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Foursquare Ads Now Open to All Small Businesses Worldwide

Foursquare ads

Back in June we reported that Foursquare was offering a paid promotions program to New York City based businesses in a limited pilot.

Today Foursquare announced that its paid ads program now is open to all small businesses.  The company says it has 1.5 million claimed-business users.  The expanded ad program would give business access to consumers in the pool of 40 million consumers that use Foursquare.  An update on the company’s blog notes:

“Here is a problem that all local business owners know: They want to get more customers, but tons of people walk by their storefront without coming in. We created Foursquare Ads to solve this problem. We can connect great local businesses with the people nearby that are most likely to become customers.

Today, we’re opening Foursquare Ads to all small businesses around the world. We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a “like” or a “click” has any meaning in the real world; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store.”

Ads appear at the top of the user’s list, in a different color along with the word “Promoted” next to them (see image above next to the arrow).

Businesses can create an ad using the Foursquare ad platform online or via mobile.  Businesses will only be charged for a consumer who actually ”acts on your ad – either by tapping to see your business details or by checking in at your business.”

The ads will be shown to those consumers who are near your business and who Foursquare says are likely to become customers.  Foursquare will evaluate the consumer based on whether they’ve checked in previously at similar places or searching for something similar to your business.  Foursquare says it will never show your ad to someone who is already at your business — thus you won’t be giving up discounts to those who are already customers.

Right now American Express is offering a $50 ad credit to U.S. based small businesses to try the new Foursquare ads.

Nothing else about how you use Foursquare as a business appears to have changed.  It remains to be seen whether this will result in less activity unless you pay for it.

 

 

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Important Things To Remember When Planning An Integrated Marketing Campaign

mp900387728The American Association of Advertising Agencies was the first organization to define the term integrated marketing in 1989.  They defined it as, “an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other”.  A lot of time has passed since the AAAA first defined what the new marketing approach was, but not much has fundamentally changed in the idea since it was defined.  Over the past decade internet marketing has really changed the world of marketing, and now business and companies from around the world are looking for the best way to advertise to their customers.

Despite the new kinds of marketing methods people use, it’s seems that integrated marketing is the best way to get customers excited and engaged about a product.  It’s very possible that you’re company is using an integrated marketing approach without even being aware of it.  If you launch a print ad campaign for a certain product along with an online campaign and a TV campaign, you’ve been using integrated marketing.  If you want to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your next integrated marketing approach, be sure to focus on these following things.

Leverage

Many companies choose to use an integrated marketing approach because one method of advertising may have other positive qualities and attributes that another is lacking.  And when companies decide to use the two different methods, one method’s positive attributes can make up for what the other is lacking.  Leveraging the strengths of one method to offset the weakness of another can do a lot to improve the effectiveness of your campaign and may also even be able to reduce the costs.

The proper leveraging of marketing methods requires an in-depth understanding of each method, and an in-depth understanding can only come from research of the past marketing methods you’ve used.  Take time to think about successful ad campaigns that you’ve had in the past, and once you figure out which methods worked best and which ones didn’t, you can know which methods you can use to leverage each unique strength and weakness.

Return on Investment (ROI)

The most creative and groundbreaking advertising campaign won’t help a company if it’s too expensive for them to finance.  Sustainable and stable business requires profit, and conducting an integrated marketing campaign that’s too expensive won’t help your business in the long run.  In today’s advertising world there are far too many people who mistake “influence” and “identity” with “investment”.  Any ad campaign that doesn’t improve relationships with current customers, increase profits, or reduce operating costs is simple a waste of resources.  If you have an ad campaign and can’t clearly define how it will cause any of the previous things to happen, you need to rethink your approach.

Cooperation

Your integrated marketing campaign is probably going to require some of your departments to work together to make it happen.  Sending frequent email updates and simple communication isn’t enough to make an integrated marketing campaign work.  Your sales department, customer service department, social media team, and regular marketers all need to be able to work together in order to make a large campaign work.  Before you start developing an integrated marketing campaign, make sure that your employees are truly ready to handle it.

Featured images:

James Cash is a marketing specialist and part time writer.

 

 

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Facebook’s Advertising Is Starting To Spiral Out Of Control

Two weeks ago, Facebook FB -0.99%announced that it hit one million advertisers using the site for the first time ever.

And boy does it show.

Something has changed with Facebook in recent months, and it’s not just another redesign that has people up in arms writing chain letters and staging online sit-ins in the hopes of a reversion. Rather, the switch has been a dramatic increase in the volume of ads on Facebook, so much so that the site sometimes looks like a domain squatter landing page.

