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Is Facebook Advertising Worth the Investment?

Is Facebook Advertising Worth The Investment?

There are certain social media channels on which advertising makes a lot more sense than others. Recently, Facebook has come under fire as to whether or not brands should invest considerable marketing budgets buying ad space on the platform. With organic reach steadily declining and a new algorithm that seems to make it harder than ever for branded content to be consistently seen by users, it almost feels like Facebook is forcing brands to cough up the money to stay relevant (and visible).

facebook advertising

It can’t be denied that on Facebook, brands have to pay to play. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – brands can still have extremely effective advertising campaigns that yield big results. In short, Facebook advertising is definitely worth the investment, as long as you have a strategic approach in place. Sadly, but not surprisingly, many brands do not. Continue Reading

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  • 09.08.16

Bad Content Marketing is Ruining Content Marketing

The Rise of Content Marketing

For years now, marketers have praised content marketing as the solution to grow their customer base. The outbound, “interruptive” approach doesn’t work anymore they say — somewhere in the early Internet era (based on Google searches), inbound marketing was coined as a new methodology. Content marketing as its own practice would come soon after.  Today, planning for content marketing (which includes social content) is a standard practice for most marketing teams.

Since content has always been a part of marketing and advertising since its earliest days, what exactly is the newly coined “content marketing”?

There are 54,700,000 Google search results for “content marketing”.

content marketing

According to the aptly named Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Well, it’s a pretty broad definition. You might even be able to replace a few words and have a good definition for your media or advertising strategy (a great way to open your next PowerPoint presentation, also great at parties). Continue Reading

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Get The Most out of Twitter’s Latest Feature

Twitter’s main strength has always been its ability to aggregate real-time reactions to cultural events. That strength tends to pose trouble for many brands that struggle to figure out how to use Twitter appropriately in their marketing. Additional confusion is added since, for many, the platform tends to be more about customer service than providing value to someone during their shopping journey.

Combine the skepticism of marketers with the fact that Twitter users are rushing to other platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram, and it is not a surprise that Twitter was in a hurry to launch something new. Continue Reading

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  • 09.02.16

Rockstar of The Month: Shaun Hines, Art Director

Shaun Hines

At IQ, we recognize our incredible employees by rewarding someone the coveted IQ Rockstar of The Month. The office votes on someone who has been going above and beyond with their job, and that Rockstar gets flown to Vancouver and an engraved watch (JUST kidding, they do, however, get a ballin’ parking spot and construction paper red carpet to their desk).

Our new Rockstar is Shaun Hines, Art Director and carnivore.

Continue Reading

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Marketing ROI: How to Know if Your Marketing is Successful

Many reoccurring themes emerge in meetings with new clients and prospects, but one of the most frequent is that of marketing ROI or, more specifically, “how will we know if our marketing is successful?” In the age of data, where everything a consumer does is measured and tracked, it’s often easy to overlook what we’re supposed to be doing with the data we work so hard to collect.

Marketing ROI

Specifically when it comes to social media marketing ROI, even though social channels have continued to grow as a part of our overall marketing mix during the past ten years, many marketers still do not have a firm grasp on what their social strategy is or what metrics should guide it.

In the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, one of the top five questions, gathered from their survey of over 5,000 marketers was, “How do I measure the return on my social media marketing?” Given how often marketing ROI comes up in conversation, it isn’t surprising that 86% of those surveyed had this question in the front of their mind.

Many brands tend to focus on “vanity metrics” vs. numbers that will actually move their business forward. Vanity metrics are numbers that don’t paint a clear picture of what is actually happening, and in some cases may even be manipulated in order to make something appear more successful than it is. These are numbers like page views, impressions, and downloads. It’s not that these metrics don’t matter, it’s just that they tend not to matter as much.

The good news is that the answer to “is it working?” is a lot easier to find than you might think. In fact, the effectiveness of all your marketing channels, and your marketing ROI, should be measured by the single most important metric every business shares: revenue.

With so many different channels and marketing metrics available, it’s easy to forget that everything within your marketing arsenal has to support driving revenue for your business. Once you can isolate, test, and track which elements of your marketing help drive revenue, it’s just a matter of supporting those metrics with effort and budget. Here are a few areas to focus on as you look for correlations.

  • Website Traffic: is there a noticeable correlation between a rise in your website traffic and an increase in sales/revenue/new subscriptions/etc.? If so, does a relationship also exist between your site traffic and certain elements of your marketing? If more visitors mean more sales, then your marketing should pull its weight in that area.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Simply put, this is the cost of adding one new customer. A general way to obtain this number is to add up all of your marketing costs, which include research, software, tools, and salaries that come out of your budget and divide by new customers within the same period. I recommend calculating this cost for a few months in order to generate an average CAC. Now, if you have a goal of how many new customers you need for the year and your Acquisition Cost multiplied by your goal number exceeds your available marketing budget – it’s time to look at ways to improve what you’re doing on a channel-by-channel basis.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): What is the average duration that someone is a customer and how much revenue is that customer worth during that period. CLV is a key metric when determining the effectiveness of channels that acquire new customers vs. channels that retain customers. Additionally, it is important to compare your Customer Acquisition Cost to your Customer Lifetime Value to ensure they’re proportionate. You obviously do not want to spend more acquiring customers than you get in return from them.
  • Social Media Reach: This is the number of people who see your content (not to be confused with impressions, which is the number of times your content is displayed). Social Media Reach is similar to how newspapers and magazines measure circulation numbers or how TV networks use Nielsen ratings. This metric helps gauge the power of the channel for your brand, and it helps you assess what content is valuable vs. irrelevant to your audience.

Focusing on revenue, and which aspects of your marketing are proving to drive your business, might not be as exciting as discussing millions of impressions or social chatter. However, once you understand what measurements are critical, your marketing becomes stronger and more successful than ever.


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Blogging: A New Entry into The CDJ

blogging

Much like Twitter, blogging can be little more than shouting in the wind. Brands feel required to have a blogging presence and the result is mediocre blog posts that have just gone through the motions rather than being written from passion and expertise.

“There is a greater need, in the noisy online world, to create stand-out material that is widely and consistently promoted, distributed, and shared,” declares Katy Howell. However, blog posts should not be written just to meet the need of an online presence.  Blogs should be curated to contain consumable, conversational, and shareable content. “When you publish something, you’re practically starting a debate. You’re asking people to pitch in, inviting them for a cup of conversation,” says Michael Gorman. Read more about how valuable blogs can be with gathering insight and becoming a part of your customer’s journey here.


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AMPed Up

accelerated mobile pages

Image via USC Annenberg Media

Life is short and a user’s attention span is even shorter which is why accelerated mobile pages (AMP) could be important to make mobile reading less vexing. Google launched the project stating last year on their official blog, “We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously.”

The Accelerated Mobile Page Project’s initial premise was for readers on smartphones to access content better and faster with a current client roster listing mainly publishers such as Forbes and NFL. Bigwig eBay took the plunge to have AMP structure thousands of webpages, meaning this open source initiative could start listing a lot more clients in the future. The faster loading time answered those immediate search engine questions whether figuring out where to brunch or emergency plumbers in your area.

However, AMP is not the cure all to mobile optimization. If brands are ready to invest, they best be ready to anticipate customer problems and respond quicker than ever before. The future of mobile lies in getting the right message to the right customer ready to greet the consumer and anticipate their problems. This article details the future of AMP and several areas businesses will want to examine thoroughly before committing.

Read the full article here.

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Instagram and Snapchat Stories: Why There’s Room for Both

insta versus snapchat stories

Looking Back

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good visual app is worth billions – for example, Instagram and Snapchat. The former built its premise on cataloguing images, the latter built its premise on vanishing images. The two apps have undergone many makeovers and feature updates since conception, but have always stayed in their own lanes. Until August 2nd, 2016.

At The Moment

Instagram recently released “Instagram Stories” feature which allows users to post a picture or video to their followers which only lasts 24 hours before vanishing. Using the same premise of a Snapchat story (even the same name!) was an intrepid move. Picture the archetypal Western standoff with Instagram growling “this visual app world ain’t big enough for the both of us”. Comparing the two, identical attributes include users posting an image or video which can be written or drawn on with pen or typed text as well as filtered to be lighter, black & white, etc. The post goes to the top of the page amongst other stories and instantly the user can access a private list of which followers engaged with their story.

Snapchat developed the concept first, almost three years ago, so of course their app has more features. Snappers can edit videos with cool effects such as slow motion, hyper speed, and reverse. Users choose how long an image can be displayed, from 1-10 seconds. You can use surroundings to brand images such as current temperature, miles per hour, and geofilters. Celebrities verify their account with an emoji of their choosing making it easier for users to discern between their friends and all 700 members of the Kardashian’s clan. Users also have an alphabetized list of those they follow so one can rewatch someone’s story.

So what does Instagram do? They have more pens to draw on the stories with…? While yes that’s true, other than the cool pens, Instagram Stories is very bare bones. Its charm comes from its ease and clarity. Brief tutorials answer many questions Snapchat deliberately avoided. While watching stories, a consumer clicks on the user’s story they wish to view – but Snapchat’s interface immediately takes you to the next user’s story.I’ll be watching a live stream of Bonnaroo wondering how my friends met DJ Khaled and then got on a plane until I realize I’ve been watching three separate stories with one just flowing into the next. Instagram has an explicit ending when each user’s story comes to an end.

The main basis of Instagram, which Snapchat deliberately does not include, is permanence. While the Instagram feeds update every second, profiles exist as catalogued images with comments that stay for years and years. This is better for selling or sharing content to be digested as hyperlinks and words can stay on a profile for longer than a day. Instagram facilitates finding similar accounts for followers; something Snapchat does not do. For example; if you follow Ina Garten, Instagram will conveniently suggest the accounts of Giada DeLaurentiis, Food Network, and Bobby Flay.

Going Forward

I don’t FB message my boss a PDF he needs even though Facebook message has attaching capability. I don’t post all pictures from a vacation to Instagram even though I don’t have a limit on how many pictures can be on my feed. I don’t send my roommate money for the electricity bill over Snapchat even though Snapcash allows me to do so. This is how we operate. Even though platforms have the capability, we intuitively choose what social media to use based on context of the content; we evaluate our context between quality, quantity, post right now with almost no editing, post later with lots of edits, casual, formal, funny, serious, just to friends or also to people we’ve never met.

Instagram Stories will attract and keep businesses, blogs, and those users who never really understood Snapchat. Instagram stories makes a user’s page richer. For big brands, celebrities, and serious bloggers, those gorgeous photos that make their profile so captivating come from a mini photoshoot with a DSLR camera and then an edit in an Adobe editing program like Photoshop, rather than Instagram’s provided filters. This process takes some time between multiple devices such as expensive cameras and editing software. so Instagram stories allow users such as these to continue sharing their brand without requiring the same intense processes. For example, clothing brands can share sneak peeks of fall catalogues, and television shows can share behind the scenes of upcoming seasons.

Instagram Stories will take away some of Snapchat’s users, but ultimately brands will go to the watering hole where their customers drink. There will still be plenty of snappers. Snapchat’s fun comes from its transience. Those who enjoy it will not abandon their geo-filters, their editing features, and their ability to send fleeting images privately. For now, there’s room on the phone for both.

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  • 07.29.16

Microsoft “Invite” Makes Keeping a Schedule Easy

MicrosoftInvite-image

Maybe you’ve heard of their competitors, the scheduling apps that don’t require users to keep a detailed weekly inventory of meetings the way Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook do. The products trying to make scheduling easier include Doodle, NeedToMeet, WhenIsGood, and more. Users have long been jumping ship from Outlook to these competitors because they’re frustrated with Outlook’s clunky scheduling platform, but Microsoft is now trying to bring those users back into the fold. The app, Invite, syncs to Outlook calendars and provides a cleaner UX for users to schedule meetings – even across organizations. Maybe they’ll add this functionality to the Outlook app eventually.

Check out the app here

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  • 07.26.16

Facebook is Using AI to Identify Offensive Content

facebook-76536_960_720

With 400,000 new posts and 180 million comments every minute Facebook needs to protect users from offensive photos. They’ve been testing a new AI and for the first time the software has reported more offensive imagery than users. A big step forward for sure but the surprising part is that Facebook is sharing these new accomplishments with Twitter, Google, Netflix, and Uber.

Read the article here