Archive for the ‘Advertising Trends’ Category

Free Email Account

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Why Using Free Email Services Are Bad for Business

A free email account says “we’re not willing to take the relatively small expense to make sure we have reliable email”. “ This business doesn’t care about their public image, they don’t care about using real email, and they don’t seriously care about using the internet to communicate with their customers.”

The company which is using a free e-mail account might be completely committed to their customers, but using a free email account doesn’t say that.

There are lot of reasons why not to use free email accounts for business with some explanations on how it impacts your online presence, especially as more than 87% of all company communications are via email, outstripping postal mail, telephone and face-to-face communications to become the most used mode of business communication today. We focus on the top 10  as follows:

1. Hackers Love Free Email Services:

Since the group of people who use free email accounts like gmail, yahoo, hotmail, ymail, mymail, aol and so now. Hackers spend a lot of time trying to hack into these accounts. When a hacker gains access to your email account they will use it to send SPAM and even possibly adult content to your list of contacts which could include your clients, vendors, business partners etc. Protect your business and save yourself that embarrassment by getting your own email address.

2. Risk Getting your email blocked:

If you are using free email services for business and storing your business contacts and your account is hacked, spammers can send out malicious messages from your account. Not only will this annoy your prospects and clients, resulting in them ignoring further messages from you but it could mean that your email address would most likely be tagged as an email address that sends SPAM and blocked by SPAM software all across the internet.

3. Looks Unprofessional:

Despite arguments that free email services are easier to use the fact is a free email account just isn’t professional looking. What do you think of someone you meet online who doesn’t have a professional email address with a business domain name? Aren’t you wary of handing over money to them? You should be. This not only means far fewer responses and closed transactions for the effort and resources you assign to marketing activities but also lowers the perceived value of your products and services.

4. Brand Awareness & Consistency:

Using a free webmail account does nothing to help build your brand. When we use our business email that has the same domain as our website, it’s a shoe-in for people to see what your website is and visit on their own, instead of having to ask. Can you imagine companies like McDonald’s or Apple using Gmail for business?

5. Image

You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you are building a business, you are building an image. The image is one of professionalism & consistency, no matter the industry. So, when you have an office/store location, and a custom domain name for your website, why use to communicate with your clients

6. You Get Want You Paid For:

Because you’re paying nothing for the service, you’re getting exactly what you paid for: nothing.  The free e-mail service providers are under no obligation to do anything for you. They’re well within their rights to ignore you completely, and that’s what most of them do.

7. Separating Business from Personal:

It’s hard enough to keep track of all the emails we receive on a daily basis. With personal free email accounts, we deal with spam, forwards, social engagement invitations and details and much more. Having a separate business email account will ensure that all the emails that you send and receive will be business related only. For the same reasons you keep separate bank accounts for business and personal, it’s equally as important to keep your business communications separate. It would be a shame to miss an email from a prospective client because it was lost in a sea of social emails

8.    Advertising is more difficult

Most free email services have many users and it is unlikely that you will be able to register either your personal or business name with them without adding some other letters or numbers to it. If you have to use an email address like it will be very difficult for your customers to remember. Any time your customer has to recall your email address, or even just type it into an email there is the potential for error and it can be difficult to spot errors if there is no obvious sequence or meaning in the email address

9.    Email limits

Another major issue for businesses which operate a mailing list and send out regular mailings to their customers is the restrictions placed on accounts by many of the free email services.

Free email accounts are an obvious choice for companies and individuals who wish to send out 1000′s of spam emails. In an attempt to restrict this activity by spammers many email providers have introduced limits on the number of emails that you can send out at one time, or a limit on the number of emails you can send in a 24 hour period, or in some cases a limit on both. This creates a major issue if you are a legitimate business with a mailing list. You may not be engaging in sending out spam but you will have to deal with these restrictions. You could spend hours on your computer sending out emails from several free accounts but this is very time consuming, and you would probably be better employed actually running your business.

10. Email Analytics

To be able to improve your email marketing results you need to have a clear insight in your statistics. If you know how many people open your email, click your links and who these people are, you can detect weak points in your email marketing strategy. Statistics give you a great insight in what works and what doesn’t so you can keep improving your emails to maximize results! Free email hosts like Gmail or Hotmail do not provide these reports so you have no idea of your overall email results and possible tweaks in your strategy.

