State of Marketing 2014 Report: Social Media and Video Ads up, Mobile down, Programmatic low at 1%

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Compared to some previous study, this years CMO Council’s “State of Marketing” (sponsored by NetBase and Infor) shows that confidence to be a trusted source for the C-level is back with marketers. The online study that asked 525 global marketers in the first quarter 2014 shows that 69% of senior marketers see themselves as a trusted, strategic member of the C-suite and/or are increasing their credibility with the main business decision makers inside their companies. Furthermore, 81% of senior marketers responded that they’re confident to meet management expectations and goals for top-line revenue growth and market share in the next 12 months.

“The level of confidence and optimism is very high. We are seeing the CMO role being elevated to a much larger degree.” Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director, CMO Council

From a budget perspective, the main areas of marketing spending growth for this year will be social advertising (71%), online video (71%), social engagement campaigns (69%), retargeting (67%) and search engine marketing (66%). However, mobile will go down in the attention of marketing spendings this year. Only 62% said they plan to increases and just 25% project increases of over 5% for 2014. 45% said they expect no change for mobile banners. The report makes no commments on reasons for this stagnating mobile budget growth. In general, 54% of marketers plan to increase their marketing budgets over the next 12 months, 27% will keep budgets stable. The most funding will go into new products and program launches (54%), corporate branding and identity building (53%), lead generation and qualification (50%), and customer retention and monetization (44%).

State of Marketing 2014 What tactics is most effective

When asked to identify where marketers will allocate marketing budget across

From an operational and process point of view 12% of the responding marketers said they will invest in product marketing, 12% said in strategy and branding, almost 7% in marketing and planning, 7% in sales and lead management, and 5% in market research, among other areas. It seems that programmatic buying has still not reached the marketing department. Only 1% sees programmatic advertising technology systems an interesting topic to invest in. Maybe they just do not have the right arguments for their C-Suite on programmatic yet.

The senior management expects from their CMOs over the next 12 months to drive top-line growth (56%), grow or retain market share (52%), better define the brand and value proposition (44%), and further customer insights and analytics (37%). As the leading areas of responsibility the marketers see for themselves strategic planning and forecasting (74%), branding (71%), digital (68%), budgeting and mix modeling (68%) and market research (67%). from a C-level perspective the marketers state that their main tasks from the business leaders are driving top-line growth (56%); growing or retaining market share (52%); better defining the brand and value proposition (44%); and furthering customer insights and analytics (37%).

Spot On!
The challenge for marketers as of the cloud technology evolution is to connect with other departments inside the company. Interesting to see from the report to which people marketers are reaching out these days for partnerships. The marketers responded that the CFO (58%), CIO (53%) and chief sales officer (51%) are their main three touchpoints inside the organization to form partnerships with.

State of Marketing 2014 Collaboration

The report also states that 55% of marketers want to hire in 2014. Their main focus of reecruiting people or getting knowledge will be on customer analytics (40%), social media (36%) and content development (27%). Interestingly enough, a trend that we also experience with our clients is that B2B marketers (60%) are very active finding new staff. Their main interest is in people on topics like customer analytics (33%), product marketing support (33%), content development (32%) and social media (32%).

Website Experience: Consumers rate performance most, content second

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The common understanding in marketing teams is that content is key to meet the expectations of consumer. However, this might be right, most US consumers (52%) see high performance as the main quality feature of a website, according to a recent report from Limelight Networks.

The report that surveyed 1,115 consumers valued website performance (streaming with no buffering, pages that load quickly, and so on) as the most important digital experience feature. It also states that performance comes before fresh and updated content, delivering a consistent experience on mobile and desktop, and providing personalized content.

Performance is Key to Websites

The respondents also make clear that they (59%) will wait less than five seconds for a webpage to load before being frustrated and leaving the site. Even more, more than one in three (37%) stated to leave and buy a product from a competitor if a website is slow.

The mobile experience is also becoming more critical for marketers. When 85% accessing a website with a mobile device at least some of the time, and 50% of the surveyed people do so with either a smartphone or a tablet most of the time, it shows that mobile customer experience needs to be thought about carefully. However, the good signs are that almost half of the users (44%) are more generous in terms of waiting for website response when accessing websites via mobile devices but the trend is to see fast downloads as well on mobile and desktop.

Spot On!
The report illustrates the connection between brand and website experience: 82% of consumers recommend a brand after a positive website visit.

