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Advertising on Social Networks

Posted May 29, 2012 by fran @ 11:53 am

Can a social network be an ad network at the same time? The answer to that varies on the type of business that you have, the products or services that you’re selling, and more importantly, your target audience. Do some research on how your customers use social media, and you’ll be able to determine if advertising on Facebook or Twitter will be effective for your brand.

The types of ads that you choose display are also crucial to the effectiveness of your campaign. Different social media sites have different ad products so be sure to determine which of the various types of ads are right for your business.

This post will give you an overview of the different ad offerings that you’ll find on the two most popular social networks on the web: Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook

Like most online ad networks, Facebook also has its own self-serve ads platform where you’ll be able to build your campaign. Facebook allows you to target your audience (by location, interests, demographics, etc), customize the text and graphics of your ad, and set a daily budget. These ads will then be displayed on the right hand side of the page and will be seen by Facebook members that fall under the locations and demographics that you set.

Facebook has also begun releasing a tool called “Promoted Posts” for page owners. If your business has a page on Facebook, you can use this new feature to widen the reach of your updates and posts. Prices for Promoted Posts start at $5 and will go up depending on the number of fans that you have. For example, AdMedia’s Facebook page has over 5,000 fans. When we look into promoting our posts, Facebook’s tool indicates that $5 can extend the post’s reach to 2,200 more users while $10 can amplify the post’s reach to 4,300. Note that these numbers will vary from one page to the next and the amount of extra reach that you’ll get also depends on your fan count.

Twitter

Twitter also has its own self-serve ad platform to allow business owners to promote their company on the microblogging site. The two main products that Twitter offers include Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.

With the former, Twitter will examine your most successful tweets and promote them to your target audience. Promoted Tweets will appear on searches as well as on the Twitter feeds of relevant users. The latter on the other hand, promotes YOU instead of your tweets. If you choose the Promoted Accounts product, Twitter will put your account on the “Who to Follow” lists for relevant users.

Both Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts have a budget-friendly system wherein you’ll only pay for actual results. If you have Promoted Tweets, you’ll only pay if someone interacts with your posts (i.e. Retweets, replies, or favorites). The same goes for Promoted Accounts; you’ll only be charged for the followers that you gain. Additionally, you’ll be able to set a daily cap on how much you can spend to ensure that you don’t blow your budget.

Image credit:  webtreats on Flickr

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

3 Epic Display Ads that Made Waves Online

Posted May 22, 2012 by fran @ 2:50 pm

Running out of new ideas for your next online advertising stunt? Then perhaps it’s time to inject some doses of creativity and craziness into your system. Not coming up with new ideas is often a sign that you need a change of perspective.  Maybe you’ve been thinking the same way for far too long that you need to start thinking outside the box to gain fresh insights and ideas.

Thankfully, in this day and age, finding inspiration for new and out of the box ideas isn’t difficult. The web is filled with countless ads and projects that are bound to stir up your creative juices. Check out the examples below and see if you can apply even a little of their craziness into your campaigns.

A quick word of caution though; these ads are all “so-crazy-they-might-actually-work” type of things. The people behind these ads took a lot of guts and risks. They’re unconventional and aren’t for people who insist on following rules and textbooks.

1. Ikea fit an entire store into one banner ad

Wondering how you can make your ads more interactive and fun? Then take a leaf off Ikea’s book. Ikea is known for their portable products. Most of the stuff in their branches are space savers that you can move quickly and easily. To demonstrate just how much their products are able save people space, Ikea decided to squeeze in 2,800 products into a 300 x 250 px banner ad. The teeny products in the ad are magnified as you mouse-over them, and the great thing is, that you can shop for products straight from the ad. When your mouse lands on a piece that you like, you can click on it, and it will take you directly to that product’s page. See it in action here. [via Adland and Adweek]

2. This guy proposed using display ads

Okay, so we’re certainly not telling you to propose to your customers, but this example could teach you a lesson or two about proper ad targeting and appealing to customers’ emotions. Last month, ad salesman Scott Sklar decided to propose to this girlfriend, Erica Plotkin, who happened to be a digital associate media director in the New York office of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Martin Agency. Erica received a message that something was wrong with one of their client’s ads on BBC.com. When Erica clicked on the BBC URL, she was greeted by two banner ads with the words, “Erica, will you marry me?” and “You are the love of my life – Scott”. At that moment, Scott walked in, got down on one knee and proposed. Check out the full story on AdAge.

