Paid Media: Dollar Spent Here, Can’t Be Spent There

We know there was once earned, owned and paid media. Now, we can say earned and owned media is everything that is “shareable.” Now we have shared and paid media. Shared media comes from good content marketing and good communications between marketers & consumers. For the most part shared media is easy to understand, but more time consuming. Paid media, on the other hand, not so much. Paid media is a more difficult conversation, yet quicker to implement than share media. There are three players that I am going to talk about to help understand paid media better. These players are cookies, native advertising, and programmatic ad buying. Cookies combined with privacy issues have lead to an increase in native advertising. Although, native advertising still evades most marketer’s toolboxes according to Copyblogger’s 2014 State of Native Advertising report.

Marketers don't know what native advertising is

Image By: Copyblogger

After reading about the EU’s cookie laws, internet users do have the right to privacy when browsing the web. There is also the argument that without cookies web sites will become “dumb” again. Reaching and targeting the right consumers will become more difficult for digital marketers again. Ari Jacoby, on an Advertising Age article, described native advertising as:

Today we frame native advertising around being part of its media channel: for example, ads baked into the flow of online media. Done well, it can be a lot less intrusive than traditional advertising. Done less well, it can be hard to differentiate from advertorials and blatant incentives.” 

Programmatic Ad Buying

Image By: adotas

This matrix helps understand the decision making behind programmatic ad buying. Since it is still a new topic it can be confusing. According to this matrix, the two factors that should aid marketers and their media buying decisions are: whether the target audience is known and whether real-time bidding or fixed price should be considered. From here we can begin to answer the question of which media to buy. A dollar here can’t be spent there. So what media to buy? Starting from the column headings, we can choose between if we know our target audience or not, if not machine learning is our option. Machine learning could also be helpful if you know your target audience because “you many find that machine learning can refine that identification, eliminate some waste, and extract more value from your spend.” From there we have two options: real-time bidding or fixed pricing.

Definitions According to adotas article:

“Fixed fee purchasing will give you first pick from the impressions of the publisher or network you negotiate with”

“Real-time bidding will give you access to almost all the content on the web, but you pick last”









Google+’s Coming of Age Tale

Google+ is like a rich friend (although cool & hip, not a dork) that has sort of forced himself into the friendship. Upfront, he was annoying because of the whole gmail integration. He (“he” referring to the personified Google+) was so excited about the friendship so he made it so any and every user could be contacted through their gmail accounts. Privacy issues? I think so. Although its important to note that there is an opt-out feature to not receive any emails. Then there is the whole YouTube comments thing. He wanted to make a change to the friendship and did so with much criticism. Google+ made it so every YouTube user who wanted to comment needed a Google+ account to do so. Control freak? Maybe, or did he just make a genuine mistake. Google+ and the YouTube comments is an attempt to integrate products and clean up spam and explicit commenting. Seems like good intent. Finally, our Google+ friend may be a little bit narcissistic. Forbes staff, Kashmir Hill, shared her thoughts on what she calls Google+’s brand new “narcissism statistics.” On Google+ users can see the number of profile views along with the view count per individual picture. Hill summarized it well:

“No longer do you have to wait for pluses (or likes or hearts) to know if your digital detritus is being consumed by other souls on the Internet. Google has quantified it for you. The number you’ll see on yours and others’ profiles “is the composite number of how many times others have viewed your profile, photos and posts, based off of information since October of 2012,” says a Google spokesperson. So now the big question is whether Google feeding our navel-gazing data addiction will actually make the network more popular with users” – Hill

All-in-all Google+’s nearly three year life has not been all glamorous. Although the “Ghost-town” nickname is still attached, there is hope that our friend Google+ is still coming of age.

