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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.

Social Media oder die Qual der Wahl

Wir haben gestern einen Ausflug gemacht. An den Tegernsee, denn wir lieben die Bergregion um München. Schöne Berge, traumhafte Natur und auf den Almen immer nette Menschen und leckeres Essen. Aber eine Sache macht uns immer wieder zu schaffen. Die Qual der Wahl… Die Qual der Wahl, welche Hütte wir diese Wochenende “bewandern”. Welchen Weg wir nehmen sollen. Oder, welches Essen uns wohl am meisten ansprechen wird, wenn wir oben auf dem Berg angekommen sind. Und selbst wenn wir es wissen, lesen wir die Karte und sehen immernoch vor der Entscheidung … oder haben weiterhin die Qual der Wahl.

Eine große Auswahl zu haben, ist eine schöne Sache. Man könnte sagen, ein Luxusproblem… Aber wie auch schon Miriam Meckel in ihrem Buch Das Glück der Unerreichbarkeit klar macht, ist die Qual der Wahl eine unserer größten Herausforderungen der Zukunft. Viele Sachen stimulieren uns, viele Sinne rühren uns, viel Auswahl verwirrt uns. Ohne Filter wird alles zu einem einzigen Chaos.

Wir lieben es Karten zu lesen, die eine große Auswahl bieten und soind enttäuscht, wenn die Karte nur klassische Breotzeit offeriert. Es sei denn auf der Hütte, wo die Brotzeit zu einem kulinarischen Highlight avenziert. Und wie es immer so ist, scheint der Hunger und die Begeisterung größer als das Bedürfnis. Die Qual der Wahl wächst…

Warum erzähle ich das alles?

Manchmal möchte ich nicht in der Haut von den Leuten stecken, die ich so berate oder beraten habe in den letzten Wochen und Monaten. Social Media Marketing scheint einen ähnlichen Effekt auf Marketing-, PR-, HR- und Customer Service Manager zu haben.

Die Qual der Wahl stapelt sich für sie in Form von zahlreichen Fragen…

– Nutze ich Social Media überhaupt? Eine Wahl, die eigentlich keine mehr sein sollte…
– Bleibe ich besser bei meinen Leisten und erklimme nicht die Höhen und Tiefen der modernen Medien?
– Welche Kommunikationmedien nutzt meine Zielgruppe (am liebsten und in 5 Jahren noch)?
– Welche Plattform schmeckt mir (Benutzerfreundlichekeit, Usability, Technik) am besten?
– Welche Plattform oder welche sozialen Medien ist/sind für mich zielführend?
– Kann ich eine Strategie, die meisten meinen eher eine taktisches Vorgehen, eines Mitbewerbes adaptieren?
– Geht die Geschäftsführung d’accord mit einer unstrategisch wirkenden Trial-and-Error Phase?
– Welche Tools, Taktiken und Trends nutze ich um meine Botschaften anzubringen?
– Wie und womit hört man eigentlich am besten in die Zielgruppe rein?
– Wie kommunizire ich und mache die Marke menschlich?
– Mit welchen Techniken oder Apps erhöhe ich meinen ROI-Output?

Die Qual der Wahl ist wie ein unbewanderter gebirgiger Waldweg. Man muß sich ab des Weges der Konformität wandern und testen, wenn man dann doch mal mit Ruhe einen klaren und zielführenden Gedanken fassen will.

Ein paar grundsätzliche Fragen, die man sich machen sollte…

– Wer ist meine Zielgruppe und wie ist sie im Social Web heute und morgen unterwegs (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z)?
– Wann soll mein Auswahl Erfolg zeigen? Deklinieren Sie vom kleinsten gemeinsamen Nenner der Unternehmensziele (Markenbildung, Engagement, Leads, Umsatzzahlen…
– Was schränkt mein Vorgehen (One-Voice Policy, Kunden Status Updates, Kommentare oder Posts) mit den sozialen Medien aufgrund business-strategischer Vorgaben ein?
– Warum scheinen soziale Medien für meine Zielgruppe am aussichtsreichsten? Eine gute Analyse der Erfolgssäulen gehört vorangeschaltet, um Kosten, Personalaufwand und sonstige Resourcen abschätzen zu können…
– Wie setze ich die sozialen Kommunikationskanäle Blog, Twitter, Faceboook, Youtube oder XING/LinkedIn zukunftsträchtig als Informationsmedien auf, wer testet und wer optimiert? Wie kann hieraus ein steter Prozess entstehen?

