Archive for July, 2010

The Google AdWords ‘Tourist Tax’

On a recent trip to Italy, I was struck by the pricing gap between “insider deals” you might get if you were a local, and the prices paid by harried newbies who just got off the plane.

It’s price discrimination against the “rich,” or anyone who is new to the scene.

It extends to everything from real estate to pizza slices. And of course, there are probably two sets of grocery stores in some towns. The “tourist” grocery store carries only a limited selection of marked-up wine.

Some towns have free beaches. In “touristy” towns, you mostly have to pay. The water-clarity-and-bikini-density quotient is roughly the same at both, so you figure most people who live there don’t pay for beach space.

Some time ago, Google figured out the “tourist tax” phenomenon, presumably to the benefit of its profit margins. Some have called it a “bozo filter,” but that’s not fair. Tourists aren’t stupid, they’re just trapped, vulnerable, and in a bit too much of a hurry.

Long-standing, loyal advertisers will be less impressed with arbitrary measures to ratchet up click prices, especially when they’ve invested heavily in optimizing their accounts. That relationship settles into a relatively happy equilibrium. Patient advertisers who are willing to build up their “local knowledge” over time can look forward to bargain rates. It’s important to stress, of course, that they’ve optimized a marketing channel over time, so that’s the primary reason for their improving ROI (define) as time progresses. The “tourist tax” I refer to is specifically the initial hump (lasting anywhere from a week to two months), during which it’s particularly daunting for the newbie.

Many new advertisers are unsettled by the initial response to the first draft of their campaigns. There are some common outcomes:

  • The advertiser is deterred by the high apparent costs of clicks, or other “scary” metrics like low quality scores, and pauses the campaign (leaves AdWords Nation on the next flight out).
  • The advertiser is unsettled or even freaked out by their inability to make things work, and tries to fix things all at once. This might include taking dogmatic views of matching options, cranking bids up and down, etc. No progress occurs, so eventually they have to leave as well.
  • The advertiser exhibits more patience, but misses a number of key optimization techniques, and buys into subtle cues in the interface (such as quality scores, “first page bids,” the bid simulator, and “impression share” reports) that make it seem like paying more is almost a requirement. These advertisers may show slight improvement over time but are accepting worse ROI than someone who is relentless in optimization, and who doesn’t take certain click price ranges as “inevitable.”

Seasoned advertisers, on the other hand, exhibit five key traits:

  • Much like those who are natives of a “costly” country, they avoid the high-price district as quickly as they can. There are ways to accelerate progress in the short term, so why not compress some of that activity into the early going so you get out of the weird “new account spiral,” a negative feedback loop that feeds you low volume and bad metrics? Some “smart kickoff” activities might include leaving the optimize setting on for ads at first; starting with more granular, highly relevant terms first, and going broad later; bidding high (but not too high) for one to two days to get some data built up on particularly relevant parts of the account; enabling content targeting and optimizing that as well; taking care to walk bids down crisply as progress is made, so as not to exhibit too much irrational demand for your keywords; and more.
  • They gain organizational buy-in for paid search, setting reasonable expectations that an initial “tourist tax” will be required, and that the days of setting expectations around 10-cent clicks are long gone. You don’t just set up a big campaign and “lowball” at 10 cents, hoping to cherrypick the odd click. Chances are such a campaign will just sit there.
  • They plan to stay the course and run campaigns based on stable brand names and relatively consistent campaign structures, understanding that one factor Google looks at in quality score is the performance of the display URL.
  • They manage accounts over a long period of time, with one eye on ROI and one eye on quality score friendliness, and enjoy the “green light” advantage of an established account that make new campaigns and ad groups more likely to gain positive momentum from the outset.
  • They learn to tell the difference between helpful and boilerplate Google advice.

Google prefers the seasoned advertisers to the tourists, at the end of the day. But if the tourists are going to keep barging in to disrupt the flow of AdWords Nation – the least they can do is profit from their short-term stays. Your job is to minimize the damage, by thinking like a native.

Good luck on your long-term quest to attain that peaceful, reasonably-priced existence that is eventually extended to full citizens of AdWords Nation.

By Andrew Goodman,  Jul 16, 2010
ClickZ

7 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Marketing Events

Events, big and small, have historically been an important marketing tool. Internet Week New York, consisting of over 200 smaller events, and Social Media Day, comprising over 700 Meetups across six continents, show the power of social media to significantly transform the impact of an event to achieve a variety of goals. Social media was a critical component of these events in terms of raising awareness, encouraging participation, and enhancing the experience.

7 Reasons to Add Events to Your Marketing Mix

Events can help marketers attain a variety of business goals whether your firm has a permanent physical presence or not. Here are seven reasons to create and/or participate in events:

  1. Create revenue opportunities by offering either additional or related product or by charging admission.
  2. Expand reach to new prospects who either hear about and/or attend your events.
  3. Build your brand cost-effectively, either directly as the creator of the event or as a sponsor, advertiser, exhibitor, or presenter.
  4. Enhance relationships with existing customers.
  5. Provide education and/or training related to your offering.
  6. Gather consumer input, especially for testing new business ideas and products.
  7. Use as an internal tool set to enhance employee team building offsites, annual meetings, or fun outings.

7 Types of Events

From a marketing perspective, consider the type of event and match it with the appropriate social media to achieve your company’s goals. Here are seven options from which to choose.

  1. Festivals are often consumer-oriented and include established, recurring events, such as those around holidays like Independence Day or annual events like Fashion Week. The social media version is a Twitter festival organized for social good with offline events. For example, Twestival Global 2010 consisted of 175 offline events focused on education. Company participation can vary from sponsorship to special-related activities.
  2. Conferences, including their less structured social media cousins, unconferences, and the online version, virtual conferences. These can be important revenue-generators for businesses. Alternatively, companies can be sponsors, exhibitors, or presenters. For example, ThoughtLead created The Influencer Project. Billed as the world’s shortest conference ever, it presented 60 social media experts in one hour. The event was promoted and shared using #Influencer.
  3. Meetings and their social media variant, Meetups, can be organized around business topics such as WordPress or consumer interests such as knitting. For example, SEMPO NY has a Meetup group with over 1,100 members.
  4. Classes may be a fee-based line extension to provide skills to enable users to more effectively use your product or a means to encourage additional sales. Online video demonstrations also fall into this category. One great example is WordPress.tv.
  5. Webinars – while most frequently used to reach a business audience in order to raise awareness or engage prospects, Webinars can be adapted to help consumers with complex topics like finance.
  6. Twitter chats – promoted on Twitter and blogs, these are discussions that occur on Twitter where participants contribute to the conversation using tweets. They are identified through the use of a hashtag. (For a list of Twitter chats, check out this.) One popular example is #blogchat, which occurs Sunday nights.
  7. Tweetups – formally or informally organized real-life meetings promoted via Twitter. Location-based services like Foursquare also enable impromptu gatherings at a specific location. For example, Boston and Chicago have regularly planned events.

7 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Events

Social media expands the reach of your event while generating content that can be used to promote your events.

  1. Organize events. Use of products like Meetup.com and Eventbrite facilitate keeping on top of meeting details.
  2. Provide venues for the online participation in events using Twitter and Facebook, for example.
  3. Promote events with a variety of media formats such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to encourage participation. Enhance the reach of your event by making content about it socially shareable. To this end, create a unique event hashtag like #smday to aid findability across social media platforms.
  4. Enhance live events by providing concurrent commentary and capturing salient ideas using Twitter, live blogging, and live streaming. For example, moderators at live panels can incorporate comments and questions sourced from Twitter.
  5. Extend audience for live events via online participation both in real time and on-demand. For example, the contents of Facebook’s F8 conference are available on its site.
  6. Enable attendee interaction through Twitter, blog posts and comments, blogs, video, photographs, and Facebook. For example, check out the highly popular NY Tech Meetup’s page.
  7. Record and post record of events via Facebook, blogs, video, and photo sharing. For example, here’s the record of Social Media Day on Flickr.

7 Metrics to Track Event Success

As with any marketing program, it’s critical to measure your results to determine their effectiveness. Among the salient measures to track are:

  1. Participants. Monitor separately how many people attended your event live and online.
  2. Shares of event-related content. Users that share feel strongly enough to spread word of your event to their contacts. Remember that sharing can happen across a wide range of platforms.
  3. User-generated content created in a variety of formats including tweets, comments, check-ins on location-based services, blog posts, photographs, and video. In addition to tracking the number of comments and uploads, assess the sentiment of the contributions to determine how they reflect on your company and brand.
  4. House file. As a result of this event, how many new prospects registered to receive your e-mails, catalogs, tweets, RSS feeds, or other forms of content?
  5. Media attention. Did the event garner additional media attention? How large was the audience for this “free reach” and what were its demographics?
  6. Revenues. Did you generate additional sales of product via new streams or any other related revenues such as training or conference fees?
  7. Expenses. What was the cost in terms of the event and related marketing? Was additional headcount needed to support the event?

In addition, don’t forget to track less quantifiable variables. For example, did the event improve employee moral or brand recognition?

While events in themselves don’t constitute a total marketing strategy, they can be an important component of the mix, since they provide benefits for both marketers and consumers. By using social media to enhance your events, you can extend your reach while providing additional means to connect with your firm.

By: Heidi Cohen, July 12, 2010
Clickz

Top 10 Guide to Mobile Ad Campaign Readiness

If all the hullabaloo about iPads, iPhones, and iAds wasn’t enough to get you (finally) interested in mobile advertising, how about these convincing recent stats? Pew Internet just released a report about U.S. mobile access, citing 40 percent of adults use mobile phones for accessing the Internet, e-mail, or instant messaging, a figure that jumped 32 percent over last year. With all of this growth, how can a media planner know where to begin?

  1. Learn the lingo. Just like Internet advertising came with its own set of lingo to learn, so does mobile. Definitions to terminology like WAP, apps, MMS, and SMS can be found in a mobile-specific glossary.
  2. Get educated. Start by understanding the difference between mobile marketing and mobile advertising. You’ll also want to get an industry overview, standards, and guidelines from resources like the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the IAB.
  3. Consider handsets. With more than 5,000 types of phones (“handsets”) out there, each with possible different screen sizes, resolutions, speed, and/or operating systems, creating a campaign to conform to every type can be a bear. The most common phones used in the U.S. are iPhones and BlackBerrys (they presently represent about 50 percent of the market).
  4. Mobile ad units. Though many of the ad units sound familiar by name (banners, text links, sponsored search, ad-supported content), their ad specs certainly differ from standard Web ones. Mobile also has unique ad units of its own like MMS couponing, in-game ads, mobile video, and “appvertising,” any of which might be alternative considerations depending upon your strategy.
  5. Website readiness. Does your campaign strategy involve a click-through to a website or landing page? If so, be sure that the destination page will be optimized for mobile. Will your visitors be viewing the page on a smartphone? Would it improve campaign performance to have a streamlined WAP-enabled page? Is the site set up to properly detect the various different types of handsets and deliver the right kind of page (e.g., Apple devices do not support Flash)? Mobile campaigns need to stay simple with a single-minded focus towards the particular desired action, so Web pages need to be created accordingly.
  6. Targeting. Before we even start discussing targeting technologies, you might want to know who you can most likely reach through mobile. Pew found that “African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos continue to be among the most active [owners and] users of the mobile web” (87 percent vs. 80 percent for white users). Meantime, technology allows planners to target users by location, demographics, carriers, handset types, and more.
  7. Where and how to buy. Just like online, the media planner needs to consider buying options between direct-to-publisher vs. ad network, and there are pros and cons to each. Going direct might be more time consuming, but it could also get your advertiser better advantages in pricing, placement, and distribution. Networks, on the other hand, can be easier – especially given this new technology – and get you far more reach. For a helpful list of mobile networks and portals, reference my Local Online Media Planning Options in Mobile column.
  8. Budgeting. The cost of mobile advertising buy-ins has dropped dramatically in the past three years. It used to be that you couldn’t even test a mobile ad campaign for less than $25,000, but these days you could do a DIY text ad campaign through solutions like AdLocal. Plan to do some homework to be able to allocate your budget to mobile appropriately.
  9. Time and cost differentiators. Speaking of doing homework, clearly if the content in this column is all new to you, you’ll need to factor in the time-cost value of mobile into your media plan. Opinions of mobile media planning range from, “It’s very complex and difficult” to “Any experienced media planner can do it.” My opinion falls somewhere in between. I don’t think a good media planner, however, can overlook mobile advertising if it’s well-suited for their client’s objective. Just be aware of how its first-time complexities for you might impact your agency’s project profitability.
  10. Be aware of tracking issues. Without getting too technical, tracking mobile advertising campaigns is not as simple as implementing the same ad server tracking tags you might otherwise use. Most browsers on mobile devices do not support JavaScript, the code commonly used in tracking and analytics software. There are work-arounds like mobile-specific paid analytics software solutions and programming solutions for Google Analytics users, but you need to be aware of and implement these solutions if you want to get the kind of precise data you might otherwise be used to. Other tracking matters to consider include coupons with bar codes for retail scanning or using unique toll-free telephone numbers for callers.

Mobile’s progressing at lightning speed, and advertising through mobile is following suit. Media planners can’t ignore it anymore.

By Hollis Thomases, Jul 13, 2010
Clickz

Don’t Let Your Data Go Sour

As Web reporting and analytics gets more mature as a technique and as an industry, I sometimes hear organizations saying “We’ve finished our Web analytics implementation now and we’re on to the next project.” It’s as if the implementation of Web analytics in a business is seen as an event rather than as a process. While the introduction or the upgrading of an analytics system can be seen as a project, the adoption and the ongoing use of Web analytics data in an organization is something that requires ongoing management and maintenance.

It’s like building a house to live in. A great deal of time and effort goes into the initial construction, and then you move in. At the beginning, everything is wonderful and everything works. The paint is fresh and you enjoy the new environment you’ve created. But after a while, you need to start paying attention to maintenance, fixing a few things here and there. Eventually, you may decide it’s time for a major overhaul. That process might take a few years, but you don’t move in thinking that you’re never going to have to do any work on the house ever again. You may even sensibly think about putting aside some money for the maintenance.

It’s the same with your Web analytics system. At the beginning, there’s a lot of attention and effort and maybe even some excitement of the prospect of the new data that’s going to be coming on stream. Perhaps new processes are developed and implemented to make sure that the right kind of data is being collected and reported in the right kind of way. But once the new system is launched and is up and running, what happens then? Do you have a maintenance program in place? Do you have the right resources available to make sure that the paint doesn’t start to peel and the doors don’t stick?

There are a couple of areas in Web analytics where the lack of maintenance begins to cause problems. One area is campaign tracking and another is content management. Campaign tracking is one area that’s hard to do well in Web analytics. There are too many moving parts. You don’t get campaign tracking out of the box with a Web analytics system; you have to set it up. AdWords integration with Google Analytics makes it easier than most. If you want to track any other channels or use another system, then there’s effort involved. You’ll need to decide what type of attribution model you want to use, think about the structure of your campaign tagging, and set up a process to make sure that all your marketing links and landing page URLs have the right parameter strings attached to them. There’s also some configuration work to be done in the tool itself to generate the right types of reports for your business. Depending on your scale, you may be using a marketing agency to do some of this work for you.

To keep your campaign tracking at the top of its game, it’s necessary to have strong policies and processes in place and to make sure that those processes are being managed properly. If they aren’t, the quality of the data will start to deteriorate. Campaigns will be misclassified or missed out completely. Potentially, people will start to use a different structure to the original one that was implemented. The result is that the reporting will become messy and difficult to interpret and your campaign data will start to go off.

In a similar way, with some sites and systems there will have been initial effort involved in making sure that you can report on content properly. Content aggregation is important for heavy content sites so that you can understand the overall patterns of behavior rather than be constantly working at the detail of the individual page level. In some cases, this configuration might be relatively straight forward, but often it will require a process to design a content reporting hierarchy and to assign individual pages to relevant content sections. This will have been done when the system was implemented, but sites are dynamic and content is continually being created, so an ongoing program of work is needed to ensure that content is being reported on in the right way.

So, implementing Web analytics into an organization is the beginning of a journey, not an event. As part of the implementation process, the right questions need to be asked. How is the maintenance program going to be managed? Do we have money put aside? Do we have the right resources in place to manage the process?

Don’t let your data go bad!

By Neil Mason, Jul 20, 2010
Clickz

A Handful of Questions Every CEO Should Ask

CEOs (and CMOs) need to ask certain high-level but tough questions of their digital marketing team and agency. This can be a hard task when new digital programs involve something they may not have direct experience with or when the language employed is often a tangle of acronyms and terms for which they have no context. So, on behalf of all the CEOs out there – here is a starting primer on what you might ask your teams responsible for digital strategy and execution:

On Strategy

  • How do our digital efforts connect to and support our broader corporate strategy?

Hints:

Challenge your team to directly connect the dots between your business goals and your online programs. Be aware that those programs may support some subset of either your target audiences or your goals.

There’s a danger that without strategic grounding, some less experienced marketers or business people may chase the cool factor or the latest shiny gadget, which are always abundant online. Ensure that your digital team is planning at least six months out and ask to see the plan. That requires you to provide budget guidance, of course.

It’s possible and, in some sectors even likely, that digital efforts will lead rather than follow corporate strategy, so be sure to ask what you’re learning in your online efforts that can be applied successfully to other areas of the business. Find out how that learning is systematically shared across the organization.

On Budget

  • How did you arrive at the marketing budget allocation between traditional and digital channels?

Hints:

Ask your team to show you the latest media consumption breakdown of your target audiences. Often, marketing plans haven’t caught up with the media mix preferred by their customers; however, that may be for a good reason. Certain channels may have historically been more efficient or productive and therefore, appropriately received out-sized support. Risk tolerance also comes into the conversation. Within the digital realm there are many channels, modes, and approaches to reach customers, but some are a better fit to motivate action at certain stages in a customer lifecycle. Find out if you have budget allocated all along that spectrum to cover both short-term and long-term objectives.

On Lead Generation

  • Where do you forecast the majority of our new customers coming from this year? What are we going to pay for each acquisition?

Hints:

Find out if your cost of marketing (COM) goals are restricting your growth in customers. Efficiently acquiring new customers is fine, but if your efforts can’t scale they may not be worthy of the time and effort required to build and optimize the program.

It’s important to know the percent of new customers in the mix as you trend over time. Of course, if possible, you want to nurture existing customers for a long-term relationship and not just churn a bunch of expensive new customers each year. Scaling mature programs requires some level of testing or experimentation. You would be wise to ascertain the percentage of the budget allocated to trialing of new digital efforts. That could broadly encompass new site content or features, it could be message or creative testing, or it might be a whole new channel like mobile or social marketing.

On Customer Engagement

  • How do our customers want to engage with us? How are we supporting those needs?

Hints:

Find out how social media practice guidelines have been communicated throughout the organization and implemented in your site and at all customer touch points online and off. Ask how you’re empowering your broad teams (customer facing or not) to be effective customer engagement accelerators. Find out if you have a listening tool that gives feedback on your efforts and what happens to that feedback.

Establish the trending in Facebook, Twitter, or other social media as well as e-mail list growth (or shrinkage) if e-mail is appropriate to your audience. Focus on the level and depth of participation, not just the number of “friends,” “likes,” or “fans.”

On Analytics

  • What are we using to track our digital efforts? What KPIs (define) are we capturing?

