“My Grandma Uses Facebook!”

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When Facebook announced their Q3 results yesterday, it was no surprise that usage among teen users is decreasing. It’s been going on for months.

While Facebook says the decline “was not statistically significant,” we think it tells another story. Why are teens leaving Facebook? It’s easy to use, mobile friendly and has 1.25 billion active monthly users worldwide. But therein lies the problem. Everyone is on it. That includes teachers, parents, grandparents, and the weird guy at the bus stop with highwater pants and tube socks.

Teens don’t want to jump onto the bandwagon that everyone else is already on- they want their own space.

Why the teen demographic is so important

They set trends, especially social ones. Older generations look down to them to see what the newest platform is. Once a network gains enough clout from these early adopters, they can begin to reach out and gain more users.

Where they are going

Facebook’s teen numbers are down, but Instagram (owned by Facebook) has seen a major upswing, although they were named most important network by the same share of respondents. Twitter ranks 3% above both but has also declined since the Spring.  There’ no frontrunner because teens are not just in one place (the way college students were when Facebook first made its debut). Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and countless others that aren’t mainstream enough to even report on yet, when it comes to reaching teens, marketers have a tough decision of choosing where to put their brand and budget.

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What we recommend

Grandma said: “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” (Thanks, gran.)

As we mentioned in “Why Pinterest reminds me of the Stock Market”, it is just as necessary in social media as it is in finance to have a diversified portfolio.  Let’s not forget that in 2006 85% of online teenagers had a MySpace account.

Your social media strategy should depend on your consumers, objectives and brand identity.  If you are looking for some help in determining where your focus should be, come in, sit down, have a beverage and let’s talk.

Why Pinterest Reminds Me of the Stock Market

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Choosing the right websites to invest your marketing time & money is like the stock market.

Think about it. When you get wind of a hot startup stock, you want in on the ground floor. Earlier investment can mean less cost for you, and faster market entry for the company. There’s always less clutter and more energy around the offering in the early days.

Same with social media. It’s tempting to bet the ranch on the hot new stock, and try to clean up. But remember: Financial planning is built around diversification. You don’t over-invest in any single area because if things go bad, you and your portfolio are in for some pain.

Yet new social media networks (like new stocks) can add to your portfolio. They can allow you to test unknown waters and attract new followers. And yes, sometimes they go to the moon.

Buying into Pinterest

A short story: More than 18 months ago a client manager here spotted a trending activity for a client website. For 100 days, there had been a steady increase in visits from a site simply labeled in our analytics as “pinterest.com.” At the time, Pinterest was just gaining the momentum that would make it the fastest social site to reach 10 million users.

So we looked harder at Pinterest. It looked good. Our client – a household name CPG brand that makes pens and markers, among other things – was right for the site. So we increased our client’s presence on Pinterest.

18 months later, Pinterest-driven traffic to the client’s site has increased by a factor of 10- with very little work on anybody’s part. BTW: In 2009 the same client used Facebook (when it was en route to a 900% increase in 35-54 usage) to build a 100K fan base in record time.

3 lessons learned

Monitor the referrals portion of your site analytics. Look for websites that are starting to refer visitors. Vet those sites for synergies. Build on the ones that show the most promise.

Think big picture. We advise a relatively cautious approach to digital investment. Not every trending site is going to make it. Anyone remember Pets.com? Scale your investment in cultivating inbound traffic to other areas of investment. Remember: Diversify.

Stay agile, my friends. Like any investor, you should manage marketing investments actively. Weigh up on things that are working hard, weigh down on those that aren’t. And enjoy the ride with promising but unproven areas of engagement. You can learn a lot along the way.

Whenever you feel like talking further about this stuff, you know where to find us.

Weekly Blend – 10/23/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Infiniti Deja View

It doesn’t get much more interactive than having a commercial give you a call, does it?  Infiniti decided to take a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style of advertising to the next level with their responsive video “Deja-View”.  Upon visiting infinitiusa.com/deja-view, the user sees a short intro and is prompted to call the toll-free number and enter the code they hear.  From there, the video begins playing and about 3 minutes in, the phone rings.  The male driver asks a few simple questions: Do you know me? Where should we go?  The play continues with a few more phone calls and the viewer soon realizes they are in a loop.  The process takes upwards of 20 minutes and doesn’t appear to have as much interaction as a user might hope for.  Overall, the experience seems to require too much user time & effort for minimal return.

