Beware the autobots – they could be decepticons.

How many “connections” do you have on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter? I call them connections because, let’s face it no-one has 873 actual friends. If you disagree and think you are friends with the entire 873 people, you’re delusional.

Do you have some “connections” who you’ve never met in person? Or how often do you browse through your “connections” list of “connections” looking for good sorts you can stalk? Talking about you Frosty!!

What if I told you in the last week there is a very good chance you have made a connection with a robot on one of these sites – a robot you think is a real person. A real person with a normal profile who make normal contributions to their normal page about their normal life.

Beware the decepticons

In the cartoon Transformers the good guys were the autobots and the bad guys decepticons, so far in this instancd we can think of all the robots

If you have a robot in your social networking site – is it good or bad?

WTF are you talking about?

Good question.

Developers have built tools that automatically post entries into Twitter accounts. They create a Twitter user and develop profiles for them based on real world segmentation of their client’s target audience. They then seed the fake Twitter user through real users and build a network.

The developers have also designed a software program like a big fishing trawler that sails through other Twitter accounts with similar profile data and copies some of their entries. These copied entries then go into a spreadsheet that automatically posts them into the fake account in a set schedule.

Check it out Twitteradder.

That’s weird, but so what?

Here’s the devious part, marketers then seed these Twitter feeds with subtle links to their brands. Plus to manage ‘real time’ entries such as conversations to other users they have real people to post because the robots aren’t THAT smart. Yet. But how do you manage thousands of fake accounts with real entries? By outsourcing to the Phillipines. At $1.44 an hour. Hhmmmm.

Got an issue with this yet?

Well I do. I’m not sure if I’m more upset that marketers are potentially reaching me with fake users or that Twitter, who know this goes on are letting it happen.

All I can say is beware the decepticons….

Decepticon logo

Tim – CGO

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I’ve got a secret. 21 of them.

21 secrets of top-converting websites.
By converting, I mean having your users, do some sort of action. Whether your site is an eCommerce site and they choose a product, add it to their cart and make the purchase, or if it is BayerCARE and the user registers, and does a course, each of these transactions, is a conversion.

Contact us should be on every page, and the more I think about it, register now, or do a course should be on every page too. Don’t be shy. Don’t settle for anything less than 100%. And remember:

  • Relevance
  • Credibility
  • Navigation

1. Communicate your unique value proposition – need a simple explanation about why you are the best, on every page (best place would be in the banner, or just below). Ie Bayer Accelerate. Free, online learning courses for Veterinary staff.

2. Make offers that are persuasive and relevant – know what motivates your audience and remind them of the offer throughout the site, or the process. Re-enforce the offer, site wide.

3. Make sure each page maintains the scent – the look, feel, tone, branding. Examine all customers pathway, as not all will come to you via the same route.

4. Localise – If you know their postcode, put a local testimonial up at point of conversion, to enforce they are doing the right thing.

5. Make sure you understand the customer buying process – If you want to be reminded what this new buying process is (has evolved over time since the intrduction of social media), see my last post. A great example is Victoria’s secret. They know that purchasing a bikini for a female is not the funnest of shopping trips. But they allow the customer to select bikinis online and choose based on type of top you need and type of bottom (very rarely are us girls the same size for both).

6. Appeal to multiple personas / segments.

7. Don’t slice and dice optimisation

8. Leverage social communities, use the voice of the customers

9. Think about your navigation – Dont just sort alphabetically, be able to go by price, or rating. Bayer Accelerate’s courses are only sorted alphabetically, and what is new. We should do them by the number of people done a course, or get them rated. Or on complexity!

10. Make forms more engaging – you dont want to lose them here. Make sure the forms look like the rest of the site. And are simple.

ok… So I said 21… the other 11 will be with you soon. Gotta get ready for day #3.

Have a great day.

The future of media advertising digital style?

Digital advertising started with the introduction many years ago – at least it seems like that – with display ads that were called banner ads. Remember them? It was a model that was similar to how we buy media on TV, radio and newspaper. Then along came search ads, those text ads that sit on the right hand side of your Google, Yahoo or Bing search engines.

Display may be back

Display took a back seat as Google made Adwords the latest key for advertisers knowledgeable or not to unlock consumer dollars but now it looks like Display may have its hand up for a greater share of advertiser dollars. Just look at the numbers. Adults spend 34% of their total time with media on the Internet. That’s the stat from SES conference at San Francisco this week. However only 12% of the media spend is invested on online media advertising whether search ads or display ads.

This diagram outlines how media needs to incorporate both online and offline environments in its strategy planning in this new age in advertising.

Diagram of role of agency in online and offline media planning

In the online media environment, creative optimisation is still the key but the differences are:

  • Creative can change to be more relevant to visitor type using Smart Ads
  • Post view conversion rates will become a key measure
  • Rich ads will bring display to search ads previously the realm of text
  • Technology will not create effectiveness, knowledge will.

Ad exchanges and yield optimisers

There are a few ad exchanges such as Right media, Appinexus and Double Click and a number of yield optimisers – provides ROI to the campaign per click, per impression, per action – provide guidance in a rapidly changing publisher base. The market is highly volatile and learning to be transparent to advertisers who want to know just where their ad is being placed. The market is also an auction, bidding for space. In fact there is talk it may even end up looking like a futures exchange.

Go figure!

The art of conversation

A conversation is informal interchange of thoughts between people. You say something, I say something. We share information, details and thoughts and we come away enriched.

As people, we engage in conversation daily.  We share how we slept, what we watched and how we are feeling. It’s natural. It makes us feel connected.

NEWS FLASH: EMAIL IS A CONVERSATION

It’s true. It’s just in writing. However, we are guilty of conducting one way speaking at you sessions. What is in that for our subscribers?

Think about all the emails we create. Who are they for? What are they for? Examine closely our campaigns and ask these questions.  “Why would I sign up to receive this? What’s in it for me?”

Once you can answer that you need to examine the content. How can we change it to invite more interaction?  How can we make it more engaging?  What are our readers searching for? Have we looked at the latest trends on Google, Yahoo, Facebook? Do we know what they are interested in? Are we providing what they want OR what we want to tell them?

It’s all about the reader

We need to engage our readers in an interactive conversation. We won’t do this if we aren’t writing engaging copy, or we are writing irrelevant copy. We certainly won’t do this if we aren’t listening to what is being said because conversations are two-way.

Remember, what’s not shared loses value.

It’s not an iPhone it’s a marriage

Internationally last year there were roughly 4 billion handsets (phones) sold, 35% of those devices were smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry etc) and are web enabled. That’s 1.4 billion devices. How many PC’s sold last year? 1.2 billion. 200,000,000 less computers than smartphones sold last year. Wow.

But what does that change? Everything.

Your relationship with your iPhone is greater than your relationship with your desktop or laptop computer and certainly greater than your relationship with your TV. You like these things, but you looooove your iPhone. It’s like a marriage.

Your iPhone is by your side 24/7, it’s always connected (ok well with Optus, nearly always). You kiss your computer good night, turn it off and leave it on your desk but your iPhone it stays turned on and comes to bed with you…ooooh yeah. You don’t mind if you’re iPhone comes with you to the bathroom either. Hmmm.

What does that mean to us, as marketers?
It’s timely, it’s local, it’s emotional.

For example if I’m looking for a nice restaurant to visit and do a search on my iPhone I’m most likely to be making my purchase decision right now. Timely. There’s also a good chance I’ll be within the vicinity of the restaurant. Local. And, because I’m married to my iPhone I trust it’s recommendation. Emotional.

When I looked up Mapmyride.com looking for a new route for us to ride our bikes tomorrow morning, it found my GPS position and served up the top 5 most most popular rides in San Fran. No search required. Thank you iPhone, love you.

The development of sites for mobile devices in the next few years will be serving you more and more local, timely and emotionally driven tools to make your life easier and you can enjoy a long and fulfilling marriage.

But don’t forget to look your iPhone in the eyes everyday and say “I love you”. You know it’ll love you back.

Tim – CGO

Not the dummy anymore

Day one at the conference was great. Hope you have read the rest of the teams blogs?! We started with a brilliant keynote speaker to kick off the sessions. He was inspirational, entertaining, engaging and hit home. Anges blog touches on what he spoke about. Be inspired.

SEO 101
After my initial search engine optimization (SEO) session, I now:
–       understand what it is
–       why it is important
–       how we can implement strategies; and
–       what we can do differently

I am finally catching up with the rest of the geeks. Ask me a question, go on, I dare ya! Just comment on it at the bottom of this blog.

