Business Ethics: Online Ads on Social Media

It remains a hot topic for promoters on social media channels how well they integrate their ads into the social media. It isn’t a new debate marketers have faced before but as online channels become significantly more popular, some customers feel deceived when they learned the content they were learning was actually an advertisement. Based on recent research, customers were most outraged when a sponsored video appeared to look like the content they were seeking. While it does draw some concerns, marketers and customers remain at odds on what advertisements actually work. On Facebook, customers have sometimes been mislead by sponsored stories and on Twitter, some customers don’t realize the difference between promoted tweets. Recently, Facebook has stepped up the effort by enabling an option to pay money to have your own post appear higher on the news feed.

On the other side, marketers find integrating ads seamlessly into the online environment is an effective way of reaching out to the customer. Many events hosted in Facebook seem to be popular method of integrated advertising as well as targeted post advertisements.A recent report showed 20% of Facebook marketers favored sponsored stories as a way to reach customers.

Personally, I feel that customers believe social media is more private and that advertising in general is already perceived as a negative.what makes online social media ads different than say a magazine with a sponsored story? Social Media is still in its infancy and many are still used to other forms of ads like TV commercials. Customers may feel unprepared for being personally bombarded with the precision of demographic targeted ads. I feel marketers have every right to try to make their ads appeal to the right customers. The increasing trend towards transparency and managing data that has restricted people ability to handle privacy and the blurring of the lines creates confusion on this particular channel.When you sign up a social media account, you are placing you own information, it is almost expected that you will be bombarded with ads since you are joining a free service. While it is certainly tense moment for this time period, the next generation of people may not care as much about these privacy concerns as they will grow up and become desensitized to these ads.

E-Marketing Spotlight: Tis the Season to Buy Online!

 

With boxing day coming soon, you find your sitting in front of your computer with blanket then lining up in front of Best Buy this winter. Holiday shoppers continued to show surprising interest in purchasing their gifts online with a surprising 10% increase in people planning to buy things online.

Shoppers mainly look online to compare prices a lot more quicker than running around town to search for deals but also to easily compare prices with Amazon and other retailers. The online aspect make it easy for certain products like durable goods and the easy transaction allows consumers to spend their boxing day in their warm home while still getting all that they desire. A surprising number of people are also looking for online reservations for products that can be picked up later. Retailers see potential to producing sales to not over load their cash register on the day of boxing day. This allows them to expand the number of sales they can process while also still meeting the demand of shopper that line up. It also pressures retailers to engage in more price competitive schemes online and gauge accordingly.

 

Smartphone Spotlight: How to Kiip your customer engaged!

The mobile smartphone platform continues to become an intriguing field for marketers to look to exploit. However, smart phones excel in short bursts and customer often multi-tasking when this happens. Kiip looks to change all that by formulating a kind of integrated rewards program that helps companies bridge the gap with every day users.

The concept seems simple enough. Play a game or complete a workout or even get a highscore and you’ll get a reward like a free product or a coupon. The potential of this kind of advertising is it captures the customer attention when their most receptive to a reward and even more likely to claim it. Combined with location tracking information, you could essentially get reward from a store just a few minutes away from you after completing your workout.

While still in its infancy, it already has big companies behind it like Pop Chips, Best Buy and Disney seeking to find ways to engage customers. It definitely has the potential to be more engaging then current e-coupon strategies that firms have been scratching their heads over. With Groupon demonstrating an unstable business model with group purchasing for coupons, Kiip may just have the answer to engaging the growing population of mobile users.

Only time will tell how receptive customer are to this type of engagement but who doesn’t want a refreshing bottle of water as a reward for a nice workout 😀

Kiip – Everyday Victories from kiip on Vimeo.

Tech Spotlight: How Tablets are becoming crucial for e-business

A different form factor can do a lot and while many initially doubted that a full blown industry would spawn out of tablet computers, Apple has helped make an industry grow extraordinarily. Its larger display enables less sacrifices when compared to smartphones and offers a surprising option for companies

Recent research has shown that within this year is the first time that tablets actually surpassed smartphones in website searches. This is astounding since tablets have really only been around for several years yet continue to be a popular alternative to PC devices. Although this increase is sizable, only 7% of the online retailers are table friendly devices. Many images do not function, advertising is missing and the change in landscape to portrait causes several frustrations to everyday users of the tablet. So what is important about an increase in website visits. Well, not only have tablets grown in website visits but show a strong conversion rate compared to other internet platforms. Tablets are nearing the limit with regular computers in conversion but are often with much higher value. It begs the questions that retailers should highly consider develop excellent table support because its form factor aligns very well with the being able to display products.

While the tablet market is still in its infancy, retailers certainly should keep an eye. It does raise an interesting question what types of retailers would most benefit from table support but the response so far has been good.

 

Smartphone Spotlight: How Smarphones represent a new Internet Playground

Technology continues to shape the world we live and its hard to imagine these days what it would be like to not own a smartphone anymore. At first, it was all about being able to check you emails on the go for businesses but as internet speeds go faster and phones got more capable, mobile internet searching has been growing to a largely significant margin. While the effect differs in every country, internet searching through mobile devices as a whole has made a sizable increase. It is also interesting to note internet search habits are particular popular in Asia

It has become so large that it becomes the next battlefield for companies to find ways to monetize users through mobile search. As you may know, mobile devices offer a significant challenge to companies looking to monetize the search. Google ads for example are much harder to implement due to the differences of sizes of mobile devices and creates challenges on how many paid ads can be displayed. Mobile user behaviors differ from what kind of things they prefer to search for during their travels. They also differ in a number of following ways:

1) There is a lack of white space and more collapsible widgets – this influences the way content can be displayed as well as how many ads can fit on a page.