California Creates an Eraser Button Law

Expediting the process faster than the federal government has been able to, California has made their stance regarding online privacy policies.  The new bill allows minors the right to erase information they have posted online and prohibits sites from targeting adult products (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) to those under age.  A second law requires transparency from publishers in regard to collecting tracking information.

Although the bills may have some holes, such as proof of age for minors, California is taking steps to move these laws into the forefront of debates & encourage other states to do the same.

What’s Next for Google Ads

Google was caught testing out new banner advertisements recently.  The sponsored cover photos in search results will add a new layer of interest and also ad potential for companies currently using Google AdWords.  Although they are still in limited testing, we can expect to see some advanced advertisement options roll-out soon.

Dadvertising hits healthcare

Myth: The female head of household drives all family healthcare decisions.

Fact: In the aftermath of 2008, male unemployment outpaced female joblessness by a factor of 3 to 1. CNN Money reported that in 2010, 20% of married dads were the primary caregiver for kids age 5 and under. So it’s no surprise that men have become much more engaged in household buying decisions, including healthcare.

This brings us to “dadvertising,” the trend in marketing that acknowledges a core truth of the consumer marketplace: More and more men are either in charge of consumer healthcare decisions or very much part of the discussion.

Some actions steps clients should consider.

  • Balance value propositions between men and women. Men often start decisions with empirical analysis, whereas women “feel” their way into a relationship with a brand. Healthcare brands should plot their values in a left brain-right brain diagram and look at where the center of gravity lies. With some copy support, the same values can often be reframed to cross gender lines. Example: A hospital needs to market its robotic prostate surgery. Tell him: It minimizes blood loss and tissue damage. Tell her: He’s back on his feet faster, making school lunches.
  • Avoid homogeneity. Beware of what we call “blanding” – the embrace of creative content that has no personality at all. You may laugh, but it happens when brands try to be all things to all people. To keep the visual identity crisp go to your creative toolbox:
    • Explore stronger color saturation. Signal brand colors should be emphasized. Also, broaden the brand color palate to include analogous and corresponding colors that can appeal to both men and women.
    • Use textures and gradients to create more inviting pages with backgrounds that feel inviting
    • Shoot photography from atypical angles, as opposed to the photojournalistic/lifestyle approach that has been done to death.
  • Embrace video. Video content is the standard of seriousness for any healthcare brand, from the smallest hospitals to the largest insurers, and it has been for some time. And video is used more by men than by women.  If you haven’t included video as part of your content strategy, make it a priority. Here are some guidelines.
  • Take a flyer now and then. Emerson said, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” And we think sometimes healthcare marketing can be foolishly consistent. Make no mistake, discipline is good. But healthcare brands need to know what consumer brands know: It’s okay to bend the rules because it can help you appear and sound fresh, relevant, vibrant, and interesting – to both halves of the healthcare consumer audience.

Healthcare marketing has plenty of unknowns. When anticipating them, it’s best to talk through all the eventualities. Join us for a beverage and we can do it together.

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Weekly Blend – 10/17/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Tech Start-up Worth Watching

As online users, we’ve become smarter than ever (pat yourselves on the back) so it takes a pretty convincing ad to grab our attention. Native ads can be effective but we’ve found new ways to sift through the clutter of sponsored content and neat looking display pieces. Enter inPowered, a tech start-up that provides a new way for online marketers to reach their consumers. The company pulls in traditional editorial content from the internet and uses it in display ads. An example would be if you were shopping for a new gear for the upcoming sports season at www.dickssportinggoods.com. As you are looking through the site you’ll find an ad for a particular pair of cleats. Neat part is the ad is really just a thumbnail of an article about these products. The article may be a testimonial, review or any news story on the cleats. The ad will link to the article and you will be left without the burden of reading ad copy!

One of the cool things about this service is that at the end of the article, inPowered delivers a survey question asking the reader if they are more likely to consider purchasing the product. As online marketers it is rare to get this type of candid response from a user. The company using this service gets a true understanding for how effective their inPowered campaign was which is extremely comforting.

Twitter Continues Improving – especially for advertisers

Twitter recently announced two major updates: New Direct Messaging capabilities and an option to schedule tweets.

Direct Messaging used to only be a feature for users who followed each other. With the new update, users will be allowed to accept DMs from people that don’t follow them (if they so choose, by selecting a box in their profile). The impact for brands is that they will be able to better communicate with their consumers in a non-public facing way. This will allow them to collect personal information, send mulitple messages back and forth without flooding user’s timelines and avoid using an alternative method of communicating, such as “please email us at customerservice@thiscompany.com”. However, be sure that you still choose to respond to some users publicly so that other customers can see you are interacting & responding with the community.

The ad scheduler is only available for businesses but it is a way for Twitter to eliminate users using a third-party tool such as HootSuite to post on Twitter. The tool will allow advertisers to schedule both promoted tweets and non-promoted. The options allow for scheduling every minute and up to a year in advance.

Burgundy’s Back

Who knew Ron Burgundy was a Durango guy? Being the smallest of the Detroit Car companies can have its advantages at times. With a “limited” budget, Chrysler marketing chief Olivier Francois was forced to get creative to make an impact. Francois said Paramount Pictures bartered work on the commercials in exchange for the promotion of Anchorman 2 in the spots, meaning Dodge didn’t have to pay for the Mr. Burgundy.

Bartering has many times been seen as a last resort in marketing. However, in the current economic climate, budgets are strict and pushed to their limits. Projects like this are a great example of the benefits of bartering.

Facebook Rules: Like it or Not

Some Cans & Cannots

Facebook is changing the rules for on-page promotions and giveaways. Here’s what you can and cannot do:

  • YOU CAN collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • YOU CAN collect entries by having users message the Page
  • YOU CAN utilize likes as a voting mechanism
  • YOU CAN notify winners via Facebook
  • YOU CANNOT tag or encourage people to tag themselves in content they are not depicted in

Pros:

Cons:

Engagement rates will improve significantly.  Hosting promotions that require a like or comment for entry will improve both the page & post engagement rates, which will in turn benefit organic reach of future posts Less data for you. Saying bye-bye to apps means there won’t be a form that collects the names and email addresses of users. So tracking entries just got harder.
Relieve user concerns.  Users have shown frustration about giving Facebook access to private information, friend’s lists, etc.  Using on-page elements to run promotions will alleviate this. Legal concerns.  The only stated requirement from Facebook for running these promotions is to provide the rules on your page.
No issues for mobile devices.  There will no longer be a need to make the contest mobile/tablet friendly because all posts are available across all devices No Like-gating. If the post is seen by someone who is not a fan of the page and they interact to enter the contest, there is no way to Like-gate the entries (where the user can enter only after liking the page).
Less costly. The cost to run a promotion with posts will be no more than a status update, monitoring the page, running ads, and selecting a winner. Less cool content. 3rd party apps create a customized experience, with better branding, more space for content, and better data control.
Your contest will be displayed in the news feed. By posting the promotion to timeline, and asking for likes & comments, the contest goes right into the news feed of its users.  


Advice from drinkcaffeine


Have clear goals
. As with any marketing endeavor, be clear about why you’re doing it. Get some clarity around whether you’re in it for Likes, engagement, email contacts, awareness, or another reason.

Go forth and promote. Don’t let down once your promotion is up. Promote it on you page. Promote it across your social media channels. Promote it in your site, ads, PR, and with targeted carrier pigeon strikes.

Better yet, join us for a beverage and we can do it together.

Video advice for healthcare marketers

It’s time for healthcare brands to think younger

Health care marketing is now adapting to an influx of fresh consumers to the marketplace – many of them young and new to the arena of healthcare. Which is why we think it’s time video got back in the spotlight.

Video is still one of the gold standards for consumer engagement, but more important, video is how Millennials entertain themselves and each other, do research, and learn about new things. Healthcare brands that haven’t traditionally included video in their mix should consider building a digital video content platform, with these suggestions in mind.

Our 6 Video Truths

Think DV, not just TV. Some healthcare brands are rushing to produce network and cable TV spots to create a brand, which is fine – TV is still a powerful medium for brand development. But a comprehensive video strategy needs to think digitally: How do TV spots get extended reach via social media? How does a :30 TV spot related to longer-format segments? And are there production efficiencies possible in shooting/editing?

Inform/Teach vs Engage/Entertain. It’s not impossible to do both, but few brands can both inform and entertain in a 2-3 minute video segment. For most healthcare entities, it will be more important to guide consumer thought and action with information. So make sure your content is geared to deliver focused, top-line messages.

Think small. Your videos need to live on mobile devices and small-screen formats. So keep shot compositions simple. Split-screen treatments can enable more content to be shown, and can create dynamic areas within the screen that keep a viewer engaged.

