Tag Archives: Advertising

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The 411 on the latest updates for top social platforms

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If you’ve been handling your company’s social media marketing for some time, you’ve surely developed a system for how to juggle the many moving parts.

But the downside of having a go-to routine is how easily you can miss changes on the social platforms you regularly use!

Luckily, we’re here to help you take full advantage of all the platforms’ offerings and latest happenings.

Read on to discover the changes to the big social media platforms that you can’t afford to miss.

Facebook

Facebook ad metrics are changing. Facebook is going to replace its relevance score with three separate metrics over the next few weeks:quality ranking, engagement rate ranking and conversion rate ranking. The old relevance score will begin disappearing on April 30.

Ideally, this new feature should help you enhance specific areas of your ad, like the ad copy and call to action. Additionally, Facebook is removing six other ad metrics and replacing them when relevant.

Here are the ones biting the dust at the end of April: offers saved; cost per offers saved; messaging replies; cost per messaging reply; mobile app purchase ROAS; web purchase ROAS.

Facebook pushes Stories. Users are reporting that they’re now seeing Facebook Stories being promoted multiple times as they scroll through their News Feed. Previously, Stories were only featured at the top. Test out sharing some of your Instagram Stories here and see how they perform.

Facebook announces lots of new privacy features. If you’re interested in what they are, dive into the 3,000-word blog post that CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote. Be forewarned! It is rather technical.

Instagram

IGTV previews debut in the feed. Instagram wants to push IGTV. Now, you can upload IGTV videos to your feed or story. Users can watch a limited clip, and then click “Watch Full Video” in the corner to keep it going.

Users can turn off the Instagram noise. If you feel bombarded with Instagram notifications, you can now pause them for a set amount of time, ranging from 15 minutes to 8 hours.

A feature like this could help you only check on social a few times a day instead of interrupting your workflow all day long. Just go to your profile, tap settings and then notifications to set it up.

Twitter

Twitter is testing how its replies look (and more). Twitter launched its beta testing app, Twttr, recently. Initially, the app is trying to break up the long string of replies on tweets. By integrating colored blocks and indents, Twitter is attempting to make it easier to see who’s replying to who.

Twitter makes it easier to flag personal privacy violations. Instead of simply reporting a tweet shares personal information (like a phone number or home address), users can now pinpoint what information is being shared right off the bat. See it in action here.

Pinterest

Pinterest ads go global. Companies in Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy can now reach users with Pinterest ads. To keep growing, they’re also currently testing ads in Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and Switzerland.

Upload your catalog. Pinterest will now let you upload your entire catalog. The platform will turn each product into a dynamic Product Pin. From there, if a user discovers one of your products while browsing, they’ll see a
“Shop a Brand” section under that product.

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5 sales-boosting strategies you’ve never tried — but should

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As a retailer, you want to keep your sales environment as fresh and ascustomer-friendly as possible — and the most surprising details can have a big positive impact in helping you do it.

Want to give your sales a fast and easy boost? Science has you covered. Try the following research-proven tips to positively influence your customer base and move that merchandise like never before:

Look at your furniture layout.

A study from Ohio State University found that when it comes to items in a retail space, such as tables, chairs and light fixtures, angular shapes suggest competence in a business and its products when consumers are in that space and it’s crowded with other customers.

Round shapes suggest emotional warmth in that business and in its products, on the other hand. Consider swapping out your furniture for a new shape, depending on the consumer impression you want to create.

Refine your scent.

The American Marketing Association reports that piping a warm ambient fragrance like cinnamon into a retail space that sells high-end goods will make consumers feel “crowded” by other customers. To distinguish their individuality and feel more powerful, they’ll be more likely to buy those prestige items.

Obviously, you want to use this strategy for good — be ethical and use it in situations where you know a repeat customer buys your goods because he/she truly wants that prestige in the first place.

Balance your background music.

