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The New Premium: How Programmatic Changes The Way Advertisers Value Inventory

AdExchanger

Five years ago, if I told anyone in our industry that I wanted to buy or sell “premium” inventory, we’d all picture the same thing: inventory that was bought or sold directly between a media buyer and publisher’s salesperson. Maybe it would be home page inventory or a section front, a page takeover or rich unit. Or perhaps it would just involve a specific publisher that we agreed equated to “premium.”

New programmatic technologies are radically changing how we think of inventory overall, especially the term “premium.” Inventory is no longer one- or two-dimensional – the definition has become much more complex. It is a multidimensionally defined set of attributes that includes traditionally “publisher-controlled” inputs, such as page location, dimensions of the creative, category and content adjacencies. But today there are additional overlaid attributes that flesh out the definition.

Advertisers can bring their own data to the dance, which we’ll hesitantly call “first party,” and overlay additional data sources, which we’ll hesitantly call “third party.” And beneath the surface level attributes are underlying components that can be much more dynamic. These components can help predict how effectively an impression can drive a campaign’s goals or outcomes.

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Social Media Now Drives 31% Of All Referral Traffic

Forbes

The report suggests that it may be time for Pinterest to rethink its target market if its going to experience growth in the coming year: “Principal Analyst at Forrester, Nate Elliott, calls Pinterest a condundrum. Elliot says, “Pinterest is confusing. It’s a bundle of contradictions: at once it offers marketers huge potential and huge frustration.” Select brands recognize its commercial value and have invested big dollars on ‘Pinfluencers’. But the platform has yet to realize its full potential. To do so, it needs to quickly shed its isolating for-women-only image and develop more mass-market appeal.”

Given these findings, you may be wondering how best to drive social traffic to your own website or blog. Given Facebook’s value as the #1 driver of referral traffic over the past 3 years, here are some strategies you can use to help drive your Facebook traffic to your website or blog.

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5 countries to follow on social media

Digiday

A well-crafted branding strategy from a fast food brand can change your perception about its burgers. But can effective branding change your point of view about a country? Nation-branders hope so.

Nation-branding — a field of branding that extends beyond tourism into highlighting a country’s competitive advantage, whether infrastructure or culture —  isn’t a new thing. But the pervasiveness of social media has allowed governments to take ownership of their own social feeds and engage in niche and real-time conversations online, with most countries’ governments having dedicated social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.

As Joshua S. Fouts, the former director at USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy said in a Council on Foreign Relations interview: There are plenty of benefits for countries that successfully embrace branding techniques.

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B2B Social Media: “You’re going the wrong way!”

IDG Global Solutions

By, Jason Gorud

One of my favourite movies is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. In it two mismatched travel companions are forced to endure each other and suffer through a series of unfortunate incidents as they attempt to make their way home for Thanksgiving dinner. In one scene, the two protagonists are on a snowy freeway late at night driving the “wrong way”. While they are on the right path directionally (homeward bound), they are literally driving into oncoming traffic. A concerned couple on the opposite side of the freeway starts screaming “You’re going the wrong way!” Not comprehending what they couple is trying to tell them John Candy assumes the couple is drunk and cynically asks Steve Martin “How do they know where we are going?”

This scene feels a little like what we see on a macro level from the increased push by B2B marketers into social media. Everyone has a goal(s) in mind, everyone seems to be heading towards that goal. Much like in the movie, the problem is one born not so much out of ignorance, but through a series of misaligned choices.

It’s only when we look at the unquestioning adoption of certain social media effectiveness metrics that marketers have been lead to believe are gospel and then examine the corresponding strategies being built on those metrics, that we start to see why some companies are heading down the “wrong way”.

When my firm asks our customers what they expect from a broad social media strategy we often get the following vanilla answers:

  1. Enhance brand awareness
  2. Cost reduction (on marketing spend)
  3. Improve customer experience
  4. Enable innovation (this is more ‘vanilla-swirl’ as not all companies state this as a goal)
  5. Increase revenue

No ‘shockers’ on this list and I have ranked them in order of immediate achievability (the ranking is just my humble opinion). Rather unfortunately many of the clients I speak with state enhancing brand awareness as their initial objective when the discussion starts but only really want to talk about getting to ‘increased revenue’ as fast as possible. Unsurprisingly, very few can articulate how they will map their strategy to achieving revenue growth – they just know they must!

As the conversation continues, cost reduction is quickly reclassified; this isn’t a goal, it’s the a priori reason to use social media. “It’s free” they say, “and once people start sharing and retweeting, our promotional costs will just naturally fall. Hooray!”

Improved customer service and enabling innovation are both brushed aside as many simply pay lip service to “listening” as a way to address these goals. Further marginalization occurs due to the fact that most marketers don’t have personal KPIs tied to these activities.

