Search: Digital Future

Monday 26 April 2010

Online Ads Surpass TV Ads In Recall and Likability

by Wayne Friedman,, Thursday, April 22, 2010, 11:32 AM

New online advertising research has again shown what other studies have suggested: Online commercials get better recall than television messaging.

In every recall measure -- general recall, brand recall, message recall, likability -- online proves superior.

Online video ads have a 65% general recall, compared to 46% general recall for TV ads. Brand recall online is at 50% to TV's 28%; message online recall comes in at 39% to TV's 21%; and online likability is 26% to TV's 14%.
The study of 14,000 surveys was originally presented by Dave Kaplan, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen IAG, and Beth Uyenco, director of global research at Microsoft, at the Advertising Research Foundation. They evaluated 238 brands, 412 products and 951 ad executions to get these results. A deeper brand impact was felt higher among young viewers 13-34.

What accounted for the positive results?

Internet video viewers are more engaged and attentive. The research also said curiosity is a factor, as online video is still relatively new compared to existing media.

One of the biggest reasons for the attentiveness: The inability of the user to skip ads versus that of traditional TV, where about one- third of U.S viewers have the ability to fast-forward through messaging.
There is also reduced advertising clutter -- about four minutes for an hour of programming. This is against 10 minutes of national ads for traditional TV, and around 15 minutes overall when including local ads and TV promos.

There are growing trends to increase commercial load, however. The research says online advertising's "sweet spot" is between six and seven minutes per hour.

Monday 19 April 2010

SEO in Pictures

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) visualised as an infographic. Very well done by the team at Datadial.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Is Social Media Becoming Boring?

by Tamar Weinberg on April 14, 2010

For most, social media is new and fun. For others, though, social media is old and is falling out of favor. I’m seeing it happen of users who were happy about social media when it became hyped but are now realizing that they’re not yet ready to hold onto social media any longer. It’s boring, too challenging, and uninteresting. Catering to individuals seems to mean you need to bend to their will at every turn. Nobody wants to have to to a minority that seems to be unhappy with the content you’ve spent hours upon hours writing.
Social media experts are no longer social media experts. They’re moving onto “bigger and better.” Here’s why.

Social Media is a Trend

Wait, what? Social media is here to stay. However, to some, social media is a fleeting trend. That’s because social media marketing experts found success early on since social media relationship building was simply easier. Back then, companies who were engaged were genuinely involved because they wanted to build strong valuable relationships. They weren’t there to push a marketing agenda. Users were more trusting because they could be. Consequently, the early adopters persevered.

It is thanks to the early adopters, the sneezers, that we’re now seeing social media as something entirely different. It’s a cesspool for marketing as some see it. Hype translates to market saturation and puts us where we are today. The newest marketers in the social media space want to take but not to give. The audience becomes less trusting of these networks that they have been so careful to preserve.

Flurries of new experts are seeking the pot of gold behind the rainbow, despite there being none without super hard work. As a result, the original social media consultants are finding social media to be a short-lived trend that actually brought success easily. Now, with more of a challenge, they are slowly moving on. They’re no longer wanting to do the work for social media. It’s too hard now.

Relationship-Building Grows Tired

Despite social media being an extremely comprehensive field, possessing hundreds and even thousands of media, websites, and interactions, at the end of the day, social media is synonymous with human relationships to some degree. Any way you slice or dice it, the human relationships portion will always remain. Sometimes, people eventually get sick of constantly engaging and constantly trying their best to put on a happy face.

With social media, you really can’t have a bad day. You must be on your best behavior and wear your best pair of shoes all the time. Can people really do that?

Not all can. When they can’t, they don’t hang around.

Multitasking Creates Instability

This last decade was much different than any other. We’re living in such an intensive multitasking environment. Our brains are not only accustomed to frequent change, they now require it. Thanks to brand new technologies that consistently and constantly claim our attention spans, thereby requiring us to shift our focus on a very regular basis, we’re no longer willing or able to sit still. Monotony breeds impatience. Thanks to the real-time web and other sites that keep us incredibly busy all the time, unfortunately, there’s no turning back. Many in Gen Y who have become so sucked into doing a million things at once are never going to be settled on any one career, and change is inevitable. They’re used to the rapid fire nature of the Internet and these lessons learned online will be applied to real life.

Sadly, the social media profession is only one casualty of thousands. The kids are going to shop around for jobs, never staying put. And when it comes to social media, your experts of yesterday won’t be there tomorrow.

Social Media Alone Doesn’t Cut It

Social media marketing alone is not enough. There’s a lot more to marketing than just being social. Like it or not, you can’t ignore or disregard the other facets of marketing. For example, your website, without a doubt, needs SEO. SEO and social media are two entirely different things. Sure, someone with great content might capture others’ attention and get lots of links, but you have no idea how many other tweaks you might be able to apply to your website to bring highly targeted and relevant traffic. Links are just one currency of the web.

What about the creativity that is now required of you? Yup, you can’t just chat with people on Twitter and broadcast on Facebook. You can’t just IM your friends begging for votes via the backchannel. You can’t only write comments on forums. The creative element is absolutely necessary. Social media needs to be coupled with a creative strategy for maximum effectiveness, especially as everyone and their mothers join these sites and services to market themselves, their services, or their products.

It’s lofty to consider social media as your only marketing aim. Your best bet is to consider an integrated marketing plan that consists of social media and other marketing tactics, because the act of just being nice to people online won’t bring you conversions.

People Want More

If the chart above is any indication, it’s without question that social media has grown by leaps and bounds. Social media marketing, too, is now a reality for many. The virtual space is becoming a real viable way to market. With the rise of social media is the expectation that social media information should be in abundance — with all the takeaways. However, expecting freebies all the time is audacious.

Market saturation brings lots and lots of experts, many of whom think Twitter is a shiny new object and are ready to write books, charge $2000 for conferences where they promise TWITTER TIPS AND TRICKS THAT NOBODY HAS SEEN BEFORE (in caps!), or offer consulting immediately after getting 20k followers via using automated friend adder applications. After all, there are millions of other users — like grandma who doesn’t even own an iPad, let alone a computer — who can still harness its potential.

Social media marketing of four years ago, when nobody was around, was simply easier. That’s because, as touched upon earlier, the audience was more trusting; the people who were online were there because they wanted to be there. They weren’t there because they wanted to take something in the form of a sale. And to attract new audience members, the earlier strategists would share a lot more. In 2010, with eleventy billion new experts, the “experts” of the early days are no longer interested in giving away social media trade secrets, and you won’t find them shared openly online. Want them? You’ll need to work long and hard for them, but nobody is going to hand them to you on a silver platter any longer. The fruits of their labor stay well hidden away to avoid being abused by everyone who capitalizes on a new finding that someone else worked hard at discovering.

Expecting that those blogging on behalf of social media have a responsibility to give you freebies is, frankly, highly inconsiderate. There are enough freebies here and in other blogs and books. Bloggers already give a substantial amount of their time, so asking for more is just wrong. Bloggers in social media don’t owe anyone else anything, nor do any other bloggers who provide expertise, for that matter.

If you give your tricks away to everyone, they’ll quickly be beaten, abused, and exploited. In a few days, after newbie marketers jump like giddy schoolchildren to try out these grandiose tricks, they’ll become ineffective. That’s exactly why social media bloggers blog in generalities. Those of you rude enough to want to demand more: consider yourself lucky that you’re better than the content provided online. I’m still reading content every day — even the stuff I already know — to consistently grow. Why? Because we can never actually be experts. We can always be learning, and sometimes that requires us to read the same things phrased differently, to get content in the form of a refresher course, to remember that social media still has the human element at its core. The nuances related to how YOU can build your business further — with specific details related to a single campaign that has no relevancy to 95% of the others — are not going to be publicly shared, because that’s stuff that you need to figure out on your own. We all have to put food on our families‘ tables, so sometimes we might have to charge for deeper insights. Demanding more is selfish.

In the absence of detailed direction and secrets provided by social media bloggers, people give up. Sorry, you can’t always lean on your “friends” to help you navigate your territory. You actually need to do the work yourself now. Surgeons don’t just pull up a website in the middle of the operating room when they’re in a rut. Sometimes “social media experts” just can’t do that either. There comes a time when all the information you get online is content you already know. At that point, you might start feeling Fed Up. If you’re still seeking the answers from others, then I’m really sorry. We found the answers by working hard. Maybe you should too.

