The Rise of Social Commerce (s-Commerce)
We've seen companies like Amazon and Facebook transition from a laser-focused CD and movie source and social media network respectively, into multi-faceted money making machines. Amazon has positioned itself as THE online marketplace in the United States and has diversified into other web services like hosting and marketing as well as developing its own distribution infrastructure to the point that it can rival virtually any logistics company and it has its sights set on grocers too.
Meanwhile, Facebook has gone from cool collegiate exclusivity to the most ubiquitous social channel in the world. Recently, Facebook revealed that it would amplify its existing e-commerce ads to account for showcase shopping ads. Just like Google, Facebook is taking advantage of their online resources to help advertisers push more merchandise just in time for holiday shopping. The new ad format allows advertisers to display one main picture with several product images that would, ostensibly, have their own unique landing pages. This gives the potential consumer a broader understanding of what the retailer may be selling and what's specially priced.
Pandora's box is open and there's no going back. Linking a bank account to everyone's personal Facebook page isn't far off and this may raise security concerns all over the world, but for now, social media will undoubtedly see a rise in sell-through, especially with reasonably priced impulse buys. It will continue to command an ever-increasing amount of your advertising budget as their ads evolve in terms of what can be done with them creatively and who can be targeted strategically. Currently, only a few heavy hitters are testing out the new format, but look for a wider roll-out soon with other companies following suit in 2017. Admittedly, I laughed derisively when some people claimed that Facebook was coming for Google. Well, it appears that not only do they want to compete with Google, but with Amazon and Alibaba as well. What's more is that they seem to have the golden touch right now and I wouldn't put anything past them.
The Golden Apple
AT&T will no longer be a part of the 30 companies counted toward the calculation of the Index. This comes on the heels of a 7-1 stock split by Apple, which lowered the price/share to a much more reasonable $125. Apple is one of, if not THE most valuable company out there and it will no doubt rev up the DOW engine, and potentially bloat the index initially. I can't help but be excited even though I know the metrics will be somewhat skewed initially. This is an exciting time as numbers in most major indexes are seeing record numbers. Some will say that this is a bubble nearing an explosion, but on the other side of that spatial model, they will tell you that the DOW could approach 23,000 within a year or two. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle. Whatever the case may be, I look forward to what is to come of it.
Guide To World Cup Advertising Success
The World Cup is a great place to raise brand awareness, but probably isn't the event you're going to debut a new product or unveil a revolutionary idea. This is simply because the World Cup has a global viewership and is fragmented based largely upon national allegiances. For instance, viewership in England among women increases from 38% to 46% when their native country is playing (The Guardian, June 2010). Another reason for this is that the event takes place over the course of a month and is similar to March Madness in that regard.
Because many companies see the World Cup as an opportunity to showcase their business on a global scale, the creative is top-notch. This may be one of the reasons that the ads resonate with women more than with men, although the viewership skews more male than female.
In an event that showcases superstars like Messi, Suarez, Neymar, and Ronaldo…this is your opportunity to make your business the hero. YOU'RE the superstar. Now is not the time to do a human interest piece that tugs at your heart strings. Promote the brand early.
Unexpected ads that work within the context of the World Cup seem to gain traction among viewers. The popular ” I believe that we will win” chant that the USA has adopted, might be a good example of how a business might pair nationalism, fanaticism, and product placement if it fits with the brand.
Celebrity endorsements are hit and miss. It would take a global superstar with incredible recognition for this to work they way people are accustomed.
Finally, clarity of vision is paramount.
So, there you have it! Take these tips and corner kick them to your best play-maker for a game-winning header and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
The Epic Battle for Net Neutrality
What is net neutrality? Well, net neutrality is the “principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Basically, one website can’t be favored over another in terms of speed or accessibility just because they paid for it.
Typically, when this topic is discussed, proponents of net neutrality mention how consumers will not be given equal access to internet content such as streaming services unless the website or the consumer pays for it. They argue that smaller websites who cannot pay outrageous fees to keep their content accessible will fail. Freedom of internet speech will be given only to large corporations with enough money to pay for it. This is true, but not the only problem. All small businesses, not only those in entertainment, will be hurt if the internet is not kept open and accessible.
Smaller marketing firms, and by extension other small businesses, will be hurt tremendously if net neutrality ceases to exist. Small businesses often rely on the internet as a cost-effective form of advertising. The internet allows small businesses to reach people around the world at a much cheaper rate than traditional media. If net neutrality is abolished, small businesses will no longer be able to compete against large corporations for cheap ad-space on the internet. Large corporations will have the money to advertise on sites that are more accessible to consumers.
In short, this is a very big deal. Just ask Netflix…who had a brief fallout with Comcast…their streaming content was streaming noticeably slower until they reached a compromise with the internet service provider. Lo and behold, in February, they began to see an immediate improvement (or perhaps just restoration of where it once was) in streaming speed. Netflix was literally held hostage by Comcast until its demands were met. It's naive to think they playing field will ever be completely level, but steps should definitely be taken to ensure that we're doing all we can.
Super Bowl vs Olympics vs World Cup
This is the epitome of comparing apples to oranges. The Super Bowl is a single-day television event, largely isolated to just the United States. The Winter Olympics, while international, doesn't have the same kind of viewership that the Summer Olympics has, possibly because it largely excludes countries that don't participate in winter sports. The Winter Olympics also has the advantage of putting up large numbers because it is televised on multiple stations that showcase multiple events over the course of a couple weeks.
The World Cup trumps even the Olympics. It is a month-long event that takes place in the summer and televises the world's most popular game to an international audience. Corporate sponsorships are priced ~$75 million per sponsorship. That's nearly 20 times the cost of a Super Bowl ad, BUT this includes a lot of bonus spots and a confirmed number of spots that eclipses 400. This puts increased pressure on agencies and corporations to keep their message fresh because no one wants to be diluted with the same commercial over 400 times for a month.
The Olympics offers more competitive rates over a sustained period, but ratings will likely diminish based on time of day, event, and so forth…Figure skating may not appeal to a younger audience, whereas snowboard superpipe may not appeal to an old crowd.
The trick to determining whether or not to advertise during one of these highly visible sporting events is to do some thorough cost analysis and opportunity cost analysis and decide which suits your target demographic best. Will the impression you get with a Super Bowl ad give you the frequency you want? Will the frequency you get with a World Cup or Olympics ad reach the number of people you want it to reach (think Croatia vs Cameroon in the WC or Curling for the Olympics)?
Regardless of what happens, the CPM will continue to rise and so will the price for a single spot (as high as $10 million/ 30 seconds for the Super Bowl by 2040). Why does this happen? It's not just because of the VOLUME of people reached, but the quality of ads increases on the world's biggest stages. During the Super Bowl, people don't turn the channel, the viewership of advertisements actually EXCEEDS that of the game itself! Exciting times indeed….