Social Media Monitoring Assignment

Posted On May 9, 2012

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I learned a lot about some of the social media tools that marketers are able to use when researching and monitoring their brand and public image online.  Radian6 was the best tool that we used and because of all its features, it’s not surprising that it costs a lot of money for companies to use it.  Radian6 was a big help when we were searching social media mentions on our Petsmart brand’s competitor, Petco.  Unlike the free tools, my group was able to block all posts related to Petco Park and only get results based on the pet store.  Another thing my group learned was that the free social media tools were not always accurate in their assessment of positive or negative feedback.  For example, the screen shot from Tweetfeel.com below shows that it includes both Petco store and Petco Field and that some are accurately marked negative, but the post talking about Petco not being a small place is actually a positive thing compared to the rest of the post, but Tweetfeel counted it as a negative post.  Some of our key findings for our project was that Petco did a really bad job at addressing the dog ear cutting incident and that they always have job openings which lead us to believe that they are not hiring or properly training employees to do certain jobs and that is why incidents like this occur.  Petsmart does a great job at getting their deals out to their target market and also promoting their “pets are family” slogan by having customers sign their pet up to receive a free gift during the month of their birthday.  Throughout the time spent on the project, I learned a lot of great tools that I hope to be able to use in my future jobs and will help my company better handle social media monitoring of our brand.

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Extra Credit ComScore

Posted On May 5, 2012

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On March 27, 2012 I went to see a presentation from ComScore Inc.’s Vice President of Marketing Solutions, Geoff McHale.  He received his MBA at NIU in 2005 and has worked at Toyota, Tribune Company and an interactive corporation before landing his current position with ComScore.  ComScore is company that offers marketing solutions to large corporations by having about two million people on a panel in the United States give information without having to be paid that most company can’t get.  The only compensation these panel members get is they either have a tree donated in a 3rd world country in their name or they are given software in exchange for joining.  This is a great trade off, because it’s such a low cost for ComScore to provide these two options and they are able to get a 360 degree view of consumer behavior.

 The one thing that I found really interesting is what Geoff called fingerprinting.  They are able to tell who’s on the computer in a panel member’s household just by them using the software.  They are able to do this because it tracks and monitors each individuals different typing techniques.  I think this is both a creepy and helpful tool that marketers can use to get different perspectives from everyone in a specific household, but it is an invasion of privacy to those who didn’t sign up to be a panel member.  I wasn’t surprised that the number of people shopping online has increased or that the number of transactions has decreased because shoppers are buying more during one transaction than waiting and buying at a different time.  I was surprised to hear that the average order value increased from $92 in quarter four of 2010 to $97 in quarter four of 2011.  I was also surprised that 54% of consumers will stop a transaction during check out and won’t buy a product if the site doesn’t offer free shipping.  I don’t shop online a lot, but I usually don’t look at shipping costs, because even with shipping, I still save money by buying it online instead of trying to find it in a store.

 Another thing I found interesting was the increasing trend to market through smart phones and tablets.  I had a feeling marketers were going to shift their focus to these devices soon, so it wasn’t a surprise when Geoff told us this.  Some of the statistics though were kind of surprising.  I was shocked that there were 6.5 million new smart phones activated in December 2011 and that one in three consumers use their phones to find a stores location.  I am also one of the 22% of consumers who take a picture of a product and its price to do research on it.  When I was thinking about buying a new laptop, I looked at a few models at different store and researched the brands and prices online.  In the end though, I didn’t make a purchase and continued to use my old laptop.  The statistic that most surprised me was that less than 1% of people go back to a fan page after liking it and that companies should focus more of their money on content on their pages instead of the number of friends they have.  Out of all the fan pages I have on my Facebook, I probably only visit or read their page or posts on three or four of the companies.  Overall, I really enjoyed this guest speaker and I learned a lot about the retail industry as well as new marketing research techniques that are used.

Collusion Assignment

Posted On April 25, 2012

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I think online privacy doesn’t exist.  Almost every company on the web has a privacy policy, however, I don’t believe they can actually enforce it to the extent they normally could in the offline world.  For years, I’ve heard from all different sources telling people to be careful what you post and who you meet online for the very reason that once something is posted online, it can never be deleted.  For non-business and government agencies, the average internet user does have some type of privacy when it comes to concealing their real identity to others, this tends to lead to people acting unethically and even illegally from anywhere in the world.  For example, many identity thieves are not even in the same country or continent as their victims, which make it harder for law enforcement agencies to track them and press charges against them.

I personally do not share any important information online like some of my peers and the younger generations do.  I noticed some people went as far as listing their phone numbers and home addresses on their Facebook pages.  While I know anyone can find out where someone lives by searching the internet and looking to see listings in telephone books or their online equivalent, I don’t believe in making it even easier for potential threats to locate someone.  Not too long ago I had to look up someone for school and by typing in their name and the town they are from into a search engine, I was given several results.  One of them was a site that would give out this person’s email and home addresses, previous addresses, possible relatives and other important information if I joined this site and pay the subscription fee.  These sites seem to be on the rise as more people want to know everything about anyone coming physically near them or their family.  Several sites are popping up that allow people to run background checks on anyone.

This exercise actually strengthened my beliefs about online privacy.  Companies that I thought didn’t sell any information actually are linked to other sites.  While I know it’s not that company that is selling the information, I wonder who actually is.  An example of this is the bowling circles on the screen shot.  These are my aunt and uncle’s company websites and so I am aware that they aren’t selling anyone’s information, they are both linked to some website called addthis.com.

I knew there was a lot of data sharing and tracking going on behind the scenes before doing this exercise; however I didn’t know it extended so far.  I did learn more about online privacy and information sharing by doing this exercise.  I waited two days after installing Collusion before checking the diagram.  And was surprised by the number of webs there were from the sites I visit sometimes daily or weekly.

 

Assignment #10 Social Media Strategy

Posted On April 11, 2012

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The company I chose for our assignment #10 in social media strategy is the Northern Illinois University College of Business’ Facebook page.  The reason why I chose it is because I look at it almost every day to check for up to date information about events happening at Barsema Hall.  It is also very effectively engaging people, not just current students, to visit the site and make comments on pictures and other posts.

The brand does a wide variety of activities that actively engage its audience.  An example is its weekly picture trivia questions.  It posts a picture with a question about the college and has people answer the question for the next several hours.  This is a way to get people involved in learning about the school and its history as well as give an incentive for participating, because all the correct answers are put into a random drawing and the winner receives a free NIU College of Business shirt.  This is an example of how they effectively use the compete consumer motivator.  It also uses the create motivator when they have students post pictures of their experiences at NIU or studying abroad.  Viewers are actively posting comments or pictures about their experiences or upcoming events they want others to know about often times without any incentives from the college to do it.

NIU COB does control the Facebook site and it does monitor what people are saying about the school.  The only time I’ve seen where it has had problems where they have deleted posts is when someone is targeting someone else in a disrespectful manner, such as arguing their opinion in an unprofessional way.  It also uses the last of the four consumer motivators; connect, because it asks for people to spread the word about its brand and the contests that it offers to its followers.  At certain milestones it gives away free stuff to the person. Often times these milestones are after a certain number of fans are reach, say for example, 1,500 likes are reached, that 1,500th person would win a free t-shirt or some other NIU merchandise.  NIU COB’s Facebook page does a great job at using all four of the consumer motivations effectively to reach as many people as possible and actively engage them in learning about the brand for a chance to win prizes.

The metrics COB is using is the social networks by using Facebook and video and photosharing by using YouTube.  I think it is in all three stages, because it is trying to build more brand awareness by connecting its website to Facebook so that it increases its fan base.  It is also using several brand engagement strategies for its current fans and telling them to spread the word (word of mouth) to their friends about its contests.  I’m not as familiar with its YouTube channel, so it might be in the early stages of brand awareness of using that social media outlet.

One suggestion I would have to COB to improve its strategy is to try to create and connect to more people at the high school level instead of focusing on current students and alumni.  This allows it to increase its fan base and get more potential students and parents engaged in the site and possibly become students at NIU.  The metric I would use would still be social networks and try to build more brand awareness and using word of mouth to get current students to talk to younger friends or family members as well as getting their parents involved.

Assignment #9: Google Analytics

Posted On April 4, 2012

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Part One:             Audience – Overview

  1. How many visits occurred during the period of January 1, 2012 – March 1, 2012?

There were 1,422 visits total during this time frame with 929 of those being unique visitors.

  1. What was the average time spent on the site?

The average duration of time spent on the site is 2 minutes and 13 seconds.

  1. What are the percentages of returning visitors and new visitors?

There were 557 visits for returning visitors making up 39.17% of the visits.  New visitors totaled 865 visits at 60.83%.

