Figures by Comscore shows that Facebook has surpassed Google in terms of “time spent”, “visits” etc. This spells good news for Facebook and not so good news for Google (kind of like a Prisoner’s dilemma’s situation) BUT wait. I feel, its different (in a way).
My view is people will continue searching and when they search in Google (or other search engines) they have an INTENT – they are hunting for information to act on (or digest). They know what they are searching for and marketers can capitalize on that very intent by having landing pages or content that answers their search and thus convert them.
On the other hand, in social networks (e.g. Facebook), people go there to socialize, get information – spook on what their mates are doing. Sure they may post on their status seeking assurances about a particular product but their intent is rather different as when they search online. When they search using a search engine, they will prowl through forums to see reviews and then act on the reviews. However on Facebook, they just tend to take a back approach to have fun. So their motivation to go to each platform is different I argue. So how does one convert in this situation?
On a slightly related note, in communities of interest such as forums and such – commerce can work very well because they are bonded by communities of interest and by engaging in say group buy – its a very natural extension of being in a community whereas social network not so per se, as the last thing they want is to have ads shoved up their face in a social setting.
On this note, I foresee in the year 2011 and beyond, we will be seeing a fair bit of group buying going on (especially on communities of interest) and gaining further traction – its not new I must – its has also been going on but I feel that it will grow bigger…
What are your views?
P.S. I tend to see forums as communities of interest bonded by a love for a brand or a hobby whereas Facebook on the other hand is a social friend network.
Google replaced its GAP certification program with the Google Adwords Certification Program and gave agencies 6 months to retake the exam.
From an agency’s point of view, I personally feel that cert is of less “value” as they have reduced the entry requirements – the total ad spent has been reduced significantly. So in a way, this program is easier to achieve for companies in its quest to get the Google Partner Certificate.
Nevertheless, I still had to take the exam to ensure that I am properly trained and have the experience
Ok I passed the exam and I am individually certified. Woohoo! Always nice to have additional certificates hanging around, especially from Google.
There you go. (For verification: Google Certification Program Verification)
Well I guess this depends on who you ask…
End-users would go ”cool stuff!”, privacy activists would say “its about time! and a major victory to privacy” and what about digital asset owners or digital strategist. What would be their reaction?
I reckon would be “thats not too good” I thought everything is trackable on line and how are we (agencies) going to say to our clients. Maybe oh well you see we have approximately 20% of the traffic unaccountable for and that explains why the drop in x & y. I strongly believe that this is due to the missing 20%.
Today, analytics is part and parcel of any online asset – clients demand them so to know exactly how people are surfing their sites, SEO specialists love them cause they can find out what are the keywords people use to get into the site.
Agencies (Client-side Marketers as well) use them to justify the investment (amongst many other metrics) and say how well they have done. Now with people able to opt out – would this mean a loss of valuable data that now relate to a negative relationship to the ability to generate insights that inspire a strategy?
It has been said to a strategist we need numbers to make business cases and to position our argument. So what does this mean to digital strategists. How else are they going to go our data so easily and at such low cost and so quickly!
With this opt out feature, does this signal a massive demand of quantitive/qualitative research whereby we conduct surveys or gather focus group and run modeling equations to make sense of it out.
Would this Google Analytic opt out feature ‘cripple” the digital industry? and how are digital strategists going to work around this problem? after online its seems we are very data-drive, no?
What are your thoughts? I’m keen to hear.
Had the opportunity to attend the Search Engine Marketing Expo (SMX) in Singapore. It was a 2 day event where topics on SEM and SEO were presented from individuals around the world.
Fairfax Digital Australia, SEOMOZ.org etc were present – Had a great chat with Gillian Muessig, CEO of SEOMOZ on emerging SEO topics. She is such a character!
The topics presented covered a wide range of today’s hot topics, ranging from social media, SEM for the CEO, Search marketing & the recession & branding, ROI measures (measuring offline success of SEM), and reporting metrics for your boss to copywriting. Very impressive indeed and it would grab any marketer’s attention in relation to digital marketing.
The expo gave a good basic introduction to the world of Search Engine Marketing for individuals or businesses who have not started or just started in SEM. In my humble opinion, the expo is not really for the more experienced individuals who wish to experience hand ons/practical in the expo. Well I guess the expo is targeted more for the former audience.
The main take away point from the conference are 1) digital marketing is a force to be reckon with 2) it has alot of potential (with figures to back it up) and then moving into the future, 3) it will gain a bigger pie share of any client’s budget (with figures backing this trend as well) and 4) SEO is here to stay and its a strategy in itself.
And opps (how could I forget this) oh yes, pull marketing is indeed the flavour moving ahead and the term that Seth Godin came up with “interruption marketing” is now over, now we are living in the world of “invitation marketing”…buyers can smell a sales pitch miles away so should you engage in content marketing or social marketing, just entertain and educate and indirectly you will make the sale - (doshdosh.com has an excellent write up on this titled: Give before you try to get.)
Present generations of net users hate to be pressured and want to just make informed decision and they want products to improve their lives… Businesses have to earn the trust and loyalty of potential customers before they can make a sale (but hey that is not new too as well). But why even more so now, thats because consumers can now “talk” easier about your brand and learn much more about your brand than yesteryears – thanks to digital.
Well thats all from me now.
P.S. Did you go? Drop me a message if you did.
Advertising Age ran an article titled “Search Shifts Means Visibility Must be Earned, Not Paid” – does this infer that brand reputation and search engine optimization are correlated? If so, this has many ramifications.
One of which is that marketers should devote more attention to SEO rather than SEM, as the title in Advertising Age suggests. Pull demand is the force online, consumers look to the internet for information and education to help them make a more informed decision. They are unlike our forefathers who fall over to pressured advertising and hard sell. The generation today seek info and pull info towards them, they want companies to educate them not hard sell them. Hence its more of a PULL marketing at play here.
In the fast paced, interconnected world that we live in today, consumers are going to talk about your company regardless if you have entered the online space. So what you do offline campaigns, online campaigns, customer service, product quality will be talked about online. And these conversations can make or break your brand reputation. As part of SEM, one of the variable of a getting ranked higher, content needs to be refreshed and of course rich in content, conversations and (as a result interactions with other consumers) can be a very powerful variable in pushing up your brand name (be it positively or negative publicity) in Search Engines.
Consumers want to know what is the reputation of a firm (especially if its a new firm/product and they need to find a reason to trust you and develop a relationship) and what others have been saying about this particular company or product. Hey isnt that social marketing? Are you involved? Well regardless if you are involved or not, arent they still engaging in a conversation about your company? How would this affect your brand reputation and your sales figures? If your research studies shows that a fair number of your customers are online (well recent Google studies suggests that a vast majority of people are online and the number of hours spent online is increasing year on year) – so what does that suggest?
People are searching, people are also perhaps engaging in long-tail searches on your company and your product – as you know long tail searchers are people who are at the tipping point of buying or not buying your products. So having good or bad pages on the 1st or 2nd page of Google or Yahoo! may be a deal winner or breaker for you – depends how it swings.
As we move forward, I share the same as the author in Advertising Age, people are getting more involved in searching for brands and the search is getting more social – they want to read more about how others have to say about the company and the product – its no longer PUSH marketing but PULL marketing at play here. Not new I might say, in the past we have always trusted our friends more than than companies’s advertisement. But the differences here is the speed and the reachness and richess of the online medium that differs from yesteryears.
So concluding, I personally feel that your brand reputation and search engine are correlated – be it good or bad reputation – if it hits on the first or second page of search engines, it has the power to swing customers to you or to your competitors. Search Marketing is not just about generating leads, its also a strategy in itself that goes beyond selling a product.
What are your thoughts here? I’m keen to hear what you have to say.
Social Media Marketing went “wrong”: Case: “Langham Hotel Steps in to Calm Online Storm” (Hong Kong)
Every morning, I would have my coffee beside me and my MacBook Pro as a defacto “ground hog” day start for me – prowling through my emails and of course looking forward to a great positive start…
Till I saw this news and got me ‘excited”
and I quote
Hong Kong – Langham Hotel is today rethinking its approach to marketing in the social media space after a series of viral videos caused an online storm overnight.
Geesh what could have possibly gone so wrong? After all, not without a day passes by, that on blogs, e-news and twitter that social media is not mentioned. Its THE “IN” thing now. Everyone is talking about it and companies are jumping into it (without really thinking it through).
However, to be fair, its us marketers that have promoted this wonderful media as the next BIG thing (the recession also helped in a way), the new media promotion as well and also last but not least the perceived low costs of social media.
In my previous post, I blogged about reputational management, when something negative is said about your brand in the social space: what are you going to do? Click here to see the post. In that post, I’ve listed a number of steps one can do to ‘remedy’ the situation but one other alternative I omitted (failed to) is, retreat from the online space. This is exactly what Landham Hotel did. They retreated. Was it a sound move? I don’t know. To me I felt they should have responded to all these bad press. But then again, I may be wrong.
So what went wrong? In my view (for the sake of brevity, I’ll just touch on three points):
1. Perhaps a misleaded interpretations of blogs/forum posts/interview excerpts that cause this. If that is the case, they should have vetted it in depth and considered all angles in which the content can be interpreted.
2. I guess a not throughout enough research was performed on its customers specifically, how the targetted customers interact in both online and offline and what makes them tick (how and why)
3. Cultural Considerations: They failed to take that into account. Remember Social media is social and being social – human take cultures into play (think Hofstead’s Cultural Dimension). This is a case, whereby (going back to point 1 & 2), they failed to understand and appreciate how their customer interacted and as a result received a backlash of negativism to their campaign.
Oh well, I guess this may serve a wake up call for all that Social Media in itself is a strategy and its requires a lot of preparation and commitment to see it through.
I wish Langham Hotel well in this regards and may this be a lesson to be learnt.
Study your audience intimately
I would love to hear your thoughts on this and hear any experiences you might have. Feel free to comment/share!
Reputational Management: When something negative is said about your brand in the social space: What are you going to do?
I’m sure most of you have seen the viral effects of the Domino Pizza employees having a ‘good’ time at the kitchen and the damage it has caused to Domino Pizza. The clips ‘enjoyed’ a million views before Domino Pizza management was informed of the YouTube clip. This was an instant viral marketing success (well for all the wrong reasons).
This to most companies is a situation where they dread most. However this is something very real and this could happen to any company.
Imagine years of building your baby brand to what it is today take a lot of hard work but it only requires one serious episode to bring it down. Similar to the notion of trust. Trust takes incremental steps to build but when the trust is lost, it drops by leaps and bounds.
Well my view is though one may completely take control of its brands in the online space, one can minimize these negative effects, i.e. control the negative spread of viral marketing.
How you might ask. Here are some tactics I recommend:
1. Craft an internal social media policy for all employees — this would signal to your staff that your actions offline and online concerning your company brand name is made answerable – unfortunately no many companies have one, if you dont, dont you think you should have one soon? After all, research suggests that social media is growing at an exponential rate.
a. Well ideally you would have someone listening in the online space that can inform your company at a moment’s notice.
Well the first one is not really a tactic but a good pre step. Do have one.
2. If it does happen, adopt the “SUN-SET” rule, make sure you quickly respond to this. In the online world, speed is of utmost importance. You need to craft an official respond.
a. If you know who the originator of the spread e.g. it was a blogger, perhaps you could get the blogger to link back to your official response. Most readers appreciate the other side of the story.
b. Well if you don’t (in most cases), do craft a response on your webpage and submit that page to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – yes do some keywords. This would ensure that user would be able to see your response on the first page of Google. Typically most users would click on the official response.
c. Engage Twitter, Twitter has been known for its speed! Use that to your advantage.
As you can see, all these revolves around prompt action. Do not ignore it and do act on it fast.
I’m sure you do not want the Domino Pizza effects happening to your company.
That’s all I can think of for now. But I’m keen to hear what you would do (or have done) to control the negative spread of your brand name.
Do you marry for love or do you marry for money?
I think the question is flawed to begin with, I think it should be to what extent do you marry for love and to what extent do you married for money.
You must be wondering what on earth am I talking about? Read on and you will understand the logic behind it.
A recent article titled “Paid search down?” by econsultancy.com caught my attention and got me thinking. After reading through the article, Being a natural hardcore tweeter decided to tweet it. Within minutes, I have an explosive number of tweeters RTing it (e.g @digitalengage, @BobKeyman). To me it means, this is HOT news and something that resonant with the market.
I felt that this article came at the right time, the time where marketers have been told that the marketing budget is slashed and so forth. So if that is really the case, a simple explanation to this fall in Search Engine Marketing – PPC could very well be attributed to this recession after all one can say we now need to priorities our spending. Gone are the days where we can pay a staggering 5 bucks a click (sheer madness by the way). Following this logic, its does make sense that PPC is going south.
BUT could there be another explanation? Could it be companies are getting smarter, they have in house SEO specialists that have been optimizing their search campaign after all SEO is not that new anymore. After years of experience, they have gotten the SEO skills right i.e. dirtied their hands and all, and as such they don’t really need PPC (that much anyways). They are ranked typically on the first page. So if that is the case, why do they need to embark on a PPC campaign – its such a waste of money (do I hear the CFO suddenly shout – “WOO HOO”) – they are not optimizing their strategy if they engage PPC if we follow this school of thought.
However (yes there is always a however), in my view, well though the figures do show a decline in PPC (according to econsultancy.com), PPC still has its place in the search engine world. Its SPEED, its ability to quickly (or fastest way) get the required amount of traffic to your site, in fact, it can be instantaneous. It allows you to start getting traffic right away, allowing one to build its customer base. But the drawback can be the pricing, the strategy to it is to use less popular key words (lateral ones or long-tailed ones) and as such the PPC cost will fall accordingly – well you need to work on that strategy cause I always believe that Search in itself is a Strategy. Apply this to your SEM/SEO and you could go a fair distance.
I think ultimately, firms have to go right down to their inner self and ask this question before they embark on any execution tools.
Ask themselves this very simple basic question* What is my objective?. Get this right in the beginning and alot of wastage can be minimized and thus develop an effective solution to meet your organization’s communication and strategic marketing goals.
So going back to the introduction of marrying for love and marrying for money, now you should (hopefully) understand why I wrote that. In my view, we digital marketers should ask ourselves this very question, to what extent do we use organic and to what extent do we use PPC? of course this is dependent on your organization’s objective and marketers being accountable for every dollar they spend and measurement results, yes you guess it ROI.
Say this to your CFO and board members, “My strategy is to use as much organic as possible and use PPC as necessary”With this, I foresee you will be able to see some nice smiles on their faces.
Well thats all from me now, I’m keen to hear your views.
*I’m sorry it still amazes me though that a fair number of companies fail to do this and even if they do, they fail to appreciate the magnitudes of tools out there and that “SEARCH in itself is a STRATEGY”