Germany’s Top 100 Websites by Reach

December figures from AGOG (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Online Forschung eV – Institute for online Research) – the association of online marketers based in Frankfurt.


The Secret of Social Media Seeding

… is find key opinion leaders (including important bloggers), target group media and cooperations with industry voices (eg. scientific organizations, universities). There is nothing online or digital about it – at first sight.


Once you have identified KOLs, media and coop prospects, you need to reach out and  get in touch, based on your industries habits and get them to have a look at your product/service. Give them all necessary information to see your product in the most positive light. And give them an incentive to

  • use it,
  • tell others about it (preferably in writing),
  • run an article about it,
  • exchange links.

That’s it. Sounds pretty dry and boring and YES, it is!!! A huge part of seeding is about outreaching by grabbing the phone and establishing a personal connection.

Martin Sorrell: 30% of advertising budgets totally misspent

Today’s Financial Times prints a few highlights of an interview with Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP. Asked about monetization of mobile advertising he gives a general diagnosis of budget allocations in mobile, online and print.

  • Advertisers spend 20% of budgets on print  - consumers spend only 10% of their time there.
  • Advertisers spend 20% of budgets for online – consumers spend 30% of their time there.
  • Advertisers spend 0.5% for mobile – consumers spend at least 7 % of their time on their mobile devices (and this is definitely a fast growing segment considering all the new developments on the tablet sector).

Reverse calculate these numbers and your result is at least 30% spent on the wrong channels.

So how do you re-allocate? It’s probably not possible to achieve a budget which is exactly in line with your target groups media and communication habits. But you should not be 30% off – that’s simply not necessary and you could be made responsible for wasting money.

  1. Do a little research about your target group’s media behaviour. Do not forget to account for the growing segment of communication channels, because the line between media and communications is broadly blurred today. List time spent on different media as a percentage.
  2. Calculate a re-allocated budget that matches  the media percentages.
  3. Check: There are hidden cross benefits. For example: you have a terrific video (ad spot or product documentation, whatever). You place it on TV but you can also put it up on YouTube, trying to get viral viewership. In this case you need to allocate production cost to online/YouTube and not only to TV.

Sonncom Newsletter Q3/2012

Everybody is full of praise for Obama’s re-election campaign. So what have they actually done? Industry publications are full of impressive background stories. But no marketing plan. No one has published a list. Sonncom did:


The Adobe Digital Index offers a few interesting insights into current ROI of tablets, smartphones and PCs:


It’s bad, when they are bashing your brand. It’s worse, when they do it online in writing. And it creates longterm trouble, when it comes up in search results. So what to do?

4 Trends in Mobile Marketing

Data for this analysis was taken from the Adobe Digital Index – research on digital marketing based on the analysis of data from over 5,000 companies worldwide.

Paid Search (Google AdWords etc.) grew by double digits in the second quarter of 2012:
UK +18% year on year
U.S. +13% yoy
Germany +12% yoy

ROI improved due to lower cost-per-click rates, not in Germany however.
U.S. +23% yoy
UK +5% yoy
Germany -5% yoy(!!!)

Advertising delivered to tablets currently offers higher conversion rates and ROI than ads on PCs or smartphones.
Tablet conversion rates top PC conversion rates by 20 percentage points.
PC conversion rates top smartphone conversion rates by 42 percentage points.

Marketers are skeptical about mobile ads, because of fuzzy metrics, difficulties to buy ads in big quantities and accidental clicks (especially recent stories of unintended clicks on Facebook). This explains why the market in the U.S. is only 2% of all marketing spending when smartphones and tablets account for 10% of internet traffic (StatCounter Inc.).

The Elements of Obama’s Campaign Marketing Mix

Barack Obamas victorious 2012 election campaign has been praised all over the media for its technological sophistication and the metric-driven organization that led to an advantage in the swing states and with the big minority groups. But what exactly did they do? With all the articles written, none provides a complete list of measures. For this post, I have gathered information published by the NYT, FT, Business Insider, HBR, MIT and Time Magazine to list the important measures that we product and brand marketers can learn from.

Early Planning and Money
In swing states, the campaign was on air even before Romney’s candidacy was declared. Upfronts were secured early, which saved significant campaign funds but also solidified opinions before the opponent could air his messages.
Unlike 2008, when Obama outspend John McCain 3:1, it was clear that this time Mitt Romney would have the advantage of the bigger budget. So this time, all campaign elements had to be focussed more on fundraising. As a result, Obama fundraising reached $934m vs. Romney’s $882m.

Regional Media Plan
Online traffic, mobile usage, TV viewing and radio vary often from region to region. Media budget was used much more efficiently by taking swing state differences in media usage into account. Campaign staff said later that they saved 14% on TV with this tactic. The campaign aired different media mixes in every single of these states based on the media habits of the local target voters. Polling data was analyzed on a day to day basis to predict election scenarios and campaign resources were re-allocated accordingly.

Flexible Creative
The upfronts were locked in early, but the creative was kept as flexible as possible to be able to react to the latest headlines, news, events and data (see benchmarking below). News are always a source for social media discussions, therefore being able to air relevant messages creates a big advantage.

Technology Overview
Campaign management met with top executives of Apple, Facebook, DreamWorks, etc. to understand technology to be used to reach target voters.

Every marketing measure including knocking on doors of voters had to be counted, measured, analyzed and compared with the goals. Campaign elements had to be changed when they failed to deliver the results.
Real-time data was organized in a way that allowed it to drive all marketing and advertising decisions. Polling data had immediate influence over media spending. Only a perfectly organized interface between the number crunchers and all advertising entities makes this information transfer possible.

Integrated CRM, Microtargeting and Mass Customization
Facing Obamas low approval ratings, the campaign used very sophisticated technology to address voters on a very individual level. In the old days, only voter’s names and addresses were available to address them. Today they leave information through Twitter, blog posts and Facebook interactions, that can be stored and mined for a very individual communication with the voter. Number crunching was a major contributor to the campaign’s success – the quants have taken over. The Obama campaign is one of the largest CRM databases of America. They knew your name, address, age, marital status, religion, housing, number of kids as well as if you plan to vote for Obama, what your friends think, the circles you are engaging in, similar interests of the groups you are frequenting and more. Put that in a database, mine the data, look for patterns and correlations and you get a very detailed picture of how to address a person and through which channels. But with all the current push for transparency, the Obama campaign managed to keep their data and the algorithms a secret. Volunteers did not know more than they needed to know to knock on a voter’s door.

“The Cave” at campaign headquarters in Chicago (Daniel Shea for Time Magazine

With all the available information on supporters and voters, behavioural information was leveraged and conveyed with individual email messages, e.g. from Michelle Obama. The goal was to send information that can be passed on to friends and ideally go viral. The Obama campaign team states proudly that it is able to put stuff in front of every American through forwarded emails. Unsubscribers from the 2008 campaign were digged up again from the database and with the right meassage have been reactivated.

Website offers extensive community features: join groups, arrange events and raise money. This has been invented for the 2008 campaign already and has now 2m profiles with 400,000 blog posts.

The Obama Channel carries 2,000 official videos. In addition, almost 500,000 user generated videos have been uploaded.

The text messaging program attracted 3m people, who received up to 20 messages per month.

Phone Calls

Knocking on Doors

Running on iOS and Android, the app showed campaign events and offices near the user’s location and identified nearby Obama supporters, allowing the user to knock on their door to promote the candidate. This feature even led to the private address of Frederick Harris, the campaign manager and it set off serious privacy concerns.

Twitter and Facebook
Obama had a big head start with his own social media accounts, that have built vast followership since the 2008 campaign. At election date he stood at 28m Facebook likes and 23m Twitter followers vs. Romney’s 6.5m likes and 1.7m followers. In the last weeks of the campaign, app and Facebook data was used to intensify the “get-out-the-vote”-effort by cross-encouraging voters to register to vote, to vote early or get to the polls. 20% of people being contacted that way by a friend took action accordingly.

Cross Engagement over all Channels
The campaign created various entry points across the above mentioned channels, so that supporters won through one channel could engage and attract supporters in another. This includes getting engaged online to engage offline, i.e. convincing your friends and volunteering.

Well, not all of the things listed qualify for the marketing of products or brands. For example, you should probably not send 20 text messages per month to people whose cell phone number you have. But improving your marketing organization with the examples described under planning, money, media, creative, technology, benchmarking and microtargeting will definitely create a competitive advantage for your company.

7 Marketing-Tips for Answering Social Media Rants and Shitstorms

1. Listen to your target group
Know, what your target group expects as an answer. If this is about missing information or misinformation, then just set it straight. If it’s a ridiculous rant, answer with humor. If your product is something more serious, your answer has to be as well. If your product is something for entertainment, your answer should be entertaining, if your product is healthcare, address your patients fears, etc., etc.

2. Do not hit back
If there is a chance to take it with humor, use it and create a digital asset that has the potential to not only pacify your target group, but at the same time provides additional benefits. In the case of Bodyform – the female hygiene products company – a disgruntled man complained about the positive pictures in Bodyforms ads, featuring women skydiving, rollerblading and horseriding, while dealing with their menstrual cycles. Bodyform answered with a tongue-in-cheek video that went viral and earned the company positive feedback from their actual target group:

3. Speak human language
Avoid AdSpeak by all means! Answer with a human voice. Social Media followers and audiences do not like corporate communication and they do not appreciate marcom language. Have a meaningful spokesperson, be it a real testimonial, your CEO or any other advocate accepted by your target group.

4. Analyze possible scenarios
Let people, who know the social media environment, play test scenarios to find out, where your answer could lead to. There is even software to help you with that: Firebell and Social Simulator.

5. Face public exposure
Be aware, that it’s not only your target group that is out there. And these other people could hijack your idea and turn it into a backfiring joke. This has happened to McDonald’s ‘#McD-Stories on Twitter, which have bee spoofed as #McFail and also to the Henkel Pril Label Contest.

6. Hire experts
Set up an “emergency panel”or “a war room” – employees who are in the target group AND know social media very well, especially those platforms that are most important for your brand. They should be able to assess the short term necessities and develop the medium term response.

7. Get help from KOLs
Work with your key opinion leaders in the online world. Get some accord with your important bloggers, integrate them into your answer strategy and motivate them to support it.