We decided to put a little of everything into this week’s online marketing review: search, social media, email and CRM.
The first thing we have to remember is that customers use the social web for personal reasons. Social media is a communication revolution not a business revolution. 79% of companies have a social network profile, 55% have media sharing sites, like YouTube, and 52% have microblogging profiles, like Twitter. While 70% of the businesses said that they believed that social media outreach would improve brand advocacy among their customers, only 38% of the customers believed that it would make a difference to them that way. To fix this disconnect, businesses need to find out where their customers are communicating and what customers are looking for.
Search is based in information. Google changed their algorithm to reward quality content to combat lesser quality produced by link farms. This is great because now when people use search to find information, results are ranked by authority and quality. On the other hand, social is based in influence. Information is given to social media users based on the connections they have. The information is “digested and shared” creating conversations based on who you follow or friend. Search and social intersect when you can target what people are searching for and push strategies that create conversations around those topics.
Email is not dead and the email “End of Days” is not going to happen anytime soon. But there are some changes that email marketers can’t ignore. The first is Google’s Priority Inbox. It’s the way that Gmail helps users tackle information overload by separating the less important messages from the important ones. The second is Google Smart Labels, which takes the Priority Inbox further by separating emails into three areas: emails from individuals, notifications (news alerts and LinkedIn connections), and bulk (promotional emails). What does this mean for email marketers? That they need to learn to engage with customers in the inbox.
Due to the decline in print newspapers, some of the traditional publishers are looking to online ads for revenue. Pew Research Center says that there has been a 17% increase in online news audience from 2009 to 2010, and print newspaper audience declined 5%. The New York Times is trying to capture more revenue by setting up a metered paywall. Site visitors have up to 20 free articles per month before the paywall kicks in. Some advertisers are worried that this will keep out too many people. But there are two potential opportunities for advertisers. The first involves setting up one-time access to the site on a cost-per-engagement basis, which could lead to more positive brand experiences. The second is that because people pay for the subscription, advertisers might be able to get more data about the audience and create better-targeted messages.
Two years ago Yahoo surrendered its search engine to Microsoft to overhaul their business and to get more people coming to the site. The new refinement for Yahoo will give its users the answers to their questions without having to click on the search results. This new product is called Search Direct. This will include weather forecast, celebrity bios, and news reports. Example if you type “Kobe” it will bring up Kobe Bryant, the basketball star’s playing statistics and photograph. If you type in “Paris, France” it will show you the local time and a list of things to do in the city. Yahoo decided on this feature because users are looking for answers and not links. This product is Yahoo’s response to Google Instant, which automatically pulls up search results as people type in key words.
Have a great weekend!