Vielleicht bietet der Post eine Leilinie zur Entscheidungshilfe. Falls nicht, sagen Sie mir, wie sie mit der Qual der Wahl umgehen oder umgegangen sind. Die Diskussion ist eröffnet…

Direct Messaging export – a missing feature in social networks?

Some days ago, a Nielsen study said that in the US social network usage is more popular than email. This does not surprise me, when I think about Luis Suarez speech at the Web 2.0 Expo 2008 “Thinking outside the Inbox”. If we agree with him, then there is one feature definitely missing in social network…

How I came across this missing feature…
In my new job role I do a lot of business socializing which is quite normal when the business is done 90% with international business contacts. A lot of business brainstorming is being kicked off or happening on the fly and you don’t think where you communicate. Many of these conversations start via the direct messaging functionality -comparable to email communication- in social networks. Some of them end in nothing. Some turn out to be brilliant contacts which become interesting prospects. And suddenly these end up being leads or potential revenue drivers. And then there comes the problem…

Where is the direct messaging extraction functionality? Some kind of external saving or export module to save the content and communication? Not speaking of an “email archiving” technology?

If your business, or the business of the company you are working for, is meant to be compliant (and which is not today…?) how can you export a conversation that already started in a social network? OK, you could copy it, and send it via email again. Quite uncomfortable though, right…? Or you save all the emails that you get from the social network providers. A lot of redundant data saving…

In business networks like Bebo, XING or LinkedIn users are possible to export the database of their contacts in one go – … but not an email communication threat. Meaning, if you have had a good conversation and mentioned some kind of business critical data, pricing, or offering than you have to have the proof for tax or auditing service reasons – and ideally you can extract it in one go.

In my eyes, this is a missing feature that at least all social business networks should be offering. Don’t you think?

Im Kommentar Social Media Newsroom promoten

Es freut mich immer wieder, wenn meine User mir mit Kommentaren interessanten und neuen Input liefern.

Manchmal überlegt man, wie man jetzt auf einen Kommentar reagieren soll. Da mir das in nachfolgendem Beispiel schon mehrfach so gegangen ist, brauche ich mal Input von meinen Usern und Social Media Experten.

Das Beispiel des Kommentars bezieht sich auf das Phänomen der Promotion eigener Social Media Newsroom. Und die Frage ist, ob und wenn ja, wie man auf diesen Kommentarfall reagieren und eingehen soll.

Dem Verfasser möchte ich für die ausführlichen Infos danken. Ein wahrlich interessanter und diskussionwürdiger Ansatz, den die DVAG da fährt und der mir bisher unbekannt war. Dort werden wahrlich alle sozialen Medien als Kommunikations-Channel bespielt.

Nun aber eine grundsätzliche Diskussion hierzu…

Inwieweit sind Blogs dazu da, seine unternehmerischen Botschaften und klassischen PR aktivitäten in aller Ausführlichkeit dazustellen und zu platzieren?

Wäre der Hinweis auf den Social Media Newsroom genug gewesen, indem ich EINEN Link setze? Wenn ja, wo setze ich diesen Link: Bei der Angabe meiner Daten (Name, Email und Webadresse) oder erst im Text oder an beiden Stellen?

Ein Social Media Newsroom sollte alle Verlinkungen in die soziale Web-Welt in sich bergen. So kann jeder Web-User sehen, was das Unternehmen im Social Web so macht.

