Tags: social media marketing

According to Your Brain, Social Websites Engage More than TV

According to Your Brain, Social Websites Engage More than TV

Beyond • December 12, 2011

A recent scientific study by NeuroFocus examined the neurological impact of advertising in different contexts and has come up with some startling conclusions about the efficacy of website advertising when combined with the social element. The subsidiary of the giant Nielsen ratings provider, which bills itself as a neuromarketing company, compared the impact of the New York Times, Facebook and Yahoo on test subjects by clinically measuring their brainwaves. If you’re shifting around on your seat from the prospect of marketing researchers tapping directly into your gray matter, you’re not alone. The Brainwave Determination of a Premium Website Experience All three sites were able to garner a greater level of both emotional engagement and overall attention than the average for similar websites. That qualifies them in the vernacular of the researchers to be acknowledged as “premium website experiences.” The qualification as being among the elite premium sites is measured by the researchers as the extent of the neurological response. By measuring the brain wave pattern of the subjects when they were visiting the three sites, they were able to measure: Level of attention Emotional engagement Memory activation These three factors are essentially standalone measurements, as one site may engage a viewer in a powerful emotional manner but fail to make a long term impact and is thus easily forgotten. Therefore it would score highly on emotional engagement but poorly on memory activation. The three sites scored as follows: New York Times – Attention Level: 8.35; Emotional Engagement: 6.2; Memory Activation: 7.25. Yahoo – Attention Level: 8.15; Emotional Engagement: 6.2; Memory Activation: 6.7. Facebook – Attention Level: 8.3; Emotional Engagement: 6.65; Memory Activation: 7.2. We thus see that the New York Times draws a higher level of attention than Yahoo and Facebook but falls to the social network when it comes to engaging the emotions of the website visitor. Yahoo’s content is considerably more forgettable than either Facebook’s or the New York Times, meaning that it fails to make as much of an impact on the centers of the brain that are responsible for filing data away for future recollection. Surprising Gender Findings Although subjects from both genders responded similarly to most of the queries posed by the researchers, there were notable variances. Facebook was seen as resonating more with their own individual needs for men over women (a rather surprising finding), while Yahoo was seen by females as stronger in “advice” and “connecting” functions. Results Are a Boon to Advertisers Everywhere The most significant conclusion of the study is that the websites that creatively integrate social elements into every aspect of their presentations can create a level of emotional engagement that is quite close to the most engaging medium: Television. The budgets required to reach millions of people on television extend into the millions of dollars, with some corporations spending hundreds of millions per year. Therefore, the discovery that an advertiser is able to achieve a similar level of emotional engagement through a channel that is so relatively inexpensive as websites and social media is a major boon to corporate advertisers and small businesses alike. Similar or Greater Emotional Engagement than TV The researchers also measured overall neurological effectiveness to determine “a composite measure of the efficiency of cognitive processing – a weighted combination of attention, emotional engagement and memory activation. One of the most interesting of the various tests was a 30 second advertisement for Visa credit cards that they displayed to the subjects in three different contexts: In a TV pod On a Facebook product page On the Visa corporate website Overall effectiveness was highest on the Facebook page at 6.6, followed by the TV pod display at 6.3, with the Visa corporate site scoring a low 5.8. This significant difference can be attributed to the lack of social engagement in the Visa corporate site over the social network’s page. However, the revelation that the ad in a TV pod is actually less effective than on Facebook is certainly surprising. As creepy as reading brainwaves for marketing purposes may seem, these conclusions are definitely worth examining!


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How Facebook’s Privacy Policies Freely Sold User Data

How Facebook’s Privacy Policies Freely Sold User Data

Beyond • December 6, 2011

It’s difficult to feel sorry for mega-zillionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, but you have to admit that his social network is in a bit of a bind. With an upcoming Initial Public Offering (IPO) which could value the company on the high side of $100 billion (yes, with a b) its less than stellar history of privacy protection may be placing the 2012 Wall Street debut between a stock and a hard place. On one side are the 800+ million Facebookers who would really rather not divulge every single aspect of what they share on profiles and posts they believe to be private. On the other side are the advertisers who consider every byte of “private” information to be an invaluable data mining motherlode. How deftly Facebook manages to keep these opposing parties appeased may determine the extent of success the stratospheric IPO can achieve. Mysteriously Targeted Ads The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released an investigative report that the agency conducted on the world’s largest social network. The FTC called out Facebook on a number of duplicitous policies violating user privacy after reassuring them that they would do nothing of the sort. The most critical failing was in sharing personal data marked as private with advertisers. Any Facebook user who would innocuously post various key words and phrases on profiles or posts would find that they were now presented with “mysteriously” but very accurately targeted ads. “I love to play hockey [Bauer], jetski [SeaDoo], and jog [Nike], then relax [La-Z-Boy] watching football [NFL] on my big screen TV [Samsung]…” Consumer Deception In announcing a settlement, the FTC stated that the social network \"deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.\" The litany of privacy violations committed by the social giant are outlined within the pages of the FTC report and cover everything from making a vast amount of data that the users had directly specified as private visible to anyone on the net, and continuing to display photos and videos from deactivated accounts. The FTC excoriated Facebook executives for repeatedly stating that they did nothing of the kind but then were caught with their hand in the http cookie jar, so the settlement calls for biennial privacy audits conducted by the government with fines of $16,000 per violation per day. If the fines were levied on each conceptual violation then Facebook could theoretically just consider it a relatively minor cost of doing business. However, these fines will be applied on a user by user basis, so they could swiftly bankrupt the social network. Stalker Apps It seems that Facebook is either consciously or inadvertently missing the point of the FTC accusations. With the introduction of Seamless Sharing, the social network is turning back the clock to 2007’s Beacon service, which was shut down after a class action lawsuit was filed. The differences between Beacon and Seamless Sharing are… actually next to nothing. Facebook’s new/old application will stalk you across the internet posting everything you do and everywhere you go. If you don’t want your friends, family and coworkers finding out that you visited xxx rated sites, listened to polka, watched a chick flick or checked out instructions on how to poison your spouse and get away with it, then Seamless Sharing is not for you. Mercantile TIA Total Information Awareness (TIA) was a project launched by the US government’s DARPA in the dark days following the 9/11 attacks. The concept was to allow the military access to a digital dossier on every US resident: Everyone’s digital tracks would be shadowed down to the mouse click in order to provide the Department of Homeland Security information on potential terrorist activity. Seamless Sharing can be seen as the mercantile version of TIA but instead of keeping our country safe from terrorism, it keeps Facebook awash in billions of advertiser dollars by acting as our social stalker. Facebook’s IPO relies on how well Zuckerberg & Co. are able to dominate the business of personal data, and the implications are nothing less than staggering.


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How Hollywood Turned $15,000 into $150 Million with Social Media

Beyond • October 12, 2011

Battlefield Earth, The Postman, Pluto Nash, Toys, Heaven’s Gate, Howard The Duck… the Dishonor Roll of major studio motion pictures that have cratered at the box office goes on and on. A 2008 Anne Bancroft movie entitled Delgo premiered at 2,000 cinemas and averaged two viewers per screening. The Katherine Heigl vehicle Zyzzyx Road cost millions of dollars to produce and earned at the box office exactly 30 bucks. In an era where it can cost well over $100 million to produce a Hollywood blockbuster and considerably more than that to market it, the studios are looking at social media as their next promotional frontier, a channel that offers the ability to engage and motivate millions of potential ticket-buyers at a relative pittance. Conventional Fifties Marketing The conventional way for Hollywood studios to market their movies is straight out of the Fifties. It involves massive conventional media buys in newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations to broadcast the movie’s advertising message to the widest possible audience, then premiering it simultaneously on as many screens as they can muster. In an age of increasingly fragmented consumer interests, that business model is as outdated as barbers offering abdominal surgery on the side. ROI: $10,000 to $1 The prototype for this new marketing strategy is Paramount’s Paranormal Activity, a Blair Witch-type of movie that was produced on a credit card limit budget and leveraged social media to roll out the movie as demand built in particular geographic areas. The studio asked social networking participants to request a screening in their neighborhood cinema, and went on to gross over $150,000,000 at the box office: a return on investment of a “mere” $10,000 for every dollar spent in production. A Boon to Indie Filmmakers This trend to market motion pictures on social networks could be the best thing to happen to independent filmmakers since the launch of the Sundance Film Festival. When a $15,000 “home movie” can go on to make over a hundred million dollars almost exclusively on its social media buzz, the doors to cost-effective and accessible movie promotion swing wide open to the countless impoverished non-studio filmmakers who have no choice but to produce full length motion pictures on shoestring budgets. … but the Movie Has to Be Good! Social media allows each movie to seek out its own audience. Blood-splattered horror movies have a distinctly different audience from action blockbusters, which also vary from “chick flicks.” By targeting those specific groups in their social media promotional strategies, movie marketers are able to build up anticipation and interest in a film whose budget would cost several orders of magnitude more if performed in the conventional buckshot broadcast advertising manner. There are other elements that also come into play through the innovative social media marketing methods for motion pictures: The movie has to be good! When a studio spends over a hundred million dollars on advertising, they get a flood of audiences on the opening weekend, and if the script stinks and the acting makes oak trees look animated they might stand a chance of recovering their investment before the word gets out that this is Ishtar 2. When a movie is built on word of mouth, there is a much greater onus on quality and appeal to its audience to get online influencers enthused about telling their social cliques all about how much fun the film is. It has been said that social media is changing marketing before our very eyes and in no industry is that more true than in motion pictures. Given its traditionally stratospheric promotional budgets, the film industry is a prime candidate for the economies to be found in the viral diffusion of movies. It is an approach that is certain to become much more widespread in the future and it is one that all online marketers should keep a close eye on so that they may apply Hollywood’s successful promotional formulas to their own social media marketing.


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5 Tips for Sending Email Surveys

Beyond • June 9, 2011

Email customer surveys are a great way to get feedback from customers about your services and products. In addition, well-designed surveys can help generate ideas for new products and services as well as provide opportunities for increased sales. To get actionable results instead of ambiguous statistics, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for customers to provide their desired information. Design surveys with the customer in mind and try these 5 marketing tips for sending email surveys. 1.  Sender Name and Subject Line The sender name and subject line of the survey will be the primary determinants of your open and response rates. Take precautions to ensure that a recognized personal or business name is prominent in the address. Avoid using mass-market email domains like gmail, hotmail, msn or yahoo. Create a subject line that is appealing and encourages recipients to want to open the email. Effectively accompany ‘customer survey’ along with some words of encouragement to create a sense of urgency and excitement. Also, remember to avoid words in the subject line that may trigger spam filters. 2. Keep It Short Ask the most important and interesting questions first. Even the most loyal customers will loathe the expectation to complete a time consuming survey that is also irrelevant or seemingly pointless. Asking low-impact questions right in the beginning will cause customers to immediately lose interest. Start the survey by engaging readers with an opportunity to provide meaningful feedback on issues that directly affect their customer experience. Keep in mind that each additional question has an increased likelihood of the participant abandoning the survey. Be conscience of the fact that participants are taking the survey on their own time and ultimately doing your business a favor. Finally, avoid industry jargon and terminology that will confuse customers and discourage them from completing the survey. Do not assume that your customers are as familiar with the content as industry insiders. Make it as simple as possible for your customers to finish what they started. 3. Single Answer Multiple-Choice Questions The answers to survey questions should be clearly defined revelations of customer opinions. Do not create multiple-choice answers that overlap and confuse readers into contemplating various choices. Multiple-answer questions will not provide as much significant data as single answer questions and are irritating for readers. Keep in mind that every potential response may not be anticipated. Give customers a way to provide their own answer in case the reader does not like the choices you have provided. 4. Open-Ended Questions Open-ended questions are a great way to get unexpected answers and customer input. Use them only in cases where a multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank question would not work. Open-ended questions tend to require more effort on behalf of the customers so use them sparingly. 5. Feedback Provide feedback and follow up with all survey participants. Typically, you want to provide a copy of the survey results along with feedback. Utilize customer responses to a survey by opening up discussions around their open-ended answers. This can be the beginning of a very productive discussion that will improve your relationship with customers. Provide feedback and follow up promptly while survey participants still have the questions and answers fresh in their minds. Email surveys are not as interactive as social media marketing or face-to-face discussions so it’s crucial to design them in a way that anticipates difficulties with interpretation or customer responses. There is only one chance to ask the question and only one chance for the customers to respond so try these 5 tips and make your email surveys count.


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How Bars & Nightclubs Can Emulate Pepsi’s Social Vending Machine

Beyond • May 12, 2011

PepsiCo’s latest vending machine may be somewhat bizarre, but the concept at the heart of this new technology illustrates a valid aspect of this decade’s interactive online world that can be leveraged by bar and nightclub owners and managers to supercharge their email marketing campaigns. Social Cola Gifting Pepsi recently unveiled their “social vending machine,” which the company is promoting as the next generation of interactive vending. The machine has a touch screen that not only allows the customer to buy a bottle of cola for themselves but also provide one as a gift to someone else. By entering the recipient’s name, mobile phone number and a text message, a code will be sent to them with instructions on how to get their free Pepsi from their nearest “social vend” location. Not only can the gift be personalized by recording a short video right at the machine, but free colas can be sent to total strangers in what the company calls “Random Acts Of Refreshment.” The Basic Idea Bears Emulation The holes in this strategy are obvious even from just a cursory reading. Unless PepsiCo replaces all of their current machines with one these new models, the recipient may find themselves many miles away from their free bottle. Furthermore, many of their inner city vending machines are encased in steel bars, so their nifty touchscreen webcam units will soon be pried out with screwdrivers and sold in back alleys. Let’s not even mention that some hacker will break into the Pentagon’s networks through a cola machine. However, it is the basic idea that bears emulation by bar and nightclub owners and managers, certainly not Pepsi’s conceptually flawed implementation. Free Drink to Another Subscriber The profile of the Pepsi social vend customer is essentially similar to that targeted by your bar or nightclub’s email marketing campaign: they’re mostly mobile device enabled, they like to connect with each other and they like to drink! Well… at least cola! Offering your email marketing newsletter subscribers a one time code to obtain a free drink or other incentive for one of their friends can be a remarkably successful ploy. Chances are that the friend they send along to is not currently on your subscription list, and the text content you include along with the code could certainly incentivize them to sign up to see what other goodies can be had. Forcing the gift recipient to sign up in order to obtain their code is a hard sell scheme that should be avoided, as social media participants do not look lightly on being coerced into doing anything at all. Light hearted innocent altruism (or at least the semblance of it) is the approach that works best in the social networking sphere. Varying Levels of Gift Codes As for how your serving staff would validate these email gifts, it could be patterned along the way that automated car washes work. They provide you a code that you enter into the keypad at the entrance to the drive-thru tunnel and you get exactly the type of wash cycle you paid for. The free drink codes could be entered into the main computer system through an easily concocted validation process that uses your POS system or even the bar staff’s mobile smartphones as input devices. You could even offer different codes for different levels of gifts. The codes sent to your more casual customer segments could offer a free draft beer or glass of house white wine, while your habitual high rolling VIPs could be empowered to send along a bottle of Dom Perignon. Even the “Random Acts Of Refreshment” could be emulated in your bar or nightclub setting. Why not offer your subscribers the opportunity to send a free drink to a subscriber of their preferred gender completely at random? The sender would not know who the recipient is but the subscriber receiving the gift would be informed of the person’s identity and could reply, if they wished, through an email address anonymizer like a Craigslist posting. In social media email marketing, your imagination is the only limit!


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The Benchmark Email Community and Social Network Tools

The Benchmark Email Community and Social Network Tools

Beyond • September 28, 2010

Email marketing is so much more than what goes from an ESP to a recipient\'s inbox. There are other tools that can be put into place to enhance the effectiveness of campaigns and increase a marketer\'s ROI. Combining these tools to work harmoniously will have the greatest effect on your email marketing efforts. Using both the Benchmark Email Community as well as social network tools, you can achieve a greater reach and longevity with your email campaigns. Benefits of the Benchmark Email Community You can click at the top of the Schedule Delivery page to add your newsletter to the Benchmark Email Community. It\'s optional, but it\'s a great way to obtain further reach and longevity with your email campaigns. The Benchmark Email Community is a permanent home for an email, whereas it could be deleted from an inbox. You can customize the URL, choose which category your email should be in, and tag the email with any keywords that will help it come up on a search engine. Every email sent to the Community Newsletter Archive is automatically indexed in Google. This will allow people not on your email list to find your email via Google and other search engines. You can get feedback for your content as registered users can comment and vote for your email. This could be useful for making your future emails more effective. It will show you what was well received as well as what questions sparked discussion. Boost Social Networking Efforts and Integration On the Schedule Delivery page, you can also choose to share your message on Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, StumbleUpon, MySpace and Twitter. With social sharing buttons, an email marketer is able to reach beyond the limits of a subscriber list. Any given recipient can decide to share your newsletter with their various social networks and their fans or followers. Providing a clear and easy-to-find sign up in your newsletter is essential when using tools like the Benchmark Email Community. That way, any non-subscriber who comes across your newsletter can sign-up with ease. Not only does this help build your list, but also it is helpful for when your subscribers forward your email to a friend. Social networking integration is a two way street with the Benchmark Email Community. You can use the URL generated by the community to link your newsletter from any and all of your social networking sites. Benchmark Email also recently added buttons that will link anyone viewing your newsletter straight to your social networking pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Benchmark Email Community is a tool that can be used in conjunction with social media tools to increase the reach and longevity of email campaigns. This approach will not only help to grow your email list, but also your following on social networking channels. Through the using of social sharing buttons, your campaigns will land in front of more people than just your subscribers. Having a permanent home on the web, your emails live on - even if they are deleted from inboxes. And the added bonus is that they can be found through search engines. With so many benefits, there\'s no reason not to take advantage of the Benchmark Email Community.


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New Feature: Put Clickable Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn Buttons Anywhere in Your Emails

New Feature: Put Clickable Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn Buttons Anywhere in Your Emails

Beyond • September 15, 2010

It seems like I read an article every week that reaffirms how vital email campaigns are to a company\'s marketing plan. There\'s also almost always a nod to the importance of social media marketing. Individually, email marketing and social networking are powerful tools that are sure to garner results for a company of any size. Integrating them, however, improves on the effectiveness of both. With that in mind, we\'ve added a new feature to our email builder that lets you add clickable Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn buttons to any section of your email newsletter. Your subscribers visually recognize the logos or icons, and clicking them brings them right to your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page. To insert a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter logo/icon button directly into an email: Log in to your account and create or edit an email campaign as usual. Once you get to the Editor page, find the block where the link will go into. Click the Edit Block icon. On the left side of the screen, there is an Insert Additional Elements section. Click on the Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter icons next to Link to. A new window will appear. Choose a button, and fill in the URL for your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page where it prompts you to Insert Link. Click on the Update button. Rinse and repeat (follow the same instructions to add the other buttons).


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