We’ve dealt a little with bots and artificial intelligence, but we really don’t know what it is going to be like once it really takes off. Right now, there are chat bots and automated telemarketers. We haven’t quite interacted with bots that can express human-like facial expressions. It sounds a little creepy, but nothing we can’t get used to. Recently, Facebook announced that its AI researchers are in the process of training bots to express various facial expressions.
Now that the social media network has reached 2 billion monthly users, Facebook has more power than ever. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg hosted Facebook’s first ever Community-Summit in Chicago. He announced there will soon be new tools to help admins and communities run smoother on the platform. Communities are a huge component of the social platform for there are over 1 million people that use Facebook groups monthly. As the largest and most influential social network in the world, Facebook has a lot of responsibility on its plate.
The social media competition is in its all-time prime. Snapchat and Instagram entered the market around the same time over 6 years ago. Since then, we have seen the never-ending competition between the two. One would think that Snapchat stories would be dominating Instagram because they “started it”. However, this is simply not the case.
Amazon has recently been beefing up its ad business, and Wall Street is starting to take notice. The e-commerce giant is predicted to pull in $5 billion in ad revenue. Although Amazon would only make up 4% of the digital ads market, which is dominated by Facebook and Google, investors say they should definitely take note of Amazon’s growth.
Do you ever wonder if your business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategies are working? At some point, most marketers run into the question of how to measure their results. It’s crucial to gain insight into the effectiveness of your marketing strategies, or you risk wasting precious time by repeating unsuccessful tactics. You may even lose clients.
Did that catch your attention? You made it this far, so it must have. But now you are starting to see this isn’t a life or death situation, and that I may have used that title to trick you into reading this blog. Your interesting is fleeting, and you are considering pressing the back button. Odds are by now you already have.
Welcome to the The StrataBlog Round Up
Don’t have time scour the entire web and read every blog out there about the digital market today? Don’t worry we have you covered.
Here is everything you should know from this week in the digital marketing industry.
Working around Facebook’s muted auto play subtly with subtitles.
When Facebook stated its auto-play feature for videos at the beginning of the year, marketers rejoiced. View were now bountiful Cost per views were on the drop. Everybody was happy. But there was a catch, the videos were muted unless clicked on by the end users. Some brands have found ways around this, by simply embracing it. With a slight nod to the days of old when subtitles were king.
Facebook now supports .gifs but not for uploading.
Prepare yourself for a gifs galore. Facebook now supports gif in both its desktop versions and mobile versions. If you don’t know, .gif’s aka (Graphics Interchange Format) are short soundless videos that repeat over and over again. They are most commonly used for reactions to digital content and are prevalent on sites such as Imgur.com, Tumblr, or Reddit. You cannot yet upload a .gif as an ad, but they can be posted. Brands however should be wary to post .gifs featuring copyrighted content they do not own themselves, in order to avoid potential legal trouble.
Instagram ads are on the way!
Powered by Facebook targeting abilities, Instagram will soon be available to everyone as a advertising platforms and not just those who can shell out more then $500,000 per ad. While Instagram works out the kinks of their ads serving and buying back end, they have added additional powerful features catering to tech and such as a Buy now and App Install buttons.
Here is a fantastic tech crunch article on the matter. http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/02/adstagram/#.5qbaaa:hCYT
The future of YouTube is mobile. Go small or go home.
YouTube is now more than a decade old. What started as a small site for users to upload videos for other people to watch, has grown to a media powerhouse before being purchased by Google. That’s its past but where is its future? Mobile. More than half if its users are already on some sort of mobile device. Mobile watch time has grown nearly 100% this past year and will continue to rise. The future of video is mobile, and advertisers must embrace it.
Here is The Guardians interview with YouTube’s Head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/02/youtube-future-small-screens-mobile-robert-kyncl
Is the pin mightier than the data? Pinterest buying power vs Instagram data.
Facebook and Instagram both have massive amounts of digital data on their users. This allows extremely relevant ads to be served to audiences. Pinterest, however can allow brands to be part of the planning mode (or skip right down to the bottom of the sales funnel) Users go to Pinterest for inspiration with Pinterest adding “Buy It” buttons, it has the potential to flip the traditional sales process with top of funnel conversions and become am E-commerce powerhouse.
The psychological power of color.
A Picture says 1000 words, what does a color say? We are visual creatures who associated different colors with different meanings for example Red is an exciting or alert color, blue is a calmer, more competent color. Colors have personality just like brands. There are some best practices to use when thinking about what colors to use in everything from call-to-actions, to general branding.
