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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quick & Free Market Research Tips Using Google

There are a lot of cool ways to use Google to do market research. These are some Google queries that will provide you with priceless information. Replace the variables between brackets with whatever applies in your case.

Find Out What People Love About Your Competitors
  • “hate [ACME]“
  • “[ACME] sucks”
  • ACME AND rip off
You should do this with every one of your main competitors.

Find Out What People Hate About Your Competitors
  • “love [ACME]“
  • “[ACME] rocks”

Find Out What People Are Saying About Your Company
Although you can do a one-time Google search for your company name and your CEO’s name, this is something you’ll want to track on a daily basis.

Find Out What Are the Hot Topics in Your Industry
Use Google Trends to search for your main keyword.

Learn More About Your Demographics
Use Google Insights to learn more about your target audience. Quantcast is another awesome tool that you can run on your own site or the top competitor in your industry.

Find Out What Are the Most Common Objections for Your Products
  1. Do a search for forums related to your industry.
  2. Sort the threads to see the ones with more replies at the top. These will be the major concerns of your target audience.
  3. Read the top 20-50 results to have a clear understanding of the most common objections you’re going to encounter.
  4. Use social proof (testimonials, case studies, list of happy clients, references, etc.) that addresses the most common objections to overcome them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Developing a Social Media Strategy

When developing a social media strategy it's important to consider  the importance of transparency: Clear and open communication with clients by members of staff at all levels. 

Unfortunately there are times when this isn’t appropriate. There are hierarchies of information and responsibility in any company, which means social media expansion often requires a clear policy so that anyone with access to social media (which means everyone) stays on message and doesn’t accidentally destroy a lovingly crafted campaign with an ill-advised tweet.
In order to roll out a social program across an entire company, you need to train and educate across your organization, and a properly honed policy is a good way to begin. 
Here area few quick points to consider when putting together a general use policy that will help you ensure maximum engagement and minimum risk.

Get everyone involved

Make sure you communicate exactly how and where your company is utilizing social media.
Your employees should know what is considered acceptable in terms of tone and information, and ensure you inform the entire chain of command as well. Line managers need to know that you approve of staff using social media according to guidelines you’ve set.
If you haven’t used social media before or have restricted access to sites then this becomes doubly important.
Make sure there’s no room for any misunderstandings by clearly communicating and stating what you are trying to achieve through social.

Don’t scare people away

At some point you will need to consider the legal ramifications of social engagement; Copyright, privacy issues, sensitive information and disclosure rules will all need to be covered, but if you focus on these too much then your policy will be weighed down with rules and regulations and will discourage staff from interacting.
Instead, consider the policy a chance to run some cross-company training and to educate your staff in best practice. 
Any form of open communication has a certain amount of risk associated with it, but you can minimize this by taking time to provide proper training.

Don’t be too specific

While it’s important to be clear, there are several basic rules for social media that it’s important to follow.
Make sure staff know the importance of tone and of transparency. You really don’t want staff posting under different names or fake identities on forums for example – they WILL get found out, so make sure you tell them you disapprove of black hat tactics from the get go.
Simple instructions about listening,  considering and responding in an open manner count on every network, so institute a policy that values good ‘social citizenship’.
Think attitude first, tools and tech second. 

Choose (and learn about) your weapons

Now you can think about tools. Outline which platforms you are using and publish step-by-step guides for each, covering points like engagement, tone, and basic etiquette. 
The rules of engagement on Twitter are very different to those on LinkedIn, and individual forums often have their own rules of behavior and different acronyms in play, so make sure employees are aware of this.
You should also focus on the importance of personalization. 
This will help you provide relevant content to your audience and will shorten the time you take to engage, while reducing the risk that your staff will (knowingly or unknowingly) be seen as spammers.

