Article Archive by Tiffany Weimar

January 31 2011

Is Google About to “One-Up” Online Coupon Sites?

by Tiffany Weimar

Online coupon sites have undoubtedly become a hot topic for 2011.  Groupon and Living Social have been the most popular sites to date, but are now being challenged by new start-ups and potential monster competitors alike.  On January 27th, it was reported that Google is creating a US-only daily deals service. This announcement (though details have yet to be disclosed–in true “Google fashion”) comes only a short time after Google’s failed acquisition of Groupon a month ago.  Will this turn into a new online rivalry between Groupon and Google or will Google’s new service differentiate itself and create an entirely new market?

“Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers and vouchers program,” the Mountain View, CA-based company said in a statement. “This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways,” reports Direct Marketing News.  So what do this venture and other online daily deal services mean for you? 

For some companies, lack of human resources and infrastructure make it difficult to capitalize on such promotions.  Like Oprah’s “O-factor“, companies are often bombarded with new customers demanding a specific product after it has been introduced by companies like Groupon.  Without sufficient inventory or human capital to fulfill the orders, these promotions can actually backfire and have an adverse financial impact on business.  To understand whether or not to try using an online coupon company, access our January Newsletter article, “Deal of the Day Sites–Is Groupon Right for You?”, by our EVP, Danielle Leitch.  If you would like to tryout a promotion for your business, keep the following in mind:

  • Promote a product that a substantial amount of people may want to purchase.
  • You must have a cap on the amount of products you are willing to give away.  Otherwise, you will end up like Oregon’s Posies Cafe’ (they lost over $8,000 from a Groupon promotion).
  • Brand exposure can be positively or negatively impacted depending on the deal outcome–proceed with caution.  If your company is able to successfully fulfill its promise, your brand can be strengthened.
  • Think about your goal.  Many of your new customers may only end up being one-time buyers.  Is your goal in using a Groupon to gain new long-time loyal customers?  This may not be the best way to accomplish this.
  • Be prepared.  Your website (if it’s an online deal), will have incredibly high traffic–I repeat, put a cap on the number of coupons you sell! If it works, you can be more ambitious the next time.

Online deal sites have proven successful for many companies.  Thinking through the process and proceeding with caution, however, is the best way to create an optimal brand and sales experience for your company.

January 26 2011

Carpe Diem in Social Media Advertising

by Tiffany Weimar

According to a recent article by eMarketer, “US marketers will spend $3.08 billion to advertise on social networking sites this year. Spending will be up 55% over the $1.99 billion advertisers devoted to social networks in 2010 and will rise by a further 27.7% next year to reach nearly $4 billion.”  Amazingly enough, spending in social media is $1 billion dollars greater than what was projected back in August 2010 (a mention that I made in a previous blog post).  What’s the disparity?  One word.  Facebook; the biggest player in the field.

Often times, businesses seek guidance in trying to formulate a “magic number” to set aside for online advertising.  While there isn’t an easy way to project this number, one thing to consider including in future budgets is paid advertising in social media networks.  According to the same study done by eMarketer, “Social network advertising is to account for 10.8% of the online market.” 

With the increasing number of people participating in these social channels, coupled with the amount of time spent throughout a day (either personally or for business), this data actually begins making a lot of sense.  People are spending more and more time on social media.  Paid advertising through these networks enables businesses to get in front of their viewers, hypothetically, all day long.  If you would like additional insights, check out this recent article from BusinessNewsDaily on 5 Ways Businesses Will Use Social Media in 2011

Understanding the benefit of the social media channels can greatly impact your ability to gain new customers and increase ROI in 2011. As a side note, always remember that it’s never too late.  If social media advertising isn’t within your budget for this year, begin with what you can afford. Creating social media accounts for business, if you haven’t already, is the first step in gaining a presence in the space.  Including social media accounts onto your website will help with your SEO rankings.  Lastly, always find a way to measure progress.  Quantitative data in social media channels through analytics, will allow you to understand which efforts are successful.  Use this data as a guide to making optimal business and marketing decisions for the future.

January 26 2011

Remarketing 101

by Tiffany Weimar

It wasn’t a coincidence that a JetBlue advertisement appeared on your screen while visiting Spirit Airlines’ website.  In fact, a few hours before, you were most likely searching airline prices on JetBlue’s site.  Those not understanding the process of remarketing may think that JetBlue is purely a marketing genius.  Others know better, that they’re a remarketing genius.  Either way, remarketing is an amazing tool that when used correctly, will increase brand awareness and increase ROI over time.      

Remarketing:  What is it and are you using it effectively for your business?

Remarketing or retargeting is simply the act of displaying a banner image and/or advertisement in front of an audience that has previously visited your website.  The process is simple.  After visiting a website, a “cookie” (a small file that a Web server automatically sends to your computer when you access certain websites) is stored on your hard drive.  The tracking capability allows advertisers to “remarket” and “get another shot” to be in front of their target audience. 

Remarketing has many benefits.  Not only does it strengthen your ability to brand, but it also gives your company the ability to display an offer in front of an audience that has, at some point, showed interest in your business through visiting your site.  Marketers can choose which websites to display your ads on and can even get so granular as to create a banner advertisement that mirrors or correlates to the internal page that was visited.  For instance, if you are a marketer for Canon, perhaps you will remarket with a banner ad displaying digital camera accessories to a website visitor that just looked at the correlating digital camera on the website but did not make the purchase.  Marketers also have the ability to choose the frequency and duration of an advertisement to be displayed.  This is where some debate does originate.  Remember to not annoy your audience.  Individuals browsing the Web always have the option to disable cookies.  If you aggravate your visitors through remarketing too frequently, they may become turned off and never do business with your company again.  Finding a balance here is the key…

On the consumer side, it is important to understand and become educated on remarketing.  Remarketing does not pull any personal information, merely identifies which websites have been visited.  The lack of education has triggered the Federal Trade Commission’s proposal to require Web browsers to have a “do-not-track” option.  If passed, it would limit advertisers’ ability to remarket.  In a recent article from Investor’s Business Daily, our President, Andrew Wetzler, commented on the topic advising, “The FTC could be hoping Web companies take the initiative and offer do-not-track on their own, to avoid the threat of governmental enforcement, says Andrew Wetzler, president of online marketing firm MoreVisibility.  At the end of the day, the FTC is not looking to have to enforce this because it could be very messy,” Wetzler said. “Rather, it wants to get companies to voluntarily add (a do-not-track) to their websites.”

Although remarketing may not have an immediate impact on ROI, it will incrementally over time.  It may take multiple remarketing ads to have resonance.  If you aren’t convinced yet that you should consider remarketing, let’s just stick to some hard facts.  According to in 2009, remarketing was cited as the most under-utilized online marketing technology, despite some advertisers experiencing a 400 percent increase in ad response after implementing remarketing.

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