Affiliate Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Online Marketing, Performance Marketing, Social Marketing

Content Marketing – Challenges and Recommendations

 

As previously discussed, Content Marketing is becoming a key element in every marketing strategy. It now stands out as one of the most powerful techniques available for businesses that wish to strengthen their relationships with existing followers and reach new customers. However, not all businesses know exactly how to use it wisely and effectively.

According to Forrester, most B2B marketers have a difficult time creating relevant and engaging content that customers will want to read and share. Less than 15% of surveyed marketers have said that they believe their content greatly contributes to their businesses and actually provides an added value. Hence, the huge potential of Content is definitely far from being maximized, and there is quite a long way to go. Keeping the following points in mind could greatly increase your engagement with users and improve your Content Marketing effectiveness altogether:

Self-promotion Overkill

Elegantly showing how proud you are of your brand vs. over-pushing this notion is a fine line to walk; It is a skill content marketers should develop and carefully adopt when executing their daily activities. It is a strategic decision for marketing departments to make, one that can have a tremendous positive impact on a brand’s content creation aspects.

  • According to recent studies, almost 90% of brands nowadays share only their own research and views with their readers. This makes it difficult for their audience to regard them as objective sources for information, and will surely have an effect on reliability and engagement.
  • Referring tastefully to your own brand on one hand, while maintaining a broad-scale informative tone on the other, can be the key for balance and success. For example, quoting researches and studies carried out by other brands, or adding explanatory user-generated content into the mix could be a great way to create balance and lead to success.
  • Other studies show that more than 50% of online readers are altogether distrustful of various types of sponsored content. The extent is so great that some users have already developed “banner blindness” and do not pay any attention to online ads and banners. It is therefore not surprising to find that readers appear to be even more skeptical and distrustful of overly-promotional content that excessively promotes a specific brand.
  • “Trust” is the keyword for creating successful engagement, and its importance must be recognized for successful content implementation. Your content should therefore be smart, subtle, non-intrusive and relevant. Consumer attention span is rather short, and you don’t have many chances before being “blacklisted”. So make sure you do it right.

Lack of Focus on the Target Audience

According to research carried out by The Content Marketing Institute, some 65% of brands fail to grasp one of the most basic principles on which marketing strategies are built: Realizing who the target audience is, understanding what they want, and focusing your messages on what they need. This concept is the bread and butter of online marketing at large, and becomes even more relevant when referring to Content Marketing. Content marketers create the actual words and messages that at the moment of truth either intrigue a user or make them move on. Assuming your intention is to make them read your content, and hopefully spread it to others in their network, you must understand who your potential readers are, and what things interest and excite them at this moment of truth.

  • First, it is important to get the basics right: Your target audience must be specifically and clearly defined. The better you carry out your research and understand your audience, the more granular you can become, making your message sharper and more effective.
  • Continue by defining your demographics and identifying your customers’ problems and challenges. Afterwards, use your content to solve these and simplify things for them. Many marketers reach this point, but then commit the mistake by creating content that they think is interesting, rather than content that their customers would find interesting.
  • Try to zoom out and put yourself in their shoes. If you find it too difficult, you can even conduct a small survey: Prepare a few questions, and present them to a number of people within your target audience. It is most likely that you will not receive any surprising answers, but even one different angle that you haven’t thought about could be meaningful and significant enough.
  • For example, imagine your website revolves entirely around cooking, and features various explanations and recipes of different cuisines. If you are a big fan of Italian food, but your target audience lives in Asia, and is mostly interested in Asian food, they would obviously prefer reading more about the latter. On the other hand, do not forget that they still like food and cooking in general. A balanced mixture of content would therefore be a good path to take: You can discuss other cuisines, but keep the bulk of your content about the Asian kitchen. Always keep in mind that in order to make things meaningful and relevant, your content’s balance should lean more towards your audience’s interests and needs.

On a final note, if you acknowledge these points and implement them in an organized manner, sticking to a clear strategy and documentation routine, you will already be ahead of the game.

Mars Media Group’s Marketing Team regularly stays current with the latest Content Marketing trends, and is always on the lookout for more creative and innovative ways to further push the conventional limits.

Affiliate Marketing, In-Game Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Online Marketing, Performance Marketing, Social Marketing

Life Time Value (LTV)

Most companies nowadays regard users as their most valuable asset, simply because good, loyal and long-term users are not easy to find. There is no doubt that customers are the bread and butter of every company’s business model. However, too many businesses tend to focus more on transactional customer value, without dedicating enough thought and resources to the user experience that takes place after the conversion.

Needless to say, it is important to invest in making your product or service better. However, it is equally important to focus on finding ways to ensure your existing customers are satisfied, and stay with you for as long as possible after the conversion is made. Otherwise, the cost of acquiring each and every customer can seriously outweigh the amount of revenue that could be made from them. Specifically when referring to the world of mobile applications, in which both users and budgets are plentiful.

So how do you actually measure their value? Quite easily, through LTV (Life Time Value). In a nutshell, LTV describes the amount of profit that could be generated by a customer throughout their lifetime. Many companies are already using this business metric to help them understand how much a customer is really worth to them, in terms of actual revenue. It is broadly based on the concept that investing more money in early stages and ensuring a high-quality experience can help in gaining loyal customers whose increased business and engagement will yield more profits in the long run.

In other words: If you know that a certain customer is three times more valuable, for example, than some other customer, it would be wiser to invest more in the first one and make sure they fulfil their potential. When it comes to the competitive world of mobile applications and games, measuring users’ LTV may be a highly challenging task. However, once you manage to have it figured out, you will be on top of things and know where it would be most effective to invest your attention and marketing budget.

In order to help our partners gain easy access to these useful insights, we have developed a unique technology-driven platform: The LTV Optimizer. By tracking in-app events and analyzing user behavior, this tool finds and targets the optimal users who are most likely to engage as much as possible with a specific game or application. The optimizer features advanced targeting options, and can provide valuable information on users, including OS, device type, category, and country. It can make your life as an advertiser pretty easy, as all optimization is carried out on our end.

Every time a user completes one of the tracking points, their action is measured and evaluated. The points we measure may slightly vary from time to time, but the general idea roughly remains the same. For example, in order to assess a user’s value in a game, these are the typical four stages that are measured:

1) Tutorial completion: The user receives an initial explanation of how to play the game and explores its features.

2) Registration: The user registers and starts playing the game, becoming actively involved in it and engaging with in-app events.

3) Stage completion: After the user becomes initially involved in the game, they continue playing and progressing within the game, completing more and more stages.

4) Significant in-game stage: Eventually, the user reaches a certain point within the game, which is difficult to complete without making an in-app purchase. This is the most crucial stage in terms of ROI, and a user who completes it receives high ranking. These are the optimal users, as they have made an in-app purchase once, and are likely to do so again. This is why they usually receive the highest score.

The more advanced a stage is, the smaller the amount of users who reach it. I.e., some 70%-80% of users reach the first stage, while only 3%-5% reach the final stage.

The optimizer tracks the users’ action in each and every stage, and analyzes the accumulated information. Factors such as in-app events and social engagement are important as well, and are mapped and categorized, along with all other parameters. These are then added up, weighed and measured, and essentially lay the foundation for a comprehensive user profile. The evaluation and ranking are then carried out accordingly, based on the profile. The concept is fairly simple: The higher a user ranking is, the better their engagement with your app.

The in-app behavior analysis is executed in real time, thanks to our proprietary technology, based on complex large-data driven algorithms. The platform’s metrics-based predictions allow precise optimizations to be carried out per our partners’ requirement, according to factors such as performance, user engagement with the app, social interaction, and potential revenue. Knowing in advance which users are likely to receive a high score can assist in ensuring that more marketing efforts and budgets are allocated towards their direction, in terms of reach and segmentation. This will ensure that your apps/games reach the right customers, who will remain active and loyal in the long-run and increase your ROI.

For more information on how to get that edge over others and seize the future, contact us at info@m-m-g.com

Mobile Advertising, Online Marketing, Performance Marketing, Social Marketing

Facebook Advertising: What Is It Good For?


Facebook, as most of us probably know, is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create profiles, upload posts, photos and video, and interact with other users in many ways.

As of June 2014, there are more than 1.3 billion active Facebook users.

This large number of users has significant implications in general, but even more significant when it comes to one of its powerful features: Advertising.

The large amount of users that only keeps on growing, combined with the advanced targeting/segmentation options, make advertising on Facebook extremely effective. Unlike other online advertising platforms, which allow you to reach about 38% of your intended audience, with Facebook you reach some 89%.
Ads on Facebook are unique by their nature, and are shown to very specific groups of highly interested/engaged people, on desktop and/or mobile, allowing better market segmentation.

The rapid flow of information on Facebook means that if your ad content is creative and properly targeted, it will receive more likes, comments, and shares. This makes your ad even more popular, and causes friends of friends to see them as well – potentially increasing the reach even further. It is only fair to assume that a friend of a person who has interacted in any way with an ad might share at least some of the same interests, and find the ad relevant as well.

Here are some of the most popular targeting options you can use in Facebook:

1) Location: Probably one of the first options that come to mind. It basically allows you to reach people in cities, countries and communities where you want to do business. For example: If you’re a local business, you can show your ads to people who are near your shop. Currently, Facebook allows you to target between 1-25 countries at once, and to optimize accordingly, based on the local options, Facebook pricing, and competition. In the U.S., for instance, it is possible to use Country, State, City and Zip Codes for narrowing down audience targets. The idea is using a similar ad strategy, but tweaking it and making slight modifications, to increase relevancy even more.

2) Age: Another basic way for increasing relevance between your ad and target audience. Facebook allows you to target people anywhere from the age of 13 to 65 years old. It is also possible to remove the maximum age, and by that – target people older than 65.

3) Gender: As implied by its name, this simple option allows you to choose whether to show your ads to men only, to women only, or to everyone. It may be easily used for campaigns in which the target audience is supposedly clear, such as women’s clothing or men’s perfume. However, in many cases, brands can be relevant to both men and women, and the difference can be in the ad itself and the message that you bring across. It is therefore recommended to test several ad combinations, to see what works best.

4) Precise Interests: With this option, advertisers can target Facebook users who have listed a specific interest on their Timeline. These precise interests are pulled from their Facebook profile activities, interests, job titles, education, groups they belong to, and pages they have liked. It is very powerful, as the users themselves define exactly what interests them. Advertisers can assume that if a Facebook user is interested in a certain reality TV show, for example, it is quite likely that they will find interest in other TV shows of the same nature.

5) Broad Categories: Unlike the “Precise Interests” option, here the users do not define specific things they like. In this case, Facebook creates the categories by looking into the users’ basic information, pages visited in, online activity, etc. Such broad categories could be “Basketball fans”, “People who got married in the past year”, and “Atheists”, for example. The targeted audience here is larger, and it is too broad of an option to be used by itself. However, if combined with other options to narrow it down a bit, it can prove very useful.

6) Connections: This option allows Facebook ads to be targeted according to the relationship a user has with a Facebook page. Advertisers can choose to either include or exclude users, based on their connections. To many, this option is essential and provides advertisers with a tool for achieving the best conversion results with Facebook ads. According to Webtrends, the CTR can be 7 times larger when existing fans of a page are targeted. “Connections should be the number one criteria used by advertisers. Nothing increases a click-through rate more,” said Justin Kistner, Director of Social Products at Webtrends. Another aspect of this option is using the basic social aspect of Facebook: Ads with the “Target friends of connections” option enabled show Facebook users which of their friends already like a certain page, app, or event. An ad may become more relevant to someone if they see that their friends have already interacted with it.

7) Advanced Targeting Options: Several demographic targeting options can be found under the “Advanced” section. Unlike the previously mentioned demographics option, which is based on information the user is required to fill in, this option is based on optional information. The advance options include:

· Interested In: This allows advertisers to target users according to the gender they are interested in for a friendship, dating, a relationship or networking.

· Languages: Best used when targeting an audience that speaks a language that is different from most of the people in the targeted geography.

· Relationship Status: This allows a business to target Facebook users that are married, single, engaged, or in a relationship.

· Education: This option enables the targeting of Facebook users who are in high school, college, or graduates. Businesses can also target Facebook users who went to a specific school, study a specific topic, or the expected graduation date for current college students.

· Workplaces: Targeting Facebook users by where they work can be useful in various B2B, job search, and industry specific scenarios.

