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Impact of Cloud Computing on Marketing Technology

Posted July 31, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:39 am

Call it whatever – a cross-channel, AI-powered, IoT-driven world of marketing but behind all these is cloud computing

Impact of cloud computing

There’s no doubt that mobile communications and internet drastically changed the world. Over the last few years, cloud computing has emerged as the next big disruption in technology and has become a mainstream element of software solutions just like database or websites. Or Is it intelligent cloud?

Cloud computing is now firmly established, not merely those that would be considered part of the information technology sector. Healthcare, finance, retailers and many other industries have all been disrupted by cloud computing. Despite being a relatively recent innovation, it has already made huge waves in the technology industry. Although cloud’s benefits have not been clear to businesses there is still some confusion around this technology. About 94% of employees in the US feels that cloud computing helped their organization move closer to their needs, inspite of the fact that they are not clear on how it has been done but they are happy that it had enabled resource-saving for existing infrastructure management. Consumer cloud services such as Google Drive, Drop box and iCloud have changed the way people think about digital content.

Similarly, there are many cloud-driven tools that have brought about the greatest impact on the marketing technology.

Marketing automation

Before marketing automation came to be loved by businesses and despite the advantage digital marketing offers, the process involves laborious tasks that are time consuming. Marketing automation is a cloud based service that massively reduces the time that businessman needs to spend on daily tasks, resulting in optimization and precision of business resources. Eloqua (acquired by Oracle) and Marketo are some of the leading marketing automation services.

Managing sales cycle

Depending on the industry and the product you sell, the sales cycle can be between days and several months since different companies have different steps and activities till the sale closes. Managing multiple prospects at various stages of the cycle can be quite a painful and complex process. Before the advent of cloud computing, sales managers used spreadsheets like MS Excel to keep track of the information and for the sales cycle management. Now it is done through cloud based tools like Office 365, which is on the cloud along with other dedicated tools making it possible for sales professionals to constantly track leads from anywhere, using cloud based tools.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI will become prevalent in every industry where decision-making is being fundamentally transformed by ‘Thinking Machines’. Artificial Intelligence not only powers new generation of cloud computing technologies, but has the capacity to enhance current cloud platform incumbents. The need for smarter and faster decision making and the management of big data is the driving force behind the trend. AI is moving beyond simple chat applications like scheduling support and customer service, to impact the organizations in more profound ways.

Filed under: Digital

Banner Advertising is an Important Part of Display Advertising

Posted by Rashmi D @ 2:55 am

The objective of banner ads are the same as any other form of display advertising – a click takes the reader to the advertiser site’s specific page

Banner advertising

The most common form of banner advertising is what we see in any commercial, corporate or social website for that matter, in most websites these days. Here are some of the different types of ads that fall in this category. To begin with, there are small ads within or on the left of articles that can either be banner or half banner ads. The large and medium rectangle ads can be found within or at the end of the articles while leaderboard ads are found right at the top of the page or within an article. Although there are no full page ads in the banner category, there is something called a half page ad which can be found on the either the right or left hand side of the page. Then, there are the skyscraper ads with an additional category known as wide skyscraper ads that are found on the sidebars and on top of the web pages. Finally there are the square and small square ads that are found on the right hand sidebar.

Effectiveness of banner advertising

One of the biggest benefits of online advertising over conventional advertising is that its effectiveness is measurable in comparison to other forms of advertising. The customer’s purchase journey begins with a click on the banner ad which takes them to the advertiser website’s specific page where the complete details of the product or service being offered is available. If the customer likes what he reads on this page, there are further links here to take him to the payment gateway through which he makes the payment, thereby completing his sales journey.

There cannot be a better way of measuring the effectiveness of an ad than this indicator known as the click-through rate (CTR). It is calculated by using the number of times the ad was displayed (impressions) to divide the number of users who clicked on the ad. A CTR of 7% will suggest that out of 100 impressions, the banner was clicked on seven times. Banner ads are one of the best ways to increase awareness of a brand and their effectiveness increases proportionally depending on the amount of traffic there is, on the sites where they are displayed. They are also excellent lead generators whereby incomplete click-throughs can be retargeted.

