charlieray

/Charlie Ray

About Charlie Ray

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Charlie Ray has created 226 blog entries.

Facebook Changes Newsfeed Algorithm, Again.

In a blog post, Facebook announced yet another change to their newsfeed algorithm. The recent changes from Facebook are focused not only on user experience, but also advertising revenue. The brand or publisher posts on the site have seen less engagement as the social media juggernaut forces those posts into a pay-to-play format.

Social Media Management company provides advice on branded posts

Facebook will penalize posts like the one above

 

Today’s announcement looks to penalize the most popular posts that drive users off the Facebook platform to the wider web. The official position is the new alogrithm is meant to reduce the spammy (and oft parodied) “You’ll never believe what happened next” posts categorized as “clickbait.” While this is a welcome relief for some of the true offenders of clickbait posts, it is an interesting step in how Facebook sees their newsfeed and is finding new ways to ensure what their users see is quality and relevant content.

Facebook faces two challenges that, at times, are in conflict with each other. On one hand, they want users to remain on the site in the Facebook environment and on the other hand, they want brands to pay for their spot in the newsfeed to drive users out of that environment. As the company matures and is beholden to a profitable business model, we’ll see how that shakes out.

It’s a good reminder to update your brand’s facebook strategy and post guidelines. Are you an accidental offender?

Top 5 Facebook Tips:

1. Make your posts relevant for your audience
2. Use photos in your post (use the right size photo)
3. Start a conversation. Ask questions. Reply to user comments.
4. Post when your audience is online. Is your post time sensitive? If so, schedule it accordingly.
5. Take advantage of Trending Topics and use hashtags appropriately.

By | August 25th, 2014|digital media agency, social media|0 Comments

#TechAddicted and #FOMO: 5 Ways To Break Free

Corporate culture has been evolving into a 24/7/365 normalcy for a couple of decades now. In the early 2000’s there was a big trend to find “work/life balance” and many business books took on the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” as a way to encourage corporate America to take a breather from the 14 hour workday. Everyone thought technology would make our lives easier and give us more free time. But, the opposite has proven true. eMarketer reported on a CivicScience poll that found pretty much everyone is always connected.

July 2014 research found that 60% of US internet users were almost always connected. Fully 43% never unplugged from all personal technology, such as audio players, ereaders, laptops and computers, mobile phones, tablets, and TV, and 17% only took a break a few times a year.

Technology is supposed to give us more freedom, but instead we not only have become addicted to our smartphones but we’ve created an entirely new condition…FOMO (The Fear Of Missing Out). As people curate their lives on social media, people now see the wonderful things they are not doing, creating an anxiety of not keeping up with Joneses in an all new digital way. FOMO

As people become more connected with their devices, they become less connected with a community and real person to person interactions. While there are a lot of studies about how this creates negative consequences for everything from good manners to car accidents, we need to get back to finding ways to break free from our devices to engage in analog activities.

Here are Broad Street’s 5 Ways To Disconnect

  1. Take a mobile phone holiday–Start small, like leaving your phone at home when you go to the grocery and gradually work your way up to leaving your devices turned off for an entire weekend.

  2. Remove social media apps from your phone for brief periods to reduce the amount of time you spend seeing what everyone is doing that you aren’t.

  3. Establish “no phone zone” with your significant other for date nights or dinners with friends. Here’s a great game: Put everyone’s phone in the middle of the dinner table when in a restaurant and the first person to reach for their phone pays the whole check.

  4. Go analog. Grab a book or magazine and challenge yourself to read without an e-reader or grabbing for your phone.

  5. Get outside. Attend an event, go for a hike or a bike ride. Getting your mind active and distracted from your devices is a good way to wean yourself off of reliance on them.

While we’re in the business of reaching our audiences wherever they are at the right time and place, we understand the need for people to break free of their dependency on technology in order to create a fulfilling life outside of posting their latest meal on Instagram. If you’re a person that responds to work emails at 10 p.m. on a Saturday you set a precedent for that offender to rely on your availability 24/7/365.

So, lift up your head and look someone in the eye and have a real conversation. The real FOMO is making a personal connection with a person, not your device.

By | August 12th, 2014|digital agency|0 Comments

Managing Negative Online Reviews

frustratedbizownerOnline reviews are a great way for customers to find your business and get recommendations from your customers, but they are a double edged sword for many small businesses. According to Nielsen, 70% of consumers say online reviews are among the most trusted source of information and 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.

