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Video blogs, podcasts help marketers reach niche audiences on mobile

Mobile Marketer

NEW YORK – Video blogging and podcasting are experiencing rapid growth, with many consumers being reached via mobile, said a panel of podcasters and video bloggers at the ad:tech New York conference.

Because the mobile and Web video industry has seen a significant rise in the last several years, marketers and brands can effectively use those kinds of platforms to reach niche audiences. Videos and podcasts offer consumers control, which makes marketing appear more natural.

“Consumption has really gone mobile,” said Rob Walch, vice president of Podcaster Relations, Libsyn, Pittsburgh, PA. “More people are consuming now on mobile devices, and the media has become more aware of it.

“Podcasting is about consumers being able to consume the podcast when they want, how they want. Podcasting is the antithesis of streaming – you are in control.”

Tips for engagement
The way in which podcasts are being consumed has changed drastically in the past two years, with large numbers coming from mobile, said Mr. Walch. Video podcasts have decreased, with audio leading the way in building up listeners.

“Consumption has switched over to audio from the podcast side, and a lot of that has to do with people streaming from smartphones,” Mr. Walch said.

However, podcasters and video bloggers must be cognizant about which devices they are marketing towards. The iOS platform has over 500 million devices that have native-built podcast mobile applications, but Android does not.

“On the mobile side, it really is still an Apple world,” Mr. Walch said. “For podcasters, Apple is your friend. Google is not.”

Marketers seeking to use the podcast or video platforms should also make sure to keep the URLs simple, but unique for each show within the campaign.

Relevant marketing
Podcasters seeking to build a substantial fan base should ensure to focus on gaining listeners and followers rather than number of listens. Subscribers are also directly related to return on investment.

Continue reading… 

Inbox, Paper, And Sway: Why Tech Giants Are Suddenly Reinventing Their Core Apps

Fast Company

If you look through the App Store reviews for Facebook Paper, it doesn’t take long to find the recurring theme.

“So much better than the main Facebook app,” one user wrote.

“It is light years ahead of the standard Facebook app and everyone that can should delete the native app and use this one,” wrote another.

A third user was blunt: “Facebook should strongly consider making Paper its official iOS app instead of the awful main app.”

With Paper, Facebook has effectively rebooted its core News Feed product on the iPhone. Although Paper is built largely around the same photos and status updates you get from Facebook’s main app, it doesn’t feel like something that was merely retrofitted to the phone. It emphasizes large photos and swipe gestures, and lets you add general news sections for when you need a break from your friends. It could easily stand in for the main Facebook experience, even if it doesn’t have all the same features.

Facebook isn’t alone. Last week, Google announced Inbox, which is built around Gmail but with a different approach to displaying and handling messages. Instead of showing every email in reverse-chronological order, Inbox intelligently sorts messages into groups like “Travel” and “Purchases,” and in a nod to Dropbox’s Mailbox, lets you snooze or pin important emails for later.

On October 1, Microsoft revealed Sway, a modern take on presentations with an emphasis on style and ease of use. Whereas PowerPoint makes you obsess over every line and transition, Sway does all the heavy lifting automatically, and it’s designed to be just usable on phones as it is in a web browser.

While I hate to pull the old “three is a trend” journalist hat trick, it seems like more than a coincidence when Google, Facebook, and Microsoft reinvent core apps in such close proximity. And when you look closer at the motivations and goals of each project, there’s more than just a little overlap.

Read on…

China Interview: Insight for Western Marketers

IDG Connect 0811 China Interview: Insight for Western Marketers

As the Alibaba IPO has reminded international businesses afresh of the vast potential in China, we catch up with Tait Lawton, who hails from Canada but has been working in People’s Republic for over a decade. He founded the Nanjing Marketing Group  to help Western companies get into the marketplace and now provides some useful insights for marketers worldwide.

Following the highly publicized Alibaba IPO have you noticed an increase in Western clients looking to target China?

We’ve noticed a steady increase overall, but not a large jump around the Alibaba IPO necessarily. Tough to say.

Has the attitude of Western clients looking to target China changed in the time you have been based there?

