Tag Archives: google

How can social platforms make themselves more marketing friendly?

If you read the marketing trade press just before the Easter break then you’d have probably seen the story about marketers rating Facebook as the “most marketing-friendly” social platform of all.  The attention-grabbing headline came from a new study published by the DMA’s Social Media Council.

The Social media scorecard is the industry’s first ever quantified assessment of the relative merits of the top social sites in terms of their ease-of-use for campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis. One clear victor emerged: Facebook.

Social-media-scorecard

More than 170 social marketers polled for the study rated it above Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ in almost every department. The only notable exceptions were Twitter’s ranking as the best platform for building brand awareness and LinkedIn for having the most effective user-targeting tools.

While Facebook received the highest ratings across the board, what really surprised me was just how harshly marketers rated each of the platforms. When asked to mark each of the platforms out of 10 in terms of their strengths, Facebook only managed an average score of 4.39; Twitter averaged 4.02 and last-placed Google+ garnered an average rating of 3.05.
If this was a school report card then even Facebook would be scraping a D-.

So why, in the eyes of marketers, are social platforms falling far short of providing an A+ service for their customers? How can the platforms up their game and improve the tools marketers need for campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis. Answers on the back of a postcard please…

Read the Social media scorecard infographic

By Tristan Garrick, the DMA’s Head of PR & Content

 

YouTube and Google+ integration could help brands fight social media abuse

Recently eModeration was invited to an exclusive panel held by YouTube to hear the latest improvements on its user comments, unveiled on 24 September (We hear you: Better Commenting on YouTube) on 24 September 2013. YouTube appears to have listened to public and industry pressure taking action against Twitter trolls on how to deal with abuse and spam on its platform. And the saviour in this fight is going to be YouTube’s integration with Google+ as this will change the way that community managers can moderate comments. Continue reading

New Google Keyword Planner: top tips on what you need to know

If you have recently tried to use Google’s Keyword Tool you will have discovered you are now redirected to Google Adwords and their Keyword Planner. Confused? Then here are some tips on what you need to know about the latest changes when performing your keyword research for SEO and PPC.

Google has retired its free Keyword Tool and replaced it with Keyword Planner, which incorporates both the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator, but don’t panic, you can still perform keyword research for free.

Firstly, you will need an Adwords account and although you don’t have to use it for PPC, it is necessary to access the free SEO tools.

Once signed in to Adwords, select the Tools & Analysis Tab and choose Keyword Planner where you will see there are three options:

1.  Search for keyword and ad group ideas
Here, you can enter up to 50 keywords, as well as a target website or one product category to find keywords and keyword ideas. This then displays search volume, competition and the average CPC.  You are also able to target results by country, language and negative keywords.

2.  Enter or upload keywords to see how they perform
This option lets you either enter up to 1,000 keywords manually or up to 10,000 via a CSV upload. You then need to choose the option “Get search volume” to give you Ad Group Ideas or Search Volumes.  You can also see estimates of what a campaign would cost on those keywords.  Furthermore, you can also retrieve keyword data for via CSV just like the old Keyword Tool which is handy for reports.

3.  Multiply keyword lists
This allows you to enter several lists of keywords as long as the combined total is not more than 1,000.  The keywords can be entered manually or via a CSV file and again you can find local search volumes for specific towns and regions which is a handy feature.

Other changes
Unlike Google’s Keyword Tool, the Keyword Planner doesn’t let you specifically target mobile devices, such as tablets and mobile phones. It currently targets all devices but Google has stated that it is planning to add this feature to Traffic Estimator at some point in the future.

There is no type match data any more, such as broad, phrase and exact match, Keyword Planner will show the same stats whatever you use.  ‘Closely Related’ search terms is another feature that has disappeared, although Google has again said this will be back in the coming weeks.

Local monthly searches and global monthly searches are now combined to give an average monthly search volume, but this is compensated for by the fact that you can now get data for an entire country, or individual cities and regions within a country.When it comes to which option to use, if you have fewer than 50 keywords, then option 1 is probably better.  If you have more than 50 keywords then option 2 or 3 are more user-friendly.

