Social Media’s Impact on the CPG Industry
By: Mitch Tuch, MediaWhiz GM of Data Acquisition
According to a recent Forrester study, people are no longer steadfast in their support for certain Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) products. This finding in particular should be of grave concern to the CPG industry. Shoppers could potentially favor private store products over established brands.
In lieu of the Forrester study, a significant number of CPG corporations are making the shift toward social media to expand their online reach, engage their once loyal brand base and launch new products. Although this is certainly great news for CPG, it could be better news for performance marketers tasked with helping CPG brands evolve with and improve upon their image.
The first positive impact social media will have on CPG involves “recency” and scalability. Social media “recency” not only offers instantaneous communication to the public, it also goes part and parcel with scalability. A website’s ability to grow at a rate comparable to its business is highly dependent on social media channels. For example, a Facebook user opting to “friend” or “like” a brand on his or her page increases exposure and can step up buyer intent exponentially.
Utilizing social media also brings consumer loyalty back to the fore. CPG products and brands have been around for a long time. They have a definite generational fan base. Social media allows this loyal base to discuss their favorite products and/or contribute ideas on how to improve upon lesser products as if they were extended family. Engagement sparks interest and drives demand for both consumers and retailers. It also enables marketers to precisely target and optimize campaigns saving time and money.
CPG does have one major hurdle to jump en route to establishing a fully integrated online presence: measuring ROI. That’s where proactive client services management comes in. Client services should conduct testing before, during, and after a campaign. They can analyze performance metrics along multiple channels, increase conversions by focusing on user engagement and improvements to landing pages, and streamline the sales process. Maximizing returns will help brands launch new products, thus, providing new avenues of engagement, demand, and profitability.
CPG needn’t completely abandon traditional media. But by incorporating a social strategy, the industry can spark significant growth in customers, awareness and brand value.
Drive Email Engagement, Drive Results
Ensuring the effectiveness of your email messaging is paramount to short and long-term success. In the first of a five part series highlighting email marketing campaign best practices, we focus our attention on HTML initiatives with some tips and guidelines designed to maximize deliverability and functionality:
Best Practices for HTML Campaigns
1 – Use Basic HTML
2 – Do not use rich-media functions such as video, inline audio or Flash
4 – Simplify the coding process – If using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), choose the inline embed within the two body tags and not within the header
5 – Avoid background images
6 – Create HTML using a maximum pixel width of 600 – no horizontal scrolling is required - HTML width should be tested for look and feel for as many email clients (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail) as possible
7 – Keep files to a reasonable size – In the teens for images, emails under 50KB
8 – Design your email with the Outlook preview pane in mind – Make sure the top portion of the email carries your key message
9 – Design your email to read top to bottom and left to right
10 – Avoid 1×1 pixel spacer gifs – These may flag your email as spam
11 – Link to a web version of your email message – This benefits recipients whose email clients fail to properly render your email. Add a link to the top of your TEXT version to maximize visibility
12 – Use image alt tags and action-oriented text – For example: Click here for 25% off; Sample alt tag: <img SRC=”http://link.ixs1.net/site/5459/images/imagename.gif” alt=”Click here for 25% off” BORDER=0>
13 – Provide subscriber management – Make it easy for subscribers to change email addresses, update subscriptions, unsubscribe or contact your company right from their email
14 – Do not use forms – Will eliminate messaging errors and functionality issues
15 – Avoid making your message one big image – Incorporate some HTML text into the message so readers can clearly see what you have to offer
For more information on these and additional email messaging best practices and how they can help you drive results, please contact a MediaWhiz Account Representative.
Does Call-Tracking Move the Needle?
By: Adam Scott Riff, MediaWhiz GM of Search
Google has decided to move forward with its call tracking strategy making offline metrics available to AdWords advertisers. This is a significant shift from what has been Google’s staple, quantifying ad success by the number of clicks generated. The search engine giant should be commended for reevaluating its long practiced methodology in order to drive better results for advertisers. Tapping into call metrics can generate thousands of dollars in what would otherwise be lost revenue.
However, its implementation into Search campaigns is not new among online performance marketers. Today, most performance search marketers allocate unique tracking phone numbers at the search engine level or, at most, their highest volume keywords. This is a strong advantage over search marketers or advertisers that don’t track any calls. Having said that, it still leaves long-tail keywords, which can number in the thousands, untracked. The reason this happens is simple – a technology gap. Most search marketing firms don’t have the tech to track tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of keywords by call. The ones that are able to leverage keyword-level call tracking, like our Continuous Improvement Engine (CIE), have a tremendous advantage. Having access to that degree of technological advancement and being able to track and optimize to that level of granularity allows the search marketer to bid for his client with more data than their client’s competitor.
What this also does is allow search professionals and their bidding technology to make decisions faster. The system can optimize non-branded keyword bids more precisely and more rapidly creating efficiency, i.e. lowering CPA. The lower your CPA is the more initiatives you can test and the faster you can grow.
With engine-level call-tracking, search professionals can move the needle. With keyword-level call tracking, they can change the game.
