advertising

Still Wondering "Do Social Ads Really Work?"

When Facebook’s annual revenue hovered around $40.6B in 2017, an SVP of marketing approached me and the following conversation took place:

 

SVP: Do Facebook ads really work?

Me: Well, about $40B in revenue says they work pretty well.

SVP: Right, but could just be a fad. When one business does something everyone else will jump onboard. Maybe it’s just great PR by Facebook or people riding a tech wave.

Me: Sure, but it’s $40B globally, companies everywhere.

SVP: Of course, surely you believe word spreads across borders with the internet nowadays etc.

Me: Well, we also have months and months of data and tons of spend to prove performance.

SVP: Right, but I’m still not sold.

 

This actually happened…the reality is many people still don’t believe anyone “buys anything off social media” or, a step further, that social media impacts the sales journey. Part of me didn’t want to pen this piece because it sounds so outlandish, but clients and marketing peers continue to ask, “do ads in social media (any network) actually work?”

 

100% they work! Absolutely there are instances where social ads may not be effective, but I’ve found in these scenarios that other channels fail too including SEM and the holy grail email. Such cases tend to be more so about the inadequacies of the business and its web presence rather than shortcomings of online marketing channels.

 

Now the Facebook research appears to be done in-house, but people spend more time on social than anywhere else so it’s common sense that they’ll be willing to shop during the hours that they’re liking and posting selfies. Remember, Facebook’s ad platform in particular is phenomenally powerful, so odds are better than average that they can find people likely to buy.  The article also contains a bunch of good links to Facebook best practices and techniques, so take a peek. Time to get onboard, the world isn’t only search, email and amazon. Social demands a seat at the table too.


 Joseph Nolan is the founder of JONO MKT, a digital marketing and strategy agency. He has pioneered digital and social transformations at several billion-dollar brands and is an alumnus of the renowned MA Strategic Public Relations program at USC Annenberg.

Buzzworthy Big Brands - Insurance Companies?!

Latest report from Engagement Labs published by MarketingCharts shows insurance brands (yes the most thrilling businesses) dominate word-of-mouth advertising. How the heck???

Absolutely, mega-sized budgets help but the execution and quality of creative are what make the campaigns talk-worthy and not simply a forced impression during the NBA playoffs.

State Farm dominates prime-time sports audiences using a-list athletes everyone knows and twists on relevant life events – Aaron Rodgers, James Harden, Chris Paul, etc.  

Geico somehow excels running multiple creative concepts concurrently, a totally unique approach which gives average brand managers a panic attack since creative consistency is thrown out the window. Among the US’ largest advertisers by spend, they’ve been executing this winning strategy one gecko, one 15-minute call at a time for ~10 years, a testament to the talent of their agencies and internal leadership.

Allstate wins over and over with their infamous Mayhem campaign that shines during March Madness and NFL. And of course, viewers are always in good hands with the iconic spokesperson Dennis Dexter Haysbert.

Now the controversy…where is Progressive? Hard to except “Liberty, Liberty, Liiiiiiiberrty” outperforms friendly quote lady Flo and Progressive’s #1 #2 guy.

To celebrate the insurance industry entertaining us all, feast on compilations of the best commercials from these big brands…and our favorite from Progressive.

Jamie's 40th birthday bash has karaoke, acoustic guitars, and a lot of shocked faces. His voice is almost as beautiful as a home and auto bundle with Progressive.

The best and funniest commercials from Geico "A Gecko's journey".


Joseph Nolan is the founder of JONO MKT, a digital marketing and strategy agency. He has pioneered digital and social transformations at several billion-dollar brands and is an alumnus of the renowned MA Strategic Public Relations program at USC Annenberg.

Facebook Algorithm Apocalypse 2018

Breath in…and…out. Step back from the social media ledge, the world isn’t ending (yet). Although the buzz about the great Facebook algorithm change of 2018 has been so tremendous, one might think the digital marketing apocalypse was finally upon us. 

Yes, the reality is branded content was further deprioritized and social ad inventory will decrease - so buckle up. The results at first glance can cause concern: ad rates may increase due to decreased inventory and fewer people will see organic content. Now what for marketers??! Damned if you pay, damned if you don’t.

Not so fast on the doom and gloom. Let’s pause for a minute and take a close look at the social landscape. First regarding advertising…ad rates may increase but maybe not as pervasively as anticipated and not so much so as to be a deterrent from spending. What if in the future you received the same number of purchases for the same cost as today but frequency and impressions went down? In other words, your CPMs go up but your CPAs stay the same - greater efficiency. Not so bad after all, right? And, all the while users have a better experience which means they spend more time on Facebook and that benefits both Facebook and your business. Not impossible...

That’s right, we tend to neglect that Facebook has the most powerful ad intent platform in history and it’s in their best interest to continue to deliver results for their advertisers. Better today than ever before, they know when people will watch your vids, click your ads and buy your products. Don’t believe me? Simple example, they retarget other members of a household using the same IP address with relevant ads within 1-3 minutes of a user visiting a company’s site - get on onboard it’s not hype.