Enough of the annoying traits. After nearly three years of the friendship, Google+ actually does offer some powerful tools. Foremost, Google+ is a great platform for SEO and content marketing. We can talk all day about benefits of SEO and content marketing and how they may be Google+’s biggest traits. We can also talk about optimizing your profile as well, with Stephan Hovnanian, but there may be something else. Lindsey Paholski’s article, Google+: Social Network vs. Social Layer, shares insights on how Google+ is potentially “coming of age” with more developed layers. This “social” layer is important aside from the social network side of Google+. The social layer “brings social and identity benefits to the entire Google Web ecosystem. That social layer can enhance the quality of conversation, unlike Twitter’s loudspeaker that allows for just surface listening.” Paholski talks about the importance of a relevant relationship. This relevant relationship is the connecting/sharing of people with your brand/product. In this realm, Google+ is nearing its coming of age with a more connected social layer than Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook offer both social and identity benefits—it’s about connecting with friends and family that we know in real life. But where Facebook’s ecosystem is closed and small, Google’s is vast and relatively open, which allows it to use like YouTube comments to essentially upgraded its services with identity markers. Rather than upgrade YouTube with a separate identity level Google applied its universal identity layer, Google+  – Paholski

Paholski continues on to share why Google+ is potentially on the right track to coming of age. Tools like Google+ Hangout is what strengthens the brand with a more in depth social connection and relationship with people. Google+ is shrugging off their rich friend tags and shouldering young, innovative, but respectful new ones.

Like any brand/product, Google+ will take time to build an authority and a following. Google+ is still writing it’s coming of age tale.



Pursuit of Social Media Happiness

Forbes Thought Of The Day

 Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get. ” — Dave Gardner

Social media is continuously evolving making it ever so complex. The quote above inspired me to attempt to simplify the complexity of social media. Here’s my pitch: whether its business or personal use, the “success” of social media is utilizing the tools and knowledge to outperform the competitor in shares, likes, the sort of statistics and measurements of social media platforms. Tools like the Hootsuite dashboard allow social media users to “get what they want” by tracking and testing the ins and outs of using social media. On the other hand, the “happiness” of social media is content side of things. Social media is a great platform for content creation. The mere interaction of the audience with your content brings the “happiness” to your business and/or personal self by creating trust, awareness, and authority. Positioning your social media usage to the right audience will ensure “what you get” is what you wanted…for others to promote and defend your brand for you. 

How I described the “success” and “happiness” of social media is like the Moz Beginners Guide to Social Media and their definition of the two kinds of data, quantitative and qualitative. The definition of quantitative data is like my definition of the “success” side of of social media. Examples according to Moz are: followers/fans, engagement such as comments/shares/likes, timing, and click-through-rate. We successfully get what we want with knowledge of how social media works. Timing is a huge one. Being able to post on social media at the optimal time for the highest level of audience exposure is very important for successful social media marketing. 

“Happiness” for social media is like Moz‘s definition of qualitative data. Qualitative data of social media are the influence, sentiment, and conversation driving metrics. Its less about the numbers and more about the human interaction. The influencers or promoters of your business or personal brand are hard to find. The sentiment, or rather the audience that loves and defends your brand is hard to get. However, with time and good use of social media, your business and you can experience “happiness” because what you get down the road is what you want..a brand powerhouse with a powerful social media following. 

Is there ever a time to not use social media?

I think the Applebee’s social media nightmare is an example of when not to use social media. I think Applebees not only misused social media, but overused it too. Their misuse came when they decided to post (lets disregard the fact that they posted at 3 am) on Facebook about what I think is an internal business affair. Yes, the employee made a public display by posting the receipt online, but Applebees should not have also gone online. Of course, their overuse and continued misuse of social media came when they posted repeatedly, responded to ordinary people, and their whole deleting and re-publishing of posts and comments. Applebees just kept digging their hole deeper and deeper. Yes, negative and hurtful comments are never necessary, but Applebees in a way stooped down to the negative level by responding and as long as they did. Once again, I really feel like the firing of their employee was 100% an internal affair and didn’t need to post a response on Facebook in the first place. I would’ve never posted about the controversy. Instead I would have dealt with the controversy within my business and solely with the parties involved. Although if I were too have posted a response on Facebook like they did, I would have posted it at a more appropriate time for starters. Positive or negative feedback I would have posted nothing else after the first post. Once Applebees did so, it was a point of no return and they spiraled down and further down. 

Can the ideas behind Facebook’s EdgeRank be good and bad?

I think Mark Cuban’s rant and the article by Business Week both shared insightful points. I see social media, specifically Facebook in this discussion, as a teeter totter with the human vs. the algorithm. In short, Cuban’s rant on EdgeRank can be summed up when he wrote,”we should know better than an algorithm what those who like us actually like.” He continued with what made me like his side more:

“From a brands perspective not having to try to fall within the parameters of the algorithm (Edgerank)  allows us to post fun things, tidbits, information, anything knowing that there is at least a chance those who have a connection with us can see it and knowing that we won’t reduce our chances of the algorithm showing our post” – Mark Cuban 

This relates to what I was saying at the beginning of this post. It relates to difference between “success” and “happiness.” In this light, the “success” is “to fall within the parameters of the algorithm” whereas “happiness” is “to post fun things, tidbits, information, anything knowing that there is at least a chance.” Having said that social media is never one-sided, so we need knowledge of both the human (the target audience) and any algorithms out there. 



Thoughts & Stories on Content Marketing

I like to think of content marketing as a vision and the communication of that vision. Words, pictures and videos help bring the vision alive. The visual aesthetics come after and work harmoniously with the communicated vision. For example, my blog is my attempt to communicate my vision about digital marketing. How my blog looks and sounds aids my effort to communicate and deliver content that my audience enjoys. Knowing my specific target audience would be very beneficial to crafting my content. Discovering my target audience is a goal of mine for this blog. I hope to learn of an audience that enjoys my content as time goes on. According to Brian Clark, I will be on my way to a minimal viable audience when I receive continuous feedback from readers through comments and social media. After that I will start to gain insight on what my audience wants and desires are.

Recently, I was involved in good content marketing example. A friend of mine decided to share her thoughts on this Spotify commercial. 

Its the third video on the YouTube playlist. I experienced how Spotify’s audience, my friend, shared this video and her thoughts with me. I happen to not be a user of Spotify up till now. I’ve been aware of the music service for some time now, but never converted into a user. Through my friend, I watched this video and its authentic content grabbed my attention and now made me a part of their audience. Now I have looked into Spotify further and got more knowledge about it because of their easily accessible online presence. Like all the examples of the 100 content marketing examples reading, Spotify’s video made its content easily reachable from one person to the next. The Scribe reading pointed out “what other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.” It just so happened that, finally, in the sharing of this video and what my friend said I became more interested in Spotify and may be a user in the near future. Spotify did a really good job of what the Scribe reading said, that “the job of any marketer is to enter a conversation that’s already taking place.” The video felt real and authentic. I feel like I could use Spotify in the way it was in the video.

Now I am going to attempt to be “agile” and add some content to my blog. Below is a picture from last Friday night’s M’s game. We won 6-4 and it was a blast with a great group of friends. You can see below, one our signs read “Pink Lloyd.” We made signs that had some puns of players names. Some others were, “Almonte Joy” and “We got Hart.” So now my blog is authentic right? I shared my thoughts and a real story of experiencing content marketing and now I am telling my story that hasn’t been heard. The more attention this blog receives I will be able to see what works and what doesn’t with wordpress’ stats page. The goal is to gain authority and deliver content that viewers want. I see content marketing as a cycle that is always turning back and forth.

Let’s start with feedback. Don’t hesitate to comment below and/or share with others.




Open Competition and Innovation with SEO & SEM

SEO is sort of a democratic practice of the internet. Simply put, SEO allows a level playing field for all websites that can compete and be eligible for ranking higher. Whether its: the URL structure, keyword research, tags embedded in HTML, indexable content, quality of content, and/or trustworthy links, these all are available tools for any website to utilize to better their ranking. Moz does a survey every two years and gathers data on search engine correlation data. Some of the categories involve links, keywords, and popularity such as social media sharing. Having all this background information available SEO can be leveraged by companies to gain more awareness and popularity and then in time trust.

A 2011 Study by Slingshot SEO Reveals Click-through
Rates for Top Rankings:
A #1 position in Google’s search results receives 18.2% of all
click-through traffic.
The second position receives 10.1%, the third 7.2%, the fourth
4.8%, and all others are under 2%.

With these statistics from SEOmoz’s beginner guide, companies have to compete to get these top spots. Knowledge of SEO is continuing to evolve and change so I think a best practice would to have a dedicated team of web developers and search engine marketers that work together to find ways that they can leverage SEO for their success. One of the key successes of SEO is that it is open and we can continue to research it and use it. Inbound marketers work hard to create the content that the target market wants. SEO and SEM allow their efforts to be searchable on the web. The SEO competition for the top search results is this whole notion of turning strangers into customers and then promoters through social media sharing. Like the Moz blog pointed out, “allow yourself to fail.” Being able to try new things with SEO and SEM will open doors to new insights and what not to do next time.

Now I want to bring to attention something that I think helps protect SEO and SEM and the innovation and competition. Net neutrality helps protect the internet keeping it “open.” Wikipedia defines it as, “the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differently by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.” For some time now some large corporations have wanted to control the internet and implement packaged information much like the TV now, essentially a “closed” internet. Like the TV, the large corporations would offer paid-for subscriptions to a tier of packaged deals. If this were to ever happen it would wipe out the SEO we are studying today. It would remove what is good about SEO and how it can be leveraged by small and big companies alike. The open playing field would step down to decisions of a single large corporation. There would be no room for companies to rank higher as they gain popularity because it would be up to the large corporation once again. The openness of competition and innovation of the internet today is what drives companies to create better and better content for us. SEO and SEM are here as a tool for us all, to sort out all the internet’s content and provide the best based upon what we searched for. 




Building My Personal Brand With Inbound Marketing

How does McMinn inc. sound? Cheesy? Oh well, its simple and its what I thought about while reading up on inbound marketing. The benefits of inbound marketing are like the ways us students market ourselves to professors, employers, and people in general. The fictional McMinn inc. is the product of my education, personality, how I spend my time, and the words I say. The professor is the potential buyer. At the end of the quarter, will I have an A? Or simply, will you just like me as a person? Those could be both outcomes that I would be okay with. Through inbound marketing channels like twitter and this blog, I can be reached and you and others can get a feel for me. So McMinn inc. content is created through the benefit of inbound marketing like my twitter (@Josh_McMinn), my facebook, instagram, and this blog. Give me a follow. Through the content of these inbound tactics, viewers will take away buzz words and initial reactions to the words, pictures and/or videos. Another benefit would be that I am always searchable by you or the “potential buyers.” You could educate yourself and ask other people about me, but with inbound marketing I can still be found with these online profiles. Through all this I am building the human interaction with others. Inbound marketing strengthens my brand, or “what others say when I leave the room.”

On the other hand, it is also important for me to use outbound marketing techniques as well. If I just have a voice and generate noise on here and in social media, than I wont be as effective as I could be. So this quarter I will have  to participate in class with you and my classmates and utilize office hours. Don’t worry I wont try any paid-for outbound marketing. Inbound marketing can also fail with poor segmentation. I know you like baseball and you are a Red Sox fan. I follow baseball and am an M’s fan. Let’s just awe in amazement on how smooth Robinson Cano’s swing is…

Thoughts on HubSpot’s New Products

Social Inbox: I thought the social inbox was very interesting. The organization is its best feature. What I mean is, having a timeline for each lead is valuable. Whether its personal hobby, like sports, or for business customers is eliminates all other noise. Having said that my only critique or worry is that I don’t see it readily usable by all shape and sizes of companies. If there is no noise about a company in social media then this inbox wont be as useful as possible. Nevertheless it is a great way to keep tabs on competitors and what is being said about them.

