Social Media

Instagram influencer marketing strategies -10 ways to drive sales for ecommerce

Social media has become an integral part of people’s daily routines, we are addicted to it logging in and checking our feeds and getting likes on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. And, they were designed that way. Despite the recent Facebook data scandals, people have become so reliant on interacting on them, that for most people deleting their accounts is not very easy.  The latest data from Pew Research Center’s 2018 Social Media Use Survey indicates social media usage is not going to drastically decline (although some channels may have quarters where new user growth is slowing) or go away.

If you have an ecommerce or B2C product you should be investing in using paid social advertising and influencer marketing strategies to gain brand awareness, traffic or sales. Instagram, now has 35% of adults using it as 2018, which is a 28% increase compared to 2016. According to a recent Business Insider interview with Brittany Hennesey, Hearst Digital Media Senior Director of influencer strategy, “People scroll through 300 feet of [social media] content every day. That’s the size of the Statue of Liberty,”  Recent data from media agency Magna, is forecasting that digital advertising sales in the US will reach 108 billion, (a 15% increase from last year) with most of advertising dollars going to paid social content, followed by video and search. Conversely it predicts that TV, print media, and radio ad revenues will be flat or even shrink this year.  

So many large beauty and clothing brands are shifting some of their traditional advertising budgets to using influencers to promote their products, instead of doing TV commercials or print advertising, because the ROI is better. “It’s people that are the target demographic talking to the target demographic. And that’s what makes influencer content so much different than something a brand would make,” said Hennesey.         

So you maybe wondering if you are a startup ecommerce company how can you get more followers, sales and brand loyalty? Well I talked to an eCommerce Instagram consultant, Sean Kelly, who started a custom sports jersey company called Jersey Champs, and has managed to gain over over 1.6 millions followers to his brand’s Instagram account through a variety of methods including; 

  • Celebrity & Social Media Influencer partnerships

  • Instagram Engagement Groups

  • Contests & giveaways

  • Instagram shoutouts

  • Instagram Feed & Story ads

Sean gave me some tips on how eCommerce startups can use Instagram.  

Here are 10 ways your startup can increase your followers and  grow your brand using Instagram:   

1 Instagram Ads Through Facebook Ads Manager

If you aren’t running Instagram Ads in 2018, you are simply behind. Facebook Ads are the quickest way to drive sales to any business and you will see results immediately.

2 Learn How Instagram’s New Algorithm Works

If you’re interested in developing viral Instagram content, you’ll need to understand how Instagram’s sorting algorithm works. The platform uses a variety of factors, including timeliness, post engagement and post location, in order to determine where the post is displayed in a user’s timeline and whether the post makes it to the Explore page.

Three main factors determine what you see in your Instagram feed:

  • Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for what matters to you, determined by past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.

  • Recency: How recently the post was shared, with prioritization for timely posts over weeks-old ones.

  • Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.  

Beyond those core factors, three additional signals that influence rankings are:

  • Frequency: How often you open Instagram, as it will try to show you the best posts since your last visit.

  • Following: If you follow a lot of people, Instagram will be picking from a wider breadth of authors so you might see less of any specific person.

  • Usage: How long you spend on Instagram determines if you’re just seeing the best posts during short sessions, or it’s digging deeper into its catalog if you spend more total time browsing.   

3 Regularly Shout Out To Engaged Followers To Encourage Further Participation

As mentioned earlier, content with high engagement tends to attract new followers through improved organic reach. To keep followers happy and regularly engaged, mention them regularly in Instagram posts. Showing gratitude is a great way for brands to keep Instagram users engaged.  

4 Offer Discounted Pricing To Instagram Followers

Incentivize customers to follow your Instagram account by offering discounted pricing to Instagram followers. Some sophisticated eCommerce systems may be able to determine if a customer is an Instagram follower. If you don’t have access to such a system, you can simply share exclusive discounts with Instagram followers via automated direct messages to incentivize others to follow your account.

5 Instagram Shoutouts

A simple direct message to a large Instagram page asking for their shoutout prices will give you the direction you need in order to promote your products on their page. You can get your products put on pages with millions of followers for sometimes really cheap price if you know the right pages.   

6 Instagram Influencers

Companies such as HiSmile and Fashion Nova have blown up their presence by using social media influencers such as Kylie Jenner & Conor McGregor. You will have to work your way up there with influencers at just 10,000 followers or so, but you have to start somewhere.

7 Instagram Live

You should make sure to go live at least once a week to keep your followers engaged with your page. Be sure to host giveaways, Q&A’s & any other contests you feel would do well live.

8 Instagram Stories

You should be posting on your Instagram story every day. Once you hit 10,000 followers you will be able to include swipe up links in your stories which you can lead your customers directly to various product pages. Instagram promotes live video differently from other content formats. Existing followers receive a notification (if Instagram notifications are turned on), and live videos are promoted in a dedicated live video discover tab. This can be a great way for social media marketers to quickly increase account reach.   

9 Experiment With Instagram Shopping To Create A Better Experience For Followers

Instagram recently unveiled Shopping, which allows brands to tag items for sale in an e-commerce store. With just a tap on the tag, an Instagram follower can easily navigate to a product web page and purchase the product—all from within Instagram.

E-commerce brands that have used Instagram Shopping have seen incredible results. Marketers who work for e-commerce sites should use Shopping to delight followers, increase post reach and grow.    

10 Promote User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to demonstrate social proof while sharing compelling content. A number of highly regarded brands, including Mercedes-Benz (below), regularly share UGC for these reasons 

Conclusion

Those interested in growing their following on Instagram have a number of tried and true strategies at their disposal. Remember that the most effective Instagram marketers tell a consistent brand narrative through a variety of carefully produced and closely measured pieces of content.

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Jeremy WebbInstagram influencer marketing strategies -10 ways to drive sales for ecommerce
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Growth Hacking With The Power Of Instagram

Business — whether big or small needs Instagram to showcase their products and services.

Launching In 2016

Since its launch back in 2016 — Instagram has been able to provide the best possible platform to make yourself established as a brand. About one billion people use Instagram, and because of this, it is a perfect fit to establish your business quickly. Let us tell you how you can use Instagram as your best friend to gain worldwide recognition without spending millions.

Build Professional Instagram Profile

Just like any other business advertisement, Instagram is also a mode of advertisement for your company. Your profile is something that will let your customers know who and what your company does.  You have to take Instagram as your business card, then only people will be able to get in touch with or recognize you.

Try building a professional profile or hire an expert company to do so. Getting more Instagram post likes doesn’t happen overnight. Buy real likes on instagram  to make your brand grow swiftly and reap other benefits as well.

Everything Starts With Consistency

Consistency is the best policy you can ever have or use. There are no hard-and-fast rules applicable with this awesome tip. Even in your business, consistency matters a lot. So, unless you’re consistent about what you want or what you want to show to the world, nothing will help.

The general rule of thumb is to stay focused and consistent. If you don’t see any immediate results, don’t worry — just stay confident that you’ll soon see them.

This is Instagram growth hack tip number one — and you can apply it in your life and business aspects.

Content Paves The Way

Until now people haven’t understood the importance of content marketing and how they can use it to their benefit. Instagram growth hack for your business solely depends on how well you produce your content. It can be in the form of a video or picture(s) — and needs to be something spot-on to get your customers intrigued.

Instagram is now a whopping community of 1 billion users and you need to publish something that is unique or captivating content. Thus, you have to produce and fashion the content in such a great way, that your customers can’t resist your presence.