Anticipate poor audio quality. We all know how weenie audio can be when you listen on a phone or any device without an earpiece. That doesn’t mean neglect good audio – far from it – but consider copy graphics within the video to hit key messages.

Have a distribution strategy. Lots of brands produce good video segments, post them to their site, and declare victory. It’s not enough. Video content should be linked via email, content ads, blog entries, content discovery platforms…every place you have a viable means of reaching an audience. For organic distribution, shared views of your video content shouldn’t be neglected. Encourage it at every turn.

Get real about viral. Some health care spots catch fire

But not every brand is ready to push the limits. Play your video strategy like poker: Before you bet on long shots, build a portfolio of strong, useful segments with equally strong reach.

When facing unknowns, it’s best to talk through all the eventualities. Join us for a beverage and we can do it together.

Riding the see-saw of PPC vs Organic SEO

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Think of search engine marketing as a see saw.

On one side is organic search results. On the other side is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) listings. Depending on the goals of your campaign, a fulcrum is positioned somewhere between the two.

We think too many clients ask PPC to carry the weight of the program. Why? Because it’s easy to set up, and you can see instant results. Yet in the heat of seasonal competition, some resorts purchase thousands of keywords and phrases to get the results they seek.

Rule of thumb: DON’T GO CRAZY WITH PPC unless these 3 things are true.

1)  You’d never get a Top 5 search ranking without paying for it. Some keywords have a lot of competition for the top rankings, and the only way to get there is to buy in. Be on the lookout for opportunities where the search ranking challenge is quite high, but the cost per click for a PPC campaign is low. Happy hunting.

2) Time is absolutely critical. PPC = Faster, Organic = Slower. So if you need to jumpstart your campaign, PPC makes sense. You can always scale down the investment as your organic rankings improve. (BTW: Organic rankings typically do improve for ski resorts during their high season.) But don’t ever let your PPC campaign sit and collect monthly charges. Reduce the PPC investment in accordance with how organic SEO performs.

3) You need different messages for different geographic zones. Let’s say you’re going to offer a deal which is only available in a certain market (Example: Massachusetts Skiers Day). Your organic listings will be shown nationwide, and while that in itself isn’t bad, you waste opportunities when a local listing is shown to a national audience that cannot take advantage of it. Use geo-targeted PPC to announce the offer and let your organic listings focus on messages that apply to all markets. PS: Don’t forget to change the message of your search listings based on the location of your visitor.

It’s not that PPC is bad, maybe just misunderstood. Our advice is to review your campaign, and start to look critically at the balance between PPC and organic.

Weekly Blend – 10/2/13

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The Weekly Blend is a blog post by drinkcaffeine that provides a wrap-up of what you need to know from the marketing & digital spaces.  Here is what’s going on this week:

Facebook changes algorithms more than their programmers change their underwear.

Another new algorithm has been released by Facebook, this time only affecting ads in user’s news feeds. Facebook has explained their struggle between satisfying marketers with millions of impressions and satisfying users by not overwhelming them with advertisements. The new algorithm change will try and equal out this balancing act.

Facebook is focusing on the interactions between consumers & ads. If you click, like or download an advertisement for a new application, you can expect to see more of them in your news feed. If you choose to hide the ad, however, you will see less of that ad type or category.

Our advice for consumers: Interact with the ads to tell Facebook exactly what you want. If you aren’t interested, be sure to hide it (instead of just ignoring it) so you can receive more relevant ads.

Our advice for marketers: Get very specific with ad targeting- the more specific the better.  Facebook allows you to target precise interests and demographics, use this to your advantage and speak directly to consumers.

You can read Facebook’s full press release here.

Geico is at it again!

Guess what day it is?!? Unlike most repetitive viral stunts, we are still not tired of hearing “HUMP DAYYY”!  Geico, essentially, struck gold.  Their Hump Day commercial, starring Caleb the camel, is still being shared more than 3 months after its release.  But the story doesn’t end there.  Both Caleb the camel and Martin the Gecko will now be making their silver-screen debut with cinema spots asking you to turn off your cellphone.

Could Evite save the USPS?

Probably not. But they are showing us that direct mail isn’t dead, yet.  They have announced that their free invitation service will now have a $2 charge for each physical invite. While it’s the opposite direction that most companies progress in (typically a company goes from print to online), they are actually opening their market to reach people hosting more formal events where they would also like to send a paper copy of the invitation.