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Posts from the ‘Advertising’ Category

Why monkeys aren’t to blame for all things viral

January 1, 2012

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Having a campaign go viral is widely believed to be the Holy Grail of digital marketing. And while movies have shown that primates have the capacity to spread a virus with incredible speed, we’ve yet to meet a monkey who can single handedly make your video of a kitten-cuddling hippo an overnight success in the fabric softener industry.

So how does a digital campaign gain support and spread? Let’s treat that goal like a virus and work backwards to its origin as we look for clues.

Pandemic?

First, or in this case last, we need to understand that not all people are equally susceptible to the same virus. Do all campaigns spread to millions? No. It’s likely that even a successful campaign won’t go viral. You can’t buy the Holy Grail at Costco or find the formula in a secret manuscript. But whether your goal is to reach 100 people or 10 million, a successful campaign needs a catalyst in order to spread. And unlike diseases, viral campaigns usually start with an element of excitement that stems from brand originality.

Outbreak

The virus goes airborne. The campaign is launched to reach the client’s core audience. These loyal brand ambassadors are exposed first in the hopes they’ll spread the virus within their immediate circles of influence. Their excitement is infectious and spreads through their respective communities online. Soon, those not even familiar with the client are intrigued/infected. New consumers/patients are emerging.

Consumers, new and old, are engaging with the client online. We (the agency) are rolling out new parts of the plan. The idea is evolving based on customer feedback. Everyone involved in the campaign is excited.

Quarantine 

This is the time when the idea, concocted and isolated in a lab to this point, earns its first victims. This is where the idea is pitched to the client. The pitch conveys the enthusiasm and volume of work that has been invested to this point. Like an antibody, the client may initially try to fight off parts of the idea. The plan may be more radical than their usual marketing or it may involve a new communication channel. This is where agency excitement leads to brand buy-in. Without the trust and support of a client, our plan may simply remain an idea.

Our job as the idea host is to infect the client with excitement. At this point, to stay alive, the idea goes through an adaptation process as the client’s feedback is incorporated. Now the idea is stronger. We’re excited. They’re excited.

Patient Zero

As an agency, we’re always excited about our ideas. It’s why we do what we do. When writing a client plan, we tackle the communications challenges from every angle – constantly critiquing and modifying each other’s ideas until we’re satisfied with the solution. We agonize over the wording, strategize how to deploy the message across different media, and project the anticipated audience responses. With each level of refinement, our excitement builds until the final proposal is ready.

Enter Patient Zero. Us. Bridge Nine Interactive. We’re now so excited in this idea that we can’t wait to show our client. And the process begins.

While there’s no surefire way to get your spokeshippo on the evening news, the one important factor in every campaign, viral or otherwise, is to understand that brands succeed online when original ideas lead to excitement among the core audience. Sure, we’re all primates, but we’d like to see a monkey do that.

5 Tech Trends to Watch in 2012

December 27, 2011

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2012 promises to be a very busy year in all things digital, but, as with any annum, there will be just a handful of big, memorable trends. Here, I’ve collected five such movements that are likely to make a big impact in our technologically-enhanced lives.

Augmented Reality

It’s now in games, location apps, business cards and coffee shops and could start showing up in cars and even eyeglassesAugmented Reality, which puts a virtual view on top of your real world, is really just a cool way of saying, “Reality with Style.” Instead of simply viewing your apartment through your phone, you’re playing Star Wars Arcade Falcon Gunner on top of it. Instead looking up a restaurant in your neighborhood, you’re using Yelp to see its location and reviews for it and other restaurants right on top of your on-screen view of the street. 2012 will mark the beginning of exponential growth for Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR).

According to a report from Visiongain, 25% of all app downloads will feature some sort of augmented reality. Though adoption hinges on more powerful, high-speed and camera-ready mobile devices, it’s clear to me that the majority of smartphones and tablets in end-users’ hands next year will be 3G-to-4G-ready, high-def, large-screen devices with not one, but two multi-megapixel cameras. Trust me, by 2013, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t at least tried augmented reality.

The Micro-Payment Economy

App manufacturers are not the only ones who can make money selling tiny wares and incremental upgrades. The barrier to entry for starting your own small business has been effectively knocked down by a variety of online merchants who are willing to hawk your wares for next to nothing. In truth, the merchandise isn’t entirely yours. In fact, these companies are often just selling your idea on top of their wares and you get a tiny slice for each sale, or for when the numbers of sales reaches a certain threshold.

Sites like RedBubble do everything for the artist; all they need to do is upload the content. RedBubble will, for example, make the T-Shirt with your art, sell it for you, manage the distribution and, of course, collect payment. The site lets you set the price above their fixed price. Yes, you could add as much as you want onto a $16 T-shit, but most smart sellers know this means they won’t sell a single garment. Instead, you add 1%-to-5% (maybe 10% if you’re feeling strong) and then promote the dickens out of your product on the site and through various social networks.

