Archive for the ‘Digital Marketing’ Category

Westside firms with names like Omelet, Ignited and Blitz are pushing clients beyond TV and print ads and onto websites, smartphones and tablets.

Old notions of advertising are being scrambled on the Westside, inside boutique agencies with names like Blitz, Ignited and Omelet.The hot shops are pushing big-brand clients beyond the familiar confines of radio, television, magazines and newspapers and onto the Internet, smartphones, game consoles and tablets.

With more than 42% of the country’s TV homes equipped with digital video recorders, which allow users to fast-forward through commercials, and some younger viewers leaving TV altogether, advertisers are rushing to build Internet infrastructures, create Web videos and funnel content to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

It’s a boom-time business. Ten years ago, companies spent an estimated $6 billion advertising their products and services online, according to eMarketer, which tracks advertising dollars. This year, that number is expected to reach $39.5 billion. Within five years, it could top $60 billion.

It’s not that advertisers are abandoning TV. Last year they spent $68 billion on television commercials, and in two weeks last month they placed orders for $9.1 billion worth of prime-time network spots. But marketers recognize that affluent and younger consumers are as likely to be found glued to their cellphones or the Internet as the TV screen.

L.A. agencies have been in the vanguard of the ad evolution. The region already boasts such prominent creative shops as TBWA\Chiat\Day, RPA and Deutsch LA. Upstarts have taken root in the same narrow band west of the San Diego Freeway, drawn by the proximity to the beach and the nearness of major entertainment hubs, music labels, video game makers and an increasing number of Internet firms, includingGoogle Inc.andYahoo Inc., which have opened outposts in the newly minted Silicon Beach.

At the end of a crowded cul-de-sac in Culver City, more than a dozen young workers cluster around common tables in a warehouse. A makeshift sign on the door reads: Omelet.

“We were at this diner in the Marina, eating omelets, and thought why not?” company co-founder Ryan Fey said. “We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously.”

“And you’ve got to break some eggs to make an omelet,” co-founder Steven Amato added.

Omelet’s founders met a decade ago while working at Los Angeles’ leading ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, just as the Internet was becoming a viable vehicle for advertising. Amato, 39, was a former playwright turned ad copywriter from Connecticut. Fey, 36, was an Ohio native who started his career as a page for “Late Night With David Letterman,” then worked as a music writer for Spin magazine before joining a large ad agency in New York.

Over months of breakfasts at Nichols diner in Marina del Rey, they plotted how to create their own “storytelling” firm built for the Internet age. The pair and a third co-founder, Shervin Samari, each chipped in $200, which covered one month of office rent.

The agency opened in 2004 and quickly made a splash with silly spoofs created for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. “Mascot Roommate,” featuring a man in an oversized iced-coffee costume, notched more than 1 million views and spawned sequels, including one so effective that CNN’s Headline News aired it as the real thing and wondered on the air whether the coffee chain would fire the out-of-control mascot.

This year Omelet is on track to triple its 2011 revenue of $23 million. The firm, which has about 45 full-time employees — only two over the age of 40 — has created ads for AT&T Inc., Harley-Davidson Inc., HBO, Microsoft Corp.and NBCUniversal. It designed Internet advertising campaigns and television spots for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Earlier this year it won a large account withWal-Mart Stores Inc.’s corporate headquarters.

Omelet has company. El Segundo-based Ignited exploded onto the scene 13 years ago.

The digital agency now boasts 120 employees and has annual billings of nearly $140 million. The firm, which specializes in Internet display ads, occupies a 55,000-square-foot warehouse that previously hosted a short-lived Internet incubator set up by former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. Its clients include NBCUniversal,Sony Corp.and Zico coconut water.

“The dollars are clearly shifting this way,” said Eric Johnson, Ignited’s founder and president.

A former top executive at the video game company Activision, Johnson recognized more than a decade ago that young people — particularly young male gamers — were consuming much of their media through nontraditional channels. He figured that eventually mainstream audiences would become heavy Internet users and that established ad agencies would be slow to respond. He was right.

