Tag Archive: advertising

  1. Web Design Meets Content Marketing: Coca-Cola

    I am always interested in how the world’s marketing and digital marketing leaders are breaking new ground online. A particular web design article caught my attention this week as it profiled Coca-Cola‘s recent corporate website re-design effort. Coke’s new website looks more like a news portal than a corporate brochure.

    The upper area of the Coke website, seen below, puts much more emphasis on telling stories and sharing news than on selling product. It’s digital content marketing at its best and, in my opinion, a look at the future of the corporate web design. Instead of an image of a professional athlete telling you to drink Sprite on the site, there’s a story about how Coca-Cola played a role in the recovery of flood victims in Colorado.

    web design content marketing example

    A look at Coke’s new, story-driven website.

    You will notice that the site is much more story-heavy, seeking to inform, educate, and influence around news–not sales or advertising. This allows Coke to draw users closer to the brand around stories of success, triumph, and nostalgia. There are even sections of the site for areas like food, culture, and business–just like a newspaper site.

    As you scroll further down the page (see below), there is further concentration on story with a ‘Most Popular’ ranking of stories on the site. This is reminiscent of the ‘Top News’ or ‘Most E-mailed’ sections of news websites.

    web design example

    Coca-Cola’s new home page features widgets for popular stories.

    The New York Times website is a good example of how showcasing popular stories can work well. Looking at both the Coca-Cola site and the New York Times site reveals how a brand can become a true content publisher.

    New York Times Web Design

    News sites like the New York Times use widgets for popular stories.

    The potential take-away for digital marketers is that new ground is being broken in corporate web design as the promise of content marketing encourages brands to become publishers. As you think about your own company’s web strategy, be sure to consider how stories and news can help to bring your brand to life through its website.

  2. Facebook Advertising – Is It Really Worth It?

    It seems like everyone is spending a crazy amount of time on these newfangled social media sites. In fact, nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online is spent using social media. That is a lot of time and it is only going to increase. So what does that mean for you? Well, Facebook has implemented a very advanced advertising system that is just begging for you to take advantage of it.

    Social Media Examiner breaks down Facebook’s ad system which has three sales channels: Direct, Inside and Online.

    • Direct sales deals with the largest global brands, for which Facebook has dedicated account teams to manage the relationship directly with the advertiser and their agencies. These are generally referred to as managed accounts.
    • Inside sales handles the next tier of clients, who may be spending in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on Facebook. These clients will have a sales rep whom they deal with directly to buy advertising, but they don’t have quite the same level of strategic support as managed accounts.
    • Online channel. There are companies developing products on top of Facebook’s Marketing/Ads APIs to facilitate the buying process for self-serve advertisers.

    If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks for advertising on Facebook, it is best to contact them directly. Otherwise head over to the Facebook ad page and get started!

    Facebook makes it easy to target a specific audience. Oh, you’re interested in selling to males, ages 16-18, who live in Boston and play World of Warcraft? Well you can – with just a click of a button. The Facebook advertising platform offers the ability to target your ad to specific segments such as Location, Age, Sex, Relationship Status, Interests and more. This leads to more bang for your buck, because you are not wasting your marketing efforts on users not in your target audience.

    According to comScore, after seeing an ad on Facebook from a major offline US-based retailer, fans and their friends bought 56% more frequently online from this retailer. 70% of brand campaigns also showed a return on ad spend of 3x or better. But, that information comes from a study done in conjunction with Facebook, so take those numbers with a grain of salt.

    So how effective are Facebook ads? Recently released reports suggest that the ROI on Facebook ads are not as effective as  advertisers expect them to be. A recent study found that less than 1 in 20 users returns to a brand page within 30 days of having ‘liked’ it. According to a new poll from the Associated Press and CNBC, nearly 60% of Facebook users don’t click on ads or sponsored content.

    General Motors, the 7th largest advertiser in the US, also pulled their paid advertising from Facebook because GM executives felt that Facebook ads had little effect on consumers’ car purchases. Sources said that Facebook doesn’t provide consistent, clear-cut metrics that prove advertising on their sites works. GM wasn’t feeling the results so they pulled ads – which has caused quite a stir amongst advertisers.

