Social Network Leaders for Business

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Adobe’s 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?


The Viral Spiral: An Interactive Infographic by Unruly

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Unruly Viral SpiralIn an interactive infographic called „The Unruly Viral Spiral“, we get to see the value of social video and what it has achieved in the last eight years from 2006-2013. The graphic visualises that the top three branded videos have massively increased in shares. Since Old Spice had their massive success the top three brands have seen an increase of 613% since 2010. Interestingly enough, this year beats all records. 40% of the top 20 videos of all-time came out this year. From these, the leading ten generated 28,8 Mio. shares (an increase by 52% since 2012!).

From Content Marketing to Story Advertising?!

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Managers around me get confused about the trend content marketing. What exactly is, and where does it start? A promoted tweet? A long branded status update? An advertorial? Promoted or sponsored content? A commercial that does story-telling? I have decided to discuss this a bit when I came across a great commercial yesterday as Pepsi turns the tables these days again.

But let’s start with another commercial that AUDI launched at Super Bowl this year called „Prom“. Watch it first, so you know what we are talking about. Cool commercial. Nice story. Well thought. No doubt…

Many digital experts defined this in posts or in their presentations at marketing events as content marketing. Somehow, they might have been right as it is telling a story with a beginning, a turning point and an end. And it is not just a well-produced commercial highlighting a product. It is not focused not on pure selling or promoting it.

Former commercials from Volkswagen „Star Wars“, Old Spice’s „The Man Your Man Could Smell Like“ or Blendtec’s ongoing series of product tests on Youtube already went towards the content marketing direction. In their line of mention, they were evolving from a traditional commercial into some form of viral advertising series. These clearly differed from the AUDI commercial as their story-telling was neither epic, nor f(r)iction.

Now, Pepsi comes up with some really clever advertising approach in my eyes. And the question I would like to raise is: Is this content marketing or story advertising?

Most of us have seen the movie „Blues Brothers“. In that film, Elwood must reunite the old band and go on another „Mission from God“. Based on that plot, the Pepsi MAX commercial series gets their food.

After introducing Uncle Drew in the first commercial, the second series starts with a conversation between Uncle Drew and basket ball legend Bill Russell (well played by Morgan Freeman) who sends him on a mission „Get out there and get your team together again!“ He shall teach the young boys how to „get buckets“ – the claim of the series.

First Commercial

Second Commercial

The third commercial just recently came out and takes this form of story advertising to another level. Uncle Drew visits an underground jazz club in downtown Chicago to convince his old point guard „Lights“ to re-live their glory days on the court. Although his wife disagrees, he gets his friend to go out again. What happens thereafter? Just watch it…

Obviously, players and spectators at the basketball courts in all three versions were told that they would be filmed for a „basketball documentary“. However, they enjoyed some special show of basketball magic by Kyrie Irving.

Spot On!
Story advertising could become a new form of content marketing. Pepsi MAX doesn’t even play a supporting actor in these films. It is a series around a brand, but the brand is not the star. It is there but just doing what it’s meant to do: Max taste – sugar-free. Pure enjoyment. By creating a series of commercials with main characters coming back, a real plot around a team reunion, and some really extraordinary testimonials doing what they can do best, consumers feel like being somewhere between the movies and the sports stadium. Illusions made real. They will be waiting for the next part to come out, and hope they become part of it. It’s branded content but not in a traditional way. It is like „24“ or „Mad Men“, just in the commercials. It creates excitement for the next version, engages the audience to talk about basket ball (the sports that Pepsi MAX spends their marketing bucks „buckets“ on), and will become viral. This is a new dimension. This is what I would call: Story Advertising.

PS: Maybe they could have left it open until the last version when the team is together again, how Pepsi did this human transition. But that is my view, how about yours…?

Interview: „Social influencers move prospects through the consideration cycle“

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Kevin BobowskiIn order to demystify the myth around social influencers, brand fans and brand advocates, we will discuss the topic in the future with different leading marketing specialist of emerging platforms and different cloud marketing providers.

In this first interview The Strategy Web spoke with Kevin Bobowski, Vice-President Marketing at Offerpop, about social influencers, their relevance for brand perception, and how he sees the future of brand advocates.

TSW: Will social influencers and brand fans ever play a role in the sales process of companies?

Kevin Bobowski: Brand advocates and social influencers already play a key role at every stage of the customer journey – often simultaneously. Through sharing branded content and recommending products, they build brand awareness, move prospects through the consideration cycle, and help convert those prospects into customers. Companies must do more to nurture the relationships with influencers and advocates, formalizing their involvement in the buy cycle.

TSW: Why is it so challenging for marketers to find and leverage real brand fans?

