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Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Marketing Management: Are agency creative reviews killing customer response?

March 14th, 2014 No comments

“Practice like you play.”

This truism rang in my ears as I reviewed one of the videos slotted for MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014.

I was reviewing the video on a big screen in a conference room during a meeting as we prepared for Summit, and a key quote in the video was washed out and hard to read.

I realized I had made a mistake by previously reviewing the videos on my own monitor or the crystal clear monitors our A/V team uses.

However, the audience was not going to see the video on an LCD monitor 12 inches from their face. They were going to see it from a giant projector in a cavernous room at the Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas.

 

How do you review agency creative?

This also got me thinking – how many marketers review agency creative the way prospects will receive it?

I’ll give you an example from my own time working at an agency.

When we presented print ads, we blew each ad up as big as possible and mounted it on a black board to really make it pop.

Then, we presented the ad with no distractions in a conference room.

The people reviewing them were marketers for the company, obsessed and excited about every tiny detail of their product.

 

How do potential customers perceive your marketing and advertising?

Of course, potential customers never received the ad this way. The print ad was just one of many in a Wall Street Journal filled with competing ads, screaming headlines and political coverage.

On top of that, the reader was going through the paper on a busy train, or with kids fighting in the background.

No one, except the marketers we presented to, ever saw the oversized ad in a distraction-free environment.

 

How do you grab the attention of someone who doesn’t care?

I’m not picking on agencies here. This also holds true if someone inside your company, like my first example, created the work.

Creatives, marketers, account executives – we want to present our work in the best possible light. So it makes sense that we blow it up and show it on super sharp monitors.

But if you really want your marketing to stick out, break through the clutter and be different from the crowd, here are a few questions you can ask the next time you are presented with creative to review.

1. Did you buy the newspaper or magazine you’re designing ads for? How will the paper quality (glossy vs. newsprint vs. poor-quality newsprint) affect the ad? How does the ad look, at its real size, placed in the publication?

2. I prefer not to see these banner ads in isolation; can I see them on a few of the websites they will be placed on?

3. How will the customer view this website? It may not be on an Internet connection as fast as ours, on a computer as powerful as ours, and it certainly won’t be on a computer as powerful as the ones developers and designers use. How does the website render and load on an older computer with a smaller, lower-resolution screen and with a slow connection?

4. Same goes for any mobile emails or mobile sites: Do customers have the greatest and newest smartphones and tablets? If not, how will sites render and how quickly will they load on slower devices? On 3G?

5. What compatibility issues will exist? How will this website look if they don’t have Flash? How will this email look if images are blocked?

6. If the audience is older, can they read type that small in a brochure, postcard or on a website?

7. Will our TV commercial or online video be able to convey any information if it is muted? Should we leverage more text to make sure it does?

8. This PowerPoint looks good on my screen, but how will it look to an audience of a thousand people? (Hint: Make the text bigger than you think you should, you can see my own error below.)

 

What you see when you review

 

What your audience sees

 

I’d love to hear you share your tips as well. How do you review marketing creative? What do you do to put yourself in the customer’s shoes?

Do you engage in copy testing, campaign pre-testing or other advertising research, or do you approve marketing campaigns based on your own opinion? If so, how do you decide?

  Read more…

Display Advertising: 3 basic questions every marketer should ask themselves about banner ads

June 18th, 2013 2 comments

Considering low costs and the potential return of driving significant volumes of traffic to your homepages or landing pages, banner ads would seem a safe bet to count as one of the most important elements of a successful marketing strategy. Yet in reality, most banner ads become lost in the afterthoughts of marketing campaign planning.

How does this happen?

One thing I have discovered in working with our Research Partners is the problem begins with an all too common approach to banner ads in which a focus is placed on “creating a few banner ads” instead of “creating highly effective” banner ads that appeal to visitors.

In today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, I wanted to offer three questions every marketer should ask themselves when crafting banner ads that you can use to aid your display marketing efforts.

 

Question #1. Do we know where the traffic is coming from?

Assuming you already have banner ads in place, a good place to start is by diving into your metrics to better understand the amounts of traffic your banner ads are currently generating.

If you are new to banner ads or have limited historical performance data, then consider some of the obstacles you must overcome to create an effective banner ad ranging from:

  • Gaining a visitor’s attention
  • Capturing visitor interests
  • Driving visitor engagement to click on your banner ad

You should also consider the types of traffic coming to the website or page in which your banner ads are displayed because this information will play an important role in later design, messaging and CTA planning.

 

Question #2. Do we know where the traffic is going?

While it is important to know where your visitors are coming from, knowing where visitors are going throughout the overall experience can help you craft messaging and CTAs that deliver on the expectations set by the banner ads.

For example, if a banner ad redirects a visitor to a lead capture form, then using a call-to-action like “Learn More” would not be an optimal CTA versus using “Apply Now” or “Apply Now.” Analyzing where your traffic goes is also a great way to help you detect and fix any simple leaks in your funnel.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: How to optimize the customer experience to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising

April 14th, 2011 3 comments

Do you know the problem with the customer experience? It doesn’t have a media sales rep.

So no one is taking you out to a nice lunch, plying you with semi-fine wine while slowly separating you from your budget and increasing your media spend on it.

However, that doesn’t mean that the customer experience doesn’t generate media for you. We live in a digital age where you must assume that every customer is also a publisher. So, if you invest in your customers, you can gain significant positive media exposure. Fail to invest? You can get significant exposure as well…it just won’t be as brand-friendly as those TV spots you just bought.

So, while businesses are expected to spend $214.3 billion on advertising in 2011(according to SNL Kagan), what return will they get for their investment? In recent research by Satmetrix, only four percent of Americans said they trust advertising the most as an information source when choosing products or services. The top choice? Independent sources (83 percent), especially those with whom they have personal relationships.

While recent research from Experian (warning: there is a squeeze page) disagrees on the exact number, it reaffirms the importance of winning over your customers. It states, “Despite consumer reliance on digital devices and Internet-provided information, the most influential element driving purchase decisions today is still word-of-mouth.”

Experian found that 54 percent of consumers chose word-of-mouth as highly influential to their purchase decisions. Of course, this shouldn’t be news to you. You probably learned about word-of-mouth in Marketing 101.

But, a lot has changed since then. As stated above, every customer you have is now likely a publisher as well. So now there is even word-of-mouth advertising from people your consumers have never even met. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “nearly six-in-ten adults (58%) have done research online about the products and services they buy, and about a quarter (24%) have posted comments or reviews online about the things they buy.”

So, how do you optimize the customer experience to get the most from word-of-mouth advertising today?

There is no one right answer, of course. I asked around a little in this vast, resourceful marketing community of ours. Read on for a few tips, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well…

Your customers can see right through your marketing so you might as well let them

“When a company is humble enough to admit a weakness, they immediately distinguish themselves from the competition. It opens the door for a trust relationship.

The consumer is all too aware of the fact that we are not perfect. To pretend otherwise only serves to raise their suspicion. Tell them what you can’t do, and they’ll believe you when you tell then what you can do.”

– Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director (CEO), MECLABS



Transparent marketing is essential. According to the Satmetrix study, 20 percentof those who defected a company did so because of unfair fees or charges.

“Companies still need to advertise to create market awareness, but market trends such as the increased use of social media networks and consumer reviews online are all increasing transparency about the actual experiences that companies deliver, and what customers think of them,” John Abraham, general manager of Net Promoter programs at Satmetrix, said. “You just can’t hide any longer behind bad quality. Advertising and marketing messages need to line up with customers’ real experiences. So, first and foremost, you have to get the experience right.”

We’ll talk about getting that experience right in just a minute. But first, how do you ensure that your advertising and marketing messages are transparent and truly reflect what your customer is experiencing? You don’t want to be the Comical Ali of your company, claiming victory while the facts on the ground so clearly conflict with your messages. And while he may have literally had a gun to his head, forcing him to make ridiculous claims…you don’t. You have a choice.

As I’ve said before in these (Web) pages, I think Transparent Marketing: How to earn the trust of a skeptical consumer is an excellent guide, but, in full transparency, it is written by the man who signs my paychecks – Dr. Flint McGlaughlin.

So, I also wanted to get a perspective from someone outside of MECLABS and provide a very granular example that you could apply to your marketing efforts today. I asked Ryan Deutsch, VP of Strategic Services, StrongMail, about transparency in email marketing. He said that “welcome programs offer the best opportunity for transparency” and offered these specific tips:

  • Provide examples of the types of messages the subscriber will be receiving
  • Provide an overview of the frequency of communication and give the consumer the opportunity to set preferences around cadence
  • Provide an explanation of how data is captured within the email program and how that is used to create more targeted and relevant messages
  • Explain the privacy policy of the brand
  • Explain the opt-out and unsubscribe options

Don’t dictate, discover

“It is the customer who determines what a business is. For it is the customer, and he alone, who through being willing to pay for a good or for a service, converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance – especially not to the future of the business and to its success. What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers “value,” is decisive – it determines what a business is, what it produces and whether it will prosper.”

– Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management



In Peter Drucker’s day, it was far more difficult to determine what the customer considered valuable. Today, you have almost instant access to that information in many different ways:

  • Test your value proposition – You can test and measure your value proposition in real-time under real-world conditions with your actual customers using PPC ads
  • Actually ask your customers – Use automated exit surveys, ensure your sales and customer service teams track customer interactions in a CRM system, engage in one-on-one conversations in user forums, or use technology in some other creative way to pick your customers’ brains.
  • Listen to what they say – Social media monitoring has become a very powerful tool to learning from your customers. Of course, don’t stop at listening to customers and discovering what they want, use social media to respond as well. For example…

I asked Joe Chernov, VP of Content Marketing, Eloqua how he uses social media to discover what customers want and nurture word-of-mouth advertising. As co-chair of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s Ethics Panel, he knows a thing or two about the topic. Here’s what he had to say…

“All customers are not created equal. Those who engage with you on social channels are far more likely to be your brand advocates. In fact, at Eloqua, a client who engages with us on any social network is 450 percent more likely to be a brand promoter than our baseline client. This self-selecting group is a collection of ambassadors-in-waiting.  The key to unlocking their word-of-mouth is as simple as connecting with them on a personal level on their social channel of choice. That’s really all it takes.”

Truly serve your customers

“We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer.”

– Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon



Think about Amazon for a moment. They mostly sell books and other stuff (lots of stuff) through an e-commerce store. Yet, out of seemingly nowhere, they launched their own hardware device – the Kindle. We take it for granted now, but for an e-commerce store to launch a hardware device in a segment that barely existed before it entered the market is quite revolutionary.

Why take that leap of faith? To truly serve the customer.

How can you truly serve your customers? After all, you’re likely not Jeff Bezos. You likely only have control over a small patch of territory in your overall company.

And yet, that patch is likely the tip of the spear in terms of customer interaction. You are in the unique position to discover and then shine a light on issues that really matter to your customers, to ensure that there is true value in your marketing propositions.

I asked Dave Ewart, Senior Director of Marketing, Satmetrix how marketers can achieve this. Satmetrix, the company behind the study referenced above, makes a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. Ewart said that successful customer-centric marketers:

  1. Continuously collect and analyze data about customer interactions and customer satisfaction, and they use automated customer listening and feedback systems;
  2. Track and measure word-of-mouth online, and identify and support customer advocates;
  3. Share data from customer interactions across organizational departments; this helps them strengthen relationships with customers and sometimes even uncovers untapped markets; and
  4. Lead a company-wide commitment to addressing and resolving customer issues and problems.

Don’t consider anything that impacts the customer “not my problem.” It’s you who made the promise upfront with your impressive marketing campaigns. So, it better be you who ensures that your company delivers on that promise with an exceptional customer experience.

If not, your customers hold the trump card. Advertising even more successful than yours. Word-of-mouth.

Related Resources

Hoax Marketing: Your brand comes first, humor second, even on April Fool’s Day

Social Media Marketing: Turning social media engagement into action at Threadless

The Last Blog Post: How to succeed in an era of transparent marketing

Inbound Marketing newsletter – Free Case Studies and How To Articles from MarketingSherpa’s reporters

Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Photo attribution: hansvanrijnberk

Jujitsu Marketing: How B2B marketers leveraged Super Bowl buzz (minus the media buy)

February 10th, 2011 No comments

The Super Bowl isn’t only the Super Bowl of football, but the Super Bowl of marketing as well.

Big splashy ads. Massive media spends. And tons of buzz in the media, both print and social.

Ah, but pity the poor B2B marketer. While she can probably find the budget to land a spot on the big game (most memorable for me – the EDS cowboys and their cat herding adventures), she isn’t selling sodas or cars, so she can’t get a big-name celebrity to pitch industrial plumbing equipment or enterprise telephone software.

Or can she? Salesforce.com hired The Black Eyed Peas (personally, the first person that come to my mind when I think of a real-time, enterprise collaboration platform is apl.de.ap) in its recent Super Bowl spots. Sounds like a lot of fun, but was there ROI? Considering they spent “big numbers” it’s quite hard to judge.

Jujitsu Marketing

Aside from having big numbers and black-eyed peas on your side, can your B2B marketing efforts benefit from a major consumer event like the Super Bowl? I’d argue, yes. For the sake of this blog post, and to parrot every other marketing blogger who is much better than me at branding their own terms, let’s call these attempts Jujitsu Marketing (perhaps a subset of real-time marketing).

In case you’re not familiar, jujitsu is a martial art designed to use an (often better equipped) enemy’s energy against him, instead of directly fighting it. Jujitsu Marketing (and I’m just making this up off the top of my head, as I type so there are no hard and fast rules) uses the energy created by a (most likely) larger marketer in the consumer realm to grab some B2B attention and buzz.

Here are two examples, one for Enterprise and one for SMB B2B marketers. One example leverages a partner’s energy, the other example leverages a competitor.

ENTERPRISE B2B MARKETING: USING EMAIL TO ENGAGE B2B AUDIENCE ON A SUNDAY

As I mentioned above, BEP was selling B2B during SB XLV. What I saw as bizarre, the always clever marketers at Marketo saw as a marketing opportunity to ask their email list if this was, in fact, bizarre.

“A few of my colleagues read that Salesforce.com had purchased commercial slots during the Super Bowl halftime show one week before airtime. We were impressed that Salesforce.com would invest millions of dollars to promote Chatter.com via a medium dominated by B2C companies,” remarked Shonal Narayan, Manager, Marketing Programs, Marketo.

“Having this prior knowledge, we debated amongst ourselves if this [email send] was a good investment. Feeling compelled to ask what other marketers would think about the ad, we came up with the idea of a poll right after the ads aired live, so it was still fresh in people’s minds.”

click image to enlarge

There were two landing pages to confirm to recipients that the poll voting had been captured, one for the “yes” and one for the “no.”

Narayan’s team followed up with a results email the next day to everyone that participated in the poll. It drove people to a landing page that encourage people to tweet. The landing pages for the initial email send were also redirected to the results URL, so anybody clicking the initial poll email after the results were sent would see the results from the poll.

click image to enlarge


Keep mobile in mind

When leveraging a consumer event, keep in mind that your B2B audience likely doesn’t have a bulky gray Dell on their lap when engaging in the activity.

“[We] ultimately decided to use a single-click poll embedded within the email to make it easy for the people viewing the email on their mobile device. Just a simple ‘click yes or no’,” Narayan said.

The results: Marketo, B2B Super Bowl advertising win

“We conduct many A/B tests, and we’ve found that Sunday emails (especially P.M. sends) do not perform well. However, this campaign did particularly well. We wanted to give a buffer after the halftime ads had been shown, so I scheduled it to send at 5:40pm PT,” Narayan said.

Here are the results from Narayan’s team:

  • Email sent to more than 20,000 marketers in the US and Canada.
  • 13.5% open rate, yielding a 16.5% click to open rate.
  • More than 680 respondend to the poll (which is more than the initial click performance reveals, indicating that marketers were forwarding the email on to colleagues and friends)

And the results of the poll itself? Personally, I thought the Salesforce.com ads were ridiculous. After all, the only thing Will.i.am and Salesforce.com have in common is dots in their name. But in the end, 63 percent agreed that B2B advertising is a good idea. Ouch. Hard to argue with data.

Or Narayan, who disagreed with me as well. “I think it was a good idea. I like how the ads were at the bookends of the halftime show, integrating the performers into the ads. I like how Salesforce.com stayed consistent with Will.i.am as somewhat of a spokesperson, as he appeared at their Dreamforce event.”

Surely, Narayan at least agrees with my newly branded term, Jujitsu Marketing, to describe his efforts?

“It wasn’t so much Marketo leveraging someone else’s name and investment to draw attention to our brand, we were excited and supportive of a SaaS company finally breaking through and attempting to become a household name,” Narayan stated.

Ah, well, so maybe the term isn’t as fitting when you’re playing off of a partner’s efforts. So let’s take a look at how an SMB marketer leveraged a competitor’s Super Bowl ads. From my past work, the Competitive Sales Office always seemed to have the most fun…

SMB B2B MARKETING: WEB 2.0 REVS UP SOME EXCITEMENT

GoDaddy.com has been advertising to the SMB in the Super Bowl since 2005. And, supposedly because of these ads, has garnered a 50 percent market share of domain registrations. This year, it focused on selling a new top-level domain (.co).

So, what’s the Jujitsu Marketing move against Danica Patrick and a $3 million media buy? Cloris Leachman and social media.

You read that right. On their Go Granny microsite, Network Solutions posted a “mockumentary” YouTube video of Cloris Leachman doing three minutes of sexual innuendo jokes, followed by (I couldn’t make this up) an interstitial titled “Get Serious,” and then an actual serious minute with Lisa Stone, Co-founder & CEO, BlogHer.com. The video was also posted to other sites, such as Metacafe.com and Frequency.com.

You can check out that microsite at http://gogranny.co but, fair warning since this is a family marketing blog, it features Frau Blücher as you’ve never (wanted to) seen her before, including licking a man’s hand and discussing her chest.

But this was not a one-channel effort. The campaign included a variety of elements:

  • Banner ads
  • Media outreach
  • Web 2.0 “share” functionality (via email, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Twitter promotion on #GoGranny

According to Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami, Network Solutions, all of these channels had a consistent message, tightly timed around the celebration of the Super Bowl and launch of Go Daddy’s new Go Daddy Girl commercial.

Monday morning quarterbacking on the video creative aside, let’s take a look at how this Jujitsu Marketing campaign did on the field. To the results…

Results: Aaron Rodgers, Cloris Leachman have reason to celebrate

Since launching on the Friday before the Super Bowl, the campaign has generated the following impressions as of 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday:

  • Twitter – 18,026,251
  • Blogs – 14,688,221
  • Video – 8,332,625

It also had a viral element:

  • Facebook – 2,000 shares
  • Twitter—1,680 retweets

And most importantly…

  • 500% increase in .co sales (based on historical data from previous weekends – since .co is relatively new, there is no apples-to-apples comparison for last year’s Super Bowl weekend).

“The success of the campaign also stemmed from Network Solutions years of listening, community engagement and community building strategies through social media,” Bellamkonda said.

MAKE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITY

So, B2B marketers, there is no need to sit glumly on the sidelines and watch as your consumer marketing peers bask in the glow of big-time events like the Super Bowl. If you can’t find budget or justification for hiring pop stars to pitch your products in prime-time, slip on your Jujitsu Marketing belts and get to work.

“Instead of investing millions of dollars in Super Bowl ads, we leveraged the power of the Internet to promote our brand, like we do for our small business customers every day. With a little bit of creativity and the support of an online community we’re letting the masses know that as a company, we like to have some fun, but when it comes to our customers, we take their business seriously,” Sanjay Gupta, Head of Marketing, Network Solutions.

Related resources

Lead generation: Real-time, data-driven B2B marketing and sales

B2B Marketing: Marketing automation helps with lead nurturing and management

B2B Lead Generation: Increasing leads 296% by analyzing Web traffic – Case Study

Free MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Newsletter – Weekly demand generation and lead nurturing case studies

jujitsu photo by:  saia.neogaia

Guide to Facebook Ads

May 27th, 2010 No comments

Facebook this week launched a free Guide to Facebook Ads to give advertisers more information on how to build successful campaigns on the social network.

Facebook Display AdThe guide covers the basics, such as the types of ads Facebook offers, as well as detailed information on how to budget campaigns, target an audience and improve performance.

For example, the guide’s “Best Practices” section provides the following tips:

- Choose one goal for your campaign to better focus your efforts and set a budget

- Create ads with captivating titles, relevant images and a strong calls-to-action

- Use demographic and psychographic reports available in the Ads Manager to determine which audiences your ads best resonate with

- Closely relate landing pages to ads

- Test multiple ads to uncover the best approach for your audience

For marketers already advertising in Facebook, the guide is worth going through to round-out your knowledge and to fill in any gaps. For marketers who are just getting started, or who are considering a campaign on the network — it’s a vital resource.

Rich Media Mobile Ads

March 10th, 2010 1 comment

As the mobile market continues to grow, mobile advertising opportunities are growing right along with it. The capabilities of the ads, too, are quickly expanding.

This week the Mobile Marketing Association released a Rich Media Mobile Advertising whitepaper. You can take a look at the free six-page guide to get a quick introduction to the types of rich mobile ads in the market (not including apps or games).

While mobile display advertising mimics some aspects of online display advertising, there is one key difference I noticed from the whitepaper’s examples. Mobile ads are more likely to expand into a full-screen experience—which is not a common feature in online display ads.

“As highly interactive and feature-rich smartphones continue to dominate new mobile device sales, rich media mobile ad units will comprise an ever-growing portion of the mobile advertisement display market in the U.S. and around the world,” according to the MMA’s whitepaper.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, an average of 19% of mobile advertisers used rich media mobile ad units, according to the whitepaper. These ads include:
o Ads with video, sound or interactive features
o Expandable ads
o Animated ads
o Floating ads

Take a look at the report for great examples from promotions involving The Weather Channel, Alice in Wonderland and Lincoln. The examples include high-quality screenshots and brief descriptions of the ads’ functionality.

If you’re interested in rich mobile advertising, the report can give you a few examples for inspiration, and a few guidelines around sizing, functionality, and why you should give users “close” and “skip” buttons in the ads.

Are you buying these types of ads? If so, let us know what you think of them in the comments…

Adding Retail Revenue Streams

January 7th, 2010 No comments

When shoppers visit supermarkets and large retailers, they’re bound to see branded in-store displays. The stores add revenue while helping brands stand out. Why not apply this idea to ecommerce?

That’s just what Doug Miller, Global VP, Media Solutions, Expedia Inc., and his team have done with several Expedia Inc. properties including Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Hotewire.com.

The team started leveraging their reach into the consumer travel market when Miller joined about five years ago. Miller says about 61% of visits to travel websites are to Expedia properties.

“They are very few places, probably nowhere else, where you’re going to be able to reach an online travel audience in such a concentrated way.”

This qualified high-volume travel audience presents a great opportunity to sell media. Expedia’s world-wide media business, a which encompasses more than Miller’s team’s work, accounts for about 10% of their total business and growing fast, Miller says.

Take a look at these four media options. They might give you ideas for leveraging your own audience:

StorePoint Ads

The team’s first program offered display ads that reached several Expedia Inc. sites. The banners are shown:
o Adjacent to search results
o On the homepage
o On browsing pages
o On content pages for various destinations

“This is where Hawaii or Mexico or American Airlines will call out to you and say they have a special opportunity for you at the point of sale,” Miller says.

Expandable StorePoint Ads

The team later updated the StorePoint technology to offer marketers the option to integrate interactive rich-media ads. The Flash-based ads expand over site content when clicked, and retract to their normal size when visitors move away.

Once expanded, the ads can offer a range of functionality, including:
o Audio and video
o Data capture fields
o Interactive animation
o Send to a friend

TravelAds

The team offers marketers a bid-for-placement, sponsored listings program specifically designed for hotels. The ads are featured at the top of search results pages on Expedia.com and Hotels.com for location-based searches bid on by marketers. These marketers can bid on specific locations and time periods, and set a maximum budget to control their spending.

