How Social Advertising is Shaping Up in 2014

March 7th, 2014 by Ashley Buhrman No comments »

Keeping up on the new social advertising tools throughout the year will be crucial to being successful in 2014. Below is a list of the social platforms with advertising programs that plan to change as the year progresses:

Twitter

As Twitter continues to evolve their advertising programs, companies should invest into this growing platform.  It is estimated that Twitter will hit ad revenue of $1 billion in 2014. To achieve this, they are working to help companies gain more followers and increase engagement on their platform through various advertising options.  Such as, enhancing their promoted accounts to appear in timelines; offering Tailored Audiences (remarketing) and true “broad match” for keyword targeting.  Companies can leverage these new updates to increase their relevant follower base.

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Facebook

Facebook announced that it will eliminate sponsored stories on April 9th. This means that domain and open graph sponsored stories will no longer appear on users’ timelines and marketers will need to look to other advertising opportunities.  So, in place of sponsored stories, Facebook is adding social context next to all ads.  This will include stories that your Facebook friends have read and pages they have liked.  In all reality, it is the same concept as sponsored stories.

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Another game changer in Facebook advertising has been the auto-play video ads.  The tricky part about advertising through these ads is that they do not have sound unless a user clicks on them, therefore advertisers should strive to get their message across without sound. It has been rumored  that the cost of a 15-second auto-play video ad ranges from $1 million to $2.5 million.

Pinterest

Promoted pins are changing the way companies are reaching out to their customers on Pinterest.  Pinterest is making promoted pins appear just like any other pin so that they do not become obtrusive to users. However, this can be exceptionally hard since promoted pins blend in seamlessly amongst other pins.  As marketers, we have to think of creative ways to posting content to pinners so that our pins appeal to our target market.

 Pinterest

 

Instagram

Instagram is still testing advertising with a few brands such as Levi’s to gauge users’ feedback. Instagram allows users to hide ads by clicking on the “…” button and encouraging them to provide feedback on why they hid it.  Instagram advertising is still managed through an account representative with a minimum buy.  Due to the closed nature of current advertising not much is being said on the progress or future of the advertising campaigns.  My expectation is that one day Facebook will look for ways to incorporate Instagram ad buys into the current Facebook ad buying platform. However, for now it seems that they will continue to slowly roll out ads and monitor user feedback.

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It is important for marketers to stay ahead of the curve on these social advertising trends in 2014.  Your competitors will be adapting to these new updates so be sure to explore the different social advertising offerings to maintain a competitive edge.

Creating Immersive Digital Experiences with Acquia

March 6th, 2014 by Kelly Canfield No comments »

Acquia_LogoTo support the continuous evolution of web technology while delivering integrated digital experiences, Precision Dialogue is proud to announce its partnership with Acquia to enhance the marketing firm’s Drupal web development offering.

Acquia provides an open cloud platform, developer and operations tools, and enterprise-class support for Drupal — the open source digital experience platform. Drupal has surged in popularity among enterprises because it offers agility and flexibility for organizations to create digital experiences that unify content, community and commerce.

“Acquia Cloud is our preferred cloud platform for developing dynamic enterprise websites for our clients using Drupal,” stated Patricio Sapir, Director of Interactive Development. “Our agile methodology, combined with Acquia’s Drupal-tuned cloud environment, enables us to develop and manage websites that bring content, community and commerce into one seamless digital experience to deliver more conversions and increased revenue.”

Precision Dialogue’s website development approach is an adaptive, ever-changing, collaborative process between the client and the Precision Dialogue project team, comprised of designers, certified developers, search marketing strategists, and usability experts. Together, they work as one team to plan, design, and execute every task needed for a website development project to be successful. The end result is a state-of-the-art, sustainable Drupal website containing immersive digital content that is viewable on all digital devices.

“Acquia provides the world’s best cloud platform and expertise for Drupal to help Precision Dialogue create high-quality sites for their clients, designed to deliver engaging digital experiences,” said Joe Wykes, Vice President of Global Channels at Acquia. “Drupal uniquely provides organizations with the freedom to build digital sites that integrate key features and systems to improve user experience and drive increased conversions.”

