With the Facebook and other IPOs recently, there have been many questions around valuation and business model viability for social media companies. Many believe that Facebook advertising may not be sustainable, and Facebook is talking about a future in data. The debate about Facebook as an ad model is nothing new - tech giants like Google and Yahoo have also faced continued skepticism since they first went public. The bottom line is, Facebook is changing, and people question change. No matter what you might believe about Facebook, marketers simply will not ignore any media that commands 900 million engaged users.
The intent of Facebook is connection and communication. As a result, Facebook's advertising should ideally encourage connection. Ideal ads and landing pages should adapt to offer a reason to connect and communicate with the advertiser and retain customers by rewarding loyalty with early information, special deals, and/or convenience.
Because consumers will naturally share what they think will be meaningful to their community, it's important to make that sharable information easy to subsequently click and buy.
Pinterest is the fastest standalone site to reach 10 million unique visitors a month. According to Tamba, the site received more than 4 million unique visitors per day in March, and 72 percent of the members are women. The Pinterest audience tends to have above-average income and is primarily between 25 and 54 - potentially offering a shopping audience to retailers, as yet to be monetized.
The Pinterest users are also highly engaged with content in time spent on social networking sites - an average 14.2 minutes per visit in March. The challenge is that the merchant cannot control links from Pinterest to their site, so oftentimes pins outlast product availability. Advertising for Pinterest today is similar to advertising to grow "likes" a year ago - it's all about getting more pins.
Search engines like Google and Amazon are the environments where the consumer's intent is to shop - or at least to research products. The expanse of data has taught consumers to be much more specific in their search than in the past, and as a result merchants must adapt constantly to the changing tastes of consumers. Unlike social ads on Facebook, or pins, long-tail search marketing, done well, can capture new customers who have never bought from your brand and are not looking for a deal - they're just looking for something very specific.
Leveraging the career-advancement intent of LinkedIn can help marketers identify and cultivate advocates based on intent. However, the landing page for these campaigns must be incredibly creative or highly relevant in order to work. Recently, the movie "Prometheus" used LinkedIn to identify writers and invited them to take a test to determine if they were eligible to join a company from the future. The goal was to engage them in an experience compelling them to write and expose their readers to the movie.
Conversion and Intent
Conversion is the success metric that matters when measuring whether your campaigns are working. Marketers need to match their success criteria with the media avenues where the consumer's intent matches the marketer's goals. None of the marketer's goals are "likes," clicks, or opens. Each medium requires different compelling creative elements.
|Launch a new (visually appealing) product line|
|Capture new customers||Search, LinkedIn|
|Target lead generation|
|Increase average order size||Theme pages, recommendations|
|Repeat purchase||Email/content marketing|
Big Data Applications and Advertising
Matching consumer intent to the advertising experience is key to achieving advertising success. Marketers must harness big data applications to adapt their ad strategies and match their site experience to the intent of their customers. Many marketers are accustomed to using big data applications to target their online display advertising. Facebook may try to tap into this known market. Using the consumer's intent for accessing the e-commerce site (pinning, socializing, searching, etc.), marketers can conclude why they are on a website and deliver a fresh, compelling, and relevant experience.
Ultimately, big data applications may simplify allocating budget across different goals and media. Those who understand intent, present relevant content, and harness big data will be eons ahead of those who rely on traditional ad models alone.
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Raj founded BloomReach with 10 years of enterprise and entrepreneurial experience behind him. Most recently, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Mohr-Davidow Ventures. Previously, he was a director of product marketing at Cisco. Prior to that, he was part of the founding team at telecom company FirstMark/LambdaNet, which grew to $80M in run-rate revenues. Raj also worked in technology investment banking at Lazard Freres. He holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
December 12, 2013
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