From there we quickly get to the topic they really want to talk about: how can I generate more leads from social media (i.e increase revenue)?

So rather than view the new “IT” thing in marketing as vehicle to enhance existing programs and achieve those goals, many marketers look at social media as a stand alone initiative. This view essentially forces most to apply metrics they feel should link directly to achieving specific KPI’s attached to more traditional objectives like market share, NPS or new customer acquisition.

And here’s where the initiative ultimately begins to fail and the “social media thing” starts to feel like a whole lotta hype.

In 2014, Gallup released findings from a poll they ran that showed less than 40% of its respondents felt social media had any bearing on their decision to buy a product. I’m sure this is disheartening to marketers; companies in the US spent over $5B on social media advertising! Seeing as how only 5% responded that it “strongly” influenced their buying decision, you have to wonder how anyone is tracking ROMI against this channel.

It’s a fool’s errand to attempt to question a consumer on his or her personal buyer’s journey as it pertains to their response to specific marketing tactics, but the findings are telling nonetheless: Assuming your social media program is going to immediately net you new buyers and bigger wins is risky – especially in the B2B space. You simply cannot rely on the usual metrics people apply to social media activities to gauge overall effectiveness.

The biggest problem we see in the B2B space is this: rather than crafting a strategy that leverages the data that comes out of a well defined social strategy to achieve their goals, businesses are hoping that social and it’s impact on their content marketing strategy will simply net them wins. Consequently the metrics being deployed are not only too simplistic, they aren’t in anyway “linkable” back to executive level goals like revenue generation.

The many successful marketers we speak to have reached this conclusion:

Social media enables success; hyper-attention to social media ‘success metrics’ does not.

If you want social media to work for your firm quickly look at adopting the following mindset:

  • See it for what it is; a component of your marketing strategy that enables and enhances, not something tto be treated as a stand alone initiative.
  • Patience is key.
  • Move beyond measuring social media’s impact on your business via metrics that offer no real insight: page views, followers, shares, retweets, likes,etc.
  • Use the activity and resultant data from social media initiatives to form what we call customer-centric outputs.

So now you’re very likely thinking or shouting to no one in particular “Jason! Oh mighty king of useless jargon, what do you mean by customer-centric outputs?” Right?

So in the spirit of #ThoughtLeaderiness I give you the Jason’s-Blocks-of-Simple-yet-Difficult-Social-Media-Outputs. It’s more commonly referred to as the JBoSyDSO(note to the fellas: The ladies love them some JBoSyDSO so drop it into conversation the next time you’re out at the club looking to make a great first impression – pronounced just like it’s spelled by the way):

07009d9 B2B Social Media: Youre going the wrong way!

To enable an output-based program you have to be patient. The value of the “outputs” only grow over time. As data aggregates, the ability to conduct longitudinal studies grows; insight into regions, verticals, companies and even individuals becomes so much more rich – and with this your ability to make intelligent choices in marketing, sales and product development improves.

And this is the difficulty many firms have: patience and willingness to make basic investments in the systems that enable an effective strategy. I won’t spend time on specifics of tools out there as the topic is myriad, but solution types can broken into 5 basic categories: monitoring, management, engagement, analytics and influencer. We can save this subject for another time…

Let’s briefly cover the outputs which are unique in nature but overlap frequently:

CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION: Can be used to analyze the nature of conversations by individuals or groups. Practically speaking, discussions mentioning company name can be linked to brand awareness, while posts where specific product, tech specs or attributes are being discussed can be used to identify an individual as a prospective buyer worth nurturing, or an account worth exploring. Highly active individuals can more easily be clustered as Hi-Po targets with corresponding tailored marketing strategies.

COMPETITIVE AWARENESS: Useful when monitoring competitive product launch announcements to determine sentiment versus your offerings. Also allows for competitor campaign countermeasures – especially when said campaigns involve FUD or otherwise unfriendly information being used against your firm.

CAMPAIGN CURRENCY: A great way to garner near real-time insight into the effectiveness of media and marketing initiatives. Not only does it provide you with the ‘what-is & what-isn’t’ working feedback, you also gain the ability to monitor conversations as they evolve vis-a-vis brand comparison enabling you to improve on future campaigns. Properly utilizing this information enables companies to more adroitly tweak messaging to meet customer interests as they change throughout the lifecycle of their initiatives.

FOCUS GROUPS: This is kind of a no-brainer. From a psychological stand point, people in general don’t always give the most honest of feed back with respect to brands, campaigns or products when put in a room with a bunch of strangers. Plus conducting these on-site groups is expensive and a pain in the backside. The impersonal nature of the web however is a different story, it allows for much larger sample sizes and ensures that feedback (data) is more easily archived and used in a far more scientific manner.

Proper deployment of these ‘outputs’ with social media acting as the engine driving them allows for the identification of tangible metrics and actionable data with respect to the aforementioned 5 goals:

  1. Brand sentiment, buzz and growth are, as mentioned, the most immediate and directly affected by nearly any campaign; your ability to influence and enhance are greatly magnified via social channels.
  2. As campaigns and initiatives are now being more accurately monitored via live feed back, tweaks can be made to eliminate spend on inefficiencies. Very expectedly, through comparative study over time, firms begin to see content distribution costs decline as a result of shares, retweets and the like.
  3. Customer feedback – both solicited and unsolicited – can be viewed across multiple products, channels and regions; services can be proactively deployed (and communicated) to a broader audience before larger problems arise; specific individuals can be quickly identified for a more personal touch.
  4. Based on trends and aggregate voice, combined with competitive intelligence, companies can quickly respond to market needs from a product perspective, inform key demographics of their “Next Big Thing” should they so desire, and use inputs from the corresponding feedback to improve product/service enhancements as they are occurring.
  5. Whitespace accounts, high-potential buyers and at risk customers are more quickly identified and addressed.

It is therefore advisable that the traditional social media metrics be used versus the outputs on an individual basis, not in trying to create direct correlations to the goals one seeks to achieve. Companies are best served by endeavoring to create more tangible links (KPIs) from the outputs to those goals instead. By doing this your social media initiatives will net far more benefit to your organization as a whole.

So in closing, be patient, stay focused on your outputs and not the minutiae of the metrics. By moving away from gauging success based purely on tactical, easily counted data points, and redirecting your energy to building outputs that link to your goals, you will right your “vehicle” and start driving on the correct side of the road.

Spoiler alert: They make it home for Thanksgiving dinner.

Are US companies using social media better than UK firms?

The Drum

UK companies are one step behind their US compatriots when it comes to corporate communications and social media, according to a report from Investis.

The study reviewed more than 500 leading US and UK companies to score their use of eight social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube and found that US companies were far more active and engaged on social media.

The average volume of tweets from a US corporate account was 2,979 in a year dwarfing the UK’s 738. On LinkedIn, US firms saw three times as many posts as UK firms. YouTube saw a similar trend with US firms boasting 141 videos in comparison with the UK’s 45.

Similarly, on Facebook, US companies achieved an average of 45,111 likes, compared with the UK’s 1,177. LinkedIn proved to be the most popular social channel for companies with 93 per cent of studied firms owning such an account, in comparison, only two thirds of companies had Twitter accounts.

The highest-scoring company across all eight channels was Cisco Systems. However, the UK claimed two of the top ten firms with Royal Dutch Shell (fourth) and BP (tenth). Are US companies using  social media better than UK firms?

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Worldwide Tablet Shipments Experience First Year-Over-Year Decline in 4th Quarter

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Worldwide Tablet Shipments Experience First Year Over Year Decline in 4th Quarter

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., February 2, 2015 – Worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-over-year decline for the first time since the market’s inception in 2010. Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices reached 76.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14) for -3.2% growth, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Although the fourth quarter witnessed a decline in the global market, shipments for the full year 2014 increased 4.4%, totaling 229.6 million units.

“The tablet market is still very top heavy in the sense that it relies mostly on Apple and Samsung to carry the market forward each year,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn’t enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung’s struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren’t cut out for today’s tablet market.”

Apple’s lead over other vendors has yet to be truly challenged as it shipped 21.4 million tablets, accounting for over a quarter of the market with 28.1% volume share. Despite Samsung’s woes, it managed to hold on to the second place with 11 million units shipped. Lenovo (4.8%), ASUS (4%), and Amazon (2.3%) rounded out the top 5 although only Lenovo managed to grow annually when compared to Q4 2013. Lenovo maintained its tight grip on the Asia/Pacific market thanks to its massive scale in the PC business and the success of its low-cost tablet offerings.

“Despite an apparent slow-down of the market, we maintain our forecast about tablet growth in 2015,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director, Tablets. “Microsoft’s new OS, a general shift towards larger screen form factor and productivity focused solutions, and technology innovations such as gesture interface that could be introduced in tablets will help the market maintain positive growth in 2015.”

 

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Digital Marketing Budgets Increase and Social Media Postings

IDG Connect 0811 Digital Marketing Budgets Increase and Social Media Postings

This week I will be looking at the increase in digital marketing budgets and the most effective times to post content.

80% of Companies Plan to Increase their Digital Marketing Budgets

As more companies see the importance of digital marketing, it’s expected that 80% of companies are planning to increase their budgets in the next 12-18 months according to Mondo’s recent study, The Future of Digital Marketing. It is foreseen that in the next three – five years company revenue driven by marketing will increase by 30%.

