Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

What is Retargeting?

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Ever log onto Facebook and get the feeling that those sneaky ads on the margins of the page are trying to tell you something? (How does Facebook know that I LOVE shoes, dresses, and beaches in Mexico?!) Well my friends, they are.

At one point or another, we’ve all been victims of retargeting. Here’s how it works:

  1. Bob visits Website A
  2. Bob leaves Website A, but continues to surf the web on popular sites such as Yahoo, ESPN, etc.
  3. Bob is shown a shiny, sparkly banner ad for Website A
  4. Bob clicks on banner ad, directing him back to Website A
  5. Voila, Bob has just been RETARGETED

In case you are not a search & social media guru, there are many firms out there that companies partner with for similar retargeting services. Basically, a cookie is dropped on user’s computers while they are surfing. This cookie then determines what ad the user is shown on future websites they visit. There are many types of retargeting based on the consumer’s behavior; these include: search, site, email, contextual, engagement, etc. Have you ever been retargeted?


My Two Cents on Video Production

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Two big words in video are production value.  What does production value mean?  Often there is a negative financial connotation associated with that phrase, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a lot of money has to be spent.  It’s nothing tangible or monetary, you just know it when you see it.  There’s this great fear that you need a high budget to get production value out of your video.  It’s just not true.  Production value can be masked by intelligence, preparation, and hard work.  And it can most certainly be masked by creativity.  It’s possible to make something stylish and attractive, yet affordable.  There are plenty of great examples of work done affordably that give the impression of high production value.  And they can come from a video company right here in Pittsburgh.  It doesn’t have to be Hollywood or New York.   My advice is watch films and videos.  Watch them closely.  Mimic them.  Emulate them.  We benchmark every video project we work on with our clients.  It’s a valuable form of communication.  Sometimes you can’t describe a transition, or an effect.  Find the videos that can represent your vision and let them guide you, ultimately making them your own.


On the opposite side of the video spectrum, I’ll throw out two more words – double rainbow.  We all most likely know what that means.  If not, Google it.  It will take you 3 seconds to get in on the joke.  Regardless, production value can be thrown out the window if you have the right gimmick, gag, or just good timing.  Viral videos oversaturate already oversaturated social media & web sites.  But, they are harmless & they are here to stay.  People can’t get enough of them.  They hit some nerve.  I guess it’s human nature to share, to create, to vent, to be bored, to participate, to be honest, to connect, to express, to inspire.  All qualities I would never want to extinguish and all goals I try to achieve while creating.  So while I continue to look for production value out there, there are many more double rainbows.  If the desired result of your creation is accomplished, I guess it doesn’t matter which.

Why most people don’t know about your blog.

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Is this your company?

You’ve been told that you should have a blog. Though the reasons why seem somewhat hazy. You’ve been told that you yourself should write the blog posts. Though the last time you wrote anything of length it was a letter to the judge to try and keep you out of Juvee.

Ok maybe I’m kidding about that last part. You know, you probably actually read some blogs yourself. Though you might not even know they are blogs. If I asked you what the basic structure of a blog was, could you tell me? If I asked you what the purpose of a blog was, would you be able to muster an answer?

What If I said it was for SEO purposes-would you know why and how? If I told you that you should write a blog so that you can connect with your customers-would you know how? Would you know what to say? Would you know where they are?

Please don’t tell me that your company does have a blog…

You keep hearing that social media is THE thing that your company needs to get into-but what do you know about social media? Do you even have the time to answer that question, and any of the questions asked above?

If I were you, I would at least make time to learn it before you decide whether it is right for you.

Most people don’t know about your blog, because you don’t what you’re doing or why you’re doing it.

What Social Media is Not…

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Often times we get caught up in the semantics of what social media is and isn’t. In this slide share presentation we look at what social media is not.

The RO-Why of Social Media

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

So do we talk about the ROI of social media or KPI’s? Do you know the difference? The difference is similar to the difference between an advertising agency and a company that focuses on marketing. Or better yet, Heinz Field and PNC park.

From a purely definitive standpoint ROI is pretty basic, ROI = (X – Y) / Y, If you invest $10 and get back $30, your ROI is (30 – 10) / 10 = 2 or 2 times your initial investment.

Now let’s apply that to social media. Having solid goals and a realistic baseline measurement is crucial to figuring out your social media ROI.¬† So before you set out to measure and monitor your social media returns, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you want to accomplish. <—-Isn’t this something you would do in any business situation?

So once you have your goals defined, you need to gauge the baseline for your levels before starting or changing your social media strategy. For example, if your goal is to increase social media mentions of your company, in order to measure the ROI of any actions taken toward that goal, you need to know where you stand now. You can’t evaluate the ROI accurately without a baseline. If the baseline is zero, so be it.

Now KPI’s are completely different in that you’re tracking and making sense of interactions, which is a fundamental part of social media. Many of these metrics are factored into the notion of “Key Performance Indicators” and in the same way you can score different interactions to create some kind of interaction index, each one has it’s own merit. For instance here are 15 fairly common social media KPI’s.

  1. Alerts
  5. Email subscriptions
  6. Fans
  7. Favourites
  8. Feedback
  10. Forward to a friend
  11. Posts
  12. Social media shares / participation
  13. Uploads
  15. Widgets

So what are the KPI’s that you are using within your organization to measure your social media interactions?

Influence versus Popularity

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

In the world of social media we at Applebox talk about the need to be authentic, the desire to be transparent. But on a larger scale, is it more important to be influential or to be popular beyond transparency and authenticity?

If we’re to measure the effectiveness of a social media persona, some might say that you have to look at the number of friends, followers or friends. But there is something deeper there. Is that really being effective? You have to look at the impact that you have on those friends, fans and followers. Popularity can be measured by how much you are liked and that in turn can somehow turn into influence but..numbers don’t mean squat-it’s what you do with the numbers that matter.

Conversely, having 20 followers, friends, or fans is not going to get it done either. But that might be pointing to a larger issue and that’s effort.

Effort=Impact in social media but that does not equate to popularity nor does it have an effect on influence.

Effort (tweets, updates,shares, mentions) Total aggregate number

_____________Divided By_____________________________=Impact

Total number of followers, friends and fans added each day

5 Characteristics Needed in Creating a Social Media Practice

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Often times in the rush for social media adoption, advertising agencies create social media practices based on a house of cards. Their thinking is, “We need to offer this (social media) to the client” or we need to be able to offer Social media to the client so let’s just say that we “do” social media and see what happens.

In that rush, the cards can quickly collapse when a client does hire the agency specifically for their social media practice and then they, the agency looks inward and asks, “Now what”?

Well we know the thinking is wrong but should an agency go down this path anyway? They offer every “other” marketing and advertising solution, why not social media? There has to be a jumping off point for agencies. At this stage in the game, when is the appropriate time for an agency to fold social media into their business offerings?

They would be well served to inherit the following characteristics in establishing their social media practice.

  1. Understand what social media is
  2. Educate themselves and their internal staff
  3. Participate first internally
  4. Hire someone with experience in social media to manage any social media initiatives
  5. Ask for help

What do you think?

Collaboration versus Cooperation in Social Media

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Is there a difference between a collaborative environment in social media versus a cooperative one?

The definition of collaborative is to …

Work with another or others on a joint project.

The definition of¬† cooperative is…

“Done in cooperation with others”,¬† “a cooperative effort is marked by willingness to cooperate; compliant”

How does this apply to social media?

We at Applebox Studios see the action words in this being to work with another, done with others…The essence of social media is conversations with others. An environment of working with and exchanging and sharing ideas, thoughts and points of views with others. It’s evident that the two words are not only interchangeable in the world of social media, but they also add a texture, or an additional layer of meaning to the world of social media.

How to sustain traffic on social sites

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

One of the biggest challenges in social media, beyond figuring out how to use the insane amount of tools, sites, and platforms available is how to keep the traffic or people that are coming to your site. You’ve created these touchpoints with the intent of engaging your customers or prospects but what are you doing once they get there?

The reason this is such an important topic is that IF you are a marketer or a startup, your success, your livelihood is predicated on people finding you but then doing something on your site. There has to be some type of call to action once people hit your social site, or your web site for that matter.

If you are on Facebook, how are you engaging visitors? What are you offering them? What incentive is there to come back tomorrow? Dangling carrots can work but did you ever think that maybe they want more than just some type of prize or incentive? Have you ever asked?

Whether you offer a product or service, whether you are an ad agency in Pittsburgh or a deli in New York, people come to your site either by accident or by purpose-either way you have an opportunity to do something with that visit once they get there-you need to decide what they will do and what you will get out of that initial visit.

On a blog what will keep someone coming back is the content, pure and simple. beyond the quality of the posts is the frequency. Beyond the frequency will be the dialogue or the comments wrapped around those posts. One of the hardest things for most people to grasp is how time intensive blogging can be. The payoff? Awareness of your brand, your product and your service.

Twitter is not as much about sustaining traffic as it is about being visible, being relevant and being genuine. As it stands now, marketers have still not quite figured Twitter out-which means that it is still wide open.

The bottom line with all social sites is that if the wheels are not oiled daily, they will eventually grind to a halt.

The Social Media Time Suck

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

You’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to balance all of your usual workload with what is required of you in social media in order to propel your company to the next level. You’ve seen how long it takes to write a good blog post and you’re probably wondering how these so called “experts” do it.

Well what you need to avoid is the social media time suck. This is crucial to your success and it really comes down to understanding exactly what you’re doing online with your social media endeavors. Understanding it and measuring it. Social media experts manage their time¬† so that they are interacting with their communities and creating content. Social media agencies are networking, and driving business not only for themselves but also for others. The key is not to over indulge and not get caught up in reading tweetstreams for hours on end. Also…This is a space for learning not regurgitating.

Here is an example of what you could be doing versus what you should be doing.