15.1: Introduction to Social Media and Digital Marketing
15.1.1: Defining Social Media
Social media websites and applications allow users to create and exchange user-generated content on the web.
Describe the common characteristics of social media technologies, and user behaviors that occur on social media websites
- Social media are examples of Web 2.0 technologies, which contrast significantly with the more passive, top-down technologies that characterized Web 1.0 web pages.
- Specifically, social media features a rich user experience, dynamic content, scalability, openness and collective intelligence.
- Different types of social media include social networks, weblogs, microblogging, content communities, podcasts and wikis.
Internet slang for posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community– such as a forum, chat room, or blog– with the primary intention of provoking an emotional response in its readers or otherwise disrupting normal discussion.
- collective intelligence
A shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus-decision-making in bacteria [clarification needed], animals, and computer networks.
The ability of a system, network, or process to handle an increasing amount of work, or its ability to be enlarged in order to accommodate that increase.
What is Social Media?
Social media are interactive platforms where content is created, distributed and shared by individuals on the web. Professors Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein of the ESCP European Business School define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. ” Social media websites and applications allow users to create and exchange user-generated content where people talk, share information, participate and network through technologies such as blogs and social networking sites. Within the last decade, social media has become one of the most powerful sources for news updates, online collaboration, networking, viral marketing and entertainment.
Conversations in Social Media
Consumers intentionally and unintentionally use social media to purchase, evaluate and ultimately influence a brand’s marketing mix.
Characteristics of Social Media
Before the term Web 2.0 was coined in 1999, Internet pages featured mostly static content such as text and graphics. Websites operated on Web 1.0 technologies, where website hosts and owners were the primary content contributors. Online information targeted a mostly passive audience that received rather than contributed content. However, with the introduction of Web 2.0 Internet technologies around the turn of the 21st century, social media venues such as blogs began to allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in virtual communities. This more open, communal method of social media dialogue contrasted significantly with the top-down approach that characterized the early years of the web.
Specifically, social media began meeting the characteristics of Web 2.0 websites, providing a rich user experience, dynamic content, scalability, openness and collective intelligence. Active social media users could take advantage of various features that allowed them to ‘like,’ create and post images, and upload videos and text. Users could then share this information, either with a select group of friends or publicly across the web. However, this has also opened up social media websites to spamming, trolling and flaming by unscrupulous or less mature users. Nevertheless, social media has grown rapidly in the U.S. and around the world due to its blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.
Types of Social Media
Some of the most popular current forms of social media are social networking websites such as Facebook, which surpassed over one billion active monthly users in October 2012. There are several types of online platforms classified under the vast umbrella of social media. These categories include:
Social Networks: Social networking websites allow users to build web pages featuring personal portfolios and interests. These pages are used to connect with friends, colleagues and other users in order to share media, content and communications. Examples of social networks include Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Bebo.
Visual social networks are becoming more popular, with Instagram having now surpassed Twitter in its amount of users. Data has shown that a tweet that includes an image has a 150% more chance of being shared. There are also new networks such as Snapchat and Periscope, that are slowly growing in terms of popularity, especially with the younger generations.
Web blogs: Some of the oldest and most popular forms of social media are blogs. Blogs are often viewed as online journals that order content chronologically, or by date, month, year and category. Users can also maintain “vlogs,” or video blogs, featuring shared or homemade videos. Blogging websites include WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr.
Microblogs: Microblogs are blogging tools that feature short posts, as opposed to journal-style posts. Users are usually restricted to posting a few lines of text, or uploading individual images and videos. Microblogging is particularly common for posting quick updates and distributing content via mobile devices. Notable microblogging sites include Twitter and Tumblr. However, social networks such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace also have their own microblogging features.
Content Communities: Users on content communities organize, share and comment on different types of content, including images and videos. YouTube, Flickr and scribd are examples of content communities.
Wikis: Wiki websites allow a community of people to add and edit content in a community-based database. One of the best-known wikis is Wikipedia.
Podcasts: Podcasts are audio and video files available through subscription services such as Apple iTunes. The term “podcast” is a neologism derived from “broadcast” and “pod” (as in “iPod”), since Podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.
Other types of social media include the following:
- Rating and review sites (e.g. Yelp)
- Social bookmarking or social tagging features (e.g. Digg; Stumble Upon)
- Forums and discussion boards (e.g. Yahoo! ; Answers)
- Virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life; World of Warcraft)
- Music and audio sharing (e.g. Spotify; Pandora Radio)
Social media can also be classified by their ability to facilitate certain social functions. These social functions often involve identity, conversation, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme using six different types of social media– collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. YouTube), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life).
15.1.2: Social Media Marketing Communications
Social media serves as a cost-effective communication channel for promoting brands to target audiences.
Discuss how social media increases brand awareness and customer engagement in integrated marketing communications
- The viral and collaborative nature of social media allows brands to build brand authenticity and loyalty among their users.
- Social media allows brands to refine their segmentation strategy by reaching a narrow target audience.
- Advertisers and PR professionals can use social media to engage audiences, create compelling content, and monitor sentiment about their brand.
- semantic analysis
The process of relating syntactic structures, from the levels of phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs to the level of the writing as a whole, to their language-independent meanings, removing features specific to particular linguistic and cultural contexts, to the extent that such a project is possible.
The state or condition of being viral; tendency to spread by word of mouth.
- earned media
Publicity for political campaigns gained through newspaper articles, TV news stories, web news, letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, and “fast polls” on TV and the web.
Social Media and Integrated Marketing Communications
Some of the post popular tweets are tweeted by companies and businesses. Powerful brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s boast Facebook pages with millions of fans. Social media, including social networks, makes it ever more important for companies to ensure their online exposure ties directly to their brand image and messaging. Along with television, radio, and print, social media is part of the communications ecosystem that works as a whole to create an enjoyable and seamless consumer experience across multiple channels. Likewise, integrated marketing communications is increasingly incorporating social media into the promotional mix to reach consumers on the web and on mobile devices.
Facebook Business Page
Social networking sites such as Facebook can serve as lead generators for marketing communications campaigns.
The explosion of social media websites has led to the increasingly important practice of social media marketing. Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A brand’s corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source as opposed to from the brand or company itself. Social networking sites and blogs allow individuals to retweet or repost comments written by the creator of the product.
When that individual repeats the message, their connections are able to see it, which means the message reaches more people. Because of the virality of social media, companies frequently use social networking sites for word-of-mouth promotions of products and services. As the information about the brand is broadcasted and repeated across the social network, more traffic is brought to the company’s website. This results in earned media rather than paid media and both serves as a lead generator and creates favorable publicity for the brand.
Social media allows marketers to refine their segmentation strategy by reaching a narrow target audience. For example, Pinterest, a social bookmarking site with an overwhelmingly female user base, attracts companies that primarily target women.
Social networking sites also reveal vast amounts of information about prospective interest in products and services. Today, new semantic analysis technologies allow marketers to detect buying signals based on shared and posted online content. Understanding these buying signals can help sales professionals target relevant prospects and help marketers run micro-targeted campaigns.
Engagement Advertising and PR
Social media in business allows anyone and everyone to express an opinion or idea somewhere along the company’s path to market. Through social networking sites, brands can have conversations and interactions with individual followers. This personal interaction can instill and strengthen brand loyalty amongst followers and potential customers. Thus, each participating customer informally becomes part of the marketing department, as other customers read their comments or reviews.
Facebook and other social networks are often used to tune into customer conversations and quickly flag customer service issues and concerns. However, these conversations can also be repurposed across other social media and corporate channels. Brands often use social media to transform customer comments and testimonials into relevant and compelling content for personal selling, advertising, and other promotional tactics. Listening to social media “chatter” also helps companies stay in tune with public sentiment about their brand. By tracking and analyzing conversations on social media, public relations professionals can catch problems early and prevent negative publicity from turning into full-blown crises.
