Stop Thinking Mobile, Start Thinking Smartphone vs. Tablet

Smartphones and tablets are typically lumped into the same category—mobile. While, at surface level, these two types of devices may seem very similar, the way they are used could not be more different.

Smartphone v. Tablet Usage

xAd Mobile Path to Purchase Retail 2013

Smartphones are an out-of-home, location-based technology. In fact, 60% of smartphone usage takes place outside the home. In contrast, 83% of tablet usage happens in-home. Meaning, tablet usage has more in common with your home computer than your smartphone.

This drastic difference in usage also affects the consumer’s path to purchase. 55% of tablet users convert online compared to just 20% of smartphone users, of which 77% convert in-store.

Regardless of device, more than half of all smartphone and tablet activities lead to conversion. So the question is no longer should I market to “mobile” devices, but what device type should I market to? If you’re looking to drive in-store conversions, targeting smartphones may be the better option. But, if driving on-line conversions is your goal, target tablets.

Data and chart from xAd – Mobile Path to Purchase 2013

3 Keys to Digital Advertising Success

If your measure of digital advertising effectiveness ends when your ad is clicked, you’re only fighting half the battle. Yes, driving lots of traffic to your site through digital advertising is awesome, but digital advertising shouldn’t just drive clicks—it should generate leads and drive sales!

For example, a media campaign that drives 500,000 visitors may appear more successful than a campaign that drives only 100,000 visitors. However, if the 100,000-visitor campaign generates 10,000 more leads than the 500,000-visitor campaign, it’s safe to say the 100,000-visitor campaign was actually the success.

Three Keys to Digital Advertising Success

Here’s 3 Keys to Digital Advertising Success

  1. MeasurementThe success of your campaign begins before the first ad is ever served. Determine your campaigns goals and figure out how you can track whether those goals are actually being met.
  2. MonitoringDigital media performance happens in real-time. That means you should always have your eye on what’s working and what’s not. Determine what ads, placements and targeting parameters are leading to the most conversions.
  3. Optimization Once you determine what’s working, optimize your campaigns to increase conversions. This means removing or making adjustments to ads that are not performing well, honing in your targeting to only those segments that are leading to conversions, and moving funds to the publishers, networks or media vendors that are performing the best.

A digital campaign that is not being monitored and optimized in real-time is a digital campaign that is destined for failure. Click numbers are not the end-all-be-all of digital success. Instead, focus on what really matters: leads and sales.

Is Marketing Making a Positive Impact on your Business?

73% of marketers didn’t even measure marketing’s impact on their business based on the results of ITSMA and Forrester’s 2013 Marketing Performance Management Survey. And 35% couldn’t attribute any impact on their business to marketing. The survey reports on marketing’s contribution to the business overall. 

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No wonder management looks at marketing with skepticism and is reticent to commit budget. Marketing’s focus is still on building a brand’s business. But now is the time for marketing to stop being an expense and become a revenue generator. The only way that can happen is to maintain full accountability and measurement of all channels to business goals.

Focusing on these points can help you stay on track for an accountable marketing program:

1. Marketing’s goals need to align with the business goals that management uses

2. Strategies that tie directly to sales should be maximized first

3. Measure, measure, measure. Dollars to marketing outputs to business goals

While it may take some time to setup the correct strategy and processes, the result can generate more business and grow a marketing department into the powerhouse that it should be.

Shift Your Advertising into Hyper-Drive – Understand How Mobile Targeting Technologies Can Make Your Ads More Effective.

Targeting the right audience, at the right time, with the right message, and in the right place is how advertisers have always marketed products and services. Today, mobile technologies are upping the ante in terms of how we can target ads to people in very specific locations. Imagine being able to put an ad for your discounted café menu on someone’s smartphone while they are walking by and thinking about lunch. Imagine targeting a person based on the building they work in. These are today’s hyper-targeting media technologies.

Here’s a quick overview of a few mobile hyper-targeting technologies:

  1. Geographic by IP– This technology looks at a computer or mobile device’s IP address to see where the network is placing them. These have some disadvantages as an IP address could be registered in metro Detroit but the user may actually be 50-miles away in a suburb. This is possibly the least specific method to target locations.
  2. Radius targeting from a city center – This technology is fairly common. It uses a radius around a given city-center point. As an example, a 15-mile radius from Minneapolis city-center. Ads and offers using this method are great for driving traffic to multiple locations within a city, for example, Hamburger Queen has 20 locations within 15 miles of Minneapolis city-center. An ad with a good offer could drive significant traffic for people in the area.
  3. Geo-fencing – Imagine drawing an imaginary fence around a location using GPS (latitude and longitude) coordinates. Ads can be served to people as they walk into a Big Box retailer or as they cross into certain city blocks. This technology uses the exact GPS location of devices that mobile users often share with apps and websites for a more customized experience.
  4. Place-based targeting – This targeting involves serving ads to people around a specific location. For example, if there is a baseball game at City Park tonight, you could touch people at the game and interested in baseball or sports. This technology also uses GPS and latitude/longitude information.
  5. Search behavioral targeting – This targeting involves matching up ads to users who have searched for items with specific locations. For example, if someone is searching for restaurants in Myrtle Beach for their upcoming trip, the user could see ads for local restaurants, bars, retailers, etc. even though he or she may not be located there presently.

Additionally, there are some hyper-local technologies sprouting up in the space. Some claim to be able to target specific households based on an assumed number of times a site or app visit came from a specific latitude/longitude location.  And tablets are becoming more popular in homes, used as a second screen platform (using a small-screen device while watching TV)—this technology could be advantageous to marketers.

It is important for marketers to note the differences in how DMA or zip code targeting works and how latitude/longitude or GPS targeting works. Some broader targeting techniques work great for scale, while the more specific ones ensure you are touching the most important segments of your audience ultimately minimizing waste.

Blogging and Revenue: From the Bloggers’ Point of View

Zig Blogger Research White Paper DownloadBrands’ and marketers’ growing desire to connect with consumers via social media is nothing new. Plenty of data and insights exist to help us better understand how to make smart marketing decisions within major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but what about the blogosphere?

That’s where your friends at Zig Marketing are aiming to help; we recently conducted a groundbreaking research survey with bloggers to help give marketers a better idea on how to work with and connect the blogosphere to their campaigns.

In our research we discovered that, although it does still carry some weight for bloggers, money isn’t king in the blogosphere. Bloggers spend a great deal of time honing their craft and building their audiences, and want to be respected for their time and expertise.

Some of the few key insights we uncovered include:

  • 75% of bloggers’ primary reason for blogging is NOT revenue generation. Their passions for sharing information and blogging as a hobby are the top reasons to blog.
  • However, 86% of bloggers DO generate revenue, and on average charge $25 to $500 when working with brands. The blogosphere is not a “thousands of dollars to play” universe, not yet anyway.
  • Even though most bloggers are being paid for their services, they feel that being compensated by brands does not affect the genuineness of the content they post.

That’s just a taste of the data we’ve uncovered. Find out much, much more by downloading the full free report.

Download Full Zig Blogger Research Report

Why Programmatic Buying May Be Hurting Your ROI

Update 6/13/13: We originally wrote Comscore reported 3 in 10 online ads never rendered in view. ComScore has recently updated that number to be 54% of online ads are never renedered in view. http://bit.ly/12q7xeS

An ongoing Adweek investigation has made programmatic buying an even hotter topic in digital marketing news. While it is more time-efficient and cheaper than buying premium inventory directly from a publisher, does buying on ad exchanges really improve campaign ROI?

At the moment, I think the answer is no.

Programmat Buying Issues

The problem with ad exchanges is in part an issue with the inventory of the exchanges themselves, and in part with the agencies doing the buying. While Cost Per Thousand Impressions Rates (CPM) and Cost Per Click Rates (CPC) are lower on ad exchanges, the logic that these lower costs make exchanges a better option than direct buys is flawed.

Publishers make ad inventory available to exchanges as a way to sell ad space that otherwise wouldn’t be purchased. This allows advertisers to serve ads to these placements at a lower CPM or CPC than buying direct from the publisher. This means ad exchanges are riddled with less-than-desirable ad placements, especially at the lower CPCs and CPMs. Often these placements are well below the fold on publisher sites and if you’re buying from a less reputable exchange your ads may even be served to bot-generated, foreign, hate and porn sites. ComScore reports 54% of ads are never rendered in-view, and industry insiders have reported up to 20% of ads are served to “dark” corners of the web.

So why are agencies so keen on exchanges? It’s because big agencies, serving millions of ads, don’t have the time or the manpower to buy directly from publishers—it’s simply too inefficient. Instead they take a spray and pray approach to digital media buying, in which they buy 10x the ads on exchanges at 1/10 the cost of premium inventory and hope they achieve the same success. The problem with this approach is that it assumes all clicks are created equal and ignores how much influence a well-placed premium buy, above the fold, on a reputable site can have on brand consideration and purchase intent.

As marketers, we need to stop thinking of clicks as just clicks and start thinking of them as people. The purchase process doesn’t end at a click, and for that reason neither should our measurement of campaign success. What’s important is what happens after the click. Is the person actually in our target market? How long was that person on the site? What did they view on the site? Did they share something? And most importantly, did they purchase something?

As a digital media planner, it’s still important to consider the context of your placement not just the cost. Direct buys of premium inventory may come at a higher price but it is likely they also will have a higher ROI when customers display much higher engagement after the click.

The Social Contribution Index: Measuring a Campaign’s Effect on Brand Sentiment

One of the main reasons that brands start with social is its value to online reputation management. Most marketers know that getting consumers socially engaged with their brands can generate positive sentiment in the social space, but the challenge comes when it’s time to prove a campaign’s value. That’s where the Social Contribution Index can help.

The Social Contribution Index of a campaign can be defined as the relationship between the percentage of total mentions a campaign earns for a brand vs. the percentage of positive mentions that a campaign earns for a brand.  It’s an excellent metric for understanding the effect that different campaigns have on the brand.  It also provides insight into which campaign types your brand should move forward with. Let’s take a look at an example using real numbers:

A coffee house that we’ll call ‘Jeffrey’s Beans’ (no relation to Geoffrey Beene) has started a social media campaign called ‘Jeffrey’s Beans Great Coffee Giveaway’ where consumers can enter to win a year’s supply of free coffee by interacting with the brand through various social media sites.

In order to find the Social Contribution Index of the Great Coffee Giveaway campaign, we’ll need to use a tool like Radian6 to find the percentage of social media mentions and the percentage of positive mentions about Jeffrey’s Beans that spurred from the Great Coffee Giveaway.

A bar chart showing that The Great Coffee Giveaway made up 0.95% of Jeffrey's Beans mentions and 9.30% of Jeffrey Bean's positive mentions.

In this example, the Great Coffee Giveaway accounted for 0.95% of Jeffrey’s Beans total social media mentions (40 out of 4,230) and 9.30% of the brand’s positive mentions (40 out of 430) during the campaign, putting its Social Media Contribution Index at a staggering 984. This means that the giveaway campaign added over 9X more share of positive sentiment than it did brand mentions.

Evaluating multiple campaigns in this fashion will give you a better idea of what types of campaigns your brand should be focusing on. Did your giveaway promotion generate more positive buzz than your discount promotion? Consider investing more activation funds in your next giveaway campaign. The key here is to learn what works best with your audience and then increase the scale with hyper-targeted activation techniques.

Why Marketers Can’t “Rock” Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day

 

I recently stumbled upon the article and infographic “How to Rock Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day” on the industry news site Social Media Today. The article explains how in just 30 minutes a day your brand can have a 6-channel social media strategy. To quote the article, “Sound too good to be true?”

Well, yes actually, so consider this my rebuttal.

How to "Rock" Social Media

How to Actually “Rock” Social Media

The truth is, you can do social media in 30 minutes a day. But unlike the article states, you certainly won’t be “rocking” it. If you truly want to do great social, it takes hard work, careful attention and dare I say it—time.

According to the article, this is how you can “rock” twitter in just 10 minutes a day:

 Allocate approximately 10 minutes a day to Twitter for responding to any brand mentions and retweets, scheduling new messages, and share content of industry influencers.

