By Ed Kats | President
While not ideal, DNT legislation could foster improved media integration
Proposed do-not-track (DNT) legislation will create numerous barriers for advertisers, brands and agencies. The ability to track consumers’ online purchasing habits and deliver targeted ads based on data collected is a cornerstone of e-commerce.
DNT legislation will make online ads less relevant, forcing potentially unforeseeable changes — not to mention increased costs — into the digital ecosystem. This will adversely affect consumers’ online experiences in a manner few proponents are willing to admit.
Despite these issues, the enactment of DNT legislation will not destroy online advertising.
While we do not wish to see this legislation passed we believe it would force marketers to be more creative in their campaigns. It may foster the development of closer connections and opt-ins between brands and consumers. This, in turn, will deliver more detailed customer data and more successful purchase paths.
Numerous products and services exist that help agencies and advertisers target consumers and collect publicly available data. If advertisers are compelled to collect that information offline (as would be the case if DNT legislation is passed), those capabilities will still remain.
The two behemoths of online advertising — Google and Facebook — offer examples of how DNT legislation could imperil future growth and innovation of online advertising but won’t dampen the industry’s prospects. (more…)
By Keith Trivitt | @KeithTrivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
Growth in the email marketing industry shows no signs of abating. Analyst firm Forrester Research forecasts U.S. email marketing spend to reach $1.7 billion in 2012, a 12-percent increase over 2011. Fueling that growth is the increasing combination of email with social media and direct marketing that many businesses are using to deliver more targeted and relevant campaigns to consumers.
Much of this improvement is based on data and learned information about customers.
New technology has created an evolution for direct mail marketing, allowing companies to seamlessly integrate it with email marketing. This delivers better leads for brands while ensuring their direct mail and email marketing campaigns are actually read by consumers.
Recently, MediaWhiz President Ed Kats was asked by Inc. magazine to offer his thoughts on how companies can effectively integrate direct mail marketing and email marketing. Below is a summary of his responses:
- Know your audience and business model and then integrate direct mail marketing and email marketing to either be a 1-2 sales punch or complimentary to each other. For example: direct mail is meant to compel customers into a store through the use of coupons or advertisements. An email is generally meant as an “Act now!” retail sale for non-considered / non-essential purchases. For considered purchases (those that consumers think about purchasing before going to a store or brand website), companies should use direct mail and email marketing in tandem to drive consumers to either call or visit a website and “learn more” about the product.
- When used for customer relationship management (CRM) campaigns, businesses should plan their event calendar well ahead of time and make sure they have different conversations with customers across direct mail and email marketing that are complimentary to each other. It’s important, however, that those marketing pieces are segmented by tactic and channel to ensure quality and consistency with how your customers have responded to direct mail and email offers in the past.
What are your tips and best practices for integrating email marketing and direct mail marketing campaigns? Share them in the comments section.
By Ed Kats | President
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of an op-ed that was originally published at AdExchanger.com.
Some marketers love to bash Facebook ads. We saw it in the immediate aftermath of General Motors pulling its $10 million cache of ad buys just days before Facebook’s IPO. We continue to see it as the company’s stock price stumbles.
The truth is, Facebook is finally developing new, exciting ways to deliver real value to online advertisers. It’s time for marketers to recognize that value and get serious about Facebook ads.
In recent weeks, the company has announced a number of prominent changes to its ad platform, including a real-time bidding exchange, mobile-only ads, and a rumored ”want” button that would “only work with content identified as relating to a purchasable product.”
Facebook also has increased its outreach to the advertising industry. Through various public and private campaigns, it is working to educate marketers about its multitude of ad options and addressing their concerns about the need for more precise data and analytics. At the Cannes Lions festival last month, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, made the rounds touting the social network’s various ad options.
The key to the success of all of Facebook’s new ad options is segmentation. Segmentation gives marketers the ability to analyze and make real-time media buying decisions based on data available through Facebook’s interface. For agencies, segmentation marks another opportunity to optimize, target deeper and increase conversion rates. The segmentation and retargeting opportunities now exist that will enable Facebook ads to be profitable for brands.
