Weekly Marketing Reading: Ads, Social, Design and Content

Online and mobile advertising, social media, design quality, content creation—the list of things marketers have to worry about on a daily basis is seemingly endless and ever changing. If you work for a small- to medium-sized business (SMB), you’ve got the added challenge of having to wear many hats. That’s why I am again giving you some of the best advice and tips released in the past week in an easy and fast read. So if the weather is nice where you are this weekend, I hope this helps you get out and enjoy (rather than delving into all the content you didn’t have time for at work!).

The Pageview is Dead

Adidas WebsiteWhen it comes to brand advertising, pageviews are useless. But they continue to be the easiest way to sell advertising and how publishers make money online. In fact, there is a huge infrastructure in place based on buying eyeballs, which consists of salespeople, media planners, agencies, ad exchanges and more.

On top of that, programming for pageviews encourages all sorts of bad behavior from publishers. For example, Sam Slaughter comments, “If Comcast makes a user click 141 times to get through a slideshow, when Business Insider squeezes 58,000 pageviews out of a story appropriated from elsewhere, when articles are needlessly paginated—all of these tactics benefit publishers and advertisers at the expense of the users.” Just because people saw ads does not mean they liked them and it does not mean they ultimately buy the products.

It’s important to remember that great brand advertising doesn’t just reach people, it influences them. Fortunately, there are a host of new analytic tools that attempt to move beyond the pageview. Slaughter cites the NY Times Cascade social tracker and Chartbeat’s real-time engagement numbers.

Nevertheless, pageviews are entrenched in the system at this point. It will take time but brands are gradually moving their advertising away from banner ads and toward quality original content. Let’s hope the publishers catch up quickly.

Mobile Rising Stars Added to IAB Standard Ad Unit Portfolio

Mobile Ad Presidents DayThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced the inclusion of five Mobile Rising Stars formats into the official IAB Standard Ad Portfolio to enable marketers to tell better stories on smaller screens. At the same time, a study was released that shows the Rising Stars ad formats get higher user interaction and brand and message recall than standard mobile banner ads.

The study also revealed that Mobile Rising Stars ads inspired almost twice the number of people to slide, swipe or tap than standard banners. One in ten respondents (9.3 percent) interacted with the Mobile Rising Stars ads in contrast to the 5.2 percent that interacted with the traditional banners.

Furthermore, nearly all (98.1 percent) who interacted with Mobile Rising Stars ads recalled the brands and 23 percent were more likely to recall the messages advertised, compared to users who viewed standard mobile banner ads. Two-thirds (67 percent) who interacted with Mobile Rising Stars ads rated the ads “better” or “much better” than standard mobile ads.

Peter Minnium, IAB’s head of rand initiatives said, “This is the next step in driving adoption so publishers, media buyers and creative can work together to enhance the interactivity and performance of mobile ad campaigns to the benefit of both consumers and brands.”

Facebook for Social SEO

Jensens Facebook 2Nearly 100 percent of the top 200 brands in the Fortune 500 also hold the top or near-top rank in search engine results for their brand names. But 70 percent of these same brands did not have Facebook pages in the top 20 search engine results because companies have not optimized social media for SEO. These tactics have been completely separate and even the most savvy marketers have failed to connect the channels to boost their rankings.

The reasons it is important to leverage social media for search are as follows.

1) It helps you manage your company’s reputation when your pages and profiles appear in top search results versus competitors’ sites that mention your brand or potentially negative reviews on other sites.

2) It also helps you increase the visibility of your brand and the products you sell. Moving the company Facebook page to the top of search rankings ensures your brand is highly visible to drive revenue.

3) The higher your Facebook page appears, the more likely clients will engage in conversations, Like your page and Share items for sale.

Here’s what you should do to improve the search ranking for your Facebook page:

  • Link to your Facebook page from your website, using your brand in the anchor or alt-text.
  • Use your brand name in posts.
  • Get links to your Facebook page by driving social engagement and Likes.
  • Use Facebook Shares and Likes to improve rankings of any page on your website (some industry analysis indicates the number of Shares is the #1 social factor correlated with good rankings).
  • Integrate your website broadly with Facebook Social Plugins and Facebook Connect.

Stop Whining about Edgerank and Do Something About it

The complaint many marketers have about Facebook is that Edgerank shows posts to small percentages of business pages’ followers (an average of 16 percent). Some people actually suggest that Facebook should change or that they are not going to use it. But good marketing is about figuring out how to overcome communication and branding challenges.