Getting used to the new tool will take a little time, but with some testing to see which suits your needs best, you can quickly learn your way around.Keyword Planner now directly links keyword research with traffic estimates and costs leading onto campaigns, which definitely has advantages for setting up PPC campaigns.

By DMA guest blogger, Lynsey Sweales, CEO of SocialB and DMA Social Media Council member

This blog first first appeared on SocialB

 

 

Evolve or perish – the Darwinian theory of agencies

In the 10 years that I’ve been running my agency, one thing that has been truly constant is the pace of change. We have seen the rise of web 2.0, eCommerce, eCRM, the birth of social media and its rapid rise to mainstream media status, the growth of user-generated content and now it’s all about mobile, the semantic web and big data!

One thought that has always been nagging me or perhaps driving me is that both my grandfathers and my father owned and ran successful businesses in industries that no longer exist due to technical innovation. So how do ensure our survival? How do we make sure that we have an industry to pass onto our offspring?

Keeping up with the pace of change
We have seen a steady evolution over the past 20 years as the media landscape has changed – gone are the days of SP, DM, advertising and digital definitions. However, this change is accelerating. Even newish specialisms such as social media seem to be already outdated.

The pace of digital change is exemplified by the adoption of iPad - the fastest ever adoption curve. Apple sold 67 Million in the first quarter this year; it took two years to sell that many iPhones and six years to sell that many iPods. This and the rapid take up of smartphones are fuelling the always-on, ever-connected savvy consumer.

Agencies of the future
So what will the agency of the future resemble? Well, despite the plethora of new and old media opportunities (whether bought, owned or earned as we now have to label them), it will still ultimately be about engaging and influencing our core audience to act in some memorable way.

The growing challenge will be to try to do this in an efficient and measurable way. And I think this will continue to be the key opportunity area for agencies. We should all consider guiding our clients by advising them on the best ways to act, bringing together experience from multiple sectors and then creating ideas that get cut-through and hence drive results.

There has been a movement for clients to drive via in-house – especially eCRM, email and social media – hence we have to continually prove our worth. Part of this is to keep pace and to get ahead of the technological change but more importantly, to be able to advise our clients on the commercial applications of this technology.

Much is made of great modern brands that have been created without agencies – Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook etc – all built through word-of-mouth and user experience. However, they have all employed agencies to help them build their commercialisation, drive higher revenues and extend their reach beyond the initial points of the growth curve.

The next denomination of agency services
So, perhaps here’s another opportunity especially for those of us who, under the old division of labour, were considered to be below the line; those who understand the “big” data opportunities, know how to tame it, use it, exploit it, create ideas from it and deliver relevant, timely, personalised communications in real time.

I hope that this will become the 21st Century denomination of services – those who want to own the data vs those who want to own the pure idea (big or otherwise).

To make all this happen, in this increasingly frenetic world, we’re going to have to become true business partners with our clients. We need to understand their business models as well as develop long-term relationships.

This also means that we’re going to have to change the way we remunerate ourselves. We seem to have backed ourselves into a corner with hourly rates, offering up easy comparisons for procurement. We need to develop transparent cost-plus models with performance-related fees according to what we actually deliver. This will indeed enhance trust and partnership behaviour.

While I believe that we still will have a business in years to come, the exciting part is that it is going to be different. Faster paced, more measurable and digital, greater data and opportunities for our ideas!

By DMA guest blogger Gavin Wheeler, member of the DMA Agencies Council and CEO of WDWP

Is Facebook really a marketing fallacy?

Whatever your personal view, you have to admit that Michael Wolff’s recent article, The Facebook Fallacy had a certain cage-rattling style in its gusto. The piece, which is well worth a read by the way, essentially argues that, without an earth-changing idea, Facebook will ultimately collapse and “take down the web.”

The ‘fallacy,’ as he sees it, is that web advertising can never be as powerful or valuable as traditional media advertising. Further, the cost of online advertising is low and it always has been. Worse still are the low per-user revenues, which compare in no way to the old world of print, i.e. just $5 per user for Facebook. In print, the cost per user can be significantly higher ($1,000 if you’re the New York Times).

