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Marketing News Roundup: Facebook News Feed, Personalisation & Email Still the Most Effective Tactic

IDG Connect 0811 Marketing News Roundup: Facebook News Feed, Personalisation & Email Still the Most Effective Tactic

These are my top pick of marketing stories from the last week. I will be focusing Facebook’s update to its news feed, what data marketers use for personalisation and email marketing still the most effective digital marketing tactic.

Update to Facebook News Feed

Facebook has announced that it will be making changes to its news feed so users will see less promotional content. Mentioned in a recent blog post, the company is responding to a survey it held of users. The findings found that Facebook users view the news feed too promotional with a lack of context. And with Facebook’s declining popularity it’s important for the company to listen to its users.

But what does this mean for business page advertising? By eliminating the advertising from its news feed, advertisements will just appear on right column of any page on the site and in the right column on the sites search results. In its blog, Facebook says that Pages will still be important as ever. It also plans to increase its investment in Pages by building new features such as messaging, customised industry pages and video and photo content.

Marketers Use Personal Data for Personalisation

Personalisation is becoming a popular topic amongst marketers. As vast amounts of content is being continuously produced, marketers have begun to see the need to personalise. Over five in 10 marketers agree that the ability to personalise content is a fundamental to their online strategy according to Econsultancy’s recent report.

The report found that 65% of marketers are using personal data such as name, gender and location to personalise their web experiences. Which isn’t surprising as this is the most common personalisation seen across web content. Other forms of personalisation marketers are beginning to adopt is user preferences (45%) and purchase history (38%).

The report also discovered which personalisation has the most impact on ROI. This showed that while personal data is the most commonly used personalisation, 70% of respondents find purchase history has had the biggest impact on ROI.

This demonstrates that while marketers are using the common types of personalised content this always doesn’t mean it’s the best. It could be considered that consumers expect basic personalisation from their web experiences but its marketing’s job to enhance the experience by offering additional personalisation.

Check out our recent top tips blog post to help create an effective personalised marketing campaign.

Email is Still the Most Effective Type of Digital Marketing

While there has been many digital marketing tactics added to marketing’s tool belt, email is still seen as the most effective digital marketing type. In fact, 54% of marketers see its effectiveness in Ascend2 recent digital marketing strategy report

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2014 B2B Content Marketing Report

 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report

IDG Enterprise partnered with the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn to conduct the annual B2B Content Marketing Survey to better understand the current state of content marketing and to identify new trends, and key challenges as well as best practices.

Key findings include:

  • Lead generation is by far the number one goal of content marketing, followed by thought leadership and market education. Brand awareness is now the third most mentioned goal, taking the place of last year’s number three goal: customer acquisition. (Click to Tweet)
  • Companies with a documented content strategy are much more likely to be effective than those without a strategy. Only 30 percent of companies have a formally documented content strategy. (Click to Tweet)
  • The most mentioned content marketing challenge is finding enough time and resources to create content. The next biggest content marketing challenge is producing enough content, followed by producing truly engaging content to serve the needs of marketing programs. (Click to Tweet)
  • Content marketing ROI remains difficult to measure. Only a minority of respondents consider themselves at least somewhat successful at tracking ROI. (Click to Tweet)
  • LinkedIn tops the list of the most effective social media platforms for distributing content marketing. The runner ups are Twitter (moving up one rank compared to last year) and YouTube (moving down from second to third place). (Click to Tweet)

This new Content Marketing Report is based on over 600 survey responses from marketing professionals.

View the slides now… 

Top Tips: Creating Effective Personalised Marketing Campaigns

IDG Connect 0811 Top Tips: Creating Effective Personalised Marketing Campaigns

04 12 2014 creating effective personalised marketing campaigns Top Tips: Creating Effective Personalised Marketing Campaigns


Julie Hesselgrove is group president, Communication and Marketing Services at
Xerox. Julie has over 30 years’ experience and in that time has seen industries evolve and adapt to meet changing customer demands. Today, she believes that the biggest challenge facing organisations across Europe is their communications infrastructure. Julie’s passion for innovation and improvement is put to good use in her current role – leading and developing a team with considerable market experience – to deliver solutions that will help our clients overcome their biggest marketing challenges. 

Julie shares her top tips on creating effective personalised marketing campaigns.

 

As consumers we are bombarded with marketing messages every waking hour. Our commutes, our choice of shop, the TV we watch, the devices we use; everything is a marketing channel.

As a result we are increasingly adept at ‘tuning out’ marketing noise. It’s an act of self-preservation. Which means capturing our attention and cutting through the noise relies almost entirely on being engaging and personally relevant.

On the whole, consumers are spending more in the UK. Which means that the opportunity for returns from personalised marketing is real. Creating satisfied customers equates to improved conversion, increased retention and higher customer spend. In other words, a win-win.

To create a truly personalised campaign, as ever, the devil is in the detail. But the good news is that personalisation is now more achievable to marketers than ever, thanks to new abilities to track, measure and respond to consumer interactions in real time, while deploying data analytics to get a real understanding of traction. Here are five steps towards giving your communications that personal touch.

1.       Live in the now
In the age of the ‘always on’ customer, the expectation is that every web page, mobile or tablet interaction, and piece of printed communication will acknowledge the customer’s real-time preferences. As a consequence, the focus is on real time interaction management – creating content in ’the now’ that responds to the customer’s current actions – not just historic preferences.

Using data analytics will help you move from being descriptive (based on past transactions) to being contextualised and predictive (based on what’s happening now). But also consider creating pre-written content to push out when your customer’s circumstances change to build a more intuitive personalisation that responds to the customer as if in a conversation.

2.       Think digital
One of the biggest challenges for many businesses is embracing the digital business model and changing cultural norms within the organisation. We still see companies that are too comfortable with monolithic, legacy systems that are difficult to update. Moving to more agile, customer-centric platforms creates an ecosystem where the business does not have to own all parts of the system.

3.       Outsource the process
More and more large organisations are turning to third-party experts to handle the huge amounts of data that they now need to act upon. Through outsourcing they are able to make short-term gains by reducing costs, replacing platforms and helping a business unit solve problems. For the customer this translates to a more seamless and agile communications experience.

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Holiday gift guide 2014: Top-notch tech for $150 or more

Computerworld

Part 1 of Computerworld’s annual roundup of holiday gift ideas features best-in-class phones and tablets, ingenious cameras and other premium tech gear for your family and friends. (Or maybe for you?)

Find the perfect tech gift

Maybe we’re biased, but we think tech gear always makes a great present. Who wouldn’t want to open up a gift-wrapped package to find a sleek new smartphone or a colorful speaker that can fill a room with sound?

The cleverly designed, exactingly made gear in Part 1 of our holiday gift guide will please technology lovers of all stripes, from party-givers to lifeloggers. When possible, we’ve included a range of prices as offered by various retailers, but be aware that prices fluctuate. As always, be careful of false deals and scams.

Note that you won’t find any smartwatches or fitness bands in this roundup. There are so many new and interesting products in these hot categories that we found it impossible to choose just one or two products for our gift guide. Instead, we’re devoting a separate story to the latest and greatest in high-tech wristwear — check back for that soon.

Also coming up are Parts 2 and 3 of our holiday gift guide, featuring midpriced gear and stocking stuffers.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on the best over-$150 tech presents to give and get this year.

The state of native ads on mobile in 5 charts

Digiday

Mobile monetization is causing a big headache for publishers. While consumers spend more of their time on their devices, the platform isn’t getting a proportionate share of ad revenue:ad rates are nearly one-fifth what they are on desktop.

And while banner ads perform badly on small screens, native ads are showing promise as a way to get consumers’ attention on mobile devices. Consider Facebook’s experience with mobile: according to a study by Marin Software, click-through rates of Facebook’s mobile-only newsfeed ads are 187 percent higher on mobile than on desktop.