CSS. WTF?
The nerdiest (and the part I loved the most in this session) was learning what CSS stands for (cascading style sheet) and how important H1 and H2 tags are instead of designers defining their own tags using CSS. I would like you all to know that we did this correctly for www.masterpet.com.au – go team!

Feeling confident and heading in the right direction, I entered the next session on the imperatives of the marketing revolution.

2010. Marketing revolution.
5 key take aways:

1) What is the biggest social marketing challenge?
–       leverage for own company: 43%
–       buy in from staff: 30%
–       lack of resources / staffing: 27%

2) Brand Manager, or CMO (chief marketing officer) must be the change agent
–       take leadership
–       take risks

3) Let go. Consumers control the brand

4) Engage customers with conversations
–       its not just a numbers game
–       rich dialogue will result in higher conversation rates than just 1000 tweet followers
–       5 ways to engage customers with conversations

  • ask opinions, surveys, poll, publish results
  • integrate content across channels
  • build in flexibility to respond and change (don’t have long and tedious processes, ie Bayer)
  • make content personal and relevant
  • leverage conflicting views to spark interest

5) Free your content
–       turn key messages into provocative statements (summarise and address needs)
–       chunk it up
–       use content to drive content (ie blog content, quedtions on a forum)
–       keep content fresh through regular research

ABC. All ‘Bout Content.

The final session I want to share with you was about content marketing and optimization. They reminded me that customers/clients expect more, check out the current buying process below:

  1. Search for facts
  2. Ask friends on social sites
  3. Search again
  4. Review features and benefits
  5. Purchase
  6. Share purchase

Whether it’s a new hair straightener, a new Toyota camry, or even booking a dinner date reservation… Think about the journey you take when purchasing something?

5 key take aways:
–       Develop and optimise content with personas in mind (identify your audience and where they are up to with their purchase lifecycle)
–       Create and promote content regularly… We currently create new content for the Murray Valley pork website, but do we promote it? Suggest using twitter or facebook to inform customers of the new site. Our current email campaigns help with this for Bayer CARE. But lets get cleverer than emails!
–       Develop channels of distribution and social links (don’t get caught up beliving if we built it, they will come – this is a dream, not reality)
–       Use effectively both web and social media analytics – we touch on the first one but not the second. Pete suggests Episerver has a function to do this – I am excited. Ben, not sure if you remember a supplier coming in and sharing a tool that does this. His software searched twitter for keywords for us to then comment on, or target.
–       When writing copy, have the end user in mind, then google.

Ok, good night y’all.

Digital marketing secret exposed. Great content gets viewed, gets linked.

Remember TV?

They were the days when we sat in front of a big telly and programs had to rate with us otherwise we changed the channel, surfing for something more interesting. Advertisers cried, programming managers got the sack and programs lived and died on how programs rated.

What’s changed? Not much. Great content still rates highest.

SEO, SEM, CTRs were not heard of then, but audience appeal is as alive today as it was then. Audience numbers grew with audience appeal. Great shows attracted lots of eyeballs and the highest ratings. Great content on the web attracts lots of eyeballs too.

Create great content and you can guarantee search engine interest because:

  • They’ll read it
  • They’ll share it
  • They’ll syndicate it
  • They’ll subscribe to it and
  • They’ll link to it.

These are all the things that search engines place rank preference to.

Search engines want to serve the best content to those that use them to search, and by the way, those who search so they continue to use the search engine and will hopefully see the ads that make the search engines money. That business model is very similar to that of television, radio and press. Advertisers follow the audience because that is where the money is.

A few things have changed though. The best visitor to your website is the one that is most engaged. Their engagement level can be influenced by where they’ve come from. Was it a blog, YouTube, forums, Google adwords, social news or twitter? It can count.

This interesting graphic shows types of attributes (media) that Matthew Bailey of Site Logic Marketing at the SES conference in San Francisco this week,  suggested drive the most engaged or unengaged visitors.

Attribution engagement levels

He suggested that your visitor may be more engaged if they come from a blog or article relating to your content than if they have come from Twitter. Stands to reason given that the twitter visitor has been reading 160 characters of information before clicking to look at your site and the visitor from a blog or article may have invested their time in several paragraphs (and therefore more engaged) before arriving at your content which hopefully will be in context with what they have viewed before.

So that’s the digital marketing secret exposed. Great content is king in webland. Oh you already knew that?

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