Neilsen Report Highlights on Online Video and Social Media

The Nielsen Report is a very well respected report on new media happenings.
Here are some golden nuggets from that report:

1. In the last year alone, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73%. That’s a huge jump.
2. The number of American users frequenting online video destinations has climbed 339 percent since 2003. Mark my words – online video is the future.
3. Time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000 percent over the same period.
4. In February, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time. Can you imagine the implication of this? Hello FB messages, good bye email! Well..not quite yet.
5. There are 87 percent more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883 percent more time devoted to those sites.

You can see the entire Nielsen report if you like (PDF).

Source: Shama Hyder

Brand and social media world

You need to register your brand and marks within the social media world. If you don’t grab your brand name on the various social media services out there, someone else will, and effectively Hijack your efforts. And the people who register your brand may (read: definitely will) say things that could damage your organization. Take some time out of your busy day and register your brands and trademarks on the various services. If you dont have the time, I can do it for you.

Don’t wait or you may find that someone else has already taken them.

Top Tier – Set up profiles, actively monitor for relevant content, drive traffic from your blog, etc.
Technorati (“claim” your blog at minimum)
YouTube (along with other video distribution platforms: Vimeo, Viddler, Revver, Yahoo video, etc.)

Second Tier – Set up branded profiles and use as warranted:
Windows Live spaces
Yahoo Groups
Google Groups

Third Tier — Claim your name and monitor:
Brightkite (individual focus)
Friendster (international focus, Asia)
Gather (alternative to Twitter)
MySpace (more for usage policy than an active corporate presence)
New York Times (TimesPeople)
Orkut (international focus, Brazil)
Picasa (alternative to Flickr, smaller community)
Plurk (alternative to Twitter, younger demographic)

There are literally hundreds of services that should be used for marketing purposes / branding, depending on the service or products you offer. I provide consulting and implementation in this area, contact me. Use my contact form or call 877-904-1419.

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

I’m not sure how appropriate the title to an R.E.M. song is to this column, but I needed a title. It’s the first thing that came to mind. Now, I can’t get the song out of my head.

Actually, I should be asking, “What’s the frequency, Young-Bean Song?” Song is director of analytics for Atlas DMT. I spoke with Song, who believes his company has come up with a way to help online advertisers make the most of their impression delivery to maximize conversion rates and cost per acquisition.

Optimal frequency has been considered from a branding perspective by companies such as Dynamic Logic and Insight Express. However, there hasn’t been a lot of research on optimal frequency for online direct response campaigns.

Atlas looked at 38 advertiser campaigns across multiple categories. It found a large percentage of impressions go to users who are only exposed to the message a single time. A smaller percentage of impressions go to users exposed to the message two times, and so on. Finally, when you get to users who are exposed 11-plus times, there’s a significant increase.

Frequency Distribution Graph

I think we can agree users who see an ad once or twice are underexposed, users who see it nine or more times are overexposed. What if we could take those “wasted” impressions and either increase frequency against the underexposed users or reach completely new users?

Atlas did the math and found by implementing a “sensible” frequency cap, an advertiser can lower its cost per acquisition 10 to 30 percent.

Another issue the study considered was conversion rates at different frequency levels. Overall, Atlas found conversion rates are higher at lower frequency levels. In fact, the highest conversion rates occur on the first impression. The second and third impressions also garnered respectable conversion rates.

Could we cap our campaigns at one impression to achieve the highest conversion rates? Yes. Should we? I don’t think so. We must also consider volume. Capping frequency at one would result in fewer overall conversions.

The study also compared the most effective frequency with the most profitable frequency. We must define a cost per acquisition at which our clients still make a profit and raise the frequency cap to reach those users who won’t convert on the first impression. The right frequency cap for your client may be three or five impressions. You’ll have to determine that based on your strategies, target audiences, media costs, and cost-per-acquisition goals.

What does this mean for you? It’s a no-brainer. Conducting your own optimal frequency study is a way to reduce waste, reach more prospects, increase conversion rates, and maximize total acquisitions.

What does it mean for publishers? In talking with Song, my first thought was publishers would hate this. Implementation will wreak havoc on their inventory management. Users who are currently exposed to 11 or more impressions on a single campaign are the site’s lifeblood. Those are the users who enable publishers to promise you millions of page views and, thus, millions of impressions. If you cap the frequency at, say, three, publishers will have to find a few more advertisers to sell the same number of impressions they’re selling today.

Song suggests a frequency cap would allow publishers to charge a premium for those more valuable impressions. Though I agree premiums would be in order, it’s going to be a tough sell. The premiums publishers will want to charge to make up for unsold inventory could be unattractive to advertisers. The good thing is we now have a model to test against to find out if this works for our clients.

Website Ownership Realities

According to a joint study conducted by Nielsen and WebVisible, 44% of small businesses do not have websites. So what is stopping these business owners from getting on the web?

There are a variety of possible reasons that vary from cost, technical ability, perceived usefulness, and preference for other methods of advertising. The biggest obstacle overall seems to be misinformation. All around the web, there are many myths that scare business owners away from launching their own websites…

Websites Are Inexpensive

Probably the most common deterrent is cost. Many businesses think that they cannot afford professional web development, along with all of the other upfront and ongoing fees that come with having a website. There are many options out there in all price ranges.

You Dont Need To Be Technologically Savvy

Many business owners also think that a person needs to be technologically savvy in order maintain the website after it is launched. However, this is also not true.

A good portion of websites today are built around content management systems (CMS), which enable you to easily edit content, all without any advanced skills. In fact, if you are familiar with using word-processing software, such as Microsoft Word, you will be easily able to use many content management systems.

Your Customers Are Online

For businesses that target a wide array of customers in various geographical regions, the need to have a website is fairly obvious. However, if your customers come primarily from your local community, you might not think it necessary to create a website.

But according to the study, your customers ARE using search engines to find you and are often frustrated at not being able to locate information about their local businesses. Also, because of not being able to find the businesses that they are looking for, they might choose to go to a competing business.

An overwhelming majority of searchers (92%) say they are happy with the results they get when using search engines, despite the fact that 39% report frequently not being able to locate a particular known business. Webvisible said this means that while searchers don’t always find the specific business, they may choose to contact a similar business with a stronger online presence.

So, why might local customers look for your business’ website online? Some reasons include:

  • additional information about your products or services
  • exact store location and directions
  • contact information such as a phone number, fax, or email
  • store hours

Traditional Advertising Methods

According to the study, many small businesses still rely heavily on traditional methods of advertising such as placing ads in the local newsletter or yellow pages. But the study also showed that people who are looking for companies are moving away from these methods in favor of the internet. So if potential customers are moving online, you should consider moving your business online as well.

Additionally, internet advertising has proven very useful and cost-effective. Some reasons why you need to consider the internet in your marketing strategies include:

  1. You can reach more people. Your website can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. So you can definitely reach more people than via other offline advertising methods.
  2. Your website works 24/7. A website is also available all the time. What this means is that when you close up shop for the day, or late at night when newsletters are no longer being distributed, your website is online, easily accessible by all of your potential customers.
  3. A website is cost-effective and sustainable. Advertising in the newsletter or yellow pages can be very expensive. But worst of all, it only lasts a short period of time. The yellow pages is typically only used 1-2 years, and newspapers are typically discarded within 1-7 days. With a website, you have a longer period of time to recoup your investment. And, based on the nature of the web and search engines, you will be able to take advantage of free advertising.