What marketers can learn from 80 billion watched adult clips on one site

Pornhub, a streaming portal for porn has just recently publicised its 2014 site statistics. Despite the fact, that almost nobody on this planet would openly admit watching porn; almost 80 billion viewed clips (which statistically sums up to roughly 11 clips per human being on this planet) suggest something quite different. Before you run off now to delete your browser history, I am more amazed about what these statistics reveal about user behaviour overall and on a country level. On a side note, one has to give the Pornhub team credit for not only having established a major site in global porn consumption but for running the site and all its adjacent media on a high level of professionalism, e.g. the usage of social media, blogs and other features, that deliver funny, relevant and actually interesting content.

Here my key learnings:

1. Behaviour reveals the truth: when it comes to defining customer centric messaging, positioning strategies or product placements, observing displayed customer preferences through hard actions (no pun intended) allows marketers to not only assure high relevancy of marketing actions for the assumed target group but also an increase marketing effectiveness. Surveys, no matter how great, expensive and professional, do never reveal real underlying drivers. Digital data is thus of great help to penetrate the customers mind, understand root causes and determine action triggers. #Pornhub relevant fact: despite the steady global increase in online porn access, it is noteworthy to have a closer look at national key search terms. Despite the US, almost every country revealed a high national focus in search terms.

 2. Mobile is the king, yet privacy demands tablets: globally, particularly in less developed countries with holes in its telecommunication infrastructure, the spike in mobile usage demands an undeniable rethinking of media channels to target customers. Whilst the desktop driven Internet access was the preferred 24/7 channel a few years ago, it`s important to note how consumers change channels, screens and devices throughout the day. To reach consumers effectively, a continuous channel switch might be necessary to stay in the consumer`s mind and assure high message relevancy at the point of purchase. #Pornhub relevant fact: both mobile and tablets see an increase, which is inline with the overall global rise of mobile / tablet driven computing or media consumption. Yet, I hypothesis, that due to the nature of the consumed media (porn), tablets show a higher increase which is probably in line with their location of use (in-house), vs. on the go mobile media consumption. I am contrasting these statistics with the latest Comscore data on mobile marketing statistics.

3. Relevant content is king: Pornsites have probably the highest relevancy to its access groups, if one excludes personal preferences within the broader definition of porn, in the WWW. Why you ask? Well, they promise porn, deliver porn and people accessing them, are probably looking for… right: porn! The level of surprise is fairly low, the promise to the consumer is most likely kept and to top it off, most user probably leave the site with a positive experience. Marketers need to ask themselves, if broad content spanning sites which are created for multiple target groups can still be relevant in a generalist way. Investing in SEO and thus reducing bounce rates by increasing relevancy of the first point of contact might be one amongst many solutions. After all, one of the major access point to the web, particularly in the B2B environment are search engines. Instead of shoving traffic to your “about me” page or an index error message, linking to relevant content site on a search pattern basis is highly recommended. This becomes particularly interesting when investigating large B2B web profiles. #Pornhub relevant fact: user expectancy = site delivery = porn

4. Statistics are cool: Most companies I have yet had the chance to interact with base a lot of their actions on assumptions or the fallacy of experience. B2B, particularly industrials, are prone to assume that 20 years of industry experience make up for not having or not understanding the use of data. If it weren’t for privacy reasons, pornhub could probably go down on an IP basis to reveal all sorts of data. Thus recurring visits, duration between visits and average site duration, correlations with search terms and and and… which B2B business has access to that sort of data? Well, almost all, but data collection is still not seen as a top priority in many firms, particularly not if business practices involve a high percentage of relationship building tactics. Just ask about your web demographics and or connecting the dots from the web to your CRM… #Pornhub relevant fact: Pornhub serves not as a silo platform but links to full scale porn content on other pages, thus the more pornhub can learn about visitors, the more relevant the site can become, the higher its conversion rate for partners, the more $ it makes.

