initiatives, especially those related to brand reputation or customer service.

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"Mobile is going to have a bigger impact than the Internet," Unilever CMO Keith Weed talks new brand strategy, sustainability and the power of mobile

"Mobile is going to have a bigger impact than the Internet," Unilever CMO Keith Weed talks new brand strategy, sustainability and the power of mobile | |

Crafting Brands for Life has been the marketing strategy global consumer goods supplier Unilever has adopted in recent months as it becomes a company that aims to make a difference and affect change in the lives of its customers, as well as selling their products to them.

The strategy is being led by Keith Weed, chief marketing officer for Unilever, who, when The Drum catches up with him in the press room at Dmexco in Cologne, has already been for a three mile run, held a couple of meetings and delivered the keynote talk for the conference.All this and it’s only 11am. This is a man who travels the world constantly, and is literally always on the move.

Despite the constant demand for his attention, Weed is found to be an enthusiastic and breezy individual, who has also been heading up the company’s sustainability effort, which he needs no excuse to talk about.

“According to WWF we are living off two-and-a-half planets. If the world lived like Europeans we'd need three planets and if the world lived like Americans we'd need five planets,” he tells The Drum, explaining that his role was created to combine overseeing the marketing, sustainability and communications coming out of Unilever.

“Crafting Brands for Life was very much what that is all about,” he continues, “It's really trying to understand people's whole lives and if you live in the emerging markets, it is making this huge shift from rural to urban. People's lives are changing dramatically…for the first time with mankind we are urban more than we are rural. More people were living in towns last year than ever before and by 2030 the primary habitat of mankind will be slums. You put all of that together and we are a consumer business and we want to grow and serve the 2 billion extra people who are going to join this planet over the next few years, then we'll have to think about how we'll do things differently. So our marketing needs to take this on board.”

During his keynote presentation, Weed discusses different campaigns that made up the three pillars of the strategy; Building Brand Love, Putting People First and Unlocking the Magic.

A major factor of following the strategy is the use of mobile as a platform for message delivery, quite literally in the case of the ‘One Missed Call’ campaign for Indian detergent brand Active Wheel, which would deliver content to potential consumers by calling their mobile phones to provide entertainment, jokes and music.

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“If you can get the company more consumer-centric then that is closer to putting people first. But if you are going to build brand love, we have to be where people are and people are spending more time in social and more time with their mobiles. People are anxious when they think they are being separated from their mobile and they are never more than a meter away from their mobile and that level of connection if very powerful if a marketer can get it right.”

As to how powerful mobile can be, Weed puts the platform into perspective, claiming that there are over 6 billion mobiles phones in the world, of which 2.4 billion are connected to social networks, meaning that life can be shared in real-time, which is opening up opportunities in emerging markets, describing it as “a jumping technology.”

He continues to discuss the Active Wheel campaign, and his visits to village homes in India, where people would guide him around their homes through the light emanated by their mobile phones. “There are more mobiles in India than toilets and toothbrushes,” he claimed, describing many of the towns in the country as a “TV dark area” which meat that mobile has become a solution to capturing their attention.

“Mobile is going to have a bigger impact than the Internet had. The internet shook us all up. I think that the mobile is going to shake us up all the more.”

Asked about the biggest complexity that digital has created for a global company such as Unilever, Weed believes that it is the “capability build” and the need for training and understanding for ‘middle managers’ who have been left behind by the speed of the digital takeover.

“If you want to stay in marketing then you have got to make sure that you are a great digital marketer and if you don't want to be that then now is the time to find a different career, as this is only going to become more so,” he states.

As for television within the marketing mix, Weed believes that it continues to be the driving force for marketers as they are still learning how to improve ROI from digital, but adds that the platform is less important than the creative.

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Marketing Metrics To Embrace & Ignore

Marketing Metrics To Embrace & Ignore | |

No one should disagree at this point that collecting and analyzing data can reveal which marketing programs are working, which ones are failing, and why. Today’s marketers have access to tons of data — but how can we differentiate between helpful and irrelevant metrics? There’s just one deciding factor: revenue.

Remember that the underlying goal of every marketing initiative is to ultimately drive profit. Yet marketers continue to use metrics that are disconnected from real business outcomes to assess their own success. By relying on Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or hiding behind the excuse of sales information deltas, these marketers miss out on identifying the problem areas and rich opportunities good metrics can illuminate.