RedBubble is just one of many destinations popping up to help the aspiring entrepreneur. They join established platforms like Lulu (self-publish books), and YouTube. YouTube has been inviting videographers into the commerce tent for years, letting them add AdSense accounts to popular videos and then sitting back and watching the pennies roll in.

As the economy sputters along, look for more and more of the sites helping you sell almost anything you can imagine and making you a “fortune”–one micro payment at a time.

The Rise of the UltraBook

Tablets dominate the tech conversation, but that doesn’t mean the PC is dead. No, it’s alive and well, but in a form that will closely mimic some of the best features of tablets. I don’t have numbers yet, but I’m betting Desktop PCs were not big sellers this holiday season. Laptops may have done a little better, but who among you was willing to give junior an end-of-life netbook instead of a sexy, touch-screen tablet? (I’m imagining no one raising their hands).

A term coined by Intel, Ultrabooks describe exquisitely thin and light, yet pleasingly powerful laptops. Think MacBook Air and you get the idea. No, they don’t have touch screens or apps (though that’s changing, too) and Ultrabooks usually have just one HD camera. Still, with just a little more heft and girth than your garden-variety iPad, an Ultrabook adds a full-sized keyboard and far more powerful components. In other words, they’re perfectly designed for getting real work done, but no one will be embarrassed to carry one around. 2012 will witness an explosion of these devices as manufacturers pin on them their last best hopes for regaining consumer computing interest.

Social/Digital Exhaustion

Facebook will break the 1 billion user mark in 2012, but its numbers have flattened out in the U.S. Twitter is growing; it may have as many 450 million users, but no one knows how many people are really active users. Google+ is growing steadily, but is still well behind the two most established networks and much of the public is unaware of its existence. There is the now persistent, with good reason, backlash against mobile phone usage in cars and on streets.

In general, more and more people seem to be reevaluating their social and digital existence. Even the SOPA battle is revealing some unforeseen schisms. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bad idea, not because piracy is good, but because of the plan for enforcement is wrong and dangerous. That said, no one who creates content can deny that the digital revolution hasn’t forced them to rethink how they create, sell and distribute content. There are no easy answers here and 2012 will be a year of introspection; one where we possibly rewrite the rules of content, copyrights and social interactions.

Mobile Chip Wars

The tech industry is gearing up for a rather intense battle—on a micro scale. With ARM-based CPUs in virtually all of today’s tablets and handsets, Intel, the dominant system CPU manufacturer, has no presence in the mobile space. It’s a situation the company promises to change in 2012 with Medfield—its rethinking of the Atom CPU (popular in netbooks). Meanwhile a consortium of Pacific Rim manufacturers have just banded together to produce new mobile CPUs for phones and tablets.

These efforts may not mean much, though, as Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Motorola, Marvell, Nvidia and others all license the ARM architecture and show (along with the hardware partners) little interest in switching to a new or once-established platform. Even Microsoft is developing Windows 8 to run on ARM-based CPUs in addition to traditional Wintel machines.

What do you think? Are these the right trends? Will there be other defining movements in 2012? Chose the biggest trend in our poll and then let’s talk about it in the comments.

by , via Mashable

What The Business Of Video Will Look Like In 2012

December 16, 2011

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In the past twelve months we’ve seen the first generation of web video business models draw to a close, and the emergence of devices and business models that will fuel powerful continued growth in the year ahead.

Since web video began, user-generated content sites have counted on advertising revenue as their economic salvation. Despite the belief in this model, and a steady stream of venture capital, advertisers haven’t bought in. Instead, money has flowed to quality created content, and quality curated collections. Google looked at the trends and made a massive pivot in the YouTube model, effectively shifting from a neutral content aggregation and delivery platform into a ‘studio’ model that puts them in the position of funding and promoting content.   This is a smart strategic shift, and one that has the potential to give conventional cable networks and other emerging distributors a powerful new competitor. At the same time, it further diminishes Google’s interest in what used to be called “the long tail.”

My prediction is that YouTube won’t go out of the UGC business; in fact, it will be the exact opposite. I think you’ll see more creative ways to monetize YouTube, including new partnerships with portal players, third-party ad units, and the emergence of important sponsorship and co-branded pages. It’s unclear if YouTube will build these offerings, buy them, or partner with others to provide them. But AdSense text ads for video aren’t alone going to fund the future of the middle market of video.  Instead, you’re going to see some number of business users look to take more control over their content, their ad units, and the community around their media.
At the same time, the delivery system for video is very much under construction. The so-called “Over The Top”  competitors have had a busy year–with Google TV falling flat, but version two looking promising, and Netflix’s Qwickster dying a quick death. At the same time, Boxee jumped into the business of providing digital ‘rabbit ears’ and Hulu briefly auctioned itself before returning to running the business. And now Microsoft moves to gain OTT dominance with a brand-new Xbox interface and more content deals. So, no clear winner here yet.