Hints:

Find out if you have a coordinated analytics program that captures a full view of customer activity and site and program performance. Make sure the KPIs track back to key business goals and are not exclusive to digital efforts. If CTRs (define) are the basis of your team’s reporting, make them go back to the drawing board and tie activity to the conversions that support your business. This may require additional investment in the right tools.

Ask for a monthly dashboard report to have a baseline of all your metrics and trends. Include trending month-to-month and year-over-year, with spending included so that you can see the cause and effect of ramping up.

It’s important to get a handle on how actionable your data is. It’s a little granular but you’ll want to know the cookie window used in online marketing campaigns and what is attributed to view-through conversions (vs. click-throughs). Without alignment on the attribution applied, you can get a skewed view of results. Also, ask if individual program results have been de-duplicated so that a conversion is only counted once.

Is That All?

These couple of questions should put your digital team on notice, create synergy with your broader business goals, and give you an accurate and actionable picture of your results. Then you can get back to all the other things a CEO has to take care of in their business.

  E-MARKETING STRATEGIES
By Robin Neifield, ClickZ, Jul 16, 2010

For Online Advertising, Media Consolidation Is A Good Thing

Much has been written about the “long-tail” concept since Wired’s Chris Anderson popularized the idea in 2004. But for all the discussion about how effective long-tail strategies are for search-engine optimization, viral marketing, web retailing and social-media marketing, it seems that many online advertisers — especially display advertisers — are missing the boat.

Media continues to consolidate, and increasingly the vast majority of online ad dollars go to just a handful of web publishers. By ignoring the rest of the web publishing world, online advertisers are avoiding a perfect opportunity to reach much larger audiences at a reduced cost.

From an advertiser’s perspective, the universe of websites can be divided into four groups.

 The Short Tail: The top 10 online ad-selling companies, which received 71% of 2009’s total internet ad revenues, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. These include Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL.

The Mid-Tail: Ad-selling companies 11 through 50, which received a sedate 18% of last year’s internet ad revenues.

The Long Tail: Ad-selling companies numbers 51 to 250, which received about 8% of last year’s internet ad revenues, according to eMarketer.

The Very Long Tail: Every other online ad-selling site — thousands of sites, number 251 and up — which received a mere 3% of all internet ad spending in 2009.

A closer look at those revenue figures shows how many major websites represent a small slice of the market. More than 82% of revenues from the total U.S. online advertising market go to just 25 web publishers. That means the 26th-through-50th-largest ad-selling web publishers — not small sites in terms of traffic — got a mere 7% of the total U.S. online ad spending in 2009.

While many marketers will want to put a sizable share of their ad budgets on the largest sites — the Googles, Facebooks and Yahoos of the world — finding the blend of less-huge but often still-prominent sites, which help reach their target audience, is equally important. And such a strategy might often be much more cost-effective.

The consolidation of the U.S. internet ad market is more extreme than the top 10 figures above indicate. In Q1 2010, marketers spent nearly 60% of the total U.S. internet ad dollars on just four web companies alone: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL.

While a large part of that acute spending consolidation comes from Google’s 38.3% share — mainly paid search ads — it also indicates that many advertisers could spread their ad budgets across even just the rest of the short tail and the mid-tail and get more bang for their buck.

Provided By: AdAge.com

Nielsen: This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s Baby Boomer

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Get ready: Nielsen is once again trying to challenge one of the industry’s oldest chestnuts — that consumers over 50 aren’t worth the expense to target. The measurement-and-data giant is out to prove that it is advertisers’ continued focus on younger customers that’s out of date, thanks to a massive and aging population of baby boomers as well as changes in consumers’ lifestyle sparked by new technology.

Nielsen is in for a tough battle. Any number of parties have complained over the decades about marketers’ obsession with youth. Consumers over AARP age often have more money saved and can spend more on items other than food and groceries, but marketers maintain that reaching younger consumers, particularly those between the ages of 18 and 49, is more important. The logic? That group usually hasn’t committed to a favorite toothpaste or window cleaner, while older folks have — and won’t have their minds changed by a TV-ad blitz.

Nielsen wants to change those perceptions and it’s got numbers on its side. Its researchers believe consumers over the next decade will have fewer children, leading to smaller households and fewer young consumers to lure. A rough economy will lead to those smaller young families spending less, and smaller salaries for younger generations known today as “Generation Y” and “Millenials.” Indeed, as the baby-boom generation retires and grows old, America is likely to have a larger older population and a much slower-growing young one, suggested Doug Anderson, Nielsen’s senior VP-research and thought leadership.

“There will be a huge number of people over the age of 65, 75, and 85 over the coming decade. We’ve never had a population this big this old before,” he said. “This is not something that demographers and anthropologists have tons of models sitting around that they can talk about. We as a species have never had this many older people before. It’s new ground.”

There is some interest. In May, NBC Universal and Procter & Gamble launched a group of websites under the rubric “life goes strong” and aimed at catching boomers’ fancy. Topics include technology and health. “With this property in particular, we’re enabling advertisers and brands to reach a powerful demographic with an annual spending power of $1 trillion,” Rich DelCore, director-branded entertainment at P&G, said in a prepared statement at the time.

