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Facebook Changes to News Feed Hurts Business Pages

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to what you see in your news feed and sent news publishers and businesses scrambling, again, when it comes to connecting to their audiences online. Facebook has invested millions in becoming a must-have marketing tool for businesses and created an entirely new way to engage with brands and share information. If we are to believe this latest change to news feed algorithms, they are biting the hand that feeds them.

TL; DR: Facebook continues to squeeze business pages to pay for engagement and visibility on its platform. Without a paid strategy, your organic reach and engagement will drop significantly.

Let’s first look at their statement and reasoning:

…The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions…

Read the entire statement here.

Facebook’s lofty goal of claiming they want to see more meaningful personal connections on Facebook is a bit disingenuous after their aggressive courting of brands and publishers to invest so heavily in advertising through their platform.  So, now that they have announced this change brands and publishers are left to ask what this really means for a marketing and advertising strategy that has ballooned to a significant portion of their media strategy and budget.

While we don’t know exactly how this will impact engagement and long-term strategy for brands on Facebook, we can look at previous changes to gain some insight. Facebook has already shown that they are not a media company, but a data company and an advertising venue. The ‘pay to play’ strategy they implemented for brands reduced organic engagement from business pages to less than 10% and in some cases to zero without a business paying to “boost” the post or otherwise creating a paid strategy to be seen and generate engagement.  From this previous strategy we can only surmise that this will require even more spending on the behalf of business pages to be seen on Facebook. All of this comes as time spent on the social network is on the decline and, while still the top social media destination, Millenials are abandoning the platform altogether for Instagram (Which Facebook owns) and Snapchat, among others. We will certainly have to keep an eye on performance for our clients to continue current spend levels.

How can you boost engagement?

  1. Work with social media strategist to ensure you are using “best practices” when posting and curating content for Facebook
  2. Create a budget and schedule for social media. Realize you are working with an advertising vendor.
  3. Change the type of posts you are making from passive information to engaging and organic type conversational type posts.
  4. Create “Facebook Live” and video content, use photos to boost conversations, shareability and engagement
  5. Ask us to help create and manage your social media presence and evaluate where you are spending your advertising budget for efficacy.

 

By | January 18th, 2018|Marketing, social media|0 Comments

Five Best Marketing and Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Broad Street Co has worked with national clients for giant ad campaigns and we’ve worked with small, local businesses promoting a one time event. We’ve learned a few things over the years and our passion to support small, locally owned businesses is why we’ve created ways to work with them to help their businesses grow and compete. Here are our top 5 tips for small businesses to get results with advertising:

Identify Your “Ideal Customer”

 

When you are working with a smaller budget, every dollar counts. There are many different ways to successfully advertise your business, but finding your audience to get your message to them is the most important place to start. There’s a difference between reaching your existing customers through things like boosted posts on Facebook or Instagram and reaching a new customer. Identifying your customer can then influence where you advertise, what you focus on in your ads, and how the creative in the ad looks. Knowing your audience profile and their behavior can help increase the reach and impact of your campaign.

Create Measurable Goals for your Efforts

 

Advertising can increase sales, build awareness and create an affinity for your business over the competition. When you decide to spend money on advertising, it is important to decide on a goal for your advertising efforts. Is it online sales or attendance at an event or coupons redeemed?  This can help you determine if your ad campaign was successful. We call this ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). If you spend $1,000 and sell $12,000 worth of merchandise you achieved a 12x ROAS. While advertising doesn’t guarantee a big return, being able to tie a result to a budget gives you a clear directive on what works and what doesn’t for your business.

 

Know When To Advertise

Even companies with multi-million dollar budgets do not advertise all the time. Most businesses can look at historic sales figures and identify peak seasons or, in some cases, when business wasn’t as good as it should have been. These help create a media calendar and with burst advertising we can help create a “top of mind” impression with your audience.  The slight exception to this rule is with search advertising. Even then, we can throttle back during times of inactivity.

