Digital and Social Media coupon technology evolves

Does your business use digital and social media for coupon distribution? Publisher MediaNeedle offers an excellent overview of popular digital and social media coupon technology platforms. While the Daily Deal companies like Groupon and Living Social have well-publicized shortcomings, they continue to fine tune their deals to customers going deeper in business categories like travel and experiential offerings. Niche sites and deal aggregators are designed for a more experienced and sophisticated value seeker. CoupSmart shareable coupon social media technology is distinguished by allowing the brand to keep valuable customer data, rather than the deal company owning it.

Read the entire post here:

The Rebirth of Daily Deals

Many thanks for this post from mdorman on May 28, 2013 on Media Needle.

Inspire word of mouth recommendations from your loyal fans

Woman using coupon 1.22.1392% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007, according to a study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. *

Many marketers have put considerable effort into enticing fans to join their communities on Facebook, google+, Twitter and Pinterest. And why do fans accept the invitation? They are extending their approval and loyalty, but they are also expecting exclusive offers, invitations or opportunities to participate in promotions. What have you done lately to retain those fans, show appreciation and inspire word of mouth recommendations from your fans and followers?

CoupSmart, (full disclosure: Raise Your Share provides sales & marketing for the company) is all about the science of social couponing. According to CoupSmart, 58% of consumers cite coupons as the top reason to follow a brand on Twitter and Facebook. That means your posts, your pics, and your poems– they’re all fine and dandy, but (per usual) it’s money that really talks. Realize that there’s been a one-third increase in coupon usage since 2007. That’s huge.

So what’s the big deal? Why social coupons?

More consumers now than ever are pre-shopping. That is, they’re making decisions before they even leave the comfort of their home or office. In today’s faced-paced world, people know what they want, where to go, and how much they’re going to spend before they shop, and that’s all heavily dependent on where the deals are. According to CoupSmart’s research, the percentage of consumers searching online for coupons before making a decision on what to buy and where to shop doubled in 2011 to– wait for it– 64%.

CoupSmart offers a simple and straightforward concept

(1) Offer an exclusive deal, (2) make it worthwhile for the consumer and (3) make it available only for a limited time. It sounds simple, and it is. CoupSmart’s tech makes it so. Like all things social, the key is to let your strategy work for you. Services like CoupSmart are delivered to your fans on Facebook. Automated analytics work with you to track who responds, how often, and which offers they redeem, providing a sense of accountability for where, exactly, marketing dollars are going. The key is turning the passive observer into an active user – a fan into a customer. Offering an exclusive offer to your fans, which, in turn, allows them to make a word of mouth recommendation by sharing the offer, satisfies your fan’s expectations and gives them a way of including their friends too! Everybody wins.

Contact Raise Your Share for more information about what CoupSmart can do for you. Want to learn more about couponing with social media? Follow CoupSmart’s blog now.

* Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages report, 2011

3 social networking sites to bolster your strategy

Blog 1.15.13If you’re allocating portions of your advertising budget for social or digital media, odds are you’re investing in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or LinkedIn. When it comes to market share, the logic is sound: Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate the world of social, Google has yet to loosen its grip as the “Boss Tweed” of search engines, and LinkedIn is a no-brainer for companies looking to expand their presence in the professional digi-sphere. For those with some spare advertising change (or not) and a bit of gusto, consider viable alternatives with your marketing strategy.

Here are three options you’re probably not considering yet:

Pinterest was the dark horse from day one, but is starting to show up on marketing strategies, especially for retailers. According to an eBizMBA ranking in December 2012, Pinterest is the 10th most-used social networking site on the web. With 15.5 million users, Pinterest could be a gold mine for the social-savvy company looking to break into a relatively untapped (at least in comparison to Facebook) area of new media marketing. Businesses that rely heavily on visuals (interior designers, publications, photographers, jewelers, fashion designers, etc.) will find Pinterest to be an ideal platform. The best part— it’s free. Businesses can’t advertise directly on Pinterest. They instead “pin” photos to be followed and shared by fans. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

For those familiar with StumbleUpon, this might seem like a curve ball. Advertise with a site that allows users to “stumble” around the internet aimlessly? How? Truth is, there are some advantages to paid discovery with StumbleUpon. For one, you’re automatically exposing your business to a user demographic that’s primarily composed of educated young adults and college kids. The perks? There are no ads or links here. Just webpages. StumbleUpon exists for the sole purpose of trafficking surfers to other sites. So there’s no Timeline, no profile, no blog— the traffic’s delivered to your doorstep.

