Are You Missing the Boat on Online Video Advertising?

[A Quick Catch Up on Online Video’s Reinvention of Advertising]
As most of my readers know, I’ve been an “evangelist” for the digital video revolution, especially as it applies to the democratization of media, for many years. By now, the explosion and importance of online video via YouTube and other hosting platforms (from Wistia and Vimeo to Brightcove and Ooyala, among others) should be obvious to everyone. What is not so apparent to many people is the opportunity to use online video advertising as a highly-targeted attraction engine.

The game changer over the past few years has been the move to online, streaming video for virtually every kind of communication and entertainment. Advancements in video technology mean huge benefits for society as the power of video is now in everyone’s hands—quite literally due to smart phones, on both the video creation and video consumption side of things. These advancements combined with mobile video’s remarkable reach means even bigger benefits for advertisers. 

In fact, the shift from desktop online video advertising to mobile advertising has been nothing short of astonishing. To give you a sense of how big this shift is, consider this: In the fourth quarter of 2013, the number of ads showing on tablets was almost tripled from the previous quarter, according to a FreeWheel TV report in USA Today. Plus, that leap in growth was ten times (10x!) faster than the consumption of video ads on desktops.

Bottom line, this is just the beginning. Mobile is still in its infancy. The original iPad was just introduced four years ago.

Multiple Types of Video Content and Placements

Vine growth statsOne of the more fascinating aspects of online video advertising is the wide variety of video types that advertisers are starting to use. The traditional broadcast video advertisement, which is served up in 30-second segments and interrupts consumers’ viewing to blatantly peddle a product or service (in a format that is frequently skipped via DVRs), is not what is working in the same ways any longer. In fact, the exact opposite is what is thriving online. YouTube, for example, is full of informative, how-to videos that are less “commercial” and more informative. This approach connects with my marketing philosophy of attracting and engaging, rather than straight sales pitches.

The way video and entertainment is consumed has also driven the adoption of new types of videos that are working in other ways. Skyword reports that a Mobile Marketing Association study showed that video ads of 15 seconds or less and non-skippable were viewed in their entirety 92 percent of the time. If the ads are skippable, only 9 percent were completed. Whether the ad is virtually embedded within an informative clip that “leads with value”( as I like to say), or is delivered in an non-skippable format, these advertising options, again, are just the beginning of a new world that, in my considered opinion, any serious online marketer needs to consider.

In addition, the shorter video formats are getting more popular on stand-alone social video platforms. Between Instagram video and Vine (just to name two), the public is getting more and more accustomed to digesting their video in shorter formats. Few people who are not active on social media realize the reach of these platforms. Some even call Vine “the fastest growing app in the world.”

More Bandwidth Means Higher Quality Video

Another advancement that has made online video an ever increasing opportunity to be considered as part of your advertising budget is the increased broadband data access speeds that consumers are now able to afford. With faster speeds comes better quality video. With mobile comes any where, any time access. Without the distractions of constant buffering, viewers are able to watch longer videos, and companies are willing to invest in better production quality. For example, a large company like LifeLock invested wisely to produce higher quality online exclusive, more informative videos for its target audience to let them know how they can protect themselves and their identity online.

Jacking into Untapped Potential

In many instances, little difference in quality exists between what you would see on television and what is being shown on the Web. And, frequently what’s online is more interesting, more personal, and certainly more highly targeted than what’s on TV. And, in terms of variety, the Internet offers so much more. But perhaps even more significant is online video’s interface options.

According to streamingmedia.com, interactivity is the main function that makes online video consumption different from television. However, many advertisers are still missing the boat on this opportunity. Right now, 85 percent of online video advertisements are simply the same content that could have also run on traditional television, where the audience simply sits back and takes it in. By allowing the consumer to get more involved in the ad or the original content, and by being able to place advertising videos (whether ads or informative content marketing clips) in MUCH more relevant contexts, viewers naturally become more involved and connected to the product or service, and thus, more willing to make a purchase.

