Friday, 28 November 2008

Social Networks & Advertising

Social networks have many uses for marketers - and many marketers are more than enthusiastic to test the waters in various ways: listening to consumers thoughts about their products, observing in what ways real people talk about the services you offer and specifically what words they use... The viral nature of the networks can also be massively useful or dangerous, there are many examples of the latter Starbucks and Sony amongst them.

So while marketers seem to have grasped opportunities to engage with their audiences, one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that straightforward advertising on social networks simply does not work. While more than half of US consumers with internet access use some form of social networking to connect and communicate with peers, they are resistant to advertising in their “friend spaces”. A recent IDC Survey finds that:

  • Display ads on social networks have lower click-through rates than traditional online ads (79% of all general web users clicked on at least one ad in the past year, whereas only 57% of social network users did)
  • These same clicks led to fewer purchases (Web: 23%; social networks: 11%).

Seems that the dual promises of targeting and of “social” advertising still have a way to go before they begin to pay off...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Why We Review...

A recent Bazaarvoice study in the UK found that 94% of respondents said that they posted product review to help other customers make smart product choice decisions. Furthermore, 82% of those surveyed said that they were also motivated to help companies make better decisions about which products to offer. Te study also confirmed that most reviews are positive; 86% of UK reviewers said they left positive feedback while 11% said their comments were equally split between positive and negative. This confirms what Bazaarvoice has observed in its ratings J-Curve (above).

While product reviews are undoubtedly helpful, I am, personally, more influenced by what people do that by what they say - Amazon's "
What Do Customers Ultimately Buy After Viewing This Item?"for example.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Big and Little Extrapolations

The central difference between traditional (mass) and targeted (direct) marketing is really the size of the extrapolations one is required to make to come up with a strategy and therefore an execution plan. The old world required "big strategies" founded on "the big idea" coupled with the "big media spend". Effectiveness was hard to determine and accountability hard to attribute. In this world enormous insights had to be extrapolated from little data e.g. focus groups. To quote Mark Twain "One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."

The new, more agile, more responsive/interactive, data rich (if you know where to look and what to look for) marketing world - based on the direct marketing methodologies - allows us to formulate adaptable strategies. "Smaller strategies" will always lead to speedier execution so we get (more rapidly) in market. From here the consumers take over and extrapolation takes a back seat to behavioural learnings. All we, as marketers, have to do then is to learn from the learnings and adapt appropriately, easy right?

Saturday, 15 November 2008

What CEOs Think About...

A recent study by PR Week and Burson Marsteller revealed the way CEOs really think about several central aspects - notably social media - of the digital marketing ecosystem. Notable findings include
  • 67% of CEOs said they will increase their spending on digital marketing in 2009
  • 29% of CEOs believe that social media tools can be an effective way to communicate with stakeholders
  • an equal 29% proportion believes social media outreach is ineffective
  • 42% of CEOs personally participate in social media
Be interesting to see the evolution in this especially during the coming year. Will the market conditions encourage or discourage more personal interest, and participation?

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Marrying Segmentation with Behavioural Targeting

Nielsen Claritas recently presented an interesting point of view on the value of integrating segmentation and behavioural targeting. Effectively the two targeting techniques are emminently complimentary as the strenghths of each compensate for their respective weaknesses.

allows marketers to:
  • Affect the consideration set before the actual consideration begins
  • Reach consumers not using the internet to support their purchase
  • Target across a broader range of brands

While Behavioural Targeting:
  • Reaches the audience closer to the point of purchase decision (the elusive "when")
  • Allows marketers to be present during the active learning phase around a particular product