THE FINAL REFLECTING CHAPTER

The final blog post will reflect on what I have learnt about digital communications, the topics that have been covered and what I have found the most interesting subject. Throughout the reflection will be looking at second-screen viewing experiences and SEO within the social media platform, which all relate to CONTENT MARKETING which can be defined by CMI (2013) as;

“A marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”

As this blog, and in fact this unit, has illustrated, digital is becoming more and more influential within the social media platform, especially the social search (SEO).

Social search is a serious topic of discussion. Graph Search and growing numbers on Google+ are leading us to a social search (Green 2013). I feel people are using social searches is due to their ever-growing and changing networks which can be shared with peers.

The SEO world, and search in general, has moved away from link building as a stand-alone practice, and many online marketers see the future in Page Likes, Retweets, +1s, pins and Channel subscriptions. (Brafton Editorial 2013). Search engines reward sites for creating great user experiences through content marketing and inutuitive user designs.

It is clear to see that search engines are thinking about how the social platform can play a role in SEO. They are looking to achieve an algorithm for authority (Lucey 2013). Google has shown that it dominates SEO through encouraging content and strong keywords into natural search. However, Social media and search are blending together, which is why there’s even more reliance on authority. (Lucey 2013). As mentioned above, I believe that social searches will become more dominant in the future due to the content and endless amount of users.

Facebook is tormenting google through their previous launch of graph search, which was mentioned in a previous blog. As previously mentioned, Facebook has 1 billion users worth of data which is an advantage over Google. The newly innovative search engine allows for more personalised searches. Personalisation is another topic that has been covered, which i found has been very interesting due to rivalry of personalisation between Facebook and Google. Like Facebook, Google offered Google Plus Your World, which will personalise search results according to Google+ data (Lucey 2013).

Search Engines vs. Social Networks – During my previous blog post about personalisation and content marketing, the SEO that LinkedIn have launched was not launched, showing the ever-changing digital landscape. They have recently taken steps to revamp its own original search engine “to keep users from straying to external search engines” (Lucey 2013). I can predict that this rivalry will continue and the “social search” will over-power external search engines. However, the digital world is so extreme and vast that predictions are difficult to make. As we peer into the future of SEO and social, I tend to wonder one thing. More articles are referred by social media which is a worry for search engines. However, it will depends whether social media networks will work with or against search engines.

Relating back to the previous ‘content marketing’ blog, content matters more than ever. I see the word popping up on the internet, on social media and in general adverts, proving that it is the “solid rock in the changing tides of search, mobile and social media” (Ferguson 2013). As mentioned previously, it is what builds your brand, becoming the core of and SEO and social media strategy.

Another topic that I found very interesting, and wish I had covered more is THE SECOND SCREEN. According to Moses (2013) “the more screens you have, the more likely you are to engage in media multi-tasking. However, I believe that advertisers must work harder to attract peoples attention as they move from one screen to another. On the other hand, Moses (2013) defended this by stating “second-screen apps that compliment the TV viewing experience can heighten people’s response to the advertising.” It is interesting to see that Shazam is looking to launch interactive cinema ads. It is used as a second-screen for cinemas to target cinemagoers with branded content. I find it fascinating how this leads back to content, which emphasises its importance in the world of digital communication at present. There have been trials of the service what have seen a 56% ad recall and 10:1 ad like ability compared to ads on TV.

Above this, it is interesting to see that Shazam is looking to take a share of the growing social viewing market as brands invest more in creating second-screen viewing experiences (Marketing Week 2013).

At the end of the day, this blog all reflects back to CONTENT

Even though second-screen viewing is a talked about subject, as one of my first blogs reflects, it is not commonly used by consumers. The statistics about the second-screen as highly interesting. Somewhere between 75% and 85% of TV viewers use other devices while watching (The Guardian 2012). What must be considered, is how many of those people are using the second-screen to do something relevant to the show they are watching. As little as 37% according to The Guardian (2012). These figures highlight that the second-screen needs to be advertised strongly in order to get people to relate their second-screen to the original screen.

Therefore, it is important that a marketing strategy focuses on the content with the social platform looking more into SEO as said earlier, I predict they will be dominant over search engines.

Overall my digital experience and knowledge has been significantly enhanced and it has enabled me to develop and enhance my skills. However, if I was to repeat the blog again I would ensure I use an alternative provider such as blogger.com as it was more interactive with more view opportunities. I am pleasantly surprised how interested I have become in this subject which has had an impact on how much I look into the social platform.