“There has been a fundamental shift in behavior that is shaking the underpinnings of the whole media and marketing industry,” Johnson said. “Everything needs to be digitally connected.”

One of Ignited’s first clients was theU.S. Army, which needed a new way to inspire potential recruits. In 2001, Johnson’s firm helped create “America’s Army,” an Internet video game that turned the adrenaline rush of simulated combat into a recruitment tool.

The game was downloaded 12 million times, Johnson said. “It was a watershed marketing experience.”

Now the challenge is to stand out amid the clutter. Sixty years ago, consumers were exposed to about 100 brand impressions a day.

“Today, the average person sees between 1,500 and 2,000 brand impressions a day: company logos, commercials and billboards,” Johnson said.

The digital revolution has created a bounty of business for another Westside agency — Blitz Digital Studios, which sits above the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Google,Nike Inc., Naked Juice Co., Microsoft,Walt Disney Co.andWarner Bros.Entertainment have commissioned Blitz to customize visually rich Internet campaigns full of motion and interactive elements. One campaign for Hilton Hotels attracted more than 1 million viewers and prompted more than 50,000 people to send Hilton e-cards.

Blitz also created an “augmented reality music video” to promote a new album from singer-songwriter John Mayer. The 3-D video resembled a children’s pop-up book, with Mayer morphing into a guitar-playing, computer-animated character in a video game world.

Blitz currently is working on a digital application for the Irish rock band U2.

“Digital today, in almost every way, is woven into the fabric of how we communicate with others,” said Ivan Todorov, chief executive of Blitz. “Brands and savvy marketers recognize that they need a digital presence.”

The 10-year-old Blitz has been on a hiring binge, snapping up prominent executives from established ad agencies to round out its roster of more than 100 online ad experts. Revenue last year exceeded $16 million.

Last fall, when Whole Foods Market Inc. wanted to find ways to engage customers by sharing stories of the artisans and farmers who supply food for the chain, it turned to the Gen-X crew at Omelet.

“They were cool, not all L.A. flashy,” said Andi Dowda, Whole Foods’ regional marketing coordinator. “They didn’t come in wearing suits telling me what I should do; they listened and tried hard to understand our business goals.”

The result was a series of mini-documentaries for Whole Foods’ in-store monitors, Facebook page and website. The Omelet team interviewed organic turkey growers in Sanger, Calif., and oyster farmers in Morro Bay, Calif.

“We haven’t put a lot of adverting dollars behind these, but they have real appeal,” Dowda said. “And younger people are much more drawn to these online stories than they would be for a TV commercial.”

Online video has become the fastest growing piece of the overall Internet advertising pie. Ten years ago, advertisers spent $48 million creating online videos, according to eMarketer. By 2009, the expenditure had swelled to $1 billion and is expected to top $3 billion this year.

Now Omelet is expanding beyond the Internet. This spring it launched Omelet to Go, which designs and stages live marketing events.

HBO hired the firm to generate a presidential-like motorcade, complete with actors posing as Secret Service agents, to promote the launch of the cable network’s new series”Veep.”

“These worlds are slamming together faster than anyone realized that they would and the shift is undeniable,” Omelet’s Fey said. “But convergence is done. Brands are online, they are in mobile. Now it’s all how you develop technology and apply it.”

meg.james@latimes.com

Originally published by Meg James, in Los Angeles Times, on July 8, 2012

Internet advertising will account for almost half of the UK ad market by the end of 2016, according to a report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Online: internet advertising set to dominate market
Online: internet advertising set to dominate market

The report published today predicts internet advertising will be the only segment of the UK media and entertainment market that will grow by double figures in the next five years.

UK internet advertising was worth £4.96bn in 2011 and PwC predicts this will grow by 12% every year until 2016 to £8.75bn.