HERE ARE 5 PREDICTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK:

Prediction #1. 2012 is the year all video goes a la carte.

Remember all the promises of a new ‘a la-cart’ cable world, where consumers had choice and freedom? Well,  you have to hand it to the cable guys, they’ve been able to keep that commodification of their product just out of arms’ reach for as long as anyone can remember.

But 2012 will be the year that cable breaks free of its terrible tiered chains. Anything that you can get on cable will find it’s way to an ‘on-demand’ or ‘pay per view’ service. The gap between date of broadcast and the window for PPV will narrow or disappear. Cable content will become on demand content.

Prediction #2. 2012 will be the year of the OverTheTop revolution.

While pundits, myself included, have heralded the coming herd of cable cutters. So far, they’ve been the outliers and early adopters. It’s seemed so painfully close–and so many devices had pieces of a solution. Boxee was the leader in the  open world of web content. Roku had apps and file playback. Apple TV had a well-scrubbed ecosystem. Tivo had DVR functionality and off-air recording. And Google TV had a broad consumer electronics offering with Logitech. But none of them had the ‘killer app’ quotient that made them runaway winners.

That’s all about to change. Boxee is adding a tuner, Roku is connecting with more services. And offerings like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are making the leap to multiple devices and screens. Services and boxes will merge. Flatscreens will get smarter and more easily connected. The distribution bottleneck will dissolve.

Prediction #3. YouTube and Google TV will merge (really this time). 

It’s been five years since Google bought YouTube. Both companies have grown and prospered, but they’ve remained separate companies. There have been attempts by Google to monetize YouTube with various ad formats, but it hasn’t been terribly successful. Why? Because the buyers of text ads don’t want to pay a premium for video, and video is notoriously harder to target. Meanwhile, Google video closed its doors, and Google went down the road of content aggregation trying to find value in the search space around video. That too wasn’t a huge win. But now, with Google TV 1.0 a distant memory, there’s a clear path to profitability for the search giant.

Prediction #4.  Yahoo will emerge as a big creator and distributor of video.

While it’s easy to let Yahoo’s corporate drama draw your eye, the company continues to make a conserted effort to build a solid video business. While AOL has dipped its toe in the content waters, Yahoo has jumped in feet first. In particular, Ross Levinsohn’s well-executed partnership with ABC News is a clue about just how seriously they take video.  “In this time of enormous economic and global challenge, the Yahoo! audience will determine the next president of the United States. We’re building Yahoo! News to be the source for political coverage, harnessing the voices, opinions and proposed solutions of Americans from across the country to deliver content and reporting focused on the issues and decisions that voters and their families must deal with daily,” Levinsohn said. Bravo.

Prediction #5.  Business video will arrive as a real targetable business opportunity.

There are some basic truisms in business (and in life), and one of them is: “Nothing in this life is free.” For the past 10 years, consumers, business, and even media have gorged themselves on the wonderful access to free video. The cost of bandwidth has continued to fall, giving the large players an edge, even as ad revenues and CPMs have continued to fall.

Business has been late to the party, but in the past year more companies have begun to explore the idea of making and sharing video with their customers. Many of them are using a free UGC uploader, building in some cases large collections of video on third-party servers. But the free video party is about to come to an end, as more and more low-CPM ads and obtrusive ad formats appear. This is going to give businesses the need to find new homes, and new solutions, providing a boon to the SMB video market.

Expect big changes in how video is made, shared, and consumed in 2012. On the content side of the world, it appears there is now a consensus that everyone needs to be a publisher. This means brands, networks, and print media all are vying for a spot in your overflowing content inbox.

What is a publisher in this new world of digital overload? It used to be publishers were content creators, but increasingly publishers are taking on the role of content filters.  Finding, organizing, and presenting coherent content is wrapped in to the role of curator that brands and media now embrace. Magnify.net sits squarely in the center of this revolution. As the web’s largest video-curation platform, we watch as Parenting.com, TEDx,  and Patagonia all power their video experiences with our flexible toolkit.

The big surprise in the future of video delivery is that it may not be the flat screen at all. The Amazon Kindle Fire, the newest kid on the tablet block, is off to a stunningly fast start as a video and VOD platform. IHS Research projects Amazon will ship 3.9 million units in Q4, recording a 13.8 percent share of global tablets shipped, compared to Apple’s 65.6 share. While the data is still new, all indications are that Kindle Fire is going to burn up the video consumption charts, making Amazon Prime Video a powerful contender for table, OTT,  and mobile video consumption.

