In-stream Online Video Boosts Brand Recall

Interactive marketers can’t help but look to online video to take advantage of branding potential richer than that for previous online display ad formats. But like its static display counterpart, banner ads, online video advertising can appear in numerous ad sizes, placements and creative types, making it difficult for marketers to decide where to start.

Research from Yahoo! indicates certain video ad units are better at boosting advertiser and brand recall than others, providing marketers a tentative roadmap for increased online video advertising success.

In Yahoo!’s study, video viewers recalled seeing pre-, mid- and post-roll ads more often than any other display ad type. More than half (53%) of respondents who recalled seeing some advertising remembered viewing these in-stream ads.

However, the pervasiveness of an ad unit type can still have a large influence on recall. For example, 35% of viewers were able to recall seeing static banner ads, one of the most common display ad types. In contrast, only 13% of viewers remembered seeing seemingly more eye-catching video banner ads.

This seems counterintuitive when comparing the dynamic nature of video to static creative. But users are much more commonly exposed to standard banner ads than online video banner ads; users can hardly recall ads they rarely or never see.

The concept of exposure influencing recall is also echoed in the fact that in-stream units like pre-roll ads—the most recalled ad unit types—are also the most used video units by US marketers, according to Break Media.

Viewers not only remember seeing these in-stream units, they also recall the ads’ subjects. Almost half (47%) of respondents said they remembered the brand or product advertised after viewing a pre-, mid- or post-roll video ad. This is not surprising given the often mandatory—and interruptive—viewing nature of these units.

Worth noting is the ability of expandable video banners and pop-up video ads to prompt user action: 39% of respondents reportedly acted after viewing an expandable video ad, compared to only 20% of pre-, mid- and post-roll video ad viewers.

Expandable and pop-up video ads were also more likely to aid users in purchase decisions than any other display ad type. Such findings hint at the potential use of these video ad units for direct response-related campaign objectives.

As the industry continues to mature and new formats undoubtedly emerge, video advertisers will be presented with new ways to engage viewers and enhance their brands. For now, brand marketers are best served leveraging the use of in-stream video ads and investing in the creation of professional, branded content to boost brand recall.


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Consumers Embrace Social Media for Brand Feedback

Many social network users are using channels such as Twitter and Facebook to discuss shopping decisions and experiences with their peers. Although often this means they are using social networks as another channel to hunt down the best deals, consumers are also turning to those sites to provide feedback about their experiences with brands.

ROI Research conducted a study that asked social network users why they discuss products and services on social network sites. The majority of respondents said that when discussing products and services, they are comparing prices and talking about sales and specials with their social network friends and followers. Fifty-three percent of the surveyed social network users said they provide feedback to the brand or retailer via social network sites—and 47% said they express disappointment with the brand when they see fit.

The ROI Research study points out that consumers voice complaints about certain verticals more so than others. Survey respondents listed household products, telecommunications and healthcare and pharma as top categories for expressing dissatisfaction on a social network. Sports-related brands, magazines and newspapers, and alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, received low levels of complaints. The travel industry ranked fairly low on the list—which may come as a surprise given the resources that many travel companies have devoted to responding to consumer feedback on Twitter.

A MarketTools survey focusing on customer satisfaction with US airline carriers indicates that although US travelers may be embracing social networks to express feedback more frequently than in the past, social media as a feedback or customer service channel is still nascent.

Many travelers are using social networks to let their friends and followers in on their travel woes. In fact, the MarketTools survey indicates one out of 10 US travelers has used social media to complain about an airline. Because the complaints are undirected though, they often go unanswered. The survey shows that only one out of four consumers who complained via social media got a response back from an airline.

Although travelers are voicing dissatisfaction to their friends via social media, few travelers actually use sites such as Twitter and Facebook to give direct negative feedback to airlines. Only 2% of travelers who had given feedback or complaints about airline service in the past year said they had done so via social media. Most travelers reached out to the airline customer service department through the website, email or phone.

Both studies demonstrate that while collecting and responding to feedback over social networks may be a new phenomenon for brands, there is room for growth. Listening and responding to complaints on social media also offers brands a chance to connect with customers in an additional channel, and to potentially increase customer satisfaction.


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More Brand Fans Say They’re Loyal Followers

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Early research on becoming a fan of brands on Facebook or a follower on Twitter indicated that social media users with brand connections were more loyal and more likely to say they would buy the brand’s products than average. Over the past year, those kinds of connections have become more common, and many brands have grown their fan pages and Twitter followings significantly.

Longitudinal data from ROI Research suggests that growth has not diluted the power of social media connections, which still have a link with customer loyalty.

In 2010, 32% of US social network users told the research firm they were at least somewhat more loyal to brands they were fans of on Facebook. This year, that percentage ticked up slightly, to 34%.

Similarly, 40% of respondents in 2010 said they were more loyal to brands they followed on Twitter, rising to 46% this year. There was also a significant drop in the number of users who disagreed with that claim, from 21% to 13%.

At least half of Twitter and Facebook users said they had become more likely to talk about, recommend or purchase a company’s products after they began following the company on social media. And Twitter users showed a greater level of engagement than Facebook users across all these metrics, as well as in willingness to link to an ad for the product or attend a sponsored event.

Still, many users might want less communication from brands. More than 40% of social network users told ROI Research that brands should communicate with fans only once or twice a month, and another 26% thought weekly communication was sufficient. Only 10% of respondents wanted to hear from brands at least daily.

tt twitter micro3 More Brand Fans Say They’re Loyal Followers


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Facebook to trademark the word "face"

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FacebookFacebook has moved one step closer in its efforts to trademark the word "face", after receiving the green light from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The Office has issued a notice of allowance to the social networking juggernaut, allowing the company to own the word after paying a fee, the NY Post reported.

The trademark will allow Facebook to challenge any of the 89,000 websites using the word "face" in their domain name.

The trademark would cover "telecommunication services, namely providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars".

A Facebook spokesperson would not reveal why an exemption was given to cars.

Several companies are considered to be in the sights of Facebook’s legal department, including Apple over its video conferencing service Facetime and a pornography website called Faceporn.

Facebook has also sued websites Teachbook, Placebook and Lamebook in order to protect the social network’s identity.

Facebook has already been successful in trademarking the words "Like" and "Wall".

Source: ninemsn.com.au

Millennials Show Off Brand Relationships

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What does it mean for users to be willing to form relationships with a brand online and share them via the publicity of a “like” on Facebook, for example? As marketers ask whether such relationships will lead to increased sales, brand advocacy or other direct benefits, research suggests publicizing brand preferences is about users defining themselves.

An ExactTarget study on Facebook fans’ motivations found that nearly two in five wanted to show their support for a company. They considered the brands they liked a form of self-expression. A Facebook profile, which lists brands that a fan is connected with alongside other interests, such as music, movies and books, is a venue for this self-expression. The company found it was very important for some users to show brands almost as a part of their own personality.

Young people around the world may feel the same way, according to Edelman. Nine in 10 millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995, or “8095ers”) surveyed in the US, and a total of 86% around the world, were willing to share their brand preferences online.

As the report explains, that makes brand preference a top personal identifier for millennials online—alongside such information as religion and ethnicity.

“This research suggests a link between the immersive, symbiotic relationship 8095ers have with social networking channels and the likelihood to define their personal brand by aligning with the brands they favor,” said the report.

While they will define their personal brand by connecting with brands online, they are much less likely to consider the web a major source for decision-making. Just 13% relied on social networks, compared with 77% who went to family and 64% who turned to friends.

Millennials also rely on a large number of information sources when choosing which brand to buy; a majority worldwide and 42% in the US consulted at least four sources when considering a new product. Brands must be everywhere to ensure they are part of the conversation as millennials look high and low for product information.

tt twitter micro3 Millennials Show Off Brand Relationships


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Companies Struggle to Keep Social Media Content On-Message

Nearly three-quarters of blog posts don’t reflect corporate messaging

Marketers and other corporate communications professionals may sometimes feel they have a thankless task: carefully craft messages about their company’s thought leadership, social responsibility efforts and new product or service launches, only to find those messages distorted as they’re disseminated through the media.

PR and communications firm Burson-Marsteller analyzed more than 150 messages sent out by companies in the Financial Times Global 100 list of firms and discovered a large gap between the messages that went out and how they were covered on blogs.

Message distortion was highest for companies in Latin America and the US, with a global average of 69% of blog postings not reflecting the message companies were trying to send. According to the report, bloggers tended to include “opinions, personal experience, knowledge of competitors and products, and speculation.”

Distortion of Company Messages Conveyed by Blogs, by Region, May 2010 (% of messages analyzed)

Distorted messages are not a new phenomenon; they have been a problem in mainstream media as well. Still, the message gap between companies and the traditional media is significantly smaller: Less than half of all messages in mainstream media failed to reflect company messages, and here the US performed above average.

Distortion of Company Messages Conveyed in Mainstream Media, by Region, May 2010 (% of messages analyzed)

But as blogs continue to grow in importance and become integrated in mainstream outlets, along with the growth of other forms of social media, the chances for message distortion are likely to be high.

One way companies can combat the message gap is to make the most of owned media. If companies create their own compelling content and distribute it across social networks, there is no room for such a gap. Bloggers are not likely to simply reprint such old-media items as press releases, but relevant branded content can attract links across Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social web.

According to the “2010 Social Media Usage, Attitudes and Measurability” study from King Fish Media, HubSpot and Junta42, 73% of US companies with a social media strategy were using branded content they created in their campaigns. Such original content was considered the most important part of a successful social campaign, with nearly half of respondents calling it “extremely important.”

Small Businesses Change Social Media Expectations

About a quarter of small businesses now marketing via social media

After climbing steeply, according to research from Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, small-business adoption of social media marketing has plateaued at 24%.

The study of US small business found that those that do market via social media primarily use Facebook (82%), and that the most common activities are maintaining a company page on a social network and posting status updates or links to interesting content. About half of businesses that used social media also monitored brand chatter on social networks.

As small businesses have gained experience with social media, some have realized their expectations for the channel did not line up with the reality of the social web. As the wider marketing world begins to look at social as more of a loyalty channel than one for acquisition, small businesses are also finding that their hopes for spreading brand awareness and attracting new customers have not been fully met. By contrast, somewhat fewer small businesses had expected to use social media as an engagement channel, but nearly two-thirds have had success in that area.

Performance of Social Media Tactics, June 2010 (% of US small businesses)

The most common business objectives small businesses have achieved through social media marketing tell a similar story: Customers are connecting with companies through sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, but relatively few sales leads have been received through the sites.

Business Objectives Achieved via Social Media, June 2010 (% of US small businesses*)

Small businesses have found other frustrations as well. Many say their efforts take up more time than they had expected, although that percentage dropped from 50% to 43% between December 2009 and June 2010, suggesting companies are being more realistic about what’s involved in social campaigns. At the same time, however, the percentage saying their business had been criticized online nearly doubled, reaching 29%. Still, just a tiny 1% of small businesses said their image was hurt more than it was helped by social media—a number that’s also down, from 6% in December.

iPad Owners Valuable to Advertisers

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iPad owners demonstrate a number of demographic trends that make them valuable to advertisers, according to research from The Nielsen Company.

iPad Owners Skew Younger, Male
iPad owners skew younger and more male than owners of many other portable computing devices. Sixty-five percent of them are male and 63% of them are younger than the age of 35.

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In terms of likelihood to be male, the only device researched by Nielsen that even approaches the iPad is the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), with 62% male ownership. In terms of age, iPad owners skew slightly older than iPod Touch owners (66% younger than 35) and PSP owners (68% younger than 35).

iPad Owners Open to Ads
iPad owners show rates of advertising receptiveness that are favorable compared to iPhone owners and overall connected device owners. In particular, iPad owners have positive response rates roughly double those of iPhone and overall connected device owners in the areas of clicking on ads that incorporate multimedia events, enjoying ads with interactive features, clicking on simple text ads, finding ads on their connected device new and interesting, liking to see what connected device ads can do, and enjoying viewing connected device ads.

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iPad Owners More Likely to Make Ad-related Purchases
Compared to overall connected device owners, after viewing a connected device ad, iPad owners are more likely to make a purchase via PC (36% compared to 27%), make a store purchase (24% compared to 10%), make a telephone purchase (12% compared to 7%) and make a direct purchase via connected device (8% compared to 5%).

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40% of iOS Device Users Make $75K-plus
In other good news for advertisers, about 50% of both iPad and iPhone users earn $75,000 or more annually, according to other recent Nielsen research. Within this income bracket, slightly more iPad users than iPhone users earn more than $100,000 annually.

In contrast, about 30% of all mobile subscribers earn more than $75,000 annually, with a much smaller proportion earning $100,000 or more than the proportion of iOS device users. Divided into featurephone and smartphone users, the income demographics of featurephone users are similar to those of overall mobile subscribers. However, about 45% of smartphone users (which includes iOS device users) earn $75,000 or more annually, with roughly the same proportion earning more than $100,000 annually as iOS device users.

About the Data: Nielsen’s new Connected Devices Playbook surveys more than 5,000 consumers who already own a tablet computer, eReader, netbook, media player or smartphone, including 400 iPad owners.

Consumers Force Retailers to Adopt Social Strategy

Confusion about ROI, disagreement about performance indicators

For most web users, online shopping is not a fully social activity. A few leading-edge retailers have begun allowing transactions to occur on sites like Facebook, but social media users do not typically report starting a search for a product on social sites.

Still, they do use social networks and other tools like Twitter to discuss brands and products and to get advice and feedback from friends and family on potential purchase decisions—and retailers have noticed.

According to August 2010 data from Aberdeen Group, more than half of retailers felt they had been pushed into using social media because more consumers were using it as a primary shopping vehicle. The second-largest pressure causing them to adopt social media marketing was increased use by the competition.

Leading Pressures Causing Retailers to Use Social Media, Aug 2010 (% of US retailers)

Social networks are a clear winner of retailers’ attention. The top social media tools used by the retailers surveyed by Aberdeen included social networks (85%), microblogging (51%) and blogging (43%). In Q1 2010, the e-tailing group also found that social networks were the top community or social tool retailers used or planned to use in the next year; Facebook fan pages specifically were cited by 91% of respondents to that survey. Four in five used or planned to use Twitter, 72% blogs and 71% Facebook Connect. The e-tailing survey was conducted before Facebook introduced its “like” feature, which has also been widely adopted by retailers including Levi’s and Sephora.

But like many marketers in other industries, retailers don’t yet have a clear picture of what social media success will mean. The top key performance indicator respondents to Aberdeen’s survey looked at was the quality of consumer insights they gleaned from social efforts, followed closely by number of repeat visitors and quality of new sales leads.

Retailers

The report noted that some disagreement on key performance indicators is to be expected, since their usefulness is likely to differ from retailer to retailer. “Retailers would be wise to explore which KPI provides the most value to the retailer, and use accordingly,” the report said.

Brand Managers Use Online Video

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Most brand managers currently use online video for marketing purposes and will increase their usage in the next 12 months, according to a new white paper from Brightcove and TubeMogul.

Most Brand Websites Feature Online Video
Findings from “Online Video & The Media Industry” indicate that nearly 85% of brand managers surveyed currently use online video on brand websites for marketing products and services. And for those not using video, 75% plan to add online video to their websites in the next 12 months.

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6 in 10 Brand Managers Will Up Online Video Spending
In addition, while brands currently devote a relatively small portion of their overall marketing budgets to onsite video initiatives (50% devote less than 10%, 23% devote less than 25%, and 22% devote between 25% and 50%), nearly 60% of respondents say they plan to spend more on their website video initiatives within the next 12 months. Only a fractional amount plan to spend less.

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Online Video Promotes Awareness
Two-thirds (66%) of brand managers surveyed said branding/awareness is the primary purpose of their online video initiatives. Another 21% use online video for direct response and lead generation, while 12% use it to drive e-commerce and sales initiatives.

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Online Video Aids E-commerce
Many of those using online video to drive e-commerce and sales initiatives find it highly effective at increasing customer engagement and time spent on the brand website (53%), as well as sales conversions (35%). Twelve percent say online video in e-commerce helps reduce product returns, customer service calls and shopping cart abandonment.

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Marketers Educate via Online Video
Video is well-used by marketers, mostly for educational purposes, according to a new study from King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta 42. Data from “Social Media Usage, Attitudes and Measurability” indicates that 61% of marketers use video content on their own websites, while another 56% use video content on third-party video-sharing sites. This indicates that a majority of marketers are willing to sacrifice some measure of control over their video content distribution and management in order to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Marketers also show limited openness to different video platforms. Thirteen percent use video content in emails, and 7% use video content on mobile devices. While the future of email is somewhat unclear, it seems fairly likely the percentage of marketers distributing video content via mobile device should substantially grow in the next several years.