The Relevance Of Revenue

The most common failing when it comes to metrics is a fixation on quantity. Open rates, click rates and the number of new net leads can all paint an artificially positive outlook or suggest a falsely negative picture of a company’s true marketing health.

To really place those numbers in context, other metrics are needed — yet the idea persists that more leads or more activity equals more revenue. This concept is so ingrained that many companies still pour money into Business Development Resource (BDR) teams dedicated solely to producing quantity results.

Of course, companies still need a rich lead pipeline, but the focus should be on determining the optimal amount of leads needed. That’s the metric worth tracking here, and that brings us back to the most significant factor of all in marketing metrics: revenue. To determine the optimal amount of leads needed, work backward by calculating the amount of work involved to produce revenue.

Say, for instance, that a lead generation effort nets 1,000 leads. Seems pretty good at first glance, right? Now if we hand all 1,000 leads over to the sales team, who spend time and energy pursuing each and every lead to have 100 convert, we’ve spent valuable resources collecting and cultivating 900 dead leads. To sharpen our tactics for the future, we need to examine the 100 leads that did convert and analyze the reasons they converted, the amount of time and money it took to convert those leads, and the ultimate effect on revenue they had.

Armed with those more refined metrics, we’ll know for future campaigns things like who we should be targeting, how many of those leads we need to target at a time, and how much effort they’re worth. While the ultimate lead generation number might be smaller next time, the uptick in revenue will be higher — and we’ll have saved ourselves significant time and money chasing dead ends.

Disconnected Metrics

Of course, there’s a reason those shallow metrics are so popular with marketers. They tend to be easy to present or explain and, frankly, they’re easy to achieve, as well. As a result, marketers have been using the same metrics for years to cloak the true results of their marketing initiatives. But by way of the data now available through CRM and marketing automation systems, executives are beginning to see past this smokescreen and demand true revenue-related evidence to back marketing programs.

Take email marketing, for instance.

Because so many inboxes are flooded with advertisements and spam, wily marketers have become adept at writing attention-getting subject lines that cut through digital noise. Therefore, a clever subject line can deliver a high open rate — strong results that look a lot like success.

Yet, the only success we’ve really proven here is that our marketers know how to avoid the delete key. To connect that open rate to ROI, you need to take the next (and really easy) step of tracking how many clicks eventually led to a purchase. Only by placing the open rate in context do we get a full picture of a campaign’s performance. All of today’s CRM and marketing automation platforms enable users to do this.

Measuring Metrics That Matter

To accurately determine the success of your marketing programs and make any course corrections necessary, you’ll want to focus on the below metrics. Why these in particular? Because they paint a detailed picture of buyer motivations and decisions at every stage of the funnel, providing you with a wealth of insight to incorporate into your strategies. Once you’ve analyzed the data, you’ll know what you’ve been doing right, what you’ve been doing wrong, and how you can drive even better results in the future.

Lead Volume & Close Rate. Yes, we said earlier that Lead Volume was an outdated metric — and it is, when it stands alone. But when it’s connected to your Close Rate, it reveals the effectiveness of your acquisition and lead nurturing programs. This is also a great metric to expose sales and marketing alignment issues and focus efforts around scoring and lead definitions.

Time To Close & Cost-Per-Close. Velocity reporting, or the time it takes a lead to move through your funnel, is absolutely cornerstone reporting. This key report will give you an idea of how long it takes on average to close each customer and what you’re spending on average to achieve it. A quick tip here is to assemble velocity reports and cost metrics around each Buyer Persona you are marketing to. Remember, different buyers act differently — one size fits all fails every time, even when it comes to reporting.

Revenue-Per-New-Customer. Calculating the revenue delivered by each customer will tell you the quality of your leads.

Ultimately, the logic behind metrics is simple. The number of leads needs to be offset by quality of leads; quality leads to conversion, which then leads to revenue. Therefore, to create an intelligent metrics program, we must work backward and base our marketing targets off revenue – specifically marketing-sourced revenue. Only then will marketers have the knowledge they need to craft truly powerful initiatives that deliver the best results.

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From Big Data to Big Mac: How McDonalds leverages Big Data

From Big Data to Big Mac: How McDonalds leverages Big Data | |

McDonald’s is a massive global food service retailer with more than 34.000 local restaurants serving more than 69 million people in 118 countries each day. Their daily customer traffic is 62 million customers and they sell approximately 75 burgers every second. With annual revenue of $ 27 billion and over 750.000 employees McDonald’s is a huge company. Americans alone consume one billion pounds of beef at McDonald’s in a year. It might be clear that they generate vast amounts of data, but how do they leverage that data?

In the past years, McDonald’s became an information-centric organization that makes data-driven decisions. In order to achieve that, they created a project development model were analytics forms a major aspect of the teams, but not the central part. Just as I discussed in theBig Data Roadmap, McDonald’s creates multi-disciplinary teams to discover, develop and deploy new solutions across the organization. In the discovery phase they try to rapidly come up with ideas and incubate them and as such they have just a few skill sets involved. For example operations, IT, analytics and engineering. While in the development phase they will add additional skills such HR, Training, Finance in order to get the right perspective and develop these new projects. Finally, in the deployment phase more diverse departments become involved, such as marketing or design.  Mike Cramer, Director of Operations Research, advises a cross-functional approach with a business focus to achieve a great level of success, especially in the big data and analytics area.

This is the approach McDonald’s used to change the organization into a more information-centric company with a data-driven culture. The problem in the past was that the data provided by the local stores to the executive leaders were based on average metrics, which made it difficult to compare the stores and come up with appropriate actions that needed to take place in order to improve results. Therefore McDonald’s went from using averages to trend analytics that provide a lot more insight in what was happening at which local stores. They combined datasets and visualized it to better understand the cause and affect in the differences between stores. In other words, they combined multiple graphs to understand the correlation. These correlations were used to create more clear, relevant and actionable actions, resulting in saving money and time across the organisation.

One of the examples of such combined metrics is how McDonald’s uses big data to optimize the drive-thru experience. They analyse and optimize across three different factors: Design of the drive-thru, Information that is provided to the customer during the drive-thru and the people waiting in line to order at a drive-thru. A large family in a van ordering a large menu can create a negative experience for that single customer waiting behind the van that only wants a milkshake. Therefore they analyse the demand patterns in order to predict it.

The information derived from the predictive analytics is used to make iterations across design, information and people practices. McDonald’s then uses analytics to find the trade-offs of the changes made in order to find the optimal solution for design, information and people. This is an on-going process at McDonald’s that is used also in other aspects of the company and that are deployed throughout the company and across the world.

Furthermore, McDonald’s tracks and analyses vast amounts of variables to improve the company and the customer experience. They track in-store traffic, customer interactions, flow throughs in the drive-thrus, ordering patterns, point-of-sales data, video data and sensor data. Information derived from this data is used to make iterations in the design of the restaurants, variations in the menus, optimize their training program and their supply-chain. As such, although all McDonald’s around the world look the same, each restaurant is slightly different as they are optimized using all that data for the local market. In addition, McDonald’s usesoperational data to automate and optimize the inspection of the burger buns to ensure a perfect seed distribution and colour.

All in all, it is no surprise that McDonald’s leverages big data to create the best experience for their customers and make the organization more effective and efficient.

As a bonus, please enjoy the below infographic of every McDonald’s in the USA visualized by the distance between each McDonald’s. Although artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley already created it in 2009, it remains a powerful visualization of just how omnipresent the fast food chain is.

Mac Donald G1's curator insight, March 29, 12:54 PM

change the organization into a more information-centric company with a data-driven culture. 

to discover, develop and deploy new solutions

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Why Your Brand Must Analyze Traffic by Device

Why Your Brand Must Analyze Traffic by Device | |

Of all global Internet traffic, an estimated 20% and 33% comes from mobile, according to a report by digital agency Walker Sands and StatCounter, and the percentage continues to rise. iPhone traffic is outpacing Android, and on tablets, users are more likely to make purchases.

But your brand's traffic is not the same as the Internet's, and your audience or target market may have different behaviors than web users at large. Although trends can offer direction, measuring your own traffic by device can be a powerful metric in making both marketing and product decisions.

Traffic by device will tell you if someone is visiting your website via a mobile browser (Safari, Chrome or other) and by device (Android, iPhone, iPad or other). Based on this information, you can discover other details such as the screen size and resolution. A few years ago, you may have created a separate mobile website optimized for a small smartphone screen — but now that tablets running both iOS and Android come in multiple sizes and some phones have larger (nearly tablet-sized) screens, it's no longer enough to be dualistic.

