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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but is that true in mobile marketing? With Mashable reporting on the possibility of MMS campaigns being the “next big thing” in the marketing scene, one has to wonder. Both methods are opt-in only, so only the people interested will end up on the list. Both are also more likely to be opened than email, with the open rate likely to be within a few minutes of sending, given the near-constant use of mobile devices .

Both marketing strategies have their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the difference is the only way to weigh your options and decide which one is best for you, your business, or that marketing campaign you’ve been planning.

Multimedia Messaging Service

If someone has ever sent you a photo over your smartphone, without using an app like SnapChat or Photobucket, then you’re already familiar with MMS. With the number of positives in this messaging format, it seems like it would be the clear winner – but don’t call it just yet.

Pros of using MMS:

Utilizes pictures, audio and video over just text, and allows for the creation of sticky content rather than relying on a short textual hook.

Has a 2000 character limit.

Is covered with SMS by most carriers at no extra cost.

Cons of using MMS for marketing:

Not all mobile devices are MMS enabled.

Opens and clicks are difficult to track. MMS offers are self-contained, not redirects to a mobile landing page, and mobile carriers don’t track or report their open rates at all.

Many devices require manual user permission on an individual basis to receive MMS messages, and they can bounce or fail to download, even with user permission, with uncertain technology.

Short Messaging Service

SMS messaging is the more familiar member of this mobile marketing family. With familiarity comes confidence, making SMS the default for many companies interested in mobile marketing. While SMS marketing comes with its fair share of downsides, the positives can hardly be denied.

Pros of using SMS:

Opens and clicks can be tracked via traffic to mobile landing pages created specifically for the campaign.

Mobile landing pages offer more optimal sticky content than an MMS video or picture slideshow.

Short messages must be more succinct and impactful in order to assure customer engagement.

Cons of using SMS:

160-character limit can make composition difficult.

Engaging users to opt in can be equally difficult without recent SMS spam concerns.

Final Vote

While the final decision rests on the needs of your business and the interests of your target audience, the general opinion favors SMS marketing for the time being. Even marketers and companies who experienced success with MMS have stated a preference for SMS in the long run. When asked, the mobile marketing account manager for Starbucks Coffee, referred to MMS marketing as a “tactic, not a strategy.”

What do you think? Is it worth the risk of a bounce and limited trackability if you’re producing more colorful, engaging content? Or is a carefully crafted SMS hook the key to a good mobile campaign? The choice is yours. Both methods have proven effective, and both come with their own unique strengths. Weigh your options and choose the one that’s best for you.

boxing_gloves

 

Ad retargeting has really changed the advertising landscape and redefined how marketers can put their message in front of you.

The age-old sales motto has been that it takes 7 touchpoints to convert a prospect.

While in the past it might have been difficult to get those 7 touchpoints, ad retargeting makes it a breeze. After all, if you were a media buyer years ago limited only to TV, radio and print, it was a challenge to forecast just how often your message would reach the same individual. You would know the total impressions, and you could hypothesize if that same person had watched your ad yesterday and saw it again today, but it was a challenge.

With ad retargeting, you can literally have an advertisement follow someone around the web based on their specific behavior.

Let me give you an example….

Last October, my wife and I had a beautiful baby girl. When this happened (aside from being over-joyed and sleep deprived), I must have gone on several websites looking for information about diapers.

Prior to October, never (never ever!) had I seen an ad online for diapers. After October, almost every single ad I saw on any website was for diapers. It was like Huggies and Pampers had invaded my cyberspace. It didn’t matter what website I was on or what I was reading, there was always that ad reminding me I needed diapers somewhere on the screen.

This is ad retargeting in all it’s glory.

Of course, the layers of retargeting go much deeper and I’m just beginning to scratch the surface. You can retarget people based on their search terms, the sites they visit and more.

Let me give you an example of how we use ad retargeting here at Elite Email.

Through Google AdWords and the Google Display Network, we have it setup so that if you visit Elite Email, but do not signup for our free trial or login to an account, then our ads will follow you around the web for the next 60 days. If you didn’t know about ad retargeting, you may think that Elite Email has bought up every advertising slot on the entire web…. but that isn’t the case. During those 60 days, if you click on an ad, come back to Elite Email, and signup, then the ads will stop.

We even get a bit fancier here (oh so fancy!) because the ads you see as you traverse the web will actually be different depending on what pages you looked at. So, if you were focused on our “Features” pages, the ads will be really feature focused. Whereas if you were spending time on our “Pricing” page, the ads you see will remind you just how awesome our pricing is.

To the consumer ad retargeting could be a bit annoying at times, and possibly even border on creepy. However, to the advertiser, it is a game changer that opens up a world of possibilities.

We have done some fancy things with our enterprise clients where we tie in email marketing, landing pages and retargeting. Essentially, if you click on a link in our client’s newsletter about a certain product, you arrive at a specific landing page. That page has a special tracking pixel that acts as the trigger to begin the remarketing campaign. Now, as you travel around the web, you will see ads about that specific product until you come back to the site and complete your purchase or more than 60 days has gone by. This is a great way to boost conversions and tie in all the marketing together to get the best possible results.

Here is a great cartoon from Tom Fishburne who is one of my favorite illustrators that really sums up ad retargeting…

Ad Re-targeting Cartoon

 

Remember when this symbol, #, was just a pound sign on your phone or a quick way to write the word “number”? Now it is so much more to the point where many people see this symbol and it is so obviously a hashtag that “pound symbol” or “number” doesn’t even cross their mind!

Now this magical symbol represents a way to follow conversations related to a specific subject on popular social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

But, it’s time to add one more social network giant to the list of hashtag players, as Facebook recently announced their support of hashtags.

For a long time now you’ve probably seen hashtags on Facebook as people post their photos on Instagram (which Facebook owns) or when people post their status update on both Twitter & Facebook at the same time. However, these hashtags did nothing on the most popular social network beyond cluttering up everyone’s status updates.

The rumors started swirling around in March that Facebook was going to jump on the hashtag bandwagon and now all of these hashtags will become clickable adding a new layer onto the Facebook ecosystem.

In Facebook’s own words…

…hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.

Here are the top three changes that Facebook hashtags empower users to do:

  • Perform searches for a specific hashtag from the search bar at the top of the screen. So, you can now search for #nfl, #gameofthrones, #bieber
  • Click on hashtags that appear in your friend’s status updates, even if it originated from another service such as Instagram
  • Compose new posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results

This is actually a big step forward (or step backwards for those that hate hashtags) for Facebook because it opens up the conversation to people that you are not already connected with. For instance, after the Game of Thrones “The Red Wedding”  my Facebook news feed exploded with my friends reacting to what happened on that episode, but I only saw what my friends were saying. Meanwhile, when I hopped over to Twitter, I essentially saw what the world was saying as I searched for the appropriate hashtag. Going forward, I could get a pulse on the overall global conversation by using the same hashtag search on Facebook and seeing what people are saying even if they are not one of my friends.

Of course, we may also notice an #excessive #amount #of #ridiculous #hashtagging now showing up on Facebook, but that is just the nature of the beast.

The question is, how can brands and marketers use this new Facebook feature?

I think there are really two sides to that coin: (1) Research & (2) Reach

Facebook Hashtags for Marketing Research

Facebook boasts the largest socially connected group on the entire planet and being able to “listen in” on that conversation can give marketers key insight. Whether it’s attitudes, opinions, or reactions, monitoring the global conversation can give marketers a true pulse on what the world is thinking and saying. And, that often can lead to actionable tactics for social savvy brands.

This has always been an avenue to explore on Twitter, but the important thing to note is that the Facebook audience makes up a different demographic…. and this means insight into new & different minds. According to recent studies, a little more than 30% of Facebook users are younger than 34, while 45% are older than 45. If we compare that to Twitter, we see a much younger demographic where nearly 50% of users are under 34 and only 30% are older than 45.

My point here is not to abandon Twitter as a source of market research, but to add Facebook into the mix to get a larger perspective from a different demographic. Doing an analysis on both networks can produce a deeper understanding of the conversations that are happening.

Even if you’re a small business without a dedicated social agency to conduct monitoring for you, you can do a quick hashtag search on both Facebook and Twitter for terms related to your products, industry or services to see what people are saying. Just a quick skim of the results page will give you a sense of what, if anything, is being discussed. And, depending on what you find, it may give you a good opportunity to jump into the conversation, which is a lovely segway to my next point…

Reach a Wider Audience By Engaging With Hashtags

Marketers and brands want to spread their message on social networks and get as much engagement and impressions as possible. While the vehicle has changed, the general idea of impressions and reach for marketers is the same terminology & goal that has been used for TV, radio and out-of-home advertising for years and years. The introduction of Facebook hashtags is a way for marketers to really extend that reach a lot further by injecting themselves in a conversation being tracked by hashtags.

For example, all eyes are turned on the upcoming game 7 in the NBA finals between the Heat & Spurs. If you’re an online retailer ready to sell “(Insert Team Name Here) NBA Champions 2013″, previously you could have posted your “now on sale” announcement on Facebook as soon as the game ended and all the people who have liked your page would see it. This gave you good reach, which is why marketers love Facebook. Now, however, that can be put on turbo. Going forward when you post that status update you can hashtag it with #nbafinals #nbachampionship #heat #spurs , etc. Now all of a sudden you not only reach the same audience who has liked your page, but also anyone who searches for these sure-to-be-trending hashtags. This means a lot more impressions and a far greater reach.

It is important that marketers give some though to how they want to use hashtags to become involved in the larger conversation. Remember, just like with SEO where you need to pick your keywords, in the social hashtag world (which now includes Facebook), you need to pick your hashtags wisely. This is not to say you can make a really bad choice, but hashtags work based on what people search for. So, if everyone is searching for #nbachampions, but you’ve opted to hashtag #nbawinners, you’ll get a lot less reach & impressions.

 

Of course, the days, weeks and months ahead will really show us how marketers and brands are capitalizing on this change. Many are speculating this will be a game-changer for Facebook, but we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

Keep in mind, for those sharing their email newsletters using Elite Email’s social sharing features, you can include hashtags to get extra eyes on your most recent email blast.

Facebook Hashtag

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin