Join us in this sponsored thought leadership project, featuring insights from many of NZ’s leading marketers and communications professionals. It’s an opportunity to reinforce your position as a thought-leader in your category.
from New Zealand’s Leading Marketers
As the title suggests, MARKETING INSIGHTS is a new book collectingadvice and opinion from leading NZ marketing professionals, enabling them to demonstrate Thought Leadership in their category. This is a content marketing project featuring sponsored contributions from many of New Zealand’s leading marketers.
The first edition will be published inlate January 2016and will be distributed free of charge in electronic form toa wide range of New Zealand marketing decision-makers, from small, medium and large organisations. The book will also be available to purchase in printed form a short time later.
Topics which marketers are invited to contribute include:
Marketing Trends, Challenges & Opportunities in 2016
This is a sponsored Content Marketing project. Marketers are invited to sponsor an article on one of the above topics and provide 500-1000 words on the agreed topic. All topic selection is subject to availability at time of booking. Relevant images are welcomed (high-resolution please).
A fee of $1295+GST applies for each sponsored contribution, due January 31 2016. However this fee reduces to $995+GST for payment in full received by December 31 2015.
All sponsored articles will include:
A sponsorship box at the end of the article, featuring the name & logo of your organisation, along with phone, email and website details.
The article can be written on your behalf, based on the topic you choose and featuring any key copy points that you wish to specify. Writing fees are $400+GST for 500 words, $750+GST for 1000 words.
Limited advertising may also be available in the publication.
Topics shown above are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other topics may be proposed by sponsors and will be considered by the publishers.
Our booking deadline isDecember 21(although you are advised to BOOK EARLY to secure your choice of topic) and our deadlines areDecember 31(if you wish us to write the copy) orJanuary 12if you are providing complete copy.
This book will be distributed initially as an ebook, offered free of charge via email, to New Zealand marketing decision-makers on our 1600-strong marketing database, to 3000+ current and former participants in our online marketing courses, and also via marketing blogs and social media and through participating industry associations and trade media. It will also be made available to members of at least a dozen NZ LinkedIn business and marketing groups with a combined membership of more than 50,000 Kiwi business people.
The ebook will also, of course, be available for contributing sponsors to distribute freely to clients and prospects.
The book will also be available in printed form on an on-demand basis. The book will also be available for purchase via Amazon.com.
To participate, email us at michael (AT) netmarketingservices.co.nz
We don’t normally talk about mobile on this blog (we usually save such comments for our sister site at http://mobilemarketing.ac.nz). Today, however, we’re making an exception because of a very important Google update.
Google has been warning the business community for months that websites now need to be mobile-friendly. TODAY, it’s crunch time.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, expect it to be demoted in search results on smartphones from today, April 21, as Google rolls out its latest algorithm update.
The new algorithm will give priority to mobile-friendly websites, rewarding those who’ve made the change and punishing those still stuck in a desktop-bound world.
More mobile-friendly websites in search results
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
It’s an update that makes complete sense to anyone who has ever visited a website through a mobile device and then found the site virtually unusable.
Image source: www.andupdatemywebsite.com
Common Website Problems
These are the most common problems on websites that aren’t optimised for mobile devices:
The text is too small to read
Website visitors need to pinch, swipe or zoom to see important content (New Rule: If you have to zoom in, it’s not mobile-friendly)
Links and any elements that you need to touch are not thumb-friendly and are too close together (i.e. too easy for humans with fat fingers to accidentally click on the wrong thing)
Your website uses flash or other technologies that don’t play well on some mobile devices
The site doesn’t load within 3 seconds (mobile users are time-sensitive, and will quickly move on)
The content is wider than the mobile screen
The site is full of long, dense copy rather than designed for snacking with short paragraphs and lots of images
To make any transactions through the site, visitors need to fill in long, complicated forms (always difficult on those tiny keyboards)
There is a mobile version but it’s not correctly configured
So why is Google making this change? Why now?