This engagement process is fundamental to successfully integrating social media into a company’s marketing communications strategy. Organizations can use social media to cost-effectively increase communications across the promotional mix, fostering brand awareness and, often, improved customer service.
15.1.3: Digital Marketing Characteristics
Digital marketing uses internet-connected devices to engage consumers with online advertising, primarily through pull or push methods.
Discuss pull versus push digital marketing tactics
- Digital marketing consists of pull or push online communication tactics. These tactics can also be referred to as inbound or outbound marketing as well.
- Pull digital marketing is characterized by consumers actively seeking marketing content.
- Push digital marketing occurs when marketers send messages without the consent of the recipients.
- Examples of pull digital marketing include search engines, email newsletters, text messaging, while push digital marketing consists of opt-in subscription services.
- display advertising
online advertising that typically contains text (i.e., copy), logos, photographs or other images, location maps, and similar items.
Digital Marketing Characteristics
Digital marketing is defined as the use of internet-connected devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, and game consoles to engage consumers with online advertising. One of the key principles of digital marketing is creating an easy, seamless, and convenient user experience for target audiences. Moreover, eliminating the amount of consumer effort needed to act on digital content helps establish an ongoing, automated relationship between brands and their audience.
Digital marketers often incorporate blogs and other social media elements in their corporate websites to encourage web traffic.
Pull Digital Marketing
Pull digital marketing is characterized by consumers actively seeking marketing content. Consumers might use tactics including search engines, email newsletters, text messaging, or web feeds to search for brand information. Push technologies deliver content as it becomes available and are better targeted to consumer demographics. However, microtargeting tends to produce smaller audiences, and results in higher creation and distribution costs.
Websites, blogs, and streaming media (audio and video) are examples of pull digital marketing. In each of these channels, users must navigate to the website to view the content. It is up to marketers to create digital content – text, images, videos, and audio – that is relevant and captivating enough to attract web visitors, increase page views, and improve search engine rankings.
Building online communities on related social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube is another pull tactic used by brands to increase the number of interactions with prospects and customers. Companies frequently use their corporate websites and blogs to build authority and credibility in their field, as well as improve their search engine optimization. Major search engines such as Google often index sites based on the quality and relevancy of their content. Thus, the higher a brand is ranked in Google, the more likely web users will find their website.
Push Digital Marketing
Push digital marketing occurs when marketers send messages with or without the consent of the recipients. These digital marketing tactics include display advertising on websites and blogs. Email, text messaging, and web feeds are also considered push digital marketing when the recipient has not agreed to receiving the marketing message. This practice is also known as spamming. The opposite of spamming is permission marketing, which uses technologies with the prior permission of the recipient. Marketers obtain consumer permission to send communications via subscriptions or written consent.
Subscriptions provide the opportunity to push content to fans and followers, prompting them to visit the brand’s video channel, social media page, or corporate website. Text and video press releases can also be distributed easily through online distribution services. Journalists, bloggers, and other content producers visit these sites for news stories. Brands can gain web traffic from media publications and blogs that use their press releases as information sources.
Other Types of Digital Marketing
A company may not exclusively use pull or push digital marketing strategies, or they might not use these strategies at all. There are other marketing strategies that may involve a variation of push or pull marketing. For instance, multi-channel communications use push and pull message technologies simultaneously.
15.1.4: Types of Internet Advertising
Types of Internet advertising include banner, semantic, affiliate, social networking, and mobile.
Give examples of how brands use affiliate marketing, social network advertising, search engine marketing (SEM), and mobile advertising.
- Internet advertising provides companies a low cost way to serve personalized ads across web and mobile interfaces.
- Online advertising relies heavily on contextual and behavioral targeting to serve personalized ads to consumers.
- Different mobile advertising tactics include idle screen advertising, app-vertising, and DoubleClick for Advertisers.
A profile of a user’s activity in a web browser or other software, based on what is clicked.
Types of Internet Advertising
One major benefit of online advertising is the immediate publishing of information that is not limited by geographic or time constraints. Online advertisers can customize advertisements, making consumer targeting more efficient and precise. For example, AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Google AdSense enable ads to be shown on relevant web pages or alongside related search results. On the other hand, consumers have greater control over the content they see, affecting the timing, placement, and visibility of online advertisements. Within the scope of Internet marketing, online advertising includes display advertising, affiliate marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), and mobile advertising.
Banner ads are examples of Internet advertising.
Display advertising is the use of web banners or banner ads placed on a third-party website or blog to drive traffic to a corporate website and increase product awareness. These banners consist of static or animated images, as well as interactive media including audio and video. Display advertising uses demographic and geographic targeting – capturing users’ cookie and browser history to determine demographics, location, and interests – to target appropriate ads to those browsers.
In addition to contextual targeting, online advertising is targeted based on a user’s online behavior. This practice is known as behavioral targeting. For example, if a user is known to have recently visited a number of automotive websites based on clickstream analysis enabled by cookies stored on the user’s computer, that user can then be served auto-related ads when they visit other, non-automotive sites. Semantic analysis techniques are also used to accurately interpret and classify the meaning or context of the page’s content and then populate it with targeted advertisements. Semantic web content is closely linked to advertising to increase viewer interest engagement with the advertised product or service.
Affiliate marketing is a form of online advertising where advertisers place campaigns with a potentially large number of publishers, who are only paid media fees when the advertiser receives web traffic. Web traffic is usually based on a call-to-action or measurable campaign result such as a submitted web form or sale. Today, this is usually accomplished through contracting with an affiliate network.
Social Network Advertising
Social network advertising is a form of online advertising found on social networking sites such as Facebook. Advertising on social media networks can take the form of direct display ads purchased on social networks, self-serve advertising through internal ad networks, and ad serving on social network applications through special social network application advertising networks.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is a form of marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). SEM tactics include paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion, or free search engine optimization techniques to drive placement of their ads. Advertisers pay each time users click on their listing and are redirected to their website, rather than for the ad itself. This system allows brands to refine searches and gain information about their market.
Cell phone advertising is the ability for organizations and individuals to advertise their product or service over mobile devices. Mobile advertising is generally carried out via text messages or applications. The obvious benefit of mobile advertising for brands is that mobile devices such as smartphones are usually close to the owner throughout the day. This presents a cost-effective way for brands to deliver targeted advertisements across mobile platforms on a daily basis. Technologies such as location-based advertising also give marketers the ability to deliver ads in close proximity to the physical location of a consumer. Although advertisements appear on a small mobile interface, mobile advertisers have the ability to deliver personalized, and thus effective, messaging.
Different mobile advertising tactics include:
- Idle screen advertising – Cell phone owners enter into a third-party agreement that allows advertisements to run on their screen while their phone is idle in exchange for a discount or other promotion.
- App-vertising – Companies design applications, including games and videos, that heavily promote their brand.
- DoubleClick for Advertisers – A Google service that allows brands to buy certain keywords to increase the position of their ads in mobile search rankings.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of employing various strategies to allow websites to rank highly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Paid search engine advertising increases a website’s visibility and reach by displaying links to the website’s landing pages at the top or bottom of a SERP. In contrast, SEO increases a website’s visibility and reach by allowing the website to rank well organically in search results when search engine users search for certain key phrases and terms.
Some SEO strategies include link building, optimization of onsite content with targeted keywords, optimization of meta descriptions with targeted keywords, and optimization of blog content with targeted keywords. Most search engines work to find users websites based on their searches using complex algorithms that assess a website’s authority, using a wide variety of strategies to rate the overall quality and usefulness of a site’s content. SEO strategists aim to boost a site’s authority in the eyes of search engines by creating high quality content that uses relevant key terms which will be linked to by other sites.
Local SEO is an emerging trend in the SEO realm. Local SEO involves creating content that targets a particular geographical demographic. It also includes the use of local listing sites to help establish a website’s presence in search results that are tailored to local users.
15.1.5: Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing is the practice of promoting brands over mobile devices such as smartphones, portable media players and tablets.
