Ding Dong to Taco Bell’s Social Media Strategy

When you’re about to launch a ground breaking and unique app for your business, you want to create awareness of it don’t you? A great way to do this is obviously through the power of social media, one of the most influential sources of media there is in the modern era. I mean you’d be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity to promote something like your new app. How would anyone know about it? How would they download it? So, promotion of it is pretty crucial you’d agree. However, not if you’re Taco Bell. When Taco Bell ‘launched’, and I use that term loosely,their new mobile payment and ordering app they decided to take the unique social media strategy of not promoting the app at all, but instead shut down and black out there entire social media network.

So when users went to Taco Bell’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, they weren’t presented with the usually creative content, but instead blacked out screens, such as the one below on their Twitter.

taco bell

For me this is one of the oddest and most innovative social media strategy launches I’ve ever seen. The last thing you’d think about when launching a new app is to not promote it at all. On the contrary, you’d invest more time and money in promoting it. Maybe through promoted posts on all the main social media channels. It’s such a bold move!

However, Taco Bell is one of the most established brands in America, right up there with McDonalds and Starbucks, and with over 12 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this strategy isn’t as risky as you might think. When you have market clout like Taco Bell you can afford to do this, as all it takes is a small hint, like the hashtag they used ‘#OnlyInTheApp’ to your massive social media audience and the awareness is there!

You couldn’t imagine a small, lesser known fast food brand doing a similar strategy otherwise that would be social media suicide.

The strategy by Taco Bell was incredibly successful as 90% of the chains 6,000 US stores began accepting mobile orders and payments with 75% of all stores already having processed a mobile order 24 hours after the apps launch.

So overall, I feel that as far as social media strategies go, Taco Bell’s is certainly up there as one of the best and most unique I’ve ever seen. It’ll be interesting to see whether other brands do something similar in the future, I guess they might given the success Taco Bell had.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment. For more social media and digital news, follow me @DigitalStuart.

How can Instagram improve as a Social Network

Instagram is such a wonderful app for both people and businesses. But as the social media landscape evolves and networks develop, there is the opportunity for them to improve. As a regularly user of Instagram for my personal life and for the business I work for, I’ve become frustrated with certain things at the moment you can’t do on the app.

Here’s a selection of a few of them:

Enable ‘Regramming’

One of the annoying things about Instagram is if you see a really good photo, you can’t share it easily to your Instagram audience. There are apps you can download to do this, but it’s not as easy as it should be.

Share Active Links

When you share a photo with a link in it that link isn’t active, thus you aren’t able to click on it. This again can be a frustration especially if you want your audience to access your website or a specific page.

Desktop Access

Due to Instagram being an app, you can only access and set up an account from a smartphone or tablet. So it would be advantageous if you were able to create an account through your desktop. Although you can see someones account and login via the desktop site, you still can’t search for hashtags or check notification activity.

Verified Accounts

There are many people out there that are pretending to be brands or celebs, so a simple verification tick, like Twitter and Facebook would add greater authenticity to the social network.

Be able to Click on Profile Pics

This one isn’t a frustration, more a nice thing to have. Like with Twitter it would be nice to expand someones profile pic, just to see them up closer, obviously.

So those are just a few improvements that Instagram could be working on. Do you have any others? If so please do share them.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart 

Why your Twitter Username is a Valuable Asset

Many brands nowadays are turning to Twitter to create awareness, engagement and interest around their offering. However, when setting up a Twitter presence, the username you choose is of such great importance. I personally feel that your Twitter username is just as an important asset as your employees or your products or your office, as your Twitter handle is one of the gateways to your online presence.

This makes getting first to your username crucial, as whenever someone mentions you in a Tweet or wants to find you on Twitter, having the correct and relevant username is essential. This is a kind of survival of the fittest in Twitter username terms, as if someone grabs your Twitter handle before you, it’s a social media disaster!