But before you redesign your website to be responsive or create a mobile app, pay attention to your traffic by device to discover what decisions should be made to optimize your reach and conversions on mobile.

How To Measure Traffic By Device

Most analytics services, whether it's Google Analytics or even the back-end of a hosting service like Squarespace offer this metric. You may want to compare these numbers to your desktop traffic or to one another. Note which devices are leading in conversions and how it compares to your site overall, and learn where your mobile users are coming from.

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Audience Data Management is Key to Performance-Based Advertising

Audience data is typically a performance marketing company’s best yet least utilized possession. Understanding customers and their online behavioral actions can change the way an advertiser develops, executes and manages its online customer acquisition strategy. Driving more relevant and meaningful customer and advertiser interactions is the key to ensuring an effective and profitable online advertising campaign. 

The rise of Big Data and more sophisticated audience analysis tools has forever changed online customer acquisition — for the better. Marketing decisions can no longer be based on a hunch or what may have worked in the past. Now, data must inform every digital marketing decision.

The key to developing and executing these highly relevant and extremely efficient interactions comes down to how well marketers understand and use data in their online advertising campaigns.

Data provides a window into a customer’s or prospect’s behavior, whether it is past, present or future actions. This allows marketers to make fact-based assessments about their customers. Understanding the “What, When, Where and How” arms companies with the information needed to target customers based on their actual behavioral patterns. Data also help marketers anticipate future actions, preparing them to better up-sell and cross-sell additional products by recognizing evolving marketing trends.

All of which begs an important question: If the answer to improving online advertising performance is so easy, why isn’t every company mastering and reaping the rewards from this concept?

The vast majority of companies collect customer data; however, they face a variety of obstacles in using this data to drive strategic change. Here are three strategies to help you take advantage of your company’s audience data.

Understand the Data You Already Have

Even though many companies collect data from their online advertising campaigns they are often doing so by way of executing some other more short-term, action-driven initiative. This approach tosses aside heaps of valuable information.

Think of all of the information collected by simply having a prospect click on a banner ad, email or landing page. From that one action alone we already know so much about a prospect. We know what sites she visited before clicking on the ad. We can gain a pretty good idea of her current physical location in the world. And, in many cases, we know her age and demographic information, the time and day she interacted with the ad and the type of device (mobile, tablet or desktop) she used to engage with the ad.

Understanding which media channels your customers and prospects are using as they make their way through the purchase consideration cycle offers an enormous edge in making smart, strategic decisions, especially when layered with the aforementioned audience data.

Understand How and Why to Use Data

A widely prevalent and difficult hurdle to overcome in audience data management is understanding how and why to use your data. Harnessing the individual channels of data for the betterment of overall performance can be an overwhelming task. Confronted with a consistently growing pool of customer information marketers are faced with a shortage of actionable insight that can be assembled from the data that already exists.

Invest in Internal Data Management Resources

Many companies fail to invest in internal department or resources dedicated to data management. This is often due to an overwhelming focus and attention on immediate advertiser results at the expense of properly understanding the underlying factors affecting a campaign. That is precisely the type of issues that proper audience data management helps elucidate.

Understanding data to improve the overall health of digital performance can sometimes be a deeper investment on the front end but often pays off handsomely when correctly executed.

Furthermore, there are so many channels to manage, and so many different skill sets needed to manage these channels, that the tradeoff is usually a loss of data sharing within a marketing team. This can be offset by creating an internal marketing unit specifically dedicated to examining a company’s entire data landscape and funneling resources to the necessary business units based on information gleaned from that data.

It’s been said that “Data is king” and, in the case of online marketing, this is often true. Marketers that respect and understand data the best will achieve the most performance from their online advertising campaigns.

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How Native Advertising Is Changing The Rules Of The Game Of Cat And Mouse

How Native Advertising Is Changing The Rules Of The Game Of Cat And Mouse | |

The DVR gave consumers a powerful new weapon in their long running battle to elude the commercial messages that brands spend billions to put in front of them. Increasingly programming is recorded which means that viewers can choose to shuttle past the commercial pod to the next scene.The Walking Dead, which had a blockbuster debut for its third season with 16.1 million viewers, added over 4 million additional viewers from DVR playback over the next 3 days and more further out.