THE STRUCTURE OF MOBILE MARKETING

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Mobile marketing is massive already and forecast to exceed desktop Internet access in many developing countries (Smart Insights 2013). Therefore, every marketer needs to keep tabs on the opportunities of reaching their audiences via mobile and how to make their mobile sites and presences visible and accessible. 2012 saw a “huge shift to smartphones and tablets, with figures supporting trends and new opportunities for rich, engaging media” (Hilton 2013).

London Underground have noticed demand for mobile and are launching wifi, as well as being rolled out in black cabs. The opportunities for mobile advertising to continue to evolve are huge.

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UK digital ad spend growth slowed slightly in 2012 as more marketers chose to experiment with mobile formats (O’Reilly 2013). Mobile spend in 2012 more than doubled (147 per cent) to £525m, up from £203.2m, accounting for 9.7 per cent of digital advertising spend in 2012 (O’Reilly 2013) Mobile has grown as marketers are becoming more attuned to the ‘always on’ nature of consumers who expect to engage with content wherever they are. “Consequently, advertisers are increasingly buying integrated campaigns across online and mobile rather than regarding mobile as an afterthought” (Strout 2013).

4G will have a huge impact in 2013, with more activity around mobile payments (electronic wallet). 4G will also have a direct effect on the amount of rich media advertising offered to customers.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ADAPTING TO MOBILE MARKETING EE’s launch of 4G – which is set to double its average download speeds in major cities – and other operators’ super fast internet launches this summer are likely to drive mobile advertising’s growth even further in 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/james-hilton/mobile-marketing-trends-in-2013_b_2597666.html http://marketingland.com/2013-mobile-marketing-predictions-29854

WEBSITE DESIGN & NAVIGATION

Website design is the foundation of online presence, and should be the perfect reflection of your brand, ensuring your delivering a consistent message to your audience (Juno Media 2013). It is said that you have 10 seconds to make an impact and convey the right message as only 20% of people spend their time reading content on a website (Go-Gulf 2013). Therefore, it is infographics that are becoming a more important digital trend. Good website design will encourange visitors to stay on a website 3 times longer whilst 74% of online shoppers say that a great website influences their buying habits. (Juno Media 2013)

Factors that influence website design are USABILITY AND NAVIGATION

Navigation can make or break your website’s overall performance when it comes to retaining visitors, keeping them engaged. Website navigation can be simplified by creating a hierarchy of content supporting specific sections to improve navigation. Refinement of your navigation will increase SEO process of improving the quality and volume of web traffic.

VISUAL WEBSITES

2012 was all about content, 2013 is about context (Wierwille 2013).

Ebay is a clear example where visuals have allowed them to re-design their website allowing easier navigation for users. The home page is decluttered with the deletion of tiny thumbnails. It can be compared to a Pinterest-like feed, conducive to browsing and discovering.

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For brands, a stronger visual presence means more engagement.

On Facebook, posts that include an album, photo or video increase engagement by 180%, 120% and 100%. A year ago, Pinterest accounted for less than 1% of social media e-commerce referrals. Now it accounts for 26%. (Weirwille 2013)

MOBILE DEVICE COMPATIBILITY

With the increasing popularity of tablet technology and smart phones, web designers must adapt to new standards. (Jaiswal 2013). Different screen resolutions makes it difficult to accomodate the whole site in small mobile screen. CSS3 compatibility allows coding to conform the user’s viewing medium. More people are purchasing smartphones than PC’s, therefore websites need to adapt to smaller screen monitors (Jaiswal 2013).

mobile-website-design

THE PERSONALISED DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

Social media continues to grow rapidly, offering global consumers new and meaningful ways to engage with the people and brands that matter to them (Neilson 2012).

The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media. Therefore, multiscreen communication has increased speed of response and ease of communication between marketers and consumers. Marketing is evolving from something you do to the youth to something you do with them. (Muhumuza 2012). Consumer involvement and deeper engagement in the brand allows movement from a relationship as a consumer to one of the ultimate objective of brands.

Online interactivity didn’t start with social media, but through social media’s success (Moravick 2013).

The social platform is on an unstoppable path towards hyper-personalisation (Inside Facebook 2013). Communication between business and consumer has gone from anonymous mass marketing to relevant targeted messages to personalised social experiences. Facebook provides an end-to-end solution for marketers to construct intelligent audiences and engage users with personalised experiences. Google adopts personalistion methods like Facebook, called algorithms, storing data about logged-in users’ past searches; it uses the data to tweak a set of algorithms that deliver more relevant and personalised search results. (Naone 2012).

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Google are yet to discover an innovative personalistion method that is as successful as Facebook. In the mean time, Facebook recently released its “Custom Audiences” feature, which allows digital markets to run advertising campaigns targeted specifically to certain customers and prospects (Steinberg 2012).

By offering more options to target audiences, Facebook is gaining ground in its ongoing innovation battle with Google. Facebook are the innovators for custom audiences which have been copied by google and amazon.
With nearly 83 percent of marketers using Facebook, what can marketers actually do with this new tool?

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BRAND AND PR

PR is all about reputation, and reputation can be a company’s biggest asset (CIPR 2013). PR helps maintain an understanding between a brand and its consumers. 

It can be said that a brand creates a series of ideas that build a larger message. Branding is used to influence customer perceptions. According to Waddington (2013) a brand is no more less than a connection between an organisation and its audience. There is said to be 525 messaging routes between a brand and its consumer.

There is a clear relationship between PR and branding. Branding allows a company to convey a core message to their audience whereas PR uses the message in order to strengthen the relationship.

Brand is concerned with customer perceptions whilst PR looks at reputation through transparency of the brand. PR uses transparency to build the reputation of a brand, to insulate its image (Blumenthal 2013). Starbuck’s campaign “fair trade coffee beans” is not to build the brand but to enhance the company’s REPUTATION.

href=”http://kimberleyrowles.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/fair-trade-coffee-002.jpg”>Image

CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS

Endorsement is a channel of brand communication in which a celebrity acts as the brand’s spokesperson (Roll 2010).

Many brands utilise celebrity endorsement in order to strengthen brand awareness. Brands should use celebrities who associate with their brand which will increase transparency and reputation. Celebrity endorsement allows instant brand awareness with added dimensions to the brand image (Katyal 2013).

Sponsored tweets

For a celebrity, a big Twitter base can mean the opportunity for big money from sponsored tweets. Brands provide information about the message they want to spread and what celebrities they want to spread it. Celebrities make the money by charging per tweet.

BRAND EFFECTIVENESS IN THE NEW DIGITAL LANDSCAPE

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Brands are becoming increasingly recognisable online, therefore it is vital that they encompass a positive image via the social media platform (Houck 2012). The new digital landscape allows opportunities for brands to enhance their online image by engaging with their audience. A recent survey by ROI Research found that 44% are more likey to engage with brands on social media if they posted visuals (Owens 2013).

Facebook’s ‘Graph Search’ is an emerging technology that brands need to look at and mix their SEO strategies and social media campaigns (Rey 2013) in order to increase brand visibility. As the feature is emerging there is much potential that can be gained for brands such as being more discoverable. The potential is to change the way people search online. Users may still use Google to search for factual information, but instead turn to Facebook for subjective recommendations (Osburn 2013).

SMART PHONES VS PC

MOBILE IS THE FUTURE, AND THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS COMMUNICATION OVERLOAD” – ERIC SCHMIDT, GOOGLE CHAIRMAN

http://michaeljbarber.com/delta-dental-of-missouri-mobile-research/

2012 saw more people purchase a smart phone than PC with 37% who used to access certain content on their PCs have now switched to accessing that content on their tablets and smartphones (Callaham 2013). Mobile devices are changing the way consumers interact with products and brands throughout the purchase process (Callaham 2013).

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IBM (2012) recently stated “leading marketers are more innovative across mobile and social channels engaging customers on an individual level”. Therefore, will focus on their mobile apps to increase engagement. The coca-cola app ‘Happy Places’, extending joy into social, encourages people to share their happy moments via a free mobile app.

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As the media continue to evolve, good quality pictures are becoming vital to content (Owens 2013). Barack Obama’s team tweeted an image of him hugging his wife above the words ‘Four more years’.
Within 12 hours, it had been retweeted nearly 700,000 times. Web 4.0 will see brands using images to advertise their brand rather than words. Although Web 4.0 still is in developing mode and the true shape is still forming, first signals are in that Web 4.0 will be about a linked web which communicates with us like we communicate with each other. Brands will have to closely replicate the customer experience in the offline world on the internet.

AN ONLINE BRAND IS BUILT WITH PR

2013 will see businesses invest more resources into social media and online PR than other marketing activity (Falkow Inc 2013). This is due to the growing digital world with major enhancements, which businesses need to discover before lagging behind. Every interaction a brand has with the public either builds or damages the brand.

The PR Report (2012) concluded that social media must become a core part of a company’s PR strategy. Facebook reached 1 billion users in 2012 (Webmoghuls 2012) ensureing a huge opportunity for brands reaching customers via the social media platform.

TRANSPARENCY IS KEY

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Owens (2013) believes brands need to broaden their approach to images. This makes sense in an age where transparency is seen as an increasingly important asset for companies.

SOCIAL MEDIA BRANDS

Mintel (2012) reported that 63% of consumers visit Facebook at least once a day, enabling a brand to build strong online presence. Branding via social media will see a mass audience from around the world with Oonline PR allowing a brand to launch campaigns in order to counteract negative publicity.

The road to a billion active users continues to march forward with quarterly user growth up by almost 6% and year over year growth up 30% (Barber 2013).

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(Barber 2013)

CONTENT PR ‘COCA-COLA JOURNEY’

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Coca-cola hasreplaced its corporate website with a dynamic, digital magazine, as a rich, socially enabled digital platform (Lacy 2012). Coke has outlined a new global direction for its brand strategy, focusing on creating content delivering the core message, allowing users to browse regularly refreshed content by type, defined as stories, opinions, brands, videos and blogs.

The Coca-Cola Company has a deeply entrenched brand laying the framework for a successful brad-centric online publication with channels such as branded blogs and social media pages. Coca-cola need to frequently update the content enough to build and maintain an engaged audience.

Social shares are one thing — but content becomes truly impactful when it asks the reader what he or she can add to the conversation.

Marketers build digital campaigns to connect with and influence customers (Facebook Studio 2012), however, many seek to optimise the impact of their ad campaigns. “99% of sales generated from online branding ad campaigns were people that saw, but did not interact with the ads” (Facebook Studio 2012). Therefore, delivering the message is more important than the ‘click’.

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Unlike traditional marketing, social media offers brands a chance to interact with consumers (Gleeson 2012). Online marketers are choosing Facebook over other digital channels to advertise their brand due to 800m current users (Facebook 2013). Before they are able to engage with customers, brands must build a dialogue that emphasises trust which can be awarded by providing value in a creative way (Gleeson 2012). 

Old Spice are recognised by their digital ad campaigns on YouTube, which can be shared through the social media platform. Their strong brand awareness resulted in Old Spice being the leading male body wash and deodorant brand in the US. Their social media campaign in 2010 saw sales to increase by 107% (Axon 2010). To top this off, their latest online interactions have seen a 800% rise in Facebook fans.

Brands can be found through search engine optimisation and creating brand awareness; this can be highly benefitted by a successful offline campaign. McDonald’s ‘Im Lovin’ it’ campaign can be regarded as highly successful when delivering their traditional brand in new ways; enhancing brand awareness.

In a highly fragmented media market, more and more brands are turning to the art of transmedia storytelling to turn online interaction into offline action. (Davis 2011). Jay-Z’s book ‘decoded’ witnessed an offline campaign leading to online action. Offline interaction occurred through billboards and bus shelters (Davis 2011) being enhanced by an interactive game. Jay-Z’s partnership with Microsofts Bing was a way to engage consumer’s with Bing’s new mapping software.

What should be considered is that people are very still very much participating in offline, with Vogue managing to increase its readership by 50% since 2000.

Introduction

Hello bloggers, welcome to my blog! I will be updating my blogs weekly from what we learn in our digital communication strategies seminars. Each post will be reflecting what I have learnt in my digital communication strategies lectures which will be integrated with wide reading to produce a professional, academic blog.

This blog will analyse emerging technologies such as 4G and Web 3.0 and the effects they will have on public digital communication. The blog will begin focus on online and offline campaigns by brands with the use of examples.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Axon. S., 2010. Old Spice Sales double with youtube campaign. UK: Mashable. Available from: http://mashable.com/2010/07/27/old-spice-sales/ [Accessed 19 March 2013]

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Chaney. P., 2013. Blogs used successfully as marketing tool. California: All Business. Available from: http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/internet-marketing/3874722-1.html#axzz2GdZGURMQ [Accessed 14 February 2013]

CIPR, 2013. What is PR?. London: Chartered of Institute of Public Relations. Available from:http://www.cipr.co.uk/content/careers-cpd/careers-pr/what-pr [Accessed 11 March 2013].

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