Privacy in an Always-Connected World

Privacy is a hot issue these days, especially with the continued use of social media and adoption of mobile devices. There is a balance between better marketing and respecting consumers’ privacy that must be kept.

According to research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 57% of all app users have either uninstalled an app over concerns about having to share their personal information, or declined to install an app in the first place for similar reasons. This shows that mobile users care about their privacy and will take action to protect it. Marketers need to listen to what people are saying with their actions and better respect people’s privacy.

Just last month, the FTC released a report titled Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency that provides recommendations to marketers, developers and other businesses on how to best respect and protect the privacy of mobile users. Some of the recommendations from the report are just-in-time disclosures, a privacy dashboard, using icons to let mobile users know when apps are accessing private information and all apps should have a privacy policy available through the app store.

Marketers need to listen to the FTC’s recommendations on how to better respect and protect people’s privacy. This will help to build trust between marketers and consumers.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Digital Marketing

With all the talk about emerging media like social media and mobile, there is still one important question that remains—how should marketers measure the effectiveness of emerging media?

For many digital marketing activities, web analytics is the best way to measure their effectiveness, because it measures what people actually do, instead of what they say they’re going to do. Google Analytics is my preferred web analytics solution because there are so many features and customization choices available, and of course, it integrates with Google AdWords to enable the optimization of digital advertising.

No matter what type of website and campaign you’re running, Google Analytics (GA) can help you understand its effectiveness. An ecommerce website would be more interested in online purchasing metrics and the optimizing the paths that lead to a purchase, and for this, GA has conversion analytics. A content website would be more interested in the amount of engagement with each piece of content and optimizing the content consumption expereince, and for this GA has content analytics.

Google Analytics offers social analytics reporting that allows us marketers to measure the impact of social media on important metrics, like conversions. With a conversions report, you can see the conversion rates and the monetary value of conversions that occurred due to referrals from each social network.

GA also offers mobile analytics for understanding mobile websites, apps and ads. The end-to-end customer journey for mobile apps is measured, from discovery to download to engagement. This helps mobile marketers and developers to better understand how people are using their app. With this information, the mobile app can be optimized for the most popular use cases and testing can be done to create the best mobile user experience. For a mobile website, a marketer can use insights gained from GA to decide if they need to implement responsive design, based on website usage from mobile.

Measuring our marketing efforts in emerging media is essential to knowing how effective our marketing is and optimizing it to be the best it can be.

Nine West’s Innovative Social Media Marketing

Nine West is a major shoe and accessories brand that also happens to have a great Facebook presence. With 14 sub-pages within Nine West’s Facebook page, there is plenty of content for shoe lovers of all types.

In addition to the usual Timeline, About and Photos pages, Nine West has a Channel 9 page, which combines fashion, shoes and views (photos and video). The picture below is of the Channel 9 page of Nine West’s Facebook page.

 

The Channel 9 part of Nine West’s Facebook page is so innovative and awesome because there are shoppable videos in this section. According to a ClickZ article, Google released a new beta feature just before the start of this past holiday season that lets brands create shoppable videos featuring products. Users can click through the YouTube video to purchase the product. Clickable ads embedded in the videos allow marketers to track the ROI of marketing with shoppable videos. Below is a picture of what one of Nine West’s shoppable videos looks like.

 

Nine West Shoppable YouTube Video

 

I applaud Nine West for quickly testing the waters to this new marketing tool, and for quickly integrating with other marketing by placing these videos on platforms other than YouTube. I believe that shoppable videos could really take off as a new way to purchase products, especially in the fashion world. I am personally looking forward to the day when I can watch a runway show on YouTube and click through to buy any product I want!

Business Goes Mobile – Part 2

In my last post, I discussed the importance and relevance of mobile devices in today’s world. Now, I will explain what your business should be doing about this.

Any business that is going to dive into mobile needs a solid mobile strategy. To help guide your business to the right mobile strategy, the customer, the type of business or product, and the resources available should be considered.

There are many options for getting your business mobile friendly so that it may be found by the millions of people using mobile devices. Some of the options for mobile marketing are mobile advertising, mobile websites, mobile apps, social media on mobile, location-based services, mobile advergames, and mobile SEO. Different mobile strategies and tactics are better for different types of businesses.

According to a Mobile Marketing article, one mobile advertising strategy that has worked well is contextual mobile ads that are aligned with the content a user is viewing. Contextual ad placement has been shown to drive an increase in click-through rates for online display ads. This increase is even greater for contextual ads on mobile devices. One company says they found a five times higher click-through-rate for mobile contextual ads than the average click-through-rate for mobile display ads.

This is just one example of how a well thought out mobile strategy can benefit a business. I encourage all businesses to begin thinking about your mobile strategy now, because chances are that some of your competitors already have! Email me at jennifer@crusecommunications.com if you need any help creating a successful mobile strategy.

People Have Gone Mobile – Part 1

In the U.S., more than 125 million people own smartphones, and more than 50 million own tablets, says comScore’s 2013 Mobile Future in Focus Report. According to research by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, you are more likely to own a smartphone if you are younger, more educated, have a higher household income and live in an urban or suburban setting. Tablet owners are more likely than smartphone owners to have a higher household income and a higher education level, but age does not matter as much.

People are using their smartphones and tablets to do many things including browsing the Internet, checking emails, using apps, getting directions, banking, listening to music, getting news, using social networking services  and watching videos.

Mobile interactions precede real-world action. The graph below from Google’s Our Mobile Planet shows the valuable actions that people are taking after searching for local information on a smartphone.