It breaks down Facebook (6 minutes), LinkedIn (6 Minutes), Pinterest (4 minutes), Google+ (2 minutes) and Instagram (2 minutes) in similar ways.

The problem with these time allocations is that the article is overlooking many of the tasks that go into doing social well.

So here are my suggestions on how you can actually “rock” social:

  1. Content 

    The key component this article overlooks is the importance of sharing great content. If you’re hastily responding to fans’ messages, writing and scheduling posts and finding outside content to share, chances are it’s probably not great content. And people don’t want to engage with subpar content.

    Producing great content takes time, but it will also pay off when your fans are engaging with it and sharing it across their networks. This means carefully crafting your posts, responding to messages thoughtfully and taking extra time to find exceptional content you can share with your followers.

  2. Activation 

    Just because your brand is on social doesn’t mean your potential customers know it is there. You have to activate your audience through advertising, outreach and promotions. And managing these tasks takes time. Promote your brand’s new pages with pay per click advertising, partner with bloggers and other influencers to help promote your content or host a contest to engage your audience and build your following.

  3. Research & Monitoring 

    Social doesn’t stop when you click off the page. People are constantly engaging and sharing content on social platforms, and it is important to understand what type of content resonates with your audience. Track how your social posts perform to see what content is driving the most engagement for your brand. Keep tabs on how your audience is using social and what is going on in the world around you. Social media happens in real time. If you can capitalize on recent events that tie in with your brand it only increases your value to your audience.

It’s important to understand that you can’t just dip your feet into social and expect results. If you’re only going to allocate 30 minutes a day to your brands social presence you’re probably better off with no presence at all. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and work it takes to do great social you’ll see the benefits that an engaging social presence can have for your brand.

Is Productivity Lacking in Your Office?

There are many reasons why office morale may be down; the economy and client budgets are some of which we cannot control. It’s important to keep the morale up to ensure valuable productivity and a positive environment. Based on my own experiences at various workplaces, I share with you these 3 ways that you can keep your morale up, and your productivity and the productivity of your peers to a maximum.

  1. Recognize the hard work your employees do.  Your team is always working hard to better the company. They want to see success, and a little motivation and reassurance that they’re doing great never hurts. A simple “thank you for your hard work” not only boosts morale, but also reinforces the respect between you and your team.
  2. Seek input.  When your team feels like they’ve helped build the business, they’re likely to feel like they have more at stake in your company. Include your staff in your effort to better the workplace and show them you value their suggestions.
  3. Don’t forget to have fun.  This is simple; no one wants to come into work dreading the next 8+ hours of meetings, presentations, and planning. There are plenty of ways to make sure a little laughter makes it into your environment. Plan a company lunch, outing or team-building event. This could be kept in or near the office, too. Have a 10-minute break to take a walk outside, or create an in-office challenge.

Positive morale is key to increased productivity and a happier environment. If you continuously recognize hard work and value your team, your employees will continue to work hard and seek to better the workplace.

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Zig employees enjoying a lunch break stroll on a lovely day

 

Social Media Drives Greater Site Engagement than Search Engines

Wondering why your visitors aren’t engaging with your site? It could have something to do with how they arrived. We analyzed seven B2B and B2C campaigns from the past three years in hopes of determining which referral type drives greater brand engagement: social media or search engine?

Across the campaigns, we compared the number of pages per visit, average visit duration, and bounce rates from those who came from social sources against those who came from search engine advertisements. We also indexed the referral types against total site traffic averages.

The results: social media sources handily outperformed search engines when it came to on-site engagement metrics. Not only did search engine traffic underperform compared to social media, it underperformed to nearly all other types of digital media.

Social Media vs. Search Engines Site Engagement Chart

This aligns with our findings that social traffic is contextual. Users are often already engaged in the subject when presented with a link and the opportunity to explore related content, leading to more meaningful and engaging visits. Whereas search engine traffic, by its very nature, runs on mathematical logic, usually without context. This leads to lower engagement and more bounces as users typically engage in multiple searches before finding exactly what they’re looking for.

Search engines are still great pure traffic drivers, and work well for many other KPIs; but if you’re looking to increase meaningful brand engagement, social media is the place to be.