Company Radar: Hello Flo

The thing I love about digital in its broadest sense is its capacity to enable people with ideas and energy to take on interesting projects.

This one is launching in September but has so far gathered much inertia trough its viral ad campaign.

The company, Hello Flo, does for menstruation what Dollar Shave Club (DSC), did for shaving : provide a monthly subscription service for cost effective, simple and convenient delivery of quality products (in this case tampons and panty liners).

As in projects that are undertaken with care and with the final consumer in mind, they have added some wonderful details into the product delivery. In this case, candy is also a part of the monthly subscription being sent out (something which shows they understand the consumer during their moment of consumption!).

The approach in comms for Hello Flo seems like a breath of fresh air in terms of “normalizing” something natural that has historically been treated as taboo.

This freshness reminded me of the Bodyform ad that also achieved high levels of awareness and conversation last year:

Let’s hope that Hello Flo goes on to conquer this new ecommerce space just as DSC did (a company that also started off with an “in your face” approach to shaving).

Great to see so many disruptive and relevant digital projects that take off creatively.

Take care amigos,

Hector

 

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Last night Mary Meeker saved my life (AKA 2013 Internet trends)

(Drama on this post has been powered for theatrical appeal. Read post at your discretion, do not read slideshare at you peril).

In 1982 an R&B group called Indeep released a single that would alter their future.

The single was called “Last night a DJ saved my life“.

In that same year, Mary Meeker, today partner at lead VC firm KPCB, started working in Investment Banking as a stockbroker.

Also in that same year, yours truly was born in a big (everything seems big when you are a few hours old) hospital in South London.

Fast forward to last night and those three elements (Indeep, Meeker, moi) came together once again.

Last night Mary Meeker and her colleagues released their latest edition of their Annual Internet Trends report.

This is a presentation (embed below) which, if you work in anything digital related (and nowadays everything is), you should keep close, as it will prove to be valuable in many pitches and presentations.

Last night I desperately (you have been warned on the drama) needed a few slides on digital inertia, re-imagining and direction. And Mary Meeker was there for the rescue. DJ´s of the World, your live-saving days are over. 

Mary Meeker knows the internet (has studied it since the Netscape IPO in the early 90´s). Mary Meeker does her research. Put those two together and you get the unofficial (but deserved) title of Queen of the Net.

Below, the slideshare pres. Research and Insight on the evolution and direction of the internet.

Use it wisely Frodo.

Mary Meeker playing an invisible Sitar?
Mary Meeker playing an invisible Sitar?

 

Take care amigos,

Hector

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Mobile Search: Why is the location of the user valuable for advertisers?

Location in general is valuable for advertisers because it allows them to add to their marketing efforts information that extends the traditional targeting from an approach based on who the target market is (age, sex, income, etc), to an approach linked to the physical coordinates of the business.

Location is valuable because it complements the WHO with the WHERE with regards to the target.

The real surge in targeting based on user’s location (geo-targeting) has been possible thanks to the evolution in mobile telecommunications technology and the high penetration of smartphones (mainly through GPS enabled systems that allow advertisers to pin point accurately the user’s location).

What unique specifications do mobile devices offer that make them extremely attractive for advertisers?

Mobile devices are the most intimate personal devices ever built (as well as a powerful computers).

  • They are always carried by users, and always on
  • They can collect target data and campaigns can be measured and tracked in an effective manner (increased ROI)
  • Mobile devices, through the use of social media companies that operate Location Based Services can fully utilise the social aspect of media consumption

Consumers rely heavily on their mobile devices to browse for information and search for things close by that they want or need (a restaurant, a gas station or a 24hour hair saloon). So this has become a great opportunity for advertisers who can use Search Engine Marketing to engage the mobile consumers while they search and browse content on their mobile devices (Google refers to this as “Small screen. Big opportunity”).

Advertising planned with regards to location has always been important to local businesses or local branches of global businesses. In the same manner as radio proved in the past to be a great media channel for local retailers, location-based advertising in mobile devices is also very important for local and global advertisers as it can reach the consumer near the point of sale.

