Our Marketing Blog

Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

Matt Jacobs

Recent Posts:

The Rise of 'Media'? within Social Media

Enter the board room of most Fortune 500 brands, and there's a pesky misconception that seems to still be lingering ' social media in some capacity is 'free.'? When pressed, there's a quick concession that yes, there are some hard costs associated with social, be it personnel for community management or content development. But we as social marketers are still battling the belief that maintaining a social presence doesn't require a significant underlying investment. In reality, the model that we've all bought into revolves around a pretty Machiavellian concept ' we invest time, energy and ad dollars to build a sizeable community only to have the platform (namely Facebook, but other models are soon to follow) in turn sell access to that community back to us at an incremental cost. There's been wide spread chatter about the effects of Facebook's latest large-scale algorithm update in early December, but looking back over the last six months, community managers everywhere have seen dramatic decreases in organic reach on Facebook. Look no further than your own organic reach numbers for validation of this ever-changing shift as Facebook continues to 'optimize'? their EdgeRank algorithm to update what content is presented in users' newsfeeds. We've personally seen decreases up to 40% in average organic reach on behalf of our clients. To see how much your brand has been affected, run a report for the last 180 days via Facebook Analytics, or visit http://edgerankchecker.com/. As organic reach continues to decrease, the reliance on paid media to support content naturally has been heightened. Not too bad of a sales strategy, right? In early December Facebook stated as much: "We expect organic distribution of an individual page's posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site." I know. You're up in arms! How are they getting away with this? (note: Facebook shares jumped 9.6% to $58.65 after adjusted fourth-quarter earnings were released on January 29th). If we step back, I think we can look at this as an evolution rather than a revolution. At the end of the day, Facebook and other social channels provide a very valuable environment to reach targeted audiences of existing and potential customers/fans/followers and they're making big strides to proving the ROI across their ad offerings. In fact, according to Adobe's Q4 2013 Social Intelligence Report, Facebook saw record highs in total clicks and CTR's during the last quarter of 2013. In thinking about the role of 'social media'? for your business, 'social'? is undeniably still at the forefront of these networks, but equal weight should now be applied to the 'media'? side of these environments as well. Social will ' or at least should ' always be first and foremost about meaningful two-way engagement with your audience. But as time spent on social, click-through rates and revenue-related referral traffic continue to rise, social will only continue to affirm its place as a media channel where you can ' very efficiently ' reach your desired audience. 2014 will be the year where community managers, social strategists and media buyers collaborate to develop truly integrated social plans that combine paid/earned/owned tactics that leverage the power of social endorsement and the efficiency of hyper-targeted media. And Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg. Whether it's Twitter's latest advertising extensions around their Tailored Audiences offering, the soon-to-come roll-out of Pinterest's Promoted Pins or Instagrams new ads, social media is only going to continue to grow in influence and share of budget. As you finalize plans for the year, ensure you have a dedicated, multi-layered budget for social that 1) supports content distribution through promoting content to existing audiences and 2) extends your reach through sophisticated targeting and remarketing. Sources: Ad Age, Komfo, EdgeRankChecker, Adobe Digital Index

