Tuesday, October 6, 2009

FTC Cracks Down on Sponsored Bloggers

Many blog posts and "tweets" went out yesterday regarding the Federal Trade Commission's rule updates governing endorsements, and the new guidelines requiring bloggers to clearly disclose any "material connection" to an advertiser, including payments for endorsements or free product.

The new rules go into effect Dec.1 and penalties include $11,000 in fines per violation (blog post).
These rules include posts on review sites such as Yelp or online stores such as Amazon, where the writer is being compensated in some way.

Our take on this whole issue is that social media (whether it be product reviews, news, information, etc) is really about genuine conversations, with open transparency. Good for the FTC to mandate but people who do not come out and say they received a product for free to review or are paid to write a review are not people that web users are going to believe. The web is already pretty self policing. If you really want bloggers and key web influencer's to write something believable, give them the product, and let them be honest and open about it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Display Advertising: It's Really All About Relevance

Ad Age posted a story today titled "What to Measure? Only 16% of the Web is Clicking on Display Ads" which just screamed to have a blog written from Zig. ComScore and media agency Starcom reported in the recent "Natural Born Clickers" Study that only 8% of internet users account for 85% of all clicks, AND clickers only represent 16% of U.S. internet users.

What's the big Ah Ha?....Targeting Relevance in Display Advertising!

At Zig we don't buy mass reach sites, we buy relevance, and actually we buy contextually relevant pages on contextually relevant sites. Selling paint?... why not be in the painting and decorating section of a DIY/Home Improvement site. Get in front of people who are the closest to making a purchase decision about your product(s) as possible! This type of targeting has helped us increase purchase intent for many of our clients at the conclusion of their digital campaigns.

It is also important to note that display ads may often lead to increases in search engine traffic on sites like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing (Microsoft). All the more reason to have a truly integrated digital campaign, using multiple strategies such as display ads, emails, search, social media and more.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

SEO vs. PPC: The Never Ending Battle

Took special interest in the MediaPost email this morning, titled "SEO Or PPC" because our agency engages with this on almost a daily basis, whether with current clients, or new business. Do more people click on the top listings regardless of a sponsored link (PPC) or organic listing? According to a new study by Engine Ready, PPC performed 50% better (2.03%) when leading users to a retailer's site for a purchase versus users coming from an organic listing (1.26%).

The study measured the 4 major traffic source categories:
  • Direct access and bookmarks
  • Paid listings
  • Organic listings
  • Other referrer
Most likely to buy are consumers who navigate directly to a retailer's site by typing in a URL or clicking on a bookmark (7.38% conversion rate). Consumers who came to an e-commerce site from another site or an e-mail converted at 6.58%.

Although a lot can be said about SEO, PPC according to this study can target more people in the purchase funnel, searching out products/services. PPC allows advertisers to test and optimize their campaigns based on keywords, descriptions, offerings (free shipping, promo codes,etc) all on a budget. PPC is one of the first things we reccomend to any client, current or new. SEO is definitely part of an overall strategy, when PPC is typically campaign focused. The best fit is when you can have your SEO and PPC working in tandem, being listed high in both.

To read more from the MediaPost "SEO or PPC", click here
or to read about it on Internet Retailer click here

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Marketers Continuing the Shift from Traditional to Digital

Forrester just released a survey about the continuing growth of digital media at the expense of traditional marketing channels, with 6 out of ten marketers surveyed planning an increase in there digital marketing budgets, taking money out of traditional.

In the survey, the increase in digital over the next 5 years, by media:
  • Social media (34%)
  • Mobile Marketing (27%)
  • Online Display Ads (17%)
  • Search Marketing (15%)
  • email (11%)
This research fits with another recent Nielsen monthly report from June, showing that Facebook, probably the biggest site in social media, had the highest time spent of all web brands, including AOL, MSN, Google, Yahoo!, etc. Twitter is also having an incredible rise, with millions of 140-character updates being posted daily. Marketers are scrambling to develop campaigns to implement the two into current media plans.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Social Media: #1 Trusted Form of Advertising Worldwide

Nielsen recently released a global study of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries, recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising worldwide. 90% of consumers surveyed said that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online. Social media is not just a fad, but here to stay, and more and more companies are beginning to add social media strategies to their advertising budgets.

“The explosion in Consumer Generated Media over the last couple of years means consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process, either from people they know or online consumers they don’t, has increased significantly,” says Jonathan Carson, President of Online, International, for the Nielsen Company.

We have currently implemented social media campaigns for multiple clients of ours; engaging people talking not only about promotional campaigns, but also about the client's #1 concern, the product/service they sell. Tracking Pre and Post campaign “buzz" for our campaigns has only brought the need of social media for clients to fruition for us.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Big Sites, Big Ads, Big Mistake

A recent post on TechCrunch and Mediapost announced that 37 top online publishers including ESPN, Forbes, CNN, and NY Times are going to begin running new, BIGGER ad units on their sites. Bigger doesn't mean better, it just means more of an annoyance for more people.

The three new ad units are named and sized as follows:

- The Fixed Panel (336×700) - remains in view as a user scrolls up or down the page
- The XXL Box (468×648), the extra wide side-of-page ad that expands to 936 x 648 and includes page-turn and video capability

- The Pushdown (970×418), which opens big to display the ad and then after seven seconds rolls up to the top of the page (collapsing to 970 x 66).

I agree completely with Robin Wauters, who wrote on her TechCrunch post "Is it just me or does anyone else think that display advertising units on websites should become more relevant to them instead of just bigger? What are next, 1200×600 ads?" Research upon research is showing that it’s the contextual relevance, and not the size that matters.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Women Put Trust in Social Media

According to The 2009 Women in Social Media Study of the 79 Million women online, over half are taking part in social media on a weekly basis. This study by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners also showed that 64% of women are nearly twice as likely to use blogs than social networking sites as a source of information. 43% Use social media for advice and recommendations and 55% for opinion-sharing.

Social Media Activities include:

  • Social networks (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn)
  • Blogging
  • Reading blogs
  • Posting to blogs
  • Message boards & forums
  • Status Updating (e.g.Twitter)
Companies looking to tap into women for product advertising shouldn't question whether or not to enter social media. The real questions should involve "How to connect with my target audience?" and "What can I offer them via social media".