Action taken after looking for local information on smartphone

Action taken after looking for local information on smartphone

All of this is relevant to businesses because customer behavior has changed significantly in the last few years. People are now using their mobile devices to interact with businesses in ways that were not available just a few short years ago. Businesses must adjust to this change in the behavior of their customers or risk becoming irrelevant in the eyes of customers.

Mobile is no longer an option. People expect to be able to find the information they need about your business on their mobile device. If people cannot find your business on mobile, they will turn to the competition that they can find. If you ignore mobile, you ignore the people that keep your business profitable — your customers.

Toyota, Emerging Media & Crisis Communications

A Toyota concept car

A Toyota concept car

As many of you know, Toyota has been through some serious controversy in the last several years. Between the Toyota Recall Crisis and the supply chain problems the automaker had after the 2011 Japan earthquake, the company has had a lot to deal with.

 

Soon after the start of the recall crisis, Toyota began to embrace emerging media more than it had before the recall crisis hit. According to an AdWeek article, in February of 2010, Toyota did something unusual to help deal with the recall crisis— it offered up Toyota Motor Sales USA president Jim Lentz for its Digg Dialogg interview series. Looking back, this was an innovative and bold move by Toyota, a brand that was known for safety and reliability before the recall.

 

Since then, Toyota has continued its innovative use of emerging media. One example of this is the 2012 IMC campaign for the Prius c, which stands for Prius City, the newest member of the Prius family. According to a Mobile Marketer article, Toyota partnered with Hasbro for the campaign, and included elements of the game of Life. Toyota ramped up its mobile marketing for the launch of the Prius c, including partnerships with Words With Friends and Urbanspoon, which included an ad that let users spin a mobile wheel to play a game. Mobile ads appeared on Yahoo, YouTube, Huffington Post, Amazon, and College Humor mobile properties.

 

I think Toyota has come back even stronger, because of its consistent and innovative use of emerging media in its marketing. According to the New York Times, Toyota has once again claimed its stop as the world’s top selling automaker, with a record 9.75 million vehicles sold last year. Well done Toyota, keep up the great work!

The Magic of Responsive Design

Responsive design somewhat resembles magic—as you change your browser size, the content rearranges itself so that it looks great no matter what size the screen or browser window is. Although it may look like magic, responsive design is actually just an innovative way to design a website so that it will resize to fit any screen size.

It all started back in 2010 with an A List Apart article that detailed how web design could become responsive by using media queries to determine the size of the screen, and then resizing the content to fit the screen size. Text and images can be resized to fit any screen size and resolution by building on a fluid grid.

With the massive adoption of smartphones and tablets of all sizes, responsive design is a great option if you have content that you need to look great on any device. Blogs, newspapers, magazines, and any other content websites should be using responsive design so that they are not running readers away with text that cannot be read on a mobile device.

Image

Recently, Mashable relaunched its content website, and it’s now a full responsive design website. Mashable says that 30% of its traffic is visiting the website from a mobile device, and they believe it could be more than 50% by the end of 2013. Now that Mashable has a fully responsive website, visitors can enjoy their content from any device they choose. Other content websites need to follow Mashable’s lead before they begin loosing mobile visitors.

Pleasantly Surprised by McDonald’s Happy Meals Website

For my Emerging Media and the Market course this week, which is part of the WVU Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree program, I did some research on a website that is being used to market to children. I choose the McDonald’s Happy Meal website, thinking that I was going to find a lot ethically wrong with the website. I was expecting huge Big Macs and dancing French Fries, but what I saw was fruit and vegetables, some even dancing!

McDonald's Happy Meals Website

McDonald’s Happy Meals Website

I am pleasantly surprised by McDonald’s for the way they have designed this website and the content in it. Most all of the videos and games on the Happy Meals website have something to do with either healthy food or being environmentally friendly to the planet. For example, one video is a rap about Jack and Janet, two best friends who love the planet! Another example is the game Yummivore!, which you play by making a little green guy eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible.

McDonald’s did recently have to change a feature of its website because of a complaint filed with the FTC by a group of 13 privacy advocates. According to an AdWeek article, McDonald’s eliminated its forward-to-a-friend feature, which encouraged children to email e-cards, links and photos to friends and family.

I’m glad that McDonald’s is trying to find the balance when marketing to children online, and promoting healthy eating and environmentally friendliness!

Are You Ready for Emerging Media?

Hello to everyone reading this post! I have created this blog for a WVU Integrated Marketing Communications graduate class I am currently in, Emerging Media and the Market. I will observe, examine and analyze the affects that emerging media has had on marketing and communications. I will also examine trends and tools in this space.

Why Emerging Media Matters

Emerging media matters because it is all around us. Most of us interact with emerging media numerous times a day. Millions of people are using this new media to inform and entertain themselves. Some use it for work, and some use it to research products and services.

How We Interact With It Daily

Many people are engaging with these new forms of media many times a day. For example, when we use our smartphones, check our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and post to our blogs, this is all interacting with emerging media. A recent iMedia Connection article predicts that SoLoMo, the intersection of social, local and mobile, will hit the mainstream in 2013. I agree that smart marketers will begin to integrate SoLoMo into their overall marketing activities.

How New Media is Influencing Marketing

Emerging media matters because as marketers we must go where our customers and other audiences are if we want to be seen. The reality is that social media, smartphones, the Internet and search engines are where people are. Increasingly, people are doing all this and more on smartphones and tablets. A recent report entitled State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012, by Nielsen and NM Incite, shows a clear rise in the time spent on social media via a mobile device. So mobile is where we must go!