A traditional agency friend asked me today about reaching men online as opposed to through print. I put together a very quick synopsis and thought I would share it on our blog.
Men are hyper-connected and spend more time online. While men and women are drawn to the same interactive activities-connecting with friends, family, and colleagues through email and social networks, finding information through search and content sites, and seeking entertainment-men spend more time online than women. In fact, the average time spent on a computer over the period of a month was one hour longer for US men than for women.
There are 60.9 million men online age 18-49. Men in this demographic are active, driven, and like to be in the know. They use the Web for sports, entertainment, and to get things done. They tend to be heavy Internet users and are avid online shoppers. These men are also connected on their mobile devices, using them for Web browsing and to be productive on the go.
Radio is now an interactive medium, engaging millions of consumers online and via mobile devices every week. eMarketer estimates nearly 80 million internet users will tune in to internet radio stations weekly in 2011.
More than four out of five male adults ages 18 to 29 said they played video games, while 23 percent of respondents 65 and older said the same. You can reach more men than ever with the innovative experiences that solutions like Xbox and Xbox LIVE advertising offer.
Thirty-two percent of men had made a mobile purchase in December 2010, double the 16% who had done so in November 2009. A substantial portion of this growth had occurred by July 2010, when 29% of men had made a mobile purchase.
I really enjoyed my visit to the American Advertising Federation-For Worth luncheon this week. It has been several years since I was there when I worked for Harris Methodist in Arlington. I flew up to give a speech on the trends in digital media using the latest Pew Internet, Nielsen and comScore research about how media consumption is changing.
The, mostly traditional, agency attendees could not have been a more welcoming crowd. We talked about not being seduced by the shiny new object, how to tell a client they don’t have to have an iPhone app and how not to paint yourself into a corner of measurability of online campaigns. I like to tell them, “How many of you that buy television and radio tell your client that you can measure exactly how many people see the ad and then take action on that particular ad and at what time of day they do it?” The laugh I get equals my reply….”Stop telling clients online advertising is all about the measurement.”
Online is about the branding, it’s about the good creative (don’t just repurpose a print ad for a banner or a TV commercial for pre-roll) and it’s about the overall good stewardship of your client’s media dollars.
The day did start off a little strange for me. We drove right through the really neat Fort Worth Stockyards and historical district towards the restaurant where I was to give the speech and my cab driver dropped me off somewhere on a back alley with a closed road next to an abandoned building. I was a little unsure if I was being setup, but just around the corner was a great venue, Joe T. Garcia’s and boy was the lunch good!
But just to be safe, I did wait inside the restaurant for my cab to pick me up and take me back to the airport.
I’d like to give a virtual standing ovation to this article I read last week (April 27) in City Unlisted’s Pattern Recognition column on consumer relationships in uncertain economic times and the trend towards a “feel good” association with home and Americana during times of trouble. It reminded me of the stiff upper lip “Keep Calm and Carry On” message produced by the British government during World War II intended to raise the morale of the British people.
It is a prevalent media message that we’re seeing these days when our country needs reassurance and a reminder that America has always been able to pull itself up by its bootstraps. For example, the recent Chrysler campaign, “this is Detroit,” “we’re not going to ask you to lower your expectations; we’re asking you to raise them,” speaks exactly to that message. Chrysler is clearly messaging its consumer base that is anti-outsourcing and pro-America: We’re here, we’re not going anywhere, and we’re better for it.
Full disclosure: One of the sites mentioned in the column, Social Primer, is a client of our agency. The style and etiquette site launched an online store to promote products fitting with its brand. We created a very successful campaign called “Shop Like a Gentleman,” designed to drive sales for products targeting the blog’s audience. We love the description of the site, as well as its inclusion in a column about the message of home, comfort, manners, and consumer relationships.
When working with our clients on messaging-at least since 2008-the economy is something we
certainly take into consideration, as well as the necessity of having a narrative as part of an advertising campaign. As the column says, “the declining buying power of the American dollar, concern about carbon emissions and the trend for locally-grown food all feed our fondness for the home fire.” Consider the example cited in the column about J. Crew’s CEO Mickey Drexler and the resuscitation of American heritage brands-making it as much about selling a product as it is telling a story to the consumer about the brand.
Another great illustration of a new return to Americana was in a spontaneous eruption of the National Anthem outside the White House when the news of the killing of America’s number 1 villain, Osama bin Laden.
We’ve worked with retail brands that are extremely smart about their message, particularly those
climbing out of the recession. Are people still spending money on expensive clothes and jewelry?
Absolutely, but branding is key in driving consumers to make that choice. Brooks Brothers is a “comfort” brand. Nearly 200-year-old jewelry retailer Bailey Banks & Biddle actually built a new kind of shopping experience for its customers-but not by ditching its rich history. We were lucky enough to work with both and can vouch for the success of their brand narratives in the results of their online ad campaigns. With retail clients, this type of narrative isn’t just interesting-it works.
While I agree with many of the points of the recent iMediaConnection article, “The Shortcomings of Facebook â€˜Likes’,” particularly the idea that campaigns-social or otherwise-shouldn’t put all of their faith into one medium or another, I think comparing SMS to Likes is like comparing apples to car batteries. They are completely different.
SMS costs money, requires engagement and has a definite “ask” for the consumer, unlike a “like.” SMS wants the end user to do something and gives them something in return, usually a coupon or special offer. A “like” is nothing like that. Additionally, the “value” when social media is combined with mobile is unpredictable and faulty. Social media can be an important part of an advertising campaign, but should not be its entire focus.
Consider what social media provides the end user: In some cases, interaction with a brand. What exactly xactly does that mean? Unless companies are taking advantage of Facebook deals or offering Facebook-only coupons (there are some large national brands that do this well, such as Gap and CVS), SMS is going to have a higher value-and a higher ROI for the campaign.
I also agree strongly with this statement in the article: “Brands are winning fans, but without mobile marketing they are losing a generation of buyers. SMS provides five to ten times increased conversion rates over social and traditional campaigns. If your brand is still on the sidelines as it relates to mobile, the best place to start is with SMS. Tying it in with your other media is a sure way to determine if your collective campaign’s efforts are winning conversions. â€˜Likes’ alone will only get you half-way there.”
“Half-way there” is a little too optimistic in our experience. We’ve had much better results with mobile to date than with Facebook-only campaigns, though we’ve done them at a client’s insistence. Luckily, the “shiny new object” appeal of Facebook isn’t quite as shiny after we provide clients with end-of-campaign detailed reports and cost-benefit analysis. Once we demonstrate that the conversion rate on a Facebook portion of a campaign is a ROI nightmare by comparison to display, mobile, and other aspects of the campaign, our clients tend to join us on the side of caution when it comes to putting all of their ad dollars into garnering “likes” on Facebook.
With many experts predicting a huge downturn in TV and print advertising and a surge in online ad spending, ad agencies have been breathlessly awaiting the coveted massive digital media budgets and
staffing up their online ad departments. Should they? Yes and maybe.
We shouldnâ€™t rule out television anytime soon, considering that those experts have been predicting the
death of television advertising since TiVo and DVR products were introduced to mass markets. Years
later, advertising spending for television has continued to increase annually.
Research group eMarketer recently came out with a new forecast for major media spending, which predicts that U.S. television ad spending will account for over 39 percent of all spending by advertisers in 2015, slightly higher than its current share, but as steady as it has been for the past five years.
The big change is in the shift to online spending. eMarketerâ€™s report says it is expected to grow considerablyâ€”from $29 billion this year to a whopping $46 billion in 2015 and making up 26 percent of
ad spending overall. Contrast that number with 2005, when online spending was around five percent,
and it makes sense that agencies are expecting continued growth in that arena.
Who is the loser in this picture? Newspapers, radio, and magazinesâ€”and possibly outdoor. These markets have decreased gradually over the past five years and are expected to continue to drop to all-time lows by 2015.
Advertisers are seeing the bigger picture about where their audience gets information: The coveted
21-35 year-old market is unlikely to have ever subscribed to a print newspaper and if they pick up a
magazine, itâ€™s in their doctorâ€™s waiting room (unless they have their smart phone in hand). Customers
with disposable income are becoming more and more technologically savvy, regardless of age, and advertisers are much more focused on buzz , social media, and online display ads than they were five
As a digital agency, this is great newsâ€”not just for our company, but for our clients. As spending in the online arena grows, so does its reach. In the past five years we have made the shift from convincing clients to put a toe in the water with online spending to responding to multi-channel, multi-tiered and targeted large online campaigns with measurable and stellar ROI. Online, their ad dollars go much farther than with other advertising platforms and new tools and technology make it easy for us to show them just how far!
Opt-in email marketing communications is a great way to stay in touch with your customers. Large companies use, surprisingly, mostly one vendor. Epsilon–the largest distributor of permission-based email in the world–revealed that millions of individual email addresses were exposed in an attack on its servers.
While the good news is that it was only email addresses and not passwords or other identifiable information, it is still a serious breach.Â It reminds us that email is not a secure source of communications and we should all keep a schedule of changing our passwords to protect against these increasing number of breaches.
I have an email I use for signing up for opt-in programs and my contact email for my credit cards and reward programs. This keeps this type of mail out of my daily email box and gives me the luxury of reviewing these emails at my leisure.
When I checked that email box today, I have several messages just like this one:
Hilton Worldwide, its brands and loyalty program will never ask you to e-mail personal information such as credit card numbers or social security numbers. You should be cautious of “phishing” e-mails, where the sender tries to trick the recipient into disclosing confidential or personal information. If you receive such a request, it did not come from Hilton Worldwide, its brands or its loyalty program.
I am thankful I don’t have to worry about any more spam making it through to my personal or work email addresses.Â This should not discourage users for signing up for marketing emails from brands they do business with already. I enjoy receiving special offers from most of the companies I receive these communications from and it gives me an opportunity to save money through special offers that the general public might not receive.
Bottom line for me is, don’t open emails from unrecognized senders, don’t open attachments and never reply to an email asking you for information. Just delete it!
GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons has made his domain registrar the go to source for registering domain names. While serious developers avoid the company for its pushy and difficult to avoid upsell tactics for users, lay people have made the company successful with the purchase of cheap domain names.
Some people were already turned off by the company’s cheap advertising ploy of using busty women in their ads. The ads weren’t cheap, they routinely run during the Super Bowl. Add another eye roll from the ad agency crowd on that strategy.
The CEO has really stepped in it this time, though. A video made the rounds last week of the Parsons shooting and killing an elephant. An elephant!Â PETA wet their pants with the excitement over finding such a willing villain and issues a press release closing their account with the registrar and urged everyone to follow.
Their competitors took the issue as an opportunity to offer special transfer deals and rub it in. GoDaddy has not released a statement, nor do we know how many people have left the registrar.Â This example of controlling your CEO’s ego is a MARCOMM class waiting to happen!Â The two case studies will be the CEO of BP Tony “I want my life back” Hayward and Bob Parsons.
Not to mention that my alma mater’s mascot is an Elephant (Crimson Tide!) and the thought of killing an elephant just turns my stomach.
The marketing problem here is that Bob Parsons has made GoDaddy more about him than about his customers. Sometimes a bigger than life CEO can be an asset to a company (think Herb Kelleher and Southwest Airlines), but if the bigger than life personality begins to threaten the company it is time to take away his microphone.
Outrageous behavior can turn customers off to never return. When a brand relies too heavily on the image of one person there are very few backup plans should something go wrong. We saw this with companies that used Tiger Woods extensively in their advertising during his troubles. Those airport ads couldn’t come down fast enough!Â The lesson for marketers to learn is to control the CEO and if that is not possible, have a backup marketing strategy to pull out in case of shooting an elephant.
GSD&M is the agency Austin loves to hate. There are many reasons, some probably very valid, for their “reputation” but hearing the news of layoffs today after they lost the Norweigan Cruise Lines account is bad news for Austin’s advertising community.
At its peak, GSD&M had 900 employees in their very nice building on 6th Street and today that number is somewhere well below 500. So, while many in the advertising business in Austin gloat that a large agency got their comeuppance, 400 of our fellow industry professionals have scrambled to find jobs that very few of the other agencies in town can absorb over the last three years.
That means these very bright agency professionals that have experience working on large national accounts that would be a great asset to the smaller shops in town are either forced to change careers or leave town.
As an advertising industry we should be hoping that GSD&M lands another huge account and takes time to evaluate their business model or whatever strategic housecleaning they need to do so that we may continue to bring national brands to Austin.
GSD&M put Austin on the map as a place safe for a national brand to have an agency of record and without them (whether you like it or not) we all have to work harder to convince a national brand to do business in Austin, Texas. As much as we may like to think we are brilliant and live in a great city, without a depth of experience and pool of qualified talent here we all might as well be working at ad agencies in Waco.
So, chin up, to all those laid off today. Hopefully someone will scoop you up. And, to GSD&M, here’s hoping you are one great pitch away from a whale!
I am so passionate about small and local businesses using online advertising that we even took on a $1,500 client one time to show them how they could be successful in using digital to get new customers. Of course, they were a nightmare client that demanded so much of our time we wound up losing money within two hours of them signing on with us–but that’s another story.
I have seen the rise of online coupon sites and now Google’s Hotpot as they become the latest “Shiny New Object” in online advertising. The problem for me seems to be that because something has a slick marketing campaign and buzz, business owners think it sounds like a good idea. Without doing investigation or talking to an advertising professional the business chooses a vendor based on the buzz and the smooth talking salesman. Unfortunately, these decisions are coming back to bite the small business owners in the ass more times than not.
I began to hear Groupon horror stories and finally took the time to read them. I was shocked at how what appears, to me, to be a fantastic scam can be so wildly popular without more being written about its problems.Â The basic premise of Groupon is they want you to offer 50% off your retail price and then they take between 50% and 100% of the cost based on the cost of the product. So, retailers wind up giving 75% off of their retail price to pay for some marketing and hopefully get new customers.Â When the math was put like that, I cannot imagine any small business owner agreeing to such terms. There are very few businesses marking up wholesale prices 80% or so. (Well, maybe used care salesmen)
Additionally, Groupon makes promises they cannot possibly keep. According to some customers, they promise, “[G]roupon swore that their base was rich women 20 to 40, people that will become new loyal clients,” and “…most customer buy more than the $13, and that we would never have to advertise again after taking advantage of their network.”
Those of us in digital advertising know we can target and slice and dice data like nobody’s business, but we never make guarantees or promises we can’t keep. You know why? Because if we fail when we make a guarantee the client will never call us again.
It’s called “underpromise and overdeliver” and I learned that when I had my first job out of college.
Is the risk worth the reward? Between coupon chasers, customers that do not buy additional products on their visit, those that won’t tip based on the full price of the item but the discount price of what they paid, and customers that never return to buy anything else or anything at full price what are small business owners risking with their investment? Sometimes this may be the small business owners first foray into online advertising and their experience leaves them soured on a financial loss for them.
Let me be clear on this fact: Good advertising does not lose a business money. Otherwise, businesses would not advertise and we would not have jobs. For a startup with buzz to make outrageous claims and peer pressure local advertisers into a losing equation is bad business for everyone involved in the advertising industry.
To the small business owners that lost their business or lost money on their exciting Groupon offer, I am sorry. I am sorry you were seduced by the “Shiny New Object” and I’m sorry you did not do your research. As those in my generation learned from the Brady Bunch when Greg bought that car that didn’t run, “Caveat Emptor, Let the Buyer Beware.” No one can argue with Mr. Brady’s logic.
Last month, comScore released its â€œU.S. Digital Year in Review 2010: A Recap of the Year in Digital Media.â€ We noticed several interesting trends (some that weâ€™ll mention in later posts), but one in particular caught our attention: Facebook captured the #1 ranking of time spent online.
Facebook Takes the Lead on Engagement
Though Google and Yahoo! Sites remain approximately 180 million visitors a month, Facebook is attracting an ever-increasing share of total time spent online. In the past year, Facebook has surpassed each of the top three largest web properties, capturing the #1 ranking by time spent in August 2010. Facebook now accounts for 12.3 percent of time spent online in the U.S., up from 7.2 percent just a year ago.
â€œTime spent onlineâ€ probably comes up second to demographics in our discussions with clients about online marketing strategy. We want to (a) ensure that the â€œrightâ€ eyes view the ad with demographic targeting and (b) increase the likelihood that the ad will be seen and clicked on.
Why Facebook? Social networking has outpaced most other online leisure activities, including entertainment. With the growth of Facebook, the advent of Facebook Groups, Location-Based pages, Business pages, and Fan pages, the shift seems to indicate that a growing share of the online community is getting most of its information via social media channelsâ€”and Facebook tops that list.
But how does Facebook advertising rate when it comes to actual conversions? By tracking conversions through a program like Google Analytics or our ad server, weâ€™re able to assess results based on what the clientâ€™s advertising goals are. For example, on a recent campaign for a client with a small budget for Facebook (its primary budget went to traditional online display ads), we were able to place a small PPC (pay per click) buy on Facebook. The result was 20x the spend in new qualified leads for the client. The ROI for that spend was superior to just about any other advertising channel included in the buy.
And thatâ€™s just the advertising side. When recommending social media strategy to our partners, engagement is the first item on the agenda. If a company wants to make use of social media channels, they cannot simply create a Facebook and Twitter account, post a few times, and sit back and wait for the users to flock to their pages. The online community expects much, much more from brands and businesses: Information, tips, deals, coupons, andâ€”most importantlyâ€”engagement. The consumer wants to know that by pressing your â€œLikeâ€ button, it means they matter to your company.
The most recent Facebook upgrade for its Business pages not only emphasizes engagement, but allows you to measure those results through Insights: statistics by date not only on your number of users, but also interactions with those users. How many of your monthly active users â€œlikedâ€ a post on your page? How many shared that post with their Facebook friends? How many commented on a post, or commented on a post once that post is shared? You can even export the data into report formats. Itâ€™s a great tool for measuring ROI and for making tweaks to your social media strategy.
What you want to see (example below from a fairly new Business page) in your Insights: Green arrows pointing up. We love the green arrows, and theyâ€™re what we want to see when it comes to engagement with social media. Not just for the number of new users, but for the number of existing users in your Facebook fan base commenting, sharing, and liking your posts. Red arrows on your Insights page? Time to start making a change in content and strategy. Offer Facebook-only deals for users that â€œcheck-inâ€ to your location (very easy to train staff; as long as theyâ€™re admins of your Business page, they donâ€™t need a printed coupon or any other proofâ€”they simply view your Facebook wall to see who has checked in).
Look at the content youâ€™re offering. If you read your own posts and ask, â€œso what,â€ your users are probably skimming right over your content as it streams on their wall. Worse, they might even take the time to find the dreaded â€œunlikeâ€ button. When someone comments on a post, do you take the time to respond? If not, youâ€™re not engaging your customers. Social media can also be a great customer service tool (as can Twitter). Are you offering your online consumers something they canâ€™t get just by calling your office or walking into your retail establishment? Users expect something in return for hitting that â€œlikeâ€ button. Decide what that thing is going to be before launching your social media strategy.
Our advice when it comes to an online strategy, particularly with a multi-faceted approach that includes online display ads and social media boils down to two things: Where people are spending time online and what sites those people are engaging with. Facebook isnâ€™t necessarily a magic marketing bullet for all campaigns or all types of businesses, but we see plenty that could benefit and donâ€™t. And thatâ€™s â€œWhy Facebook!â€