3 Ways to Incorporate Mobile And Social Analytics In Your Ad Campaigns

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In today’s competitive business environment, most advertising agencies are using data analytics to hone their clients’ campaign strategies and to improve their job of targeting, tracking, and engaging customers.

With mobile commerce growing at an annual rate of 42 percent, and with one-third of online shoppers making at least one purchase via smartphone over the last 12 months (and 20 percent via tablet), marketers that ignore mobile analytics are doing themselves a major disservice. The same goes for social, where tracking, measuring, and engaging consumers via sites like Facebook and Twitter is absolutely crucial.

As an agency that was in on the ground floor of both the mobile and social advertising movements, and that has been employing analytics to create accountable advertising for decades, we can clearly see that everything digital is moving in a mobile direction. In fact, with some campaigns, we’re seeing as much as 70 percent of orders coming through digital platforms – and the majority of those are being made via mobile devices, even for large, international brands.

To get a better idea of how mobile and social campaigns are performing, consider using one or all three of these ways to leverage analytics:

1) To track consumer activity via their mobile devices. While mobile devices may appear to be “untethered” and therefore more difficult to track and measure, the reality is that it’s quite easy to get a grasp on “m-commerce” activity. Not only can you track the direct sales that are coming in – and what devices are being used (phones, tablets, etc.) – but you can also tie that information back to specific consumers.

This will help you create more accountable and profitable advertising in the future, and it will allow you to harness those 70+ percent of orders that will soon be coming in via mobile devices (if they aren’t already). One of the simplest tools available to you is Google Mobile App Analytics, which allows you to track and measure activity taking place on your app, establish and measure goals, determine conversion rates, keep track of campaign consistency, and apply the resultant data for actionable insights.

Having this information in hand, and then analyzing it for key points and patterns, will help you develop even more effective mobile campaigns in the future.

2) To parlay social activity into key campaign goals. What started out as a fun way for friends to keep in touch and share photos with one another has transformed into a powerful advertising and sales tools for organizations of all sizes.

Today, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are being folded into the campaigns of even the largest, most well known brands. And while tracking the performance of such efforts was elusive until recently, today’s companies are keeping closer tabs on their social activity and using the information garnered to hone their campaigns.

“In 2015, there are now companies whose sole job is to sift through social data and find emerging clues and patterns. Facebook has a billion users, Twitter has hundreds of millions, and LinkedIn is the de facto professional networking site,” writes Jonathan Hassell in CIO.

Remember that social allows you to track more than just “who is Tweeting about you” or “who is posting information about your firm on Facebook.” It also helps you measure brand awareness, hone campaign goals, and determine the best possible approach for a specific marketer (brand awareness vs. direct sales vs. consumer engagement, and so forth).

3) To “listen” to your customers in new and innovative ways. There was a time when companies had to rely on “live” focus groups, written surveys, and customer feedback forms to find out exactly what their target customer groups were thinking. Today, most of that information is available online and a lot of it is at the marketer’s fingertips (as in, the company doesn’t have to ask for it).

“If your customers are talking about you, you want to hear what they’re saying. If you’re spending good money to talk at them, why not devote some percentage to listening to what they have to say?” writes Mikal E. Belicove in Entrepreneur. “Research shows that the conversations your customers have among themselves drive about 13 percent of business decisions and can amplify your advertising by 15 percent.”

Becoming that “fly on the wall” is fairly simple. If you’re running an engagement campaign, for example, look at whether customers are tweeting and/or re-tweeting information about their experiences with the product. If it’s a direct sales campaign, then pay close attention to how those social interactions parlay into mobile and/or online sales.

In the end, the only way to determine the effectiveness of a campaign’s mobile or social efforts is by taking a hard look at the data and then using that information to take action. While this step was easy to ignore just 5-10 years ago, agencies that don’t take the time to effectively measure their mobile and social efforts are doing their clients a disservice and overlooking a large chunk of potential business.

This guest article was written by Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne Direct.

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3 Ways to Incorporate Mobile And Social Analytics In Your Ad Campaigns

So You Think Your Website Is Perfect. Here’s 7 Reasons You May Be Wrong

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OK so the entire world of marketing has been wetting its pants over social media and content marketing the last few years but what about that old fashion – yet, incredibly important — thing called a website? Have you dusted it for cobwebs lately?

And after all that time and money you spend on social media and content marketing, it’s still the website — or the most part — where all the action you care about — sign ups, sales, etc. — occurs. So if your website is still a piece of annoying Flashturbation or, worse, not supporting your omnichannel efforts, you might as well go unearth that Geocities version of your website from back in the day.

