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February 10 2014

How to Align Search With the Rest of Your Campaigns

Regardless of vertical or brand, the path to purchase is complex. Your target audience doesn't see channels - they perceive your brand across the entire digital and offline spectrum as a continuous experience. In order to get the most out of each point of interaction, it's vital to ensure learnings and strategies from one channel are brought into others, and search is a fantastic place to start.

Search is the first point of convergence between brand perception and action. It's a user-initiated opportunity to reinforce messaging from other channels, yet search marketers all too often operate in a vacuum, focused on optimizing this channel but without information on what initiatives are happening in other channels. Below is a list of easy-to-implement opportunities to connect strategies from other channels to search marketing initiatives, and vice versa. Read more...

More about Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Business, Advertising, and Marketing

February 03 2014

YouTube's 10 Most-Shared Ads in January

With Super Bowl ad season in full swing, January saw brands bring their A-game in preparation for the big day.

A few brands held fast, intent on debuting their masterpiece advertisements on Super Bowl Sunday, while others decided to release them online a bit early. Hey, you're paying $4 million — might as well get your money's worth, right?

Compiled by Unruly Media, the list of YouTube's 10 most-shared ads of January feature some extremely creative, funny and heartfelt pieces that have more to do with storytelling than direct branding. A robot devil baby, a lion whisperer and an undercover Arnold Schwarzenegger are just some of the highlights. Read more...

More about Youtube, Advertising, Online Marketing, Features, and Viral Marketing

December 09 2013

Is CPE the Best Way to Quantify ROI?

Millions of consumers saw your last digital campaign, which means they physically laid eyes on it, giving you some juicy numbers for a case study and bragging rights in your competitive circles.

But what impact did those ads really have? Any lasting effect at all? Were there any converts out of that massive nameless, faceless audience? To know, you might want to analyze your cost per engagement.

In our Metrics That Matter series, we've talked to marketers to get their opinions and advice on evaluating just how engaged their audiences are — and how this translates into ROI. Read more...

More about Marketing, Online Marketing, Engagement, Business, and Advertising

December 08 2013

How to Optimize Your Marketing in Real Time

Attention is the currency of the Internet, and the brands that can capture and capitalize on it stand to gain a great deal. Their conversions increase, their acquisition rate will improve and their bounce rate will lower. Perhaps just as importantly for businesses, marketers will be able to know if the time and money they invested in creating a campaign was well spent.

“You have to be obsessed, diligent, genuine and personal to win over your customers at every turn. To keep customers happy and engaged across every channel, you have to be customer-obsessed first and foremost,” says Michael Blumenfeld, consultant for U.S. financial/insurance services at Maxymiser. Read more...

More about Marketing, Online Marketing, A B Testing, Business, and Supported

August 30 2012

5 New Ways to Improve Your Facebook EdgeRank

Brands have learned that success with a Facebook page isn’t just about fan numbers, but also about how many fans see their posts. Facebook’s news feed algorithm -- called EdgeRank -- controls that visibility.

Of course, optimizing a news feed so that it bumps up your EdgeRank is a complicated recipe that varies with each brand, the kind of content it posts, and its fans. There have been hundreds of blog posts written about this subject, but here are five completely new ways to get better results.

1. Post Photos
The Facebook news feed algorithm appears to be calculated both per fan and per type of post. That means a person might see Coca-Cola’s photo posts, but not the compa…
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More About: Facebook, contributor, features, online marketing

How to get Brands and Agencies to Use Your Startup

It’s typical to see hundreds of startups competing for a share in brand media campaigns. Entrepreneurs are constantly pitching a diverse range of platforms but they all want the same thing: some of those brand and agency dollars.

The problem is that even though startups solve important social business problems, agencies or brands can’t use them because implementation of the platform is not practical or the sales strategy leaves much to be desired.

So here’s the deal: If you want a brand or agency to leverage your startup then you need to focus on specific product criteria and certain business development techniques.

Go SaaS
Software as a service (SaaS) is a software del…
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More About: brands, contributor, features, online marketing

August 27 2012

7 Tenets for Branded Content Creators

That you're reading this article for free, either online or from a mobile app, and probably found it through a "friend" you've never met, makes the following point: Journalism might not be dead, but it isn't breathing normally.

Robert McChesney, author of Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out The Lights, argues the journalism industry is in a crisis. The decline in reporting jobs, coupled with the rise in public relations spending, is re-routing the paths of would-be journalists to careers in corporate communications, resulting in today’s out-of-whack 4-to-1 publicist-to-journalist ratio.

But a third option is emerging: brand journalism. The social web has given rise to new e…
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More About: brand marketing, contributor, features, online journalism, online marketing

August 26 2012

August 24 2012

5 Companies Changing the Way We Shop


Consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping online, and that may forever change the way we browse and buy products.

Compared to a year ago, ecommerce is up 15%, according to new data from comScore. The report indicates consumers spent $43.2 billion in online purchases last quarter, meaning it’s the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. It also found 42% of ecommerce purchases included free shipping, a fact that may be contributing to shoppers’ willingness to buy online.

Some reports have predicted ecommerce will be a nearly $300-billion industry in the United States by 2015. With so many consumers moving their shopping transactions to the web, it's hard to ig…
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More About: contributor, features, online marketing, online shopping

August 23 2012

7 Ways YouTube Can Grow Its Platform

Is YouTube going away anytime soon? No. Not when 72 hours of video are uploaded to it every minute, and it gets more than 800 million unique hits each month.

More About: Facebook, YouTube, contributor, features, online marketing

August 21 2012

10 Google+ Circles Marketers Should Follow

It's true that marketers tend to rely on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to remain at the forefront of industry news, but they also tend to neglect the full potential that Google+ offers as a news source. Adding key people to your circle and following the shared circles others have curated on Google+ can help fill your feed with relevant content that's worth reading.

To get started, follow these Google+ circles for insights about marketing, technology, digital branding, social media, and blogging.

1. Active Tech Journalists and Thought Leaders

Take a look at tech evangelist Robert Scoble’s Google+ circle of tech journalists and thought leaders. Marketers can benefit from foll…
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More About: Google +1, contributor, features, online marketing, small business tips

August 10 2012

How Big Brands Can Emulate Facebook’s Promoted Posts


In May, Facebook announced it would be rolling out its new Promoted Post feature. For those who aren’t familiar, Promoted Posts let brands with 400 to 100,000 fans pay to insert a post into their fans' news feeds. The post must be less than three days old and the pricing and reach are predetermined by Facebook. Although this was pretty exciting news for smaller brands and businesses, larger brands with big fan bases are out of luck. Or are they?

Recently, Facebook also made some changes to their ads API and Power Editor, allowing for ads managers to have much more granular control over ads. Through these changes, larger brands can create ad units that work in the exact same way as…
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More About: Facebook, Marketing, contributor, features, online marketing

August 09 2012

4 Ecommerce Experiences to Learn From

Brian Honigman is the digital marketing manager at Marc Ecko Enterprises. He ensures a polished brand experience across all channels. Follow Brian @BrianHonigman and on Google+.

Online shopping still hasn’t overtaken the traditional brick-and-mortar retail store, but according to eMarketer it’s projected that U.S. online shoppers will spend a total of $224.2 billion by the end of 2012. That’s a huge opportunity for online retailers. The fundamental problem is that almost every major brand has an online shopping experience in place, and with growing competition it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.

If you're wondering how your company can stand out, here are four instances of …
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More About: contributor, ecommerce, features, online marketing

5 Reasons Your Branded Content Is Failing

You’re a brand (hello, brand!), and you’ve decided to invest in brand publishing. It’s the hot new thing, and you hear there’s serious ROI behind it, so you figure what the hell.

You tell your ad agency about your new interest in this kind of content. They rave about how they’ve invested in a team of editors and journalists in preparation for this exact moment. (Translation: they have a vendor in mind to outsource the work.) You start posting on your blog every day, but 60% of your traffic is coming from your own PR team.

Is this worth the investment? No. But it can be.

The fact is that agencies aren’t publishers, and getting people to watch and read things you m…
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More About: Marketing, brands, contibutor, features, online marketing

August 08 2012

August 07 2012

The Impact of U.S. Privacy Laws on Enterprise Marketing

Many CMOs see social networks and mobile apps as the new grail of marketing, a golden ticket to fostering customer engagement. Whether or not this proves true, the rise of social-mobile means many companies are collecting massive amounts of information with the assistance of third-party software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors.

These new engagement strategies and information storage models are creating important new challenges for enterprises, including those arising from the inappropriate use or disclosure of protected personally identifiable information.

In the United States companies must deal with several hundred state laws governing the capture of personal data, including soci…
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More About: Marketing, contributor, features, online marketing, online privacy

August 03 2012

5 Things Your Digital Agency Isn’t Telling You


Chances are your digital firm is a passionate bunch, devoted 100% to delivering sound, successful communications strategies to its clients. However, as part of any valued relationship, they should be providing you -- the client -- with counsel that may not always be easy to swallow.

Below are five things you may never hear from your digital half. It's the kind of stuff guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers and rate high on the squirm-factor scale. But that’s not always a bad thing. So, if your digital partners haven’t brought these possible issues up, don't be afraid to take the lead.

