How do you break Twitter? Just ask @TheEllenShow!

This past Sunday night, Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 2014 Academy Awards. Besides drawing in 43 million viewers, the most in ten years, Ellen was able to make history and break Twitter in the process. All she needed were a few famous friends and a clear call to action… make history by getting the most re-tweets ever.

Having heard that, the Twittersphere sprang to life and quickly overtook what had been the current Twitter leader, Barack Obama’s re-election Tweet from 2012, by a landslide.  President Obama’s tweet held the record with over 780,000 re-tweets but Ellen’s selfie now has over 3 million re-tweets. When that many people get on a website at the same time, the result probably won’t be too good. Twitter struggled with the demand it was under, not allowing posting or even viewing of Tweets for several minutes.

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While this A-list selfie was definitely the most shared and popular moment of the Oscars, it was not the only Twitter-worthy moment. Twitter says there were more than 14.7 million Tweets around the world talking about the Oscars during the live show.

Just like the Super Bowl, this shows how many people are using a second screen while watching TV.  Another level of entertainment is achieved by following friends and celebrities on Twitter while watching events like the Oscars on TV (and you might even help make history by re-tweeting a selfie). Just another reason brands should keep the second screen in mind when creating their advertising.

Did you use a second screen while watching the Oscars? If so, why? Was it for entertainment value, multi-tasking, or just something you don’t even notice you’re doing anymore?

The Great Debate: Quality vs. Quantity

Quality And Quantity Computer Keys Showing Choice Between Excell

The debate of quality vs. quantity of social media is not as easy to choose a side as one might think. Both sides have pros and cons to them, which each company needs to carefully examine for themselves.

 

If I were forced to choose a side I would choose quality of social media posts. This is because social media followers will be more likely to engage with a company if their posts include quality content that they want to interact with. High quality content is more likely to encourage dialog than posting anything as long as you are posting frequently. There’s a huge difference between posting a link and never looking back and having a back-and-forth with your followers/fans. Remember that if you want people to share your content and tell their friends about you, you need to give them a reason.

 

Quality is also more important when it comes to the number of social media networks a company joins. Instead of joining every network available but not being able to give each enough attention, it is better for a company to only join a few and be able to engage and listen to their followers in all channels. By focusing on the networks that will truly help you reach your customers, you will be more successful than casting a wide net and joining every new platform that is available.

 

However, when possible companies should try to find a middle ground between quality and quantity. Great posts are only important if you have customers to see them. If it takes you months to create quality posts, you won’t have any customers waiting around to see it. In order to stay top of mind for your customers, quantity of posts is necessary in order to not be forgotten. Therefore, it is important to combine quality with a quantity that is not overwhelming or too infrequent.

 

What side would you take in the quantity vs quality of social media debate?

 

 

What killed the QR code?

QR codes showed a lot of promise a couple years ago as the number of smart phone users increased. But these unique tombstone-300x425looking squares never really took off and now it seems like most marketers have given up on them. If video killed the radio star, what killed the QR code?

Unfortunately for QR codes there seems to be several factors for its demise. One of the biggest factors leading to the QR code’s death was misuse. Companies were so excited to try this new way of connecting print media with online media that they slapped a QR code on whatever print material they could, as fast as they could. In many of these cases, the QR code led consumers to a page that was not optimized for mobile screens, making it hard to read. Or the code led to a webpage that showed no connection to the print material that the QR code was printed on.

Even when a QR code is used correctly, it’s hard to convince oneself that the minute it takes to pull out your phone, open up a scan-friendly app (assuming one had been downloaded), scan the QR code and then wait for the experience to load, is worth it. 

There are also some new alternatives taking over for QR codes that seem to be easier to use and provide the consumer with better content and information. One of these alternatives is Clickable Paper.  This new technology allows users to click on any part of the advertisement instead of having to focus on a specific code. You are then given a range of options depending on what the print ad was about, including a link to Amazon to buy the product, a YouTube product video, customer reviews, and the ability to share the link via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Watch this video to see Clickable Paper in action.

Whether it’s Clickable Paper or another new technology, the death of the QR code provided us with some lessons to follow for new technologies:

  • Make it easy for consumers to use.
  • Explain how it works, in clear, concise language.
  • Employ it only when it can add something unique to the user experience.
  • Make sure content or ads that contain it won’t be put in places where cellphone service is unavailable.
  • Make the apps available only for situations when using them makes sense.