Fake Likes On Facebook

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Why Facebook Hates And Fights Fake Likes

Facebook is launching a campaign to rid its service of fake, or “low-quality”  likes. There are spammy businesses out there that prey on Facebook page admins with offers to get them thousands of likes to their pages.  In a blog post, Facebook site integrity engineer Matt Jones wrote that “The spammers behind fake likes have one goal — to make money off of Page owners without delivering any value in return.” He said that “They make their profit by promising and generating likes to Facebook Page administrators who typically don’t understand that fake likes won’t help them achieve their business goals.”

It’s not hard to locate these spammers. A Google search for “buy Facebook likes” yielded plenty of offers, including one company that posted an entire menu of options, including “10K Likes for $480.” For $1,200 you can buy like 50K likes.

Jones wrote that the company has a “strong incentive to aggressively go after the bad actors behind fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes.” He said that businesses that buy these fake likes won’t achieve real results and “could end up doing less business on Facebook if the people they’re connected to aren’t real.” He added, “Since these fraudulent operations are financially motivated businesses, we focus our energy on making this abuse less profitable for the spammers.”

Likes are great, but only if they're real, says Facebook

Likes are great, but only if they’re real, says Facebook

Facebook has both automated and manual systems in place to try to catch these types of fake likes, “including blocking accounts and removing fake likes all at once.” The company has also sued spammers in the past and has obtained “nearly $2 billion in legal judgments,” so far. A judgment doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook has been able to collect from the offending businesses that it’s gone after.

Others weigh-in

Having 10,000 fans in India is great, but they’re not going to buy anything or visit you if you’re a furniture store in Sydney, Australia.

Not just Facebook

Social media spam affects other services as well. It was just as easy for me find web pages selling “TwitterTWTR -8.84% retweets” such as 10,000 retweets for $45 or 50,000 for $150. There are also spammy services that sell YouTube views and Instagram followers as well as LinkedInLNKD -3.84% connections. In addition, there are companies that sell text-links to try to trick Google into upping the page rank of sites that are linked from other sites. A few years ago Google started punishing websites with these bogus links by reducing their own page rank, but — as a web site administrator — I still get plenty of offers from businesses wanting to pay me to place these links on my page.

Culture obsesses over popularity

We increasing live in a world where businesses, celebrities, journalists and just regular people, are judged by the number of followers, friends or likes they have accumulated. But sheer numbers of followers or likes don’t tell the real story. Even if they were obtained without paying for them, numbers don’t necessarily translate into genuine interactions whether that’s financial transactions, genuine retweets, clicks or just plain interest.

The reality is that there is a big difference between people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, versus those you have simply “collected” by whatever means are at your disposal.



Five ( 5 ) Steps to Successful Email Marketing

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

As well as attracting customers by sharing your news through SEO and social media, you should also connect with them directly.

Email marketing is one of the most effective online marketing channels, with a return on investment of $40 for every dollar spent.* Email helps your business stay top-of-mind, builds trust and customer loyalty, and is a great way of keeping in touch with both existing customers and new prospects.

But how can you make sure your emails aren’t deleted in the slew of spam that bombards customers every day? It’s just like everything else in marketing: have a strategy! Here are five steps to a successful campaign, each with a set of rules for making them happen. Follow them and you won’t go wrong.

1. Create a Plan

Know the goal of your email BEFORE you send. Who are you trying to reach and with what information?
Get to know your audience. Are you talking to customers or prospects? Are you reaching out to industry experts and peers, or to followers of your brand? What do they already know? Why would they want to hear from your brand?

Be purposeful. When you know who you’re talking to, the goal of the campaign becomes clear. Are you rewarding existing customers with a special deal or promotion? An introductory offer may be your route, for example.

2. Build a Contact List
Get permission. To avoid being relegated to the spam folder, get permission to send email. Include sign-up buttons on your webpage or put a sign-up book out if you have a store location. Use incentives to get customers to sign up.

Set up auto-responders. These can welcome people to your list, send out birthday reminders and special offers that go out on specific days.

Keep your list up to date. Segment your list. You can divide it geographically, demographically, or by purchase activity for greater relevancy.

3. Craft your Message and Image

Keep your message simple. Get to the point, and quickly. Be yourself. Write as if you’re having a conversation, and don’t be afraid to let the personality of your brand shine through! Put your company name in the “From” field. Use a compelling subject line. Avoid using all caps and phrases like “Click Here!” or your message will go straight to spam. Check your formatting. Check that everything appears as you’re expecting in the body of the email by sending a test email to yourself. Have a clear call to action. What do you want the reader to do? Tell them, and then make it easy for them to do it!

4. Hit ‘Send’ (after doing your homework)

Experiment with timing. Ideal timing of your messages will vary depending on your business and customers, so finding your groove may take some test runs.
Be consistent in frequency. As a rule, don’t overdo it so that people feel like they’re being stalked, but don’t go for months without sending an email.

5. Analyze and Improve!

Track your results. This is essential to making each email campaign more effective than the last.
Test to identify what works. Vary your subject lines, send time, and frequency to find what works best for your brand and customers. Test one variable at a time. Don’t measure everything at once. Three straightforward measurements to start with are bounces, open rates, and click rates. Benchmark against yourself. Compare your results to your own previous campaigns, not to competitors or industry averages.

Look for trends. Identifying trends in your data will point you towards what is connecting with your audience.

Email marketing may seem daunting, but it can be surprisingly easy with the right tools and it can deliver real results for your business.

4 Keys to a Successful Mobile Web Marketing Strategy

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Does your business have a mobile site that is designed with your mobile customer in mind? Is it a branded, usable, engaging experience?

If the answer is no, or if you’re not sure, you are not alone. According to Google, four out of five websites are not optimized for mobile consumption, and the bounce rates of such sites are typically over 80%.

If your site isn’t mobile friendly now, it’s time to make it so. People love the mobile Web.

Nearly three-quarters of smartphone owners access emails, and subsequently link to content, via their devices. And many of them like to shop using their smartphones, prompted by fellow users with whom they interact by phone while shopping.

Such mobile interactions push the user through to a website, and if that site isn’t optimized for mobile, then the opportunity to engage with that consumer is lost. Consider that 50% of users abandon a page if it hasn’t loaded within 10 seconds, and three out of five of those users never return.

You can’t afford to lose that many potential customers. And marketers now realize the enormity of this new channel’s potential for their business, but few have the knowledge of “how to mobilize.” So, I am glad to share with you some key steps to implementing a successful mobile Web strategy.

1. Understand the mobile consumer
Do some market research on mobile consumers. What information are they looking for, what are their specific habits and interests, what do they want to find out or do, what triggers them to do so, and where and when are they doing it?

Understand that people always have their mobile on and to hand. That personal relationship with a mobile device is what makes the mobile Web so powerful. Mobile consumers are using their phones for instant interaction with brands. This is great for you because if they see your ad campaign in print or TV, they want instant engagement and will reach for their mobile phone.

2. Analyze your mobile consumer—you have the data now
Analyse your website traffic and specifically mobile device users, the 20% of mobile users who patiently waited for your desktop Web pages to load on their mobile browsers.
Where did they go, what questions did they ask, what content was relevant to them, when did they use it, how long were they there? Analyze the 50% who bailed out: What were they trying to view, and where might they have gone instead?

Begin building a picture of the behaviors and needs of those who visit your site via a mobile device, and use that information as a foundation for your mobile strategy.

3. Optimize your content for a small screen
Find a strong mobile Web technology platform provider (or an agency that uses such technology) that has already addressed the problem of delivering the same experience across the scores of different mobile devices out there. You’ll want one that handles rich media and rich, interactive mobile experiences; delivers HTML5 (but also mark-up for older devices); collects user data; and has reporting and campaign management built into it.

Avoid using simple/quick site builders such as screen scraping or transcoding, which do a poor job of rendering your existing Web content. If you are serious about your brand, don’t compromise it on mobile.

If you plan to go it alone, then you’ll need a really smart Web team in-house who understand mobile best-practices.

4. Apply what you’ve learned
Apply the findings from your Web analysis. If you’ve discovered 90% of mobile visitors to your desktop site are simply looking for your physical location, then prioritize developing an easily discovered map and some geolocation functionality, then embed other content around it.

That’s a simplified example. Here’s a more complicated one, from a recent client, a baby food brand. We discovered that mobile visitors to the client’s site were, not surprisingly, new or expectant mothers. A large majority of them were accessing the site after midnight looking for feeding advice (presumably with baby in arms). Based on that information, we helped the client build its mobile experience around advice and support, thereby strengthening the client’s relationship with its site visitors and increasing purchases with tracked “special offers.”

Learn from the best

Take inspiration from these businesses and brands that have optimized for mobile and gained tremendous results:
• Amazon has made mobile accessible and trustworthy; it has integrated mobile with the Web experience, and the process works quickly and reliably.
• eBay reports processing one mobile transaction every second.
• Domino’s Pizza published recently that it had received 50% of UK orders via mobile and topped £1million sales via mobile in a single week.
• McDonald’s has been highly innovative with its mobile approach, using localized voucher codes and offers to drive customers in. Think about ways in which your own business could tap into the location-based capabilities that mobile uniquely presents.
• Since launching its dedicated mobile site, BuySpares (UK) recorded a 31% increase in revenue.

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

With smartphone’s taking the majority share in mobile phone usage in America this year, it’s easy to see that the future of Web is mobile. No one can afford to ignore it.

Astute advertisers, developers, and brands are creating experiences that connect, convert, and engage their audiences before the mobile revolution consumes them.

Still on the fence regarding whether to make the move to mobile? We at AD:60 have compiled an infographic that lists 10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site. The list should obliterate any reasons against putting mobile at the top of your digital must-haves.

Here are a couple of stats from the infographic:
8% of all digital traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
60% of smartphone users make more than $100,000 per year—double the US household income median.

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site

Google’s Knowledge Graph and SEO: Search Gets Smarter

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

In this article, you’ll learn…
• How Google’s Knowledge Graph affects searchers
• How Knowledge Graph affects SEO
• Why Google is getting smarter

Google recently entered the semantic search sphere with its Knowledge Graph update.

Semantic search changes the way a search engine “thinks” about a search term.
For example, if you searched for “Leonardo” five years ago, you’d get a list of websites featuring content that included the word “Leonardo.” Today, Google understands that Leonardo is a name, likely relating to a Renaissance artist, an actor/producer, or—in some cases—a ninja turtle.

Let’s say you’re searching for the “da Vinci” variety. Based on your search history and a slew of other things, you’ll either be asked to choose or be taken directly to one of those pages where you’ll receive some background facts, information on some of Leonardo’s famous works, and some related searches—all generally handy information—without leaving Google.

What does Knowledge Graph mean for searchers?
Google now provides the following:

• Disambiguation. Now that everyone, their moms, their companies, their dogs, and their kids’ bands all have a Web presence, Google has had to figure out what a searcher actually wants. Thanks to Knowledge Graph, those options are easy to find, helping eliminate the need for re-querying.

• Topic summaries. Once a searcher has narrowed things down, Google provides a fact summary (not unlike a Wikipedia page) that contains handy, related information and useful links.

What does Knowledge Graph mean for SEO?
As search engines evolve, they’re getting closer and closer to providing humans with exactly what they’re searching for. The problem with that from a search-engine-optimization (SEO) perspective is that many search marketers have made a lot of money gaming the system and getting sites without relevant content to rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here are three ways SEO will be affected by Knowledge Graph:
1. Google gets it. Thanks to the information it collects from users, Google now has a certain level of comprehension about each query (which, in and of itself, is one of the most impressive advancements in artificial intelligence).

So, a useless site packed with all the right SEO elements is more likely to be flagged as spam than ever before, making unethical/brute-force ranking strategies far less likely to succeed.

The Google spider is likely also beginning to recognize blatantly rehashed/reworded content, too, making duplicate content trickier to avoid.

2. Users are less likely to manually re-query. When a user doesn’t find exactly what she was looking for, the old method was simple: search again (i.e., re-query). Blowing the old “Did You Mean” out of the water, Google now provides helpful search suggestions based on the aforementioned search-term comprehension and more re-query data than you can reasonably shake a stick at. Therefore, ranking on esoteric rearrangements of search terms is becoming a thing of the past.

3. Google gives the people what they want. Sometimes you just need an answer, and if you can get that from the new fact summaries… you have no reason to go anywhere else. Sites offering freely distributed information surrounded by ads just won’t fly anymore. Users won’t click through to “read the full definition” if Google provides it right up front.

Content is still king
The real takeaway here is that good, fresh, engaging content is still the king of the Internet.

As search engines start thinking more like humans, the best ranking strategy will be to give people what they’re searching for rather than tricking them into clicking on ads, leading them through link farm after link farm, or otherwise misleading them in any way.

That isn’t to say that you should stop trying to use keywords altogether; just use them naturally. Google can now comprehend keywords, so keyword phrases that benefited from non-semantically relevant reordering just don’t have the power they once did (i.e., a reordering of the words that didn’t significantly change the meaning such as “inventor Leonardo” and “Leonardo inventor” mean the same thing, and they produce similar search results).

Google introduces a new display business trends report for publishers

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Advertising on the web is certainly at a crossroads. With huge companies like Facebook figuring out how to monetize its userbase, trends in display ads are more important than they’ve ever been.

Google, via its purchase of DoubleClick, has launched a new report called “Display Business Trends: Publisher Edition” to shed some light on what’s working in online advertising, and more importantly, what’s not. Google could keep this information close to its vest, but by asserting itself as a leader in the advertising space, the customers will keep coming.

Here’s what the company had to say on the DoubleClick blog today:

As the display industry evolves, we’re collectively discovering and analyzing trends that point towards promising opportunities and paths to growth. This is the year where we’re doubling down on publishers, giving you the tools you need to make the most from today’s digital media landscape. One of the ways we’re helping publishers navigate their way to success is by providing new sources of industry knowledge and benchmark data. So today we’re introducing a new report, “Display Business Trends: Publisher Edition”

The Publisher Edition will be the first in a series of publications looking at aggregated global data from across our display advertising solutions. We’re doing this to generate metrics that will answer a few of of the most common questions we hear from our partners, and put some data behind long-held industry assumptions.

Some of these trends include the death of the 468×60 banner ad, which now only accounts for 3% of Google’s ad impressions. Also, the company says that mobile is continuing to explode as “mobile web impressions on the Ad Exchange and AdSense platforms increasing by 250% from the third to fourth quarter in 2011.”

The company will be holding a DoubleClick “Insights” livestream on June 5th, where conversations on these topics are sure to come up.

Multicultural Is the New Mainstream for Brewers in Search of Growth

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

As Hispanics, African-Americans Become Crucial, MillerCoors, A-B Ease Off Frat-Boy Approach

The color lines are blurring in the beer business.

In an emerging multicultural strategy, brewers are making fewer overt appeals to African-Americans and Hispanics in targeted media. Instead, marketers are finding subtle ways to talk to all demographics at once in general-market campaigns meant to appeal to a drinking audience that is growing more diverse by the day as more millennials turn 21. Here’s what viewers can expect: Fewer ads filled with frat-boy antics and more spots with music, including from hip-hop artists with crossover appeal.

“Ethnic marketing is now the mainstream,” said Paul Chibe, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s VP-U.S. marketing.
It’s really a matter of survival. Hispanics and African-Americans are expected to drive 70% of beer growth from 2000 to 2020, according to industry estimates cited by Heineken USA. But rather than segmenting the markets, some brands have found better results with more inclusive general- market advertising. African-Americans have influence over white drinkers, and Hispanic audiences are so large and acculturated that it’s imperative to speak to both in general-market media.

“Brands are finally seizing the opportunity and moving beyond this age-old assumption that you have to lead mass efforts through general-market insights,” said Ahmad Islam, managing partner of multicultural agency Commonground, which works on MillerCoors brands. “The idea that you can actually lead with more of an urban sensibility in the right context and still have relevance to the masses is … being more broadly embraced.”

And there is some evidence the new approaches are working. Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite all had higher perception scores among millennial African-Americans and Hispanics this spring, according to a survey by YouGov BrandIndex.

This is good news for multicultural shops, which are winning more business from brewers, including general-market assignments. (Notably, when MillerCoors recently reshuffled its agency roster, Commonground and Hispanic shop Bromley survived unscathed, even as the brewer cut ties with longtime Coors agency Interpublic Group of Cos.’ DraftFCB in favor of a newly formed entity at WPP.)

Coors Light is doing more testing of general-market ads with Hispanic and African-American audiences “to make sure they see themselves in the work just as much as the overall market [does],” said Al Patel, VP-multicultural marketing for MillerCoors. The brewer had historically underperformed with Hispanics and African-Americans. But the two demographics drove all of the brand’s growth last year, Mr. Patel said, helping Coors Light pass Budweiser as the nation’s second-bestselling beer behind Bud Light.

Sometimes the smallest details matter the most. Consider an ad Commonground did for Coors Light a couple years ago featuring an African- American man boarding the iconic Coors Light cold train. He is shown leaving work, giving his colleagues a traditional handshake. But when he gets onboard, he greets his buddies with a “dap,” a more casual, rhythmic handshake common in African-American communities.

The contrast hits “what is a reality for a lot African-Americans, especially male professionals, which is living in this dual world: The way I have to behave in my professional world vs. the way I behave and function when I’m with my friends,” Mr. Islam said. While that subtlety might escape a white viewer, there is a more universal message: There’s nothing like a cold beer after a long workday. One of Coors Light’s most successful general-market spots was originally conceived as an African-American-targeted campaign. It features hip-hop mogul Ice Cube arguing with a bottle of Coors Light over which is colder, Cube or the brew.

When Commonground first approached MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England with the ad, he told the shop that it “feels much, much bigger than just African-American,” Mr. Islam recalled. So they unleashed it into the general market last year. It was the right call. The ad stole the show when it made its debut at a distributors meeting, drawing big cheers from the overwhelmingly white crowd of wholesalers.

MillerCoors still targets specific audiences, even ramping up efforts to reach Hispanics in their neighborhoods with point-of-sale messaging touting its sponsorship of a Mexican soccer league. But even within Hispanic communities, lines are blurring. For instance, Bromley, the brand’s Hispanic agency, used to create separate Coors Light TV spots for Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. The Puerto Rican ads were more urban, while the Mexican spots featured Western gear such as cowboy hats.

But as the percentage of U.S.-born Hispanics has grown, the ads evolved to include partygoers of all ethnicities, including some spots that are running in the general market. The ads are “portraying folks as how they see their world. [And] they see their worlds as pretty diverse worlds, so it has to be relevant and real in terms of how they live their lives,” said Ernest Bromley, CEO of the shop.

Inclusion was also on the mind of Heineken USA when it launched its “Legends” campaign last year. One spot shows a man charming his way into a lavish party filled with people of all colors, nationalities and cultures. At the same time, the importer scrapped its African-American-targeted TV ads because the “Legends” campaign tested exceedingly well with the demographic, according to Heineken.

Anheuser-Busch, meantime, is making music a bigger part of its advertising because “music has a cultural relevance that is transcendent,” Mr. Chibe said. The brewer has given heavy mass-media airplay to a Bud Light spot featuring Cuban-American hip-hop star Pitbull by Hispanic agency LatinWorks. And A-B recently announced a Labor Day weekend music festival called “Budweiser Made in America,” headlined and curated by Jay-Z and featuring rock, hip-hop, R&B, Latin and dance acts.

Social Media Ad Spend to Reach $9.8B by 2016

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Social media advertising revenue—now dominated by Facebook and Twitter—is forecast to reach $9.8 billion in 2016, up from an estimated $3.8 billion in 2011, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.0%, according to BIA/Kelsey’s US Local Media Annual Forecast.

Growth in local markets is projected to be particularly robust over the five-year period, driven by crucial changes to Facebook’s and Twitter’s ad platforms that are offering better opportunities for smaller brands to reach consumers online, according to the report.

Below, additional findings from BIA/Kelsey’s five-year social ad spending forecast.
Social display, which dominates social media advertising* is projected to climb from $3.6 billion in 2011 to $9.2 billion in 2016—a CAGR of 20.6%.

The segment of non-display ad formats, such as Twitter’s promoted products, is expected to grow robustly, from $140 million in 2011, to $630 million in 2016, a 35.2% CAGR.

The local segment of US social media ad revenue is forecast to grow at a 29.8% CAGR over the next five years, from $840 million in 2011, to $3.1 billion in 2016.

The national segment of social ad spend is expected to reach $6.7 billion in 2016, up from $3.0 billion in 2011.
“Better performance, coupled with richer formats and creative elements, like video, will be the principal social ad market growth drivers,” said Jed Williams, analyst and program director for Social Local Media at BIA/Kelsey.

“Social advertising’s local business penetration will steadily increase as SMBs’ understanding of social media deepens, and as the networks continually improve the ease of onboarding and campaign management.”

“Facebook opening its Ads API to more partners, including those that work with SMBs, and Twitter’s self-serve platform will help to ‘democratize’ social ads, which will ultimately lead to more local growth.”

* BIA/Kelsey defines social media advertising as money spent on ad formats across social networks, excluding virtual goods and rewards, social gaming, social commerce, and social marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Inbound Marketing is a term that has been coined by Hubspot’s co-founder, Brian Halligan, and it refers to a new Marketing Strategy, one that is focused on having the prospective clients actually make the “inbound” call to a company. How does it work? Well before getting into that we need to understand where this strategy evolved from and what the “old” Strategy of Outbound Marketing was all about.

Outbound Marketing is a method that focused on interrupting and disrupting a prospective client. The 3 most common methods were:

Cold Calling: This method got so bad that the government had to step in and actually regulate the practice by instilling the “Do Not Call” list. Although that list did a lot to curtail these pesky telemarketers, the practice has not died and is still very much in use. Especially within the B2B arena.

Direct Mail: This method resulted in most of the consumers receiving an overwhelming majority of “junk mail” that the consumers’ relevant mail was hidden within the piles of offers and promotions that were being sent to their homes. With an average 2% read rate, Direct Mail just became a numbers game, and it used the law of large numbers.

Trade Shows: Of the 3 method this one is the most innocuous one since nobody forced any consumer to attend a trade show; however, getting the attention of prospective clients is extremely difficult and expensive. Difficult because in a very small area there are dozens if not hundreds of exhibitors vying for their attention, thus competition is exceedingly high. Expensive because trade show booths have gotten overly priced and a Marketing team has to be transported and lodged during those days. The return on such events can be questionable.

So what is Inbound Marketing? It is a strategy that uses a number of methods that will attract prospective customers by earning their attention. This “inbound” attention is attracted by using Blogging, Social Media, and SEO:

Blogging: People are hungry for content. They want it and they want it bad. They will get it! One way or the other. There is no website that can be all things to all people; therefore, this opens up the opportunity for blogs that can focus on niche subjects. By regularly and frequently publishing relevant content, a blog can generate a vast amount of traffic for a website.

Social Media: We are human and have emotions. These emotions drive us to have relationships. Technology has allowed us to transcend these relationship from the real world to the digital one. In comes the multitude of Social Networks such as Facebook, Tweeter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc… By leveraging this vastness of digital relationships, a business can amass quite a following. If this following likes something they will share it with their network. These pre-established relationships, this woven web of digital connections are primed for spreading the word on anything that will connect with their personal preferences. Thus setting that network and striking a chord can lead to a large following and significant online traffic.

SEO: It is a Google’s world and we are just fortunate to live in it. If someone is looking for something there is about 2/3 of a chance that they will use Google to search it. The rest of the people would use either Bing or Yahoo. It is critical to have a website optimized to be found by any of these search engines. Although they keep their algorithms a very closed secret, a number of independent research have demonstrated that ranking is based about 1/3 of “On-Page” factors, and the remaining 2/3 on “Off-Page” factors. “On-Page” means keywords, meta tags, url, outbound links, etc… Mostly things that one can control with a relative level of ease. “Off-Page” means mostly the incoming links to a website. How many are connecting to the website and how authoritative, and relevant are they? This is more challenging to affect but it is definitely not out of one’s control.

Combining these just above mentioned 3 tactics will yield the Inbound Marketing Strategy. One that is proving to have a significantly higher ROI as it significantly reduces the cost of client acquisition. Companies that blog tend to receive on average 55% more online traffic than companies that don’t, and companies that blog tend to receive on average 75% more leads than companies that do not. With stats like that it is difficult to argue against the effectiveness of well crafted Inbound Marketing Strategy.