Sieht man sich die Seite der DVAG an, so ist das auch der Fall. Und dieser Lin wurde ja auch angegeben. Nur ist mir unklar, ob man dann die anderen Link ebenfalls benötigt (Gefahr des “Linkschleuder-Ansatzes”)?! Sollte man trotzdem alle Social Seiten einzeln auflisten?

Wäre es ein gutes Vorgehen gewesen, mal via eine Business Networks wie XING oder LinkedIn die Konversation mit mir zu suchen und auf die Präsenzen hinzuweisen?

Diese Fragen gingen mir durch den Kopf als ich kommentieren wollte. Der kommentar wäre zu lange geworden. Dieser Post kam zustande…

Ich denke, es hilft allen, wenn wir hier mal Feedback sammeln. Freue mich auf Eure Meinungen…

Case Study: Social Media zur Lead Generierung

Eine aktuelle Fallstudie von Breakingpoint (THX to Jeff Bullas) unterstreicht die weitreichenden Möglichkeiten, die das Social Web bei der Lead Generierung offeriert. Im Mittelpunkt der Strategie stehen dabei als taktische Massnahmen integrierte Emailkampagnen und Social Media Ansätze, welche über verschiedene Plattformen angegangen werden. Die Messung der Ergebnisse zeigt vorzeigbare Zahlen…

55% aller Leads kommen von Inbound Web Visits
75% der durch Marketing beeinflußten Pipeline kommen von Inbound Web Leads

Das Fallbeispiel “verordnet” 6 Social Media Schritte, die den Sales Funnel füllen:

1. Erstelle ein Blog, um anzufangen und nimm an der Konversation teil.
2. Setze einen aktiven Twitter-Account auf.
3. Erstelle eine LinkedIn Gruppe (oder Facebook Page, abhängig von deiner Demographie) – Anmerkung: XING Gruppe in Europa ist sicherlich auch nicht verkehrt.
4. Modifiziere Deine Strategie für Pressemitteilungen für Blogger Coverage
5. Promote Social Media Channels auf Deiner Firmen Webseite und in Email Signaturen
6. Messe die Größe der Social Media Accounts und des Web-Traffic

Die Ergebnisse der Social Media Kampagne machen klar, daß es einen starken Zusammenhang zwischen der Nutzung von Social Media Channeln und dem Wachstum des Web-Traffics sowie der Leads gibt. Das Besondere daran ist, daß der Zuwachs des Traffics sich in der Mehrzahl der Leads niedergeschlagen hat. Hier die Ergebnisse nach sechs Monaten Laufzeit:

10,230 Unique Blog Page Views in Q3
280 Twitter Follower
141 Mitglieder in ihrer LinkedIn Gruppe
155% Erhöhung der Unique Visitor

Die Aufsplittung der generierten Leads…

55% Inbound Web
23% Messen
20.5% Email
1.5% Seminare

Durch Marketing beeinflußte Pipeline…

75% Inbound Web
17% Email
4% Seminare
4% Messen

Spot On!
Die Zahlen wirken sehr überzeugend und zeigen die Möglichkeiten, die dem Social Web bei der Lead Generierung beigemessen werden können. Man darf bei der gesamten Euphorie ein paar Dinge nicht vergessen: Die saubere Trennung der Lead-Ursprünge dürfte noch schwierig nachzuvollziehen sein. Und es stellt sich immer die Frage, wieviele der generierten Kontakte man als bestehende Kunden hatte oder ein Salesteam als “Datenbank-Leichen” über Jahre mit sich herumschleppt. Dennoch kann man die Aktivierung solcher Kontakte mittels Social Media als einen fast noch größeren Erfolg im Vergleich zu kostspieligen Outbound-Aktionen werten. Natürlich wäre es wichtig zu wissen, welchen Aufwand an Personal und Budgets man hinter die Anstrengungen gepackt hat im Vergleich zu traditionellen Marketing-Strategien zur Lead Generierung.

