Understanding Your Conversion Attribution Model

Have you ever wondered why your AdWords or ad campaigns aren’t yielding any conversions? Or at least not as many as you’d like them to. You do the usual: you check keywords, tags, add negative keywords, fine tune your landing pages, but still conversions aren’t adding up. This frustration is more common than you think, but it is also a symptom of not looking at the big picture.

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Photo Marketing

Every day more and more you can notice small changes across the web. There’s no doubt exponential growth is here to stay and well… grow! It’s been a long time since Kotler’s 4 Ps are no longer the magic formula for marketers. Outbound marketing has been long dead.

Instead, consumers are savvier, hungrier and much more quality demanding. The level of information consumption is beyond doubt at its highest level in history. We’re surrounded by gadgets that filter information for us according to what we want to see — hence the phrase “you see only what the mind wants to see” has more meaning than ever before–.

Especially in the web, we are only pulled in to content that is image or video related. No wonder 9gag has been such a hit! In fact, attention span and the number of unique users increases dramatically when there’s rich (high quality) media involved. An infographic by MDG Advertising proves this detail by detail.

Photo Marketing
Photo Marketing

Personally I observe it’s especially true with social media. Every time media is posted on Facebook or Twitter, fans come flowing in with likes, RTs and sharing. Pinterest is the live example of media curation, ordered in such a way that it has become the third largest social network, just because of rich media!

Facebook noted this trend a while back, ergo coming up with the Timeline which features media in a higher quality. Furthermore, Instagram’s purchase was done in great time to further exploit and feed users’ hunger for images. What kind of marketing will be next? With so many developments, it’s hard to keep up!

Social Media vs Apps, or both?

We are living an era in which traditional media is not trusted nor is it profitable anymore. People don’t read the paper; they scan through their iPads or smartphones. People don’t watch TV, they watch TV shows or movies on multiple, Internet connected screens (although the movie theatre experience is a subject apart). People like to play and interact with their favorite brand, this cannot be done via traditional media.

For not so long now, people were starting to panic when they saw that their traditional marketing strategy was not delivering customers. “Is this company going down? Am I broke” many entrepreneurs might have thought. Those that were not early adopters or innovative minds, were being left behind on print.

It’s different today. Right now, log into your Facebook account, how many brands or companies have you “liked” on that network? How many of those have a Twitter account that you also follow? Even if companies and brands still publicize their product or service via traditional media, they’re using that to inform you that they have an app ready for you to use on your preferred device, or that they have a channel of communication in X social network.

Now, the question is, out of the new and innovative communication channels, who is winning the race: apps or social networks? Let’s break them down one by one.

Apps. They are everywhere. “There’s an app for that” started out as a joke, but now, it’s nothing but the truth. Anything you want to solve, you can do so via an app installed in your smartphone or any other smart device. Heck, my iPhone has apps I barely use but that have saved me from a lot of trouble. For instance, I installed the Flash Light app; yes, a flash light on mi iPhone! Spare time aside, there are plenty of useful interactive apps from famous brands that achieve direct access with their consumers.

Take Nike for example. They transformed the runner’s culture into a whole smart and connected community. You run, it syncs up with your favorite playlist, it tells you how many miles you ran, how many calories you burnt, etc. It changed the whole runners scheme. Sure, billboards and TV commercials are still up now and then, but this direct and customized experience cannot be achieved with traditional media.

Social Media. Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest are the most effective social networks. Let’s skip the ones we’ve already been familiarized with for quite some time now and focus on Pinterest. To be perfectly honest, at the beginning I didn’t give this network any faith. I wrongly thought it would be just like any other social network and their 15 minutes of fame. However, Pinterest has achieved in images what Twitter has in text. This image collection is so simple to use, that Tech Crunch has pronounced it the third most important social network (I believe the first two are obvious) in so little time.

Pinterest is really more about the branding connection it can offer to companies rather than any other strategy, but nowadays branding per se takes a large piece of the strategy pie.

Now, as an entrepreneur or strategist, which do you prefer? Apps or Social Networks? Why not have both?

TEDx Zapopan, Independently Organized

My dedication to watch TED talks started at an Innovation course when I was in college. The main idea behind these talks (even mentioned in their logo) is to share ideas worth spreading. All kinds of speakers with different backgrounds, topics and fields of study have spoken here. Anything from religion, to innovation; from ancient history to modern and advanced technology. The beauty of these talks is that it recognized work done by thousands of people around the globe.

Adalberto Flores - Director of Operations Ooyala Mexico

TED started out being specially organized conferences that had tremendous logistics and organization. However, many people around the world felt like they needed such an event to be close to them, to be hosted in their cities and countries. Thus, TED developed TEDx – Independently organized events.

Darius Lau - My Ex classmate and CISCO prize winner

One of my former teachers from college, Daniel Pandza, decided to go forth with this independent license here in Guadalajara (or Zapopan, the neighboring county). At first it seemed to be a longshot project. But like all things innovative, there was disbelief at the start and complete confidence in the end.

Jorge Sánchez - Agencia Espacial Mexicana

Finally, twenty speakers from all of Mexico were gathered under one roof at Tec de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara (my alma mater) to speak about their struggle in life, and how they followed their passion to become who they are now. Every speaker that went by just made the event more and more interesting. It was as if like the passion fever was spreading from one person to the next.

Rodo Padilla - Mexican Sculptor and Designer

The room was filled with an entrepreneurial audience (yours truly included). I met many of my old classmates (it was like a mini reunion after graduation), I met with other entrepreneurs from the area, and even former co-workers. All of them had but one thing in common, passion for what they do.

Patricia García Torres - Steinway Artist

Although the event started at a little past 5pm, I was there earlier to help out with the logistics and get a bit of an inside scoop behind the scenes. One by one, the speakers came in and were redirected to the make up room (yes, believe it or not, they also have their make up privileges). I spoke with a few of them and was amazed at their current projects (many of which were not exactly spoken about during their talks).

And so, the event was a complete success and ended until 10pm. An event that we usually saw in class through the Internet, one that seemed so far away, was finally here and I was part of it. Here are some of the speakers who were present at the conference, and you can watch the entire talk here. Cheers!

Global Start Up Fever

It’s been a while since Silicon Valley was the sole holder of the term “start up”. Every day more and more, the initiative is spreading across the globe, not only because it’s a catchy and trendy phrase, but because it has high impact results both locally and globally. Each country seems to have a concerned community of technological entrepreneurs that wish to make a difference, and yes… make money in the process (it is a business after all).

But more than just a small company, start ups are the new working scheme under which thousands of people prefer to work in. Why? Simply because start ups have come to redefine the workspace as a more humanitarian, social space to be in. The old model shows us that we are all set to have a set schedule (one that is almost a sin to break), a defined mechanical job, a cubicle, and no interaction with the outside world.

The new model, or the start up model, is one in which the workspace is more than just that, it’s a recreational spot. Studies have found that the mind can be much more productive when it feels happy, relaxed and interactive than if it just “thinks” for 8 straight hours with no way to blow steam off. Most start ups have the following within their compound:

  • Ping Pong table
  • TV with video games or DVD player
  • Walls that become white boards (get the idea out there)
  • No cubicles, only open work spaces
  • Fridges filled with goodies (the mind needs to be refreshed)

Those are the basic perks. But don’t get it wrong. This is not a little kid’s dream (although it might be at some point), it is the little details like these that make employees happy to get up every day to go to work and be productive. Why keep the same square model as before? Even high management would appreciate jolly employees.

As mentioned, this model is being adopted around the world. In Mexico for example, in the city of Guadalajara, events that encourage this type of business model are always present, like today’s iTuesday. An event in which entrepreneurs (local and global) gather around to talk business and discover new opportunities. Get out there and be happy to have a productive, interactive workplace instead of sitting down all day wanting to go home.

Squeezing out your iPhone

A friend of mine recently shared a post with me about the differences between our daily activities back in the 90’s and now. The post was a comic showing several activities like music listening, socializing, sending mail, and other things. Basically, the column on the right kept showing the same drawing for all of those activities, one of a person sitting with their laptops on their desks. It’s true, we can now virtually do most things without having to change position or even leaving the comfort of our homes (offices?).

However, as soon as I finished looking at the comic, I turned to my left and saw my iPhone. How many things have I used this little piece of machinery for? And so I started listing out all of them in my head:

  1. I keep all my social networks there. Thus I interact via my iPhone no matter where I am.
  2. I text message
  3. I use it as a regular phone
  4. I browse the web
  5. I scan documents and send them as attachments via email
  6. I manage three email accounts of mine
  7. I blog (very important)
  8. I play games
  9. I IM with friends, family and coworkers
  10. I use it as a camera

The truth is I could go on with this list forever. It’s not so much the actual gadget anymore, but the apps and the creativity of the people who create them that help the consumer define what they really want to do with their technological tool.

If someone had been worried about the low mobility that having to do everything from a single spot represented, they needn’t be so anymore. Our little phones are now getting empowered more and more every day to behave as super mini computers. If they go wherever we go, then we don’t have to worry about not being  able to complete tasks if we’re away from the mighty computer. The very concept behind the original Wii is now being perpetrated by the smartphone itself. To be technological, you don’t have to be sedentary. On the contrary, technology follows you.

So better yet, you get your entire world in your pocket. Of course, there’s still a long way to go. No matter how practical it may be and from how many so called “emergencies” might the smartphone save you from, the computer screen is still more comfortable to work on. However, it won’t be too long for someone to come up with a practical solution for this. Have you thought about all the things you’ve done with your phone so far? Some of them might be even unbelievable to some of us.

In the Land of Magazine Editing

There are plenty of things that can be said in writing, in fact, that is the only time machine we really have (although it only works when traveling to the past). Knowledge, theories, traditions and statements are passed down to us from generation to generation through writing even if we never met that person in real life.

Although today, words spread like fire across the world, there is a new problem that affects us all: clutter. Everyone has a different opinion of everything; even research finds itself to be contradicting from time to time. So how do you know what to take seriously and what to throw away? There is no formula. We’re all free to believe what we want to believe, the thing is, what happens when those beliefs start disagreements, wars even?

We can only trust people to be tolerant to different statements to their own. That’s the beauty of diversity. In my city, a city to be well known as an ever growing one and a friendly place to be in, there are still many factors that are cast aways or that are not paid enough attention.

Therefore, in the spirit of crowd journalism and that today, we all have the right and means to be one, a group of friends and myself have started off a small project. Little detail is what I can offer at the moment, for it’s still in the works. My experience as a writer has been (up until this moment) purely individual work, a very personal view of my surroundings. Perhaps group writing will result in something much more profitable (and no, I’m not just talking about money).

Anyway, our main goal is to bring those unexplored aspects of this city out into the open, those that portray innovation, technology and other things that you may already be taking for granted, yet aren’t fully aware of their importance in your every day life. Perhaps there are places (figurative and physical) right next to you, places you haven’t casted an eye on. Might be worth it, you never know.

The overall question is, will people pay attention anyway? Even if they do, in the slightest manner, I would consider our effort to be well reciprocated. Who knows? It might turn out to be forgotten in little time or it might actually make a tiny difference. We’ll see.

The World as Seen from Multiple Screens

Have you ever sat down and thought about how evolution speeds up as time goes by? Think about it, the dark ages lasted for centuries, then each era seemed to be shorter. In the last hundred years we’ve had more progress than anything before that. It was only fifty years ago that there was a big cube in the living room, broadcasting the same content to millions of families at a time, without people having any control over what they watched. Even marketing seemed pragmatic and programmatic. Just watch Mad Men on HBO… how marketing has changed since the 60’s.