PassportAds

This year, the team launched a behaviorally-targeted ad format that reaches Web surfers after they’ve left an Expedia site. For example, an Expedia.com visitor might search for and browse for hotels in Venice, leave the site, and later see ads elsewhere for Italian vacations.

The team works with several ad networks and sister companies to make the program work across a wide range websites, some in the comScore top 100, Miller says.

Localizing National Ad Campaigns

September 10th, 2009 2 comments

National brand marketers are in a challenging position as the power of localized marketing shows positive results. Some marketers need to reach large audiences through nationwide advertising, which makes it hard to localize the ads.

Alistair Goodman, CEO, 1020 Placecast, and his team strive to overcome this challenge–particularly for driving traffic to nearby brick-and-mortar stores. They help marketers run campaigns that are able to detect a consumer’s location and customize the ads to include localized elements.

“An advertiser can run a national campaign but actually create a large amount of local relevance,” Goodman says.

When building a campaign, Goodman’s team first asks marketers for:
o A list of the physical store addresses to which they want to drive traffic
o A profile of their target audience
o The goals of the campaign

This information helps narrow down the exact location of the campaign’s target audience, and helps guide the design of the localized ad. The ad will likely have some consistent elements — such as a product image — and some interchangeable elements — such as a city name, local imagery, or the address of a nearby location.

Knowing which regions to target, the team then finds publishers that have localized content for those regions.

“We create a network of publishers that have what we call location-specific content, where we can apply our approach to targeting,” Goodman says.

These publishers might be local classified, news or events websites. Other publishers, such as travel, weather, and real estate sites, operate nationally but deliver localized content. Visitors to these sites identify themselves as either residing in or interested in certain areas.

Goodman’s team recently worked with Avis Rent A Car to drive people to Avis’ off-airport locations. They were able to create a national campaign that connected ad viewers with the nearest Avis center.

The ads they displayed on regular websites encouraged viewers to click to see a map or book a car. The ads they displayed on mobile websites encouraged viewers to click to call the nearest Avis center.

The team did A/B testing of the localized ads vs. non-localized ads. They saw a 50% higher clickthrough rate on the customized Web ads and a 124% higher click-to-call rate on the customized mobile ads, Goodman says.

“When you’re able to develop a relevant message, you’re able to achieve much stronger results.”

Reaching Local Searchers

May 12th, 2009 No comments

I had an interesting conversation with Scott Dunlap, CEO, NearbyNow, last week. NearbyNow helps consumers find products in local stores through its website, mobile apps, and the major search engines.

A consumer looking for a particular product in his or her area will typically be alerted via an email or a text message on the product’s availability. This service has several interesting applications for marketers–such its OnTheWay ads. These ads allow marketers to advertise in the alert messages to consumers who’ve indicated that they’re planning to visit a store near their own.

Some marketers, Dunlap says, have leveraged these ads to emphasize the core motivations that consumers have for searching for local products. The top three motivations that Dunlap’s team has uncovered,:
1. Consumers want the products immediately
2. They want to see, hold, and test the products (particularly relevant for apparel, shoes and gadgets, Dunlap says)
3. They do not like the hassles or costs of shipping

How have these motivations been applied to the ads? Some marketers are pushing immediacy to the extreme. They will give 20% off products in their stores for the next two hours. That can force some consumers to consider visiting the advertiser’s store before visiting their intended destination.

Local search and sales for products–with real time inventory updates–looks like it holds a lot of potential for retailers and brands alike. I expect the major search engines to start rolling out more ways for marketers to connect with consumers looking for products locally.

What’s In Store For Newspapers?

January 29th, 2009 1 comment

While talking to Gary Meo, Senior VP at Scarborough Research, about new metrics for measuring newspaper audiences, I couldn’t help but ask: What are his thoughts about the future of newspapers and what they need to do to survive.

Gary’s job is to oversee consumer behavior surveys in 81 local markets. His company works with 241 major newspapers in the industry to determine audience size and demographics. Read more…