Website Performance leads to Recommendation

However, marketers might think about personalization with the use of smart data now, the report also warns that more than one in three users (38%) do not want websites to remember their previous website visits. The website experience remains a business challenge “Businesses need to educate themselves on the challenges and intricacies of delivering a high performance digital experience to ensure hidden latency issues don’t disrupt a user’s interaction with the brand,” summarizes the report.

Social Network Leaders for Business

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Adobe’s CMO.com did a great job in summarizing the leading social networks for business in one nice infographic alongside their CMO Guide to The Social Landscape. The marketing technology company checked each of the platforms according to four criteria: brand awareness, customer communication, SEO and traffic generation.

Obviously and not surprising, the leading platforms are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. From our experience not all marketers are aware of the importance to change the contents for each platform and not just run them in different timings. The target-groups on the various platforms may be quite different, thus their interests in content and context as well as their wants and needs might vary extremely – although they might be the same people sometimes.

YouTube will probably become the leading platform when the whole world is more driven by Millennials and their input. Although you might be thinking about funny videos, going viral now, most of the business content can be manuals, employer branding stuff, or even product explanation videos. The opportunities are massive and it is time for marketers to realize.

In the B2B space, Slideshare might be a new platform for marketers. The chances are big here as well, as companies and brands get the option to show presentations from various standpoints. Especially, if the company is addressing different stakeholders in a purchase process, it is sometimes good to open up some thoughts before the meeting, so stakeholders can prepare. And, how often did presentations before meetings not go through as of company email file restrictions…?!

Obviously, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest play a role from a corporate brand perspective. And Google+ especially from a SEO and content marketing point of view. However, we are still at the beginning and every case needs to be evaluated on its own.

Any important platform you are missing in the top 8 social networks?

CMO_Social_Landscape_2014

Study: Most Engaging Content on Twitter and Facebook

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According to a recent study by Klout, the most popular content topics on Twitter and Facebook seem to be similar. However, they differ significantly beyond the top 10 topics, states the report based on Klout Topics data from more than 580 million people all over the world. The topics were categorized interests, passions, and content areas.

The study shows that music and television are still the main topics to talk about on the main social networks Facebook and Twitter. And obviously, people are still generating and sharing their words and views on celebrities, holidays, software, films, and business, which showed up to be highly popular among the social networks.

Klout-Top-10-2014

In general, engagement and interaction on various content topics occur in 40% of the cases on the same top 10 content on Facebook and Twitter. The pattern of engagement does not really make a massive differentiation obvious on the various social networks. Still, the remaining 60% show some interesting variations on interactions which definitely need some mentioning as tzhey vary from network to network.

However, the remaining 60% of all engagement comes from topics beyond the top 10, and the percentage of interactions with those subjects differs significantly by network

Dogs
Twitter 95 vs. Facebook 23

Cats
Twitter 104 vs. Facebook 52

Customer Service
Twitter 89 vs. Facebook 197

Homework
Twitter 98 vs. Facebook 196

Babies
Twitter 66 vs. Facebook 21

Parenting
Twitter 50 vs. Facebook 22

Klout-Differentiation-2014

Facebook & the “Freemium”. What if Facebook charges one dollar a month?

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money-sepiaStop reading this blog post if you are a Facebook fan. You might hate it. You might like it. Stop it! You won’t? Well then, don’t try to be a consultant and just read this and act like a Facebook user. This is our idea how Facebook could become even better…

When I wrote about The Social Globe -a world of paid social networks- some years ago, people called me “mad” and “crazy” teasing such “wild” and “early” paid ideas around social networks. Sometimes, I wondered why The Social Globe – a “network” of social networks like the broadcasting network Sky (earlier Premiere in Germany) never kicked off, bearing in mind all big social networks needed revenue. Maybe it was too big an idea. Maybe too superficially explained. Maybe… Whatever. I never found an answer. Well, maybe one. All major networks want to outplay their competitors. Collaboration is out. Although, we all have the social media philosophy in our heads: Sharing is caring. It does not count for social networks it seems.

Some years are gone since, and we all think about and discuss the value of Facebook. We wonder about it’s algorythm deciding what we see, watch and read. And we blame their advertising programs which often don’t make the user happy, nor does it seem to meet the personal targeting criteria. Well, in case people even notice the ads.

Traveling a lot, I have discussed a new monetization approach with social media and social networking insiders all over Europe. What happened if Facebook would change their business model according to the following “freemium” scenario. Yes, I know that Mark Zuckerberg has said, Facebook will never cost the user anything.

But what is the value of restricted and filtered content? What if I cannot see the content of my real friends? What if I don’t see (the ads of) my favorite love brands anymore on Facebook? What if Facebook loses it’s personal benefit and value for me more and more?

So, this is the moment of truth. Users get two account options on Facebook in the future…

a) Free Account
Filtered user account. Ads and branded content to be displayed according to Facebook’s targeting system. Facebook decides what content the user sees. Who your “real friends” are is decided by the algorithm.
Costs: 0 EUR per month

b) Paid Account
Unfiltered user account. Opportunity to personalize the own stream. Ads and branded content of the user’s favorite brands will be displayed according to their love brand personalization. The users decide what content they see. Who their “real friends” are is decided by the user.
Costs: 1 Dollar per month

Facebook has opened up a new field of communication, a new way of bringing people closer to each other. No matter how far separated they are. It is a great way to make us aware how close we are living, breathing and experiencing our daily lives.

The idea of paid for Facebook accounts is out there to being discussed. Go ahead and give us your thoughts.

Maybe this is the start of a new way of thinking about Facebook. Maybe we can start a real discussion on how to make Facebook a better social networking place with more personal value, less self-glorification, and so on. One that leverages “real” personal connections.

Would you use such a paid version, or stick with the old free account?

Report: Too many tech vendors for marketers in midsize companies

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In many markets we can see the challenge for SMB marketers to effectively manage their tech vendor offerings.

Now, this experience gets underlined by a recent report based on a survey from DNN Software of 300 US marketing executives (50-5,000 employees) in February 2014. The report states that almost two thirds (63%) of marketers in midsize companies find the market is overloaded with marketing technology vendors to manage them effectively. Just imagine what it means for an SMB marketer to manage five and more tech vendor connections (53%)? Or even 10 or more of them which is what 15% have got to do in their daily business.

Obviously, there is some kind of logic behind the number of technology vendor relationships that marketers need to manage: The bigger the company, the more vendors. In companies with 1,000-5,000 employees marketers need to manage five or more vendors (75%) whereas in companies with 50-99 employees it is only 33%.

DNN Software 2014 Number Tech Vendors
However, the technology is not really helping marketers to ease their business. The majority of marketers (70%) think their job has become more challenging with all those technology marketing solutions in the market. Furthermore, a big portion of them is asking for a “mixture of a marketing and tech specialist” to help manage their marketing technology.

DNN Software 2014 Tech Challenges

Concerning their challenges for 2014, most midsize marketers find it is a major or moderate challenge to get customers’ attention (79%). Interestingly enough, more than two-third respond (72%) are having trouble to find their target group on the web. The same portion states that the challenge to stand out from the crowd comes with the volume of online content which makes it rather difficult for them to effectively do their business and achieve their results.

DNN Software 2014 Challenges Marketing

Report: Friday is Engagement Day on Facebook

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The more work people have the less they have got time to engage on Facebook. Right or wrong? Well, right…

At least according to a recent report from Adobe that states Facebook users engage with brands more on Fridays than any other day on in the week. In their Q1 Social Intelligence Report which analyzes the interaction of Facebook posts and ad engagements, the company found that 15.7% of all impressions happened on a Friday.

Adobe FB Engagement Q1 2014

In the second place came Thursdays with the second highest post impressions and engagement (14.5%), followed by Saturday (14,4%) with almost the same share of impressions. Sunday appears to be the day when people are not massively engaging with Facebook compared to the rest of the week (13.4%). A detailed interaction overview shows that Fridays were the strongest interaction days examined across all engagements: comments (17%), likes (16%) and shares (6%).

Adobe FB Share of  Engagement Q1 2014

Furthermore, the report which was based on 260 billion Facebook ad impressions across different industry sector like media, entertainment, retail and travel, makes clear that photos and video seem to become the new secret sauce in user engagement on Facebook. Photos still show highest engagement rates in the first three months in 2014. 24.7% of all brand video views in Q1 came in on a Friday. Although people have more time on Sundays, it is the day with the lowest share of video impressions (6.4%). The engagement around video updates were up 25% year on year and 58% quarter over quarter.

Adobe FB Video Engagement Q1 2014

What are your findings around Facebook updates? What content types perform and which don’t? Is Friday really such a powerful day for you as well?

Report: How to be more successful with the right blogging tactics

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The questions we usually get from marketers are quite similar: What makes a good blog post? When is the best time to publish? How do questions in headlines perform? And so on. A recent report by TrackMaven analyzed 1.16 million posts from 4,618 blogs and 1.9 million social shares of those blog posts. The results were published in their Colossal Content Marketing Report. The analyzed content included blog posts from various publishers, like content marketers, individual bloggers, and media companies.

The report shows that Tuesday and Wednesday performed as the most popular days for publishing posts. Of the analyzed blog posts 87% were published during Monday and Friday (9 AM to 6 PM ET with a peak at 11 AM-12 PM). This does not say though that weekends don`t perform well. 13% of blog posts published on weekends got more social shares per post on average. Although just 6.3% of posts were published on Saturdays, these still received 18% of the total social shares.

TrackMaven 2014 Social Shares by Postig Frequency

As most marketers strive for engagement to justify their social business activities, one of the findings will be of best interest for them. The most social shares from blog posts came in the evenings around 9 PM-midnight ET (highest engagement 10-11 PM). Special peaks also occur when people get their coffee, meeting hours go down and after midnight TV shows (4-6 AM ET, 7-8 PM plus 1-2 AM).

TrackMaven 2014 Social Shares by Time of Day

Some more findings…
- Blog post titles of around 60 characters in length performed with most social shares (average was around 40 characters in length).
- Blog posts with question marks in their title had almost twice as many social shares that those without any punctuation.
- Blog posts with a mixture of capital and lowercase letters achieved most shares.
- Blog posts get most sharings via Twitter (Tweets shares got 38.6% of total social shares) and Facebook (Facebook shares 26.7% – Likes got 33.8% of engagement).

TrackMaven 2014 Social Shares by Channel

Spot On!
The headline definitely is a key element for blog posts being read and getting shares as on Twitter and Facebook there is not much more to see, and many people won’t even read but still share it the blog post. Although the magic headline might sound like a perfect tactic for blogging, there is more in blogging tactics than knowing when to publish or some rules around punctuation. Good content, relevant aspects, various point of views (interviews) and probably one of the main elements: continuity. Most blogs starts euphoric and die after some weeks. Blogging is a time-consuming challenge but with the right blogging tactics it is not rocket-science.

Why content marketing is like running a marathon (infographic)

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Content marketing seems to be the new hype in the business world. But wasn’t it there before? Case studies, whitepapers, corporate brochures, corporate publishing, etc. – did we not have all of this before? Maybe the B2B world was better trained in this topic than the B2C folks.

The guys from Curata now train marketers with a step-by-step content marketing marathon infographic. It will make marketers understand what it needs to become efficient in content marketing, to have the right pace at producing versus curating content, to achieve the perfect help and support from your fans and get to the finish line.

Good luck – and don’t forget to drink some water!

Content Marketing Marathon Infographic

Report: Benchmarking digital banner performance; which formats work best

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A recent benchmark report by Pointroll based on the analysis of over 100 billion ad impressions in 2013 states that bigger banner ads perform better in digital advertising campaigns. The bigger ad formats, like the Rising Star, which was introduced by the IAB in 2012 has a 70% click-through rate (CTR) than smaller traditional banner formats.

Furthermore, the interaction rate of the Rising Star banners showed a significantly higher average interaction rate. While the Rising Star formats came in at 1.98%, traditional formats just achieved 1.08%. The video completion rate also performed better with 53.44% finishing to watch the video full length whereas the traditional formats came in almost 10% lower.

Pointroll Rising Star Performance 2014

Although in-stream ads are critically discussed on their performance at all digital events, the report shows that in-stream video ads delivered a 4.5x higher CTR on average than their Flash ads competitors. Moreover, they achieve a 2.7X higher CTR when compared with rich media ads. The later when carrying video content showed a 22% higher average CTR compared with those rich media ads without video.

Pointroll CTR by Ad format 2014

Interestingly enough, the report shows that longer videos performed better than shorter ones. The 30-second video ads got 55% more clicks on average than 15-second video ads. However, the 15-second videos had only a 6% higher completion rate than 30-second spots.

Pointroll 15 to 30 seconds video banner 2014

One of the main problems is that just 60.4% of the delivered and analyzed impressions of the report were “viewable” according to the IAB standards. The viewability rates were different by vertical. The employment and sports media outlets delivered the highest rate (72.6%). The community publishers performed at the end of the publishers (58.4%).

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