Thursday, April 3, 2014

Online Marketing - More Than Banner Ads

The 90s and early part of this century saw a wild-west of advertising plaguing websites. "CLICK THIS"and "SECRET TIPS TO..." flooded the internet (and frankly still do in many cases). Response rates in the past 20 years have plummeted to almost approx. 0.02% of people taking action/clicking on ads - and probably many of those were by mistake.

Terrible Banner Ads

In the past few years we have seen a shift in online marketing primarily through re-marketing/re-targeting with the help of cookies - and advertising options as a whole have gotten much better, however, far too few companies actually jump onboard...and that is mind-boggling to me.

We are getting to a point in online advertising where the paid ads that we see - we are seeing for a reason. Not just because we happen to be between 25-54 years old. Not just because we happen to not fast forward a commercial. We are seeing them because we have made an action - and that signifies our true buying potential.

Are you really a potential buyer of a new Subaru because you're between 21-45? No, but you are if you Google "Subaru" "Impreza" "Tribeka" or "WRX." You are more likely a potential buyer if you want to follow a Subaru Facebook page. You are a potential buyer if you tweet "OMG I totes heart the Subaru Crosstrek!" It's these people that Subaru will spend their dollars on. Sure, they'll buy the occasional mass media ad - but dollar per dollar / dollar per actual targeted demo, it's hard to get more targeted than showing a Subaru ad to someone you know is already interested in that brand. How much does targeting someone this specific cost? Impression per impression, about the same.

Let's take it a step further.

Sure, if you click on an ad or Google a certain brand, you'll probably see that brand's ad online in random places all over the internet for the next couple weeks (if they company is smart) - but what about Facebook? You know, that space where you and your friends/family come together and talk about cats and babies. That space right in the middle ("Newsfeed") where the eye naturally scrolls...not the random sidebar ads or blinking flash ads that your eyes try to avoid. We are talking about that place down the center that the potential customer can't avoid.

What you don't want to do in this space is piss off a potential buyer with all caps about your 10% savings. No, this place is sacred for your audience. You're sticking your head into the huddle of their friends-only conversations - what are you saying to them? What are you showing them? Do they want to see your sales message? As a whole, no they don't. But what if you were certain that they wouldn't mind seeing your product. What if you had proof that they've recently checked out your product recently - yet they didn't buy it just yet...they went away to think about it. Let me show you what I mean.

I get tons of emails that I constantly have to unsubscribe to because I don't want the crap they yelling at me to buy. There are a few emails that I occasionally open and browse around if I have a few minutes - and one of those email subscriptions is from Fab makes their emails "bite-sized" and easy for me to navigate - easy for me to quickly see a few products and either move on and wait for the next email or take an action and actually consider buying something.

Recently, I opened an email and something caught my eye. It was a colorful world map that I thought looked pretty cool. I opened the link to enlarge the image to get a better look. I sent a screenshot onto Marek (my wife) to get her opinion. Then I went on with my day. Had I a few more minutes - I may have purchased it right then and there, but I wanted to think about it. Similar to many of you, I always intend on remembering everything, but sometimes I need to be refreshed every once in awhile.

Now, here's where it gets creepy/cool depending on your perspective. obviously knows my email address (and many of you have email lists of your current buyers/shoppers/fans). knows that user (my email address) clicked and opened the email housing an image (color map) which led to their website. Their website then kept data on what I did on their site...and their website "dinged" my exit when I got to the "pay site." Their website now knows that user (Casey) was interested enough in our brand to open the email - interested enough in a product (color map) to make an action (clicking), and interested enough to go all the way to the pay section of that product...but more importantly they know one action I didn't make - the option to purchase.

What did do from there? They loaded my email info into Facebook's database - and Facebook notices that the same email I use for Fab's email chain is the same email I use to login to Facebook...and that's it. Fab now knows that if they want to show an ad on Facebook about their product that they could simply run ads to everyone on Facebook between 22-40 and hope one of them likes to travel and may be interested in a world map...or they could just show the person they absolutely, without a doubt know is already somewhat interested...paying approx. the same per impression, don't you think this form of advertising would yield higher than 0.02% click-rate?

I love smart marketing.

Social Media Director
VI Marketing and Branding

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Apple, complacent with not being innovative

The iPhone launched in 2007 - A year that saw MySpace still ruling Social, Kevin Durant a Freshman at Texas University and the New Orleans Hornets still calling Oklahoma City home.

Since that time: MySpace died. Kevin Durant became a worldwide superstar and the Oklahoma City/New Orleans Hornets moved back to New Orleans, making way for the Seattle SuperSonics to move to the Midwest. But what about the iPhone? It just released newer models, 2, 3, 3s, 4, 4s, 5 and the 5s. Sure Apple made other products like a bigger iPhone they named the iPad (and the technology gasped) and then released newer models, 2, 3, 4, iPad Air and then two Mini-iPads which is the middle ground between the iPhone and the iPad... so very clever. Not creative, but clever. Clever in the sense that you bought one or three...possibly four or five of these mentioned. Apple "cleverly" took the world by storm, but these past few years (due to the lack of innovation) Apple has just sat back and watched as Google passed them by.

Sure, here in the Oklahoma City market, we love Apple and rarely will one find an Android cellular device before you'll see 10 iPhones - but Apple has been a sleeping giant that stayed in hibernation too long.

Google's Android devices have far surpassed those iOS devices, in fact the past 3 years Android went from 49.2% of the market in 2011 to 62% in 2012 and up to 78.6% in 2013 - while Apple went from 18.8% in 2011, down slightly to 18.7% and even further in 2013 to 15.2%. You would think that would make Google smile and "coast" into world dominance, right? Nope. They aren't finished being "innovative" yet.

Google is betting that you'll use your smart device as much or even more in the future, they just want to control how you use it. 2014 seems to be the year Google goes all out launching "Wearables" for the public. Think watches are a thing of the past? Maybe, in the sense that you used it primarily to tell time. Now, you can use for just about anything, at least that's what they're hoping according to this new online commercial:

Google Glass still has a LONG way to go. I've put on a few different pairs over the past 12-18 months - and they have become much better over time. But only time will tell whether or not they're here to last. While Apple lives in the land of Texas-Freshman Kevin Durant, it is Google that is living in the land of OKC-Thunder-World-Champion Kevin Durant.

What do YOU think? Do you see yourself wearing "Wearables" in the near future? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Education System Woes

I can't imagine how dumb our next generation would be if the Internet did not exist. With the many restrictions on our school systems, rising student/per teacher ratios and lowering budgets on education - we are also seeing dramatic rises in college tuition but a lowering in salaries in regards to inflation (going back 50 years).

Because of all this, students have less one-on-one time with teachers, teachers don't get paid enough to care (unions keep many employed anyway), and the restrictions on what can/can't be taught in school is so limited that there is little time left for creative thought or communications building amongst peers. Even if students do make it out of school (with less knowledge than previous generations) they head into college where the average cost of a 4-year university has doubled (in just the past 15 years, meaning more students are going in debt for higher amounts just to obtain a degree for them to stand in line with the other students who now have an overpriced/under-delivered education - where many now have degrees in dying industries.

So again, I go back to my original statement. the Internet may just be saving our next generation. People are free to learn what they want/when they want it, all for the price of $39 a month.

Do I think the Internet is better than one-on-one learning? Absolutely not. But if we don't stop this decline of our standards in our Education system, it may turn out that way.

(Do I have a solution? No. But isn't that why we pay our Congressmen/Legislators?)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Social Media Strategist - Job Opening

Monday, September 9, 2013

Social Media Stats to Show Your CEO

This blog by Belle Beth Cooper shows off 10 stats that will more than likely surprise you. You probably won't even click on the link to read them (although I encourage it) so let me give you the bullet points:
  • The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket.
  • 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’
  • YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network
  • Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn
  • Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web
  • LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Facebook
  • 93% of marketers use social media for business
  • 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them
  • Even though 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger
  • 25% of Facebook users don’t bother with privacy settings
While all 10 of these statistics should raise a few brows, I want to comment on three in particular - let's start with the first one:

"The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket."
Twitter is for the socially obsessed, right? Those who need attention and feel the need to share every moment of every day with the world as if there is something special about the moon that THEY are seeing (as if nobody else has stepped outside that evening). My 21,000+ tweets certainly suggests that I am pointing this all-judging finger at myself, but if this is all Twitter was, would it still be around? I mean, how many "socially obsessed" people are there in this world? The answer seems to be more than the 500 million that Twitter already has, people just don't know it yet. Twitter is about as good as it gets for socially connecting online with people on a one-on-one or group-on-one basis. Twitter is more than sunsets, full moons and home-cooked meals, and it sounds like an older demographic is about to find that out.

"189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’"
Mobile ONLY. I know I use mobile quite a bit (more than I'd like), but I also use the desktop for Facebook - yes, my job actually pays me to do's a pretty sweet gig. This number '189,000,000' just blew me away. I think it says quite a bit about not only how people are using Facebook, but also about how people are consuming media in general. Does your business run commercials? If yes, that's great - but do you have a second commercial geared towards an online audience specifically? People unconsciously think of TV viewers as one set of people and online viewers as another set of people, and that just isn't the case. The same people that watch TV also get online. The same people who watch the news on your local stations more than likely ALSO have a social presence online as well. Are you reaching them offline AND online, or are you continuing to only reach them in the most expensive places (TV/Print)? TV stations and newspapers are great sources of media - but if they are going to survive (and I believe many of them will) they will need to move fully online in the next 5 years.

Target them specifically on mobile/social (by gender, by age, by interests, by habits) and pay for only the impressions that you want. Sure, 'impressions' is probably not how you should judge success of your campaign, but it would help if you knew the 1,000 impressions you paid for was to reach the 1,000 people most interested in your product.

"YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network"
You should probably read that again, so here, "YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network." First thought, wow, and second thought, that's a HUGE segment of the population! Every business needs to ask themselves something after reading a stat like that, "Is that age group likely to expand, or will this just be a fad and it will go away?" I am no soothsayer so I will not bet my home on it...but I'll bet my '03 Honda Civic that this new online audience will not decrease and that the amount of audiences watching/receiving content online (more than cable) will expand pass that 34 year old age group quickly. Netflix? Amazon Prime? Hulu? Apple TV? Facebook News Network (ok, that Facebook part is made that up...but what if?)? Many options are already available on the cheap and this is not a "fad" looking to leave. 

So, what is YOUR outlook on reaching a customer base in the next 12 months? 24 months? 5 years? In 5 years, people will either say about your business, "I love doing business with _______." or they'll say, "Remember when we did business with ________?"

The statement they choose to say is up to you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

NBA Player Power rankings

Photo via Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Heading into the final week of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder look to win the exclusive "60-Win Club" - a winning percentage that has improved every single season since the relocation to Oklahoma City in the summer of 2008.

Player Power Rankings are always a fun thing to read and debate, and no better blog breaks down the Thunder and better than Royce Young's Daily Thunder blog.

Check out his rankings here: NBA Rankings - April 15, 2013.

Do you agree with these?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Prop 8 and DOMA, What are we really arguing about?

1st Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

Everyone giving a religious reason to why the law should be a certain way, in my opinion your argument is invalid.

Church does not make laws. They did at one point - and even through force gave the world the crusades...not exactly a highlight for humanity. The church (and religion in general) can be a beautiful thing (and in many cases, proves this daily - especially in Oklahoma), but when it comes to making/setting/influencing laws history has told us that is not smart. That is why those smarter than most decided we were to have a separation in Church and State.

Considering the idea of marriage as an official sanction derived from the Church/religion I have absolutely no problem in the Church standing behind their beliefs - stand behind them 365 days a year - you have the freedom to and that's what makes America great. Shout it from the Church rooftops that you want marriage to be a man/women union as it relates to your congregation. But from a legal standpoint, let America do its thing.

What this should be is a discussion on what the country deems acceptable as it relates to citizen equality and the benefits (taxes included) that should be given to those who choose to love each other and provide for each other throughout the rest of their lives - it does not take religion to tell us that is a wonderful thing.

Maybe the problem is in the wording. Maybe the government should stop calling it marriage - and continue to harp on branding it a Civil Union - as that actually is MORE of what it truly is from a legal standpoint.

I am not smart enough to break down the tax system of the United States government, but I do know that I am smart enough to know that if I can be recognized as being united in a Civil Union by my government (and receive financial benefits from my government) and my friends (and your fellow Americans) are not legally allowed to do so - that is wrong. I think it's time we officially stop making our neighbors drink from separate water fountains.