Here’s a few tenets of a well oiled website. Maybe you know all this stuff. Maybe you’ve forgotten. And, hey, we all get busy and can use a good, swift reminder from time to time.

Content Refresh

If you have people who return to your website more than once and they notice nothing has changed – in what feels like a decade (or, let’s be honest, even a week), then you are going to lose them very quickly. Whether you like it or not, refreshing content with new and interesting ideas creates a reason for customers to come back to the site.

Maybe you have been too busy to update but potential customers don’t see it that way. Instead, they may begin to think your business is on its way out. However, if they see new content, then they tend to equate the frequent blogs posts, articles, and pages to a vibrant and successful business.

The best way to continually update content is to have a blog as part of your website, but you can also add an articles library and, as you grow, add new pages about your expanding product line or service portfolio. If you are too busy to do the content yourself, consider using a freelance content writer from ELance, iFreelancer or Guru.

Multiple Points of Entry

Having relevant content that’s of interest to various segments of your audience is, of course, very important. But you also need appropriately segmented places for them to visit within your site.

Multiple points of enrtry — ie. landing pages — provide a way for you to provide segment-specific information about a new product or service. Oh and you can more easliy track metrics related to each marketing campaign that you may run to understand whether or not certain audience segments are actually visiting these pages and how they are responding to your content and offers. In addition, landing pages keep a website from becoming cluttered.

Design Makeover

Like your content, the actual design of your website can become dated. You don’t want your audience to be able to carbon date the look of your page to the 2000s or the aforementioned Geocities era. Instead, as your brand evolves or, as you change your overall corporate identity, make sure your website design reflects that the shifting style and positioning of the brand.

If you don’t have the budget to hire a designer or ad agency, you can head over to places likeWix where you can find hundredsof website design templates that will give you a starting point. Good ‘ol WordPress also has a lot of templates to completely change the look and functionality of your website allowing you to easily add new pages or enhance its user-friendliness.

When your customers and potential customers experience a design makeover, they are more likely to envision you as a company that’s moving forward rather than getting tired and falling asleep.

Higher Reliability and Speed

People, it’s 2015! We have big pipes! There’s no excuse for your slow ass site that takes fully 30 seconds for a page to load. Design can greatly affect page load times but so can hosting. And, seriously, when was the last time you actually spent a minute or two checking into you web host’s tech specs? Yea, that shit is boring but it’s the back bone of your website and that boring shit matters.

So yes, it could be the hosting company that is slowing you down, so you might want to consider researching what web hosting companies which can offer faster connections and less downtime. For example, Pair.com is one. Another isHostwinds. They offer numerous hosting plans that scale up as you grow your business so you don’t have to worry about outgrowing them.

Responsiveness

While more people are starting their searches from their smartphones and tablets, not as many companies are adding responsive website design to sense when a visitor is using something other than their laptop or desktop. Not employing technology that senses your new mobile customers can lead to a disastrous experience that accomplishes nothing except for losing a potential customer.

Insuring your site employs responsive design means your website will fit the screen on which it’s being viewed. It can also mean that you offer a choice between a mobile website version and a regular one so the user can select their preference.

Coding Compliance

While this is on the technical side of things, coding compliance is pretty important. Since the standards regularly change, you’ll need to make sure your technical talent is aware of what’s required. Not only will this help your website achieve higher rankings to turn that digital sales funnel toward your business, but it will also keep you in the good graces of those that track website compliance.

Graphics Optimization

Search engine optimization goes beyond just selecting the right keywords and phrases that get the attention of search engines everywhere. You also need to optimize graphics – including photos and videos on your website. Use relevant and descriptive words in the title tag and alt gag in your image code as an additional way to throw that net out wider over the Internet and draw more of your target audience to your website. Since you will be regularly updating your website’s content, don’t forget to optimize every new graphic you add.

And so there it is. Maybe you’re on top of all of this. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you have a boss who thinks Flash is still all that. Hopefully, this information will help you better manage your website and, ideally, build more business.

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So You Think Your Website Is Perfect. Here’s 7 Reasons You May Be Wrong

4 Things Brands Can Learn From Subway’s Jared Fogle Scandal

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Jared Fogle, the man that taught America it was possible to lose more than 200 pounds eating subway sandwiches, has been charged with possessing child pornography and is reportedly planning to plead guilty.

Fogle was also the leading spokesperson for Subway for 15 years and contributed to nearly half of Subway’s growth.

As the news of Fogle’s charges became a reality, Subway quickly cut ties with their former spokesperson.

Here are 4 things brands can learn from Subway’s recent crisis.

The truth will come to the light

For 15 years, Fogle’s charitable contributions and fight against childhood obesity provided no warning of his charges to date. Humans are highly unpredictable and humans make mistakes. For this reason, brands must take measures to insure their spokesperson(s) is as wholesome in private as they appear in public and, in a case where they are not, find out before the media does.

Subway, or any brand hiring a spokesperson, should have considered employing an investigative service to at least conduct a surface check to determine any potential irregularities. Obviously, brands should not wait for a crisis to be attached to the brand, should be the first to know and the first to end any relationship that might lead to damages to the brand.

Act fast and leave little speculation

Subway, to their credit, did act quickly after Fogle’s allegations went mainstream and issued a simple statement stating, “We are very concerned and will be monitoring the situation closely. We don’t have any more details at this point.” It is important that brands do their best to control how the public perceives them before the public has a chance to conjure up its own conclusions.

Subway’s statement was also close-ended, leaving little room for speculation or hearsay – a tactic brands should take note of. Shortly after, Subway decided to end their relationship with Fogle and issued another simple and closed-ended statement, “We no longer have a relationship with Jared and have no further comment.” Such swift action allowed Subway to mitigate the damages and left little room for further questioning and probing.

Although in recent days allegations have been made that some Subway management did, in fact have some knowledge of Fogle’s situation and, according to one former Subway employees, failed to come forward. That situation is still playing itself out in the news.

Social media can be your friend

While the public used Twitter to vent their frustrations and confusion, Subway used a series of tweets to broadcast their position before, during, and after their decision to terminate their relationship with Fogle. Not shying away from social media allowed Subway to keep the masses updated with facts as they unfolded and remain a trustworthy and transparent brand.

Diversify, when possible

Subway invested heavily into one person as the face of their company for 15 years. This can be quite risky for brands as consumer perspectives changes over time and can later prove to be disastrous if that person comes under scrutiny as Fogle has. Consequently, brands such as Geico have decided to simply create their ideal spokesperson. Geico’s Gecko, for example, is a fictional character that can take on multiple personalities and therefore resonate with multiple audiences at the brand’s leisure.

In addition, because the fictional Geico is not prone to common human error, Geico takes on much less risk. In a 15-year time span, Subway had ample time – especially if some inside the organization had inside knowledge about Fogle — and opportunity to transition to other, safer spokesperson.

Not every brand can succeed employing the fictional spokesperson strategy but it is worth considering. Fictional characters are, of course, immune to human frailty.

Despite the downfall of Subway’s most recognized spokesperson, Subway appears not to have experienced any noticeable backlash from consumers – apart from a pre-Fogle scandal downward spiral in sales — and will likely emerge relatively unscathed. While brands can’t plan for the sudden downfall of a spokesperson, actively monitoring their spokespeople, responding quickly, and diversifying is a great way to mitigate losses.

This guest article was written by Keran Smith, co-founder of a digital marketing agency, Lyfe Marketing.

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4 Things Brands Can Learn From Subway’s Jared Fogle Scandal

Here’s How PR Can Be A Startup’s Secret Weapon

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As a startup, you may not be able to afford a full-time, dedicated PR team quite yet, so you opt for contractors, outsourced agencies, or part-time PR pros. There is some great ad-hoc talent out there that you can add into the startup mix, but just be sure that you start with careful planning first.

There are many ways to cut corners for a tighter startup budget, but starting with PR fat trimming shouldn’t be one of them. Without a great PR strategy and team, a business has a higher chance of failing because potential customers and investors won’t see what’s so great about your goods or services. The PR strategy is essential for targeting and understanding your audience, studying the competition, and crafting the most relevant campaign messaging.

The Best Time to Hire a PR Team is When A Business is About to Launch.

You only have a small window of opportunity to debut your company with a bang, so there needs to be a PR team to plot, plan, and create a strategy for optimal growth. While they may not be miracle workers, their talent, acumen, and experience can help you pull off a successful launch for your startup.

The Good and Bad of Hiring the PR Crew

Hiring your PR team can be intimidating, especially if any of your colleagues have shared some of their horror stories. However, bear in mind that not all PR teams are created equally, and these stories often have a subplot that explains why it ended badly. It could be that it was just a bad match, a mediocre PR company, and/or a business that just didn’t do their research. Your business won’t mesh with all PR firms and vice versa. This should be a mutually beneficial relationship, and it’ll take some time to separate the weeds from the top potential fits.