A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of British Columbia and the University of Virginia found that moderate background noise enhances consumer “creativity” — meaning they will see the range of benefits of buying a new, innovative product, for example. A medium level of music volume will help reduce distraction for your customers so they can think about their purchase choice this way.

Avoid freebies.

Research published in the University of Chicago Press Journals found that tossing in extra items for the same price makes consumers think your product can’t sell as a stand-alone. This “freebie devaluation effect” is almost always seen as a gimmick — avoid BOGO deals and refocus your selling strategy on product quality for better results.

Say “goodbye.”

When a customer leaves your store after making a purchase, have your sales staff utter that simple magic word — it can be good for repeat business. Researchers from the University of Miami and Virginia Tech report that using a homophone can be a powerful selling tool.

Simply put, when your customer hears “goodbye,” their mind correlates that phrase to mean “good buy” — as in, they just made the right purchase. It’s a positive way to influence sales, and if your product truly is a good buy, then you’re doing great business!

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5 reasons why you need to market better to millennials

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The term “millennial” is probably driving you crazy by now, but this big population group should be an important part of your marketing plan. The consensus for the current generational age ranges is as follows:

  • The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (74-90 years old)
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (55-73 years old)
  • Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (39-54 years old)
  • Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (23-38 years old)

The important point here is that, while you need to market to all of the above age ranges, there are five solid reasons not to neglect millennials:

Purchasing Power

Millennials have not yet reached their full personal purchasing power, mainly due to heavy student loan debt. This doesn’t mean that they have no disposable income; they eventually will start families, have kids, and become significant consumers.

Although most are currently renting apartments and searching tirelessly through rent reports like this one to understand leverage and get the cheapest price, they’ll one day purchase homes as well.

For now, your job is to get established early so that when millennials are ready to buy your product, they are already aware of it.

Brand Loyalists

Just because millennials may be locked in to new product discovery through social media and the internet doesn’t mean that they are flighty consumers.

According to ANA, 20 percent of millennials state that they would not be averse to using the same products that were found in their parent’s household. The conception that millennials will go from brand to brand quickly may not exactly be true; so again, get your product in front of them early.

Your Social Media Marketing Will Work

Millennials are social media users and devourers, and they do make product choices because of online reviews, Twitter feeds and Facebook ads. If you do have a general social media campaign that is pitched to all age groups, you can be sure that millennials will certainly become aware of it.

Here are a few extra tips in this area:

The Do’s

  • Video content
  • Snapchat, not Facebook
  • Instagram, not Twitter
  • Collaborate with influencers
  • Quality over quantity
  • Get responsive in customer service
  • Keep your content brief
  • Keep it casual
  • Tell a relatable story
  • Be transparent
  • Simplify website navigation
  • Create a seamless experience

The Don’ts

  • Don’t try too hard
  • Don’t tell them who they are
  • Don’t group all millennials into the same category
  • Don’t ignore the power of community
  • Don’t rely on clichés
  • Don’t use old design tactics
  • Don’t be spammy or clickbait-y
  • Don’t be boring!

Big Brand Domination

Millennials like large, techy, edgy and established brands. If you’ve got one, you’re in a great position to market to millennials.

If you are a small mom-and-pop business, however, don’t think that there isn’t a way to reach millennials. A small fast food restaurant on a college campus made it a priority to specially print all of its packaging.

They made the interior of their store look fresh, new and even chain-like. The experience of entering this eatery made guests feel like they were part of a national experience, and although the restaurant was a small family business, it was able to overcome this perception by making sure that their brand went big.

Your Online Buying Experience is Great

The last thing anyone wants is a clunky online buying experience. If a customer cannot easily enter a coupon code, if cart items can’t be switched out, if it’s impossible to print a return label, if your payment system doesn’t look secure, or if your checkout process is just a pain, millennials will quickly go elsewhere.

If you already have a smooth buying process, it’s time to make sure that you also focus on millennials, because even more than other generations, they will appreciate your sleek systems.

Off course you need to know what your market is, but make sure you don’t neglect millennials. Their quirkiness can easily be handled with good tech and smart decisions.

