The Pinterest Conundrum

Nate Elliott

I’ve been thinking a lot about Pinterest for the past year. I first planned to write a report about the social upstart last summer. When that deadline passed, I was certain I’d produce something in the autumn. Now here we are in the dead of winter, and at long last today we published our report on how marketing leaders should use Pinterest.

The reason it took so long? Pinterest is confusing. It’s a bundle of contradictions: at once it offers marketers huge potential and huge frustration.

On the one hand, there’s so much opportunity:

  • Pinterest boasts a fantastic audience. In fact, 21% of US online adults visit Pinterest at least monthly — nearly as many as use Twitter and more than use Instagram and Google+. Those users spend freely online, they’re willing to engage with brands in social media, and when they talk about products on Pinterest they drive vast amounts of traffic to brand sites.
  • Pinterest’s data has the potential to drive more sales than Facebook’s data. After all, Facebook users generate mostly affinity data: information about their tastes and preferences, based on their past experience with brands and products, that’s better suited to targeting brand advertising than direct marketing. But Pinterest users don’t only share historical affinities; they share the kind of purchase intent data that’s more commonly seen on search engines like Google. And just as ads targeted with Google’s data generate outstanding direct response, so will ads targeted with Pinterest’s data.
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Has Technology Changed How We Think?

Shar VanBoskirk
I've just started work on a report tentatively titled "How People Choose." I'm interested in studying how technology is influencing user decision processes. My hypothesis is that technology is fundamentally rewiring us so we actually rely more heavily on gut-based decisions than on well-rationalized ones. If you buy Daniel Kahneman's notions of fast and slow thinking (others have called it irrational and reasonable, or emotional vs rational thought), then my theory is that people are outsourcing more and more of their rational decisions to technology. This means, that what is left for most of us is a heavier reliance on our fast thinking, our impulses, and our gut-based response, when making decisions.
 
If this hypothesis is true, then marketers should actually focus on influencing impulse, rather than all of the linear, direct-response types of marketing sequences they prioritize today.
 
I'm just kicking off my research, so my overall hypothesis may evolve as I get some research under my belt. But my end goal is to write a report for marketing execs that would help them think through HOW to influence user decisions in a future where the fundamentals of how we make decisions have changed.
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What Will You Do Differently In 2015?

Erna Alfred Liousas
The start of a new year provides an opportunity to take stock of our environment and do things a bit differently. This year, I am addressing the role microvideo can play within a marketing strategy. 
 
Though we all enjoy receiving information about items that are of personal interest, we may find we have a few “go-to” sites.  This may be due to the presentation of the content, the ease with which we can interact with it, or a host of other reasons. Microvideo is versatile and provides numerous opportunities for marketers. Let’s use color as an analogy for this type of content. I have certain colors in my wardrobe because they work across a multitude of other colors. Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 color of the year, is described as an “elegant, grounded statement color when used on its own or as a strong accent to many other colors.” 
 
 Twitter profile for Pantone highlighting 2015 color of the year Marsala
 
Microvideo is similar. It can stand on its own or supplement targeted interactions with your customers. Just take a look at what Lowe's has done to keep us inspired. 
 
Vine profile for Lowe's
 
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How To Win A Forrester Groundswell Award For Your Social Depth Marketing Program

Kim Celestre

It's that time of year again. We have officially opened the submission process for our 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards. You can find more details about this year's awards here. As in the past, we will have three categories: social reach, social depth, and social relationship. Show us your most innovative and successful program(s) and we may see you at the podium in April when we present the awards at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum in New York!

I'm frequently asked, "What makes a winning Forrester Groundswell Awards program?" To help you prepare your submissions, here's an example of a winning social depth entry from PGA TOUR Superstore last year and why it stood out:

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Five Social Data Resolutions That Will Make You A Better Marketer

Kim Celestre

"If there is no struggle there is no progress" — Frederick Douglass

Despite spending years optimizing their social marketing efforts, advanced marketers share a common hurdle: How do they make sense of all the data that their social marketing programs generate? It seems that this isn’t an easy endeavor — all 12 marketers I recently interviewed agree that their data capabilities leave much to be desired. They cited numerous reasons: They don’t have the skilled resources to properly analyze the data, their listening platforms are ill equipped to inform their marketing strategies, and their attempts to bridge data across siloed sources (e.g. social networks, agencies, and technolgy vendors) fail. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social data challenges.

 If you feel inadequate when it comes to your data prowess, don’t despair — consider this an opportunity to strengthen your team’s capabilities. Many marketers struggle with data, but only the optimal combination of art and science will allow you to unlock social’s full potential.  Brands that leverage social intelligence to shape both their social and non-social business strategies are well positioned to reach best-in-class status.

In our report “Use Social Data To Improve Your Social Marketing Maturity,” Allison Smith, Nate Elliott, and I provide the following five social data resolutions you can tackle now as you kick off your 2015 social marketing programs:

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Now Accepting Entries: The 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards

Nate Elliott

Every year since 2007, Forrester has recognized the very best social marketing programs from around the world — and I’m thrilled to announce we’re now accepting entries for the ninth annual Forrester Groundswell Awards.

The rules are simple: Entries should represent the effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational goal. The more data you can offer to prove this, the better your chances of winning. You can enter using our online form. If you win, you get a nice shiny trophy,a winner's badge for your website, and lots of recognition from Forrester. (For much more information on rules, guidelines, and award categories, click here.)

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Another Year In Review: Revisiting 2014's Mobile Trends

Thomas Husson

Every year for the past few years, I've revisited our predictions for the previous year's mobile trends. It's now time to look back at what happened in 2014. Let’s have a look at some of the trends we put together a year ago with my colleague Julie Ask:

  • Mobile sat at the epicenter of mind-blowing exit events. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $22 billion is the best illustration of the phenomenon. Acquiring mobile expertise and audiences is increasingly expensive. There have been numerous acquisitions – especially in the mobile analytics and advertising space (e.g Yahoo/Flurry, Millenial/Nexage, etc…). VCs increasingly invested in companies that power disruptive mobile-centric business models. Uber was valuated up to $40 billion, demonstrating the power of matching supply and demand in real-time via a best-in-class customer mobile app.
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How To Navigate The Chaotic Mobile Ad Tech Landscape

Jennifer Wise

Smartphone adoption is surging. Your customers’ eyes are glued to their mobile screens. You want to get your brand in front of them. It’s time for mobile advertising.

Sadly, executing on a mobile ad campaign isn’t as easy as deciding you need one. Not only do you have to fight for budget and craft a mobile-first — not mini-desktop — campaign but you also need to pick the right partner to deliver on your mobile advertising needs. And while there is surely no shortage on vendors to select from, there is a lack of clarity into who actually does what.

To navigate this chaotic landscape, we surveyed mobile ad tech vendors and asked nitty-gritty questions about their heritage, creative, targeting, and add-on capabilities. What did we find? Marketers are right to be confused.

Why is this?

  • Each vendor’s value proposition isn’t clear. Fewer than one-third of the 35 vendors we surveyed are purebreds in any one ad tech category, and they offer anything from in-house creative services to contextual targeting to strong attribution chops. The result? Many jacks-of-all-trades that muddle the mobile ad tech landscape.
  • Each marketer’s expectations aren’t clear, either. We’re not just blaming the mobile ad tech vendors for this. Vendors are creating combinations of capabilities that they think marketers want — but aren’t getting much guidance.
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Huawei Experiments With Mobile Ads On A Taxi-Hailing App: A Great Start With Room For Improvement

Xiaofeng Wang

Taxi-hailing apps are gaining momentum globally, and China is a very important battlefield for both international players like Uber and local players like Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. While the battle for market share and consumer loyalty is ongoing, monetization has also appeared on the agenda of these taxi-hailing apps. Pioneer marketers have started to experiment with mobile advertising on Didi, and Huawei is one of them.

On December 17, 2014, Huawei sponsored Didi’s lucky money in its first attempt to place mobile ads on Didi for its newest smartphone, the Huawei Honor 6 Plus. Huawei has embedded the product name, ad copy, and images in Didi lucky money and aims to reach the more than 100 million Didi users and their friends on WeChat. Huawei has created four opportunities for ad exposure:

1. Banner ad on the menu page of the Didi app

2. Full-page ad when the user clicks into the banner ad

3. Sponsorship of Didi lucky money shared in WeChat

4. Full-page ad embedded in Didi lucky money

This ad campaign has certainly created buzz and attracted attention. However, Huawei could improve its implementation by:

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Social Marketing Boosts The World’s No. 3 Smartphone Giant, Xiaomi

Xiaofeng Wang

China’s Xiaomi became the world's third-largest smartphone maker by market share for the first time in the third quarter of this year; it trails only Samsung and Apple and has surpassed its Chinese competitor Lenovo. As a somewhat new brand founded in 2010, Xiaomi’s achievement is impressive. Among the many factors contributing to Xiaomi's rising success, social marketing is, without doubt, a prominent one.

Xiaomi’s recipe for success contains three social ingredients:

  • Adopt various social platforms and tactics to engage with fans. Xiaomi has successfully integrated social into its marketing RaDaR and turned 11 million social media followers into super-loyal “Mi Fans.” It uses Weibo to attract new users (reach); its branded online community to provide detailed product and service information (depth) and to generate brand loyalty (relationship); and WeChat for customer service (relationship).
  • Extend the social frenzy offline. Xiaomi is a digital disruptor, but its social marketing success isn’t limited to the online world. Xiaomi values the power of its fans on social media and extends it offline. It named its annual new product launch event after its fans – the Mi Fan Festival. Xiaomi also holds gatherings for its fans in more than 100 cities in China and organizes events, such as the MiBand Run, to enhance the relationship between its fans and the brand.
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