Ignore.

A study by AdWeek and Harris Interactive provides some interesting stats on which medium ads are most ignored.

Medium of most ignored ads

At first glance its easy to assume that this means that internet banner ads are most ignored and television ads are the most effective. But the study fails to take into account several important factors.

1) Most people fail to recognize what is actually advertising online. When I teach clients and co-workers about search engine marketing, most people are surprised to learn that the sponsored links section at the top and right hand sidebar on search ads are paid ads. There are countless studies about visitors not realizing when they’re on a blog vs. a website. I’m sure a lot of people in this survey couldn’t accurately pick out all the ads on a website, but I’m sure they all recognize commercials on TV and radio.

2) ROI is king right now. Most people might say TV is an effective way to reach them, but who really watches a TV spot and immediately goes out to buy that item. On the advertiser side TV is an excellent reach medium but you can’t really measure and you can’t really target.

3) Mass reach and online ads serve different functions. TV and radio are to get the message out to everyone, if sales occur because of it, fantastic. But these days most people go online to find out more information and shop competitors. TV, radio and newspaper are step 1; online advertising is closer to the end of the funnel (even for offline channels).

I hate reports that just spew out numbers and stats without context.  You can read more here.

Mix.

A recent study shows that two thirds of all online searches are the result of offline media. TV, magazines, word of mouth, radio, direct mail…all that traditional media is pushing people online. Of those who searched for a product or company 39% ended up buying from the brand that motivated their search. What happened to the other 61% and how do you keep your share (and steal some of your competitors)? How do you use those search trends to improve both your online and traditional media placement? How do you make sure your online and traditional efforts are cohesively working together?

Well I’d love to say follow a few simple steps and you’re golden, it’s not that easy. As web is almost all in real time these days, you have to consistently monitor, adjust and analyze.

1) Use the keywords, phrases and terminology that are incorporated in your traditional media. If your TV says you are having a “Spectacular Sale” then buy that search term. People might not remember everything about your ad, but hopefully they catch on to the most important messages. people will then go online to try and fill in the missing pieces of your message to find you.

2) Know what your competitors are doing and buy into those search terms. If you’re trying to steal market share and especially if you’re trying to steal that 61%, then use their traditional and online keywords to build into your search terms. If your competitor is running a direct mail campaign on their anniversary tennis bracelets- buy those keywords!

3) If you are a local store, dealership or a franchise, then piggy back on the investment of national whenever possible. We do it all the time in traditional media; flighting schedules, adding in stations and mimicking parts of their message to make the dollars stretch. Do the same online but geo target (down to the zip code if possible). Don’t work to spend more than national and try to buy 1-3 sponsored spots, but put enough money down to be above thefold to build the association with national within your DMAs.

3) Monitor your website and search analytics throughout your traditional media placement. Figure out how long after your TV campaign starts, does the audience turn online and search for you and when do you see a spike in sales. Use that information to strategically flight your media placement for the best efficiencies. Follow your analytics and sales to determine what media drives your targets online, in store, to the phones or not at all. Some traditional media is hard to track, so tie all you efforts together to figure out how the audience responds to you message and placements.

4) Anticipate the trends and be proactive.

5) Track the offline results as well. Not all of those who moved to online search complete their transaction online so make sure you have a system in place to track the instore visits. Printable coupons, vanity phone numbers, special deals, text campaigns, and surveys can all be put to use .

 

Expired.

I’m a self taught digital girl. Besides one tech class in college, digital was not something ever discussed in all of my communication, advertising or journalism classes. And now I’m solo in the digital department, with no one to collaborate with or learn from. 

Which is why I am always on the search for additional classes, conferences or books that can educate me and comfort me in knowing that I’m up to date and in line with best practices and the newest tools. I’ve looked into traditional schools, MBA programs, extension classes, certificate programs, but they’re all not quite what would work for me.  

So when I noticed new display ads for the University of San Francisco’s certifcate in online marketing on MediaBuyerPlanner.com I click on through (see display does work!) to see what’s available. The ads look decent and send me to a legit landing page. 

usf usf2

 usf3 usf4 

So I’m stoked, finally a viable option for continuing my digital education. I fill out the little form to request more information, although I’m totally annoyed that they require a phone number. Umm its an online marketing class taught completely online, try email. 

Then I’m sent to a Thank You page with early registration dates of December 2008 for a February 2009 program (its April ’09!). The online marketing school is running expired creative or failed to update their landing page for the new semester? Either way its a total FAIL. 

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And then, the 2 emails I recieved within 10 mintues of each other frmo USF went straight to my spam folder. How do you expect me to take you seriously?

Dear USF,

When you’re advertising a online marketing degree program, I recommend hiring people who actually know what they’re doing to set up and execute your digital marketing campaign. I highly doubt you’re school will be able to advance my knowledge if you can’t even get the basics of online adveritisng down. 

Best Regards, 

Erin

Skittles.

A week ago Skittles relaunched their website and it looked strangely familiar…reminiscent of Modernista’s unwebsite, Skittles.com’s site is merely a redirect to social networks, Wikpedia, YouTube and a couple of static pages. 

Initially, the Skittles homepage was pointed at the results page for a ”skittles” twitter search but within a couple of hours there were hundreds of inappropriate tweets making onto the results page. Hilarious for those of us with a juvenile sense of humor, but probably not what Skittles had intended. They have since redirected the homepage to their Wikipedia entry, but those twitter search results are still the redirect for the “chatter” section of the site. 

There was no clear consensus within my Twitter friends if it was genius or a lame attempt to jump on the bandwagon. I can’t understand why would they attempt to feed off of a social network without someone who was actively twittering as the face of the brand? Unless of course Skittles the Cat (@skittles) is the mastermind behind the candy. 

While I applaud the attempt to “go social” and I love the idea of the unwebsite, I really don’t think that it fits with the brand of the product. Once all the attention dies down from the new site, how is the unwebsite going to further the brand, continue to build awareness or make me want some Skittles? Just because the unwebsite is a great idea, doesn’t mean its a great idea for the brand. 

You can read some great posts on the Skittles redesign here, here and here

Now if I could have had a hand in this site redo, I would have taken a look around the internets to see what people were already saying about the brand. Check out what I learned about Skittles in 5 minutes. Starting with my first two Google searchs (auto completes say a lot!):

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Reputation.

My very Southern Grandma Norton once wisely told me that “the only thing a girl can own is her reputation.” True, but hardly applicable to just women these days. Brands need to step up and listen own their online reputation becuase there will always be someone out there calling you a douchebag or a slut.   

81% of consumers read online reviews before purhcasing duringtheir holiday shopping according to MarketingCharts.com and Neilsen Online. While only a fraction of consumers will post reviews or submit complaints a whole lot more will read what those people are saying. If there are consistenly bad posts and no response from you, consumers will seriosuly consider buying from you.  

Do you know what your consumers are saying about you? Are you checking review sites such as Yelp.com as well as the niche review sites (like DealerRater.com for local dealerships)? Do you have a Google alert set to your brand or industry? Do you regularly check to see if Facebook/MySpace groups have formed for or against your brand? Do you monitor Twitter, Brightkite, Friendfeed and Blogs to listen to what your consumers are saying about you, your competitors and your industry?

While social media is fun, display ads easy and search is cheap, online reputation management is a bit more time consuming and harder to grasp. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of brands unwilling to take the lead and spend their time seeking out reviews and taking control.  

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Lemming.

As the end of the year approaches every blogger out there is throwing down their 2009 predictions; I’m jumping off the cliff to throw down my own thoughts on the new year.

But don’t worry is isn’t some haughty predictions list, but merely a top 10 list of my hopes for marketing and technology in 2009. 

1. MySpace will die. Enough of the glitter backgrounds, 10 mintue page downloads and endless random friend requests from half naked teenagers. Most of the cool kids have left anyways. 

2. Everyone will stop hating on Twitter. You know you want to, like that one time in college. Get drunk and blame your experimental tweets on the booze. In four years if you’re not into it anymore you can just say you were going through a phase. Then you can follow me here

3. Spammers will learn correct grammar and proper English. Maybe more people would respond if they could read your spam emails or they contained plausable stories. Really I won the lottery in Nigeria, I didn’t even buy a lottery ticket?!

4. Mobile marketing will finally take off. The last few years have been predicted as The Year for mobile, please finally get big so the masses will figure out what the next big thing will be.

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Death.

Apparently as the market tanks and layoffs run rampant and the sky crumbles around us, several bits of the internet have been pronounced dead. 

First up, Google’s SearchWiki has killed off SEO.

Google has made the SearchWiki function a permananet fixture on Google Search. So now you can organize and make comments on your search results. Your organized results will populate and influence future searches while your comments are made visible to other users who search on the same terms. Read more about how it works from The Telegraph.

SEO is thus ended as consumers have the power to rank and comment on results. No longer can back end tweaks, text edits and SEO the heck out of webpage. Or so some people think. I really don’t think it will have a negative effect on SEO, just force folks to stay relevant, informative and honest. Web 2.0 is all about being social and interactive, so embrace the change and SEO will live on. 

Banner ads have also been pronounced dead (yes, again)

Silicon Valley Insider thinks Banner ads are on their way out of digital media buys and I agree (sort of). As the billboards of online, its hard to measure their effectiveness (even with click throughs and impressions), they tend to only be effective for brand awareness and direct response. There are a bazillion articles and studies that discuss the types of people who click on banners. Lower income, serial clickers, people who know those lips belong to.

So few brands really can utilize banners for much good. I don’t think they’re going away, but there will be a lot more inventory available.  

The End of the Ad World 

I’ve seen a post or two about that. But I’m hoping to keep my job so I will not be promoting that one :)

Cool.

The new search engine Cuil (pronounced as cool) launched earlier this week. Lots of online hype, but I am just not impressed by it.

Interface is interesting, although a bit too much text to read through. Results are just wacky! A post on Current regarding these wacky results asks you to type ‘Jesus’ in the search results…#1 result is Jesus Dress Up. Seriously check out the site.

I’ve typed in client URLs for the search phrase and yet those pages are not served up in the search results. With Google now owning about 90% of all online searches after its acquisition of Yahoo’s search capabilities, I’m glad to see there are some new companies trying to balance it all out. I just wish that Cuil lived up to the hype.