The next twelve months are going to be transformative. Web video will become simply “video”–made everywhere and consumed everywhere. And brands and companies, who’ve contemplated using video to tell their stories or connect with consumers, will find that the train is leaving the station. It’s time to get on board the video express, or be left with an unpunched ticket in your hand.

BY STEVEN ROSENBAUM, via Fast Company

Metrics for Social Media ROI

December 2, 2011

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Whether you are an agency or an in-house social media specialist, you are bound to have clients or supervisors barreling down on you for the ROI on social media. The single most common question that is addressed to all social media experts is:  How do you determine the ROI of all of your social media efforts?

I am going to give you tips on how to measure your metrics, but with the caveat that currently there is no real ‘formula’ to calculate ROI on social media. This post will provide you with ideas to create metrics that you can implement and modify for your organization.

After conducting thorough due diligence on how to effectively measure and evaluate ROI, I came across a very reputable expert in the market, Avinash Kaushik. He has had the most influence on the way I think about analytics and ROI.

Social Media ROI

Let’s start with the basics. Always keep an eye on the general metrics such as Facebook page likes, Twitter followers and total interactions. Evaluate the amount of interaction you have on your social media network per users (follows, likes, subscribers, etc.). This helps to determine the significance of your social network community. There is no point in having well over 10,000 followers on Twitter when you only have interaction with about 5 users. It is great to build both a strong fan base and following but it is just as important to ensure that you are consistent in engagement.

Total interactions are easy to calculate for Facebook through their ‘Insights’, however, it will take time when you are collecting data for other social networks. For example, Twitter will require that you add up the total number of times you were re-tweeted, mentioned, included in a hashtag, and added as a favorite tweet within the time period that you want to analyze the data (daily, weekly or monthly). For other social networks you may have to consider the number of shares, comments and likes, so make sure to take the time to determine what you truly consider an interaction for each network, respectively.

After you are done with the steps outlined above, you want to now break down the ‘interactions’ of your social networks. Focus on how users are interacting with the content that is presented. Here is where I will use some of Avinash’s terminology and ideas, while introducing new ones as well. According to my own analysis, consider focusing on the following factors: conversation rate, amplification rate, attraction rate, view ability rate and click-through rate. Let’s get started!

Conversation Rate

This is the true engagement for conversations in your social media communities. Conversations will be different depending on the network. For example, Facebook, Youtube, and blogs are focused on comments; however, Twitter is measured with mentions and hashtags. Calculate the figures for each network, and calculate how many conversations took place per post, tweet, or video submission.

Amplification Rate

This is the total number of times that your content was either shared or re-tweeted. Calculate the number of times that your posts or tweets were shared and determine the rate per post. You can take this one step further, and determine the reach of your content. Every time your post or tweet is shared, it is available for an entirely new audience, expanding the number of eyes that could potentially see it. You can also investigate and see what type of content is being amplified the most. This will go a long way in helping you understand your community a little better, and the type of content that interests them.

Attraction Rate

Ensure that your content is attractive to your market. Calculate the total number of likes or +1’s per post or the number or tweets that were added as a favorite per total tweets. The more that people like what you have to say or share, the more that people will care.

Viewability Rate

This stat is a little harder to find on Twitter, however, for other networks and mediums such as Facebook, Youtube and your blog, it is the total number of views or impressions per post. This is not as important as the other metrics listed above, but it is always nice to see how often your content is being looked at and if no one is seeing it, then you better find a way to get users to view it!

Click-Through Rate

Everyone shares links, whether it is a blog post, a highlighted product or content that you found on the web. However, there is no sense in sending and receiving links, especially in hopes that the end user will click on it. Efficiency is the name of the game; so I recommend using bit.ly, to help you keep a track of your outbound links. After you set that up, use this as a tool to figure out how many clicks you are receiving per link, measuring which content and times are best for content distribution.

Now that you know what metrics to follow, create an excel spreadsheet that will allow you to keep track of your social media networks. You will notice that some of the numbers will pose as a challenge, as you will be calculating them manually. Consider searching for tools that will allow you to calculate statistics that show your analytics. If you are a large brand, this is not a request it’s a requirement. If you have any suggestions on which tools work well for you, please leave a comment. I’m all about collaboration.