Kevin Bobowski: I think that most social marketers have a sense of who their real brand fans are. The challenge is in translating that knowledge into real business value. To do this, social marketers must break out of the „social silo“ and play a bigger role in impacting marketing strategy. For example, they might work with email marketers to create campaigns that target brand advocates they’ve identified with exclusive rewards. Their ability to communicate their insights across marketing organizations will have a long-term impact on conversions.

TSW: What is a successful tactic to build a strong database of brand fans?

Kevin Bobowski: Marketers should run consistent, engaging social marketing campaigns. These campaigns build strong, active fan bases, and hit other key goals like email capture and sales. One standout tactic: hashtag campaigns. They incentivize fans to share user-generated content, which deepens their relationships with brands. Many brands promote them through traditional channels like TV, and encourage participation through multiple social networks. This grows their viral reach, leading to fan growth and engagement.

TSW: When is a brand fan converting into a superfans?

Kevin Bobowski: Our definition of a superfan is a customer who consistently shares your content, advocates your brand, and influences others to form relationships with your brand. Marketers should track the interactions, loyalty and influence of their fans, and use those insights to create more targeted, ROI-driven marketing efforts across every channel.

TSW: How does Offerpop help to boost the value of brand advocates?

Kevin Bobowski: Offerpop social campaigns help brands boost the value of brand advocates in a number of ways. Number one, we encourage fans to amplify brand messages (through retweeting, sharing, etc.) Number two, we help brands run campaigns that inspire engagement and brand affinity. Brands use our platform to capture rich data about their fan base, which enables them to cultivate relationships with them through multiple channels, like email, direct mail, etc. And they also help brands capture user-generated content, which brands can choose to showcase in a number of ways. All of these actions help brands deepen relationships with their advocates and increase the virality of their messaging.

TSW: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Kevin Bobowski leads all marketing efforts at the social marketing platform provider Offerpop including branding, product marketing, demand generation and digital marketing. Prior to Offerpop, Kevin was the Vice-President of Product & Solution Marketing at ExactTarget where he was responsible for the strategy and execution of ExactTarget’s go-to-market strategy, demand generation programs and product launches.

How the viral video web world is emerging (Infographic)

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Audio-video content and video content networks are on the rise. Not one company in the FMCG industry that did not try to start their own initiative around their brand or product in the last two years. From the hype of Social Media another hype was creaping up that many have not yet fully understood but think it might change the world of the advertising industry in the future: viral videos.

The advertising business hopes to make money through Youtube channels and the Google AdSense business. Google invested 100 Mio. US Dollars in the launch of new and original TV content for their Youtube platform, plus they built production studios in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo which might build up Google’s audio-video channel to become one of the main challengers for TV.

Next to the increase of vimeo traffic, more and more video advertising companies arise that produce content, media houses create content hubs as well as PR agencies. Obviously, social advertising companies like Unruly, hallimash or ebuzzing are doing their best to get bloggers implementing and writing about viral ads that their brand customers create. And in the end, the Social Star Awards will make all marketers happy when their virals have made it to become a „viral star“.

The following infographic by the Masters in Marketing Degrees offers some statistics on how the viral web video industry has emerged in the last few years.

The Economics of Going Viral

Google Zeitgeist and YouTube Review 2012

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Each year Google Zeitgeist reminds us from a search perspective what happend in the last 12 months. And this year again, we get their point of view of 2012. So, no more words. Just watch it…

Well, hang-on! Don’t forget to watch Google’s official YouTube review „Rewind YouTube Style 2012“ as well. Are we surprised that it is representing the Gangnam Style „Call me Maybe“, and is including web stars like Felica Day and the viral success of Kony 2012, or the Walk Off the Earth?

Buyral Spoof: How to make a video go viral with a professional clicking agency

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Often we do get asked how to make a video go viral. Well, ehre is the answer… This Buyral video shows brand and companies how they make their videos go around the world of social networks. I am sure you all will love it! And here is our advice: Don’t take this video done by St. John too serious and don’t trust every agency that will tell you they know how to get your brands latest promotion to go viral. Maybe they also have some professionals with a fast finger clicking they videos like we assumed some straneg agencies were clicking banners years ago.

Mobile Video Advertising – Why there is a positive future ahead…

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The market for mobile advertising is growing at high speed. More and more companies invest their first advertising budgets (although still not huge…) in apps, onsite or instream commercials. In 2012 the market for mobile advertising is said to increase to 1,5 Billion USD. In 2010 mobileSquared estimated the size for the mobile advertising market at 800 Million USD by 2015, and this sum is expected just for Germany.