New Facebook Insights

In late June, Facebook announced a series of updates to the Facebook insights tool including an overhauled visual aesthetic, access to additional data points and a series of new features that allow marketers to more strategically analyze and execute within Facebook. Two critical updates are the elimination of 'people talking about this'? and 'virality'? as key metrics. People Talking About This has been replaced by a more detailed breakdown of individual metrics including Page Likes, People Engaged, Page Tags and Mentions, Page Checkins and Other Interactions. And page Virality now accounts for clicks on a post in addition to likes, comments and shares. This new measure has been renamed 'Engagement Rate'? and better reflects the overall interactions that occur with your content. This is a better measure of page engagement because at times it may matter more if someone clicks on a link or clicks to expand an image than if you're audience 'likes'? of 'comments'? on a post (still great actions because they expand the reach of your post). New Facebook Insights Dashboard The new overview presents a cleaner snapshot of your Facebook performance with an aggregated view of the last seven days of page activity and your last five posts. While this snapshot provides a great view of recent performance, the true benefits of the Insights update occur when you dive into the correlating tabs and begin to explore. Consolidated Post Details View Analyzing individual posts in Facebook's old Insights dashboard required aggregation of data across various views, and depending on the information desired, through a CSV data export. The new 'Post Details'? view provides a consolidated snapshot of all relevant post metrics ' people reached, likes, comments, shares, post clicks, link clicks, other clicks and negative feedback details all within one cleanly organized view. Another update in the Posts tab is the ability to sort by your post engagement metrics by four unique options, so depending on what type of engagement you're seeking you can examine posts on an even playing field. The sorting views include: Post Clicks / Likes, Comments and Shares Likes / Comments / Shares Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, Unlikes Engagement Rate ([clicks + likes + shares + comments] / people who saw your posts) When Your Fans Are Online One of the updates generating the most buzz is the new 'When Your Fans Are Online'? view within the Posts tab. Knowing when your audience is online ' both key days of the weeks and times ' can help you better schedule posts to align with the largest potential reach. This feature is not only helpful in identifying the key times to publish content, but can also help inform flighting for paid advertising campaigns assuming you're trying to connect with your core audience of followers. Best Post Types Whether it be photos, links, videos or a simple text update, your audience likely responds and interacts differently to post content based on the format used. The new 'Best Post Type'? view provides a simple side-by-side comparison of post types allowing for the analysis of how different mediums perform with your audience and which get the highest levels of engagement. This information can help inform future content development as well as shed light on the optimal types of content to leverage for paid advertising such as promoted posts.

How to Implement the YouTube 'One Page'? Redesign

Released in beta in February, YouTube has formally rolled out its new One Channel redesign for all users. The redesign features a number of changes intended to optimize the YouTube experience across platforms/devices while providing creators with more opportunities to engage ' and grow ' their audience via exposure to more relevant content. Per YouTube's Partners and Creators Blog, there are three core changes that you should be aware of which will help you get the most out of your new One Page channel design: Design Channel Art to visually identify your brand YouTube's Channel Art (akin to Facebook's Cover Photo) replaces the former ability to customize a background image. While some creative control is lost with this change, Channel Art allows for visual consistency across desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV displays. Additionally, social links that are added in the 'About'? section will be automatically overlaid as social buttons on top of your selected Channel Art banner. The new Channel Art feature ensures that your visual identity will automatically scale to any size screen (see pages 3 and 4 for dimensions), and that your social links will display on any device with a browser. Get creative with your Channel Art and show off your brand's personality! Create a Channel Trailer to encourage visitors to subscribe to your channel The redesign provides additional utility for brands by allowing the ability to serve distinct Featured Video content based on whether or not the viewer is subscribed to your channel. The subscribed view is personalized for each user based on their unique viewing history while the unsubscribed view provides an opportunity to showcase a 'Channel Trailer.'? For subscribed users, this content is served as a 'What to Watch Next'? recommendation with the default setting serving videos that a user has not yet viewed. For unsubscribed viewers, the Channel Trailer serves as an introduction to your channel. Google recommends keeping the content short ' think of it as an elevator pitch for your channel ' and having explicit calls-to-action to motivate viewers to subscribe. Create custom Shelves to control how your videos and playlists are displayed The 'One Page'? redesign also allows brands the ability to customize how content is organized and displayed on your channel. Based on your content themes and insights into how your audience consumes your content, you can now choose from multiple layouts to best organize and highlight your content into customized shelves. Shelves can feature collections of grouped videos or highlight favorite playlists ranging across owned and/or curated content. In-shelf navigation allows users to explore more of your content without leaving your channel homepage. Sample One Page Layout: Laura in the Kitchen For samples of the One Page design, visit the following channels: Laura in the Kitchen: http://www.youtube.com/user/LauraVitalesKitchen Intel: http://www.youtube.com/user/channelintel Vice: http://www.youtube.com/user/vice Real Madrid C.F.: http://www.youtube.com/user/realmadridcf The Pet Collective: http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePetCollective Channel Art Display Dimensions: How it works for Desktop: Total Size: 2120 X 350 px Safe Area (Always visible): 1280 X 350 px Centered on the image Flexible Area (maybe visible): 420 px to the left and 420 px to the right of the safe area How it works on Mobile On mobile, YouTube will be using the safe area (red box in diagram above) scaled down to the width of the mobile screen (which varies by device). How it works on Tablets On tablets YouTube will be using a slightly wider slice which is indicated by the pink box above. The aspect ratio of this slice is 1536 px by 350 px.

