Social Media Advertising: A Beginners Overview

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As with any other form of new cost or expense, companies are going to be hesitant to dip their toe into the social media advertising water without knowing some basic facts about what to expect cost-wise and, more importantly, ROI.  The truth is that while it may be new for some companies, the process has been made very effective by social media platforms. 

Social media advertising platforms have continued to develop various fan engagement features over the past few years and brands can now capitalize on promoted posts and cost-per-click (CPC) ads to expand their fan base and strengthen their social following in a variety of ways.  As this process gradually improves further, companies will begin to allocate more money for social media spend.  2013 has seen small and big B2B companies allocate a greater portion of their marketing budget towards social media. According to a survey by CMO, B2B companies allocate 8.4% of their overall marketing budget to social media. This is expected to increase to 11.5% by the end of the year and to 21.6% over the next five years. We guess this means that B2B marketers are finally convinced that social media is critical to stay ahead of the pack. (Leadformix)

Here’s an overview of how these platforms work:

Facebook:

Facebook Ads are a great way to drive traffic to your website or Facebook page and increase your following. Remember, when fans “like” your page, they are demonstrating their trust in your brand and voluntarily agreeing to regular exposure to your social content. For eCommerce sites, this is especially important because it allows your brand to tap into their social networks to track social conversions and calculate the ROI of Facebook fans, thus determining the exact monetary value of a Facebook “like.” (Atwell, 2013)

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An example of a client’s increase in page “likes” from Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories.

Twitter:

The Twitter Ads platform offers two options for brands to help increase their followers: promoted accounts and promoted tweets. Promoted accounts display your company’s Twitter account in the “Who to Follow” section for users who are most likely to be interested in your type of account. By choosing your daily ad spend and setting a maximum bid for promoted accounts, your account will only be charged for the new followers you actually gain. 

Advertising on Twitter allows your company to target consumers by industry, interests, gender, and even what keywords they type in for searches. Promoted Tweets can appear in user timelines and search results as well as Twitter for mobile, desktops, laptops and tablets (Twitter)

The benefits of having advertising on mobile apps are growing. Today, mobile is often the primary way people around the globe experience Twitter. Sixty percent of our 200 million active users log in via a mobile device at least once every month. (Twitter Advertising, 2013)

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Atwell, Laura.  February 26, 2013. Social Media Advertising: The Total Cost Breakdown of a “Like. Retrieved on November 26, 2013 from http://adpearance.com/blog/social-media-advertising-the-total-cost-breakdown-of-a-like

Leadformix. Should You Advertise on Social Media? Retrieved on November 26, 2013 from http://www.leadformix.com/short-takes/should-you-advertise-on-social-media.html

Twitter. Promoted Tweets.  Retrieved on November 26, 2013 from https://business.twitter.com/products/promoted-tweets

Twitter Advertising. February 11, 2013 from https://blog.twitter.com/2013/new-compete-study-primary-mobile-users-on-twitter

 

Micro Location technology – should marketers be paying closer attention?

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For marketers who are looking to be more precise in their customer communications, both Apple and PayPal are developing technologies that will allow companies to communicate to their customers via indoor mapping.  Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, companies will be able to send item-specific communication to customers within 150 feet of a sensor.   Once connected, customers will be able to access a plethora of product information outside of what is printed on the packaging or what salespeople think.

Jeff Roseblum with Ad Age gives a scenario on how this will help sales:

“Consider a customer shopping for a new camera. Micro location technology will enable access to information on products up to 50 yards away. Let’s assume, in this example, that only two cameras being considered in the store. Both will have strong advertising and packaging and an enthusiastic salesperson. But, one enables the customer to hold up his phone, quickly and easily receive product specs, filter those specs based on his exact preferences, watch videos, download promotions and read reviews from photography aficionados. The other manufacturer offers no such information; consumers have to start searching in their mobile browsers to find out anything. The winner is clear. There’s no way that a great ad or shiny packaging can offset that amount of customized information.”

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Customers will always be able to look up product information on their phones, but adding a new level of accessibility and ease to the research process will affect how marketers promote their products.  If they say that one computer is faster than another, customers will not only be able to fact check that – if they find out that a competitor’s computer actually runs faster then they’ll be guided to where that product is in the store. 

BLE is already in iPhone 4S and 5 as well as iPads, Mac computers and many high-end Androids. The way iBeacons works is that the mobile device is both a sensor and a signal. A BLE enabled iPhone running iOS 7 will be able to receive location-specific messages based on its proximity to a local network of iBeacons. And that phone can act as an iBeacon itself, transmitting messages to others. (Kosner, 2013)

Apple is actually investing heavily in the technology.  It was announced in August of this year that they were acquiring a mapping company called Embark, who specializes in this sort of technology.  The move was preceded by the takeover of WiFiSLAM, a provider of indoor mapping application technology earlier this year. (Zacks Equity Research, 2013)

If marketers are looking for the latest technology for communicating to customers, location technology seems like a great place to start.  Otherwise, your company risks having the product on the shelf that is passed over.

 

 

Kosner, Anthony Wing.  August 29, 2013. Why Micro-Location iBeacons May Be Apple’s Biggest New Feature For iOS 7. Retrieved on November 11, 2013 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2013/08/29/why-micro-location-ibeacons-may-be-apples-biggest-new-feature-for-ios-7/

Roseblum, Jeff. November 12, 2013. The Ad Revolution Goes Micro Local.  Retrieved on November 12, 2013 from http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/ad-revolution-micro-local/245206/

Zacks Equity Research.  August 26, 2013. Apple Takes Over Mapping Company Embark. Retrieved on November 11, 2013 from http://finance.yahoo.com/news/apple-takes-over-mapping-company-215503347.html

Twitter going public – will it affect users?

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As of October 24, 2013 there were 231.7 million active users on Twitter worldwide, and that 100 million of them log into the service on daily basis, and 52.7 Million of these are in the US.   There are numerous stats on Twitter that boggle the mind (see infographic below).  (Ahmad, 2013)

But can Twitter, now that it is a public company, please both its users and its shareholders at the same time.  “As long as they stay in touch with the original intention — the purity of it — I think it will be great,” said Shannon Seek, a business coach who lives just outside of San Francisco.

The biggest change took place two weeks ago when Twitter started automatically showing photos in posts rather than requiring users to click on a link to see them. Left unsaid was that advertisers can now post photos too, which are as unavoidable as banner ads. Some users grumbled about the images being distracting. Those on mobile phones can change their settings to eliminate the images from their timelines, but people on desktop computers cannot do so.  (Kopytoff, 2013)

This is only the beginning for Twitter, who will undoubtedly have to find new ways to increase revenues or fear that they are losing investors.  Instead of tracking the number of posts or users who have signed up, Twitter will now be focused primarily on advertising revenue and whether it is enough to drive the stock up for their investors.  I think that we’ll have a great chance to see what the future holds for Twitter during their quarterly meetings, when they’ll outline how they intend to drive revenue.  I’d bet, considering the massive changes that we’ve already seen before the stock went public, that we’re in for a totally different Twitter.

Here are some stats on where Twitter came from and how many people are being affected by the new changes:

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Ahmad, Irfan.  October 24, 203.  30+ of the Most Amazing Twitter Statistics [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved on November 7, 2013 from http://socialmediatoday.com/irfan-ahmad/1854311/twitter-statistics-IPO-infographic

Kopytoff, Verne.  November 7, 2013.  Can Twitter make shareholders, users happy at the same time? Retrieved on November 7, 2013 from http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/11/7/can-twitter-makeshareholdersusershappyatthesametime.html

Advergaming, The Newest of the New, is Already Changing Rapidly

Most often, when people refer to “emerging media” we think of social media, mobile marketing, message boards, etc.  One of the fastest growing areas of emerging media, however, seems to be one of the most frequently overlooked.

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(What a very appetizing way to get your name out, McDonald’s)

According to BusinessDirectory.com, Advergaming is

“a video game which in some way contains an advertisement for a product, service, or company. Some advergames are created by a company with the sole purpose of promoting the company itself or one of its products, and the game may be distributed freely as a marketing tool. Other times, an advergame can be a regular popular video game, which may be sponsored by a company, and include advertisements within the game for the sponsoring company; for example you might see a character drink a particular brand of soft drink, or a race car might drive past a billboard advertising a certain snack food. Advergames have become more popular with the rise of the internet.”

Not only is the idea growing, statistics are showing that it really does work! Projections for increased revenues could be well justified based on the results from a recently released study conducted by Nielsen Entertainment on behalf of Microsoft-owned in-game advertising specialist Massive Inc.. The research showed that:

Parks Associates predicts it will amount to more than $800 million in spending by 2012, a conservative figure compared to Yankee Group’s prediction that global in-game advertising spending will reach $971 million by 2013. Projections for increased revenues could be well justified based on the results from a recently released study conducted by Nielsen Entertainment on behalf of Microsoft-owned in-game advertising specialist Massive Inc.. The research showed that:

  • Average brand rating increased by 37%,
  • Average purchase consideration increased by 41%,
  • Average ad recall increased by 41% and
  • Average ad rating increased by 69%.

As if advergaming in the home wasn’t enough, we’ve recently seen a move onto the mobile market.  Chipotle received praise for their “Scarecrow” commercial, which has over seven million views.    To support the commercial, Chipotle released a free downloadable video game  – starring the Scarecrow seen in the commercial.  The game has already received over one million downloads. 

Venturebeat commented on the mobile advergame:

Lest that 1-million installs seems small when compared to the accompanying short film that will likely be watched by over 10 million people, consider that the average single player mobile game has a 90-day retention of 45% and average frequency of use of 3.5 times per week. It’s hard to imagine any other form of advertising that can claim to have engagement numbers that high. Unlike web based advergames, the Chipotle Scarecrow icon remains visible in both the App Store and on the mobile devices of all those who downloaded it, acting as a constant reminder of the Chipotle brand.

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As successful as the game has been, Chipotle Scarecrow could have been a far larger hit. The game was launched only on iOS, missing out on roughly 62% of the total smartphone market. Furthermore, the game requires a device at least as powerful as the iPhone 4S on iOS 6 and above — leaving out roughly 30% of potential iOS users. And finally, the game has been plagued by bugs that have driven its current App store rating to just 3.5 out of 5 stars.

This is a great way to reach an audience in a frequent basis.  According to the Entertainment Software Association, 42% of gamers say they play online games one or more hours per week.

It’s important that marketers stay on top of these.  New forms of media and marketing are constantly emerging!