Archive for the ‘Digital Marketing FAQ’ Category

Viral video tips and tricks

August 12, 2008

I just watched my stats and found this incoming link coming from viralvideochart.

It’s the first time I heard about this tool and I must say I like it. The video listed have been compiled by Unruly Media.

It’s not new at all (Jeff Jarvis was blogging about it 2 years ago)

I especially advise their resources section where you will find all you need to know about the art of viral videos.

A few interesting things I’ve noted:

– Duncan Watts, the Godfather of all viral marketers proposes an approach called “big-seed” marketing in order to combine virality and control offered by traditional media planning (and maximize your chances of being noticed).

– There are very dirty strategies to maximize your hits on video sharing websites. I doubt they are efficient for your conversion and satisfaction figures.

– Blip, Metacafe and Dailymotion are the most stringent sites for counting views

– The life cycle of viral video tends to tail off. After 11 days, you basically reached 25% of the audience that your video will reach after one year.

– A lot of patterns are just made up (thus non replicable) and that gives even more credit to Duncan Watts big-seed principle. If you want the insurance to be seen, you’d better invest in a video campaign and hope that viewers will share your video.

PS: it’s not only about hits, it’s also about impact. Watch the Dynamic Logic conclusions on impactful videos.


Not all interactions are created equal

May 4, 2007

KrisMarkMatt… The third degree of separation is now reached for the Digital Marketing FAQ. Matt Dickman, the blogger behind the brilliant Techno//Marketer answered question number 6: What does interaction rate tell me about the impact of my rich media campaign?

His answer is a must read. It was published on Transmission Marketing and states that “not interaction are created equal” and makes a very interesting distinction between good and irrelevant interaction. : You can find the full post here

Thanks for answering

April 28, 2007

Here’s a recap of my answers to the 8 questions of the Digital Marketing FAQ. 

How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?

Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?

Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?

How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?

How intrusive should I be? (expandable formats, videos with sound on by default)

What does interaction rate (only available for rich media formats) tell me about the impact of my campaign?

Does the long tail change anything to the way I should communicate with my target group?

Why on earth do people use sites like second life?

You can also find excellent answers to those questions on Transmission Marketing and Minor issues. Besides Mark and Steven, I need to thank a lot of people who contributed to the answers and the diffusion of the questions: Joe Jaffe, Kris Hoet, Ann Handley, CK, Michel Vuijlsteke, Marc Collier, Marc Bresseel and (in advance) Matt Dickman.

I will come back soon with a wrap up and a powerpoint summarizing all the great contributions of those top marketeers.

You can hide again

April 27, 2007


All good things come to an end. Here comes the last question of the digital marketing FAQ: Why on earth do people use sites like second life? I confess that I never went to SL. I have no avatar. I’m so old-fashioned, so 20th century,… I’m not really comfortable to talk about something I didn’t really experiment but I give it a try.

Mark Goren believes that it’s all about connections. I agree with that and would add that SL is all about connections and exploration. Second Life is the closest thing to real world possible. It’s a mean to confront behaviours and social control without taking risks. For individuals it’s the opportunity to meet new people but also to experiment new territories and behaviours they wouldn’t have in real life. Why? Because you can hide again. Second Life is somewhere between RPG and social networking. On the most popular communities, you’re supposed to be transparent about the real you and the way you meet people is somehow very structured. On Second Life, it’s OK if you pretend.

Ann Handley talked about her personal experience and it might sounds in contradiction with the lines above

EVERY kid (yeah… every!) in my daughter’s 4th grade classroom of 23 has at least one Webkinz; many have more. They trade screen names at school. They meet at each other’s virtual houses after school. They buy virtual presents for each other (…) Second Life is a hog. It’s clunky, complicated, and “inelegant,” as MarketingProfs Publisher Allen Weis would say. But it’s only the start. The technology is only going to become smoother, easier to grasp, more elegant. (go to the full post)

What Ann says is totally in line with the MTV-Microsoft study about kids, teens and technology: for them, the web can be taglined as: My mates are my media. Online communication is used to deepen real friendships while adults will try to discover new people sharing the same interests.

And for the brands? We know that so far, we cannot talk about a great match between marketing in virtual world and customers’ expectations and according to Forrester research, it will not be the most growing advertising channel. I think brands shouldn’t matter about the efficiency of virtual worlds but regard it as an exploration field, just like users do.

The day of the long tail

April 23, 2007

“The companies that will prosper will be those that switch out of lowest-common-denominator mode and figure out how to adress niches”… dixit Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired.

This quote is the ideal introduction to the seventh question of the FAQ: “Does the long tail change anything to the way I should communicate with my target group? “. The answer is, of course, Yes.

