Marissa Mayer’s choices have been under the microscope ever since she left Google to head its major rival, Yahoo. Despite criticism over some of Mayer’s major decisions concerning Yahoo’s operations, I find her strategic moves both smart and interesting. She appears to be repositioning Yahoo as an online media buyer’s dream – a company that places a greater focus on ad-tech investment and development while still delivering a huge number of quality impressions, something that has always been a core strength at Yahoo.
Mayer initiated her grand plan to change the tech behemoth’s image as a slow, out-of-date Internet giant when she lead the company’s partnership with arch-rival Google (her former employer) for display advertising.
But she took the change-now, change-big plan one step further last month with the surprise announcement of Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr. By acquiring the most influential microblogging site in the United States (Tumblr hosts more than 112 million blogs and almost 60 billion posts per month), Mayer laid down the future of Yahoo. It’s a future built around smart online advertising opportunities and digital content.
So what does the acquisition mean for Yahoo? (more…)
Editor’s note: This is the first post in a series focusing on best practices for lead generation in the online education industry.
Year after year universities struggle with enrollment rates. At the same time marketers are testing new advertising channels, shifting budgets, designing new creative assets and everything in between to reach that seemingly elusive enrollment goal.
But why is nothing changing? Why are enrollment rates dropping after all that investment in time, money and effort?
It’s simple, really: The ﬁrst point of contact is your ﬁrst impression and it can make or break the success of a prospect’s enrollment. The best advertising campaign in the world is frustratingly useless if the admissions process deters prospective students.
Many universities with large marketing budgets fail to focus on what’s happening right under their nose, and in most cases, right down the hallway. I have seen everything from a first point of contact being a direct-mail piece to callbacks that occur two weeks after an online information request is submitted.
A successful online marketing campaign for a college or university isn’t just measured by a conversion rate. Performance marketing in education requires three critical components to be successful:
High-quality traffic sources: You need to have traffic (students) who are interested in learning more about a particular school.
Optimized creative: A high-quality landing page, great email design and banner ads that really catch the eye of prospective students.
Structured workflow: A cohesive admissions process that is ready to work a lead. (more…)
Yesterday, we announced an important milestone in the 10-plus-year history of MediaWhiz: the expansion of our affiliate network, MonetizeIt. As part of our cross-publishing capabilities with our parent company Matomy Media Group, we are now able to offer a broader selection of domestic and international affiliate marketing campaigns, including game and mobile app downloads, as well as entertainment and dating campaigns. These are in addition to our extensive selection of branded campaigns in verticals such as finance, education, health and beauty and insurance.
Approximately 150 new domestic, international and mobile affiliate campaigns will initially be available through our affiliate network, MonetizeIt. We’re also expanding our base of experienced publishers, allowing advertisers to garner additional traffic to their websites and mobile apps.
Publishers interested in joining MonetizeIt can do so here. (more…)
Search engine optimization continues to evolve in a variety of ways. 2012 was one of the most significant years for SEO in recent history. A multitude of search engine algorithm updates dramatically altered the manner in which search engine optimization is conducted. Those changes are detailed in a new MediaWhiz report, “SEO in 2013: The Year of the Consumer.”
The search and SEO landscape in 2013 is already witnessing similar important changes. As the recent announcement of Facebook Graph Search shows, the era of basic SEO tactics is over. Strategies that were once considered sacrosanct among SEO professionals, such as optimizing content for top Google rankings, are now outdated at best, or completely irrelevant. They may even hurt your brand’s search rankings.
As the below infographic details, SEO success in 2013 comes down to one thing: content. Lots of high-quality, relevant content. In order to have true, long-term SEO success, you must optimize for users first and search engines second. The future of SEO is content.
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As search marketing and SEO continue to evolve, it’s important that marketers go back to their roots. Increasingly, that involves developing content that appeals first to the consumer and second to the search engines. After all, it’s the consumer that purchases your products or services, not an inanimate search engine.
Marketers love to create new terms to explain their work. From “brand advocacy” to CPA, CPM, CPE and the myriad of acronyms that fill the digital marketing landscape, we’ll turn almost any new business practice into a marketable term.
What, then, to call the phenomenon of once beloved — or, at least, begrudgingly tolerated — affiliates being shunned by the very industry that fervently embraced them? As the performance marketing industry matures, and as brands seek more sophisticated and legitimate agencies and affiliates to manage their online marketing campaigns, are we entering a period of “Online Darwinism”?
I believe that is exactly what is occurring in performance marketing.
With apologies to Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution, my embrace of the Online Darwinism Theory, a concept I developed after watching so many affiliates drop like flies in recent months, encapsulates my views of the evolution of digital media and the revolution in digital media providers.
This theory reasons that reputable and ethical affiliate marketers will survive while unscrupulous ones will go the way of the dodo. There will be more business for great companies that evolve wisely based on clear, measurable objectives that meet clients’ digital-media challenges. Media pricing will become more realistic as delusional “get-rich-quick” companies continue to exit. All of which leads to more accurate and strategic planning for advertisers who have marketing dollars to spend.
Dramatic changes have occurred over the last decade in the digital media and online marketing industries. From email and display advertising, the focus shifted to search and pop-ups; co-reg, incent and paid search got their due focus, and now, everyone’s mind (and marketing spend) is on social media. Encircling these changes was the evolution of smartphones, followed by the rise of the tablet.
The Digital Age forced marketers to slowly evolve to find people wherever they consume media. Increasingly, this has been within digital mediums and decreasingly via print, radio, TV and other offline channels.
Life has become a giant skip button. Marketers must engage the consumer precisely in the moment and at the right spot. (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.
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.
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 Newsreported 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.
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.
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.