Do you see any benefit of using Clickable Paper for your company? As a consumer would you take the time to use Clickable Paper or is it the same as a QR code to you?

A face-lift could be in Twitter’s future

According to Mashable, Twitter could be getting a face-lift in the near future. The story reports that Twitter is quietly testing a redesigned Twitter profile. Among other changes, Twitter’s small profile picture in the center of the page is now a larger image off to the left. Sound like the layout for another popular social media site?

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Perhaps more importantly is the new style puts more focus on images. This could mean that Twitter is becoming aware of how many tweets are accompanied by images as well as how much an image adds to the content of a tweet, especial for brands. There are many reasons businesses should be using images in their tweets and social media posts, but among the best are an increase in total views and even more importantly an increase in engagement. 

 

Most of us probably haven’t seen these changes, as Twitter is only testing to a small group of people right now. However, I’m sure some changes will be rolled out soon. And just like the Facebook timeline rollout, it might take everyone a little while to get used to it. 

 

Do you think Twitter is in need of a makeover or do you wish they would just leave it alone already?

Don’t Get Prankvertised!

Recently, companies have been scaring the bejesus out of random people walking down the street. These people weren’t being attacked (although some might argue otherwise), they simply fell victim to a prank. But these aren’t your normal, everyday pranks. They are pranks that are caught on video in the hopes of creating a viral video that will advertise a brand. It’s being called prankvertising, and it seems to be gaining speed.

 

The purpose of prankvertising is to break through the clutter of online media and grab the audience’s attention, and it seems to be working. These prankvertising videos are going viral almost immediately, getting millions of views every day. News outlets are also picking up the viral sensations and are featuring them in online, print, and TV stories, giving the brand free media coverage. But there can be some risk to this kind of advertising.

 

If the videos are truly using random people on the street and not actors, there is a high level of risk involved. Their reactions will be unpredictable, which on the one hand can create a great video but on the other can be dangerous. They could easily think the prank is real and hurt someone by reacting violently. Or they could sue the company for emotional distress. Some marketing professionals are saying this type of advertising just isn’t worth it because you don’t want your brand associated with some outrageous level of mayhem and tragedy.

 

What do you think? Are these prankvertisements worth it or are companies going too far to get exposure?

 

Haven’t seen a prankvertisement? Here’s a recent one to advertise the movie “Devil’s Due.”

#WhyAllTheHashtags?

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If you are one of the millions of people who watched the Super Bowl on Sunday you might have noticed that many of the much-anticipated commercials included hashtags (#). The purpose of a hashtag, or the pound sign, is that it allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. This year’s Super Bowl set a new record for hashtags with over 57% of ads containing one. But why?

Many of us can’t seem to put down our smartphone or tablet even while watching TV, but that doesn’t mean that we are just addicted to checking email or playing Candy Crush. In reality, fifty-three percent of consumers are using that second screen to engage in mobile-based activities related to what they’re watching on TV. So advertisers are trying to get in on the action by providing a hashtag to viewers in hopes that they will start or join a conversation about their brand. If people are going to be online and talking about what they are watching, why not have them promote and discuss your product?

But is adding a hashtag to the end of a commercial enough to get viewers involved? No, unfortunately it’s not. In order for a hashtag to work, you need to give the viewer something so amazing they just have to share it with others. That something might be the sweet moment when a horse and puppy become #bestbuds, or it might be hearing America the Beautiful in many different languages and thinking #AmericaisBeautiful.

Or you could follow Esurance’s lead and focus your entire commercial around a hashtag… and give away $1.5 million to someone who uses that hashtag. That got me involved!

The Hated Banner Ad

The ad that spans the entire length of the website you’re looking at… the ad you accidentally clicked and quickly closed… the hated banner ad. We’ve all seen them and we’ve all avoided clicking on them, and yet they keep popping up on almost every website. With a click-through rate of about 1 in 1,000 views, most people would agree that banner ads don’t work. 

 

Not so fast. While banner ads don’t receive a high click-through rate, they can succeed in increasing awareness for your brand or product. A potential customer might not click on the ad she sees for XYZ shampoo while she is reading a news story, but the next time she goes to the store needing shampoo XYZ might be the first brand that comes to mind. Just like with TV commercials and print ads that are not direct response, there is no way to measure the kind of awareness banner ads actually generate. Therefore, people only look at click-through rates and deem them unsuccessful.