Designing banner advertising

In principle, there is no difference in the two critical rules of communication that are necessary in either online or offline advertising – the message being conveyed in the ad and what you want to achieve from the ad. For instance, if you want to sell a particular type of running shoes, show a pair of the shoes on your ad and give a simple sales headline that doesn’t require any amount of pondering or thinking to understand. That’s because you barely have a few seconds to grab your customer’s attention. Because of the small size of the mobile, tablet or PC screen, your ad won’t have much space to either provide a big enough picture of the shoes or the accompanying details.

You will have to optimize both the visualization and copy of your ad to make the most of the limited space on the mobile, tablet or PC screen and grab the attention of your customer in those critical few seconds. You have to ensure that your product is displayed with a lot of open space all around it and your headline is short and to the point. Many people make the mistake to cramming in too much copy into a banner ad assuming that the customer needs more details at very the moment he sees the ad. That’s a big mistake because unlike offline print, ambience or outdoor advertising, in online banner advertising, the customer should be guided all along the purchase journey in one seamless, continuous and consistent click-through run.

Process of banner advertising

It needs to be remembered that unlike in print or TV advertising, an online banner ad is a quick-fire medium intended to produce fast and effective results. The creative director simply doesn’t have the time or space to play with abstract ideas that sometimes intrigues the reader. For the online audience, there are scores of options right in his device – mobile, tablet or PC and as it happens when one has an abundance of choices, the process of flipping through options is done at a fast pace. It doesn’t require a doctorate in psychology to realize that the online customer is in a hurry to see all his options.

True, there are online video ads that run as long as a TV commercial or even longer sometimes but where does it begin on the mobile, tablet or PC screen? Of course, it all begins from a banner ad where you have to attract the customer with a simple and meaningful headline and a clean, clear and uncomplicated picture of your product. Even if it’s a video, it will start only after the customer clicks on the banner ad. Therefore, the advertiser needs to follow the simple thumb rules of online banner advertising to get the maximum results from his ad.

Filed under: Display

Pre-Order a Smart Cooktop from BuzzFeed That Connects to Smartphone via Bluetooth

Posted July 28, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 12:14 pm

The appliances maker has partnered with GE to develop the smart cooktop it calls Tasty One Top which can be pre-ordered for $179

smart cooktop

Appliance freaks can now pre-order a smart cooktop, which can basically track the surface temperature of a pan or pot as well as the internal temperature of the food. That’s not all because cooktop gives you notifications when it’s time to flip your food or when it’s perfectly done. This smart cooktop marks BuzzFeed’s plunge into the smart home market with its latest innovation. With the Tasty One Top foodies using kitchenware like, pans and pots, as well as processes like slow cooking or sous vide, can handle almost any form of cookware and more.

Tasty One Top has been quite active on social sites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram where its video recorded over 58 billion views and over an entire month it reaches more than 400 viewers every month. The Tasty page met with tremendous success and as a result, many brand extensions were created with pages like Bien Tasty, Proper Tasty, Tasty Junior, Tasty Vegetarian and many others.

Ashley McCollum, general manager of Tasty, says, “In two years, Tasty has reimagined the recipe format as a visual, shareable and interactive medium, democratizing food and making cooking more accessible, social and fun in the process. The Tasty One Top and app demonstrates our commitment to the intersection of content and technology, marking the beginning of the next step in the evolution of our business as we expand into new ways of using technology to bring people together around food.”

Ben Kaufman, head of BuzzFeed Product Labs, opined, “Tasty’s strong brand and massive fan base give it almost limitless avenues for expansion, from cookbooks to licensing to consumer tech, and we’re excited to take a new big new step with the One Top, a product that has the potential to truly make precision cooking widely accessible.”

