Tuesday Nov 18, 2014

And Two Become One: The Convergence of Social & Mobile

Author: Amy Sorrells, Oracle Social Cloud

By now everyone should understand the importance of all things mobile. Yesterday at the annual WOMMA Summit, Terry City from BuzzFeed said the following that quickly garnered lots of Twitter love: “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.”  And with every new smartphone sold this becomes increasingly right on.

(Image courtesy of WOMMA Summit)

The shift to social media being consumed on mobile devices is very real. But many brands’ existing strategies are based on the wrong assumption that social is still a desktop/laptop thing.  Do people still use desktops and laptops for social networking? Of course they do. It’s just that social media usage is rising and it’s being driven by the proliferation of smartphone adoption.

And it is not just social activities; mobile is driving changes across many behaviors from shopping to service to search.

Comscore says we in the U.S. spend 52% of our “digital time” on mobile apps. Mobile comprises 60% of digital media usage…a percentage that’s rising at a rapid clip. Social, along with games and music, dominate mobile app usage, with Facebook the clear #1 for audience size and time spent.

When you drill down to how the individual social networks are predominantly engaged, 98% of the time U.S. users spend with Instagram is on mobile. For Pinterest it’s 92%, Twitter 86%, and Facebook 68%. So taking these kinds of statistics into consideration, an aware social marketer would have no choice but to start thinking about social solely in terms of how it plays out for users on mobile.

Brands and advertisers start doing damage to their company when they don’t stay in step with real changes in consumer behavior.

And here’s what that behavior looks like: There are more people in this world that own smartphones than own toothbrushes. Four out of five consumers use smartphones to shop. 52% of Americans use mobile for in-store research. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. People that find you on mobile convert at almost 3x the rate as those that find you on desktop/laptop. Those using mobile are out and about, living their lives and ready to socially engage.

Smartphones aren’t just lighter laptops. They are enabled with innovative and valuable opportunities—think sensors, beacons, location-based recognition. They can bring hyper-local targeting, personalization and context marketing to life.

Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet report brought us some curious figures that illustrate a disconnect between where the public is spending their media time, and how much ad spend goes there. For instance, print usage is at 5% and dropping, yet the spend by advertisers comfortably jogging behind consumer behavior is 19%.

Looking at overall mobile ad market trends, however, things look like they’re heading in a reasonably right direction. BI Intelligence says it will grow the fastest amongst digital options, going over $32.6 billion in 2018 with social leading the way. eMarketer thinks mobile ad spend will surpass desktop PC advertising by 2016, then TV advertising by 2018, with Facebook controlling at least 71% of the mobile ad market.

Today businesses need a strategic social paid, owned and earned strategy – and it needs to be a mobile-first strategy. Do you forget about desktop/laptop usage? Of course not, you are still reaching and engaging there, but it’s dwindling. Mobile must take priority. The relationships you’re building with your customers on social, using the data they’re handing you via social + other enterprise data, with content served up at a time and place of convenience and high relevance, targeted and amplified with mobile ad options, is the increasingly obvious path to pursue. 

Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Is Social Marketing Over?

“Is social marketing over”?! It’s a question that might come as a bit of a shock seeing as how many brands are still in the “just getting started” phase of it.


So to get an answer to our question, and to lessen the shock, we should probably determine just what “social marketing” means. The method of marketing to people by building relationships with them and winning their trust is hardly anything new. Door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen figured that out long ago.


So social is not a marketing method. It’s a medium, a type of media. Look…it’s even right there in the name, social media. It’s a utility, a stage, a delivery and measurement system. It's a way for brands to utilize new technologies to get messaging to customers and prospects, and to help those people receive it in a way that lines up with how they’ve adopted technology into their personal, day-to-day lives.


So if you aren’t social marketing on the medium of social, what are you doing? You’re content marketing and influencer marketing. You’re not “putting out a social.” You’re putting out content and using the medium of social to do it. Certainly it’s unlike any other medium we’ve had access to before. It’s empowered the consumer, upped the mandate of real-time, raised the value of providing real value, and demanded two-way interaction.


Because of that, the medium has also come to be used for functions that formerly were not, but that are increasingly coming under, marketing’s domain; eCommerce, Customer Service, A/B Testing & Research, Recruiting, even Sales & Fulfillment.


This, my friends, is the social-enabled enterprise. In it, CMO’s have more responsibilities and accountability than ever, and it’s the utility of social coursing through the organization like electricity, touching and integrating its multiple components, that has created this new business reorganization.


So the perception that you’re doing “social marketing” when you post on Facebook is technically true. But that’s like saying you’re doing print marketing when you publish a book. In both examples, what you’re actually doing is content marketing. You’re just employing two different types of media to do it.


Now, how does this mental delineation help you?


One, it should underline the degree of importance you should be putting on content creation. Two, it should shorten the debate over whether to “do” social. Marketers today are still driving social with the parking brake on, shocked that such an approach isn’t resulting in immediate, astonishing rewards. Are you prepared to attempt content, influence and event marketing while either eliminating or keeping a stranglehold on the entire medium of social? It’s akin to a CEO saying, “we’re serious about growing this business, but by golly we’re going to do it without phones.”


If you’re approaching social as a method and not embracing it for the medium that it is, then broadcast, print, and outdoor will no doubt still welcome you with open arms. Who knows, there might even be a nostalgic, anti-modern marketing charm to it.


@mikestiles
Photo: Mateusz Stachowski, stock.xchng

Friday Aug 31, 2012

Facebook Sponsored Results: Is It Getting Results?

man with magnifying glassSocial marketers who like to focus on the paid aspect of the paid/earned hybrid Facebook represents may want to keep themselves aware of how the network’s new Sponsored Results ad product is performing.

The ads, which appear when a user conducts a search from the Facebook search bar, have only been around a week or so. But the first statistics coming out of them are not bad.

Marketer Nanigans says click-through rates on the Sponsored Results have been nearly 23 times better than regular Facebook ads. Some click-through rates have even gone over 3%. Just to give you some perspective, a TechCrunch article points out that’s the same kind of click-through rates that were being enjoyed during the go-go dot com boom of the 90’s. The average across the Internet in its entirety is now somewhere around .3% on a good day, so a 3% number should be enough to raise an eyebrow. Plus the cost-per-click price is turning up 78% lower than regular Facebook ads, so that should raise the other eyebrow.

Marketers have gotten pretty used to being able to buy ads against certain keywords. Most any digital property worth its salt that sells ads offers this, and so does Facebook with its Sponsored Results product. But the unique prize Facebook brings to the table is the ability to also buy based on demographic and interest information gleaned from Facebook user profiles. With almost 950 million logging in, this is exactly the kind of leveraging of those users conventional wisdom says is necessary for Facebook to deliver on its amazing potential.

So how does the Facebook user fit into this? Notorious for finding out exactly where sponsored marketing messages are appearing and training their eyeballs to avoid those areas, will the Facebook user reject these Sponsored Results?

Well, Facebook may have found an area in addition to the News Feed where paid elements can’t be avoided and will be tolerated. If users want to read their News Feed, and they do, they’re going to see sponsored posts. Likewise, if they want to search for friends or Pages, and they do, they’re going to see Sponsored Results. The paid results are clearly marked as such. As long as their organic search results are not tainted or compromised, they will continue using search.

But something more is going on. The early click-through rate numbers say not only do users not mind seeing these Sponsored Results, they’re finding them relevant enough to click on. And once they click, they seem to be liking what they find, with a reported 14% higher install rate than Marketplace Ads.

It’s early, and obviously the jury is still out. But this is a new social paid marketing opportunity that’s well worth keeping an eye on, and that may wind up hitting the trifecta of being effective for the platform, the consumer, and the marketer.

Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

Social Content: Creativity + Common Sense

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to generate a consistent flow of quality content?  You're not alone.  Here are some the reason why brands get stuck and a formula for getting un-stuck. 

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