1. You May Not be a Thought Leader
Is your point of view in step with your organization? Do y…
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More About: Marketing, contributor, features, online marketing

August 02 2012

5 Tech Companies That Get Content Marketing Right

How many tech companies do you think have corporate blogs? Given the buzz around content marketing and its importance to branding and reputation building, you'd think most would.

Think again. Fewer than 21% of technology companies have a corporate blog, according to a recent report from Percussion Software. That's problematic since the same report also suggests that companies with great content on their blogs are perceived to have better, higher-quality products, and a more established reputation.

To be clear, we're not talking about the official Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook blogs, as their audiences are brand loyal and even product updates count as a good read. It’s the sm…
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More About: content marketing, contributor, features, online marketing, technology

August 01 2012

February 26 2012

5 Clever Social Media Campaigns To Learn From

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

You don’t have to be in the market for a Super Bowl ad to learn the world’s biggest marketers. In fact, as a quick trip to Facebook illustrates, social media has a leveling effect: Whether you’re Coca-Cola or Jones Soda, your Facebook Page looks pretty much the same. Coke’s billions won’t buy a dedicated wing on Twitter, either.

With this in mind, the following social media campaigns from marketers big and small are designed to be idea generators. This isn’t a ranking of the most effective social media campaigns of the year, but rather the ones that have the most to offer an entrepreneur with big ideas and a not-so-big marketing budget.

1. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese’s Jinx

Last March, the venerable Kraft brand launched an interesting campaign on Twitter: Whenever two people individually used the phrase “mac & cheese” in a tweet, Kraft sent both a link pointing out the “Mac & Jinx” (as in the childhood game Jinx.) The first one to reply back got five free boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese plus a t-shirt.

What you can learn from this: This is a low-cost way to track down potential fans on Twitter. All you have to do is search a given term and identify two people who tweet the same phrase at (roughly) the same time. In return, you’ll gain goodwill, a likely follower and probably some good word-of-mouth buzz on the social network.

2. Ingo’s Face Logo

When Swedish ad agencies Grey Stockholm and Ogilvy Stockholm merged last year, they wanted to get social media fans involved. The two agencies asked fans to participate by signing into Facebook to see the new name. Every time new people logged on to the dedicated site, the logo added their profile picture. With every picture, the logo got a little bigger, until 2,890 fan photos comprised the full name, Ingo, over a four-hour period.

What you can learn from this: This was another inexpensive way to get fans literally enmeshed with the brand. Another alternative is to create a real-life mosaic based on pictures of your Facebook fans, a project that Mashable recently completed.

3. BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota’s Human Doing

What better way to illustrate the plight of the common man than an actual common man? That was the thinking behind a BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota program last year that put Scott Jorgenson, a St. Paul resident, in a glass apartment in the Mall of America for a month. To demonstrate the recuperative effects of exercise, Jorgenson was put on a workout routine for the month that compelled him to exercise three to five times a day, in 10-minute spurts. In a social media twist, Twitter and Facebook followers dictated the type of exercise for each session.

What you can learn from this: Creating an event, especially one that involves social media fans, is an alternative to launching an ad campaign. Humanizing a problem for which your company provides a solution is also a good idea.

4. GranataPet’s Foursquare-Enabled Billboard

Pet food brand GranataPet earned worldwide attention last year for its billboard in Agenta, Germany. This wasn’t just any billboard, though. It was rigged so that if a consumer checked in on Foursquare, the billboard would dispense some of the company’s dog food. Someone from Granata’s ad agency filmed the billboard in action, and the video now has more than 50,000 views on YouTube (in various iterations.)

What you can learn from this: In the social media age, a single ad or a single billboard can generate images, press and videos, but only if it’s clever enough.

5. Reinert Sausages’s Wurst-Face App

Another German brand, Reinert Sausages, transcended its roots with a clever Facebook app that let users upload their photo and receive a “Wurst Face,” a graven image of themselves in cold cuts. The name “Wurst Face” comes from the extra piece of sausage that kids get for free at the butcher.

What you can learn from this: If you can create an app that’s social, fun and brand-appropriate, it will function more effectively than even a high-budget ad campaign.

More Small Business Resources From OPEN Forum:

- The Quick and Dirty Guide to Tumblr for Small Business
- Community Managers Share Best Productivity Apps and Tools
- 5 Tips For Using LinkedIn’s Mobile Site

Kraft image courtesy of Flickr, Lulu Hoeller

More About: Facebook, facebook marketing, features, mashable, online marketing, open forum, social media marketing, Twitter, Twitter marketing

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