Peet’s Coffee & Team Survey

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Social trends we can’t ignore in 2016

2015 is almost over. As social continues to evolve, marketers must ask “what is next” and adapt to the ever changing social trends. The speed of social has always been dizzying — new platforms, behaviors, memes and audiences are created and forgotten every minute. The year ahead promises to keep on following this rhythm.

AdAge has a very interesting article about what marketers should be investing in and learning about next year. According to the article, “when it comes to social and digital marketing, 2016 is going to be an adapt-or-die year, one in which marketers will need to evolve as tectonic shifts in the way people use social networks and consume media on them will force massive change”.

Here are four social trends marketers can’t ignore next year:

1- Less broadcasting, more messaging, and the challenge of including a brand

Messaging platforms continue to grow in 2016, and are expected to expand from 2.5 billion to 3.6 billion global users by 2018 — already a full 25% larger than the audience for social media. While one-to-one messaging soars, Facebook has noted that its users are posting less and less — in fact, only 20% of millennials use broadcast social networks to post photos and videos at all.

Marketers face a critical challenge, trying to find authentic ways to fit their brands into one-to-one messaging platforms without annoying their audiences. Branded emoji keyboards are a strong first step into this space, but we’ll need more innovation. Currently, the two biggest players in the game — WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger — offer no advertising options for brands.

Globally, WhatsApp and Facebok Messenger dominate the market for messenger apps

2 – Snapchat isn’t the next Facebook or Instagram, but the new TV.

Marketers will realize that Snapchat isn’t social — it’s TV. Using Snapchat as an organic social channel isn’t cost-effective. Snapchat will serve for appointment-watching and awareness, and not for growing communities.

Ahead of the curve: Food Network launched their channel on Snapchat in January, 2015.

 

3 – Social networks are becoming closed systems you can never leave.

Snapchat doesn’t lead outside the network, Instagram and Facebook are making every effort to keep users from heading outside of its platforms. Brands will need to optimize for on-platform success and conversation, and minimize CTAs and clickthroughs.

4 – Social video will get more complex

Videos will need to be optimized for every platform it’s posted all the different cultural norms of each of those platforms in order to achieve success. It starts with YouTube, but then needs to be reshaped as a Facebook video, a Twitter video, an Instagram video and potentially a Vine or Tumblr video.

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170k people agree that Taylor Swift’s cat is adorable. A short video is perfect for Facebook or Instagram, not so much for YouTube.

 

What other trends you think marketers won’t be able to ignore? Leave your opinion in the comments!

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When a nation depends on an app

As a Brazilian living abroad and leaving hundreds on friends and family behind, I’ve never seen a bigger social media commotion from my mother nation on social media than…

the day WhatsApp stopped working in Brazil.

This Thursday (December 17), a Brazilian judge struck down a lower court ruling that ordered telecoms to block the popular messaging service for 48 hours, cutting communications for millions of users in the country. The lower court decision was ordered because WhatsApp would not hand over user information connected to a criminal case involving drug gangs in Sao Paulo. Mark Zuckerberg, who heads WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook (FB), indicated in a Facebook post that the case was related to the company’s attempt to guard customers’ data.

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After 12 hours from the blockage, another judge cited the lower court’s decision “unconstitutional” and ordered the telcom’s to resume WhatsApp services: “It’s unreasonable to punish millions of users because of the lapse of one company”. By then, around 1.5 million people had joined Telegram, a similar service offered by a Russian company.

WhatsApp is the single most used app in Brazil, with about 93 million users, or 93% of the country’s internet population. It’s a particularly useful service for Brazil’s youth and poor, many who cannot afford to pay the most expensive plans on the planet.

Brazilian telcom’s have been lobbying for months to convince the government that WhatsApp’s voice service is unregulated and illegal (not entirely unlike the taxi industry’s posture on Uber),  and have publicly blamed the “WhatsApp effect” for driving millions of Brazilians to abandon their cell phone lines.

It was incredible to me to see how people became dependent of a messaging app in Brazil. It was also funny to see people’s reactions on Twitter and other social media platforms.