2) Finger tapping – although an obvious one, its often an easy mistake to forget how small the screen actually is and the difficulty for precision clicking. An easy solution is large clickable items but at the cost of an already small space on mobile devices.

3) Ads – Mobile remains a frustrating experience for advertisers as the reduced space sometimes forces them to move the advertising to different parts of the web.

 

Groupon: Are Heavy Online Email Coupons a Fad ?

2 years ago, Groupon was considered the love child of the Wall Street market. A new up and comer company that had defined itself by offering heavily discounted coupons in large batches. Google had even approached the firm to acquire it.

However, times have fallen hard on Groupon and now its share price is fraction of what it once was so what gives? I believe one of the big things about Groupon is that its business model is unstable and easily copyable by any firm. Since the business is completely online, many coupon aggregators were very similar and Groupon lost a lot of competitive advantages. Another big reason is the negative publicity and how Groupon initially handled comments online. They lacked proper monitoring and triage to really understand the issues that some companies mishandled their coupon. Some businesses were forced to sacrafice quality and had to expand capacity to meet demand

Another reason I think Groupon’s model doesn’t work is that the intense price decrease of email coupons make the consumer behave differently. Consumers devalue the brand and the intense decrease in price promote them to withhold purchases of a product in lieu of a potential coupon. The newsletter sign-up process make it much easier to wait and just receivethe daily deals.

Social Media Spotlight: Pinterest

Pinterest has been one of the more recent social media to pick up heat but is it worth it for business to invest in another form of social media. Pinterest thinks so! They have recently moved to adding separate business and personal accounts which mimic how Facebook allowed different accounts before. This is seen by many as a move to monetize their services.

But back to why it may be worth it to invest in Pinterest. The concept is simple: pin your interest onto your wall which often sounds pretty simple. However, research shows Pinterest users show a stark contrast than ordinary users like Facebook. Pinterest users are more likely to brand loyal consumer to the things they post and are more active in terms of contests and feedback. Its photo layout is also appealing to companies that don’t have time for long blurbs or contests but have an awesome camera. While the Pinterest population is small in comparison in Facebook, small to mid size business may find a liking to Pinterest as a method to separate themselves from a sea of Facebook groups and Linkedin pages. While it may not lead directly to purchases, these pictures sure can stir up some conversation.

 

 

Facebook Vs Linkedin: The Fight for Jobs

Its official, Facebook is entering the realm of job search in a effort to make Facebook users spend more time on Facebook to generate more revenue.  Prior to the jobs board, LinkedIn dominated the job search social media market and many firms continue to flock to the channel to actively recruit firms. Linkedin’s business model is also significantly more acceptable to the average investor but now Facebook has expanded into the job search realm may have firms second guess where to allocate resources.

Facebook has now designed a interactive jobs board that integrates a number of recruiting sites like monster.com and Work4Labs to massive conglomerate of jobs that exceed 1.7 million openings. It may have a large enough draw for potential recruiters to start looking into those ads. It represents an amazing opportunity to monetize a portion of the search and promote Facebook ads which haven’t quite proven themselves as a solid revenue stream. It also moves Facebook into an almost all in one service that could rival the likes of Google one day if people keep spending significantly more time to social media.

While Facebook claims its not hitting the recruitment market, it is certainly true that our social profiles and platforms continue to become more integrated. Better start guessing which profile picture to choose from.

 

 

What so Special about Social Technographics ?

Forrester Research constantly updates an ongoing research project that defines users on the basis of their  involvement and have curiously defined a set of roles that all online users can be categorized into.

  • Creators: As highlighted earlier, this crowd has become increasing ideal targets for many business hoping to expand their e-presence throughout the country. They are loved for the fact they generate free publicity and are large influential power
  • Conversationalists: People that generally talk or discuss and voice their opinion to other customers and business. They are a vocal crowd so companies must be well prepared to handle this crowd of people
  • Critics: Most people refer to these people as critics. They generally review items and post their opinions. They are well regarded usually because they focus on a specific product or element.
  • Collectors: RSS feeds and newsletter are quite enticing to this crowd. They enjoy collecting and sharing all forms of data as well as participating and voting for things.
  • Joiners: Similar to how social media works, these people may also be conversationalists at time and play an important role in developing a community and exerting pressure for other to join.
  • Spectators: People who watch, read and listen from the sidelines. They rarely participate much or offer opinion.
  • Inactives: Not involved in social media at all

Why: So why is this discovery so important? Well it conceptualizes the behaviour of the potential online market. It allows business to evaluate and target certain crowds on the basis of their involvement and also may make they encourage other to grow higher in their involvement.

The future of Technographics: While research is ongoing, there are important questions about how people can flip between these roles for example how joiners can become conversationalists. Business are indeed keen on actively finding ways to enhance their brand by creating more user generated content. Perhaps there is a loop mechanism in terms of how involvement increases and decreases from certain experiences. Technographics have the potential to create a lot of impact in the future.