Thursday, July 31, 2014

Social Media Still Lacks E-Commerce Sales Power

Social media, including Facebook and Twitter, face a long uphill battle in the e-commerce space when up against proven solutions such as e-mail and search, concludes a recent Ad Age article by Tim Dunn of the digital agency Isobar. One piece of evidence is global management consultant McKinsey & Company's 2013 survey finding that e-mail is 40 times more effective at acquiring consumers than Facebook and Twitter combined. McKinsey results also showed that the average order value prompted by e-mail is 17% higher than those prompted by social media. Consumers just don't head to social media to buy things; shopping and browsing products didn't even register as reasons for using Facebook in a recent survey by Pew Research. Dunn hastens to add that social interaction still has a place in the sales cycle, especially as consumers break down the distinction between content and commerce, and that the drive to interact can be harnessed by brands. He notes that fashion brand Free People's user-generated fashion showcase (called FPMe) not only drove passion for brand loyalists but also delivered a 42% increase in same-session sales conversion. However, Dunn advises marketers to exercise skepticism about using social to prompt immediate purchase and urges refocus on e-commerce basics, including touchpoint tracking, site experience and e-mail targeting. See the complete online post at

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Online Review Turns Customers Into Advertisers

With customers the most influential source of brand advertising today, marketers need to embrace online review to feed the customer relationships and loyalty that create brand advocates, urges Trustpilot CMO Jan Vels Jensen in a recent imediaconnection blog post. A Nielsen survey finding that 84% of respondents said word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family were more trustworthy than brand advertising should be a wake-up call to marketers about the value of customer voices. Creating an online review community shows consumers the human side of the brand before they make a purchase and allows companies to build trust and social proof, says Jensen. Brands can generate 40% additional revenue each year and lift sales by 18% by highlighting customer voices and incorporating online reviews into their advertising strategies, according to his data. Online reviews have also been shown to increase conversion rates, prevent basket abandonment and encourage repeat purchases and brand advocacy, he adds. And when customers are alerted to online reviews, it affects click-through rates on paid and organic search. Read the complete post at

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Automation Revs E-mail Response, Data Demands

Automation technology can turbocharge e-mail response, provided your marketing organization is prepared to take advantage. Just take a look at Silverpop's impressive evidence of e-mail automation's impact on opens and clicks. According to Silverpop's annual e-mail marketing metrics benchmark study, automated messages achieved an open rate nearly 15% higher and a click-through rate nearly 79% higher than their manual counterparts last year. The study examined messages sent by more than 3,000 brands across industries and geographies in 2013. Response metrics like those recently inspired Ellen Valentine at ClickZ to urge expanded use of automation -- as long as the groundwork for success has been laid with marketing vision, skills and data. "If you don't have great data on your customers and prospects, you become much more limited in how you'll be able to deploy automation technology," warns Valentine. "Consider every way your customers interact with you -- whether it's on the Web, on a social channel, on a mobile app, or within an e-mail -- and how you can capture and integrate these behaviors into your marketing efforts." If the data tasks seem overwhelming to internal teams, she suggests calling in a third party to help augment databases and speed integration -- and that could include the data professionals at AccuList USA, of course. For the complete article, see.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sequenced Creatives Outdo CTA Ads, Per Study

Sequenced creative that walks customers down the sales funnel can outperform a call-to-action (CTA) digital ad campaign, according to new research from social media ad company Adaptly, Facebook, and fashion website Refinery29. Per a Direct Marketing News report, the test audience was built by Adaptly using a Facebook Custom Audience based on Refinery29's best e-mail subscribers, resulting in a Facebook lookalike audience of more than 2 million users split into three creative treatment groups. In May 2014, the sequenced creative was delivered evenly across 12 days to one test group, with the first creative a top-of-the-funnel brand message similar to a TV commercial introducing a brand's image and personality. The second creative in the sequence offered a product orientation similar to a brand website to spur middle-of-the-funnel consideration, and the last ad was a bottom-of-the-funnel CTA-based creative. The response of the sequenced-ad group was compared with response by a test group that received three CTA-focused ads, each delivered for four consecutive days, as well as behavior of a control group. The testing found that sequencing ads to move individuals down the marketing funnel generated 56% more conversions than a sustained CTA message delivered over the same period. The sequenced ads also increased view-throughs by 87%. To see the ad creatives, go to