So what is Mobile Search marketing?

Forrester defines mobile search marketing as the process of using mobile search engine results to increase the visibility of a company, its brands, or its products. This is done through SEO, paid search advertisements, or contextual listings. In Paid search the ads appear beside related mobile search results or across mobile content.

According to eMarketer, mobile search advertising is projected to grow almost 60 percent to $295 million by the end of 2011
In one year, the growth in mobile search ad spending as a percentage of total search ad spending has increased dramatically

And how is Mobile Search Marketing different from online (or desktop) search?

Although the overall philosophy remains the same, traditional web search is created around the popularity and relevance of a web page, rather than the popularity and relevance of a place.

There are certain things that we need to bear in mind when we adapt online search to mobile search. These things relate to the specific nature of  a) the mobile device and b) the underlying behaviour of the mobile consumer.

a)    Search Marketing with regard to the mobile device

Smaller screens means less space to show organic results and paid ads and so

Mobile Searches return fewer results and less text-per-link in the results page.

Smaller keyboards also generate shorter search queries than with traditional PC-based searches and will need to be customised for “large finger syndrome” by improving navigation on smartphones through search engines.

b) Search marketing underlying behaviour of the mobile consumer

Mobile consumers generally access the web when they need a quick answer and mostly related to things in the vicinity (As Eric Schmidt mentioned in the 2010 IFA show in Berlin:“1 in 3 queries from smartphones is about where I am). They are driven more by specific goals normally with a short-term time constraint (i.e. nearest hotel).

This means that Search for mobile needs to adapt from its online/PC origins in the following ways:

Ads should be location-specific and place extra importance on actionable keywords that are time sensitive and linked to the brand/business.

So what can advertisers use location in Mobile Search for?

 Boost Brand awareness and consideration (branding in mobile advertising outperforms online advertising branding according to Insight Express, 2010)

  • Through increased visibility
  • Through word of mouth recommendations from current customers
  • Through partnerships with local businesses

Increase preference and customer acquisitions

  • Through use of targeted promotions, discounts that can enhance loyalty
  • For the same reason radio is a Check-ins at “places,” rather than just map coordinates, makes the data valuable for targeted advertising and context-aware advertising

Improve engagement in advertising near the point of sale

  • Smartphone rich advertising formats increases user experience in relation to local advertising

Improve customer conversions (such as increasing foot traffic to the business or selling more of one particular item).

But the benefits of location-based advertising don’t affect only the advertisers.

Consumers profit from more relevant and tailored messages and as well as useful information (such as a telephone number, opening times, reviews, etc) when they search for a product or service with local implications.

Consumers benefit from more relevant and quick responses to search queries. These benefits, tied to the personal attachment that consumers have with their mobiles show a more balanced and constant use during the day and week than with the desktop counterparts

That’s all for now.

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post finished to the tune of  “78 stone Wobble” by Gomez)

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Channel Diversification: factors and why to diversify

Digital Channel Diversification…

In our Marketing plans we have a specific goal, but also a specific budget. So what things do we have to judge and weight out in terms of choosing whether we spend our $$$ on Social Media, or optimizing our web page, our setting up and monitoring a Pay Per Click campaign?

I would argue that there are four main areas where we can find differences amongst digital channels and we will have to focus our investment on some and not others depending on how these areas play their part.

1. Branding or Conversion

Independently of our objectives, some channels are good at some things more brand-related (like generating visibility and helping brand positioning) others are more effective in converting and direct sales.

In general we can say that Social Media and Display are good for branding efforts while SEM and SEO can achieve conversions like sales or leads as they are more tailored towards Direct Marketing.

2. Targeting

Another distinction can be made about the degree of targeting that these channels allow, as some are better designed to reach a specific audience and some are broader in their reach. In general Search based marketing is the most targeted but lately we can see this feature also used in most well-known Social Networks.

3. Speed

Obviously how quick you need your actions to take place will influence how you allocate your budget, and generally speaking, quicker effects will demand for higher spend. In this sense, SEO is definitely the channel that requires a more dedicated investment and SEM is known for its quick results.

4. Creativity

One more level of differences comes in the creative context. Whilst some of the four channels above offer rigid formats, other allow for a more creative approach (which for certain targets like the younger segment will be needed if we want to capture some precious seconds of their attention). Social Media and Display allow for highly creative and even interactive executions. SEM and SEO though, still require some creativity around the copy (for the ad in case of SEM) and for the quality content in the web page for SEO.

Blended is better

I think it is important to note that, even if your objective demands a higher spend in one of these channels due to one of the four reasons stated, that we still complement our plan of action with a reduced investment in some of the other channels. There are three main factors that play a part in the higher success of a blended approach.

A) The ROI of a blended campaign is higher than those taken from individual channels.

For instance, good SEO can help make SEM strategies more effective as one of the factors when calculating CPC will be the quality of the page. A powerful campaign in Social Media can aid our branding but if pointed to certain landing pages can increase the popularity of the page and help boost our organic positioning.

Furthermore, by blending our channels we can decrease our exposure to risk as diversifying the different allocations will reduce any items that we have not predicted (like a major change in the Google algorithm for instance or an increased bid pressure on SEM).

B) Decrease in efficiency with increase in invested volume of a single channel

Marginal efficiency decreases as you increase investment in a particular channel. Once we reach a particular threshold, every $ we spend on the channel will have a decreased efficiency (for example, in SEM, the investment in new keywords will at one point start decreasing in conversions. This is another reason for championing for a diversified choice of budget allocation.

C) Different channels can help reach different customer dispositions

Depending on the customer sentiment or mood, we will be choosing different channels. In Search, customers have a strong predisposition or intent towards purchase. They are actively looking for something (information, an address, a product…). In this context customers can be “called to action” easier. In social media channels, consumers do not want to be interrupted with direct marketing messages, but rather want to be entertained, want to connect with other people. Brands can use this scenario to build an emotional connection with consumers, and bounce off their friends to reach a wider segment. As such, the social media environment is great for notoriety, awareness and brand building.

That is all.

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post ended to the tune of  “I ain’t got you” by the Yardbirds )

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Mobile Search: How can intent or search plus the location be used for advertisers?

Hi all, this post will talk about how brands can best link user necessity with geographical targeting in the mobile world. Thrilling stuff!

From a user intent point of view, Mobile Advertising in general works better for low-consideration products that are not perceived as expensive. It is therefore more effective for immediate intent actions similar to ones that have already been mentioned (Forrester report states that Mobile Searchers typically act within an hour of searching).

To dig deeper into how advertisers can use Mobile Search alongside location functions we will focus on Mobile Search options offered by AdWords from Google, as they dominate the mobile search market (98% as demonstrated in the below chart from TechCrunch)

Google is undisputed leader in the search market, both mobile and desktop

These are the main options that can be used in AdWords in conjunction to search for location-based purposes:

LOCATION EXTENSIONS:

Based on what the user types in the search, AdWords will show a clickable banner with the option to show all locations for a particular business in Google Maps for Mobile.

This tool offers the possibility to use the logo of the business as the icon on the map which can aid brand recall. If the user clicks on the location, he or she is lead to a page with more relevant details such as address, numbers, directions, call function, etc.

CLICK TO CALL/FOR DIRECTIONS, AND FOR DISTANCE

With these functionalities users can speak directly to the to the business through the ad, find out directions or distance to the nearest store. These functionalities can bridge the gap between interactive and offline channels through.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD APP

The ad can also be linked to iTunes store or Android Market to enable the user to download a specific app that can aid in customer experience, retention and loyalty.

OFFERS

The new ‘Offers’ ad extension, will allow a voucher code to be attached to ads for customers to redeem in their local store.

SOCIAL AND MOBILE TRENDS

This next generation search will be influenced by the two leading trends of the last few years: social and mobile. This has been promoted by the Location Based Services (LBS) that we briefly mentioned earlier

Social location-based services are virtual “check-in” services that allow people to check into physical locations, allow your contacts from social networks to know where you are. With this the user can earn rewards for his continued visits, badges, and also physical products.

So why should an advertiser/business owner care about Social LBS’s

Business owners can secure partnerships with theses location-based services to increase brand awareness, conversions (sales) and loyalty (return sales).

Through the use of LBS, advertisers can:

  • Reach out to customers near the point of sale (and invite them in with an attractive offer)
  • Acquire new customers via friend recommendations.
  • Gather valuable data for further advertising in the future.

The most successful LBS are Foursquare and Facebook places (although depending on the region others such as Dowalla, Loopt and Scvngr are also popular)

That’s all for now.

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post finished to the tune of  “Crash into me” by Dave Matthews Band)

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Want to start feeling the SEOTISFACTION?

I CAN'T GET NO SEOTISFACTION

“Telling you more and more about some useless information” is not my goal in this post, it’s actually the other way around.

I’ve recently started getting my head more into Search Engine Optimization, it’s one of those things I’ve taken up later in life, and even though it is an art that has changed dramatically in the last few months, it is still a subject I am thoroughly enjoying.

True seotisfaction (search enlightenment) is still some way away as I am still escalating the learning curve but wanted to take the opportunity to post below a couple of sources of SEO knowledge that might come in handy for those that want to learn some SEO.

First there is the book I have started out with. I am sure there are many more that people can recommend (and hope they do)

Search Engine Optimization (An hour a day) by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin. Why do I recommend it to anyone who is starting out? I don’t recommend it for its comprehensiveness (though it is very complete) or because of its well structured format. For me, the thing that did it (and does it) is the way it is written. For a subject that could have been treated in quite a dull way, the authors have given it such a lively copy that it is sometimes hard to let down (boosting the speed at which you learn!). The resources on their web are also very useful.

Bloggers/Tweeters that I find  most useful (again, these are the ones most people know but please let me have any further recommendations)

Matt Cutts, is the head of Google’s Webspam team. He writes often and posts great videos on SEO for Google (@mattcutts)

SEOMOZ, a Seattle-based company founded by Rand Fishkin, who produces a free “beginner’s guide to SEO” which is a great place to start (@SEOmoz)

I’ve got a ton more of stuff saved, but just wanted to through in the basics for people that, like me, want to feel the SEOTISFACTION.

Until then, take care amigos.

Hector

(post ended to the tune of Coconut, Harry Nilsson)

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Google instant shows us what people want to know…

A short while back I decided to have a play around with Google instantthe search tool that completes your search query as you write. I had some fun, typing random things, and seeing how Google completed my half baked query based on its collective knowledge of search behavior.

Please take a look at some of these (ALL REAL)

Why did he

This first one is tragic…but the last option kind of makes up for it? Google shows us what people really want to know…

Why is it so hard

An interesting variety here. Although it all starts and ends in weight. Maybe number two (trouble waking up) and three (trouble making friends) are related? (sleepy head’s friends are tired of his/her lateness)

how do you buy

Crisis, what crisis? If people are searching how to purchase a private island, I am clearly not getting paid nearly enough!

How long does it takeTime management. Something we are all worried about (and Google instant knows this). In this query completion we have a nice mix but my personal favorite is clearly number two. Imagine the space shuttle you are in has an oxygen leak. The time it takes you to put on your space suit will be key…
Why do lions

A bit of zoology for this one. It goes from normal to specific: roar, have manes, loose belly skin… But the last one? Somebody has been spending too much time with lions to be searching for this particular answer.

The most important

And last but not least. To end on a high note. What is the most important thing?  According to Google instant to enjoy life and to be happy. I agree.

That is all.

Take care amigos,

Hector

(post ended to the tune of “Baby Fratelli” by the Fratellis )

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