Bench that benchmark—and target your marketing campaign results!

Bench the benchmark, set a target.

Bench the benchmark, set a target.

Last June, Bank of America’s Small Business Community asked me about setting benchmarks for digital campaigns. There’s no denying benchmarks have a lot of value. We use them to see how our campaigns perform based on the industry standard. Having a hard and fast number definitely draws the line in the sand between what is considered “good performance” and “bad performance.”

But a benchmark is just a number. As much as we want to match our number to someone else’s number, and label it “good” or “bad,” a benchmark can only tell a small part of the story.

Digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all discipline. One percentage number is not going to determine if the campaign passes or fails. What if we drive only a small number of visitors to our site, but they are extremely engaged, spending ten minutes viewing multiple pages of content? What if those few visitors become ten strong leads or convert into hundreds of purchases?Read full post...

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Dallas’s digital dynasty begins

Spectators have come to expect the quality of advertising at the stadium to equal the quality they see on TV during the Super Bowl.

Spectators have come to expect the quality of advertising at the stadium to equal the quality they see on TV during the Super Bowl.

Sports marketing has been around at least since the 1870s, when a tobacco company started making baseball cards and sticking them in cigarette packs. Any sports fan will tell you that there is a special level of respect for those advertisers that sponsor their favorite team. Nowhere is this respect more evident than within the realm of professional football.Read full post...

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What’s all this twerking about?

If you’re anything like me, a 30-something year old parent who’s typically in bed by 9:30 most nights, you probably weren’t up to watch this year’s MTV’s VMAs. But like most people today, the first thing we go for when we wake up is our mobile device, so the previous night’s big topics are all over social media.

As I drank my morning coffee, I went on Facebook. Scrolling down the page was post after post about Miley Cyrus’s performance. So where did I turn to next? Google. After a quick search on “Miley Cyrus 2013 VMA”, I landed on MTV’s site. Three and a half minutes later, I felt as if I had just witnessed a car crash in very slow motion. Between the bears, her tongue, hip thrusting and then the foam finger, it was an awkward and uncomfortable performance (as described by many faces in the audience, most notably Will Smith and family).

Twerking - Will Smith VMA Reaction

I put down my iPad, pushed my jaw shut and got ready for work.

On the car ride in, I heard on the radio that Miley’s performance received 306,000 tweets in a minute. Let me repeat this stat, 306,000 tweets in ONE minute. That’s more tweets than the Super Bowl blackout received!Read full post...

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B2B goes digital

Business-to-business publishers have embraced the digital world. The trend among them is to put an exact copy of their print version online. The only change most of them make is to add hotlinks to their advertisers’ websites. While digital does not yet make up the majority of the total circulation of most magazines, we need to monitor this trend to see what impact it will have on advertisers.

Target Audience Delivery

I applaud those publishers who are just as concerned about verifying circulation of their digital versions as they are of their print publications. BPA, the traditional B2B circulation auditor, now offers digital circulation audits. Media planners now have access to data on target audience coverage and composition to help them make informed recommendations. Unfortunately, some publishers are still “claiming” circulations that are unrealistic, at best.

Another way that publishers are ensuring target audience delivery is through a subscription-only basis for online viewing. Readers are required to fill out a subscriber profile for the online version with the same requirements as for the print version.

Ad Size Units

When you view an online version on a regular monitor, it’s easy to browse and read. But not so when you’re using a smart phone or a tablet. You might judge a spread to have a lot of impact on a big-screen monitor. But when you have to scroll between the two pages on your handheld device, it loses legibility, visual appeal and message delivery.

Big-Screen Monitor

Big-Screen Monitor

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Move over Pandora! Make room for iTunes Radio.

With 120 million people listening to Internet radio, the playing field is highly competitive.

With 120 million people listening to Internet radio, the playing field is highly competitive.

On June 10, Apple confirmed rumors that they will be entering into the world of Internet radio. iTunes Radio is expected to launch in fall of 2013 when Apple releases its iOS7 upgrade to its mobile devices. With 120 million people listening to Internet radio, the playing field is highly competitive, occupied by several providers including Pandora, Spotify, I Heart Radio and Slacker Radio.

Pandora dominates the market with 77%* of online radio listening. Pandora is a streaming music service, based on the Music Genome Project, with access to 800,000 tracks. Trained analysts use up to 450 distinct musical characteristics to identify qualities of each song that are relevant to listeners’ musical preferences. Pandora offers two types of listening: free, which is supplemented by display and audio ads, and subscription listening, which allows for advertising free listening and a higher-quality music stream.Read full post...

Digital is dynamic

The fate of static outdoor displays may soon be much the same as CDs and VHS tapes.

The fate of static outdoor displays may soon be much the same as CDs and VHS tapes.

Digital outdoor displays are quickly becoming one of the best mediums for cost-effective, high-impact advertising.

With the ability to change a client’s creative frequently and immediately, digital outdoor displays allow you to target your consumer with the most time-relevant message.

Another advantage of digital displays over traditional static displays is consumer retention. Research shows that while only 43 percent of respondents have any kind of recall of traditional static displays, more than 94 percent of respondents actually recall the message on a digital display. This is remarkable, given the fact that the message on a digital display is usually shown for only eight seconds at a time as part of a continuous rotation.Read full post...

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Three key metrics small businesses should be tracking

Valerie Cole Picture 1Google Analytics is a data source powerhouse. It can measure almost everything, so it can be pretty overwhelming. Here are a few key metrics any small business, blogger or marketer just starting out should focus on.

Where is my target audience?

In Google Analytics, if you look at your demographics by location, you can get a picture-perfect view of where in the world your audience is coming from. You can break this down by country, state, region and even city.Read full post...

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What makes an impression really an impression?

Doesn’t seem fair for an advertiser to pay for an ad that wasn't viewable, now does it?

For as long as I’ve been in the business of planning and purchasing digital media, we have been buying display ads by impressions served. That means that when the server serving up the banner ad to the site records that an impression has been served, it is counted as an impression. When you buy display ads, oftentimes you pay by impression, and part of my job is to ensure my client’s ad has received the number of impressions I have purchased.Read full post...

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The rise of the tablet

Before long, everyone will own a tablet. This means new opportunities as well as new challenges for marketers.

Before long, everyone will own a tablet. This means new opportunities as well as new challenges for marketers.

I’m not an early adopter. I let other folks experience first-generation electronics to pave the way for me. I wait to hear a little more, watch the products and read reviews to make completely sure of any new purchase.

But this past Christmas, I was starting to feel left behind. Young children were walking around with iPads. So we added not one, but two tablets to the Qualls household. And we’re not alone; lower-priced tablets further fueled tablet adoption at the end of 2012. More than half of the students in my daughter’s first-grade class received a tablet for Christmas.Read full post...

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How do your paid text ads rank in search results?

The likelihood of an ad to appear in search results depends on three key factors.

You have a paid search engine campaign for your client right? Of course you do. It’s 2012 — how could your client not be present in paid search results?

More and more often, online advertising has come to mean search engine advertising or, more simply, paid text ads that appear in search results. While this has become a staple of online paid media, few companies understand how to write effective text ads. What’s an effective ad? An ideal text ad appears first or second in paid search results and yields a click-through rate ranging from 0.80% to 2.0%.Read full post...

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