 

Companies can also increase the effectiveness of their banner ads by making them interactive. Gone are the days of a static image and text on an ad. Today we are seeing ads with video, interactive games and more. These interactive banner ads are 27% more likely to generate a response from viewers. The longer the viewer interacts with the ad, the more likely her interest in the product will increase and she will be more likely to click on the ad to find out more about it. By doing this, she is not only aware of the product but she is also actively looking for more information about the product and is one step closer to purchasing.

 

Take a look at some of these creative and interactive banner ads. If you came across one of these while reading the news, would it grab your attention? Would you spend a little longer watching the video or following the directions it gives you? You might be surprised. 

Tech Savvy Muppets?

Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the Muppets have a new movie coming out in March called Muppets Most Wanted. While it’s not surprising or unusual for new movies to use emerging media like websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or mobile apps, the Muppets have taken their use of these types of media to a new level. In new TV ads for Muppets Most Wanted, fan tweets are brilliantly being used to create buzz for the new movie. The most recent ad, shown during the Golden Globes and SAG awards, Muppet fans are outraged that Muppets Most Wanted were snubbed by the award shows.

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These Twitter accounts do appear to be created for The Muppets Movie as they were all created in early January and only have approximately 7-9 tweets. However, this is a unique and new way of integrating social media fans and traditional marketing. Soon, these and other commercials will be using real comments and tweets from fans to promote their products. As customers rely more and more on recommendations from friends, family and other customers, I think this will be a great way for companies to promote these recommendations to the public. I think the Muppets are really onto something and created a hilarious ad in the process!

Evolution of Marketing

Marketing has changed from a company telling the general public about its product to a company and its targeted audience having a two-way dialogue. Traditional advertisements are making way for blogs, social media sites, and e-commerce sites, which make it easy for customers to share experiences, opinions, suggestions, and other feedback with companies. However, the transition from traditional marketing techniques to these new techniques did not happen overnight, so let’s take a look at how we got here.

One way the history of marketing is divided is into different eras. While the number of eras differs between scholars, the following are some of the most agreed upon:

Production

During this time businesses were concerned with manufacturing and producing as much as possible for as cheap as possible. Since there were a limited number of goods available, companies wanted to produce as much as possible because they knew that if they made it, someone would buy it.

Product

During this era, business focused on consistent improvement of the product with the belief that an ideal product would sell itself. The product’s quality was more important during this time than production efficiencies, which had been more important previously.

Sales

Customers no longer purchased everything that was produced by businesses. Therefore, companies started to aggressively promote their products over their competition’s. The thought was that anything could sell, if it was pushed hard enough.

Marketing

Soon companies realized they needed to make decisions on a more strategic level. With knowledge of their customers, marketers were helping to decide what products should be produced based on the customers’ needs, as well as what distribution channels to use and the pricing strategy.

Relationship

In this more recent era, businesses have focused on long-term relationships with their customers, instead of trying to get a one-time sale. One of the main reasons for this is that acquiring a new customer can cost an organization five times as much as keeping a current customer happy.

Social/mobile marketing

This era brings us to today, with emerging media creating real-time, two-way communication between customers and businesses. Organizations can be connected 24/7 to customers who have opted-in to this type of communication.

With technology constantly evolving, we may find ourselves in the next era of marketing before we know it! For more on the history of marketing, take a look at this informative infographic.

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What is emerging media?

This blog is all about emerging and “new” media, but what exactly is that? Emerging media consists of social media, blogs, gaming, mobile media and many other platforms (mainly digital) that are creating a new way for companies and customers to interact.

Why is emerging media important to marketing? While traditional media, such as radio, TV, and print advertising, are still an important part of integrated marketing, emerging media is truly changing the way we advertise and interact with companies, brands, and products. Think about it, how much time do you spend checking your Facebook or Twitter account, readings blogs, or staring at your iPhone? It’s probably more than you think. Research found the average user spends 23 hours a week emailing, texting, checking social media and other forms of online communication. This means that in 2013, Americans spent more time online than they did watching TV.

With people spending that much time online, it in necessary for marketing organizations to be there as well, to meet customers where they are. By actively using emerging media, organizations can openly communicate with customers and potential customers, build brand awareness, and attract new business. I’m excited dive into the different types of emerging media, how organizations are using it, the impact it is having on marketing and so much more with this blog and I hope you will join me!

Check out this infographic by Radiate Media for some other great reasons of why it is important for organizations to be on social media.

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