Create a Consistent Brand

People need consistent impressions of your business. Everything from your signage to your Facebook posts should tie together in a way that even a passing notice signals to the consumer that they come from the same place. Large companies spend huge budgets creating a “Brand Standards” that mandate details including what font is used in a print promotion to what colors can be used in all communication materials. While that may be overkill for small businesses, it is important to be consistent with your messaging and creative. A small investment in things like logo design and signage can help guide all marketing efforts so customers are never confused if a promotion is coming from you or not. Branding helps boost your advertising efforts when customers recognize your promotions and it acts as a shorthand to put you top of mind.

Ask A Professional

Many advertising platforms seem to prey on the small business owner. From the Yellow Pages to Facebook, every ad platform realizes that the small business owner needs to advertise, but is not relying on an advertising professional. Self serve options from Google Adwords to billboards, companies rely on the knowledge that the small business owner is not only running their business, but is the marketing director and chief bottle washer, too. These self serve tools make it possible to create an ad campaign in just a few minutes. However, without an in-depth understanding of how to use these platforms we have seen many businesses grow frustrated with a lack or results.  Without understanding what results are valuable, it is hard to know what is working and what is a waste of your ad dollars. That’s where we can help. We can create and manage your marketing and advertising to take the burden off of you, or we can train you how to effectively use self-serve platforms on your own. Our goal is to make sure that you never think advertising doesn’t work!

Easy! Contact us today for a proposal!

 

By | November 21st, 2017|Marketing|0 Comments

Google Ads Enhanced with Maps and Images

local-search-ads_featured-image

By: Auston Roberts

With the digital terrain of advertising becoming increasingly complex and 49% of in-store purchases being influenced by digital interactions, we continue to keep finding innovative media opportunities for our clients. From buying direct or programmatic all the way to native and engaging social media placements, at Broad Street Cowe strive to help our clients find a firm stance in the digital space.

One strategy where we continue to see great results for our clients is Google AdWords and the Google Display Network, and with clients ranging from healthcare and retail locations all the way to music festivals and fast-food chains, this is a strategy we’ve found to be beneficial in a variety of ways. As a Google Partner Agency, we are privy to a great relationship with our Google team that helps us ensure we’re delivering the best plan and measurable results for our clients.

Traditionally, we’ve been able to implement Google AdWords – the “Search Giant” – and the Display Network as a means to provide convenience to our target audiences, and visibility to our clients and brands. Furthermore, these ads have always been your traditional text-based promotions, highlighting brands that can help you on your consumer journey. But as of yesterday’s Internet Retailer article by Zak Stambor – an expert as it relates to social commerce – Google will now be providing Maps and Photo Data to these ads!

Not only is this change beneficial in increasing the quality of all Search and Display tactics, it also provides even more convenience to each and every consumer. In a world of functionality, these ads will further benefit our target audience by allowing them to leverage info across Google Maps. Additionally, the addition of photo data is the perfect way for us to entertain our audience with relevant images, while also providing even more value to our client’s overall brand story. Google continues to evolve their product offerings and as we evaluate their place in the media mix, we believe every opportunity to drive engagement (through maps) and visual storytelling (through display) can help our DR clients be a step ahead of their competitors.

Whether you are a local business trying to drive new business or a global brand, what shows up when your audience searches for you?

For a free consultation and evaluation of your advertising needs, contact us!

 

Broad Street Co is a Google Partner Agency

Broad Street Co is a Google Partner Agency

iOS branding is good for business, bad for marketing

Apple’s marketing and branding of the iOS “culture of exclusivity” and superiority over other technology has built a rabidly loyal brand following. It’s an envious position that ensures a demand for their product regardless of the actual quality. While this is great for consumer marketing it biases marketing folks. We sometimes call marketing folks that deny data and rely on their own opinions as fact as being a “focus group of one.”

Recent reports now tell us that smartphone penetration has surpassed the 50% threshold of market share and the Android platform now claims 51% of that market share compared to 34% for iOS. I am often forced to remind marketers and our brands of this data as they tend to want to develop apps for iOS only or talk only to iOS users.

