Marketing & Public Relations Firm - Verasoni Worldwide

All posts tagged internet marketing

By Abe Kasbo and Kim Reydel

Social media was a huge buzz word in 2009 and the hype will undoubtedly spill over into 2010.  Without a question, social media is now the new mass media (television still dominates…for now), and while businesses are still scrambling to figure out how to maximize their investment, social media delivered the following important points to the market:

1. Aggregation

2. Segmentation

3. Revelancy

As companies continue to embrace social media to grow their businesses, expand their brand footprint, and utilize the medium for PR purposes, some are still struggling to optimize social media to its full potential. According to the Social Media and Online PR Report, 86% of companies plan to more money on social media in 2010. Conversely, 54% of those surveyed say the biggest barrier to better social media engagement is a lack of resources. So, although many are plugged in to various social networking outlets, about half of them see a hurdle in using the tools to their full capacity. In addition 60% of companies say that they have gained “some benefit but nothing concrete” from using social networking. Let’s be honest, when using a tool to grow your business it’s crucial to see the results and reap the benefits. Until you know how to properly engage in social media, it’s not an essential tool for your business.

According to a survey by Econsultancy and bigmouthmedia in the B2B world 11% of respondents were heavily involved in social media while 23% were not involved and 65% experimented only. In the retail business 10% of respondents were heavily involved, 27% not involved, and 63% of retail respondents only experimented with social media. Like any other business strategy you must follow through with a plan, and a short presence on facebook is sure to generate zero business for any company. The concept of social media may have been an experiment, but building your company’s presence on a social network is a business strategy that requires a commitment and understanding of the platform. The majority of companies agree that major benefits of social media include; increased brand awareness, customer engagement, communication with key influencers, and better brand reputation. Additionally 54% of supply side respondents say their clients are incorporating video and video sharing in their use of social media. It’s superb that so many companies have hopped on the social media bandwagon but truth be told, it might as well be obsolete unless you are using it as a tool to engage your audience.

So, although statistics show that companies know how to use social media, there is a lack of understanding when it comes to the value of engagement. In other words, any company has the ability to create a fan page on facebook and populate the group, but often times it stops here. Companies have to keep in mind that those who join your network on twitter or facebook or linkedin are looking for something and it’s your responsibility to give it to them. The social networking platform allows you to offer coupons, contests, news, videos, promotions etc to ENGAGE your audience. It’s important to bring people together via your social network but it’s crucial to keep your site functional and relevant. As another year is about to begin, let’s make a resolution to remember to engage engage engage!

I find myself broaching this important subject again. Where ever I speak, during client presentations, in the coffee shop, online forums, list-serves, etc., the hype about social networking continues.  Sure, in many important ways, social networking lives up to the hype, given the sheer numbers (people participating and their activity of course). Sadly, living the hype is not like hyping the hype, living the hype is less glamorous, I can assure you.

Here’s Why. It makes all the sense in the world to play in this space, but what good is it if you are not growing your network. Yes, there is value in being in touch with your customers, and social networking, gives you the opportunity to be exposed to your clients’ network. But isn’t the idea to grow your potential network so the influence of your brand, ideas, products, and organization grows?

My next post will be on the idea of dependence on social networking and the implications / complications that may arise…I’m also working on 10 ways to grow your network.

More to come…

It’s an understatement to say Google has taken over the Internet, it may be even more parochial to speak about how Google has taken over our lives. From search, maps, video (Youtube), email, cell phones, and publishing, Google has built a vast business empire faster, and perhaps far more reaching, than any business in history. Heck, GE is now partnering with Google on environmental initiatives. This is GE, the king of all things industrial, partnering with a search engine on environmental initiatives?  Who’s zooming who?  But it’s true, Google is not only a resource for all things personal relative to the Internet, but the good folks at Google are smart enough to take leadership positions in non-core business opportunities.

However much Google has become a part of our lives, it’s important to know that business on the net is much more about the Internet than Google.  And it is much more local than anyone, including the mainstream media, will lead-on.  Once we recognize that the Internet is still an infant that can be shaped in ways that can be meaningful to our lives and businesses, then and only then can we recognize the wonderful opportunities that lay ahead, locally.  Locally? Locally, like right down the street locally.  Locally like within your city, county or state locally.  But we’re talking about the vast Internet, a world controlled by the Googles, MSNs, and powerful media moguls who we see on TV.  Folks, the Internet is local and Google can’t do anything about it, unless it start opening up stores in your area – note to the people at Google, the Google store thing is my idea.

Let’s get to heart of the matter. The local market? You’re probably saying, who cares. More importantly, you’re probably thinking you can’t monetize the local market in a way that generates real cash flow, and that’s why Google is staying away. Well, there are many very successful local sites that have built themselves a terrific niche in the local market.  These hyper-local, meaning everything is local, may cover issues relevant to one town, one business vertical tied to a particular geography, or neighborhood sites have proven that they can not only generate cash, but become real brands.

I would argue that hyper-local sites are real competition for becoming online gateways to local communities. And while the publishing industry’s troubles are directly related to the rise of the Internet and media fragmentation, there is a strong case to made for looking closer at the publishing model as the Internet continues to evolve.  Think of Google as Time Magazine, and think of hyper-local sites as your local or regional magazine that focuses on your community.  Both provide information that you deem relevant, just different information.  Unlike Time or Newsweek, your regional publications are your connection to what is happening locally.  So no matter, how relevant the national magazines are, the local ones are just relevant or useful.