The Future of Online Video

The Globe and Mail claims that big things are on the horizon for online video advertising in 2014. Smaller companies that had been hesitant to hop on board will see the light and start spending on the medium. And, speaking of spending, I don’t think there is any doubt that this will be the year that more companies start shifting their advertising dollars from traditional television to social media and online video. Another shift will be that online video production will become more of a specialty for agencies. With the differences between traditional and online video becoming more apparent, through the inclusion of interactivity and highly-targeted contexts, for example, more production companies and marketing agencies will specialize in online video production and distribution (yes, as ComBridges has been doing for some time).

Obviously, the ComBridges team is here to help if you are interested; but more importantly, I wonder whether it will be you or your competition that will take the lead by leveraging the amazing power of online video and online video advertising.

I’ve seen again and again that it’s those market leaders who stick their necks out to engage with these leading edge trends that grab a significant competitive advantage, especially over time. “A word to the wise” should be sufficient. Yes?

My New Favorite iPad Video App: Adobe Voice

Riding the Wave

The major trend in social media marketing that I call “The Visual Web” is becoming increasingly important. Fortunately, I’ve found a new iPad app that makes creating animated videos both FUN and EASY. I like that. 😉

If you still haven’t jumped into creating your own videos and visuals, I’ve got one quickie example for you below, and perhaps this quote from a true, social media marketing thought leader will also inspire you?

“From a trend standpoint, the trend towards visuals in inescapable... Everything that people are paying attention to now fundamentally has pictures or video.” — Jay Baer’s video blog post, Why Visuals Are the Most Important Element of Content Marketing

create quick easy videos on iPad with adobe voiceiPad as New Easier Authoring Platform

For me, being able to create on the iPad, without a mouse or trackpad, sitting in my easy chair is more fun and relaxing than sitting in front of a computer, even a light laptop. As an innovator, I also notice the creative juice that flows through the Apple’s iPad eco-system. The fact is that this app as well as others that I use regularly—like Paper from Fiftythree.com—are iPad-only apps… and, by the way, they are also both totally free.

Quick, Easy Animated Videos with Adobe’s New Voice App

Last weekend, I heard about Adobe’s new free iPad app called Voice. It uses your voice as a sound track. You record the audio one scene at a time. Lots of templates, clip art and royalty free photos are included. I found it to be a positive experience and intend to put it to further use.

Below is my first test video created with Adobe Voice in about 20 minutes. Not bad for my first time out.

One lesson that I learned in the process is that next time I will keep all of the individual scene audio snippets shorter. It would also be nice for the app to enable you to post your videos to YouTube and other video hosting services. Right now, you can share a link, post to social media, or use an HTML embed code as I have done below; but I’d have to re-record it with a screen capture program in order to post it to my YouTube Channel.

Otherwise, I liked the user experience a lot and once I really get the hang of this production time will be even faster. Overall, using Voice was fun and I think it’s a great new option for communicating on The Visual Web.

Learn How Compelling Visual Content Can Increase Your Social Media Marketing ROI

In a blog post over two years ago (see Social Media Goes Visual: Why Pinterest is More Than You Think), I started calling the next frontier of social media marketing, “The Visual Web. This morning, I extended this conversation with a Google Hangout interview with Ekaterina Walter, the author of “The Power of Visual Storytelling.” Here’s that 30 minute conversation:

Fundamentally, humans are predominantly visual creatures, and according to a study from National Formosa University in Taiwan, this is reflected in our computer environments—especially in this age of social media!

Bottom line, you may produce the most compelling written content for your business blog and social media marketing efforts, but if you don’t have the right visual content to make it more engaging, you may never see decent conversion rates.

Here are some basic tips (with more to come) as to how to effectively use visual content to engage readers and get a better ROI:

Vary Your Media

To effectively promote content in social media, mix up what kind of visual content you’re using.

  • Photos. Whether you’re using your own photographs, stock photography or a digital vector, you’re going to need a relevant image(s) to go along with your content. Case in point: Marketing blogger Jeff Bullas reports that articles with images get 94 percent more views, and on Facebook, photos get 84 percent more click-throughs than their counterpart text-based posts, according to Kissmetrics. Failing to add a photo can mean a major loss of conversion. Also, let’s face it—the article just looks nicer with an image or two.
  • Video. Integrating video into your social media campaign not only grabs people’s attention, but it helps you stand out as an authority in your field. To create customized video about your area of expertise, use a marketing service like ComBridges or just shoot and upload via YouTube, or use Google Hangouts On-Air as I have done above. If you simply need royalty-free stock video, try a site like Shutterstock.
  • Animated GIFs. Sites like Buzzfeed, Distractify and Tumblr use animated GIFs frequently. These sites get shares into the tens of thousands and views into the millions. With the widespread use of broadband, these kinds of images are far more high-tech and user-friendly than they used to be. They’re a great way to market pop culture events or tutorials without requiring the user to watch a video. If you’re trying to get a quick point across, use a GIF.
  • Infographics. Your target audience may not want to read a wall of text. Instead, offer them quick and easily accessible information (with credible sources) in the form of a visually engaging infographic. In fact, infographics have become so popular in recent years, you can search for just about any topic you’re interested in followed by the word “infographic,” and chances are, there is one available.

And all of this is just the beginning. In future posts, I’ll write more about things like Instagram, Pinterest, SlideShare and more. Please subscribe via the links above to be notified.

Keep Color Psychology in Mind

Because “The Visual Web” is all about graphics and images, color is key. Color sets off certain signals in your brain, even if you’re not aware of it. For example, the color red is exciting and stimulating, while blue is considered calming and trustworthy. Take a look at different business logos and advertisements as you’re driving down the street. Note what kind of an emotional appeal they have for you. Use this same type of approach in your social media efforts. Depending on the emotional response you want to convey, choose your imagery and colors within the content carefully. Visual.ly has a great infographic on the psychology of color that can help you make good color choices for your social content.

More to come! I look forward to your feedback and your shares. 😉

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Video Rant Reveals the Surprising ROI of Leading with Values

I’m turning a corner in my business. I’ve realized that my values are the more important than my (so called) value proposition. And the real eye opener for me was the way that my business coach explained that this approach can actually open up new revenues. Values = $$? Really?

This blog post explains the fortuitous way that I experienced this strategy directly, and how you can use it as an inspiration for your own online marketing communications…

Values Trump Values Proposition

Why Our Values ARE Our Value

The foundation for this story is the way that I’m discovering that my core values of ease, fun and authenticity have become even more important than our company’s skills and talents with Internet marketing strategy, website design, video production, social media marketing, SEO and the rest. 

Radical, eh?

Sometimes this kind of branding/positioning is as simple as adding a line about these values to an email of introduction (and, yes, just last week a prospective client made a point of telling me that she appreciated the fact that these values were included in my email. There was an added element of rapport created even before we spoke on the phone).

This values-based approach really gets juicy when it’s applied to a new breed of video that I’m calling a “rant.” Rant videos are further explained and illustrated below.

Another unexpected result of this awakening for me is that my long-established axiom of “Leading with Value” (Key Concept #8 in my book) is causing me to choose to position myself and my company’s work more clearly around our own core values.

How Audacious Authenticity Can Attract New Revenues

“When you reveal your passion for being of service through your business in the boldest, most transparent and vulnerable way possible—for example, in a series of online video rants about things you care most about—this does more now for opening up revenue flow than almost anything else, particularly if other things have failed and you find yourself extremely stuck. Video is THE medium that carries genuine emotion the very best, online. Use video to allow money to find you, as a reflection of the full expression of your heart.” — Andrea J. Lee, WealthyThoughtLeader.com

The video above is my latest experience with both real time marketing and the art of the video rant.

My friend and client, veteran executive coach and management consultant, Nancy Monson and I were having a marketing consulting session. The day before I had been on a group coaching call with Andrea J. Lee where she had said what’s quoted above about the power of the video rant to both reveal passion and open revenue flows. As I directed Nancy to speak her truth about why most executive coaching doesn’t produce the desired results, she lit up. Recognizing that we were getting to the heart of her values and her commitment to make a meaningful difference, I said, “Let’s capture this, so we don’t have to write it down.” At first she thought I was going to make an audio note. But, after a slight hesitation, she agreed to let me record this video with my iPhone.