Additionally, the ad platform has evolved perhaps more significantly in the last 6-8 months than ever before making it easier for marketers to be more successful. Asset creation and testing, advanced targeting and measurement, robust campaign optimization capabilities - all of these previously privileged to 3rd party ad tools now at the fingertips of every advertiser in Ads Manager. So the tools are available to the masses to be more effective, more efficient with less wasted spend.

Now the good stuff, the holy grail of social media - organic content. It’s FREE so it’s got to be good - oh wait, forgot about those rapidly growing content production and personnel budgets…The reality is the organic reach percentage is already at ~0.7% on Facebook and ~4-10% on Instagram — that means that on average less than 1% of your Facebook fans will even see a post every day, let alone engage with it. And, the engagement number is roughly 10% of the 0.7% reach! Now maybe that organic reach drops to 0.4%, or 5% on Insta…so what? Is that really making a dent in your campaign?

The best brands generate up to ~9-10% of traffic organically from social channels (excluding media publishers and top of the top online retailers) and these visitors tend to be overwhelmingly existing customers. This means that organic traffic isn’t the cure all of online customer acquisition like many companies are learning the hard way after over leveraging personnel allocation to content creation. Should you continue try to excel at organic content in order to maximize that organic reach and engagement rate - ABSOLUTELY. Is organic content effective at retention - YES. Does organic play a role in acquisition - SURE. Magic bullet - NO.

So should you look to diversify further from social with this latest algorithm? Where will you go? Display ads? Likely not, the c-suite threshold for believing 22 impressions causes a purchase has about reached its peak. More paid search? Perhaps, but you’re probably really good at SEM already and you’re saturated. Event marketing? Nope. OOH? Umm, no. Straightforward solution: continue to get better at social overall - organic and paid - and excel at omni-channel / CRM. Instead of screaming SOS, start championing S-E-S. Now more than ever it’s a Search - Email - Social world. And not necessarily in that order...

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Joseph Nolan is a NYC-based marketing consultant and thought leader with over a decade at major brands in auto, ecommerce, lifestyle and fitness. Opinions are his own. Feedback, article ideas and business inquiries welcomed at joe@jonomkt.com. Learn more @ jonomkt.com / @josephjnolan.

Ads Achieve Audio Supremacy

Breaking through during the holiday season is no easy feat -  you can buy your way in front of customers (impossible for 98% of advertisers) or you can be unique via clever creative or the outrageous - sometimes both.  

Now most of us have seen these ads, but they truly standout amidst an abyss of new holiday TV spots and flooded inboxes. Thankfully Apple, Google and Houzz have made the most of their ability to buy their way to top of mind and delivered super cool creatives. 

Focus on audio… Take a look at how well the track captivates from the first second then maintains the heightened energy until the very end. Sound is perfectly edited to enhance the visuals and text overlays - they don’t compete or play alongside, they function as one. Audio is integral to the storytelling not an afterthought. And finally, whether you’re an ios addict or Google to the core, it’s easy to agree these ads stand out in the standard 6-minute commercial lineup where people only watch about 6 seconds…what do you think?

Apple - "Meet iPhone X"

Twitter 280 Save the Day or Total Zero?

Twitter: Among the first globally adopted social networks and continues to profoundly impact elections and political movements, social trends, celebrities and athletes, connectedness between people and cultures. It is also one of the most promoted brands in the world. Despite all this fuel, Twitter stock, revenue and user growth (and investor patience) are running out of gas. Empty tanks with up to 500 Million tweets a day and nearly 200 billion annually - still can’t figure out how to make more money. 

Big league struggles as Facebook/Instagram and Youtube lead the media consumption and advertising revolution driven by imagery and video content (not text) paired with their science fiction-like ad capabilities. Sure Twitter has bits and pieces of features like the behemoths and text does remain significant, especially in ads. But years of technology/engineering leadership challenges have resulted in poor monetization capabilities. 

So does 280 characters save the day and bolster revenue? 

Case for 140 is strong. Instantly, at Twitter-speed, popular authors and pundits (King, Rowling, etc.) are fumed the decision, valid complaints as the short space is considered the most prominent point of differentiation. Many also believe the 140 count reduces the amount of bad content while adding novelty that keeps users coming back for more and operates at the warp speed of today’s nanosecond info age. All good things right?

Case for 280 is strong. Too few characters previously scared away many users and actually fostered lots of bad content - shorter is no guarantee of better. 140 wittier? Probably, but let’s what people do with 280. Spam and crowded timelines are a major problem that, combined 140 stunted user growth.  2 tweets can now be 1 - that’s got to help their algorithms make timelines more tolerable.

Overall, the verdict is still out and Twitter isn’t down for the count (get it?). We’re playing the long game where MUCH better ad infrastructure, more relevant timelines and access to different content could give Twitter a real chance to survive and thrive. In theory it’s not impossible…MAYBE 280 leads to better content because it’s easier to express and comprehend an idea with some more space. And MAYBE better content will make Twitter a more comfortable experience that attracts users and increases engagement. And MAYBE that leads to more revenue…m-a-y-b-e. 

Remember, we put a man on the moon so anything’s possible.

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Joseph Nolan is a Los Angeles-based marketing consultant and thought leader with over a decade at major brands in auto, ecommerce, lifestyle and fitness. Opinions are his own. Feedback and article ideas welcomed at joe@jonomkt.com. Learn more at jonomkt.com.