CK already gave her 2 cents in the comments of Kris’ blog:

The long tail…and the shift to micro-niches…may change your target group. It may change into its own little eco-system of multiple target groups. So the way you communicate, dialogue and message with them may become more specific. And, with two-way communications (Web 2.0) you can also invite more involvement (what Huba & McConnell refer to as “The Participatory Economy”) from your target audiences and you can become closer to their exact preferences, wants and needs (as marketing is about serving these).

Also you can start creating more markets, instead of just serving them because there is so much room for innovation due to so many choices (the long tail is about more choice and more niches, no longer about audiences grouped by, say, age range). All told, communications become more dynamic and rich since we’re really homing in on preferences (so it’s now “psychographics” instead of “demographics”).

I also believe that online fragmented audience is an opportunity to adapt the tone of a campaign to the various sensibilities even if you have a very mainstream product. Humor for instance is very different from country to country and from age group to age group (and even between social groups). The example of the kitkat second life advertising is an example of an ad with a quiet limited niche (but for a mainstream product). It’s clear that such a campaign will create a bigger affinity with the target group than any wide scale TV campaign.

How can you cope with that in media planning? Should you fragment your advertising budgets? In traditional campaigns, the planning happens depending on a socio-demographic target and reach is the key performance indicator. Most online campaigns will use the same KPI. Niche communication will very much depend on the objectives of the campaign and on the creation.

Honestly, I don’t think the media world today is equiped to attack the niche markets (except the online creative agencies). It’s not (yet) in the advertisers and the media planners minds and I don’t feel this will change massively on short term…. in Europe

See me, feel me, touch me, hear me… remember me

April 19, 2007


Click through rate is dead… Long live the interaction rate. That’s what the sixth question of the FAQ is about: What does interaction rate tell me about the impact of my campaign?

I received a sectorial list of the average click through rates versus the average interaction rate from eyeblaster. Interaction rate covers several things: CTR, ad duration, custom interactions, close, full-play and replay rates. We see on this list that the average Interaction rate is more than 5 times higher than the average CTR  (5,56% versus 1,03%) and even 17 times automotive sector (8,86% versus 0,54%).

In 2006, Millward Brown concluded that interaction influences ad recall: 20% if we see, 20% if we hear, 70 if we see and hear and 85% if we see, hear and interact (I found those figures on a presentation mentionning The Millward Brown source. Unfortunatly, I couldn’t find the original report)

As a conclusion, I would say that in rich media, interaction indicates the potential of an advertising to be remembered.

Here’s a great example from Mini UK realized by Glue London. Watch the full slideshow, it’s really fun and inspiring.

How intrusive should I be?

April 17, 2007


For the fifth question of the FAQ, I have very few things to add to Steven’s argumentation: Creativity and empathy are key.

I received a powerpoint made by a Microsoft Creative Strategist. He uses data from a Orange UK – OMD UK study about impact versus intrusion: It appears that video MPU, skyscrapers and banner to overlay are the formats offering the best balance between impact and intrusion while the overlay is regarded as too intrusive for its impact.

But nothing is more irritating than a stupid ad, no matter the format and the medium used. I mean, a commercial like this one irritates me big time at first sight even if it don’t pop’s up at my face.

Dell Hell strikes back

April 16, 2007

I was invited for a presentation today at Zenith Optimedia Belgium. I tried hard but it was impossible to launch my Dell laptop… I had nothing but a blue screen and no print-out of the presentation I was intending to make. Some kind of poltergeist probably cause since I’m back at the office, my PC is working properly.

I presented anyway… and explained to the planners the story and the outcome so far of the digital marketing FAQ.  I focused on the first 4 questions:

  • How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?
  • Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?
  • Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?
  • How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?
  • For the fourth question, I’m happy that Steven was the first to shoot since it’s not my favourite question.

    GRP versus impressions: Both of these metrics express the advertising weight. GRPs could be used for online campaigns but the comparison is made difficult by:

    – A different relation with time: there are no time schedules in online

    – The fact that online is bought with a share of volume (SOV): Most campaigns are planned with a SOV between 15 and 30%

    – Different ways to measure audience

    – The variety of internet formats

    But the question of GRP versus impressions aims to compare the impact of online advertising and the impact of TV advertising. If you compare what’s comparable, it seems that a TV spot works better online but what about the other formats? and what’s the point to compare impressions and GRPs?

    What the advertisers and the agencies really want to know is how to make an impactful online campaign… and that’s the Achilles’ heel of the online advertising: there is no clear set of rules. Carat proposed a “Morgenzstern beta” (measuring the power of advertising per media) for online but it’s only based on a 2001 campaign, Doubleclick made some great research on best practice to maximize impact. Both show very positive results. Unfortunatly, none of those are regarded as market norms.

    Even if there is plenty of data advocating the power of online advertising, the web doesn’t comply with norms very well by nature and because of its youth.

    There’s a lot to say about those issues… Have a look a “the devil & online advertising” that proposes a great summary about our (online media owners) lack of maturity.

    But internet is the media of permanent and (almost) real time optimization. It allows the advertiser to draw conclusions out of each action and develop a tailor made best practice and I believe that’s a major argumentation to advocate our beloved medium.

    To the second degree of separation

    April 13, 2007

    One month after launching this blog, the post “thanks for asking” is by far the top post on this blog thanks to several incoming links and thanks to te interest of Steven and the post of Joseph Jaffe. The FAQ is now living its own life. Kris sent the 8 questions to top marketeers and some of them decided to blog about it. Here’s a “state of the FAQ”

    Today, I will only talk about the first question who raised the most reactions so far: How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?

    You’ll notice that we all agree 🙂

    If I had to summarize all the points of view on one slide, I would say:

    • Go as far as customers demand it
    • Behave like a social networker
    • Keep it on topic
    • Be fast and reactive
    • Don’t be provocative

    For the title of this slide, I would use Mark Goren’s words: No censorship but conversationship

    Different country, same questions

    April 7, 2007

    Caroline posted yesterday a very interesting post on the Blogging for Business conference in London.

    Her summary of the different presentations is in line with my “you can never go far enough” post. I noted 2 fundamental elements I didn’t mentionned:

    – Monitoring is an essential part of the dialogue strategy

    – Social networks are coming on top of the existing today tools.

    Here is the full post

    Be careful what you ask for

    April 6, 2007


    Before answering to the third question of the FAQ (Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?), I’d like to quote Steven who told me to “remember that in classical marketing things go wrong as well.”. I totally agree to that and I also remind that the conversation is happening anyway (look at this example about KFC or this one – probably the most famous -about Dell)

    It’s maybe due to a gap in my internet culture but I must say that I don’t know a lot of big “marketing 2.0” goofs or disasters. Of course, there are initiatives that seem not to work, like the pioneer viral campaign (in this case, I think the agency made some beginner mistakes) but few cases where a brand has been harmed.

    If an advertiser asks me about the flops, I answer with 2 cases:

    – The first is Vichy France who launched in 2005 a fake blog called “Le journal de ma peau” (the diary of my skin) combined with a severe moderation of the comments. The bloggers noticed rappidly that this was a fake and started to bitch about the Vichy blog. Eventually, the blog was removed and Vichy had to present apologies to the bloggers community for trying to fool them. But Vichy managed to take advantage of the crisis by creating a real blog and by sending samples to influential bloggers. Thanks to that, the negative buzz became a pretty positive buzz.

    – The second case is the Chevy Tahoe online ad contest. This case shouldn’t be regarded as a flop but the contest attracted a lot of (now censored) spoofs widely spreaded on video sharing websites. If you look at the classical metrics, they are very positive. Chevrolet SUV sales took off with double digit figures and they gained significant market shares. It maybe thanks to the environment-friendly message that Chevrolet realized there was a product answer to the critics.

    As a conclusion, I really love what Frank Rose wrote in wired:

    Brands that once yelled at us now ask what we have to say. No longer content to define our identity (Gap kids, the Marlboro man), they ask us to help define theirs. But none of this is stranger than the idea that you can sell a product by sitting back and letting people put their own spin on it. “Everybody says they want to hear from consumers,” Kogler says. Well, be careful what you ask for: Now they won’t shut up.

    Dialogue and feedback are always a blessing for a marketer. IMHO, it’s not even a big issue if there are critics or negative reactions as far as the brand can react in an appropriate way and transform feedback in a better value proposition.

    Believe, think and be authentic

    April 3, 2007

    Steven Verbruggen is Multimedia Director at These days. He decided to answer to my 8 questions list on his blog and I’m very thankful for that.

    His echo to Joseph Jaffe opinion is very interesting. Steven goes into details about what he regards as sound and smart moderation. I like his positive approach. He’s very right when he says “Everybody is figuring out rules, so it seems very hard to do it right. But it isn’t. In fact it’s the easiest thing you can do“. While we try to set up rules, Steven insists on the benefits for the brands to enter the dialogue.

    Here is the full post.

    Back to the basics

    April 2, 2007

    Marc Bresseel wrote today on his blog that “every day we are amazed by the basic questions we get from Marketers”

    Like Kris says, some of the questions addressed on my blog may sound pretty trivial for a digital marketing professional but it’s truly (sadly?) what’s on the advertisers minds today.