The entire UK ad market is estimated to have been worth £14.3bn in 2011 and according to the PwC forecasts it will grow by 4.7% each year until 2016 when it will be worth £18.0bn.

Internet advertising’s share of total UK ad spend will grow from 35.0% in 2011 to 48.6% in 2016 at the expense of a number of traditional media, especially newspapers.

PwC forecasts the TV ad market (including broadcast, online and mobile together) will grow by 2.2% every year from £3.7bn in 2011 to £4.1bn in 2016.

Despite the expected expansion of connected TV and on-demand services broadcast ad revenue will continue to dominate the TV advertising sector, although its share of total TV advertising will decline from 97.3% to 95.1%.

Newspaper advertising is estimated to have been worth £2.72bn in 2011 (of which £2.5bn was print and £217m was online). PwC estimates this will fall to £2.61bn in 2016 (of which £2.3bn will be print and £313m will be online).

To put the newspaper figures into context, PwC estimates newspaper advertising was worth £4.3bn in 2007.

Follow Maisie McCabe on Twitter @MaisieMcCabe

Originally published by Maisie McCabe, 12 June 2012, 8:39am in MediaWeek.

Maximise the chances of social spread.

The 12 video triggers

So then, what are these triggers, and how do they differ from one another? To be clear, a trigger is some aspect of the video that is likely to lead to sharing activity on social platforms (and beyond). Below I have listed the 12 triggers, as identified by Unruly Media on the ‘video optimiser’ checklist. Each trigger is filed under ‘mind’, ‘body’ or ‘soul’, and is accompanied by a classic example that took the web by storm. Enjoy.

BODY
FUNNY… ROFL!

Humour is notoriously subjective: will your audience be tickled by a witty quip or a banana slip? Parody or farce? Either way, a top-notch ‘pay-off’ is a must-have.

Example: Toyota – “Swagger Wagon”

HOT… SEXY!

This one’s a slippery pole, ranging from booty-shaking through to celebrity upskirts and full blown sex tapes. Approach with caution: this is hot stuff. Misjudge your target audience and you’ll get your fingers burnt.

Example: Agent Provocateur – “Kylie”

SHOCKING… OMG!

As a species we find disturbing content strangely compelling. There’s a certain thrill in being ‘frightened’ by the unexpected and the ghastly. Hence the popularity of car-crash TV and hard-hitting road safety ads.

Example: Carlsberg – “Carlsberg and Mentos”

MIND
UNBELIEVABLE … AWSM!

Has to be seen to be believed. Brilliantly done stop-motion sequences, people performing on the edge of what’s humanly possible, creative teams pushing the boundaries of human & technological achievement.

Example: Gillette – “Federer Trick Shot”

CONTROVERSIAL… GENIUS!/F****** S***

Love it or hate it? Some videos divide opinion and split the online community into opposing and vociferous factions. Not for the faint of heart. You’ll need to be prepared to stand your ground.

Example: Bud – “9/11”

GLEEKY… COOL!

This is brain-food for aficionados. Could be the unboxing of a limited edition game for Xbox fans, a Jen Aniston meta-viral for meme fiends, or Sue Sylvester voguing for Glee fans.

Example: Blendtec’s Will it Blend? – “iPad”

ILLUMINATING… FIRST!

Will open your mind and rock your head. Unveilings, Sneak peeks, breaking news. Eye-opening facts, trends or technology. Useful as well as entertaining. Guaranteed to make your synapses tingle or your money back.

Example: TFL – “Awareness Test”

RANDOM… WTF?

Confounded, surprised? Bewildered? Random clips often involve a verbal, visual, or conceptual non-sequitur that is as funny as it is bewildering. Why is that gorilla playing the drums? I Like Turtles? You bet we do!

Example: Cadbury’s – “Gorilla”

ZEITGEIST

Does this video ride the crest of a current meme or develop a current news story? Does it capture the public mood or celebrate a public holiday? Timing is everything. Yesterday is nothing.

Example: Volkswagen – “The Force”

SOUL
CUTE… AWWW!

Sneezing pandas, laughing babies, fainting kitties, these are the videos that melt our hearts.

Example: Evian – “Roller Babies”

UPLIFTING … YAY! I love this!

Want to escape the tedium of everyday life? Bring a smile to the faces of fed-up friends? For a shot of Feel Good factor 40, look no further. Flash mobs, group dances, good causes tend to coalesce around this trigger.

Example: Alphabet Photography – “Hallelujah Chorus”

MOVING… WOW. Made me cry.

These videos are intense, with the power to evoke strong emotions: hope, pride, faith, nostalgia, love, anticipation. The best ones give us goose bumps, uplift our souls, and renew our faith in humanity.

Example: Pantene – “Extraordinary”

Posted 04 August 2011 12:34pm by Chris Lake E-consultancy

Google is testing a variation on AdWords display that has the URLs shown above the two lines of description, but under the headline. Representatives from the search giant would only say that they’re always experimenting with different ways of displaying information, but multiple members of Search Engine Land editorial team saw the experiment on Google.com for a variety of search terms.

The AdWords display test is, in some cases at least, being shown along with an experimental display for organic results that we reported on in May. That result format also places the URL just under the title, or headline, and above the snippets of text.

Originally published in Search Engine Land on Jul 19, 2011 at 4:31pm ET by 

Blogging

I was going to call this article “All ‘Social Media Experts’ Need To Go Die In A Fire,” but I figured I should be nicer than that.

But my title stands. If you call yourself a social media expert, don’t even bother sending me your resume.

No business in the world should want one on their team. They shouldn’t want a guru, rockstar or savant, either. If you have a social media expert on your payroll, you’re wasting your money.

Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.

Social media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. Say it with me. Repeat it until you know it by heart. Bind it as a sign upon your hands and upon thy gates. Social media, by itself, will not help you.

We’re making the same mistakes that we made during the DotCom era, where everyone thought that just adding the term .com to your corporate logo made you instantly credible. It didn’t. If that’s all you did, you emphasized even more strongly how pathetic your company was. You weren’t “building a new paradigm while shifting alternate ways of focusing customers on the clicks and mortar of an organizational exchange.” No — you were simply an idiot who’d be out of business in six months.

Ready for the ultimate kicker? We still haven’t learned! We got thirsty again, and are drinking the same ten-year-old Kool-Aid without so much as asking for ice. Rather than embracing this new technology and merging it with what we’ve learned already, we’re throwing off our clothes and running naked in the rain, waving our hands in the air, sure that this time it’ll be different, because this time it’s better!

“It’s not about building a website anymore! It’s so much cooler! It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence, and…”

Will you please shut up before you make me vomit on your shoes?

IT’S ABOUT GENERATING REVENUE THROUGH SOLID MARKETING AND STELLAR CUSTOMER SERVICE, JUST LIKE IT’S BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.

It’s about transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now — it doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past. Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye.

It’s about using the tools to market to an audience that wants to help tell your story, because you’ve been awesome at providing them with the service they deserve. United’s reaction to “United Breaks Guitars” WASN’T a stellar example of a good use of social media. It was the exact opposite–it was knee-jerk crisis management that would never have had to happen had United been focused on customer service in their marketing to begin with.

It’s about relevance. It’s not about tweeting every single time your company offers 10 percent off on a thingamabob. It’s about finding out where your customers actually are, and going after them there. If you’re tweeting all your discounts, and none of your customers are on Twitter, then you sir, are an idiot. Marketing involves knowing your audience, and tailoring your promotions in specific bursts to the correct segments.

“Social media experts” don’t know this. They’ll build you a fan page, and when all that work doesn’t convert into new sales, they’ll simply say, “Well, we’ll just post more.”

Don’t be that guy. Real marketers know when to market using traditional methods, social media or even word of mouth. Go ahead. Ask a “social media expert” what a traffic planner does at an agency, then laugh as they quickly ask Google for help finding the answer.

It’s also about brevity. You know what the majority of people calling themselves social media experts can’t do, among other things? THEY CAN’T WRITE. The number of “experts” out there who can’t string a simple sentence together astounds me. Guess what — if we have about three seconds to get our message across to a new customer, you know what’s going to do it?

Not Twitter followers. Not Facebook fans. Not Foursquare check-ins – NO. What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication.

Finally, it’s about knowing your customer, and making sure your customer thinks of you first. When Barry Diller was running Paramount, he’d call ten people in his Rolodex each morning, just to say “hi.”  That translated into all of Hollywood knowing this previously unknown executive’s name — because he took the time to reach out and communicate. It also translated into Paramount making billions in a time where other movie companies were struggling.

Do you know your audience? Have you reached out to them? I’m not talking about “tweeting at them.” I’m talking about actually reaching out. Asking them what you can do better, or asking those who haven’t been around in a while what you can do to get them back. It’s not about 10 percent off coupons or “contests for the next follower.” For God’s sake, be smarter than that.

You’d never give the intern permission to write the corporate press release to accompany an earnings announcement, so why the hell are you listening to the 22-year-old who says, “we’re going to do this social media thing because it’s cool?”

Social media is not “cool.” MAKING MONEY IS COOL. Social media is simply another arrow in the quiver of marketing, and that quiver is designed to GENERATE REVENUE.

If you’re doing anything else with social media, here’s a book of matches, and I expect to never see you again.

Originally published by Peter Shankman on May 23, 2011, in Business Insider.


Media research firm Nielsen today announced the results of its Mobile Connected Device Report survey for the first quarter of 2011, determining that Apple held a dominating 82% of the installed base for tablets in the United States during the quarter. The survey found 3G-capable iPads slightly more popular than non-3G models, 43% to 39%, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab proving the most popular competitor with only 4% of the market.
The study also examined the effect of tablet ownership on usage of other devices, with 35% of tablet owners reporting that they had decreased usage of desktop computers and 32% reporting decreased usage of notebook computers. Interestingly, 9% of owners actually increased their desktop machine usage while 13% increased their notebook usage, calling into question just how much of the usage variation is due to effects from tablets.Twenty-seven percent of those who also own eReaders said they use their eReader less often or not at all – the same percentage as those who also own portable media players. One-in-four tablet owners who own portable games consoles are using those devices less often, if at all, since purchasing a tablet.
About half of tablet owners report that they are the exclusive user of the device in their household, while 43% report sharing the device with others. 8% of tablet owners do not use the device at all, with usage instead tied to another member of the household.

Originally posted by Eric Slivka on Thursday May 05, 2011 01:25 PM
Like two knights jostling for the hand of a fair maiden, both Facebook and Google appear to be courting the graces of Skype. A source close to Facebook recently told Reuters that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is thinking about buying Skype outright, as part of a deal that could be worth $3 to $4 billion. A second source, meanwhile, claimed that both Facebook and Google are more interested in forming a joint venture with the teleconferencing company, which has yet to issue an IPO. With discussions still in a nascent stage, both suitors are playing their cards close to their chests, while Skype, rather coyly, has declined to comment on the speculation. At this point, details are still hazy and rumor-infused, though it’s certainly not shocking to hear these kinds of murmurs buzzing around. Skype’s been integrating Facebookmore deeply into its software for a while now and has gradually branched out to Android, as well (albeit with mixed results). Both Facebook and Google would also stand to benefit from Skype’s millions of usersand all the targeted advertising potential they’d offer. Until we receive more substantiated reports, however, all discussions of possible unions remain restricted to the realm of conjecture.
Originally posted by Amar Toor  posted May 5th 2011 at 6:49AM
mobile email

For those of you who missed it (and with 20,000 people registering for it I’m not sure who that may be) Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella’s “The Science of Email Marketing” was a reminder that testing and optimization are a core best practice which will ultimately drive the success of any email initiative.

Not that the webinar was focused on testing. Instead, takeaways were presented with the caveat “this may or may not be the case for you” … which is another way of saying “test it and see what happens.”

Content was based on a mix of email data, Hubspot survey and focus groups results. Key takeaways include:

  • Try sending email on weekends: Based on data of over 9 billion emails (yes, billion with a “b”) provided by Mailchimp, Saturdays and Sundays have notably higher Click Thru Rates (CTRs); this is coupled with said data showing unsubscribes peak on Tuesdays. These rates include both B2B and B2C emails (although given the volume, are presumably skewed towards B2C.)
  • Send very early in the morning: Data layered over Hubspot survey results reveal while recipients report reading email throughout the day, CTRs peak between 6 – 7 am (localized).  And while unsubscribes also peak in the morning, they also spiked late in the evening (when readership dropped off).
  • Optimize your email for mobile: a bit of a no-brainer; surveys cited 80% of the respondents read email on mobile devices, highlighting the importance of making sure your email doesn’t look like scrambled eggs on mobile.
  • Include reference data in your email: Make email searchable. Focus group participants report using email inboxes as an archive of ‘elite’, personal data, referring back to it on an informational basis.
  • Use lots of links in your email: While this may be counterintuitive, Zarrella says there is strong correlation between a greater number of links and higher CTRs. Data also shows lower unsubscribes as the number of links increase. (This may be, of course, because the unsubscribe link is tougher to find…)
  • Serialize and label your email: Using continuity and content-based words such as “[this] week’s,” “newsletter,” or “digest” in the subject line leads to the higher CTRs. Conversely, the traditional “spam” words continue to hold true. [Bonus hint: monitor your spam box for common “trigger” words to avoid.]
  • Give your subscribers special access: Focus groups find people like getting offers specific to them, offers with exclusivity built into them. Another no-brainer, but worth repeating.
  • Send email from people they’ve heard of: Be it a celebrity name or a guru, people like receiving emails from names they recognize.
  • Do not be afraid to send too much email: Unsubscribes are notably higher for organizations that send one or two emails per month; as the frequency of emailsreaches eight the number declines.
  • effect of sending frequency on ctr small

  • Your newest subscribers are your best: While most subscribers opt out shortly after first subscribing to an email, CTRs early on are also at a high – proving the adage “get ‘em while they’re hot.”
  • Ask people to follow you, not forward emails: It’s not just using social media, but using it wisely. Survey data showed about 80% people either never or rarely forward or Tweet commercial email, even with the advent of ‘share’ and ‘tweet’ buttons. Instead, get people to follow you through Facebook, Twitter, etc. driving prospects to subscribe to your email.
  • Make them want to get your emails: 70% of people report reading most or all of their email, and 58% have separate “junk” inboxes. Given that, Zarella stressed incorporating all the best practice takeaways detailed to ensure your message gets to people’s “good” email address, read, and acted upon.

The final takeaway, which predicated the presentation, is “Businesses are Consumers.” Survey data reported 88% of people not having separate work and personal email inboxes, blurring the line between B2B and B2C audiences and leading to some of the more counterintuitive takeaways.

The real answer: survey your subscribers and test. In summary: think through these takeaways; use them to test timing, subject lines, frequency, to maximize the value of your email strategy and initiatives.

Originally Posted 15 February 2011 18:34pm by John Gibb on Econsultancy

Facebook Amazing Pages

Posted: February 10, 2011 by Maria Morais in Digital Marketing, Social Media
Tags:

By Econsultancy
This comprehensive checklist of best practice issues and their associated success factors can be used to audit your Facebook pages.
Best Practice Issue Success Factor Tests
Getting started Making sure you have
1. Have you added our recommended basic apps
list?
2. Have you written down what you want to
achieve from the page?
Optimising your landing page
Ensuring that new visitors click on the magic Like
button and subscribe to your page.
3. Have you changed your default landing page
for new visitors from your Wall to a page
customised by you?
4. Have you asked potential subscribers to click
on the Like button?
5. Have you listed the benefits of subscribing to
your page?
6. Do you have a nice, large picture of your
product/products or listed the services you
provide?
7. Does your design make you stand out from
your competitors’ pages?
User Experience Making sure your Facebook page is as easy to use
as possible
8. Have you clearly labelled all your tabs?
9. Have you prioritised your visible tabs?
10. Do all your links work? Are they clear and do
they inform visitors of the benefits of clicking on
them?
11. If you have a product search widget, does it
have a filter options and can you type your
search term?
12. Have you road tested the Facebook page
yourself?
13. Have you tried using your page on a
smartphone?
14. Have you included your other social media links
(Twitter, YouTube, other Facebook Pages)?
15. Have you promoted your Facebook page
through your other social media channels?
16. Have you integrated other social media apps
into your page’s content?
17. Have you included your Facebook fans widget
into your website or blog?
Content
Fans return regularly to read your content and
engage with it through comments, likes, shares or
sending in their photos, videos or competition
entries
18. Have you added your RSS Feed from your
website, blog?
19. Do you use the status update bar more than
once a day?
20. Have you added upcoming events?
21. Does your page have fun widgets or games?
22. Do you have a store locater? (If you have one)
23. Have you promoted your mobile app?
24. Do you ask for feedback from fans?
25. Does your content make your fans feel special?
26. Does your content promote fan involvement?
27. Is it interesting and informative?
28. Have you had a look at the range of apps
already on offer?
29. Do you reward your most active Facebook
fans?
30. Do you have content that is only used on your
Facebook page?
Customer service
Making your Facebook page the first port of call for
customers looking for handy information and tips on
your products or upcoming events, and listening to
their feedback
31. Have you included your full contact details?
32. Do you respond to every question/concerns
posed by your community quickly and
efficiently?
Moderation Generating comments, shares and likes
33. Have you laid down the ground rules on your
information page?
34. Do you repost your fans’ best comments?
35. Do you respond quickly to comments?
36. Have you partnered with any causes or
charities?
Putting yourself on the map How well you attract new visitors to your landing
page
37. Have you filled your information tab with
keyword-rich content and links?
38. Have you added keyword-rich content to your
About box?
39. Have you added the Facebook fans widget to
your blog or website?
40. Have you encouraged fans to join your
Facebook page from your other social media
accounts/ your own blob or website?
41. Do you post regular content and updates?
42. Have you invited your own (and your
employees’) friends networks to sign up?
43. Have you changed to a vanity URL?
44. Have you considered posting an ad?
Experimentation and optimisation
Tweaking the layout, content, design and
functionality using tracking tools to improve
conversion rates
45. Do you regularly check your Facebook Insights
stats?
46. Have you added Google Analytics?
47. Have you split tested to see which calls to
action etc get the best conversion rates?
48. Have you considered using f-commerce to drive
sales?
49. Have you stopped tweaking?
50. Are you satisfied with your page?

Today’s consumers are most likely to interact with brands via social networks. So, what does this mean for brand websites?

Bacardi: focus on social networking

Bacardi’s decision to move away from campaign websites to focus its digital strategy on social networks (Marketing, 26 January) may seem bold. However, it poses a question to all marketers: do expensive brand websites have a role in the age of social media?

Faced with declining numbers of visitors to its brand sites – according to comScore, Bacardi’s unique visitor numbers fell 77% between 2009 and 2010 – it is understood that the company will be shifting up to 90% of its digital spend to its presence on Facebook in the next one to two years.

Branded content will be shared primarily through online communities, with dotcom sites for its brands, such as Bacardi, Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose, pared back.

Bacardi may be one of the first companies to re-examine the role of its websites, but it will not be the last. As Ian Crocombe, planning director at digital agency AKQA, says, if some brands deleted their corporate website, it would make little difference to their level of brand recognition online.

‘Corporate sites made sense in web 1.0, when you drove traffic to landing pages with banners, and collected email addresses,’ he says. ‘Modern consumers are engaged by real-time, social digital experiences which transcend device and are powered by location.’

Forward-thinking brands, such as Nike (an AKQA client), have already made this leap, he adds. Nike Football realigned its digital marketing two years ago and focused on delivering real-time experiences. For the 2010 World Cup, it built a platform where it could engage with 4.6m football fans and delivered exclusive content.

Honda also re-assessed the role of brand websites two years ago when it redesigned its systems architecture to centralise all sales and marketing information on one site.

Ian Armstrong, Honda manager for European communications, says: ‘Traditionally, each new campaign had a microsite with relevant content. You end up replicating some level of functionality. The opportunity was to construct content in a way that’s more modular and shareable across multiple platforms.’

Given the nature of car purchases, information-rich websites will remain vital. People want a place where they can come where the content is trusted, says Armstrong.

However, social networks have a huge role to play in car purchases, too. ‘People have conversations about cars and the network has a view that influences the purchase decision,’ he adds.

Graham Hodge, branded content director at digital agency LBi, says that within budgetary constraints, marketers should not perceive an ‘either-or’ situation. ‘There is certainly plenty of life in brand websites, especially if you enjoy a transactional relationship with your customers,’ he adds. ‘However, it is naive to invest a lot of money in a destination website and not support it with activity that engages audiences out there, where they spend the bulk of their time online.

‘Each approach has its strengths. Social sites have huge traffic; and well-thought-out branded content that fuels conversations can be a great way to recruit people into a brand. Meanwhile, a brand-owned property like a website can offer a more immersive experience for brand loyalists.’

Dangers of relinquishing control

As a warning of the risks that exist in the push toward social media, Hodge cites the example of confectionery brand Skittles, which decided to scrap its website in 2009 and replace it with a page that aggregated social-media mentions. It backfired when people realised they could post abusive material.

The brand reconfigured its approach, but has maintained a social element, encouraging users to submit images and video. Ian Tweedale, senior marketing manager for Skittles owner Wrigley, says social media now provides a key platform through which to engage with consumers. ‘It facilitates a two-way conversation and enables consumers to create their own ways of communicating,’ he adds. ‘The 14m fans of the Skittles Facebook page offers us a constant audience to deliver our messages to, and the result is more-regular and richer communication.’

Skittles’ experience of user-generated content highlights the danger of a headlong rush to be social. Rather than a multitude of brands ditching their websites for Facebook pages, YouTube channels and Twitter feeds, the future is likely to engender platforms combining to offer a more complete picture of the brand experience.

Brands need to understand how and why their consumers will engage with these channels before deciding which strategy to take.

OPINION – THE VIEW FROM DIAGEO

– Bryony Stickells, Head of digital, Diageo

You have to start with the consumer, who they are, where they engage with a brand and what they want to engage with. Then consider what channels suit the brand. Gordon’s drinkers, for example, are less confident with social media than people who enjoy Smirnoff.

Social spaces have their uses in hosting community-based conversations, but they are not so good for hosting rich content. For that, the consumer would expect to go to a brand website.

However, the days of lavish £200,000 websites are over. What will emerge will be content that is more interactive and richer, which is what consumers expect. Rather than being mere repositories for information, websites will connect to social networks and platforms.

Websites remain important. They allow you to represent the brand in the way you want. This is not the case with social media or apps, as their set formats reduce brands’ creative licence.

Baileys launched a Facebook page before Christmas for its target audience of women in their mid 20s to 30s who are really up for conversations.

In future, it will be about how to encourage regular and quick chats and reward loyalty via the relationship programme.

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk by Stuart Derrick, 02 February 2011, 12:00AM