How to measure live video impact on marketing

1950 - 60 Television and lamp

One of the questions marketers have struggled with in recent days is how to make all these new video services work to drive business. How do you make Periscope, Blab, Meerkat, etc. generate some actual results? How can we measure the effectiveness of our online video efforts?

First, let’s establish what we want to accomplish in terms of goals. Do you have sales objectives? Lead generation objectives? Awareness and brand objectives? What your goal is determines how you’ll measure.

The simplest way to measure the effectiveness of any channel is through quarantine. Establish unique, distinct methods of contact for every channel in your marketing toolbox, including online video. For example, domain names are still cheap to buy. Considering Periscope? Buy a domain like, and use it exclusively on that channel. Even if you just redirect it, there are ways to push data into services like Google Analytics to track visits to it. Got a call center? Set up dedicated phone numbers to track your video channels.

Next, consider your options for calls to action in video. Simple plugs by the video host with an easily spelled domain name and frequent repetition ensure that people know where to find you.

Consider on-screen advertising. Just because an app doesn’t offer lower third banners or interstitial full screen ads doesn’t mean you can’t have them. Students of theater and TV set design have an arsenal of different ways to put visuals on screen. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from putting your calls to action on a sheet of paper and occasionally panning the camera to it.

Finally, consider all the tactics that made ads successful on television for so many years. Operators may no longer be standing by, but your website, social media channels, and email marketing systems are. Offer compelling content to an audience that’s on target, combined with offers that are relevant and creative content, and you can make any channel work for you.

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What airport breakfasts teach us about timing in marketing

All value is relative. I was traveling recently, from San Francisco back to Boston, and at San Francisco’s airport is a little coffee shop/breakfast stand. At the stand, I got an egg sandwich:

Breakfast sandwich

What’s funny is that 30 minutes prior to getting the sandwich, I was in Union Square, an area known for its magnificent selection of restaurants. The quality of sandwich I got at the airport pales in comparison to virtually anything in Union Square.

And yet… the quality of the sandwich is sublime compared to the food you get on an airplane these days. On some airlines, you’re lucky if you even get a tiny packet of pretzels. A hot sandwich would be an unthinkable luxury.

One food, one sandwich has three radically different values in three different contexts, even though the sandwich is unchanged. It’s still the same sandwich.

As marketers, it’s incumbent upon us to understand our products and services from a behavioral perspective. How are people using our product? Where and when do they use it? Most important, as seen above, what are their other choices in the context of our product’s purchase?

Union Square has wonderful restaurants, but at the time I was traveling – 4:30 AM – none of them were open. Thus, even though every restaurant in the area is technically competitive to the airport coffee shop, none of them were actual competitors. Fast forward 4 hours and everything in Union Square is a competitor to the airport because all the restaurants are open.

Think about how that changes something like SEO. SEO isn’t just location-sensitive, it’s time-sensitive. Google is even beginning to reflect this now in search details:


Optimizing your website for searches should include some awareness of how people purchase. If I were the airport coffee shop, I’d add a page to my website about breakfast when nothing else is open, because that’s what people are searching for at that time of day, and that’s when the airport coffee shop will win. It won’t beat a regular restaurant, but compared to what travelers are about to get on the plane, it’s luxury food.

Think about when you send email marketing messages. “Best time to send” is a ridiculous concept in aggregate. When and where are people reading your emails? What are the other alternative options for entertainment and/or education at that time? If people are reading your emails during their commute (hopefully not while driving) then you might be better off with a podcast.

How do you go about understanding when people consume your marketing messaging? Ask them! Flat out ask and see what they say, and then adapt accordingly.

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Digital Marketing Trends, Part 2 of 5: Broadcast Social

As part of the daily curation I do with #the5, I get a chance from time to time to aggregate all the news I collect to look for trends. In the second of our 5 part series, we’re going to examine some current trends in digital marketing and what they mean for you. Today, we’re looking at…

Broadcast Social

Here are a few of the choice headlines in the last 7 months worth reflecting on:

The BBC launches Your Story, tying your Facebook timeline to news events
63% of Facebook/Twitter users get their news from social media
Facebook now lets you flag fake news
Google indexes tweets from higher social authority accounts more
Facebook’s Talks To Host Publishers’ Content Are Heating Up
FTC Puts Social Media Marketers On Notice With Updated Disclosure Guidelines

What we see here is nothing less than major social media channels attempting to become broadcast media. Users of these services now get their news from them. Social channels are the places that artists debut albums, TV shows premiere pilots and teasers, and advertisers spend like drunken sailors on shore leave.

Admit it, this reflects your viewing habits already.

What does this trend mean? Broadcast Social Media largely abandons the pretense of community in social media as part of main news feeds and timelines. Twitter looks more like a news ticker than it does a conversation. Pinterest and Instagram carousel ads look like catalog displays instead of conversations. Facebook’s eponymous News Feed is, well, a news feed.

There are certainly still plenty of places where community gathers; Facebook private groups, Linkedin Groups, etc. We haven’t lost those communities yet. But the main thrust of Broadcast Social is to behave like broadcast media.

How To Make Use of This Trend

Broadcast Social means rethinking where social media fits in your marketing funnel/customer journey. Instead of being lumped into one broad “social media” category, Broadcast Social means splitting your social media efforts into two different focus areas. The first area, community management, remains focused on engagement and building loyalty through conversation. The second area, your Broadcast Social team, focuses on broadcast media-like placements, advertising, and brand building/brand awareness.

Community management remains more in the middle of the funnel, behaving like email marketing to nurture and retain prospects and customers. Broadcast Social moves more towards the top of the funnel, behaving like other broadcast channels.

Finally, the change of social media to Broadcast Social changes how you measure social media. You can’t measure with one set of metrics any longer. By becoming a broadcast channel, Broadcast Social now has to be measured like other forms of broadcast media such as TV, radio, and print. It’s not inconceivable that we begin to measure Broadcast Social with something like digital GRPs (gross ratings points, how TV and radio are measured).

Stay tuned for the next trend in this series!

Digital Marketing Trends, Mid-2015 Edition
  1. Discontent Marketing
  2. Broadcast Social
  3. Video Games
  4. Make It Stick
  5. Winners and Losers

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