Again, these are usually not used as stand-alone options, and can be best utilized for fine tuning and optimizing audience.

In conclusion, Facebook advertising is a great method for reaching highly targeted and relevant audience. If used wisely and according to a well-planned strategy, it can make your message come across and increase your ROI.

 

Affiliate Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Online Marketing, Performance Marketing, Social Marketing

Google, Yahoo ad networks fund online piracy websites, USC report claims

Article by Andrew Couts, Digital Trends.com

A report from the University of California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab claims that Google, Yahoo, and others are helping fund online piracy through advertising – a claim Google says is “mistaken.”

Google and Yahoo are among the top ten largest contributors of advertising revenue to websites that facilitate online piracy, according to a report released Thursday by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab. A similar report will be released by the USC Lab each month.

Online and mobile advertising network Openx, which was backed by AOL Ventures, topped the report’s list, while Google came in at number two. Yahoo, and its ad exchange Right Media, ranked sixth, followed by Quantcast, another major player in online analytics and advertising.

The report’s rankings were based off of the number of “top infringing sites” on which code from these ad networks were found.

While Google landed one of the highest profile spots on the Annenberg list, the search giant provided the researchers the components for their ammunition. Google’s own Transparency Report, which lists the domains that have received the most Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown requests, filled out the report’s top piracy website list. Further, the report was inspired by a study, “The Six Business Models of Copyright Infringement,” funded by Google and PRS for Music on Brands, which found that peer-to-peer websites that feature illegally distributed content received 86 percent of their revenue from advertising.

Jonathan Talpin, director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and a former film industry executive, does not hide his motivation for releasing the report.

“Large pirate sites distribute illegal content and continue to steal trademarked, copyrighted content and siphon millions of dollars away from the creative community, making it much harder for artists to make a living,” said Talpin in a statement. “We do not believe that government regulation alone is the answer to the Piracy problem, but rather that the self-regulation of major sectors like the online advertising industry could make it harder for the ‘Kim Dotcom’s’ of the world to unfairly exploit artists. We look forward to working with advertising agencies and networks in the coming months to address this issue.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fight against online piracy is a personal one for Talpin, whose friend, musician Levon Helm, was forced to go back on tour to pay for throat cancer treatment after the rise of pirate sites like LimeWire and The Pirate Bay.

“All musicians know … why their incomes have plummeted,” Talpin told the L.A. Times. “Everyone knows piracy has destroyed the music business.”

Despite Google’s data being used in the Lab’s report, the company says that it believes the researchers are a “mistaken” in their findings, and asserts that it has been a leader in the fight against online piracy. Long criticized by the Hollywood entertainment industry for its role in the online piracy ecosystem, the search giant announced last August that it would begin pushing websites accused of copyright infringement further down in its search results.

“We have not seen a copy of this report and don’t know the methodology, but to the extent it suggests that Google ads are a major source of funds for major pirate sites, we believe it is mistaken,” a Google spokeswoman told Digital Trends in an email. “Over the past several years, we’ve taken a leadership role in this fight, partnering with industry organizations to cut off the flow of money to piracy sites, as well as investing significant time and money to keep copyright-infringing content out of our network.”

“The complexity of online advertising has led some to conclude, incorrectly, that the mere presence of any Google code on a site means financial support from Google,” the spokeswoman concluded.

Yahoo did not deny that ads served through its Rights Media Exchange business have ended up on piracy websites. But it did say that it has rules in place to stop the flow of advertisements to “sites that violate laws or Exchange Policies,” and will stop running ads on those sites once it has been notified of such a situation.

“Our customers are contractually obligated to comply with our Exchange policies, which specifically prohibit introducing content that appears to promote unauthorized use or reproduction of material that is covered by copyright law,” said a Yahoo spokesperson in an email with Digital Trends. “We take several active steps to enforce this policy using a combination of targeting technology and human intervention to locate, isolate and eliminate suspect sites. Once we detect sites that violate Exchange Policies, we block them from receiving ads via the Exchange immediately. When we are notified about ads serving via the Right Media Exchange on sites that violate laws or Exchange Policies, we investigate and block the sites as appropriate.”

The Annenberg Innovation Lab was not immediately available for comment.