I’ve been helping Western clients with Chinese marketing for five years. I’d say they have the same basic concerns, but are more willing to accept our advice when it comes to tailoring their campaign more to the Chinese market.

We prefer to plan the China marketing campaign anew from the ground up as opposed to using more of a one-size-fits-all globalization strategy, and more people are willing to accept this now. Tough to say if it’s because of a change in the overall mind set of Western marketers or it’s just because we have more people that have been reading our articles on our blog and other websites.

How does the way Chinese consumers use technology differ from the way technology is used in your native Canada?

They haven’t gone through the same process of adoption. Since China developed so quickly, lots of people in China have just skipped whole stages of technology that Canadians, Americans and other Westerners are used to. For example, some years ago I was surprised to see that my girlfriend’s family never used a VCR and instead just went straight to using DVDs. Now, of course, people may be skipping VCRs, DVDs and even streaming on laptops and just go straight to streaming on mobile devices.

What’s most relevant for our digital marketing efforts is that there are plenty of internet users that started using the internet on mobile devices. Mobile marketing is essential. Sometimes people ask me “do you do mobile marketing?”, and I’m like “well, ya. 100% of the marketing we do is relevant to mobile. All of our SEM, SEO and social media services are relevant to mobile.”

People in China also use QR codes a lot. You’ll see QR codes for Weibo and WeChat campaigns on subway ads, restaurant menus, everywhere.

What do you think Western businesses most misunderstand about China?

For one, they may underestimate the competition and the amount they should invest to be successful. China is very competitive and for most market entry cases we see, there are Chinese competitors that are entrenched and willing to invest much much more than the foreign company planning to enter China. Chinese companies are very confident in their business opportunities and willing to invest in branding.

And Chinese advertising is not cheap, nor is marketing talent. Great Chinese marketers can make as much money as great marketers in USA or other places.

Continue reading…

Instagram Proves Hit With Brand Marketers, Users

Social Media Daily

Ahead of Facebook’s latest earnings call, new data shows that Instagram is more popular than ever among brand marketers.

During the third quarter of 2014, 86% of top brands incorporated Instagram into their marketing strategies, which represented a 15% year-over-year increase, according to social media measurement start-up Simply Measured.

All told, Instagram now boasts 200 million active users, 60 million photos posted daily and more than 1.6 billion interactions per day, per Simply Measured.

Brands who posted at least once a day have doubled since 2012, while 73% of brands post at least one photo or video per week, the researcher found. Simply Measured also found a clear correlation between brands that maintain an active presence on the platform and increased user engagement.

“With more brands engaging larger audiences and tactics becoming more sophisticated, Instagram users are more receptive to marketing content on the network,” according to Kevin Shively, author of the report.

In fact, monthly engagement among top brands has more than doubled since the third quarter of 2013, and grown nearly 12-fold since the third quarter of 2012, according to Shively.

Along with consistent posting schedules, brands looking to do a better job of engaging Instagram users should focus on post tagging and caption content.

Posts tagged with a location receive 79% higher engagement on average, according to Simply Measured, while it found 56% higher engagement for posts that include another user handle in the caption.

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9 New Terms Modern Marketers will want to Know

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 9 New Terms Modern Marketers will want to Know

New practices need new language to describe them. When IDC’s smart, experienced, forward-looking, clients and special guests got together at our recent Marketing Leadership board meeting in New York, I jotted down these terms they used as particularly useful for describing their challenges and ideas.

Product%2BSelfie 9 New Terms Modern Marketers will want to Know
  1. Product selfie: A type of content where it’s all about the product and nothing about the buyer/user (Guidance: Keep to a minimum – you know why.)
  2. Snackable content: Short-form, easy-to-consume, desirable, content (Guidance: As attention spans get shorter, you’ll need more of this.)
  3. Brand-as-a-Service: Offering beneficial, free, and minimally-self-serving, customer service that extends your brand promise. Examples: USAA offering car-buying services, Pantene offering tips for creating celebrity hair-styles during an Academy Awards social media campaign; (Guidance: Powerful! Find yours.)
  4. Budget slush fund: Holding back 5-15% of your budget so that you can respond with agility to unexpected opportunities such as a social media fire or an idea from a regional marketer that is worth testing. (Guidance: Great strategy to you get beyond the same-old, same-old, but you’ll need a seeking and vetting process to make sure this doesn’t go to waste)
  5. Off-domain: Use of non-owned capabilities such as content syndication, outside point-of-view, 3rd-party voices; curated content, and community/social/partner media or events  (Guidance: This fast growing practice will require a different mind-set than the traditional “owned and ads first”  Start with some pilots now and plan to expand.)

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IDG’s Social Media Marketing Success Story

Media Shepard

IDG worked with Samsung late last year to promote the company’s 10.1 Galaxy Note tablet. For Samsung, the goals were clear: promote the product during the holiday season in order to reach the campaign’s target business audience. IDG’s job was to leverage its industry contacts and brand following to create awareness and engagement.

That job fell to Colin Browning, marketing services director at IDG, who heads the Performance Marketing group within IDG Strategic Marketing Services. Browning’s team is responsible for the implementation, management, analysis, and optimization of social media and lead generation programs for clients.

mediaShepherd asked Browning to explain how IDG designed and implemented an effective B2B social media campaign: platforms used, specific approaches, goals, strategies and results.

mediaShepherd: What were the goals of the campaign? How were you defining “success” both for your client and IDG?

Colin Browning: The overall campaign goal was to increase the IT leadership’s awareness of Samsung’s new 10.1 inch tablet as a superior device for use in the workplace. For the social component we wanted to get the target audience discussing the broader advantages and flexibility of tablets while including Samsung’s messaging.

mS: There is often a fine line between promotional and valuable content, especially with custom marketing campaigns. How did you ensure that you would be pushing out valuable content to your audiences to facilitate real engagement? (Did the survey(s) you conducted play a role in this?)

CB: The program content, including the Twitter chat topics, were designed to be thought leadership based. While these are all informative pieces and conversations, they were also aligned to the key value propositions of the Samsung Tablet. This enabled us to have broader audience conversations about the use of the tablet in the workplace and what IT’s needs are, without coming across as overly promotional.

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How to Develop Digital Content – 4 Analyst Insights

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 How to Develop Digital Content – 4 Analyst Insights

With digital content so widely consumed online it’s important to create relevant and interesting content for your audience. These four insights from our Principle Analyst, Bob Johnson, will help you build a content strategy that works for your brand.

1. Do You Have a Digital Content Strategy?

Today many are clamoring for a content strategy. The trouble most organizations do not understand that it is a lot harder to implement than it is to conceptualize. Read more >

2. Do You Follow these Five Senses?

What does your content tell you about the people who consume different assets? Is each asset a good listener, does it have a sense of taste, can it smell a buyer from non-buyer, does it see where the buyer’s interest lies and can it feel the readiness of a buyer to engage with sales? Read more >

3. Do Misuse Your Content?

You spend so much time, money and effort on creating digital content but too much of that effort goes wasted as we see multiple issues. See you if stand out from the crowd by thinking about your content against these common mistakes. Read more >

4. Do You Organize Your Content Effectively?

As you focus on how to organize your digital assets on your website, you face a multitude of options. But when you ask buyers how they prefer to see content organized, they speak very clearly that they have a primary preference. Read more >

5 Infographics to Teach You How to Easily Create Infographics in PowerPoint [+ TEMPLATES]

Hubspot

These days, visual content is all the rage. And considering the fact that people are naturally drawn to pictures, images, and other visuals, it’s no wonder it’s become such a dominant force in the marketing world. Just think about how much more prominently visuals get featured in social networks like Facebook and Google+. And what about the rise of visual-focused networks like Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine? There’s no denying it — visual content is here to stay, and marketers who can learn how to master it will have a leg up on competitors who can’t.