Filed under: Digital

Display Advertising Trends That are Driven by New Innovations

Posted by Rashmi D @ 11:39 am

display advertising trend

Like everything online, display advertising trends keep evolving at great pace. Gone are the days when there used to be just a banner on the mast and a box ad on the top right corner of the screen. Today, if you enter an ecommerce portal (a website which is like an online mall) to look up trousers and shirts, it may be that you would get ‘bombarded’ with various kinds of ads trying to attract you with things that you have a weakness for, other than what you have entered the portal to buy. For instance, if you have a weakness for stiletto shoes, you might find ads popping up in every page you visit, trying to attract you with different kinds of stiletto shoes, even though you don’t intend to buy them now, since your shopping list just includes trousers and shirt for now. If you’re alert, you might ponder – “how is it that these advertisers know I like stiletto shoes?”

Surely, for an ordinary customer visiting an ecommerce portal to look up trousers and shirts, it is difficult to understand how such ads are targeting her in this manner? Let’s get behind the scene to understand just how is it that the advertisers know this customer is fond of stiletto shoes? To put it simply, this isn’t the first time she would have visited an ecommerce portal, which means she’s a regular online shopper who has been visiting numerous ecommerce portals. It doesn’t require a great flash of brilliance to understand that during all these visits to different online shopping portals, this customer would have spent most of her time looking for stiletto shoes, which we know, is her weakness. Still, we don’t yet know how all these advertisers know her weakness.

Marketing automation is among the major display advertising trends

Not many people would know about marketing automation unless they’re connected to online marketing or the IT industry in some way. Marketing automation involves algorithms in a website that sync with big data (humongous loads of data) and artificial intelligence to perform promotional, selling and upselling actions at scale. This may not be an adequate definition of marketing automation but for the purpose of what this blog intends to convey about trends in online advertising, this should be enough. There is no doubt that this is highly sophisticated technology at work and it is also very expensive. On the flip side, marketers know very well that it is gradually becoming indispensible in display advertising but as it acquires scale, it is also becoming more affordable.

Let’s get back to the customer with a weakness for stiletto shoes and how marketing automation has been able to map her preferences. Understandably, there are several tools meeting different objectives that make up a marketing automation suite and these are customized as per the marketers’ or advertisers’ requirements. For instance the marketing automation requirements of a portal selling multiple products across different categories and that of a seller of say, stiletto shoes, would obviously be different not just in terms of scale but also in terms of the number of automation tools they need. The portal where the customer was bombarded with ads for stiletto shoes apparently uses a large suite of marketing automation tools which would know how to integrate details of customer’s preferences with advertisers on the portal.

Use of Big Data is another major display advertising trend

How many times the customer with a weakness for stiletto shoes visited this portal and other portals looking for stiletto shoes and how many other customers like her with similar weaknesses have been mapped with other aspects of their browsing habits is a matter of analytics at scale. Such analytics are powered by very sophisticated algorithms that compute all such data and make them useful for users of the marketing automation, like marketers and advertisers. It would be futile for ordinary shoppers to even think about the amount of data that gets processed by these algorithms every minute and we should simply be happy to know that the data is being optimized for marketing and display advertising among others.

The accumulation of data is a natural process in a society that is driven by information technology. The term Big Data evolved when this data load was threatening to go out of control. Some geek somewhere, found out the first rudimentary ways of getting a grip of the data and then one thing led to another. Today, humongous loads of data are no longer a threat because their optimum utilization have become much easier, thanks to Big Data processing abilities. In fact, businesses now want more and more data about their customers to be able to bombard them with relentless display advertising. As if that’s not all, we now have another great data processing innovation called Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is getting businesses ever closer to their customers and at this rate it won’t be long before they become our shadow.

Filed under: Display

Can Display Advertising Increase Brand Awareness?

Posted July 27, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:21 am

Display ads are the most effective ways to reaching out to a target group and get a good ROI for every advertising dollar spent

display advertising

How much time do you just piddle around reading scientific research, sports stats and café recipes? We all spend more time on our favorite websites than we do to search for a specific item. So, if you have a business and want to reach prospective customers, display advertising provides many benefits such as fast brand building and helps you reach your audience with Google Display Ads.

Today, online display advertising helps to revolutionize the market and proves to be boon for businessmen, who were struggling before as they were using traditional advertising for brand building. According to the Digital Banner Production Agency, it is an effective media to reach most of the audience within a target market as it has more power to educate the consumers to build trust for the brand. When you are purchasing for your own or if it’s personal purchase, you will be more involved where you remember or will look for the factors like the brand’s reputation, culture, quality, values, features, specification or social status of the product or company.

Once you come out of your comfort zone, you will automatically get pushed to choose differently. Assume you are travelling or moving cross-country and want to buy yogurt, you might like to visit the grocery store and walk down Yogurtland. After looking up for a couple of minutes, you were not able to decide, as you couldn’t find the best one. After looking up for a while longer, you see something familiar on a banner ad – Danone, and you are finally able to decide. This is the power of display advertising. Even though Danone isn’t your favorite yogurt or first choice at home, you chose it because it is what you saw on the ad.

How to make the best use of such ads?

When it comes to directing traffic to the website, one of the methods that social media marketing experts believe in is banner ads. They use these ads on the most visited or trusted sites, since generating high traffic on website will increase the chances of conversion. If you randomly ask a couple of passersby on the street about their favorite flavor of ice cream, the probability of “Vanilla” as the choice may be zero, but if you ask 10 people the same question, your chances of finding “Vanilla” as the likely response may increase. This rate will go up incrementally when the question is put to more people.
Similarly, traffic on your site increases when your target audience encounters your display ads across different sites. The larger the number of your ads, the higher will be the rate of responses, which will increase traffic into your site.

How can the branding increase?

The main reason why big brands spend so much money on display advertising is because it effectively reaches most people within a target market compared to other media. It affects consumers at every stage of the marketing journey from awareness, evaluation and education to purpose. The reason why such promotion is important and effective is that, this is quick way to build brand awareness because people are happy to see and likely to remember the things what they see rather than read and hear from somewhere.

So the display ad contribute to the traffic and conversion. As per Forbes, 90% of the advertising agencies and business consider display ads are a great way to increase branding.

Benefits of Display Advertising

Display ads are the graphic content that incorporates text, logos, pictures or images and company branding to attract the user’s attention on websites. Display ads are branded and styled and the user can gather information on brand simply by clicking on the ad.

Effective Targeting with Display Ads

In online advertising, it is necessary to target the people who are most relevant to business. You can create specific parameters like, which sites they will appear on, or which geographic area or niche market they are appearing in. The benefit of targeting is that you can maximize your reach. For example, apparels and accessories retailers target people of adolescent age and women who livein their zip code and are visiting fashion-style related websites.

With Display Ads – Increase Visibility

Display ads help your business to grow by getting you in front of a high volume of the right kind of people even if they are not searching for the product. Thereby display ads are likely to appear on the websites that are not even the highly trafficked but related to the offer.

Display Ads – Provide Data

Using Google analytics, you can measure your marketing activities and track the performance of your website. With the data, what the Display ads provide you can exactly know how many times your ads had been clicked.

Display Ads Allows Retargeting

Other than standard targeting capabilities Display ads support retargeting, where you can target people in more impactful manner, who have already visited your website and express interests in business.

Filed under: Display

Brand Union CEO Toby Southgate Quits to Join McCann

Posted by Rashmi D @ 3:54 am

Southgate’s new role at McCann will be that of global chief growth officer who will operate across the IPG network

google analytics

Toby Southgate, who was the youngest ever CEO of WPP branding agency Brand Union, has joined McCann Worldgroup in the capacity of global chief growth officer. He quit Brand Union a couple of months back and now at McCann his area of focus will be to boost on new business efforts, and strengthen the agency’s relationships with existing clients and work on developing partnerships globally with all the agencies across McCann’s network. Southgate has replaced Alex Lubar, who was McCann’s global chief marketing officer till about the end of 2015 before moving to the agency’s London office as CEO.

Southgate, who is a native of the UK, had joined Brand Union in 2007 and worked his way up within the agency’s network. He had been the managing director in its Abu Dhabi office and headed its operations in the UK and Ireland before becoming CEO of the Americas. Thereafter he was made head of the agency’s global operations in 2015 and during this time, he handled accounts like Bank of America, HSBC, Sony and Vodafone among many other global giants. Chairman and CEO of McCann Worldgroup, Harris Diamond, said, “What makes Toby so effective in business development is that he relishes the complexity of brand challenges in today’s complex business environment and he knows how to harness resources to create innovative multiplatform solutions for clients.”

For his part, Southgate said, “Three things have made me hungry for this role: a magnetic culture, world-class people, and a relentless, unifying focus on doing great work for great clients. For a 100+ year-old business to sit at the cutting edge of our industry is something special. I’m excited to get to work helping clients do more with their businesses and brands.”

Filed under: Agencies

Hershey’s Adopts New Age Marketing Strategy to Launch Its Cookie Layer Crunch

Posted July 26, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:29 am

Partners Facebook to develop an innovative social creative and reach out to retailers all across the country in quick time

google analytics

Hershey’s the traditional candy maker introduced its Cookie Layer Crunch, which it projected as one of its greatest “innovations” in over sixteen years. Hershey’s says that the pre-launch test-marketing of the new candy earned it the highest ratings for any of its products till date. The brand created three different types of communication and partnered with social site, Facebook to reach consumers across the country all at once. Thereafter, it used the communication in other social posts. With the help of this quick and smart distribution strategy, Hershey’s managed to deliver Cookie Layer Crunch to retailers and stores all across the country in quick time.

Ari Ben-Canaan, senior manager of global advertising services at Hershey’s, said, “Given digital’s ability to be very quick, we decided to leverage Facebook as a platform because it’s a platform where you get that reach that you’re seeking but you can also be hyper targeted at the same time. TV production lead times are typically very long and involved whereas digital can be a little bit more agile and you don’t have to be so precious about all the editing schedules and the effects. Digital is an ephemeral environment where people are consuming content and moving on so we’re able to produce something that was really quick, high quality [and] built for an environment where we knew viewers were going to consume it and then probably go on to their social feeds.”

Hershey’s created a 20-second teaser video just a week before the launch of Cookie Layer Crunch on December 4, 2016 which also happens to be the National Cookie Day. The video showed a 3D image of Cookie Layer Crunch coming out of the screen in the manner of a tech product launch. Says Mary-Ann Somers, general manager and vice president, at Hershey’s, “We recognize eating habits are evolving and that consumers are moving away from traditional meals and into multiple snacking occasions that include various tastes and textures throughout the day.”

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Comedian Scott Aukerman Shares Some of His Ways to Success with Podcast

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 2:40 am

Among the attributes listed by Aukerman for a podcast to succeed are, uniqueness, reliability, regularity, celebrity and sustainability

google analytics

Scott Aukerman emerged on the podcasting scene in 2009 with his podcast, Comedy Bang! Bang! when the market was going through a boom for the first time. The podcast was centered around a lot of folks in the market who were known to him quite well. Later, it became one of the first podcasts to be taken up for a TV series on IFC. Most of the guests that Aukerman invites to his podcast even today include “eccentric and neurotic” characters who are also established comedians in their own domains and it goes without saying that this became the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of the podcast.

Aukerman explains that, oftentimes a show becomes interesting when the host willingly takes a backseat and allows the guest to dominate the show for long spells. This is just one of the many ways to innovate and there’s plenty of scope for more. Does that increase reliability of the podcast in the perception of the audience? Yes, it is possible even though a podcast isn’t really embedded in the mind of the audience like a TV talk show or a radio show. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and sections of the audience are known to be great fans of many a trending podcast.

People like regularity because it allows them to set a schedule. If a podcast has been able to create a good impression on listeners’ minds not just with good content but also by coming out at the specified time, it better continue that way. For Aukerman, it’s Monday when he posts his podcast which is now part of his listeners’ routine; so they know when to download the podcast. He’ll surely lose an incremental component of his audience base if he messes with their routine at regular intervals. The other point to keep in mind is whether your theme can be sustained. Here, it is equally important to remember that the host’s credentials should not be in question. If you’ve gotten hold of the right theme, and other things like your presentation and depth of coverage are what they should be, your podcast will not just survive but also thrive.

Filed under: Digital

Using Google Analytics Gets Easier – Users Just Need to Ask the Question

Posted July 24, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:02 am

The new AI-powered voice-activated tool will simplify data queries making life easier for both users and analysts at Google

google analytics

Google is continuously innovating and the latest to come out of the software giant’s endless list of updates is an AI-powered voice-based navigation to understand data. The foremost benefit of this is that if a user now wants to ask Google Analytics a question about his website or app data, he’ll be able to do so directly and get the answer. Till now, users have had to navigate through Google Analytics dashboard to get the data they wanted by working around different paths in the analytics chart. Not anymore – if they now want to know the number of users that visited his site on a specific day or wants a breakdown of the traffic on that day from mobile and desktop, he just has to ask Google Analytics aloud or type the query.

Google will be rolling out this tool in a month’s time or earlier and right now it will only be available for users who can ask questions in English only. However, as with most other innovations in Google this tool will surely get smarter over time as it will figure out the kind of queries that users ask and that will lead to better experience for users. After all, Google Analytics is designed to give users a better understanding of their data by highlighting vital facts, figures and trends automatically. The difference now is that usability will get several notches easier with this voice activation tool which is basically the result of efforts by a broader initiative within Google called Analytics Intelligence.

Babak Pahlavan, senior director of measurement and analytics at Google, says, “It feels like you’re actually talking to an analyst. Imagine the possibilities. Anyone who is walking around, walking to a meeting, you should be able to ask it now. You don’t necessarily need to know the segmentation—it does all of that for you.” Google has been using natural language processing technology in Android for a while now, said Pahlavan, asserting that adding voice and natural language controls isn’t some minor upgrade. Google engineers toiled for three years to build this set of tools that will now help users of Google Analytics use the platform like a search engine. He was all praise for his team for having completed the project in barely three years.

Filed under: Digital

Zeta Global’s Adds Machine Learning Power with Boomtrain Acquisition

Posted July 21, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:23 am

Zeta helps marketers acquire, retain and develop relationships with customers while Boomtrain offers artificial intelligence for personalized messaging

Zeta Global with boomtrain acquisition

Zeta Global, the software-as-a-service-based marketing automation cloud platform founded by David Steinberg and former Apple CEO, John Sculley, has recently acquired Boomtrain, a marketing platform that is based on machine-learning for something between $35 million and $40 million. With this acquisition Zeta is now more certain of being able to get closer to leaders in the marketing cloud market like Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and IBM. At the operational level, Zeta and Boomtrain is a win-win combination. The software-as-a-service marketing on cloud of Zeta helps marketers acquire, retain and develop relationships with customers while the machine learning technology of Boomtrain offers artificial intelligence that helps provide personalized messaging across all digital touchpoints.

Zeta was on the lookout for a machine-learning platform that could help it enhance its own machine-learning platforms. Incidentally Zeta already has a number of patents in machine learning and the acquisition of Boomtrain, which is strong in publishing means that Zeta now has a much wider spectrum of SAS marketing automation services. In fact, Zeta will now leverage Boomtrain’s technology for personalization within ZetaHub, which now means that Zeta has one of the largest patent portfolios of machine-learning tools in the marketing technology arena.

Steinberg said, “We will merge 100 percent of its machine learning, decisioning and marketing automation in our entire marketing cloud. It’s a big deal for us technologically. We looked at this and thought: is this a buy or a build? Our existing team is amazing, but we really felt like this team brought a new vision in where the industry was going from an AI/machine learning perspective. For us, without question, this was all about time. It would have taken our team a long time to do with and we’d have to hire somebody like (Boomtrain co-founder) Chris (Monberg) anyway.” However, he also drew the line on how far he sees the blend going, especially in relation to agency services that Boomtrain offers its clients, saying, “We are not an agency. We don’t want to be in the agency business. We are a software company.”

Filed under: Digital
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