Most times senior citizens are still seen in ads selling life insurance or denture cream, yet the older person in the U.S. in the next decade is likely to be anything but helpless and in the market for more than just financial help and medications.

According to Nielsen, baby boomers in 2010 account for approximately 38.5% of all dollars spent on consumer package-goods such as diapers, toothpaste and laundry detergent. They account for 40% of customers paying for wireless services and 41% of customers paying for Apple personal computers. And while brand alliances are often thought to be established when a consumer is in his or her 20s, changing technology has unleashed a steady spate of new devices and gadgets that are new to all consumers.

With older folks having salted money away and younger consumers expected to find income shrinking over the next decade, “targeting older consumers makes sense because you might be reaching more of your consumers” with the pitch, said Pat McDonough, Nielsen’s senior VP-planning and policy analysis.

These aging boomers could also establish new behaviors, said Nielsen’s Mr. Anderson. Boomers are accustomed to advertisers meeting their demands, and have always been so, he suggested. As such, they may be less brand loyal than the elderly of the past. This generation also drinks more heavily than previous post-retirement consumers. “Alcohol is a bigger part of their lives,”he said. “They aren’t going to just stop.”

To be sure, there are business dynamics in place that make the pursuit of a generation of consumers previously thought useless to marketers more crucial than in eras past. TV advertising was founded on reaching the demographic of consumers between the ages of 18 and 49, yet the median age of viewers of prime-time broadcast TV is nearing 51 — two years above that age range. To maintain relevance to advertisers, the big networks need to find a way to establish the relevance of older consumers if they want to continue to draw the marketers that support TV so heavily.

“There isn’t a single media-content company that won’t face this, and the same is true for mass marketers,” said Alan Wurtzel, president-research and media development at NBC Universal.

The hope is that advertisers will grant new consideration to the older demographic as baby boomers, the generation that has set consumer attitudes by dint of its sheer mass, moves off the radar screen currently established in the advertising industry. While baby boomers are leaving the demographics that have been favored by advertisers for decades, said Mr. Wurtzel, “their value is actually increasing in many ways and no one has noticed it. For many years, we all got along with it. Now what everyone is seeing is that a very significant portion of the audience is leaving the group, the Nielsen group that is counted.”

Thanks to their wealth and the rise of new product categories, he added, the generation could maintain its importance. “These guys are changing. They are not behaving the way people would normally think” they should, he said.

Old dogs learning new tricks? If older consumers do act in this fashion — and continue to do so for the next decade — advertisers may have to adopt a few new methods as well.

by Brian Steinberg
Published: July 19, 2010
Advertising Age

Learning More About SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the today’s most popular Internet marketing technique used in the industry. It mainly uses the capability of search engines to bring traffic to a website. And because search engines are heavily used by users, as a means for searching information across the World Wide Web (WWW), SEO quickly became a very powerful Internet marketing technique.

SEO techniques

According to a number of experts, such as those from SEO Philippines companies, SEO is very similar to that of SEM (search engine marketing), in terms of approach, which is the one-to-one approach, a technique popularly used for search engines. One misunderstanding between SEO and SEM is that SEO is not a type of SEM. SEO is a separate technique which is known to use a number of techniques and methods of its own.

The difference of SEO from SEM is its techniques. SEM mainly makes use of paid inclusion, such as PPC, while SEO makes use of natural and un-paid techniques and methods. However, compared to SEM, SEO involves many techniques and methods. These techniques and methods are then categorized between two different techniques, the on-page SEO which deals with techniques used in the website itself, and off-page SEO which involves techniques used outside the website.

On-page and off-page SEO

Techniques in SEO are categorized based on the nature of its method. On-page SEO are techniques which are used to make a website more search engine friendly. However, according to many SEO experts, the use of on-page SEO have significantly lost its effectiveness due to the number of techniques used to abuse the search engine result pages or SERPs.

Though it significantly lost its effectiveness, many SEO experts still use these techniques and methods not only to make their websites more “search engine friendly”, but also more “user-friendly”.

Techniques in on-page SEO

Content optimization: Content, meaning the image as well as its text content. This is where the bulk of on-page SEO is popularly used. Many of the researched keywords are found in the content, as well as the file name used for images.

Meta Tag and alt tag optimization: The use of Meta tags and Alt tags became very popular in on-page SEO. Other than in the content as well as file names for the images, meta tags and alt tags are used as additional places for keywords.

URL optimization: Optimizing the URL is also very important. According to many experts, URL are also used to contain keywords that clearly defines a page. It both works for the users and search engine crawlers.

Cross-linking: A very important part of on-page SEO. Though some of its techniques have lost its effectiveness, crosslinking and URL optimization are still a very important part of on-page SEO. Crosslinking examples include sitemaps as well as navigation bars. Other than allowing their users easy access to their website, it also allowed search engine crawlers to easily navigate through the website.

Popular SEO tool for on-page SEO

One software used by SEO experts and professionals in on-page SEO are content management systems or CMS. These online applications became popular among many SEO experts because it allowed them to optimize a website without asking for assistance with web professionals such as designers and developers.

According to many Web design Philippines experts, CMS softwares such as Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla!, were designed to allow users with little knowledge of programming languages or markup languages to create and manage content with relative ease. Because of this, SEO experts can freely optimize a website for search engines.

Off-page SEO and techniques

According to many SEO Philippines experts, off-page factors are considered as the most important part of SEO for it doesn’t only increases the chances for a website to be indexed by search engines at the first, but to also make their website more visible across the Internet. However, compared to on-page SEO, off-page factors only involves one method with multiple techniques. This is link building.

Link building is a technique widely used in off-page SEO. Its popularity is based on its number of techniques, which are used to naturally induce results in search engines compared to SEM. Link building techniques involve the use of:

Reciprocal linking: The first technique used in SEO, it involves creating mutual link between two objects, commonly between two websites to ensure mutual traffic. This technique, however, is now widely replaced by one-way linking.

Three-way linking: A technique which have grown from reciprocal linking. This involves a link building to create more “natural” links in the eyes of search engines. The value of links by three-way linking can then be better than normal reciprocal links.

One-way linking: The most widely used technique in SEO, it involves a number of methods and techniques which results in one-way links. According to a number of experts, this type of link would be considered more natural in the eyes of search engines. Part of its techniques include:

Blog comments: Blog comments are popular ways to get one-way links from other websites such as blogs. Other than blogs, other websites that allows comments from visitors may also be used to get one-way links.

Forum signatures: Forum signatures involve he process of using forum communities that allow outbound hyperlinks in their member’s signature. This can be a fast method to build up inbound links to a website; it can also produce some targeted traffic if the website is relevant to the forum topic.

Link bait: One of the most powerful link building technique used SEO, it involves any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites.

Provided By: ArticleCity

10 Tips For Creating A Winning Mobile Strategy

Last week, I had the chance to attend a keynote on mobile – and even more broadly, the notion of connectedness – given by Emily Nagle Green, president and CEO of Yankee Group and author of “Anywhere.”

I found myself furiously taking notes because the themes and questions that Emily shared struck me as absolutely essential for developing a winning mobile strategy.

Below are 10 of the nuggets I took away, along with my take on their implications. I hope you find this as useful as I did.

  1. Mobile increases consumer expectations of connectedness. We tend to evaluate new opportunities with a tipping point mentality, asking ourselves “when is the opportunity big enough to take seriously?” The statistics already tell us that mobile has reached that point, but I loved how Emily reframed the issue away from hard facts and toward a very clear picture of the way behavior has changed as a result of the powerful computers we carry with us in our pockets and purses. Simply put, we expect more, all the time. Instead of thinking about whether mobile is big enough, we should be thinking about what expectations we’d actually be failing to meet without a thoughtful approach to mobile in place.
  2. Connectivity makes things more useful. When thinking about the expectations consumers have, start here. What useful thing could we do if we added connectivity to existing experiences? Take an inventory of all the places your brand exists and insert a connected experience wherever it adds value.
  3. Presence at the point of need. Every product or service exists to serve a consumer need. Think about the time or place that the need manifests itself, and how mobile can play a helpful role. Whether it’s in a store, at an airport, in the home, or anyplace else, it’s a good bet that mobile could enhance the experience. What better place for the brand to exist than at the point where the need for it becomes apparent?
  4. It’s not a screen, it’s a partner. Mobile is certainly a media channel – and one that’s about to get a lot more interesting with the launch of the iAd platform – but thinking of mobile predominantly as another screen to deliver messages misses the real benefit. Instead, think of mobile as an extension of your team.
  5. Create apps that deliver persistent value. Apps are fickle things. They’re hard to find and easily forgotten once downloaded. Creating sticky apps is as difficult as creating a video you hope goes viral. How do you create something that maintains relevance? Read on to number 6…
  6. Think about problem solving. As opposed to messaging, or branding, or anything else that’s primarily driven by your brand’s objectives. If you want to be a go-to app that stays on the first screen, solve a problem for consumers in a way that makes sense for your brand.
  7. The mobile Web isn’t the mini-Internet. Ten years ago, the mantra was: “a website is not an online version of your brochure.” Today, we similarly need to remind ourselves that the mobile Web experience shouldn’t be a pocket-sized version of the desktop. Mobile sites should be created ground-up, prioritizing the information mobile consumers need. A useful (and maybe unflattering) exercise to go through is to access your company’s Web content on a mobile device. If you find a same-but-smaller version of the desktop site, you’ll know you’re not giving consumers what they need.
  8. Use mobile’s embedded tools. To differentiate from the desktop experience and develop something mobile-worthy, think about how you can use the tools that mobile devices increasingly come equipped with, including GPS, accelerometer, camera, video, speakers, etc. For thought starters, read this insanely long but very useful post by mobile guru Tomi Ahonen about the eight unique properties of the mobile device and how they can be put to good use.
  9. Don’t rely on your brand name. Brands shouldn’t assume that their heritage or prior success will lead to more of the same within mobile. Your brand can’t do the work for you; you have to provide an enriching experience…or someone else will. If the brand name was all that mattered, Zagat would be the leading source for mobile restaurant reviews, but that space has now been claimed by players like Yelp.
  10. Become an anywhere brand. Emily closed her presentation with a compelling, aspirational definition of the “anywhere brand.” She described an anywhere brand as one that appears in meaningful ways, on appropriate devices, wherever the consumers needs it.What would it take to transform your brand into an “anywhere brand”?

