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How to detect the ROI of Social Media

Remember when we found some statistics by the Fournaise Marketing Group that mentioned how weak business credibility of marketers in the eyes of their CEO’s is? According to the study 73% of marketers lack business credibility. In the end, it all comes down to what…? Correct: Sales!

Still, 77% of CEO’s think, marketers are not much focussed on sales… according to then study.

The only way marketers can prove their business efficiency is by making their bosses clear how marketing drives sales. However, the question is how Social Media can be beneficial in this process as it is redefining the ROI model that we know from the past. Do marketers need to change their point of reference? Does it matter to look at Social Media numbers, or is it better to focus on business figures? In my eyes the later helps marketers detect the secret sauce.

CEO’s might love marketers for a good promotion. Yes, awareness is never bad. However, they value a sales story creates is much higher. It tells everyone how their lead generation campaign led them to the last sales success which made their pockets full of money. And just imagine how marketers could use that for their social efforts…!

The following infographic by InventHelp gives some insights in how to value social reports for business results. How can marketers determine the ROI of their social media activities? What motivates consumers to like a brand on Facebook? How do successful campaigns on the social web generate the right customers that buy?

Tuesday generates highest engagement for social campaigns

Did you not ever want to know what the best day for a Social Media marketing campaign could be? Well, you can get some good indication with the following study…

Many Facebook campaigns go live on Fridays. However, the day that generates most user engagement for a campaign on the social network is the Tuesday, which ranked only fourth in terms of the number campaigns conducted. These are some of the findings of a recent study done by Yesmail Interactive. The results are based on a three-month study of consumer engagement with online campaigns for 20 major retails brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, or Ralph Lauren among others.

The study with the title “Using Digital Market Intelligence to Drive Multi–Channel Success” figured out the customer engagement of campaigns on the most popular social networks. In order to understand campaign engagement, it compared the relationship between “volume-based engagement” of Facebook campaigns (number of “likes” or comments a campaign generates) and “actual engagement analysis”. The finding is quite obvious, in that the lower the brand “likes”, the fewer likes and comments a brand on Facebook gets. Still, independent of the size of their fan base, some retail brands generate higher engagement levels than others through Facebook. Nevertheless, average-performing brands still performed as engagement winners, including i.e. Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer or Kenneth Cole. 

Although, we have already reported that a balanced frequency in posting status updates is important for the success of a Facebook campaign, there is no blueprint and guarantee for success. The most engaging brands had deployed between 20 and 32 campaigns per month. Compared to the five least engaging brands with 54 campaigns per month, it becomes obvious that posting less frequently is better. From a timing perspective, the best Facebook engagement was generated for campaigns launching between 10 pm and 12 am Eastern time (EST) which was also the least-used deployment time slot.

For Twitter, the research showed that most Twitter campaigns (20%) were conducted on Friday, which again is the least engaging day for such campaigns. Almost on the same engagement level performed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as those most engaging campaign days. Over 84% of all Twitter campaigns were deployed within regular work hours (between 9am and 7pm EST).

The performance of the 20 retail brands on Twitter showed big differences. Although Forever 21 came in first in terms of follower base, the brand’s campaigns showed significantly lower engagement among followers than the campaigns of brands with smaller follower bases.

The five most engaging brands did 45 to 70 Twitter campaigns per month on Twitter versus the five least engaging brands with an average number between 95 and 115 Twitter campaigns per month. It shows again that lower frequency is better than big blast promotions. If marketers want to generate high engagement, they should place their campaigns between 5 am to 6 am and 7 am to 8 am EST.

In terms of YouTube campaigns, the study found that 85% of the brands studied have a YouTube channel. Still, just 35% deployed campaigns during the research period. Some more findings indicate that on average, retailers conducted 3.5 campaigns per month during the study. The best day for interaction occurred to be Monday. Do we have to mention that this was the least likely day for campaign deployment? YouTube campaigns deployed between 2 am-3 am EST found the highest engagement rates.

The study is based on campaigns conducted from January to March, 2012 via Yesmail Market Intelligence. The selection of brands focusses on 18-35 year-olds as of their digital communication interest.

Curiosity – Brand anarchy is to create invisible advertising

Curiosity is it what makes the world get mad. Whether it is IKEA’s smallest shop of the world put in a banner, some invisible commercial.

Lynx, in cooperation with Soap Creative, know how to produce some curious innovative digital art work. They have created this campaign which just went live in Australia. This is the world’s first invisible ad installation. It is using some special LCD screens that can only been seen with polarised glasses.

People passing by in some street in Sydney got some polarised glasses which unlocked the curiosity of the invisible screens, scenes the normal eyes could not see by the naked eye. And finally, then the content was unleashed. Couples were to be seen while having their pleasures and random dogs swimming in a room of water. Actually in my hotel they are swimming on the television but that is another story.

Study: Web-traffic boosts in-store sales

In a recent study the research companies comScore, Accenture and dunnhumbyUSA found some significant relevance between in-store sales and a company’s web presence. The study was based on a panel of CPG customers and one million U.S. Internet users who have given comScore explicit permission to have their online activities continuously measured and matched to their in-store brand buying behavior provided by dunnhumbyUSA.

The report comes to the conclusion that consumers who visit a website prior to their shopping experience in a company store spend 34% more with that company and 57% more on products or services based on their specific industry sector. It also states that visitors of brand websites are frequent buyers of the brand in retail stores. It shows that 42% more of these clients finish their transactions than non-visitors. Furthermore, website visitors are also heavier buyers in a brand’s product category. They are spending 53% more in their category dollars than non-visitors.

“Since website visitors have higher affinity to the brand and the overall product category, there is an opportunity for brand marketers to drive loyalty through personalizing the website experience, catering to the preferences of their best customers.”John LaRocca, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, dunnhumbyUSA

And again another study highlights the importance of content marketing as the new emerging trend in marketing. Shoppers were more aggressive in their approach to understand and evaluate their purchases prior to their visit in shops as a result of the massive information access through the web. According to the research, content marketing plays a significant role here. So, campaigns on the web not only add value to web shopping but also -and for some companies and brands more importantly- will help to drive and boost in-store habits and sales – apart from positioning a brand’s capability.

“Marketers who create compelling (brand) website experiences for consumers are extremely effective in driving incremental and profitable in-store sales. Analysis shows that consumers visiting the best of the 10 CPG brand websites evaluated in the research study, spent over 200% more on the brand than non-visitors.” Jerry Lohse, Senior Director, Accenture Interactive

Based on the fact that Brafton reported some weeks ago that the average consumer visits more than 10 web pages before a purchase decision, this study marks an important point in the relevance between online and offline shopping. This might be catalyzed by the new opportunities that smartphones, tablets or Augmented Reality (see real-life community shopping) offer, and shows the straight relationship between the two shopping experiences which more and more merge to one close shopping cycle.

Spot On!
More companies are realizing that offering web shoppers the same information and service as in-stores will lead to more purchase at both ends of the shopping cycle: online and at offline locations. The challenge for companies is to differentiate the shopping experience by using SoLoMo (social – local – mobile). Here the question for the future will remain whether in-store shopping needs to become more of a lifestyle experience or adventure to attract more consumers to join in-store activity (see IKEA Sleepover), or wether people will want to have real people around them and thus make it a social reality world, rather than a social web world…

ComScore study: 31% of banner ads get lost for viewers

© carlos castilla - Fotolia.com

Companies and brands love to book page impressions with publishers, shopping and trading sites. Users find themselves being bombarded with banner ads all over the web – and not often do these ads add any value on customer journeys and the digital shopping experience. Often they bore us (dresses and dishes), annoy us (gay ads for married people) or make us hate companies brands (you love a and get b beer brands). Real Time bidding (RTB), (Behavioral) Retargeting technology and demand side platforms (DSP) will become game changers in the ad space in the future.

Sounds good but do advertisers get what publishers promise today, just on the basis of ad impression buying? Well, not really…

Yesterday, ComScore announced their “Validated Campaign Essentials (vCE)” which is said to be a Holistic Measurement tool for verifying the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and their subsequent targeting tactics. Thus, ComScore can double-check of where the ads are being delivered, where they are positioned within a page and who’s eyeballs they meet with the optimization add-on to know where they can be better positioned and at what time. The new technology or tool (vCE) will allow ComScore check campaigns effectiveness on a demographics basis.

ComScore definitely recognizes clients need for a world of better performance with campaigns for a reasonable future of advertisements. However the good news, when you worried about the effectiveness of your last campaign, there is much worse stuff to think about…

ComScore has found, in a recent comprehensive study, that over 31% of online display ads get lost for eyeballs of potential viewers, and for some websites it is even a scary number of 91%. Reasons are obvious: Some of these ads are below the fold. User might not scroll down far enough to view them, and vice versa. Some people just scroll too quick and thus get passed them before they have been loading.

The findings also state that as many as 15% of campaign ads were delivered to viewers outside of the targeted media plan places. An average of 4% of ad impressions found viewers in locations that weren’t on the plan, or where products weren’t available. Do you still wonder why the above mentioned banner campaigns reach us? But ComScore works on the issue…

“One big issue with internet advertising is that not all ads that are served end up being seen. This is a core issue raised by the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative. In order for marketers to have the same confidence in the digital channel as they do in TV, we need measurement around the visibility of ads.” Mike Donahue, EVP, Strategic Partnerships, ComScore

Spot On!
Google will penalize companies and platforms that have too many ads above the fold in the future: 3 ads per page is sufficient and strategically clever, Google advices in this video. Just imagine your banners are being delivered to platforms that are damaging for your brand. It happens. Impressions appear beside content that were defined as “not brand safe” by the advertiser. Of all tested campaigns, 72% showed up on pages that had objectionable content, as defined by the brand. Now, that ComScore and advertisers like Chrysler, Discover, E*TRADE Financial, Ford, Kellogg’s, Kimberly Clark and Kraft among others push the development of the third-party tracking, there might be hope that consumers and clients get banners delivered that are targeted the right way. Nevertheless, companies need to start thinking about the right call-to-action in order to get the right conversation figures…

How a campaign brings multiscreen couples together

Many families, and especially couples, experience new formats of evening togetherness. Couples are not leaning back any longer and simply watching TV, or having relaxed chats next to it. With most couples, both partners are using their smartphones, tablets or notebooks to chat with friends, to update their status for their fans and keep in touch with their digital fellows while the TV sceen is fighting for viewing figures.

Did you realize that TV gets the former status of the radio in our digital world? People listen to TV but are actively engaged in something else, in another screen conversation, in a multiscreen reality. Mobile becomes the new prime time. Radio always was the number two from a user attention perspective. So is singlescreen attention today, it is out, digital leads. Multichannel is the big future, and the looser is… the personal relationship. We all know how relaxing it is to lean back, and how TV reduces our “most emotional relationship activities” to a minimum, multiscreen usage could become a limitation catalyst.

But there is hope…

CP+B has thought about this development, maybe not… Still, they tell us in a new campaign how couples most commonly book trips. They have created a 2 for 1 campaign for Scandinavian Airlines. The campaign called “Couple Up to Buckle Up” was launched in banners, emails, facebook app, or print ads, and used two unique QR codes to bring people closer together again, i.e. to book a flight to Paris together.

In the campaign approach, couples need to scan the QR code assigned to them. Then, they would sync their half of a video based offer and reveal the discount code split across both screens. Bit of a challenge to scan/play at the same time but still a nice idea on a critical relationship topic.

And maybe this will help to… Well, you decide!

Couple Up to Buckle Up from Tobias Carlson on Vimeo.

The near future of Augmented Reality (AR) and QR codes

Augmented reality (AR) has a glorious future according to a new market research published by MarketsandMarkets. It will be interesting to see which role QR codes play in that future as more and more technologies arise.

The new market research report “Global Augmented Reality (AR) Market Forecast by Product (HMD, HUD, Tablet PC, Smartphone) for Gaming, Automotive, Medical, Advertisement, Defense, E-Learning & GPS Applications (2011-2016)” states that the total Augmented Reality applications market will be growing by over 95% from 2011 to 2016. The research sees it reaching a market volume of $5151,74 million.

According to Comscore research almost 10% of all smartphone users have scanned QR codes in June this year. The interesting fact is that most users scan their QR codes from home (57,4%). In public only 20% use those QR scan options from outdoor advertising or in public transport.

Although screen technology (smartphone, tablet and eye-wear) is still in its infancy concerning AR, and also facing some challenges, the Universities of Washington and the MIT see a better future on the experience horizont. Especially, the head up and head mounted displays have become mature, finds the study. Leading and growing in use are online apps, gaming apps and GPS apps. So far, campaigns like the following by MIRAT Paris work on the basis of QR coding…

But what kind of Augmented Reality technologies are rocking the transformation from the physical to the virtual world, or shall we say to the mobile world?

Some months ago, we only had browser technology like Layar and Wikitude. Today, companies like Tesco are experimenting with other capabilities in their retail shops. For a long time, we had to use QR codes or trigger points to initiate some activity with AR technology.

