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Your Best Marketing Data Provider May Be Right Underneath Your Nose

Integrate

By  Scott Vaughan

Data is today’s marketing currency. We harvest it wherever we can – via paid, owned and earned media. And this harvesting is facilitated by numerous tech and services providers: known-data appending plug-ins like Dun & Bradstreet and Social123; anonymous data marketplaces such as (Oracle) BlueKai; and currently the hottest of the data sources, predictive analytics providers such as Lattice Engines and 6Sense.

But what’s almost always neglected in the marketing data discourse: the media companies that have been generating traffic, prospects and customers for marketing clients for years.

Marketers shouldn’t neglect these sources and their evolving capabilities. Top-tier media companies aren’t the “lead-gen sources” of old – they’re the “data-gen providers” of tomorrow.

We’re slowly seeing B2B media companies evolve. They’re leveraging new technologies and long-held expertise to grow into sophisticated data repositories for their clients. This is great news for marketers.

The optimism stems from the wealth of data types available today – big, small, prospect, intent, behavior and account intelligence. And, it appears more is on the way.

Having spent a chunk of my career working within a B2B media company, and now both partnering with and serving these organizations as customers, I can say the definition of “media company” is clearly changing.  This includes traditional web and print publishers, digital lead-generation providers, and advertising technology companies offering solutions to better deliver audience and leads.

These shifts are part survival and part opportunity. It’s survival in that media companies are shedding expensive print and eyeball-generating web operations. And opportunity in that they’re emerging as data-source experts to serve marketers’ seemingly endless appetite for highly specific customer and prospect information.

Behind closed doors, media executives are debating and plotting to answer one question: “What’s the core business we’ll be in a year from now?”  The consensus – DATA marketing solutions.

To make this a reality, media executives are NOT JUST thinking about traffic, impressions or lead generation. Progressive, next-generation media organizations are investing to deliver high-quality prospect and performance (e.g., content performance) data to their marketing customers. All this to arm marketers with intelligent prospect info and marketing intelligence to put their marketing technology systems and content to work – to create new customers.

Data as the New Media AND Marketing Currency

B2B media executives are still in the thick of it, but they also understand “monetizing traffic” or trying to squeeze “every ounce out of their databases” isn’t a long-term success formula. Rather, new-era media companies realize that data is the invaluable asset they can provide to their paying marketing customers.

Data that informs how and with what to capture prospect interest. Media companies use this data in concert with both their own content and their customers’ marketing assets.

Just as importantly, they wield data about their visitors, subscribers, and attendees, that can be packaged and made actionable for marketers’ demand generation and customer acquisition efforts.

Let’s dive deeper into a few types of emerging data sets that are becoming the lifeblood for progressive media companies to better serve their customers. We’ll discuss what BOTH media companies and the marketers they serve can do about it.

Behavioral Prospect Data to Signal Intent

Based on a user’s behaviors, media companies have a unique grasp on what buyers or targeted companies may be interested in. Using data science, this intent-based data can be collected and shared about an individual’s online activities. Most importantly, specific areas of content interest can also be gathered, which often signals research around an upcoming purchase. The media company can also provide precise, additional targeting by serving ads or emailing offers, for example.

Marketers use this data to score leads based on specific activity and increased interactions. They can also prioritize and fast track the best opportunities immediately by nurturing prospects in a more targeted program or sending to sales for immediate follow-up.

A few examples in this area: TechTarget’s Activity Intelligence platform and Bombora (formerly Madison Logic Data) are media companies providing this type of service today.

Company Content Consumption Data for Account-Based Marketing

Account-Based Marketing is all the rage today, and for good reason. The focus is on the ability to identify and target specific companies that B2B marketers and sales chiefs have earmarked as ideal prospects for their product or service.

Media companies use digital tactics, demand generation, and data solutions to help marketers identify purchasing intent with a specific list of target companies. Using company IP addresses and domain intelligence, for example, they can share this activity data when target companies (“accounts”) are viewing or engaging with their content and retarget them immediately with additional information and offers.

Demandbase and IDG Communications – among many others – provide advanced offerings in this area, leading with their data.

The media company transformation to “data-gen providers” is still in its early stages. They’re just starting to team up with marketers to use data science for advanced targeting and sophisticated data generation. So, what can marketers do to tap into the wealth of prospect and customer data intelligence?

Continue Reading…

The Millennial Delusion

Source: TechCrunch

The obsession with “millennials” continues to fascinate me. Despite being the most outspoken generation in history, people – very important and powerful people – claim they don’t understand us. We make no sense apparently, as if the actions and career paths of our parents make total and complete sense.

There are even consulting firms that specialize in teaching businesses how to interact with us (I refuse to link to them, Google if you dare). I wish I could start one of these and just talk about myself all day as a passion job, in the process becoming the very essence of a millennial.

A meta-millennial, perhaps.

More words have been spilled in the business press about this arbitrary agglomeration of people than any other, yet debates seem to go on endlessly.

That’s because there really is no debate, and there really is no such concept as “millennial.” If it wasn’t clear already, millennial values are American values, which is perhaps more obvious this week with the Supreme Court’s decisions around same-sex marriage, health care, andhousing discrimination, which were significantly more in line with millennial thinking than with the baby boom generation.

Millennials are a figment of our imagination, a delusion of marketers and others who believe that the changes in our society are only applicable to a narrow group of people rather than our whole population.

They’re completely wrong.

What’s happening is that people are finally taking advantage of all the technological progress we have made over the past few decades, finding empowerment in the world that was lacking before. We all now have the ability to choose our own paths – our own “passion careers” – and use technology to foster a better future, not just an elite sliver of the population with enough resources.

Unsurprisingly, everyone seems to be doing just that.

We can see technology’s influence on society everywhere. Millennials are described as more “socially conscious” than any other generation, but this is a function of our heavy use of technology, particularly social networks. People today have more access to news and opinion from the United States and around the world than ever before, and it shouldn’t be surprising that conflicts or diseases in other places have an emotional resonance with us that didn’t exist before.

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CASE STUDY: Audience Extension

acer logo e1435248713675 CASE STUDY: Audience Extension

Program ran in United Kingdom

GOAL

Educate and inspire gift-givers about the benefits of computing products in enhancing the lives of their loved ones while increasing awareness of Acer brand & products. Screen Shot 2015 06 25 at 12.03.33 PM CASE STUDY: Audience Extension

SOLUTION

Leverage the reach & influence of premium IDG editorial media outlets to deploy a dual-function program aimed at engaging target consumer audiences on two levels:

NativeNews Package  (Hub, Articles, Videos, Article Spotlight, Sponsored Article Posts & Newsletters):

Built platforms aimed at engaging target audiences, providing extensive brand exposure and communicating Acer’s messaging. Custom articles and video scripts were authored by IDG subject-matter experts and were hosted on IDG properties. Custom ad units ran in tandem with the native activities to promote content and reinforce brand recognition.

Custom Built Ad Units (Mobile & Desktop Product Line Showcase & InFunnel Ad Units):

This was an interactive solution utilized to create awareness, provide information and ultimately drive consideration and sales.

RESULTS

  • High average time spent on site (3:54mins) and a high overall average video completion rate (73%).
  • 38% of all video views were on the IDG-produced videos.
  • Impressions: 1,352,434 ; Page views: 6,682

From Proxies to People: Why Third-Party Data Isn’t Enough

Source: DIGIday

Written by Vijay Balan, head of client services, LiveRail.

Imagine a world in which advertisers can seamlessly serve data-driven ads to the right user at the right time across channels and devices. Publishers, partnering with third-party data partners, layer extra data over their unique viewer profiles and get a clear look at who their audiences actually are, allowing their advertisers to get the targeted results of their dreams.

Now wake up. Look around. Is that how it really works? We didn’t think so.

But this enticing fairytale is being shared profusely amongst both marketers and publishers, propagating the notion that many industry players have what they call “people-based marketing” figured out. At the core of this misconception is a simple myth: that third-party data is comprehensive and representative of real people.

Multiple channels, multiple complications

Media consumption behavior has changed. Today, 25 percent of people switch between three or more devices daily. The ability to deliver relevant, targeted ads to them across those touch points just got three or more times harder (Source: GFK). Another wrench tossed into the works? A sizable 40 percent of people begin browsing on one device only to finish their transaction on another, making purchase attribution and campaign performance a nightmare to measure (Source: GFK).

In light of this, evaluating a publisher has become more than determining the quality of the inventory. Advertisers now want to know what data sources their partners have access to, and it’s the quality of that data and the ability to connect the dots across all inventory and make the right ad decision that affects their final judgment. Because of this, publishers now face the challenge of piecing their inventory together, applying data from third parties where they can, and matching it as best they can to their advertisers’ targeting needs at a very high cost.

If you give a user a cookie…

But this “accuracy” is only a mirage. It’s easy for data companies to patch together what they call a “man,” “woman,” or some other desired segment based on nothing more than inferred information and sell it to the highest bidder. When advertisers double-check this targeting via measurement companies, their campaigns fall short, largely due to the modern approach (or lack thereof) to cross-screen attribution.

Today, most identity matching relies on cookies, despite research that shows cookie-based campaigns to be only 60 percent accurate (Nielsen). Identifying a person across multiple devices and attributing in-store purchases to online brand campaigns is just not possible for the marketers who default to this method.

Why? Third-party data partners use cookies to capture information about a “person” from a single encounter rather than assessing their collective behavior over time. They base their identification on inferred attributes (from age to gender and beyond) rather than declared registration or profile data. Worst of all, these assumptions are made based on a small data set. Scale is key here: If the sample is too small, using it to target a larger audience of online users is inaccurate and unreliable. With an error rate of 40 percent (Nielsen), a publisher cannot afford to lose revenue or pass on the cost to advertisers.

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Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

Source: Buffer Social

I love to see new stats and research about how to best share to social media.

If it’s research-backed or numbers-driven, sign me up. These actionable tips are what drive a lot of our experiments at Buffer as we’re keen to see if the best advice from these studies meshes with our experience, too.

And there’s a lot of new info to go off of.

I’ve collected 10 of the latest surprising, revealing studies on social media here in this post, with takeaways and insight into social media timing, Instagram sharing, Facebook users, and more. If you’ve seen a recent study worth mentioning, I’d love to hear from you!

Social Media research 800x400 Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

1. The peak performance of social sharing

Late afternoon to nighttime is the best time to reach people on social

Social traffic substantially underperforms overall traffic from about 5 a.m. to noon, and social substantially overperforms overall traffic from about 3 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Chartbeat reported on the data of the sites it tracks, looking at how social media sharing corresponds to site traffic. The general trend seemed to follow: Traffic and social sharing both increase throughout the early morning, peak midday, then lessen into the evening.

The unique finding here was in the subtle difference in exactly where each metric peaks.

Social traffic outperforms website traffic from 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time to 1:00 a.m.

Chartbeat social trfafic web traffic research 800x533 Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

2. What the average Facebook user looks like

The very male, college-educated, heavily IT, somewhat liberal demographic

Only two publishers–BuzzFeed and Yahoo!–have more women than men in their audiences at 51% and 56% respectively.

Only two publishers–Forbes and Wired–exceed a 10% likelihood in their audiences working at management level.

Fractl and BuzzStream collaborated on a study of 20 publishers’s Facebook audiences, looking at the Audience Insights for publishers like The Guardian, Wired, BuzzFeed, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and more.

In the case of these audiences, the results skewed heavily in a few directions:

  • 18 of the 20 publishers had an audience that was more male than female.
  • The majority of active users on these pages has graduated from college.
  • All but one publisher had an audience makeup of more IT workers than the U.S. Facebook average.

Facebook Audience Insights for 20 major publishers 800x586 Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

Comparisons might be a little tricky to draw between these pages and yours, though the research does point to the value of understanding your audience. My best guess at the demographics of some of these publishers would be that the audience was more female (I was wrong) and perhaps not as IT focused.

 

Continue Reading…

The Shifting Digital Landscape

Source: AudienceScience

An Advertiser’s Guide to Targeting, Technology, and Transparency

Introduction

Global digital advertising is nearly an £88 billion industry and advertisers continue to spend more and more on digital. AudienceScience® has found that the way in which advertisers buy media and target their digital advertising is changing, helped by advances in technology, but there are still major hurdles that inhibit an advertiser’s digital success. In order to better understand this shifting landscape, AudienceScience worked with both BSB Media and The Vision Network to launch the second annual International Media Image Survey (I-MIS), a unique study conducted during May and June 2014. Run in conjunction with the International Advertising Association, Warc and M&M Global, the study provides insight into advertisers of various sizes, ranging from Small Advertisers (<£12m) to Mega Advertisers (£40m+). Interviews were conducted by InSites Consulting with senior decision makers at over 80 advertisers globally, and were administered via an online questionnaire.

Key Takeaways

Global advertisers are changing the way they buy and target digital media. More than half of Mega Advertisers (£40m+) plan to spend more on programmatic buying and real-time bidding (RTB).

The way advertisers buy media is changing.

Advertisers continue to shift more money towards programmatic buying and RTB, with 88% of advertisers planning on buying as much or more media via programmatic buying and RTB. This shift accompanies advertisers shifting budget away from traditional, content-based ad buys and towards data-driven audience targeting. In fact, 82% of advertisers plan on allocating a larger percentage of their budget to audience-targeted buys.

Advertisers are taking greater advertising ownership.

For greater digital success and increased efficiencies, advertisers are starting to realise that they need a better understanding of digital ad technology. 43% of advertisers plan to bring more responsibility in-house for digital planning and 47% of advertisers feel that having in-depth technology knowledge in-house is a factor that will help make them most successful in digital advertising.

Opacity and complexity remain major problems for digital advertising.

Major advertiser trade groups like the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) have made advertising transparency a major theme in 2014. This should be no surprise: advertisers see opacity in digital advertising as a significant issue, and one that’s only getting worse. 69% of advertisers said that media trading transparency across the industry has either stayed the same or declined compared to a few years ago. Most advertisers feel that this lack of transparency and the overall complexity of the ecosystem are the biggest problems with digital advertising today.

Check out the PDF here…

New Approaches to Video From Four Digital Leaders

Source: The Media Briefing

If you’ve been paying attention to recent media industry coverage, then you may have been distracted by all this chatter around Facebook Instant.

However, there’s also a much larger tectonic shift happening on the Facebook platform, one that’s not just impacting a tiny pilot group of elite publishers like the Instant experiment: Facebook is pushing video content like crazy.

There are two things going on here.

1)   Facebook is favouring video uploaded through its native player

A Business Insider article claims the social network’s algorithm prioritises videos to make up 30% of the News Feed. And Facebook itself has shared that users are seeing 3.6 times more video compared with one year ago.

2)   Publishers and brands are responding by uploading record amounts of video to Facebook, and getting record engagement.

Liam Corcoran at NewsWhip, a social analytics firm, told me that “average share rates on Facebook native videos are far higher than those of other types of Facebook posts, such as Links and Images.”

Corcoran took the example of BBC News’ Facebook page, where “average share rates per video were over four times higher than those for external links”.

But it’s not just Facebook

Facebook isn’t the only force impacting publishers’ video strategies: newer platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine are already the focus of much experimentation around new video formats. And of course there’s the continued growth in views and uploads on YouTube, which is still a vital platform for most media.

The one constant across all these platforms is the growing consumption of video on mobile – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said 75% of the network’s 4 billion daily video views come from mobile devices.

In need of a better way

Therefore, the current state of video for publishers is this:

The distribution channels and consumption habits are evolving rapidly, and a new approach to video is required. One that caters to a mobile, social audience, and involves a healthy amount of experimentation around new formats and more efficient workflows.

