Mariamz

Posts Tagged ‘online marketing

Mark Ritson recently wrote, If you think Oreo won the advertising Super Bowl with a tweet, look at the social media scoreboardIn this, he puts forward a bold position: firstly that social media reaches a relatively small number of people, in a relatively light way (in comparison to TV ads) and secondly, that “The players might have changed, but the game has always been the same.” I’d like to briefly tackle these sentiments with some counter-points:

  1. Two-way, multi-way, a new way:  It’s a standard social media point to make, but it’s seems it still must be. The game is not the same, because we are talking about many to many communication, about instantaneous interaction between publics and brands. Broadcast media (print, tv and to a great extent radio) was about crafting messages and pushing them out. Social media is about stakeholders, customers, innovators, product developers, consumers, suppliers, shareholders, customer services getting under eachother’s skin in real-time. It means a wealth of chances to make better products, services, institutions and outcomes, and for a brand to know, in no uncertain terms, whether it is delighting, inspiring, boring, horrifying, losing or poisoning its target customers and (former) audiences faster than ever, ever before.
  2. Broadcast reach vs reach on the brand’s terms: According to Ritson’s calculations, the Oreo tweet reached 200,000 people, which he compares with the 8 million Americans who eat an Oreos cookie during one year. But these sums ignore that social media engagement does not rest on one tweet alone, however brilliantly improvised its content. If an individual likes a brand enough to follow it, to endure its posts, by choice, day in day out – that brand has a chance of reaching that number of people, with what it chooses, on its own terms, and over and over again. It does not have to pay per placement, negotiate partnerships with publishers or pitch to journalists. It decides what to say and how to say it, and gets it out there immediately. And what happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter.  According to Exact Target, discussions that begin on Twitter are more likely to appear elsewhere on the web than they are from any other network.
  3. Tiny stories versus big bangs: Ritson challenges the value of Oreo’s tweet on the grounds of its ‘potency’, because he is apparently wedded to the old-school marketing obsession with the big bang, a million eyeballs, that golden moment where a message reaches every heart, and the earth moves for everyone simultaneously. But in the new social media environment, we ridicule and mock big campaigns when they don’t make sense to us – and our voices are so loud brands can’t help but hear. Conversely, we cheer those that listen, move collaboratively, give us choices and help us make our mark. As Marcus Brown recently wrote marketers / social business people need to “watch and listen to all of the tiny noises, the personal moments, the little disasters and the massive moments of personal joy that surround us daily. We should be improvising with the tiny stories.”
  4. We likee, we buyee, and there’s no excuse for metrical ignorance: There are various studies showing correlation between liking and following brands, and propensity to recommend, purchase, and purchase more from them. (And stats showing that poor social media engagement impacts bottom lines.) That given, there is still no need for any marketer to settle for anecdotal or macro-data: from Facebook insights to Google goal setting, tracking the effectiveness of digital communications through the customer and stakeholder funnel, brand by brand, product by product, is a matter of effort and skill, not luck or magic. There is simply no need, with the wealth of metrics at our fingertips, to be asking rhetorically the value of social media activation versus broadcast placements.

Business Insider has shared a fascinating look at what helped the Obama campaign raise so much money during his recent successful presidential bid. The key was a highly successful combination of science and creativity – with what has been described as “strange, incessant, and weirdly over familiar” email subject lines and content.

A/B testing is a technique popular with web designers. It involves showing two different versions of a page to users – and measuring which gets the best response (this could be in terms of time spent on page, or the completion of a desired goal – i.e.  purchase or successful registration). The Obama campaign triumphed by being brave, cheeky, and optimising subject lines, content and formatting (with often as many as 18 variations) incessantly to find out what achieved the best results for its fundraising emails. In the end, the ‘winning’ email subject line was ‘I will be outspent’ – a rather passive aggressive line that obviously shook Obama supporters with their worst fear: that his opponent would spend more, and win the election on that basis.