    Another example shows Ajith Prasad Edassery, founder of Dollar Shower, who spent $27.51 on Facebook ads and saw the following results: 1.27million impressions, 303 clicks, and zero sales. So, while a large audience saw his ad, very few clicked it and not one user purchased anything. However, that does not mean that Facebook ads are ineffective. Adam Dion of Synergy Beads has seen a substantial increase in sales through Facebook ads. Every $50 of Facebook ads brings him between $220 and $250 of revenue per month.

    Facebook is a platform built around socializing with friends and sharing information, not shopping. There is something to be said for the ineffectiveness of traditional ads on Facebook. If you’re looking to run ads on Facebook, your best bet is to drive visitors to your Facebook page and earn customers from there. In reality, 45.7% of advertisers use Facebook ads to build awareness and brand sentiment, not generate leads.

    The effectiveness of Facebook ads will vary from case to case. It is best to try out the ad platform with a few different variation of ads and take it forward from there. See which one makes sense for your business. Finding your sweet spot with ads will help drive more fans to your Facebook page and more fans to your services. Just make sure to keep an eye on your results to make sure you’re getting the most from your money.

  3. Pinterest – What is it and can it benefit my business?

    Pinterest. Odds are you’ve heard the name recently (most likely from your wife or technology addicted daughter), but you’re not quite sure what it is. “A digital pinboard? With pictures? Well that is just great, but why should I care?”. Well, I’ll tell you exactly why you should care about Pinterest and what it could mean for your business.

    What is it?
    Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share their interests by pinning images and links on a digital pinboard. Pins consists of images or videos that link to a source location. Users create a Pinboard which consist of multiple pins, usually of the same theme. Users can upload pins directly, or pin things the find on the internet using Pinterest bookmarklet, Pin-It button, or URL.

    Let’s simplify it a bit. The main focus of Pinterest is the sharing of quality photos. Users can re-pin a photo they like on their own boards and broadcast that to their followers. Basically, it is a social network for visual collectors.

    How does it benefit my business?
    Pinerest can be beneficial to your business in many ways. It is all about how you use it. The possibilities Pinterest can provide are promising, especially for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and shops.

    Any business that relies on website traffic to increase sales should consider investing some time into Pinterest. Early research indicates that Pinterest may be more effective at driving traffic than other social media sites. According to Shareaholic, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined and also managed to beat out Twitter. 90% of Pinterest’s user base are women between the ages of 25 to 34. While men may be jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon soon enough, right now the ladies are leading the way. This presents a very clear demographic of who is spending time on Pinterest, and who your content should be targeting. Just by scanning the numbers, if your customers are on Pinterest you should be too.

    You can think of Pinterest as a marketplace that lets your customers advertise for you. Posting a photo of a product allows users to like, comment, and re-pin that photo onto their own boards for their followers to see. This drives more visitors to your website where you can sell them the product directly.

    Pinterest, like all social media, may not be right for you. If you work with any form of e-commerce than Pinterest is right up your alley. It gives you a platform to display and advertise your products in a way that lets users interact and share them. It is also great for discounts and sales. If your business doesn’t translate well into images or videos, Pinterest could still work for you, but you’ll have to get more creative. As with all social media Pinterest should focus on engaging followers and building relationships with them.

    Walk Me Through It
    Lets break it down into a real world example. Let’s say you work at Toms and you’re in charge of marketing their new line of wedding shoes. You take an awesome, sharable, interesting picture and pin it to the Tom’s Wedding board. When a user clicks the photo it links them to the Tom’s Wedding catalog on the Toms website. Users who come across the photo can re-pin it on their own boards like “My Style” or “Wedding Ideas” for their followers to see.

    Because users follow boards that they’re interested in, a photo is automatically exposed to an audience that cares about that specific content. Photos of wedding dresses won’t end up on a tech-nerd’s Pinterest board. So, the photo of your product is reaching an users who would actually be interested in buying the promoted product. By simple posting an interesting photo of wedding shoes, Tom’s has advertised their new wedding line directly to their target audience.

    Why does it matter?
    Pinterest will give you unparalleled access into the mind of your consumer. By visiting fans pages you can easily identify buyer personas and create a more detailed map of your consumers. This insight is valuable in creating marketing campaigns, advertisements and future products.

    Pinterest is pioneering a new an innovative way for companies to sell and advertise their products by focusing on products visual appeal through well done photography.

    It is not just about promoting products that you think a user might want, but also why they would want the products and how they function in their daily lives.

    Who is doing it right?
    Etsy – Sitting comfortably with 102,000+ followers, Etsy has it figured out. Sticking to the theme of the website, Etsy’s pinboards consist mostly of homemade goods, vintage clothing and DIY projects. Other boards promote how their products can spice up your daily life. This is not only showing what users what they need, but also why they need it and what it can do for them.

    Example: Users look through Etsy’s ‘Cool Spaces’ board to find ideas for decorating a new apartment. An image of an innovative bookshelf shows the price and links directly to the store when clicked. Simple!

    Quick Tips

    • If your business doesn’t naturally photograph well (like us bloggers for example) there are still ways to take advantage of Pinterest. Every site has some form of visual assets that they can utilize into interesting pins – you just have to get creative! Try using Infographics, charts or other data visualizations to get a point across, or create a stimulating title card or poster for blog posts. Still stumped? Think outside the box. Snap some photos of the office environment, people you work with and customers.
    • Hire a photographer. The real success with Pinterest lies with having the most interesting and appealing photographs. Nothing can hold you back more than sloppy photography. Strive to create something eye-catching – it will help your content spread faster.
    • Create pin-boards that don’t focus on advertising your specific products, but related to what you do in your day-to-day business. Show what you represent, what you enjoy, and who you are. Add some life into your Pinterest – let it take on a personality. Remember, social media should be about engaging fans first and selling your products second.
    • Pinterest eloquently displays the price of a product if you note it in the description.


  4. WebSolvers Snags Rich Wahl To Further Fuel Its Growth

    Industry Veteran Rich Wahl Returns to Central Florida to Join Forward-Thinking Marketing and Communications Agency

    Rich Wahl, Principal of Innovation and Development

    Rich Wahl, Principal of Innovation and Development

    Orlando, Fla. (October 11, 2012)—He’s back. Ad agency veteran and marketing industry leader Rich Wahl is returning to his roots in Orlando to join WebSolvers, a digitally dominant design, marketing, branding and communications agency headquartered in Baldwin Park. Wahl will be the Principal, Innovation and Development, leading the charge with agency operations, development and client management.

    Wahl, who co-founded and served as president and chief operating officer of Push for more than 14 years, joined The Duffy Agency in 2010, with its headquarters in Malmö, Sweden. He led the company’s United States operations as managing partner in Boston. Rich’s experience with the international agency provided connections with such brands as the United Nations, the Boston Globe, Schneider Electric, Reckitt Benckiser, Almirall, Textappeal and Jones & Bartlett Learning.

    While Wahl was building business for the Duffy Agency in the Northeast, Central Florida-based WebSolvers was busy growing its business as well. In fact, in the face of a bleak economy, WebSolvers grew by nearly 30 percent in 2012, bucking the trend of the vast majority of agencies whose revenues have remained flat at best, and down in a more likely scenario.

    “We’re narrowly focused on helping our clients find and win new customers. The addition of Kelly Lafferman to our firm late last year has helped to widen our expertise dramatically. Combining her capabilities in brand marketing and communications strategy with our 17 year track record in interactive communications has really resonated with clients.”, said Matt Certo, CEO and Principal of WebSolvers. “As we have moved forward on this path, the opportunity to add Rich Wahl to our group was a natural fit. I have admired Rich’s talents and abilities for years and been particularly impressed by his track record of client and agency growth. His experience with brands such as Walt Disney World®, Orlando Health and the United Nations will bring added strategic perspective and tactical experience to the growing client roster at WebSolvers. His passion, imagination and relentlessness have become his trademark for success. I think our agency and clients stand to benefit a great deal by his presence.”

    Wahl, a graduate of the University of Florida, always knew he wanted to be a leader in the advertising industry. He began his career with Vergason•Sojourner•Johns. Following a three-year stint at VSJ, Wahl founded his first agency, Gregory & Wahl, which later became Wahl & Company.

    In 1996, Wahl teamed up with two other ad industry leaders to found Push, where he was instrumental building and managing the company over a 14-year period. At Push, Wahl helped to obtain and retain a client roster that included The Walt Disney World® Resort, Disneyland® Resort, Visit Orlando, AT&T Wireless, Florida Citrus Sports, The Orlando Sentinel, The Kessler Collection, Orlando Health, Pointe*Orlando, Middleton Lawn & Pest Control, CHEP Americas, Smokey Bones Bar & Grill, The Melting Pot, Tijuana Flats, Earl of Sandwich, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Lake Nona.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity for Matt, Kelly and me. I have always been impressed with Matt’s industry-leading business approach and the company’s 17-years of success. Kelly and I actually went to high school together and she was my client at one point. The three of us have a unique synergy and share the same passions for success and innovation. I am really looking forward to working with WebSolvers’ diverse client mix.” -Rich Wahl


    About WebSolvers
    WebSolvers is a digital marketing agency based in Orlando, Fla. In true entrepreneurial spirit, Matt Certo founded the company in his Rollins College dorm room at the age of 19. With the support and partnership of Sam Certo, Steinmetz Professor of Management at the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College, Matt Certo launched the original Website for Rollins College. WebSolvers helps organizations find and win customers through Web development, mobile app creation, branding, social media marketing, search marketing as well as traditional marketing services.

  5. Ford Motor Bares its Soul

    I was told today about a new blog/community site launched by Ford Motor Company. The site is called Bold Moves. As many know, Ford has been struggling uphill in terms of sales, profitability (or lack thereof), and stock price. This kind of circumstance is very tough on an organization of this size and scale; trying to turn around a company this big is a monumental challenge.
    This new site appears to be a site for employees, customers, analysts, and otherwise to truly communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is compiling news feeds from different sites that are both positive and negative toward Ford. Most noteworthy, though, is the series of video documentaries which literally take you into company meetings, conference calls, and insider conversations.
    What’s so intriguing about this whole concept, as you’ll notice, is that Ford is letting it all hang out. It’s putting out very negative information about itself…negative analyst comments, negative press, and negative customer feedback. They’re attempting to be very transparent–acknowledging the difficulties they face in an effort to truly turn around the company. You see small companies taking this path fairly often, but not so many in the corporate/publicly traded setting.
    It should be interesting to see what kind of impact it has. If nothing else, I think it is a great device for the Ford employees to stay abreast of the changes/tactics so each one has an understanding of how that should apply to them as individuals.

  6. How do you tell a customer from a click?

    Microsoft is asking this question in its campaign to win advertising dollars from Google. The campaign is built around a recent study by Web analytics specialist, WebSideStory. The study compares major search engines/portals where pay-per-click advertising is utilized. Surprisingly enough, Google comes in dead last among major search engines in terms of the percentage of conversions derived from its pay-per-click ads.
    The possible explanations are pretty interesting. WebSideStory commentary on the study suggests that portals (where rich content and hand-holding are prevalent) appeal to a more purchase-hungry demographic. Google, on the other hand, is built upon a foundation of simplicity and speed; perhaps this audience is less inclined to buy. More likely, however, is the rising prevalence of click fraud: pay-per-click’s dirty little secret (which isn’t so secret anymore).
    For those who don’t know about click fraud, check out the Wikipedia entry for a quick explanation. Mark Cuban has a pretty good take on how big the problem is becoming. Intuitively, my hunch is that Google takes the biggest hit from click fraud because of its size and reputation…almost the same way that Microsoft is the largest target for viruses/worms from would-be hackers. Apple fans have always bragged that they’re better at virus protection than Microsoft; not much of a claim, though, when the overwhelming majority of viruses are written for Windows–not MacOS.
    What does all of this mean? Things are clearly heading toward the pay-per-acquisition model instead of the pay-per-click model. Google appears to be testing something along these lines that would limit click fraud severely. I have a hundred questions in terms of how this would be implemented, but I love the direction.