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Decoupling and the customer experience

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It is a great time to be a consumer. On one hand, we can walk into a big-box store, find exactly the product we want, then find the least expensive option on our phone and have it delivered to our door.

On the other hand, we do not have to leave the house to grocery shop, get a massage or visit the doctor. Technology has had an undeniable and, in many cases, unexpected impact on consumerism. This disruption of the traditional customer experience provides myriad threats and opportunities for all retail businesses.

SWOT to the rescue

Unbundling and decoupling are two ways the customer experience has been changed. The former refers to the ability to buy things a la carte that were previously part of a larger package (like buying one song instead of a CD or subscribing only to HBO instead of a monthly cable TV payment).

Decoupling, as Thales Texeira refers to it in his new book, “Unlocking the Customer Value Chain,” involves “breaking the links in how consumers discover, buy and use products and services.” Both unbundling and decoupling are creating opportunities for and threats against traditional retail shops.

Consider the ability to order flowers online. This customer convenience may have shuttered some flower shops, but in other cases, the associated technologies allowed local flower shops to increase their customer base by adding long-distance value to local customers and filling the local needs of faraway customers.

Next steps

The key for retail leaders is to understand how the steps in their various customers’ journeys.

McKinsey research on pricing in retail explains five key ways internet has affected the retail landscape: the availability of multiple purchase channels; ease for both customers and retailers to compare prices; the ability for retailers to implement dynamic pricing; price comparisons, personalized sales and shopping experiences; and the availability of more data with more detail than ever.

In particular, the increase in data and ability to gather feedback from a more personalized shopping experience afford retailers an increased ability to understand the steps each customer takes before, during, and after a purchase. This information is essentially the crystal ball to peer into to find both the strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited in the customer experience.

Understanding that leads us to the second step: realizing our competition is not limited to the flower shop in the next town or even the online flower retailer.

On the contrary, competition can come from anywhere. What happens if Amazon buys FTD and then starts providing professional flower shop services in all of its Whole Foods locations? Thus, to begin to take advantage of and hedge against disruptions, we need to go deeper with our understanding of our current customers while thinking outside the usual spheres of opportunities and threats.

The bottom line is, competition and disruption in the customer experience can be customer driven and benefit the customer, but it can also be led by innovative organizations that embrace data to anticipate — or better, create — customer needs.

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How retailers can still thrive in an Amazon-led world

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The daily news is full of retail stores that are cutting back their operations or closing shop completely. Toys R Us, Sears/Kmart, Gymboree, Abercrombie & Fitch, BCBG, Bon-Ton, Payless, Dollar Tree, and even Victoria’s Secret are on the recent list.

Is it Amazon’s fault all these chains are struggling to the point that many have had to declare bankruptcy? Or is there more to it?

E-commerce is certainly a major factor. When consumers can purchase goods from the convenience of their home and have them delivered within a day or two — often with no delivery charge — that’s hard to beat. But it’s not the only reason.

Many chains took on enormous levels of debt over the past few years, sometimes as a result of leveraged buyouts. That debt presumed continuous, near unfettered growth in physical, brick-and-mortar locations. When conditions changed, servicing this huge debt proved an insurmountable obstacle.

And yes, consumer buying habits have changed. Virtually anything can be bought on Amazon today. But are former Victoria’s Secret consumers really heading to Amazon for their sexy lingerie? Probably not.

E-commerce is much more than Amazon. The types of products that can be efficiently bought online have expanded, from eyeglasses to high-end clothing to mattresses.

Warby Parker introduced us to online purchasing of prescription eyeglasses by sending a variety of frames to try on and return. Casper and Tuft & Needle have brought the mattress purchasing experience online.

Stitch Fix uses a combination of AI and human expertise to send customized clothing items to customers. The customer returns what they don’t want, and from there Warby Parker, Casper or StitchFix learn how to be even more effective in the future.