The video rant above is the result. I salute Nancy for her courage to swing out in this way and I’m pleased with how her knowledge and commitment to results have been made visible.

The Zen of the Real Time Rant

rant quote“The art and science of marketing is now about focusing on real-time connections and social exchanges.” 
Vocus blog post

It’s widely recognized that because of the explosion of social media and mobile communications, real time communications are the leading edge of what I call New Marketing. What better way to leverage these trends along side the New Marketing requirements for authenticity and engagement than with a video that is spoken with passion, from the heart? (And, it’s easy to see why formal production values are not required.)

More to come. I look forward to your feedback; and by all means, if you like what you’ve read and seen here, please share in every way possible (links below). Thank you! 🙂

PS. If you are interested in bringing more of your authentic passion and core values to your online marketing, please contact us. We’d love to help.

Authenticity Rant Video #2: Why “Live Your Own Life” Makes Marketing Matter

Who among us has never done something because someone else told them they should, even when all along their own gut intuition was telling them to do something different (which, of course, would have been “the right thing”)?

Live Your Own LifeHow many of us do the same kind of “giving ourselves away” with Internet marketing, for example, by thinking that social media marketing, blogging, content marketing or video is something we really “should” be doing, despite that fact that we really don’t have any passion for it?

Unfortunately, we’ve all done some version of this; and this kind of behavior, usually both personally as well as professionally.

That’s the subject of my new Authenticity Rant video (#2) that I recorded this morning via Google Hangouts On-Air with my colleague, Peter Klein. We used Peter’s incantation, “Live Your Own Life,” as our theme; and I connect the dots between that and the best kinds of “sparks” I know that can light the “fire” (that I think is necessary) for the success of your Internet and social media marketing.

Yes, there’s more to successful marketing than formulas or even strategy. And, “living your own life” with regard to your marketing communications is not necessarily easy; but in my experience, it’s worth every ounce of effort that you put into it.

I’d love to hear your thought on this video and these ideas. Thanks!

New Video: Authenticity Rant #1, KISS Meets the Meaning Behind Your Brand Messaging

Image via @gapingvoid. Messaage via @briansolis

Image via @gapingvoid. Messaage via @briansolis

Ease. Fun. Authenticity. These three words summarize what I’m about and what differentiates the most important dimensions of how we serve our clients.

Our new focus on these values is a quantum shift for the ComBridges brand. It makes saying “We are a web design company” seem pedestrian. Even my clarity about being “an Internet marketing strategist” pales in comparison to this more meaningful description of what lights me up and what I think makes the biggest difference when I work with people (and their organizations). 

Thus, the video embedded below is  a walking-my-talk-style expression of this commitment to focus on the qualities that are most meaningful to me. At the same time, this short video also includes a strong recommendation that you bring the human qualities of your brand to the forefront of your marketing communications. And, finally, thanks to my partner-in-crime on this Google Hangouts video, Peter Klein, we also underscore why, in today’s media-cluttered world, you need to do this kind of positioning as simply as possible. Not bad for only four minutes, right? 😉

I’ll blog more about this trend toward the human dimensions of marketing communications in the near future; but for now, one addition link that I found valuable recently is Bryan Kramer’s post on Social Media Today, There Is No More B2B or B2C: There Is Only Human to Human (H2H)

If you don’t know, KISS is means Keep it Simple Stupid.  😉 As always, I’d love to hear your feedback and appreciate any sharing or commenting you feel moved to do. Thanks!

Why You Can’t Ignore Google+ for Local SEO and Social Media Marketing

google+ logoGoogle+ now claims more than 300 million active users every month, boasting more than 58 percent growth over the past few months, according to USA Today. Although Google+ has a long way to go to match Facebook’s 1.19 billion monthly users, its rapid adoption rate and sprawling community makes it clear that Google+ is not merely another social network nipping at the heels of Facebook and Twitter. Google’s social centerpiece has become a powerful social tool for marketers and businesses looking to increase their brand values and expand their visibility.

Personally, I find Google+ to be less noisy with a higher quality of professional level engagement and features like Google Hangouts On-Air and its photo sharing features that make it more attractive than other social networks.

But, even more importantly, the Google+ social network has several features that deliver significant SEO value beyond what other competing networks can provide:

Google+ Authorship Creates Social Authority

Google authorship is a search ranking concept that aims to stratify content and web pages according to the credibility and authority of their authors. With Google Authorship, content creators use small bits of code to attach a page to its author. But in order to do this, you need to have a Google+ account.

For this reason, a Google+ account can bolster your credibility online—not just within the Google+ network, but in search rankings as well. Thanks to Google Authorship, as your credibility grows, as measured by your clicks, followers and other variables, content can become more prominent online by having your name attached to it.

The ‘Like’ Button That Boosts SEO

Facebook has its “Like” button, Twitter has favorites, Pinterest has re-pins. But none of these directly affects the SEO of your content. This is where Google’s +1 feature is so valuable. The +1 button can be easily integrated into any web page or piece of content, and Google’s search algorithm uses it to assess the quality and popularity of content. Each time you receive a +1 from another Google+ user, your SEO ranking improves. As a result, users are rewarded for creating content that is valuable to their followers and the benefits go beyond what any other social network can provide. We call this earning authority the old fashioned way, and Google agrees. Because it’s fueled by authentic value, this kind of quality content that people want to share is the only sustainable social media marketing strategy.

Generate Feedback Through Community

For all its value in affecting SEO rankings, Google+ is still an effective platform for engaging consumers and generating feedback to improve your overall product positioning and awareness. For example, you can set up Google+ Communities to create spaces where you and your customers meet and exchange ideas, information and other comments. Similarly, you can join communities on the network and make new connections with other professionals, gathering new ideas and possibly some valuable business connections. This opportunity is somewhat analogous to LinkedIn Groups, but the added SEO benefits and a more rapid growth rate would seem to give Google Communities an edge.

This kind of community-based engagement can take more traditional text-based forms, or in multi-platform media. Google+ facilitates video-based engagement, which is where it differs from most other major social networks. Of course, this increases the demands placed on your Internet connection. Managing your social media efforts requires a fast Internet connection, and it’s particularly important with Google+, where media-rich content is widely used. If you plan on streaming video to run Google+ Hangouts, you’ll need a fast connection to make sure your video doesn’t skip.

Google Product Integration

As most people know by now, Google offers a wide array of products and services for businesses and consumers (from Gmail, AdWords and YouTube to Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Local and more). Most of these are available for free. What they do require, in many cases, is a Google+ account—at least to access all of the features of these products. The good news is, Google does not require a Gmail address. Your Google+ information can follow you wherever you go (including via Authorship as discussed above), simplifying processes and helping various Google products deliver better services.

With Google Maps, for example, your Google+ profile can establish your default location, recall your search history and display saved map routes. In a similar way, your Google+ account can and should also be integrated with your YouTube channel (you have one, right?) YouTube integration and connectivity is yet another benefit of Google+ participation; and one that can be expected to expand over time. 

Likewise, every local business (businesses with an actual physical location), in my opinion, MUST have a Google Local listing. Not to do so is leaving money and web traffic “on the table.” 😉

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FYI, ComBridges is currently adding capabilities to enhance local SEO listings and social media integration across 50+ local web directories including Yelp. Please use the form below if you would like more information:

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Also, thanks to Sidney Peters for his writing assistance in crafting this post. Sid is a UK transplant who develops apps for social networking sites. He is also training for a marathon.

 

“It’s a Wonderful Web” ENewsletter Highlights Internet Marketing Tips, Social Media, and Overall Strategy

holidayThe December 2013 edition of our “It’s a Wonderful Web” e-newsletter is out. It includes:

  • New Blog Post: 3 Surprisingly Useful Internet Marketing Tips from Top Experts
  • Client Spotlight: Michelle Schmitt – Her Music & Heart Benefit Us All
  • Luscious Links
    • 7 Critical Mistakes You’re Probably Making On Social Media
    • The Top Social Media Mistakes of 2013
  • Please Help Me to “Triple Down on the Things I’m Best At”

If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to read it online.