As the world slowly begins to recognise this ‘truth’ Facebook, which makes 80% of its revenues from display ads, will be forced to aggressively lower its prices, forcing competitors to do the same hence ultimately resulting in a bottomed out and bust market. Rather than often-made-comparison-to Google, with its killer ad sense functionality, he sees Facebook as much closer to AOL or Yahoo, presumably destined for the same fate.

All good tub-thumping stuff, but it doesn’t really reflect the buying experience in the UK.

For a start, comparing buying display ads on Facebook to buying them on the New York Times, in print or online, doesn’t really reflect the long-tail reality. The truth is that many smaller enterprises that previously never dreamed of advertising with a publisher like the NYT are now advertising on Facebook. Sure, Facebook still has big ad spenders (minus GM) that all major media outlets attract; but they also have a much higher percentage of smaller buyers – a fact they clearly recognise.

Their Facebook Marketing Solutions programme, announced last year and rolled out now, effectively looks to attract SMEs to the site by offering up to $10 million in free advertising. UK small businesses with more than 50 Facebook fans can automatically register for £20 credit today, with the opportunity to apply for a further £60 as their fan base grows.

It’s a big figure (though still only a fraction of Zuckerberg’s personal worth) but this is really not such a bad idea. A recent report from Payvment, polling more than 100,000 SMEs, suggested 40% had advertised on the site as part of their revenue drive, with a further 70% claiming they would use Facebook ads again.

Sure, Facebook advertising will never beat Google or any paid-search marketing when it comes to click-thrus but in its marketplace model at least, it’s following a similarly democratic formula. It’s surely a much more attractive option than directories like Yellow Pages or Thomson Local – and with its new offers feature, it is also moving into the SME space previously occupied by the likes of Groupon and Living Social.

Finally, despite whatever that may be happening in the wider display industry, Facebook’s CPM and CPC rates are actually rising! This is probably a result of the introduction of new formats. TBG Digital’s Global Facebook Advertising Report showed the average CPM has raised by 41% in the past 12 months, including 15% in the past quarter. Meanwhile, the average amount of money companies pay to get a Facebook user to “like” their page has jumped by 43% in just the past three months. The UK saw the steepest increase, at 77%.

The bottom line is that a sponsored story is not the same as a display ad on a publisher network.

Facebook is clearly not the finished article and will not get to a killer marketing solution as quickly as Google managed to, but I wouldn’t be too pessimistic about its prospects just yet! The honing and trialling of new products such as Facebook Offers suggest that there is still a long road ahead.

Although top applications such as Foursquare, Pinterest and Twitter have seen a rise as they display similar features to Facebook, it’s still Facebook that remains the unquestionable favourite among consumers. In its short history, if there is one thing that Facebook has always proved to be, it is being adaptable. Just how much they can retain that record as a public company remains yet to be seen.

The terms and conditions of branding: The Good, the Bland and the Ugly

As we move forward in time and the need and expectation for brands to have a presence on social media increases, we are seeing increasing demands from consumers for brands to be open and clear in their communications. Trust is a key factor in communicating with your customers and is essential in maintaining customer satisfaction.

The world is becoming more internet savvy each day, with people becoming ever more aware of and concerned about their rights, and what’s kept private and what’s not when it comes to their personal information. For brands, this means they need to be absolutely clear and open in how they use personal data. What this all boils down to is terms and conditions.

“But nobody reads the terms and conditions, right?” Yes, right. However, that doesn’t mean that companies can ignore the responsibility of making people aware of them. If a child refuses to eat their vegetables, you don’t blame the problem on the child and let them spend the rest of their lives eating junk food. People need to be made more aware of company terms and conditions (and their vegetables) and if they don’t read them because they’re boring, it’s the brand’s fault for not communicating them well enough.
Reading the unreadable
Terms and conditions are generally unappealing. They’re necessities that you have to get through before you get to the fun of using a service. It’s common for policies to be made even more unappealing through poor reader experience (lack of conciseness and clarity/excess jargon) and bad user experience (unintuitive interface and design), both of which are factors that can be effectively used to increase the time viewers spend reading them.