At the core of all Precision Dialogue’s methodology is a User Centered Design approach – a process that is grounded in uncovering a deep understanding of the end user. Leveraging the company’s usability lab and market research facility, Precision Experience LabSM, experts gather user feedback to drive and refine the design and development throughout a project’s lifecycle. Precision Dialogue’s diverse and talented staff ensures that every project benefits from an agile, user centered design approach.

For more information on Precision Dialogue and its web development offerings, visit http://www.precisiondialogue.com/services/digital/web-content-management.

The Gmail Unsubscribe Tool Explained Simply

February 25th, 2014 by Patricio Sapir No comments »

Starting this week, Gmail is introducing a new unsubscribe mechanism that will allow a subscriber to be removed from email communications by clicking on a link that will be located next to the sender’s email address.

The Gmail Unsubscribe Tool Explained Simply

The Gmail Unsubscribe Tool Explained Simply

 

When you click on this link, you will be prompted to confirm if you want to unsubscribe from all emails sent from this sender.

How does this work?

When you click on this particular unsubscribe link, Gmail will contact the email sender engine to request you are removed from all email communications. Note that this request might take up to 3 days to be processed, as it will be the responsibility of the email sender to unsubscribe you.

This link doesn’t really replace the Unsubscribe link that you would usually find in the footer of an email, but it provides a different way to accomplish the same action without having to dig into the email to find this link.

Why is Google doing this?

The Google team explains that this mechanism will help subscribers to stop getting emails that they could be considered as SPAM – they realize that subscribers get buried with emails they really don’t want to receive anymore.

How does this feature impact Email Marketers?

If you are a good marketer, you shouldn’t be worried. As a marketer you will always want to send relevant messages to your subscribers in a timely manner. And, if your subscribers want to unsubscribe from your messages, you should provide them with an easy mechanism to do so. This new tool also helps with subscribers reporting your emails as SPAM. An additional mechanism that allows them to unsubscribe from your communications will help with your reputation as an email sender.

Hyatt Legal Plans Case Study: Creating Rich Web Experiences with HTML5 & JQuery Mobile

February 13th, 2014 by Kelly Canfield No comments »

We are all targeting the always on, always connected customer, therefore it is imperative for all web experiences to be optimized for mobile and tablet usage. HTML5 is the latest standard for HTML which is designed for users to easily view a website on any device. Applying JQuery (a cross-platform JavaScript library) with HTML5 gives developers flexibility to design while delivering users a rich web experience across any device.

In this webinar, learn how we helped our client, Hyatt Legal Plans create an engaging experience for their information portal leveraging technologies such as HTML5 and JQuery Mobile. We will also share how rapid prototyping tools helped the team test and deliver a mobile website project successfully.

Register Now

 

Presented by:

Jennfier Gaglione, Associate Marketing Director, Hyatt Legal Plans

Jennfier Gaglione, Associate Marketing Director, Hyatt Legal Plans

Pato Sapir, Technical Architect

Pato Sapir, Technical Architect, Precision Dialogue

Donna Kaminski, Interactive Project Manager

Donna Kaminski, Interactive Project Manager, Precision Dialogue

Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2014

February 5th, 2014 by Jenna Hunger & Kelly Canfield No comments »

The trend of increased customer engagement will continue to be top of mind in 2014. Just when companies feel they have achieved a holistic marketing approach, new technologies enter the marketplace that further transform the way we interact. It is imperative for brands to take advantage of emerging marketing strategies in order to create the most meaningful, results-driven dialogue. Below, we share our predictions of the top 5 digital marketing trends for 2014 and tips on how to align your marketing goals to meet the industry’s trajectory.

 

1. Content Marketing and the Need for Aggregation

With more social media sites, more retailers offering a variety of email messages, and sharable content, there is an overload of digital content everywhere on any device. There is a tremendous need from consumers to organize and aggregate this content so it’s easier to consume. A driving force behind breaking barriers is content! Just take a look at Gmail’s tabbed inbox, separating personal and promotional emails automatically in consumers’ inboxes. It’s just a friendly reminder to marketers that in order to get noticed in the inbox, messages must be personalized and relevant to each individual’s needs. Marketers have less time to make an impact. Be on the lookout for social media platforms such as Vine and Snapchat to rise in 2014. Vine gives users 6 seconds to make an impact whereas Snapchat gives you 10. How can you compete? Send shorter messages, offer quick promotional codes (such as free shipping), pick images over text and lastly, be authentic! Read how Wet Seal made an impact leveraging Snapchat.

 

Snapchat Case Study

16-year-old beauty vlogger, “MissMeghanMakeup” took over WetSeal’s Snapchat account for two days.

 

2. Mobile Marketing: From Wearables to Where to Shop

With mobile spending accounting for almost a quarter of 2013’s US eCommerce spend, it is safe to say it’s not going anywhere, in fact, it’s on the rise. Beacon technology, relatively fresh to the marketplace, offers the capability to function as a GPS for indoor locations.  Marketers are using Beacon to analyze foot traffic patterns, promote special offerings, guide customers specifically where they want to go and tailor marketing messages to their target audience’s taste and preference. For now, Apple seems to be leading the pack with their self-branded iBeacon, but other brands are utilizing identical capabilities through Beacon technology to implement location-based marketing. In addition to Beacon, we expect wearable devices will be an increasing trend in 2014 – not just owning them, but marketing through them as well.  For example, devices like Google Glass, the Nike Fuel Band and the combined cell phone-wristwatch may market to their users in an innovative way this year.

Brands Using iBeacon

Who’s using iBeacon?

 

Mobile-optimized sites and mobile/tablet apps remain to be most prevalent in the world of mobile, but these are just a few things to look out for.  Your site must be optimized for mobile. If you’re already optimized for mobile, maybe this is the year you consider developing an app

 

3. Getting to Know Social Advertising

Social advertising is one of the few tactics in social marketing that you can quantify and provide your boss with measurable results. ExactTarget reports that social ad spending will grow to $11 billion by 2017. Make it your marketing resolution to pick one social platform and execute an ad campaign. Keep in mind that there are changes and updates on the horizon to several platforms advertising offerings. For instance, Facebook plans to eliminate Sponsored Stories on April 9th and will continue to streamline their advertising offerings based on their users’ feedback. As for the other platforms, Twitter will be partnering with Epsilon to offer highly-targeted Promoted Tweet campaigns leveraging CRM data, while Instagram’s sponsored posts and Pinterest’s Promoted Pins are beginning to take flight. Need help measuring success? Look into social advertising platforms such as Marin Software, Social.com or Kenshoo which can help you manage, optimize and measure ad campaigns.

 

4. True 1:1 Marketing Will Soon Be the Only Way

With today’s technology, it is remarkable to see brands who continue to settle by marketing to the masses. We keep hearing how data-informed, targeted messaging increases engagement, response and conversion with your prospectives and customers. A few takeaways to consider? Start with customizing your email program. Believe in the power of the Abandoned Cart Email – and if you’re already doing that, use the insights on your customer base to segment and deliver unique, relevant offerings. Incorporate this strategy in an omni-channel approach.

Ulta's abandoned cart email.

Ulta’s abandoned cart email.

 

Another way to personalize content is with the digital variable print capability: a technique which elements like text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process, through using information from a database or external file. See how we have helped clients do this within their direct mail programs.

Digital Variable Print example

Precision Dialogue leverages Data Variable Print for Chevy and GM.

 

 

5. Digital’s Role in Omni-Channel

Omni-channel is the hottest buzzword in the marketing world and everyone seems to have various definitions. We are defining omni-channel as “multiple channels of customer contact, but managed in an integrated manner.” With mobile and tablet penetrating the marketplace like never before, consumers are always connected and always on. Therefore, it’s imperative for marketers to deliver consistent brand experiences across channels. We recommend that marketers invest in customer journey mapping to understand the steps customers take when engaging with your brand. Also, don’t be afraid to drive consumers in-store with location based marketing with mapping technology such as iBeacon.

