Most summers I am traveling and I always assess the digital capabilities in the countries I visit. Here in Armenia the population is well connected via cell phone and many people use smart phones. I have heard that the country is seeking to become a tech hub as it is landlocked and surrounded by some less than friendly neighbors.
Teaching social media marketing can be challenging. There is so much material to organize. You may need a framework for presenting the relevant information that blends the theories of marketing with the practical skills students need for successful careers.
Here is some help. First, I wrote Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy to emphasize goal setting, research, targeting and the social media marketing process to students. Along with the text is a teaching manual that provides social media teaching resources including exercises, cases and Powerpoint slides.
Another key social media teaching resource is a Youtube channel with interesting and relevant videos for each social media and mobile marketing topic.
Click on the resources link below for the videos. They are organized by chapter. You will also find videos for teaching Intro to Marketing (Mar 250) and Consumer Behavior.
For a free review copy of Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy, go to Review copy.
The digital version is $39 for students from Red Shelf.
Surprise, half of all teens use Snapchat “all the time.” This is interesting given new reports that show that Instagram Stories are even more popular. There are clear economies of scale with Facebook products because so many people are already there. It seems natural to use those to reach lots of friends and relatives. Teens have no problem moving between sites and tend to use more different social networks than adults.
This New York Magazine report discusses the competition between Instagram and Snapchat:
Students of social media marketing must have a solid understanding of integrated marketing communications because a social media campaign is typically part of a larger effort to inform, persuade or remind. Marketers must also provide evidence that a particular strategy in digital media is more efficient in terms of cost. These days as digital media become more desirable as part of a communications strategy, they also become more expensive. The new reality requires marketers to examine the bang for the buck they get from digital over other options. It is possible that television, cable, radio or outdoor can deliver more impressions with stronger response than an organic social media campaign on Facebook that few people actually see.
That is why professors who teach social media should include traditional media measurement as part of the curriculum. The definitions for traditional media terms such as reach, frequency and impressions are important for students. Digital terms such as cost per click and conversion rate show how social media are purchased by companies seeking to reach targets.
One important method for equating media is cost per thousand (CPM). CPM (M represents 1,000) tells marketers the cost to obtain 1,000 impressions or views of a particular message. It is calculated as:
The formula is only part of the picture. Students must also know how much it costs on a CPM basis to advertise in various forms of media. For example, compare the traditional media costs to the digital media costs in the two slides below. A smart marketer would consider traditional as part of a good media mix. As you can see the cable CPM is looking pretty good relative to the internet video CPM.
Students of social media marketing think that social is the answer to everything. Though social media may be a good strategy, a smart marketer will evaluate all the potential tools in the box to maximize media efficiency.
As a professor of social media and mobile marketing strategy I approach the extremely sad incident at the Cincinnati zoo by listening to the social media outcry. On June 1 I looked at Tweetreach to determine the extent to which certain hashtags on Twitter earned views.This mini snapshot of the response showed that the hashtags associated with Harambe, such as #justiceforHarambe and #ripHarambe earned significantly more attention than the hashtag #isupportmichellegregg. But does this really mean that more people support the notion that the zoo was wrong in its actions? Certainly not. It is important to recognize that the Internet allows anyone to give an opinion on anything so easily that there is little consideration of the issue. There is so little reflection that a misspelling of Cincinnati Zoo (#Cincinattizoo) earned 277,465 impressions on June 1. Another problem with examining the online buzz is that it is really not representative of the response of the population. The only people represented in the buzz are those who chose give their opinions online on certain social media sites. So, the loudest and most active on Twitter tend to be heard and others with opinions who don’t post are not. Aside from writing a book on Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy (Oxford August 2016) I am also a mom who watched the video of the child dragged by the Gorilla. The zoo had no choice but to intervene to save that boy and should have secured that enclosure so that children can’t get inside. It is a terribly sad incident and one that could have been avoided. So, #justiceforHarambe is likely to continue to earn impressions online.
This Friday I will be teaching metrics to my students. We will talk about how to set goals, determine strategies, tag all efforts and evaluate the metrics. There are many tools that provide metrics for the major social sites and you can track your posts on Google Analytics through Google’s URL builder to see how the content performs and leads to conversions.
However, what to do about Snapchat? Brands can’t tag content to show up and even if they could, people could register a brand identification or message, but not link through to the site.
Right now the only metrics available to brands using Snapchat are those on the site, such as total views and screenshots taken.
Social Media Examiner provides some good advice for planning your Snapchat campaign so it can be more track-able.
- you can ask followers to take screenshots of snaps – a measurable metric.
- you can offer a discount code to those who take a screenshot and track those who redeem it.
- Give Snapchat users a unique landing page and track it with Google Analytics.
Of course I would expect Google to come up with a solution for tracking these campaigns. In the meantime, it’s always good practice to make sure your strategy is working and whether the same goal could be achieved elsewhere more efficiently.
Ask yourself: Is Snapchat the best use of my marketing energy? Where can I get the most bang for my buck (and time) with my target audience?
This summer I decided to become Google Analytics certified. Today I passed the exam! I have to say it was a lot of work with significant studying involved. I watched all the videos and took copious notes, which came in handy during the test. There are 70 questions on the test to be done in 90 minutes. I actually had time to spare and could have looked up more of the answers to be more precise. The practice tests helped a lot.
Why I am Google Analytics Certified
There are a number of reasons:
1. It is important to understand what drives a social strategy and what actions customers or website visitors take as a result of interacting with social media. If social does not deliver your desired goals, how much time do you want to spend on it?
2. I am planning to ask my students to become GA certified as part of my course Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategies in the MediaStorm Masters Program at Pace University. As a result I felt it important to become certified myself. The good news here is that you can become certified and create a dummy account for practice. You do not have to be associated with a business or have a populated Google Analytics account.
3. As a consultant on digital marketing I have to be able to explain to clients why they should execute certain strategies and solid data make it clear what drives response.
4. I just plain feel good that I am deemed competent in something by Google. Yes, I have advanced degrees, but practical knowledge is very important if you teach digital marketing.
Go ahead and congratulate me. I have not had to study for a test in years!
LaTienda, a brand of Spanish specialty foods used Google Analytics to determine whether shipping costs affected retailers’ likelihoods to abandon their shopping carts due to the shipping costs. After segmenting customers by region, La Tienda determined that stores from Region B were 48% less likely to complete the purchase than those in Region A, in which shipping costs were lower. As a result La Tienda implemented flat rate shipping for Region B and completed transactions increased 70%, while conversions did not change in Region A.
The full case is available from Think Google. I use these cases in my courses to illustrate the importance of making informed decisions.
I am currently spending a lot of time with the CMO survey – a survey conducted annually by Christine Moorman at Duke University for McKinsey. Though the response rate is relatively low (8%), the data show some interesting trends in digital marketing and social media. I particularly like the data on marketing spending and marketing measurement. I am using some of this content in my forthcoming book Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategy.
One key piece of research is that companies are increasing social media spending, which is verified by other sources. However, companies are having trouble measuring the impact of those strategies.
Here is the latest data from the CMO Survey on social media spend:
Social media spending is currently 9.4% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase 128% to 21.4% in the next five years (see Figure 1). However, the 351 marketing leaders responding to August 2014 survey overwhelmingly report that proof lags spending and only 15% of marketers report their companies can show the impact of social media using quantitative approaches.
What’s the buzz? Companies experienced a 25% percent increase in sales through the Internet in the last year—from 8.9% to 11.3% of sales. There does appear to be a sizable opportunity in reaching customers through the Internet that underlies this spending push. Consistent with this view, digital marketing, more broadly, is expected to increase 10.8% in the next year, while traditional advertising budgets are predicted to decrease 3.6%. In other words, there is a signal in all this buzz.
Figure 1. Social media spending as a percent of marketing budget
The CMO Survey can be found here: CMO SURVEY
Social contagion is the process through which individuals learn about new things from others. A phenomenon can become contagious when people see others engaging with something and enjoying it. The standard research in the area says that contagious things tend to fit into people’s lifestyles, are seen out and about and offer the opportunity for people to try it out for size.
Marketers who understand social contagion can better target customers and manage the customer adoption process. The reasons why a product or service might be adopted by a set of people may differ. For example, a new fashion item, such as skinny jeans may spread through a population because people become aware and interested in the new item. If so, generating awareness might be a goal of a communications strategy. Financial services adoption would operate differently because individuals would change beliefs about a financial instrument through a process of assessing risk versus return. In this case a strategy aimed at experts would be more effective in generating trial among those who trust them. This is also true in the prescription drug market in which doctors may be better candidates for initial communications strategies than individuals. Market can assess the likelihood that social influence follows a particular pattern and develop appropriate strategies for enhancing adoption. The chart below indicates different strategies for different firm goals that marketers may choose to pursue.
Motivation for Adoption
Strategy for Influence
Awareness and interest in an item
Generate significant buzz in many outlets by creating engaging content with a viral component
Learning leading to changing beliefs
Focus on experts to provide message arguments aimed at beliefs
Influencing the legitimacy of an item
Encourage influential targets to adopt the item
Status disadvantage of not adopting
Emphasize activities of close connections in a social network to influence behavior
Benefits grow with additional users in the system
Focus on the most important network users and their connections
(Iyengar & Van den Bulte, 2011)