5. Glocalisation rules: We live in a globalised world, yet national interest, cultural heritage and other factors do still play a role in purchasing decision making. It is for a reason that supermarkets increasingly advertise local produce to consumers. B2B`s do yet again mostly discount this fact. Thus a costumer in China has to view the same or similar content to a customer in Europe or even North America. Although one can assume a more professional purchasing decision making process, underlying drivers, particularly non-rationals to make up for missing data in the decision making process, are being subconsciously influenced by cultural factors. #Pornhub relevant fact: Despite the US, all major countries by access numbers reveal a high level of national search terms.

6. Don`t scare customers with insights but be brave enough to make use of them: if you have continued to read this article after your cache cleanup, you will have probably noticed or thought about that Pornhub could have gone in much further detail on a country level, probably down to individual IP`s. Don`t worry, it would be a fatal error for Pornhub to go that far, as the key point of their statistical review is not to scare users away but to provide them and the general public with the confidence to access a highly professional site while having social affirmation. As the saying goes “a million flies can`t be wrong – eat shit”, social affirmation works in porn as well as in other business. Thus the key is not to tell your customer that you were surprised about his Sunday night reading habits of your email but to build necessary conclusions and work with statistical data to your advantage. Did you know, that 75% readers of this blog seem to have a very high level of education? Charming, ha? #Pornhub relevant fact: the use of both movie ranking and viewer statistics is a smart move to give other users an easy selection of good content based on social rating schemes. Every B2B should have enough data to highlight its no 1 product in 2014, Q1 or of all times – the only difference to Pornhub however is, that Pornhub is already working in porn, it has crossed the boundary of society, which I assume does also lead to quite some freedom for its marketing team in the content creation space. You won’t have that freedom in your company as product managers, sales mangers, general managers and the rest of your team will state their biased opinion, which are most likely entered around reducing risk.

 

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My Social Media Marketing favourites of 2014

2014 has been a great year for advertising and marketing. With brands moving further into the digital space, newcomer social media like Vine or others started to see the first big campaign bang. I could probably call many campaigns great campaigns, yet a few stood out in terms of creativity, use of audience relevant media and, from could be gathered publicly, campaign ROI.

#emojiscience by GE

GE has made the transition from a global brand into a social brand some time ago. Yet the multifaceted giant still surprises by its creative tackle of various out of scope fields to position the GE brand in potential (future) customers`minds. For its latest stunt, GE has partnered with Bill Nye to create the emojiscience campaign, which runs on almost every thinkable social media channel, ranging from snapchat, vine to the bluechips of social like Facebook or Twitter. The heart of the campaign is however surely the campaign microsite, which details the science driven approach, howe to enter the campaign and be “revined” by GE. The cross-social approach deserves a virtual high five and surely boosts GE yet again to the top of brands I didn`t expect to be at the forefront of Vine or Snapchat. In my eyes, GE is doing a tremendous job to both experiment in these new social media spaces, while attracting new crowds of followers which eventually transform into GE customers, directly or indirectly in the future.

always #LikeAGirl 

always, a leading P&G female hygiene brand, managed to pull of a campaign during the soccer world cup earlier this year, which attracted almost 54million YouTube views, without starring any soccer players. Without going into further campaign details, that could lead much to a philosophical discussion as one can tell from the many YouTube comments, the campaign surely paid of and smartly capitalised on a less heavy targeted audience during the World Cup. It also shows, that touching stories can still create brand friction for the good.

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#ShareACoke Campaign

Coke`s 2014 summer campaign embraced what social media is all about: sharing. Replacing is brand presence on Coke bottles with the most popular names in various countries, coke animated its fans to share virtual coke bottles with friends on Facebook, instagram and twitter under the hashtag shareacoke. The campaign was supported with both online and offline media and resulted in much publicity and the hunt for name tagged bottles. According to the WSJ, coke sales spiked by a little over 2% during the campaign period. A good campaign performance in a very competitive and highly saturated space.

