Four tactical opportunities marketers can apply to blend social, search, and display.
So let me start this column by expressing how grateful I feel to be in this industry. Knock on wood, what a great year 2010 was for most of the people I know in online marketing. Amid all the doom and gloom, online marketing seems to be a rare bright spot in the economy. At trade events, the atmosphere is lively and infused with enthusiasm. What a big change from the last bubble pop back in late 2000 where all of us "new economy" workers got slammed.
So what is my prediction for 2011? More blurring of the lines between social, search, and online media. These three areas are coming together faster than many people can follow. Social media actions and technologies are acting as a common thread that binds campaigns (online and offline) together. Social media metrics like friends, fans, likes, and shares are adding a whole new menu of actions and success metrics to what we apply to online display and search. Social media marketing is also adding new dimensions and opportunities to SEO by allowing marketers to build rank and links via Facebook Likes and social sharing, and distribute their content and brand to other pages and profiles living all over the Web.
The challenge for today's media and online professional is to understand where the lines are blurring and how to capitalize on those points of integration. The questions one must ask are: Where are the lines blurring, who should own what, and what are some of the things we can do to add octane via these specific points of integration?
For example, are Facebook ASUs (Facebook's self-serve, cost-per-click ads) media, social media, or paid search? Certainly they are a form of online media (as is paid search), but who should manage them? They are targeted via keywords and similar selects to search. They are PPC text ads like search. They can be managed, measured, and optimized much like search. Should search managers master this skill as well? And they also can be used to drive Likes (fans). So does that make it social media marketing?
How about the Google network? Although you manage this through your AdWords account, is this search or media? When you serve "image ads" or banners via the Google Content Network and target by keyword or utilize retargeting, is this search or display media?
Finally, what about all these rich media ads with the Share buttons that encourage you to post content and share things via Twitter and Facebook? Is this online display? Well, it's actually socially-infused online media.
So let me lay out four tactical opportunities marketers can and should apply to create a 1 + 1 = 3 (or more) situation.
These are just four tactics that blend social, search, and display - there are of course many more. Got a good one? Leave a comment!
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As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.
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