Over the past 15 years this dramatic shift from traditional to digital media has caused changes in consumer behaviour. This has lead marketing to rethink its positioning and adopt a digital mindset to meet this shift as 98% of marketers see the role of the traditional marketer continuing to change.

According to study, the main forces that have caused this change are the increased number of channels to reach the audiences, innovative ways to think about customer engagement and the challenge of breaking through the noise of the target audiences.

This has driven a change in marketer’s skillset as more organisations are moving away from the traditional skills. Mondo found marketing departments skill are made up of digital/social (54%), content creation (44%), big data/analytics (33%) and mobile strategy (30%).

All this goes to show, the evolution of marketing and technology has weakened the traditional marketer’s role as more companies align themselves with the digital age.

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Consumers Spending More time Using Apps

Mobile Marketer

Marketers’ rush to develop branded mobile applications overlooks how consumers are spending a significant portion of their app time with several high-utility apps, according to Forrester Research.
The new Forrester report, “2015 Mobile App Marketing Trends: Orchestrate Your Brand Presence, Beyond Your Own Apps, By Borrowing Mobile Moments,” explores marketers’ decisions to invest significant resources into building their own branded apps because research suggests consumers spend a majority of their mobile time on apps. However, new Forrester data shows that, on average, consumers in the United States and Britain use 24 apps per month but spend more than 80 percent of the time in their five most time-consuming apps.
“Marketers should borrow their way to their customers’ home screens by partnering with the few apps that command the majority of consumers’ mobile prime time,” said Thomas Husson,
 Paris-based vice president and principal analyst for marketing and strategy at Forrester Research, in a blog post about the report.

 

Getting discovered
Popular time consuming apps in the US include Facebook, Youtube, Maps, Pandora and Gmail.

Top 10 Smart Connected Device Predictions For China

IDC PMS4colorversion  Top 10 Smart Connected Device Predictions For China

Beijing, February 2, 2015 — The shipment of China’s smart connected devices (“SCDs”, including PCs, tablets and smartphones) in 2014 was around 510 million units, a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 16.2%. Wherein, the shipment of PCs was 61.02 million units, down by 5.5% YoY; the shipment of tablets was 27.86 million units, up by 7.5% YoY; the shipment of smartphones was 420 million units, up by 20.9% YoY. IDC predicts that in 2015, the shipment of China’s SCDs will reach 540 million units, and the YoY growth will slow down.

According to Nick Mu, Senior Analyst of IDC China, “2014 witnessed the rapid integration of China’s SCD products. In 2014, many factors changed China’s SCD market, including the penetration of SCD products into lower tier cities, changes in sales channels, as well as the impact of smartphones and tablets on PCs. ”

Although the overall growth of China’s SCDs will slow down a little bit, the real question is what will  occur in regional markets and urban markets, at different tiers of cities as well as different products and channels? Which trends will determine how consumers and suppliers adapt to the market changes? Bearing these questions in mind, IDC concluded the following 10 predictions for China’s SCD market in 2015:

1.    PC demands will recover 1st- to 3rd-tier cities
In the recent two years, PCs were impacted by smartphones and tablets, in the way that the sales of the smartphones and tablets were greatly stimulated by the demand for the mobile Internet. Thus far, PCs didn’t fare well in the mobile Internet age, and consumers’ PC-upgrading cycle was undoubtedly prolonged. Recently though, Microsoft has formally issued Windows 10, which was advertized as the universal OS compatible on PCs, tablets, smartphones and all desired devices. It is expected to become the standard in the PC industry in 2015, especially for the corporate users in the 1st- to 3rd-tier cities and the individual consumers pursuing interconnectivity. Hardware manufacturers will begin to see the redemptive recovery resulting from the consumers’ accumulated demands to upgrade their PCs.

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The Push For Web Ad Viewability Proving To Be Nightmare For Publishers Early On

The Wall Street Journal

The online ad world is racing to make viewable ads–ads people can actually see–the standard currency for the industry. And that race is causing major pain for Web publishers while wreaking general havoc in the ad marketplace, say executives from major media companies, digital native sites and top ad agencies.

Making viewable ads the standard that Internet advertisers transact upon is theoretically a mission everyone would agree upon. Marketers would benefit from knowing that their ads are actually being seen, rather than falling outside the view of a person’s computer screen or rendering only after a person has scrolled past them. And top Web publishers would benefit because eliminating non-viewable ads should reduce the supply of advertising inventory and thereby raise prices.

But in the near term, the issue has caused contentious negotiations and rocked how many big publishers manage and forecast inventory for 2015, which in turn effects how they project revenue for the year, top online ad executives say. Publishers say that while they have been out in front of the viewability issue, they are getting hit with reports from agencies and third parties claiming that significant chunks of their ad inventory are not viewable. That’s requiring these websites to deliver advertisers significant make-goods, or additional advertising to make up for deficiencies.

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