Many viewers who are theoretically watching shows real time are actually watching near real time; they freeze the show for the first 20 minutes and then catch up over the course of the hour by fast forwarding through commercial breaks. The Dish Network offers an autohop feature to make this easy. Even large sports bars are getting into the action. They show games real time but the proprietors switch the house audio to music during commercial breaks.

Car radios had commercial escape buttons almost from the start and increasingly consumers have shifted to commercial free alternatives likeSiriusXM. In fact, avoiding commercial content has become a business model. Consumers can listen to Internet radio with commercials for free or upgrade to a commercial-free premium service. The same goes for streaming video. Consumers have become increasingly savvy about avoiding commercial clutter online. They ignore the column of banner ads, deftly fend off pop-ups, and minimize the screen during video pre-rolls or mute the audio.

Of course advertisers know this and apply strategies to break through with their message. They have play by play announcers plug their products during sportscasts which makes them impossible to tune out. They run advertorials in magazines and newspapers that look like news and are meant to be entertaining to read. They use product placement in movies which though a fact of life today, has a long history. Who ever heard of Reese Pieces before ET? They produce high quality movie trailers and music videos which have the dual effect of entertaining and plugging their product.

In a recent piece, Watching TV Commercials For Fun And Profit, I pointed out that one third of television programming time is devoted to commercial and interstitial content. Some people are actually interested in watching commercials, looking them up on line and commenting on them. The Super Bowl best exemplifies this behavior where big brands have managed to turn the airing of commercials into a must-see competitive event. This is exactly the type of relationship between advertiser and consumer that brands want to tap into.

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Alan McGlade, Contributor

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Why It's Critical To Connect Your Offline & Online Marketing

Why It's Critical To Connect Your Offline & Online Marketing | |

All of the buzz about digital marketing has left an old, familiar and still viable marketing medium in the dust: offline programs. The marketing divide between online and offline spheres can be so epic, in fact, that it’s not uncommon inside companies to see separate print, Web and social marketing teams using different strategies and launching campaigns that are in no way connected.

But those silos only exist inside marketing departments. The customer’s mind perceives one continuous brand. We live in a world where customers casually cross multiple marketing channels throughout the course of an hour and can see a kiosk ad, print promotion and social media campaign within moments of each other.

It’s no surprise that consumers tend to be distracted; recent research from Reponsys shows that customers tend to spend 30 seconds or less absorbing digital content, making it especially important to reach them on a variety of channels. Other research shows that they expect seamless access across channels, with a Multichannel Retail Survey finding that 40 percent of consumers said it was “very important” to have purchase choices both offline and online.

Seamless Brand Presence

Where we are still falling a bit short is seeing the thread between the different media and grasping the potential that lies there. An online car ad might inspire a customer to visit a dealer showroom, while another customer might test a laptop in person before buying it cheaper online.

Businesses are starting to understand this, and forward-thinking marketers are using tools to create a consistent brand experience between their print, social, mobile and Web campaigns. This kind of connection can drive an intensified impact across the entire marketing ecosystem and provide insight into how each channel, campaign and strategy influences one another.

Marketers can capitalize on that feeling of a seamless brand presence to drive a stronger interaction between online and offline channels. What’s needed is a marketing system that integrates offline display promotions and print advertising with digital marketing such as paid ads, banners and social media posts.

This isn’t about reinventing a whole new system, but rather connecting and leveraging existing initiatives to amplify both reach and conversion. The trick is creating a nonstop loop of activation that can exponentially multiply the ROI of your efforts in both worlds. Here’s how.

Driving Your Offline Audience To Your Online Programs & Vice Versa

Many sophisticated marketers are already taking these steps; but, they can’t be emphasized enough, as they really are low-hanging fruit to drive offline prospects to online channels.

A print or TV ad can supply a Twitter hashtag to drive conversation to social media, while calls-to-action can direct viewers to online programs. QR codes on kiosks and unique tracking URLs can be included to drive leads to online promotions. Even though they’re getting a bad rap, in my opinion QR codes still aren’t being used enough or used properly. They offer one of the easiest and most powerful conduits that can turn offline strangers into an online audience.

The pendulum swings both ways. A new VisionCritical study of leading social media platforms has found that they spark offline purchases as well as online sales. Digital marketing can also be used to provide a significant boost for trade shows, entertainment events, and other offline venues.

Consider, for instance, using social campaigns to promote an event. Create an official hashtag to share with vendors, attendees and speakers, and you’ll be able to track, influence and respond to conversations specific to the event. Promoting the event on your Facebook page will allow you to track “likes” and gain insight into the leads who are interested.