There are catches, of course. Native ads’ performance is driven by a lot of factors. Ads do better when they appear on article pages and blend in with the host publisher’s editorial style, but if they look too much like the surrounding editorial, they could turn readers off. Their formats aren’t standardized like banners are, which makes them harder to scale.

Here, then, are five things to know about the current state of native ads on mobile.

Polar, whose native ad platform is used by The Huffington Post, Condé Nast, Bloomberg and others, packaged up a set of benchmarks that show how the format is performing on mobile, tablet and desktop. Polar found that native ads do better on mobile than on desktop, where native ads have to compete with so many other elements for attention. However, mobile devices aren’t all created equal when it comes to native’s performance. Click-through rates are higher on smartphones than on the desktop and tablets, which is closer to the desktop experience than the smartphone.

That trend carries through to engagement. On average, time spent on native ads also is higher on smartphones than on tablets and desktop.

Polar also compared performance of mobile native ads in the content categories of finance, lifestyle and news. The click-through rate was highest in the news category, but time spent was lowest. Finance, meanwhile, had the lowest click-through rate but the longest time spent per ad. (Numbers are averages.)

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Publishers Struggle with Email Marketing Basics

eMarketer

Today’s digital consumers have forced publishers to move some of their marketing efforts away from print and toward online and mobile. However, September 2014 research from FOLIO:, sponsored by Lyris, found that publishers were still struggling with email marketing—a more “traditional” digital channel.

182124 Publishers Struggle with Email Marketing Basics

US publishing professionals’ responses indicated that they were facing challenges with simple email marketing tactics including list growth and list maintenance. List growth was the most common hurdle, cited by the majority of respondents, while 41% had problems maintaining the lists they did have.

Publishers aren’t ignoring their list problems though—good news considering that without the right recipients, email marketers won’t see the success they desire, according to FOLIO:. When asked about their email marketing priorities for the next 12 months, list growth and improving list data and quality were the top two responses, cited by 60% and 58% of publishing professionals, respectively.

When running digital campaigns, marketers can’t forget mobile, another problem area for some publishers. One-third of respondents said that mobile optimization was a challenge, but once again, they planned to make an effort to fix this in the coming year. Fully 39% of respondents said that email optimization across all devices was a top priority—the third most popular response.

182126 Publishers Struggle with Email Marketing Basics

The study found that publishing professionals were making strides toward mobile-optimized emails, albeit slowly. More than one-third of respondents said their emails were fully optimized for mobile. An additional 31% had started working on this and planned to complete mobile-optimized email efforts in the next 12 months. Still, the remaining 35% hadn’t started, and nearly half of respondents in this group weren’t even sure where to begin.

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In 2015, Technology Shifts Accelerate and China Rules, IDC Predicts

NYT

In the year-end predictions game, most technology forecasts tend to be either blue sky or boring, flights of imagination or a firm grasp of the obvious.

For the last several years, IDC has published prediction reports that generally avoid the pitfalls of the genre, and offer a useful framework for thinking about the trajectory of trends in technology. The technology research firm’s predictions for 2015, published on Tuesday, come in a 17-page report that is rich in numbers and analysis.

Beyond the detail, a couple of larger themes stand out. First is China. Most of the reporting and commentary recently on the Chinese economy has been about its slowing growth and challenges.

“In information technology, it’s just the opposite,” Frank Gens, IDC’s chief analyst, said in an interview. “China has a roaring domestic market in technology.”

In 2015, IDC estimates that nearly 500 million smartphones will be sold in China, three times the number sold in the United States and about one third of global sales. Roughly 85 percent of the smartphones sold in China will be made by its domestic producers like Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE and Coolpad.

The rising prowess of China’s homegrown smartphone makers will make it tougher on outsiders, as Samsung’s slowing growth and profits recently reflect.

More than 680 million people in China will be online next year, or 2.5 times the number in the United States. And the China numbers are poised to grow further, helped by its national initiative, the Broadband China Project, intended to give 95 percent of the country’s urban population access to high-speed broadband networks.

In all, China’s spending on information and communications technology will be more than $465 billion in 2015, a growth rate of 11 percent. The expansion of the China tech market will account for 43 percent of tech-sector growth worldwide.

Another theme in the IDC report is the quickening pace of the move from older technologies to new ones. Overall spending on technology and telecommunications, IDC estimates, will rise by a modest 3.8 percent in 2015. Yet the top-line numbers mask the trends beneath. IDC predicts there will be growth of 13 percent in what the research firm calls “3rd platform” technologies (cloud, mobile, social and big data). By contrast, older technologies will face a no-growth “near recession,” according to IDC, and “will shift fully into recession” by the second half of next year.

IDC’s 3rd platform is similar to what Gartner, another big research firm, has called a “nexus of forces” sweeping through the industry. (Gartner’s ingredients are virtually the same as IDC’s with slightly different labels — social interaction, mobility, cloud and information.) The 1st platform, in IDC’s taxonomy, was the mainframe era, running from the 1960s into the 1980s. The 2nd platform included personal computers and the Internet, and began in the 1980s and ran through the middle of the first decade of this century.

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11 technologies Apple has killed

CITEworld

Out with the old

One of the things that makes Apple so successful is that it’s not afraid to abandon/kill popular technologies in the interest of something new. In doing so, the company often creates a bit of controversy, even if in the long run it seems to pan out well. At the same time, Apple’s revolutionary products have helped bring down entire product categories. Here is a rundown of technologies and products that Apple has killed (or is in the process of killing) over the last 17 years.

Floppy Drive

The first product released during Steve Jobs’s second stint at Apple was the Bondi Blue iMac. The all-in-one design was an immediate hit with consumers, and the machine was notable as much for its iconic look and performance as it was for the features it didn’t include. Specifically, the first iMac shipped without a floppy drive. At the time, back in 1997, this was a huge deal. To some critics, Apple was running a huge risk by completely doing away with what was then a common storage medium. Jobs and Apple, though, had the foresight to realize that computing was rapidly becoming Internet-centric, thereby eliminating the need for old-fashioned floppy drives.

Apple’s 30-pin connector

For over a decade, iPod, iPhone, and iPad users alike relied on Apple’s tried-and-true 30-pin connector for charging and to connect their devices with computers and accessories. But Apple said goodbye to the 30-pin connector in 2012 when it introduced the Lightning connector, a superior standard for a number of reasons. In addition to being smaller and more robust, the Lightning connector is reversible, which makes for a more efficient user experience. Naturally, abandoning the 30-pin connector on new iOS devices caused temporary problems for individual consumers and even large companies who had spent lots of money on older iOS accessories.

Netbooks

Remember Netbooks? A few years back, these hyper-small laptops were poised to be the next big thing in computing. In fact, back in 2008 and 2009, netbooks were flying off the shelves. As a result, there was a lot of pressure for Apple to enter the netbook market. Apple, however, went a different route when it released the iPad. Rather than opting for a compromised device, the company entered a new product category entirely with the iPad. The end result was a rather quick demise for the netbook, and in parallel, a reinvigorated market for tablets.

FireWire

FireWire was a proprietary Apple technology which allowed for incredibly fast transfer speeds between devices. Indeed, it was one of the features that made the original iPod so compelling. Beyond that, FireWire was, for a time, the de-facto standard for transferring digital movie footage to Macs.

Unfortunately, Apple ultimately began phasing out FireWire on Macs in 2008 as transitioning to USB expanded the company’s pool of potential users. It’s a shame, though, because USB 2.0, while decent, was vastly inferior to FireWire. The staggered abandonment of FireWire ultimately gave way to Thunderbolt.