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Twitter was full of posts about “me without WhatsApp”

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Web analytics and the importance of integrating with Social and SEO strategies

Web analytics consists in collecting, measuring, analyzing and reporting all activity on a website or other online asset in order to track consumer behavior. It can also be applied to social media assets, and be the base of search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Acquired data should be properly analyzed, and furthermore will result in actions that will help a business to achieve success. Business success can mean different things for different sites: an online store wants to sell items, a mobile app wants to get more users, or a YouTube channel wants the audience to stick around for the entire video and so on.

Tracking analytics enable businesses to check if their customers are acting how they expect. If not, these businesses can assess what is the “bump on the road”, and work towards directing customers to take the actions that comply with their objectives.

Interpreting these numbers and translating this data into data-driven business decisions can define the success or failure of all online experiences. Strategizing is important, but accessing the impact of every action can define the success or failure of a campaign or site. Analytics tools can track visits, visitors, sessions, bounce rates, conversions, engagements, etc.

How web analytics affect marketers and influence SEO and Social strategy?

Web Analytics allow us to find out exactly how our online asset is performing. Marketers use analytics to:

  • Measure and track results across time
  • Understand visitors, leads, prospects
  • Understand, track and improve the mechanisms used to convert your first visitor into a valuable customers.

Web analytics should be the base of our digital marketing related decisions, which most times involve SEO and Social Media strategies. It allows us to know our customers and its preferences. It can be inspiration for content creation in Social Media, or for a better and more user friendly webpage. It can inspire a business to cater to new and unexplored demographics or locations. It can help us create strategies based on dates of high sales or low sales. It gives marketers the possibility of understand, connect and serve customers with exactly what they are looking for. Happy customers are the key to a successful web business, and analytics is a way to achieve that.

For business success, it is crucial not only to measure, but also to act on those measurements. There are many ways to measure business impact through analytics tools, it is up to the analyst to choose the right tools and metrics, interpret data correctly (being careful not to collect data just for the sake of data collection), and taking action. As Avinash Kaushik very well said: “if you remember nothing else, remember this: life is about taking action, and if your work is not driving action, you need to stop and reboot.

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Travel planning made easier: using emerging media resources

After a year of hard work at my job, plus school, races, kickball leagues, social life, bla bla… It is finally time for my VACATION! I’m going to Thailand for 2 weeks and I could not be happier. It will be my first time in Asia and I’ve been dreaming about this day since I came back from my last backpacking trip to Europe in 2012.

Planning trips is a lot of work, but it is one of my favorite things to do. Most of my vacation time is used up going to Brazil to see my family, and for that, no planning is required. All the other times I have the opportunity to go travel, Skyscanner, The Flight Deal and the good ol’ Google are my favorite sites for research.

The one thing that changed majorly from 2011/2012, when I planned my 2 month Europe excursion, to 2015, is that physical travel guides are no longer my go-to. RIP Rick Steves’ guides! It was funny when I realized only a few days ago, that I am about 3 months into planning, and I haven’t touched a book.

In 2011 when I started planning Europe, I went to my local library and got about 4 travel guides. After spending an afternoon going through them all, I took some notes and chose my favorite book (and of course, my destinations in Europe). I ended up buying that book on my Kindle, and taking it with me to the old continent.

In 2015, here are my favorite sources for good ideas, hotels, destinations, and all things travel planning:

1 – Travel blogs

Just about everyone and their mom have a travel blog these days. Kids are leaving their corporate 9-5 job to live abroad, write a blog and collect revenue through ads and authority outreach. I can’t say I’m not jealous, they are living the dream and getting paid for it. In the end, I’m grateful because they make my traveler life a lot easier. Marek convinced me to go to Thailand. Kate chose Ko Lanta as my island destination. Steph even helped me pack. Guess who chose my itinerary? Yup, you are right. Many, many blogs read in the course of the last 3 months. Thanks, guys.

Adventurous Kate

Adventurous Kate left her job and became a full time traveler. Her blog is her income, and her life is full of adventure. Plus, she helps other travelers. Pretty amazing!

2 – Trip Advisor reviews

Oh, the word of mouth. The amount of time I spent reading reviews about hotels, activities, tours, restaurants and even transportation was no joke. It’s almost like every travel related question that I could think of it was already answered on Trip Advisor. I could not book any hotel or tour before reading reviews on Trip Advisor. These reviews are a great example of a modern day word of mouth. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. An opinion from a random person is still better than no opinion.

Technology has increased social connectivity making it easier than ever for consumers to do your marketing for you. A post that takes just a few minutes for a fan to write will be seen by hundreds of friends who trust them, and it can rapidly travel out to thousands more. The “modern day word of mouth marketing” directly influences brands and their reputation, and it is valuable to develop brilliant strategies as marketers.

3 – Facebook groups for travelers

Facebook secret groups are the biggest reason why I use Facebook. I am currently active on a group for girls from San Diego, where I live, Girls in general discussing girl problems, people who love to cook, people who likes to run marathons, and… girls who travel. It was so easy to find answers to any questions I have about my destination. According to this article, there are actually three of the possible types of groups on Facebook: public, closed and secret.

Screenshot of my favorite Facebook travel group. I learn so much from these posts!

Screenshot of my favorite Facebook travel group. I learn so much from these posts!

Marketers are starting to realize how important these groups are for creating a buzz for their product. In fact, many of the girls that answered my questions about my trip on the Travel Facebook group are there to promote their travel blogs. As a marketer, you can use the Secret Group to strike the balance of getting and receiving ideas, data, industry insights, or whatever information that can be useful for you and the secret members—to listen and at the same time share your marketing mojos for growth and success. As a traveler, I have to say that knowing from other travelers with similar interests made my trip planning a lot easier!

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Creating attractive email marketing

Although we studied email marketing briefly on IMC week 4, I did not have a chance to write about email yet. I had the opportunity to learn about email marketing on  my last job, sending bi-weekly newsletters about our network and inviting users to install our mobile app. That’s when I discovered Mailchimp.

I love Mailchimp. I highly recommend everybody who uses email as a marketing tool to check it out. The service is amazing to manage your mailing lists, design emails, and track the results of your campaigns.

It is very easy to make personalized campaigns in Mailchimp, including the person’s name, or even testing different versions of the email through their A/B testing tool.  You can also use it to track click patterns in the email, such as what sections of the email people clicked on, where customers are coming from, what are the bounce, open click through rates, and measure how many subscribers are visiting the hosted versions of your campaigns. They also make it very easy to connect to social media, what can be another asset of your marketing campaign.

When I used Mailchimp at my previous job, I was not aware it was possible to integrate their metrics with GA. I remember loving Mailchimp for easy usability and outstanding emails, but thinking that the analytics part of the site was sort of lacking. GA probably fills this gap really well.

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Newsletters created with Mailchimp. Possibilities are endless!

Email is an important part of any marketing strategy and increasing the amount of opt-ins is a critical factor to the effectiveness of email programs. When somebody subscribes to a company’s email list, or shows interest in this company’s brand, it is because they want to hear from this company in the future. The desire for promotions and discounts, exclusive content, and continued support of an organization drive the most opt-ins in email. Once the content is no longer relevant or the offer “doesn’t really move you”, people tend to not open the email or even unsubscribe from an email list. Only 20% of the people who receive a certain email will open it, so marketers should do everything not miss the chance of being seen, especially analyzing results from a campaign with more attentive eyes.

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Emerging media and its role in times of tragedy

This week, the world saw a terrible attack against citizens of Paris. A city accustomed with so much joy and beauty went through hours and hours of panic, over one hundred were dead and many were wounded. My heart aches for the ones affected. Hoping for a speedy recovery for this beautiful city and for more tolerance and compassion from human beings.

Social media played an important part on this sad incident. Almost everyone with an active profile on any platform had something to say, from condolences to opinion. On Friday night, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Joann Sfar published a series of cartoons that convey his sadness and anger on Instagram, as reports emerged that people had been killed in a string of attacks across the city. Here is one:

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Facebook made the Safety Check page available, where people living in Paris or currently traveling in the area could mark themselves safe. The feature was first activated in April, when Nepal was affected by a deadly earthquake. Once again, people could use the feature to tell friends and family that they are ok.

The feature works like this: Facebook uses geolocation to identify users who live or may be traveling in an area affected by a disaster. The social-media network then sends these users a notification asking about their safety, and encouraging them to “check in” to let friends know that they are safe.

Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page: “When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters”. I was relieved to see that all my Parisian friends were safe.

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On Twitter, Paris-based Twitter users created the hashtag #PorteOuverte, which translates to ‘open door — urging other users to open up their doors to those affected by the attacks, and inviting anyone affected to take shelter in their homes.

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It is interesting to see how social media interacts with tragedies like this one. I applaud the initiative by Facebook, and all the French citizens opening their doors to the ones in need.

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Using data collection to personalize marketing efforts online and… in store!

In our class this week, I had the opportunity to analyze an article from A List Apart on Content Strategy for Personalized Websites. It immediately made me think of how online beauty subscription e-commerce site Birchbox is not only using website analytics to personalize their online offerings, but their physical store promotions are well. 59% of online shoppers say it is easier to find interesting products on personalized e-commerce stores, and 45% are more likely to shop on a store that offers personalized recommendations. Let’s see how Birchbox is handling this opportunity.

Data collection and offerings

Birchbox knows that using analytics can help the company learn about their visitors, understand the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and optimize their store for conversions and sales. The company can measure traffic and visitors through multiple sources, especially because many of their insights come from social media, email marketing and engagement with their website content. According to their privacy policy, Birchbox tracks past purchases and collects customer personal Information in order to provide a more enjoyable and convenient shopping experience, and identify information, products or services that may be of interest to their users.

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Birchbox

In-store analytics for consumer insight

Here is where Birchbox is the most innovative, in my opinion. Aside from web and mobile traffic, Google Analytics uses tracking codes to acquire behavioral data from physical points of sale as well. The Measurement Protocol add information coming from other digital devices, like information kiosks or tablets located in-store.  Birchbox opened its first store in New York City last year, and according to its co-founders, it won’t be so much a venue for additional retail sales as a treasure trove of consumer insight. Both the iPads throughout the store, which recommend products, and the Product Matchmaker, which offers customized suggestions based on a person’s features such as hair texture and skin type, will track what in-store shoppers, in aggregate, click on, and try to determine how that influences purchase behavior.

Birchbox opening

Birchbox Cofounders Katia Beauchamp (left) and Hayley Barna experiment with their product-recommendation software (Source: BizJournal).

Birchbox is using cameras and heat sensors to track customers as they make their way around the store, seeing which products they’re attracted to and how they use the iPads. The idea is also to add WiFi analytics and integrate the Birchbox app to the store. When connected to WiFi, the app would be enabled to send push advertisements and collect customer data, like how many times the user has visited Birchbox and what products they have purchased.

Do you think this shopping experience is innovating and useful, or rather creepy? Would you rather have customized suggestions of what to buy or be left alone at the store? Tell me what you think about Birchbox’s personalization strategy in the comments!

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How McDonald’s described a subculture in a one minute ad

An ethnic subculture is a self-perpetuating group of consumers who share common cultural or generic ties, where both its members and others recognize it as a distinct category. Inspired by the discussion we had in class this week, I would like to talk about McDonald’s ad “First Customer”, which is clearly targeted at the Hispanic minority in the US.

“First Customer” is a charming, beautifully-acted spot following a teenager’s first day at his first-ever job, behind the counter at McDonald’s. His excited Hispanic parents are his first customers, chatting in Spanish and snapping photographs. At the end, his slightly-older, non-Hispanic manager tells him not to worry about his parent’s antics because “mine took video“. See the ad clicking below:

The McDonald’s ad successfully target Hispanics in the United States because it doesn’t solely translates to Spanish the same commercial they targeted to other cultures. It shows a situation that seems to be common to families of other ethnicities (as the non-Hispanic manager makes it clear) but localizing it and making it special to Hispanics. The use of Hispanic slang/words, the mix of English and Spanish words in the ad (which is exactly like Hispanic families in the United States speak), and parents representing really well the “Hispanic family way of acting towards their children” make this ad very relevant to this subculture. It makes good business sense to cater to these segments by (literally) speaking their language when promoting ads and services and this ad was successful on that.

