Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quantifying the Value of a Facebook Fan

I recently came across an interesting article in Advertising Age which quoted a joint study by ComScore and Facebook.  The study stated that brand posts actually reach more friends-of-fans, than fans itself which shows how much leverage social media can really have.  To use the example highlighted in the article, a Starbucks post to its fan page in May reached about 6.5 million of its 24 million fans.  An additional 11 million people were reached by fans "liking" or commenting on the post - these were the friends-of-fans.  Ad Age noted that the 17.5 million "reached" by the Starbuck's post didn't go to the Starbucks brand page, but saw the activity in the form of a news feed or friend's profile view.  Still, a tremendous result and that combined reach of fans and friends-of-fans equates to 8% of total U.S. internet users -- at zero-cost!   The link to the article is below:


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Categories:   Advertising | Social Media
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Social Media Use By Generation

I've often heard that, "adults don't really use Facebook or other social media" when we have recommended using social media to clients.  While doing research for the Direct Marketing, Social Media and E-Commerce class that I co-taught in September at St. Joe's Executive Master's in Food Marketing Program with George Latella, I came across an international study from Deloitte that suggests otherwise (chart below).  As of December 2009, almost half of the Baby Boomers and more than one-third of the Matures (65+) use at least one of the major social networking sites.  While that information is now one year old, I would expect it to show dramatic increases in penetration for the older generations throughout 2010.  Imagine my surprise when I got a Facebook friend request from my 83-year-old mother-in-law last summer!  At that time, she had three friends - my wife and her two sisters. 

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Keys to Measuring the Success of Advertising with Social Media

Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are no longer channels of communication restricted to teenagers and college students. Facebook alone had over 300 million users in September 2009. Those users combined spent eight billion minutes per day updating statuses, gathering information, and accessing the many other services Facebook offers. The reality is that millions of people worldwide, of all age groups, are logging onto these sites daily to communicate with friends, families, co-workers, and now businesses. Major companies such as Dell, Microsoft, and Starbucks have already launched successful marketing campaigns via social websites. But the major dilemmas facing many other major businesses are how do you effectively use social networks for your marketing campaigns, and how do you measure your campaign’s success?

Like any aspect of marketing, if you want to be successful, you need to plan. Before launching a social media campaign, the company has to decide its main objectives and goals, keeping in mind that they should be realistic and measurable. Whether it is to increase traffic to the company’s main website or to increase purchase intent, the company needs to decide what exactly it is they are looking to achieve by using social networks.

Which networking sites will be used?  What roles will they play in the campaign?  Who are you targeting?  These are just some of the questions that need to be answered in this planning process.

Once you have clearly defined the goals of your campaign, you need to monitor the social networks that you will be using. Social media monitoring is “the process of listening and engaging with customers and prospects who are talking about a company’s brand or product within social media circles” (MarketingProfs). This is beneficial to businesses because if they know what their target audiences are saying and are able to communicate back with them, marketing teams will have a better understanding of how to effectively reach their audience. This will make for a more successful campaign.

Now that you have monitored these social networks to better understand your target audience, you need to decide how you will measure the results of the campaign to see if you succeeded in reaching your goals and objectives. No method of measurement will be the same for every campaign because the measurement tool(s) or service(s) employed by the marketing team will be specific to their marketing goals. Some of the most commonly used tools and services for measuring social media are Google Analytics, Omniture, bit.ly, Vocus, and Radian6.

One example of a company effectively using social networks is Nissan Canada. Their goal was to generate interest and engage potential customers in a contest designed to help spread the word about their new Cube vehicle to young creative minds.  Nissan wanted to measure the campaign’s reach as well as the audience’s engagement and awareness of their product. Entrants of the contests were asked to express their “social creativity” in the form of images, videos, songs and words and to submit their projects online. After 500 finalists were selected, they were asked to share their entries on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media they were actively involved with. This would bring news of Nissan’s new product to their target audience. To measure how effective their contest was in terms of reaching their goals, Nissan conducted pre- and post-awareness surveys. They used Google Analytics to quantify site visits, referrals, page view per visitor, and time spent on site. Nissan also used Radian, a social media monitoring service, to track mentions of the contest on various social networks (MarketingProf).

By using these measurement devices, Nissan was able to determine that their campaign was a success. There were more than 330,000 visits to Nissan’s contest site with more than half of visits resulting in referrals from Facebook. Halfway through the campaign there was an 87% increase in awareness of the new vehicle. By the end there were more than 8,000 tweets about the contest (MarketingProf).

It is possible to successfully market your brand, company, product or service by using social networks as long as you plan out the goals of your project and strategically employ the correct measurement tools to correspond with your objectives.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Social Media vs Email

The rapid onset and growth of social media into prominent fixtures in our daily lives is remarkable, but it hasn’t replaced e-mail as the preferred method of receiving B2B information.  People now have the ability to connect to peers using a variety of networks like Twitter and Facebook from their cell-phones, and many of the millions of cellular phone customers do so.   It makes sense that B2B companies looking to sell products or services have also taken to advertising using social media.

A recent survey published by Marketing Sherpa showed that 18% of marketers believed that their customers viewed social networks as their preferred medium for receiving information about products and services.  However marketers looking to get ahead of the competition may have jumped on the social media bandwagon a bit too soon.  The same study showed that only 12% of buyers valued social networks as their primary source for new product or service information.  The majority of both marketers and buyers agree that an internet search is the best way to obtain this new data, but what was the buyers’ second choice?

E-mail, was the favored method for receiving new product or service information for 32% of the surveyed buyers.  The rise of online searches and social media may have caused marketers to write email off as an obsolete method for communicating with customers – only 20% of marketers surveyed believed that buyers preferred receiving product or service related emails.  The success of social networks does not necessarily signify the death of email as a marketing tool. In fact, email is still considered the most targeted and measurable medium. While social media is a good source for gathering general information and finding facts, email motivates action.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Whole Bunch of Smoke and No Fire

We have all heard the old adage that "No publicity is bad publicity."  Is that true?  A recent chain of events seems to suggest that, maybe, it is not.

Kanye West's recent interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for the Best Female Video Award at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards has generated a tremendous amount of publicity, but it might have blown up in his face.  As of September 29, 2009, fifteen days after the airing of the awards show, one particular YouTube video of West's outburst has been viewed about 5,200,000 times -- this is in addition to the nearly 11,000,000 viewers that tuned into the three networks airing the show, the largest television audience for the VMAs since 2004 (BizBash.com).  While he has taken a beating from traditional news media, the blogosphere, and Barack Obama, those who believe in the above axiom are drooling over the amount of attention Mr. West has received. 

Thanks for Kanye's most recent trip into the limelight is due in large part to the social media outlets Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  Twitter tracking utility Trendrr reports that there were 293,024 individual tweets relating to the Swift-West incident in the hour immediately following the event.

West has remained a hot topic thanks to numerous responses to the incident from the likes of President Obama, social commentators -- in all forms of media -- and the parties involved.  Immediately following the show, Kanye posted an apology to Swift, which was followed by another the next day.  TMZ.com later leaked an audio recording of President Obama calling West a "jackass" and expressing his displeasure with West's actions.  A YouTube video of Obama's reaction has been viewed over 530,000 times since it has been posted.  During an appearance on the Jay Leno Show on NBC, scheduled before the airing of the VMAs, West requested time to react to the controversy that had erupted around him in recent days before performing as one of the show's musical guests. 

Mr. West has not been the sole recipient of additional publicity due to the event.  Taylor Swift appeared on The View on ABC and discussed her feelings while she was being interrupted and this episode has been watched over 1,100,000 times on YouTube.  Some people speculate that the whole scenario was cooked up as a publicity stunt before hand.  We have no idea whether or not it is true.

Social media outlets were not the only venues for the discussion of West's outburst.  A Google search composed of the keywords Taylor Swift Kanye West returned 4,436 articles from news websites out of 18,100,000 hits.  MTV's own web article recapping the incident has been opened 1,250,000 times, and the article pertaining to West's appearance on Leno has been viewed 180,000 times.

So, with all the attention West and Swift have received, it would be safe to assume that their album sales have been affected in some way or another.  This is not the case.  According to the Billboard Top 100 Hip-hop/R&B charts, Kanye's most recent album has not experienced significant increases or decreases in sales.  Long-term effects are not yet known, and it will be interesting to see how his outburst and all attendant publicity will affect attendance on his upcoming tour and future record sales.  Similarly, Taylor Swift's 2009 release has remained in the top ten of the Billboard Top 200 album chart for 45 weeks, and has not experienced significant spikes resulting from her involvement with West nor from winning the Best Female Video Award.

While some marketing experts believe West has been the beneficiary of brilliant promotional strategy -- staging an event on a night when the VMAs were aired on three different networks and was viewed by the largest audience since 2004 that would be sure to thrust his name into the spotlight -- he has not reaped any short-term benefits, even though he has been one of the most talked-about people in mainstream and social media in recent weeks.  It appears that the manner in which he made himself relevant, nearly forcing the nineteen year-old Swift to tears on live television because he believed another performer was more deserving of Swift's award, has resulted in such a great backlash that he is unable to capitalize on his social relevance. 

**Update 10/8/2009

On October 1, 2009, Kanye West's "Fame Kills" tour with Lady Gaga was cancelled due to "creative differences."  Might his VMA outburst have something to do with this recent development?

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