As an android user myself I may be a little defensive here and I fully admit that. I’ve been in meetings where I pull out my gorgeous Samsung Galaxy S2 and had people look up from their iPhones as if I’m a poor illiterate fool for not having an iPhone. I remind them that they are succumbing to the very advertising they are creating and ask them to strive to be as good as Apple.

By | July 16th, 2012|Marketing|0 Comments

How Email Marketing Has Changed-for the Better

While many companies still rely heavily on email marketing to reach out to customers, there’s no question that new communication channels (like social media and online display advertising) and consumer habits (anti-spam sentiment) have contributed to a decline in traditional email marketing. A recent comScore study found that “in November, 2010, the number of visitors to web-based email sites declined 6 percent compared to the previous year, while email engagement declined at an even greater rate.”

In the new digital market of mobile usage and smartphones, how can companies successfully use email as a marketing tool? Email is still the least expensive method of reaching and engaging with customers (and potential customers). But how do you ensure that you’re reaching (a) the right demographic and (b) users that are likely to convert to customers? In our campaigns, we have found that incentives are the key to consumer engagement. The best example is the product we launched earlier this year for our clients that allows them to build a contest campaign as a self-serve product. Our clients can easily build out a contest for their audience, populate the imagery in a customizable HTML form, use standard contest rules or customize their own rules in just a few easy steps. Our agency hosts the campaign, as well as prepares a custom display campaign to drive entries to the contest.

Marketers are increasingly using web-based sweepstakes and contests in their integrated marketing campaigns, bringing a classic direct marketing tactic to consumers via the Internet. Contests are great ways to build valuable email databases, which companies can market to over and over. Few things are as valuable as the “warm lead” of a contest entrant-and the ROI is high for any budget, from local businesses to national brands. Contests generate excitement and build interest about a product, event, grand opening, sale, or a brand.

Our clients can log in and see entrants and download email addresses or have Broad Street Interactive manage a reply email campaign with a special offer. Most importantly, this “client controlled” product allows companies running contests to view statistics, manage their own campaign, and own their content and leads from the entries. The result? Incentives for consumers-and new leads for our clients.

Learn more about our MyBSI Contest product here (PDF) or contact us directly!

By | April 20th, 2011|Interactive Media, Marketing|0 Comments

Brands That “Do” Social Media Well

An article in AdAge this week about how AT&T plans to lift its image via social media “customer care” inspired us to share our own experiences with brands that use social media-as-customer-service (and do it right). As a business or brand venturing into social media, one of the most common mistakes one can make is set up the Twitter, Facebook, etc. accounts, post a few times, garner a few followers or fans, then maintain “radio silence.” The brands that we would qualify as “social media pros” use the medium not only for promotion and marketing, but also for customer service and brand loyalty.

One recent example: A friend spent a weekend at a Westin (Starwood) Hotel in Washington, DC, and returned from his trip with some unwanted “visitors” – dust mites that not only caused an awful rash that sent him to the doctor for treatment, but he also had to disinfect his clothing, bedding, luggage, and most of his home. When he called the hotel’s customer service department, they “opened a ticket” and finally responded to him (after several phone calls) that the room in which he stayed was indeed infested with dust mites. The offered compensation? Starwood Hotel points. When my friend hung up the phone, he Tweeted to his 1,000+ followers about his experience and his dissatisfaction with the resolution. In turn, several of his followers re-Tweeted his comment and shared it on Facebook. Within about 30 minutes, he was contacted by a staffer at Starwood responsible for customer care via its Twitter page (www.twitter.com/starwoodbuzz), an email exchange followed, and he was reimbursed for his entire stay as a result. He shared that information via his social media channels as well. Our grade? “C-” for initial phone customer service contact, but an “A” for follow-up effort via Twitter and Starwood’s customer care social media staff.