This provides a strong reminder of how valuable access to data is, in running successful communications activity. Even if you are working agency-side, and somewhat removed from your client’s analytics – it is imperative to know what is working by getting access to as much data like this as possible from across their channels.

Love the way Unilever are integrating sustainability communications into their Facebook page here – which currently has a healthy 697,000 likes. Within the dedicated ‘sustainable living’ tab on its app the brand asks people what they do and don’t want to hear about from its three sustainability pillars.

The thumbs down sign is almost, but not quite, a forbidden ‘dislike’ button. But in any case negative responses are not displayed – it seems only total thumbs ups are shown.

Participation numbers aren’t high – but that’s probably because it’s buried half way down a secondary tab on its main brands app (and not sure how long it’s been there). They also might want to consider integrating voting with some sort of incentive, e.g. a charity donation – like Petplan UK are doing at the moment on their Facebook app:

Disclosure: Petplan UK are a client

Durex USA are looking to make further in-roads into the US condom market with their new Facebook app which offers couples the chance to get “in sync,” by finding the perfect love song based on their lovemaking styles. As well as a creative means of gamifying individual characteristics in a way that ties neatly, but just about subtly, to the product, this is a good case study in dealing with user data, and Facebook sharing, clearly and sensitively. The Facebook app like gate / splash page clearly tells potential users “Don’t worry. We won’t share your results unless you tell us to.”

Mucover

The growth in Social media use and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are inextricably linked. With access to real-time information on companies are up to, and what the world work thinks about it, social media holds businesses to account. And they know it. So more and more, companies are seeking to be perceived as socially responsible. For example, by backing positive, healthy initiatives, like the London 2012 Olympic Games.

And it works beyond the perception. Behaviour is changed. Positive outcomes are achieved, e.g.

“Procter and Gamble, another Games sponsors, has also been doing this for a while. One of its many brands, Ariel, ran a campaign called Cool Clean to try and get customers to wash clothes at 30 degrees. Peter White, P&G’s global sustainability director, says proudly, “In the UK, only around 2% of consumers were washing their clothes at 30 degrees or lower in 2002. By 2011 this had risen to over 30%. In the Netherlands it has reached over 50%.” He also points to a Pampers-Unicef collaboration that vaccinated over 100 million mothers and babies in 46 countries against neo-natal tetanus.”

Tim Smedley on the new Guardian Sustainable Business Social Impact hub

But how can we measure programmes relatively? Consistently? As brand managers, marketers or CSR professionals?

Demos have recently teamed up with Coca-Cola to try and answer this question. Their efforts have resulted in a proposed new model, to help business people measure and compare the difference their sponsorship / CSR activity makes:

You can read the full report on the Demos website.

Disclosure: P&G is a current client and Guardian Sustainable Business are a former employer

Pinterest has officially been the fastest growing social network this year. But why do we love it so? Why is it driving sales so much better than other social networks? Why is it so moreish?

Pinterest traffic growth to March 2012

I’m running a private Pinterest training session next week, where I’ll be covering:

  • A rapid introduction to the hottest visual social network right now
  • Overview of best in class activity
  • Activation framework

And I thought it would work well, especially for those in the room not already into it, to start off explaining why people love Pinterest… how they feel about it… to bring it to life. Personally, I’d muse the following:

