Tag Archives: engagement

Getting Engaged

I’ve been married a very long time (33 years and counting, thank you) but I still remember getting engaged.  I have no clue what it’s like today, but it used to be a big deal and there was a ritual to be followed (I still thank my lucky stars that her father was way easier on me than he should have been…).  I spend a fair amount of time these days talking about getting engaged except it’s not with my daughters (statement of fact, not a complaint!).  Instead, clients and I talk about “getting engaged” with their consumers.  The thought struck me that it’s not all that dissimilar.

Three stone engagement ring - in yellow gold -...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An engagement is a commitment in either sense of the word (marriage or otherwise).  The only way one partner can figure out if the other is worth spending a lot of time with is to engage one another in dialog.  You know –  appropriate questions, thoughtful, honest answers – a dialog.  Obviously, you can’t spend your time telling your prospective partner how great you are.  Things go a lot more smoothly if you spend a fair amount of time telling them how great THEY are.  While it’s important to keep your own goals in mind, you can’t be a crazed egomaniac if an engagement is your objective.

The hard part is listening.  As marketers and content producers, we tend to put out a lot about ourselves and don’t take in enough about our potential customers.  As an aside, we do the same as managers in a lot of cases – “jobs” are often known as “engagements” after all.

We need to woo our customers, our users, our clients  – whatever you want to call those who pay the bills – as we would a potential spouse.  That’s the only way to get engaged.  Hey – who says romance is dead!

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I Can Do It All By Myself

For those of you with children (or those of you who can recall when the adults you’ve raised were children), you might remember one of the great parental moments.  It’s the one where the child – probably only 4 or so – realizes that they can do things for themselves.  Maybe it’s pour a drink of water or maybe it’s get dressed on their own.  No matter which of the dozens of tasks we as parents undertook for our kids, at some point we all hear “I can do that all by myself!”

I bring this up because by the time  most folks are old enough to use the web, they can do most things by themselves.  Which is why I can’t understand many sites’ choices to present audio or video elements which aren’t user-initiated.  As someone who used to run a large site that made a fair amount of money based on ad views, I get that showing more ads is a good thing.  But as someone who spends too much time (and more than a second is too much time) finding and closing the pane providing me with an annoying sound or a video that’s running down my laptop’s battery, I can’t help but wonder if web-masters are doing this just to increase their video views, ads served, or audio files played.  They can’t be doing it because users like it.  More importantly, advertisers are starting to ask the same question and about how it affects consumer response to and engagement with their ad.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, auto-initiated content is that which plays automatically when users visit a web pageAccording to SpotXchange, which is a video ad network and market:

 There is a significant difference between auto- and user-initiated video ads, which results in two different user experiences.  An auto-initiated ad plays automatically when a user visits a web page, but the video ad does not block the user from viewing intended content.  User-initiated ads must be viewed by consumers before reaching their desired content, such as a video or game.  Because higher levels of consumer engagement are associated with user-initiated video ads, advertisers are willing to pay a premium for them.

By not letting the user decide what they want to see, publishers may actually be shooting themselves in the foot, since the value of the content displayed is diminished.  We can all do the web all by ourselves and choose what we want to see and hear.  Turns out it’s better business too to let the user decide.  Imagine that!

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What Is It And Why Do I Care?

A screenshot of a web page. The computers to s...

Image via Wikipedia

A group of very smart web executives and I were talking about content and how to present it to increase engagement.  The discussion centered around defining how we should be thinking about user engagement with content – is it just page views, is it time on a page, is greater time on fewer pages just as good as a lot of quick views, etc.  I tried to simplify it down to the basic question I think is in the user’s mind:  what is this and why should I care about it.  Let me explain. Continue reading

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The Toolbox

There are two studies out this morning that are interesting to me (and hopefully to you!).

The first is

a recent survey conducted on behalf of PRWeek and Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L) by Millward Brown indicates that just may be the case: Despite weakened economic conditions, over 75% of senior marketers say they expect spending for new media and online initiatives to increase in the next year.

The second one is

a recent study by Borrell Associates, a Williamsburg, Va.-based market research firm, uncovered three major trends:

  • Spending on online display ads (web page banners, pop-ups, etc.) have been flat the past two years and are expected to top out at $12.6 billion in 2008, then decline more than 50 percent by 2012.
  • Paid search advertising will peak at $16.9 billion by 2009 and start declining.
  • Online promotions generated about $8 billion in 2007. This category will nearly triple by 2013 to $22.8 billion, exceeding all other online advertising categories, including paid search, banners, email and online audio/video advertising.

How does one reconcile these two?  I believe they’re both right – spending on digital media will continue to grow.  It should – it’s an emerging medium and consumers’ time spent and engagement with it continues to grow.  I’m not sure why there is a giant difference between good advertising and good promotion.  If I’m reading the survey right, it seems as if the difference is that the “promotional” online ads tie to a contest or some other action.  I was always taught that all advertising is supposed to have a call to action and that, it seems, is what we should be measuring.  There are lots of other factors such as the creative to consider before blaming the messenger – the medium.

It’s unfortunate that some CMO’s will read the above survey and turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.  There are lots of tools in the marketing toolbox.  Digital media, and display ads within digital media (hopefully with a specific, measurable, excellent call to action) are a big part.  An even bigger, more important part is using all of the tools at one’s disposal as we continue the conversations with the public.

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