When most marketers hear the term “visual content,” the first type that comes to mind is usually the infographic. But how can those who don’t necessarily have a design background — or budget to commission an agency, hire a dedicated in-house designer, or purchase expensive design software — create professional-looking infographics that enable them to leverage the power of visual content? We’re so glad you asked! Here’s a little secret: You can do it right within software you likely already have loaded on your computer. That’s right!PowerPoint can be your best friend when it comes to visual content creation. And to help you get started, we’ve created five fabulous infographic templates you can download for free and use to customize your own infographics right within PowerPoint — as well as some helpful tips and tricks to help you learn how to use PowerPoint to its full potential.

In this post, we’ll highlight some PowerPoint infographic creation basics as well as four of the infographic templates from the download that explain how to easily create infographics in PowerPoint (how meta, right?). Just be sure to download the PowerPoint templates for yourself so you can easily customize the designs you see here!

 

How to get your mobile marketing strategy ready for the holidays

CITEworld

October is here and, simply put, if your holiday marketing plans are not finalized and ready to be executed, you are sunk.

That said, it seems that every year marketers let the same small details fall through the cracks. With that in mind, we’ve put together a checklist for companies as they run down their last minute planning for mobile campaigns — an area that still seems to be hit or miss for many retailers.

Remember — email marketing messages can be opened on mobile devices.Often they are only opened on mobile devices. Make sure messages are optimized for smartphones and during the holiday season especially, make the headline simple and short — and easily searchable. Consumers pull up their messages looking for offers while actually shopping and needless to say, their inboxes are bulging this time of year.

Optimize your mobile site. Why, oh why, retailers, are you ignoring the biggest subtrend in e-commerce, which is mobile commerce? Too many retail sites are still not optimized for mobile devices, a process that often requires an entirely new ground up development project but is well worth it in the end. Web optimization company Yottaa found that many of the top 500 e-tailers use unique m-dot sites, according to MobileCommerceDaily. These URLs redirect users an average 3.03 times before taking them to the right site, resulting in a poor user experiences and ultimately, lost retail sales. As MobileCommercialDaily noted, research has found that just a one-second delay in site response time can reduce conversions by 7 percent. Another data point is provided by The Search Agency, which reports in its latest quarterly report, “The Mobile Experience Scorecard — Restaurants & Catering” that the top 50 restaurant and catering companies’ mobile sites were very slow to load (on average over 70 seconds) and 40 percent don’t have a button to click to order or reserve. Some 32 percent of the sites analyzed use Responsive Web Design — Google’s recommended format — but no site serving the updated format were able to pass the page speed test, with average page load time over one minute, according to The Search Agency.

Continue reading… 

Why Every Media Website Redesign Looks the Same

Mashable

If web design is art, we may be entering its minimalist phase.

Website redesigns from some of the most-visited media destinations on the Internet may be leaving users with a bit of déjà vu since many are sporting the same visual elements.

“It’s sort of the same way that all cars look more or less the same. There’s only so many ways you can design a doorknob to where it’s going to be effective,” said Brad Frost, a web designer that has worked on the websites for TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly.

Cars and doorknobs serve a purpose under certain constraints, just like websites. But unlike those everyday items, the demands on websites have changed drastically as audiences have taken to different devices.

Time.com (pictured below) is a prime example: Clean lines, big pictures and defined columns dominate. The site launched its redesign in March.

Time1 640x359 Why Every Media Website Redesign Looks the Same

 

The homepage of Time.com goes with the three-column design and a sticky header menu.

IMAGE: TIME.COM

Time.com is also “responsive,” a relatively new concept that combines development and design to allow websites to conform to a wide variety of screen sizes while still providing a useful experience. The rise of responsive design has been driven by steadily rising mobile traffic combined with the introduction of a wide range of devices.

Mobile was this crisis that woke us up from this shared delusion that the web was this fixed width,” said Josh Clark, a web designer and developer.

“To a certain degree, websites always look the same. Design is fashion and it follows trends. We’re in the middle of a trend of big and clunky, not just because of responsive design but also because of touch,” Clark added. “As touch has spread from small screens to laptops and desktops, all desktop designs have to be touch-friendly, and that has influenced the aesthetic, too.”

Numerous major media sites have shifted to responsive design with similar results — multi-column, boxy and flat designs that look almost strangely similar. NBC News has its main column on the left, but the similarities are apparent.

Continue reading…