Samsung vs. Apple

For both consistency and bravery, Samsung deserves a spot in the top 4, too. Whilst Samsung`s aggressive anti-Apple campaigns also backfire by becoming a little to blunt, Samsung deserves to be mentioned by sticking to its uphill battle against the Apple fanboy community. Whilst the Apple vs. Samsung debate surely spikes religiously driven discussions, from a pure technology standpoint, it is fair to say the technological trajectory of the mobile space has long been surpassed by the strength of brand perception in the mobile community.

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2015 will surely be an interesting year for some brands to catchup, for others to still learn how to navigate in the social media space while a few will power ahead to occupy new media and boost brand engagement to new heights.

 

 

 

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From #classification over #segmentation to #extrapolation

Many B2B organisation have grown a very loyal customer base over time. Usually, this is a good thing. Achieving customer loyalty is amongst the top goals for marketers in almost every organisation. Particularly in B2B industrial settings or niche industries with an oligopolistic structure, market players often grown and nurture these relationship over years. It is seldom that organisations in these industries apply Customer Relationship Management (CRM) methodologies or some form of customer analysis, mostly due to the lack of knowledge, the growth path of the organisation, the missing intrinsic driver for adoption and in many cases, missing external influence through cross-industrial employee fluctuation. Over the course of my career, I have experienced various of these organisations already with often stunning rationals as to why customer analysis has not been applied; yet buzz words like CRM or Key Account Management (KAM) often surface in presentations. One could of course start a philosophical argument whether a rigid CRM application depends upon formalised methods or tool or if uncodified knowledge is good enough to run a business which has obviously grown successfully over the years. Despite the weight of the growth argument, many businesses will find unprofitable customers once digging into a customer base analysis. A change in the external environment, e.g. through a change in competitive forces, directives or product innovation often confront these businesses with sales and cost pressures demanding changes in the way they conduct business.

The shift from “business as usual” to some sort of analysis driven customer management is often initiated by way of customer classification, which often finds the wrongfully attributed label of segmentation. These classification are usually done on an aggregated level to resemble ABC analysis. With a growing customer base and or increasing environmental complexity, these classifications are however not enough to streamline customer efficiency programs and or to help businesses increase their bottom line contributions. A shift from classification to traditional segmentation is the logical next step. Approaching segmentation efforts challenges organisation on 2 levels. First, the segmentation model has to be created and can hardly be copied from an existing blue print. This means that various stakeholders in the organisation need to come together to identify value defining parameters for an initial segmentation model. Furthermore, these models need to be tested, deployed and run for some time to validate underlying assumptions and assure high cause effect correlations of the model to the organisational value creation process. To achieve the later, organisations need to face a second challenge which is as much about system change as well as cultural change. To support a segmentation model, it is very likely that the aforementioned organisations, do not have supporting CRM systems to allow a data based segmentation effort. Defining system requirements and locating third party IT resources is the easiest of tasks, yet assuring the buy in of key stakeholders is a completely different challenge. The cultural change most organisations need to go through is hardly quantifiable; yet it will determine the success or failure of such an endeavour and should thus not be neglected. External project stakeholders, e.g. consultants, are however usually less likely to touch this subject due to its very intangible nature and thus difficulty to capture its essence in form of project budget requirements. A savvy marketing manager should nevertheless be aware of this challenge and factor in adequate time to engage all necessary stakeholders in the organisational change process.

Once this is achieved, an extrapolation of existing customer data to market potentials is the next step to extrapolate lessons learnt, existing segment strategies to other likely market targets to further streamline efforts and optimise the use of resources. This requires further customisation of CRM systems to shift from static to dynamic models. As with the segmentation implementation effort mentioned above, it also requires various internal stakeholders to be ready for further change processes to amend both service levels, product offerings, sales and marketing efforts to identified potential and existing customer segments. Codifying such a change into organisational processes demands further internal process review cycles and disciplinary structures to enforce the change in process setups.

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#breaktheinternet for brands without big bu(dgets)

Kim Kardashian just came out with a cheeky headline in one of her latest front covers; suggesting her rear side could ‘break the internet‘. A surely ambitious endeavour, even for a celebrity of her status. Juicy photos of Kardashian`s most valuable asset surely helped to partly do the trick. More can be viewed on the celebrities social channels, e.g. Instagram. Side note, with a little over 21 million followers in Instagram alone, Kim Kardashian managed to build a solid social follower-ship, which amassed roughly 0.5 million views of below`s cover page in her Instagram feed alone. To contrast, some major global brands, e.g. Nike with an in-house social media team and a multimillion dollar social media budget, have a “mere” 7.8 million followers in Instagram. Microsoft`s official channel clocks in with 15K followers… this should really put Kardashian`s backend achievement into perspectives based on the free media coverage she (and her agency) managed to unlock.

Frontcover Kardashian #breaktheinternet

 

What can and should brands learn from this? Has Kim Kardashian`s attempt to #breaktheinternet failed?  Some websites discuss the success of Kardashian`s ambitious attempt to break the internet, such as the Wall Street Journal, comparing total #breaktheinternet tweets with #cometlanding.

I do argue, that despite the failed attempt to the break the internet, thanks to all forces involved, Kim Kardashian surely boosted herself into each major press outlet on this planet and made the headlines from the Time to countless others.

Without having Kardashian`s natural social media follower-ship, most brands will struggle to get the free media attention Kardashian assumed over the last couple of days.

Nevertheless, a few brands stood out by taking advantage of the Kardashian stunt to propel their brand into the discussion and surely score some new fans.

Advertising week listed a few top brand reactions, a few of which I believe are worthy to being mentioned again.

The most outstanding brand reactions are clearly shared amongst Nissan, JetBlue, Jolly Rancher, the Metropolitan Museum and Budweiser. Scroll down for some of examples – Nissan is my clear winner, followed by JetBlue and Jolly Rancher.

What all these brands however have in common is a to react timely with relevant content in the right media channel. If one wants to argue about the headline of this blog entry, one could of course say, that all brands mentioned will have a reasonably sized social media budget. Nevertheless, the above effort could very well be done on a budget. Social media monitoring tools are available on a paid and freemium basis, which allow brands to monitor for high engaging content.

The crux however will be to react timely upon this discovery. E.g. if MarCom needs to get sales, legal and or IR approval before being able to take any action, any endeavour of this sort is almost surely doomed to fail. Establishing brand guidelines for the social media follow up space might help to get stakeholders on board and assure a timely reaction and thus a ride along this freely available media attention.

Content and channel are almost self-explanatory. If Twitter goes crazy, no sane social media manager would attempt to shift the attention to another channel. So engage in Twitter, as all brands below did. Shoot for brand exposure and brand attention and not for channel conversion. This assures that your content is likely more relevant to the wider audience in reach and does not stir up an advertising aversion or even a messaging conflict in that matter.

Budweiser`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

 

Jolly Rancher`s reaction to #breaktheinternetNissan`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

JetBlue`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

JetBlue`s reaction to #breaktheinternet

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Has Coke and its ad-agency just wasted $4m on a spot nobody got?

Coke’s latest SuperBowl commercial has gone terribly wrong.

It has sparked some outrage amongst US residents and even made it into the media as in a very controversial way. Some news hosts claim US residents to be sparking a wave of racism with their pro US or US centric comments.

Without getting into culture or national interests, the question at stake however is, if the Coca Cola company has just wasted $4m in a spot that their target audience clearly did not appreciate. Whilst above’s news host does not seem to waste a second about why organisations place advertising but blames the audience for not being educated enough to understand the brilliance in messaging, it is fair to wonder, if an ad has failed when creating negative brand value.

