Best Digital Channels to Increase Revenue

With so many digital channels, it’s really hard to identify which one has the biggest impact on revenue. In fact, approximately one-third of marketers are unsure of which digital tactics are the most effective.

A year ago, email marketing was ranked as the best channel in terms of return on investment, with 68% of companies rating the channel as “good” or “excellent.” Revenue from email had increased proportionately by 28% in one year.

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But the success of the channel could depend on whether you are a B2B or B2C marketer.

According to a recent study from Webmarketing123, Email marketing remains the most effective digital tactic overall. However, B2C marketers found that paid search was the most effective digital tactic, with 24% saying it has the biggest impact on revenue whereas B2B marketers from that email was most effective.

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When it comes to social media channels, B2B marketers have found the greatest success with LinkedIn. Although a large percentage still do not know if they generate revenue at all from social media. For B2C marketers 56% say that Facebook has generated the most the most revenue.

With that said, email is one of the easiest digital channels to measure in terms of revenue generation and ROI. Measuring the revenue from social media marketing is more challenging since it involves intangibles such as engagement, audience reach, and “buzz.” But using tools such as Google Analytics Campaign Tracking can help bridge the gap.

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The Biggest Lesson Marketers Can Learn from #TheDress Debate

Last Thursday, the Internet was in a heated debate over whether a dress was #WhiteAndGold or #BlackAndBlue. When Caitlin McNeill and her friends could not agree upon the color of a dress, she posted a photo on Tumblr to seek out the opinion of others. Buzzfeed got ahold of this and posted an article asking the world to settle the debate. By the next day, it seemed that every person, including my mother, was talking about the dress.

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But the biggest marketing lesson to be learned are not about how it became viral, or the benefits of Buzzfeed or even audience engagement through social media. The lesson is how perception equals reality.

Everyone who looked that photo saw something different. It had nothing to do with intelligence, experience or even fashion sense. (Although most people agreed the dress was hideous in style.) It was about our eyes taking the information in front of us, our brains processing it and giving us an answer that may or may not be correct. Our brains are colored with cognitive biases that affect how we gather, evaluate and retain information. We even see patterns that are not even there. But because the information came from our brain we assumed that it was the right answer. People were insistent on what they were seeing because it was what they were actually seeing.

This is also true with the audience of a brand. The decision of what a brand is, is how the person is going to choose to see it, based on their biases. Each person perceives their own reality. This strongly impacts likeability. So it is important for marketers to accept that not everyone will see a brand in the same way and take that into consideration when developing campaigns.

Why Facebook is the Future Home for Online Video

Move over YouTube, there will be a new primary channel for videos. Well…maybe not so new.

It has been predicted that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. Currently, video posts can be seen on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, and other social platforms. While YouTube has always been the leader in video content posting and is known for being the best-performing social media platform to drive trackable sales, video posting is beginning to move away from YouTube towards Facebook.

In August 2014, Facebook surpassed You Tube in the number of videos viewed via desktop with 12.3 billion. And Facebook videos receive significantly more shares than YouTube, given that sharing and engagement are at the heart of Facebook interactions.

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Even though there is a growing trend towards Facebook, marketers should still promote their online video content across multiple channels to fully realize a video’s potential.

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but an online video is worth 1.8 million.

Why Marketers Should be Thinking About Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a digital technology that overlays text, images or video over physical objects. It provides all types of information such as location, heading, visual, audio and acceleration data, and opens an avenue for real-time feedback. AR provides a way to bridge the gap between the physical and digital experience, empowering brands to better engage with their customers and drive real business results.

As consumers become more and more addicted to their mobile devices, there is a greater need to simultaneously interact in the physical and the digital world. Augmented reality can help marketers engage consumers through a rich and rewarding experience.

For example, Audi created an app where if you are standing in front of an Audi car with your mobile device, you can interact with images to paint it a different color or get inside and interact with the dashboard and other interior features.

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IKEA developed a 2014 catalog that included 50 pages of extended digital content such as 360/180 degree views of the rooms along with zoom in features. But the best part of the catalog was its augmented reality capability that allowed customers to view and place selected 3D representations of IKEA products in their own rooms just by using a smartphone or tablet.

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So why marketers should incorporated augmented reality into campaigns?

  • AR provides a new content channel for consumers
  • Consumers can interact in both digital and physical worlds.
  • AR is mobile-native
  • AR is highly inexpensive, interactive and targeted
  • AR converges social, location and context
  • AR extends the life of direct mail campaigns
  • AR is more measurable and trackable results from direct marketing campaigns
  • AR equates to high emotional and repeat engagement
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Everything I Learned about Social Media, I Learned From Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is more than just a GRAMMY award-winning singer-songwriter, she is also the master of social media. Here are the top 4 social media marketing lessons we can learn from Taylor Swift:

  1. Sharing is caring

Many brands and celebrities just talk about themselves. But Taylor Swift’s Twitter feed is full of retweets of undiscovered artists covering her songs, of wedding videos using her songs and lots of fan collages. Taylor regularly comments on fans posts and this past Christmas, better known as #Swiftmas, she sought out lucky fans and randomly sent them gifts.

  1. Treat fans like friends

There is a personal and casual nature associated with social media and Taylor understands and enjoys putting herself out there. She knows that by treating fans like friends they will want to support her back. While haters are gonna hate, having a sense of humor and vulnerability often leads to social media success.

  1. Tailor the messaging by platform

Audiences are different on various social media platforms, however, most brands use the same content across all platforms. Taylor finds unique ways to engage with her fans through each social network. She uses them to show how her fans’ lives intertwine with her own.

  1. Make important announcements

Back in August, Taylor gave clues to fans on Instagram about her albums release. This gamification strategy works great for brands because it gives the audience another reason to follow.

Her social media success can be simply be attributed to her authentic lifestyle. While many brands interact with fans authentically and consistently, Taylor has a way of making her fans feel like she genuinely loves them back.

That mutual love has translated into her latest release, 1989, becoming a Billboard number-one selling album for 10 weeks running and has been the fastest-selling album in 12 years. Taylor ranks number 18 on Forbes’s celebrity list and is estimated to be worth over $200 million.

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Why Always #LikeAGirl Won the Super Bowl of “Social Buzz”

The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks were not the only teams fighting for a win last night. There were over 35 brands vying for the attention of the 114.5 million viewers who watched Super Bowl XLIX, often known as the biggest advertising event of the year. But in today’s world of emerging media, success is no longer defined by the number of television viewers it reached. Instead, success is being defined by the amount of “social buzz” an ad generates before, during and after the event.

Adobe has been harvesting the “social buzz” around this year’s Super Bowl ads with its Adobe Social which analyzes over 4 million social media mentions on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Flicker, Reddit, Foursquare, Google+, WordPress, and other blogs. The algorithm takes into account a combination of total mentions, Super Bowl buzz growth over an average day, sentiment, spend efficiency, an international reach.

Adobe’s winner: Always #LikeAGirl ad. Proctor & Gamble’s ad focusing on female empowerment snagged the top spot with over 400,000 mentions. It also drove the highest positive sentiment across social media mentions with 84% of mentions focused on feelings of admiration and joy.

Since all the Super Bowl ads were readily available online, Omnicom-owned Annalect and Optimum Sports measured the total number of online engagements for Super Bowl ads. Its findings were assembled with crowdsourcing, creating a score that considers all public information about an online ad’s performance – including views, clicks, “likes” and shares on various digital platforms. It found that while people saw hashtags in half of the Super Bowl commercials, people did not notice many calls to action to follow the brand’s social media accounts. However, Always #LikeAGirl hashtag campaign generated 920 million engagements according to Omnicom’s findings making it the top ad in engagement.

Interestingly, Omnicom also found that logos have a strong impact on digital engagement. Sixty-five percent of ads showed a logo three times or fewer, which led to the highest level of online engagement. And you guessed it, Always was one of those brands who downplayed their logos.

It’s clear that the Always #LikeAGirl ad was designed for “social buzz” with its hashtag title and call out at the end, “Let’s make #LikeAGirl mean amazing things.” Therefore, it is no surprised that the data supports its success.

Taking a cue from the Always #LikeAGirl campaign, here is what marketers can do to increase “social buzz” and online engagement:

  1. Focus your message on positive sentiments
  2. Make sure your hashtag campaign has a clear call to action
  3. Downplay your brand’s logo

Why the ‘Internet will disappear’

It’s the end of the Internet as we know it.

Last Thursday, during an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt made a jaw dropping prediction about the future of the web when he argued that one day “the Internet will disappear.”

Rest assured, Schmidt was not referring to an extensive global Internet provider outage. Instead, he was making a point about the economics of technologies as they mature. Schmidt predicts a future where the Internet is all around us:

“There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it. It will be part of our presence all the time and we will be able to interact with things going on around us.”

This technological disappearing act is not a new concept. In fact, it is how we know technology has matured.

As recently noted in Forbes, a great example of matured technology is the automobile. Before cars could parallel park themselves, they were extremely unreliable than the horse and carriages they were attempting to replace. The driver, at that time, had to be a mechanic to manage the constant breakdowns. There was even a time where Sunday afternoons were spent working on the car to ensure it worked properly for the next work week. Today, teenagers can be drivers and our cars have sensors that can practically tell us what is wrong. We don’t have to think about how to fix our cars, for the most part, they just “work.” And soon there will be self-driving cars on the road.

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A motorwagen from the 1880s (top) and Audi’s A7 self-driving car (bottom)

So the Internet will not disappear, it will just be all around us…even in our cars that pick us up from work.