Brand Management: It’s All About the Profile

They say you only have one chance to make a good first impression and this is certainly true for social media. Call it a profile, a brand page or homepage, that single spot on the web has to tell the world what you’re all about in a glance.

Big companies like Coca-Cola and Warner Brothers have teams of people who do nothing but handle company branding. They make sure that every graphic, every piece of text and every video associated with the brand conveys the essence of the company.

In the case of Coca-Cola, it’s not just about the soda, it’s about happiness, togetherness and world peace. Really. I’m not kidding.

For smaller companies or individuals who are the company, consistent branding is even more important. So don’t think you can skip this lesson because you’re a one-man band.

Ad Spending on Digital Shows Q4 Decline

The good news is, total advertising expenditures rose in 2011. The bad news is that the rise was only 0.8% and the internet didn’t make out all that well.

The numbers come from Kantar Media’s final 2011 report and it could be worse, right?

Looking at the Internet section, you can see that Q4 was a tough sell. Display still did okay for the year but paid search is down 2.8% over last year. Newspapers and magazines continued to take the hit in Q4 and in spite of a boost from their Spanish language options, ended the year down compared to 2010.

Ad Spending by Category

Automotive folks continue to be the biggest spenders with Retail coming in second. Insurance had the largest growth rate with Food and Candy and Telcom the only losers for the year.

German News Producers Want Search Engines to Pay for Content

Content is what makes Google run. Every result it returns is linked to a piece of content somewhere else on the web, be it an article, photo, video or website. Over the years, Google has increased the detail in their results so you get a better idea of what’s behind the curtain before you click.

All results have a couple of lines of text under them drawn from the start of the article or keywords from the site. Some even show you a preview of the site before you click. All of this is intended to help the searcher find what he needs. So it’s a good thing for both the searcher and the content provider, right?

E-Commerce Confusion: Mobile Shoppers Choose M-Web Over App

Apps may be all the rage, but a new study from Nielsen shows that it’s mobile websites that are getting all the attention from shoppers.

This past holiday season, Nielsen monitored the smartphone shopping habits of 5,000 volunteers. They concentrated on five big sellers — Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart — and found that, combined, they reached nearly 60 percent of those shoppers.

In spite of all the hoopla around holiday shopping apps, the majority used the mobile websites to complete their purchases.

Though all of the retailers had a usage bump around Black Friday, Amazon was the overall winner when it came to reach.

You could look at these stats and say that people don’t want to shop with apps but it’s more likely a case of e-commerce confusion.

Is it Over for Location Check-in Apps?

Foursquare has always been the leader in the location check-in app battle. For a little while, though, Gowalla was looking like some real competition. Then Facebook bought Gowalla and on March 10, 2012, they shut them down.

Yes. Gowalla has gone-walla.

This would seem like good news for Foursquare but it might just be a sign of the times. A sign that location-based check-ins aren’t on trend anymore.

Earlier this month, Foursquare’s CEO Dennis Crowley spoke with TechCrunch about the future of the business.

“People are using the app, but they’re not checking in. I asked myself: did we break something? But in fact, it’s because people are using Foursquare to look for where their friends are, to find things, and as a recommendation service. It’s almost like it doesn’t occur to them to check in.”

Video is Tops in Online Branded Content

Branded content has become increasingly popular with brand marketers as they search for new ways to engage an ad-weary audience. Top on the list? Video.

According to new numbers by Outbrain, 87% of the brand marketers and ad agencies they surveyed create branded videos to spread the good word.

Blog posts are still going strong, which pleases the writer in me. Articles have likely dropped off due to the infamous Panda Update of 2011. Which is fine, seeing as there are so many fresher options these days.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

96% of those surveyed said they use social media to drive traffic to their branded content. This is up from 88% last year. Paid Search and Display came in a close second with around 75% of the vote. Email didn’t even hit the 50% mark.

Pinterest Tops Twitter for Referral Traffic

If you’re on the web daily, you’ve heard of Pinterest. You’ve probably heard about the crazy numbers they’re pulling in and the incredible growth.

Here’s a visual from an infographic published by Performancing:

Wow, it’s like Mount Everest climbing up into the clouds. Pretty amazing. But just because people visit the site, doesn’t mean it’s good for marketers.

So we move on to referral traffic, this one from Shareaholic:

Look at Pinterest and Twitter. In January, they were even Steven. In February, there’s Pinterest creeping past Twitter on its way to beating StumbleUpon.

Well, that settles it, right? Pinterest is great for marketers! Maybe, as long as you’re pitching to the right audience. Let’s go back to the Performancing infographic: