Bre.ad finally popped out of the toaster today, and I’m excitied about the branding potential in tandem with a social media layer. I had been directed to the service a few weeks back through my Twitter timeline. The site was still in beta standing, so I had to sit around. The twitter vine told me that it was launched, but I never got an email from the site. Anyhoo. Nothing stays hidden in the blogosphere.
I’ve noticed that web domains have begun to create their own unique link shortened URL taglines. I vacillate between bit.ly and tinyurl.com normally. David Teicher talks a little about the vision behind Bre.ad and its potential as an online advertiser with Ad Age. He notes that Twitter continues to have trouble scaling the value of their content. If Bre.ad becomes successful, then revenue baking is just the start of digital content’s glorious scent. The video below will show how to share your content online and spread the butter.
Marketers are known to stretch the boundaries if necessary to promote a product. We do this to optimize our ability to generate sales at the end of the day. At the same time, marketers are often seen in a negative light because of this hardened principle. Our sector has a strong collection of data from hordes of research metrics gained through web traffic, data mining, and so forth. A new law was passed in December to assure consumers that marketers are not overstepping their boundaries.
The Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act was created to curb the marketers who spoil the bunch. According to Direct Marketing News, the law regulates the sharing of consumer’s financial information with affiliate marketers after an initial online purchase. It’s discouraging enough when you are asked to sign up for a daily newsletter that clogs your mailbox. The law will also limit “free-to-pay conversion” practices.
These practices are deeply apocryphal. You tend to find these with merchants that will offer a trial-service, then automatically renew your service without true consent. I had purchased a discounted subscription for a friend from a famous e-commerce retailer. To their credit, they alerted me about the need to make a decision by this date before my credit card would be charged. The consumer must be a little more diligent with their account surveillance. I would recommend not signing up for rolling services with an unfamiliar retailer. Sometimes, you just do not have the capability to oversee all of your accounts. It can save a future of distressed calls to customer service and loss of income. Lastly, you would not receive the product which served your needs.
Some marketers believe that the law is fundamentally unnecessary with the access to agreements and services along with online community boards. Simon Buckingham, founder and CEO of Appitalism.com, says that, “Everything is a considered purchase these days — there’s no more impulse buying.” Those who see marketing from a vindictive standpoint on an unconscious level would disagree. No matter. The Federal Trade Commission is protecting your ability to survey.
Andre Agassi made the statement for Canon EOS Rebel back in 1990. Naive converts want everyone to pray at the grotto of search engine optimization. They say that the right words will elevate Google rankings and drive traffic to the websites. Link advertisers will throw bags of cash to be in line with search results. Affiliate marketers want their advertisement on your blog to build a loyal customer base used for future technological R & D. Like I prefaced, Mr. Agassi said it over twenty years ago. Image is everything, even in SEO.
The true function of search engine optimization parallels an old adage, that the cream will always rise to the top. If your brand equity is solid, then you will naturally be among the top of index results. In the world of interactive marketing, that starts will delivering a fresh website that mixes creative design and flash applications. You must also have quality copywriting. Good copywriting not only tags at your emotions. Ingenuity is also established by clearly highlighting your corporate accomplishments with a bundle of images. Your site architecture must be linear and make navigable sense to the user, who always can move on to another option.
It could be from their smartphone, tablet, or game console. You could have a memorable logo and sound commentary, but a potential customer must be able to solve their problem regardless of channel. If not, then that picture told to friends is worth more than a thousand words. In lost earnings.
Good brand images that search engines love take time to cultivate before they can be impenetrable. Think of any leading sneaker company, such as Adidas. They could survive a website that ranks poorly on the search index because of their long history of providing quality goods in the athletic apparel marketplace. Adidas are recognized on every continent in every town. If they tried, however, to pitch Adidas as a brand with two stripes, you get crickets.
In conclusion, search engine optimization is only as good as the value your firm provides to visitors. The keywords help to paint the picture strokes for a website. Advertisers need to keep this in mind for 2011.
According to this report from The New York Times, the Federal Trade Commission is considering an option for online browsers. Web advertisers who are not privy to the news, take a seat. Just when tools to measure online activity begin coming to light, the government wants to spoil the PPC fun.
The Federal Trade Commission has a privacy mechanism on the table where many online users can enter a ‘do not track‘ system where browsing habits remain clandestine from advertisers who are depending on this quantitative data to sculpt campaigns for goods and services. The NY Times article states that companies like Yahoo! who rely on this strategy to drive site traffic would be in trouble. Google, on the other hand, relies on search advertising that would not be under the system. The definition of search advertising is the method of placing advertisements on the results page of search engine queries. In short, they are the links that you see on the left and right panels of an internet page. Some executives believe that behavioral ad tracking is necessary for small publishers and advertising shops to optimize their revenue streams. Could a charge for content be in order? And how does this affect net neutrality? Subscribers to a theoretical net neutrality package would presumably have access to the best content with the best network systems with superior connection speed.
I applaud the FTC for stepping in with legislation because the gray area for content publishers across different industries started to become problematic this year. It will only intensify as consumers use multiple channels to access content in the future. If this proposal does take root, then publishers will have to scale the rates they charge for content. Content must also be differentiated between video and text, so that web advertisers can scale them to platforms. The do not track regulation could force small content publishers find other creative revenue streams such as video games and software. They cannot just post up content and reap the dividends of frequent traffic. Privacy advocates are feeling good about the possibility, but I think its effectiveness in concealing public data will mirror the ‘do not call’ registry for telephones. They just will not call your landline at dinner time. No harm or foul there since landline usage continually trends downward in many parts of the nation.
In a sense, the government may not be killing the party. They are just creating one in each room of the house for a variance of tastes.
With Twitter announcing the impending release of an analytics toolboard this week, social media gains a little more credibility as a distributor of real-time content. According to Twitter executives, the microblogger will measure user accounts’ tweets for the most popular, unfollowed users, and hashtags. Tweets also can be filtered into specific categories. It is a sound strategy to ensure corporations that social media has tools to get an accurate reading of consumer products and the value of their services. One interesting point in the article, however, was this. Twitter and Gnip, a social media data aggregator, currently entered an interesting partnership. Businesses are able to buy and analyze specific tweets, but not display and resell them. It is possible that Twitter executives fear that security protocols would be compromised. I also think that Twitter will take this step and find a third party suitor in the future. They have a methodical business strategy and it has worked well for them.
We know that the days of clipping images onto a cork board and rubber cement are over. Nowadays, you have programs like Adobe and Avid to brush up images. Web analytics help corporations become more accountable with their account strategies. You can gain an understanding through pay per click advertisements, unique page visits, the percentage of time spent on a site, and conversion rates (linked sale transactions). These are just a few metric categories. Carl Warner wrote a reflective piece on AdWeek discussing the nature of today’s advertising philosophy. He warns that “metrics can illuminate things we couldn’t dream of being able to see 25 years ago, but the science should complement the ‘art’ in a decision, not supersede it”. This is the danger of viewing metrics too closely. Numbers can fill in a space, but they don’t tell the story. Hastiness can also hurt your business twice as much. Be careful when pulling the plug.
At Blueliner, we are using analytics to improve client campaigns and website performance, but a report will never tell you everything. It takes a person analyzing the numbers to determine what they really mean and what the implication is. This is our mission, and we carry it outside of the box daily.
I had heard about it through various folks in the marketing world. Now heavyweight retailers are copying their business model after only two years of existence. This model is run by Groupon. Groupon relies on a simple concept of gaining access to exclusive deals, but extending that premise by sharing them with your friends and various online communities.
Like many things these days, social media has bridged the gap between retailer and consumer by providing extensive feedback on product advertising, content features, and so forth. Groupon, however, has a sharp curveball. The transaction only happens when a sale reaches the minimum quota of transactions. For example, today’s deal in New York is a salt air treatment valued at $100, but priced at $35 for two children treatments, and $55 for two adult treatments. A minimum quota of purchasers must commit before the deal is executed. Therefore, you may be ready, but are others? It’s a classic case where the demand must beat the supply.
