How Effective Do Consumers Find Social Cues in Advertising?

Source: May 22, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff

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Some consumers are noticing brands’ attempts to promote their social presences in advertising, with some media channels more likely to elicit a response than others, according to[pdf] results from a Burst Media survey of more than 2,500 US online adults. Respondents reported being most likely to notice brand-related social accounts in online banner ads (27.2%), but a relatively high number also notice them in TV (24.1%) and print (21.1%) ads. Among those who recall brands promoting their social assets in digital ads, about 6 in 10 say the efforts are very (29.4%) or somewhat (31.6%) effective in prompting social interaction with those brands. A similar percentage (58.7%) feel the same way about social cues in TV ads.

Combining the percentage who recall social cues in ads with the percentage who find them effective yields a relative assessment of the effectiveness of different advertising media in prompting social interaction with brands. In descending order of effectiveness, the media are ranked as follows:

  • Digital ads – with 16.6% of respondents overall noticing cues in these ads and finding them effective in prompting social interaction with brands (27.2% noticing * 60.9% finding them very or somewhat effective);
  • TV ads – with 14.1% of respondents noticing the social cues and finding them effective (24.1% * 58.7%);
  • Print ads – with 11.1% noticing the cues and finding them effective (21.2% * 52.4%);
  • Radio ads – with 4.7% noticing cues and believing them to be effective (11.4% * 41.5%); and
  • Outdoor ads – with 3.7% recalling cues and finding them effective (9.5% * 39.4%).

Overall, 54.2% of female respondents and 48.6% of male respondents have performed some sort of brand-related social sharing activity as a result of seeing something on or in an ad. The study notes that such activity could include “liking a brand’s Facebook page, using a brand’s Twitter hashtag and/or posting a brand-related picture to Instagram.” Some demographic segments are more active than others in response to social cues in ads. They are: women aged 35-44 (65.3%); respondents aged 18-34 (56.9%); and men aged 18-24 (59.8%).

Other Findings:

  • Respondents aged 18-34 are especially more likely to see online ads (67.6%) than TV ads (60.6%) as effective in driving social interactions (among those who recall seeing brands’ social cues in those ads).
  • Women aged 18-34 are the most likely to see online ads as effective in this regard (73.9%), with fewer finding TV ads to be effective (59.1%).

About the Data: Burst Media conducted its survey in March 2013.

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Search Dominates as E-Commerce Traffic Driver, But Social’s Probably Undervalued

Source: May 23, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff

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Compared to email (2.82%) and social media (1.55%), search (31.43%) is easily the primary driver of direct e-commerce traffic,according to [download page] the latest quarterly report from Monetate covering Q1 activity. That’s the way it has been for some time now, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, at least when considering that the share of e-commerce traffic coming from both social and email decreased in Q1 compared to a year earlier. But the researchers make a valid point that is bolstered by other recent studies: these findings are based on a last-touch attribution model, which typically undervalues social’s role significantly.

That point was made recently by Aggregate Knowledge, but it isn’t the first to make it. Adobe put forward the same argument earlier this month, and last year. Google gives the argument some steam withsome hard data: according to a review of US Google Analytics accounts with e-commerce tracking enabled, Google found that after display clicks, social media is the channel most often used in the earlier part of the online path to purchase (as an “assist”), rather than as a “last interaction.” The next channel most heavily used in the earlier part of the purchase journey? Email. Meanwhile, direct and organic search show up as the channels most active as last interactions.

Given those findings, it’s more understandable that search beats out email and social in a last-click model, although it is worth noting that the gap between the channels is resounding. Even so, taking those figures into account makes it easier to marry the low e-commerce traffic figures from social with other survey-based accounts showing that social is a strong influencer of retail behavior.

Other Findings:

  • The add-to-cart rate was higher for traffic referred by email (10.51%) than search (6.81%) and social (3.24%).
  • Average page views was equal for email and search traffic (9.02 each), both about double social’s average (4.6).
  • Email traffic sported the highest conversion rate (3.19%), followed by search (1.95%) and social (0.71%).
  • Search traffic had the highest average order value ($96.32), followed by email ($83.72) and social ($72.31).
  • Among social referrers, Pinterest ($80.54) boasted the highest average order value, followed by Facebook ($71.26) and Twitter ($70.17).
  • Pinterest’s share of social traffic grew from 17.5% in Q1 2012 to 25% in Q1 2013, while Facebook’s share retreated from 62.5% to 55.2%.
  • Looking at conversion rates by referrer, AOL Search (4.48%) came out easily on top, besting Bing (3.03%), Yahoo (2.8%), and Google (1.71%), among others. Traffic from Facebook converted at a much higher rate than traffic from Pinterest (1.08% vs. 0.36%).