PS: Da habe ich Kyle Flaherty (Marketingleiter von BreakingPoint) mal drauf angesprochen. Hier ist seine Antwort

Best feature of social networks? The Pick-a-boo effect…

pick-a-booDon’t we love to play this game with kids because we know how happy it makes them… Pick-a-boo. But as adults using social networks: What is it that makes us happy? Some weeks ago, I asked some friends of mine who in turn asked friends of theirs as well as their colleagues: What is the main benefitial feature of social networks? The most frequent answer that came up was the ‘Who has been on your profile lately’ feature which goes along the lines of ‘The Pick-a-boo’ effect.

Now, what does that mean ‘The Pick-a-boo’ effect’? Well, people register in social networks in order to get in contact or connected with peers, (old) friends or humans that are (or might be) interested in them or/and their work. The tricky point is that there are people in the world of social networks we don’t want to contact any longer, in the future or in general. Nevertheless, we still love to take a peek as we wonder if they are still interested in us, what they are up to and what impact is driving their lives. It’s kind of human vanity and curiosity thing. We want to compare ourselves with them, want to check out how ‘sexy’ our online (and offline) reputation is – not only in terms of business life. We want to play Pick-a-boo. We are there and everybody in social networks knows that, but we are not visible all the time. And, we would love not to be visible for everybody when we are looking at people’s profiles who appear not to be relevant for our life. But we’ll pop-up from time to time to stay ‘up to date’.

So, we make us accessible and available in social networks for those who are also users of these networks. As we don’t know the size of the target group of people who is interested in us, we want to find out about it. By this we are making the ‘ego-community’ transparent for ourselves. And most of us ‘social medians’ are eager and would love to know that, wouldn’t we? Some networks have acknowledged this desire of being famous and our nasty habit of being vain. And they satisfy our need and desire for that with great application features supporting this pick a boo effect: status updates, birthday calender or ‘contacts of your contacts’.

No matter if you are a sales person, a recruiter or a consultant. We all want to know how a person looks like after making a call, or attending a meeting or a conference. And we all want to know more about them, either because it facilitates a second conversation or because we would like to recruit someone or sell something. The more we know, the easier the effort. Playing Pick-a-boo has become standard.

The active Pick-a-boo
Let’s identify the active pick a boo effect in social networks. We try to find the person or/and go to a profile page, x-ray the contact or find out details on his mentality, personality or hobbies. So, we take a quick look at the profile and then we are off again. Sometimes, we might be going there for a second or a third time before getting in touch with that person. And the funny thing is: We know that the other person knows that we have been visiting their profile page. Is it because we want them to do the first step. Or we ‘pick-a-boo’ just to let them know, someone is interested.

The passive Pick-a-boo
The passive benefit of the pick a boo effect lies in the feature ‘Who has been to your profile’ application or widget. Although a paid service feature on some social networks (XING and LinkedIn), it is probably the most viewed or reloaded feature of active social ‘medians’, those users who have access to it. Why is this ‘pick a boo’ application so attractive for us? We can…
… receive transparency on the ego-community
… monitor the quantity and quality of visitors to our profiles
… identify our ‘personal branding target group’
… evaluate our job market options
… see how often Google is used for ‘Recruit-Googling’
… see who ‘delivers’ good contacts to us
and finally the best of all parts: Via the passive pick a boo effect, we can contact people and definitely have a starting point for a business and/or private conversation.

Spot On!
Seeing all these benefits of the Pick-a-boo application ‘Who has seen to your profile lately’, it surprises me that the biggest network of all, Facebook, still doesn’t have this application feature. Or will it be coming with the announcement of becoming a paid service platform? We will see…

Curious to hear your view and experience on the Pick-a-boo effect in social networks?

How to attract more visitors – The 10 most important visitor resources for blogs

How can you find a lot of users for your business blog?

How can you find a lot of users for your business blog?

Is there a secret, why corporate blogs and business blogs have more success than traditional corporate websites? Is it the modern architecture of blogging systems? Is it the exiting and exhilarant spelling style of bloggers? Or is a conspiracy of the digital natives against the internet retirees?

Nothing of it! Blogs and bloggers are simply using some very effective methods to attract visitors.