I’ve written before that Yelp is not a small business owner’s friend, and that remains true. Yelp is not on the business owner’s side should there be a dispute over a review, but they still seek business owner’s advertising dollars as their business model. Conflict? Yep.

While it can be frustrating to see a business you pour your heart into get negative reviews, there are right ways and wrong ways to address negative reviews. One hotel in New York is learning the hard way how not to navigate online reviews.

The Union Street Guest House, which hosts weddings and events, has a clause in its reservation policy stating that $500 of a couple’s deposit would be held for every bad review from their event’s attendees. (Mashable)

We often talk with clients about how to encourage reviews and how to get close to the line of soliciting a good review while maintaining the overall integrity of the online reviews they receive. We also work with them on a strategy to respond quickly to negative reviews and threatening to charge them a penalty for a negative review is not a recommendation.

manage negative reviews
By | August 4th, 2014|digital media agency|0 Comments

Back to School Shopping Online Trends 2014

Back to school shopping trends

The Back to School sales season is upon us and retailers are looking to digital to drive sales. This Q3 driver is forecast to be a 16% year over year growth in online sales reaching $27 billion and combined with back to college the National Retailer Federation estimates spending to top $72 billion. In most states, school starts in late August, meaning messaging starts in late July and search peaks the first week of August as the rush for supplies, clothes and–for college students–furniture begins to heat up.

For search, the top terms are “back to school,” “school supplies,” “school shopping,” and “back to school sales” giving paid search campaigns the opportunity to bid on these specific queries. Raising bids on keywords helps keep retailers competitive as online shoppers compare prices and look for deals.

The top products for back to school include tablets and shoes as well as furniture for those college bound students. A Pricegrabber study shows 69% of shoppers prefer online for their back to school sales and 72% of online shoppers expect free shipping.

The weeks leading up to Q3’s “Black Friday” is Labor Day when the shopping rush ends. The average K-12 parent spends $500 during the season will the college student shopper spends an average of $1,000 or more. Capturing these shoppers can help make or break retailers dull summer season.

If you are offering back to school products, make sure you’re taking advantage of digital campaigns, in addition to search, to drive sales. Offers such as free shipping, online coupons and rebates can drive conversions over your competitors.

If your business is looking to drive sales with a successful media strategy for the holiday shopping season, contact us and we’ll put together a comprehensive strategy to make your year!

By | July 29th, 2014|digital agency, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Welcome to Austin, Mr. President

President Obama is in Austin today wrecking havoc on our legendary traffic problems. We thought we’d compile a short list of the things he ought to enjoy while here in our beautiful city.

Eat! Our BBQ, Breakfast Tacos and Queso are the things that make life worth living!

austin bbq

Stop by Allen Boots for a fitting of some authentic Texas boots

allens-boots

Stage a one man protest in front of the Texas Capitol

The-Texas-State-Capitol-at-night-672x365

Catch a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, just don’t talk during the movie!

AlamoSlaughter_0067

Find a quiet spot to take in some Hill Country views to understand what makes this place so very special to usbelvedere-view

By | July 10th, 2014|digital agency|0 Comments

Is anyone seeing your ad?

As digital budgets encroach the $600 billion milestone and digital accounts for more than 25% of global ad spend, we continue to evolve as an industry and fine tune how and what digital means and digital can deliver. When an industry matures, we also see new obstacles to successful campaigns.  The digital trends are reporting on “Banner Blindness” and “Viewability” and, of course, shady vendors with their shady inventoryviewability

Michael Estrin over at iMedia writes about three bad answers digital media buyers give to clients on why no one is seeing their ads. Estrin’s three answers to the viewability problem are bad creative, bad vendors and spending more on native advertising.

The reality is there are many reasons that no one is seeing your ad and sometimes it’s as easy as a lazy or inexperienced media planner. With that in mind, we thought we’d give a few reasons no one is seeing your ad from our point of view.

Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget

Unfortunately, we see this a lot. People have the mistaken idea that digital media is cheap and they can give you a small budget and expect a national reach. National campaigns are expensive and RTB and ad exchanges don’t change the fact that you can’t do a lot with a little.

small_budgetThis type of magical thinking requires finesse on the part of the media buyer. While it is true that we can leverage our buying power and vendor relationships for affordable quality inventory, there is a limit to what we can deliver. A seasoned media planner will explain this to the client and negotiate a geo-target that is more reasonable than a national footprint and optimize a campaign once it’s live to deliver results based on reality and not pie in the sky expectations.

The good news is that few campaigns are truly national when it comes to digital. We can target by neighborhood or a radius of businesses or venues in some cases, so we have great opportunities to maximize budgets through good targeting.

Site Direct Thinking

advertiser-and-publisherBuying site direct with publishers can be a great strategy when you need to make an impact or you have a very brief campaign. We will buy page takeovers and section sponsorships for short durations to maximize visibility when we need, but it is not always the right answer. Just like a client may want to see their TV commercial on their favorite show, some clients want to see their ad on their favorite website or have the belief that their audience is only on specific sites. We know that audiences are best reached across the web and we can save money and deliver better results for the client when we buy audiences and behaviors rather than one or two premium sites.

 

Who you think your audience target is vs. Who your audience target really isperception

Clients usually have great data on who their ideal customer is and who their actual customer is and that helps identify the target audience for media. But, we sometimes find that when we place pixels to gather data prior to a campaign launch the actual users of the site and actual converters are a completely different target. It is important to gather this data so we are not working off of old assumptions and target our media to actual converters instead of who we think will convert.

Even with well placed media not everything goes right every time. The key to making sure your campaign is a success is having clear goals, working with a reputable digital media agency and ensuring they work with reputable vendors.

 

By | July 9th, 2014|digital agency|0 Comments

Happy Fourth of July

We’re busy making sure we are able to take the weekend off and enjoy the bounty of this great country! Happy Independence Day!

fb4th

By | July 1st, 2014|digital media agency|0 Comments

Digital Advertising Trends & Realities for 2014

I was honored to be asked back to speak to the American Advertising Federation District 10 Conference this week and it gave me a chance to update my annual digital advertising trends and realities for 2014. Check it out below and if you have something to add, leave it in the comments!

By | April 18th, 2014|digital media agency|0 Comments

SoLoMo: The Rise of Mobile and its impact on Local Marketers

Broad Street President, Charlie Ray, gave a speech to the American Advertising Federation–San Angelo, TX group on the rise of mobile and its impact on local marketers.

As local businesses increase budgets in paid search and mobile click-to-call campaigns, the organic results many local businesses rely on are becoming less reliable without dollars behind them. View his presentation here:

By | April 9th, 2014|digital agency, mobile|0 Comments

Google Encrypts Search Keywords: The end of free data for publishers

Google-Analytics-not-provided
Google has taken yet another step as the 800 pound gorilla in the search category. They have continued to encrypt search keywords of their users. First, users logged into a Google account had their search queries encrypted so that publishers could not see what search terms brought people to their site.

Google Analytics reports encrypted search queries as “not provided.” This percentage of traffic has steadily increased and is projected to hit 100% of traffic by 2020.

Recently, Google continued their mission to encrypt all search queries to expand this encryption beyond the Google users to all searches on Google. This signals the end of non-paid data on keywords and SEO for publishers. For those using Google Adwords, the data on keywords is still available in your paid accounts.

So, is Google doing this as a commitment to privacy and transparency after the NSA controversy or making a move towards pushing more revenue into their paid search product on Adwords. A little from column A and a little from colum B is the answer.

SEMNotProvided

In the graph above, the increase of “not provided” keywords shows the dramatic difference in what publishers will see in their analytics dashboard.

What does this mean for publishers that rely on keyword data to identify their content strategy and messaging that is effective in bringing users to their site? It is a dramatic shakeup in how organic SEO becomes much harder for publishers and the ability to rely on search queries to provide insights into user behavior is shrinking.

With paid search campaigns, advertisers will be able to see which ads are resonating with the users and providing traffic to the site and conversions. Similar to Facebook’s recent strategy of choking organic newsfeed appearance by brands, Google is pushing marketers into a pay to play model.

If you rely on keywords to determine content strategy and user engagement, consider moving into a paid search campaign. This is where Broad Street, a Google Partner Agency, can help with a market’s need to identify keyword searches that bring users to the site and develop sound content strategies for that purpose.

By | April 1st, 2014|SEM|0 Comments