Facebook’s Ad Relevance Tool is a 10!

Finally, Facebook is taking a step ahead with the release of its new Ad Relevance Tool (rating 1-10) for advertisers.    We knew they’d get here eventually – as we’ve seen that;

Quality Content (Creative) = Higher Engagement  = Lower CPMs

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AdAge reports;

This move appears to be the latest way Facebook is trying to get a grip on the firehose of content flooding people’s news feeds. Last year the company moved closer to a pay-to-play model for brands to communicate with people on Facebook, which made room in people’s feeds for posts from friends and family. But heated as the competition may be to freely take up space in people’s feeds, things are also heating up on the paid side.

For the past two years, the average price for a Facebook ad has been on a steep incline, while the number of ads the company serves has dropped. In the fourth quarter of 2014, Facebook’s average price-per-ad rose by 335%, and the number of ads it served fell by 65%.

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(Thanks to AdAge & Senor Moreno)

Advertisers – it’s your fault.

Quit blaming your agency – advertisers, it’s your brief at fault.  GREAT article in AdAge – whereby major advertisers like Verizon are holding their internal marketing teams accountable for agency performance…

“Recently, Mr. Harrobin, VP-marketing communications at Verizon Wireless, informed more than 100 execs responsible for marketing in his division that their job performance will now be evaluated on more than strategic thinking, leadership skills and contributions to the business success of a brand. It will also be judged on demonstrating excellence in providing Verizon’s stable of agencies — which include McGarryBowen, McCann Erickson, Hill Holliday, R/GA, Tribal DDB, Zenith, Global Hue and Moxie — clearly defined briefs from which to execute marketing communications and campaigns.”

Others attribute the result of agency performance to the initial project brief;

“The amount of revenue dependent on the quality of these documents is in the billions of dollars,” said Mr. Jones. “It sounds hyperbolic — until you’ve seen the quality of the briefs and realize that the work can’t possibly drive ROI.”

Cost of Being Boring

As Andy Sernovitz says, “Advertising is the cost of being boring.” On the other hand, advertising is a lot cheaper and easier than changing a company’s culture to focus on customer experience. If you’re an advertiser, sure, you can keep hammering the message of how great you are, even if your customers think differently. If you’re an agency, companies like this will support you for years to come. But in the end, people will find out the truth — and with social technology, that happens more easily every day.

Or, you could put your money and effort into improving the experience. That’s an effort that will take a couple of years, but with buyers coming back and seeking value as the recession lifts, you’ll attract the leaders. They’ll talk. You could end up like Zappos, where the customer word-of-mouth is most of the marketing. Or, you could just develop a customer experience that resonates with consumers, which is a whole lot easier to advertise.

Thanks, Josh Bernoff.


Fans Dont = Influence

Interesting perspective from Matthew Creamer in AdAge today.  It’s a good reminder to Marketing Professionals that don’t get it – but it’s a no brainer to those that do.  Social Media is almost equivalent to a 100% opt-in email list.  You’ve got to start at the top of the funnel to drive action – just like you have to have fans to drive awareness to action.

Branded Content Beast

How HSN and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ turn Content into Commerce.

With a common purpose, a common challenge and (potentially) complementary business models, marketers and the entertainment industry need to increasingly work together to jointly develop content that can drive commerce.  Hence, branded content.

To promote the new Julia Roberts vehicle “Eat Pray Love,” the Home Shopping Network is devoting 72 hours of airtime for programming that simultaneously plugs the Sony Pictures film and more than 400 products across multiple categories that are somehow related to the movie.

HSN is using content from “Eat Pray Love” to sell products tied to themes in the film (though the vast majority of products are not in the movie). Brand marketers should also be thinking about ways in which they can package ancillary content from an established property to market their products. It goes beyond product placement or integration and into creating experiences audiences are likely to pay attention to — behind-the-scenes excerpts from shows or movies, cast interviews or additional footage.

Working Women & the Web

Nielsen put out a study this week showing increasing timeshare for social networks growing 43% to 22.7% of time spent on the web. Two recent reports shed some light on what women are doing online. Here’s a quick roundup of the findings:

Yahoo partnered with research firm AddedValue to survey 3,000 women in the U.S. Last week it released the results of the study, called “Women Connectonomics,” which examines how and why women are using various websites. According to the study:

  • The most important needs for women revolve around personal growth, as well as their interdependencies on others in their social circle.
  • 44% of women say they get information about products and brands on women’s lifestyle sites.
  • Women’s lifestyle and special-interest sites fulfill the most needs for women. They also offer anonymity — unlike Facebook and Twitter — which can result in deep emotional connections for women. The study says women felt these sites offer users access to like-minded women and solutions to problems without the risk of being judged by people they know.
  • Women are most receptive to marketing messages on lifestyle, specialty and review sites. The study says these channels deliver three times the impact on purchase decisions in comparison to the other online sites observed.

ComScore also recently released a report, albeit with a more global focus, called “Women on the Web, How Women are Shaping the Internet.” Among the key findings on social networking:

  • Social-networking sites reach a higher percentage of women than men globally, with 75.8% of women online visiting a social-networking site in May 2010 vs. 69.7% of men.
  • Globally, women account for 47.9% of total unique visitors to the social-networking category, but they consume 57% of pages and account for nearly 57% of total minutes spent on these sites.
  • Women spend more time on social-networking sites than men on a global basis, with women averaging five-and-a-half hours per month compared to men’s four hours.
  • In the U.S., women buy online more than men, with 12.5% of female internet users making an online purchase in February 2010, compared to 9.3% of men.

Garbage Trucks & QR Codes

Garbage Trucks leading the way with QR Codes?  Now traditional companies and brands have no excuse.

In mid-July, Quick Response (QR) Codes began appearing on the sides of 2,200 New York City Department of Sanitation trucks.