Once the event is underway, you can measure how much of the attendance originated online by offering a special giveaway for social “friends” in attendance. You can also monitor customer or attendee reactions online and respond to questions, or post additional information on the conference website. After the event has ended, all of your social activity will provide you with a wealth of new leads to follow up on and new relationships to build both online and offline.

Making A Lasting Impact

When it comes to connecting your online and offline programs, one element is the most valuable of all: relevance. A recent infographic from VentureBeat found that three-fourths of consumers want businesses to use personal information to improve their shopping experience, while 64 percent place a priority on receiving relevant offers.

By injecting customized creative assets into your content, you can launch promotions that are especially powerful at local and regional levels. The secret is using the right tools to amass rich segmentation data and then using that information to target customers with campaigns that speak to their goals and challenges.

As an example, an enterprise brand could co-brand with carefully chosen local retail venues to personalize their brand presence. By incorporating an element like a regional sports team into digital collateral, the brand can make a vivid and personal impact by connecting an online campaign to a customer’s offline life. Campaigns can also be measured and updated in real time to be tailored more precisely.

Connecting offline and online marketing activities is about more than strengthening brand presence. It’s about leveraging existing brand capital and assets to make a powerful impact. The time for siloed programs and disjointed collateral is over. Through relevant, personalized campaigns that permeate the customer’s online and offline worlds, you can synergize your marketing ecosystem – and fuse all of your programs into one magnetic brand experience.

by Andy Lombard, Marketing Land

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37% of marketing teams don't understand content analytics

37% of marketing teams don't understand content analytics | |
A recent study reveals brands still lack content analytics skills needed to create competitive campaigns.

Search engine optimization will only grow more sophisticated, considering Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm and it’s movement to withhold the majority of keyword data (it’s peaked at around 80 percent now). In response to these changes, marketers are forced to look beyond basic website metrics, something that will prove difficult because content analytics remains a weak spot for 37 percent of companies.

As the search engine marketing landscape continues to evolve, brands have a choice to make: Develop those skills or find strategists who have them. The Online Marketing Institute’s State of Digital Talent survey found employers are acutely aware of this knowledge gap, and 76 percent said it’s important to bring people into the fold who have solid analytics skills.

One resource that seems virtually untapped is outsourcing. The Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2B Trends report found that only 13 percent of marketers outsource their analytics and measurement. B2Cs were slightly ahead, with 15 percent of respondents reporting they outsource these duties.

If marketers choose to keep all content creation and evaluation in house, there are innumerable resources online and available through Google Analytics that can help. However, this approach might stall campaigns or cause brands to miss opportunities while marketers ramp up their content analytics skills and learn how granular insights can inform editorial calendars.

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How do you turn analytics data into additional revenue?

How do you turn analytics data into additional revenue? | |

Advertising on the internet and mobile has increased by 17.5% to £3.04bn in the first half of 2013 according to the IAB, an increase of £607m compared to 2011

Analytics has played a key role in this growth by helping marketers accurately measure return-on-investment (ROI) and justify reallocating traditional media budget to digital marketing. However, with the amount of data now available to digital marketers via analytics, they’re in danger of becoming data squirrels that hoard data but do nothing with it.

There aren’t enough analysts in the world or hours in the day to manually analyse all the available data, and crucially, turn it into actions which optimise revenue outcomes.

The modern day digital marketer needs to consider how to turn all the data housed in analytics platforms into actions which optimise revenue outcomes through advertising technology. To do this they need to understand the three layers of digital marketing technology.

In this article I want to look at the three layers of digital marketing technology, and how they all fit together:


What you don’t measure, you can’t manage. Analytics platforms gave marketers the tools they needed to finally end the age-old problem of not knowing which half of their advertising is working and which half isn’t. Measurement is crucial, and it’s exactly why digital marketing has had the sensational growth rate it has. 

However, while analytics is vital, when in a silo it can’t help marketers understand how and when customers interact with multiple channels. Furthermore, it doesn’t interpret the data into campaign adjustments which optimise revenue outcomes.


While analytics platforms have gathered data for marketers, the attribution technology layer is what helps them make sense of that data. Attribution’s been a hot topic for marketers over the last few years as they’ve looked to understand the consumer path-to-conversion, and how to better allocate marketing budget and tailor messaging as a result.