One of the main drivers of this development could become mobile video advertising. Looking at the numbers of researchers and analysts, there is a bright future ahead. The market research company Strategy Analytics saw a growth by 958% of mobile video commercial views. They published figures from April 2012 which illustrate how the mobile video advertising market might be growing. While they counted 108 Billion mobile video views 2011, they expect that the market more than doubles to 280 Billion for 2012.

The challenge for mobile video advertising was partly based on the size of smartphones which did not allow massive advertising opportunities. Partly it was lacking the believe of the management in mobile video advertising up to now. And when we look at the minimum volume of ad campaigns in Apple’s iAd program which was downsized from 1 Million to 100.000 USD, it shows that expectations were bigger than the first mobile budgets. Often traditional campaigns are simply extended to mobile without bigger creative invest.

However, this might change with mobile video advertising.

The actual „viewing time“ of video commercials in audio-video content is still just 1,5%, found Comscore. A recent study by Juniper Research stands against this and forecasts a “viewing time” for mobile TV of 186 minutes per month in 2014. That offers a lot of opportunities for commercials.

The content offering will also change with the future of the social web. In 2010, some Cisco research stated that 57% of the Internet traffic in 2014 will be audio-video content. This outlook gets support from the massive use and sharing of video content in social networks. And if we think about the fact that Facebook already has 488 Million mobile users, then it comes as no surprise that many social media advertising suppliers like ebuzzing, Hallimash oder unruly try to conquer the social video advertising market.

The creation of banners will still be responsible for the length of the viewing and staying time. According to some new insights of Medialets the mobile „engagement stimulus“ of users increases by 35% when video content is displayed. Those users that opened or expanded a banner stayed 20 seconds with the ad format. The integration of video or product catalogue information propelled the staying time with mobile banner formats from 20 seconds to more than one minute, said Medialets. Apart from that, comScore Video Metrix published some stats showing that video ads surpassed the 10 Billion mark and showed an increase by 117% year-over-year.

The development is positive which we can also see in these interesting insights. No surprise that Nielsen forecasts a growth of 70% for the mobile advertising market. And mobile video advertising will get a good chunk of it.

Will the tablet be the catalyst in this development? Sure… By 2013, 47% of the U.S. Internet population will own tablets (117.4 million users). One in ten tablet users watches online video daily according to comScore. Just think about the parallel usage of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones with TV (especially in Prime Time), there could be fantastic opportunities for marketers and their agencies to create intelligent convergent multi-platform campaigns.

Isn’t this some great outlook for mobile video advertising…? if you have some more figures you can add, let us know…

PS: These numbers were put together from me for my moderation of the dmexco Night Talks 2012 (see picture).

Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr. When is the best time for sharing…?

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Marketers always want to know if there is some secret sauce in the knowledge about sharing. Well, we have shared a lot already, from AddThis and ShareThis. Now, released some insight on their blog which times on a day are most popular for sharing.

The link shortening and tracking service found out that the most traction on Twitter is on a Monday between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET. This might result in the highest click through rates. Compared to the latest Addthis study, it makes sense as they see on Wednesdays, 9:30 the highest traffic sharing. Generally speaking thinks the earlier in the week we share, the better for our output. Sending a tweet after 8:00 p.m. won’t make sense as well as pushing links after 3:00 p.m. on Fridays.

Now, let’s look at Facebook. The optimal Facebook posting times are between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. post on Facebook get the best traction all week. If companies post links after 8:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. on Facebook, they won’t get the best click rates. advices companies not to post the links that are meant to go viral during the weekend.

Companies that are using Tumblr should spread their content ideally 4:00 p.m. ET. to get most out of it. The peak traffic times on Tumblr are 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday. However, posts that go live after 7:00 p.m. get the most clicks on a daytime period. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr’s best day for clicks is the Friday.

„It’s easy to see that just like your neighborhood restaurants, each social network has its own culture and behavior patterns,“ stated in their blog post. „By understanding the simple characteristics of each social network, you can publish your content at exactly the right time for it to reach the maximum number of people.“

Picture Credit: © iQoncept –

AddThis: Sharing trends based on last 5 years (Infographic)

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A while ago, ShareThis shared their insights why people share content. And also this year, stated in a research they did that the half life of a link is approximately three hours.

Now, AddThis (1.2bn monthly users) is following their approach with an infographic on their 5th birthday to visualise user behaviour around Social Media sharing trends across the social web.

If you plan your next viral campaign you might consider time and day: 9:30am and Wednesday are said to be the best peaks for shareable content. Most users share content within the first 2 minutes. And 75% of shared content occur within the first day of a share. Interesting though is the fact that cut and paste sharing can still be up to 10x more used than the well-known social sharing tools.

PS: The average Twitter user shares half a tweet per day, according to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo

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