Audience-Demographics-Location

  1. What are the top 3 countries that visitors are coming from?

a)      1,307 visits in the United States

b)      13 visits in Canada

c)      United Kingdom and India tied with 12 visits each

Traffics Sources-Overview

  1. What percent of traffic comes from referral?

592  sits or 41.63%

  1. What percent of traffic comes from the keyword “interactive marketing?”

53 people or 15.23%

Part 2:   Audience-Overview

  1. Overall, has the number of unique visitors to the site increased or decreased? Report the number of unique visits for each date range.

The number of unique visitors has increased from 465 visitors in 2011 to 929 visitors in 2012.

  1. Look at the graph to see which day had the most visits. What is the date?

Thursday, February 2, 2012 had the most visits with 65 visits. It also has the highest cumulative total visits if you add 2011 and 2012 together totaling 74 visits on February 2.

Assignment #8 COB Website Analysis

Posted On March 27, 2012

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My method of finding the Interactive Marketing requirements was to start on the COB home page and clicked on the ‘Degrees/Programs’ Tab, then clicked on ‘Bachelor of Science in Marketing’ link under the Undergraduate Programs header.  Then I clicked on the ‘Interactive Marketing; link which lead me to its page and finally clicked on the ‘Curriculum’ link on the left side of the page.  Overall, it only took me four clicks to find the information I was looking for.

Navigation

Rating

Explanation for Rating

Current location within the site is shown clearly.

8

The site uses large and bold headings telling viewers where they’re at on a page, but don’t offer any bread crumbs or a different colored tab to let viewer know they’re on a certain page.
Link to the site’s main page is clearly identified.

10

The site’s first tab in the upper left hand corner is the ‘Home’ tab that takes you to the COB homepage, it also has the logo in that corner as well that takes you back to the university home page.
Major/important parts of the site are directly accessible from main page.

10

Everything necessary for a search is located at the top of the site by the use of tabs for different searches.
Site map is provided for a large, complex site.

10

As mentioned above, the site has the major parts listed in tabs that allow easy traveling to desired material.
Easy-to-use search function is provided, as needed.

10

Along with the tabs, they also have a search box that you can put key words of your search in there to find results.

Architectural and Visual Clarity

Rating

Explanation for Rating

Site is organized from the user’s perspective.

10

It has tabs that are useful to current and potential students.
Site is easily scannable for organization and meaning.

10

It shows the flow of NIU to the College of Business to COB’s slogan in the upper left hand corner.
Site design and layout is straightforward and concise.

10

Everything seems to flow and nothing looks out of place.
White space is sufficient; pages are not too dense.

8

The Home page does a great job of using active white space, however as you go to different tabs, some have a lot more passive white space.
Unnecessary animation is avoided.

10

Nothing is animated unless you press a button to see another drop down or view a video, this allows views to be more in control of what they’re viewing.
Colors used for visited and unvisited links are easily seen and understood.

10

Each page offers the same uniform background and coloring. This gives the viewer a feeling that the page isn’t so busy and more likely to read what’s on the pages.

Assignment 7 LeapFrog Online Speakers

Posted On March 21, 2012

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Our Internet Marketing class was fortunate enough to have two guest speakers from LeapFrog Online come and talk to our class on March 7, 2012.  Thorne Washington is a specialist for LeapFrog and is also an NIU 2011 alum.  Brad Hawk is a manager there as well, but graduated from UIC in 2006.  LeapFrog creates digital sales channels for large brands using many different tools, such as, search marketing, display advertising, mobile and social marketing.  I think it is great when alumni who were in our seats only a few semesters ago come back and talk about their work experiences.  It is something that I hope one day to be able to do.

I got a lot of great key takeaways from this presentation, for starters, it reinforced to me that mobile marketing is really the next big marketing frontier for companies.  I’ve noticed that over the past couple of years companies have upgraded its marketing techniques to match the current trends of its target markets.  An example of this being how when most of the United States population was learning and actively texting, most companies had customers give it their cell phone numbers to text special offers to those customers.  As more people have smart phones, they are making it more appealing to entice more people to willingly join its sites or down its apps.  This allows customers to think they have more control about seeing advertisements, when really, they are making it easier for companies to better target ads to fit the person.  This also allows companies to reach bigger audiences because word of mouth will spread and more people will download the app instead of only getting those customers who come into the stores and are willing to give out their cell numbers to receive several dozen texts that may not apply to them.

Convergence and data is also used by marketers and they consider it the ‘holy grail’ by advertisers.  This method connects multiple touch points together such as when you use your smart phone to do searches and they can target your location to offer your deals in that area.  I was also surprised that they talked about QR Codes, because I thought they were on the way out.  I personally have never scanned one of the codes or have seen someone scan it, so I really don’t know what they do, but from stories by classmates in our class, they seem to not be currently used effectively by marketers.  In all of the techniques Thorne and Brad talked about, they stressed the importance of engaging the viewers of your ads and giving them the choice of ordering online or over the phone.  One of the topics I found interesting was Near-Field Communication, where companies like Google Wallet allows people to pay their bills at restaurants by pressing an app button and the money is taken out of their accounts and paid to the restaurant they are currently at.  Though there are a lot of risks, such as an increased chance of identity theft, it still seems like a cool idea that is most likely going to grow in the next several years.

I really enjoyed listening to these guest speakers and learned more about internet marketing in the business world that enhanced what we are learning in classroom.

HW #6 Paid Searches

Posted On March 7, 2012

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Record Bowl

www.ecoist.com/recordbowl

Bring music back with record bowl.

Free Shipping!

 

Keyword bid: Record

3)

a)      There is low competition for this word.

b)      The monthly global volume is 55,600,000 and the local search volume is 20,400,000

c)      I would try adding other relevant keywords to this search to get a better targeting for Ecoist.com’s demographic.  I would suggest adding recycled which shows a global volume of 1,830,000 and a local monthly search of 823,000 with medium competition and bowl which shows a global volume of 16,600,000 and a local monthly search of 11,100,000 with low competition to the list, because this narrows down the list and makes it more likely your ad and website will be seen.  Using the keyword phrase recycled record bowl is a medium competition with a global monthly search of 58 and local monthly search of 36.

d)     The number of clicks for the keyword Record is 31 clicks per day and the estimated daily cost for Record would cost $31 a day if my bid was a dollar per click.

3)

a)      Ecoist.com is currently bidding on 121 keywords.

b)      My keyword was not in it top ten.  Its major clicks come from its recycled handbag and purses lines.

c)      After looking at the results, I would suggest that it try to focus on its other products as well as its handbags and purses lines.  It is competing against larger companies that have a lot more money they can spend on keyword bidding, so it need to be more focused on certain keywords used.

Homework #5 Search Engine Optimization

Posted On February 29, 2012

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Phrase: Record Bowl
I picked this phrase, because it describes exactly what the product is and the only sites that came up when I used Google to search for it, showed recycled record bowls.

New Targeting Page with the phrase “Record Bowl

Title:Record Bowl for alternative uses for your old records
H1 Header tag: Recycled Record Bowl to keep the music alive.Alt Attribute for Photo: Recycled record bowl for a wide variety of uses

 

Body Copy: Every record bowl is made from an individual record, but still maintains its LP look and feel.  The original label is protected and the hole is sealed shut with a clear coding.

These records bowls are meant to have an alternative uses to your beloved collection, they are not meant for dishwashers, microwaves and food.  They do make great decoration pieces and conversation starters.

URL: www.ecoist.com/recordbowl

A few ways to increases links to this page could be to have record companies post your link on their websites and have places, such as; music sites post your link on their sites as well.  An example of this could be http://www.rockabilia.com.  Ecoist can also optimize their reach by advertising in magazines whose target audience loves music memorabilia, such as Rolling Stone Magazine.

Homework #4 VFW AD

Posted On February 22, 2012

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The images in the ads were taken by me and show a real VFW Post located in Oregon, IL and an actual VFW member who served in the Korean War.  It helps the client’s goal, because it adds an authenticity to it, so more people will trust it and click on it.  A/B testing is used to find the most effective way to create an advertisement.  Companies only change one thing about an ad at a time so that they can know precisely what its viewers like and don’t like about an ad.  I used this technique in my ads by changing the color of the font.

The landing page is from the VFW.org contribution page where people can donate money.  I chose this location because I wanted people to donate money to the VFW so they can continue to help communities and active, returning, and veteran soldiers.  An example of a community project that they do includes collecting food to give to people less fortunate several times during the year.  By clicking the ad, it sends people directly to the page so they don’t have to look around the site trying to find the location.  I could test the effectiveness of Ad1 vs. Ad2 by keeping track of how many times each of them were clicked.  I could also keep track of how many times each one lead to a donation by asking the VFW to use cookies to track this information.

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