The best example of this has to be one of  the UK’s leading retailers John Lewis, and the problem they’ve had with their Twitter username. John Lewis’ Twitter handle is @JohnLewisRetail, meaning they don’t have the username @JohnLewis. This is held by a man from America…called, ironically John Lewis. His Twitter is @JohnLewis. It was reported back in November that he gets Tweets daily from John Lewis customers praising him or asking him questions about their products, services and stores. However, rather than ignoring them or getting annoyed, he replies to all of them individually pointing them in the direction of @JohnlewisRetail, the account they intended to Tweet to. What a great guy!!!

But this illustrates that John Lewis, the retailer, may have missed a trick and potentially they don’t get as much engagement as they could as many mistake @JohnLewis for them. Whereas, if they have John Lewis, the person’s Twitter username surely it’s easier for people to find and or Tweet them?!

So this I think supports the point that having an appropriate Twitter username is so important and should be seen as a valuable asset for brands.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news and articles please follow this blog and my Twitter @DigitalStuart

Why Real-Time Marketing is the Way to Go

Many marketing or social media campaigns are developed in advance to when they’re launched, but recently many brands have used social media to create real-time marketing  (RTM) opportunities.

RTM in the social media context is posting whilst something is going on, such as an event. For example, Cadbury recently did live tweeting on the Brit Awards 2014, with humorous content updates on the winners.  This has seen Cadbury looking to further embrace with RTM in the future, indicating its huge potential and growth.

Therefore, there’s a huge market for this as bands can come up with innovative and creative content whilst events are going on. Simply by using the events hashtag they’re immediately in the feed of the event where they can potentially get noticed. This is a great way to gain new followers, create awareness and engage with the audience.

It also illustrates that the brand is up to date with current events and trends, and thus is tapping into that market, as no -one wants to associate themselves with a brand that’s out of touch with its audience or culture!

It wouldn’t surprise me if in the future more and more brands start to (hash) tag along with events that are going on as a way to sell their products, create brand awareness and engagement. Watch out this evening for that at The Oscars!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing and social media news please follow this blog, or me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

WhatsApp Facebook? Buy the Competition or Diversify

So this week saw the quite surprising news that Facebook is set to acquire messaging service WhatsApp for a reported $19 billion, not much then! But for me it does pose the question in the social media and mobile landscape of whether Facebook’s major acquisitions are simply a ploy to buy the competition, or diversify into other areas and markets.

Taking that first theory, Facebook has a reputation of trying to buy out mobile platforms, most notably their successful acquisition of Instagram and again a few months ago with their failed bid for Snapchat. So you could argue that Facebook sees WhatsApp as a threat to their Facebook chat service, or any potential mobile platform that they might be developing in the future. Therefore, instead of sitting idle and watching WhatsApp rake in the money and become a competitor, they simply buy them! I mean it’s clever of Facebook to do this, as they clearly know what the market is doing and what’s (App) popular with consumers, and growing. But is this strategy a good one? I do feel Facebook is trying to become too embellished and wanting to become too much, and have their finger in all these pies. This could come to their detriment if they take their eye off their main channel, and basically the one thing they’re known for. So I suppose the saying would be. ‘If you can’t beat them, buy them’!

However, another school of thought is that it’s quite ingenuous of Facebook to buy out these companies, as they don’t have the skill, nor the user base to compete or create something such as a messaging app, or a photo sharing app in the case of Instagram. Facebook has tried and failed to diversify its platform into photo sharing and messaging, so the next best thing is to buy an established player. Acquiring WhatsApp is a smart move as here you have a very popular service that’s used by millions and growing everyday. Facebook doesn’t have to invest in R&D, product development or marketing, as the value of the WhatsApp branding  will do that automatically for them. Thus, these diversification strategies increase Facebooks market presence and tap into knowledge and well-established brands to take them to the next level.

But what of the future of WhatsApp. Facebook say that nothing will change, and it will remain as it is. Well, it’s maybe only a matter of time before advertising comes into the picture! I do actually believe Facebook a bit when they say they’ll keep everything the same, as they’ve not radically changed Instagram, as so many thought they would.

To finish, here’s one final thought. Apparently looking back on the founder of WhatsApp’s tweets, Brain Acton was turned down by Twitter and Facebook for a job in 2009. Oh the irony.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. In the meantime please follow this blog and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart 

 

 

 

future of whatspps

Top Ten Website Metrics You Need to Know

Websites are incredible. They provide us with loads of useful and great information with hours of entertainment. However, nowadays there’s added pressure to keep them updated and performing effectively. A way to improve a website and monitor how it’s doing is through website analytics or metrics, and this blog is going to provide the top ten that are most valuable to know.

(1)    Visits

The first metric is visits which is how many times a user has visited your site. So when you visit a website such as this page,  this is registered as one visit. The greater number of visits you get to your website, the more you can determine that it’s designed effectively and has efficient usability.

(2)    Unique Visits

This metric measures how many ‘unique’ users have visited your site. These users have visited the site more than once and have retuned, rather than just visiting it once, and never coming back. So we’re not talking about ‘hits’, as hits aren’t a reliable metric. The main reason for this is that a ‘hit’ indicates how many times a page was downloaded. So if you have ten images on your website, each would be downloaded, thus ten hits. However, you only visited the site once, so it’s not credible. Thus, you want to measure unique visitors instead.

(3)    Page Impressions

Page impressions is a fancy word for page views! So whenever a page is viewed by a user, this will register as an impression. Sounds ‘Impressive’ doesn’t  it?! However, just because you have a high number of page views doesn’t mean that your website is designed well or has good usability. For instance, if a thousand people visit your site but no one purchases or they leave straight away, this means your site might not be that effective.

(4)    Duration (Stickness)

It’s quite revealing to find out how long someone has been on your site for. I mean you could be on a site for an hour, and might not actually have purchased anything. Or you could be there for five seconds and left. So knowing how long the average user spends on your site provides a great indication as to how well again your site is designed and its usability. If users aren’t spending that long on your site it could mean they don’t like it! Or it could mean they actually found what they were looking for quickly.

Alternatively if they are spending a long time on it, this could indicate they can’t find what they’re looking for. Or that they’re really engaged with the site and love it! So it’s quite a misleading figure this one. It’s only when combined with other analytics that you get an idea of your sites effectiveness.

(5)    Churn Rate

This metric is usually used for email marketing and provides the marketer with the number of people subscribing or unsubscribing from their emails. If the churn rate is high then it’s probably best to rethink your email strategy, whether that’s the copy, design, subject title or when and how you send it. As a high churn rate illustrates that people aren’t engaging with your messages. Conversely, a low churn rate means you’ve got an effective email marketing strategy in place. But as ever it’s not always that easy! Just because people don’t unsubscribe doesn’t mean they engaged with the message, as they might still have just deleted it!

(6)    Attrition Rate

The attrition rate is more applied to e-commerce websites rather than your standard information only sites. This figure provides the number of visitors lost at each stage of the purchasing process. If the figure is 100% then this could  mean someone visited your site by accident, and left straight away. However, the further you go down the attrition rate, the more problems the website might have in the purchase process. For instance, someone might not purchase a product because the page loads slowly or the site has poor navigation or there are high shipping costs. Whatever the reason, the purchasing process is affected by so many variables, and this figure can indicate at which stage the buyer leaves.

(7)    Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of users that visit a site, then leave it. Therefore, they go to the website page, then exit it straight away. This means that something initially attracted them to the site, but they left as soon as they got there, possibly because they clicked on the wrong link or the design or usability were poor. If the bounce rate is high then this could mean the landing page needs to be redone in terms of its design, usability and copy.

(8)    Exit Rate

The exit rate is when a user visits your site, has a look around, then leaves. Therefore, you can see which page users are leaving from. This could be the ‘landing’ page or a ‘purchasing’ page or maybe the ‘help’ page.

So there’s a difference between the bounce and exit rates. If a user visits the site then leaves straight away this is measured as a bounce. Whereas if they look around the site and click on a few pages, then leave, this is an exit.