Now that you have a method to organize your social media metrics, it is now time to determine the true financial impact for your brand. Check back for the second part of this post to find out how these numbers and conversion rates can help you determine your actualized ROI.

via socialmediatoday

The best mobile campaigns of 2011

November 28, 2011

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It has been said many times that 2011 was the year of mobile. But was it really? By now, most of us have realized there is no such thing. To say that would mean the best is behind us, when that is far from the case. Don’t think in terms of the year of mobile or even the decade of mobile. It’s much bigger than that. Communication has been redefined. Mobile has fundamentally changed how we communicate every minute of the day in countless aspects of our personal and professional lives. The result is a sweeping cultural shift — on a global scale.

Reflecting on the most successful mobile marketing campaigns this year, the ones to admire aren’t the ones you might think. Too many mobile campaigns are still about the fascination with a new shiny object. Sure, those were fun and intriguing for a brief moment in time. But, while interesting new technologies are inspiring, mobile is not just a flash in the pan.

The most notable campaigns serve as evidence that mobile is big — that integrating mobile strategy across the entire marketing strategy will drive customer value. 2011 did mark a significant milestone in mobile marketing and not by chance. From one marketer to another, we need to recognize that successful mobile marketing programs take considerable effort, time, and even a reassessment of the value that a brand provides to the consumer.

Of the mobile programs we evaluated in all major consumer-facing industries, three stand out. These companies have established a meaningful brand-to-consumer engagement by delivering sustained, personalized value to the consumer. They are properly executing across the four pillars of mobile marketing by:

  • Planning out mobile strategies
  • Clearly identifying the target audience and how to engage the consumer by integrating mobile with the media mix
  • Delivering not one but several mobile tactics that work in concert to provide a mobile presence
  • Employing connected customer relationship marketing (CRM), which enables the marketer to segment, target, and develop valuable marketing insights.

It is important to remember that success is found using mobile not as a stand-alone media but as an integrated, multi-channel engagement vehicle. Let’s look at the campaigns that best embody this premise.

Starbucks

It has only been a few years since Starbucks founder Howard Shultz had to step back into the business to turn the company around after several consecutive quarters of negative growth. The brand that put a coffee shop on nearly every corner seemed to have saturated the market. In fact, it turned out that Starbucks’ best years were just around the corner.

What happened?

The answer is simple. Starbucks sharpened its focus by moving away from mass marketing to a one-to-one focus, putting the customer at the center of its marketing efforts. This thinking led to a mobile marketing strategy that is now an integral part of the overall marketing mix.

After working through years of testing and trials to get it right, Starbucks has developed a mobile marketing program that successfully blends loyalty, incentives, and commerce. What immediately comes to mind for many is the Starbucks store finder app that’s been in the market for a few years now. In fact, the company’s mobile marketing program is much more than an app or two, and it continues to delight consumers.

Starbucks has developed mobile programs that allow consumers to shop, search, and purchase through contactless payments. The significance of this mobile program is based on a fundamental understanding of consumer mobile habits and behaviors. But it goes further with the ability to personalize content. What’s also very interesting is the media integration of web, app, text messaging, out-of-home, display, location-based services, in-store, and direct mail — all leveraged as touchpoints to engage the consumer and drive people to the stores.

The mobile loyalty program is an extension of the CRM strategy — it works with the loyalty card and is tied into commerce. Below is a high-level description of notable capabilities:

  • The integrated 2D barcode capability turns an iPhone into a Starbucks card, allowing consumers to check balances and reload cards from the app.
  • The app allows registration and includes a store locator and My Favs. It even puts nutritional information at the consumer’s fingertips.
  • The program launched in September in 16 test markets. In certain stores, consumers can tap and pay with their mobile device.

JCPenney

In a development that might be surprising to many, JCPenney is one of the most well-rounded and consistent mobile marketers within the retail space, continually integrating mobile into key media channels. From QR codes and text messaging (SMS), to social, mobile internet, and apps, JCPenney is paving the way for mobile in retail.

JCPenney has developed a clear mobile marketing strategy that appears to closely align with business goals and marketing objectives. The mobile program takes a 360-degree approach by integrating mobile with traditional and digital media. Social, in-store, direct mail, display, search, television, and mobile preference centers are incorporated within the internet and Facebook. Mobile programs are refined based on consumer adoption, while JCPenney continually tests and tries new mobile marketing tactics to enhance the consumer experience and establish a deeper relationship. This is accomplished through the use of:

  • SMS coupons with some testing of multi-media messaging service (MMS) coupons
  • Core tactics that include SMS, MMS, mobile web, apps, social, and scannable codes

Target

One of the best holiday mobile campaigns was from Target, which used a multi-channel mobile approach to meet consumers’ needs. Target was the first big-box retailer to implement mobile barcode scanning in all its locations nationwide, setting the bar high for other retailers.

Going further, Target has recently delivered e-circulars to a target audience by providing a rich media ad format leveraging key functionality based on the device and location. What impresses us the most is that Target is taking a long-term approach by implementing mobile solutions well ahead of the market at scale, putting other retailers in catch-up mode. The mobile strategy includes text message marketing, 1-D and 2-D codes, consumer shopping apps for all devices, a mobile preference center, and a mobile site with the aim of making shopping at Target an easy and enjoyable experience.

Target continues to find success integrating mobile into its marketing strategy for several reasons:

  • Mobile is part of its core value proposition.
  • Target has a clear understanding of consumer needs and wants.
  • The core program was developed as the consumers adapted.
  • The foundational approach uses SMS and MMS to position coupons effectively.
  • The program began with basic tactics and evolved to advanced tactics, such as mobile web, apps for all operating systems, location-based service offers, and the retailer’s own proprietary QR and barcode program.
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) “tap and pay” services are being tested and coming soon.
  • The mobile preference center on the site allows consumers to pick how they want to engage with Target.

Retailers like Starbucks, JCPenney, and Target are proving that the integration of mobile into the overall marketing strategy is a powerful and large-scale way to engage consumers and increase customer value. The commitment shared by these trailblazers is proof that mobile will continue to be a key business driver well into the future.

By Chris Wayman, via iMEDIA Connection

Pinterest: Link Building & SEO Strategies

November 28, 2011

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I’ve seen more SEO interest in Pinterest in the last month than the rest of the image bookmarking site’s life. One day, I saw multiple veteran SEOs ask for an invite and I’m pretty sure they’re not going for cute animal pictures and interior decorating ideas.

Most of the SEO talk about Pinterest concern a couple of key tactics: (1) getting people to pin pictures of your products (aided by adding the “Pin It” button to product pages), and (2) seeding your site images to topical influencers where they are likely to get spread through “repinning” (similar to Tumblr’s “reblog” feature).

A Background On Pinterest Links

Here’s a brief rundown of  what we already know about Pinterest links:

  • Each “Pin” links back to the page the image is shown on OR the actual file location using a do-follow link. The difference depends on how the image was pinned. For example, opening an image in its own window/tab and then using Pinterest’s bookmarklet will create the pin and link to the file location jpeg. The “Pin It” button will usually link to the page the image is featured on. A page-targeted link is probably better than a jpeg-targeted link unless you’re purposely optimizing for image search.
  • Do-follow links are found on multiple parts of a pin, as shown below. The “From:” link and the image link are both standard in every pin. All image ALT attributes read “Pinned Image” with no way to edit. You can also insert links into the pin description and comments (here comes Pinterest comment spam). A pin comes with a custom embed code for easy syndication onto other websites, creating backlinks to the pin page.

  • Pinterest’s domain authority, by most SEO standards, is high and still growing. There’s always the possibility that Pinterest could convert the do-follow links to no-follow to curb spam, just as some other social bookmarking sites have done.

Link Reclamation With Pinterest

One of the easiest ways to get links from Pinterest is through link reclamation – finding pins tied to you and your company that aren’t linking to you and request a change. I’ll walk through a basic example using ZAGG, since this has been successful for us.

1. Search For Link Opportunities

Think of Pinterest SEO in terms of linkable image assets. Which image properties do you own that people might want to pin. Pinterest is an aesthetic network: what aesthetic content are you creating? What are the keywords associated with your images? The reality is that many companies don’t care about imagery, so Pinterest doesn’t really work. E-commerce sites are probably the best prepared to take advantage of this kind of link building.

I divided ZAGG images into four keyword categories: brand names, product names, product keywords, and campaigns (including infographics), then picked a few of the keywords associated with each category.

Using the Pinterest search box, I search for tags that correspond to our images. Ultimately, I find a combination of ZAGG logos, product photos, and advertising. Remember to search by how people tag, not how you think they should tag.

Many don’t tag images with manufacturer names. Searching for product keywords will often return a combination of your products and competitors’ products. Notice that a search for “ipad keyboard case” returns many images of our products without mentioning our company. (Highlighted in orange)

These are all great opportunities that wouldn’t have been identified without doing more generic keyword searches.

2. Determine Who Isn’t Linking To Your Site

Most of ZAGG’s images are getting onto Pinterest because people found them on our website. The rest of them come from a combination of affiliate and shopping sites, blogs, and even Google Image Search, even though we created the images. You can determine from the pin page where the image links to. Those that aren’t linking to your site are great candidates for outreach.

I should also mention that pins linking to the image file may be worth changing to link to the web page, for multiple reasons, including better SEO.

3. Pinterest User Outreach

How do you get someone to change a Pinterest link. In my experience, successful link reclamation comes as a result of three basics:

a. Make a direct request.

b. Make a case for the change.

c. Make it easy.