Earlier this year, Foursquare completely revamped their advertising model, allowing companies to begin to pay for promoted updates. According to Forbes, “adults who used Foursquare in the last 30 days are 72% more likely than adults in general to live in households with annual income of $100,000 or more.” That’s one heck of a demographic. The fact that the same study also found that Foursquare users “are more than twice as likely to indicate that an important reason for using/visiting social networking sites is to show their support for favorite brands and companies” is just icing on the cake. With over 20 million registered users, at the very least, claim your business listing to make sure your information is accurate and get free access to Foursquare’s business tools.

3-ingredient recipe for a social media analytics cocktail

SM analytics cocktail 12.5.12 Nowadays, just having a Facebook or Twitter page isn’t enough. If your business is “about” social, it’s about upkeep, attention, infiltration, and relevance. Guessing, experimenting, and straight-up repetition is the shots-in-the-dark methodology for too many social media campaigns. Interacting with customers and growing your fan base is a full-time job … and a science. Reaching people comes down to measuring and interpreting.

According to Boot Camp Digital, 72% of businesses don’t know how to measure their ROI. There’s no point in allocating marketing dollars to social media when you don’t have a clue if it’s working or not. The key to calculating ROI is measuring your activity, and the activity of those who visit your site(s). Thankfully, there are platforms out there to keep up with the progress of your pages. The question is, which one is right for you?

Truth is – most are awesome. Think of SM analytics as a cocktail – a balanced blend of flavors, spirits, and garnishes. When considering which platforms to utilize, think in terms of threes.

Basic 3-ingredient recipe ~

1) Plain and Simple Flavors: Google Analytics

It’s free! Google’s platform is the industry standard, not only because we google, but because we also love not paying for tools. Analytics measures everything from sales for e-commerce businesses to content and social feed analytics. What’s popular? What’s performing? What’s not? How do visitors interact with the features on your site? This is analytics 101.

2) Birds-eye Spirits: TweetStats

Monitoring your tweets is underrated. Twitter is relatively simple to keep an eye on using a separate platform to keep things clean and clear. TweetStats is a free platform that allows you to monitor and measure tweet density and tweets per day/week/month. It also allows you to examine those numbers in relation to your competition. How do you compare with similar businesses in your field?

3) The Wildcard Garnish: CrazyEgg

It’s not free (ranging from $10-100/month) but may be worth the extra change. The best feature CrazyEgg offers is “heat maps.” Aside from standard bookkeeping features available with free platforms like Google Analytics and Flurry, CrazyEgg shows you what pages people are viewing, which parts of those pages their focusing on, how much (and to where) surfers are scrolling, and where they’re clicking. This platform doesn’t just function as a tool for knowing what your fans are interested in, it also serves as a great way to reexamine your design. Are people focusing on the parts of your pages you want them to pay attention to? CrazyEgg puts a whole new spin on traditional graph-and-stat analytics.

A solid analytics recipe employs a traditional measurement tool with basic traffic information via charts and graphs, a Twitter-specific platform and some additional third-party platform that works a new angle on data analysis to provide for a more well-informed and dynamic examination of activity. Cheers!

Shifting marketing dollars: Digital advertising for growing business

An eMarketer study published June 2012 found marketers allocate less than 20% of their ad budget for social media. The principle discrepancy— especially for small business— may be a lack of confidence in social media’s ROI. Small businesses, in particular, seem uncertain about allocating advertising dollars for digital and social media, and whether or not the investment is a smart move. With leaner budgets, less online presence, and a localized consumer, the idea of “playing with the big boys” on the field of SM marketing seems a bit daunting. Truth is: the size of your business is relatively irrelevant. Large and small companies can win with social media commerce.

Going social with your marketing strategy is not just about rethinking where your ads will be or how much they’ll cost – it’s about what they’ll do. Marketing on social media channels like Facebook allow for list-generation— not only reaching consumers, but establishing a relationship with them. Facebook allows a business to build a community, and with the right tools, to collect a database for remarketing.

Why not Google? While Google still has a far greater market share than Facebook, there are certain pitfalls of advertising with the search engine behemoth. For one, Facebook offers a lower degree of competition when it comes to fighting for keywords and search-result priority. What’s more, Google doesn’t offer the casual internet user the comfort that Facebook does. Google is not as personalized, so advertisements tend to seem intrusive. Facebook is the consumer’s space, not yours, so the presence of a business there is far less invasive.

The cost of Facebook advertising is the most appealing factor for small businesses. Ads can cost less than ten dollars a day, pay-per-click can cost as little as a penny, and advertisers can set caps, constraints, and limitations on how much they’re willing to spend by the day, month, or lifetime of their campaign.

Facebook is not the only outlet for a business’ social media advertising budget. Among options, Twitter now has double the mobile revenue of Facebook. While Facebook still has a much larger market share, Twitter’s present and projected growth are giving Facebook a run for the money.

Creating Positive Social Media ROI panel at the Digital Non Conference Cincinnati

In the breakout session on Wednesday, September 14, from 3-4pm, panelists take on the age-old question: how do I know my investment in time and money is actually working? For marketers championing a social media program, three words hold a tremendous amount of weight: Return On Investment. How does your company launch targeted, effective campaigns and measure them effectively to gauge success? This panel will help you plan for the ultimate goal – impressive return on investment – at every stage of your social media outreach. Creating Positive Social Media ROI presenters include Jackie Reau, co-founder of Game Day Communications; Alex Shebar, yelp Community Manager Cincinnati; Patrice Watson, CEO, Raise Your Share plus moderator, Chuck Tobar, Senior Business Development Manager, Shoutlet.
Learn more about the Digital Non Conference in Cincinnati on 9/13-/914 with this short video.

Purchase tickets for the Digital Non Conference:

Publishers build new revenue with digital assets

Mathew Ingram cites how several national publishing groups are moving to leverage their digital assets and brand in creative ways to produce new revenue. I use the term ‘monitize’ continually while exploring new ways for my clients to use social media real estate to engage readers, support your sponsor’s efforts and drive e-commerce through app technology. His closing comment sums the state of affairs succinctly:

No one has found the formula for generating revenue from online publishing, so the more experimentation that occurs the better.

New media mantra: Monetize, monetize, monetize

By Mathew Ingram Jun. 14, 2011, 3:04pm

It’s great that your magazine or newspaper website has millions of page views or unique visitors a month, but those kinds of statistics mean less and less when traditional banner ads bring in virtual pennies for the media companies running them. Some see iPad apps and paywalls as the solution, but several major media outlets such as Hearst and AOL have started experimenting with other ways of monetizing their content — and even Google says it wants to help by making traditional online advertising more efficient for publishers.

Google’s contribution comes in the form of an acquisition. The search giant confirmed on Monday that it’s buying AdMeld, which provides tools that allow online publishers to make their ad buying and placement more efficient. According to several reports, Google is paying $400 million for the company, which makes it one of Google’s largest acquisitions. The web giant says it’s buying AdMeld because “we often hear from major website publishers that ad management today is still mind-numbingly complicated and inefficient.”

Meanwhile, both AOL’s Patch and Hearst are experimenting with different forms of advertising that they hope will convert browsers and readers into shoppers: AOL, for example, has partnered with a service that American Express runs called Serve to launch a Groupon-style “daily deals” offering. As part of the deal, customers can get a co-branded AmEx card that lets them redeem offers at the point of sale without having to print out coupons (something Groupon users apparently complain about).

