Introducing The Search Marketing Playbook

The ways consumers find information about companies or brands is changing. Where natural search results once were the primary way users discovered content or websites, now non-search engine media such as mobile apps, social networking sites, and consumer review hubs are veritable contenders in your users' paths to discovery. Users have become so comfortable searching and discovering online that they employ their own methods and weave together personal paths of discovery that lead them to what they’re looking for. To ensure that marketers are “findable” across all different types of media, Forrester believes that search marketers must shift the scope of their work from just buying paid search ads and conducting SEO projects to enabling brand discovery — a practice we’ve dubbed “discovery marketing” — the practice of collecting users engaged in all forms of digital discovery.

This won’t be easy. Search marketers have been marketing on search engines for over a decade and are no strangers to success — the need to expand their oft-effective strategies doesn’t feel quite pressing to most search marketers who hardly struggle to meet their search-engine-centric goals. And sure, they’ll continue to meet their search engine goals but will miss out on incremental benefits if they continue to ignore the opportunity that lies for them across other types of discovery media. But where and how to start?

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One Week Left To Win A Forrester Groundswell Award

[UPDATE, Sepember 2013: Entries for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards are now closed. More than 100 companies entered more than 130 social programs this year, and we're looking forward to reviewing them and recognizing the best at our 2013 eBusiness Forum on November 5.]

The entry deadline for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards is just one week away - August 30, 2013. These awards recognize programs that showcase the effective use of social media to advance an organizational goal. We've got new categories this year - check out our video for details - and over the past week, my colleagues have given their advice on how to win an award for 'social reach' and for 'social depth.' Today, I want to give some tips on how to win an award in our 'social relationship' category.

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How To Spot A Social Depth Groundswell Award Winner

The August 30 entry deadline for Forrester's 2013 Groundswell Awards is right around the corner. If you have not submitted an entry yet, what are you waiting for? If you believe that you do not have what it takes to be a "winner" -- here is some insight on what we look for when judging Groundswell Awards entries. Since my research focuses on Social Depth, I will use the Forrester Groundswell Social Depth category as an example. But first, let me define "Social Depth":

In our latest social marketing playbook report -- which my colleague Nate Elliott summarizes in this blog post -- we define Social Depth as tactics that help prospects explore and buy your products. When you provide Social Depth on your own branded website(s), you offer detail about what your brand stands for and expose your prospects to real customer experiences.

Basically, if you are a B2B or B2C company and you have a . . .

  • blog
  • online community
  • message board/forum
  • ratings and reviews 
  • real-time user generated content
  • social sign-on
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Deals and IPOs in video entertainment and advertising: an inflection point or bubble?

A spate of events this month argues that the industry that revolves around video entertainment and advertising (I no longer call it the "television" industry!) has entered a period where long-delayed change will burst out:

  • Video ad networks/technologies YuMe and TremorVideo both went public. While neither was blockbuster, these IPOs signal that investors have enough confidence in the future of digital video that they'll put some chips on the table. They see advertisers using online video to extend their TV campaigns and this sector growing at rates far higher than the advertising market as a whole. 
  • Two $400 million + deals for cross-device video ad technologies. The much-hyped AOL/Adap.tv deal and the quieter Extreme Reach/DG deal reflect different corporate strategies, but both are rooted in the idea that the distinctions between TV and digital video will continue to diminish. Marketers increasingly realize they must put their sight/sound/motion messages on every device if they hope to achieve the reach that TV alone used to deliver.
  • CBS/Time-Warner dispute. The mutual benefit of carriage fees has made the programmer/distributor relationship cozy for years. Now this relationship is fraying, and outright wars that include blackout of stations like the current CBS/Time-Warner fight have become increasingly common in the past couple of years. The lure to programmers of streaming their programs online increases in direct proportion to how contentious this relationship becomes.  
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Friday Flashback: Marmite’s Fans Advocate For A Forrester Groundswell Award

Our 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards (submission deadline is August 30th!) are structured around the Forrester Marketing RaDaR model, with awards for outstanding social marketing in each phase of the customer life cycle. My research this quarter focuses on social reach – tactics to help people discover your brands, products, and promotions – so I want to highlight a 2011 winner demonstrating the power of advocate marketing.

In 2011, Unilever introduced a new extra-strong variant of Marmite, a yeast-based spread that no one is just “meh” about – consumers either love it or hate it. Marmite’s consumers are extremely passionate about the product, and Unilever created an exclusive community for only the top 200 fans and advocates to feed (pun intended) their excitement. Each community member received one of 200 commemorative jars of the new Marmite.

Marmarati logo

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It's Time To End Social Exceptionalism

Today, social media is part of nearly every marketer's strategy: More than 90% of the marketers we survey are already using social tactics.

But the sobering reality is that nearly a decade into the era of social media, more social marketers are failing than succeeding. Why? Because of a problem we call “social exceptionalism.” Rather than regarding social media as just another marketing channel, marketers act as if social is somehow unique:

  • Some treat social media as an island. Too many marketers never connect social to the rest of their marketing programs. But social messages that don't match the rest of your marketing program are unlikely to contribute much value.
  • Others ask social to carry the weight of the world. No matter how social your audience, no one channel can shoulder the load of an entire marketing program on its own — as many marketers ask social to do. Successful marketing always relies on finding the right mix of platforms and tactics.
  • Most use unproven metrics to track performance. Marketers have moved past tracking only fans and followers — but few have gotten much further. Too many measure recently invented metrics like "engagement," and too few track the brand impact or conversion rate of social programs.
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Five Trends That Will Disrupt Europe's TV Ad Market

My new report, Convergence Disrupts Europe's TV Ad Market, looks at the fascinating landscape of TV advertising in Europe. The bottom line: disruption is coming that will make established TV buying strategies and practices ineffective. Marketers need to understand this change, and over the next three to five years, adopt new tools and strategies in order to achieve the reach and results they want from their video advertising.

While each country has unique attributes that both drive and hold back this evolution, five trends are unmistakable across the region:

  • On-demand viewing -- While on-demand is a small percentage of viewing time now, consumers are embracing the ability to catch up on missed favorite programs or discover other content on streaming services like LoveFilms. Younger viewers especially flock to these new viewing options and make up an increasing percentage of the classic 18 to 44 age demographic.
  • TV anywhere -- As relates to on-demand viewing, consumers find they're not always in their living room when they want to catch up on their favorite show. Programmers, networks, and distributors are all offering apps and services to make viewing on tablets, smartphones, and computers easy.
  • Original online professional content -- YouTube isn't just cat videos anymore. There is an explosion of high-quality professional content that won't ever be broadcast. I'll be watching these experiments closely to see how well they engage viewers.
  • Addressable advertising -- The dream of delivering different video ads to different viewers to match their interests is a marketer's dream. Long talked about -- and long delayed -- we will see the first broad market implementations this fall.
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AOL and Adap.TV -- Audience, not Content, is King

I talked with several reporters yesterday about AOL's $400 million purchase of online video technology company Adap.TV. A popular question was "Why is a media company buying a technology company?" as if they had no business being combined. The published coverage focused on the value of their technology for programmatic buying and its future application to TV as the digital evolution disrupts today's television advertising industry. Important, but I think misses a more fundamental issue: Content may be king for consumers, but the consumer is king for advertisers. And to deliver consumers to advertisers in the way they want, content companies will need to have strong technology backbones.

AOL has always trumpeted that content is king -- I remember the Bubble 1.0 days (pre AOL Time-Warner, even!) when Ted Leonsis virtually coined this phrase. Even since the Time-Warner split, AOL has continued to pursue the content-centric strategy with the acquisition of The Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, and video syndication firm 5min Media. Until now.

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How To Measure Your Social Media Efforts In China: Which Stage Are You At?

Are marketers in China measuring social media properly? Our data says NO. Marketers, if you are wondering at which stage you are for social media measurement and how you should improve it, the report “Social Media Measurement In China” is right for you.

In the report, we surveyed interactive marketers in China and found that most marketers are still at the early stage of social media measurement.

  • Social measurement is not new but very challenging. Nearly every social marketer we surveyed is measuring their social efforts. However, most consider effective measurement to be their top challenge in social marketing.
  • Marketers are measuring the wrong things. Most marketers we surveyed in China say increasing brand favorability is their primary social marketing objective, but most don’t conduct brand-impact surveys to measure it. Instead, the top three metrics that marketers use are number of fans/followers, number of comments, and number of shares.

We state in the report that marketers in China mature through three stages of social measurement:

  • Stage 1: Measure volume metrics, such as number of fans and number of shares.
  • Stage 2: Measure engagement, such as participation rate and fan activity.
  • Stage 3: Measure business success, such as brand awareness and sales contribution.
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Enter the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards!

[UPDATE, Sepember 2013: Entries for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards are now closed. More than 100 companies entered more than 130 social programs this year, and we're looking forward to reviewing them and recognizing the best at our 2013 eBusiness Forum on November 5.]

The deadline for entering the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards is Friday, August 30 – so if you haven’t started planning your entry, now’s the time to start.

Not sure which category you should enter? Read up on our rules and FAQs, and then check out this video for even more details:

Make sure your company has a chance to be recognized by Forrester as a leader in social media – and make sure your entry is in by August 30!