  • We’re tired of looking at words on screens. I was talking to an old friend the other day who was at college when computers first hit the market. She said they used to tell them not to read on screen. To this day she usually prints everything – she says everyone has got too obsessed with saving trees (which can be replaced) – but your eyesight can’t. Whatever you think about this logic.. I think one of the reasons we love Pinterest is our eyes have become wary of reading reams and reams of information, and you can actually see a whole world of ideas on Pinterest (especially when you browse the ‘everything’ tab – without reading a word.
  • Simple serendipity. Eli Pariser, among other doom-sayers, have waxed lyrical at length about the danger of filter-bubbles in how we use the web as individuals. Our use of Twitter is mostly confined to the people we follow, the lists we have chosen to follow, searching for – or following the hashtags we are already interested in. On Facebook we see the pages and people we already like or know. But on Pinterest the ‘Everything’ tab is an easy, visual view into the world of many, many, others. It’s easy to skim past any picture you find offensive (and actually its Acceptable Use Policy and usage norms mean I very rarely see anything that fits that category from my perspective).
  • The whole world meets one click product discovery. When we shop online we usually go to a very few trusted websites, for the brands and websites we know. Or use massive shopping aggregators like asos which enable us to scroll through pages and pages of bags and shoes. But it can be samey. We get tired of looking at 300 dresses just to find one we like. We get ourselves into the mood to shop but somehow the pressure of scrolling and searching takes the shine off. You can’t touch or see the items up close and you get a bit fed up after watching 20 little videos to work out how the fabric hangs. But on Pinterest a dress or pair of shoes, new make-up or hair idea is all mixed up with cool travel and home and even digital inspiration. It’s not just one shop or even a virtual high street… it’s pictures of the whole world online.. it’s the beach, the bar, the library, the philosopher and the boutique all at once.

That’s just some speculation from me… but why do other Pinners love it? I thought I’d use the ethnographic method of observing what people say about their feelings about it on Twitter:

In keeping with ethnographic research principles – I started with a question, gave my feelings on the platform and the perspective from which I am approaching the question, and uncovered themes from my observations.. represented here in this word cloud:

Here are those themes in more detail:

  • It helps you easily share what you find and love.. without having to comment on it in any great detail – e.g. Danni Minogue’s pets board has shown me with pictures, some insight into her personality I’d never have really gauged otherwise
  • I’ve heard people say this in person too – it takes you into another world – a more dream-like world
  • It drives desire
  • It inspires you to make new things (or makes you feel you should be!)
  • It gives you hints, tips and recipes that can brighten your day
  • Music was a new one on me – how does one use it for that I wonder? Via video perhaps? This is how I discovered you can now pin sounds from Soundcloud onto Pinterest
  • The quotes help you feel positive (personally I always feel an undercurrent of embarrassment when I re-tweet inspirational quotes on Twitter but it just doesn’t feel like that on Pinterest)
  • It makes you feel good by letting you know when other people like what you love
  • I’ve often found it annoying that I can’t pin directly from G+ or Facebook – but the fact someone suggested it as a reason to love Pinterest made me think… it’s a good safeguard against it getting filled up with lots of personal pictures of people falling out of nightclubs and indeed outfits
  • It can lift your mood – or help you explore the mood you’re in
  • The ease which which you can share visually makes it less intimidating for non-technical users as a collaboration / bookmarking tool
  • Photos are usually professionally taken / shared when they fit with the professionally taken shots there – meaning their visually stunning appeal differs from the more amateur photography you might expect on Flickr, or personal (to you) shots you see on Facebook
  • It can help creative people to think visually

So that was fun… a view into the world of our positive feelings towards Pinterest. But I must report that in the course of this research I found a significant number of people reporting negative feelings – i.e. the wish their lives were as fabulous as the world they can enter on Pinterest / their Pinterest boards. This reminded me of criticisms levelled at magazines over the years – on how they make people feel in terms of pressures on how to be and what to buy.

Back on the sunnier flip side, something I realised in trawling tweets about why people have taken to Pinterest so readily – is how much they love to say how much they love eachother’s pins. We might posit here that if Facebook be the platform of like, Pinterest be that of love

stop and think about your marketing efforts, especially if they include ‘old school’ things like developing printed magazines that are mailed to clients… Turn your sights on producing content that’s available in different iterations, depending on the end consumers’ (your target audience) individual preferences… Be paying attention to the analytics on your website and corporate blog and watch how those numbers of people accessing your site from mobile devices is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Consider producing those magazines in app form or some other digital form that complements today’s mobile lifestyle.

Shelly Kramer

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