7 Reasons to pay for experiences over things.
We see the past through rose tinted glasses. Giving users more of a brand experience can lead to better recall and better feelings towards that brand or product, than simply seeing an ad scrolling through your news feeds. Here is an example: which is more memorable, a real life recreated Pac-man game, or a picture of a model drinking a beer? A slight exaggeration but you get the idea. There is something to be gained when you offer your customers a unique digital experience online with your brand as opposed to just seeing an ad while scrolling through Facebook.
Want To Know More About How These Ideas Can Help Your Brand?
In 2009, NASCAR was in an unenviable spot. The economic recession, a changing media landscape and several other factors crashed down simultaneously on the racing company. “Rising fuel prices hit our fans badly,” explained Sean Daugherty, the company’s Director of Digital and Social Media Engagement. “Our fans travel more than 100 miles on average to attend our races, so increases in fuel prices have a direct impact on race attendance.”
This is how Daugherty opened his portion of a recent webinar titled How NASCAR is Using Social Media to Deliver a Dynamic and Engaging Fan Experience. The presentation was held in collaboration with HP, the company’s partner for much of the hardware and software its Marketing Communications department uses today.
Fast forward to 2014, and NASCAR is in a much better position. Race viewership is at an all-time high, the largest media deal in the sport’s history is in place through 2024, and pillar partner companies are renewing to long term agreements. So what happened? According to Daugherty: unprecedented research, a large investment in technology and a dedication to using live data and social media to offer fans a more engaging experience. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how the company is doing just that.
Fan and Media Engagement Center
NASCAR has developed a technology “headquarters” unlike anything else in sports or entertainment. Unveiled in Charlotte, the Fan and Media Engagement Center is a 500-square foot room with several 46” HD screens and three workstations. This hardware, and the HP “analytics engine” that supports it, allow the company to track and better understand the conversations trending across social, traditional and broadcast media that impact their industry. They then leverage that information to provide live updates to the team on the ground during each race and distribute detailed and customized analytic reports to key stakeholders after the checkered flag waves. These groups include its teams, tracks and partners.
Live Interaction and Engagement
Just as important as their impressive infrastructure and software are the creative ways NASCAR uses its gained insights to drive an engaging, memorable experience for fans and viewers. During all races in NASCAR’s 3 national series, the Fan and Media Engagement Center is bustling. A team watches a live broadcast of the race and engages fans by answering questions and live tweeting from the official NASCAR social media handles. They keep an eye on live trending topics and fan sentiment during the race, dive deeper into topics that gain traction and relay insights to teams and drivers’ social media managers so they can live tweet and post on Facebook more effectively throughout and after each race.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Another impressive benefit of harnessing real-time clustered data is the ability to recognize when mistakes are made or negative comments are being shared. For example, during their most recent All-Star race, which is an exhibition race where drivers are re-ordered based upon fan voting and fan rules, a broadcast graphic was aired displaying the driver order incorrectly. “Even though the cars were in the correct running order on the track, it seemed like the wrong driver ended up winning the race,” recalled Daugherty.
Fans reacted negatively and reporters portrayed it as a big deal saying NASCAR had a firestorm on its hands. “Well we went back and analyzed the data and found that the issue was only 3 percent of the overall conversation around the race at that time,” Daugherty shared. “So, what the media portrayed as a firestorm was really just a blip on the radar and in an instance where we may have continued to issue a statement and extend that news cycle, we were able to, in this case…take no action and not extend that news cycle and let our broadcast partner handle that response.”
How Can Your Company Reap Similar Benefits?
Data collection, analytics and social media are driving value for companies across all industries and specialties, not just motorsports racing. If you’re interested in learning how the proper mix of marketing, analytics and cloud solution services can help your company win big, spend a few minutes browsing our website or contact us directly to discuss your unique business model and requirements.
When I was in the third grade, I cheated on my 7’s multiplication tables (sorry, mom and dad) and I’ve been cursed ever since with the inability to succeed in math. That same year, I achieved something slightly more noble and had a short story published in a children’s magazine. It was then that I realized I would manifest my destiny through creative writing rather than spend my life crunching numbers and manipulating equations. And yet here I am, about to justify the relevance of math and how it is molding my industry I work in.
Algorithms in Simple Terms
Kevin Slavin, an assistant professor and founder of Playful Systems at MIT Media Lab, said in his 2011 TED Talk that algorithms “acquire the sensibility of truth because they repeat over and over again, and they ossify and calcify, and they become real.” In layman’s terms, an algorithm is a mathematical code that is entered into a computer program by computer scientists that obtains “big data” from you, me and any other stranger on this Earth online.
Breaking Down “Big Data”
Big data can be defined back to 2001 when industry analyst Doug Laney separated it into three parts: Volume, velocity and variety.
- Volume: Ranging from transaction-based data to data from social media that is so large it is challenging to analyze it.
- Velocity: The speed at which all this information is being shifted through.
- Variety: Numeric data in traditional databases, information from applications, videos, e-mail, and beyond.
What the Pros are Doing
These three parts of big data are changing business operations for companies like Facebook, Google and Netflix because it’s aiding in better decision making. For instance, toward the end of 2013, Facebook replaced their News Feed algorithm from EdgeRank to Story Bumping. Story Bumping deciphers all the posts a specific user has seen and moves all the unread stories to the top. Netflix has their head in the cloud, literally. They are improving their online recommendation engine through “deep-learning” algorithms through Amazon’s cloud service. And can you even imagine your daily life without Google? Google computer scientists unveiled their newest search algorithm called Hummingbird that provides direct answers to complex questions.
Through all these different complex algorithms being created by, in my opinion, geniuses, big data is revealing insightful information about populations, segmented audiences and individuals. Social media account managers like myself are using this information to tailor how our brands target and nurture consumers to increase ROI.
Now here is a two part equation I can understand:
Computer scientists + Algorithms = Big Data
Big Data ÷ Analytics = Tailored campaigns for consumers that increase ROI
Want to chat about deciphering big data or school me on new and emerging algorithms? I welcome the conversation! Follow me on Twitter @whatupTUT or leave a comment below.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could know exactly what your customers need before they start looking for it? That thought is now a reality with big data.
Big data is a large collection of your customers’ data (or potential customers) from both internal and external sources. This data includes digital sources such as social media, CRM and web behavior, but also includes traditional channels such as phone records, financial records and shopping habits. All of these things help you understand your customers in a unique way by analyzing their patterns and buying behaviors.
Think about big data like this. Imagine that you’re at a party and you see someone that you haven’t seen in awhile. Last time you talked, you told them about your new job promotion and that you just adopted a dog. When you run into them months later at a party, they ask you how your new job is going and inquire about your dog. This person remembered what you last spoke about and you two already have somewhat of a relationship. This concept should carry over into business, and businesses should have this same rapport with their customers.
Less than 10% of of marketers say they are currently using what data they have in a systematic way, while 71% of marketers say they plan to implement a big data analytics solution in the next two years. Why? Because you can give customers information before they even know they need it and engage with them in a personalized manner. Using big data, you’ll be able to give people the right kind of recommendations and a perfectly tailored message for where they are in the customer journey.
So how do you use big data for marketing? There are four steps to follow:
1. Listen. This step is where you monitor your customers’ social media, buying history, mobile activity and more. For example, let’s say you’re a restaurant that uses a POS system to put in orders, make reservations and take payments. Listen to the information you get from the POS system, including what your customers are ordering each night, how often they come in, what nights you sell the most wine, how much a customer is typically spending and so on. Every move your customer makes, you should be listening.
2. Gather and Analyze Data. Before you try to analyze your data, figure out what the problem is that you are trying to solve. What areas of your business need to be improved? Are you trying to predict customer behavior? Do you want to analyze your customers’ eating habits? Decide what you are trying to figure out before digging through the data. While you are bringing data together and analyzing it, understand the right message for each customer. Data analytics can be done with software tools that are commonly used for predictive analytics and data mining.
3. Assemble the Message. Now that you have analyzed your data, it’s time to transform it into a message to a target audience. Cut out all the information that you don’t need, because a lot of the data you collect won’t matter. When assembling the message, remember that you are using big data to to send a specific message to a specific group of people…this is not meant to be a message for broad demographics. This message should be used to create a meaningful interaction between the consumer and your business, so create different messages to target different audiences.
4. Deliver the Message. Once your message is targeted and put together, you have to get the message out to your target audience. Check to make sure that you have a responsive email design to deliver the correct message to someone on an iPhone versus an Android. Each message should be tailored correctly to the device being used; this is where customer segmentation comes into play. Delivering the message doesn’t only correspond to email, it can be used to help determine specials and coupons. For example, if you own a restaurant and notice that a large amount of your customers love IPA, you can “deliver the message” that you know what they want by creating an IPA special such as $3 pints of IPA on Thursdays. Whatever your message might be, you need to get it out to your target audience in the correct manner.
Use big data to stay one step ahead of your customers. Your business can start to make data-driven strategic decisions to understand your customers in a unique way and deliver a product/service that they need or want in a personalized way.