Make the request by contacting the Pinterest user with the text box on their profile page.

If you don’t get a response, many users have links to other profiles where they can be contacted.

Next, consider why someone would change an image link. Here are some reasons we’ve used successfully:

  • Give due credit to ZAGG’s amazing product photographer, Arthur, by linking to ZAGG’s site. (Remember that Pinterest is an aesthetic network that appreciates art)
  • Give visitors to your pin (and repins) the best, quickest way to get more product information, up-to-date product information, more images, and immediate purchase.
  • Avoid brand confusion, misinformation, and misrepresentation by linking to the original source.

Ultimately, it’s important to make a direct request with a benefit and explain how to change the pin. Changing pin links is easy – just click the “Edit” button associated with the pin and change the URL. Interestingly, the new URL doesn’t even need to have the image on it (but you’ll be more successful if it does). It’s best to include the Pinterest pin URL and the new URL you want associated with the image when making the request.

Side note: if someone changes an image link, the image links of those who have repinned the original pin do not change. You’ll have to request changes from each individually.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, I think Pinterest has as much content marketing potential as Tumblr for its community and ease of sharing. I expect to see a lot more marketers on there, trying to use this avenue to reach the next generation of “visual influencers.”

BY , via Search Engine Journal

Facebook’s New Analytics Reminds Businesses to Engage Fans

November 28, 2011

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In the past several years, businesses large and small have come to realize the positive impact of engaging their brand-loyal public and — more importantly — potential customers, via Facebook Pages. While fan pages are typically seen as a destination for users to remain privy to brand news, a recent comScore report shows that a Page is really just the place where content resides, as fans are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume branded material in their news feeds than on the actual fan page itself. This discovery led to Facebook’s expansion of “Page Insights,” including new metrics and analytics designed to constantly remind business owners of what truly matters: engaging content.

Facebook utilizes an algorithm that ensures the most relevant content for each user finds its way onto that particular user’s news feed. The relevancy of this content is determined by a number of factors, including how many times it is liked, shared, commented on, etc. When fans of a company interact with branded content, it can then be passed on to their friends and their friends’ friends. With fan acquisition as the main motive behind the Facebook strategy of most businesses, it is helpful to learn that friends of fans are more likely to visit a brand’s store, website and even purchase a product than the average, uninfluenced consumer. In addition, the average friends-of-fans group for the top 100 brand pages on Facebook is 34 times larger than the fan group. This means that a business can often have greater influence amongst its second degree connections, and the virality of a page’s content can be directly related to the success of a business. So, ultimately there’s a need for better insights into Facebook content consumption.

Facebook’s Advertising Communications Manager Elisabeth Diana states that the “one of the purposes behind Facebook Page Insights is to provide all page admins with ways to understand how to reach and acquire new customers.” New metrics have been created in order to provide businesses with not only information about how people are interacting with a brand Page, but also a glimpse into how people are connecting with the Page’s content in other parts of Facebook.

One of the metrics added to Facebook’s Page Insights is “People are talking about this.” This set of data counts stories that are eligible to appear in a user’s Newsfeed, such as any likes, wall posts, comments, shares, questions answered, RSVPs to events, Page mentions, photo tagging and location checkins. The metric allows the page administrator to know what posts have proven the most compelling and interactive.

Another metric added to the equation is the metric of virality, which allows for insight into how viral a particular post is. Virality is determined by dividing the number of “people talking about this” by the reach (the number of people who actually saw the content). Diana notes that because virality is a percentage, whether a business is large or small, the metric “can be used to compare across all Page posts.” The virality metric allows page admins to analyze the success of individual posts and will hopefully lead to an improved page strategy through a better understanding of the audience.

Along with these new metrics comes aesthetic changes as well. “Whether you want to get into the deep end or wade in slowly,” Diana says, Facebook wants to make their Page Insights “digestible for everyone, easy to sort and actionable.” She says most of the heavy numbers have been removed from Page Insights, but “for those needing something a little more data-intense, there is always the option to export to a spreadsheet.” Either way, Diana and Facebook promise that “this is just the first step in enhancing Page Insights for small businesses and brands; there is more to come.” In the meantime, however, Facebook will continue to prompt business owners to provide their audiences with the most engaging content possible to guarantee the greater reach and better sales.

by , via Mashable

Social Media, Email, PPC And SEO – Your Guide To Online Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

November 25, 2011

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Thanksgiving Day has just come and gone, but I hope that you saved a very special thank you for the internet, particularly if you’re a marketer or do any kind of branding online.

After all, where would the modern marketer be without social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook? Or email marketing? Not to mention pay per click (PPC), SEO and all that lovely, lovely analytics.

Yes, there’s a lot to be grateful for if you’re using the internet to promote your business, not least this fantastic infographic from Unbounce, entitled The Noob Guide To Online Marketing.

Psst… here’s a secret. This isn’t just for newbies. This incredibly detailed and information-rich visual has value for marketers of all levels and experience.

It’s huge, too, so make sure you click to enlarge [due to the size, you may need to click three times to see the full image].

By Shea Bennett, via Mediabistro

5 Steps for a Successful QR Code Marketing Campaign

November 14, 2011

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While the debate rages on whether QR codes are a passing fad or a marketing phenomenon, those little suckers continue to pop up all over the place. From product packaging to retail signs and even to food, almost any surface in the universe seems fair game for a QR code.

However, if brands deploy QR codes merely to claim they are using the latest social media marketing tool, then QR codes are doomed to fall in the “fad” bin, never to realize their full potential. The task for marketers is to use this interactive tool to deliver useful and meaningful experiences to their users.

So, how can you assess whether you are using QR codes to their full potential? Although very few QR marketing statistics exist, here are a few tips for businesses looking to deliver a meaningful QR code experience.


1. Define Your Purpose


The first thing to realize is that QR codes can be as much about utility as they are about marketing. The more your QR code enhances or streamlines the lives of customers, the more engagement you can expect. As such, the most important step in making your QR campaign a success is to think clearly about the purpose of your code.

  • Is the purpose to provide an instructional video, a photo catalog of products, contact information or product suggestions?
  • Or are you looking to incentivize mobile purchasing behavior through coupons and loyalty rewards?
  • What is the advertiser hoping to garner – an email address, social media engagement, a phone call?
  • Are you seeking to provide information about a single product or about the entire brand line?

The clearer you are about the purpose of your campaign, the easier it will be to discern whether your goals have been achieved.


2. Call On Your Customers


Now that you have defined your purpose, craft a customer call to action. Think of your QR code as a doorway, only you need to explain what’s hidden behind the door. The brief text sitting next to your code should be the world’s shortest elevator pitch.

For instance, you’ll see high scan rates if your code says, “Scan this code for an exclusive gift” or “Scan this code for our lowest price.” Be sure to explain any incentive associated with the code truthfully — it will increase trust, consumer interaction and the overall return on your campaign.


3. Design and Usability Is Key


Understand that looks matter. Ideally, opt for a designer code rather than a black-and-white checker box. Designer codes earn higher scan-through rates, look better on your materials, and even provide an element of security to assure users that this is indeed the brand’s QR code (and hasn’t been somehow covered over).

In addition, the design of the mobile landing page is critical. The cardinal sin in QR code campaigns is directing users to your desktop website. Not only does a desktop site provide little added value over what a user could have obtained without the code, but the site usually looks and functions terribly on a mobile phone. If you do not have a mobile-friendly version of your website, consider using one of the many available tools to create one. Using one of these platforms makes it easier to update content in real time and track campaign analytics.


4. Measuring Scans


The most important metric of a QR campaign should not be the number of daily scans. Rather, the length of engagement time that your code is generating should be a marketer’s primary indicator of campaign success.

If people are spending two to three (or more) minutes on a link, the campaign is a success. The power of a QR code is to transform the user experience from a “quick glance” to a “deep dive.” When users spend a lot of time on your QR site, it shows that you have developed something captivating — a brand worth the interaction.

On the flip side, having a low number of scans should not discourage the advertiser, although generating zero scans is a definite red flag. If no one is scanning the code, it’s likely that something is wrong its scanability, or that its placement is not conducive to scanning (think high-up ads on the subway).

Another thing to keep an eye on is the number of scans over time. If your QR code has been constant displayed (e.g., in your retail window or on your cashier counter), you should see a long tail of interactivity as people continue to engage with your code. Achieve this by providing fresh content and incentives. Unlike other marketing vehicles (TV commercials and newspaper ads) that typically only generate one big spike in impressions, QR codes allow businesses a consistent promotional tier. If the number of scans drops to zero after the first week, this is a sign that there wasn’t enough allure to the experience.


5. Social Metrics


Finally, businesses should look at the points of interaction beyond the QR code experience to judge the success of a campaign. Did a business receive more hits to its website, more followers on Twitter, more fans on Facebook? While trying out the latest high-tech marketing tools is fun, we must ultimately be driven by results.

The QR code experience is limited only by your imagination. The more creatively you can provide a meaningful customer experience, the more interaction your QR code campaign will enjoy.

QR codes provide metrics by tying real-world marketing (outdoor signs, magazine ads, etc.) to the mobile web. By being imaginative, purposeful and experimental with campaigns, advertisers and consumers alike can reap rich QR rewards.

by: Hamilton Chan, via Mashable

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