Automation Is Your Key To Success

Being a businessman or businesswoman — do you have enough time to do engaging Instagram posting? If not you should hire a professional team to manage the daily posts. If you can’t afford doing so, take some time to choose the best automation software for your Instagram account.

There are many reputable and recognized social media service providers, and you can study their Instagram marketing strategy to begin immediately. Automation will allow your profile to be engaging and active for your customers. Further, you’ll be able to drive traffic with valuable content admiration — this is what we are striving for.

New On Instagram? Buy Instagram Likes

Usually, every business profile has thousands of likes and followers. But, if you’re relatively new on the Instagram platform – you need to think like a pro. Your profile will not show in the newsfeed of your customers without heavy-duty marketing.

You’ll need to invest with social media stars or more prudently with services like Social Noor.  Remember that you can’t blindly work with just anybody. Study their profile, see their ratings and results. Then only decide if you can truly rely on them.

Contests And Gifts Will Help In Engagement

This is a common knowledge that your business needs to engage with your customers to drive traffic. What are your proven strategies to do so? The best tip from our experts are to research and start doing gift and online contest sessions. Advertise and post about them one week prior to create a hype. Then choose a nice little contest and ask your customers to comment, like or post about it.

The one who can do it actively or more engagingly can be declared as a winner. This can be used in different formats. For example, you can ask your customers to like, share, post or comment about your business.

Plan Strategically To Win Customers

What is it that your competitor is doing better than you?  Something you have to invest time in ? Or is it something that you never thought about? With the looks of it, most probably they’re doing something you never heard about. Let us tell you what it is.

They’re stealing the fan following and liking the general public as they go. This is something you can do too. Simply, like or comment on public posts and you’ll start seeing auto fan following. But yes, this tip is time-consuming and you have to carefully draft this strategy to get your customers actually like you. You don’t want to annoy them on purpose or something.

Stay On Top Of Your Hashtag Game

No matter how often you post or how often you do a contest, likes etc., unless you understand the mode of working on Instagram you won’t be able to do much about getting fame on it. Hashtag play an important part in getting on top of newsfeed and getting targeted traffic to your post.

With hashtag fun, you only get to drive the traffic that is extremely important for your business. This will also increase your brand following because you’ll create a universal hashtag, and then add your business name to get into the search news feed of your clients.

A simple example to study your niche and see what your competitors are using on their posts. Grab a similar or exact idea and start posting. You’ll see an instant rise in the growth and engagement part of your profile. Use as many hashtags as you want. Just stay relevant to your post and niche.

Think Smartly

Once you jump into the pool of Instagram marketing, stay alert about the changing trends in the market you’re doing business. Further, subscribe to reputable digital marketing blogs and websites. This way, you’ll get an instant notification if something new arrives. Try to be proactive, as no matter who you hire to do your Instagram marketing – unless you’re paying attention you won’t see the desired results. ​

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Lean Logos Make Startups Stand Out on Social Media

For millions of startups all over the globe, being active on social media is a natural part of the process — positioning yourself solidly in a steady pipeline connected to potential customers.

The digital world we all have to embrace.

But in a digital world where first impressions are made in an instant, competition is rampant, and screens are small, the brand visuals a startup presents on social — mainly the logo — are more important than ever before.

The logo presented in the tiny profile picture space on social media can help nab or repel customers. These customers are so flooded with buying options and opportunities that selecting a brand based solely on logo is no longer shallow. It’s smart — it’s a time-saving device. It’s a method of elimination where the weakest link will fail. The startup with a logo that is pixelated, oddly cropped or with a straight-outta-1997-aesthetics — is dropped like a hot coffee burn — and without a second thought. 

At one time, a brand could survive, even thrive, with just one version of its logo. Today, in the digital age, one-logo startups are coming up short. Take a look around on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — notice anything special about the logos of successful startups and brands? 

Logos are staggeringly simple. 

Optimizely, Cloudpeeps, InsideView, Startup Stash, Roomi, BlueChilli — the list is endless. The logo components these brands are using are more than finite — they’re downright lean. 

Instead of cramming a full logo into the social media profile picture space and appearing amateur — they’re onto a branding method of brands quadruple their size: Using bold, memorable flashmarks instead.

Flashmarks.

Flashmarks are the wordless marks brands like Apple, Nike, and Instagram have been using for years. The iconic bitten apple, black “swoosh,” and simplified camera outline are all examples of flashmarks.

Scalable marks — you need both.

These scalable marks help users recognize and identify your brand just like a logo. But unlike logos, flashmarks are designed especially for social media: They’re lean, clean, and designed to scale to fit small screens. You don’t need one or the other. If you’re serious about being successful on social, you need both.

If your existing logo meets certain criteria, you may be able to simply isolate your symbol. Think about your symbol and use it as a flashmark by dropping the text. If your logo contains fine lines, more than two colors, or a lot of detail — it’s best to start by simplifying your design. Overall simplification come before creating a flashmark.

Flawlessly Flashmarked.

Flashmarks enable companies to represent themselves flawlessly on social media, where it takes something special to make a user stop scrolling.

Really — you just need users to take notice of your brand long enough to read about how awesome you are. Let the customer know you and your brand quickly and seamlessly. The rest will practically be done for you. 

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Instagram for Professionals

Instagram is the NUMBER ONE underutilized social media platform for attorneys. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, every individual, professional, company, and brand should be on Instagram. 

Professionals such as attorneys, dentists, medical doctors, and accountants ask me all the time if they should be on social media and my answer is a resounding YES.

You Need to Market Yourself.

    As a business professional, you are busy serving your clients and trying to increase your profits by growing your company. This is a good thing and exactly what you should be doing.

    Don’t do it all ourself.

    Unfortunately, many professionals try to handle all aspects of their business, which is a mistake. Just because you can type 140 words per minute does not mean that you should handle the notes, emails, and invoices in your business.

    Similarly, anybody can do social media, but it doesn’t mean that you should or that you would be good at it. You should do what you do best, your profession, and partner with a professional marketer who does what he does best, markets you.

    You Need to be on Instagram.

    Here are 5 facts that will blow your mind about Instagram:

    • Instagram currently has one billion monthly active users.
    • Instagram will bring in $6.8 billion global mobile ad revenue this year.
    • 60 percent of the adults on the internet use Instagram.
    • Users “like” 4.2 billion posts on a DAILY basis.
    • 300+ million users use Instagram stories every day of the week. 
    • 50 percent of businesses publish an Instagram story on a consistent schedule.

    The potential reach and impact of this social media platform is massive and cannot be overstated. You need to be on it.

    A common criticism I hear against Instagram is that, “it’s for teenagers” OR “only women are on it.” Both are untrue. With one billion users on Instagram, you cannot afford to NOT be on it — whatever you think.

    Yes, women make up the majority of users, but are you willing to take a pass on the 48 percent of men who use it?

    And yes, Instagram started as an app for teenagers — but like every app, it ages up — just like Facebook did, drawing in broader audiences. Sheer numbers say — “BE THERE.”

    Instagram is too big and too important for you to pass on it. Think of it this way, how would you feel if your competitors were on Instagram and you weren’t?

    You Need to Define Your Goals.

    The first question you need to ask yourself and answer is, “what is my goal?” 

    You can have more than one goal but you should at least identify what you hope to get out of social media.

    Common Goals Include:

    #1 Personal Branding.

    This is what people think of and feel when they hear and see your name. The warm & fuzzies, the good or bad memories, and what others comment about you. Instagram is the perfect platform to tell & create your story. Showcase your interests, career, passions, family, events, and all the other great things you do. 

    Remember, people follow people and business is about relationships. When you share your life with the world, you’ll find other like-minded people who want to work with you because of who you are

    #2 Corporate Branding.

    Your company stands for something and Instagram is the best place to showcase that. Are you a defender of victim’s rights?  Do you value entrepreneurship? Whatever it is, you need to tell people about that because it’s part of your brand.

    Your brand is the lifeblood of your company and everything you do revolves around that brand. Therefore, it’s your responsibility (or your marketer’s) job to make sure that brand gets shared with the world.

    #3 Thought Leadership.

    Content is your new best friend. 

    You need to deliver content that people find valuable and interesting. Yes, social media tells your story but more importantly, social media tells your story for the sake of others.

    Let me explain:

    Hey its great to see a picture of you fishing, but what’s even better is when you tap into the passion of fishing that others have. That’s how you create a connection.

    Remember Four Things When Creating Content:

    #1 Be specific.

    #2 Be relevant.

    #3 Be varied.

    #4 Be valuable.

    Don’t post something just to put something.

    Don’t copy and paste articles and re-type the title. This looks terrible. It’s better not to post at all than to post junk.

    Here are good things you can post:

    • News & commentary related to your business.
    • Advice & best practices.
    • Testimonials (yes! post these all the time!).
    • Profiles of your employees and their hobbies.
    • Case studies of how you helped others succeed and/or profit.
    • Surveys, polls, & infographics.
    • Jokes, it always helps to lighten somebody else’s day.

    #4 Engage the Community. 

    Business is all about people and you need to figure out how to connect with and relate to your community. Your community could be professional, neighborhood, local government, school & sports, or anything else.

    You need to think of yourself as the go-to person for whatever community you target. Remember, don’t spam that community, provide value and in time you will become a centerpiece of that community.

    Practical things include promoting your local high school because your kids attend there. Make sure your friends donate to the team, attend the games, and help fill the stadiums.

    Make other people the hero and you’ll gradually become a hero yourself.

    #5 Networking.

    It’s always good to meet new people because that is what relationships are all about. One of the best things you can do is give shout-outs to people in your network. By promoting the businesses of others, you are becoming their advocate and their ambassador.

    56 percent of posts on Instagram receive more engagement if it promotes somebody else.

    You may not receive immediate rewards, but that’s OK because you are in it for the long-haul. Grow your network by liking and commenting on others’ posts, following them, and re-posting their content. 

    #6 New Clients.

    Everybody wants marketing to equal sales, but remember, marketing is not the same as sales. It can help, but it’s not the same.

    Your job when hiring a marketer is to make sure that he is bringing potential clients to you. It’s your job as the businesswoman to provide a product or service, sell it — then convert it into a new client. 

    Marketing the right way is crucially important to bringing new clients into the fold. If you aren’t marketing –and a potential prospect look you up and doesn’t find anything — then what? You lost a potential client.

    But if a client is on the lookout for your product or service, and sees an amazing Instagram profile (that also details your services, testimonials, and contact information) then, Bingo! You just brought somebody into your sales pipeline.

    If you don’t market for new clients, then you can expect your competitors to do it for you and capture those clients.

    #7 Recruiting.

    Bringing new and amazing people into your company is at the core of growing your business. Instagram is a terrific source of recruiting because you are able to showcase your company values, what you do, what life is like, and how your potential recruit can fit into the team.

    This is the fun part. Does your culture have a unique thing for hiking? Well, post pictures of all the terrific hiking trips you do.

    Behind every professional is a personality with interests and likes. Instagram allows you to tap into the passions of other people and create the desire for them to work for you. 

    If you’re still not sold, just think of your competitors using Instagram to recruit. Pretty good idea, right? You better start doing it now.

    You Need to Know Your Targets

    The power of the internet is vast and the amount of data at your fingertips is unprecedented.

    Once you define your goals, you need to know who you are trying to reach.

    Consider who you are trying to reach in terms of: 

    #1 Sex (male/female).

    #2 Location (can be as specific as street address).

    #3 Interests (keywords such as: fitness, health, insurance, teenagers).

    #4 Age (any range you define).

    By knowing who you are targeting, you can cater your message to that group, which allows you to be more effective and relevant. 

    You Will Be Left Behind If You Don’t Do This

    Instagram is here to stay and should be an critical component of your marketing strategy. Remember, 10-20 percent of your top-line revenue should be dedicated to marketing.

    This doesn’t mean that Instagram is that full 10-20 percent, but it should make up a large portion of it.

    Quit the mailers, the coupon ads, the radio placements, and focus 100 percent on digital marketing. It’s less expensive, more effective, and provides a personalized touch that outdoes the best email marketing campaigns.

    Instagram has one billion active monthly users. Surely, some of these users fit your client profile and you should start marketing to them, now.

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    Jeremy WebbInstagram for Professionals
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    Instagram for Professionals

    Instagram is the NUMBER ONE underutilized social media platform for attorneys. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, every individual, professional, company, and brand should be on Instagram. 

    Professionals such as attorneys, dentists, medical doctors, and accountants ask me all the time if they should be on social media and my answer is a resounding YES.

    You Need to Market Yourself.

      As a business professional, you are busy serving your clients and trying to increase your profits by growing your company. This is a good thing and exactly what you should be doing.

      Don’t do it all ourself.

      Unfortunately, many professionals try to handle all aspects of their business, which is a mistake. Just because you can type 140 words per minute does not mean that you should handle the notes, emails, and invoices in your business.

      Similarly, anybody can do social media, but it doesn’t mean that you should or that you would be good at it. You should do what you do best, your profession, and partner with a professional marketer who does what he does best, markets you.

      You Need to be on Instagram.

      Here are 5 facts that will blow your mind about Instagram:

      • Instagram currently has one billion monthly active users.
      • Instagram will bring in $6.8 billion global mobile ad revenue this year.
      • 60 percent of the adults on the internet use Instagram.
      • Users “like” 4.2 billion posts on a DAILY basis.
      • 300+ million users use Instagram stories every day of the week. 
      • 50 percent of businesses publish an Instagram story on a consistent schedule.

      The potential reach and impact of this social media platform is massive and cannot be overstated. You need to be on it.

      A common criticism I hear against Instagram is that, “it’s for teenagers” OR “only women are on it.” Both are untrue. With one billion users on Instagram, you cannot afford to NOT be on it — whatever you think.

      Yes, women make up the majority of users, but are you willing to take a pass on the 48 percent of men who use it?

      And yes, Instagram started as an app for teenagers — but like every app, it ages up — just like Facebook did, drawing in broader audiences. Sheer numbers say — “BE THERE.”

      Instagram is too big and too important for you to pass on it. Think of it this way, how would you feel if your competitors were on Instagram and you weren’t?

      You Need to Define Your Goals.

      The first question you need to ask yourself and answer is, “what is my goal?” 

      You can have more than one goal but you should at least identify what you hope to get out of social media.

      Common Goals Include:

      #1 Personal Branding.

      This is what people think of and feel when they hear and see your name. The warm & fuzzies, the good or bad memories, and what others comment about you. Instagram is the perfect platform to tell & create your story. Showcase your interests, career, passions, family, events, and all the other great things you do. 

      Remember, people follow people and business is about relationships. When you share your life with the world, you’ll find other like-minded people who want to work with you because of who you are

      #2 Corporate Branding.

      Your company stands for something and Instagram is the best place to showcase that. Are you a defender of victim’s rights?  Do you value entrepreneurship? Whatever it is, you need to tell people about that because it’s part of your brand.

      Your brand is the lifeblood of your company and everything you do revolves around that brand. Therefore, it’s your responsibility (or your marketer’s) job to make sure that brand gets shared with the world.

      #3 Thought Leadership.

      Content is your new best friend. 

      You need to deliver content that people find valuable and interesting. Yes, social media tells your story but more importantly, social media tells your story for the sake of others.

      Let me explain:

      Hey its great to see a picture of you fishing, but what’s even better is when you tap into the passion of fishing that others have. That’s how you create a connection.

      Remember Four Things When Creating Content:

      #1 Be specific.

      #2 Be relevant.

      #3 Be varied.

      #4 Be valuable.

      Don’t post something just to put something.

      Don’t copy and paste articles and re-type the title. This looks terrible. It’s better not to post at all than to post junk.

      Here are good things you can post:

      • News & commentary related to your business.
      • Advice & best practices.
      • Testimonials (yes! post these all the time!).
      • Profiles of your employees and their hobbies.
      • Case studies of how you helped others succeed and/or profit.
      • Surveys, polls, & infographics.
      • Jokes, it always helps to lighten somebody else’s day.

      #4 Engage the Community. 

      Business is all about people and you need to figure out how to connect with and relate to your community. Your community could be professional, neighborhood, local government, school & sports, or anything else.

      You need to think of yourself as the go-to person for whatever community you target. Remember, don’t spam that community, provide value and in time you will become a centerpiece of that community.

      Practical things include promoting your local high school because your kids attend there. Make sure your friends donate to the team, attend the games, and help fill the stadiums.

      Make other people the hero and you’ll gradually become a hero yourself.

      #5 Networking.

      It’s always good to meet new people because that is what relationships are all about. One of the best things you can do is give shout-outs to people in your network. By promoting the businesses of others, you are becoming their advocate and their ambassador.

      56 percent of posts on Instagram receive more engagement if it promotes somebody else.

      You may not receive immediate rewards, but that’s OK because you are in it for the long-haul. Grow your network by liking and commenting on others’ posts, following them, and re-posting their content. 

      #6 New Clients.

      Everybody wants marketing to equal sales, but remember, marketing is not the same as sales. It can help, but it’s not the same.

      Your job when hiring a marketer is to make sure that he is bringing potential clients to you. It’s your job as the businesswoman to provide a product or service, sell it — then convert it into a new client. 

      Marketing the right way is crucially important to bringing new clients into the fold. If you aren’t marketing –and a potential prospect look you up and doesn’t find anything — then what? You lost a potential client.

      But if a client is on the lookout for your product or service, and sees an amazing Instagram profile (that also details your services, testimonials, and contact information) then, Bingo! You just brought somebody into your sales pipeline.

      If you don’t market for new clients, then you can expect your competitors to do it for you and capture those clients.

      #7 Recruiting.

      Bringing new and amazing people into your company is at the core of growing your business. Instagram is a terrific source of recruiting because you are able to showcase your company values, what you do, what life is like, and how your potential recruit can fit into the team.

      This is the fun part. Does your culture have a unique thing for hiking? Well, post pictures of all the terrific hiking trips you do.

      Behind every professional is a personality with interests and likes. Instagram allows you to tap into the passions of other people and create the desire for them to work for you. 

      If you’re still not sold, just think of your competitors using Instagram to recruit. Pretty good idea, right? You better start doing it now.

      You Need to Know Your Targets

      The power of the internet is vast and the amount of data at your fingertips is unprecedented.

      Once you define your goals, you need to know who you are trying to reach.

      Consider who you are trying to reach in terms of: 

      #1 Sex (male/female).

      #2 Location (can be as specific as street address).

      #3 Interests (keywords such as: fitness, health, insurance, teenagers).

      #4 Age (any range you define).

      By knowing who you are targeting, you can cater your message to that group, which allows you to be more effective and relevant. 

      You Will Be Left Behind If You Don’t Do This

      Instagram is here to stay and should be an critical component of your marketing strategy. Remember, 10-20 percent of your top-line revenue should be dedicated to marketing.

      This doesn’t mean that Instagram is that full 10-20 percent, but it should make up a large portion of it.

      Quit the mailers, the coupon ads, the radio placements, and focus 100 percent on digital marketing. It’s less expensive, more effective, and provides a personalized touch that outdoes the best email marketing campaigns.

      Instagram has one billion active monthly users. Surely, some of these users fit your client profile and you should start marketing to them, now.

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      Jeremy WebbInstagram for Professionals
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      Instagram TV (IGTV) For Beginners

      Instagram TV (IGTV) is the newest and most amazing feature in the social media platform, Instagram.

      Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced Instagram TV (IGTV), which allows users to post videos that are 15 seconds to 10 minutes long. This is in direct competition with YouTube and Snapchat.

      This is a massive move that will leverage the incredible base Instagram already has: 1 billion active users. Not only that, here are a handful of other facts you need to know about Instagram.

      Quick Facts About Instagram

      • Instagram posts utilizing at least one hashtag receives 12.6 percent more engagement than posts without them.
      • There are 16,600,000 Google searches for Instagram per month.
      • Top brands post on average, at least 4.9 times per week.
      • Posts with a location get 79 percent more engagement.
      • Photos with faces get 38 percent more “likes.”
      • There are 25 million business profiles on Instagram.
      • Over 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day.
      • 80 percent of users follow a business profile.
      • Over 300 million users use Instagram stories daily.
      • In one month over 50 percent of businesses published an Instagram story.
      • 1/3 of the most viewed stories are posted by businesses.
      • Instagram will bring in $6.84 global mobile ad revenue in 2018.
      • 60 percent of the adults on the internet use Instagram.
      • Users “like” 4.2 billion posts per day.

      How You Can Use Instagram TV (IGTV)

      The possibilities with Instagram TV (IGTV) are endless. The most important action you can take right now is to create your own channel, post a video, and then post another video tomorrow.

      It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be uploaded and into the marketplace. You will get better over time and figure out what gets the most engagement from your followers and the community.

      Here are 10 practical ideas of what to do with Instagram TV (IGTV):

      1. Showcase your company (offices, culture, luncheons, staff, location).
      2. Teach people something.
      3. Post longer videos about something adventurous or fun.
      4. Give a glimpse of your life or business behind the curtain.
      5. Share a lecture or class that you taught, especially if you have Q&A.
      6. Big announcements, whether personal or professional.
      7. Progress updates about your life, your diet, your travels, anything.
      8. Share your tips & tricks on how to DIY.
      9. Pets, people love pets.
      10. Something creative, fun, and exciting that is not on this list.

      Technical Specs of IGTV

      • Videos can be uploaded to app or through the web.
      • Videos on IGTV can be uploaded to the Facebook Watch.
      • File size is up to 3.6GB, file type is .MP4, and video size is 9:16.
      • Video thumbnail & cover image format is .JPG.
      • You can browse videos that are categorized by, “For You,” “Following,” “Popular,” and “Continue Watching.”
      • Users can like or comment on videos.
      • Users can send videos to friends directly.
      • Any user can have his own channel (just like YouTube).
      • Videos are full screen and vertical.
      • Video length is 15 seconds up to 60 minutes.
      • Users can use the Instagram app or the IGTV app.
      • Videos autoplay if they use the IGTV app.
      • Creators can use “swipe up” call-to-actions (CTA’s) on videos).

      What Now?

      Get on Instagram TV (IGTV) now and start using it. Don’t expect perfection, don’t buy fancy equipment, don’t procrastinate. DO…IT…NOW.

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      Jeremy WebbInstagram TV (IGTV) For Beginners
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      Only Rely on Organic Social Media Followings

      Social media has been a groundbreaking influence when it comes to branding and advertisements. Over the years there has been a rising growth of brands taking to social media in order to gain viewership base. Social media has helped even the tiniest brands to reach out beyond the borders and expand their realms.

      But with the added reach comes the question of whether one should rely on only organic social media or opt for paid options. While paid social media definitely has a huge lure to it, it is important to understand why organic social media is better for your brand.

      It’s basically free promotion.

      Without paying a single buck from your own pocket you get to enjoy promotions via organic search. Organic search works social media algorithms which are designed to suggest options based on the searches and social media, as well as other online, activities of the users.

      This ensures that without spending any money your brand gets promoted, and that too for your relevant audience based on their similar interests. For example, one who is looking for online printing of name cards will be shown the relevant companies who do the same based on search activity.

      This is a winning situation for startups and small businesses who do not have big budgets to work with.

      It reduces a recurring expense.

      If you opt for advertising your brand on social media, depending on the platform of your choice you will have to pay certain amounts of money. It could be to boost a single post or for all your posts for a certain period of time.

      At the end of this period, your advertisements would disappear from the social media and you will go back to regular organic suggestion unless you keep paying for more promotions. This ends up becoming a recurring expense for your company. Instead look at more static and permanent options of organic search, such as static and informative website, social media presence, and name card printing service.

      It offers a fair evaluation.

      When your organic reach on social media spreads you know the numbers that you reach are simply a result of your social media interaction which syncs up with popular search trends online.

      This helps you understand how you are actually doing and hence, helps you formulate a plan to work on your social media and other online activity to ensure a better reach. With the help of the right actions your organic search can boom.

      Credibility is high.

      On the other hand, an organic social media search poses greater credibility in the eyes of the viewers than sponsored advertisements. This could be partly attributed to the fact that an organic suggestion gives the assurance that the particular brand believes in its service or products enough to not rely on advertisement only.

      Therefore, go for paid ads only if you are pitching something unique or special that no one else can afford to offer. For example, a pet photo printing service could do well with ads, but an invitation company doesn’t need to spend as organic search will do its advertisement already.

      When it comes to organic search–the keyword is the key to success.  With a little research you can reap profits without any expense.

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      4 Ways Startup Founders Create Huge Presence with a Tiny Budget

      As the founder of a startup, you are under a lot of pressure to build a noteworthy presence. To add to it, you are probably working on a shoestring budget. Fortunately, entrepreneurs these days live in a time when this is very doable – with the right strategy and creative prowess.

      However, regardless of how intelligent or skilled you are at building a brand presence, this is no cakewalk. Bringing a business name to widespread recognition requires a great deal of critical thinking, time, persistence, and everything in between. Combining this with the state of “constant connectedness,” you are essentially going up against endless amounts of similar brands trying to do the same thing.

      So how can you stand out and make your presence known to the world? Here are four ways you can get started on the right note.

      Build a Personal Brand.

      Thanks to social media, the concept of building a personal brand is easier than ever. With nearly one-third of the planet’s population being active users, getting your content in front of the right eyes isn’t overly complex.

      It’s no secret that the majority of consumers prefer the messaging of a person over a brand. In fact, a survey on the relationship between CEOs, Social Media, and Brand Reputation conducted by Brandfog found that 93 percent customers are more likely to trust a company whose leadership has a personal presence on social media.

      Keep in mind, when it comes to personal branding, most (if not all) of your messaging should be aimed to educate, not sell. Hopefully, you are an expert in the field you chose to start your business. Use that expertise to your advantage and let your unique personality shine while you share your insight, give advice, chime into trending issues, etc.

      Neil Patel is a fantastic example of personal branding done right.

      Post Regularly.

      He regularly posts content on social media platforms like LinkedIn related to marketing. His personality and knowledge do a great job of establishing his name as an expert source of information. One might even argue his personal brand eclipses his companies.

      Diversify Your Personal Brand.

      Try to diversify your personal brand as much as possible. Be active on the networks your target customers hang out on. If you are a B2C startup, make it a point to be active on Facebook and Instagram. If you are B2B, keep up on LinkedIn and Twitter. In addition to the networks, get diverse with the content formats. Go beyond blog posts and quotes. Create videos, host live Q&As, run a podcast, etc.

      Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy production equipment to get the point across nowadays. In fact, you can record a mixed video where you explain something personally, as well as show a step-by-step tutorial of your product straight from the screen of your iPhone or iPad, per iGeeksBlog. (And I’ve rarely seen a startup founder who doesn’t carry one of those!)

      Building a personal brand is now more doable than ever. But, it is far from easy. If you commit to a consistent schedule of providing expert value through captivating content, you will slowly but surely start to gain traction.

      Be Active in Niche Social Groups.

      One of the biggest takeaways from the big 2018 Facebook algorithm update was that group posts would be placed higher in the news feed.

      Now, the reason behind this update was to promote friendly, healthy discourse. The theory is that people in Facebook Groups are brought together by a common interest, as opposed to random strangers on the internet. The result is that the interactions are more positive. While this algorithm change was essentially a nail in the coffin for the organic reach of brand pages, it’s a huge advantage for entrepreneurs.

      Do You Have a Niche Group?

      As a startup founder, getting involved in niche groups can do wonders to expand your reach, promote content to interested people, share insights, build partnerships, and much, much more. Fortunately, there is a group for just about everything on Facebook. Regardless of your niche, being active in Facebook Groups is one of the best things you can do to build your presence, not to mention it’s FREE!

      Work with Micro-Influencers.

      Influencer marketing has got to be one of the biggest buzzwords circulating the business world. When doing research, it’s easy to get inspired by some of the most successful campaigns with the biggest influencers. However, as you could imagine, running campaigns with superstars who have household names costs a pretty penny. For example, if you want to work with someone whose name ends with Kardashian or Jenner, you are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post.

      While working with big name influencers can certainly do a lot to help build your presence, you shouldn’t overlook micro-influencers. These are public figures who typically have a following of less than 100,000.

      Advantages.

      There are several key advantages to working with micro-influencers. For one, they are significantly less expensive. Two, you can work with multiple at once. And three, they normally have a very focused group of followers. According to a study by HelloSociety (reported by Adweek), engagement rates for micro-influencers are as much as 60 percent higher than the bigger names.

      At the end of last year, Audible partnered with photographer and filmmaker Jesse Driftwood. In a heartfelt Instagram post, Driftwood spoke about how Audible helped him gain valuable knowledge to grow as an artist.

      The post ended up having an engagement rate of 30 percent.

      The power of influencer marketing cannot be overstated. As a startup founder, the relationships you form with micro-influencers are assets that will come in handy time and time again.

      Make Use of Diverse (and Free) Content Outlets.

      So, you are likely producing plenty of awesome content on your website. But as a fresh startup, chances are, not many people are seeing it. Simply gaining traffic is one of the biggest challenges young startups face.

