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3 web tools to boost audience engagement

eMedia Vitals

The name of the game for web publishers is engagement. It’s not enough to optimize for search and drive traffic to your website. The real trick is convincing visitors to stay once they get there.

There’s a long list of tactics web publishers can use to improve engagement metrics such as time on site and pages per visit. Here are three under-the-radar tools that give editors more options for promoting editorial content and encouraging audience interaction.

ReadrBoard

The ReadrBoard widget lets readers post “reactions” to an article or individual paragraphs and images within a post. A drop-down box, which appears when a reader rolls over the ReadrBoard icon, prompts the reader with a simple question: What do you think? Readers can choose from a set of predefined reactions, such as “love it!”, “great idea,” or “for real” – which are customizable by the publisher – or write in their own response.

The goal is to make it easier for visitors to quickly comment on a post as they’re reading it. “It’s very hard to get people to form a complete thought in order to add a comment at the bottom of a story,” ReadrBoard co-founder Porter Bayne said in a Skype interview. “Our goal is making it easier for people to engage.”

Publishers benefit from instant feedback and a dashboard that summarizes the reactions for each post and how many views each reaction receives. About 10-15% of readers across the 50 or so sites currently using the widget view the reactions, and about 0.5-1% post a reaction. Of those, 65% click on a predefined choice and 35% type in one of their own.

Bayne said publishers using the widget have seen, on average, an increase of about 10% in time spent on their sites.

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Facebook Paper Is Content — But Don’t Call Facebook a Media Company

Mashable

Is Facebook Paper short for Facebook NewsPaper?

Thursday’s unveiling of a new standalone content curation app, Facebook Paper, comes after weeks of speculation and rumors about Facebook hiring editors (the humans in the mix) to help curate content for the hyper-visual mobile app. Now it’s real, though not here yet. Facebook Paper arrives in the AppStore on Feb. 3. That leaves us a few days to speculate on what Facebook is really up to and if, in fact, this is the social media giant ever-so-gingerly dipping its toe into the content creation / media company waters.

First, though, a little primer on the app. Think of it as Facebook Magazine, a standalone app that starts with your News Feed, but looks nothing like the familiar blue Facebook mobile app or web page. It’s full-frame images that seem to extend beyond the borders of your phone, videos that are ready to play with a tap, overlaid captions, posts from not only friends, but curated posts from Facebook editors who are experts in their fields and Facebook’s new topic areas.

Those topics read less like a social network and more like a content website: Sports, Science, Tech, Food Design and more. Facebook told me the app will start off with your own News Feed just like the traditional Facebook app (you do have to sign in to use it), but you can start dragging and dropping in topics to create a customized reading experience.

Watching the video and reading Facebook’s announcement, it’s hard to not come away with the idea that this Facebook magazine will soon feature “Facebook Original” content from those newly hired experts.

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The Real Meaning of “Sales 2.0”

IDG Connect 0811 The Real Meaning of “Sales 2.0”

Louis Gudema investigates the origins of “social selling” and tracks down Nigel Edelshain who coined the term “Sales 2.0” in 2006

“Sales 2.0”, which is often called “social selling”, is one of the hottest topics these days, for example:

And I’ve written about Sales 2.0 on my blog. In writing that piece, I discovered that there is an actual, identifiable individual who is recognized as the first person to use the term: Nigel Edelshain. He created the term “Sales 2.0” in 2006.

While Sales 2.0 has come to mean social selling, in 2006 Facebook was still being used almost exclusively by college students, LinkedIn had only about 10 million members (today it has over 250 million), and Twitter and YouTube were less than a year old. I was curious about what Nigel meant by “Sales 2.0” and what prompted him to create the term, so I tracked him down, talked to him about it, and discovered he had something else in mind altogether.

Nigel says, “One day I was selling and I thought, ‘You know what, selling really sucks!’ (At this point he laughed; Nigel laughs a lot – he’s a very easy going guy.) ”It really sucks, what we do. Every sales person gets beat up. Every sales person is half miserable. They experience a lack of respect. They don’t really have a process. They’re told to cold call, and that doesn’t really work and it’s just getting worse. So I was just looking for a name for that, and since I’m a pseudo-geek I was aware of Web 2.0 and so I thought, ‘Hey, Sales 2.0. Wouldn’t that be cool?’”

Continue reading…

Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

IDG Connect 0811 Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

In January 2006 Twitter didn’t exist, blogging was mocked, and Facebook was for students. Over the following five years social media took off, but still many people questioned the importance of social networks in the B2B space. Now in 2014, its usefulness has been proven over and over again and it continues to gain momentum. In fact, as content marketing gradually grows in importance, social media is playing an even more significant role.

Summary

New research conducted in November 2013 by IDG Connect shows that 86% of B2B Information Technology (IT) buyers are currently using
social media networks in their purchase decision process. Social media is not only important for companies, but it is now a necessary investment and crucial element of any go-to-market strategies. And findings suggest this is only set to increase over the next couple of years.

  • 86% of IT buyers are using social media networks and content in their purchase decision process
  • Social media is used most often in the general education stage of the buying cycle
  • 89% of IT buyers prefer educational content to promotional content in their favored social media channels
  • 62% of IT buyers are most interested in seeing e-seminars (virtual events) from social channels
  • Product/Service reviews are the content types that IT buyers prefer to see links from via social channels
  • In two years, social, peer-generated content will have greater weight versus editorial and vendor content in making IT investment decisions

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Screen Shot 2014 01 13 at 4.39.11 PM Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

2014 Marketing Budget Plans, by Channel

Marketing Charts

9 in 10 business leaders plan to either increase (46%) or maintain (47%) their marketing budgets in 2014, according to a recent survey from StrongView (formerly StrongMail). Respondents ­ from a mix of B2C and B2B companies primarily headquartered in North America ­ evaluated their spending plans across a variety of programs. The results reveal strong support for a variety of digital marketing channels, while traditional media budgets look like they’ll suffer.

Topping the list in terms of planned spending increases was email marketing, with 52% of respondents planning to increase their investments. Just 2% plan to pull back on their email budgets. Close behind was social media (46% increasing versus 2% decreasing), with organic and paid search (41% increasing versus 4% decreasing) and online display (36% increasing versus 5% decreasing) also likely to see gains. Curiously, fewer (32%) are planning to hike their mobile marketing spend, despite recent projections suggesting healthy increases over the next few years.

Continue reading… 

IDC Predicts 2014 Will Be a Year of Escalation, Consolidation, and Innovation as the Transition to IT’s “3rd Platform” Accelerates

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 IDC Predicts 2014 Will Be a Year of Escalation, Consolidation, and Innovation as the Transition to ITs 3rd Platform Accelerates

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.– International Data Corporation (IDC) today offered the first of its annual predictions for the coming year in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. IDC’s predictions for 2014 were heavily influenced by the 3rd Platform, the industry’s emerging platform for growth and innovation built on the technology pillars of mobile computing, cloud services, big data and analytics, and social networking.

“The 3rd Platform’s impact was felt throughout the ICT industry in 2013 as a high-profile CEO lost his job, a major IT player went private, numerous vendors endured cash cow stagnation, and billion-dollar bets were placed on 3rd Platform technologies,” said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC. “In 2014, we’ll see every major player make big investments to scale up cloud, mobile, and big data capabilities, and fiercely battle for the hearts and minds of the developers who will create the solutions driving the next two decades of IT spending. Outside the IT industry, 3rd Platform technologies will play a leading role in the disruption (or “Amazoning”) of almost every other industry on the planet.”

IDC’s predictions for 2014, presented by Gens in a Web conference today, include the following:

1. Worldwide IT spending will grow 5% year over year to $2.1 trillion in 2014. Spending will be driven by 3rd Platform technologies, which will grow 15% year over year and capture 89% of IT spending growth. Sales of smartphones and tablets will continue at a torrid pace while outlays for servers, storage, networks, software, and services will fare better than in 2013. The PC market will remain under stress, with worldwide revenues down -6% year over year.
2. Emerging markets will return to double-digit growth of 10%, driving nearly $740 billion or 35% of worldwide IT revenues and, for the first time, more than 60% of worldwide IT spending growth. In the BRIC countries, IT spending will grow by 13% year over year, led by an economic recovery in China. In dollar terms, China’s IT spending growth will match that of the United States, even though the Chinese market is only one third the size of the U.S. market. Elsewhere, emerging market growth will be uneven, ushering in the beginning of a new “Post-BRIC” era.

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Social Media Weaves Its Way Through Customer Life Process

eMarketer

Social networks facilitate brand discovery, research and connection

Although social media users’ top methods of discovering, researching and keeping in touch with brands vary, they rely heavily on social networks throughout the entire customer life process, according to a September 2013 study by Wildfire.

Investments in the social advertising space are paying off for companies looking to boost awareness of their brand, product or service. The Wildfire report, which was conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that paid ads on social networks are the top method of brand and product discovery for social network users who engage with brands on social media. Forty-one percent of them reported that’s one way they typically become aware of new goods on the market.

The likes of Bing and Google are consistently beneficial to 34% of social network users in the discovery phase, but opinions from friends and followers on social networks are almost just as useful. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said they typically discover new brands and products by reading and posting messages on social networks.

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Twitter goes public at $45 a share

Computerworld (US)
Actor Patrick Stewart rings opening bell, as Twitter tweets ‘#Ring!’

FRAMINGHAM – Twitter is now a publicly traded company, opening at a price of $45.10 a share, 73% higher than its initial IPO price.
The micro-blogging company became the latest social network to launch an initial public offering, as traders spent the morning getting ready to begin trading the company’s stock.

The company begin trading under the stock symbol TWTR on the New York Stock Exchange shortly before 11 a.m. today.

For Twitter, as well as for the social networking world, the IPO will be a milestone and a bellwether.Facebook, the largest social network in the world, had a troubled IPO disappointing IPO launch last year.

Now all eyes are on Twitter, a company that has yet to make a profit, to see if the company has charmed Wall Street, creating investor enthusiasm and pulled off a successful trading debut. Late yesterday, Twitter closed its books and priced 70 million shares at $26 apiece. That price valued Twitter at $14.1 billion, though that figure could climb if underwriters pull more optional shares in for trading.

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Citrix: Instagram, Vine Traffic Reveal Shift Toward Mobile Video

Telecompetitor

Cloud platform provider Citrix released its 4Q 2013 “Citrix Mobile Analytics Report,” offering readers insight into mobile data subscriber usage patterns and their impact on service providers’ networks. Turning to the Android mobile OS and platform, Citrix found that three apps – Media Player, Mobile Browser, and Google Play – account for 83% of Android device mobile data volume. Media Player alone accounts for more than 50%.

Mobile advertising has grown substantially along with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets,  according to the report. Mobile advertising now accounts for 1.6% of iOS data traffic and 2.2% of Android mobile data traffic, the report says. For 1Q 2012, those numbers were 1% and 2%, respectively.

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Tucon 2013: Is It Possible To Calculate The ROI Of Enterprise Social Networking?

IDG Connect

Speaking at Toucon 2013, Forrester & KPMG discuss ways around calculating the ROI of Enterprise Social Networking, and why instead you should focus on use cases.

“We’re accountants, we like numbers.” At KMPG, the bottom line is usually the most important. So what happens when they try to justify the value of something as intangible as the value of social collaboration to a bunch of accountants?

Speaking at Tucon 2013, Rob Koplowitz, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester research was joined by Alex Chapel, Global Internal Social Collaboration Lead for KPMG to talk about the business value of Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) and how best to get people to understand what it can bring to a company.

Forrester has done some interesting research on the subject; according to Koplowitz’s research, it’s actually Baby Boomers, not Gen Y, that are driving demand for social collaboration. On an organizational level,  41% of the companies he talked to had implemented or were expanding their ESN system, 12% were planning on doing so in the next year, and another 12% in more than a year. However you cut it, ESN is hot news right now. But how to define where it adds value, pinpointing hard figures is still the hardest part of the puzzle.

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