Insta-smart to catch up

Instagram-logo1It’s not recent news that social media has found all the possible ways to offer companies with different techniques to target consumers with advertising. Facebook has done it, Google, and Twitter as well, however, now Instagram is soon to join the team.

Who would have thought that Instagram was going to grow so fast since it first launched on October 6, 2010. It was the #1 downloaded app in the App Store within 24 hours of launched, and as March 2012, it had more than 25 million users, according to the School of Information Studies.

Instagram announced three weeks ago that ads will be now a part of the social media. However, we will start seeing the first ads little by little starting next week. The Instagram Blog explains the details behind what to expect from the upcoming ads. The mission that the company faces now is to select the most engaging pictures to use in the ads that will flow smoothly with the theme that already exists on Instagram. The first companies to use this service will be Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Buberry, General Motors, Lexus, Levi’s, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood.

The company released an example of how the ads will look like, and set a frame of reference. They will have a blue arrow in the right top conner to identify them as sponsored. Also, users will have the option to hide ads that they don’t want to see by clicking on the “…” in the bottom right cornet.The images released by Instagram are the following:


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In general Ads bring the risk of losing users by reducing their interest as a result of the ad bombarding. I might also create the possibility of losing its secret charm, specially in this social media. For this reason, the company should be careful not to become a platform dedicated only for ads in a way that it stops being a personal space.

To users like myself, the release of these ads will be a hard adjustment, at least at the beginning.  However, I believe that if Instagram and companies do a good job selecting the pictures, and being loyal to the “perfect world” inside this social media, then it could have positive feedback.

Users are able to edit their personal pictures using the filters, in a attempt to make tinstagramadshem more creative, more professional-looking, and create a more perfect image of reality. More over, the Instagram community looks to connect with others, and to get inspired by the perfection that pictures portrait. For this reason, if ads are able to accomplish this characteristics, then it could become one of the most important social media marketing tools. The advantage for companies? that they are able to express emotions, attitudes, and lifestyles using pictures that they could never do using words. Which better place to do this than the number one picture-sharing platform.

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Twitter super power

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I’m not a regular Twitter user, however, I think it is a great tool for businesses to include in their marketing mix in order to have a micro-marketing approach. This type of approach is highly valued by companies because it intends to target each customer as an individual instead of targeting all customers as they were all had equal priorities, likes and dislikes. Twitter provides a variety of different approaches that companies can use to better target the market. On the twitter business website, you can find a list of all  the different options and advantages that companies get by using twitter to promote their brands. In this blog post I’ll be going over the advantages of using one of the tools offered by twitter denominated Promoted Tweets.

Promoted Tweets are part of the Ad products offered by Twitter Business to companies looking to promote their brands. These tweets work as any other tweet, meaning that they appear in the timelines of targeted customers as any other tweet from a user that an specific customer follows. However, promoted tweets have the advantage of reaching current and potential followers that are part of the target market for businesses in the sense that users are not required to follow a company’s twitter in order to see the promoted tweets. For this reason, tweets can appear in users’ timelines and in browsing results like the following example promoted by Starbucks.

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In order to be more effective targeting a specific segmentation of the market, twitter presents the following options:

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Target by keywords in Tweets: This approach uses the tweets that are related to the situations that users are facing at the moment and helps target key words found in those tweets.

Target by interests and gender: This approach helps companies to target customers based on their interest, and activities. If the company falls within those interests, then targeting this group of users would be very helpful.

Target by geography: This is an extremely useful tool for small stores, or even companies that are opening a branch in a specific location. By using this, companies are able to target the right section of the market that will be directly exposed to the business.

Target by device: Target different devices, like smartphones or tablets, depending on the situation that will be more useful for customers. If the company is offering coupons for example, then, mobile devices will work best for customers to use the coupons on the go.

Target by similarity to existing followers: This last tool helps businesses find relations and similarities between a company’s followers and develops techniques to find other users that are related to the business followers. If the company’s followers are sport fans, then you need to target other sport fans that don’t currently know about the company.

Twitter not only offers promoted tweets and many other similar tools, but it also provides businesses with analytics to follow the progress of each ad tool. In this way, businesses are able to track which strategy is working best for their business, which strategy is targeting more users and calculate the response rate of every specific tweet.

Even if twitter is not my preferred social media, I would definitely include this tool in the marketing strategy of my business. The reason is simple, because Twitter counts with 554,750,000 active users, according to the Statistic Brain in a research done this year. Those users are potential customers that a regular marketing strategy might be missing to target. However, by using Promoted Tweets and the target tools, it’s easier to target an specific segment of the Twitter population. Finally, I would definitely advertise my business using Promoted Tweets because Twitter is a fast moving social media that connects users in a way that is easier to spread information, it’s personalized, and targets each user individually depending on certain characteristics.

 

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Blogging has become the new worth of mouth

One of the most reliable and efficient ways to create brand awareness has always being worth of mouth, but when you mix it with digital media, two really powerful tools combine in order to create what we know today as blogging. In this post I’ll be talking about the different advantages that bloggers offer companies, and the way in which those companies are adjusting their marketing mixes to take advantage of the blogging power.

When people read blogs, it is the equivalent of having a conversation with a friend. Blogs are written around one specific topic, and readers that are interested can post comments or ask questions to the writer. In this way, blogs develop a two-way communication around a topic of interest between people around the world. However, what really makes blogs special is that writers appear as someone easy to relate to, and easy to approach.

Many blog writers have experienced, or are in the process of experiencing the same situations as the readers, and are willing to share the tips and tricks that they have discovered.  That interaction between writers and readers develops a relationship in the “friends spectrum”, and that connection between friends is what makes companies be interested in blogs. In this way, customers will be more willing to buy a product if it was recommended by a friend or someone of their trust.

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By Melissa McNamara

One of my classmates from the business school, Melissa McNamara, has being blogging about running, and her daily experience while training for a half marathon in her blog titled My Heart and Hamstrings. After four weeks of being an active blogger, she has developed a relation with sport companies that have sent her products for her to try out and blog about her experience using them. Once her readers hear about those products and their qualities, they will be more inclined to buy them. This is because readers find her blog resourceful and reliable to them.

Companies adjust their marketing strategies to digital media because it is an efficient way to reach out to a specific customer base that otherwise would be difficult to identify.  Companies could never reach this specific audience using other communication mediums as efficiently as blogs can. For this reason, companies support bloggers with the purpose to improve their brand recognition.  Blogs are influential for companies, because what customers say about products is more influential to other customers that the company’s intention to create a brand identity. Finally, this two-way communication medium has made blogs the new worth of mouth for companies to reach a wider customer base.

sweet ads to satisfy the sweet tooth

Behavioral targeting is a tool used for many marketers to have more efficient marketing strategy based on the behavior of the target consumers. Many companies’ rely on this tool because it helps identify the consumers as individuals and allows the development of a micro-marketing strategy. This strategy consists of creating a “different” marketing mix for every individual consumer. An example of a company that offers this tool is Google.

Google implemented this tool not too long ago in mid 2011. It allows targeting users with advertisements that interest them based on their previous searches. By doing this, Google attempts to target the right consumer with the right advertisement at the right time.

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The way it works is easy to understand and use by any company. Google has developed what is called AdWord. Here companies can relate their advertisement to certain words and edit their preferences to better target the desired group of users. Then, Google links the advertisement to all the searches that are in some way related to the ad. It uses the words typed for the search; cookies to determine the history search of certain sites, and the content of those sites.

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If you pay close attention, you will notice that if you were previously at the Macy’s website looking for shoes, the likelihood of you seeing ads for shoes in your next searches is high. Because now Google knows that you were looking to buy shoes, you will be the target of sales and deals on different brands of shoes. However you will not see the same ads for a long time. Since the ads adjust on your interests, they will change along with your new searches and your time spent on different websites.

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This type of marketing strategy is highly valued and effective because of its ability to target each customer individually for what he or she is looking for, providing higher relevancy to a specific ad. Heavenly Crumbs is a bakery in New York that grants its expansion to AdWords. The owner says she was looking to reach a market otherwise unreachable and differentiate from other bakeries and she was able to gain all that from using the ads.

This tool of behavioral targeting is highly valued in any marketing strategy. AdWords by Google is a easy way for small or large companies to implement it and take advantage of what digital media has to offer.

not book smart but digital-media smart

One common misconception is that everyone is an expertise at social media. Yes, we all probably know how to use digital media, but we need to learn how to use it efficiently and effectively.

Image Credit: Jens Buchert

When a company uses social media to engage with customers, there are some aspects that are important to consider beforehand. Instead of jumping straight into posting, we need to learn to strategically plan ways to communicate with consumers by understanding the power that digital media has on consumers. For example, we need to know: whom we are trying to target as the receivers of the message? What is the message we try to communicate? How is the best way to communicate the message? And many questions like these.  The Entrepreneur has released a complete article on September 16, 2013 on the 10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Social-Media Marketing Plan. The list contains tips on what to do and what to keep in mind when developing the marketing plan for a company. However, I will go over the two points touched on the article that I consider the most important.

What is the biggest mistake to avoid? Not having an on-going plan. One of the most important aspects of media is that it has to be constantly updated to offer on-going reinforcement. If a company’s digital media advertisement stops at some point, then other company’s advertisements and reinforcements could attract consumers. In this way, it is really important to keep this in mind while planning use digital media as a marketing strategy. Continue reading

Science and art come together

The Magazine Inc. releases once a year the top 500 companies with the highest growth rates. We are talking about five digits percentages of growth in the last three years. That means one thing: those companies are making something right.

DataXu in a company located in the position 5 of the list. This company is cloud platform that uses the big data that marketing departments base their decision on and sets it up Continue reading

welcome

Welcome to my Blog!

Let’s don’t lie to ourselves, we live in a world where everything has become digital, new ways of communication emerge every day, and is easier to know more about what surrounds us. It is clear that we need to keep up. I’m a student at the University of Maryland double majoring in Management and Marketing. For this reason, in this blog I will be posting interesting marketing matters that are affected by digital media and how it facilitates changes the communication with the consumers. The information is out there, but are businesses using it to better understand what is inside the consumers’ mind?