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Thursday, April 30, 2009

How can it be that the WSJ increases circulation?

The Wall Street Journal must be doing something right. They just increased their circulation yet again. In fact they are the only U.S. newspaper among the top 25 to show growth in total circulation.

In the write-up below you will see this is a result of a good integrated approach: content, expanded coverage, mobile apps, web integration and yes even a glossy magazine.


Of course let’s not forget guys, the WSJ never had to deal with the major loss in classified advertising revenue like the local papers did a couple of years ago due to Craig’s List. So that certainly left the WSJ in a better position to deal with changes required to succeed in today's digital media world.

Congratulations WJS on another success.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Check those sources, please!

Let me tell you about something that happened to me yesterday. I was reading the latest article about a study of Twitter users on Media Post News.


In this article, it stated that Twitter users, according to the survey, are motivated by learning new things. Like you perhaps, I thought yes, that sounds like me. So I wanted to read more and even searched for the real source of the study and found it.

As I was reading the complete details of this study, I came across an interesting statistic -- the study said that the average tweeter spends 2.75 hours a day on twitter. Now I don't know about you but I thought that seemed awfully high and wondered immediately who they surveyed. So I went to the very bottom of the study to the "about the study" section and lo and behold I found my answer.

This study was not to a random cross section of Twitter users by any means. It was to a self-selecting group of Twitter users that responded to some tweets asking for participation in a survey. So in other words this study is to a sampling of "power tweeters." I hate to tell you, that negates the results for this survey. Bottom line here is we simply cannot use the results of this survey to make statements about all Twitter users.

Lesson learned: be careful reading all those statistics being tossed about lately based on studies being conducted. Check the sources carefully and how the studies were conducted.

For the full study see:


Sunday, April 26, 2009

1 out of 5 not tracking email campaigns

The latest results are in and nearly 20% of email marketers said they are NOT tracking their email campaigns. http://www.eroi.com/resources/eROI-Email-Analytics-Survey-Results.pdf

Wow, what a missed opportunity.

A traditional direct mail marketer would never think of not measuring the success of their promotions, so why would an email marketer not do the same?

Well, let me tell you...because they see no benefits in terms of cost savings. After all it is free to send out emails to your current customers right? Wrong!

Even though it is free to email your current customers remember the cost of sending an untargeted or in appropriate email is that of an opt-out. And there could not be a higher cost than the customer telling you to no longer communication with them.

So how do we track our email campaigns and what metrics do we monitor?

Well first you will need an email delivery program. Even something as simple as Constant Contact will do. http://www.constantcontact.com/ It does not have to be pricey. Such a system can run you as little as $150 per year. Once in place you will begin by monitoring the open rates and click rates. And with some simple key coding tricks you can even examine the results by various customer demographics and segments.

Once a customer clicks through to your site, you will use Google Analytics (which is free by the way) to help you monitor exactly what each visitor that "clicks through" is doing. For example, what pages they are viewing, the number of pages they are viewing, the time they are spending on your site, what they are downloading, etc. And again with a little work you can see how these metrics differ by unique email copy and offer approaches you might be sending them via Constant Contact. It really could not be easier. Even my cat Simon could handle it. You do not need an IT background. Trust me. And most importantly the time is worth it.

Keep in mind that getting it all set up is only half of the effort. The toughest part is learning how to assess your metrics to make good marketing decisions. Based on a report from the Web Analytics Association (WAA), 35% of companies are not happy with the overall application of web analytics for purposes of making strategic decisions. That is a high percent. Showing we have a way to go. But with a little patience and effort we can do it. http://www.clickz.com/3626084


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

86% of Marketers are Tweeting. Wow!