Andrew Gazdecki, writing in Business2Community, highlights the inevitable fact that mobile search will hit the tipping point any moment now:
According to predictions by Google, mobile searches (at 85.9 billion) will surpass desktop searches (84 billion) in 2015
For the last year or so, Google has been developing and testing software that can look at the code of a website and determine whether or not the website has been optimized for mobile devices. If you’ve used Google search on a mobile device lately, you may have noticed that they’ve started adding “Mobile-friendly” labels to the results.
Image source: www.andupdatemywebsite.com
Tracking this “Mobile-Friendly” label experiment has proven to Google that helping searchers find “mobile-friendly” results is a winning strategy: mobile searchers prefer “mobile-friendly” search results.
Therefore, the next logical step is to show them only “mobile-friendly” search results. And that is exactly what this new “mobile-friendly” algorithm is going to do.
A few key points to keep in mind about this mobile-friendly, algorithm update:
It affects searches done on mobile devices only — not searches done on a laptop or desktop computer.
It is applied on a page by page basis, not site-wide, so it may be that some of your pages will be affected while others won’t.
This evaluation of “mobile-friendliness” is done not by humans, but by Google’s computers, so it’s possible (though unlikely) for a website to look fine on mobile devices, but still be dinged by Google.
How to test if your site is Mobile-Friendly
Here’s what Google advises:
Check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:
Google is doing a thing that was probably inevitable with its social network Google+: It’s testing a new +Post ad system in the form of promoted posts that translates public Google+ content from their brand sites into a display ad that can run across Google’s Display Ad network. The company announced the pilot program via G+ product manager Eran Arkin’s page on the network today.
Brands can now take any photo, video or even Hangout that they create as a publicly visible piece of content on Google+, and then pay Google to turn that into an ad for its network, which is used by over 2 million sites worldwide. Google says this “lets brands think of the entire web as their social stream.” The subtext of this kind of effort is clear: ‘our social ads reach the entire web, not just your network, unlike on that other blue social networking site which shall remain nameless.’
What’s the big deal? Why is this any different to repurposing the same content across multiple channels, which happens all the time anyway?
As noted by TechCrunch, the key benefit is that this new offering is directly linked to the advertiser’s Google Plus page and thus:
[provides] a way for the audience to reshare video content directly from the ad, leave a comment or question that will be answerable via its G+ account, or even start a Hangout instantly to chat with someone live. It’s early days in terms of solid metrics, but Google is claiming that these +Post ads have expansion rates (how often an ad that expands when interacted with is actually expanded) 50 percent better than the current average for rich media advertising, which sounds promising but ultimately doesn’t say much.
All Things D, however, points out a surprising aspect to the new +Post offering:
The big twist: The Google+ posts that brands turn into ads won’t be “native” ads, because they won’t run on Google+, which doesn’t allow (formal) ads. Instead, the ads will run around the Web, on sites that use Google’s massive ad network.
As we said in the headline, social ads that aren’t social ads.
Here’s a Google promotional video showing these new +Posts in action for Toyota:
Google says a select group of partners, including Toyota USA (as you can see in the video above) as well as Mondelez brands RITZ crackers and Cadbury UK are already running +Post ads. The company says they are seeing expansion rates 50 percent higher than the industry average for rich media ads.
Here are the key benefits of this new +Post offering, as advanced by Google:
+Post ads amplify your brand’s content by easily turning Google+ posts into display ads that run across the web. The live, social ad format allows you to go beyond clicks to live conversations with your audience. People can join a Hangout On Air, add a comment, follow your brand or give a +1, right from an ad.
Ads become more relevant with social context. Comments, +1s, and shares from friends can move people to engage with your ad. Social actions on ads and Google+ add up together, showing the full picture of engagement with your content. +Post ads expand in a lightbox to bring full screen social creatives across the web.
The Web is Your Stream
Match your message to the right people, in the right place across the web. Reach the audiences you care about with Google Display Network tools including demographics, affinity segments, and contextual targeting. Make your content work on every screen – desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
Fast and Efficient
Quickly turn posts into ads that scale across the web, and pay only when people engage with your brand’s content. This engagement can continue after your ad campaign ends, as people discover your posts on Search and Google+.
Is This The new Social Face of Adwords?
After a series of social faux pas (Google Buzz, anyone?), Google has been working hard with Google Plus to integrate it into every aspect of Googleplex operations. What we just may be seeing here is an effective way for Google to provide social depth and interactivity to its flagship Adwords product. +Posts are in beta right now, but they add social substance to Google’s advertising enterprises in a whole new way. Facebook will be taking careful note.
How you can start using +Post ads
+Post ads are currently in beta for a limited set of AdWords advertisers. If you are interested in testing this feature, sign up here or contact your Google team.
LinkedIn continues to work on expanding its revenue potential beyond the recruitment industry, an evolution which we encourage and support — in our view, LinkedIn offers far, far more than just a place to strut your stuff in front of prospective employers.
In this latest development, announced earlier this week, LinkedIn has added a new facility to its Company pages — the ability to add up to 10 free Showcase Pages which (as the name suggests) allow companies to showcase specific products and services.
Yes, you can already have separate product or service pages linked to your Company page, but these new Showcase pages offer two significantly different features:
Showcase pages attract their own individual followings — they do not inherit any followers from their parent Company pages. For some, that may seem like a negative (“you mean, I’ve put all this effort into building up a following for my company page, now I have to do the same for each individual Showcase page?”), but the reality is that if you provide several products or services that appeal to different target markets, then each product/service can have its own Showcase page with its followers.For example, we’ve just launched a new Mobile Marketing course (details here, if you’re interested: http://mobilemarketing.ac.nz/ecourses), which may not appeal to the same people who are interested in our Social Media or eCommerce courses. We can now encourage those interested in Mobile Marketing to follow our new Mobile Marketing showcase page on LinkedIn. .
Showcase pages have their own Status Update facility. This is the key element that makes Showcase pages worthwhile — you can now post updates specific to an individual product or service (or even topic), and only reach those people who are interested in that topic.Using our Mobile Marketing example again: we can now post mobile-related updates to our Mobile Marketing showcase page followers, without bothering those interested only in social media.
So how do you create Showcase pages?
Glad you asked. First, you must be an Administrator of a Company Page, because all Showcase pages are linked to Company pages.
Secondly, note that the Showcase pages are rolling out around the world this week, so the facility may not be enabled on your page yet (if not, check back again in a day or so).
With those caveats out of the way, head to your Company page — and in particular to the “Edit” button on the right hand side of your Company page. You’ll find the “Create a Showcase page” option at the bottom of the accompanying dropdown menu:
Select that option.
You’ll be prompted to create a title for your Showcase page, and also (optionally) to add Administrators:
A couple of points to note on page title creation:
The words you choose for your title will also become the permalink for your Showcase page (for example, our selected words above meant that the address for our new page is http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-principles-&-practice-of-mobile-marketing). This has the usual implications for being found in the LinkedIn search engine and via Google, so choose carefully. (NB: LinkedIn advise that they’re not currently offering customizable URLs for Showcase pages, but are exploring the opportunity have this feature available in the future. )
The title words you choose will also appear over your main image, so shorter is better (we went back and shortened our title once we’d seen what happened to our image). However, if you want to benefit from the longer title in the search engines, you can always edit your title later, as we did.
Next, you’ll be taken to the main Edit page, for you to add:
a main image (LinkedIn calls it a “hero” image) — this image is not currently clickable
a short description (at least 75 characters but no more than 200 characters in total)
a small logo and an even smaller square logo
a website URL where Showcase page visitors can go for more information
If you think this is minimalist, so do we. Still, the main point of this page is to serve as a rallying point for tightly-targeted updates, so don’t be too perturbed that you can’t include very much on your Showcase pages.
Here are the specs for the images:
Hero Image: Minimum 974 x 330 pixels. PNG, JPEG, or GIF. Maximum file size 2 MB. You can crop your image once it’s uploaded.
Logo: 100 x 60 pixels. Image will be resized to fit.
Square logo: 50 x 50 pixels. Image will be resized to fit.
The process for uploading images is simple enough: click on “Add Image” and follow the instructions, cropping your image as necessary.
Do the same for the logos (which will show up in your updates and search results).
Add in the URL for the website page related to this specific product. You can also choose an industry category for this page (which need not be the same as the category of your Company page) and decide whether or not to display other Showcase pages related to your company.
Once you’ve finished filling out all these details, click on “Publish” and check out the results:
As we said, minimalist. But it’s what you do next that counts:
Start creating highly-targeted status updates
Invite relevant LinkedIn contacts to follow you
Got it? Good. Then start creating those Showcase pages. Just remember, though: only create pages that you can feed with highly-targeted content, otherwise you’re just wasting your time.
The existing News Feed displays a mash-up of posts from friends alongside Facebook pages you’ve liked . Those posts include check-ins, photos, videos, and status updates in some arcane order determined by an algorithm. The updated News Feed, by contrast, separates types of content, and lets users choose to view only photos, or only music, or only updates from businesses like yours—in other words, the pages they’ve liked.
One of the biggest changes to the design is the way it handles music. There’s a new feed to deal only with music-related stuff. You just choose the feed from a feeds drop-down list at the top right of the page.
The Spotify music your friends are listening to is now featured in the music feed. Facebook has moved your friends’ song listens out of the old ticker at the right hand side of the screen, and into the music feed.
And Facebook is doing a lot more with those Spotify listens. It looks for artists and songs that multiple friends are listening to and groups them together in an article in the news feed. The article contains a large picture of the artist, and at the left you can see all your friends who’ve listened to the artist lately. Mouse over any of the pictures and you can see what those people said about the artist.
The Following feed
Some of these themes are continued in other feeds. In the Following feed, Facebook now builds media rich articles using content from the pages of publications or public figures you like. For instance, if you follow the Onion’s page, you might see an article in your feed with the three most recent articles from the publication. Each article has its own image, and a 20-word summary. You might also find in-page videos of public figures you follow.
The Photos feed
The Photos feed simply displays all the posts that include photographs. The photos appear larger in the feed, as well as the text around them. Even the text in the comments boxes below the photos appears to be a little bit bigger than before. At the top of the Photos feed page, you’ll find a small header image that incorporates one of the images from your feed. (Actually, all the new feeds pages have these header images.)
2. Larger Pictures for More Visual Impact
Images are to be given much more priority in the new-look News Feed, for which we can probably thank Pinterest and Instagram (and the fact that, as revealed by Mark Zuckerberg, 50 percent of the content in the Facebook News Feed already comprises photos and videos). Little wonder, then, that the News Feed is being given a visual makeover.
Here’s what you’ll see if you look at a typical Facebook News Feed now:
And how it will look once the revamp rolls out:
3. Facebook Albums Look Better Too
4. New Look For Shared Stories
Perhaps the most dramatic change is to the way that links are shared on Facebook. You’ll be familar with the current appearance:
The new Sharing layout resembles (and was probably inspired by) the table of contents of a magazine. The new look includes:
A much larger image
A more prominent title
And a longer summary that tells you what this article is about
Facebook is also starting to add the logos of the publishers in the corner, its own effort to add authority and credibility to the shared content.
5. Desktop Mobilised
This visual makeover will see Facebook adopt similar layouts across both desktop and mobile, taking advantage of recent mobile styling.
What About The Marketers?
Collectively, the changes add up to a bold new look to the Facebook News Feed, at least for consumers. But where are marketers in all this?
AdWeekreported on the reaction from the marketing industry:
Many marketers gleefully anticipated that the content-specific feeds that Facebook was reportedly prepping would improve their ability to target ads. But when Facebook announced the new feeds on Thursday, advertisers were all but shut out—many of them feeling none too happy about it. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has yet to determine how it wants to handle ads in the four new feeds.
The ability to target, say, image-rich ads to the Photos feed, or promote a brand-related jingle to the Music Feed ads would be “definitely a great opportunity for advertisers. I don’t know why they’re not making that available right now,” said Performics global CEO Daina Middleton.
Facebook isn’t leaving Madison Avenue completely in the dark. After the announcement, the company emailed marketers with a follow-up overview of the new feeds and design “and said right now ad units aren’t going to change,” said iCrossing’s head of social media Amanda Peters, who received such an email.
Despite that outreach, “I was surprised that there wasn’t any mention of ad units [during Thursday’s announcement],” Peters said. “I think [the new feeds] do present an opportunity for new units and potentially more dynamic units, more targeted units for specific feeds. My guess is that would come very soon.”
But maybe marketers shouldn’t be surprised about a lack of initial ad talk, given past Facebook announcements regarding product changes, said MEC managing partner and social practice lead Kristine Segrist.
“I feel like historically whether it was Timeline or other big platform changes, they roll out the user experience first, get some learnings, test it in the wild, then roll out the accompanying ad products,” she said. However “the scary story for marketers is whether users have newfound controls and can choose to spend time where brands or businesses can’t be part of the conversation.”
“There will be a section of the new News Feed dedicated to pages that users have liked”, saysTony Bradley. However:
Borrowing the personalized newspaper analogy, that section will be the equivalent of the classifieds section.
It’s fair to assume that the users who have liked your Facebook page are at least peripherally interested in your products and services. However, people spend time on the social network to be, well, social.
Their first thought won’t be, “Hey, I wonder if that company I liked has anything new to say.” It probably won’t be their second or third thought, either.
Don’t wait for users to find you in the equivalent of the classifieds. To stay in the game and engage with your community, take your business to them. How do you do that? Use lots of photos and videos to help you business show up in the sections of the new Facebook News Feed, such as Photos, that will have the most traffic.
In other words, even in the new-look Facebook News Feeds, old-fashioned Engagement is as essential as ever.
In March, the UK-based Chartered Institute of Marketing released Wave One of its Social Media Benchmark Report. The study, canvassing the opinion of 1295 marketers (64% of them in the UK), sought to understand how businesses are adapting to, investing in and drawing value from social media. Funny, we often wonder the same thing.
Here are some of the main points:
71% of businesses surveyed are using Twitter
Why are marketers using social media?
28% Just experimenting
27% Core part of campaign
18% Customers use it
12% It’s expected
3% Don’t know
2% Our competitors are there
How are they doing?
Not so good. Just 16% of marketers rate their efforts on Facebook as Extremely Effective, while a surprising 33% admit that their activities on the site are Not At All Effective.
The other social media also score badly:
Twitter: 15% Extremely Effective, 24% Not At All Effective
LinkedIn: 15% Extremely Effective, 37% Not At All Effective
YouTube: 9% Extremely Effective, 44% Not At All Effective
And as for skills:
6% think their social media skills and competencies are optimal
32% rate themselves average
31% see themselves as improving but below the industry average
19% confess they are fundamentally ill-equipped
12% don’t know what to think (which tells its own story)
One of the biggest challenges facing traditional marketers (even those who’ve already ventured into the social media space) is simply this: “how can I prepare an effective social media brief (whether to brief those within my organisation or for an outside supplier)?”
Most marketers are confident in their ability to prepare a brief for a poster or a billboard or a television commercial. But should the brief for a social media campaign be pretty much the same?
Yes, it can be — but what you’ll get as a result, unless you’re very, very lucky, is an advertising campaign masquerading as a social media programme.
No, no, no — social media can be so much more, as long as you give an effective social media brief to those actually executing the social media programme.
So how do you prepare an effective social media brief?
The need for a comprehensive answer to that question has led us to create a brand new four-module course covering the topic.
Here’s what the course covers:
Module One: Setting Social Objectives
What exactly do you and your organisation want to achieve through social media? We review possible answers to that question — taking into account not merely the obvious communications objectives that organisations typically set, but also those distinctly social attributes that most marketers overlook.
We show you how to review your own brand’s story and personality and how that will colour your social media efforts. We encourage you to re-examine your existing customers and prospects and determine what they might hope to hear from you through social media (and how frequently). And we take a look at social media objectives set by other organisations, for inspiration and guidance (and, in a few cases, as cautionary tales of what not to do in social media).
As a result of this module, you’ll be able to provide those who will be operating your social media programme with clear, agreed social objectives that (a) reflect your organisation, its heritage and the interests of its customers; and (b) take advantages of the rich possibilities inherent in social media.
Module Two: Agreeing Social Strategies & Tactics
Once your objectives are in place, it’s time to consider possible strategies to communicate through social media. Strategy in this context means figuring out what you want to be different after you’re done implementing your social media marketing — and that evaluation process should NOT be left to those carrying out the programme (because they’re seldom in a position to determine the relative priorities for an organisation). Is the appropriate primary strategy based around reputation management, customer service or just getting people talking about your products? Or are you looking for specific leads or even sales (and how should you do that in social media without offending everyone)?
Once the strategic possibilities have been winnowed down to a chosen few, then it’s time to look at tactics to turn those strategies into reality. Most of the tactical decisions can be carried out at an operational level — but it’s still very much worth your while understanding the sorts of tactics that are relevant in the social space. That information may shape your views on decisions such as who is the most appropriate team to implement your social media programme as well as identifying the people within your organisation who should be points of contact for the programme (it won’t be just you).
Decisions on tactics will lead in turn to decisions on which social tools should be used: Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, the list goes on.
From Module Two, you’ll develop a solid base with which to have constructive discussions (and even perhaps robust debates) with your social media implementation team.
Module Three: Planning your Programme
What should you talk about in social media? One thing you shouldn’t be is merely reactive, responding to situations and comments as they happen. Perhaps the most neglected part of the whole social media process is planning an effective, proactive social media communications schedule. Not only do you have to provide killer content that’s relevant and engages your constituents — you also need to plan out what you’re going to say in advance, tied in to topical events, matters of the moment and your own communications programme. That’s not something that can simply be left to that nephew of the CEO who’s running your Facebook page in his spare time.
In this module, we step you through the processes you’ll need to consider when developing an effective INTEGRATED social media schedule that’s linked into your other promotional efforts. We’ll also encourage you to talk to your implementation team about Content Optimisation — identifying your customers’ hottest topics and using the most popular keywords in their posts.
Module Four: Implementation
Finally, we turn to the processes required to make all this happen. We provide you with an appropriate framework for briefing your social media supplier, allocating internal and external resources and responsibilities and agreeing how the effort will be measured.
We also suggest a timetable for reviewing and adjusting your campaign, and how to evaluate the campaign effectively — do “likes”, “+1s” and “retweets” matter, how do you measure social engagement and what does it all mean?
By the end of this course, you should be confident that you can effectively brief a supplier on social media and ensure that the results you are achieving don’t just seem good — they meet a concrete set of objectives that is consistent with your overall organisational goals.
This new four-module programme begins on Monday January 23.
PROGRAMME CREATOR The “How to Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief” programme has been developed by Michael Carney
This new programme is available for $397+GST.
If you would prefer to pay by cheque or bank deposit, or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to [email protected] with details of your request. (The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Services Limited in your transaction and on your credit card statement).
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? 1. Your booking will be confirmed by email (if you have not received a confirmation within 24 hours, feel free to email [email protected]).
2. On Monday January 23 you will be supplied by email with the first part of your How to Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief programme.
3. Follow-up lessons will be sent out over subsequent weeks (but please note that you take the course at your own pace).
I won’t go into detail about the many powerful features of G+, like Circles, Hangouts (a personal favorite) or the integration with YouTube and other Google services, because what I want to emphasize is that Google is pulling out all the stops to try to get you to switch over. They’re integrating new services almost every week, and simplifying their user interface across all their services in a very positive way. My theory is that with a company like Google, it’s only a matter of time before they hit some killer feature that has users — many of whom already have accounts — flocking back to the service in just a few clicks to try out.
Actually, we think the killer app is already here (and there and everywhere): Google is planning to integrate elements of Google+ across all its properties, adding a SOCIAL LAYER to virtually everything Google does(oh, little things like Search, YouTube, Picasa, Adwords, that kind of thing).