The reality is that Edgerank prevents cluttered newsfeeds of content that is not valuable or meaningful to average users. It rewards good content and penalizes the junk. That’s why it is more critical than ever for marketers to be creative. Develop good content to manage Edgerank and get your work in front of fans and prospects. And it’s never a good idea to promote your failure when it could lead other people to not try at all.

Marketing is hard work. Accept it and move on.

How to Make Sure Your Designers Stay Ahead of the Curve

Stylesse LinkedInThis article by HubSpot certainly hit home for us because Affinity Express is all about design. On our Marketing Team, we have two designers who are focused on the Affinity Express brand. They spend their days interpreting it to develop new and update existing collateral. This means their skills and perspective have to stay fresh or their work will decline over time.

There are five ways to help designers stay motivated and challenged.

1. Establish a Multidisciplinary Team with a Senior-Level Member. Rather than build the team based on skills needed to fill gaps, consider how having a senior-level person can influence and grow other members of the team. Keep in mind that the senior person also needs inspiration and should have an environment or outlet to interact with other senior designers in or outside of the company.

2. Encourage Team Skill Sharing and Coaching. Good designers tend to be self-motivated to improve but even those who are strong can benefit from a culture of active learning from peers. Spending time teaching skills; exploring tool usage, resources and helpful websites; reading books and articles and more are important to growth.

3. Set Aside Time for Personal Improvement. Beyond workshops and training sessions, there should be opportunities each week for designers to improve their personal skills by taking part in online classes, watching tutorial videos or researching what other designers are doing.

4. Send Them to Conferences. Invest in sending team members to conferences that are closely aligned with the type of work they currently do or hope to do in the near future. This is an excellent inspiration for designers and they can impart their new knowledge to the rest of your team.

5. Enable Them to Look for Inspiration and Connect with the Design Community. For our team, any new design project typically begins with some research on other companies and designs to see how the problems we’re looking to solve were tackled by others. This is not about copying work. Rather, it inspires creative solutions by broadening team member’s field of vision. It might even be possible to tap the design community through sites like Dribbble and get feedback on specific projects.

The most important thing to remember is that stale environments produce bad designs. Anything we can do to keep designers engaged and interested results in a high return on investment.

Tips for Writing Content that Ranks

  • Longhorn Steakhouse Daily DealWrite for users, optimize for robots.
  • Forget about keyword density and keyword stuffing.
  • Integrate related keywords, synonyms and grammatical variations into your content.
  • Use Google’s free tools to find long-tail keyword variations that you can blend into your site copy.
  • Focus on writing long, in-depth, quality content.
  • Target high-quality, low competition, long-tail keywords.
  • Write content that answers common questions from prospects.
  • Get your content noticed and shared on social media platforms.
  • Strive to build your AuthorRank and develop your Google+ profile.
  • Don’t forget about title tags and meta descriptions—the first thing people typically see in search results.

In addition, you should concentrate on adding new content that can be shared to your website or blog regularly. Google prefers sites that update frequently, so the more often you do, the more likely Google is to crawl your site.

The 14 Most Powerful and Effective Words in Marketing

Resisting them is tough for us as consumers–those words in advertising, direct mail, collateral, in-store and other channels that drive us to take action and buy despite our better judgment. This week, 60 Second Marketer reminds us of the 14 most compelling words:

  • Free
  • Now
  • You
  • Save
  • Money
  • Easy
  • Guarantee
  • Health
  • Results
  • New
  • Love
  • Discovery
  • Proven
  • Safety

All of these words evoke emotions in the sub-cortical and limbic areas of the brain, where the most instinctive impulses originate, which basically means you are hard-wired to respond to them.

As a marketer, you can experiment to see how they enhance your response rates. Try A/B split tests with paid search, direct mail or email marketing campaigns using/not using one of the words. Compare results and see how much more revenue you generate. Now you can try this easy tactic free and may find you save time while generating results and money!

What are the marketing topics on your mind lately? For which would you like to see more information or discussion? Let us know if any of the above advice was helpful. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

2 Responses to Weekly Marketing Reading: Ads, Social, Design and Content

  1. Hi Kelly, Thanks for including my blog about Edgerank. Very much appreciated. Straight and to the point…..

Come on, don't be shy

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: