Digital Trends: 50% of online ads are still non viewable

If you believed that your million dollars display campaign would generate massive brand recall and consideration, a European ad verification company Meetrics is ready to spoil your party.

According to the definition given by IAB on ad view-ability:

An ad is considered viewable if 50 per cent of it is in view for at least one second.

Meetrics Ad View-ability Study 2015

Meetrics Ad View-ability Study 2015

One of the key reasons identified above is the longevity of the ad, keeping that in mind, it won’t be long when ads (including banner ads) would be purchased on viewable time spent by the audience.

Online ad view-ability is a complex concept with several stakeholders ranging from brands and agencies to ad networks and measurement vendors.

Also ReadAd Viewability – a boon or bane for advertisers?

In 2012, in an exercise governed by MRC ( Media Ratings Council ) , a total of 17 advertisers and 12 agencies participated in pilot across 22 campaigns, representing more than 3 billion served impressions that ran in variety of different environments.

Data released by the MRC to pilot participants revealed the following key findings.

  1. View-ability rates – or, the percentage of impressions for which the viewable/non-viewable status was determined – varied widely by campaign; from a high of 78.6 percent to a low of 7.3 percent.
  2. The percentage of served impressions measured for view-ability ranged from a low of 0 percent to a high of 76.7 percent.
  3. Network placements in pilot programs generally had lower measured and viewable rates.

In another detailed and more recent study published jointly by Google & DoubleClick, there were some fascinating insights (including some from media planning and creative perspective) which opens this discussion further:

56.1% of all impressions we measured are not seen, but the average publisher view-ability is 50.2%. (Refer below graph)

Ad VIEWABILITY DISTRIBUTION ACROSS DOMAINS

Ad’s page position matters, as the most viewable position is right above the fold, not at the top of the page.

Average viewability by vertical position

The most viewable ads units are vertical units.

VIEWABILITY RATES BY AD SIZE

Page position isn’t always the best indicator of view-ability. Not all above-the-fold impressions are viewable, while many below-the-fold impressions are.

Page Position Ad View-Ability Distribution

While it ranges across content verticals, and industries, content that holds a user’s attention has the highest view-ability.

industry wise ad-viewability

Key Take Away

There is no doubt that with increasing spends in digital it is important to not overlook what just might be the most profound potential impact of a new view-ability metric: how it may change the experience for consumers.

View-ability data enables advertisers to identify both high- and low value inventory and then shift budgets and targets accordingly to maximise reach and ROI. By understanding trends about what inventory has the highest view-ability, advertisers can better formulate their media strategies.

How to allocate funds for digital marketing?

Budgeting for digital marketing is a mystery for most clients.

In my experience, 2 out of 3 clients have asked me to recommend budgets for content marketing and digital media planning.

Is there a science to figure out the right media mix?

Lets go a little deeper to understand this problem.

A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap that outlines your marketing strategies, tactics, costs and projected results over a period of time.

Your marketing plan and budget keep your entire team focused on specific goals – it’s a critical resource for your entire company.

Frankly, nobody knows how much is too much for Digital and why?

Though, it is slightly easier for organisations whose DNA is 100% grounded into digital like e-commerce, gaming, music or other content apps etc.

But even for them, prioritising their budgets towards various channels is still difficult. 

I’ve consulted numerous startups at different stages of their business, marketing spend optimisation is as important as conversion optimisation. 

Here’s how one should go about budget allocation in digital marketing. 

CONTENT MARKETING Vs DISTRIBUTION (PAID ADVERTISING)

 

The first question marketers have to answer is how much they should spend in creating their digital assets and how much they need to distribute it.

Trust me, it is not as easy question as we think it is.

Key to this question lies in the understanding of digital metrics at different stages of customer journey.

  • What are we really chasing? (Brand Awareness / Brand Recall / Conversation Share / Leads / eCommerce sales etc.) For e.g. How much you should spend on content creation if your objective is sales?
  • What are your industry specific trends? ( for e.g, according to a Cisco report, B2B companies have rated video content in the top 3 most effective digital tactic for lead generation )
  • What are the general paid and organic benchmarks for Search & Social?

Allocating BUDGETs by Audience

 

People think the beauty of digital marketing is audience targeting.

Wrong!

The real beauty is the power of data analytics which helps you understanding your audience preferences in finer details.

Different data types in analytics helps you uncover various aspects of audience behaviour.

Also Read : Understanding types of data sets in marketing

It is very important to start understanding your audience reports in web /app analytics. 

Your site analytics could tell you a lot about your future customer and how you need to reach out.

By comparing sources such as paid campaigns, organic traffic and social media channels, you can apply the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule.

You are going to find out what sources generate the majority of sales to later tune up your budget allocation.

Use the Pareto Principle and identify the top 20 percent of your traffic sources that generate 80 percent of good results. Focus your budget on that.

Also read : 80-20 rule of sales – How to find your best customers 

A/B TestING, Scale up and Repeat

 

One of the most important thing I’ve learnt in my digital career is to learn the art of creating successful pilot test campaigns.

It is vital for your to create certain hypothesis KPIs and key assumptions about your business audience which you would want to test through your pilot campaign.

For instance, if any third-party reports are saying that your target audience is actively engaging through social media and searching less on search engines, you should create a separate social led campaign to test the hypothesis.

Once you have your results, try re-verify them, but this time with slightly higher budget.

Now repeat this to your strategic benefit as it would give you enough confidence as marketer where you can keep on increasing your budgets in social media as a channel and optimise your business returns.

Create your own Digital Strategy Template

 

While allocating digital marketing budget for your brand or startup, it is critical to follow your industry best practices but at some point you must try to find some key insights about your actual audience.

A lot of times, you would realise that the actual buying audience is very different from the target group you are chasing for a long time in your media plans.

If you act fast enough, you can optimise the channel budgets in real-time which can boost your overall performance and drive efficiencies. 

Also Read : How to create your digital strategy template? 

Budget Allocation should be fluidic

 

A lot of enterprise companies allocate funds annually for marketing, but digital marketing usually requires more maintenance, with quarterly or monthly allocation adjustments.

High volume, automated buying in channels like paid search or paid social should be analysed for performance and landscape fluctuations, with budget allocations being adjusted accordingly.

70:20:10 Rule of Digital Media Planning

 

Frankly speaking, nobody can actually guesstimate the budget amount,  but new predictive modelling technologies have emerged to help CMOs forecast media performance to better allocate budgets.

If you are a nimble startup or a small business, consider the 70/20/10 rule as a good starting point.

  • 70% of the budget be allocated to “tried and tested” channels (like Search, Social Media & Email)
  • 20% to “safe bets” (newer channels like Mobile Marketing & Native Ads, that seem promising, even if they haven’t proven themselves just yet),
  • 10% allocated to “experimental” (cutting edge, unique opportunities like “Big Data” which might provide a big payoff).

Social Media Trend : Twitter buy now button may alter consumer journey forever

In the last few years, e-commerce has transformed the way brands are looking at their businesses.

Not just the retail, but it has forced the entire services sector to build a unique experiential model online and create newer revenue channels (powered by e-commerce) to their existing business models.

Without doubt, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have literally altered the consumer’s path to purchase across industries, by making it more dynamic and real-time.

Talking about real-time, Twitter is the undisputed king of real-time marketing in social media. And yet brands are often challenged to work out exactly what role it should play in the mix. It can be used to create awareness, drive engagement, and play a crucial role in customer service.

Twitter users’ shopping habits make them a valuable audience for retailers and the findings can help businesses maximise sales by “sending Twitter shoppers the right message at the right moment.”

According to a Millward Brown survey of women on Twitter who had recently purchased household staples, Twitter users have bigger budgets and buy more often than non-users.

For five major retail categories, Crimson Hexagon used keyword analysis to quantify the share of conversation on Twitter for each stage of the purchase process.

 

“Whether they’re learning about a new product or on the cusp of buying, shoppers rely on Twitter for information and advice. The survey showed that nearly half (49%) of female Twitter shoppers say Twitter content has influenced their purchase decisions, which makes the platform prime real estate for brands,” Twitter says.

For five major retail categories, Crimson Hexagon used keyword analysis to quantify the share of conversation on Twitter for each stage of the purchase process.

Twitter Buy Now Button for e-commerce

After two years of testing, Twitter is finally making it easy for millions of merchants to sell products through a tweet.

The micro blogging network announced Wednesday that its “buy now” button will be available to any merchant in the United States that uses one of three major e-commerce platforms to run its online shopping operations. A store that is a customer of Demandware, Bigcommerce, or Shopify can use the software to tweet out a link to a product that will show up with a buy button.

What does this means for ecommerce startups and small business?

Technically speaking, you could run a startup business with the Twitter Buy button without even owning your own website. If the button allows you to connect directly with a payment processor it would work like Amazon or eBay where some people simply create an account on one of those sites and start selling — without ever having to slog through the hassle of launching their own site.

With Twitter Buy button, you can possibly cut down on the steps it takes for people to buy items from your store. From the looks of it, this button can be used as a one-click feature wherein your followers can link credit cards to their profiles.

Since no one has to go out of their way to get to your website, this feature constitutes a huge advance for the user experience. You won’t have to worry about how your shopping cart is working.

Honestly, I assume some stores would transition most of their resources to Twitter and other social outlets if this ended up working well, since the maintenance is so low and your entire checkout is handled by Twitter.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is quite frankly, a revolution in making.

How to make your social media marketing effective?

Most of the digital strategists, who’ve read this post by Brian Bolard,  stopped asking this question, why social media posts on the brand pages gets so little number of likes and comments organically?

The social media world has converged to one and only one thing ” More Money = More Reach = More Engagement ”

What about More customers?

Last I checked, marketing was all about gaining newer customers (loyalty?? What’s that?).

I am sure, for most of you (especially if you are a client who has spent a lot of money in acquiring those fans), the bugging question is “why did those people liked your page in first place?”

As a digital practitioner, I’ve made some personal observations (more of a point of view really) about social media and digital.

One of the observations was around the utilisation of social media platforms as an advertising medium.

Fundamentally, social space was not supposed to be intruded by ads. One of the reasons, as to why Twitter didn’t started monetisation of their platform for a long time. (Read : Is data mining the future of twitter’s monetisation strategy?)

The reality is that nobody likes ads in social media. Or let me put it even more bluntly.

People do not join Facebook to like BRAND PAGES!

They join to connect, converse & stay engaged with the “people” in “their lives”. Brand pages or businesses are an aberration if they are not relevant to the environment.

Also Read: Here’s why you should stop worrying about your Facebook page likes

Lets deep dive a little more into this.

 

Social Media Fans vs Customer?

If I put this question to top Fortune 500 Companies CMO’s, whether they are looking for more fans or more customers from their social media pages, I am sure, just like anyone else, they would take few moments to understand the difference.

What’s the difference between these words?

Turns out it’s not just a difference of definitions, but also of mindset and therefore, changes your entire social media strategy.

When you think of the word “customer,” you envision someone, cash in hand, ready to buy your product. If you take it one step further and think of a loyal customer, then it’s someone who repeatedly buys from you and perhaps even refers your business.

Scott Ginsberg of the Womma blog defines them so:

“A customer is someone who comes to a store to buy a lamp and never comes back. Fans crave experiences unlike any others.”

The word customer originated in the 1540s and meant “a person with whom one has dealings.”

The word fan originated much later in 1889. It meant “devotee” or “ardent admirer” and was primarily used to describe baseball enthusiasts and as a short form of fanatic.

Since first being used in a sports connotation, the word fan has now expanded to encompass many other industries. Musicians have fans. Movie stars have fans. And today, thanks to the Facebook lexicon, businesses have fans too.

Finding Real Social Media Fans For Your Brand

In 2008, former Wired magazine editor Kevin Kelly wrote an insightful and very popular blog post called “1,000 True Fans.”

Copyblogger goes on to further extrapolate on this concept and discusses 20 steps to finding your true fans by teaching and promoting your knowledge.

Clearly, they are also pointing you in one direction, creating valuable information in a smart package which builds context, connect and relevance with your audience.

Content Marketing is no more ‘just’ the King, it is the entire kingdom

Clearly, the rise of social media platform is not because people are consuming more advertising, but because they are consuming more content.

Imagine it like a coffee shop. Those who love to drink coffee often have their favourite cafes or go-to joints.

They frequently visit a chosen venue because it’s a great place to hang out.

A lot of them even know the owners of the place and other frequent visitors, who, like them, regularly drop in to socialise.

But without the rich aromas and great tasting coffee that the place serve, would they still go there if there was nothing to drink?

Social media marketing is pretty much like that coffee shop, so long as you (brand) would keep serving your audience real and meaningful content (coffee) , you’ve got a great hangout place for your audience. 

But more often than not, brands tend to focus on securing their presence in the race to catch up with competitors. They get the coffee shop in the form of a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube presence, but forget what they’re serving (advertising).

Is your Brand actually ready for Mobile?

It is no rocket science to say that in the last one decade, technology has changed a lot of things around us and in effect about us. With mobile (or mobility) being the most critical catalyst in this ultra sonic evolutionary shift in human behavior, there are few aspects of this evolution worth talking about.

First, Mobile, which was an object of desire till a decade ago, suddenly became the oxygen for the entire human race which continues to find ways (in the form of apps) to increase their dependency on it.

Today, from the most trivial and mundane tasks to the most advanced events are initiated, controlled & monitored by mobile devices.

Having said that, instead of restricting, the 4.5 inch (and now continuously increasing) screen size has opened the imagination of millions around the globe. Thanks to Apple iOS & Google Android who allowed the age old graphic designers to re-invent themselves into a UI/UX specialist.

App developers added more fuel to this fire by making the most of various possibilities offered by Android & iOS platforms and flooding the app stores with millions of apps.

In a world, where people’s life depending so much on connectivity and mobility, how can Advertising be left behind? But unfortunately, the ad world did not evaluated the applicability, marketing viability and other connected pros and cons of the medium before starting to weave advertising around it. After all, the ever increasing number of mobile devices were adding more “premium” eye balls to their excel sheets (in effect more marketing dollars) at a never seen before pace in the advertising history.

However, it is logical to follow the eye balls, the ground work was missing before going bullish on the advertising part. In many ways, mobile has not gone through a proper curve of evolution, purely from Advertising standpoint. There were too many things happening in too little time duration in the name of innovation. Advertisers were only listening to newer terminology in every Adtech or Digital Media seminar which was making it increasingly difficult to define any strategy for the short term.

On one side App developer and advertising community were pushing the OEMs to increase screen sizes of their devices, due to which 5.5-6 inch phablets are now on their way to become a de-facto in the smartphone world.

There was little change from an audience experience standpoint which becomes the party spoiler in Mobile Advertising.

Brands are not responsive to Responsive Web

#Mobilegeddon - Google goes strict on experience on mobile browsers

In its last major search algorithmic change aka “Mobilegeddon”, Google made it absolutely crystal clear that they are serious about delivering great reader experience on the mobile browsers. The change was more of a warning to brands and corporates who’ve not spent enough energies in making their websites responsive.  (Read : Google will punish you if you don’t have a mobile website )

To check if your website is mobile responsive, visit Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool.

Akamai report on responsive web

In a post outlining his research, Akamai’s Guy Podjarny presented the information that Barry expressed hope about getting from Google. Akamai’s figures showed that just 18.7% of a list of 10,000 top-tier web sites is responsive. The percentage decreases in proportion to the traffic the site gets.

When it comes to the top 100 sites analysed, only 11.8% of these sites use responsive web design.

RWD-over-time-akamai

Brian Klais of Pure Oxygen Labs did a similar analysis in 2013 with the Fortune 100, and found that only 11% of them are responsive. That number has likely increased in two years, given the rate at which webmaster have been adopting responsive web design.

Although adoption in practice isn’t nearly as high as Google’s unscientific survey would suggest, responsive sites are growing quickly, to the point where they are now catching up with separate URLs as the dominant mobile site configuration method.

site type on mobile

Sites with separate URLs for mobile and desktop (“Mdot”) were found 21% of the time in Akamai’s study, and responsive web design (“RWD”) was right behind with 17% of the total. A specific breakdown of dynamic serving and not-mobile-optimized wasn’t provided — together they with totalled 62%.

Despite such strict measures by Google in their webmaster algorithm, the ratio of Responsive Websites have not gone up significantly.

Clearly, using mobile advertising in your marketing mix is not a viable option till you are delivering 100% responsive experience on your brand’s landing page / corporate website.

Digital Case Study – Maruti recreates the National Anthem in #DZire2Unite

Digital Case Study

#DZire2Unite –  An Initiative by Maruti Suzuki

The youth of today is eager to unite for a cause. A recent example of the same was when everyone used rainbow filters on their Facebook DP’s on the legalisation of gay marriage in USA.

There are also certain things that every Indian youth holds close to his heart. For example, our National Anthem has an emotional connect with the people and it still gives goose bumps to every Indian, each time they hear it. Our National anthem is such an important symbol that it has been rendered afresh by bollywood Actors, Music celebrities and artists like AR Rehman etc.  And now, the crème de la creme of the music industry consisting of 11 of the country’s best musicians will collaborate to recreate the national anthem.

However, it is easy for stars and big names to recreate the national anthem.

Maruti (along with Talenthouse) discovered that if the same opportunity was presented to the passionate artists of our country, they would put in their heart and soul to do the same. Hence, this Independence day, Talenthouse created a short contest and opened it to its database of filmmakers, singers, actors, directors etc. And the response was phenomenal. We received around 200 musical compositions and scripts, recreating the national anthem. The top five were the most moving.

This artistic desire to unite through the national anthem resonated with the brand ethos of Maruti Dzire, who celebrate this desire and passion in people. On the occasion of 1 million Maruti cars being sold, the brand decided to support these young passionate artists by pitching in.

Our young artists recreated the anthem with great enthusiasm. For eg. Raghav Mehta is the young composer who has worked for talenthouse projects like Nerolac, Axe etc and Harpal Singh is a young film maker who has directed for several Talenthouse projects like Horlicks etc . These two artists have been living with the Desire to Unite Anthem plot for the last two years waiting for it to see the light of the day. Given the chance, they’re all set to release.

This Independence Day, Maruti & Talenthouse will release the national anthem recreated by these young passionate artists and encourage people to like and share it.

Updated Controls for Facebook News Feed – Boon or Bane?

If you are chasing your “million likes on Facebook page” dream, drop it! as soon it may become a futile exercise.

According to the latest update from Facebook, they are making some deep changes to its news feed which would make it difficult for brands to reach out to their page followers.

Over the years, Facebook has modified and transformed the way we consume content on our wall through its News Feed. News Feed is where you go to catch up on what’s happening with your friends and find the content that matters to you.

What you do in News Feed helps determine what you see in News Feed. You decide who you want to connect to, and what Pages and public figures you want to follow.

Needless to say that Facebook has become a universal choice of brands & businesses around the globe for reaching out and engaging with their target audience.

Facebook revenue has continuously beaten all expectation in the past and still going strong. In this process, what has really happened is that the average number of pages liked by any individual on Facebook has gone up significantly.  Here’s a graph from Social Bakers that demonstrate the fact quite clearly:

Average number of Facebook user likes per country

Average number of Facebook user likes per country

 

In India, on an average 22 pages are liked by each Facebook user (which is much smaller compared to 70 in the US). Now add to that, the unstoppable Facebook feeds of your friends and the newly added content feeds of publishers. How much of a chance does any brand has to make an impact and grab your attention?

Updated newsfeed control can potentially kill your Facebook campaign

In their latest update to newsfeed, Facebook has provided the users the option to prioritise the kind of feeds they want to see first. They can chose their best friends, their favourite branded content which would appear first in their timeline.

In their statement, Facebook clearly mentioned that they are allowing people to select the kind of content they want to see and engage with.

News Feed is a personalised stream of stories that you build from the people and Pages you’ve connected to on Facebook. The goal of News Feed is to show you the stories that matter most to you. To do this, we use ranking to order stories based on how interesting we believe they are to you: specifically, whom you tend to interact with, and what kinds of content you tend to like and comment on.

But this could be a bad news for the businesses who’ve spent precious marketing dollars for getting those page likes. It would seriously impact the content engagement rates in days to come across all brand pages.

Facebook-Newsfeed-prefrences

Here’s what Greg Marra, Facebook’s product manager has to say in an interview given to Mashable on the Facebook News Feed:

Feature was modelled after News Feed’s “unfollow” feature, which allows people to choose not to see posts from specific pages and people in their feed. “The thing we were constantly hearing was: ‘there’s a few people that I really care about and i want to make sure I don’t miss stuff from those people.

This could be a positive move from user experience standpoint, but brand pages would soon feel the after effects of this change.

Also Read: Here’s why Facebook likes should stop bothering you

Conclusion

While the average total likes for Facebook Pages went up in many cases in February 2015, very recently Facebook Inc. made a new announcement for business pages due to which a lot of pages saw a dip in their average page fans by 3 to 4%.

Facebook is not been able to balance its priorities in the recent times, and with this recent change, it may face significant backlash from advertisers around the globe.