However, while attribution platforms make recommendations on how to better allocate spend, they don’t implement these changes. For example, attribution platforms do not translate their output into bid recommendations for particular keywords on search engines or banners on display networks.


The final layer of digital marketing technology is the optimisation layer. These technologies take the data from the previous two layers and turn them into actions which optimise revenue outcomes for the marketer. They drive incremental performance gains and time savings.

However, these platforms would struggle to do anything without the data provided by the previous two layers of digital marketing technology. Data is like the blood running through the marketing technology architecture, and without it the key final layer of optimisation couldn’t happen.

Final thoughts

Every layer of marketing technology needs the human touch, as technology cannot see past the data it is given and online campaigns are often subject to external influence. This technology infrastructure is designed to help marketers focus their time on the tasks which will have the biggest impact on the bottom line, and make up for the fact there is not always an army of analysts available to them.

It’s also worth considering that not every layer in digital marketing technology needs the same label on it. It’s a bit like choosing shampoo and conditioner; just because you prefer shampoo from brand A doesn’t mean you can’t buy conditioner from brand B if you prefer.

The same applies to marketing technology, focus on finding the best technology in each layer. Today’s enterprise technology world is open and connected, best-of-breed technologies can facilitate data flow between themselves seamlessly.

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Is Online Advertising Getting Too Complex?

Is Online Advertising Getting Too Complex? | |

The use of analytics and other tracking tags in ads is increasing by leaps and bounds, says a new MediaMind report. 

Just how complex has online advertising become? Very -- especially among the biggest spenders.

The top advertisers' online ad campaigns are nearly six times as complex as the average, according to data provided to Ad Age by DG MediaMind. The company reviewed 350 billion global display, video and mobile impressions served on its platform between 2010 and 2013 as part of its new "Complexity" study and found that the use of tags and sophisiticated targeting and analytics is booming, especially among the top-10% of advertisers.

Advertisers are "increasingly interested in very complex targeting scenarios," said Nick Talbert, director of product marketing at MediaMind. "These are people that are really pushing the needle in terms of really sophisticated campaigns."

The number of digital campaign analytics technologies and companies has blossomed, and their tags are proliferating. MediaMind found that the number of ads with two or more third party tags -- which help track ad interactions, brand impact, and measure for campaign optimization -- rose 267% from 2011 to 2013. Today, almost a third of digital ads employ more than one tag, up from around 25% in 2011.

Indeed, these tags are so rampant, the number of ads that featured five or more of them skyrocketed 476% in the years evaluated. According to the study, that's nearly 19 times the growth rate of ads with just one third party tag attached.

Advertisers doing lots of geo-targeted advertising with a variety highly-targeted messages based on location and demographic information tend to have the most tag appendages, such as auto, telecom and CPG brands.

The number of conversion tags, which track whether people complete an action via an ad, such as signing up to download a white paper or purchasing an item, is way up, along with the number of events they track. The number of tags used by the top 10% of advertisers rose 49% since 2010, and events tracked leapt 460%.

"These are the guys that are getting the most out of digital," said Mr. Talbert.

Diminishing returns

However, he cautioned there is a point of diminishing returns, and tag-hungry advertisers could be reaching the brink.

"There's a lot more gains you can potentially make by looking across the board," he said, rather than poring over a swath of reports, each revealing limited views of overall campaign results.

He also noted the increased amount of setup time and costs associated with additional tags and technology layers, suggesting that some campaigns can take as much as five weeks to arrange, in part because of the tag pile-on. "At some point the overhead becomes more daunting than the results," he said, adding that the point at which overhead surpasses the true value of the technologies is "at a different spot for each advertiser and each account."

"We think that a client's ROI is going to be greater served by looking at the synergies across digital as a whole rather than silo-ing each and every strategy," he said.

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A Look at Women and Their Relationship With Mobile Phones

A Look at Women and Their Relationship With Mobile Phones | |

Women really, really like their mobile devices. According to a new study from Time Inc. and Nuance Digital Marketing, 60 percent of women name their mobiles as the most important devices in their lives (significantly higher than men, at 43 percent).

Not only is their smartphone the first thing she looks at in the morning (for 78 percent), it consumes their free time throughout the day, when they use it for engaging with social media, texting and shopping. While this time spent on their mobiles would suggest opportunities to advertise to women, fully 91 percent of women dislike ads they consider intrusive.