A common question asked of Facebook is whether it will be around five years from now, ten years from now, and so on. Though it’s seemingly a staple of life these days, the internet is fickle, and what once was popular can fall out of favor just as quickly. And Facebook appears to be trying its hardest to make that happen.

We can debate the functionality of the site another day. Facebook has tried to wear many masks in order to stay relevant over the past few years. It believes its chat and message systems can compete with Gmail. It was letting people upload videos and pictures before Vine and Instagram were cool, yet both are now more trendy than the site itself. You can follow celebrity or public figure posts now the way you would on Google GOOG -0.27% Plus. The site has even added Twitter’s hash tags now, so you can see what hundreds of other people who don’t understand their privacy settings are doing on #friday.

But this isn’t the topic of the day. Rather, it needs to be shown just how bad the advertising angle of Facebook is getting, particularly compared to its competition. All sites on the internet are in direct competition with each other, after all, and if one suddenly becomes overloaded with ads to the point of absurdity, the others will see their fortunes rise.

We’ll start out slow here with a few sites that are going after Facebook specifically. Here’s what the 100% ad free home page of Google Plus looks like.

Google can of course afford to do this because they make so much from advertising elsewhere, and truthfully, not that many people use G+ to make it worth their while to advertise. I’ve never been Google Plus’s biggest fan, but the lack of ads makes for a very clean, friendly homepage.

Then we have Pinterest (my fiancée’s homepage), also ad free:

Pinterest is still relatively new, and if it maintains its popularity, I imagine that one or two of these images may turn into ads someday. But still, it’s not much, and for now, there’s nothing intrusive at all.

Moving down the list, we have Twitter. Just like Facebook, there are sponsored Tweets in your view immediately when you pull up your homepage, but usually only one, and it takes up a tiny amount of real estate.

Then we have a site like Reddit, time-wasting capital of the internet. It too has a “sponsored” link across the top, and also a box ad on the side, though this time it’s advertising itself.

Here is Cracked, which I pulled to represent the millions of ad-supported internet blogs which do have banner ads, but again, they’re not taking over most of the screen.

And now we have Facebook:

The ad on my homepage is a “suggested post” from “JackThreads,” an outlet I’ve never heard of, nor one that Facebook claims is even liked by any of my friends to at least make it tangentially relevant to me. Perhaps I’m being shown it simply because I’m an 18-30 year old male in their target demographic, but that’s the only loose connection to me I can think of. Yet there it is, my number one news feed story, joining the fixed column of other ads on the right hand side of the page. As you can see, when I pull up my news feed, the amount of actual content I can see because of the ad is shockingly low.

I will admit it’s not always the case that an ad is my lead story when I pull up Facebook, but I’d say I see one a solid 40-50% of the time. And if it isn’t there immediately, it’s only a scroll or two down the list.

But it doesn’t stop there. Facebook has a secondary tier of ads based on pages you’ve dared to “like” over the years. Way back when, I listed some of my favorite TV shows on my profile so others could see what I was watching. Eventually, Facebook forced these “likes” to be linked to the actual brand pages of the show or product you were talking about, and as a result, any of their postings would not appear in your news feed. It’s what’s led to situations like this:

Yes, that’s right. My entire visible Facebook news feed is now 100% ads the moment I arrive on the site. I assure you this isn’t photoshopped. You could argue that it’s my fault for liking Parks and Recreation and Dexter publicly on my profile, and I could take them off if I wanted to, but I’ve hidden so many of these days “opt-out” ads at this point, I’ve just given up. I’m tempted to simply erase my interests from my profile altogether. And before you bring it up, I’m morally opposed to AdBlock as I make my living through (hopefully non-intrusive) internet ads. But I understand the appeal because of situations like this.

You see the point here. Facebook is going to start losing market share to sites that don’t treat their userbase like they’re products to be bought and sold. Advertising is absolutely a part of the internet, we all understand and accept that, but Facebook is starting to feel like it’s adopted ads as its primary purpose, losing functionality as a welcoming social network in the process.

It’s simply a turn off to arrive on the landing page of a supposedly “social” site and see a screen that’s anywhere from 60% to 100% ads. Facebook needs to do some soul searching and figure out whether it needs to be serving the needs of its million advertisers or its billion users first.

I’ve reached out for comment to see if they agree.

Update: At my editor’s request, we’re getting meta with it.

Not so bad, huh?

But our homepage needs some work, if I can be self-critical.

And that autoplaying video ad needs to go. Welp, hopefully I still have a job here…

 

 

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