Digg Dugg its Own Grave

What’s new at Digg? Digg’s upcoming changes revolve around importing your social graph from sites like Facebook, then having a Digg page that shows the stories that were “Dugg” by your friends, the most. Sounds a bit like Facebook’s “Like” and Twitter’s “RT” features doesn’t it?

Before there was Facebook and Twitter, getting on the front page of Digg was every blogger’s dream. However, when your top 100 users control 56% of your homepage content, your upside can only be limited.

While Facebook and Twitter have grown by listening to customers’ needs and adapting,  Digg has already lost an overwhelming 13.8 million unique visits from March to April, 2010 (Compete.com, April, 2010) — a 36% dash. Kevin Rose, Digg’s founder, has made several announcements hinting to a Digg revamp soon, but it is yet to be executed.

Nowadays you do not see many sites eminently featuring Digg buttons anymore; those button have long been replaced with the likes of Twitter, Facebook Likes or even Google Buzz – Facebook, Twitter and Google all have the potential to feed you news relevant to your interests, and with far fewer absurd comments.

Digg is hopeful it could regain some market share and reboost its unique daily visitors to what they once were; nonetheless, in an age where everyone is embracing more relative interest-based  sharing, Digg will have a hard time doing so. Will version 4.0 revive Digg? Only time will tell.

Google adds "Remarketing" to Adwords

Google has taken behavioral advertising to the next level. After giving marketers the ability to target users by interests and website-category on the Google Content Network, Adwords now has a new controllable option, that is “Audiences.” Audiences allows you to target specific ads to specific users who have performed a certain action online, such as targeting all users that have visited a specific section on your website or purchased a certain item.

By adding Remarketing – a term created by Google for this type of advertising – to Adwords, Google is bringing advertisers closer to the future, which will tend to rely more on behavioral ads rather than geotargeted ads. For example, remarketing enables you to advertise to certain customers who have already looked to buy book “x”, offers about books from the same author or a similar topic – a technique used by websites such as Amazon.com.

In the new version of Adwords, you can create a new “Audience List” under the new “Audiences” tab, constituting of customers who share a certain behavior on your site, then generate a tag that could be added to your website. “Audiences” are fully trackable and measurable through Clicks, Impressions and conversion rates.

If you care about your conversion rates, you might want to start by enabling the new “Audiences” tab in any campaign running of the Google Content Network!

The Almaza World Cup Game

Talk about a World Cup Facebook game! While watching a football game with his friends, the 40-something year old Lebanese soccer player slams an ALMAZA beer bottle on the table and dives into the TV box. Zigzagging and dribbling his way through defenders, the player is supposed to reach the goal and score to get to the next level and accumulate the highest points possible.

To increase Almaza’s brand awareness on social networks, Eastline Marketing’s main focus is to reinforce mate-ship between friends while keeping Almaza as the consumer’s first choice of beer. At the end of the day Almaza consumers not only take pride in drinking their local beer but they also take pride in their local beer culture as well which reflects in the ALMAZA’s slogan “Haida Jawna. Haida Ne7na.” ALMAZA who undoubtedly has the biggest market share when it comes to beer consumption, chose to leverage the 2010 World Cup event to introduce one of the most addicting soccer games on Facebook today. Moreover, to build up to the release of the game, Eastline Marketing created a Greeting Card application “TA3ABEER“, mixing fun and daring Lebanese lines with inventive ALMAZA visuals.

The game which enables the user to choose his favorite World Cup team and take on swarming defenders and referees, adds a special twist with special moves that he can perform for extra points. The more the user collects cashew nuts and peas – yeah, nuts and peas – the more he has the ability to do special moves and brush off defenders and referees. The best part of the whole game is that players with the highest scores win a customized foosball table.

Logging over 30,000 registrations through the first couple of days, the ALMAZA IHTIYAT Game is set to become one of the biggest socially enabled soccer games on Facebook. I’ve been trying it out for a while and my highest score is somewhere around 75 thousand points.

Play the game here and try to beat my score?

Measuring up to Social Media Efforts

While the progress of your social media efforts can be observable, the old mantra still rings true:  How can you tangibly assess social media value, gauge effectiveness and ROI? How can social media translate in sales and lead generation and when can one expect that to happen? Those are all viable expectations. The take-home lesson however is that Social Media Management requires commitment and patience. Modern times have left us with the impression that technology should shorten sales cycles. When it comes to social media, technology has placed you close to your ultimate consumer like never before, but with fewer barriers it has also left you vulnerable and more open to risk. Your success in terms of sales and rate of return on ad spent will strongly depend on your content and level of engagement over time. “It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted” and if you embed social media into your corporate culture, you will soon notice how this seed will start greening the landscape around it.

In short, what you should expect to reap from social media is worth a lifetime of seeding:

– Increased satisfaction, brand loyalty and awareness stemming from more efficient customer service. Get a feel for what your current or potential customers are saying as it happens.

– Competitive insights, business intelligence and innovation through identifying similarities and differentiating features. Join communities that advocate your products. Join that of your competitors.

– Efficient use of Public Relations and identifying influencers. Look for consumer endorsers and ambassadors and provide them with relevant content to activate a viral distribution of your brand across channels.

– More effective organic visibility and an extended brand reach through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

– Reduced market research costs for product development and audience analysis. Listen to consumers, empower them, enable them to take charge and gain benefits while they do.

– Reduced hiring and HR costs and less churn.

Social Media measurement is not merely about displaying number of tweets, followers, fans or impressions. How you determine your success largely boils down to restating your initial objectives and goals, so try to tailor your metrics accordingly. With this in mind, look for the real value of your online plan by asking for meaningful and concrete results such as user behavior before, during, and after interacting on your social platforms, as well as blog retention rates, audience analysis, the sorting and monitoring of social media conversations, and lead generation data both online and offline. Keep a regular eye on both the frequency and depth of engagement with consumers.

The choice is yours: Do you want your ads to interrupt consumer conversations, or do you want to become what consumers are actually talking about?

The "Fifth" P of Marketing

Marketing 101 teaches us that acute marketing decisions should take into four main aspects into consideration: Product, Price, Place and Promotion (4 P’s). However, what Marketing 101 does not teach is the importance of the 5th P of marketing.

I would divide the “Fifth” marketing P into two halves that are of equal importance: People (listen) then Participation (engage). Assuming that your passive one-way communication model will be enough for you to be a successful marketer is the easiest road to failure. Web 2.0’s social media services have helped businesses reach out to consumers and encourage brand loyalty through an active two-way relationship.

To conqeur the 5th P, marketers should take the following steps:

– Step one is to listen to the customers for which you have to monitor all talk that is generated about your company. Listening to your target marketing and monitoring conversations that are related to your brand will help you understand your customers’ behavioral patterns and your customers’ perception of your brand.

– Step two is to engage in the conversations. This can be done by participating in existing blogs (commenting), tweeting and retweeting (Twitter), sending e-mails, creating chat rooms on your website where customers can talk to you about their problems, and even by allowing customers to post testimonials about your brand and company. Participation means allowing the customer to have a say in the company’s actions, making sure that they are involved in the entire brand loyalty process, rather than being led by the company. The goal of your participation should be convincing your customers that you are interested in their welfare.

Adding the 5th P to a brand’s marketing mix could play a key role in your brand’s success. Build the right community around your brand, be honest with your customers and give them the tools to create and share right alongside you.

Can online banners be scented?

Click-through rates tell a lot about an online marketing campaign’s performance – especially if a click-through rate is 43x the global average.  When Kaiak asked for a creative idea to introduce their fragrance online, TBWA answered with a brilliant one – Scented Banners! Banners cannot have real scent, or can they?

To execute the idea, TBWA sponsored 15 lan houses across Brazil and installed custom scent strip producers on the back of the screens so when people click the special Kaiak banner, the producers instantly deliver  real life samples from the back of the screens!

Results: 10,000 scented strips were distributed in one weekend!