I spoke to some global leaders in the space, to find out what they consider as the new approach to video. Here’s a selection of key quotes:

Jigar Mehta (@jigarmehta), Engagement Lead at AJ + (USA)

  • When we produce video for Facebook, we have to assume that the audience is going to be watching on their mobile phones with no sound, so we have to optimize video to tell the story with no sound.
  • On Facebook, we know that we are competing for time on a platform where content FOMO [fear of missing out] is rampant, so we strive to make our videos very engaging from the start, and not waste any time getting straight into the stories we tell.

  • We are always thinking about how we can get as much information across and tell the stories we need to tell in the shortest amount of time possible, while still being engaging.

Sven Christian (@sven_christian), Head of Video at Spiegel Online (Germany)

[Disclosure, Spiegel Online is a user of the wochit video creation platform]

  • Our emphasis is on scenes, sound bites, and atmospheres. We show, don’t tell!
  • So we use as little comment as possible, instead utilising bullet points to answer the basic questions: who does what where when and try to explain why.
  • Video has the power to transport information quicker and closer to the viewer than text. But text can explain things more deeply. Fortunately I work with fantastic writers: we can show, they can tell.

 

Continue Reading…

 

How the BBC is Harnessing Mobile Platforms to Engage Global Audiences

Source: The Media Briefing

Trushar Barot is a busy man.

As Mobile Editor for the BBC World Service and Global News services, his portfolio covers content across the BBC World Service’s English and 27 other language services, alongside the bbc.com website and BBC World News Television Channel.

A key component of his current role involves determining how the BBC can best develop editorial propositions around mobile apps. This includes dedicated BBC apps and third party services, particularly messaging platforms.

Mobile first formats

“I am increasingly looking at mobile first formats,” he told TheMediaBriefing, “as we move beyond reversioning content for other sources for mobile to thinking about mobile as your primary platform.”

Inverting the way that mobile has often been thought of in many media organisations, “this means making bespoke content that works for mobile first, before worrying about it how it works elsewhere.”

As it currently stands, Barot cites three formats which he feels meet these criteria:

  • BBC Shorts – News in 15-second videos, which original began life on Instagram as #Instafax.
  • BBC Go Figure – daily visualised data journalism or captions which are shared on social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook, acting as teasers for further stories.
  • BBC Minute a 60 second news bulletin produced in a “Newsbeat” style (i.e. short, sharp and more youth in tone) that is updated for a global audience every half an hour.

“So now I have a video product, a visual product and an audio product,” Barot says. “And that’s great because these are three things I can arm myself with as content propositions [for potential partners].”

gofigure bullock How the BBC is Harnessing Mobile Platforms to Engage Global Audiences

This image promoted a story on India’s Mars mission

Strategic rationale – the 3R’s

In doing this, Barot says his thinking is shaped by three strategic priorities: reach, referral and revenue.

“Most of these projects tend to be around reach, which is still very important, but we are also thinking about return path and referral potential,” he says.

From a referral perspective, this means “drawing people back from offsite platforms” which he says encourages people “to snack on our content” by endeavouring to entice them “back for a full meal.”

He also suggests that media companies like the BBC need to ask themselves if they fully understand the true value of their contribution to third parties.

“These are the new media giants and players of the world today. I think that sometimes because of the behaviour patterns that news organisations have got into when they deal with social media platforms they just rush into saying ‘we need to be on it, open an account and just get going,’ but they don’t really think about the value they’ve just brought to that platform.”

“As Facebook has discovered, having news platforms on the platform is huge for its growth and audience retention,” he says.

Continue Reading…

Video Will Dominate Mobile Usage by 2020

Source: MediaPost

The number of smartphones in use around the world will more than double over the next five years, from 2.6 billion in 2014 to 6.1 billion in 2020, according to a new forecast from network equipment manufacturer Ericsson. That means around 70% of the world’s population will have a smartphone by the latter date, with the bulk of  new mobile subscriptions (two billion) located in the Asia-Pacific region, and another 750 million in the Middle East and Africa.

Meanwhile the total number of connected devices of all kinds, including wearable devices, will soar to 26 billion worldwide over the same period. Mobile handset subscriptions of all kinds (including non-smartphones) will increase from 7.1 billion in 2014 to 9.2 billion in 2020.

Ericsson also predicts that by 2020, 90% of the world population will have access to mobile broadband networks, causing mobile data usage to soar. Worldwide smartphone data usage will increase fivefold, from one gigabyte per month in 2014 to 4.9 gigabytes in 2020, when smartphones will account for 80% of all global mobile data usage. Overall two out of three dollars spent on Internet services will go to mobile access rather than landline services five years from now.

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CIO Tech Poll: Economic Outlook Reveals IT Budget Growth, Increased Spending on New IT Projects & IT Talent Concerns

 CIO Tech Poll: Economic Outlook Reveals IT Budget Growth, Increased Spending on New IT Projects & IT Talent Concerns

Increased Focus on External Customer Continues in Upcoming Year

Framingham, Mass. – May 27, 2015 – IDG’s CIO—the executive-level IT media brand providing insight into business technology leadership— reveals the CIO Tech Poll: IT Economic Outlook results for May 2015. The research indicates that half of organizations (50%) are increasing IT budgets within the next year, and overall IT budgets are increasing by 6.4%. As IT leaders look at their organizational needs, a majority (61%) will increase spending on new projects in the coming year. Edge technology spending, including mobile, social, CRM, M-commerce and marketing automation, continues to trend upward in the next one to three years.

Plans For New Project Spending Climbs Sharply
New or discretionary IT budget allocations have soared in the past year. In 2014, 47% of IT leaders said they would increase spending on new projects. This has jumped to 61% this year, which is the highest percentage since the question was first asked in 2009 (25%). Thirty-nine percent of new project spending will be on projects that help increase top line revenue. With one-third of IT budgets being spent on edge technologies, like the SMAC stack (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud), organizations are looking to invest in new companies. Forty-six percent of CIOs surveyed plan to increase spending with new technology companies.

“Emerging technologies are the key to enterprise innovation. IT leaders are spending time learning about these new technologies, and the vendors creating them, and are allocating budget for technologies like the SMAC stack,” said Adam Dennison, SVP and publisher, CIO. “Enterprises are looking for the best solution and are not worried that those solutions are coming from ‘straight-to-the-enterprise start-ups.’ Emerging tech vendors should take this cue to showcase how their agile and innovative technology solutions can help businesses succeed.”

Increased Focus Continues on External Customer
External customers are a big focus for new IT projects. Nearly three-quarters (73%) believe IT is interacting with external customers more than two years ago while 37% will focus their new IT spending on external customer interaction, relationship or experience-related investments, up from 33% in 2013. Looking at the budget allocation, CIOs currently allocate 68% of their budget for core technologies like infrastructure, network, storage and 32% to newer “edge” technologies. However, in the next one to three years, the budget allocation for core technologies drops to 55% and the budget for edge technologies increases to 45% of their budgets.

IT Remains Involved in Technology Purchases Funded Outside of IT
Over three-quarters of IT leaders surveyed (76%) said they have a policy or process to ensure IT remains involved in tech purchases to reaffirm there is the right level of support and oversight from IT to keep problems at bay. When technology purchases are funded by other departments or functions, 58%say IT’s involvement varies depending on the individual department’s experience and expertise as well as on the scope of the project. In fact, 50% of IT leaders said line of business (LOB) counterparts identified their specific business need and came to IT for recommendations on technology and solution providers. For 21% of the CIOs we surveyed IT identifies the business need and makes recommendations regarding technology solutions or providers while 16% say LOB identifies the need and solution/provider then brings to IT for vetting. Just three percent say IT is not typically involved unless a problem arises and only one percent believe IT is not involved even if there’s a problem.

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