Tag Archives: marketing

Facebook Marketing: Toyota Crowdsources Philanthropy

This summer Toyota is running a Facebook marketing campaign – “100 Cars For Good” – designed to give fans the chance to vote on which charities receive a new car.  The initiative gives one car to a nonprofit everyday for 100 consecutive days, with fans choosing from five different charities each day.  Anyone checking out Toyota’s Facebook page can participate – they do not have to ‘like’ the brand in order to vote – through August 16th.

The effort was created to get consumers to engage with Toyota via social media, and to participate in something meaningful to them.  The campaign has been promoted by Facebook ads and online display ads.  ClickZ reports that Toyota worked directly with Facebook on this initiative.

The nonprofit organizations featured have the chance to win that day’s car, and also receive pro bono Facebook credits to advertise their organizations, helping them to begin or expand their social media presence and get more ‘likes’ in the process.

How will this compare to other big brand attempts at engaging consumers with marketing for the “social good”?

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Facebook Marketing: Newsfeed Impressions Matter More Than the Number of Fans

The recently released “The Power of Like: How Brands Reach and Influence Fans Through Social Media Marketing” study, a collaboration by comScore and Facebook, suggests that the reach and frequency of brand impressions on Facebook may be more important that the number of Facebook fans.  The study looks at unpaid impressions for three major brands – Starbucks, Southwest Airlines and Bing – to see the impact of brand exposure, and how brand impressions reach friends of fans.

According to the study, for every fan of a brands’ page on Facebook, there are an additional 34 friends that can be reached (on average for the top 100 brand pages).  The main way to gain exposure to friends of your brands’ fans on Facebook is via the newsfeed; it is “the primary location where branded content is consumed.”

  • Users see their newsfeed 27% of the time while on Facebook; the newsfeed shows brand interactions by their friends
  • Users are between 40 and 150 times more likely to consume branded content in the newsfeed than to visit a particular brand’s page


Starbucks was the star among the three brands studied, though the brand also started with a much higher fan base.  Starbucks has over 24 million Facebook fans, Bing over 1.7 million, and Southwest over 1.6 million.  Starbucks had the most earned brand impressions per Facebook page view, with 156.  Bing had 45 impressions per fan page views on Facebook, and Southwest had 42.

The study also indicates that, when dealing with a brand with a large following, social media can ‘deliver impressions comparable with that of other digital ad campaigns.’ For Southwest and Bing – both with smaller Facebook followings – their social media brand impressions were fairly negligible compared to their existing online display ad campaigns. However, unpaid social media impressions increased total online impressions by a whopping 64% for Starbucks.

How often does your brand post on Facebook, and how many fans will see those posts?  According to the study, in average 16% of fans will see brand content if that brand posts 5 of 7 days, and posting an additional day will slide the average up to 18.5%.  This is relatively consistent with the level of reach between Facebook friends – a status update generally will reach around 12% of the average Facebook user’s friends.

Why do users miss content from their Facebook friends and the brands they like?

  • they may not be logged onto the site during the times when brands or their friends are active
  • the Facebook Newsfeed only delivers the the content it deems “most relevant” to a user at the top of the feed

Facebook accounts for 90% of the time Americans spend on social networking sites, and 100% of the Ad Age Top 100 advertisers have established Facebook brand pages.  The study concludes that “brands can realize significant untapped benefits by understanding and focusing on reaching the friends of their fans on Facebook.”

The study was conducted in May 2011. Download the full study here.

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GMC and Buick ‘Build Your Own’ Car Feature Adds Facebook Integration

Many car manufacturers offer potential consumers the ability to build or customize a vehicle on their website.  GMC and Buick are taking this a step further and incorporating social media into the process, allowing consumers to share their virtual vehicle with Facebook friends, and see the response via comments and ‘likes.’

The consumer gains the opportunity to solicit feedback from friends about their potential vehicle purchase, while GMC and Buick see their brand effectively marketed via the consumer.

According to Janet Keller, GMC’s digital and social media manager, one-quarter of GMC.com’s monthly visitors use the vehicle-building tool.  She told Direct Marketing News, “We already know that consumers are asking their friends and family about their vehicle selection, so why don’t we just bring that together in one seamless experience on GMC.com?”

Integrating with Facebook doesn’t just allow the consumer to share their vehicle ideas; it also gives the automotive brand valuable metrics regarding consumer preferences. Once consumers connect via their Facebook accounts, GMC and Buick can see how consumers design their vehicles, and what they (and their Facebook friends) like the most, knowledge which can be tied to purchases.  The automakers also get permission to access their basic profile information, and the publicly shared interests there help the brand to tailor future marketing communications.

The integration does not provide GMC or Buick with a way to reach out to customers to build and share vehicles – the brands can only message those who “like” their Facebook page.

The Facebook integration with GMC.com is currently only available via desktop, although both automakers plan to create Facebook “Build a Vehicle” apps that will have a mobile-friendly version, possibly available this year.

The goal, according to Keller? “The ultimate gold standard is to be able to connect how people are engaging on GMC.com and with the tool and ultimately be able to lead that into sales and how this tool helps to facilitate sales at the bottom line.”

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37% Trust What Friends/Family Say About Brands On Social Media

A recent study by Knowledge Networks and MediaPost Communications surveyed teen and adult social media users about their reaction to brands and product recommendations on social media.  Overall, 37% of respondents trust what friends and family say about a brand or product on social media, while only 10% trust what a stranger says, as reported by eMarketer.

However, the level of trust varies by the type of social media:

  • 26% trust what friends and family members say in blog posts
  • 25% trust friends and family posts on social media sites
  • 20% trust friends and family tweets
  • only 7% trust the blogs and posts of strangers
  • just 5% trust strangers’ tweets

Conducted in May 2011, “The Faces of Social Media” study also looked at how customers interact with social media via mobile during the shopping process. According to the survey, 40% of respondents access social media via mobile phone, up from 28% in September 2010. Fully half of mobile web users “interact with social media at some point in the shopping process:”

  • 27% of US mobile internet users use social media to compare or check prices before, during or after shopping
  • 24% check reviews
  • 16% get coupons or discounts for local businesses

Brand relationships and purchase decisions are increasingly influenced by social media:

  • 23.1 million teen and adult social media users discover new brands or products through social media (up 22% from 2010)
  • 22.5 million use social media to learn about unfamiliar brands or products (up 9%)
  • 17.8 million are strongly influenced in their purchase decisions by opinions in social media (up 19%)
  • 15.1 million refer to social media before making purchase decisions (up 29%)

The presence of social media (especially via mobile) in shopping and purchase decisions continues to grow and gain influence, as does the importance of friend and family recommendations made via these networks.  It will be interesting to see how this trend ties into geo-location apps, such as Foursquare and Facebook Places.  Will your friends’ purchases or favorites someday show up when you check in to your favorite store?

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How Honest Tea Used Live Streaming To Engage Customers (And Test Their Honesty)

Honest Tea embraced a realtime, interactive broadcast platform for its latest marketing campaign.  In what VentureBeat calls “a marketing stunt disguised as test of citizens’ honesty,” the organic beverage company set out unmanned displays of cold tea bottles in various cities, with hidden webcams to show whether customers paid for their tea on live-streaming video.

The pop-up tea stores were placed in prominent locations in 12 major cities throughout the US on July 19th, and customers could purchase tea on the honor system, one dollar per bottle.  Hidden cameras and live interactive broadcasting via Ustream allowed viewers to check the honesty of each passer-by that engaged with the campaign.  (Signs were posted explaining the legal rights to live broadcast/record the event, but the cameras were hidden).

Aimed at “young, tech-savvy professionals” who use social media, the streaming video was an important part of this marketing campaign, according to Honest Tea VP of Marketing Peter Kaye.  He told VentureBeat, “The live streaming certainly helped.  We will have doubled our number of ‘likes’ [on Facebook] to over 60,000 in one day.”  The Honest Tea Facebook page now has 69,688 fans. Social media allows customers to engage in conversation about the campaign before it started, during, and after.

Why is live streaming becoming an increasingly popular platform for advertisements?

  • high cost-per-thousand (CPM) ad rates (think the Super Bowl, American Idol, etc)
  • high levels of engagement it can command, via what Ustream CEO John Ham calls “simultaneous reach”
  • live video allows customers to see a new aspect of the campaign, in this case observing others’ choices in realtime

Honest Tea evaluated honesty on a city-by-city basis, with Chicago leading – 99% of visitors paid for their tea – while New York came in last – only 86% paid for their tea.  The stand on Wall Street, NYC was more honest (89%) than in Los Angeles (73%).  No pop-up store in your city? Online users were also polled, 99% of whom said they would pay for their tea.

The bottom line from VP of Marketing Kaye: “It is real time, and a good way to showcase what we have going on. It is very worthwhile and a very good investment.”  When asked whether the company would live stream again, he responded “I think definitely,” although he didn’t rule out the possibility of using other live stream platforms, including Livestream.com, Justin.tv and Stickam.com.

Watch a video summarizing the campaign here:

[iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/L8mbxsWKCAQ” frameborder=”0″ /]

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72% of Brand Marketers ‘Currently Using Mobile’ Plan To Increase Mobile Ad Spending

A new survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau confirms that mobile advertising platforms are being adopted rapidly by marketers.  The most striking data: 72% (nearly three-quarters) of survey respondents are looking to increase their mobile advertising budget over the next two years, and 35% expect to increase mobile ad spending by over 50 percent in that same timeframe.

The study – entitled “Marketer Perspectives on Mobile Advertising” – surveyed over 300 top brand marketing executives “currently using mobile in their media mix.” Of those:

  • just over half (51%) currently ‘treat mobile platforms as an integral element of their overall advertising strategy’
  • 35% are ‘experimenting’ with mobile
  • 14% are tapping into mobile on an ad-hoc basis

Respondents felt the following were key benefits of mobile advertising:

  • Immediacy (considered of high importance by 57% of respondents)
  • Cost-effectiveness (54%)
  • Increased engagement (52%)

When asked which mobile devices are most important in current campaigns, respondents chose:

  • Smartphones (a high priority for 60% of respondents – twice as important as any other device)
  • Tablets (31%)
  • Feature phones (22%)
  • Ebooks (10%)
  • Connected games consoles (3%)

Respondents were also asked what challenges they faced attempting to incorporate mobile into their campaigns.  The main issues:

  • Device fragmentation (cited by 72% of respondents as a challenge of medium or high importance)
  • Privacy issues (70%)
  • Lack of standardized metrics (69%)
  • Limited opportunity for creative (60%)**

**The study revealed that 62% of respondents do not use creative agencies for mobile advertising, but of those few that do use creative agencies for mobile, 85% felt the partnership produced ‘good results.’

The survey was conducted by Ovum Consulting in April-June 2011 on behalf of IAB. Interviews were conducted with key marketer decision makers and budget holders.

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Colgate Launches ‘Smile’ Campaign via Facebook

On June 28th, Colgate launched a new campaign in Britain encouraging fans to take pictures of themselves smiling, post them to Facebook, and potentially have their photo displayed on digital billboards in the UK.  The toothpaste brand aims to collect 1 million ‘smile’ pictures by summer’s end, and will donate £100,000 to Barnardo’s (a UK children’s charity) if that goal is reached.

UK fans of the toothpaste brand can upload their ‘smile’ photos onto Colgate’s UK Facebook page, and the photos will randomly appear on billboards in London, Liverpool and Birmingham.  The campaign was created by VML London, and ClickZ quotes VML account manager Gemma Brown, “Integrating the photos of Facebook users is a good fun incentive for anyone who’s dreamed of starring in their own billboard campaign.”

Will Colgate reach its goal of 1 million smiles? Is ‘randomly’ being on a billboard – and/or the opportunity to support a popular charity – enough incentive to engage with a brand on Facebook?

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How Twitter Turned an Unfinished Book into a Best Seller Literally Overnight

John Green is a best-selling author of young adult fiction with plenty of fans: 1.1 million Twitter followers, 61,714 Facebook friends, and 525,676 YouTube subscribers. And those fans went crazy when he used a YouTube video to announce the title of his next book and then promised in a tweet to autograph every single copy ordered in advance of publication.

So what if it’s not scheduled to come out until next May? That certainly didn’t deter his fans and followers, who within hours made “The Fault in Our Stars” the No. 1 book on both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. (A week later it’s only fallen to No. 12 on Amazon).

But what if hundreds of thousands of people preorder the book? No worries, Green tweeted. He’ll just use his other hand to sign.

Besides showing the power to drive sales, his tweeted pledge demonstrated how social media connects people. Hundreds of fans of the 33-year-old author started posting suggestions for the book’s dust cover (there’s just a black placeholder on Amazon for now). In his announcement, Green said that signing all the pre-ordered copies was a gift for his fans: a thank you for reading his books and an attempt to treat everyone equally rather than just signing the books purchased when he goes on a book tour in major cities.

Besides, he said, “I think it will be kind of fun unless my hand falls off.”

According to an article on Publishers Weekly website, the idea for this promotion was inspired by a conversation between Green and his editor at Penguin’s Dutton imprint.

Penguin has agreed to an unusual process to make this work. It will ship sheets of paper to the author’s home in Indianapolis, where he will sign them with a Sharpie pen and return them to Penguin, which will insert them into the books as they are printed. To further engage his social media followers, he asked them in a YouTube video to take a poll to help him choose which color Sharpie he should use to sign the books.

Social media will play a part in the process, too. Green says he will document the process in a series of live videos, which he will post on YouTube. In the past five years, Green and his musician brother Hank have taped and posted 800 three-minute videos of him discussing his writing and editorial process. He’s committed, he said, to using social media to share the entire process of creating his books with his fans, in order to better connect with them.

Besides Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, he also is active on Tumblr, and such forums as nerdfighters.com and YourPants.org.

By the way, the title, The Fault in Our Stars, is a reference to the a line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and the story is about teens dealing with terminal illnesses.

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Online Coupons Will Reach 88 Million Americans This Year

New stats from eMarketer estimate that by the end of 2011, 88.2 million Americans (nearly half the population) will have used an online coupon in the past year.  This number is projected to rise to 96.8 million U.S. adults by 2013.  The data clearly indicates that “digital coupon usage is now firmly a part of the online shopping experience of millions of US consumers.”

According to data from Experian Simmons, household use of digital coupons has risen from 12% in 2005 up to 22% in 2011.  eMarketer reports that most online consumers that are likely to use digital coupons are already doing so; the growth rate for online coupon use will slowly decline over the next few years.

Jeffrey Grau, an eMarketer principal analyst and author of a forthcoming report on online couponing, states that  “Today’s online coupon users tend to be affluent, highly educated and over the age of 55.”  This information is key for marketers looking to use coupons for product promotion, and seeking the best marketing message to reach the online coupon-using demographic.

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How Converse Got 16 Million Facebook Fans By Doing “Nothing Special”

When it comes to athletic shoes, Converse has run away with the title as the biggest sneaker brand on Facebook. As of today, it has more than 16 million fans, four times as many as Nike.  And that’s a huge increase from the less than 10 million fans it had as recently as November, when Inside Facebook named it one of the fastest-growing brands on Facebook.

Yet in a wide-ranging interview with Mashable, Converse Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill says his advice to his company was to “do nothing special” when he first learned of its huge Facebook fan base. His directive was for his team to listen more than it talks on the social media site and to absolutely not bring its ad campaigns from other channels there.

Instead, he says, marketers should remember that this is a conversational medium, one that’s very different from the old format of one-way communication. That means brands have to let go, to respect and trust their consumers and their love for your brand.

Of course, that doesn’t really mean do nothing at all. Converse does post information about its products, conducts contests (such as a design-your-own shoe) and talks about lots of topics besides its own brand.

Cottrill measures success in social media by engagement. The hope, of course, is that engagement leads to brand affinity and that leads to sales of products.

But the initial engagement often is a long, long distance from actual products. For example, Converse has made videos for kids to use to ask out their prom dates because that’s a timely topic at this time of year. Presumably, the mind share the videos generate may lead to sales down the road.

Cottrill says it’s important to modify messages for various social media platforms. For example, on Facebook and YouTube, Converse might feature video of new bands. But on Twitter, the brand will ask fans to submit interview questions for those bands.

Converse has taken a core brand asset–passionate fans– and nurtured that community.  Ultimately, according to Cottrill, the real pay-off is when the fans become your brand advocates.

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