A few weeks ago after lunch, I Tweeted that I was dismayed to discover Central Market didn’t carry Sparkling Lime IZZE (my favorite IZZE flavor). Literally, within about four minutes, www.twitter.com/izzetasteagents were following me on Twitter and two weeks later, my favorite supermarket/lunch haven now carries my favorite IZZE beverage. Grade? “A++” for immediacy, responsiveness, and brand loyalty incentive. Clearly, the “taste agents” are on top of their game and since one-third of Twitter users talk brands, companies have to know what’s being said about their brand (and respond!).

Other top contenders for social media customer care:

Wachovia – www.twitter.com/wachovia, ranks “A” for customer responsiveness on Twitter, but also uses the social media channel to disseminate customer information.

Zappos – www.twitter.com/zappos, online shoe retailer (admitting to a little bias with my own love of shoes), but more than 1 and a half million followers can’t be wrong, can they?

Sephora – www.twitter.com/sephora, ranks an “A” or higher for sheer consistency and number of Tweets, lack of re-Tweeting, and sharing links relevant to its customer base.

Starbucks – www.twitter.com/starbucks, (I know, I know…we’re trying to “drink local” too). Interestingly, the coffee conglomerate has fewer followers on Twitter than Zappos and many other companies (less than 1 million), but we give them a “B+” for customer engagement via contests and other “follower only” promotions.

Whole Foods – www.twitter.com/wholefoods, Tweeting from its global HQ right here in Austin, TX. More than 1.7 million followers reading Tweets about healthy eating and in-store promotions (how else would I  have heard organic cherries were on mega-sale last weekend?), but this primary account is used to respond to Twitter users, followers or not, Tweeting about their Whole Foods experience. “A++” for responsiveness (to both negative and positive comments)!

There are many that rank high on the social media customer care index – www.twitter.com/coach, www.twitter.com/harleydavidson, www.twitter.com/gap, www.twitter.com/burberry, www.twitter.com/jetblue, www.twitter.com/HRBlock, and www.twitter.com/RedCross, among others. The reason?

They know “the four Rs” of customer service via social media: reviewing, responding, recording, and redirecting.

They also understand customer engagement, the immediacy of the social media environment, and the power of social media networks. We’ll be keeping an eye on AT&T’s new customer care initiative (considering the sheer number of mentions they have on social networks – more than 10,000 – in a 24-hour period) just to see if and how high they’re going to set the bar for large companies and “social care teams.”

If your company or brand is ready to dip a toe in the waters of social media, we’re here to help with anything from consulting to managing social media campaigns, monitoring, tracking, and responding. Contact us with any questions!

Where do you spend your ad dollars?

We ask our clients all the time where they are spending their money. Here’s our most popular answers and we thought we’d ask the world the same question. We’ll share the results and talk about why each answer is valid depending on your product, service, message or marketing goals.



(We’re also testing out a new free blog poll service to see how it works.)

By | September 23rd, 2009|Interactive Media, Marketing|0 Comments

Print Media & Auto Industry

What do these two industries have in common? They ignored emerging technology, what consumers wanted from their product and how they use their products. Now both of these industries are struggling to remain relevant and are playing “catch up” to get in front of the consumer again.

Both of these industries are in the news with closings, lay-offs, bankruptcies and a painfull, slow march to the end of an era. We cannot wax nostalgic about “American-made cars” and “the feel of a newspaper in your hand” anymore. People have changed, the industry has changed and the technology has changed. Looking at business through a Vaseline coated lense will only make it more difficult to see the cliff you are about to walk right over.

While the current business models may be in peril, it is important to remember the people are still consuming news and information and people are still buying automobiles.

Since I’m not an auto-industry analyst, let’s focus on media. Those in media that ignored emerging technology completely missed out on the trends in how people were consuming media. We have moved from a “one-to-many” conversation to a “many-to-many” conversation.

We have to get in front of the consumer again and be responsive and deliver a product in the way they want to receive the product. This is a sea-change from the old business model. Marketers used to create products and tell the consumer how they should feel about them. With the emergence of new media, the customer is king.