The Who, What, Where and How of Online Privacy Protection
By: Andrew Chou, MediaWhiz GM of Display Advertising
In 2010, the issue that was top of mind with display advertisers was online privacy protection. Privacy is a touchy subject for those in the display industry being that geographical, demographic and behavioral targeting success is dependent on precisely knowing audience habits. Web users and online consumers are justified for harboring information sharing concerns. Ensuring privacy is essential. However, knowing your audience isn’t about names, addresses and faces. It’s about recognizing buyer trends, properly categorizing data and targeting impressions efficiently and effectively.
Display advertisers are able to accurately classify and identify data based on prior user engagement. They are not infringing upon privacy rights because the information is readily available online. Online advertisers utilize social media registrations, email profiles and online purchase information to monitor interest and intent. They track ad clicks, site visits and the amount of time spent on a particular ad or site.
We go from understanding the “who” to tracking the “what”. Edible cookies taste good. Digital cookies give advertisers a good indication of user tastes. Cookie storage is entirely controllable by the user. If a user is concerned that her habits are being monitored by advertisers, she can clear them from her cache. When it comes to cookies, privacy worries are rather half-baked. Let’s say you frequently visit Las Vegas travel sites. Cookies could prompt advertisers to target low airfare deals to Sin City. This is cookie tracking working in favor of the user.
Now this brings us to the “where” of online privacy protection. Again, digital display advertisers are using categories to determine the right banner ads and dynamic media to use for targeting. They do not know you as 33 year old Tara from Brooklyn or 45 year old John from Chicago. Instead, advertisers are seeking to engage “woman from Brooklyn, age 18-35” or “man from Chicago, age 21-49”. Advertisers might hit these respective targets with display ads for feminine hygiene products or leading beer brands, products relevant to each prospective category customer.
Obviously, it is the right of the consumer to protect personal information online. There are laws on the books to aid in this process. Still, users and consumers should think twice before discarding all track-able data. When warranted, privacy protection is crucial. But too many safeguards will shield users from relevant display ads and a better user experience.
Taking Your Online Learning Program to the Head of the Class
By: Daryl Colwell, VP of Monetizeit, the MediaWhiz Affiliate Network
The online education vertical is highly competitive. That’s great for web-based learning programs as long as they target the right student. It all starts with partnering with the proper affiliate, one with proven qualified lead generation experience and knowledge of the marketplace.
Qualified leads delivered exclusively to your online education landing page from a robust affiliate network are what drive results – increases in callable rates, hot transfer rates and student enrollment and decreases in enrollment costs. Still, it is important for online education programs and portals to be fully aware of their goals. Knowledge is power. Understanding what you hope to gain will help trustworthy affiliate networks improve offer targeting. Aligning with a reliable affiliate network with access to Email Marketing, Search Marketing, Data Acquisition and Display Advertising is critically important to success in the online education vertical.
Unfortunately, shady affiliates do not adhere to lead exclusivity. They often sell and resell leads to reduce internal expenses and heighten their own ROI. In order to maximize the effectiveness of marketing spend, online education portals must distinguish crooked monetization practices from above board affiliate networks.
When conducting affiliate research, there are several factors that will distinguish a good fit from a bad fit. The right network should be technologically savvy. It should be equipped to build and host select microsites dedicated to your vertical as well as be able to leverage proprietary and third party technologies. Such advancements improve lead filtering, qualification and validation. They also allow for continuous testing and optimizing of your campaign, which can drastically lower enrollment costs and help you acquire qualified enrollment leads more profitably. It bears repeating that perhaps the most important factor in generating qualified leads within the online education vertical is ensuring the exclusivity of your leads. Exclusivity means quality. Quality drives results.
It’s Monetizeit General Manager Peter Klein’s Time to Shine in the MediaWhiz Spotlight
The decision to join MediaWhiz did not come to Peter Klein overnight. After the affiliate network he created and oversaw for three years was acquired, he chose to come onboard and help build out a full-service performance marketing agency. “This has turned out to be a great decision both personally and professionally.”
Peter is especially proud of MediaWhiz’s ability to “bring a client into the online performance marketing world” via its robust media channels and technology. “We can service a client from beginning to end and continue to drive results more profitably for them.” As GM of the Monetizeit affiliate network, Peter has witnessed many positive growth oriented changes. He believes increased brand awareness of ROI is the industry’s most significant change. “Major brands are beginning to understand the value of marketing with a focus on ROI. This means more money flowing into CPA-based marketing.”
But with change comes challenges. According to Peter, compliance is the largest hurdle faced by the performance marketing industry. “We need to start forming real self-regulation measures and standards to provide more transparency to advertisers… before the government does this for us.” Further, with Google and Facebook implementing tough restrictions over the years, Peter contends that it will be harder to conduct scalable marketing campaigns if you aren’t representing a brand as an agency. All things considered, he feels the industry’s future is “extremely bright, as more dollars will continue to shift from traditional/offline media to online.” Peter is quite fond of toasting to this bright future every Thursty Thursday at around 7PM.