Archive for September, 2014

It’s Not Social Media – It’s Social Advertising

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Social Advertising is Rapidly Expanding and Evolving
All of the social mediums are rapidly expanding their advertising offerings. The start-up goal of most mediums to expand a user base and deliver a solid experience has now evolved into a market that is trying to monetize itself. Advertising is the vehicle that social media sites are using to pay back their investors. That’s great news for marketers and businesses.

You don’t need to have a social presence to advertise!
That’s right, you don’t need to have an engaging twitter account or manage a Facebook page to be using social media as an advertising platform. Ads that show in your target customers’ news feeds can link back to your website or to other locations. There’s no need to maintain a dynamic social presence for an ad to be effective. If that’s holding you back – think again.

The Major Mediums at a Glance
Facebook has the longest-standing, and most robust social advertising platform. It has great targeting options and fantastic analytics. Their platform is so intense that they have even created an “advanced advertising” offering, which includes look-alike audience profiling and re-marketing, among other things.

LinkedIn and Twitter have offered the ability to pay to promote posts / tweets for some time. Twitter is taking it to new levels. They recently launched a robust set of additions to their offerings which include: more sophisticated audience management (including look-alike targeting), graphic buttons which encourage click throughs (buy now or learn more), and twitter cards, which can include rich media to give tweets more impact.

Instagram and Pinterest have been running pilot programs with large advertisers, and both tease marketers with holding pages.

Excellent Targeting
Each medium has its own strengths in terms of targeting. Facebook has robust demographics and geo-targeting, but the ability to target based on interests and other liked pages offers deeper psychographic targeting than most list service companies have even been able to provide.

LinkedIn’s combination of geo-targeting + industry + job title allows precise targeting of professionals that is invaluable to B2Bs. We are finding an ability to reach specific groups that we have never been able to target effectively through print or other mediums. The closest opportunities in the past have been trade shows or other trade publications, and the costs of social ads are minuscule in comparison.

Minimal Costs for Serious Reach
Which brings us to the price, which cannot be beat. We have reached 20,000 with $20 on some accounts. We have seen the dramatic reach that can be achieved, so a common recommendation of ours is to “throw $100 at it” and see what happens. These results are not unusual for social advertising…for now.

Not Likely to Last
Which brings us to the sad reality that these prices are not likely to last. The marketplace is immature. It can be compared to the early days of AdWords. As businesses and advertisers gradually tested and moved budgets over to the AdWords platform, there was a period of a few years where the ROI on AdWords was just incredible for many advertisers. The market has since matured, the major players have all established their footing and those deals are hard to come by. As marketers make a mad dash to get their customers set up with social advertising, there will be a fleeting period during which some businesses could really get incredible results at rock bottom prices.

Interested in learning more about what social media can do for you?
Contact Robot Creative for more information.

Understanding Geomarketing: Geofences vs. Beacons

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geolocationYou’ve probably heard of using IP addresses to target your audience by physical location…and maybe you pushed out your message to someone who actively checked in to your space on Foursquare or Facebook. Mostly due to ever-changing mobile technology, “Geomarketing”, or targeting your audiences based on geographic location, is one of the most quickly evolving trends in marketing.

The idea of geomarketing isn’t new. For years, marketers have been able to purchase mailing lists and/or set up pay-per-click online campaigns based on zip codes or a radius around a specific geographic location. What’s different about recent innovations is the ability to message directly to consumers on their personal mobile devices based on their proximity to a physical location.

This type of mobile-based geomarketing technology takes several forms and can be used for countless applications, from pushing coupons or product information to helping a customer find his/her way around a retail location.

Two of the main forms of geomarketing that you will probably experience soon, if you haven’t already, are geofencing and beacons. Both of these technologies use a wireless signal to pinpoint a person’s proximity to a particular location, such as a retail store, but there are important distinctions between the technologies and how they can be used.

Geofencing
Geofencing is the practice of establishing an electronic perimeter around a specific geographic point using GPS technology, which requires satellites and cell phone towers to communicate with mobile devices. When a potential customer enters or leaves this perimeter, the geofence triggers an action, such as a timely text message or promotion alert sent directly to the customer’s mobile device.

For a geofence to work, customers must download an app, install it and opt in to receive notifications. There are common apps that can be set up to use geofences, or businesses can set up and promote proprietary apps. Because of their reliance on GPS, geofences work best outdoors and are less accurate than beacons for pinpointing a person’s exact location.

Beacons
Beacons are an evolved form of geofencing. The main difference between geofencing and beacons is that beacons use bluetooth technology rather than GPS to determine a person’s proximity to a specific location. This has several implications:

  • There are many different types of beacons available from popular brands, including Motorola, Google and Apple, and they all work a little differently. They usually require hardware (beacons) that must to be installed at the location, but in some cases, like Apple’s iBeacon, they can be built into existing devices. The beacon communicates through an app that customers must install on their devices and allow to receive notifications.
  • Beacons allow a very accurate estimation of where a customer is located – within inches. A retailer could use this technology to provide messages directly to a customer shopping in a particular aisle or standing in front of a particular display – think coupons, product reviews or click-to-buy. The retailer could also help lead a customer to a particular item within a store.
  • Because beacons are small, battery powered devices themselves, they are portable and can be used as a mobile geofence. They could be placed on a moving object, such as a bus or a cab.
  • Beacons allow a business to track a person’s activity as he or she moves in or around a space. Creepy as that sounds, it’s not so different from web analytics (marketers have been tracking customers’ movement through websites for years). Businesses can learn a lot from this type of data, including where, when and how to display messages and what messages resonate best with customers.

Interested in learning more about what geomarketing can do for your business?
Contact Robot Creative for more information.