Discuss the pros and cons of marketing via smartphones, computer tablets and other mobile devices
- During the early 2000s, mobile marketing became popular with the use of text messaging in Europe and parts of Asia.
- Mobile marketing promotional tactics include SMS and MMS messaging, push notifications, QR codes, keyword advertising and mobile game marketing.
- Some of the key advantages of mobile marketing are the close proximity of owners’ mobile devices, as well as the habitual nature of using cell phones, smartphones and computer tablets.
- Despite the cost-effectiveness of mobile marketing, brands face challenges around privacy concerns with user data.
Multimedia Messaging Service – standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from mobile phones.
A proprietary open-wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short-wavelength radio transmissions in the ISM band from 2400–2480 MHz) from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks (PANs) with high levels of security.
A text message sent on a cell phone.
This type of marketing allows marketers and advertisers to promote products and services over mobile devices including cellular phones, smartphones, portable media players and tablets.
According to marketing professor Andreas Kaplan, mobile marketing is, “Any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”. Because mobile marketing is conducted using wireless networks, it is also known as “wireless marketing”. Marketing communications on mobile devices is generally carried out via text messages or applications. Since consumers typically carry their mobile devices with them throughout the day, mobile marketing presents a cost-effective way for brands to deliver targeted messaging across different platforms.
QR Code Promotion
These are increasingly being used in mobile advertising campaigns to increase user engagement.
Types of Mobile Marketing
One of the most popular forms of mobile advertising is text messaging. During the early 2000s, marketing through cell phones’ Short Message Service (SMS) became increasingly common in Europe and parts of Asia. Consequently, SMS marketing has become a legitimate advertising channel in both developed and developing economies around the world. On average, it is estimated that SMS messages are read within four minutes after delivery to a mobile device. This makes mobile marketing highly attractive to brands looking for marketing communication channels with high lead-to-conversion rates.
Unlike SMS, Multimedia Message Service (MMS) mobile marketing combines the delivery of images, text, audio and video. Nearly all new phones with a color screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS messages. Brands are able to both send and receive rich content through MMS A2P (application-to-person) mobile networks to mobile subscribers. In some networks, brands are also able to sponsor messages sent P2P (person-to-person).
Push notifications have become popular due to their use on smartphones using iOS and Android operating systems. These notifications appear at the top of the device’s screen and serve as efficient mechanisms for communicating directly with end-users. Although it can potentially be viewed as interruptive by the end user, its long-term costs are lower than SMS marketing.
Game mobile marketing provides additional opportunities for brands looking to deliver promotional messaging within mobile games. Some companies sponsor entire games to drive consumer engagement, a practice known as mobile advergaming or ad-funded mobile gaming.
Mobile content advertising schemes provided by the likes of Yahoo! and Google allow brands to purchase keywords specifically for mobile advertisements. Additionally, web forms on web pages can be used to integrate with mobile texting sources for reminders about meetings, seminars and other important events for users who are away from their laptop or desktop computers.
Quick response (QR) codes have also gained in popularity after first being introduced in European and Asian mobile markets. Acting as a visual hyper-link to a page, QR codes enable users to jump to a mobile optimized offer page. QR codes only began to be used in mobile advertising in North America from 2011. Companies recognized the technology as a very powerful tool for initiating consumer engagement at a time when the marketing message is likely triggering its most emotional response — the impulse moment — for the end user.
In addition to QR codes, other tools used by mobile marketers to improve targeted messaging and reduce marketing costs include location-based services, Bluetooth technology, and proximity systems such as Short Message Service – Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Marketing
Some of the key advantages of mobile marketing are the close proximity of owners’ mobile devices, as well as the habitual nature of using cell phones, smartphones and computer tablets. Distributing promotional and advertising messages customized according to the recipient’s location, geography and personal interests through wireless networks makes mobile marketing highly cost-effective given the potential reach and scope of the audience.
However, mobile marketing practices present challenges around privacy concerns over user data. Push marketing tactics — mobile advertising that is sent without consumers’ required permission – have caused privacy violations. Although mobile advertising has become increasingly popular with the growing use of tablets and smartphones, numerous concerns have emerged due to the personal nature and close proximity of mobile devices to users. Some of the major concerns around privacy include mobile spam, personal identification, location information and wireless security.
Industry bodies including the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Mobile Marketing Association have established guidelines to prevent SPAM messages and the practice of carriers selling member databases to third parties.
However, these self-regulatory rules are also in place to support marketers looking to incorporate mobile marketing into their larger marketing communications strategies.
15.1.6: Social Behavior of Consumers
Understanding consumers’ social behavior online and offline is essential to developing viable marketing communications strategies.
Describe how social media aids the study and measurement of consumer behavior
- Traditionally, consumer behavior is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, purchase and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas.
- The emergence of web technologies such as social media allow more opportunities for consumers, particularly younger generations, to experience more social interactions with people and organizations.
- Brands must recognize the importance of demographic factors such as age and gender when assessing consumers’ social behavior online.
- Companies commonly use behavioral targeting techniques to market to consumers based on their online behavior.
- customer relationship management
A widely implemented model for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. Also known by the acronym “CRM. “
- behavioral targeting
The range of technologies and techniques used by online website publishers and advertisers which allows them to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns by capturing data generated by website and landing page visitors.
the science of using psychology and demographics to better understand consumers
Social Behavior of Consumers
Digital and social media has spurred brands to develop research tactics that hone in on the social behavior of consumers online. Observing and understanding how consumers behave and interact with each other has led to the introduction of new semantic analysis technologies allowing companies to monitor consumer buying patterns based on shared and posted content. The data helps sales and marketing professionals improve segmentation to target prospects and customers.
Younger generations use web and mobile devices to increase their number of social interactions.
Traditionally, consumer behavior is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, purchase and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas. Their purchases are meant to satisfy needs. Research has shown that consumer behavior is difficult to predict, even for experts in marketing communications. Relationship marketing, customer retention, customer relationship management (CRM) and personalization are all tactics used to assess consumer behavior.
However, consumer behavior is also influenced by internal conditions such as demographics, psychographics (lifestyle), personality, motivation, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. Psychological factors include an individual’s motivation, perception, attitude and beliefs, while personal factors include income level, personality, age, occupation and lifestyle.
Types of Buyer Behaviors
Extensive research is often used to understand what appeals to buyers: colors, thought triggers, images and sounds; all of these factors address psychological buying behaviors. Societal buying behavior incorporates identification and suggestion to prompt a specific buyer behavior. When a company hires a spokesperson or personality to promote a product, they are utilizing societal buying behavior to connect buyer actions to that of the spokesperson or the personality involved. Similarly, psychographics are often used that offer insight into the lifestyle and personality traits of buyers.
Situational buying behavior involves a specific scenario or event that pressures a buyer to purchase product. Perhaps it is the fact that peers have bought the same product, or a certain product has become a “status symbol. ” Whatever the reason buyer behavior is often impacted.
Online Behavioral Trends
The advent of social networks and social media provides an easy way for people to connect on the web. People use social networking to meet new friends, find old friends, or locate people with similar problems and interests. The information people post and share, as well as the relationships they build online, often transfer into an offline setting. While some critics have attributed the decline of quality interpersonal communication and human relationships to the growth of social media, others point to web and mobile technologies as a way for younger generations to experience more social interactions.
Age and gender influence how web and mobile devices are used and how decisions are made. While adolescent females and adult women are found to be more active in sending SMS messages, males send and receive more audio calls. Psychologically, research shows that men seem to adopt technology faster and have more incentive to try new features. This might be due to a difference in male and female attitudes towards new technology. Women tend to view technology as a tool, whereas men view it as entertainment.
Recognizing the intersection between social behavior and web technologies is imperative for brands looking to advertise products and services that are relevant to buyers. To implement a viable integrated marketing communications strategy that incorporates these data, companies employ techniques such as behavioral targeting for understanding, collecting and analyzing online and offline consumer information.
Collecting and Analyzing Online Consumer Data
Brands commonly use behavioral targeting techniques to market to consumers based on their online behavior. Brands increase the effectiveness of their campaigns by capturing data on web visitors who visit their website landing pages. Websites identify visitors by assigning a unique ID cookie to each and every visitor to the site. This allows the platform to track users throughout their web journey and make rules-based decisions about what content to serve. However, when behavioral targeting is done without the knowledge of users, it may be considered a breach of browser security and even illegal depending on country privacy, data protection and consumer protection laws. To monitor and measure behavior on social media sites, companies use analytical tools provided by the social media platform or external vendors.
Again, this behavioral data can be combined with known demographic data and a visitor’s past purchase history in order to produce a greater degree of data points that can be used for targeting. Self-learning onsite behavioral targeting systems will monitor visitor response to site content and learn what is most likely to generate a desired conversion event (i.e. consumer purchase). Behavioral targeting can also be used to serve many advertisements across many different sites based on the likely demographic makeup of internet users. For example, a website may assume that an Internet user is male based on the user’s visit to football and male fashion sites.
15.1.7: Types of Consumer-Generated Digital Content
Consumer-generated content can be text, images, video or other digital information posted and shared by end-users.
Discuss the technological factors that have led to the rise of consumer-generated digital content
- Examples of consumer-generated digital content include videos, blogs, microblogs, wikis and podcasts.
- Consumer-generated content across digital interfaces has provided brands with insights into consumer behavior.
- In addition to social media, user-generated content may also employ a combination of open source, free software and flexible licensing mechanisms.
A formal lengthy exposition of some subject, either spoken or written.
Any one of the components of a computer application’s graphical user interface, such as a Cancel button or text input box that a user interacts with.
Types of Consumer Generated Digital Content
The type of digital content created, published and shared by web users varies based on the media and communication technology available. The term “user-generated content” entered mainstream usage during 2005, after its rise in web publishing and new media content production circles. Consumer content is applied in areas including problem processing, news, gossip and research. The proliferation of consumer-generated content, which has coincided with the rise of social media, reflects the expansion of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable to the general public.
Twitter for the iPad
Companies employ consumer-generated content across mobile applications such as tablet computers.
Consumer-generated content encourages collaboration and discourse, as well as basic conversation between people and entities of the same interests, concerns or professions. The web’s ability to eliminate geographic and time constraints has opened more doors for increased collaboration and exchange between users and organizations that are physically separated but digitally connected. This has produced a treasure trove of consumer insights for companies looking to increase brand awareness and build customer relationships across multiple interfaces and communication channels.
Blogging, microblogging and social networks are among the most popular forms of user-generated content. However, all digital media technologies are considered “user-generated content.” Examples of these technologies include:
- Question-answer databases (e.g., Yahoo! Answers, Ask.com)
- Digital video (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo)
- Blogs (e.g., Blogger, Weebly)
- Microblogs (e.g., Tumblr, Twitter)
- Podcasting (e.g., iTunes)
- Review-sites (e.g. Yelp, TripAdvisor)
- Social networking (e.g., Facebook, MySpace)
- Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia)
In addition to these digital media, user-generated content may also employ a combination of open source, free software, and flexible licensing or related agreements to further reduce the barriers to collaboration, skill-building and discovery. Social media sites such as Facebook and Google+ include micropost features such as status updates, as well as “Like” and share buttons to encourage interaction between users. Third-party websites and online publications help facilitate the publication and spread of user-generated content by including sidebar widgets on their web pages. These digital icons allow users to link directly to different social media accounts, where they can automatically post and share news stories, images, video and other content from the third-party website.
15.2: Social Media and Technology Trends
15.2.1: Online Consumer Behavior
Web advertisers study online behavior and use the results to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Explain the relationship between behavioral targeting and online consumer behavior, and how behavioral marketing influences online advertising
- The web has become the new ‘zero moment of truth‘, or ZMOT (Google, 2012) for consumers today. Marketers need to understand where their customers are going to research their products/services and what they are doing on the web to help form their purchase decision.
- Site publishers can use the data generated from website pages and the searches made to create defined audience segments based on visitors that have similar profiles. Layering this data with other demographic & psychographic data helps marketers build out personas of their key customer segments.
- Not all consumers behave the same online. Customers’ online behaviors will fall along a technology adoption curve; innovators will be excited by the latest upgrade or feature, while others will resist change. Further, there is a chasm between the early technology adopters & the mainstream market.
- When visitors return to a specific site using the same web browser, profiles generated from data collection can be used to allow advertisers to position their online ads in front of those visitors who exhibit a greater level of interest and intent for the products and services being offered.
- Many online users are concerned about privacy issues around doing this type of targeting. The behavioral targeting industry is trying to contain these concerns through education, advocacy, and product constraints to keep all information non-personally identifiable.
- conversion rates
In internet marketing, conversion rate is the ratio of visitors who convert casual content views or website visits into desired actions based on subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators.
Also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, it is usually a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while a user is browsing a website.
Market segment — the smaller subgroups comprising a market
- As part of the integration with DoubleClick, Google uses DoubleClick’s DART cookies to improve the way ads are displayed on the Google content network. The list of improvements included in-depths reports for advertisers and preventing ads from being displayed too frequently to the same user. The integration will soon expand since Google intends to offer behavioral targeting or interest-based advertising. The DoubleClick cookie contains a unique ID that is associated with all your visited pages that include ads served by DoubleClick. If you’re visiting a lot of pages related to music, Google will place you in one of the 600 predefined categories (most likely, music enthusiasts) and will use this information to show more ads about music.
Online Consumer Behavior
When consumers visit a web site, data is gathered about their online behavior. The site collects information about the visitor that includes the following:
- Pages visited
- Amount of time spent on each page
- Links clicked
- Searches performed
- Components with which they interact
The sites collect the data, along with other factors, and create a profile that links to that visitor’s web browser.
Site publishers can then use this data to create defined audience segments based on visitors that have similar profiles. When visitors return to a specific site or a network of sites using the same web browser, those profiles can be used to allow advertisers to position their online ads in front of those visitors who exhibit a greater level of interest and intent for the products and services being offered.
On the theory that properly targeted ads will fetch more consumer interest, the publisher (or seller) can charge a premium for these ads over random advertising (or ads) based on the context of a site. Behavioral marketing can be used on its own or in conjunction with other forms of targeting based on factors like geography, demographics, or contextual web page content. It’s worth noting that many practitioners also refer to this process as audience targeting.
On the theory that properly targeted ads will fetch more consumer interest, the publisher (or seller) can charge a premium for these ads over random advertising (or ads) based on the context of a site. Behavioral marketing can be used on its own or in conjunction with other forms of targeting based on factors like geography, demographics, or contextual web page content. It’s worth noting that many practitioners also refer to this process as audience targeting.
Behavioral targeting refers to a range of technologies and techniques used by online website publishers and advertisers that allows them to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns by capturing data generated by website and landing page visitors.
Behavioral targeting techniques may also be applied to any online property on the premise that it either improves the visitor experience or it benefits the online property, typically through increased conversion rates or increased spending levels. Some of the early adopters of this technology/philosophy were among the following:
- Publishing sites such as HotWired
- Online advertising with leading online ad servers
- Other e-commerce websites
What about My Privacy?
Many online users and advocacy groups are concerned about privacy issues around doing this type of targeting. This is a controversy that the behavioral targeting industry is trying to contain through education, advocacy, and product constraints to keep all personal, identifiable information from end-users or to obtain permission.
The European Commission has also raised a number of concerns related to online data collection (of personal data), profiling, and behavioral targeting, and is looking to enforce existing regulations. While behavioral targeting is not new and many companies are using it, companies like Google tried to alleviate the worries about profiling users. They won’t create sensitive interest categories, like race or religion and it won’t cross-correlate the data with other information saved in Google accounts.
This is a basic chart showing online usage. It displays the types of online activity and how long the person was on those types of websites.