Groupon’s website design is quite uneven. The featured deal pops out in the user interface, with segmented details covering the time left for purchase along with more product details below the photo image, followed by wise words from Groupon. The groupon cat provides thoughts of wisdom. The bottom page banner is a dark, inconspicuous banner list with a plethora of links on affiliate marketing, gift certificates, mobile application downloads, and so forth. They list the other deals available that day on the right side of the featured product, which could instead list 3 deals, then feature the rest on another page. I also feel that the color scheme is rather unfocused. I find two different tones of green amateurish next to a contrasting black and grey palette. They also have a large space in the lower right corner that is being unused. I think the links on mobile applications, gift certificates, and small business partnerships can slide into that space since they are revenue streams.
Groupon’s leadership claims that despite their partnerships with large retailers, local outreach will rule their model. I admire the approach, but they can do even better now that the model has credibility. I believe that Groupon needs to organize their branding to drive traffic and scale for web advertising. Until then, get a daily deal here.
Comic lovers now have another contender in the interactive media marketplace. DC Comics, the publisher of several comics such as Superman, Batman, and the Green Lantern, is taking their collection online and into the mobile application world. According to Douglas Wolk of Techland, they have inked a deal with comiXology for mobile applications. They are also using The Playstation Network, giving themselves options to experiment with their campaign. Some other interesting notes from Wolk’s article include:
Tiered pricing format: Similar to book publishing, the digital comic book marketplace is a new frontier to test consumer demand. Wolk speculates that the price range runs from 99 cents to $2.99. Reports indicate that the consumer predilection for print in the comic industry will prevail, but a lower digital price would help attract tweens and teenagers not as privy to the culture. One writer thumbs his nose at the multiple price points, but it is a work in progress for print industry in general. Patience is in order.
Direct Market Affiliate Program: The objective of affiliate marketing for DC Comics is not totally clear. Wolk suggests that it wants to get merchants involved by urging application users to buy the print copy through a button. It seems counterproductive for such an ambitious online advertising campaign, but noble.
Playstation Network Digital Comics: Is there a demand for inanimate comics on a game system? Marvel has been doing this for awhile, but it seems odd to me.
All in all, the interactive campaign is ambitious, but may need some polish to truly reach its potential. The comic book marketplace is also full of fastidious consumers who value tangibility in their search of products, like toys and past prints. Can digital formats draw up another dimension?
Match.com is the latest Corporation to try it’s hand at the the world of Facebook
Match.com’s latest attempt to generate a wider social media user base has made big news, but faces even bigger challenges. In what objective social media experts might call a match (har!) made in interactive heaven, Match.com has created a Facebook application which pulls user data from a Facebook profile and, with help from Match.com’s algorithms, identifies potential matches. 99 cents unlocks the user data and contact info for those matches (“Match.com Integrates with Facebook“).
The devil, or potentially devastating flaw, for this program is in the details. The application fails to stipulate whether it matches you with other Facebook users or other Match.com profiles. Then, when the application sets you up, it pulls little or no data from your profile. Email address and name are automatically picked up, but most meaningful data must be manually entered. It also costs money to contact potential matches using the application. As other Facebook application writers have discovered, wildly popular Facebook applications are intuitive, simple, easy to implement, and FREE.
How do animal rights activists relate to your interactive marketing plan? Well, they may just have the secret for making your site a smash success in the virtual sector. Let me explain
Camille Hankins of Brooklyn, NY, runs an animal rights group, called Win Animal Rights (WAR). The group has made it a mission to close down animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences, and towards that end, they have pursued and protested professionals even slightly associated with the company, like the former VP of the stock exchange where its stocks are traded or the general council for a Huntingdon customer. WAR’s success at finding individuals to target, not to mention its very survival, is owed largely to the prevalence of cell phones and the power of the internet.