    We learned fast but we have to admit web 2.0 is still very new. Personnally, I received my first invitation to a social networking website with the launch of Orkut in 2004. What about you?

    Non-stick cookware, sticky advertising

    April 2, 2007


    The second question of my FAQ was “Is online marketing making sense without a decent website?”

    My answer to that question is YES unless your marketing objective is to attract visitors on your website. The criterias I see in most impact studies are the following: brand awareness, brand favourability, perception of the brand values, message association and purchase intent. So, the goal of any campaign is to offer a brand experience maximizing the impact on those metrics and none of them can be measured with a click through rate.

    There has been a lot of buzz around the latest Millward Brown CTV study that concluded that online video advertising is more impactfull than TV advertising and you’ll find market norms and benchmarks on the doubleclick “beyond the click” pages (EU)

    Video isn’t the only solution to serve the advertiser objectives. There are plenty of examples. My favourite is this Tefal ad (Saatchi and Saatchi Brazil) where the click just restarts the game. It’s the best way I can think of to advocate the brand promise of Tefal.

    If you look at the average click through rate (1,03% on rich media ads according to eyeblaster research and much less on “traditional” online campaigns), you’ll understand that online advertising is all about pre-click experience.

    Nevertheless, every brand should have a good website anyway to offer relevant content to surfers looking for information through search engines or by entering directly an url. But then comes the question: what’s a good brand website?

    You can never go far enough

    March 31, 2007

    The first question of my FAQ was “How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?”

    I don’t start with the easiest one :). I sent a mail to Joseph Jaffe to ask his opinion about this. He was very kind to reply and told me that “you (brands) can never go far enough”. In that matter, AOL showed the way with the famous “Is internet a good or a bad thing” campaign (UK) followed by an open discussion on their website (Unfortunately, I don’t think this was archived).

    Of course, there are famous cases that went a little out of hand (Vichy France, Chevy Tahoe or the first version of the Coke zero blog) but in those 3 cases, there was a lack of awareness of what the new web was all about.

    The womma set some rules that comes down to the Honesty ROI:

    • Honesty of Relationship: You say who you’re speaking for
    • Honesty of Opinion: You say what you believe
    • Honesty of Identity: You never obscure your identity

    I tried hard and in vain to find examples that respected the womma code and that ended as a fiasco. On the other hand, except the AOL case, I don’t know any brand that dared to bring a controversial debate on its own website.

    Should they? Isn’t the risk bigger than the potential benefit?

    Let’s take extreme examples here: Should an SUV manufacturer or an energy company open a forum on global warming? Should Nike talk with its customers about children labour? Should a fast food giant open a debate on obesity related health issues?

    What I usually answer on that question is that this conversation is happening anyway. The choice is not between let the conversation happen or not, it’s between participate or not.

    But, IMHO, that matter becomes a little more complex when you represent a local branch of a multinational company (often with limited power to influence the value proposition).

    Anyway, I try to present a set of rules:

    – Think first 🙂 and understand how an open dialogue will serve your company objectives

    – Respect the womma code

    – Don’t bring controversy about your brand where there wasn’t (even if I can imagine exceptions to this rule)

    – Be transparent on the moderation rules (if any) and know the difference between critic and trolls

    – Be transparent about your sphere of influence (especially for local branches of multinational companies): Are you just an advocate of your employer or can you transform the feedback into a new value proposition?

    – Do not enter that kind of action if you don’t have a clue of what the new internet is all about

    The “you can never go far enough” of Joseph Jaffe could be one of the taglines of the book he will publish in october. I’m confident that Jaffe’s analysis and rules will be much more relevant than mine…

    Reminder for myself: include the book in my letter to Santa along with a better english.

    Thanks for asking!

    March 28, 2007


    I spend about 50% of my time at work preparing and giving training sessions in Belgian branches of big corporations. The topics of the trainings I’m giving for the moment are “deep dive in cyberculture” and “Best practices in digital marketing”. I really enjoy doing those presentations especially for the Q&A following my lectures.

    Here is what I see as the FAQs of the advertisers today. I believe this apply beyond Belgium.

    How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?

    Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?

    Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?

    How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?

    How intrusive should I be? (expandable formats, videos with sound on by default)

    What does interaction rate (only available for rich media formats) tell me about the impact of my campaign?

    – Does the long tail change anything to the way I should communicate with my target group? 

    Why on earth do people use sites like second life?

    Of course, I also get a lot of questions about ROI and measurements. I have (my) answers to those questions based on some hard facts, experience and a little common sense. I’ll post about that in the coming days but if you feel that you have a relevant contribution to make, please shoot.