The AOL unit has more than 800 Patch sites across the U.S., a hyper-local project it has spent more than $100 million on since it launched last year. But while traffic to Patch sites has been climbing — according to some recent estimates — the revenue being generated by the operation is still minuscule. Will local readers be attracted by daily deals from merchants in their area? That’s the bet AOL is making, and some traditional publishers such as the Toronto Star (which acquired a Groupon clone called WagJag last year) say they have been using a similar strategy with some success.

Hearst Magazines, meanwhile, has formed a partnership with a company called Pixazza that allows readers to click on images, find out more about products in the image, then click through and buy them if they wish. This kind of interactive ad has been the dream of advertisers since the commercial web was first invented, but it has never really paid off in the way most had hoped. Hearst is also partnering with Buddy Media to develop Facebook-based apps that allow more interactivity with the magazines’ content.

Whether any of these monetization attempts will ultimately be successful is anyone’s guess. Patch is a gigantic bet by AOL that locally relevant content will draw enough readers to make an advertising-based revenue model work, and the Serve deal is just another twist on that — if not enough readers come to Patch sites, it won’t really matter what kind of advertising the site has. Likewise, Hearst could be trying to squeeze revenue out of a smaller and smaller group of traditional magazine readers.

That said, however, at least there is some experimentation going on, rather than just the same old creatively bankrupt banner advertising campaigns that media sites have been relying on forever. No one has found the formula for generating revenue from online publishing, so the more experimentation that occurs the better.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Emilian Robert Vicol
This story is sourced from:

Follow Matthew on Twitter @mathewi

The price of a Facebook fan – post reprinted from Ellie Behling’s Blog, Vital Business Media

How much do you have to pay to get people to “like” you?

A new report from digital marketing firm Webtrends examined Facebook ad campaigns and the “cost per fan,” or the ad spend required to acquire fans, among different industries.

The good news for media companies is that they typically spend less acquiring Facebook fans than companies in most other industry sectors. That shouldn’t be a big surprise, considering media and entertainment-based companies have built-in fan bases, unlike a sector like healthcare that is just beginning to interact directly with customers.

The study also found that media and entertainment companies advertising on Facebook get better click-throughs than other industries.

The report analyzed 4.5 billion Facebook ad impressions across 1,529 campaigns. Across all industries, the study revealed that Facebook ads perform half as well as traditional banner ads. It also found some differences in how geographic and demographic groups interact with Facebook ads (“the older we get, the more we click”).

The price of a Facebook fan
Advertising campaigns from media channels stood out from other industries, receiving a 0.165 percent click-through rate, compared to 0.050 percent across all industries, according to Dennis Yu, managing principal of Facebook marketing at Webtrends. Media properties also acquire Facebook fans at a cheaper price than other industries (between 31 and 41 cents compared to $1.02 across all industries).

The chart below illustrates how media companies have higher click-through rates and lower cost per clicks than companies in other industries. While Facebook is usually more of a focus for consumer media, B2B media companies might be interested in how particular industries fared.

(Use quick link to the right: Industry Comparison Table – Facebook click through rates and costs per clicks)

The value of Facebook fans
The study by Webtrends, which offers a Facebook advertising platform, mostly looked at media companies that are more entertainment-focused, rather than traditional, print-based publishers, which aren’t advertising much on Facebook. Yu said more traditional publishers could be taking advantage of Facebook advertising in order to acquire fans, for instance by targeting friends of fans.

“The traditional, brick-and-mortar folks aren’t there yet; it’s a new opportunity,” he said in a phone interview.

But why is acquiring fans valuable for publishers? Yu compared the ROI of Facebook fans to the ROI of having an e-mail list; it’s another method to drive revenue to subscription products.

Yu added that Facebook is now the foundation of where people are interacting; the next step is doing something in the platform. “Now the game is ‘who can build applications and other things on top of this infrastructure?’,” he said.

Media companies have a built-in advantage because they have the ability to engage Facebook fans with content.

“Naturally, social media is a great medium for news ― it’s shareable, has emotional context, is current, and can be made very relevant to highly targeted audiences,” Yu said in an e-mail.