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12 Marketing Events Agencies Should Attend in 2017
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Why Do Small Businesses and Agencies Fail at Social Media Marketing?
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How To Drive Revenue In 2017 With Intelligent Marketing
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7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017
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Lessons In Effective Email Marketing – Presidential Elections 2016
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The Art Of Winning With Websites – Presidential Elections 2016
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Why The Presidential Elections Of 2016 Were Also Social Media 101
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How Usage Of Data Significantly Influenced The Presidential Elections Of 2016
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4 Ways In Which Technology Changed Everything About Presidential Elections In 2016
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Instagram Stories – the hottest thing in SMM town

12 Marketing Events Agencies Should Attend in 2017

The year of 2017 has brought forth a host of new promises and hopes. And just like it marks a new beginning for the world and the lives of people who inhabit it, it also heralds a new beginning for the marketing, advertising, and market research industry. For every year, it is essential to note down in a list the various marketing events, such as SEO, digital marketing and tech conferences, from around the world. Below is a list of the various international conferences and events that are an absolute must-visit this year. They are as follows:

HeroConf: This one is by far the only dedicated and paid media conference in the United Kingdom. This place has the greatest quality speakers and the greatest presenters. Here, both speakers and presenters are of the highest quality. Regardless of whether you’re a novice or a veteran, you can glean useful information from it. Date: 24-26th Oct. Venue: London.

BrightonSEO: This is to be held on April 7th and the 15th of September. As the name suggests, it is to take place in Brighton. In this event, talks are offered on a huge variety of subjects by speakers. Every year, speakers are brought in from a variety of fields that fall within the ambit of digital marketing.

Unbounce—the Call to Action: This conference addresses the issue of attracting traffic to a website and converting the leads from the traffic into actual customers. To be held in Vancouver from 25-27th of June.

SMX Munich: Its content quality is extremely good, and it attracts a tremendous volume of visitors. It is mainly focussed on covering a huge range of search topics. This is scheduled in Munich on March 14th-15th.  

SEOkomm: To be held in Salzburg in the month of November, this one is a single-day conference which is singularly focused on SEO. It is among those conferences which offer the most advanced tracks and content in the world. The great networking possibilities are an additional bonus.

SEO-Day: SEO Day is presently the second largest show in Germany. There are three parallel tracks here, such as the “expert day”.  This event is held in Cologne on October 19th, is a must-attend.

Local Strategy: Mobility is the chief feature of the technology employed for handheld or ‘mobile’ devices. As per the information provided by Google, people usually look for commercial businesses which are near them, (which has necessitated the ‘near me’ mechanism for local search). For this reason, it is imperative that local businesses are run with this target in mind. It is with this target that the Local Strategy event was held on January 28th of this year in Bologna.

AdWorld Experience: Held in Bologna just like SEO-Day (but on the 13th-14th April) Adworld Experience is held in the month of April.  Specializing in the field of paid marketing campaigns, the best speakers are brought in by the organizers every year. Every year, planning for the next session is started after one session ends. Workshops which are run on the first day are entirely worth the prices offered.  Afterward, videos of all the sessions are provided to the attendees, which means that the ROI (Return on Investment) would be increased on the educational budgets of agencies.

Web Marketing Festival: This is one of the most vital industry events in Italy and is held in the city of Rimini. To be held on the 23rd and 24th of April, it attracts over 3000 participants every year. There are about ten parallel tracks held here, on each of which over 100 speakers hold speeches. Apart from high-level sessions on the subject of digital marketing, you also get tremendous opportunities to network.

ClinicSEO: This event is mainly organized in Barcelona, Spain on the 27th of October. This event is geared to give you a better understanding of the way that professionals work. This event is completely held in isolation and is part of a broader expo.

SEOnthebeach: This conference has an informal atmosphere. Held in La Manga del mar Menor in Spain, it attracts talented professionals who share the greatest practices, strategies, and knowledge for two days. This event also provides great opportunities for networking. This is to be held on the 23rd and 24th of June.

QueDuWeb: Held in Deauville, France, on April 27th and 28th, this event is basically a series of conferences on subjects ranging from SEO Audit, Digital Strategy to Growth Hacking. Speakers from a variety of fields in digital marketing attend this event.

This list represents just twelve of the innumerable digital marketing conferences and events scheduled to be held this year.   

Why Do Small Businesses and Agencies Fail at Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is an integral part of making a site more popular to the target consumer base. There are numerous benefits to placing an advertisement on social media. If you open a fan page of your company on Facebook, for instance, then you can use your personal contacts list to spread the link and gather more followers by means of ‘likes’. The more friends that ‘like’ your page, the more likely your page will be visible around the virtual world. Suppose one person from your Facebook ‘likes’ your page. The people on their friend list would be able to see that the person liked a page and would be curious to check that page out. If the curious person also ‘likes’ your page, the cycle of spreading ‘likes’ goes on and on. If you follow the principles of online PPC techniques,  you can place advertisements on Facebook (and other social networking sites) where a person would be able to view your advertisement if he/she displays a leaning towards the kind of product or service you sell.

Twitter is not far off. The Twitter Analytics feature platform is of huge benefit to business owners. Through it, a business can track the changes in the size of their customer base. In addition to this, they can also see the demographics the followers belong to, and their tastes and preferences.

The question remains: why do small businesses shy away from using social media to their full benefit? The answer is multifaceted:

  • The majority of small companies, especially start-ups, are intimidated by the idea of social media campaigning. To them, a social media campaign is something that requires a lot of time, resources, efforts and energy that cannot be afforded. A lot of these companies are not aware of campaign tracking tools such as Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Omniture, etc. Because these companies want to play it safe, under the notion that social media campaigns only work when a company is well established, they end up depriving themselves of the benefits that online business campaign tracking tools can give them.
  • Many times, a company doesn’t even have a plan for conducting a campaign on social media. They simply enter the space and work randomly, even taking flawed routes (such as bombarding members with spam messages). As a result, their campaigns fail and they end up dismissing the effectiveness of social media campaigning as a whole. Social media marketing requires a plan in order to succeed. Each business needs to target a certain demographic and then develop their campaigns accordingly, instead of simply making a universal appeal. They need to make use of tools, such as market survey tools and holding consumer contests, with special offers to be won as prizes. Yet, all these, for some reason, intimidate smaller companies.
  • There may be companies that feel that the competition is very packed and that the ‘early birds’ have caught all the worms. That is, the bigger or early-arrival companies have already reaped all the benefits from a particular social media strategy and occupied all the niches. While this fear is not totally unjustified, it is also true that sustained and diligent marketing can indeed popularize a company among social media users without even needing to spend much on advertising. For example, if a company sells health products, they can hire people to research health-themed Facebook groups (or other social media communities)  and promote the products of the company. They can participate in discussions on social media groups and share the positive aspects of the products that are being sold by the company. In doing so, you gain popularity within a particular niche.

Thus, it’s mainly a combination of unrecognized potential and a presence of uncertainty regarding social media that prevents small companies from achieving success in social media marketing campaigns. The scenario is slowly changing, but as small and niche businesses become more informed about social media marketing, there’s a promising future ahead.  

How To Drive Revenue In 2017 With Intelligent Marketing

Marketing is an arena that has changed over the past few years. Marketers, with time, have changed their tactics to reach the target audience.  After analysing and tracking the results of yester years, marketers have realized that customers must connect with the products on a deeper level.  This is the reason behind the growing needs for a more customized and a more personal approach.  In the past year, marketers included everything from ads to social networking sites to market their products.

However, with all the new ways adopted by the marketer, we often find that ads do not bring the results that are actually expected.  Therefore, experts suggest that you need to incorporate some intelligent strategies as a marketer to make your marketing plan more viable in 2017. This means you have to be as accurate as possible while expanding the horizons within your budget restrictions. Here are a few changes that will help you achieve better returns on your investments this year.

Beyond the Conversion Funnel

If you look at the data of the past few years, you will see that users are becoming intelligent enough to catch on to the gimmicks of marketing.  This is the reason that the conversion funnels, that were the holy grail of marketers before, are no longer able to represent a buyer’s journey online. The conversion funnel has now become an “influence loop.”  As a marketer, you will now have to adapt to the customer behavior and intentions. You will have to outpace the intelligence of the customer to fetch better marketing results. These days people are becoming more and more familiar with technology. They want to find products and brands more organically online, such as through social media. How these people behave in online and offline areas gives you a hint about the intent behind their purchases. You use this information to reach the specific users you would like to reach through things such as customized messaging. These messages are based on specific demographics and behaviors. You will have to maintain constant feedback in order to make these marketing strategies more effective.

Connect Through Creativity

As we discussed, users are becoming more aware of marketing tactics. The result is that they are doing everything possible to avoid online ads. This is the reason you have to be creative in such a way that you hit all the right chords while marketing your product or your efforts will be wasted. Your campaigns have to be much more than just creating awareness about the brand or product. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that being repetitive is like making a hole in your own boat. Using the same creative idea over and over is an easy way to fail your campaign. Your creative ideas should be made with a purpose. This will help you to connect with the target customers. You can design an effective campaign if you use the user information properly.

Build What Works

As the technology has evolved, marketers have easier access to the user information and that works to their advantage. The user data helps in making strategic decisions and also helps in setting the budget for the marketing campaign.  You should analyze customer data to develop marketing tactics and then test their effectiveness.  You can build an attribution model by tracking every marketing channel to calculate exact return on investment.

Media Mix

The year 2017 is the year of intelligent marketing. This means you will have to focus on full media mix.  You will need to run your ads on different platforms. If you want the users to get the sense of ubiquity, your ad units must work together.

Marketing trends change every year and in the end, it depends on how marketers adapt to the new trends. In 2017, you can create an impact by adopting these intelligent marketing strategies.

7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017

The term ‘B2B’ is fairly familiar to people who belong to the market research or digital marketing industries. It is a field where there is an exchange of technology, information, services and products between businesses rather than between a business and its customer. As with every other field of technology and business, the trends and practices for B2B keep changing and upgrading from year to year. It’s in this context that we will discuss some of the biggest B2B trends that will dominate 2017.

Marketing Automation: First, we speak about marketing automation. This is the software which is used to automate a lot of the actions required for sales pitching of a product or service. It includes marketing on social media, putting up ads on Google, cold calling and mass emailing. Some of these can definitely be tuned into automation, especially the client mailing and cold calling. Marketing automation can not only be used to generate leads, but it can also help companies keep a tab on the progress of their campaign. This also allows them to be updated with key metrics concerning lead conversion. There are three cardinal steps to achieving this:

  1. Having a multiple-tier opening sequence which can be considered useful and relevant for dynamic and ever-changing content, based on the needs of the company.
  2. You can put to use the task of lead scoring and lead grading in order to ensure that automated sending of emails and outbound calls can be done in a more relevant manner. There should exist strict rules and guidelines so that mass-solicitation techniques are not blocked by popular spam-detection technologies.
  3. Content should be re-marketed on third-party sites in order to encourage and enthuse people who have shown an interest in being a customer.

Long and Short-term Balance: Next, we should think of balancing things out in the long and short terms. You should apply all SEO techniques in place to ensure that your brand gets ranked at the top of SERPs. Top-ranked websites usually inspire confidence and solidify people’s trust in a brand. The ideal path would be to develop both the leads and the brand simultaneously with a 40:60 priority ratio.

All Eyes on Thought Leadership: One should also understand the value of thought leadership. It is important to buy products and services that help to circumvent and eliminate risks, as well as improve customer experience. Rather than merely bringing about external improvements to the product, you should introduce ideas that are revolutionary or definitive in the industry. Something that would emerge as innovative or pioneering. This is something that’s surely going to be big in 2017.

Augmented Reality to the Rescue: Augmented reality is close to thought leadership. This is virtual communication which has taken on a different hue with the success of Pokémon Go. The technology, in which virtual objects can be “planted” across various real-life locations and would be spotted only by means of physical traveling, is tracked by GPS. Application of this technology would assist a lot in communicating complex ideas by the practical demonstration on an interactive gadget such as a PC/Laptop, projector or a Smartphone.  This will also lead to the growth and development of multi-dimensional gadgets and mechanisms which would improve Point-of-Sale terminals, record transactions and enhance staff training.  Taking giant leaps in the field of virtual reality, with the objective of bettering communication and customer engagement techniques, will definitely be on the cards this year for most B2B firms.

Bots in Charge: Use of ‘Bots’, or robots, is yet another huge area that is slated to become big this year. Coming out of the confines of more conventional uses, such as scheduling meetings or sending out ‘to-do’ notifications, robots can be put to use in functions such as creating SEO-friendly content, addressing very specific customer complaints, spotting complex technical errors and bugs and communicating them in a life-like manner and synthesizing user research. . They can also serve as guides to take visitors on a virtual ‘tour’ of the website and demonstrate how the site works. Overall, bots could be of great use for optimizing marketing in many ways.  

Why Are Businesses Hiring Remote Teams To Get The Job Done?: Another trend that is going to be big in 2017 is the use of ‘remote teams’ or ‘virtual companies’ to do part of a company’s work online. This helps the company to be well-distributed in terms of workload and in meeting deadlines. Remote working is something which has displayed a healthy growth of about 80% in the period 2005-2012 and is slated to grow even more in this year and the coming years. Remote workers log in for a greater number of hours and are more focused on their work, free as they are from the trappings of a normal work environment. They are chiefly driven by the passion for their work and the alluring aspect of getting to work from their own home. Hence, productivity takes a giant leap when companies hire remote or virtual teams.  

Bringing Back Spotlight on the 80/20 Rule: More Recognition for the 80/20 rule is set to become the norm. Quite often companies fall into the trap of hyper-marketing, zealously hard-selling their ware, which can serve to put customers off.  Also, by going all-out to cover every possible area of marketing, they miss out on identifying those crucial things which can actually bring in the bulk of the business. In technobabble, this is classified as the ‘80/20’ rule—striving to identify that vital 20% of your advertising content which is providing 80% of the returns. This twenty percent must be identified and a majority of the advertising resources must be spent in further improving them. More stress on the 80/20 rule is definitely going to be a major trend of 2017.

Apart from all these, some of the major toasts of this year would go to maintaining the ‘touch-point consistency’ in marketing, building up and careful cultivation of the talent brand, and digital dissolution. Overall, things are looking good for the B2B industry this year.

Lessons In Effective Email Marketing – Presidential Elections 2016

‘Emails’ – was included in a recent article, “5 words that explain 2016.” This probably isn’t surprising. If you have been following the presidential elections, you might agree with how Bernie Sanders aptly surmised, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Let’s talk about the effect of emails on this year’s election. Before we lose all your interest, rest assured that we are not going into another relentless analysis of how the Clinton Email scandal, and it’s dizzying coverage, shaped the results of the election. We are instead going to talk about emails that silently changed the course of the election.

Email has become the gatekeeper of our online identity. Think of it this way, how many forms and services do we sign up for by inputting our email? This has made email, if used correctly, one of the most efficient marketing tools of any industry, as is clearly reflected in our survey data.

– Marcel Becker, Core Product Director at AOL

Despite unprecedented access to sophisticated digital machinery, emails were still a very important tool in the arsenal of almost all candidates. It still stands poised as arguably the fastest, most effective way to reach a large demographic. More importantly, it’s noninvasive. People make a conscious effort to open an email and read through it at a time when it’s convenient to them.

If political campaigns can work with emails through their rigorous and real time TATs (Turn Around Time), we should be learning a thing or two from them. Let’s have a look at the kind of patterns that emerged from the presidential candidates trying to leverage emails to their advantage.

#1 Keeping It Personal

Keeping emails personal happen on many levels. Though many experts think that the presidential candidates missed a lot of opportunities when it came to personalization, they still hit a lot of the right points at a lot of right places.

Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns made sure that their emails appeared to be coming from a  specific person, be it the candidates themselves or their surrogates, making them appear to be a personal email. The Trump campaign also used the first name of the recipient to address all emails, following the best practices of email marketing.

Another level of personalization came from using data to micro-target demographics. Data gave both the campaigns a detailed understanding of small groups in demographics. They used it real time to frame their content, for their design and their CTA’s (Call To Action).

#2 Keep Them Guessing

We all know the importance of subject lines and their role in click rates. The campaigns understood this as well. They made sure that most of their emails had subject lines that were intriguing.

For example:

The best Trump performers, during the period of Sept. 20 to Oct. 20, was an email marketing campaign with the subject line, “American Won Last Night,” deployed on Oct. 10. Following the second debate, the emails reached an audience of 2.4 million, with an inbox rate of 61 percent and a 28 percent read rate.

Source: DMN

The best-deployed email marketing campaign for the Hillary Campaign, between Sept. 20 and Oct. 20., read in the subject line: “Sorry to send this.” Launched hours after the leaked tapes of Trump’s groping remarks, it reached 2.5 million people and produced an inbox rate of 90 percent and a read rate of 24 percent.

Source: DMN

#3 Keep It Urgent

A noticeable strategy being used, particularly by the Trump Campaign, involves evoking a sense of urgency.

An article on not imperative notes, “Per week, 40% of Trump emails referenced the number of days left until the election. This is further augmented by use of emphatic subject lines such as, ‘We’re Being Overrun’ and ‘I’m fighting for YOU.’”

Here is some valuable insight from the overall email marketing campaigns of elections 2016.

cn_blog_050117-1

Make the best use of email marketing for your brand by personalizing your content, and micro-targeting your audience. To know more, contact us at http://www.capitalnumbers.com/contact_us.php

The Art Of Winning With Websites – Presidential Elections 2016

Legend has it that the presidential race between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy pivoted on a single night. September 26th, 1960, for the first time ever, a presidential debate was broadcasted on national television

“What happened after the two candidates took the stage is a familiar tale. Nixon, pale and underweight from a recent hospitalization, appeared sickly and sweaty, while Kennedy appeared calm and confident. As the story goes, those who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon had won. …Those that watched the debate on TV thought Kennedy was the clear winner. Many say Kennedy won the election that night.”

~ TIME

Fifty-six years hence, television is no longer a game changer, but the powerful influence of technology over presidential campaigns and communications has only progressively increased.

That exponential growth is evident when we look at the role of websites within the presidential campaigns.

Despite their different stances on issues and their widely different personalities, we must acknowledge that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had eyes on the same prizes.  They wanted to raise funds, gather and influence potential voters, and then ultimately drive them to the polls, where voters would choose them over their rivals. Arguably one of the major ways in which they sought to gain these prizes was through their websites.

Websites are the backbone of any and all content strategy in the digital world. Like brands, candidates treat their websites as extensions of their personalities, their promises, their claims, their wishes and their ultimate message to voters. Studying the websites of candidates is thus heavily beneficial to those who are looking to catch scalable and sustainable trends in online marketing.

Let’s have a look at the potent ways in which both candidates got creative with their websites

Audience Sets the Rules

Even though the bare structure of the websites of both Clinton and Trump are similar, they are still distinguishably different. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out what is different. You just need to look at them carefully.

Clinton capitalizes on fun, vibrant design and sophisticated functionality, specifically directed towards the younger progressive audience that she was trying to appeal to.

Trump, on the other hand, plays around with bold ideas and classic themes – directly in sync with the conservative audience that he was appealing to.

From the color selection to the font, to the linguistics – every little thing on each website is a reflection of the demographic that the candidates wanted to speak to the most. Audience data, knowledge about demographics and regular engagement also evoked real time changes in the websites of both candidates.

UX Is the New Handsome

The campaign experience is much more complicated now. It’s relentless, persistent and exhausting.  In the past, it was about candidates speaking to the public in person or on TV, but now it is that and much more. The campaign experience is now twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The candidates speak to the public all the time, through social media, through television, through distributed content, through appearances, through their choices of allies and even through their clothing choices. All of this information and experience is calibrated and culminates into the website.

The user experience of the website is as important now as for how looking good on TV was in previous times and the campaigns are well aware of this. Clinton, for example, sports a website that’s built with mobile-first best practices. Its contextual navigation helps tell an engaging story. Trump’s website is mobile responsive as well. On top of this, it’s lightning quick because it’s primarily text and isn’t as populated with multimedia content such as his rival website. It may not be as enjoyable from the modern web perspective, but it works with its audience. The results stand as a testament.

A Tool That Changes Shape

Everything about the presidential race was about being efficient and effective. Any need for changes was recognized, acknowledged and implemented within a matter of hours. That same process was reflected on the website. So, it’s natural that these websites were agile and quite scalable. The most interesting part about this was how the website platforms were used to churn out the most engaging and interesting content. For example, Clinton used her website homepage as a real-time fact checker during the first debate with Donald Trump in an effort to combat, what the Clinton team felt, was Trump’s ways of evading the truth. You can also check out the Birthday Chronicles that her team created on Clinton’s 67th Birthday. The tool engaged users by telling them to celebrate Hillary’s birthday by seeing what she was doing the year they were born.

There are much more highlights of websites, like the great integration of social media and clear line CTA’s (Call To Action) of both campaigns as well as the websites of the candidates who didn’t make it to the general elections. They implemented some of the best ways to achieve their targets and goals. 

Why The Presidential Elections Of 2016 Were Also Social Media 101

If the election of Donald Trump was a revolution, then it was un-televised.

It was posted, tweeted and live-streamed.

To give you an estimate of the extent,  a survey of US adults shows that 44% reported having learned about the presidential election from social media.  

Presidential campaigns are no different from brand campaigns really, so social media as a medium should not really surprise anyone. In fact, it’s nothing new. Barack Obama’s campaign was actually the first campaign to truly harness the power of social media, as it was utilized to help spread his message, gather grassroots support and empower people through engagement.

As recorded in an article, the Obama campaign reached 5 million supporters on 15 different social networks over the course of the campaign season. By November 2008, Obama had approximately 2.5 million (some sources say as many as 3.2 million) Facebook supporters, 115,000 Twitter followers, and 50 million viewers of his YouTube channel.

“No other candidate has ever integrated the full picture the way [Obama] has, that’s what’s really new about his campaign,” said Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute.

Then why is everyone hailing  Trump’s election as the “first real social media Presidency”?

There are three ways we can decode that. We study the size of social presence, the notable trends, and the overall impact. Understanding these will help you realize that social media is no longer just the medium for the message, but the driving force of any campaign – presidential or otherwise.

Let’s delve into it:

Social Media by the Numbers

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, Facebook had a user base of 150 million, now it’s a mammoth 1.8 billion. The second most popular social media was MySpace, and Twitter closely trailed in third.

The above information might have made you feel two things:

  1. Was it really just 8 years ago?
  2. I’m getting old.

Jokes aside, the numbers also give us a clear idea how much space social media has come to occupy in our lifestyles and culture.Still, when we look back at the numbers from the election this year, it feels surreal.

Andreas Sandre compiled these important numbers in his brilliant medium post. We’ll  leave some here for you to take in.

Election night was “the most-Tweeted election day ever, with more than 75 million global election-related Tweets sent from before the polls opened to just after the president-elect Donald Trump’s 3am ET speech,” according to a joint press release by Twitter and Buzzfeed.

CNN reported, “8.8 billion posts, likes and comments were posted between March 23, 2015, when Ted Cruz became the first politician to declare his candidacy, and November 1. The company said the second presidential debate, held in early October, was the most talked about event of the campaign. It generated more than 92 million “interactions” by almost 20 million users.”

Snapchat, “which on any given day reaches 41% of all 18- to 34- year-olds in the U.S., its younger users have been immersed in the election, too, with nearly two-thirds following it closely, according to USA Today.

Notable Trends

Election Campaigns have always been torchbearers when it comes to adapting to new technology and engaging in their creative usage. The usage of social media to their benefit was no different. Here are three ways in which campaigns were leveraging their social presence.

Vertical Social Media

The practice of blasting the general message is done and dusted. Social gurus have been preaching about ‘vertical social media’ for some time now. The election campaigns showed the world how it’s done. Content was tailor made for each platform. No matter the volume of content distribution – using unique content for each medium, you could easily identify the platform of every candidate.

“The crossover between the audience on Snapchat and the audience on Instagram is pretty high, but they respond to different content in different ways. On both we hope to forge an emotional connection with [Secretary Clinton], but the Snapchat audience is more intimate, and Instagram is way more quirky.”

– Clinton Campaign Staffer

Micro Targeting Through Social Data

The election campaigns were high on data – and they drank it from the fire hose that is social media. Social network data, voter information and sentiment analysis were all used to drive key campaign decisions on the go. Social media also made it very simple to customize communication for micro portions of the demographic. They interpreted everything from Tweet Copy to Instagram videos to script campaign messages that were delivered by the candidates and surrogates.

Social Media – The Ultimate Amplifier

Till now, the general practice in the advertising world was crafting  campaigns for traditional media, which were then adapted for digital purposes, but election campaigns are anything but traditional in this area. Most of their campaigns seem tailor cut for social and digital distribution and, if need be, the same was optimized for other platforms. From voter turnout to raising money – social media ruled all campaign agendas.

Social Media Influence:

The Rise of Post Literate, post Truth World

“Did social media ruin the election?”

“President Trump, thank Facebook”

The aftermath of Election Day can be well captured in a similar series of headlines that popped up every 2 seconds. Marketers and political pundits alike  frantically trying to post their conclusions about how social media may have been the major force to tilt the election this year.

While numbers were debated, and polls took a beating – there are some inter-related points that every sane person agreed on,

social media has brought us to the edge of a post literate, post truth world. Social media, known for being the messiah of the voiceless, apparently gave voice to the ‘fake’ and ‘untrue’ as well.  In addition, the social media algorithm formed a classic case of echo chambers that prevented people from having a full and factual picture of the scenario.

Such is the situation now – that most tech giants are being forced to understand their responsibilities as news bearers.

We can really go on and on about the impact of social media on Elections 2016. Heck, even Wikipedia felt the need for a separate page due to its unprecedented influence.

There’s a reason why everyone is documenting it, and why we have been babbling about it for almost 1000 words now. The elections of 2016 make an elaborate case for the do’s and don’ts of brands in social media.

How Usage Of Data Significantly Influenced The Presidential Elections Of 2016

“There is a level of sophistication and knowledge about the electorate in battleground states that just gets advanced every four years.”

– Mr. Plouffe

The 2016 presidential election showed that the use of data to identify, persuade and turn out voters has become increasingly nuanced and sophisticated. All roads lead to the White House, and all routes were carved by data.

Quite literally, right from the primaries, most presidential candidates used data analytics to chalk out their respective maps of the race. Then, you may ask, how did data about the same electorate tell different stories to each presidential candidate? It’s a valid question and, quite simply, the essence of data science.

If you are a marketer who is interested in figuring out how best to use data to leverage your position and campaigns, then the presidential elections of 2016 is one of the best case studies from which you can learn the do’s and don’ts from.

Let’s bring into focus the lessons that are as relevant for any marketing campaign as they were for the presidential campaigns.

#1 Data May Be Accurate, but It Can Still Be Subject to Human Flaws

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was proudly data driven. It generated dizzying coverage from tech and political enthusiasts alike. It was sci-fi(ish), to the extent that they used terms like “cost per flappable delegate”. The Clinton Campaign took the concept of micro-targeting to a level of exquisite art.

So, when she lost, the backlash over the data was swift and ruthless. Over-dependency on data was ridiculed, data did not fail; the human beings who analyzed it failed. The colossal collapse of most polls showed us how personal biases can percolate into sample biases, bad survey designs as well as several other loopholes that can ultimately paint an untrue picture.

#2 We Should Live in the Moment, Not the Past

Cambridge Analytica, the firm which informed key decisions on Donald Trump’s campaign travel, communications, and resource allocation – put out an articulate, yet the abstract explanation of how they went on to achieve the impossible.

One of the unique things that they emphasized is a real-time collection of audience data and quick response to it. They really believe (and it’s very plausible) that this gave them an unrivaled insight into where the race stood every day, as well as giving them fresh information to add to its commercial and demographic data.

#3 Marriage Between All Kinds of Data Nets You the Winner

In an article from what feels like a prehistoric era now, May of 2013, Wired magazine gave us a simple formula:

Big Data + Social Data = Your Next President

They hit the nail on the head. The winning campaign apparently benefited a lot from fully integrated teams carrying out research, data science, and digital marketing. In fact, as the Cambridge Analytica proclaims, “Their workflow created a circular learning process. Field surveys directly influenced the data modeling. In turn, it built audiences for digital marketing, TV ads, mail and other engagement. Field research then tested the effectiveness of voter targeting, which adapted and improved accordingly. This circular process meant the campaign was constantly learning and improving its outreach.”

These are exciting times for data, but numbers are what we make them be, and the presidential elections are just one of the many testaments to that. If out of all lessons, there’s one that we would strongly preach, it would be about the need for data science to be client specific. A proper understanding of history, premise and context are imperative in building a watertight data informing system.

4 Ways In Which Technology Changed Everything About Presidential Elections In 2016

“Did the internet elect the president?”

As absurd as this may sound – this is no doubt an actual headline of an article by CNN – and to be clear they are not at all far off from the truth.

Even if we are to strip the phenomena of its political – social ramifications (which is sort of impossible, but we shall try to give it an objective view), this statement still manages to tickle our intrigue beyond measure.

It’s because you can’t help but notice the striking parallels between presidential campaigning and brand marketing – as in essence, both processes are about enabling and ensuring that your audience gets your message loud and clear – which propels them to take the kind of action that you’d like them to.

“There’s really not that much of a difference between politics and regular marketing,” an unnamed senior official of the Trump Campaign told Bloomberg’s Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg.

US Elections have always been on the radar of marketers per say; from the first televised ad campaign back in 1952 to Barack Obama’s unprecedented use of social media in 2008, US Presidential races have always seen candidates leverage the latest technology to reach more and more prospective voters.

4 years is a lot of time when you consider technological advancements – so no one would be surprised if we are to talk about the deeper penetration of technology and more dependence on technology now more than ever – but the trends and effects we noticed in 2016 were a lot more than just that.

As mentioned earlier, the tools that were being used rampantly are hardly surprising, but the art of their deployment, the levels of execution and the unprecedented effects left the world stunned.

