Digital Marketing

How Many Social Media Ads Do You Remember?

I use social media, but I’m not addicted to it. I post maybe once a day to Facebook ar twitter on average. Sometimes a bit more but not hourly. I also use both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. On the desktop though, I’m running things like AdBlock Pro, and Facebook Purity so I don’t see all of the ads that are being pushed via social media to me. Mobile, however, is a different story, with 15 plus ads being pushed to me with each Facebook or Twitter session. Now before I go on, I want to qualify what I consider a session. It is every time I log into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, after at least a one hour pause, so a minimum of 1 hour between my last visit and current visit. This is important because it relates directly to the actual effectiveness of the ads.

The point of any advertisement is for you the viewer to remember the brand and the product after you have seen it, and hopefully click through and convert to a sale. If any of these fail to get you to engage, the effectiveness of the ad is a failure as well. I’m going to ask everyone reading this to try something. Open Facebook or Twitter, go to your feed and block or hide every ad you see. This includes sponsored videos, sponsored posts, tweets from companies you do not follow, retweets by someone you might follow for a specific product or service you don’t care about, etc. If it looks like an ad kill it. Don’t engage with the ad, just get rid of it and move on. This is important because digital advertising has less than 2 seconds to hook you and get you to engage.  Now close out of the social media feed, wait five minutes, and try and recall any of the brands, products or services that were sponsored.

Chances are most people can’t remember 90 to 95 percent of the ads that were crammed into their feed disrupting the experience with things they care very little about. And because of that, I say most current social media advertising is a big old fail. Sure they tell you that the ads are targeted to a specific audience, and the data shows great levels of engagement because big data never lies. I’m not seeing it, however. The traditional social media campaigns I have worked on don’t perform much better than an email with about a two to four percent engagement and conversion rate. The ads aren’t bad, people simply ignore them because they have become white noise in the social media users feed.

In the last 24 hours, I have blocked, hidden or deleted 167 ads in Facebook, and Twitter on my iPhone. I couldn’t tell you what any of them were for. At the same time though, I have engaged with posts created by influencers that were ultimately promoting a product or service because I perceive them as a trusted source, and frankly I think this holds true for most people. So why then are you being bombarded with so much advertising in your social media feeds? The bottom line… Money. Social media advertising is a huge business that promises better engagement, a better value, and higher conversion rates, yet it has become the spam of this decade which makes me say that the effectiveness is an oversell.

When readers/viewers become numb to your advertising, your advertising is no longer effective. So, think back to all of those ads you hid and ask yourself how many of them you actually remember. Now think about someone you follow that recently posted something you found interesting, that ultimately was about a product or service that they liked. Did you engage with it? Did you share it? Was there a link in the post that you clicked on?  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you not only remember one, but probably two or even three which shows that influencer marketing in social media is more effective than traditional sponsored advertising. I know what all of the big social media powerhouses will say, they are going to continue to tell you that the current form of social media advertising is the most effective, has the greatest reach, and better conversion rates. And for now, it does because there is no alternative. The thing is though as they continue to oversaturate the effectiveness breaks down, and people become numb to the ads, or they do what I did on my Mac and block everything in the browser hiding the advertisements on the page neutralizing them all together.

In the last few years, firms have emerged dedicated exclusively to influencer marketing. They help tie a brand or product to a celebrity, sports figure, pop star etc. for those that aren’t  aware of what Influence marketing is, it is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It’s not new. TV has been doing this for decades. Think about all those weight loss ads featuring people like Marie Osmond, or Oprah right. The difference is that influence marketing in social media and digital channels has greater potential reach because it isn’t limited to a specific region, it can reach anyone in the world at any given time. In addition, influencers can be anyone from a traditional media celebrity, to some kid that has managed to rack up a few hundred thousand YouTube subscribers.

Like I said, this isn’t new. Nike sold tons of Air Jordan’s not because it was necessarily a better basketball shoe. They sold them because Micheal Jordan’s name was on it. Digital Influence Marketing has been on the rise for the last 5 or more years. I think we are reaching a critical mass where it is poised to become the dominant form of social media marketing for a couple of reasons. First, it’s seamless. Someone you like, like something, therefore it’s cool and I’ll like it or want it too. Second, it’s perceived as a more trusted source. Most people don’t realize that the influencer is being paid to say they like or use something, especially when it is set up as a post in a social media feed. They don’t read like ads, they read with a higher sense of honesty and integrity and that means they will be less ignored, remembered more often, shared, and engaged with at a higher rate.

So, how many of those social media ads you hid earlier can you remember?

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“How Life Unfolds” Paper and Packaging Leverages The Power of Storytelling.

Last night while suffering from a bout of insomnia I was watching TV trying to will myself to get sleepy so I could just go to bed and dream the night away. It wasn’t working and I’m glad it I stayed up. The fact that I was watching late night TV allowed me to see a commercial for Paper and Packaging that originally dropped back in April, which led me to the online campaign that it is tied to as well. And this got me to thinking about how really nice this campaign is.

In a day and age where no one really writes physical letters anymore, how does a company communicate the use of paper, of how personal handwritten communication is, and how touching a physical letter can be instead of an email or text? They do it through compelling storytelling. When I first saw the commercial below, the sound was off on my TV. I was actually working on my iPad and happened to look up and see it. I didn’t turn the sound on, instead I watched the entire spot in silence and was still drawn in by a storyline that simply works. The visuals are as equally compelling as the voice over. After watching the spot I backed up, turned on the sound and watched again, this time listening to the message, and thinking about how this spot hits a home run.

The commercial is relevant because it does a number of things. It unites multiple generations with the experience of writing an actual letter. It ties three generations together, one that grew up in a time where email and texts didn’t exist, one where these technologies emerged, and one where the primary form of communication is digital. In doing so, it humanizes what could be a forgettable experience, (a text, or an email) and replaces it with something that we all know is memorable, a hand written letter. Everyone everywhere knows the power of a correspondence written by hand. A letter takes time, require focus, and tends to feel more genuine. It isn’t something that is typed out on a phone, reduced to 140 characters, or lost in a digital inbox or folder that exists on the cloud out of sight out of mind.  The commercial also shows the products in use. Not just the piece of paper, remember this is for “Paper and Packaging”, a company that also produces cardboard boxes. The commercial shows the letters, written on paper, shipped in a box, and returned the same way, all while telling a great story about how the product is used as a form of communication and delivery.

After watching the spot a couple of more times, I no longer cared about willing myself to sleep. I was curious about the rest of the campaign, so I did a quick Google search and found that Paper and packaging had recently created a new series of YouTube videos entitled “Letters for Peace” on their channel “How Life Unfolds”, great tagline by the way. I have one of the 3-minute videos below, but I highly recommend clicking through and watching the remaining six. Every one of them is  done at the same high level of production and tells a wonderful story all coming back to the same basic component of the commercial “Letters to Dad” that I happened to look up and catch last night.

All of this is tied together through digital media of course. Let’s face it, they might be a paper company, but even they know you can’t escape from the digital realm, especially when it comes to advertising and marketing your products. There is an Instagram account that has a little over 400 posts and a few thousand followers. Followers are encouraged to celebrate how paper and packaging helps them accomplish their goals at home, at school, and in the workplace by posting images using the hashtag #howlifeunfolds. The website is an online archive of the letters of peace, and a place where comments are fed to the site and people are encouraged to like and share. In addition the site offers additional insight into the authors, invites people to submit their own letters, promotes the product line, and has feature articles on why you should write things by hand.

Great stuff from Cramer-Krasselt, Paper and Packaging’s agency of record.

Flattr Plus

I was originally going to post about the animation in the video below, but after digging into what Flattr Plus is about things kind of morphed. First off the animation from Sebastianbap is really quite nice. the video is made up of simple shapes and a storyline that keeps you interested as you build to the payoff. The payoff is for a new company that lets you fund content you care about, rather than having web pages crammed full of ads. Frankly I see this as the future of the internet. As ad blocking increases, content providers have to figure out new ways to keep the lights on. Web advertising has always had horrible returns. Banner ads have abysmal clickthrough rates,  modal popup windows are annoying as all hell and every bit as ineffective, so what is a content provider to do? Turn to something like Flattr Plus  would be a good start.

Lets all call Sweden and ask them something.

I’ve always wanted to go to Sweden, and since my passport just got renewed I might have to start planning a trip. So, what to do in Sweden? Where to go? What to see? What should I pack? Are they on the Euro? So many questions, and now I can get answers.  How? By calling Sweden and talking to a Swede.

This has got to be one of the better tourism ad campaigns to surface in quite some time. No cheesy landscape shots with beautiful people doing all sorts of touristy things. With this campaign you can really call Sweden, and speak to a real Swede and ask them anything you want about their country. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. I’m going to call Sweden and ask them anything and everything I can think of. Wanna ask Sweden something yourself? You can do it right here at Sweden’s dedicated Swedish Number website.

The IKEA Home Tour Series – Digital Marketing Done Right.

It's about to get all real on this office space.

It’s about to get all real on this office space.

A few months back, I received an email from IKEA for the IKEA Home Tour contest. The team was coming to Kansas City and they were looking for entries. All you had to do was make a short video of your space in need and send it in. So, I busted out the iPhone shot some down and dirty footage of my sad basement office space, cut it together, sent it in and thought “That’ll be the end of that.” Much to my surprise, we made the finalists for the area, and to my surprise again, we are one of the two chosen. Today, the team arrived to shoot video, check out the space, and plan out what they are going to do with the space.

This post is not about the makeover though. It is about how IKEA continues to take excellent advantage of digital media as a marketing tool for the brand.

HomepageIf you go out and look at the Home Tour site, you see a polished website that leverages video, a blog, social media, product placement, and tips to extend the IKEA brand. With each short video, product that is used in the redesign is featured and linked back the IKEA page where the product lives. The Pinterest section leads back the dedicated Pinterest board where recipients have posted their images as well as the team, and there are hooks to related boards, all of which drives back to product and enforcing the IKEA brand. The design blog takes you to a curated section with short right ups and videos from the Home Tour teams progress. And then there are the videos.

Video is the fast growing consumed media on the web, your phone, and in other digital spaces. It has rapidly taken over because of its ability to tell a story in a short digestible bite, and the ability to link back to longer form content if needed. In addition, with prices on gear falling, the availability of high end editing software, a DIY maker movement, and the ease of sharing content, it is possible for a skeleton crew to put together  a solid bit of video work that has tremendous impact. The crew at my house today consisted of 5 people. 2 of them were producing the video. This is the same crew on every makeover, doing each shoot. They have a limited budget, and tie frame, but they are creating solid work with definite reach and penetration for the IKEA brand, which brings me back to the fact that IKEA gets digital marketing better than most. I’ve posted a number of articles on what I KEA is doing in the digital space and this is just one more.

To date the team has produced 203 video segments according to the numbering on the site. Pretty impressive when you think about it. 203 videos that average 3 minutes in length. 203 videos that show the problem, the fix, and then go through and talk about the IKEA product used. Think of it as a long form commercial that is less about in your face selling, and more about how IKEA helps you solve a problem.

That is a winning marketing solution and another winner from IKEA’s marketing division.

4 Year Old Sophie Drives the Volvo. (professional driver, closed course… Not)

Volvo trucks are back with a new round of YouTube based advertising. This time they have given up celebrity for a 4 year old girl driving a giant dump truck with a remote control. What’s the purpose of an ad? Be memorable in terms of both product and brand, sell the attributes of said product. What does this ad do? Nails it. This is one of the funnest YouTube commercials I have seen in a while. The kid is priceless, as well as some of the adults behind her. I would love to see a making of video on this. I’d love to know how many takes, and whether or not they went through multiple trucks to get this made. Great fun from Volvo. Judging by the almost 400,000 views since it dropped, I’d say this ad is a success.

The Gentleman’s Wager. Johnnie Walker Blue.

A year ago Johnnie Walker Blue released an online short film titled Gentleman’s Wager. The film featured Jude Law and  Giancarlo Giannini, a big budget and some serious production value. Like other big brands Johnnie Walker’s foray into the long format online commercial was a winner. To follow it up they have released the second short film, and like last year where the bet was for Giannini’s rare yacht, this year it is for a rare Italian sports car.

The new 11-minute film, is another wager, this time starting at Giannini’s beautiful Italian palazzo, and a road race from just south of Rome to Monaco.

Along the way Law meets a beautiful woman, played by Chinese actress Zhao Wei and helps her fix her car. He breaks down on several occasions, and arrives in Monaco with moments to spare. In addition to Zhoa, there are cameos by Formula 1 heroes Mika Häkkinen and Jenson Buttonas well.

Like the first film, this one was once again directed by Jake Scott through RSA. The film is gorgeously shot in the world of the uber rich, and the production value is just as good as the first. Once again we have a big budget production exclusively for the internet, and while some might say this is a huge risk, I think this kind of storytelling to extend the brand is going to pay off.