15.2.2: Mobile Consumer Behavior
Social media applications for mobile devices are an effective way to advertise to consumers because consumers spend so much time on their mobile devices.
Describe the four types of mobile social media applications and how they are used in social media marketing
- Consumers can receive text messages about sales and promotions at their favorite stores, restaurants, night clubs, etc. Typically, people can click on a link that will direct them to the website of interest.
- There are four types of mobile social media applications, depending on whether the message is location sensitive and/or time sensitive.
- The use of the Internet on a mobile phone has doubled in many countries since 2008.
Multimedia Messaging Service – standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from mobile phones.
A text message sent on a cell phone.
- Starbucks has made it easier than ever to buy coffee. Consumers enjoy the efficiency and convenience of making purchases with their mobile devices by downloading the Starbucks app. Those who use the app receive discounts, coupons, and other promotional offers, and can find the closest Starbucks.
Mobile Consumer Behavior
Social media applications used on mobile devices are called mobile social media. In comparison to traditional social media accessed on computers, mobile social media display a higher location- and time-sensitivity. One can differentiate between four types of mobile social media applications, depending on whether the message takes account of the specific location of the user (location-sensitivity) and whether it is received and processed by the user instantaneously or with a time delay (time-sensitivity).
- Space-timers (location and time sensitive): Exchange of messages with relevance for one specific location at one specific point in time (e.g., Facebook Places; Foursquare)
- Space-locators (only location sensitive): Exchange of messages, with relevance for one specific location, which are tagged to a certain place and read later by others (e.g.,Yelp; Qype)
- Quick-timers (only time sensitive): Transfer of traditional social media applications to mobile devices to increase immediacy (e.g., posting Twitter messages or Facebook status updates)
- Slow-timers (neither location, nor time sensitive): Transfer of traditional social media applications to mobile devices (e.g., watching a YouTube video or reading a Wikipedia entry)
Since these social media applications can be used on mobile devices, they are a good target for social media marketing. For example, SMS marketing has become increasingly popular. Consumers can receive text messages about sales and promotions at their favorite stores, restaurants, night clubs, etc. Typically, people can click on a link that will direct them to the website. People are able to make purchases through the convenience of their phones.
MMS mobile marketing can contain a timed slideshow of images, text, audio, and video. Nearly all new phones produced with a color screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS messages. Brands are able to both send and receive rich content through MMS A2P (application-to-person) mobile networks to mobile subscribers. In some networks, brands are also able to sponsor messages that are sent P2P (person-to-person). Good examples of mobile-originated MMS marketing campaigns are Motorola’s ongoing campaigns at House of Blues venues, where the brand allows the consumer to send their mobile photos to the LED board in real time, as well as post their images online.
Push notifications were first introduced by Apple with the advent of the iPhone in 2007. They were further popularized with the Android operating system, in which notifications are shown on the top of the screen. It has helped application owners communicate directly with their end users in a simple and effective way. Users can download apps and receive notifications about promotional activities. Clicking on the notification sends the consumer directly to the necessary website, to learn more and perhaps make a purchase.
iPhones and Push Notifications
Push notifications were first introduced to smartphones, specifically the iPhone, as a new way to advertise to customers.
Advertising on web pages specifically meant for access by mobile devices is also an option. The Mobile Marketing Association provides a set of guidelines and standards that provide the recommended format of ads, presentation, and metrics used in reporting. Google, Yahoo, and other major mobile content providers have sold advertising placement on their properties for years. Advertising networks focused on mobile properties and advertisers are also available.
15.2.3: Targeting Consumers Where They Spend Time
The World Wide Web has become a key commercial center, and thus, an increasingly important place where companies target potential customers.
Describe how the World Wide Web, social media, and mobile devices are transforming the way advertisers target consumers
- The Internet, or more specifically, the World Wide Web, has eliminated time and geographic constraints for both consumers and businesses looking to connect regardless of physical location.
- Social media sites such as Facebook have proven to be lucrative channels for user insight and online buying behavior.
- Brands must modify their marketing strategies to reach consumers accessing information from mobile devices, versus desktop or laptop computes.
- World Wide Web
Collectively, all of the web pages on the Internet which hyperlink to each other and to other kinds of documents and media.
One of the many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange.
Target Consumers Where they Spend Time
Since an exchange involves two or more people, it is natural to think of the market in terms of people, individuals, or groups. Clearly, without the existence of people or businesses to buy and consume goods, services, and ideas, there would be little reason for marketing. Since people create markets, it is essential to target clusters of people and the locations they visit to better implement marketing strategies. The World Wide Web has become an important, albeit virtual, location where companies are spending more time and money to target and influence consumers .
More and more consumers are shopping online, rather than traditional (and physical outlets) such as stores and shopping malls.
The Rise of Social Media
The Internet, or more specifically, the World Wide Web, has eliminated time and geographic constraints for both consumers and businesses looking to connect regardless of physical location. Social media sites have further aggregated user content around similar topics, tasks and people, creating online communities that have proven to be lucrative targets for online advertising. As of December 2012, Facebook boasts over 1 billion active users, with over half accessing the social network via a mobile device. Personal information ranging from birthdays and profession, to family photos and multi-user gaming yield insightful intelligence for marketers looking to improve promotion to niche and hard-to-reach markets.
Targeting Digital Natives and Other Technology Users
Besides the rapid adoption of Internet technologies among consumers and businesses, the world is now seeing a generation of people born after the emergence of the commercial web come into adulthood. Often dubbed, “digital natives,” these individuals have only known a world with the Internet, and are just as or more comfortable interacting with brands in online rather than offline environments. More importantly, they understand the value of digital technology and use it to seek out opportunities, whether to initiate friendships, judge a brand or make a purchase.
Consumers are also increasingly accessing information from mobile devices, versus desktop or laptop computers. Busy and hectic schedules are prompting people to view and access brand messaging on the go from their Smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles. The growing legion of mobile users, as well as the increasing sophistication of online purchasers and their preference for relevant, digital content, will continue to push marketers to produce targeted, messaging for the web.
15.2.4: Making Appropriate Changes to Product, Placement, Promotion, and Pricing
Marketing teams must adjust their marketing mix strategies accordingly to adapt and succeed in a rapidly changing media environment.
Explain how the World Wide Web has changed the way brands target consumers and position their brand in the marketplace
- Although the way new products and services are marketed have changed, the primary aim of business in bringing economic and social values have not.
- Marketing organizations must be ready to alter product features and ingredients based on consumer and media praise, or backlash.
- Brands must ensure that their e-commerce websites work in concert with offline distribution channels such as fulfillment centers and warehouses.
- Pricing–the primary means by which customer judge the attractiveness of a product or service–can also be affected by social media technologies, which offer wider access to customers via online channels.
- Placement refers to providing the product at a place which is convenient for consumers to access. Marketing management must have a clear understanding of the types of distributors, of the trends influencing those distributors, and of how those distributors are perceived by customers.
- World Wide Web
Collectively, all of the web pages on the Internet which hyperlink to each other and to other kinds of documents and media.
The state of being accountable; liability to be called on to render an account; accountableness; responsible for; answerable for.
- social media
Interactive forms of media that allow users to interact with and publish to each other, generally by means of the Internet.
- Nintendo Co., Ltd. (NTDOY) provides a good example of a multinational organization that has effectively implemented its marketing strategy.
Making Appropriate Changes to Product, Placement, Promotion, and Pricing
Since its emergence during the 1990s, the World Wide Web has fundamentally changed the way businesses market to end users and consumers. Today, the marketing mix–product, placement, promotion and pricing–must take into account both online and offline buyers; traditional media, and digital media. Social media technologies such as social networking sites, as well as digital platforms including SmartPhones and computer tablets, have changed the way users access and consumer information. Marketing teams must adjust their marketing mix strategies accordingly to adapt and succeed in a rapidly changing media environment .
Conversations in Social Media
Consumers intentionally and unintentionally use social media to purchase, evaluate and ultimately influence a brand’s marketing mix.
The Marketing Mix in the Digital Age
The Internet has changed the way business is done in the current world. Consequently, the variables of marketing segmentation, targeting and positioning are addressed differently. Although the way new products and services are marketed have changed, the primary aim of business in bringing economic and social values have not. Indeed, all businesses seek to implement a marketing mix that increases revenues and profit, expands brand awareness, and builds customer bases. Nevertheless, marketers must take into account the following shifts, which will inevitably effect their product, promotional and pricing strategies:
- The shift from media advertising to multiple forms of communication.
- The shift from mass media to more specialized (niche) media, which are centered on specific target audiences.
- The shift from a manufacturer-dominated market to a retailer-dominated, consumer-controlled market.
- The shift from general-focus advertising and marketing to data-based marketing.
- The shift from low agency accountability to greater agency accountability, particularly in advertising.
- The shift from traditional compensation to performance-based compensation (increased sales or benefits to the company).
- The shift from limited Internet access to 24/7 Internet availability and access to goods and services.
Each element of the marketing mix must coordinate with other elements in the marketing program to ensure maximum reach and impact.
The Marketing Mix in Social Media
User-generated content, one of the key features of social media websites, provides a direct communication channel between buyers and sellers. Products and services are meant to satisfy customer wants and needs. Comments, ‘Likes’, and other feedback mechanisms make it even easier for satisfied or disgruntled customers to voice their opinion to not only brands, but also to current and prospective customers.
Marketing organizations must be ready to alter product features and ingredients as dictated by changes in consumer perception, as well as competitive and economic environments. However, product changes can be prompted by social media activity from stakeholders outside a brand’s consumer base. Greenpeace launched an attack on Nestlés use of palm oil in their products and its impact on the climate and natural ecosystems. When Nestlé attempted to respond to the criticism via Facebook, the public backlash was severe. As a result of the viral publicity, Nestlé subsequently increased auditing efforts in its supply chain, and promised to cancel contracts with any firm found to be chopping down rainforests to produce the palm oil used in its products.
Placement or distribution moves products from the producer to the consumer. With the Internet and social media websites, consumers now have access to more channels than ever to research, purchase and evaluate products. Both small and major brands offer e-commerce websites that allow web users to browse products and share their ‘wish lists’ or purchases with friends across social media websites. Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer , allows third-party merchants to advertise their goods on the company’s e-commerce site. This not only allows smaller retailers to take advantage of Amazon.com’s massive audience, but also utilize the Amazon.com fulfillment centers strategically placed near airports.
Pricing–the primary means by which customer judge the attractiveness of a product or service–can also be affected due to wider access to customers via online channels. Amazon.com is primarily a retail site with a sales revenue model and generates revenue by taking a small percentage of the sale price of each item that is sold through its website. Amazon also allows companies to advertise their products by paying a fee to be listed as featured products.
Promotion is probably the marketing mix element most impacted by social media. In essence, social media acts as a promotional element or communication channel used to reach customers. Promotional activities include advertising (by using different media), sales promotion (sales and trades promotion), and personal selling activities. It also includes sponsorship marketing, direct marketing, database marketing and public relations. Social networking sites can act as secondary or tertiary corporate sites that integrate and link these promotional elements back to the brand’s messaging. Content published by social media users can also feed into various communication channels (e.g. crowdsourcing ideas for a television commercial) and used to further expand a brand’s reach and presence.
15.2.5: Understanding Apps in a Marketing Context
Marketing campaigns can be enhanced through the use of mobile apps, designed to run exclusively on smartphones and tablets.
Describe how mobile applications are used to increase customer purchases and brand awareness
- Allowing your marketing campaign to appear on third party apps is a useful technique. Using existing apps (shown here with target audiences is a good way to get a message out, especially if the target audiences are the same.
- A company can create its own app to promote their own marketing campaigns. Certain features make apps more favorable, such as GPS and mobile coupons. Providing convenience and making the app as user-friendly as possible is the best way to attract consumers.
- Viral marketing refers to a marketing technique that uses pre-existing social networks and other technologies to produce increases in brand awareness. Using apps is a great media to create viral awareness for brands.
- Mobile application
a software application designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. They are available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system.
- Statigram is a mobile app that social networks such as Facebook use to keep track of certain metrics. It allows them to see what the most popular photos, filters, and links are being used on Instagram (a photo sharing app). Brands with instagram accounts can use these metrics to infer what products are attracting the most “likes” and traffic.
A mobile application (or mobile app) is a software application designed to run smartphones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices. They are available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry App World. Some apps are free, while others have a minimal price. Usually, they are downloaded from the platform to a target device, such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phone, or Windows Phone. Sometimes they can be downloaded to less mobile computers, such as laptops or desktops.
Mobile apps were originally offered for general productivity and information retrieval, including email, calendar, contacts, stock market, and weather information. However, public demand and the availability of developer tools drove rapid expansion into other categories, such as mobile games, factory automation, GPS and location-based services, banking, order-tracking, and ticket purchases. The explosion in number and variety of apps made discovery a challenge, which in turn led to the creation of a wide range of review, recommendation, and curation sources. These include blogs, magazines, and dedicated online app-discovery services. The popularity of mobile applications has continued to rise, as their usage has become increasingly prevalent across mobile phone users. A May 2012 comScore study reported that during the previous quarter, more mobile subscribers used apps than browsed the web on their devices: 51.1% vs. 49.8% respectively.
Apps and Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is possible through the creation of apps. Viral marketing refers to a marketing technique that uses pre-existing social networks and other technologies to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of viruses or computer viruses. It can be delivered by word of mouth or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet and mobile networks. Viral marketing may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, ebooks, brandable software, images, text messages, email messages, or web pages.
When a celebrity Tweets about the latest and hottest nightclub (which can be viewed by all the followers on an app), many people will see this and re-tweet to their own followers. This creates a viral message. It’s a powerful marketing tool that requires very little effort. All it takes is one person to set the chain and the “virus” is able to spread. This can be replicated for many other products and services. Viral marketing is also possible through marketing on third party apps. Using existing apps with target audiences is a good way to get a message out, especially if the target audiences are the same. Alternatively, a company can create its own app to promote their own marketing campaigns. Certain features make apps more favorable, such as GPS and mobile coupons.
Apps on smartphones such as this one can be used as marketing tools.
15.2.6: Trends in Social Media
Real-time and location-based web are key trends for marketers to understand as they try to develop image, create awareness, and increase sales.
Give examples of social media companies use for real-time and location-based web marketing
- Twitter set the trend for real-time services, wherein users can broadcast to the world what they are doing, or what is on their minds within a 140-character limit. Facebook followed suit with their “Live Feed” where users’ activities are streamed as soon as it happens.
- Foursquare gained popularity as it allowed for users to “check-in” to places that they are frequenting at the moment. Gowalla uses the GPS in phones to create a location-based user experience. Clixtr, though in the real-time space, is also a location-based social networking site.
- Companies such as Monster.com have been steadily developing a more “socialized” feel to their career center sites to harness some of the power of social networking sites.
- real-time web
A set of technologies and practices that enable users to receive information as soon as it is published by its authors, rather than requiring that they or their software check a source periodically for updates.
- When a company puts “Follow Me” on their website, consumers understand that this request refers to Twitter. Social media allows companies to interact with consumers on multiple levels. Brands like The Gap and Express have Twitter pages where people can read about new designs and sales.
As the increase in popularity of social networking is on a constant rise, new uses for the technology are constantly being devised. At the forefront of emerging trends in social networking sites is the concept of real-time web and location-based web. Real-time allows users to contribute content, which is then broadcast as it is being uploaded, a concept much akin to live radio and television broadcasts.
Twitter set the trend for real-time services, wherein users can broadcast to the world what they are doing, or what is on their minds within a 140-character limit. Facebook soon followed suit with its “Live Feed” where users’ activities are streamed as soon as it happens. While Twitter focuses on words, Instagram, another real-time service, focuses on photo sharing wherein users can update their streams with photos while at an event or after. Facebook, however, remains the largest photo sharing site. In April 2012, the image-based social media network Pinterest had become the third largest social network in the United States.
Foursquare gained popularity as it allowed for users to “check-in” to places that they are frequenting at the moment. Gowalla is another such service that functions in much the same way that Foursquare does, leveraging the GPS in phones to create a location-based user experience. Clixtr, another photo-sharing service based in the real-time space, is also a location-based social networking site, since events created by users are automatically geotagged, and users can view events occurring nearby through the Clixtr iPhone app. Recently, Yelp announced its entrance into the location-based social networking space through check-ins with their mobile app; whether this becomes detrimental to Foursquare or Gowalla is yet to be seen, as it is still considered a new space in the Internet technology industry.
Companies have begun to merge business technologies and solutions, such as cloud computing, with social networking concepts. Instead of connecting individuals based on social interest, companies are developing interactive communities that connect individuals based on shared business needs or experiences. Many provide specialized networking tools and applications that can be accessed via their websites, such as LinkedIn. Others companies, such as Monster.com, have been steadily developing a more “socialized” feel to their career center sites to harness some of the power of social networking sites.
One popular use for this new technology is social networking between businesses. Companies have found that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great ways to build their brand image. According to Jody Nimetz, author of Marketing Jive, there are five major uses for businesses and social media: create brand awareness, manage their online reputation, recruit employees, learn about new technologies and competitors, and generate leads for potential prospects. These companies are able to drive traffic to their own online sites while encouraging their consumers and clients to have discussions on how to improve or change products or services. These social networking trends create fun ways for consumers and companies to interact with mutually beneficial outcomes. Consumers get better products and companies get the information they need to attract more consumers.
Follow Me on Twitter
“Follow Me” is now used by many brands to attract traffic to their Twitter pages.
15.3: Marketing Research and Consumer-Created Content
15.3.1: Researching Using Digital Media
Digital media technologies are enabling researchers to use increasingly sophisticated tools to collect data via the Internet.
Discuss how digital media is used to conduct marketing research
- Many online research methods are related to existing research methodologies, but re-invent and re-think them within the scope of digital technologies, rules and media associated with the internet.
- Research methods that incorporate digital media include online ethnography, online focus groups, online interviews, online clinical trials, web-based experiments and online questionnaires.
- Although the open and collaborative nature of content communities offer opportunities for research, companies also utilize private online communities focused on individual brands or customer segments.
The branch of anthropology that scientifically describes specific human cultures and societies.
Of the same kind; alike, similar.
Research using Digital Media
The field of Internet research is relatively new and evolving. Online research methods enable researchers to use increasingly sophisticated digital tools to collect data via the Internet. Thus, the practice is also referred to as Internet research, Internet science, or iScience. Many of these online research methods are related to existing research methodologies, but re-invent and re-think them within the scope of digital technologies, rules and media associated with the internet. The growth and rapid adoption of social media technologies has introduced a new level of complexity and opportunity for digital researchers. Inclusion of social media research can provide particularly unique insights into consumer and societal segments.
Social bookmarking sites such as Digg are used to gather research on different target markets.
Application of Digital Media in Research
Digital media including images, videos and audio can prove valuable sources for Internet researchers. Specific types of research methods that incorporate digital media include:
- Online ethnography
- Online focus groups
- Online interviews
- Online questionnaires
- Web-based experiments
- Online clinical trials
Advantages of Digital Research
Market research is increasingly making use of developments in Web 2.0 technologies and online communities. Social media analytics allow brands to efficiently collect and analyze qualitative research on user interaction with images, video, podcasts and other digital media. Although the open and collaborative nature of content communities offer opportunities for research, companies also utilize private online communities focused on individual brands or customer segments. These private communities can engage customer groups or target consumers who might be difficult to reach using traditional offline tactics. Companies are able to collect and aggregate this consumer information to define segments of homogeneous consumers. To supply targeted and relevant product offerings, the data is further segmented using in-house or third-party databases; personalization techniques; or opt-ins from consumers themselves.
Brands also benefit from online communities by having them on-hand to respond to questions, test hypotheses and observe trials in real-time. Digital technologies can quickly adapt to an organization’s research needs, while keeping pace with internal development processes. Social media and digital platforms also produce a consumer feedback loop where brands can continually check new ideas, such as product development, from inception to launch.
15.3.2: Consumer Privacy Issues
Consumer privacy issues revolve around the legal (and illegal) use and extraction of user data on websites and social media platforms.
Explain how digital technologies expose organizations and consumers to privacy issues
- Concern over consumer privacy dates back to the first commercial couriers and bankers, who were obligated to take strong measures to protect customer privacy to maintain competitiveness in the market.
- With the emergence and evolution of telecommunications, companies and organizations have implemented online and offline customer privacy measures to protect confidential customer data from being stolen or abused.
- While web visitors can choose to opt-in or opt-out of behavioral targeting on legitimate corporate sites, website operators that use malware collect sensitive user information without user knowledge.
- Brands are increasingly monitoring and analyzing consumer behavior on social media to refine behavioral and contextual targeting, and encourage viral, word-of-mouth advertising.
Act of injuring another’s reputation by any slanderous communication, written or oral; the wrong of maliciously injuring the good name of another; slander; detraction; calumny; aspersion.
Consumer Privacy Issues
Commercial companies and organizations institute customer privacy measures to ensure that confidential customer data is not stolen or abused. Consumer privacy concerns date back to the first commercial couriers and bankers who were obligated to take strong measures to protect customer privacy to maintain competitiveness in the market. Modern consumer privacy law in its recognizable form originated in the regulation of telecommunication companies, since these businesses potentially had access to unlimited amounts of information regarding customers’ communications habits .
Some malware programs are designed to gather sensitive information from users without their knowledge.
However, the growing adoption of web and mobile technologies, as well as the pervasiveness of the Internet, has given rise to additional concerns over consumer privacy online. While the web provides a collaborative platform for consumers to perform searches and share and post content, it also exposes them to privacy issues including spam, data tracking, malware, identify theft, and defamation.
Since most organizations have a strong competitive incentive to retain exclusive access to the data and customer trust is a high priority, most companies take some security engineering measures to protect customer privacy. Companies that advertise via corporate websites, social media platforms, and mobile devices must also grapple with implications on the privacy and anonymity of users. Companies that place web banners on its websites, host the banner images on its servers, and uses third-party cookies enables to the company to track browsing habits of users across these sites.
Cookies, Behavioral Targeting and Malware
Most browsers can block third-party cookies using discrete mechanisms to increase privacy and reduce tracking by advertising and tracking companies. Many advertisers have an opt-out option to allow users to remove behavioral targeting advertising from their user experience. Nevertheless, consumer privacy issues abound over both legal and illegal data collection practices on the web. Website owners are obligated to give users the option to revoke permission for contextual and behavioral targeting. The United States Federal Trade Commission proposed a “Do Not Track” mechanism to allow Internet users to opt-out of behavioral targeting in 2011.
Some websites use numerous advertisements like flashing banners to distract users or feature misleading images designed to look like error messages from a user’s operating system rather than advertisements. Websites that unethically use online advertising for revenue frequently do not monitor where their advertisements link on the web. This allows advertisements to lead to sites with malicious software or adult material.
Some sites attach malware to the computers of unsuspecting users. Malware is an external application that alters system settings (like a browser’s home page), spawns pop-ups, and inserts advertisements into non-affiliated web pages. These applications are also referred to as spyware or adware, as they mask questionable activities by performing services such as displaying the weather or providing a search bar. Typically, malware is difficult to remove or uninstall, making it even more difficult for less computer-savvy users to protect themselves from these programs. Malware also makes users vulnerable to the theft of sensitive information including social security numbers and credit card data.
Consumer Privacy Issues on Social Media
Social media sites, particularly social networks, have been defined as the new public sphere where individuals freely discuss societal problems. Thus, the mere existence of social media sites gives access to such discourse. Site mechanisms like comment boxes, wall posts, “Like” buttons, and widgets facilitate the ability to share and post vast amounts of information with multiple users. Brands are increasingly monitoring and analyzing consumer behavior on social media to refine behavioral and contextual targeting and encourage viral, word-of-mouth advertising.
With so many Internet users functioning as content creators and distributors, questions around privacy and anonymity have emerged in court cases throughout the United States. According to the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” Consequently, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared that online speech is entitled to the same constitutional protections as traditional speech offline. Despite consumer willingness to share and post brand-related content, companies that engage in social media advertising must be cognizant of their increased exposure to litigation on social media channels.
15.3.3: Avoiding Potential Fraud
Consumer education, web security tactics, and government legislation are measures used to protect consumers from potential fraud.
Give examples of online fraudulent techniques, and the consumer tools used to fight them
- Phishing and pharming are common techniques used by fraudsters to steal sensitive information from vulnerable online consumers.
- In addition to legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures, several companies specialize in providing consumers with identity theft protection services.
- Erasing hard drives and clearing private data from web browsers are habits individual consumers can practice to protect from potential fraud.
- Some companies attempt to defraud consumers with undisclosed endorsements and other unclear or misleading messaging.
Unauthorized attempts to bypass the security mechanisms of an information system or network. See also cracker.
Avoiding Potential Fraud
Internet fraud can occur in chat rooms, email, message boards, or on websites. Phishing is an example of a social engineering technique used to deceive users and exploit the poor usability of current web security technologies. Some of these techniques include:
Online merchants such as PayPal often provide security tips to help consumers protect their personal information.
- Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors, or IT administrators
- Emails containing links to websites infected with malware, also known as email spoofing
- Instant messaging directing users to enter details at a fake website that has a look and feel almost identical to the legitimate one
Other online fraud, such as pharming, occurs when a hacker redirects website traffic from a legitimate website to the hacker’s fraudulent website by exploiting vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System (DNS). By corrupting a computer’s knowledge of how a site’s domain name maps to its IP address, the attacker causes the victim’s computer to communicate with the wrong server. This technique, which is also known as domain hijacking, uses a fake website posing as a legitimate site. The site typically requests the user’s personal information, allowing the attacker to “phish,” or steal the victim’s passwords, PIN, or bank account number.
In addition to phishing and illegal hacking, online consumers can also fall victim to purchase frauds, car theft (via websites such AutoTrader), real estate fraud (via websites such as Craigslist), illegal wire transfers, online auctions, retail schemes and call tag scams. In a call tag scam, criminals use stolen credit card and tracking information to purchase goods online for shipment to the legitimate cardholder.
Consumer Tools for Fighting Internet Fraud
Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents and other Internet fraud include legislation, user training, public awareness and technical security measures. There are also several companies that specialize in monitoring and alerting users to any activity involving their personal data. If someone attempts to steal the user’s online identity, these companies assist the user with securing their online information and paying for the services needed to help them recover their information and resolve the situation.
Another tactic users employ to avoid fraud is erasing hard drives when throwing away old computers. Computers include a wealth of personal information such as bank account numbers and tax information. Erasing the hard drive can reduce the possibility of identity theft and other forms of fraud. Consumers are repeatedly warned to be cautious when donating computers or cell phones and other digital devices to unknown organizations.
Clearing private data such as individual browsing history can also reduce potential fraud. Internet browsers usually provide a “preferences” dialogue that allows web users to delete all history, including cookies, the Internet cache, saved form data, passwords and Internet downloads.
Regulations Surrounding Disclosure of Paid Relationships
Finally, it’s important to not engage in fraudulent behavior with the intent of deceiving the consumer. There are important Federal Trade Committee regulations around what constitutes adequate disclosure, something to keep in mind when using influencers or celebrities as part of your social media marketing campaign.
Essentially, anytime product or money changes hands the person conveying the message—usually the celebrity or other individual who is doing the broadcasting—must disclose that they have been paid to post about a topic or product. That’s done so that the audience does not falsely believe the endorsement is “organic” and that the celebrity is promoting the product because he or she uses it. Doing so allows the audience to make an informed decision and not be unduly swayed.
15.3.4: Digital Media and Intellectual Property Issues
The proliferation of digital assets has created questions about how to apply traditional copyright laws to intellectual property on the web.
Examine how digital media and computer network technologies have reshaped intellectual property issues
- Copyright is a legal concept enacted by most governments to provide creators of original work exclusive rights to the creation for a limited time.
- Intellectual property rights encompass copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, and trade secrets depending on the jurisdiction.
- The development of digital media and computer network technologies has prompted the reinterpretation copyright for digital creations and the proposal of Internet copyright laws such as SOPA and PIPA.
- Critics of intellectual property laws cite concerns over monopolistic practices that can harm health, stall progress, and benefit concentrated interests to the detriment of the masses.
A declaration issued by a government agency declaring someone the inventor of a new invention and having the privilege of stopping others from making, using or selling the claimed invention; a letter patent.
The philosophy of using copyrights to enforce freedom of information, especially software source code.
A word, symbol, or phrase used to identify a particular company’s product and differentiate it from other companies’ products.
Intellectual Property Issues of Digital Media
Copyright is a legal concept enacted by most governments to provide creators of original work exclusive rights to the creation for a limited time. Generally, it is “the right to copy,” but also gives the copyright holder rights including:
The widespread sharing and repurposing of online content has led to concerns over copyright issues.
- The right to be credited for the work
- The right to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, and who may financially benefit from it
It is an intellectual property form (like the patent, the trademark, and the trade secret) applicable to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete. Intellectual property is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of exclusive rights is recognized. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols and designs.
Intellectual property rights encompass copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets depending on the jurisdiction. Although copyright laws protecting intellectual property are considered territorial and restricted to the territory of their origin, most countries are parties to at least one or more international copyright agreement. Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing “fair” exceptions to the creator’s exclusivity of copyright, and giving users certain rights.
Copyrights in the Digital Space
The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions. Social media and other digital technologies encouraging the sharing and re-purposing of content across different communication channels have introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to the basic legal philosophy of copyright. To protect their intellectual property both offline and online, businesses that rely heavily on copyright protection laws have advocated the extension and expansion of copyrights to the digital space.
The global entertainment industry in particular has fought diligently against the free use, copying, and distribution of electronic music, videos, and movies. Some critics label the unauthorized distribution and copying of commercial products as piracy, or digital copyright infringement. Laws during the 1990s and 2000s have been passed to update copyright law to extend to digital properties found on the Internet. For example, U.S. legislation, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), criminalizes the production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management, or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. More recent bills introduced to Congress related to digital copyrights include the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PIPA (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act) in 2011.
In addition to protecting the financial incentives of intellectual property, the WIPO treaty and several related international agreements are based on the premise that protecting intellectual property rights is essential to maintaining economic growth. Not only does the protection of intellectual property give statutory expression to individuals and organizations in their creations, it also gives public rights for access to those creations. These protections are also meant to promote creativity, the dissemination and application of the creation, and encourage fair trading to promote economic and social development.
Critics of Intellectual Property Laws
However, critics of intellectual property laws argue that these measures attempt to simplify complex copyright laws by lumping them under a collective term. Copyleft and free software activists have criticized the implied analogy of digital property with physical property such as land or cars. They argue such an analogy fails because physical property is generally rivalrous, while intellectual works are non-rivalrous (that is, if one makes a copy of a work, the enjoyment of the copy does not prevent enjoyment of the original).
Some critics of intellectual property, such as those in the free culture movement, point to intellectual monopoly privilege as harming health, preventing progress, and benefiting concentrated interests to the detriment of the masses. These critics also argue that the public interest is harmed by ever expansive monopolies in the form of copyright extensions, software patents, and business method patents. Some libertarian critics of intellectual property have argued that allowing property rights in ideas and information creates artificial scarcity and infringes on the right to own tangible property.