Internet Marketing Internet Philosophy Viral campaigns
The Index – The most important piece of content I have written, only a few people will ever read
October 23, 2014
19

This post is most likely the most important one I have written, next to “The web is a Liquid“, “The 5 Cs of Viral Marketing” and “Quantum SEO – A shift from Einstein Relativity“. The past two years have been highly disruptive for online marketing, with the introduction of preference, personalisation and sentiment into the algorithms that govern the online world. Here I choose to call the “it” controlling all of it, The Index. Yes. It is a bit foil hat flirting, however, this is the new framework I will be working with, in order to reach results that will make people look like children on christmas. Enjoy! It will probably take you 30 minutes to an hour to read.

Where the connections started in my head

This summer I was fortunate enough to work with a client who wanted their sponsorship of a live event, be shared in digital media to a greater extent than before. The ROI was essentially reach and brand association with the event.

Well enough.

For some time I had been developing this theory that the messaging apps and p2p sharing of stickers etc was a real threat to brands visibility. However, I saw opportunity in the growth of Whatsapp, LINE, WeChat and the other big players.

What if, we instead of focusing on digital stuff to get reach in a digital world, started to convert people to believers in the real world and simply used the digital space for amplification?

This question grew in me during spring 2014 and I decided to implement some of those ideas on this event. In other words. I decided to turn the world into a website.

Turning the world into a website

The idea builds on using the same kind of conversion ideas as you do on a website, but onto the real world. This means you have to understand your users motivation, give a valid value proposition and limit the offer with an incentive to do it now. It means you have to lower the perceived friction and most of all, you have to remove any anxiety that the user might have.

In plain context of an event, this means creating a spot in the ground, or hanging a frame on the wall, which gives people a perfect reason to take photographs there. You call it a selfie spot, and anyone who passes, will get a perfect excause to take a selfie.

Just as you would with a signup to a newsletter on a website. You simply apply the theory that there is traffic, and then use whatever you know about the visitor in order to make them convert.

And converting is not about the big things. Just as it is fewer people who buy the Porche, then there is people sharing photos with themselves next to a Porche. No. Conversion happens when you end up in line with the visitors user journey, and somehow use your knowledge of their existence, being and needs, to enhance that user journey.

In terms of a festival for youth. This meant giving them a non-embarrassing way to take photos of themselves, telling the world that they were there. YES, they would have done this otherwise as well, however, they wouldn’t have used our props, our branding and our messaging if we wouldn’t have insterted our small little things into their path, which enhanced it.

Thus. Turning the world into a website, is creating conversion points along the users journey from a to b, giving them a reason to convert into whatever you feel you want to convert them too.

In this video you can hear me elaborate on this theory.

What did I learn from my experiment

Well. I learnt that it worked. In total, over the few days we were there, there were just under 120 000 people visiting the festival. From these 120 000 people we got a digital reach of at least 1.5 million people with an interaction on the posts being shared of approximately 5%.

Put into context, this amounted to about 11% of ALL photos, blog posts and shares being posted onto public forums and social platforms etc. So I believe it was a great test which can be optimized for even greater spread.

However. The result was not my greatest learning. The greatest learning came from the fact that we reached 10x of the initial traffic. I started to think. What the heck. When did I last receive a 10x reach on an input in a digital context?

We could see from the trackers that my prophecy of the instant messaging, wasn’t really true yet. However, something else was there.

A few days ago, everything fell into place for me. I started drawing, and I realised that it is not so much that we turned the world into a website, which got us the results. The results came from us being able to break outside The Index.

What is The Index

Since 1998 I have been working in digital media in one way or another. First as a quite crappy developer, then as a manager, then as a “strategist” and finally ended up where I should have been from the beginning – in the realms of tactics. Meaning, trying to figure out how things really work, and then use that knowledge to my advantage when implementing whatever it is that I have as the assignment in front of me.

The idea of the index stems from the notion that there is just so much content out there, that we need a sorting mechanism to surface what is important to us.

Back in the days of non-digital, this sorting was done by an editor at a newspaper. Today, in the digital context, this is done by algorithms. Google killed Altavista when they invented the algorithm based on PageRank, Facebook killed their opposition when they invented the EdgeRank, YouTube killed their competition… well, by using some broken form of index that is yet to be fixed, but they are the place to be, cause no one does it better than them.

Thus, The Index is used to sort information to us, so that we can live on with our happy lives without having to dig into too much shit in order to find the gold. From our perspective.

The Index Evolution

At first. The Index operates freely. It has transparent rules and those who know how these rules are applied, can easily “hack” the index and make a fortune out of it.

This was the case with Googles PageRank, and the case with Facebooks EdgeRank, AND with YouTubes version of PageRank as well.

However, after a while, as the abuse of the index becomes a problem for delivery, or for the authority of the platform, the businesses governing The Index makes it less transparent, more complicated and a lot less easy to decipher from a traditional perspective. Its purpose moves from bringing all the right content in, into holding the wrong content out.

Thus, the evolution of The Index, works very much like a early stage organization, where everyone is welcome at first. As popularity grows, you start getting goofy people gaining traction within the organization, which threatens its existence. This leads to a period of exclusion, where the evolutionary organization survives at it bullies out the people who are not “representative” of the groups social rules.

In terms of Google, this meant that they started excluding content, they found were abusive to their system. Meaning, anyone who had turned on The Index, by trying to cheat it, in order to get their content out on top of it, started getting excluded.

The world of SEOs shrinked as the simple tactics to reach visibility dissipated and were replaced with more complex means of ranking in the search.

The Introduction of the Sentiment

If the story would have ended there, I wouldn’t have given this more thought. The Index would have simply been a question of content delivery to the world, giving Google, and its index a serious power-position in world affairs. From business to politics, to every day life and decisions.

However, the story doesn’t end here.

As Facebook entered the market and brought their Like button along. All major players in The Index started to play around with sentiment. This meant that The Index started learning what to deliver, not to the world, but to each and everyone of us – individually.

The Index and its algorithms were updated to meet the preference of the receiver, and not any anonymous target group.

Google already had the early child of this, with their link algorithm, however, most consumers don’t link, and so they had to find their own signals in order to deliver the most important and preferable content to each and every single user.

Thus sentiment made the internet, and The Index all about pleasing me. The more it managed to please me, the more I would use it, as friction and anxiety would be extremely low, considering I only received opinions, products, ideas and other types of content, which I agree with.

The Business model of The Index

This leads me to the next part of this, which is about sustainable business models in the world of The Index.

Early indexes are immature. Almost gullible like a child. They are easy to fool and to toy around with. They trust you, and as marketers, growth hackers, and tactics players, we abuse that trust in order to get our points across.

Thus, the business model of an early version of The Index, lies in the hands of those outside the controlling the index. In terms of Google, this meant the SEOs, and in terms of Facebook, this meant the “Social Media experts”.

As content aggregates and The Index does its best to keep the trickery out, the balance of power shifts, and the opportunity for quick wins dissipate from the hands of the hacker and ends up in the hands of The Index controller.

As their power grows, advertising costs on the platform increase as more and more brands, people and other types of players (mainly other algorithms), compete for visibility. As personal preference algorithms become more and more skilled at content delivery, the more brands have to pay, in order to keep up the pace with the stuff that people really care about.

I mean, why should I care about a new detergent, when my sister in law uses one that she recommended for this specific type of spot. Why should I buy that dress, when my favourite blogger wrote I should buy another.

Whether we receive the content, effecting our behaviour, through The Index operating on Google, or when it operates the Social graph on Facebook. The Index is now in control, and it is giving the user exactly what he or she wants.

Anyone who wants to enter this world, without agreeing with the user, will have to pay the price.

 

The backside of The Index

This doesn’t come without cost. The Index controller of an early stage index is generally a human being. However, as content grows, the power and the real controller of The Index becomes the algorithm.

In fact. Humans go from controlling an index, to being an obedient servant of The Index.

There is simply no chance in hell, that a human can be as fast as an algorithm in determining what content best suits a single person. Thus it is also the fact that whoever designs an algorithm that can solve the preference ideals of a user, the fastest, will be the winner in the end. And so, the algorithms, although designed by humans, become self beings with the control over what we see, learn and believe.

This might sound a bit like a foil hat reasoning. However, you simply need to look at the algorithms controlling the financial markets, to understand that this is exactly what happens as content grows, transactions between users grow, and development of ranking derivatives gets better.

Another issue with the sentiment based index, delivering high usability and that is built with “the end user in mind”, is that it is information bias. Thus, it confirms and reconfirms peoples opinions that they already have, rather than help us find greater understanding in other perspectives. In a sense, the only one knowing the full scale of things, is The Index itself, as we as humans, groups etc, only see, know and believe what is confirmed by the information we see.

This is a huge challenge for us right now, as the digital open social platforms become increasingly governed by algorithms based on sentiment.

For a person with good intentions, wanting to bring peace to the earth, this development will only reconfirm his or her position and commitment to do this. However, it might also remove a bit of his or her incentive to do something about these beliefs considering the person only gets to see information which is filtered by The Index.

And, contrary, when you have a major belief, such as “climate change”, the reasoning behind “The Index” explains why the Tea Party Movement can be so resilient in their belief that it is a fraud, considering the majority of the content they see, is tailored to meet their belief that it is.

Same goes for racism that is growing in Europe. Same goes for politicians disconnecting from their electorate, same goes for virtually anyone operating and getting a majority of their information from digital media types controlled by The Index.

They might not understand why society is moving in one direction, when they, themselves are only fed information which reconfirms their already conformed opinions. Thus their resentment towards democratic structures, powers and people with a different opinion grows.

This goes against the non-filtered, non-indexed philosophy of the Internet, which advocated that the access to information would bring us closer to eachother. However, as the information increased to such extent that we needed The Index to take over the control, and as sentiment based analysis brought us only the content that we like, the opposite actually becomes true.

And thus the major challenge of The Index and The Internet, is now that it has turned from being an open space to interact, into closed nodes of conformed opinions, moving further apart.

Which also explains the evolution of p2p messaging systems, that totally exclude others from joining in the discussion. Bringing their ideas to the table.

What the power of The Index means to a marketer

This also explains why digital marketing is becoming increasingly difficult as visibility scores decrease more and more. Although we engage the same amount of people, by getting them to like our posts, comment on our blogs, link to our transactional pages etc – we do not get the same reach, influence growth nor visibility.

As The Index starts disregarding your information, as it is not the most preferred by an end user, you will have to start paying up to reach the same people you previously reached for free.

The price increase as more content, links and people enter the platform you’re on, or the Internet as a whole.

So. What is our way through this as marketers?

Some are left outside The Index

There are still entities in the digital world which doesn’t operate within The Index. An example of such are all platforms that operate on timestamps rather than on popularity or sentiment. Examples of such platforms are personal blogs and forums where users see the latest post or thread on top. Yes, they also see where most discussion is taking place, but usually, the most promoted content is what has been published most recently.

Same goes for some of the worlds news websites. The ones who haven’t confirmed to BuzzFeed click baiting, retargeting and contextual ads philosophies yet.

These platforms are unfiltered by The Index and are as such, opportunities for other perspectives to reach people around the world.

Using The Index perspective For Marketing

Skills you need to market within The Index

Let’s get down to the tactics of these bigger dystopian thoughts. I will not even begin to elaborate on what we have to do as a society. But as marketers, we have to ask ourselves three questions:

  1. Is the platform we are marketing on, a part of The Index, or is it still a gullible child?
  2. If mature, conformed to The Index, are there ways in which we can bypass it in order to leverage its algorithm?
  3. If too rigid and strong, are there ways in which we can run with it, give us what we want?

As we find the answer to these questions, we need to build tactics that suit them. And I will give a few examples below to show you how you apply the knowledge of the index to your marketing tactics.

Understanding Marketing through Nodes generated by the Index

But first we need to understand what the index does to us as groups online.

Essentially, as The Index blocks content that we may not like from our reach through various platforms. In plain text, as Facebook doesn’t show posts from Peter as you seem to hate Peters posts, and as Google doesn’t show you that 99.5% of all researchers finds support for Global warming, since you seem to be a member of the Tea Party movement.

This means that people with the same opinions and preferences end up with different sets of information, confirming their beliefs and opinions. Thus, content with one opinion or set of inputs will only reach the nodes which agrees with it.

Think of it as the web, at first being one big glass of water. If you poured syrup into that glass of water, then it turned into the colour of the syrup and might pick up its taste. The same was true for great ideas and great marketing online. As you put your idea into the web, it was shared between users, until all were contaminated or influenced by your perspective.

What the index has done, is to make the web, or turn that big glass of water, into several smaller shot glasses. If you pour syrup into one of them, the other ones won’t be affected with colour or taste. Same goes for an idea or marketing campaign. It will remain within one small community, and not reach other communities unless you use tactics to make it.

The segregated campaign structure

This also forces us to drop the integrated campaign structure and move towards the segregated campaign structure, where we let our marketing efforts take on different shapes and forms in different communities, nodes and in communication between people.

We need to have a 360 approach, without a 360 creative or messaging. We have to have a purpose to share an idea, offer or belief, but we also need to frame it – not in format – but in our complete messaging, if we want to reach through the nodes.

We also need to consider that there is no such thing as a strategy for Facebook or for Google, but there is a strategy for visibility that uses forums, facebook, google and a whiskey tasting session at a local bar in Paris.

Cause, if you understand how The Index operates, you also understand that turning the world into a website, might help you break through and enter nodes you otherwise would have been disregarded from.

Thus. Just two quick examples for now… just to set you off with some tactics.

1. Getting Facebook Likes – in the world of The Index

If your goal is getting Facebook Likes, then the best tactic might be to start a blog, embedding the posts from your Facebook page, posting the links from those blog posts into forums that are not filtered by The Index, entering the forum post links as you content for a Tweet, which discussion it then generates, is embedded to the blog post in order to create a second wave of promotion in the same cycle, all generating organic visibility for your content, between nodes, thus increasing your total visibility, reach and thus also ability to gain more likes on that post AND on your page.

You move inside The Index, then outside, then inside, then outside, then inside, then outside, poking new communities, preference bubbles and people along the way.

2. Getting reach on a Video – in the world of the Index

Let’s say I want my latest video, inserted into The Index through YouTube, to gain traction.

Once realising the power of The Index, it makes perfect sense that 80% of all views on viral videos are generated outside the platform. Knowing this, I must develop a tactic which breaks The Index and gets my content outside YouTube in order to make it visible.

Thus a mix of PR, spam (read purchases of advertising – non earned) and forum tactics are in place. Just posting a great creative and purchasing ads, will not make it viral.