You Can’t Please Everyone

Just like I have my own critics via comments on my last blog post, in social media, those who are trying to cater messaging to everyone will find out that they can’t. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’re failing.

The perfectionists aiming for 100% success rates in social media will not be able to last long in this space. When dealing with emotions, psychology, anthropology, sociology, among other disciplines, you’re bound to make “mistakes” as you attempt to understand demographics and communities and learn about who will be receptive to what. Sometimes, despite understanding everything you think you could master, the work you’ve done simply doesn’t cut it, and you’ll have to try again. If your efforts are being met frequently with failures, you might be inclined to give up — even if you’re that “expert” and have all the direction you need.

Sadly, consistent failure means that some are simply no longer willing to continue. They’re unwilling to adapt to their environments and instead find something else to work on, perhaps something a little more predictable.

And so, Social Media has an End

It was bound to happen, though. There’s always a tipping point. David Armano put it nicely: “The true believers will remain, while others flock to the next hot field.” He’s absolutely right. We’re starting to see that happen.

Read more:

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Losing To The Social Web: Visualized

From Digital Buzz Blog

A brands website has been the single biggest ”online” focus for 99% of businesses over the last 10 years apart from banner campaigns and microsites here and there, but with the evolution of social media growing at unheard of rates (Twitter is up over 3500% alone this year, while Facebook increased over 700% to finally overtake MySpace and then turned them to dust!) businesses really need to think about what’s happening to their website traffic.

I recently read a great post on Supercollider by Geoff Northcott (via Martina on Adverblog) that talked about the end of the destination web, along with adage, we are social and adweek about how the times are fading for websites and microsites are dead – Geoff posted a few good Google trends graphs, so I thought I might take that a little further, find a few additional graphs and look at why and where this traffic is going…
What you’ll notice from the graphs below (you can see them here) is that some of the biggest brands, websites and portals are loosing unique visitors hand over fist for the last 3 years. Doesn’t make sense right? More and more people are connecting online, brands are spending bucket loads of cash on digital campaigns, so website traffic should be the complete opposite?
(Note: The graph below without a heading is the


So with such dramatic declines in website traffic and rapidly increasing numbers of Internet connected people, where is all that traffic going? The Social Web – the emerging networks where everyone is connected, everything is relevant, and everything can be shared with a single click and browsed, summarized or bookmarked with ease.


There are 2 key reasons why website traffic is declining.
  1. Social Networks (obviously) are growing and most people prefer to hang out there instead of searching the big brands websites for content to interact with. Your friends on Facebook and Twitter share what you’re already interested in. Everything is relevant and you don’t have to leave to get the best content from 10 of your favourite brands / websites.
  2. Off-Site Content Distribution is rapidly growing, I’m talking RSS Feeds, Twitter, YouTube Channels, Facebook Fan pages and so on… All the best brands and websites now actively push their content (the same stuff you use to get from their website and still want to access) to as many various “off-site” sources and platforms as possible.So naturally this removes unique visitors from their main sites, channeling them into a maze of various networks, feeds and tweets…Oh, and of course, widgets/apps – we’ve only just seen the start of these.
Over the next few years, brands will need to re-structure they way they deliver experiences to their customers online (the best ones are already doing it), and that means delivering unique content to anywhere customers want to experience it.

Maybe that’s the latest offers by RSS feeds, new product demos by YouTube, campaigns by iPhone apps, online shopping via widgets in facebook or branding exercises by seeding stopmotion viral videos (they seem to be all the rage!)?

The fact is, agencies and brands will need to work out how to deliver the relevant content, branding and experiences they are currently achieving on their own websites, into highly competitive social networks, feeds, apps and widgets, where every “campaign” or “offer” has to be groundbreaking just to get noticed… and then there was tracking!

I don’t think websites and microsites are dead yet. There are still years and years of usefulness ahead for them, we’ll just need to come up with better ways to connect them and their content into the social lives of customers online…

Monday 12 April 2010

Video: The Next Digital Marketing Frontier

By Manny Rivas, Search Engine Watch, Apr 8, 2010
Video, as a marketing channel, has pushed its way into the hearts and minds of marketing agencies and businesses of most sizes. What's not to like? The numbers to quantify the shift speak for themselves.
  • YouTube receives more than 100 million unique visitors and streams more than 6 billion videos monthly, according to Nielsen.
  • Users viewed 33.2 billion videos during the month of December 2009, according to comScore.
  • 86.5 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in December 2009, according to comScore.
The list goes on and on.

The State of Video Marketing at SES New York

Search Engine Strategies New York this year featured a keynote aptly named "Video: The Next Digital Marketing Frontier." The session focused on the latest developments in video marketing. The panel was moderated by Zach Rodgers, managing editor of ClickZ. He led the panelists in a conversation by asking insightful questions, ranging from video discovery and ad networks, to ad formats and the importance of engagement.

Before Rodgers jumped into directing questions, Terrence Kelleman, president/designer, Dynomighty Design, took the podium. His viral video and business success story is the type most marketers and businesses dream about.

The first video Dynomighty uploaded to YouTube was a product demo of his company's magnetic bracelet (one of many in-house product designs). It took off and was featured on the home page of YouTube, garnering 2.7 million views. Marketers take note!

In three months, that single video was responsible for $130,000 in sales. For Kelleman, the ability of video to tell an in-depth story of his product beyond a static picture and a buy button, gives video an unparalleled advantage. On the same note, video allows customers to become engaged (one of the major YouTube ranking factors), lending deeper insight into both brand and product.

Not all video marketing strategies focus on the proclivity of a video to become viral as the key to driving campaign success. It's damn cool when it happens, though.

YouTube's Promoted Videos Ad Platform

Kelleman has used YouTube's ad platform for six months, and it has proven effective. Check out the solid ad placement too.
Baljeet Singh, senior product manager, Google, noted that although the platform is still pretty young, it has demonstrated results for all types of advertisers. If the idea is to ensure your content is in line-of-sight, it's a great channel tactic and it can be cheap as well.

Two Advertising Models

Singh agreed that YouTube has one model for small business owners and one model for large brands. Promoted videos can work for both small companies to large companies (e.g., GM).

Video Advertising

Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus, believes people have tried to lend scale to online video advertising in the last couple of years. However, the same way that YouTube has millions of viewers, it's nearly impossible to reach everyone simultaneously.

The practice of placing ads over, around, or between videos has become a commodity. If your goal is to market in these areas, the opportunities have become available, defined, and standardized.

Schafer thinks video ads shouldn't be measured on a CTR basis. Similar to placing an ad on TV, you "won't necessarily get the same scalable result."

Online video captures the opportunity to provide deeper engagement. Video begets engagement and performance should be evaluated based on this metric as opposed to CTR.

Rachel Scotto, metrics strategy consultant, Sony Pictures, said that, in terms of metrics, "video stream" has been the focus for many, but it's not the most important.

What needs to be looked at:
  • Milestones in the video: Starts, dropouts, and completions.
  • User engagement metrics and video tracking: Where do viewers fast-forward or rewind?
Deeper Engagement

Scotto said if you're hosting the content, deeper engagement can be tracked through "tools you have control over." Because Kelleman hosts videos on YouTube, he gains deeper metric insights through YouTube's analytics package, Insight. He examines Hot Spots to give him an idea of where viewers are becoming disinterested and uses this information when moving forward and designing new videos.

Video and Social Media: How Users Engage With Videos

Kelleman said Dynomighty has an intern whose role is to monitor and respond to video and channel comments. Schafer added that relevant social media buzz will lubricate distribution of content.

Important Social Media and Video Activity Metrics

Scotto said that volume metrics are the key if you're "shooting primarily for exposure." If you're after engagement, then you need to know how much of the video is being viewed. Video production costs are also important. You don't want costs to outweigh the benefit.

Paid Views vs. Organic Views

An increase in paid views will ultimately boost organic views. It's important to look at sources of views and determine where you're receiving the most lift. For example, with YouTube Promoted Videos, running ads on keywords that you rank well for can increase organic views.

One last tidbit: when running promoted video ads in YouTube, play the video from your channel rather than the watch page. This method can increase views for all of your uploaded videos because your content and brand personality will be in line-of-sight.

Search and Rescue: How to Become Findable and Shareable in Social Media

By Brian Solis

Search isn’t an isolated experience. The act of looking for information is now fused with validation, which means the socialization of search will unite discovery with context and relationships. It all begins with where we purposely search for relevant content and also where we respond to interesting information that crosses our path.

ComScore’s most recent search engine ranking report offers new insight that will make us rethink how we publish content, increase its findability, and facilitate sharing.

In comparing February to January, Google remained on top with 65.4 percent of all core search activity. Yahoo followed with 17 percent and Microsoft ranked third with 11.3 percent.

Things become interesting when we analyze search queries as opposed to core search activity. The landscape broadens beyond traditional search.

Just behind Google, but ahead of Yahoo, YouTube ranks second for search inquiries overall. In 18th and 19th place, Facebook and MySpace also make appearances in the top 20 list respectively. Perhaps most intriguing is that neither Facebook nor MySpace offer true search functionality — but they still account for increasing search activity. Facebook is up 10 percent between January and February.

What does this all mean? As social networks gain in prominence, the amount of relevant information within each ecosystem increases in value and, as such, we deliberately seek content within the networks in which we engage.

It’s the Journey That’s Important, Not the Destination

Destination sites across the board are losing traffic and ultimately favor, simply because destinations are obsolete as intended or designed. The days of the traditional “start page” are coming to an end, only to be replaced with the “attention dashboard” — a dedicated application that aggregates the activity of those we follow in social networks into a series of digestible streams.

TweetDeck, PeopleBrowsr, Seesmic, HootSuite, Brizzly, and Facebook each represent a new generation of attention dashboards as they funnel social feeds into one clickable view. These streams look a lot like slot machines as information flies through dedicated columns, almost blurring the text beyond legibility. But this is where attention is focused and the content that appears within it represents the future of the information life cycle.

So how do we compete for attention if attention itself is learning how to adapt to a new media landscape?

Our job is to ensure that information travels outside of our domains and to the communities of interest in order to create a bridge back to our hub. And, content must adapt based on consumption and sharing patterns with our existing and potential stakeholders.

This is an important point and one that can’t be ignored. Social activity indicates that we are already moving away from the act of proactively traveling to traditional sites as a source of new content.

With the dawn of social media, the activity that brings social graphs and networks to life is quickly changing how we discover, learn and share and it is also forever reshaping the idea of online destinations as they exist today. It all comes down to attention and understanding where it’s focused and how it is tempted, lured, or distracted to click away from it.

The socialization of information is changing everything.

Connect with Attention Where Attention is Focused

Competing for attention is paramount. We lose most of the battles before they’re begun because we’re working against years of behavior that now represent the complete opposite of tomorrow’s consumption and sharing patterns.

Everything begins with identifying where attention is focused, combined with the new laws of attraction.

Gigya reviewed data from Compete from November 2009 and observed that some of the top media properties were already realizing a dominant effect in traffic from social networks. For example, USAToday receives upwards of 35 percent of its referral traffic from social networks and just over 6 percent from Google. People Magazine receives 23 percent of its referrals from social networks and 11 percent from Google. And, CNN earns 11 percent of its referral traffic from social versus 9 percent from Google.

Peer-to-peer activity strongly influences the resulting behavior of impressionable nodes defining social graphs, much in the same way we rely upon trusted referrals from our real life contacts. The more something appears within the attention dashboard, the more likely it is that someone will click through. In addition, the more intriguing it seems, or the stronger the reaction it engenders among peers, also increases its enchantment and thus beguiling spectators to willfully lunge towards a shared experience, most likely triggering a public response that continues the social effect.

Social Architecture and Connecting the Dots

Information is already socializing and changing the behavior for how people search, find, react, and curate. The difference between our present and future is defined by the roads and bridges we build between relevance and prevalence.

As content producers, our responsibility is to connect information and stories to existing and potential stakeholders. It’s also essential to package and optimize our content as social objects in order for them to work for us in our absence, when individuals actively seek content through contextual searches.

Originally posted in Search Engine Watch.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Social Media Demographics: Who’s Using What?

Here's a great set of Social Media demographics put together by the team at There's a whole lot more here. An example (by Age) is seen below.