(9)    Referrals

This is where the user has come from when they visit your site. So a user might have visited the site from a search engine, an email or possibly a social media channel. But knowing where they come from indicates where best to invest future time and funds into. If social media is playing a big part in generating traffic then more focus could be placed on this.

(10) Conversion Rate

I’ve saved the best till last! As I feel the conversion rate is probably one of, if not the most important metric. This is the percentage of users who take a desired action on your website whether that’s purchasing a product, signing up to or registering for something. The call to action that you want them to perform can be measured from this figure. The higher the conversion rate, the more successful your website strategy is. For instance, if you run an e-commerce site with a high conversion rate, this indicates that you generate a lot of purchases and have a well-designed website with good usability.

So there we have it. There’s ten essential website metrics that every marketer should look at in order to implement and run a successful website.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please sign up to my blog or follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Promotion

Well grab the tissues, as it’s the final instalment of why the marketing mix applies to the digital world, and today we’re looking at ‘Promotion’!.

So what does ‘Promotion’ mean when we think of it in digital terms? Well it’s how you can use digital channels to inform, create awareness and persuade an audience to buy your products or services.

Out of all the ‘Ps’, Promotion is by far the broadest and most diverse, as when you think about it, the whole digital marketing landscape is based on promotional elements, whether that’s Search, Social Media or Banner ads. Here’s an overview of all those channels.

Websites

  • Found on the internet, a website contains webpages on information on what a brand sells or offers . To explain this a website has certain design elements and includes text, images and or videos to portray this. Website analytics can be used to monitor activity on it

Search Marketing

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): The natural search results in a search engine. The results will appear in a set ranking depending on keywords
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): The paid listings that normally appear directly under the search bar, or to the right of the screen. The ranking of these is based on how much you pay for keywords

Advertising 

  • Banner Ads: Adverts containing rich media, either an image or video, that appear on a webpage. These ads might be interactive or a still image. Clicking on them will take the user to another website related to that ad or to a call to action
  • Affiliate Marketing: A customer sees an advert for an Apple iPad (Merchant) on The Guardian’s website (Publisher) – If the customer clicks on the ad and goes onto to purchase the iPad, the publisher receives a commission on that sale

Public Relations

  • Public Relations: Managing a brands awareness, understanding and reputation through influencing how they are exposed in the media
  • Online PR: Trying to maximise favourable mentions or opinions of your company, brand, products or website on a third-party website

Viral Marketing

  • Online word of mouth (WOM) usually in the form of a video, image, website or link that is fun, creative or entertaining and is sent amongst people

Email Marketing

  • A form of direct marketing where an email is sent to a recipients inbox. The email might be received either as a promotional tool or after signing up to a newsletter

Three types of emails

  • Outbound Email Marketing: Email campaigns are sent out by companies to customers or prospects as direct marketing to encourage purchase or to build an engaging relationship
  • Permission based Email/Opt In: Customers or prospects have given permission to receive email marketing messages, so it’s not seen as cold emails or SPAM
  • Inbound Email Marketing: Where a company manages the emails that customers send to them enquiring about products or services –e.g. customer service, care, support or help

Social Media

  • A network or community where users interact with one another by creating, sharing and exchanging ideas and content
  • Blog: An online diary created by an individual to communicate with an audience their views or opinions…like this one!

Mobile

  • Mobile Ads: Banner adverts that include images or videos that appear on a mobile screen

For a greater in-depth discussion on Mobile, please read The Mobile Marketing Mix (nice cross-blog promotion there!)

Wow, that’s a lot of digital promotional tools! But each one of these techniques has opened up many channels and avenues that brands can use to promote their offering. They all have the ability to generate traffic to the website, relevant calls to action and most importantly, a purchase!

So, alas, that’s it. We’ve delved into the traditional marketing mix, and seen how it has definitely got a place in this dynamic digital world. It’ll be interesting to see how digital adapts and develops over the next few years and how the marketing mix is further expanded.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please follow my blog or my Twitter account @DigitalStuart.

Here’s a full list of all four ‘Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World’ blogs for your enjoyment.

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Product

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Price

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Place

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Promotion