Read the full post at AdExchanger.com.
By Steve Goldner | @SocialSteve | Senior Director, Social Media
Editor’s note: The following post was originally published in iMedia Connection.
Web hosting company HostPapa’s new infographic comparing email marketing and social media marketing has given marketers a new lightning-rod topic to debate.
Despite no shortage of proponents in each camp, we think the conclusion is simple: it’s pointless to compare email marketing with social media marketing. Each has a unique value. More importantly, we believe that email and social media should be used in tandem, not against each other, for effective digital media and marketing campaigns.
The problem with comparing email marketing and social media marketing is apparent: one (social media marketing) is a brand strategy while the other (email) is a direct-response strategy. Each requires the other in some form to be effective, and each builds off the other for greater value and efficiency.
The infographic isn’t without merit. It offers some valuable insight marketers can use to understand how, when and where to use and integrate email marketing and social media marketing to improve their lead-gen and digital engagement efforts.
But first, it’s necessary to look at the facts.
Email Still Generates Results
Email marketing continues to produce eye-popping results. According to HostPapa, business spending on email marketing campaigns has increased 60 percent in the past year, accumulating 17.4 percent of U.S. brands’ digital marketing budgets in 2011. Email open rates continue to rise, too, improving 12.6 percent in Q1 2012, according to a report by Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association.
Those are no small feats; especially for a form of digital communications many believe is dead/has died/will die. (more…)
By Keith Trivitt | @KeithTrivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
Of all the hot trends in digital marketing — Facebook advertising, the future of display ads, mobile payments — perhaps none is getting more attention at the moment than mobile search. As developed nations continue their march into the era of the mobile-dominated Web, mobile search marketing has taken on an increasingly important role for brands, marketers and advertisers.
According to IBM and other industry observers, 2012 is shaping up to be the year of mobile. Direct Marketing News reported in May that mobile commerce accounted for 13.3 percent of all online sales in Q1 2012, up from 7 percent a year ago. The growth and power of mobile commerce is further magnified by data from IBM showing that mobile traffic to retailer sites made up 17 percent of all online traffic in Q1 2012.
And as Kleiner Perkins partner and Internet analyst Mary Meeker famously reported in 2010 (and others have confirmed since then) mobile Internet is projected to overtake fixed Internet by 2015.
Clearly, mobile marketing and mobile search have taken their places as digital marketing’s rising stars.
Here at MediaWhiz, mobile search is part of the lifeblood of our successful and growing search marketing practice. It has helped us retain a top-20 ranking among search agencies in Advertising Age’s Agency Report, and it is increasingly being utilized across various client campaigns.
It’s also a topic we love to talk about, both internally among colleagues and externally with clients, analysts and the media. The latter is where we recently had the opportunity to discuss this fascinating industry trend.
In a detailed report out this month in Direct Marketing News, Adam Riff, MediaWhiz’s senior vice president of digital strategy, offers analysis and perspective on how brands and agencies can develop effective mobile search marketing campaigns. (more…)
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of an op-ed published in the July 2012 issue of Direct Marketing News. Read the full opinion piece here.
By Steve Goldner | @SocialSteve | Senior Director, Social Media
There is no shortage of debate on social media ROI. Social media sales attribution is difficult given the reality of Facebook privacy settings and the challenges of tagging media that brands don’t own. This is true for many word-of-mouth consumer behaviors.
For example, how easy is it to attribute a customer visiting a new restaurant because of a friend’s recommendation?
But that doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t measure social media and get meaningful information on the performance of their campaigns. Like an old boss once told me, “That which is not measured, does not get done.”
When utilized properly, social media generates awareness, consideration, loyalty and advocacy — all of which can be measured. Brand managers and CMOs should be concerned with seeing measurable results in each category.
The four consumer psycho demographics listed below are inherently tied to the ultimate key performance indicator: that of sales. Consider the following parameters that can be easily captured and measured:
- Awareness: Number of brand and URL mentions.
- Consideration: Website visits, page views, Facebook and Twitter click-throughs, social network page views, Twitter replies and blog views.
- Loyalty: Fans, followers and community members, RSS subscriptions, Facebook interactions, Twitter mentions, blog/community comments and return visits to site.
- Advocacy: Retweets, re-blogs, brand mentions, comments on a brand’s assets and Facebook “likes.
Read the full op-ed in Direct Marketing News.
By Sean Gelles | @SeanGelles | Director, Social Media Marketing
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of an op-ed published June 28, 2012, in EContent Magazine. Read the full opinion piece here.
Once again “Big Data” is all the rage as enterprises struggle to cope with the data deluge that is exploding across the globe. To provide an illustration of this phenomenon, consider first that, according to Google’s Eric Schmidt, there were five exabytes of data created between the dawn of civilization and 2003 (one exabyte is equivalent to one million terabytes). Now consider that, according to Cisco, by 2016 global IP traffic will reach 109.5 exabytes per month. Companies, organizations, and governments are all drowning in data and the bulk of what’s contributing to this raging flood is user-generated content.
The tsunami of user-generated content has generated an urgent demand for more sophisticated analytical tools in the social media space. This rising demand is bringing the worlds of big data solutions and social media services (i.e. CRM, marketing, and sales) closer together than ever before. In the past two months the software behemoth Oracle acquired the social media marketing platform Virtue and Salesforce acquired Buddy Media. These two will certainly not be the last of such moves. In the coming months, other vendors such as IBM, EMC, and HP will likely make similar acquisitions. As a consequence, social media specialists, especially analytics experts, will need to become much more data-technology-savvy.
The merging of big data solutions and social media marketing platforms is not the only development that will require social media analytics experts to elevate their technology competency. Increasingly the rudimentary manual analytical methodologies of the past are proving inadequate for fully harnessing the power of Big Data to provide strategic insights for social media marketing campaign planning and measurement as well as social CRM, crowd sourcing and sales. At present, the most common approach to analyzing social media data is manual and protracted. It usually starts with a listening tool, such as Radian6, to gather the data followed by dozens of hours of labor-intensive data cleaning. The resulting dataset only yields insights about the relevant conversation – the major topics, the primary channels where the conversation is taking place and the identities of the individuals engaged in the conversation. Understanding the structure of the social network constituted by the relevant conversation requires additional analysis.
Read the full op-ed in EContent Magazine.
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from an op-ed by Steve Goldner, senior director of social media at MediaWhiz, as published May 16, 2012, in Digiday.
The impact that Google Plus will eventually have on the search marketing industry is arguably greater than its influence on social media. It will ultimately be used to track user behavior at every level and serve up ads based on that behavior to a degree marketers have never seen.
While Google Plus offers favorable benefits for users, there are equally powerful opportunities for agencies and brands. The robust integration of search and social that is built into Google Plus means that there is an added value for brands to establish relationships with individuals. As those relationships build, users will include brands in their social circles. When brands are added to users’ social circles, they will automatically jump to the top of the queue for that group of users’ relevant topic searches.
Google has been the Internet search leader for more than a decade. In that timeframe, it has made numerous attempts at becoming a social media power. Unfortunately for Google, its history in the social space — Orkut, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Google Wave and Google Buzz — has left the impression that when it comes to social media, Google is more Friendster than Facebook.
Many brands and agencies talk a big game about the value of integrating search and social, but Google is taking the first step in delivering a solution. Think about this common scenario: a consumer hears about a product from a friend and his interest is piqued. He wants to find out more about the product, so he performs a simple online search. What happens if a competitor’s brand shows up higher on search? Is there a propensity for the consumer to be diverted to the competitor’s brand? Perhaps. But what brand would want to take that chance?
When Google launched Google Plus, it incorporated what it calls “Search Plus Your World.” The outcome is that search is personalized. Google Plus’ social data is incorporated into users’ Google search results. When Google Plus users perform a search, postings from their Google circles, relevant to that search, appear at the top. For example, if a given user searches for “accounting services” and one of his circle connections has posted or commented about a topic relevant to “accounting services,” that user’s reference appears at the top of the search output. The search is relevant to the user based on his circle’s contributions.
Read the full op-ed in Digiday.