Why is hyper-local so relevant? And why is it a coveted market? Let’s take a closer look at social networking sites and their success. What is it about Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or Youtube that makes them so popular? The easy answer is you and me. Yes, that’s right, those properties are about you and me, they are ubber hyper-local relevant to me. I can create my own reality, with my friends, my interests, and my world within a given social networking site…It’s all things relevant to me. My personal reality show if you will.  And so within the vast confines of facebook, I can create my own little world where I can connect with friends I haven’t seen since college, and go out to dinner (local), I can discuss a movie (seen locally), review a spa (which I go to locally), and share good news about the birth of a new child with my cousins in Argentina who will send me flowers using a local flower shop over the net. You see, the Internet is relevant, locally.  So the rise of hyper-local sites, though not orderly, is a business model that deserves attention.

In Montclair, New Jersey there’s Baristanet everything local to Montclair. Founded in 2004, the site “soon after emerged as a leader in both hyper-local blogging and the online citizen journalism movement. Baristanet receives more than 5,000 visits a day and has inspired local news sites in Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, New Haven, Watertown, MA and Red Bank, NJ.”  Baristanet effectively competes for audiences with traditional local media such The Montclair Times, the venerable weekly newspaper, to

Staying in New Jersey, we find a business vertical, there is a website that ties all things weddings to a geographic region. Founded by Erik and Beth Kent on February 14, 1997 to help wedding professionals promote their services and directly connect with future brides and grooms. According to the site, it currently “receives over 500,000 hits per month and features over 500 wedding businesses serving New Jersey and parts of New York and Pennsylvania that future brides and grooms can choose from, including helpful articles and tips about wedding planning, expert relationship and marriage advice and much, much more.” competes not only with Google but with the 800 lb. gorilla of wedding sites,

In Maplewood, New Jersey, the well-healed turn to Maplewood Online for neighborhood gossip, news…it’s the equivalent of an online piazza. The site is jam-packed with classified, a community calendar, and every else imaginable. It even serves as a portal to news sites such as The New York Times, professional sports teams, cross word puzzles, all within one, local, place.

So as the Internet continues to grow, the threat to places like Google loom larger because people will continue to find ways to make the Internet resources relevant to them.  And with the continued rise of mobile, let’s see if these successful hyper-local sites adapt or go the way of newspapers. There are already sites popping up offering hyper-local mobile coupons delivered right to your phone.

The problem is, Google doesn’t have the foot-soldiers to compete at a hyper-local level. What it can do is to start buying hyper-local sites, but then again, why not simply buy community newspapers and turn them into mega-hyper-local sites (ok, enough jargon).  One final thought, I’m not sure if I would count Google out. They understand relevancy and adaptability, arguably the two most important strategies for success online.  More to come..

Here’s an article by Mike Henry about internet video that I thought was pretty interesting. I got it today in my email subscription to The Video Insider – Pretty good stuff, if I had the link I would have posted here…the article is below: 

DURING A COCKTAIL PARTY A few weeks ago, a newly single friend of mine gulped down his third Scotch, slammed down his glass and announced, “Okay, I give up. What the heck do women want? I used to think I understood them, but these days, I’m completely stumped.”Being the supportive friend that I am, I offered him a few words of wisdom (“Beats me, but let me know when you find out”) handed him another drink and promptly changed the subject. But later that night as my thoughts turned to work, I remembered his words and realized that the business of marketing in an online video environment is going through a similar life stage. As marketers, we are starting to get to know online video viewers — what they want and how they want to be treated. Sometimes we connect well and other times we find ourselves, well, stumped.Here are three rules of the relationship I think marketers should keep in mind to ensure that their video advertising efforts win the hearts of consumers:

1) Length matters. It’s no secret that the 30-second pre-roll is both reviled and at the same time delivers more in-video weight than any other ad unit. But just how much do viewers dislike their length? At Veoh, we’ve found that viewers are 40% more likely to abandon the video experience during a 30-second pre-roll ad than a 15-second pre-roll ad. And contrary to popular opinion, we’ve found that viewers are just as turned off by 30-second pre-rolls before long-form video as they are by pre-rolls before short clips. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a 3-minute clip or a 30-minute episode: viewers have narrowed their windows of ad acceptance. 

2) Your best prospects are already engaged. When choosing video sites for your media buy, it’s important to make sure the site partners have highly loyal and engaged audiences. Why? Because viewers who are not yet familiar with or engaged in a site are much less accepting of ads during their viewing experience. We found that heavy video viewers (viewers who visit the site and watch a video at least six times per month) are 50% more likely to continue watching a video after a pre-roll than are light and new viewers. In addition, heavy viewers are more than 10 times more likely than light or new viewers to accept a pre-roll ad within the first video they watch in a session without abandoning the experience.So in an online video environment, if the majority of the viewers are already “taken,” you’ll actually have a muchbetter chance of making a strong connection.

3) It’s always better with an audience. Yes, network TV shows are great, but the only way to take full advantage of Web video is by targeting audiences rather than following a traditional TV model of buying around content. The same valuable viewers who watch full-length network sitcoms are also watching independent studio productions and popular video clips – so why not reach them throughout their entire viewing experience? In addition to increasing the number of opportunities for marketers to reach consumers, ads that target audiences based on their behaviors and interests are much more relevant to and therefore well-received by online video viewers. For example, during a recent national family restaurant campaign, we saw that ads that were behaviorally targeted to the family-focused audience performed 20 times better than basic contextually targeted companion ads – and yielded a higher number of impressions than they would have received if targeting a single show. Make sure to work with your video site partners to identify viewer behavior segments that fit with your brand’s target audience – it’s the best way to start a positive conversation with a video viewer (and much cheaper than buying them a cocktail).

In any budding relationship, it’s very easy to overlook the basics when you’re trying to make a good impression.As marketers, if we listen to what our viewers want and pay more attention to their unique interests, we can build more exciting and lasting relationships in online video environments.- Pretty good eh…