Layar’s latest innovation called “Vision” is another reason why QR codes are becoming uncool. Vision is a tool that lets advertisers and content owners integrate Augmented Reality ads in publications. As an example you may watch the Dutch magazine Linda how the technology works…

Some other technology innovations are also evolving that might catalyze the technology shift in the AR sphere. Here are three of them…

Aurasma
The Aurasma technology -unlike the GPS based technologies Layar (until the Vision version) and Wikitude that merely recognizes what someone has tagged as locations or places- is a new generation augmented reality browser. Aurasma recognises images through cameras in a way search engines recognise words. The browser then creates so-called 2D or 3D „Auras“ which show animated audio-video content. Just watch some examples of Aurasma campaigns.

blippAR
With blippAR the whole advertisment becomes the response tool. It is enough to simply point in the direction of the ad with the app. Still, the awareness challenge needs to be solved. And, the need for a specific browser to use the technology. See some examples of blippAR usage. At the moment you can even participate in the interactive blippAR campaign “escape the map” by Mercedes Benz.

Printechnologics
Printechnologics is based on Touchcode carrier technology. It contains a blind or transparent code which is embedded via invisible data storage development inside print products like carton, foil or simply paper. Printechnologics turns the AR identification around as you lay the paper on top of the tablet or smartphone, and not the other way round. And you don’t even need to modify your device, download a browser, use NFC (near field communication), or a camera for it to identify and initiate the online activity form the offline trigger. The last issue from the ICONIST carried a Printechnologics card and here you can see how it connect the two worlds….

Spot On!
In some months, the QR codes might be gone as an AR trigger, and thus leave the advertising world. However, all AR technologies have one weakness: You need to know that these technologies are embedded in any forms of campaigns. You need some trigger point, button, picture, image or QR code that people see. Thus, the main challenge for QR codes and Augmented Reality is to build awareness and understanding what it can do. Nobody is using a browser or a camera if there is no “visual” reason for virtual interactivity. I see TV using any of the forms as an extension for their TV shows in order to promote their digital content and advertising opportunities, just like the print industry did in the past. One thing is for sure: Augmented Reality will definitely become a new playground that connects the TV and online markets in the future…

What’s your view on Augmented Reality and QR codes? Let us know…

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger's work?

Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The “Pay a Blogger Day” is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the “Pay a Blogger Day”.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to “donate” for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: “Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.” One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the “Pay a Blogger Day!” on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission “Give something back to bloggers!” A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the “Pay a blogger day!”). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, “plusers” and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like Floout.me?

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say “Thank you” and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

LinkedIn – The future of career advertising goes social…

About one and a half years ago, the guys from Mediamind asked me if I want to write a guest post on the future of banner creatives on their blog. Well, I flashed back to find the future – the old strategic approach… What came out was a headline called “Engagement creatives reloading the future”. Seeing what was happening on LinkedIn in the last months, it seems I had quite a good feeling on what the future might look like.

In the Mediamind post, I focussed on the response banner functionality of Facebook creatives and how the referential potential of social graph marketing intelligence let the personal network get engaged. One individual creates buzz just by being integrated with a linked name in one line of the graphic. So, people know your name and get dragged into campaign activity, just by curiosity, just by wanting to know why, what and how. Just by … you name it.

In the last weeks, LinkedIn came from being just another platform selling space to opening the potential for intelligent career online advertising, and leveraging the network potential with clever display advertising. Companies were focussing on personalization, the social targeting opportunities and the API potential to enable innovative campaigns creatives on the business network.

While some social media marketing companies (funny right…?! see picture above) use the traditional way of banner creatives, Volkswagen identified the evolution of the pick-a-boo effect and the competitive aspect of having more contacts, more recommendations and better education. Just the things that make up a career…

Another example is AMEX. They took their social advertising career campaign even a step further by not spoting you, but the person next to us that helps successful managers, the teams and you: the administrators. People could nominate their business supporters, and by voting promote these “second liners” to have a chance to win a gift card courtesy of 2.500 USD.

In the end, the most convincing career social display campaign is when you find yourself in the middle of a personalized creative. When I checked one of my contacts from SAP today, a rectangle banner appeared next to the SAP contact profile of the person I am linked with. Now, guess what happened? I got offered a job from SAP. Well, maybe not the job I wanted but still a great approach.

The banner was personalized using my LinkedIn picture and my name. It was really somehow talking to me. It detected I could be in the software industry, I could be a consulting sales person, and yes, the creation is clever in terms of straight interaction and sharing. Don’t you think…?

Spot On!
We are still early stages with these new (career) display advertising opportunities. Still, the advertising evolution is happening, and publishers need to have a close look at the opportunities if they don’t want to loose the battle to social networks. These examples might be geeky – however, they are engaging, personalized and conversational. Just what traditional banner cannot offer far too often…