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38% of 2-Year-Olds Use Mobile Devices : Survey

38% of 2-Year-Olds Use Mobile Devices : Survey | |

A new report shows more young children are using devices such as iPhones, tablets and Kindles. 

For children, playing with Tickle Me Elmo is so passé. Toddlers today seem to be spending more time playing with Elmo on a touchscreen.

Thirty-eight percent of children under the age of 2 have used mobile devices, including iPhones, tablets and Kindles, up from 10 percent in 2011, according to a survey by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on advocating on behalf of children.

This trend encompasses a larger subset – kids in general are turning to mobile. Seventy-two percent of children under 8 have used a mobile device for playing games, watching videos or using apps, up from 38 percent in 2011. And kids are spending considerably more time on their mobile devices. For children who use mobile every day, they are spending on average one hour and seven minutes, an increase from 2011's findings of 43 minutes.

As mobile devices become a staple in U.S. homes -- 3 in 4 households own one up from about half in 2011 , it seems inevitable the amount of time kids spend on mobile devices will continue to increase.

Yet, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has advised parents to fight this trend by limiting screen time. In fact, for children under two, the AAP recommends no screen time at all. But most parents are not heeding the AAP's advice, with children under two spending an hour a day in front of screens, according to the survey. 

Companies are looking to take advantage of this growing demographic. From education tools to games to short movies, the baby and children app space is buzzing with activity. Their marketing push seems to be working. Most kids are native technology users by the time they enter elementary school, with 8 out of 10 5-to-8-year-olds using mobile devices, compared with only half of all children just two years ago.

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AnheuserBusch Brands Media Goal Is 50% Earned, Says Digital Marketing Chief

AnheuserBusch Brands Media Goal Is 50% Earned, Says Digital Marketing Chief | |

InBev's Anheuser-Busch (A-B) brands are using content to drive sales and distribution, as well as awareness. And they're increasingly using data analytics and measurement tools to direct their actions. VP, Digital Marketing Lucas Herscovici told beverage marketers at the eBev conference in Denver that the company is in the midst of a seismic shift in media weight, from 90% paid to 50% earned.

“How do you use digital to move the business? By increasing sales and improving brand health,” Herscovici said. “It requires a change in the model, and that's why content is so big.”

The world's biggest beer marketer uses a three-tiered approach in content marketing, guided by scalability and regulatory limitations, as many social channels are not age-gated. Pinterest falls in A-B's observe-only category, which also includes channels with limited penetration into the company's target markets. Vine and Instagram are in the experimental column, where A-B mines content placed by fans for reposting on Facebook and Twitter, which have enough reach to be scalable for the likes of Budweiser and Bud Light.

Like many brand marketers, A-B is experimenting with the short-video format used on Vine and Instagram. It partnered with Major League Baseball to create a six-second Vine in which a baseball dives into a Budweiser ice chest and emerges as the Bud baseball can that was distributed this past summer. “I believe that the short-form six-second and 15-minute videos are the content format of the future,” Herscovici said.

Content marketing also calls for new metrics, he said. When the A-B sponsored “Made in America” video series featuring Jay-Z and Rihanna got 734 notes on Tumblr, Herscovici and other brand managers saw it as significant. “If you get great numbers like that, who cares if there are no sales,” Herscovici said, but then added that sales and penetration metrics seem to follow.

Using Datalogix surveys and other brand measures on a monthly basis, the company found, for instance, that a native advertising campaign on BuzzFeed gave a 50% brand lift to its Lime-A-Rita malt beverage that is aimed at women. Huge sales lifts led the company to expand the line into new flavors. Similarly, a campaign using Twitter TV ad targeting for the brand exceeded audience engagement goals by three times.

A-B's surveys also track the “brand health” value of social campaigns, which is measured by asking consumers who engaged to name their three favorite brands in the category. The chief purpose of this metric is to gauge a brand's life stage, according to Herscovici. “It helps us determine a mature brand's longevity or if a new brand might be a premium brand tomorrow,” he said.

Herscovici pointed out that TV-like measures of engagement and brand awareness can be had from scalable social networks such as Facebook. Consider: A-B contacted a brand fan who posted pictures on Instagram of a football stadium constructed out of cold cuts for a party and asked him for more pictures and permission to run some of them on Facebook. The “Meat Stadium” post, Herscovici said, reached 23 million people.

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