3 Surprisingly Useful Marketing Strategies to Make a Real Difference, Insights from Top Experts

Amidst all of the on-going changes, there’s always a need to learn more. Social media is not necessarily easy, nor is it just one thing. However, as almost everyone has realized by now, it is a serious, mission critical component of every company and organization’s marketing communications strategy.

social media is much more than one thing

As I continue to learn and follow the rapid changes in social media marketing strategy, I have recently come across three very valuable insights from which almost anyone can benefit. They come from Internet marketing leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk, Clay Collins and the Content Crafter for the social media sharing app, Buffer.
 
I’m sharing these strategies because I think I’ve got three very useful ones here. All you have to do is put them into practice. 😉 The first tip will boost your visibility. The second will enhance your lead capture/list building initiatives. The third will fuel your effectiveness with passion. I hope you can put these to use and I would love to hear what you think and how they work for you.

1. BufferApp: Share Your Blog Posts More Than Once

It may sound spammy; but it not only works, it makes good sense. Belle Beth Cooper, the Content Crafter for the blog of my favorite social media sharing app, Buffer, put together a thoughtful, analytical post to explain why the likes of Guy Kawasaki swear by the strategy of sharing your blog posts more than once. “One and done” just doesn’t cut it. Hey, we all put some serious time and effort into making our blog posts as valuable as possible (don’t we all?). For this reason, it makes enormous sense to make them even more available. After all, various people are in various time zones and no one sees everything you post only once on social media anyway. There are lots of good reasons to make this a regular practice. Read Belle Beth’s case for reposting content, including recommended best practice strategies. You will thank me.

2. Clay Collins: Offer More Than One Opt-In Opportunity

Clay Collins is an Internet marketing success story in his own right having built LeadPages into what he says is now “a multiple seven figure” online software business. I’m a customer and plan to expand my use of his platform. I recently did a webinar with Clay (who seems to be a tireless creator of valuable content) and I found myself sharing one of his insights in particular with a number of my associates and clients.

During this particular webinar, Clay shared his quest for a goal of doubling his company’s revenue through online marketing (of course). Briefly, his first thought was increasing traffic. Too tough. Then, he took a shot at doubling conversion rates which was a very tough way to meet his ambitious requirement. Finally, he realized, tried, and succeeded by dramatically increasing the number of opt-in opportunities that he was offering his visitors. Stated simply you could call this creating many more points of interactivity.

I am now adding this error-of-ommission to my list of common mistakes that I see most businesses making. To tell you the truth, this is something that I am currently doing, but will be changing soon. The single and only real opt-in form on my site and on most websites is some kind of offer in exchange for subscribing to an email newsletter. I now realize that this is no way to do Internet marketing.

List building is crucial. (More in another post about how to use your lists effectively.) And, just making one offer is an extremely weak strategy. Clay recommended having an opt-in offer of some kind at the end of every blog post and building out multiple (as in “as many as possible”) landing pages with opt-in offers. Webinar offers. Resource guide offers. And so on. It makes sense. Make specific offers in exchange for opt-ins that are as relevant to your content and as valuable possible. Why do so many of us stop at only one offer?

No one said that social media marketing was easy, and it does take time and effort. But when you do it well, it works. Clay’s success is proof of that.

3. Gary Vaynerchuk: Triple Down on What You Do Best

I’ve started reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.” In case you don’t know, Gary is the real deal as far as “social media gurus” go. I’m a fan. So, it was to my delight when I suddenly discovered last Tuesday that he was speaking live at the Book Passage, our local independent book seller. The last time I heard Gary live was at InfusionCon where he keynoted to about 2,000 people. This was going to be much smaller crowd and in my back yard; so of course I went.

I even got to ask Gary for specifics about how he has grown his new company, VaynerMedia, from 30 to 300 employees in only 2 years. This is a fascinating business story on its own. But the bottom line that Gary underscored was the fuel for his fire is the way that he “triples down” on what he does best. While this may not sound like a profound insight to some of you, to me it’s something that very few of us do well. And, personally, I think it’s something that I need to do better.

I’ll say it for myself (knowing that I’m not alone here), the thing I love to do most is Internet marketing strategy. It’s what I think I do best and where I offer the most value to my clients. Yet, I spend a lot of my time on operations and implementation, not to mention website development. I’m going to take this guidance to heart and I hope you will too. Triple down (or spend far more time and resources) on what you do best and everyone will benefit. You will find yourself with more energy as well as effectiveness.

 And, if you want to learn more about my services as an Internet Marketing Strategist, please click here 😉

FYI, the picture of Gary Vaynerchuk and friends below is via Instagram and @annaontheweb. It was taken at the Book Passage event discussed above.

Take Advantage: Social Media & Mobile Marketing Lead the Way for Black Friday, Cyber Monday Offers & Deals

Are you taking advantage of the major trends in online e-commerce by connecting with your customers where and when they want to do business?

Social media and mobile lead this seasons's online shopping

The year-over-year growth in the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals illustrates why your mobile and social marketing strategies are more important than ever!

As the venture capitalist, Fred Wilson recently said in a blog post (with chart) showing how “Mobile is Eating the World“:

“The jump from 2012 to 2013 should be terrifying to anyone who has a business based anywhere but mobile.”

As we enter this year’s holiday season, there’s no doubt that online shopping will play a bigger role. Last year, the big Cyber Monday sales climbed 30 percent higher (2012 compared to 2011). In fact, in 2012, Cyber Monday ranked as the best day of the year for online shopping, besting any day in December. This is largely due to people using their smartphones to shop. Approximately 12 percent more users bought items from a smartphone in 2012 than 2011, while 18 percent of total Cyber Monday sales came from smart phones, as reported by the 2012 IBM Software Report.

Mobile Friendly Marketing

People are discovering and ultimately buying products and services from what they see on the smartphone. They may text a friend just after visiting a marketer’s Facebook page and/or after viewing a new online store. And social media platforms are becoming synonymous with phone usage. In actuality, 78 percent of Facebook users are accessing the social media platform from a mobile device, and Facebook earns 40 percent of its revenue from mobile users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told TechCrunch. This confirms the importance of merging Cyber Monday promotions with the popularity and widespread use of social media. How is your business doing in this regard?

And, perhaps even more importantly, social media is built on sharing. Some 2.5 billion pieces of content are shared each and every day on Facebook. Only through effective, authentic social media marketing can marketers hope to get a small piece of this lucrative pie.

Directly Targeted Social Media

Popular, successful online specialty retailers set the pace by directly engaging with Cyber Monday via guerilla style marketing campaigns. For example, Tanga showcases a line-up of half-off products, and its direct social media efforts, including a staff of members posting about the savings, is just one method employed in the company’s completely online effort.

Integrating the power of “bricks and clicks,” the popular retailer Macy’s is taking full advantage of social media. Its popular ‘buy one, see another donated’ campaign is bringing increased attention to its social media feeds. Thousands are sharing the donation campaign to their respective followers on Facebook.

Twitter Hashags Push the Envelope

Facebook is not getting all the attention. Here’s an actionable tip for you: Cyber Monday marketers are also using the #blackfriday Twitter hashtag for added exposure. Going a step further, Shopping Blog has even implemented a distinct Black Friday Twitter account to fully realize the potential of its Cyber Monday and Black Friday promotions.

Strategic Marketing Plans Benefit All

Many companies have taken their long term social media strategies to a new level by thinking strategically about holiday shoppers. As we advocate and do when help companies with their marketing strategies, many online marketers have outlined detailed plans. For example, ReadWrite details how brands create a social media playbook that gives explicit ‘why’ answers and builds a goal plan hierarchy for continued success. Because social media has so many facets, companies need to outline exact strategies for harnessing its potential. Otherwise, the old axiom comes true:

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

Cyber Monday, in particular, only accounts for a small component of the much larger Internet marketing, social media and mobile game plans. But it’s a great place to start. Please let us know if we can help.

Wishing you every success as well as a peaceful, nurturing and satisfying holiday season.