View the other seven items… 

How technology is changing the way we plan and experience events

Mashable

Events and event planning are evolving into new, dynamic formats. Old models are falling away and technology is giving both planners and event participants an opportunity to grow and revisit the underlying ideas about how event spaces work.

“It’s been fascinating watching just how fast things have changed,” said Brian Solis, principal at Altimeter Group, at a New York conference this year. He spoke about next steps and generational shifts in the ways we approach and interact with the events we attend.

“We all have to think — as planners, as organizers, as experience-architects — what that will look like,” Solis said. “There was a time we’d ask you to turn your phones off. There was a time when we wouldn’t provide Wi-Fi. And there was a time when we actually expected you to make eye contact with the person on a stage. Now, I’m actually better off if I just see your foreheads lift up. It means you’re sharing the experience.”

Let’s look at some of the new roles technology is playing in the events landscape — key fronts where it’s changing the planning and experience we’ve come to expect.

1. From passive to engaged

The ways attendees’ expectations have changed is due largely to technology in the event space.

“Event planners have mostly embraced the shift of thinking about attendees as passive audiences to engaged participants,”

“Event planners have mostly embraced the shift of thinking about attendees as passive audiences to engaged participants,” says Brent Turner, vice president of solutions atCramer. “The expectation for attendees is that they can be engaged. From the easy stuff — polling, contests, social curation — to environmental changes, such as how IBM has changed their product-demonstration approach at events, or a recent augmented-reality experience we created for UPS … to nuances like RFID tags that personalize digital signage, people expect to see themselves as part of an event.”

2. Social media as a shared planning tool

Event participants already share their in-event experiences in real time via Twitter, Facebookand the like. With that as a given, now comes a newer drive on the planner’s side: To place more control of events in their audience’s hands.

TwitterFeed1 How technology is changing the way we plan and experience events

South by Southwest, for example, allows registrants to interact in the social space to pick panelists; some 30% of its panels are crowd-chosen in this way. Twitter contests can push for conversions by offering prize registrations, sure — but at your event, social platforms can create opportunities as well. Place prizes or gift cards at key locations and tweet a photo of them, for example. Attendees who find the rewards will be pleased, but perhaps even more importantly, planners can use the tech-augmented action to direct traffic to spots and programming that they want to emphasize.

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What’s the right news experience on a phone? Stacy-Marie Ishmael and BuzzFeed are trying to figure it out

Nieman Journalism Lab

Few weeks ago, we wrote about BuzzFeed’s hiring of Stacy-Marie Ishmael, formerly of the Financial Times, as the editorial lead for their forthcoming news app. Product leadNoah Chestnut, formerly of The New Republic, has been working on building a product that will serve news in a mobile context to core BuzzFeed News readers for a few months now.

stacy marie ishmael1 300x177 What’s the right news experience on a phone? Stacy Marie Ishmael and BuzzFeed are trying to figure it out

Ishmael helped start one of the FT’s first blogs, Alphaville, which allowed the paper to experiment with tone for the first time. Connecting with digital financial communities eventually inspired Ishmael to look into how the paper could build a deeper relationship with its readership offline. As vice president of communities, Ishmael worked closely with teams including FT Live, the events business of the FT which hosts some 200 conferences a year.

But BuzzFeed offers Ishmael the opportunity to explore an area she’s never taken on directly — general news. She’s been thinking a lot about ways to reach BuzzFeed’s audience on mobile, like push notifications, email newsletters, and Twitter cards. Both she and Chestnut want to find a way to predict users’ information needs without asking them to commit time to establishing preferences and to provide an overall delightful experience on par with Instagram or Tinder.

As Ishmael has been preparing to leave the FT, Chestnut has been busy building up a staff of developers and researching competitors. During that transition, I had the chance to talk with Ishmael about her plans for the app, including her own mobile media diet, management philosophy, and experience in audience development. Here’s a lightly edited version of our conversation.

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