Generations and Demographics: We're all the Same. We're all Different.

Two of the panels I enjoyed the most at SXSWi - The Twenty Something Time Machine and Death by Demographics: Killing off your Ad Budget - shared a similar focus (technology's role in changing the way we define consumer targets). However, the sessions had very different takeaways: We're all the same. We're all different. Full disclosure: those takeaways greatly over-simplify very complex marketplace shifts. But, the takeaways highlight that global access to the web, a sharp increase in ownership/use of connected devices, greater access to robust behavioral data, the rise of sophisticated digital targeting capabilities and the rise of socially-connected, empowered consumers have simultaneously produced the most assimilated generation in history while presenting the opportunity/need for the most individualized advertising targeting ever. We're All The Same. (Well, at least affluent Gen Y'ers.) Speaking about Generation Y (aka Millennials), Jason Dorsey of The Center For Generational Kinetics and Lisa Pearson of Bazaarvoice asserted that technology has created the most globally similar generation of all time. Core to this is the access to shared culture that technology, connectivity and social media have facilitated. While interpretation/application of this shared culture may differ by region (prime example: the politics of the Harlem Shake in Tunisia), generational truths have homogenized across distinct geographies and cultures especially among the affluent. So, what does that mean and why is it important? As brands continue to expand into new markets, this generational blending will allow for the development of truly global campaigns centralized around generational truths. While local preferences will always persist in the media world, digital consumption behaviors will allow brands to drive efficiency by targeting their audience across shared platforms. Facebook is already providing this platform via their Global Brand Pages. Look for other media properties to incorporate localization (translation, commerce, etc.) into their back-end systems to seamlessly support generational campaigns across borders. We're All Different. (Well, at least Suri Cruise and Honey Boo Boo.) While in aggregate Gen Y may be the most similar generation of all time, technology is driving the desire for, and capability to, personalize advertising in ways that were unimaginable ten years ago. Historical media buying was built around the idea that people who fit into the same audience categories ' age, gender, ethnicity ' were most likely to consume the same content and be interested in the same products / messaging. But with the rise of digital and the wealth of information now available to advertisers across devices, we can much more efficiently target campaigns and effectively target individual consumers. A great example of this that we've witnessed first-hand at AMP is the tremendous success in using approaches like look-alike modeling. By building a profile of our target based off of those individuals who complete a desired action (most often purchase), we're able to examine their broader online behaviors - how they surf the web, where they go, what they engage with, when they access - and target others who behave the same. Two individuals who share the same age, gender and ethnicity (Suri and Honey Boo Boo were used as an example in the panel) may share very little else in common. So, rather than buying against the demo, buy against the behavior So, we're the Same? Or, we're Different? I'm Confused. One of the key sound bites from the Death by Demographics panel was "culture over clusters," meaning focus your targeting over shared culture and behaviors as opposed to audience segments. That marries well with the belief that generations are becoming more homogeneous. Brands who have a clear definition of their audience should be able to create centralized creative messages that highlight core brand benefits and reasons to believe that span across traditional demographic labels. Through culture/behavior-first media targeting, those messages can better reach the right potential customers regardless of their audience category. In short, target the culture. And, when creating the message / examining the channels, start by exploring generational truths.

Advertising is Just One Big Game of Poker

What's the role of intuition in advertising? That was the question that Nate Silver of @fivethirtyeight was asked to address in an engaging Q&A session at SXSWi. While the role of data in predictive modeling for marketing campaigns was only lightly discussed, the conversation shifted toward predicting political, pop culture and sports outcomes - one interesting analogy was provided that offers an unique look at the role of data in the world of advertising: poker. Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em Nate, a former professional poker player, stated that poker is a particularly interesting parallel for real-time, informed decision making. When played well, poker relies on a very stable base of data that more often than not sheds light on the probability of a winning hand (i.e., a successful campaign), but often requires less-scientific analysis of the hand at play (i.e. market conditions, potential risk, a general "gut feeling"). Perhaps an obvious statement, but when data is available, use it to inform your decision. But know that at the end of the day, the success/failure of your campaign will likely be affected by unforeseen, or unpredictable, factors. After all, more than anything else, the role of an analyst is not to guarantee success but to help avoid costly mistakes. The Takeaway So, will intuition ever go away? Don't bet on it. While data will continue to play a larger role in reducing risk and informing campaign creation, distribution and optimization, the creative/strategy/account executives will still play a critical role in developing campaigns. This point is most often manifested in the creation of a creative idea or a Planner's strategic translation of a robust data set. All in all, Nate's session proves big thinking requires risk-taking. Data will just help mitigate those risks.

Wheels up to Austin'?¦ as Soon as the Plane is De-iced

I'll be honest. Any illusions of my first trip to SXSW did not start off with battling through a blizzard and the associated travel delays. But if there was one constant piece of advice / forewarning I did unilaterally receive from colleagues in the industry, it was that my experience at SXSW would absolutely not go as expected. I was told that the unplanned meet-ups, the casual conversations over beers and the 'damn, the session I wanted to go to is full'?¦ I guess I'll go here instead'? moments would prove to be the most valuable. So consider that a caveat as I share a quick overview of what I'm most looking forward to over these next few days. And I'll caveat now that my recap blog posts throughout the course of SXSWi will inevitably cover much different material and venture into much different themes. Social and Mobile ' They're No Longer Buzz Words, They're Business Plans I'll admit it. I've been suffering a little bit of 'hashtag fatigue'? lately (a term coined by AMP's own Colin Booth). While I'm as big of a social media nerd as the next SXSW attendee, I'm ready to get past the idea that social is the 'new, shiny toy'? to add to the marketing mix. Looking over the sessions included in this year's agenda, I am really excited about engaging in conversations about the business impact of social and mobile. Panels like Mobile Saturday: Loyalty in the Pocket and Social Circles vs. Social Media promise to discuss the role of mobile and social behavior across online and offline consumer experiences, and I'm hoping throughout the weekend that those conversations snowball into discussions around the business implications and ROI across these two exploding channels. We all know how important mobile and social are based on the latest stats about time spent and growing penetration. Over these next few days, I'm hoping we can all talk about successful strategies and new ideas to further integrate brands across those channels to connect with consumers in meaningful ways. Data is a Four Letter Word'?¦ the Good Kind I recently attended an event where the CMO of E*Trade, Nick Utton, stated his belief that marketing is now 75% science and 25% art. His point being that access to more data and an increased focus on testing throughout all stages of campaign development have resulted in more efficient and effective marketing. With that theme in mind, one of the sessions I'm most looking forward to is Saturday's 'Is Intuitive Marketing Dead?'? (analyzing data and predictive modeling) with Nate Silver. While there is still a lot we don't know when we put a campaign in market, we certainly know a lot more today than we did 10 years ago about our target audiences' preferences and media behavior. Ever-evolving research techniques (including sophisticated A/B testing matrices) combined with growing databases of historical performance data are resulting in powerful modeling tools that make us much smarter on day one of concepting. I'm excited to hear what Nate predicts for marketing's future and to hear this theme explored across other sessions and sidebar conversations over the course of SXSWi. Fastening My Seatbelt for a 24/7 Marketing Blitz The other thing I'm excited about is the palpable 'Disneyland for Marketers'? buzz. SXSW is where people/brands go to launch new products, share new thinking, play with the latest app/tools/approaches. And it's already begun'?¦ in-air. A few hours into my flight, JetBlue's marketing team held an in-flight promotion asking us over the PA, 'How many people does Austin's airport estimate will pass through Austin on their way to SXSW?'? One-by-one they collected answers from each flyer with the three closest guesses each receiving a pair of ticket vouchers to anywhere JetBlue flies. And while I was sitting there thinking, 'this is a smart promotion to run with a plane full of marketers, but you've got glaring problem ' no WIFI for me to live tweet/blog/post about it,'? they concluded their contest by announcing 'and by next year's SXSW, we'll have the nation's fastest, free wifi'?¦ so we'll play this game over Twitter.'? Be on the lookout for wifi roll-out in June with up to ten planes equipped by the end of the year. Well done JetBlue ' there's your plug. And feel free to play along ' share your best guess in the comments section below and I'll reveal the answer on my flight home'?¦ or maybe just before takeoff.