      Direct Users to Your Site.

      Fortunately, there are many ways you can direct users to your site. Take advantage of major free content platforms like Medium or LinkedIn. Although these won’t get you much link juice (for you SEO minds), publishing content here is a great way to get your messaging in front of more eyes and gain some referral traffic. In terms of video, be sure you are posting your content on YouTube and Facebook. If you record podcasts, publish the segments on SoundCloud, iTunes, etc.

      When it comes to building a presence, you need to get your name out across as many channels as possible. Luckily, there is no shortage of free options.

      In Conclusion

      Since the beginning of business, startup founders have always been faced with an uphill battle. Truth be told, they almost always will be. The good news is the tedious task of establishing a presence is much, much more accessible these days.

      Social media and its associated content outlets on the web have significantly leveled the playing field. Instead of a huge budget to market your startup, you need only a great strategy, commitment, and most of all, consistency.

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      How to Use YouTube to Promote Your Startup

      As a start-up, it can be difficult to stand out online amongst all the competition. That’s why you need to leverage all of the different channels you have at your disposal — especially when it comes to social media.

      YouTube.

      YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the world, with a huge worldwide audience so a good YouTube social media strategy can work wonders for your online success. And while YouTube marketing might have seemed unattainable for small businesses and start-ups a few years ago, now it’s more accessible than ever. 

      In this blog post, I’m going to share my top YouTube tips to help you promote your start-up:

      Develop your YouTube content calendar.

      It’s always good practice to plan your social media content ahead of time — but with YouTube — it’s a real necessity.

      You’ll want to spend longer on content creation, and you’ll want to be able to ensure you’re delivering new content consistently. The best way to achieve these master goals — is by planning your calendar. 

      First steps: 

      Begin by deciding what you want to achieve with your company using your YouTube channel — what are your exact objectives? You may not know or understand the significance concerning a YouTube for your company. Find someone who has the vision for whom you can ask questions — and get and give ideas. Once you’re clear on your objectives, you can focus on coming up with content ideas that support these goals. 

      Before that — establish the posting frequency on your channel. Okay — you can only upload a vid once a week. Fine. Be consistent and never miss your once a week offering. Then — do two YouTubes a week — and so on. Ideally, your subscribers should know when to expect new content.

      When you really get control over the YouTube concept and how to accomplish and present your YouTube — you will notice that posting frequently will improve your results overall — every time.

      So, what kinds of videos can you actually create to promote your business? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

      • Product videos: similar to ads in a way. These videos help promote your product by putting the spotlight on your product or service — with real people.
      • Tutorial videos: this is another type of product video, one that shows the user how to use the product or how to use certain features. To give you an example, Mailchimp uses their YouTube to channel to post tutorials like this one in the link. Please take a look — it’s great. 
      • Animated videos: use tools to create animated videos on any topic you can think of: educational, funny or cute, the history of (…), and so on. 
      • Listicles: create a “top 10/20/etc.” video, similar to listicle blog posts.
      • Interviews: maybe use thought leaders and social influencers in your niche (but make sure to invest in great lighting and microphones for these types of videos). But frankly — I’ve done lousy ones, and watched lousy YouTubes. You will still get an audience and they will still love it. You can also use these lousy ones for a before and after vid later. 
      • How-to’s/educational videos: just like with written blog posts, how-to and educational videos can be very popular on YouTube. 

      Use video marketing tools to create compelling videos, easily. 

      Creating great videos from scratch is not easy as a start-up. You will not only need the resources, but you also need the talent and creativity. Unless, of course, you are using talking interviews and other similar videos. You will want to branch out from these.

      However, you now have access to all kinds of video marketing tools that can do the harder, more detailed work that you crave for your company. These tools can provide you with the tools and materials (video clips, music, and so on) to put together a great video all by yourself. You barely even need any design experience. Brush up on your experience with Internet tools and this is more than enough to get you started.

      The exciting fact that videos are now so much easier to create means that you can create more videos in less time and for less money.

      There are a lot of great video creation tools available, such as:

      • Vyond and Powtoon are both great options for those who want to create animated videos, such as explainer and how-to videos, funny skits, and video listicles.
      • Slidely and Wave allow you to create videos using stock video clips, music, and so on (as well as your own videos). These are very easy to create and the best part is — you don’t need to film anything yourself. But filming becomes so fun after a while — you won’t be able to resist. 

      Generate more subscribers and more traffic with end screens.

      The end screens will allow you to add a call to action at the end of your video. After all, if they stuck around until the end of the video, perhaps they might want to subscribe to your channel or view more videos of yours. 

      Those aren’t your only options. Your end screens not only promote your channel or your videos/playlists — but also your website or app, or a different channel.  

      Setting up end screens if very easy. Just make sure your video has five seconds free at the end — and follow the instructions from YouTube, here.

      Perform keyword research to optimize your videos. 

      One of the most important aspects of a successful YouTube strategy is video optimization — particularly, the keywords you use in your video headlines and descriptions. 

      They help tell YouTube what your video is about so that your videos can appear in the right search results. Naturally, if you’re ranking for some really great niche keywords, this can expose you to a very wide audience. 

      Use some keyword research to come up with other great video ideas that work — that you feel your audience wants to see. 

      You can begin your research by entering a few keywords in the YouTube search engines. You will quickly be able to get a few ideas of what content to create and what long-tail keywords to use in you video headline/description. 

      You can also find several useful YouTube keyword tools to expand your search; Keyword Tool and Keyword Keg are both good options. 

      Make a list of the keywords you want to target and then use them as inspiration for your videos. Make sure, as I mentioned earlier that you use these keywords in your headline and video description, preferably closer to the beginning of the headline. 

      Be more social and use monitoring to find more opportunities.

      To manage your channel, you can use a tool like Agorapulse. This will slowly, but surely, become a necessity as your account grows.

      To improve your success as a business on YouTube, you need to stay on top of things. Here are a few more ideas.

      • Respond to comments in a timely manner.
      • Control and pre-moderate offensive comments. 
      • Keep track of your subscribers and YouTube leads..
      • Monitor your brand name on YouTube to make sure you don’t miss any mentions, either in videos and in people’s comments. 

      Agorapulse is a social media management tool so it can help you manage your YouTube presence — just like you would do with other social networks. You’ll be able to access of all your comments in one place, pre-moderate to decide whether to publish a comment or not, save replies to respond faster, and collaborate with a team to manage your comments. 

      Additionally, you can also use YouTube monitoring to monitor your brand name and the social CRM tool to keep track of fans and subscribers and your interactions with them over time. 

      Repurpose your YouTube videos to drive more results.

      Video is very popular on most social networks and digital channels, so if you’re taking the time to create YouTube videos, why not repurpose them to keep driving results?

      You can re-post vids (or edit them specifically) on:

      • Your website and landing pages (for example, you can use product tutorials on your landing page to boost conversion rates)
      • On your blog (this also works great the other way around: if you’ve written a very popular blog, see if you can turn it into a YouTube video too)
      • In your marketing emails: videos can boost email open rates as well as conversion rates. Use product and brand videos to nurture your leads and turn them into customers 
      • On your other social channels to boost your social media marketing: optimize your videos for different social media platforms and share them. If they’re too long, cut them down into shorter clips and post them. This will help you boost engagement across your digital channels, without having to constantly create new content 

      Conclusion

      YouTube can be a very powerful tool for start-ups and a great way to stand out. It’s very accessible and there aren’t nearly as many brands leveraging it as they are on other popular social networks. 

      Have you tried using YouTube to promote your startup? If  you haven’t — please try it out now. 

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      How Amazon Is Priming Its Advertising Business for 2019

      Amazon’s unrelenting efficiency, obsession with automation, and brutal pricing strategies have helped it disrupt or dominate industry after industry, which began with books way back in 1997.  Over the next year, it is bringing those tactics to bear on the organization’s latest target: the advertising industry.

      What tactics to expect?

      To thrust its way into a sector that is overwhelmingly controlled by Google and Facebook, Amazon is making brazen new moves into self-serve programmatic advertising. They are planning to spend the next year aggressively expanding their infrastructure that is hoping will get more brands to purchase ad space on its websites (such as IMDb) as well as through its ad platform. To accomplish these goals, it will work with ad-tech companies, digital agencies and media companies to build platforms that make buying Amazon ads as easy as filling up an online shopping cart.   

      “The biggest game changer is the ability to programmatically buy ads on Amazon,” says Eric Heller, CEO of Marketplace Ignition, which is an agency owned by WPP that focuses on building Amazon sales for its clients. According to Heller, “that’s where the fastest change is happening (in Amazon’s ad business), this is going to move tons of dollars there.”    

      Even the ad giant Google, is developing for Amazon’s for ad platform, in a sense. Google’s DoubleClick supports buying search ads on Yahoo and Microsoft Bing and it’s building out the same capabilities for Amazon to launch later this year.  

      Other Amazon expansions.   ​

      The network where ads appear on Amazon and through its marketplace is also expanding.  For example, Amazon is developing an ad offering through its Fire TV device, where ads will run inside streaming-TV apps similar to how they do on Roku. It Is rumored to be exploring opportunities for ads inside Amazon Channels, the hub in Prime where studios and networks stream their programming and testing the possibility of dropping ads into a free trial period for its main Prime Video.  

      Borders Books    

      Despite Amazon’s lofty ambitions, Facebook and Google are not likely to fall victim to the same fate of the brick and mortar bookstores that Amazon disrupted into bankruptcy. Both Facebook and Google are light years ahead of any other corporation in digital advertising, including Amazon.

      The advertising “digital duopoly’s” share of U.S. digital ad revenue will possibly tick down to 55.8 percent by 2020 from 56.8 percent this year, according to eMarketer’s data. Amazon’s share will increase to 4.5 percent from 2.7 percent this year. Google and Facebook have never faced an invasion like this before.

      Amazon, the fifth-largest digital ad player on eMarketer’s list, is likely to capture 2.7 percent of the U.S. market this year. But by 2020, the firm expects Amazon to jump to third place, surpassing Verizon Communication Inc.’s Oath and Microsoft Corp., with $6.4 billion in digital ad sales in the U.S.

      Amazon is already appearing to beat expectation. eMarketers are forecasting that it will generate $3.7 billion in global ad revenue this year. However, the Amazon earning report from April, 26th, suggested that its ad business totaled more than $2.03 billion in sales in the 1st quarter alone. Amazon reports its ad sales inside what it refers to as “other” revenue, but they are the “majority” of that segment, according to the company.    

      A bright spot.

      Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer,  noted in the earnings call that “Advertising continues to be a bright spot both from a product standpoint and also a financial one,” he went on to say that advertising was a “strong contributor to profitability.” Monica Peart, eMarketer’s senior forecasting director states, “So far, it’s been conservative in its ad load. It remains an open question as to when Amazon will take advantage of its significant reach and dominance in shopper data to ramp up the placement of ads in other areas.”  

      Another aspect that benefits them, is that they own a 40 percent market share of the e-commerce industry, according to eMarketer, while Google and Facebook do not have nearly as a significant reach there.  

      This grip provides Amazon’s not-so-secret weapon in digital advertising. “Amazon is putting the screws to Google,” said John Rampton a well-known Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising expert. “I have several eCommerce clients I advise — that have asked why are we spending money on Google search — if we can go allocate that budget to Amazon and get a better return and know they are driving sales?”

      A new ad platform and data.

      Advertising agencies are now taking notice of Amazon’s ad platform and the data it provides compared to Google. According to Collin Colburn, a researcher at Forrester — “Amazon is richer than any other player out there in terms of purchase and behavioral data.”   

      Amazon is more ingrained or plugged into what consumers buy, than any other platform. There advantage lies in the fact that, it doesn’t need to close the loop from ad sale by reading uncertain attribution data about when a person saw an online ad and when that led to an actual purchase. Amazon is the full loop.  

      No other major platform is so plugged into what consumers buy. Amazon doesn’t need to close the loop from ad to sale by reading uncertain data about when a person saw an online ad and when that led to an actual purchase. Amazon is the loop.     

      Testing new retargeting ad tools.

      The e-commerce giant is developing a “retargeting” ad type that will recommend products based on consumers’ purchase or search histories,” Bloomberg reports. Such ads will appear on several different sites visited by consumers, effectively retargeting and following them around. This will also link them back to Amazon if they click.

      Retargeting also called re-marketing is popular with apparel brands in particular, and Amazon’s move into this area could prove attractive to apparel marketers as their numbers continue to swell on the e-commerce platform.   

      This could be a useful alternative to its typical ad offering. 

      The ad offering has helped companies pay for an improved position in Amazon’s search results. The new ads will be tested later this month by merchants selected by Amazon, according to Bloomberg.  

      This move comes as part of Amazon’s effort to flesh out its ad business. Amazon’s proprietary ad business has rapidly been gaining traction, bringing in $1.7 billion last year and reflecting 60 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth, according to Digiday. Amazon also stopped buying Google’s product listing ads this past April, and this new ad type suggests it may be looking to more directly compete with Google and other companies in the retail advertising space.

      Withdrawing bids for Google ads and introducing its own ads will also allow Amazon to become less dependent on paid search; now, it’ll be making money from product search rather than paying Google for the best-paid search placement.  

      This new ad style may allow Amazon to further tighten its overall grip on the online shopping process:  

      • Product search: Though the e-commerce process very often ends with customers making their purchases on Amazon, 50 percent of the time, the product search phase starts on a search engine rather than the Amazon website in many cases.

        If the e-commerce titan can more consistently preempt the search process with widely offered, targeted ads, it could establish a stronger presence at all points in the online shopping process by becoming the go-to starting point for even more customers, as well as the ending point.

      • Price comparison: Ads that follow the customer around could also give Amazon an edge while the customer is hunting for the best deal. If a customer goes to another site to look at the same product or a similar one, that they viewed on Amazon — the Amazon’s ad remains present on the screen. This will keep Amazon fresh in the customer’s mind and can inspire one final consideration of Amazon’s deal before a purchase is made from a competitor.

      Amazon agencies.    

      Over the past, there has been a huge rush to develop Amazon ad services by the large advertising agencies, such 360i, Resolution Media, Iprospect, VML and WPP.  If you visit any big digital agency and you are bound to encounter a specific team or unit that promising to guide brands through Amazon’s ever expanding ad offerings.  

      George Manas, president of Resolution Media, noted that “We noticed elevated levels of service from Amazon and a willingness to develop more meaningful partnerships on the level of a Facebook and Google.” Manas went on to say “It has been very obvious Amazon is going to be the Third Estate.