Your number one focus should be on making sure the PR team you hire “gets” your message, including what makes your goods or services so different, and the learning curve should be pretty short. Your mission, philosophy and vision should excite them. Once this happens, they can become a natural extension of your company, communicating just like you would. In addition, they will be lightening your load, taking care of everything from speeches at events to media relations. Since your PR team essentially becomes the face of your business, it’s vital that you choose wisely.

What You Need from Your PR Partners

How do you make sure your goals are aligned with a PR agency? You’re both on the same page about demographics and brand representation. A great PR company will already know which media outlets are the right fit for features. However, as a startup, these outlets may not be ready to hear your startup story. That’s why you need to find a professional who will target and goal set with you, not against you. In the long run, working with “small press” provides more consistent exposure for startups, so a PR company shouldn’t only go after the big dogs.

You also need that PR firm to be accessible at any time. Startups work around the clock, and they need a PR firm that works the same non-stop schedule. This doesn’t mean you should be able to call your PR rep at 3a.m., but, within reason, they should be readily accessible or, at the very least, reply in a timely manner.

Finally, it’s likely the head of the PR firm won’t be your direct point of contact even if they met with in the beginning. Instead, you will most likely have an account executive in charge of your account that you will need to mesh with so you can partner on campaigns and other publicity tactics. Meet with this point of contact a few times before signing on that dotted line so you can feel each other out to determine how – and if – you can collaborate effectively.

Diversify Your PR Strategies

Since you are more than likely to be on a limited budget, don’t assume the PR firm you hire has to do everything. You can also use other types of tools to gain traction for your startup as you ramp-up for launch. In this way, you can start building the buzz before the PR team comes on board to get more bang for your buck.

For example, there are online partners available that offer a way to get the benefits of advertising but only having to pay if it generates a lead or a sale. Clickbooth is a Cost Per Action (CPA) network that does just that, expanding your reach without risking your already stretched budget. As part of your PR strategy, you can develop or leverage campaigns with Clickbooth, which has the largest base of affiliates that deal in all types of traffic so you can gain more customers while spending less money. This tactic within your PR strategy can integrate well with whatever your PR firm develops and implements for you, furthering all publicity efforts.

Plan-Ahead PR, Not Panic PR

While it’s true that many businesses scramble to hire a PR professional when they’re in the midst of a crisis, this decision might only make matters worse because you don’t know each other, but you’ve been thrown together to handle some negative press. Usually, that approach only creates a new horror story to add to the collection. Instead, plan ahead and take the time to do the research, interview and assess, and try the PR firm out first so you can introduce your startup to the media and your target audience in a thoughtful way.

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Here’s How PR Can Be A Startup’s Secret Weapon

Let Me Tell You About IZEAfest And Why You Should Go This Year

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Six years ago in 2009 I went to IZEAfest in Orlando. It was an incredible event which occurred during the height of the birth of social media. It was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to.

Well, IZEA Founder Ted Murphy is bringing it back in late October at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.

If you want to know what it was like in 2009, read this article and this article. Together, they sum up two days of conference awesomeness.

Yes, we were all younger and crazier back then but that just made everything more awesome.

This year, the speaker line up is incredible. If you go, you’ll hear from PayPal Head of Social Media Dave Peck, Discover Head of Brand Partnerships Jake Lestan, Kellogg’s Social Media Manager Justin Godley, The Economist Director of Content Strategy Heather Taylor, WOMMA President Suzanne Fanning, IAB Director of Industry Initiatives Susan Borst, So You Think You Can Dance Season 10 Winner Fik-Shun, Vine Celebrities Rajiv Dhall and Andrew Bazzi, MOMables Founder Laura Fuentes, SimplySadieJane Owner Sadie Jane and so many more.

Oh and let’s not forget headliner Extra TV Host Mario Lopez.

And just like the 2009 event, the speakers are just part of the fun. There will be an opening party at Disney’s Atlantic Dance Hall, a takeover of Disney’s Hollywood Studios where attendees will have free reign of the park and, if you like, to attend the Creator’s Choice Awards. There will be a closing party at the Swan & Dolphin Lake Terrace and on the last day, a chance to attend the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

It was personally the most fun I’ve ever had at a conference as well as an incredible learning experience.

If you’re interested, check out the conference at izeafest.com.

I wasn’t paid to write this but Adrants is a media sponsor and I’ve been offered a free pass so, technically, you could say I was/will be paid. But, honestly, it was a great event the first time I went and, no doubt, it will be great this time around!

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Let Me Tell You About IZEAfest And Why You Should Go This Year