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Why Adobe and Apple get what a few hundred million $ SuperBowl ads miss

Contrasting many SuperBowl ads screening for $4m, Apple has yet again put a masterpiece out to view, not even 24 hours after the big event the entire advertising world has been waiting for.

Whilst Microsoft screened a similar ad during the SuperBowl, it missed to my taste a few crucial details. While Microsoft celebrates technology on a wide scale and only at times shows Microsoft tech in the picture, Apple celebrates its 30 year brand promise and continuously shows Apple products at work throughout the entire world. To top it off, the entire Apple clip was filmed by using only the iPhone 5s on a single day of filming (granted by having various crews around the world).

So it seems, not everybody finds the need to spend a couple of millions to air their message, or in contrast, if the message is good enough, it will be seen and heard on a lesser budget and thus a more ROI friendly way only hours later.

Adobe trumps the game of advertising with its post-SuperBowl sarcasm. As with their 2013 ad, Adobe yet again questions the effectivness of SuperBowl ad-spendings in a very funny and creative way. I’d say HOMERUN Adobe and MVP Apple are the winners of the 2014 SuperBowl ad-frenzy.

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SuperBowl ad frenzy against all Marketing ROI rationality

SuperBowl commercials attract a media frenzy like no other public event does. Over the last couple of years, the media, companies and the public alike have increasingly focused on commercials shown during the SuperBowl. Dedicated websites, pre-SuperBowl commercial previews and an “who is who” hiring of actors and celebrities to star in SuperBowl commercials tops all what has previously been done.

While the overall spending on SuperBowl commercials has almost doubled since the year 2000, some maintain an also increasing recall effect and thus heightened brand awareness during the SuperBowl.  According to Nielsen, ads that aired during 2011′s Super Bowl XLV were, on average, 58 percent more memorable than commercials airing during regular programming in the first quarter of 2011. In addition, brand awareness for commercials airing during the Super Bowl was up to 275 percent higher than awareness for the same creative during regular programming.

Yet does this justify the advertising expenditures? If one assume an average SuperBowl ad-time of 30 seconds to cost anything from $3.7 million to $4.0 million in 2014, plus an additional up to $2million in production costs for roughly 60 seconds of ad material, companies are spending easily >$6 million if we do not account for any other advertising or media spending (e.g. pre-SuperBowl Ad-display, Display & banner campaigns, mailings, pre-TV screenings etc…). As it has been reported, some companies like CareerBuilder and Teleflora spent more than 30% of their full year ad budget on the SuperBowl (2012 figures). The question “Is it worth it?” however remains – particularly if one looks at the nearly $2 billion in advertising costs that have been spent on SuperBowl ads over the last couple of years. Money that could have been invested in big data (smart data if you ask me) driven behavioural marketing systems.

The Wall Street Journal’s SuperBowl Infographic, provides an interesting view on sectors and ad spending. Interesting to see is the increase of Automotive Ad-Spending, particularly after the Automotive crisis in 08/09.

Depending on which report to follow, the SuperBowl ad-frenzy is a merely attributed to organisations following patterns of uniformity. Agency’s do obviously have a high stake in this game and incur much of their yearly income during the SuperBowl hype, yet a smart marketer might need to rightfully ask, is this money spent on ads at the SuperBowl bringing in the highest return I could get for my $ or have I fallen prey to mass media and irrationality in ad-spending myself? Some issues I found with the most “widely” claimed campaigns were that mobile integration was poor or non-existing and omnichannel integration seemed mostly to be focused on YouTube ad-previews.

I am sure we are going to see another SuperBowl advertising hype in 2015, spending will of course increase and everybody will fight for the very top spot, the best ad, the most earned media reach and won awards (let’s do not forget the agency side). I just hope some organisations take a closer look at their ad-spending (as most should with their exhibition spending) to examine the ROI (contrast here the CMI 2014 data on the difficulty of marketers to determine their marketing ROI) to assure marketing is not only seen as the guys producing colourful pictures but as one of only two basic organisational functions (Peter Drucker).

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The value of internal communications to tighten the identity – image gap

I have recently given a seminar  about the basics of communication to an IT department of a large multinational organisation. Like many internal service providers, they were struggling to be accepted by the organisation as a value providing business partner. This manifested itself in late project inclusions from the business side, political in-fights, a misunderstanding of the value of IT to the business and worst of all, a continuously decreasing self perception of IT staff.

Within the first day of the seminar, it became clear, that the gap of self to outside perception was much attributed to the department’s missing strategic alignment. Whilst a change in the departments top management has already brought some noticeable and positive change, the overall direction (vision & strategy) of the department was however largely unknown to workshop participants. With that, any outside reflection, argument or negative notion would hit IT staff unprepared and in negative spiral of ever decreasing self perception. On the other hand, IT staff knew, that some of the things they were working on was on the cutting edge of IT operations.

They were thus faced with a classical problem many organisation and many departments face. To align their departmental identity with the their perceived image within the organisation.

It did not take long for everybody to understand, that a creating a logo and or a claim for IT to pimp up their internal marketing would not be the sole solution to their problem. Whilst creating a logo and a claim is fun, creative and much more fun than anything analytical to most people, it would completely neglect the foundation of a solid brand architecture. Instead of running a pure image campaign, much work had to be attributed to internal alignment within the department to assure both managers and staff understood the department’s strategy and were readily trained to take this new message out to the organisation. A myriad of examples from their daily work helped to clarify why a pure image campaign wouldn’t cut it.

Overall, this was a very fun project which continues to be interesting throughout the current and impending implementation phase.

 

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book review: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

I have recently purchased JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck (Amazon Link). Although the delivery took a little longer than usual (Amazon’s drones seemed to be grounded) I was quite thrilled to be getting this new bible of social media marketing. The book is heavily based on a boxing analogy (JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook) which is refreshingly funny in the first few pages but starts to become slightly annoying and repetitive after the first one or two chapters.

The book itself is structured in 12 rounds (according to its boxing analogy). Round 3 to 7 are the main chapters of the book and cover the biggest social networks by active users. Thus Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. Each chapter briefly describes the social network and then provides plenty of examples of both good and bad jabs, hooks and knockout blows.

Table of Content JAB JAB JAB Right Hook

Review:

For first time social or digital marketers, this might be enough to get a brief overview of what is going on and or what works on the premiere social media platforms. The book is nicely structured and provides ample of examples for most networks. The book’s main stronghold, its entertainment value, is however also its biggest weakness. It completely lacks subjectivity in example reviews (e.g. basic analytics of user reactions). A little demographic introduction to social networks would also be quite helpful to give people a feel of what or whom to expect in which network. Although the examples are nicely picked from all sorts of industries and companies, many seem very subjective in description. Providing some strategic brand perspective to it would undoubtedly help to make the book more useful for marketing professionals. Another shortfall is the missing link of social or digital to traditional media. Either one is hardly to be seen in isolation these days but needs to work together with other networks or channels.

To conclude: If you shoot for a book to provide you the background for a social media strategy or to build up your knowledge on the usage social media for brand purposes, you might not find enough meat on this one.

 

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HOHOHO by WestJet Airlines – amazing interactive marketing stunt

With the holiday season approaching fast, and advertising budgets going crazy, brand exposures are at an all time high. It is obviously harder for each brand to leave a lasting memory nor to get much attention from customers. Yet, some creative marketing stunts deserve the later by showcasing creativity, contextual integration and on the spot execution. WestJet Airlines has surely gotten this right with their latest christmas surprise for some of their passengers.

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Using digital channels, WestJet not only shares this stunt but gets also feedback from passengers and as it seems much earned media attention.

Passenger interaction

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