      Google has AdWords, launched in 2000, then Facebook got serious about advertising in 2011, both through APIs, and now it’s obvious Amazon is heading that same direction.”    

      These established agencies and media holding companies are using Amazon’s ads API (application programming interface) to build ad-buying technology they can offer to their clients. They partner with marketing tech firms such as Kenshoo and Marin Software

      They are also building technology to mesh with Amazon’s API.  Amazon is taking a different path by often steering new business from brands instead to working with agencies instead of working the brands directly.

      Amazon is trying to move to deeply into the programmatic model. By pushing programmatic as the primary investment model as part of these retail relationships that Amazon. This a bold move, you don’t see this kind of thing from a company, such as Walmart.

      Amazon will also start running premium services for Fortune 500 brands and vendors, that sell hundreds of millions of dollars in products through the e-commerce platform. They are expanding their advertising teams. Last September 2017, Amazon announced it is moving its ad operations headquarters to New York City’s Hudson Yards in 2018. And they will hire and create 2,000 new jobs over the next three years.        

      Seth Dallaire, VP of Global Ad Sales and marketing for Amazon Media Group (AMG), is the face of Amazon’s ad business, the liaison to the agencies and holding companies. He is the first point of contact for many agencies that want to their deepen the level of service offerings within the Amazon ecosystem.       

      Some major advertising companies, including WPP, Publicis, and Omnicom, have said they plan to up their spend to more than $800 million combined across the companies, according to The Wall Street Journal.

      If you look at the broader move to more automation, this is taken straight from the Google and Facebook playbooks. Both of these companies recruited developers, agencies as well as ad-tech marketing partners to plug into their advertising platforms and help build the next generation of ad-buying tools. Amazon is opening up the API and letting other people do the work.

      “We are continuing to hire and grow our managed service teams,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are also continuing to build and improve our products and tools, which includes self-service and our API program, to better support agencies and all of our advertisers as our business scales. We aim to serve our advertising customers in a number of ways, based on their needs and goals.”  

      A new pixel.   

      Amazon is running a beta test with select brands and their agencies, by offering a pixel to tag and track ads to prove when they lead or contribute to a sale on Amazon. This is not a complex technology but it is the first time Amazon is going to start using it.   

      The gist of how it works is: companies will put the pixel on ads that run outside of Amazon web properties, such as YouTube and other sites. The pixel then can detect the computers or devices that view an ad and can record the attribution of when that leads to a sale on Amazon.     

      The pixel can also show companies that ads running outside of Amazon’s platform are not as effective as ads served on its platform. The companies that use Amazon’s platform are also able to leverage its consumer data, targeting people who have shown interest in a product or recently bought a product similar.

      Of course there are a few internet advertising rivals to Amazon that have similar media attribution and measurement programs, and Amazon provides similar traffic analytics in areas such as its web stores, the e-commerce pages brands run on its site.   

      The Amazon Ad Platform is comparable to the other leading platforms in the marketplace with some advantages. Advertisers can leverage Amazon’s specific data for targeting, there is unique access to inventory through Amazon’s properties and there is also unique analytics by virtue of its sales data.  

      The new Amazon pixel will not only help measure sales conversion but could also give a data lift to the company, because it will see how brands are mixing their ad dollars on other platforms, providing a rare peek into the buying that happens outside of its walls.  

      Open arms.   

      Amazon also has plans to grow its advertising base by opening access to the Amazon Ad Platform that connects to display and video inventory outside of its own.

      Before this had been reserved for wholesale retailers and vendors that have Amazon handle sales with actual consumers, later this year, the platform will start allowing brands “ad buys” from brands and sellers that retail on Amazon. The sellers will also gain the ability to tap into the same Amazon data that other brands use for targeting.

      What does this mean? They will be opening up the ad platform to everyone that has a product on Amazon. It’s not going to matter if you are selling it to Amazon or selling it through Amazon, which will most likely increase the amount of ads you going to see.

      Amazon is taking steps to expand its pool of outside ad inventory.

      To accomplish this they will undercutting Google on ad-tech fees as it recruits for Amazon Publisher Services. This is a division offering ad marketplace services that will compete directly with DoubleClick for Publishers.   

      Currently, Google offers similar ad-bidding technology for publishers, but it takes up to five percent from deal. Amazon is planning not taking any percentage at the moment for people to buy in. Amazon is privy to a ton of bid data and you can bet they are smartening themselves with information on inventory and audiences.   

      Amazon also dangles its own ad spending in front of publishers, making promises to spend its marketing dollars on their sites, with the caveat, that they must participate in its ad marketplace first.  

      Held hostage or just hard-nosed sales tactics?  

      This might seem like a hard-nosed sales tactic, albeit it’s an effective one. When Amazon is spending millions to promote Prime shows from the Amazon Studios — this will make a noticeable difference. According to a programmatic publishing executive “There are marketing budgets Amazon will only run through [its ad platform], and that carries a lot of weight for smaller publishers especially.”     

      Video everywhere.

      Amazon is now looking for more places to serve video ads. 

      Ads usually command the most expensive ad rates in digital. Agencies and brands are talking with Amazon about creating video ads to be placed in their video content, although they have not fully figured out where they run all of them.   

      Chief contenders include Fire TV, the streaming TV device which is similar to Roku, and Prime, which is the Netflix competitor with original programming and video on demand from outside studios.    

      As of now, Fire TV displays ads on its home screen that can be purchased through Amazon Ad Platform. Apps on Fire manage their own sales through their video-tech platforms. Currently Amazon is in talks with top digital and traditional studios — which includes AMC and Fox. By developing an ad platform that could compete with Roku, the digital video app channels could possibly plug into the broader ad marketplace Amazon runs through Publisher Services.

      Roku.     

      According to data from eMarketer, Roku is expected to do $300 million in ads in the US in 2018. Currently, it makes most its ad money through apps that show run commercials during the content as well as having its own channel with ad-supported movies and shows.  

      Other rumored ideas include running ads inside some channels that are available through Amazon’s video-on-demand platform. These vids are accessed through Amazon Prime — but considered separate video offerings. They are also considering a teaser version of Prime, offering an ad-supported free trial.

      On the last earnings call, Brian Olsavsky, the Amazon chief financial officer, mentioned: “There may be opportunities over time to have more advertising in our videos but we choose not do that now.”        

      If Amazon pushes ads on video inventory, it would open up an even richer batch of inventory, particularly as Amazon plans to invest more in premium TV productions in the coming year. That content spend likely includes buying up more sports streaming rights, including from the big kahuna in American sports–the NFL.

      Amazon renewed its deal to stream  NFL “Thursday Night Football” games for the next two years starting in the 2018-19 season – with commercials, of course.

      In addition to streaming the games in Prime Video, Amazon also plans to make them available for free to users on its recently acquired live streaming platform, Twitch. Expanded viewership on NFL games could boost its leverage to seek higher rates on ad packages.

      Last year, Amazon sold ad packages valued at $2.8 million. Cash influx from video ads could drive up Amazon’s fledgling ad business at a clip more rapid than expected, which wouldn’t be such an unexpected thing for a company like Amazon.

      Conclusion

      Amazon’s pitch to brands and agencies is that it is able to create a “total wallet” perspective — actually figure out what people are searching for with what they’re buying.

      Amazon is in a privileged position because it sits at the intersection of media and retail, which excites the hell out of advertisers. It presents a clear opportunity where they have a “Third Estate” that has the ability to entirely collapse the funnel and deliver on total attribution.

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