All posts by Hannah Redmond

Fastest Growing Online Retail Channel: Social Media

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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Social for retail is a growing space, from embedded Buy buttons on social to referring traffic to retailers’ websites and apps via social posts. Platforms are creating more and more options for brands and consumers, and brands need to consider social as a serious avenue for sales. According to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500, the top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping in 2014, up 26% from 2013. That is well ahead of the 16% growth rate for the overall e-commerce market in the U.S.

Business Insider recently published a report showing that social is driving more retail traffic than any other online channel. Additional findings below:

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Key points from the report:

  • Social media increased its share of e-commerce referrals nearly 200% between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.
  • For retailers to maintain these social gains, they will need to pay special attention to mobile, where social engagement with retail content is still limited.
  • Facebook continues to grow its lead as the dominant social commerce platform. Facebook accounts for 50% of total social referrals and 64% of total social revenue. The site’s changing demographics could make older consumers a strong target for retailers leveraging the platform.
  • Pinterest is a major social commerce player despite a relatively small user base. The pinning platform drives 16% of social revenue despite an audience 6.5 times smaller than Twitter. New buy and action buttons on retailer posts should make Pinterest an even stronger referral and revenue engine for brands.
  • Twitter is losing its influence for mass-market merchants, but it could still have a role to play among sporting and event marketers, especially for location-based promotions. Recently, NFL and NBA teams have used Twitter to sell game tickets and merchandise.
  • Instagram doesn’t drive significant sales activity for retailers, but high-end companies have been leveraging the platform for branding purposes. New Buy buttons on paid posts, as well as increased targeting capabilities, could make the app a more important direct-response driver.

It is no surprise that people are spending more time on social not only consuming content but also making purchase decisions, and ultimately purchases. As we think about helping our brands navigate the digital space, social provides enormous value for retail, mobile, and beyond.

To read the Business Insider article that inspired this post, click here.

Google’s “Micro-Moments” Highlight Fundamental Shift in Consumer Behavior

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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You know that feeling when you forget your phone? It’s a feeling of vulnerability and helplessness, as we have become increasingly dependent on that powerful little device. We expect to be connected to who and what we want to, and we expect to find answers and solutions to our problems on demand.

This has changed the way consumers make purchase decisions. The traditional consumer journey is now divided up into various real-time, intent-driven “micro-moments,” providing marketers the opportunity to identify and prepare for the exact moments right when a consumer reaches for their device.

Google Micro-Moments

Google has identified various insights driving overall micro-moments to showcase the variety of opportunities for marketers, many of which are applicable to the CPG category.

  • People evaluate purchase decisions in-the-moment. When walking through a store, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision. More people are reaching for their phone to investigate products and prices than are actually asking for help from an associate in store.
  • People solve unexpected problems in-the-moment. 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.  If their dishwasher breaks, they will immediately go to their device to investigate the problem and the products and services that may provide a solution.
  • Micro-moments fill voids or lulls in time or complement multitasking. For example, people turn to their phones when waiting in line, commuting, walking, shopping, relaxing, and more.

As marketers, it is our job to identify how to add value to each of these micro-moments. We should consider what micro-moments are most important to our brand, and which provide an opportunity to highlight our product while making our consumers’ lives easier. How we create content and add value to consumers in each of these micro-moments can set us apart from our competitors.

To learn more about Google’s Micro-Moments, visit their research on Think With Google.

YouTube Rolling Out “Cards” to Replace Annotations

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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This week, YouTube announced the release of a new product called “Cards,” which will eventually replace annotations on videos. Keeping with the trend of mobile optimization across its products, cards will work across screens, including mobile. Currently, in the annotations category only InVideo Programming annotations work on mobile devices.

Source: YouTube Creators Blog

YouTube says this is a response to feedback from YouTube creators for the need of more flexibility with annotations and the need for them to work on mobile. They said in the YouTube Creators Blog:

You can think of cards like an evolution of annotations. They can inform your viewers about other videos, merch, playlists, websites and more. They look as beautiful as your videos, are available anytime during the video.”

There are 6 types of cards: Merchandise, Fundraising, Video, Playlist, Associated Website, and Fan Funding. You’ll now be able to find the “Cards” tab in your Video Editor to create and edit them at any time.

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As mobile media consumption continues to increase year over year (note the graph below on mobile data traffic), it makes sense for YouTube to extend the benefits and functionality of annotations to mobile devices for content creators.

Similarly, as brands continue to increase the amount of content for the digital space, the consumer’s mobile experience needs to be kept in mind. Marketers need to ask: “How will these cards help my consumer while they are on their mobile device?” There is a difference between “standing out” to a consumer and “disrupting” a consumer’s experience. The trick with these cards will be using them in a unique way to stand out that still adds value to the consumer.

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Source: We Are Social

Visit the Cards Help Center to see more detailed descriptions about, and examples of cards.

Google Algorithm Update will Prioritize Mobile Websites in Search

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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Google recently announced that they will be using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in driving search results to users, beginning this April.

In the announcement, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog stated:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

That means mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive sites will earn better positioning in Google’s mobile search engine results, and sites that are not optimized for mobile will see less mobile, organic traffic.

This all makes sense. More and more people access the web on mobile devices, and it’s Google’s job to return to you what is user-friendly and relevant, or you won’t come back. The problem is, this will impact small local business owners the most, as many don’t have marketing departments or budgets to create responsive web sites, yet many of their customers rely on Google search to find local services. Google does aim to provide many robust resources to help developers prepare and optimize websites. You can even test if a site is mobile ready according to Google.

Google has been recommending responsive web design for years now, but this is the first time they have officially announced that it will have an impact on search as a result.

 

SMWNYC 2015: “The Future of Social Data”

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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One of my favorite parts of working in social media is identifying insights via social listening data to help our clients drive real business decisions that will help propel their brands toward their goals.

Last week, I attended a session called “Using Social Listening in Business” at Social Media Week NYC, hosted by the CMO of Brandwatch, Will McInnes. He made some solid predictions as he discussed the future of social data, which I found to be both very interesting and also parallel to the way we’re thinking about data within our agency. It was a great session to sit in as we’re constantly looking for ways to optimize our social listening strategies and tactics for our clients.

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McInnes summed up the future of social data into four categories:

  • Predictive: We are getting closer to predicting what will happen to consumer behavior, business, or to content based on the data from the past. How will we get even better at it?
  • Blended: How can we better blend multiple sources of data and research from a business and various sources to help get us closer to real predictions and successes?
  • Physical: How do we get all of the amazing data we’re finding in the social space to the front lines of a business?
  • Visual: How can we better and more accurately measure visual user content that may not have keyword branding and is harder to track?

The two ideas I found the most interesting were “Blended” and “Physical.”

The “Blended “ idea makes a lot of sense. As social media becomes more understood in organizations, it becomes an integral part in key brand activations and campaigns. This is resulting in a spike in curiosity about measurement within these organizations, whose marketers are now asking questions about the data and how we can use it more than ever before. The social listening and measurement tools we now have access to provide us with amazing data that can help guide business decisions on their own – but layer that onto sales data, CRM systems, web site and behavioral analytics, search trends, seasonality, and you have a much better picture of the insights. The reality is, this type of collaboration will take buy-in from a variety of stakeholders in an organization, but the ones who do it first will have an edge on the rest.

The “Physical” point also really struck me. As social media strategists, we often are not in the picture when insights found in social data are filtered back out to the physical space (if they are at all). We may help shape recommendations and decks – but they usually are specific to content. McInnes makes the point that the future of social data will include much more than strategic content marketing recommendations based on social, which can create changes in the physical way a business is run, by effecting change in-store, on packaging, in sales messaging, and more.

Overall, a key thing to think about here is expanding social insights and learnings beyond just the digital space.

A Very Social Super Bowl

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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A Very Social Super Bowl
As told by SNICKERS social strategists Hannah Redmond and Rita Mogilanski 

Super Bowl 49 was the most social Super Bowl ever. More than 65 million people talked about the game on Facebook and there were 24.9 million posts on Twitter during the game.

Brands are realizing that social media can’t be an afterthought when planning for the big game, but rather social needs to be a central part of the brand’s marketing and communications strategy.SB Post 1

The SNICKERS social team planned for the big day by working closely with partner agencies to plan a cohesive, 360 strategy with multiple touch points. As an official NFL partner and a brand with a Super Bowl commercial, it was imperative that we make the most of the moment. 

Pre-Game
  • Predictive and Strategic Research: No brand should wait for a “moment” to jump into the conversation on social media; rather they should arrive at game day prepared.SB Post 2
    The social analytics team at Fanscape came armed with information to help inform their social participation strategy, with items including Super Bowl trends from past years, SNICKERS social trends, and a list of brands to monitor. This information was necessary to prepare game day content and help find real-time opportunities during the game.
  • Rally To Release: The SNICKERS social team worked to help promote the Super Bowl trailer that was released on January 21. Our strategy was based around creating awareness and excitement around the campaign. We wanted to make sure we got fans involved in the process, so we asked them to like, comment, share, view the teaser, or use the official hashtag #EatASNICKERS to encourage SNICKERS to release the full Super Bowl spot before game day. After receiving over 2.5 million engagements, the full commercial was released 4 days before the game.

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Game Day
  • Social Media Command Center: A social media command center is the best way to track all the game day activity and manage outgoing content. The SNICKERS social team gathered several essential players, including an analyst to identify opportunities and measure and track success, a content and creative team to ideate when “real-time” opportunities presented themselves, an account team to push through client communications, and a community manager to keep a pulse on the community.SB Post 7
  • Real-Time Engagement: After creating a game time strategy and plan based on research and insights, SNICKERS focused on interacting with brands, fans, and media on Twitter during the game. We inserted the brand voice into the social conversation where relevant, while promoting the Super Bowl spot and NFL partnership.SB Post 8
Results
  • The most successful SNICKERS tweets were timely and relevant, which is a testament to the planning and strategic partnerships that were in place
  • The SNICKERS Super Bowl commercial was the 2nd most shared spot on social media
  • SNICKERS ranked #9 in the top 10 ads based on digital activity
  • SNICKERS was in the top 5 brands ranked by digital share of voice

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Learnings and Recommendations
  • Include Social Media as Part of 360 Planning
    Super Bowl planning, including creating a cohesive content strategy, communications plan, and creative elements, takes months. Social media elements should be injected into each part of planning, since Super Bowl has become such a “social moment.”
  • Involve Consumers
    Brands that foster consumer involvement earn more shares and a higher share of voice on social media. Whether it is part of the core campaign (like Doritos Crash the Super Bowl) or an activation that brings in or acknowledges fans during the game day conversation (like McDonalds), it is an increasingly important part of marketing during the Super Bowl.
  • Conduct Social Research Beforehand
    Don’t wait for a “moment” to chime in on social media. Arrive at game day prepared with conversation metrics and relevant topics from previous years, as well as have already investigated upcoming campaigns from competitors and general advertisers in the space. Making note of what has previously resonated with fans and seeing how other brands are implementing strategy based on their own research can help prepare and preplan content and ways to get into the upcoming social conversation.
  • Be Present on Game Day
    A social media “command center” is more than just multiple computer screens monitoring various hashtags. It is important to create a core team with specific roles to play on game day:

    • An analyst to help identify content opportunities and measure and track success;
    • A content team (including creative) to ideate when a “real-time” opportunity presents itself;
    • An account team to help push through client communication;
    • A community manager to keep a pulse on the trending topics and brand community conversation.

Each team member plays an important and deliberate role and together they drive success.

Overall, whether brands have an ad in the game or not, there are ways into the Super Bowl social conversation – by finding an angle that makes a brand relevant. Keeping these four elements in mind when creating this angle will set teams up for success.

 

Hannah and Rita are on the SNICKERS social team at TMADE.

Sources:

Reuters
AdAge
AdWeek
Twitter
Facebook
MediaPost
MarketingLand
Portada-online

 

The Power of Google in Social Media Marketing

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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Hannah.pixOn March 7, Google knew it was my birthday and served me a birthday Google Doodle. When I left work, my Android phone told me that it would take me 32 minutes to get home, that an Amazon package was waiting on my doorstep, and that a new episode of my favorite show would be on TV that night. I didn’t set up any of these alerts; Google just knew to tell me.

Since Google implemented a new design and Single Sign-On (SSO), requiring Google Plus accounts for all users, it knows what I search for (Google Search), where I’ve been/where I’m going (Google Maps), and what I buy (receipts in my Gmail). Google Plus ties this all together to create a database of information to deliver custom digital experiences.

As a user, I love this integration. It makes my life easier and makes running errands more efficient. And I am happy to let Google learn more about me and deliver these custom ads and experiences if it means that this wonderful service will remain free for users.

As a marketer, it’s exciting to think about how this will impact the work we do for our clients. Google is tracking loads of behavioral data on what consumers are doing online and offline every single day, creating an opportunity for incredibly innovative and targeted marketing.  For example, if we know that our target consumer is reading reviews of pet food during a lunch break, we could potentially send them a coupon when they’re about to pass by our pet food store on their way home.

Users’ experience on Google Search is becoming more custom, as well. Based on variables like a user’s connections, friends, search history, and location, Google Search results are unique. As a marketer, I want to give consumers a voice and a platform to publicly talk about and review my clients’ products and services to help insert them into more search results. I want to make sure our clients have a strong, optimized presence on all things Google – from Google Plus to YouTube – since Google social channels are the only social channels indexed in Google Search, unlike Twitter or Facebook.

Google is becoming a foundational platform on social, and the brands that win will be the ones who are harnessing its influence across platforms.