Here is the Lab’s top-ten ad networks that help fund piracy:

1. Openx
2. Google (including Double Click)
3. Exoclick
4. Sumotorrent
5. Propellerads
6. Yahoo (including Right Media)
7. Quantcast
8. Media Shakers
9. Yesads
10. Infolinks

Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing, In-Game Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Online Marketing, Performance Marketing, Social Marketing, Video Marketing

Engagement – Not just a hollow commitment

In today’s online market, the biggest problem websites face is keeping their users interested and loyal. In the online advertising world, we refer to this problem as Engagement.
A lot of people don’t know that there are many easy and simple ways that they can keep their users engaged, and by doing so, increase their websites income and exposure.
In this first article of a series we will elaborate on just a few of the ways you can engage your users.
When you want to engage your users you need to ask yourself one very important question: “What do they want?”
In order to keep your users engaged and loyal to your brand you need to supply them that certain something they are looking for and in the best case scenario, what they can’t get anywhere else.
In today’s market, people are mostly looking for the social utilities- a way to let the whole world know what they are doing, what they are thinking and share any little piece of information- relevant or not.
A website that wants to stay in touch with his users must supply them with the social tools and let them express themselves in a creative matter.
One of the most popular tools for social engagement is the Toolbar. We will split the toolbar tool into 2 different but equally important tools: The downloadable toolbar and the online toolbar.
The downloadable toolbar is very popular and you can find many websites that offers users to download the toolbar for free. After they download it they can add apps, links and tools to the toolbar and make it more accessible for them. Great, but where is the engagement part? Well, you need to remember that the toolbar comes fully branded and with several built in links and tools that allows the website to connect with the users via live updates, pop ups and many more. The bonus part is of course the profitable side of the toolbar. The website earns from the ads and searches users see and performs in the toolbar. Not only do you get a great way to stay connected with your users, you also get an amazing monetizing tool.
The second one is what we call a WebToolbar and is a toolbar that sits in the website and doesn’t need downloading. This toolbar supplies users with an immediate way to act socially and let anybody know what they are thinking. You can find on this toolbar the most common social tools like Facebook, Twitter and more. This tool lets you enjoy real time engagement from your users.

Social Marketing

Facecrooks

A lot has been said lately about the privacy issues of Facebook, but looks like that the new Facebook facial recognition heated things up. Now Facebook will suggest photo tag options of you to your friends making tagging easier and faster. Seems like that what bothers users most is the fact that Facebook is not asking but doing. Just like most Facebook features, the default setting for facial recognition is “on” meaning users need to choose “opt out” if they wish to disable this feature.

Here are some numbers: Facebook says that more than 100 million people tag photos   every day, and this probably makes Facebook’s photo application the most popular photo-sharing service on the netת to-sharing service on the net.. ost popular tos are tagged everydayhis feature. g. d faster, promising that the new facial recognition will work with full power. Meanwhile experts say that despite the criticism on Facebook users will not leave the biggest social network, simply because there is no place else to go.

While Facebook is preparing itself for an IPO, here’s a scary thought: the government will buy a significant share of Facebook and then we as users will probably be extra careful while posting statuses, uploading photos and more… (:

Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing, In-Game Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Online Marketing, Performance Marketing, Social Marketing

Amazon – the first ever affiliate program, or not

Amazon announced on February 2000 that it had been granted a patent on all the essential components of an affiliate program, as the patent application was submitted in June 1997. There’s a myth about the establishment of the first ever affiliate program and it goes like this… Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com had a nice chat with a woman about how she intends to sell her new divorce book on her website and then he came up with the idea – the woman will link her site to Amazon and receive a commission on the sales, making this model what we call today an “affiliate program”. The initial launch of “Amazon Associates Program” took place on July 1996, however digging up a little deeper we find that there might be more to it.

Experts in the field say that Amazon did popularize the idea of affiliate marketing but they were actually a bit late to be officially announced as affiliate program pioneers. Websites like PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Epage (April 1996) and others took the first steps in the affiliate market a little before Amazon. In addition, experienced folks on the web mention the adult industry as the first or among the early innovators in affiliate marketing.

While Amazon claims to be the first ever affiliate program, we believe that the answer is not that clear, so it depends on who’s answering.