McDonald’s as a company is known to heavily advertise to ethnic and racial minorities. According to McDonald’s US Chief Marketing Officer, “the ethnic consumer tends to set trends, so they help set the tone for the marketplace”. All criticisms aside, with this ad, McDonald’s wants to be seen as a good work environment for teenagers looking for their first job, and a good food option to Hispanic families.

In addition, this commercial is successful targeting the Hispanic minority as McDonald’s tries to tie their food with the family ties and the ”familism” concept, which is very strong in Latino culture. According to the National Council of La Raza, the act of having a family meal is more important than the food the family is eating. As a member of the Latino minority (although not the Hispanic group), I can vouch for that! 🙂

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Are Google and Facebook really free?

“’Don’t be evil.’” Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But “Don’t be evil” is much more than that. Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect”.

This is the first paragraph of Google’s code of conduct. While many people who use Google on a day to day basis don’t bother to read the whole code, the motto is widely spread in the company. Google owns most of the applications we use on the Internet daily (such as the top-ranked search portal and widely popular email service and traffic monitoring, just to name a few), and offers mostly free services in exchange for our private data. This acquired data is what powers the most successful ad network, and what keeps Google in business. Because Google knows its audience so well, they can offer carefully tailored ads to customers that are actually interested in them. For investors, Google “generates revenue primarily by delivering relevant, cost-effective online advertising”. The AdWords and AdSense programs are Google’s main revenue source: around 90% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising. Google is not only a search engine with 75% of market share; it is also a very successful advertising company.

Now, giving Google so much information about ourselves is what enables them to offer exactly what we are looking to buy or use. That is the price we pay for using Google products. Google promises to “not be evil”, and use this information specifically for what they list on product’s privacy and security policies. However, we can’t help but wonder if they are really not “being evil” with our information.

Maybe even more than Google, Facebook is another company that have access to a high amount of personal information. Once a while we see status updates from our friends not granting to Facebook the right to use our personal information, but they certainly forgot that they already agreed to share their data with the social media giant once they signed up to create their profiles. One in seven people in the world is connected to Facebook. Every day, thousands of Facebook users are subjects of social research, without even realizing it. Researchers from various areas such as social sciences, psychology and neuroscience use Facebook data to understand aspects of human behavior. While the usual sample size for some of these researchers in the offline world is of about 20 people, the sample size that Facebook made possible for these scientists to analyze is from thousands, sometimes millions, from different backgrounds and locations.

These companies have made our lives a lot easier, and today, it is almost impossible to live without using what they provide. I am not only not concerned about sharing data with them, I’m also thankful for all the services they can offer free of charge, and with state of the art platforms that are reliable and trustworthy. I appreciate when my information is used for purposes of offering relevant information (Google) or connecting people (Facebook). To me, the biggest problem starts when my information is not used for the purposes stated in privacy policies, for instance when our personal data ends up on the hands of hackers.

Hackers and data breaches

Think about how many interactions you have every day that involve information exchange: credit and debit cards, passwords all over the web, smartphone apps that require you to register with your social media profile and requires permission to access your feed or friends information, maps on your phone and so on. Not to mention “offline” ways to acquire information, such as loyalty cards at the grocery store, or even medical information once you own a health insurance plan. These days, every single company available owns some piece of information about ourselves, and even the most careful about their data security can find roadblocks when trying to preserve their privacy.

While these companies have a compromise with their customers to keep their data private, not always they succeed. Companies such as Target, Home Depot and eBay suffered with recent data breaches, which leaked personal information from hundreds of thousands (sometimes even millions) of customers to the hands of hackers.

World's biggest data breaches

World’s biggest data breaches until 2014 (click to expand)

The trade off

Do you agree with sharing your personal information in exchange for free services that you use every day, just like Google or Facebook? Would you rather pay for those services and not have them keep your personal information? How do you keep your personal data safe from hackers? Share your opinion in the comments!

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