True Religion + Online Media from OMMA

by Lisa Buyer
president and ceo of
The Buyer Group, an interactive public relations and branding agency
After attending OMMA, the global online media, marketing and advertising conference, I came back a new person, literally. Besides being privy to the forecasts of online media, I now officially have my own personalized WeeWorld avatar. As you read this, you may think what a techie geek. Well, there are 21 million of us and growing along with the social media space.

Online Media Keynotes

The Internet has already surpassed television based on one significant statistic–the number of gross advertising impressions served, concluded keynote speaker Gian Fulgoni, executive chairman and co-founder of comScore. He also noted the latency effect of search, which measures the long-term brand and sales effects of online advertising and search campaigns.

•    16 percent is a direct response online
•    21 percent overtime response online
•    63 percent caused consumers to do something offline overtime

So think like this, take the money you are spending online “x amount” each month and measuring how many direct leads are converting – well 63 percent of those dollars spent will eventually result in some offline sales and marketing effect in the future…

Know your user and make better content. That was the message from Patrick Keane, now chief marketing officer for CBS Interactive after spending four plus years at Google.

Keane talked about the math and science of online marketing. More video grit than I really cared about. But a few amazing stats: Facebook is almost as big as Google with page views…Meanwhile, YouTube has surpassed search and wins the popularity contests against Google with more page views!

So what’s the big deal with video and why is it the next big thing? People are lazy and video is easy. Searching and reading text is a lot more work than searching and watching a video about, let’s say, the house or computer you want to buy.

The history of the Internet goes like this:
‘90s – we used the Internet for email and communications
‘00-05 – the rise of search content
Today – communication and content are converging with email, instant messaging and blogging. Think tweets on Twitter.

On the creative side of search, there was good news. “Good stories don’t come from machines,” said Chuck Porter, co-chairman of Crispin Porter. “If you’re creative and good at it, you probably don’t need to worry about machines.” Porter emphasized the importance of story telling and used examples of his agency character stories with a viral effect such as Burger King’s subservient chicken
and target=”_blank”>Whopper Freak-out
He says the game has not changed from offline media to online media, it just got faster.

 

OMMA Session Highlights –

I sat through sessions for two days, some good, some I felt I could have done a better job.
Here are the highlights from my favorite OMMA sessions

Paid versus organic?

The question is whether it is better to be number one in paid results or number one in organic results. The answer is – be number one in both.

In a recent SEMPO survey, nine out of 10 advertisers say they compete in SEO natural search results, 70 percent on SEM – paid search campaigns.

The disconnect? The amount of money poured into online advertising dwarfs the amount invested in search engine optimization. It seems we are greedy, we want the immediate gratification of paid advertising but we say we want the results of natural search without the investment. The overall time and resources invested is natural search is nominal across the boards with most companies. Pay to play is easier than participating in the relationship of search. Organic search is kind of like a relationship. If you say you want to be in it, spend the time nurturing and cultivating it.

What can you do?
•    Get your web team focused on natural search strategies
•    Use your digital assets on the Internet – videos, press releases
•    SEO and SEM work in tandem, analyze the traffic together
•    Test out different landing pages with SEM and then apply to SEO
•    Find keywords working on SEO, transition to SEM
•    Get as much shelf space on the search results page as possible

Search and perception. Research also tells us consumers don’t care if they find you through a paid or natural search result, they only care about relevancy. But there is a slight perception factor. Being at the top of natural search results is perceived as leadership, being at the top of paid searched means you have deep pockets.

One final note on search – paid or natural – consumers are becoming smart searchers and searching with longer more detailed keyword phrases (long tail keywords).

 

Social Media – Jump in headfirst or toe in the water?

Chat rooms, blogs, forums, social networks, social bookmarking and virtually any site that allows conversational interaction is a prime venue for the rapidly growing field of social media marketing – an essential tool in every PR/SEO campaign that is often misunderstood or just plain ignored.

The social media stats today:
43 percent of online users will use a social media site this year
5.7 percent of media dollars will be spent on social media sites

So  there is an obvious divide between adoption of users and adoption of marketers.

Let’s go back to the history lesson again
The evolution of the Internet and behavior shift
90’s users looking for content
2000 users were hunting, sharing mp3 music downloads
2008 – doing – interact with each other

The good news on social media marketing, if we can figure out how to do it right and monetize, there has never been a more targeted way to interact with users. For example, a yoga studio owner in Boca Raton can market direct to all yoga enthusiasts on the Palm Beach network of Facebook. The author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” can announce to a targeted group of readers when her next book is coming out.

 

The day I turned into an avatar.

Last but not least, my favorite social media speaker was Lauren Bigelow, senior vice president of marketing for WeeWorld, A SOCIAL NETWORK turned virtual world and home of the popular WeeMee avatars. At first, I thought…how relevant could this be to my interactive PR and branding agency? Little did I know I would be obsessively creating a Lisa Buyer-mini-me avatar and changing outfits 10 times and decorating my online office for my avatar to be productive and cozy in. I’m happy with my outfit … even though I couldn’t find a pair of True Religion jeans or a Prada purse from my WeeMee closet, but I am sure to expect designer labels available soon. A Starbucks coffee would also be nice.
lbweeworldroom.jpg
Considering there are 21 million avatars in the world and I am one of them, there is something to be taken seriously here. The WeeWorld company has grown 614 percent in the past year and that number is probably bigger in just the past week since the stat was reported. “When it comes to social media and interacting with users, it’s all about self-expression, creativity and entertainment,” says Bigelow.

Bigelow shared the Fours I’s of social media engagement as:
•    Involvement
•    Interaction
•    Influence
•    Intimacy

The email marketing session was also top of my list, but I will be dedicating a whole story to that in my next week’s blog. But I will tell you this much, I am now analyzing every subject line more than ever.

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