 

So, there you have it! If you would like to learn more about our top trends, please watch our webinar recording on-demand. We’d love to hear your predictions for digital marketing in 2014, please write them in the comments section below.

Tracking Conversions on Facebook and Twitter

January 24th, 2014 by Matt Aster No comments »

Over the last several months social media platforms have begun to show their biggest fear… revenue attribution and conversion tracking. Today let’s take a dive into the murky waters of measuring social ROI strictly from an order/lead conversion perspective and how you implement and report from Facebook and Twitter.

 

Facebook Setup

Facebook is no stranger to the social space and their advertising platform improves weekly. The first thing to do if you advertise on Facebook with offsite links is to implement Facebook Conversion Tracking (https://www.facebook.com/help/435189689870514/). Utilizing Facebook’s conversion pixel you simply need to log into your Facebook Ads Manager and click on Conversion Tracking then click on “Create Conversion Pixel.” Name the pixel something memorable and choose the appropriate category. Try to limit the number of pixels within each category to 1 (I’ll explain in the next section).


Once you click Create Pixel you’ll be prompted with a wall of code. Place this code on the appropriate section of the website (or within your tag manager) and test. One thing to pay attention to is the yellow highlighted section. If you are tracking checkouts  I highly encourage you to pass the order value into the script so that your reporting has it available… pretty hard to calculate ROI without the Return part!

 

 

Facebook Reporting

Now that we’ve implemented our conversion pixel(s) it’s time to report on the success, or failure, of our campaign. Begin by visiting your new Facebook reports (yes, I know they’ve changed it, fear not, it’s actually pretty good once you get used to it). Next click the Edit Columns button and Actions under metrics. Scroll down a little and you’ll see a section for “External URL”… those options should look very similar to the categories you created in the conversion pixel setup. This is why we want to try to limit it to 1 pixel per category, the more you add the harder it is to narrow down the actual action. You’ll do the same for the Revenue section of the report (if you passed in order total like I suggested).

 

 

One thing to keep in mind is Facebook allows you to customize the attribution window for reporting, this will allow you to see value by attribution windows. Let’s be fair though, despite your want to have Social earn attribution on everything, be realistic, 1-7 days post view is fair.

 

If you’ve done everything right, both in reporting and in your advertising plans, you’ll see a report with your conversions and revenue attached.

 

 

Twitter Setup

Begin by logging into your Twitter Ads account by visiting Ads.Twitter.com and click on Conversion Tracking. Once you’re there you can create a new conversion tag by clicking the blue button.

 

You can name it as you please and select the category that best matches the action, the category is not as important as it is in Facebook

 

On this same page you’re able to set the attribution window for the conversion; Twitter allows a further look back than Facebook… but again, be fair!

 

Grab the pixel and put it on your website in the appropriate place to fire.

 

 

Twitter Reporting

 

As you’ll notice in the code above, there is no place to pass in the conversion value *fail trombone sound* so you’ll just have to settle for knowing how MANY conversions occur. Unlike Facebook you can’t see the different conversions so you’ll be left with a report that just shows your conversions by day.

 

 

There you have it folks! If you’ve followed this step by step you should have reporting up and running. If you run into any snags or need a hand, just let me know!

Taken Out of Context

January 17th, 2014 by Jonathan Hill No comments »

During the last decade or so, we’ve seen considerable investment in, and corresponding progress from, marketing databases. More companies than ever have mastered the traditional tactics needed to build and maintain an effective marketing database (often via partnership with an external provider). As such, they can now claim to have competency related to; consolidating disparate customer data, linking transactions to customers across sources and business units, tracking and measuring inbound and outbound contacts, dynamically updating propensity models and segment assignments, appending demographic data, etc. And, of course, our growing, collective ability to identify, treat, and track customers on-line has created new opportunities to improve and leverage marketing databases.