JT is Ready

1 Social Media Post. 1 Teaser Video. 1 Countdown Clock. Apparently that's all it takes to start a firestorm of conversation online. Of course, it doesn't hurt when that tweet, video and countdown are in reference to Justin Timberlake's return to music. In a brilliant, and unbelievably simple, marketing campaign, JT sent the below, slightly cryptic message to his 15 million+ Twitter followers, 17+ million Facebook likers and his growing (he hopes) MySpace friends on Thursday afternoon: The link sends fans to http://countdown.justintimberlake.com/ which launches a 60 second teaser video entitled "I'm Ready." The video follows Timberlake as he walks through a building into a recording studio. The accompanying first-person voice over features Timberlake talking about how serious he takes his craft, and why he's been so inconsistent in producing music over the past few years. At the close of the video, the screen changes to a mexican pharmacy online ticking countdown. The wait ends on Sunday 1/13, but the buzz is just beginning. Well done, JT.

CES 2013: The Connected Everything

Connection /k??nekSH?n/ A relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else. The action of linking one thing with another: "connection to the Internet". We're 48 hours into CES and one thing is abundantly clear - we're living in a connected world. From the "connected home" to the "connected car" and all the way to the "connected fork," connected devices have more than just arrived, they are sophisticatedly ... well... connected. Here are a few quick highlights from the convention floor and some potential implications for brands/marketers. The Connected Home We've all heard the use case - you're driving home from work and your car notifies you that you need more eggs as you drive by your local grocery store. It's a fun fantasy, right? Well, it's actually already a reality. Major appliances makers like LG are featuring a full line of "smart" home appliances - ranging from refrigerators to ovens to washers/dryers. Now your fridge can provide recipe recommendations based on what's inside and you can set your spin cycle with a few clicks on your mobile device from anywhere. Hell, you can even check-in on your robotic vacuum via a live feed to an on-device camera. The Connected Car Advances in telematics are empowering car manufacturers like Chevy with exciting new options to provide utility and efficiency to drivers. Connected cars can now sync with your personal music apps or listening history, seamlessly connect with mobile devices for hands-free texting and can control most features with natural speech voice control. And, what's not far off is sophisticated tracking on driving behavior - how often you drive, how aggressive/fast you drive, etc. - which insurance companies are already tapping into to offer discounted rates. We're likely not far off from being able to pre-program your vehicle to auto-text loved ones at the instance of an auto accident. While I don't wish a fender bender upon anyone, I'm sure many parents would be comforted to know they'd be immediately informed if an accident happened. And, they would probably also like to be able to access a dashboard to see when/where their kids took mom's car. The Connected Everything Else From healthcare and fitness apps to pet tracking to forks, the convention floor was packed with devices and gadgets that either can be controlled, monitored or synced with your mobile device and/or web-based dashboard. It seems that the smart phone is already accelerating the convergence of a single device as a true "universal remote" for your life. Take for example the Hapifork - a connected utensil that tracks the number of fork lifts in a meal, the speed at which you eat and the number of calories consumed. And if you're doing any of those at too fast or too indulgent of a pace, you'll get a friendly buzz reminding you to stop scarfing down your meal. Pretty cool? Or too far? You tell me. What Does It All Mean The "connected future" that CES has on display obviously has many implications for future consumer behavior, but it also presents some very interesting considerations for advertising opportunities. Brands will now be able to uniquely target consumers based on deeper behavioral insights across multiple devices. And new mediums - like you refrigerator - will quickly pop up as potential billboards for brand messaging. Imagine the scenario where your fridge knows you need eggs and overlay the potential for your local supermarket to deliver a $0.50 off coupon or advertise product from a local farmer. It's advertising at a personalized level, delivered in real-time and guaranteed to be contextually relevant. Not too bad.

How Will the Class of 2016 Change the World of Marketing?

What's it like to eat, sleep and breathe technology? AMP asked the Class of 2016 to answer this question at our Future M session. In the time it takes you to read this, they have switched electronic devices ' twice. They change between 27 content streams per hour. 71% are on Facebook and the majority doesn't watch traditional TV. The Class of 2016 is changing the future of marketing with technology. And you need to know how to reach them. View our presentation to learn about this group of change-makers' behaviors, preferences, buying patterns and key takeaways for brand marketers. How the Class of 2016 Will Change the World of Marketing? from AMP Agency

It's All About Status

A generation ago you were popular if you had 20 friends. You had 'influence'? if you started fashion trends or were able to get a last minute reservation at the latest "it" restaurant. And while one could argue that those definitions still hold true, today's Millennials have completely redefined the framework of social identity. As documented in AMP Agency's recent Psychology of Social study, the age-old human desires of connection, attachment and identity establishment have not changed since the stone age - but the process and manner in which they are achieved has shifted significantly with the rise of social media. We're now enabled to fulfill these basic human needs via our technological capacity to connect through social channels and communities. And it's become a part of everyday identity. Tomorrow's consumer will define him/herself by the brands they like on Facebook, the songs they stream via Spotify, the places they check-in on FourSquare, the people they follow on Twitter, the photos they upload to Instagram and the online identity that they establish early on in life. Someone's social footprint is already a factor in how online daters find their mates, how employers screen potential employees, how universities evaluate applicants and how record companies scan for the next Justin Bieber. So what does it mean for brands? Social is no longer a vertical channel. It must be considered, and likely implemented, across everything a brand does. It is no longer enough to simply create a positive brand experience (a challenge in its own right). It's now about creating positive, shareable brand experiences for consumers while simultaneously helping to facilitate the social sharing of those experiences. As brand identity continues to become an integral part of consumers' individual identities, brands should look for ways to facilitate evangelism and provide on- and off-line status perks to your customers. American Express has done a fantastic job via their Amex Sync programming by offering an incentive to members to link their credit cards with their Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare profiles in return for offers, content and experiences. Not only does it provide their members with immediate savings and the status bump associated with exclusive access but it provides an entry point for the brand to access the valuable real estate of status updates and implied (or in this case, actual) endorsement. Another brand that's done a great job extending social across all consumer touch points and engagements is Nike with their Nike+ Ecosystem. The Nike+ Running app allows users to sync and share their fitness goals and achievements with their social communities, helping to not only track their performance, but also helping to keep them motivated. Nike+ Fuelband's recent integration into Path takes things a step further by allowing Path users to map their progress against their daily activity goals. If you have trouble keeping yourself accountable, now you can rely on the motivation of shared competition (your mom ran more miles than you today?!?) or the pressure of public workout tracking (my girlfriend will know if I skip that workout today). There is tremendous opportunity to further integrate your brand into shared social experiences. Look for opportunities to provide consumers with "status building" status updates and other public badges that can help them build social cache. Allow your brand to help consumers build their individual brand identities.

    Related Posts