Email – The End or a New Beginning
By: Carl Soderstrom, Management Consultant
At a Nielson conference held last month, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg raised eyebrows by declaring the impending demise of email as the primary messaging platform. Her reasoning was based on a published Pew report, which stated that only 11% of teens utilize email every day. Those numbers certainly suggest that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are the platform of choice for that segment of the population. They are indeed growing in popularity across all age groups but to outright declare that the end of email is near is a bit short-sighted, especially with regard to corporate communications.
A case can be made that email is the original social media network. Before Facebook and Twitter came along, email was driving targeted messaging results. It remains a pivotal component to any business marketing strategy. It shouldn’t be thrown to the scrap heap in favor of Facebook or Twitter. It should be incorporated into your social networking platform. Email should be used for engagement across the entire social consumer landscape. By incorporating Facebook and Twitter into your messaging campaign, you can extend your reach to users likely to disregard promotional emails by including such offers on your social networking pages. Once the social user is engaged, subsequent emails will sustain and grow interest maximizing spend and driving ROI.
A continuously improving email program, one that implements social networking, will most assuredly make those questioning the life span of email rethink their position. By combining it with social media, email will not be facing its end but a new beginning.
Twitter Programs Give Wing To Data Gathering and Display Ad Strategies
By: Mitch Tuch, MediaWhiz GM of Data Acquisition
The Twitter advertising revolution is in top flight. Fresh off its Promoted Tweets revenue earning initiative, Twitter is appealing to consumers and advertisers once again with its new @earlybird feed. The @earlybird program allows participants to opt in to receiving coupons and marketing messages.
For advertisers and performance marketers, the data acquisition and display advertising implications of Twitter’s move into advertising are positive. The goal of any data acquisition team is to find a relevant target audience to effectively market client products and services. Engaging consumers through using a robust data acquisition service can be a highly effective method for building a customer database.
Here’s how it works: Consumers sign up to receive exclusive offers and deals from advertisers. For a nominal fee, advertisers will tweet these offers to @earlybird followers. The key is making the consumer feel in control of the information he or she is seeking. By incorporating Promoted Tweets and/or @earlybird into a client data acquisition program, performance marketers will benefit from social media’s ability to influence buyer intent allowing users to proactively research companies before deciding to opt-in. With Twitter, the opt-in becomes the conversational tweet.
Like Promoted Tweets, @earlybird will work for data acquisition purposes for three reasons – it engages a relevant target audience, enhances brand awareness and increases buyer intent. It is also simple, fairly unobtrusive and expected to drive results.
Profitability wise, it’s a win-win for both advertisers and Twitter. Well, for Twitter it’s presumed to be a win. The Blue Bird is being tight-beaked about how much it stands to gain financially from the service. Considering Twitter wasn’t earning anything before Promoted Tweets came along, even modest revenue streams would be considered quite a coup.
The benefits to data acquisition are fairly obvious, but that is not the only area poised to profit from Twitter. If strategically implemented, Twitter advertising can drive increases in display advertising revenue. Effective performance marketing relies on recognizing and utilizing trends. Twitter is all about trending, being of the 140 character moment. According to a recent Nielson social media study, social brand advocacy increases ad awareness and quadruples buyer intent. Where does Twitter advertising fit in?
Yahoo! Finance reported that twenty four hours after purchasing their Promoted Tweet, Coca-Cola drove 85 million ad impressions with an engagement rate more than 5.5% above normal levels. With that kind of increase in brand awareness, it is hard to imagine that @earlybird will not be able to, at least, duplicate the success of Promoted Tweets. Disney agrees, becoming the first @earlybird partner.
Enhanced profitability and improved audience targeting methods aside, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Twitter’s latest advertising announcement is the lack of a public uproar. If you recall, Twitter Nation alleged that Promoted Tweets would be intrusive to users ultimately ruining the social network. Such talk died down pretty quickly when folks realized they could actually profit from these tweets in the form of drastically slashed airline tickets or exclusive retail sales.
If marketers strategically implement Promoted Tweets and @earlybird into their data acquisition and display advertising platforms within client campaigns, they’ll be chirping with the little blue bird all the way to the bank.
Trailing Display Engagement
By: Andrew Chou, MediaWhiz GM of Display Advertising
The entertainment industry is getting quite a boost from display advertising, especially films. The popularity of movie trailers make them a perfect fit for video display.
It used to be that people only saw trailers on television or at the theatre. For some people, a movie preview can actually be better than the film they bought tickets to see. With that in mind, bringing movie trailers online through display and banner ads simplifies the user engagement process. For movie trailers, successful engagement means that upon viewing the online trailer, the user is more likely to go to the theatre to watch the film. How are display advertisers able to obtain this information?
Having the right technology in place is important. In a recent comScore study, it was reported that Flash and Rich Media Ads make up 40% of display impressions. It is unclear if online video display was included in the study. Regardless, QuickTime and other dynamic technologies enable display advertisers to accurately gauge engagement. When users view the trailer, interest in the film can be measured through changes in volume, the number of times it is played and the format it is in.
To further illustrate the significance of video display advertising on engagement, the aforementioned study showed that over 90% of those users served entertainment ads and trailers converted on the ad rather than through a dedicated website. Leveraging this type of technology has an initial cost, but the eventual benefit – increased conversions and enhanced engagement – make incorporating it into a display campaign hard to argue against.
The MediaWhiz Manager Spotlight
Director of Business Development for Monetizeit Adam Trentacoste is the first team member profiled in The Manager Spotlight
Recently promoted to Director of Business Development for Monetizeit, Adam Trentacoste wasn’t familiar with affiliate marketing and knew little about online advertising when he started working with MediaWhiz in 2007. His rapid climb up the ladder is indicative of his core business values – ‘hard work, dedication and trust’. In keeping with his business philosophy, Adam believes MediaWhiz’s knowledge of email and list management, data acquisition, search and display set us apart in building ‘that ever important trust factor with your clients’. Adam explains, ‘We are not just an affiliate network’ adding that MediaWhiz is able to ‘…leverage our expertise in all channels of online performance marketing’. Adam sees a ‘bright future for affiliate marketing’ citing traditional and online advertisers shifting budgets toward online performance as well as government regulations undercutting dishonest affiliate and online marketing practices as keys to his belief. Adam hopes this bright future will translate to the continuous improvement of the MediaWhiz softball team and drive positive results for MediaWhiz during an upcoming “Thursty Thursday” performance marketing agency beer pong tournament.
Accentuating the “Negative” – Why negative keywords could drive very positive results
By: Adam Scott Riff, MediaWhiz GM of Search
You know the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, in the world of PPC search, negative keywords make the perfect thirst quencher. By incorporating negative keywords into your pay-per-click campaign, you ensure that you don’t come up in searches for that term. Confused? Don’t worry.
Let’s say you were running a search campaign for Bank of America. They may fear that Bank of America financial crisis will appear in searches. Adding “financial crisis” as negative keywords will put an end to your search concerns. By going negative, you will generate relevant searches keeping your traffic on target. Qualified leads will save you money by preventing unwanted clicks. Negative keywords also protect your online image and the value of your brand. Save money, increase brand value, enhance online reputation; sometimes you have to go negative to be positive.
Compliance in online marketing: A case for the long haul
By: Peter Klein, GM of MonetizeIt, the MediaWhiz Affiliate Network
I started my career in the direct mail world of magazines, “As Seen on TV” products, and sweepstakes offering people a chance at riches. Probably our most questionable tactic back then consisted of making the following exciting, emotional claim; “You could almost possibly already be a winner!” Despite the hyperbole, ten million dollar and one million dollar grand prizes continue to be awarded annually to a fortunate few. It is a real testament to compliance and self-regulation.
In contrast, many of today’s online marketers profit from deceptive techniques, false claims and taxation. The Internet has become saturated with fake blogs and fake articles, commonly and not so affectionately referred to as “flogs” and “farticles.” These pages not only make unsubstantiated claims that cause people to spend money and ingest a potentially toxic cocktail of unproven home remedy-type products; they also result in advertisers losing their merchant accounts. How do these companies and affiliates get away with such chicanery? They lack compliance and self-regulation.
Determining how and when to monitor publishers and ensure compliance can be a slippery slope. When these irresponsible parties get blacklisted, will the volume of companies and affiliates contract? This question needs to be carefully considered. Still, FTC involvement levying fines, handing out lawsuits, and assessing future regulations will go a long way toward instituting best practices across the varied media courses.
Compliance and self-regulation are issues of great personal importance. Having spent fifteen years working in direct marketing, I fully recognize the role I played in promoting such practices. But it is this level of understanding that has caused me to reevaluate my prior philosophy and establish better ways of doing business. For example, instituting improved monitoring tools and best of breed practices can diligently protect the brand image of the client. Making branded offers available exclusively to a select group of trusted partners who directly control the media promotes transparency and builds confidence.
Additionally, I believe that creating online governing boards is an idea whose time has come. Global blacklists, standardized regulations, and even scoring affiliates would advance financial and ethical responsibility among Internet marketers. Gravitating toward this limited inclusion model is something of a corrective shift by us “old timers” who expanded the online space over the past decade and remain committed to it for the long haul.
As more dollars pour into the online space, it is time for marketers to unite if we want to avoid the government regulations currently impacting the radio, TV and print mediums. Once that happens, progress will be slowed and all moves will be long-term by default.
Those who have spurious short-term monetary goals are often envied and, at times, held in high esteem. But in my opinion, it is more estimable to execute your wealth building strategy the right way: through compliance and self-regulation.