The 10 most important visitor resources for blogs:

  1. Feeds – Blogs are read via feed reader predominantly, not via browsers any longer. Well-known blogs have more than 100.000 feed reader per day. On a normal day in Germany, there are some blogs with more than 10.000 feed reader.
    Highlight your RSS feed on your blog and take advantage of a feed service like Feedburner
  2. Google – Visitors through search engines are the second largest visitor group of blogs. Bloggers use always methods of search engine optimization (SEO) in order to achieve good rankings with important key words.
    Write in a search engine friendly way. Use Google’s Webmaster Tools and install a SEO plug-in like wpSEO!
  3. Pingbacks and Trackbacks – Links don’t just offer a value-add for your own users but also backlinks and numerous new users.
    Link all directions as often as possible and learn to use trackbacks in a proper way.
  4. Twitter – with the micro-blogging service you can approach users faster than with your blog. News with real add-on information are spread via Twitter the “viral” way very fast.
    Work on broadening your Twitter follower base. Promote your Twitter account on your blog and vice versa. Twitter your blog postings at the right time!
  5. Social Networks – Promote your important blog postings on XING, Facebook or LinkedIn.
  6. Forums – Are you an accredited expert, for example a wine blogger?
    If you see in a forum the question: What are the most expensive wines or the 10 most dry French ones? Write a posting on your blog and post only the link in the forum.
  7. Blog directors and RSS feed directories – Just some selected directories (Technorati, Blogoscoop, Bloggerei, Wikio) generate new visitors. Especially, if you are ranking well in these directories.
  8. Your comments on other blogs – Make yourself heard on other blogs as a constructive business partner – far and foremost in not well-known blogs. This will result in new visitors. Beware the free of sense comments! This will damage your own blog reputation in the long term.
  9. Comments of others on your blog – This is the secret of well-visited blogs:
    Be responsive to comments – You will win permanent visitors!
  10. Guest writers – Invite readers/users, other bloggers or “VIP’s” from the offline and online world to write guest posts. Every guest author will be talking to others about it or link directly to this post.
    Your creativity has no limits: travel agents blog about journeys of their customers, hotel managers animate guests to write about their vacation resort, … Your customers don’t want that? Ask them if they want to publish some of their holiday pictures on your homepage! You will be surprised seeing the reaction…

Did I forget something? Is your ranking of visitor resources different? Where do you see options to attract more visitors for your blog? Looking forward reading your comments and reading your ideas and thoughts!

Guest writer Karl-Heinz Wenzlaff is the German expert and consultant for business blogging. He knows the useful tips and tricks, and is specialized on professional company blogs, product blogs or employee blogs. Some month ago, he helped me migrating from Blogger to WordPress in order to set up a magazine theme.

Thank you for being one of my guest writers, Karl-Heinz.

Personal Branding – how to build your career 3.0

Personal branding is the way to stand out of the crowd and being noticed in some special way in the business world which makes you unique. It is your value proposition for the future of your career. In a session at the webinale09 I held a speech about ‘Career 3.0 – split between personal branding and productivity’ and gave some projections on the relevance of social media activities and how these affect your career development.

Today, we want to learn from Dwight Cribb, founder of his successful recruitment agency, what professional recruiters think about personal branding and what is the relevance for personal branding. You can follow his offline and online thoughts via his Twitter account.

Q: What is the first thing you do when somebody is being suggested as a perfect candidate?
Dwight Cribb Of course I will first probe what the relationship between the candidate and the person suggesting him is. Supposing that the recommendation is made during a phone conversation, I will in parallel check the candidate’s profile on Xing. If that does not provide the information I require I will probe deeper with people search engines.