Content Optimization System: I thought COS was the best of HubSpot’s new products. I can definitely envision websites all becoming dynamic and following this COS platform. I think it would be amazing to adjust what individuals see based upon their relationship with the company. Companies that utilized this tool will pioneer and lead the way for humans to become huge fans of new, up and coming innovative companies. Its a cool foundation for the whole idea of increasing company’s ability to become more human.

Signals: When hearing about the new product called Signals, I couldn’t help but think of the read receipts on sms text messaging for iPhones. There is an option that will show whether or not you have read their text. Personally, I would rather not let others know if I’ve read their text or not. I think its frightening and would rather not have others know exactly what I am doing. I guess it is sort of a privacy issue and would need to see Signals at work to get more familiar. Signals follows the same sort of deal, but with emails and platforms like LinkedIn. I do, however, enjoy thinking about how differently the sales conversation will go because of the use of Signals. It eliminates some waste when it comes to talking with leads and I think that is very cool and valuable.


here we go…

Welcome to my blog. My name is Josh McMinn and am a Junior at WWU studying marketing and accounting (minor). I grew up in good ‘ol Sequim, WA and made the most out of life on the Olympic peninsula. I am an avid sports fan. Currently, i am thoroughly enjoying the solid start to the Mariners 2014 season!

I am taking Digital marketing because of your guest talk at an SMA meeting last quarter. The course seemed fun and I guess more light-hearted than other marketing classes available. I think it will be interesting to learn about marketing topics that are currently growing. Without too much background knowledge on the course topics I eager to learn about my individual impact on the growth of interactive online communities and marketing. Maybe, through this course I will find that there was previous knowledge all along. But after this quarter I will be able to utilize it.

US Marketing Forecast, 2011 to 2016


Knowing this was a forecasting article, I knew there was going to be a lot of numbers thrown around. For me I found it difficult to process all the numbers. For example, figure 3 displayed that consumers spent less time with traditional media. Comparing that to figure 2, which displayed that more respondents believed interactive tactics will prove more effective than traditional tactics in the next 3 years. Okay, I now know that interactive is on the rise and is important. After reading the article on the marketing talent gap, I can understand the difficulty in the education of digital marketing. This article had too much above the head stuff with all the numbers. Don’t get me wrong, I think numbers and forecasting are great i.e. my accounting minor, but I don’t think for the education of digital marketing and the talent gap that this article was effective in illustrating the importance of the topic.

State of Digital Marketing Talent

This article really reminded me of a graphical illustration from MIS. The graph was showing the level of importance of technical versus people skills for different levels of job positions. I think this graph and the talent gap described are both a balancing act. Its a tug-o-war between higher positioned employers and new entry level employees. I thought it was interesting when one respondent was quoted saying something about Facebook users think they are digital and social experts. Like the article said, if the majority doesn’t have good ways to measure the employees skill and knowledge base than what are we supposed to expect. Practice makes perfect, right? So heavy users of social media and other interactive online communities isn’t a good way to measure the knowledge base. Individuals personally think they have the skills and knowledge because of practice, but employers want something more. Its really hard to measure. That leads into the next article, where geographical regions make a difference too.

Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Marketing Jobs in the 21st Century

Finally, this article was interesting to see how different regions play a role on what employers seek. For me it was cool to see that no matter what location, a lot of employers seek the ability to work on teams and people/communication skills. I feel that my time at WWU has done a pretty good job with preparing us for that. At the end of this article, one of the highlighted portions talked about how professors gained the knowledge they have on database marketing. The majority being self-taught it just reminded me how I felt after reading the first article on forecasting. I felt like I had really no direction after seeing all the forecasts for the obvious turn to more interactive than traditional tactics. Bringing all the articles together, I think that the solution to hack away at the talent gap starts with education that really takes into consideration factors, like geographic locations, for digital marketing to utilized more.