Having QR codes all over town will hopefully remove much of the nerd-factor from the QR code scan, and demonstrate to tens of thousands of New Yorkers, ranging from the tech-savvy to luddite, the potential rewards of engaging with the codes.

Scanning the codes with a mobile phone will take users to a video from NYC Media’s show The Green Apple: Recycling. The videos, produced by Howcast will also be broadcast on the City’s flagship television station, NYC life (channel 25).

Unilever Increase Digital Spend

Keith Weed at Cannes: ‘Unilever Will Increase Digital Investment’

Ad Age: You’ve said you’re going to double digital spending this year, which is really very ambitious. Why?

Mr. Weed: At the end of the day we are a mass marketer. Every day, 2 billion people use our products. So what dictates what we do is those consumers, and I want to be where consumers are. The truth of the matter is we’re seeing this huge migration across the world to digital. We need to be ahead of the consumer, so when the consumer arrives, we’re already there.

Ad Age: Is it hard to find a place in digital to spend all that money?

Mr. Weed: “Digital” itself as a catch-all [word] is as unhelpful as “advertising” was when it describes TV, cinema, poster, painting your brand on the side of the house. I look at our investment in the buckets of paid, owned and earned. [Our investment in owned] is the smallest part. The biggest part is going to be in earned, and there are going to be two parts. One is the social area, but also moving into digital and gaming.

In digital, we’ve had a runaway success for the Axe wake-up call in India [putting a ring tone into alarms on mobile devices.] Lipton in China also did a thing around the New Year where you upload a photo and put little crosses where your eye and mouth were and then with the wonders of technology, you superimpose your face on the bodies of people doing a music video. This went to over 100 million people.

On the social side, we’ve agreed to a step-change increase in our spend with Facebook. I’ve just been spending some time with people from Microsoft. We’ve also signed with Apple on the iAd.


FB Store – BigBrands in Soon!

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — More than 20,000 mom-and-pops and small retailers have started hawking real goods on Facebook in the past five months, thanks to an e-commerce platform called Payvment. And with a $1.5 million investment the big brands are coming soon, said the startup’s CEO, Christian Taylor.

Payvment is a Facebook e-commerce app that lets any user — businesses and individuals alike — download a storefront and set up shop for free. Since it launched in November, small and midsize retailers have taken notice and put 125,000 products up for sale and 500,000 Facebook users (out of nearly 500 million total) have shopped with the app, which transacts “tens of thousands” of dollars per day, said Mr. Taylor, who declined to provide specific sales figures.

Today, the e-commerce provider announced $1.5 million in new funding led by Blue Run Ventures, the venture-capital firm that originally funded PayPal. What’s more, Mr. Taylor said a beta program with well-known retail brands is under way, and the startup plans to launch tools for larger brands in June.

“All these brands are giving budgets to launch Facebook pages,” said Mr. Taylor. “But what’s the value of fans? Couldn’t they be converted into paying customers?”

Plugging into distribution
Most retailers have complex distribution systems and Payvment is developing plug-ins that can port Facebook sales into existing data and shipping systems. “Any large retailer is going to have their own systems for conducting e-commerce,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst on Facebook. “It has to sync. It can’t be yet another layer on top of what they already have implemented.”

Payvment also aims to amass all sales on the social network into one marketplace or searchable shopping mall that spans all retailers. For example, a search for “shirt” within the Payvment store turns up a variety of brands.

While this isn’t the first time brands set up shop on Facebook, the attempt to try to network all sales on the platform is new. Payvment is angling to become the “de facto shopping cart” for all purchases on Facebook.

That diverges from brand sales apps currently on Facebook, which are often created by third-party developers or agencies. Minneapolis-based developer Alvenda created an e-commerce Facebook app for 1-800-Flowers early this year, and has since followed with commerce apps for Avon and other brands. In a partnership with Synapse, a Time Inc. division that sells magazine subscriptions, Alvenda will also be launching a tool to sell print without leaving Facebook.

Tech at right time
Payvment’s storefronts are completely free for now — Mr. Taylor says he won’t worry about business model until the concept is proved out — and completely automated. Retailers download an app from Payvment’s Facebook page, upload products and price points and users can start shopping on their pages in a “Shop Now” tab. (Mr. Taylor said it takes a retailer roughly five minutes to set up a storefront.)

“Today it’s about the right tech at right time,” he said. “And then we’ll throw it out there and put a price tag on it.”

P&G’s eStore – “Learning Lab”

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Procter & Gamble Co. is leaning heavily on social media and cross-marketing its many brands as it expands to the general public an e-store built heavily around social media, following a four-month test with around 5,000 consumers, the company announced today.
The e-store is meant to be a “living learning lab” for e-commerce capabilities, the company said in a statement. Online retailing has been a high priority for P&G Chairman-CEO Bob McDonald since he took the company’s top job last year.
PGestore.com could become the biggest e-commerce venture to date for P&G, which since the late 1990s has often launched new products through direct online sales to consumers; once owned mass-customization online beauty retailer Reflect.com; and also has expanded the multibrand TheEssentials.com online retail site inherited from Gillette.

For the latest venture, P&G is adding touches such as product ratings, shopper feedback forums for users to share tips and links to its Facebook brand fan pages, through which consumers can buy products directly.

Brands Hiding on Google

YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) — If a consumer types a brand name into the Google search box, a home-page link should — and likely will — appear as one of the top listings.

But does the same thing happen when typing in a generic keyword relevant to that business? Say, “home repair” for Home Depot or “gifts” for Harry & David? That depends on how well they’re optimized for Google. And in the case of those two examples, Home Depot and Harry & David website links don’t even make it to the first page of Google, according to a recent study by Covario that evaluated the search-engine optimization health of 100 branded websites.