Brand Safety and Digital Ad Placement

Brand safety, as a marketing term, has been around for quite a while, but recently has been waved about as a yellow flag in the digital advertising race. It has to do with the appearance of digital ads next to objectionable content, and the supposition that consumers will associate your brand with the seal clubbing video they just watched and hold you to account for it.

Whether you are a small business owner just dipping a toe into the Google Display Network or YouTube advertising or a big brand with a network of multichannel ad campaigns, you would probably be horrified to find your ad next to an ISIS recruitment video.brand safety

When I began doing some reading on this, I found a bunch of experts gasping about how damaging these ad placements could be and demanding that Google, YouTube, Facebook et al tighten up their bolts. Many brands have pulled their ads rather than risk their brands’ safety.

It’s all very alarming! As a digital marketer, how can I keep my clients safe from spurious associations that could do damage to their business?

Then I read this article.

It’s always good to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective, and author Andy Ball does so in an insightful and amusing way. He points out that if the person who just watched or read some horrific stuff online also sees your ad, will they construe it as your support for the nasty material? If they do, will it bother them? After all, they might even be in favour of seal clubbing, or ISIS.

The worst consequence of your ad appearing with unsavoury content may be that you are unwittingly supporting, with your ad budget, those whom you would never consider supporting.

I do believe that Google and other advertising merchants need to address this issue, and pressure from brands and agencies, as well as loss of advertising revenue, will force them to do so.

In the meantime, if you’re concerned about it, maybe focus your digital strategy on your owned content, where you have more control.

How NOT to Manage your Reputation

These days, everyone’s a critic. Drag one obstinate customer down the aisle and before you know it, you’re the target of a smear campaign!

I’m just kidding. United Airlines deserves the bad press for this one, and so far, it doesn’t seem like they’re managing the crisis very well. The official response appears to blame the customer, who was sitting in the seat he had paid for and didn’t want to give up. Following closely on the heels of another United Airlines PR blunder (the ‘leggings incident’) this one is doing serious damage to their reputation. ‘Fly the Friendly Skies’ indeed!

The practice of overbooking flights and the fact that they were acting within their contract notwithstanding, this kind of behaviour won’t be tolerated by a populace armed with technology and unafraid to use it. Several shocking videos immediately popped up online and a multitude of voices (now including mine) is raised in defense of the battered customer.

This is a perfect example of how not to manage your reputation and should be a warning for all businesses. Respond to your unhappy customers quickly and with tact. If someone complains about your product or the service you provided and you respond poorly, slowly or not at all, the repercussions could be costly.

3 Reputation Management Rulesreputation management

To support your reputation, always respond to customer complaints with:

  • Speed – if your official response has to filter through several departments and be edited by a group, it’s likely to take time. Meanwhile, your reputation is being dragged through the mud. Don’t let the outrage boil over, at the very least, respond to say that you are investigating the complaint.
  • Tact – Whomever creates your official response must be tactful and capable of viewing the situation from the customer’s perspective. While you might feel angry or defensive, it’s not helpful to lash out, even if you think the customer is in the wrong.
  • Fairness – Own up to your culpability and offer a solution if you are in the wrong. If you know that you haven’t caused the customer’s problem, or if there has been some sort of misunderstanding, explain very clearly what happened, on the channel(s) used by your customer to publicize their complaint. For example, if someone posts a negative review to your Google+ business listing and he or she wasn’t even your customer, it’s ok to say so, in a calm and measured tone.

After responding to your critical review or PR fiasco, closely monitor any mention of your business online to ensure that your reputation, like the poor United Airlines passenger, doesn’t take a further battering.

Need help with online reputation management? Call WSI Digital Marketing.

Measuring Content Engagement

If you’re investing in content marketing – and if you’re not you probably should be, – you will want to know that your efforts are worthwhile. Why bother spending the time and money to produce content if people aren’t reading/watching/listening and then taking some action that will help you achieve your business goals? Understanding your audience’ response to your content is critical, but how do you effectively measure content engagement?

It can be challenging to figure out which metrics to track, but here are a few that we think are important.

Content Engagement KPIs

Page views are only an indication of traffic, they don’t really let you know whether people are getting anything from your content, you’ll learn more by tracking these:

Bounce rates: the percentage of visitors who leave without viewing any content. A high bounce rate can mean that visitors aren’t finding what they expected to see, or it could be that your page loads too slowly for them, is difficult to understand or navigate. If you have content that you deem important with a high bounce rate, you’d better figure out why.

Time on page: the more time visitors spend on your page, the more likely they are getting something from it. Of course, folks who load up your page and then get distracted can skew this metric. An engaged visitor might visit several pages, clicking on the links that you’ve carefully placed to invite them to do so.

Social shares, likes and comments: Many marketers consider social shares to be the most important content engagement KPI. If your readers think enough of your content to share it with their connections, you win! Likes and comments are great for creating a buzz around your material.

Tracking a range of content engagement metrics will give you a clear picture of what type of content resonates best with your audience, and with that understanding, you can create more material targeted specifically for them.

Need help with content marketing? Drop us a line.

Influencer Marketing for Small Business

Influencer marketing has been around since the late 1800s when brands began using celebrities in their ads. It has continued to evolve, with highly lucrative celebrity endorsements becoming the norm for big brands around the 1980s.

With the rise of the internet and new online marketing opportunities, influencer marketing has progressed and changed. While costly celebrity endorsements are still leveraged profitably by big business, there are possibilities for small business to include influencer marketing in their digital marketing strategy that can fit nicely into a much smaller budget.

How can Your Small Business Benefit from Influencer Marketing?influencer marketing

Wherever your audience is hanging out online, there are influencers they watch, read, or listen to. By spending some time on the social channels frequented by your audience, you can identify influencers who:

  • Have a decent number of followers
  • Have some connection to your industry or are likely to use your products/services, and
  • Aren’t Kardashians (so more likely to work within your budget)

Initiate a relationship by interacting with potential influencers online – like their posts, repost, comment or subscribe to establish your interest in them.

When you have found an influencer who you think might be a good fit, reach out to them on the social channels you want to use in your campaign (to gauge their responsiveness) and ask if they would be interested in partnering with you. During negotiations, be very clear about what you expect from them.

Do you think a paid post on their blog will work best for your business, a single or series of Youtube videos, maybe a few Instagram or Pinterest endorsements?  Wherever you determine to utilise influencer marketing, it’s important to understand the issues around disclosure. Governing bodies across North America and worldwide are beginning to enact and enforce laws that ensure consumers know whenever influencers are paid, in cash or in kind, for their reviews and endorsements. Fines for non-compliance can be hefty, so don’t take any risks.

Influencers don’t need to be famous, they just need to have an audience aligning with your target market. If they are less than famous, they will probably accept a more modest payment, or perhaps you can offer them free product or services for their endorsement. This brings influencer marketing into reach for any business that can find the right influencer for their market and budget.

Want some help with influencer marketing? Drop us a line.

What is Your Content Marketing Process?

Everyone knows that content marketing offers one of the best ways to connect with people today, but there are many parts to a content development plan and ways to achieve your business goals. The type and size of your business will provide guidance to your overall strategy. Do you have a team of experts to strategize, plan and execute your content marketing process? Does the work fall to just one or two? Or maybe it’s just you!

After you have developed a content marketing strategy, identified your target audience and created a channel plan, it’s time to organise the process.

Content Marketing Process Basicscontent marketing process

One of the pillars of a content marketing process is your editorial calendar . Without it, you will be unlikely to create a body of work that covers all of the topics relating to your industry and of interest to your prospects. Not to mention producing material in a regular and timely fashion.

Who will create your content, and what form will it take?

Are your content creators able to optimize for SEO, or is that another team member’s purview?

How often should you publish, and how will you promote the publication of new material?

After publication, someone must monitor your channels for reaction to your material, and respond appropriately.

Measurement is another aspect of your content marketing process. It is often neglected, but critical to understanding whether you are achieving your business goals. If you don’t know what happens with the content you publish online, how can you possibly know if your efforts are worthwhile?

Taking the time to organise your content marketing process is just as important for small businesses as it is for big business, but small business owners and managers often find it difficult to do so. Investing in a bit of assistance from professionals who understand content development and who can provide expert copywriting, SEO, analytics and other services might be worthwhile.

Drop us a line to talk about your content marketing process, we’re happy to help.

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