It is often the case that brands do not carry their tone of voice across to their terms and conditions. But why, when it is becoming more and more apparent that consumers expect a certain level of consistency and transparency from their brands? This now extends into the realm of terms and conditions, which are essential for inspiring trust in customers, and a less than crystal clear communication of the small print is going to give rise to questions and unease. After all, if a customer is reading your terms and conditions page there is a significant chance that they are already there due to a lack/breach of trust. Anything less than absolute clarity could risk aggravating them further.

So what better examples of policies to scrutinise than those of search engines and social networks? Their reliance on brand trust is even more crucial than the majority of businesses as they deal with and rely on massive amounts of private data, and their users are heavily invested in them physically and emotionally. This means that knowing what the T&Cs of their services are and an individual’s rights should be as clear as possible if a network is interested in maintaining customer satisfaction.
Google
Google recently announced its new T&Cs to the world, and has made the pleasant change from a daunting library of rules to a much more concise policy that is – in their words – “a lot easier and shorter to read”. It concentrates on the basics in a ‘general policy’ of their use of data and invites users to read further if they want. They have an overview covering the reasons for the change and they have even provided an FAQ to cover specific questions. Overall, the new layout appears simple and intuitive, which will satisfy the majority of consumers. But there may have been one crucial thing that Google forgot to include – detail.

Despite creating a relatively friendly user experience for customers, Google have been vague with how they will actually use data, which is quite essential to a service agreement.
Facebook
Often at the centre of privacy scandal, Facebook is commonly criticised for its use of data. As a social network that deals with a comparable number of users to Google (and substantially more personal data) Facebook should arguably be a best practice example of clarity within privacy policies and T&Cs.

However, Facebook’s policy is far from ideal; laid out in an unappealing design, written in technical language and with links to other policies placed sporadically throughout the text. Updates to the policy can’t actually be found in the policy but on the rarely promoted Facebook Governance page, which they recommend you become a fan of if you want to be made aware of future edits to the site (and your rights). The volume of information regarding privacy and legal issues is massive – ideally, they need an overview page simply categorising the different legal aspects. An FAQ would improve usability and ease-of-understanding for the reader too. For a company whose data privacy activities are consistently in the spotlight, the layout of the T&Cs is poor.

The lack of clarity hasn’t gone unnoticed though and it is reflected in consumers’ view of the network. Luckily for them, Facebook is indispensable as a social network at the moment – but trust is a thing hard earned and easily lost.

Facebook’s increasingly privacy-aware user base, combined with a lack of trust and understanding, could become a serious issue. After all, the amount of controversy around how they use personal data is mounting. Regardless of whether it’s the users’ fault or Facebook’s for people being unaware of privacy issues, people will care when they find out their rights have been taken advantage of.
Who Does it Better?
So Google and Facebook are two of the largest companies on the web, meaning both have a lot of terms and conditions to cover – and in general they get the job done. They could learn some tips from their smaller rivals, though. If they were truly dedicated to being open and trustworthy they could take inspiration from Twitter’s terms of service.

Twitter shows absolute transparency in its terms and conditions by writing in easily-accessible language. But most significantly it highlights the key questions a reader might have in the form of ‘tips’. This shows that they are taking an active role in making sure users fully understand the main points worth noting in the terms and conditions.

LinkedIn also provide a good example of something that arguably should be made mandatory for all terms and conditions: a summary of changes, highlighted at the top of their policy.

Having said that, LinkedIn’s terms and conditions are far from perfect; they do appear to be ‘on-brand’ in terms of language, but the problem with this is that LinkedIn’s brand is ‘professional’, resulting in a large amount of business jargon.
In Summary
Terms and conditions can and do affect your brand and the levels of loyalty and trust that customers have for it. In particular, if you’re in the business of using users’ personal data, you need to be even more clear and open about privacy issues as people are emotionally linked to your brand, and a betrayal of trust could be disastrous. RIP Google Buzz.

Digby Killick is a DMA guest blogger from social PR agency, Content and Motion, where he is Research and Development Executive