About the Data: The EQ analyzes a random sample of over 500 million online shopping experiences using “same store” data across each calendar quarter.

Averages throughout the EQ are calculated across the entire sample. Key performance indicators, such as average order value and conversion rate, will vary by industry/market type. These averages are published only to support the analysis in each release of the EQ, and are not intended to be benchmarks for any ecommerce business.

Ad Agencies See Effectiveness in Online Video

Source: eMarketer, MAY 22, 2013

Ad execs think online video ads are equally or more effective than television ads at reaching audiences

The online video advertising ecosystem has gained both prominence and complexity, but that might be because buyers have found that the ads really work. A March 2013 survey of US advertising agency executives conducted by online video ad platform BrightRoll found that the vast majority of respondents (75%) said online video ads were equally or more effective than traditional TV. Nine out of 10 also thought online video ads had equal or greater impact than display ads.

Ad execs may be responding to US consumers’ seemingly endless demand for online video. Video monetization firm FreeWheel reported that in Q4 2012, total video views among US internet users climbed 23% year over year.

The popularity of digital video viewing is helping drive the expansion of the online video ad market. eMarketer estimates that video ad spending in the US will grow 41.4% this year, to reach $4.1 billion. BrightRoll found that the greatest percentage of advertising professionals—one-quarter—expected online video ads to see the highest growth rate of any ad category, with mobile video a close second.

The growing complexity of the online video ad market means that advertisers now have a variety of ways to measure return on investment. But which method is best? This year, 36% of ad executives indicated that their clients placed the highest value on gross rating points (GRP) or target rating points (TRP) to measure the size of their audience. Still, another 30% said clients valued the percent of impressions that reached their target audience, while 24% named the percent of unique viewers in target.

Ad buyers are faced with an increasingly complicated equation when it comes to online video ads, and they need to consider which sites to purchase ads on, what format the ads will take and how to measure their effectiveness.

Want Social to Boost Sales? Be Prepared to Spend the Necessary Time

Source: May 22, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff

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The top benefits of social media marketing are increased exposure (89%) and increased traffic (75%), finds Social Media Examiner in its annual “Social Media Marketing Industry Report” [download page], which surveyed more than 3,000 marketers on their social media activities. A majority also report benefits such as developing loyal fans (65%), lead generation (61%), and improved search rankings (58%), but only 43% say their efforts have boosted sales. Nevertheless, study results indicate that for those willing to take the time, sales will follow.

That is, while only a minority report sales improvement on account of social media marketing, that turns to a majority among those who have been using social media for at least 3 years (47% of the survey sample) as well as among those who spend 11 or more hours a week on social media marketing (representing 36% of the sample). Among those few spending 40 or more hours a week on social, 62% say they’ve earned new business. The researchers foundsimilar results last year, although more respondents are seeing each benefit this year.

Of course, the results need to be treated with a little caution, because many marketers still feel unable to measure the ROI of their social media activities. In fact, only 26% of respondents agreed (23%) or strongly agreed (3%) that they are able to measure the return of their social media marketing efforts. That’s a surprisingly low figure, particularly if 43% feel they can confidently attribute improved sales to social.

Another interesting result pertains to the effectiveness of Facebook marketing. The survey finds that 86% of marketers overall find social media to be important to their businesses. Meanwhile, Facebook is the most popular platform, used by 92% of respondents, with 49% rating it their most important social platform. Given Facebook’s almost ubiquitous use, and favorable attitudes towards social media as a whole, one would expect that marketers are positive about Facebook’s effectiveness. But, just 37% either agreed (32%) or strongly agreed (5%) with the statement: “My Facebook marketing is effective.”

That suggests that while respondents feel that social media is an important part of their marketing mix, Facebook marketing may be seen more as a necessary component of their social activities rather than the most effective component.

Other Findings:

  • B2C marketers were 52% more likely than B2B marketers to agree that their Facebook marketing is effective (44% vs. 29%). Large companies (with 1,000 or more employees) were similarly more likely than self-employed respondents to find their efforts rewarding (46% vs. 29%).
  • While 54% of respondents overall said social helps them build new partnerships, that figure rose to more than 60% among those with 3 years or more of experience.
  • At least 60% of marketers spending 6 hour or more a week on social media said they saw improvements in their search engine rankings.

About the Data: The data is based on responses from 3,025 participants. 56% primarily target consumers and 44% businesses. 72% of respondents are aged 30-59, and females represented 62% of the survey sample. 57% are based in the US, with the UK (9%) the next-most heavily represented country.

Mobile Becoming Moms’ Daily Shopping Companion

Source: eMarketer, MAY 21, 2013

Clothing and beauty were top mobile shopping categories

There is no question that mobile is becoming an essential shopping tool for many US moms. According to a March 2013 survey from retail solutions company Alliance Data, more than half of surveyed mom internet users reported using their smartphone or tablet at least weekly for some aspect of shopping, whether it be research or buying. And 35% of respondents said they used their device daily for shopping purposes.

Mobile’s usefulness for shopping is easy to see. Convenience and a better ability to price compare were the top reasons moms’ reported using their device as they moved through the purchase funnel.

Clothing and beauty ranked as the top product categories for which moms shopped on their smartphones and tablets, at 56% and 47%, respectively. Households products ranked third, researched by 42% of respondents, a significant figure for CPG brands, which have already moved quickly into the mobile advertising space.

Showrooming—the practice of going into stores to compare products and prices, often using mobile to shop around—is common among moms, as well. At both electronics and big-box retailers, half of mom mobile shoppers surveyed said they used their smartphone or tablet to look up product and price info. This was slightly less common at clothing, grocery and shoe stores, but more than one-third of respondents still had shopped at each of these locations using mobile devices.

However, mobile is not the primary method US moms prefer for shopping. Only 11% of respondents said this was the shopping method they would choose, if given only one option. And according to December 2012 research from parenting app company Alt12, about two-thirds of moms said they did less than half of their shopping on mobile.

But as mobile browsing becomes more common, and retailers improve their multichannel efforts, there is no question that more moms will favor smartphones and tablets for their shopping and buying.

The Brand Guide to Fixing Social Mishaps

Source: DigiDay, , 05.21.2013
When Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal came to light, he did all the wrong things. He waited to respond, he denied and denied it and then finally fessed up. Weiner’s image was forever damaged. In the age of social media, brands can stand to learn a thing or two from Weinergate and how not to handle a crisis.

When it comes to being innovative as a brand these days, it’s all about real-time responsiveness. But sometimes taking chances with real time means making mistakes. What’s important for brands is to understand how to quickly put out these fires. Digiday spoke to several brand execs to get their views on how to handle social media mistakes and also looked at well-publicized brand social media mistakes to get a better understanding of some best practices and what not to do. One thing became very clear: Planning, paying attention, acting quickly and being honest are all key steps in handling social media mishaps gracefully.

Here are a few tips for how brands should best handle these sticky social media situations.

Listen to your community. Brands need to have a firm understanding of what kind of tone and content their audiences like. This will help brands avoid off-color remarks in the first place. If a brand does say something that upsets its audience, then responding in a manner that fits the severity of the situation is also important.

“There is definitely a personality to the community…certain issues come to the floor over and over again,” said Jonas Paretzkin, director of PR & social media at ConAgra Foods at the Digiday Brand Summit. “If you can have a response to those [issues], that’s a good start.”

Have the right team. Social media is the voice of a brand. That’s a big responsibility. Brands need to make sure they have the right team of people in place who are equipped the right technology to monitor. There have been plenty of stories about brands having to fire social media managers for acting irresponsibly. Most recently Reuters’ social media manager turned out to be behind some verysketchy activity, and we all remember the guy at Chrysler who tweeted about people’s driving skills in Detroit. Brands need to know whose hands they are leaving their image in.

Plan, plan and plan. Brands need to plan ahead for disasters.  While being real-time seems like it happens quickly in the moment, things like the famed Oreo blackout tweet are a result of lots of planning and social media monitoring. The same goes for dealing with social media mistakes. Not only should brands plan ahead for mistakes so that they don’t happen, but they need to have a plan in place for when something does go wrong.