Thursday, July 17, 2014

E-mail Reigns As Most Effective Digital Tactic

E-mail is the most used and most effective digital marketing tool, per a recent report by Gigaom and Extole. In a survey of 300 digital marketers, e-mail was rated the most effective digital tactic overall by 56% of respondents, who cited its value in building awareness (41%), increasing acquisition (37%) and improving conversion (42%). Other tactics ranked in the survey included social media, SEO, paid search, content marketing, online display ads, referral marketing, mobile ads, video ads and affiliate marketing. Out of all tactics, e-mail was employed regularly by the largest number (86%), with that usage followed by social media (72%), SEO (70%) and content marketing (64%). While e-mail led the pack in overall effectiveness, most marketers attributed less than 25% of new customers to e-mail campaigns and reported that they used a multi-tactic digital marketing approach to fill the gap.  E-mail also was not the lead area for planned increases in digital program spending. Digital marketers said they expect to allocate more budget dollars to social media (38% plan to increase) and content marketing (28%) ahead of e-mail (25% plan to spend more) -- even though 52% admitted it is difficult to prove ROI for social media. For details of the study, see the MarketingProfs report at

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Direct Mail Can Win Hispanic Market Response

Direct mail is a powerful marketing tool for targeting Hispanic customers, as Hernan Tagliani, president of The Group Advertising and Hispanic communications pro, reminded in a recent article. To bolster his direct mail advocacy, Tagliani cites the Yankelovich Monitor Multicultural Marketing Study findings that 77% of Hispanics won’t discard mail before reading it and 54% of Hispanic adults respond to a direct-mail offer, so Hispanic households are 3.5 times more likely to respond to a direct-mail solicitation than non-Hispanic households. But he also stresses that crafting direct mail to successfully appeal to Hispanics is not simply a matter of sending an English piece to a Spanish-surname list, or translating existing mail copy verbatim into Spanish. He provides five important tips for direct mailers. First, consider the target audience, meaning the decision-maker and his or her likely acculturation level and language dominance -- and that means careful list selection, we would add. Next, make sure to personalize and customize the message whether the direct mail copy is in English, Spanish or bilingual. Get an expert translation if Spanish copy is required to avoid the ineffective, even insulting, impact of a poor literal translation. Customize visuals, too, so that they match and reinforce the multicultural marketing message. And the bottom line for any successful direct mail campaign: Make a compelling offer with a specific response time frame! For more detail, see

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Digital, Mobile Fuel Big 2014 Ad Spend Growth

Mobile advertising is rising with the force of a tidal wave, forecast to reach 67.8% of all U.S. digital ad spending by 2018, according to the latest report from eMarketer. In fact, digital ad growth (including mobile) already is the key factor in doubling total worldwide ad spending this year. Global media ad spending (for print, TV and radio, outdoor and digital) will increase 5.7% in 2014 alone, eMarketer projects, more than double the growth rate of 2.6% from a year ago. The U.S. market takes the lion's share of those ad dollars, with total U.S. ad spending set to surpass $180 billion this year, equal to nearly one-third of the worldwide total. Digital channels are the driving force of advertising growth for 2014 and beyond: eMarketer estimates that global digital ad spending will increase 16.7% this year, totaling $140.15 billion and surpassing 25% of all media ad spending for the first time. And within the digital category, mobile is the catalyst. Advertising on tablets and smartphones will increase 84.7% worldwide in 2014 to reach $32.71 billion this year, or nearly one-quarter of the digital advertising spend globally, eMarketer estimates.Those trends are forecast to continue until digital snags a 32.3% share of global paid ad spending by 2018, with mobile making up over 50% of those worldwide digital ad budgets. For more details of the report, see