  1. You need to employ viral tactics to the content in order to be shared with people within a specific node.
  2. AND use your knowledge of The Index in order to know where to turn to in order to reach to new nodes.

THIS is how you do tactics and marketing on the web of The Index, and I will try to build on this idea, just as I have built on the 5 Cs of Viral Marketing in order to give you a framework to work with when developing marketing tactics for yourself or for your clients.

Stay tuned as this perspective turns into tactics by registering for my newsletter which popup should be resting somewhere annoyingly overwhelming to the bottom right of this screen.

As I said. I believe this is the most important piece of content I have ever written. I am sure someone has written this before, however, this time it is me. I believe that there might be about four (4) of you out there who read this far in this post. So, for that I want to thank you for giving me your time, and make yourself noted in the comments so that I know who you are and can thank you individually!

 

Internet Philosophy
Usability and ease are killing the open web – Adapting to the Filter Bubble – Algorithms vs. Humanity
October 16, 2014
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I held a talk last night at Hyper Island in Singapore. I had been left with a bad feeling in my stomach over what I have been doing to the web the past few years. My job is to figure out how the mechanics of online algorithms and networks work, and then use them, sometimes abuse them, in order to get marketing results for brands.

It sounds horrible when I say it that way, but it is the way it is. By understanding how networks work, human behaviour, and the algorithms that govern these behaviours, I have been able to produce some fantastic results. Modern day marketing. Growth hacking. Viral marketing. It all builds on the same notion. Just as old school creative, emotional advertising hacked the emotions we guide ourselves with.

My presentation yesterday was about algorithms and how they are filtering our worlds based on what we like. The frictionless web, where we enjoy shit so much that we never have to get disappointed. The counter side of this, is that we do not see things that oppose our current world beliefs. We are only fed with things that confirm our own beliefs.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that a person – Eli Pariser (thnx for the tip @infotology) – had thought about the exact same thing, but three years ago. He had given it a nice name. The “filter bubble”.

What Eli predicted, is now coming true

However, he saw the first sign and predicted that this would have an impact. Today, we actually start to see how algorithms are effecting everything from journalism to politics. Real shit, that effects us on a very broad scale.

Question such as, why racism is growing in Europe, why some people don’t believe in the effects of our pollution on global warming, why IS can reach their intended audience, without being detected. The filtered web confirms bad ideas too. And so, if the algorithm sense that you are into something such as racism, it will start showing you more racist content, confirming your idea that the racist thing is the way forward. Thus cultivating your idea, into a strong belief.

And I truly believe that the pleasing algorithms, demoting opposing opinions, is a big part of this.

The worst thing is that main stream media. The old gate keepers of information are starting to adapt to the world of likes, producing their clickbaiting, like hunting information types in the shape of headlining their websites with gossip, entertainment and buzzfeed tilted headlines.

Yes. I have a bit of a foil hat on when I discuss these things, but as a hypothesis, it would be interesting to look deeper into it.

Why usability is killing the web

In a sense. No one dislikes this development.

The technology companies producing the services, get more popular if they adapt their algorithms to show things people like. The people receiving the algo-edited information, likes it more than having to scroll through things that are “irrelevant” to the urge for solving a quick question. I love it, as I can predict how to work with information in order to get into the news feed of a particular person, how to get on someones radar.

No one really has an incentive to change things. We all have an incentive to keep this going. However, my question right now is, do we have a responsibility to do something about it?

Social Media
How to get more followers on Instagram
September 18, 2014
2

This blog post is a part of my “how to get” series. I will cover how to get more likes, views, shares, fans, followers and other such vanity metrics.

Step 1: Deciding on a theme for your Instagram

Out of all the different methods I have selected, NEITHER of them work, if you do not have a set theme for your Instagram account. For myself, I decided that my Instagram should be about digital tactics with simple advice on why and why not to do different things when working with digital marketing.

Regardless of your theme, you need to have one, otherwise all of your efforts will go down the drain.

Step 2: Getting the right tools for Instagram management

There are mainly two tools I have found useful for managing an Instagram account properly.

Followers for Instagram – an app that gives you the opportunity to see who follows you back and who doesn’t, which gives you a way to unfollow those who do not follow you back when you start exploring the different hashtags.

Gramfeed – A web application that connects to your Instagram account and gives you the opportunity to do your work – except the posting – from a desktop computer.

Statigram stats – Use statigram to know when Instagram is experiencing high traffic for your account. You will then know when you should post your Instagrams in order to get the highest engagement rate. Imply log in and click the statistics option in the top navigation.

Step 3: The best practice regular advice on how to build an Instagram audience

  1. Share things people like – yeah… right
  2. Share at the right times – actually a really important one, see above for tool
  3. Use relevant hashtags, but not too many – yes, but it really only helps your like count
  4. Follow others – best one as you can see below, important that they are relevant
  5. Host contests – SUCKS
  6. Complete your bio – yes, if you add things like “I follow back”
  7. Ask questions in captions – good one if you want comments – which engages more people
  8. Use call to action in caption – good one if you are a SPAMMER or if you want to drive traffic elsewhere, doesn’t help for getting more followers
  9. Use filters and apps – yes! especially to edit your photos well and to post collages etc. again – for likes, not for followers
  10. Consistency – Yes. Worst thing is to surprise your followers in the wrong way.

Step 4: The fast track tactics of how to build an Instagram following

The goal for this test was to reach 10.000 Instagram followers. The below tactics are the ones I used and I started out at 514 followers.

1. The LIKE a desperate hashtag on Instagram tactic

There is one tactic that works considerably well for building Instagram followers. That tactic is the “follow desperate hashtags” tactic. Basically, you sort out the hashtags where people are the most desperate for a follow, and then you start interacting with them. Basically, you can get a ton of likes and followers, simply by following the feed and liking the photos they post.

Here are some of the best desperate hashtags at this point in time – please add more in the comments section:

#shoutout #shoutouts #shout #out #TagsForLikes #TFLers #shoutouter #instagood #s4s #shoutoutforshoutout #shoutout4shoutout #so #so4so #photooftheday #ilovemyfollowers #love #sobackteam #soback #follow #f4f #followforfollow #followback #followhim #followher #followall #followme #shout_out.

Method result: Extremely good

2. Like photos on relevant hashtags on Instagram

So. I got another tip about how to get more Instagram followers, and that was to use the “Like relevant and irrelevant hashtags”. Those hashtags that are relevant to me is #socialmedia, #seo, #marketing etc.

Method result: Good method if I post consistently

3. Mass follow on relevant hashtags

The main concept behind this tactic is to find popular people within the niche you are building your reputation. Then you follow all the users who like whatever the popular person is posting.

Method result: Extremely good outcome if you have relevant content on your Instagram profile

4. Growth through Twitter usage

This tactic is a bit more tricky to setup, and it does require some software.

You start out by creating a completely new Twitter account. Secondly you try to find at least 10 sources with RSS-feeds that are relevant to the topic/theme in which you want to grow. Let’s say animal puppies. You go out and find ten blogs and instagram accounts publishing photos and posts of and about animal puppies.

Do NOT name your Twitter account “Animal Puppies”. But rather name it “Annies Puppy” or something cute, yet possibly real person alike.

Now you go ahead and combine the RSS-feeds using Yahoo Pipes. Now! Do some research about all the hashtags that are used for Animal Puppies such as #cute #puppies etc. Just check out what is trending at the moment. Great tool to do that is Twitters own search engine.

Next step is to generate a new RSS-feed through Yahoo Pipes, and posting the aggregated RSS-feed to IFTTT. NOW! You connect your IFTTT to Twitter, generating an auto posting Twitter account. Let it post for a day or two to start collecting your first followers.

Now you are ready to go buy some followers to this account. Yes! Buy them. Remember, this tactic is for Instagram and not for Twitter. You need the followers in order to pass the Twitter radar for following too many people at one time. Just remember to buy them at a slow pace of about a hundred a day.

Once you start accumulating bought fans, you should start adding fanns using TweetAddr or some other such tool where you can search for a hashtag and create an auto follow function.

NOW!! The magic detail! Put the link to your own Instagram account in the bio!

The only next thing you will have to do is to clean your following list from time to time. You will see your Twitter account grow fast, but you will also see a lot of those followers moving over to Instagram as well.

Method result: Works really well as long as you stay on topic, which the automation does for you, for long term growth

5. Facebook push

If you have a Facebook page, the easiest way to build an audience on Instagram is to push traffic towards your Instagram account, simply by telling your fans that you have an Instagram account and what it is that you are using it for.

I would post something like this: “Hey guys! Just launched on Instagram. I will post photos from my travels, the people I meet and from days in the marketing industry – http://bit.ly/1lE81sE

You might call this a silly tip amongst the others, but seriously. I hadn’t done this one myself and it is one of the first things I recommend my clients to do, AND it is a really good one :).

Method result: If you have a Facebook page – do this regularly! It really helps

This article will be updated as I discover more tactics on how to build more Instagram followers.

Social Media Viral campaigns
Content is shit, all hail viral mechanics!
September 16, 2014
2

The past 16 years I have had the great fortune of working with a range of different brands with very different ideas on how to run a business. One thing that unites all of them, however, is their unwillingness to be the first one to jump into the water and swim whenever a new thing come along.

Benchmark has since long, been the way brands try to hedge what their own position in the business landscape should be all about.

This is perhaps a great way of understanding where the market is moving, however, when applied to marketing in 2014, looking at what others do, might be what makes you fail. Especially if you copy, rather than understand the mechanics at work behind the results.

The value of social media

The past year we have seen the victorious viral of Volvo Trucks, the Ice bucket challenge and a series of other wild campaigns that have been shared between people online. Naturally, marketing directors are pointing fingers, asking their agencies for their own version of the above.

It has always been this way.

What many fail to understand however, is WHY and HOW these viral campaigns became the huge successes they did.

Human behaviour at the core of the launch

In the media, in blogs and in most of the story telling coming out of these campaigns, the focus has been the content. It has been about the story and how people choose to engage with something they care about.

I would like to argue that this has very little to nothing to do with the final outcome. Content is shit, when it comes to generating a viral effect in any type of media.

Rather. It is the behavioural mechanics and the understanding of formatting/optimising which is what makes a campaign go viral or not. The difference is in the detail. It is about the choice of words in a button and about the ability to change, until it takes off.

However, mainly, the success of a viral campaign resides in whether or not it coheres to the principles of conformity, challenge, charisma, creativity and cheating. You can listen in on the 5 Cs of viral marketing in the video listed above.

Everyone forgets the launch

Besides the behavioural mechanics, most marketeers forget that the launch of a campaign is as crucial as the product in itself. Just like product development in the startup community, a campaign has to adapt until it sits with its audience.

Most budgets are spent on production or hijacked to some crappy banner advertising at the date of launch. Very little money goes into adapting the messaging or the layout. Even less goes into creating additional stories about the content, making it relevant to more bloggers, online magazines and newspapers.

Do it and it will get done

In viral marketing, you need to reach through, not only reach out. You need to be inline with the purpose of the visit, the view or the action in order to generate a share. The only way to get there is to focus on optimising your own journey so that it is inline with the behaviour, purpose and interests of who you are trying to reach.

It is only when you understand these principles that it also becomes fun, easy and really really profitable to jump into the water and swim on your own.

JOIN US IN SINGAPORE FOR SOCIAL LABS

Together with Hyper Island we are running a series of labs in Singapore. People from all over the world fly in to go from doing to doing great in digital marketing and social media. Find all the information you need on Hyper Islands website. I for one would love to meet up with you and discuss until we drop!

Bashing
Everything Marketing – You can’t believe what happened next!
September 1, 2014
1

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 12.27.17

From the makers of word of mouth, omni-marketing and viral apps, comes the new and evolution sloshing concept of – Everything Marketing!

This new type of marketing says all that all others have said before, but uses the new, and super all inclusive term of Everything to precede the word Marketing. Thus, now marketers do not have to reinvent their business every other year! NO! From now on, marketing is EVERYTHING! Not only this! Meaning the stuff we have. But also all future rebranding of that same thing!

Included

  • SEO – yepp!
  • Social media marketing – yepp!
  • Viral marketing – yepp!
  • Omni channel marketing – yepp!
  • Content marketing – INCLUDED!!
  • All future and other types of marketing – FOR FREE!!

 

Seriously though… wouldn’t our industry be so much better off if we just sold our shit based on what it actually helps solve, rather than that it is the newest kid on the block?

Facebook Social Media
How to deal With Facebooks Click-bait and Photo caption algorithm changes
August 25, 2014
0

Facebook announced two changes to their link algorithm today.

1. They will work to discredit click-baiting articles cause they supposedly crowd out content from your friends

2. They will change so that your photos with links in the captions will be shown less than links that are posted with the link associated photo and photos posted as photos

So. What do these changes to the Facebook algorithm mean?

Well. You should really read their post here – Facebook click bait and photo caption changes – And then continue reading.

The challenge with the click baiting change

I am concerned about this change as it will give less value to essentially all blog posts that are either too short or too long. You will thus have to change the format you write in order to maintain your shareability on Facebook.

So. What the heck do I mean by saying that?

Well. First off. If your article is a short how to or top list, visitors will stay shorter at your page than they would on a longer article. Regardless if you served their purpose of clicking the link in the first place. Secondly. If the article is too long, yet the introduction is really interesting, I am very likely to save the article for later reading and thus return to Facebook after a short while.

The short articles will have a bit of an easier time as they, most likely, will be compensated by users sharing and commenting on the posts. Also. Posts with Facebook comments will get priority as they are more likely to get interaction signals that Facebook can read. However, the long reads. They will most likely get less priority as a result of Facebook not being able to get any signals about how the user interacts with the story.

I would say Facebook shouldn’t do this change as users will eventually stop clicking these links if they do not like the content they receive. Facebook has a wonderful ability to push ads on a personal serve basis, and I am surprised they admit that they cannot monitor my behaviour well enough to stop serving me these types of links when I stop clicking them. However, my suspicion is that they do this for completely different reasons. But hey! I am a cynic.

The challenge with links in the photo caption change

This is challenging cause it will effect the way we do promotions on Facebook. Especially if we have legal constraints that are associated with our promotions. If let’s say we post a photo with an offer that is tied to a set of legal constraints, we will have to either boost the post more heavily, giving us a less beneficial ROI. OR we will have to post the full legal text directly in the post, pulling down conversion rates and click throughs – not because you have sucky legal disclaimers, but because the format of the post is not a nice way to pedagogically present legal changes.

I have used links with photos a lot as a navigational tool and as a game tool where the next step or a “jump” is made possible in more creative photo albums. I have also used is as a “Yes or yes” conversion tactic where I have given people the option to click the link or to share the photo which has worked really well.

Either way. Work around time!!

1. How to work with click baiting links

My advice to counter the click baiting algorithm are these:

1. Use related posts at the bottom of each of your pages in order to keep users at your website for a longer time.

2. Implement Facebook comments in order to give Facebook more signals about how people interact with your content

3. Make sure to ask a closed question as simple as “Do you like 1 or 2″ in order to get more interaction on your posts

This might not produce the most valuable content for the end user. Nor might it not be the best for the site owner. But it will counter the algorithm change if you want to do it.

2. How to work with the image caption challenges

Naturally this is a move by Facebook to get you to use the OG-meta. And that is the solution I will give you. The way to get around this is to do the following:

1. Implement full OG-meta landing pages for all of your campaigns – Get code here – and make sure you size your images correctly and use your promotional photo as the OG-image.

2. Publish photos without the link but use text such as “Visit our website for full terms and conditions. Link can be found in our bio.”

3. Use mobile cloaking based on UTM-tags, where you serve a different kind of content for visitors coming through different kind of tagged links

Conclusion

Either way. These changes will not solve the challenges Facebook is describing, but they will just serve the purpose of integrating your website more into the nest of the Facebook economy. When will Facebook do something cool again? When will they give us more customisation options and ability to get ads from companies we really like. I sure as hell like a great offer. Still, in 2014, Facebook has never asked me which of the Brands I like, I really want offers from…

Events Internet Marketing Video Cast
It is time to apply web conversion tactics to the real world
August 24, 2014
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This video was shot in collaboration with Hyper Island in Singapore – Read more about Social lab here

I have been fortunate enough to be able to work in the “real world” a bit these past few months. It has been fun, and it has truly engaged me in the quest of turning the world into a website.

Not in the sense that I want to change the way we interact with each other, find a marquee tag for street lights and make window items clickable. No. I want us as marketers to start considering the methods, tactics and user funnels we use in the “digital world”, as means to drive conversion in the “real world”.

My main point being – the two are merging, and although we do not see the full extension of possibilities with the Internet of things yet, we are on the verge of this kind of evolution. However, we are in the early days, and just as in the early days of the web, user behaviour is still very simplistic and next to analogue. Thus you will have to use the equivalent tactics of the “Space jam 2″ era, in order to decrease the friction between the perceptually two different worlds.

Or in other words:

1. Most of the stuff being shared online, happens offline and thus brands should spend their time trying to simplify online activation from the offline world if their goal is to get attention

and 

2. We are in the early days of this, and so our solutions cannot be that fancy. Even though the technology is there, the user behaviour is not and thus we have to simplify shit in order to make it work, instead of making it fancy fancy and expensive.

and 

3. Triggers are more important than coolness. Meaning a dot in the ground saying “Selfie spot” will actually induce more shares to the web, than a colossal blinking pillar with 2000 sqm of LED.

In the somewhat laughable video above, I elaborate on these thoughts.

This video was shot in collaboration with Hyper Island in Singapore – Read more about Social lab here

Facebook
Why is Facebook the only one allowed to be lazy
April 3, 2014
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Many have the critics of Facebooks latest changes in post visibility for brands been. But equally many have the defenders turned out to be. The one side says “boohoo, no more free space for advertising”, whilst the other side says “Facebook is not an advertising platform, you will have to do better“. Both sides are missing the point. Most people do not agree with either side.

It is not true that most people want to engage with your brand. It is really not. Most people want to be entertained by a brand. From the 1-9-90 model onwards, all empirical studies have shown that all people have their favorite activity to do in the digital space, and they like to engage with that. This means that a lot of people are engaged – SOMEWHERE – in the digital space. However, this still usually means that they are not engaged in you.

The difference between wanting to be engaged, and liking what you do, are two extremely separate issues. And this is where I am starting to get fed up with the pro-facebook-changes hardliners. Misinterpret me correctly, I LOVE FACEBOOK. It is just that I think they are doing a poor job hiring business developers able to put the money where the company values are.

Cause, why should Facebook be the only one allowed to be lazy?

If they argue that advertising and one way communication is wrong. That content needs to be truly engaging and genuine.. yada yada… then why the heck do they, themselves work on a business model that solely rely on the bullshit they say they are so opposed to? I do not get it. See, this is how it works, Facebookers, and you should know this – If you say something that smells like rotten fish in the connected world, someone will pick up on the scent and stick it too you.

At least advertisers openly admit that they are trying to “build demand” for services they are working for. At least they try to be creative and game the system. But in the case of Facebooks creativity… “let’s expand the ads areas on the right hand side of the feed”… I mean COME OOOON!!!

You have the largest network of connected people in the world, and that’s what comes out of your biz-dev meetings? Or is there a grumpy developer somewhere who is not willing to build what you ask of him or her?

  • Collective payments – simplifying group purchases so that the super users of the
  • Pay for privacy – the ability to use your platform without you being able to sell data to third parties
  • Game spaces – where you use the micro payment structure of gaming to earn money
  • Simple workflow/onboarding – for brands to use on their landing pages – the “premium” version of Facebook connect

Those were fore revenue driving ideas that came out of my mind in four and a half minutes. And there are a lot of brighter people than me around.

I have met Facebook representatives in many countries. Most of them have no idea on how to use the platform to build truly engaging content. They know ads formats. “Engagement ads”… I mean… come ON… with all the jibberish about genuinity… what kind of name is that for a banner?? Rarely have I met a representative that understands the meaning of how to use your ads formats in combination with other online products in order to create true value to a company.

And here is where I usually bump into problems with the “Brand-hating-squad”. But I believe their view on the world is way too simplistic and not in tune with the complicated lives most of us live. Most people have real problems and are not concerned whether or not a post in a feed is from a friend or a brand. They solely care if it delights them or not. If it touch their space of emotion that generate a feeling in the gut.

With that said. Most advertisers don’t know how to do this. They remain in the “big idea world”, and try to apply it to the fragmented space of the digital context. Which doesn’t work. There is no longer such a thing as 360. 360 takes a message and brings it too a user. The digital and connected space of “always-on”, requires you to meet every online user individually, and there is simply no way to do that with big-idea-communication.

Instead, you need a platform consisting of persistent values and exchangeable tools through which you can creatively respond to, interact with and build upon the requests from the people you meet online.

Yes, you still need your marketing department. But, you actually need to do work, and not hand it off to agencies. Yes, you should still post information on where to buy the product you are trying to sell, and you are highly recommended to do fun and creative shit. However, you also need to understand the user journeys occasionally touching the outer layer of your brand presence and allow those users in.

Facebook used to support this kind of arena. Increasingly so, they are not anymore.

And of course I am a hypocrite!! I sell services that help companies do this. However, I know that side of my business is out the door soon, and I fight to get companies onboard for the next few years (that are actually right now), but it is tough when too many companies, consultants and advertising professionals talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

Such as Facebook.

So. Mr. Mark. If you truly believe in what you say. Then why not help change the people trying to make this happen? Why should you be the only one allowed to remain lazy when everyone else needs to change?

 

Google SEO
Google removed Keyword data from Analytics – 101 ways to get it anyhow!
September 24, 2013
2

Keyword data seems to be disappearing from Google Analytics. So. How do we know what to optimize our websites towards? How will we be able to know what supporting keywords to use in our texts? How will we be able to run keyword targeted conversion optimization on the organic traffic we have earned.

No worries. We’ll get to that. Obviously Google says they want you to work with your website, to increase your quality and better serve users with better content. However, you will now have to resort to paying some in order to get the juicy stuff.

Below is a set of tools that you can use in order to know.

1. Wordstream is the best keyword tool out there – use it

  1. Wordstream is a tool that helps you to create Adwords keyword groups for your content. They help you find the most profitable niches and are available in many different languages.
  2. I suggest you create a subscription account on Wordstream. It will cost you some money, but it is surely worth it.

2. How to bid on Adwords to get keyword data

  1. Use Keyword tool – generate dynamic tracking URLs
  2. Do not bid broad as you will lose a lot of data doing so as your exact match will not be displayed in your account
  3. If you are simply interested in search volumes – use Google Keyword tool AND bid with minimum bids on all keywords you can possibly think of
  4. Bid narrow and use negatives.

3. Activate internal search tracking in your Google Analytics

  1. I find it awful that so few companies have activated their internal search tracking. MORE than 20% of the people on a website use search onsite. You will get the exact match on the keywords to optimize for PLUS deliver a brand building experience to your users if you work on your internal search.
  2. To activate it. Open the profile you want to track > Click Admin in top right corner > Click View Settings > Enable Site Search to be tracked at the bottom of the General settings page > The parameter that you need to enter is the search query generate in the URL when someone searches for this blog – if you search for “search” – http://jesperastrom.com/?s=search – the parameter you would enter would be ?s=

4. Download the “Not Provided” kit

  1. This was a kit – actually an analysis framework – that one of my former students Markus Frick gave me a tip about on Facebook. Download it from here.

Ok. So that’s 3 ways. I know you got one to add. Comment away!!!

//Jesper

LinkedIn
LinkedIn Slots – Cool people should not read this!
September 2, 2013
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I have found a new and exciting hobby, I like to call “LinkedIn Slots”.

The basic rules are quite simple.

1. You Get the “Now its your turn. Endorse your connections”-box to appear (these are your free spins, you get the prompt by simply idling and not recommending ANYONE for a while”

2. You hit the “see more” button until you get “JACKPOT” meaning you find a matrix where you can recommend all four at once

3. Claim your reward by hitting the “Endorse all 4″ button

LinkedIn Slots

Best thing is. You can play it as many times as you want to. Or until LinkedIn tells you NO!