By | March 31st, 2009|General Business, Management, Marketing|0 Comments

Moving beyond the click

We often tell our clients that online advertising is the most measurable media option in the media mix. While we all agree that we can measure online advertising six ways to Sunday, we are shooting ourselves in the foot by creating unrealistic expectations and commoditizing ad units in a way that do not lead to good strategic decisions.

The measurement of display must move beyond a CTR (Click-Thru Rate) only gauge of success. First, we can’t agree as an industry what is a good CTR. While some may hang on to a 0.3% CTR as industry standard, who’s to say a 0.01% is a success if it leads to more brand awareness? We have focused on the use of display as a strong call-to-action medium while ignoring the fact that display is a good branding medium. We can’t leave branding up to just broadcast. If publishers can boast a high average time-on-site metric consistently, an advertiser would be well served to get in front of that audience. Brands can see “lift” from exposure with these users.

AdvertisingAge recently published a review of the click as the wrong measurement. In the article they lead with the premise that, “…many advertisers in the past gave most of the credit for a sale or conversion — which in the web world could include anything from visiting a website to printing an online coupon — to the last ad clicked on or seen by a consumer.” What focusing solely on the “click” does for marketers is shift the ROI discussion to visitors or actions performed. Instead of focusing on the click, shouldn’t we focus on the desired result?  If my campaign is designed to increase brand awareness and penetrate a market simply reporting how many web site visitors a display ad provided is not proving my worth to my client. If I can review the media mix against increased sales or greater brand awareness then hasn’t my media mix done its job, regardless of the number of visitors we delivered to the client’s website?

In a post by Comscore’s Gian Fulgoni, the demise of the click is compared to other media measurements. “I think the issue is that a click no longer reflects the effectiveness of a display ad. Just as we wouldn’t expect that print ads, TV ads and radio ads should generate immediate consumer response, why would we expect it to be so with online display ads?”

Comscore’s results show that brand life is not immediate using online advertising, but is measurable.

In our world of instant gratification continuing to focus on delivering a click is short-sighted and desperate. When we talk with clients the measurement we can provide is the sizzle, not the steak.

By | March 23rd, 2009|Interactive Media, Marketing|0 Comments

Putting skin in the game: Blurring the lines

As the line between advertising agency, content publisher and advertiser continue to blur we are seeing more and more “strange bedfellows” in the marketplace. Content publishers are fighting to remain relevant and get advertiser dollars while competing against a widening array of publishers in the space. (It’s a tough pill to swallow for a media company when they have to admit a blogger is competing directly with them.)

In the same way, agencies are being forced to innovate and reach customers as the way in which people consume media evolves. For example, if Twitter is the “next big thing” an agency has to find unique ways to leverage the social microblogging tool for their client’s brand.

We are constantly reviewing our media mix for clients and always on the search for trends to stay out in front of the fast pace of new media. Of course, evaluating a trend includes evaluating the ROI of that trend. Believe me, that’s the hard part!One thing we are seeing more and more of in the market is the idea of creating “content” for a content publisher. For the first time we are working with content publishers to form a true partnership. Lexus and Time, Inc. are the latest to explore this new distribution method. The agency for Lexus’ new RX (Team One) came up with an idea to create a custom magazine experience, inspired by the custom experience of owning a Lexus RX. They then pitched the idea to Time, Inc. to create a customizable print or online magazine and “Mine” was born.

“Mine” is the first fully customizable print magazine and the sole advertiser and sponsor is Lexus RX. By pitching the idea and putting dollars behind the pitch, Lexus is now a “partner” in providing content with Time, Inc. This is what we mean when we tell our clients to consider putting skin in the game. Lexus is accepting some of the financial risk for the success of the venture, while Time is accepting the risk of creating a very cozy relationship with an advertiser. Traditionally a no-no in the editorial world.

By | March 19th, 2009|Interactive Media, Marketing|0 Comments