3. Pringle’s Click-athon Ad

Who says banner ads always have to lead to a landing page or website? The guys at Pringles had a different way of looking at things. To demonstrate “how fun, eccentric—and even downright weird—life with Pringles can be”, they decided to create an ad that doesn’t take users anywhere when they click it. Instead, as people keep on click the ad, the banner just display a little story within it. Curious to see how it works? Check it out on AdWeek here.

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Figure Out the Best Way to Target Your Customers

Posted May 17, 2012 by Marina @ 9:48 am

Whether you’re using an online ad network or retargeting, having a successful marketing campaign is crucial for online advertising and business in general.

How do you know which method of marketing is right for you though?

There really is no wrong answer to this question as it is more about the preference of each business and how they want to go about getting their brand seen. Each form of marketing campaign provides users with different capabilities and features geared towards fully getting the most out of marketing. The decision on which to use, though will depend on the user and if they want to use just one, or all different forms of marketing.

Using online advertising networks is simple; providing the middle man and connecting your brand with sites that want to advertise you. It’s an effective method and gets your ad out there, but of course like any campaign, there are drawbacks. With an online ad network, you’ll be paying for your advertisement placement no matter what, even if it’s targeting uninterested viewers.

With retargeting and remarketing, the increase of conversion rate is great because it targets those users only showing interest in your product and brand in the first place. Of course it could seem repetitive in the eyes of the consumer if you don’t put a frequency cap on how often the ad appears, but often times, a perfect solution and balance will increase profits.

So whether it’s paid inclusion, online ad networks or remarketing/retargeting campaigns, be sure to do the research on whichever marketing plan(s) you intend to use.

Figure in costs, success rates and other numbers into your research and it will help determine the right options for your business to get the ultimate exposure it needs in order to strive in a fast-paced industry.  

Image credit: cliff1066 on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

3 Banner Ad Tips to Keep People Coming Back to Your Site

Posted May 14, 2012 by fran @ 3:01 pm

Ad Remarketing is known for having a high ROI mainly because it’s targeted. Since Remarketing zeroes in on people who have previously visited a website, the chances of conversion are much higher; people seeing the ad are already interested in the advertised products or services, so they’re more likely to click on it. However, advertisers should remember that the magic of remarketing technology can only go so far. Aside from being focused and targeted, a big part of an ad campaign’s success also lies on what the banner ads actually look like. After all, even if you manage to zero in on your target audience and appear on the most heavily-trafficked sites on the web, you won’t get a lot of clicks if you display a hideous ad.

With that said, you don’t need a huge budget or be a creative advertising genius to come up with ad creative that people want to see. All you need is basic design sense and a little knowledge on the best practices in creating banner ads.

1. Simple is beautiful – One of the most important tips to designing a banner ad is to keep it simple. You’re given limited space to relay your message effectively, so use it wisely. Don’t try to add too many elements or parts to the graphic, as it could make the ad too complicated or confusing. Choose the ad’s font style, color, and size wisely and make sure that the text is easily readable. Themes and colors on the other hand will vary, depending on who you audience is and what you want them to do. Different colors denote and express different things. The color red, for instance communicates energy, while Pink denotes femininity and romance. Want to woo audience of class and sophistication? Studies show that the color black denotes power and sleekness. Want to promoting beauty and wellness products? It’s been said that the color Purple is very effective in doing this. Whichever color you choose though, make sure that it’s based on tests and studies on your target audience. Don’t pick colors and themes on a whim or based on your tastes; pick them because they match the tastes and preference of your audience.

2. Keep the file size to a minimum – Your ad needs to keep up with people’s need to get information as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is for users to leave a website without even giving your ad a chance to load. Ensure that your ad’s file size is small, so that it will be able to load up faster. Most sites nowadays require a maximum file size anyway, but to be safe, a good rule of thumb is to keep your ads under 75 kb.

3. Word it wisely – Keep the content of your ad succinct and straight to the point. Avoid unnecessary and flowery words. It’s better to use the active voice for the text of your ad, because it’s easier to read, not to mention more engaging. More importantly, triple check your ad copy for spelling or grammatical errors. Nothing spells unprofessional and incompetent more than poorly-written copy.

Image credit:  Lord Jim on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Online Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Posted May 9, 2012 by fran @ 1:01 pm

Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t take your advertising and marketing efforts online. Gone are the days when people find establishments by driving around or by using the phone book. In this day and age, if you can’t be found online, then you might as well be invisible.

Thankfully, you don’t need to have a huge budget or possess a lot of technical expertise to leave your mark on the web. Online advertising offers plenty of easy and affordable ways to put the Internet spotlight on your business.  You just need to learn how to do online ads right.

1. Find the right advertising partner – Most companies automatically think of Google when the topic of online advertising comes up. However, small businesses should be aware that there are plenty of better adsense alternatives out there that can give you a better bang for your buck. Shop around for small biz friendly ad networks that have a wider range of products, publishers, and more accommodating customer service reps that can serve you better.

2. Think about those keywords – When it comes choosing keywords, don’t just write down the words that come into YOUR mind. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your customers and think about what they’re searching for. Make a list of keywords that you think you can use, narrow down the choices by filtering out the ones that aren’t that related to your business.

3. Write excellent ad copy – Whether you’re running banner ads or search engine advertisements, remember that copy is everything. The words that you decide to use in your ads will make or break the success of your campaign, so choose the words wisely. When writing ad copy, it doesn’t help to beat around the bush. You have to make the most out of your ad real estate, so get straight to the point. If you’re doing search ads, be sure to use your keywords in the headline.

4. Track, measure, and analyze – Don’t make the mistake of running the ads without having an actual system to track and analyze the results. Online advertising networks provide data to let you see how many people are clicking on your ads; be sure to monitor your campaign’s stats so that you can tweak it accordingly. You can also use Google Analytics for a more detailed view of how your campaign.

5. Target your ads – While it may be tempting to cast a wider net to catch more fish, this isn’t how it works in online advertising.  How to target your ads is completely up to you, but try to gear them towards specific demographics or locations. The more targeted you are the better. Sure, less people would be seeing the ad, but being more specific will increase the chances of your ad attracting the clicks that matter. After all, wouldn’t you rather have an audience of 10 users who are genuinely interested, as opposed to an audience of 10,000 distracted or disinterested people?

Image credit:  olgaberrios on Flickr

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Make Business Happen with Remarketing

Posted by Marina @ 9:24 am

Getting your brand seen on multiple markets is the ultimate way to increase your business and profit and one of the best ways of achieving this goal is through remarketing.

Also known as ad retargeting, this method of marketing campaign has a successful conversion rate, turning viewers into buyers when they come to your site. Statistically speaking, about 97 percent of people that visit a site will not make a purchase their first time there. What this means is getting them to view your products again and get them back onto your site is extremely important.

With remarketing, this process becomes quite easy when tracking down those that view your website.

Through the remarketing technology, advertisements are placed on other websites viewed by people that have visited your website. This means your advertising and marketing campaign is targeting those that have already shown interest in what you have to offer and allows them to continuously see your brand name and your products as they visit their favorite sites across the web.

You’ve probably noticed it before after browsing an online store. You go to another website just to check out something else and there are ads everywhere promoting the site you were browsing. That means the brand name is always in focus.