  7. Information as an Incentive

    For a customer, information is an incentive. An asset.
    I received an email from Brooks Brothers today inviting me to visit the firm’s Web site to learn how to tie various tie knots. The presentation is well done. It’s built in Flash, is animated, and very user-friendly. It motivated me to go because I have always been curious about various tie knots. There was something in it for me…and the incremental cost to Brooks Brothers was virtually nil. I didn’t buy anything today, but perhaps I will in the future.
    A marketer can use information to get a prospect to do something. I wonder why more marketers don’t use it more often.
    Most ads I see focus on what’s in it for the company, not what’s in it for the customer. Take this week’s (6/26/06) issue of Time Magazine. I had it on my desk and picked it up to do a quick poll. Of the first twelve ads in the magazine (from Apple and Land Rover to Edward Jones and LG), all had Web site addresses. But the calls to action were about them, not me. One told me that the site would help me find their store (so I could give them my money). Another told me that the site would explain to me how well the product performs (so I could be convinced to give them my money). Several offered me the very exciting prospect of ‘learn[ing] more’ or ‘find[ing] out more’ (so I could give them my money, I’m sure).
    LG, maker of HD televisions, would be better off offering me some sort of information. How about this: “Confused about HD? Please visit our Web site to download your free copy of Consumer Reports’ comparison report on different television projection types.”
    Edward Jones, investment agency, would get a lot more mileage out of me with an information incentive. Perhaps something like this: “Curious about saving and investing? Log on to our site today to see the top 10 investing mistakes that baby boomers are making today.”
    Creating and uploading this information costs nothing to these companies. Creating the impression that it’s ‘all about them’ (and not about me) does.

  8. PapaJohns Targets the Tech-Savvy

    I am a Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber and enjoy the commercial-free content when I’m on the road. I heard an ad today for PapaJohn’s Pizza and its online ordering system. The commercial makes mention of the fact that satellite radio subscribers are ‘tech savvy’ (I’m paraphrasing here) and directs them to a special URL to try out the online ordering system (which I wrote about some time ago). Seems like a pretty smart media buy to me. Naturally, those who are early/eager adopters of satellite radio technology are more than likely going to be open to ordering pizza online. I think it’s a very sensible business tactic and would imagine that the conversion rate would be better than that of a parallel effort implemented on terrestrial radio or some other traditional medium.

  9. Big/Small Company Blogging

    The St. Pete Times has a pretty interesting (and accurate) article about the different ways that small and large companies are approaching corporate blogging. Small companies seem to be embracing the medium faster than larger companies who seem to be taking more of a wait-and-see approach. It seems natural, though, in that larger companies have Sarbanes-Oxley issues, more bureaucracy to contend with, and–frankly–more to lose. The article describes attitudes in the business community which are consistent with what I see lately within small (more aggressive) and large (more hesitant) companies. Thanks to Josh, who is quoted in the article, for the tip.

  10. Fun with Funnels

    Seth Godin has an interesting post today about the “funnel” that is customer acquisition. Our work and research in the world of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has left us with many of the same thoughts and questions as the ones Seth seems to be thinking through.
    The notion of pay-per-click advertising is a wonderful one. Why pay for a billboard and hope for the best when I can simply pay only for those who express an interest in my product (by clicking on my Google ad)? As long as I am converting a certain number of those folks, I should be fine, right?
    It’s not that simple. First, let’s remember that those who click today might not be ready to buy until next week. That said, a Web site should not only sell; it should carry the water through the entire sales cycle. Second, PPC ad copy should limit inappropriate prospects. If a user searches for ‘bass,’ our copy should distinguish between bass (the fish) and bass (the drum). Silly example but true. Also, let’s not forget about click fraud and how that should be accounted for. I wrote about this not long ago.
    When it’s all said and done, this entire process should be supported by a glorious spreadsheet. PPC is a science, not an art. Building a good model is our best bet!