“You have to live by the mantra that failing to plan is planning to fail,” said Christian Borges, svp of marketing at MRY.

Act quickly. This is the age of real-time marketing. It’s all about responding and reacting to events as quickly as possible. The same goes for reacting to mistakes. Silence and lag time are the worst ways for a brand to deal with a social media mistake.

When Burger King’s Twitter account was hijacked, it took the brand a full hour to suspend the account and deal with the aftermath. Within the hour, the hackers did a lot of damage, tweeting truly inappropriate things, like pictures of someone shooting up and tons of profanity.

Be transparent.  “Own it and respond to it as soon as possible,” said Victor Reiss, director of digital and social channels at FedEx, during a panel at the Digiday Brand Summit. Both Reiss and Paretzkin stressed the importance of transparency in handling mistakes. Brands need to be clear with their audience about what happend and why something is being deleted so that they feel informed and that the brand is being honest.

Turn a bad thing into a positive. Bad things happen to good brands. No matter how prepared or fast a brand is, sometimes mistakes happen that are beyond its control. The best way to resolve those situations is making the mishap into a positive, either with humor or working out a new solution.

When a Red Cross employee accidentally tweeted from the company account rather than her personal account about drinking Dogfish Head beer and getting drunk, she did the right thing and immediately tweeted to clear up the situation: “Rogue tweet frm @RedCross due to my inability to use hootsuite… I wasn’t actually #gettingslizzard but just excited! #howembarassing.” Red Cross similarly acted in good taste and with a touch of humor by tweeting, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” Red Cross already did a good job of handling the situation, but they got some help from Dogfish Head. The beer brand and its fans turned the #gettingslizzard into a fundraising campaign for Red Cross.

Turn off auto-tweets during national crisis. You don’t want to be that brand that sends out a tweet about an awesome sale when the whole country is mourning a tragedy or keeping their eyes and ears open for important news. There are unfortunately many examples of brands that have done this, like the Mutual of Omaha tweet about life insurance right after the Sandy Hook shootings. Even worse than not turning off auto-tweets during sensitive times is when brands intentionally tweet out sales or product announcements during national disasters, like Urban Outfitters tweeting about free shipping during Sandy and American Apparel tweeting about a Sandy sale. Don’t be that guy.


Don’t do canned responses. People want to see the human voice behind a brand and are more likely to forgive a human than a robot with a cookie-cutter response. Epicurious sent out some insensitive recipe tweets right after the Boston Marathon bombings. Rather than respond in a thoughtful, personal manner, Epicurious sent a bunch of copy and paste apology tweets to people and didn’t release a more thoughtful apology statement. Bad move.

In the age of real-time content marketing, it’s all about being prepared and being quick to respond to all situations, good or bad. People want to feel like brands aren’t just faceless corporations that are shoving advertising down their throats. Social media gives brands a chance to show their senses of humor and their personalities. But social media left unattended or poorly planned can show brands in an unflattering light.

5 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand Online

For many b2b marketers, the Internet remains primarily a direct response or interactive marketing medium. But the Web is also a powerful branding medium. Digital marketing can deliver brand lift via online display advertising and in a variety of other ways as well. Here are five simple ways you can build your b2b brand online:

Use Web analytics to decipher your website audiences

Web analytics can help you determine who is visiting your website and ultimately what sort of visitor is converting into a customer. Identifying the audience segments that convert at the highest rates, can help you determine where to target your messages.

Use display advertising to boost all marketing channels

Studies show that online display advertising boosts results from search marketing, email marketing and social media. Display builds your brand awareness, so that it also provides a lift in branded searches. Display campaigns also help companies boost email subscriptions and can lead to more sharing of your content on social networks.

Use blogging to create an identify as a thought leader

Branding is about credibility. A blog can be used to support branding building by presenting your company as a thought leader and as a company interested in helping its customers with information that can help them do their jobs better.

Measure the value of your marketing efforts beyond clicks

Most Internet users don’t click, and studies show that those users who do click are often not the audience the marketer is looking for. There are better ways to measure the effectiveness of display advertising than clicks. The best b2b marketers use brand metrics, action metrics and overall lift to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Use social marketing to build brand awareness

Linking to your blog posts, white papers and other content via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is a no-brainer. What are you waiting for?