The benefits of remarketing are endless, allowing users to select the size of the ad as well as the frequency in which the ad is shown to prevent a consistent “bugging” of the customer. Let’s be honest, too much of something could keep customers away, so pushing your advertisements in their faces for too long will lose a conversion. With successful remarketing, conversion rates can go up to 125%.

Turning viewers into buyers doesn’t happen right away (remember the 97 percent number), so be sure to be patient in these remarketing campaigns. Drawing them back into your site is simple when you have a quality product and make sure that the viewers see it.

The best part about a remarketing campaign is you’re only paying for when it is effective. Your ads won’t go to uninterested parties and it will only target those who showed initial interest and have visited your site recently. Remarketing campaigns can target people on up to 98 percent of the internet so the odds of recent viewers seeing your product again are great.

Don’t let viewers just leave without becoming loyal customers; get set with a remarketing campaign today. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo credit: uggboy on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

How to Choose the Right Affiliate Program for Your Site

Posted May 2, 2012 by fran @ 11:51 am

A great way to earn passive income online is by participating in affiliate programs. These types of programs allow publishers to receive monetary incentives or rewards by promoting other businesses’ products or services with the use of affiliate links. When users click on an affiliate link and actually buy the product or service, the publisher associated with that link will be rewarded.

Decisions, decisions

Choosing the best affiliate programs can be a little tricky and even time consuming because there are hundreds of thousands them on the web. Not all affiliate offers are created equal, and selecting the wrong ones can probably do more harm than good.

Picking the right program for your website shouldn’t be too overwhelming though.  The decision would be a lot easier and quicker if you do your research and ask the right questions.

Get to know your website visitors first

You know how people are always saying that you should look for answers within first, before searching elsewhere? The same thing goes for finding the best affiliate program. Ask questions about your own website first, before you go out there looking for the best offer.  What is your website all about? What do you usually write about? More importantly, who are your visitors?

The answers to these questions will greatly influence your decision. In order for an affiliate program to become successful, people should be interested enough in the product to actually buy it (or the very least, click on affiliate link). If you promote products or services that aren’t related to your site, then you’re simply wasting your visitors’ time. Additionally, posting affiliate links that your readers aren’t interested in can annoy them and hurt your site’s traffic.

Also pay attention to the location of your visitors. If most of your readers are located outside the US, then make sure you post affiliate links for products or services that cater to non-US residents.  If you have a lot of visitors overseas, then you may have more success in promoting virtual or electronic products, such as eBooks or site memberships.

Ask about how the affiliate program works

Once you’ve gotten to know your website and your audience, you can get right down to actually selecting an affiliate program. Do a web search for affiliate products and services that you think your readers would be interested in. Examine the search results carefully to ensure that they’re legit.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, read more about your potential affiliate programs and be sure to get answers to the following questions:

1. Will it cost you anything to join?

2. How will you get paid? Will they issue commission checks? If so, when and how often?

3. Will you be able to access affiliate stats?

4. How are referrals tracked?

Go with something that you know and love (or at least like)

Finally, whatever affiliate program you decide on, be sure that it’s for products and services that you actually believe in. It may sound trite, but the fact is, you will do a much better job promoting affiliate links if you genuinely know and like what you’re talking about.

Image credit: jared on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

The 3 Most Common Myths About Remarketing

Posted April 30, 2012 by fran @ 4:02 pm

Despite its proven success, some advertisers still hesitate to implement remarketing campaigns, due to common myths and misconceptions. Some people have the perception that remarketing invades privacy, has a low ROI, and is a waste of money. However, most of these myths are simply opinions perpetuated by people who have either never tried it, or have misused the technology.

To set the record straight, below are the most common myths about remarketing. You’ll find that a lot of these claims are either completely false or are simply misunderstandings of how the remarketing technology really works.

Myth #1: Remarking invades privacy – This is 100% false. Remarketing doesn’t get any personally identifiable information from visitors. The system only tracks the fact that a user has visited a website with the use of cookies, but these “tags” are completely anonymous.  When a user is tagged, no personal information is ever retrieved or stored.

Users who aren’t comfortable with remarketing can easily clear their browsing history and cookie data to make sure that they don’t leave any tracks on the web.

Myth #2: Remarketing will creep out users – Only if you overdo it. Avoid looking like an over-eager and desperate salesperson that follows people around all time. Instead, take it easy when remarketing and do it just the right amount.  When setting up your campaign, always remember to display your ads in moderation. Bombarding people with the same advertisement will tend to annoy them, but this doesn’t mean that remarketing ads in general will harm your relationship with potential and existing customers. If you implement your campaign wisely, you will generate interest and bring people back to your site.  People appreciate gentle reminders about the sites and products that they previously viewed. 98%users leave a site without buying anything because they’re too distracted or still shopping around. Remarketing will help you get them back by showing ads for your site on the other online locations that they visit. In addition, some users are actually relieved to see remarketing ads on the sites that they visit, because it is more appropriate for them. Instead of seeing irrelevant ads on the web, they’re browsing experience is complemented by advertisements for websites and products that they’re already interested in.

Myth #3: Paying for views is a waste of money – When you implement remarketing campaigns, you are usually charged for views rather than clicks. This can turn off advertisers because they’re more eager to pay for “hard” actions such as clicks. However, remarketing goes beyond mere clicks. Instead, it builds up users’ interest and familiarity towards a product and keeps it on top of their minds. This then increases the chances of them actually buying something when they click on the ad.  Sure, traditional paid advertisements can get you clicks from disinterested users, but remarketing is the only type of advertising that can turn views into clicks that covert. The choice is up to you. Would you rather get charged for a lot of clicks that don’t lead anywhere, or pay for views that will eventually get users to his the “Buy” button?

 

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

3 Tools That Can Turn You into an Instant Video Professional

Posted April 25, 2012 by fran @ 1:27 pm

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: videos can effectively boost engagement and sales. Ads that appear on videos are proven to gain more attention and clicks, giving businesses better chances of putting their products out there, while allowing publishers to earn more revenue at the same time.

Whether you’re a business owner who wants to reel in more customers, or a publisher who wants to garner more page views and clicks, producing a video is almost a sure-fire way to get more eyeballs.

However, creating a polished and professional video isn’t always easy. If you don’t know your way around cameras and video editing software, learning the ins and outs of the production process can take up tons of time and effort. On the other hand, hiring someone to create a video for you can put a significant dent on your budget. Professional videos can send you back several hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, a handful of website on the web came up with ways to help the average non-technical user create videos like a pro without breaking the bank. Check out the sites below and you’ll be sure to start producing sleek videos in no time.

1. Animoto – Considered as one of the most popular video creation service on the web, Animoto “makes it easy and fun for anyone to create and share extraordinary videos using their own pictures, video clips, words and music.” You won’t have worry about lacking the technical know-how to create videos. All you have to do is upload the clips and images that wish to include in your video, select a template from Animoto’s library, add music and words, and then you’re good to go. The service will take care of putting all the video elements together, and you can just sit back and watch it happen. Animoto’s pricing ranges from free to $39 a month, depending on your needs.

2. Xtranormal – Do you want to produce excellent animated videos but don’t have the budget to hire animators from Pixar? Consider Xtranormal instead. The service lets you choose from a variety of animated characters. Once you’ve chosen the stars for your video, select a “set” or an environment that you want your characters to be in. You can then bring your characters to life by typing or recording the dialogue. You’ll also be able to have your characters perform gestures and movements as well as direct the camera angles in the film. Xtranormal rates start at $10 if you’re an educator and $50 if you’re a business.