Q: Let’s imagine somebody is not doing anything for personal branding. This person is not blogging, micro-blogging or social networking. Does this have a positive or negative impact on your perception of that person?
Dwight Cribb This largely depends on the type of position I am recruiting for, both in terms of seniority and discipline. I would normally expect someone in a directly client facing role or someone who communicates directly on behalf of a division or company to have at least some presence on the web. It is, however, true that not being on a social networking site is today more of statement than being on one. A few years ago one could be forgiven for thinking of people who had not yet discovered Xing, LinkedIn and facebook as being somewhat backward or conservative. As it is today largely impossible to not have noticed these networks flourish, we must assume that those not on them have shunned them on purpose. This may be a good strategy if one relies on others to communicate with clients and the public, especially as a senior manager. A C-Level executive will through his utterances on social networks have a severe impact on the brand communication, it thus needs to be 100% in line with the other communication, if not it will cause at best confusion and at worst it will undermine the credibility of the brand.

As for blogging, I think that is a very personal decision and I would never think badly of anyone who did not blog. I may, however, think badly of someone who blogs badly or in a manner inappropriate to his or her position. So overall it would not reflect badly if I found out nothing about a person online, it would just peak my interest and make me more curious to receive other information in the form of a CV or a recommendation from a third party.

Q: Will personal branding and the individual online reputation replace the traditional CV some day?
Dwight Cribb I doubt whether it will replace the CV, it is more likely that it will continue to augment the CV. Online reputation is a fantasy product. We each spin our profiles in a manner which we feel supports the image we want to convey. It is self marketing. A CV is more strongly based in chronological fact and provides a picture which comes closer to the reality than the pictures which get drawn in communities.

Q: If everybody has a strong personal brand, don’t companies fear these people could get chased by some competitor and recruiters? Or that employees just work for their own career purpose?
Dwight Cribb Most successful employees work for the own career advancement. But in the long term they will only achieve this by delivering results to their employers, because people are very good at spotting meaningless self marketing and will not fall for it for long. Good employees have always had a strong personal brand (also called reputation). It has been true in all areas and across the ages, if you do something well you will be admired by your peers and your reputation will spread. This means that others will try and employ your services, sometimes via a recruiter.

Q: What is your advice on how companies have to handle personal branding of the employees in the future?
Dwight Cribb Let people define themselves what they are comfortable with. Give them a clear guideline what company resources and what company information they can use to build their reputation and to what extent they must make clear what is their opinion what the company’s.

Q: What do you think of the personal web managers vision?
Dwight Cribb There are instances where this makes perfect sense, but I belive they are far and few between. This is a role which has precedence in the offline world, many high-profile business people, politicians and celebrities employ someone with this brief. Whether they do their job online, offline or in both really does not make much difference. We have come to expect that the picture we get presented of these people has been scripted and planned in detail. We even often admire the way in which they craftily manipulate their image. But I think we would be less inclined to condone or accept this level of abstraction in communication in our closer environment of colleagues, family and friends. A facebook status update from a friend loses relevance if I know that it was posted his or her personal web consultant, who was busy making them be liked by their friends and acquaintances.

Q: Give us 3 tips how to create a personal brand, please.
Dwight Cribb Be yourself, be honest, laugh at times.

Thank you for your time and your advice, Mr. Cribb.

Ad Effectiveness – Mixing Apples & Eggs?

Sometimes you read a study and think: “Ah, this is interesting information”. So, you write about it in a News Update.

And then, you stumble upon it again, and think twice about the research. This happened to me with the ‘Ad Effectiveness study’ conducted by Forbes. And browsing through it again, my feeling was that the title of this eMarketer article reflected the result, but the study itself mixes apples and eggs in some way…

Still, the main statement of the study remains an important trend in online marketing, and is an even more important praise for the work of online publishers (yes, probably a bit self-referential for Forbes).

“Respondents were by far the least happy with ad networks, with half saying that the results did not meet expectations” (…) “Ad network spending is all about demand fulfillment while direct-to-publisher display is much aligned with the traditional advertising goals of demand creation,” said Forbes.com president and CEO Jim Spanfeller.

However, it has to be said that ‘ad networks’ is not a tactic for generating conversion. It is a supplier that offers ‘cheap space’ by bundling platforms into offers in most cases. Platform owners have a much deeper understanding of their target group and can definitely do a better consulting in terms of converting their target group into potentials for their clients. Absolutely, I agree with that statement, having done this for years…

BUT: Taking my view on the study, the set up of the study is in some way irritating. When the marketing executives were asked on budget allocations the results were these…

…and what they see as most effective tactics for generating conversion? Site or page sponsorship and SEO were considered the most effective ways online.

Thinking about the answering options (and bearing in mind my brand theme ‘tools, tactics, trends’) that were given to the responding marketers though, these options need to be separated from each other…

The question, I was asking myself is… Is viral marketing really an ad tactic? In my eyes it is not. It is a strategic communication tactic which integrates viral ads as some relevant online marketing tool.

So, this study set up seems to be a comparison of apple and eggs. Viral marketing is done in social networks. It is the way in which brand awareness other marketing objectives can be increased. Viral ads is the tool that may be spread like a computer virus by the users. It cannot be influenced like banner or text ads. Nor can it be bought. So, it is a modern marketing trend with little historical definition or proven success.

And, maybe such a study should think about: What can be bought by marketers, and what cannot in our times of social media.

Spot on!
The following summary is meant to make clear what steps have to be done first by marketers to create the conversation results their bosses appreciate… and it is a guideline for the chronology of setting up an online marketing strategy.

1.) Tactics
At first, marketers have to think about the tactics they can choose from…
SEO, e-mail and e-newsletter, site and page sponsorship, corporate web TV or viral marketing.

2.) Tools
Then, they have to decide on the tools that can be used to make these tactics efficient…
good texts (I am missing this most interesting option), banners, or viral ads.

3.) Trends
And finally, we have options that might create powerful conversion…
The use of ad networks, behavioral targeting and pay per ‘x’ models (x=impression, unique user, sales, click etc.)

If the online industry continues to publish studies that mix apples and eggs, it is no wonder that 57% of respondents said they still spend less than 25% of their marketing budgets online.

It is still early days in online marketing, it seems…

UK: Internet users love browsing social media – less shopping

A recent study by Hitwise reveales that UK Internet users are spending more time browsing online media than ‘going’ online shopping. In March 2009 9.8% of all UK Internet visits were directed to social networking websites and 8.6% to online retail websites. Compared to 2008, the figures turned around (online retailers 9.7% – social networks 8.2%).

In the passed year, online retailers sawe a downsize in traffic from paid search like sponsored or paid for links on search engines (i.e. like Google, Yahoo!, Live and Ask) – 2009: 8.9% and 2008: 10,1% of visits to online retailers came from a paid search listing.

“The growth of social networking, online video and the continuing popularity of news websites has meant that an increasing proportion of consumer’s online time in the UK has been devoted to online media,” commented Robin Goad, Hitwise’s Director of Research.

The traffic that Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and the likes generates for online retailers increased in one year from 5.2% to 7.1%. And social networks now generate 58.3% more traffic than webmail providers (Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and GoogleMail). The best performing categories in 2009 were Auctions, Fashion and Department Stores.

“Social networks are a relatively small but fast growing source of traffic for online retailers,” commented Goad. “At present, only a minority of retailers pick up a significant amount of traffic from social networks, but many of those that do have seen a positive impact on traffic. For example, fashion retailer ASOS has a strong presence on Facebook and in March received 13.3% of its traffic from the social network. Another example – in a very different market – is online bookseller Abebooks, which currently receives a quarter of all its UK Internet traffic from social networks, more than it gets from search engines.”

Spot On!
Is this showing a trend that people are willing to buy products in social networks? In the UK, it sounds possible. It could be the next step. We all know that the easy purchase process is a winner – for companies and customers. Thinking of the future of social networks, companies should consider engaging with customers much more on social networks while also integrating ‘light’ e-commerce opportunities in their Facebook Fan pages or in their company profiles at XING. Or at least indicate and lead the way for customers to some good offers or marketing activities. And re-thinking efforts on big spendings for paid search is definitely something that needs to be thought about…