Dec 23 2009

Lists: Twitter Becomes More Meaningful for Business

by Andrew DiFiore

Last month, Twitter introduced a powerful new feature called Lists which allow users to “curate tweets into meaningful real-time experiences” (as Twitter puts it). For both B2B and B2C the operative word here is meaningful. With Lists (along with other features like Geotagging) Twitter becomes not only a great social media tool but now a great marketing research tool, bringing them another step closer to a business model that can actually be monetize (maybe).

Lists enable the “architects of information” like The New York Times and Huffington Post to better organize the most useful tweets from industry thought leaders. Anyone can create and publish Lists (just by clicking “New List” in the sidebar of your Twitter account) and any List can be followed.

No time to manage your own Lists or scour media sites? Then you might want to try Listorious.


Listorious was created by Sawhorse Media and hosts the best Lists of Twitter users on any given topic… and for list creators to publicize their lists. Check out The Listorious 140 Lists. Not surprising topping this list are Pete Cashmore (Mashable) and Robert Scoble (Scobleizer).

Oct 1 2009

Display Ad Follow Up: What is 16% of Clicks Worth?

by Andrew DiFiore

As a follow up to my earlier post Google Makes Good on New DoubleClick Ad Exchange, AdAge reports that the number of people online who click display ads has dropped 50% in less than two years and only 16% of US Internet users are clicking. Nevertheless, ComScore maintains that display ads are still effective when paired with Paid Search. This is probably true enough but I would add to the mix optimized Landing Pages. And of course, good creative and a compelling offering helps.

Personally, I never felt impressions or click-throughs were a valid measurement of ROI in the digital world. Yes, there is something to be said about the value of people just seeing your brand but I’m not convince this is enough to justify the costs. It is too easy to exaggerate these numbers and their significance on engagement.

Displays ads (and the way they are measured) are transplants from print where advertising is passive, one-way. If the copy is clever, the imagery provocative, and the message on point, you can acquire mind-share in the reader’s brain (whether she realizes it or not). Mind-share is fleeting in our information saturated world (the average American is exposed to over 3,000 commercial messages a day, blah, blah, blah) which is why you must repeat your message often and everywhere. We all know that.

But online display ads don’t have to be passive. This is the Web, baby! You can create a multimedia experience that interacts with the visitor, maybe even “know” what she is doing, and be the empathic gateway to a meaningful exchange. Now that’s mind-share that sticks. Don’t know what I mean then check out Nike’s The Human Race 10K (kinda eerie).

In short, display ads have their place in the marketing mix. But to be truly effective at engagement, think outside the box. Better still, think: online there is no box.

Read the entire AdAge article here.

Aug 31 2009

Social Media Revolution (Video Summary)

by Andrew DiFiore

If you still think that Social Media is a fad then you’re not only missing the boat, you can’t even find the ocean.  But hey, not all is lost. Here is a nice video summary from Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics. Lots of stats presented in the same vein as the “Did You Know” videos.

Aug 11 2009

So Your Social Media Sucks… Don’t Blame the Technology!

by Andrew DiFiore

It is easy to get caught up in the hype of Social Media and desperate times begets desperate actions. But don’t do Social Media if your reasoning includes:

  • It’s so cheap
  • Everybody else is doing it
  • I’m afraid of missing the boat
  • I heard one Tweet and all your dreams come true!
  • I have an account on Facebook and it feels like magic

Don’t kid yourself (or let anyone else kid you), Social Media takes time, strategy, and yes, money.

Now, I’m not talking about creating an account on Twitter or Plaxo (most social networks are free to join).  Social Media marketing is so much more than having a Facebook fan page or leaving a comment on Scobleizer. It is about participating in and contributing to the conversations. And there ain’t no room for introverts if you’re looking to affect change.

For marketers who want to use Social Media to advocate their brands, this means bringing something of value to the table; not just a sales pitch but rather something about your brand story worth telling, in a way that is unique and easy to retell. Most people in these communities don’t really mind that you are there with an ulterior motive as long as it is in line with what the conversation is about. Furthermore, most don’t mind telling you exactly what they think of your product or service.

All too often, companies assume they can “control” the message like in traditional media (e.g. newspapers, television, radio) but they can’t; nor should they try. The Social Web is a multi-channel, interactive medium with the power to spread ideas quickly, exponentially. You can track and direct the message but once it is out there, it is out there. If this concept scares you then stay away from Social Media.

In order for a Social Media marketing campaign to be successful you must have something good to sell and then have an engaging way of selling it. I’ll assume the first is a given. The second is where you must get creative. There is no substitute for great ideas regardless of the medium. At the end of the day this is really why clients hire us. Sure, we may be “masters of technology” but it is the power of our ideas that separate the good from the great!

Never Compromise the Effectiveness of a Campaign!

This is the #1 reason why Social Media campaigns fail.

No doubt, we have all been there. Months in the planning, doing the research, coordinating the creative and technical teams, building up your online social capital. The landing page has been optimized. The behavioral metrics are in place. And then the unthinkable happens: client gets cold feet. Thinks the campaign is too risky. Maybe a funny YouTube video would be better. Ugh!

This is the no-win situation. If the vision of the campaign cannot be realized then the best thing to do is not to do it. I know we may not have this luxury. Unfortunately, if the effectiveness of the campaign has been compromised then it will most certainly fail. And with its failure comes the inevitable assumption it failed because Social Media doesn’t work.

Alas, this may be a self-fulling prophecy for some. The Social Media road is littered with the corpses of failed campaigns (half-baked in the sun). But there are a few bright examples of companies who didn’t compromise, who marched forward with courage and conviction, and were richly rewarded.

Jul 10 2009

The Internet – One Singular Sensation?

by Jeff Propper

Mexican_Bandido Marketers have always searched for the magic bullet, that single tactic that can give them the exposure of a celebrity scandal.  Apple found it in 1984 by purchasing air time on the Superbowl.  They had our rapt attention for sixty seconds, followed by endless hours of watercooler discussions. Naturally, many major and not-so-major advertisers followed suit.

What about B-to-B marketers?

Surely, a holy grail of product exposure exists, a single tactical solution that can provide it all, and without the annoying expense of an integrated marketing campaign?  Many marketers feel they’ve found that on the World Wide Web, the one stop, does-it-all interactive media outlet that can give your product exposure to your target market with pinpoint accuracy. There’s no question of the power of the Internet, with 2.67 billion searches worldwide per day*, 183 billion Emails sent per day** and with $131 billion US eCommerce sales in 2007***, yeah it’s powerful.

But wait there’s more.

Consider this statistic.  According to iProspect, “Offline Channel Influence on Online Search Behavior,” 2007, 67% of online search users are driven to search for information about a particular company, product, service, or slogan by an offline channel. Here’s the breakdown: TV 37%, Print 30%, in-store promotion/merchandising 20% and radio 17%.  That means offline marketing channels drive online research that can lead to a purchase.

How about integration?

While it’s tempting to consider the web as your only source of exposure, consider the old concept of integration — send a message to as many people as possible, as often as possible, through a variety of media outlets.  A well-constructed, well-thought-out plan can go a long way. A successful plan must saturate, sustain and standout. When all is said and done, advertising is about reaching as many of your consumers as possible as many times as possible with the least amount of waste.

Look at this way, there’s 100% chance that someone will win the lottery, but chances are it won’t be you. Hedge your bet, instead of putting all you eggs in one tactic, consider an integrated effort.

*Source: comScore qSearch, August 2008, monthly figure divided over 31 days.
**Source: Radicati Group, October 2007.
***Source: “The State Of Retailing Online 2008: Marketing Report,” & Forrester Research, April 2008.