The common thread: the better an online retailer can match a consumer’s need, the less likely that consumer will be inclined to go elsewhere in the future and the more likely they will shop online for other product categories.

And yet there are companies like Target, Kohl’s, Home Depot, and Lowe’s who are thriving in this market. You can add in Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Best Buy — three chains that have struggled in the past but appear to have turned things around.

How do they do it? What do these chains know that the rest of the retail world is missing?

They focus on their differentiators.

What can each of these brands provide that online retailers can’t? For Target, it’s convenience coupled with a wide variety of high design but low-cost products. For Home Depot or Lowe’s, it’s the ability to get the specific item you need when you need it — and those items are often bulky and hard to ship.

When something breaks in your home, even overnight can be too late to wait for the fix — and what if you ordered the wrong item by mistake? Whoops.

They understand they’re selling experiences and service.

Consumers go into a physical store for the overall buying experience, from beginning to end. It’s easy to buy many products online but returning them can be a hassle.

What do you do if you’ve got a question? You can engage in chat with a bot and see how that works, or you can go into a store that sees you, hears you, and cheerfully works to help you.

They’ve integrated their e-commerce and physical locations.

Order online at Target or Macy’s and pickup or return in the store. No problem.

Kohl’s has taken this a step further by becoming an authorized Amazon Online Return Center. Customers bring the packages they want to return to Kohl’s, where there’s no charge for return shipping. While they’re there, they wander the aisles and often find items they’d like to buy. Win-win.

They’re not afraid to reinvent themselves.

Best Buy used to devote aisles of floor space to DVDs and CDs. That’s gone. Their sales are driven today by video games, TVs, and Apple products. Target introduced eight private label brands in 2018, some of which have already reached over $1 billion in sales.

What’s the biggest indicator that brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dead? The king of e-commerce, Amazon, continues to open physical stores. They started with bookstores, and have expanded to Amazon Go, Amazon 4-Star Outlet, and nearly 100 pop-up sites. Plus, Amazon recently announced it will be opening an additional chain of physical stores that will be separate from the nearly 500 Whole Foods stores they already operate.

Is Amazon killing the retail channel? It may be forcing retailers to become more fit. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of retail’s death are greatly exaggerated.

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5 ways to make your marketing images more effective

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Are your advertising graphics making the biggest impact possible? If you’re focused on other, less effective revenue-building strategies, they might not be.

A study from the University of Cologne found that focusing on being a market leader is not as important as building customer relations and building your brand. This includes revamping the images you present in campaigns.

If your gut says you could be doing better when it comes to capturing consumer interest with graphics, no worries: more studies have been uncovering ways to change up your approach so you see real financial performance gains. Try the following tips:

Reconsider “relationship advertising.”

Researchers from USC report that the common practice of spotlighting happy couples in advertising can backfire when it comes to single consumers.

This is because when a single person views an image of a love relationship, it can trigger “perceived deservingness” — the person feels they aren’t good enough for the product being pitched because they are unloved, in a nutshell. Take a good, hard look at your target demographic as it changes, and make sure you aren’t alienating key portions of your base.

Mix the old with the new.

A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found that advertising that helps consumers visualize themselves using a new product at a time in the past — like using a broom to effectively clean their floor last week — gets them to buy the product.

Images and language that focus too much about unfamiliarity — like showing new ways or new locations in which to use that new broom — would be much less effective in terms of sales. Always market to your customers’ feelings of self-assurance and comfort in this kind of scenario.

Promote conservation.

Ads with majestic animal images can be extremely powerful tools — a lion is an advertising icon for this reason. You can build even more consumer goodwill by pointing out that the beautiful lion in your advertising is actually an endangered species and that they can help with the problem.

A study from Oregon State University found that consumers tend to think seeing an endangered animal in an ad means their survival is guaranteed. Providing accurate conservation information, plus info on how consumers can donate money to protect these animals, gives them the chance to see your products positively and make a real difference.

Be declarative in key market environments.