Now look at us. TVs are no longer giant, heavy cubes; they’re flat panels hanging from stylish walls most likely to be hooked to different devices or smaller screens. Plug in a digital camera, a PC, a smartphone and now even a tablet. And even when all of the above can be taken everywhere with you, the interesting part is not only being connected 100% of the time, but rather that you have customized content no matter if you are out for a jog, at the office, at your leisure or plain out bored.

Personally, as time passes by, I find myself to be surrounded by more and more gadgets. In my “engadgeted” world I can practically do anything with a decent Internet signal. What’s more, each little piece of machinery offers a different experience that cannot be equaled by any other.

This said, what would happen if all of a sudden all of our gadgets were taken away from us? History tells us that we’re perfectly capable of surviving such “catastrophe”, but how would we cope with hole left in us all? Would panic surround us? Would we remember quickly enough how to do things analogically? I recall this video  not long ago in which several old gadgets were shown to seven-year-olds just to see if they recognized them or at least knew what they were for. The items included a walkman, a vinyl record player, a tape recorder and an old computer. Not a single participant knew what they were for.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vvqM8YCp-s]

Let’s just hope progress keeps constant and we enjoy our present and our future. In any case, just remember how to read a book in regular pages, how to write by hand and how to walk to the nearest pizza place and get it back home. Can’t harm us, right?

Product Placement Evolved

Article first published as Product Placement Evolved on Technorati.

With so many technologies coming out, brands have more and more channels every day where they can send out their message.

However, a solid place to market brands is none other than the film industry. Product Placement of this sort has soared since the times of ET back in 1982 where Reese’s buttercups made their big Hollywood appearance, as recalled on bnet

As years have gone by and movie budgets have increased to almost being a small country’s GDP, product placement has grown exponentially. In fact, many a times, there wouldn’t be enough revenue for motion pictures studios if there weren’t any branding campaigns done within their films.

There has been an incredible variety of featured products and services from airlines, drinks, clothing and what not. Just take the Transformers series as the perfect example of Product Placement flood. The three movies have shown not only smartphones and other gadgets, but the subject itself: cars. The Camaro alone has increased its international sales thanks to Bumblebee, featured in all three movies, as reported on here.

Once upon a time products would only have incidental appearances in the middle of a film. Today, they even become the center object of a film.

As long as it’s done discretely and stylishly, movie viewers turn into consumers just because we liked how the product looked on screen. Indeed product placement is a clear influencer on trends and styles around the world, why wouldn’t it be a great way to brand a product?

Read more: http://technorati.com/business/advertising/article/product-placement-evolved/#ixzz1RcxjSm6l

Mail Chimp, Our Heroe

Direct Marketing has been accused of being spammy at times. Not that it’s a complete lie, but if used properly, e-mail marketing recipients will absolutely love a message of the kind, as if their minds were read. There are several considerations you have to take before sending out a mass email.

First of all, you need an e-mail list or database. These may come a bit expensive if you don’t know enough people whose e-mails addresses you can collect and slowly build your database. Which is precisely why buying a database is a little risky. It’s so much better if the recipients have already had contact with you, know you personally or at least have heard either your name or your company’s name. Otherwise, they will simply ignore the message and consider it spam.

Second, even if you have a considerably big e-mail list, you have to chose your audience. Not all people on the list may be interested on what you are proposing to them.

With that in mind, now you have to choose the proper tool to send out your message. Mail Chimp is practical, simple, efficient, and it can even be free if you choose the “Forever Free” account type. It has comprehensible tools that will guide you through the whole process of designing your campaign. The chimp cartoon will even make friendly jokes around the page to cheer you up as you work.

Remember to be brief, visual and most importantly, make sure you have a visible line of contact with the recipient. You want them to contact you back, right? Well make it easy for them! Finally, just sit back and read the reports, answer calls, receive emails from those recipients and voila! Mail Chimp is our heroe!