PlaceLinks Media Reporting Platform

Media Results Reporting Made Easy™

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PlaceLinks Media Reporting Platform

Media Results Reporting Made Easy™

What is PlaceLinks thinking about?

Making Agency Web sites Better � What about some Social Features?

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For a trip to the iMedia Agency Summit, I had reason to review the websites of most of my fellow attendees. What a profusion of energy and big ideas! What a bounty of media optimism! I also happened to re-read Clara Shih's excellent book on social marketing The Facebook Era" with its well structured prescriptions of how you should harness the potential of social networking. The strength of Clara's book for me is that it merges how-to-succeed in social media with old fashioned marketing planning that sets the objectives.

So, back to the agency websites. Now, I would estimate that over fifty percent of the agencies had a social media practice. But here's the rub: few of the web sites displayed their own connection to social media or even that old fashioned idea of listening via comments on "the work". There is always a web page for "the work" but maybe one in twenty had a "like" button on the displays of the work. Presumably their customers are marketing executives with resumes on Linkedin. So why not make a link to "connect with us on Linkedin"? To be fair, all the attendees had resumes on Linkedin, and judging by the dates on the resumes, there is a good amount of agency-hopping going on. Agencies don't seem to believe that the work they show should elicit an immediate response, because there were no forms for "contact us" or "tell us what you think" on the pages where work is shown. Listening is inherent to social media, and as they say, "people buy from people". I should stop now while I am behind. After all, we are trying to sell our services to agencies, which includes giving them straight advice about how to interact with their customers through regular reporting of media results and their proven value.

Google Places / Plus; not just for free listings! Benchmark Local Search.
Local Search 

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We are working on ways of supporting Google Places, the no-charge map and listing service from Google.  There is a clear need to help agencies implement setup and management processes for Google Places, and also exploit the traffic data that you can see in the Google Dashboard.  For advertisers with multiple locations, it is really helpful to track approval progress, and to check that accepted listings have the right address data and branding.

How else can you exploit this service?  We think there is a mine of information to be used in benchmarking SEO and SEM.  If advertisers are serious about their SEO and SEM success, they can benchmark impression and click rates against the Google Places scores. This will tell you if your ad groups for name and location search are as good as Google's internal place and name taxonomies.  This is critical - if the advertiser is investing heavily in branded advertising, name searches will dominate the SEO and SEM click traffic, and getting found at a local level can be improved.

Videobar® Possibilities
Flash Team 

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When PlaceLinks took on the development and operations contract for Webshoz' new Videobar, we did not suspect how flexibly it would evolve. The starting idea was to place display ads in any banner form factor, and the ad served is actually a container for a background and for multiple videos that expand and play on mouseover. The core business idea was to decrease play costs by reducing the form factor and sharing deployments, but that is only one dimension of innovation. There are several others that have become obvious as the concept was tested.

Here is an example Videobar®. Videobar is a trademark of Webshoz and the technology is patent pending. The brands and images in the videos are the property of the respective brand owners.

The Videobar technology allows a true "ad within an ad" placement. That means the publisher can chose either to mix different advertisers just to gain more video plays, or to devote the bar to one brand only. On another dimension, the placements can have a fixed inventory, or they can play videos contextually according to both keyword and geographical dimensions. So this is well suited to local and mobile search.

Another emerging use is that the brand is not captive to a single video idea. The Videobar can present several options and the advertiser can test concepts or product themes in parallel, e.g auto insurance and motorbike insurance, or in the real estate example above, multiple houses.

Of course, ease of provisioning is a major requirement, and the design options have been abstracted, so that everything can be done in a point and click web interface, rather than hiring a Flash programmer or Video production shop to build the interactive unit.

Measurement of plays takes account of the unusual 2-tier construction (ad within an ad) and makes it easy to see how well both the videobar is performing (tendency to encourage a high play rate, and multiple plays per session), as well as the results for the individual video.

What can a live New Orleans Music Festival tell us about using social media?
Social Media PMer 

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Playing Trombone for Dollars in New Orleans

As a way of being creative about your job, sometimes it is fun to use analogies. As long as you spot where they fall down. Of course, the mixture of subjects on this post could ruin our SEO juice at PlaceLinks, but all told, it is worth a try. I was down in New Orleans for the Festival and set myself the task of relating the music trip to how to write and manage social media, which we try to measure here with Media Dashboard. It made for good late night bar conversation too. Will customers be dropping dollars into your bucket? Here are 10 topics to think about.

Entertainment beats facts most of the time. Do you ever feel like some social media writing is as dry as an Arizona forest? Fun is pervasive in any survey of good campaigns, like the Isaiah Mustafa Old Spice ad. So resist the temptation to write your best content like a product spec sheet.

Appearance and stage craft send a strong message. Why do actors learn just to walk across a stage? Why do singers obsess about their clothes? Non-verbal clues reach us all at an emotional level. So yes, obsess about the communication mission of every piece, its images and design values.

The best performers show you there is no other place they would rather be than right here, right now. Next time you watch American Idol ask if the losers fail on vocal quality or stage presence. When we engage our customers, we should be at the top of our game, in attitudes and demeanor.

One task for the performer is to get you there, one to engage you, one to inspire, one for an encore. This one translates well to process and measurement. We spend so much of our time getting traffic, that we don't spend enough time worrying about if the content we are inviting our customers to is going to please them. Are we going to make them feel better leaving than walking in the door? And do we give them a little something special as they leave? They even have an old French word for this in New Orleans, "lagniappe".

Entertainment is about diversity of styles. One genre or subject will bore your audience. Every good musician and movie has blend of song styles or a story arc to lift us up, then set us down for a farewell. Are you boring your customers? Can you measure that?

Sometimes the performer�s lifestyle is the content, sometimes its just the music. This is really about brand, the promise, the content and the image. Try this test; if you can parse the facts from the image in any creative concept, you have not written well enough.

Don�t be afraid to address people�s deepest joys and fears. Tourism Queensland did a contest for "Best job in the World" that got phenomenal free press. Who hasn't dreamed of living on a desert island and still having a real job to pay the bills?

Be true to your image and the published program. The Boss doesn�t put opera in his play list, even though he may secretly enjoy it in private.

Success is about rapt attention, smiles and cheers as well as applause, and showing up for the next show. Are you measuring all five? It should be more than staying glued to your "like" button scores. I wish we had a more subtle way of measuring a smile response online, and even applause. We are working on it.

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