Marketing database benefits have included reduced costs from database-supported automation, enhanced revenue from effective targeting, better strategic planning resulting from improved measurement and, best of all, more satisfying customer experiences. Fundamentally, the point of all this activity has been to identify and capture data that really matters — the data that helps us understand how our marketing and customer treatments are performing. And, the payoff has been real for most companies. All things considered, not too shabby.

Despite all the investment and progress, it seems we’ve overlooked a vital — and cheap — source of explanatory data. As part of our effort to “focus on the customer,” we’ve largely confined our data sourcing and utilization to the customer data we generate internally. But, our customers’ interaction with our single brand is a tiny sliver of their lives. They interact with dozens of brands every day, live within an ever-changing macro economy, are exposed to “shocks” from news and weather events, and lead digital lives across various social media venues. And, oh yeah, we also have competitors who are perpetually trying to influence our customers – usually via the same types of strategies and tactics we employ. So, when we look at our customers only through the lens of the customer data we collect and manage; we miss the larger context.

Some examples of not considering contextual data include:

  • Measuring direct marketing campaigns without considering your, or your competitors’, level of media spend during the measurement window (so-called “share of voice”)
  • Evaluating the performance of a mass media campaign during a time of unusually high search activity for your competitors, or unusually high negative social media sentiment for your brand.
  • Interpreting sales results in a “silo” – e.g., a Las Vegas casino looking at room sales/rates without considering air fare changes for flights to Las Vegas
  • Viewing sales and marketing results without taking into account spikes in search activity, or abrupt changes in social media sentiment
  • Comparing the performance of annual campaign (e.g., “Spring Clean-Up sale”) to previous years without adjusting for unusual weather events
  • Analyzing search activity without considering contemporaneous social media behavior
  • Deploying customer acquisition models in a “one size fits all” manner without considering local market share or competitor density

So, contextual data is all about helping marketers answer age-old “what is going on?” questions. What caused control group behavior? What is my “business as usual” baseline? Why does control group behavior change over time? What role do my controllable marketing contacts play vs. uncontrollable market-place factors?

At Precision Dialogue, we’re addressing the challenge of acquiring and deploying contextual data for our clients via our Association Engine platform. The core of our Association Engine is an extremely large database that contains a wealth of contextual data available for integration within client marketing databases. The data content is perpetually harvested via a series of web-bots and assigned match keys (based on category, geography and date) that make it available for association with identified customer data. Here’s a summary of how it works:

Image3_ContextDataBlog

Some examples of the type of data available for association with, and enhancement of, database resident PII information include:

Image1_ContextDataBlog

Again, the key to using all this valuable data is to integrate it with all the customer insights resident in your marketing database. In so doing, the traditional marketing database can be transformed from a (necessary) utilitarian asset to the true “central marketing brain” of your company.

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If this is not done, your understanding of customers is truly taken out of its context.

ExactTarget Distributed Sending: Managing Multiple Voices to Deliver a Constant Message

January 10th, 2014 by Matt Wisniewski No comments »

Organizations that are built with dealers, branches, or franchises are uniquely challenged in delivering a relevant message to regional subscribers, while maintaining a consistent corporate brand. With ExactTarget Distributed Sending, organizations can now create and deploy targeted, local email marketing campaigns that still meet corporate’s brand standards.

Benefits

Here’s how it works: ExactTarget sets the client’s account allowing corporate to control the email templates, the images, the subscriber lists, etc. for the dealers, branches or franchisees to use. Individual rep or franchise access can be controlled by either default user roles* or custom roles built off the marketer’s requests.

DistribututedSendingBlog_Image

Applying these simple features can let corporate give their local reps the ability to deliver professional level marketing campaigns, while avoiding spending the time and resources training them.

Why This Feature Works

Distributed Sending allows those who are delivering messages to do so in the way they see fit for their audience. Account users have the ability to deliver their messages the way their region wants to receive them, which is not always possible when messages are delivered at the corporate level.