Researchers from the Carroll School of Marketing at Boston College report that consumers don’t want to see ad images that ask them questions when they’re in “high arousal” environments — like at a sporting event, or in a hospital waiting room, when they may be waiting anxiously for a particular outcome.

When consumers are nervous, they like to see declarative statements — instead of “Do you want to stop your seasonal allergies?” try stating, “Stop your seasonal allergies.”

The clearer you can be when focusing on these kinds of marketing environments, the better.

Never rest on your laurels.

Frequent market research is always going to benefit your bottom line more than assumption. Make a constant and consistent effort to take your audience’s temperature — this way, you have a bird’s-eye view of what advertising images are working in your favor in real time.

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Do you have a crisis management plan for the inevitable social media car crash?

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It took years to painstakingly build your company’s brand, but it can be destroyed in an instant. One bad online post or conversation is all that it takes.

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Facebook Takes Another Hit

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(By Spike Santee)

Many local business owners have developed the perception that advertising their business on Facebook is a good investment. They don’t seem to care that their audience reach is extremely limited and their cost per thousand is astronomically high. It is easy for a local business owner to find themselves in a personal feedback loop where even the smallest response is considered a big success.

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10 Secrets For Great Radio Ads

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Here are ten secrets that will help make your Radio advertising messages more effective

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Update: Social slows while podcasts boom

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At the beginning of the year, everyone makes their predictions for what marketing trends will take the world by storm. From there, it’s a waiting game to see what will stick.

Luckily for us, we’ve done that long enough! The first report on consumer media trends, conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital, has officially gone live.

Read on to learn how your customers are consuming digital media differently in 2019 than they did in 2018.

Adoption of Digital Media:

Smartphone ownership only grew one point in 2019, the smallest level of growth since the survey started in 2009. With 84 percent of people already owning a smartphone, this number will likely grow slowly from here on.

Meanwhile, smart speakers are experiencing the rapid growth smartphones saw back in 2009 and 2010. Twenty-three percent of the population now has at least one, a five-point increase from last year.

Overall, the number of people using social media hasn’t grown much in the previous three years. Seventy-nine percent of people use social in 2019 compared to 77 percent in 2016. Like smartphone adoption, the people who want one, have one.

Social Media:

Facebook use continues to drop. Sixty-one percent of people are using Facebook in 2019, down one point from 2018 and 6 points from 2017. That means that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in 2019 than they were in 2017. Those between the ages of 12 and 34 are opting out while those over 55 are still joining Facebook. Despite this, Facebook remains the most used platform across all demographics.

Instagram continues to rise. Thirty-nine percent of people use Instagram, up three points from 2018 and 5 points from 2017. For those between the ages of 12 and 34, this was the most popular app, followed by Snapchat.

Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Twitter stayed steady. The same percentage of people used Pinterest and Snapchat in 2018 and 2019 (31 percent). Ditto for LinkedIn — with 22 percent of people using the platform. Twitter fell two points from last year and clocked in at 19 percent.

WhatsApp, a popular messaging app, was included in the survey for the first time, signaling that the uptick in messaging is here to stay.

The Breakaway Media Star of 2019

While social media has, for the most part, plateaued, audio has become a fan favorite in 2019. Online audio has reached a new high in weekly time spent listening with the average listener tuning in for nearly 17 hours.

Get the skinny on the new trend below. With the growth in smart speakers and the dip in social, consumers are opting for audio.

For the first time, most Americans (51 percent) have listened to a podcast. That seven-point uptick from 2018 means that 20 million more people are engaging with podcasts in 2019. Those between the ages of 12 and 24 as well as those between the ages of 25 and 54 were the biggest demographics that consumed more podcasts in 2019.

Once exposed, people dive in head first. There are 14 million more weekly podcast listeners than there was last year. That’s the largest growth in podcast listening since the survey began asking in 2013. Also, the average podcast listener consumed a staggering seven podcasts in the last week.

Audiobook consumption has also surged with a six-point jump compared to 2018. Now half of Americans have listened to an audiobook.

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