Tracking Web Users: Confusing Consumers For Profit?

Cartoon Man With Magnifying Glass Viewing Man Viewing ComputerThere’s a lot we take for granted in our web browsing. There’s all that tracking of where we go and what we do – even if we do nothing. And don’t get me started on privacy policies, terms and conditions and all the other ridiculously long scrolling admonitions we often agree to with a knee-jerk response to end the tedium and get on with what we came for.

Nate Cordozo has an excellent story about this on Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s site. If a business model wouldn’t work if users had to opt in, it deserves to fail. Maybe if we flipped the funnel so to speak, we’d get a far better web user experience. If every site had a default “NO Tracking” setting, we’d start to reassert some autonomy of our virtual lives.

Then again, maybe that’s the point. The more we get used to ‘sharing’ everything in our virtual world, and I use that term loosely, then we’ll be used to submitting to all sorts of other practices, policies and laws designed to constrain what we as free humans can do .

When do you think the last time that “This call is being recorded for training and customer service” actually resulted in either? Why should we think web tracking will be any different?

Evergreen Content Ideas That Get Results

Lifetime Value Of A Blog PostA great post by Graham Charlton came across my desk that opened up some new possibilities for maximizing the lifetime value of content.

Check out the 14 examples of evergreen content formats that work wonders.

Here’s some other interesting metrics on content value in a new study titled “Lifetime Value of a Blog Post” that uncovers some surprising information about  the full value of blog content.

 

.

A Design Tools Survey

Sailing in the whirlwind of content creation and content optimization, it’s essential to use tools to help with the workflow and keep from drowning in irrelevant detail. Here are some places to start when considering what works best for your process.

Khoi Vinh recently released his inaugural design tools survey. Vinh has been following the tools ecosystem for some time. The survey focuses on six tasks designers manage: brainstorming, wireframing, interface design, prototyping, project management, and version control and file management.

The heart of the survey asked participants to report on their favorite tools for each of six major design tasks.

Check out the results.  Design Tool Categories

6 Reasons Publishers Have the Upper Hand On Content Marketing Services

Woman Whispering In Man's Ear

Conversation

Who’s better positioned to tell people what’s new, special or important to pay attention to than publishers? .  reported Publishing Executive hosted its first ever Publishing & Media Lab at Content Marketing World in Cleveland.

The hands-on workshop explored how publishers can develop and scale content marketing services for brands. Eric Shanfelt, president and founder of eMedia Strategist has it right. Content marketing is publishing.

Besides the six reasons reported, a highly relevant editorial calendars and content marketing services are powerful tools publishers are already adept at optimizing. All the elements for success are in place. They are easy, engaging and effective.avenues to rewarding experiences, deepening reader relationships, enhanced reputation and of course, revenue.

I wish I could have attended Content Marketing World. Next year?

Socks With Sandals Comes Full Fashion Forward

Rainbow Socks With Flip flopsHow do you set a trend? Sometimes it’s not giving a shit about what other people think. Wearing socks with sandals is now fashionable once more. If you live in California and wear them rear round, a nice heavy sock is a welcome addition to the Winter comfort zone.

Don’t believe me, check out this story by Stu Woo and Ray A Smith from the Wall Street Journal. 

‘Choice’ In The Subject Line Boosts Engagement

Man Overwhelmed by beverage choices @lauriesullivan, at Media Post shared some interesting data regarding engagement results from email and text message campaigns. Engagement where the recipient has a ‘choice’ in the matter, i.e., click to request a coupon versus just sending the coupon, had a significant impact on open rates and conversions.

Experian Marketing Services released its quarterly email benchmark report Q2 2015 focusing on engagement rates and duel subscriber rates, those who subscribe to email and some sort of alternative communication, like mobile text of push messages on their device.

“Customers who texted to get a coupon were more willing to complete a purchase than those receiving a push campaign, but both message types were successful in generating revenue.”

Analysts also looked at consumers who subscribe to both email, whether opened on a smartphone or desktop, and some other form of communication such as mobile text or push messages on their device.

In the analyses of SMS and MMS messaging programs from two brands it turns out dual subscribers were 3.9 times more likely to complete transactions than email-only customers. Transaction rates for mobile campaigns were 10-times higher than those for email campaigns

More than half of all email opens and 38% of clicks occur on mobile devices, but sometimes it takes two channels to make a campaign work. So, to better understand the value of mobile subscribers, Experian Marketing Services analyzed case studies from two brands with on-going SMS and MMS messaging programs. In both cases, analysts could attribute transactions to mobile campaign data by subscriber.

Consider this: signing up to receive emails, subscribers can open those emails on desktop, tablet, e-reader or mobile device. Mobile SMS and MMS require a separate opt-in. In the first analysis, “Brand A,” which sends emails and SMS messages announcing seasonal products, wanted to see if email subscribers who also provide their mobile phone numbers transact more in any one channel, compared with email-only subscribers.

Comparing both, Experian found significant increases in the percentage of mobile and email subscribers who had completed transactions. Dual subscribers (22.5%) were 3.9-times more likely to make a transaction, compared with email only subscribers (5.7%).

The second study with another brand analyzed SMS and MMS campaigns during eight months from another brand. It compared two types of mobile campaigns for Brand B, broadcast campaigns, in which the brand pushed SMS to the subscriber, such as a sale starts tomorrow, and pull campaigns, in which customers texted to get an offer such as “Save 25% off with in-store coupon- code XXX123.”

SMS push or broadcast campaigns made-up more than 95% of the volume, but pull messages added to stronger transaction results. It also compared transaction rates with Experian email benchmarks finding that mobile transaction rates were more than 10-times higher than the all industry average email transaction rate at 0.64% for all mobile campaigns compared to 0.06% for all industry email.

Customers who texted to get a coupon were more willing to complete a purchase than those receiving a push campaign, but both message types were successful in generating revenue. The overall revenue per message was $0.32, which is more than 3-times higher than the all industry revenue per email for this period at $0.09.

The Best Of Content Marketing From Convince And Convert

The Best Of Content Marketing From Convince And Convert

Digital Content Marketing AdvisorsThis is a great resource for those affected by the never ending stream of things to pay attention to about content marketing.

The thing is, there’s a lot worth paying attention to. Convince and Convert tells you what’s important to pay attention to. If content marketing is going to be successful, the content has to be optimized. This is  great  place to acquaint yourself with the some of the possibilities.

The Content Marketing Teams post was a huge relief. I was expecting outcomes from teams of 4 to 10 with a team of one. Thanks for the reality check.

See more about content marketing on the Convince & Convert blog by visiting:
http://www.convinceandconvert.com/category/content-marketing/

 

Why Publishers Should Act Like Agencies

Here are three good ideas publishers can use to add value to their operations.

Popular Magazine Covers

For today’s digital publishers, it’s not enough to simply publish—they need to be able to play the agency role, too.

Think about it like this: Digital agencies offer a central channel where an ad can be purchased on any site or device, whereas standalone publishers can only place ads on the properties they own and operate. To meet broader needs and solidify their presence in the publishing world, publishers need to adopt an agency mindset to fully appeal to advertisers’ multifaceted needs.

What Makes a Good Publisher Great?
Many publishers are capable of racking up page views organically or by buying traffic, but just as many have a tough time meeting an advertiser’s laundry list of needs. Strong publishers know their audience—and their audience’s behavior. They use that information to target their own site, which is all well and good, but they shouldn’t stop there. Publishers need to target the same audience from other websites, too.

That’s what agencies do, and it’s what publishers need to be better at in order to boost their revenue. In other words, a publisher needs to be able to buy ad inventory on other sites, targeting visitors who have been to the publisher’s site before—its audience—on behalf of the advertiser. This is known as reach extension or audience extension, and it’s executed using digital signal processing technology. DSP also enables the associated analytics to be aggregated. This transactional relationship allows businesses to scale, which is the main goal of operating like agencies.

Here’s why it’s important for publishers to serve advertisers’ ads on sites other than their own:

  • Margin: The retail-like dynamic that’s created allows publishers to increase their margins. For example, let’s say Publisher A is a trusted partner to Advertiser B. A’s position allows her to help B find audiences anywhere on the web—with, let’s say, a $4 CPM. Via ad exchanges and supply-side platforms—the technology layer that publishers use to make their inventory available for purchase in the real-time bidding marketplace—A finds the best audience for B for a $2 CPM. B wins because she saves the time and money she would have had to spend looking for this audience, and A wins because she gains access to a larger share of the ad budget.
  • Retargeting:Advertisers commonly use a model for conversion attribution that gives most of the credit (and, therefore, most of the ad revenue) for a customer conversion to the ad tech partner serving the ad the customer saw last. Publisher A won’t benefit when she impacts the customers’ purchases early on. But if she can use her own DSP systems to retarget the customers who visited her site—instead of passing the data along to a third party—the last-click attribution is hers for the taking. In turn, this crucial capability can improve client retention and renewals.
  • Video:Most publishers don’t use video as much as they could for content and ads. On top of that, video ads draw in premium CPMs. Advertiser demand continues to cause premium video inventory to sell out. But publishers can use the same technology that vendors use to access and buy ad inventory and audiences outside their own websites. Just because Publisher A isn’t YouTube doesn’t mean she can’t buy YouTube inventory to make money by securing more video ad spend from Advertiser B.

Solutions are flooding the market, and any given advertiser may be working with a slew of vendors. Publishers offering the ability to advertise solely on their own properties aren’t necessarily out of the game, but those who can step up and serve virtually all of an advertiser’s needs have a distinct advantage.

It’s time for publishers to start acting like agencies by locating customers anywhere on the web to supply everything advertisers need, pull ahead of the pack, and increase revenue.

Katie Risch Author’s page

Katie Risch is the senior vice president of publisher development for Centro. Katie leads the company’s strategic relationships with more than 10,000 publisher partners, boosting publishers’ revenue and business growth.