For example, if a franchisee has a carnival going on near a certain store and sees the chance to increase business with a coupon, they can create the message in ExactTarget and send it out when and to whom they want. They also have the opportunity to deliver monthly messages with updates on product prices.

Distributed Sending empowers marketers to take their email marketing to the level they see fit; allowing for weekly, monthly or even yearly emails to be distributed at a regional level. The best part about a controlled environment is that it’s completely customizable and can be configured to fit any business structure.

Want to know if Distributed Sending is right for you? Contact us for a demo, or more information please contact info@precisiondialogue.com or 887.332.9222.

What Would Jean Claude Van Damme Do?

January 6th, 2014 by Patricio Sapir No comments »

If you are an email marketer, you know that throughout the year you have to live different types of experiences (good ones and, not so good ones) and sometimes it’s hard to find a good way to cope with them.

For the new year, I’ve compiled a list of things that happen in the everyday life of an email marketer and answered them with a simple question: What Would Jean Claude Van Damme Do? Or, like I like to say, WWJCVDD?

 

When you hear that someone bought a list of subscribers, breaking all the rules of the CAN-SPAM Act, ask yourself WWJCVDD?

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Click here to learn more about the CAN-SPAM Act.

When your team deploys a very complex email marketing campaign successfully and you feel like celebrating, ask yourself… WWJCVDD?

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Watch this video to learn what we do and why we do it so well.

When you are concerned about being able to balance creative direction with email design best practices, simply ask yourself WWJCVDD?

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Read our three-part blog series on some of the most common and dangerous mistakes Email Marketers can make in their campaigns.

When your QA specialist stays up late to do the last round of tests for a deployment early in the morning and you can’t help but feel love for them, just ask yourself…. WWJCVDD?

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Watch our Email Quality Testing Best Practices webinar to learn more about thorough QA best practices.

When you have to click the SEND button because your deployment specialist is gone for the day and you just don’t want to look, ask yourself: WWJCVDD?

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When you clicked that SEND button and you feel so proud of yourself you just want to celebrate again, just say it… WWJCVDD?

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And lastly, when your client calls you to tell you that your team is doing such a great job and they feel they can count on you, just ask yourself the question: WWJCVDD?

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Learn more about how our Email Marketing team applies their expertise and JCVD philosophy to drive clients to success: http://www.precisiondialogue.com/services/digital/email-marketing

Happy New Year!

 

Precision Dialogue Launches Bon Vital’ on Magento Enterprise

December 18th, 2013 by Kelly Canfield No comments »

BonVital.comToday we announced the launch of the newly redesigned www.BonVital.com; an eCommerce website built on Magento Enterprise for client, Bon Vital’, a leading manufacturer of professional massage therapy and spa products. The newly designed and developed site provides an interactive display for Bon Vital’’s innovated skincare products and plays an essential role in the brand’s overall mission to provide superior quality and all natural & organic products for healthcare professionals.

Leveraging Magento Enterprise, we were was able to provide full eCommerce capabilities, including a seamless integration with their back-end ERP system and the ability for licensed therapists to purchase and utilize training materials that qualify for continuing education credits. Additionally, our Inbound Marketing experts applied search engine optimization throughout the newly designed site.

“Precision Dialogue’s full-service website redesign capabilities made this site a true reflection of our brand and the superior products that we offer to professionals,” said Tom Heidenberger, President of Bon Vital’. “Our customers can easily access and purchase our products from our site which aligns with our mission to offer exceptional customer service.”

Precision Dialogue, a Magento Gold Solution partner and authorized reseller, provides best-in-class comprehensive eCommerce solutions focusing on the Magento Enterprise platform. Every Magento implementation is infused with search analytics and usability best practices, ensuring that a merchant’s site is optimized for ultimate conversion. Precision Dialogue is also the preferred solution partner in the Magento ecosystem to offer the Magento-ExactTarget integration, an enterprise-level, commercial-grade email marketing solution.

To learn more about Precision Dialogue’s Magento Enterprise eCommerce Solutions, visit ecommerce.precisiondialogue.com.