3. FluxVFX – This is for users are familiar with Adobe After Effects. Similar to Animoto, FluxVFX provides templates and all you have to do is add in your own photos and text. These pre-made templates are very interactive and can be used to create slideshows, albums, and even video infographics. Templates come in the form of an Adobe After Effects file, so you’ll have to open them using that software. Pricing for starts at $25 per download and come with all of the source files for the project.

Image credit: Alejandro Peters on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

How The British Heart Foundation Generated Buzz with the Hard and Fast Ad Campaign

Posted April 18, 2012 by fran @ 2:23 pm

What do you get when you combine social media with the British Heart Foundation (TheBHF) with, Vinnie Joes and the Bee Gees? A whole lot of YouTube views, that’s what.

Considered as the UK’s most well-known heart charity, TheBHF has been spreading the word and helping those with “broken” hearts for over 50 years. The foundation has made significant contributions when it comes to research, patient care, and education, and as previously mentioned, they’ve been doing this for half a century.

But don’t the foundation’s age fool you, because as you are about to read, TheBHF is very much adept in launching online campaigns and doing social media right.

Last week, the guys at Twitter wrote a blog post about “Hard and Fast”, the wildly successful online campaign of TheBHF.

The Message

As a most people know, CPR comes in handy in cardiovascular emergencies, and can really help save lives. Still though, the thought of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation makes a lot of individuals uncomfortable, because it involves “kissing” a dying stranger.

To counter this, TheBHF aimed to spread the word about the effectiveness of “hands-only” CPR, an effective and life-saving method that doesn’t involve any sort of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation whatsoever.

The Execution

TheBHF produced a video starring famous actor Vinnie Jones. In it, Jones demonstrates the step by step process of hands only CPR. “Look lively,” Jones says. “First call 999, then you do hands only CPR” he also emphasizes that you don’t have to kiss anyone. “No kissing,” he adds. “You only kiss your missus on the lips.”

He then proceeds to demonstrate how it’s done. “Lock your fingers together, knuckles up, then push down right on sovereign.” As he does this, the music to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees swells, and Jones advises that you should “push hard and fast, about two times a second like to the beat of Stayin’ Alive!” The video ends with a short and simple line: “Hands only CPR. It ain’t as hard as it looks.”

The video was hilarious and the move of associating CPR to the song Stayin’ Alive was definitely brilliant and made the ad even more memorable.

Equally as brilliant though is how TheBHF executed the campaign. While they initially wanted to air the video on TV, the foundation decided against it, and first launched the video online instead. They used Twitter’s Promoted Tweets to drive users to watch it, and even incorporated the hastag #hardandfast into the video to help track conversations about the campaign.

The Result

According to its case study, “conversations around “Hard and Fast” were so great that in addition to the Promoted Trend, the campaign also organically trended five times with the terms: “Vinnie Jones,” “#hardandfast,” “British Heart Foundation,” “CPR” and “Stayin’ Alive.” Numerous media outlets and blogs also reported on the advertisement after seeing it trend organically on Twitter — all leading to over 1.7 million video views.”

What You Can Do

While not all of us can hire celebrities or purchase the rights to classic songs like Stayin Alive, we can still learn a lot from TheBHF. The Hard and Fast campaign was successful mainly because it was easy to remember and was associated with a song that everyone knows.

In your next advertising campaign, try to link your message to some “classic” items. It doesn’t have to be a song. There are tons of slogans and events that are close to people’s hearts.

Additionally, the fact that TheBHF decided to use online channels first instead of traditional media such as TV greatly added to the campaign’s success. Nowadays, online properties and social networks generate buzz more effectively than other forms of media, so if you’re thinking of doubling down on Internet advertising, now is definitely the time.

Also remember that this principle doesn’t just apply to videos and social media campaigns. Great ads come in all shape and sizes. Overlay, mobile, and Thank You Email Offers, are just some examples of tried and tested ads that work. Combine engaging and entertaining content with these tools, and your bound to generate buzz and conversions!

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines
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