Let’s talk about 3 ways in which technology helped change the presidential race in irrevocable ways:

Technology created illusionary worlds

If you are a Donald Trump supporter, you strongly believed your candidate was going to win.

If you are a Hillary Clinton supporter, you strongly believed that your candidate was going to win.

If you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, you strongly believed that your candidate was wronged in the Democratic primaries and had a real shot at winning if given a chance.

If you are a third party voter, you strongly believed that you are on the right side of history by not compromising on your ethics and had valid reasons to vote for candidates who couldn’t in any way win.

The thing is, all the above situations, though not mutually exclusive were still processed as mutually exclusive facts. How did that happen? Well, the answer’s simple. Social Media and Search algorithms that are designed to show you ‘optimized results’ / ‘best results’ / ‘results that you formed virtual echo chambers around people. They constantly got their beliefs and prejudices validated and they constantly met people who were thinking the same and saying the same. So people were literally living in their own worlds, and they didn’t even know.

Technology helped find facts and delusions

Extensive write-ups, discussions, debates – on policies, issues, past stances of all candidates were readily available. In fact, when up against a candidate who can easily evade truth – Hillary Clinton turned her own website into a fact checker during the presidential debates – that fact checked what both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton said real time. So, arguably this has been the most transparent election ever.

But, not everything written on the internet is “true” – and not everyone knows that. The technology the great democratizer let everyone publish anything they wanted to – and that was a boon and a bane. While even ordinary people could genuinely publish what they see and feel along the course of the election – several fake news sites worked in tandem to populate the web with fabricated stories that hurt the candidates. These stories conveniently found their way into the feeds of 62% of US populace who depend on social media to find their news.

So people had the facts, and they had fake news. What tilted their vote completely came down to the particular individual.

Technology fell short

This election saw a deluge of data – data were used for everything. Right from deciding on communication tones, to the way in which the candidates dressed and how they super targeted ads.

There was so much precise data that painted such comprehensive pictures that most candidates could easily sort out sets and carve their communication around them. Each candidate thus had a clear view and a clear path of how they could win all of the diverse groups in a country like America.

There was so many data and yet not enough. Because polls collapsed right and center when it came to their predicting the tide of the election, they were not even close. How did they fail so miserably? The reason maybe the wrong choice of samples and subjects, dishonest participation, wrong analysis and a combination of all – pollsters are still trying to wrap their heads around, though – as to how they could be completely wrong.

This was a macro view of how technology shaped the perception and conversation in the Presidential Elections 2016. But we would do this topic no justice if we don’t delve in detail.

So we would be talking about this in a series of blogs where we explore Impact of Social Media, Big Data and Advertising Tech on the election – where we are planning to wrap our talking points under the following heads: Amount spent, innovative strategies used, historical contexts and future trends.

Stay tuned for more!

Instagram Stories – the hottest thing in SMM town

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Some of us got to the news of Instagram Stories being launched through a meme that accused Instagram of pulling a Melania Trump on Snapchat

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It was hilarious at first really, all those witty quips from users all around who had no idea why a great app like Instagram had to make such a “me too” move.

But then those who have been using Instagram not just personally, but professionally as well, sort of knew that the app is definitely onto something. After all, this is a brand that has been making all the right moves to make it friendlier towards businesses and users.Instagram followers and engagement has skyrocketed among brands and celebrities over the past year, according to a study by ARK Investment Management, illustrating that the photo-sharing social platform “seems to be cementing its position as the ideal platform for premium brand advertising.”

So why would it pull this move? We think we’ve got the answer.

There is nothing called original. There’s always getting inspired by something and making it better. Instagram has done exactly that. It has taken inspiration from the killer Snapchat feature and has actually made it better. The entire interface is much more responsive and easier to use, especially for adults who keep complaining that they find it difficult to find their way around Snapchat.

Instagram Stories leaves bread crumbs throughout the feature for users to follow; the feature even has limited number of buttons to choose from; also the explicit buttons for some CTA’s like replying helps increasing its simplicity.

…and trust us, no matter how much fun the internet had, making memes of the situation; Instagram Stories is a hit already.

Don’t believe us? Look for yourself. We challenge you, go tap the Instagram App, and we are pretty sure that you will already see stories from brands and users. Brands especially have taken to it, like a moth to flame.

Here are some examples:

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Isn’t this interesting? Explore Instagram stories for your brand too, talk to us at http://www.capitalnumbers.com/contact_us.php

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