Provided By: Clickz

Social Objects And CPG Marketing

If you asked someone “What is it that anchors a brand, product, or service-oriented online community, or other social application?” what would they say? If they answered, “the brand, product, or service…” you’d be right to question it further.

It’s not a trick. It’s a realization that brands, products, and services – and the things related to them that you want your customers to know about may not be the same things that they are interested in socializing around. Product spots on TV aren’t “social”; they’re an interruption to the things that are themselves social. That they feature a product and make the case for why someone might consider it further is the entire point of the interruption.

Social interaction is different: it starts with the interest of the participant, not an interruption. Social interaction is built around social objects, defined by Glenn Assheton-Smith as “some ‘thing’ we share with others as part of our social media experience on the social web.” That “thing” might be a photo or conversation or a concern for the environment. Take a look at Assheton-Smith’s work and the work of Jaiku co-founder and Google product manager Jyri Engeström. Engeström coined the term “social object” as a label for the things that people socialize around, something he discusses in this video.

A lot of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands still place the product at the center of their social efforts, just as they do (correctly) in traditional media. They spend heavily and attract participants to brand-skinned “social” games that feature appearances from associated athletes and celebrities or create social microsites that include “discussions” of deodorant, for example. As awareness tools, these programs may work. But they’re not social applications. For a social application to be effective over the long run, the interests of the participants – and not those of the brand – must sit at the center. Smart brands are taking notice.

Coke has switched up its strategy. For example, moving from branded microsites built around products to participation in the larger social activities of its customers in places like Facebook, where the lifestyle associations of Coke are evident in the expressed passions for the brand – Coke has over 4 million members connected with its Facebook page. Pepsi’s “Refresh” project moves the brand out of the spotlight and replaces it with the interests and causes of Pepsi drinkers, who vote on participant-generated ideas that Pepsi then finds. In both of these, the social object is a passion, lifestyle, or cause. There are smaller social objects too: social sites like Flickr or Twitter are built around the actual content – photos and tweets, respectively. In none of these is the brand or product itself the center of the social activity.

When planning a social media program that includes a community or other activity center, consider the perspective of your expected participants. Here are some questions you can think about as you develop your plans:

  • What might participants have in common with each other?
  • How does your firm or organization fit into the above?
  • How can you improve the experience for them?

That last bullet is a big one: successful social media programs make stars of the participants, not the brands, products, and services. My colleague Kaushal Sarda referenced Kathy Sierra’s “Word of Obvious” in a recent post. At the core of the ideas expressed is the notion that when the participants in social settings – and by extension, customers in a social application relating to a business interest – are themselves the center of the action, their own engagement in that activity goes up. Way up. This is great for savvy marketers: on the social Web, significantly higher levels of engagement are possible as compared to traditional media. Instead of basic engagement (e.g., exposure or clicking), well-built social applications offer participative activities like rating and reviewing (curation), uploading content (creation), and direct participation (collaboration) in the design of the associated products and services.

Examples of strong social media programs include the ones you’ve probably read about – Dell and its “Digital Nomads” or “Take Your Own Path” communities, built around the lifestyles of specific customer segments. (Disclosure: My company has worked with Dell in the past.) AARP’s online community is likewise less about AARP, and more about the interests, needs, and desires of baby boomers and their parents. Pampers offers a great experience for new parents through Pampers Village. There’s plenty of information about the product and its use, combined with a community section that places new parents and their joys, concerns, and cares squarely at the center of the conversation.

Los Angeles-based Found Animals is building its social presence around the concern for pet adoption and the responsible practices of pet owners to define the services it provides in a way that’s aligned with the needs and interests of pet owners, associated agencies, and pets themselves. In all of these cases, the brands involved benefit by placing the interests of their customers and stakeholders – rather than themselves – at the center of the conversation.

When thinking through your social strategy, take the time to get the social objects right. Here are three easy steps to follow when building a community that features your brand, product, or service:

  1. Start by identifying a social object that connects to a unique aspect of your brand, product, or service.
  2. Identify social needs from the perspective of your customers that are met by or through this aspect of your chosen social object.
  3. Create a connection to these participants, and reinforce their place as the “center” of the activities that ensue.

By identifying the social objects that exist around your brand, and creating connections to your customers through these social objects, your products and services become natural elements of the conversations that follow.

Provided By: Clickz.com