For those of you in disbelief when I tweeted yesterday about the latest stats from Comscore on demos of the current twitter user, here is the proof. Yes, here is why more people aged 45-54 are using twitter than those aged 18-24 at the present:

According to a new study by Michael Stelzner for the Social Media Success Summit 2009:
  • 88% of all marketers are now using social media to advertise their business.
  • 86% of marketers are now using twitter in particular to advertise their business.
  • Twitter is used by 94% of marketers who have been using social media for years.
  • 40% of marketers using social media are spending 10+ hours a week at it.
And, yes, I have to admit I am hooked on this social media thing myself. I spend at least 12-15 hours a week staying current with industry events, blogging and tweeting. I absolutely love it.


PS I am probably going to regret letting Rhonda (my wife) know how much time I am spending on these activities.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh, how search has changed over the years

Interested in learning how dynamic search has been over the past 10 years. Bruce Clay has an interactive flow chart that shows the relationship among the major search engines today and in the past.

Below is what it looks like today. Basically there are only two engines driving all search: Google and Yahoo. They feed most other search engines for both organic and paid search.

(Image Soucre: Bruce Clay)

Now step back in time 10 years or so. There were 100’s of different search engines around.

(Image Source: Bruce Clay)

Ten years ago, one would hire a firm to submit their website to the different search portals for indexing purposes. Why because there were simply too many and the submission procedures too varied.

Today of course that is no longer an issue. You simply submit to Google and Yahoo and you are done – assuming Google lets you in!

Also of interest is the fact that 10 years ago or more there were no standards for the various search business models and how they worked. Search was still trying to define itself. For example, goto.com was a strong contender in organic search back then but you had to pay each time your listing (not an ad) was clicked on. You paid more to be higher in the organic search results. However, keep in mind that back then we did not really use the words organic or paid search.

To use this really fun and interactive relationship chart go to: http://www.bruceclay.com/serc_histogram/histogram.htm


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Twitter has competition and it is called Flutter

If you have not checked out Flutter yet, I advise you do. They are a new site that only allows 26 characters per "flap" as opposed to twitter which allows 126 per "tweet."

It is a real time saver. Also they have some unique features that twitter does not.

To view the demo go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeLZCy-_m3s

What will they think of next!

PS the video is a mockumentory. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AOL about to be spun off on own

Very interesting finding.

Following up on my AOL story from yesterday, it appears that Time Warner is about to let go of AOL...now that it has direction and a new business objective.

To read the latest, see: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10213254-93.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5


Sunday, April 5, 2009

I was thinking about AOL the other day

I know it sounds crazy but I was thinking about AOL the other day...wondering what they have been up to.

For the younger generation, just so you know, AOL was once the online leader. They were the pioneer.

So what are they doing now? Anything up their sleeve?

Well, after some investigation I have found some very interesting things going on and being planned at AOL.

First of all, in case you have not heard, they just hired Tim Armstrong a former Google chief executive. Tim has been credited with building Google's search business worth almost $21 billion in 2008. Quite an accomplishment.

Tim is actually being charged with helping AOL develop their new "performance" based advertising model along with Greg Coleman, an old Reader's Digest ad guy that I knew from my days at the Digest. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/04/03/how-will-armstrong-fare-at-aol/

What you ask? Why in the world is AOL trying to develop a new advertising model when Google has a 57% share of all online ad calls? http://www.attributor.com/blog/google-ad-server-share-now-at-57-microhoo-less-than-15-market-share/

Sounds crazy doesn't it?

Well, not really as it turns out. It appears that AOL has been very busy aggressively purchasing content sites ranging from TMZ, FanHouse and WalletPop to name a few. In fact, the various properties they now own boast 73 million monthly visitors and a 21% page view increase this year alone. In fact they now own 100 different content properties.

So how are they getting the experts to help them manage the content of these properties you ask? Well, as it turns out they have been busy hiring executives and editors that have been laid off from the publishing world. They have been hiring reporters and columnists from publications like the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=103051

So now it all makes sense. AOL is building a network of content sites and as such obtaining a lot of eyeballs. They will have experienced editors and reporters manage these sites. And, they will have Tim and Greg sell the eyeballs using their new advertising model.

Sounds pretty smart to me. Will it work? I guess we will have to wait and see.