In days of old, advertisers had to buy TV airtime, magazine placements, or radio spots to send their ads out to reach customers. Usually one of the largest chunks of cost is the media placement, followed by “creative” development and content creation.
What if there was a way to cut out most or all of the media cost? And what if we could also substantially reduce the cost of “creative development” and “content creation?” Look at the JetBlue example below. On Twitter, JetBlue has nearly 600,000 followers. Each of these followers has basically “opted in” to receive their updates, often multiple times a day (“costless media”). There is no “media cost” for getting these messages out. Compare this to what it would cost to air a TV ad that reaches 600,000 viewers (assuming all the viewers wanted to receive the ad, and were sitting there in front of the TV watching the ad when it was aired).
Also, the cost of content is nearly zero too. JetBlue has their customer service people (and fans) help create content by tweeting. These tweets range from customer service (“twitter customer service”) , to service notices (e.g. dense fog in NYC area airports causing delays, etc.), to tips from frequent travelers. This type of content is more “real,” valuable, and trusted than an advertisement. And there is no cost of “creative development” because the content does not need to be dressed up into a glossy ad for TV or print — it’s just 140 characters of text at a time. It’s more effective AND lower cost?! Imagine that!
Finally, notice in the “bio” area on the upper right of the screen shot that it reports who is currently on duty — “Morgan and Lindsey” — this gives the normally faceless customer service system a name and a face and perhaps even a personality. JetBlue’s twitter is a great example of social marketing done awesome!
coupon sites: definitely headed upward with a spike in Dec 08.
network TV sites are seeing healthy increases, likely due to “view full episodes” on their websites – but even this increase in traffic will not replace the advertising revenues lost on network television
What is the ROI (define) for social media? It’s zero. That’s because there’s no such thing as “social media.”
People’s conversations are not media; they can’t be purchased as such by advertisers. In other words, people don’t talk whenever advertisers want them to and they won’t say whatever advertisers tell them to — so it isn’t “media” like TV, print, and radio.
If you treat people’s conversations as media, you’d be doing it wrong. Social marketing done right means asking for and respecting people’s conversations and giving them a public place to talk so others can hear. If the advertiser’s product is already great, much of the conversation will be positive. But even if it isn’t the advertiser will have the benefit of free “product research” because people will give them ideas for improvement.
Untargetables are hard to reach. Unreachables are not reachable by traditional advertising media or channels.
My colleagues know I have argued against advertising’s ability to do “demand generation” — create need where there was none before. Instead I have always argued that advertising solves an awareness “missing link” for demand that was already there. In other words, a user has a need. Advertising puts a new product or a product that a particular user was simply not aware of before on his radar screen. And after further research, if the product fulfills that need he buys. Advertising rarely creates NEW demand. For example, we buy 4 quarts of milk per week because we have 2 kids. No amount of milk advertising will make us buy 5 quarts, because we simply don’t need it. Or, we’ve just bought a minivan. No amount of advertising, no matter how cool the family or the kids in the ad, will make us buy another mini van. If we just locked in health insurance this year, we are likely not to buy more or to switch, just because it is such a hassle. Make up more of your own examples.
But, I have to say, Carl Jr’s ad with Padma is really really making me want their bacon, barbecue sauce burger. Or is it just a bacon, barbecue sauce burger? Or wait, is there even a Carl Jr around here? hmm ….. I guess I’ll just look at the picture some more…
Padma devours fast food, Lindsay Lohan goes retro for Fornarina and vampire ads raise the stakes
March 30, 2009
-By Tim Nudd
Carl’s Jr. serves it piping hot.
When we learned in February that Padma Lakshmi was filming a commercial for Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., it didn’t seem likely that the Top Chef host would make as big a splash as Paris Hilton did with her infamous car-wash spot for the fast-fo.od company in 2005. But Lakshmi has actually put her own impressively suggestive mark on burger advertising with the new ad, in which she makes sweet-and-savory love to a Western-bacon deluxe on the front steps of a city apartment building. Paris Hilton, please pack your knives and go.
the greater efficiencies of “digital” mean that the same amount of “advertising” can be achieved with fewer dollars because more waste can be eliminated. The decreases in ad spending in traditional media channels like newspapers will only be partially replaced by ad spending online.
For example, the dollars that used to fund newspaper classified advertising has been replaced by free online classifieds through Craigslist. While newspapers had incremental costs due to materials, printing, labor, and distribution, online classifieds have virtually no incremental cost.
Similarly print advertising, which was based on targeting ads to specific demographics of readerships are being replaced by online ads which can be more finely targeted to even more niche readerships — e.g. contextual advertising. And the revenue models based around cost per click are inherently more efficient (and thus lower cost) than the impression-based revenue models of magazines. Again for every dollar taken out of print advertising, only a few cents are needed to replace it in “digital.”
Lift in search is a great indicator of interest. Modern consumers may be inspired by TV ads, but they usually go online to do more research for themselves, to inform their own purchase decision. The following examples show the lift in search after Superbowl commercials or for launch of products like Subway Footlongs. The use of unique, made-up words makes it easier to detect lift in search (see related post: made up words are great for tracking buzz and search volume ). There is now a correlation between offline paid advertising and online behaviors of modern consumers that can be tracked and ultimately related to sales.
What is harder to do is track lift in search from smaller TV media buys or from terms which are generic — e.g. American Express OPEN, Proctor & Gamble’s TAG (men’s deoorant), etc. And furthermore, people may or may not remember the brand name itself and may type in a more general search query — e.g. “talking baby” instead of” e-Trade” or “dancing lizards” instead of “SoBe LifeWater.” And most people usually forget to type in special URLs specified in the ads. So the opportunity is to 1) use made-up words which can be used to detect lift in search and 2) search-optimize around other more generic terms that people may search for if they remembered the ad, but did not remember the brand name itself.
key learnings include:
1. only the superbowl TV ads generates enough awareness to drive lift in search volume detectable above the noise or normal levels
2. made up words are useful in correlating paid advertising and subsequent online actions (e.g. search) because most users forget or are too lazy to type special URLs
3. is is always better to have real analytics from the site to see when paid campaigns hit; site analytics will also reveal more information about users including demographic information, what they are looking for, and even whether they “convert” to a sale or a desired action — like print off a coupon, etc.
Notice the January spikes for several of the examples below — these are their Superbowl ads in action. But also notice how sharp the spikes are — most of them go back to prior levels within 1 – 3 days (see related post: the ephemerality of the Superbowl halo )
I think many people in Search understand the importance of ranking highly in Google, but I think too many people outside of Search are hung up on ranking for just a few target keywords. As mentioned earlier, I’ve written about the long tail of SEO on my blog, and it’s hard to overlook the power of the long tail when heavily analyzing search traffic across websites and verticals. I’m constantly talking about the long tail during client meetings, internal brainstorms, and to random people on the subway. Don’t worry, I’m in New York, so most people are used to this type of strange behavior.
To quickly review, the long tail of SEO includes longer queries, typically including three or more keywords. These longer queries derive from your target keywords (or your head terms). For example, a head term might be Nintendo Wii, but a long tail keyword might be what are the best Nintendo Wii games. Although many people focus on head terms, the long tail might generate more quality visitors in aggregate (taking into account all long tail keywords versus just head terms). Anyone tracking SEO for a living has probably seen the impact of the long tail.
evidence that people who type long-tail keywords are more engaged and spend more time on site…
Compare “head” keywords which drive traffic to Apple.com (e.g. iTunes drives 7.1% of the site’s traffic) versus “long tail” keywords which drive traffic to MobilOil.com (e.g. “mobil1 turbo diesel truck”). The time index of these long tail keywords are far higher than the time index of the head terms.
Apple.com (Source: Compete.com)
Top 25 Search Keywords driving MOST VOLUME to Apple.com
% of Site’s Search Traffic
Average Time Index
Mobiloil.com (Source: Compete.com)
Top 25 long tail terms which lead to HIGHEST TIME INDEX (people spending time on the site)
Dr. Augustine Fou is an expert in digital strategy and social media marketing, with over 15 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience. He now serves as digital strategy advisor to global brands and their agencies shifting dollars more aggressively into digital channels.