Talk slowly and use big words

Seriously, don't patronize staff, but do make sure everyone can understand your policy.
If you have employees who aren’t used to technical or marketing terminology then don’t use them. 
There may be some legal terms that you can’t edit out, but make sure the whole thing is easy to read and follow. Wherever possible add examples so there’s no room for error and make sure you reiterate why each rule is required.
You don't have to over-simplify, but make sure your policy is written in plain English and shows that you trust staff to use their own judgment. 

Integration occasionally requires segregation

Finally, it's worth remembering that a social media strategy isn't a standalone undertaking. It will need to fit snugly with your overall business strategy, so take time to consider why you are using social media and it's overall value proposition.
It's also worth looking at your overall company structure. While ideally social media should be utilized by every department, those departments may have different procedures that don't fit the same pattern, meaning you'll need to tweak policy to fit with HR, Customer Service, Marketing - anywhere you interact externally.
Make sure you consider parent strategies carefully before leaping in with a one size fits all strategy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Facebook advertising will perform in 2011

The UK’s online advertising spend increased 10% to nearly £2bn in the first half of 2010 according to the IAB. For the first time the survey estimated spend on social networks, at 3% of total online spend. 
Though that’s a rough-and-ready figure, it probably represents around £40-50m in the first 6 months of 2010. There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of that social spend is going on Facebook and we’ll see that increase considerably through 2011.
The reason?  Facebook is building a powerful performance marketing channel that takes advantage of the enormous amount of user data they have.  Precisely targeted ads, priced by advertisers through an auction system can be shown to any of Facebook’s 500m active users. 
If that ad platform sounds familiar, don’t be surprised – a company called Google has being operating a similar system for the last few years and is doing pretty well from it.
Performance marketing, in its proper sense, is on the up. And it’s changed. Gone are the old ‘throw enough (cheap) mud’ techniques of the very first ad networks. In their place are online ad campaigns that cross the paid media platforms of search, display and social; proper customer attribution analysis, online and offline; measurement based on financial metrics not eyeballs; and predictive and analysis technologies that help marketers plan their budgets based on the best, or combination of the best, performance platforms.
Of course, this kind of marketing has been borne out of the technologies originally associated with search, and so search specialists are leading the way, integrating display and social advertising into their search campaigns. 
Automated bidding platforms, predictive modelling techniques and sophisticated analytics have all made it possible to understand the customer path across online platforms from first search to purchase and target based on specific customer data, rather than buying generic space on a single site.
For the right price, Facebook ads can offer great value at the moment. Of course, getting the targeting right, and bidding the right amount based on that targeting, is critical, as it is with search or other display ads. But the biggest change coming is in the way advertisers can work across these platforms.  It’s possible now to manage a display, Facebook and search campaign in one place, which means you can adjust the campaign, shift budget from one to the other, and improve performance across all three.
In the new world of performance marketing, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Make Your Facebook Content “Top News”

One of the main aims of companies using Facebook for business is generating awareness, as  pointed out in the Facebook Success Summit session on Tuesday afternoon. The top way to do this is to win the News Feed. It seems simple: If you get someone to “like” your company’s Facebook page, then they receive the content you send out, right?
Not exactly.
Your news feed is divided into two sections, “Top News” and “Most Recent News,” and people are automatically directed to their “Top News” feed when they log in. Facebook has even acknowledged that 95% of users only read their “Top News” version of the feed. Thus, to stay on your customer’s radar, your content must fall into the “Top News” category.
“Top News” is determined by the Edge Rank, an algorithm that reflects three components:
  • Affinity Score: The amount you have historically engaged with content by a person/page increases your affinity to the content creator.
  • Timing: The more recent the post, the higher it ranks.
  • Weight: As posts are commented on, liked and shared by other Facebook users and their networks, their overall weight increases.
So, what should you do to continue to appear in the “Top News” section of the News Feed?
  • Post content frequently. This increases your chances via the timing angle.
  • Consider your post timing. Only 35% of Facebook users log in during the workday, research shows. That means “off hours” might work best for posting your content.
  • Use calls to action in your posts. Encourage your fans to like, comment, or share your content to increase the weight.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

YuMe Rolls Out "ACE for Advertisers" For Improved Video Ad Management

Video ad network YuMe is rolling out a new product this morning called "ACE for Advertisers" that is being positioned as an end-to-end buy side video ad management system. According to YuMe, ACE for Advertisers offers enhanced control of media planning and buying, ad trafficking and creative management, ad serving and optimization and post-campaign analytics. It can be used across online, mobile and IPTV.

ACE for Advertisers is further evidence of how the online video advertising industry is maturing, with new tools to help major brands and agencies operate at higher scale and move bigger budgets into the medium. For example, YuMe said that ACE for Advertisers allows users to buy directly from publishers by configuring their own private networks, and/or they can tap into YuMe's network of 600 publishers and/or they can use other ad networks or exchanges. In effect, if there's inventory out there to capture, YuMe wants brands and agencies to be able to reach and manage it through ACE. Targeting data from 3rd parties can also be incorporated across these networks.

YuMe's announcement comes on the heels of new research from PwC and IAB yesterday that noted that video advertising was the best-performing category of Internet advertising in the first half of 2010, up 31% to $627 million. While impressive, it's still only 5% of the market, and a minuscule percentage relative to the $60 billion/year in TV advertising.
There is a massive amount of momentum behind online video advertising, and the key to realizing its potential is for brands and agencies to have the proper tools to efficiently plan, buy, manage and evaluate online video campaigns. All of the major online video ad companies recognize this, and as with ACE for Advertisers, they are moving rapidly to bring these new buy side products to market.

Online Video Advertising is Best Performer in FH '10, Up 31% to $627 Million

  Online video advertising is the fastest-growing ad category on the Internet, up 31% to $627 million in first half 2010 from $477 million in first half 2009 according to new research released by PwC US and the IAB.

However, video advertising still only amounts to 5% of total Internet ad spending, with search, at 47% (over $5.7 billion in FH '10) still dominating the landscape. However, video advertising is benefiting significant tailwind and is poised for lots of growth ahead. In its favor are shifting consumer behaviors toward online viewing, an exploding array of premium-quality/brand-friendly content, broad adoption of connected device which enable long-form online-delivered video viewing on TVs, and improved ad infrastructure (e.g. targeting, management, engagement, etc.).

When I talk to executives at video ad networks, brands, agencies and content providers they all confirm lots of activity in moving over TV and online budgets to video. I expect plenty more of this as online video viewership gains further momentum. The full ad spending breakdown for FH '10 is below.

Friday, October 8, 2010

10 Top Reasons To Put Video On Your Site

Ten Compelling Reasons Video Is So Important

We believe video makes a website more human, more accessible and more appealing. But then, as we make videos for a living, you'd probably expect us to say that. So we put together my top ten statistics from research findings, I think you’ll agree that the case for well crafted web video is overwhelming!
  1. "Brands using online video have seen lifts of 20% to 40% in terms of incremental buying, with conversions that are twice the rate of other media." (1)
  2. 21% of web video viewers make a purchase online. (1)
  3. 26% of  web video viewers visit a web store. (2)  
  4. 21% of web video viewers request more information. (1)
  5. Video landing pages generate four to seven times higher engagement and response rates than static image and text landing pages. (3) 
  6. Well optimised video is fifty-three times more likely than text to appear on the front page of Google. (4) 
  7. 68% of the top 50 Internet sites use web video. (5) 
  8. 71% of Internet users watch video. (1) 
  9. 65% of all videos are viewed between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. (1) 
  10. 33% of middle managers view relative videos every day. (1) 


(1) Chris Crafton, CMO,, reported by Target Marketing at a Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association networking and breakfast meeting.
(2) BIA/Kelsey User View study data, February 2010, reported by
(3) SearchEngineWatch, February 2010.
(4) Forrester Research, January 2010 .
(5 ) Internet Retailer, July 2010.