April 9th, 2013
Social networks seem to get more than their share of media attention, but when it comes to attracting users, email rules.
Some 85 percent of respondents in a global survey of people connected online said they use the Internet to send and receive emails. That compares to 62 percent who said they visit social networking sites.
The disparity was slightly larger in the United States.Of the Americans surveyed, 88 percent said they use email compared to the 61 percent who engaged in social networking. The poll was conducted for the news agency Reuters by the research company Ipsos.
While there’s no denying the rapid acceptance of social media, it’s important to note the staying power of email, a technology born in the 1980s. Part of that longevity stems from email’s simplicity, which helps account for its widespread acceptance.
It’s also important to remember email’s impressive demographics. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, email is most popular among the youngest
Internet users, the college-educated, and those with the highest incomes. Those trends are even more pronounced when considering email use on a typical day.
All that hasn’t been lost on marketers, who keep email marketing atop their list of emarketing options. Again, there is recognition that social media is growing, but that email works, and for a lot of good reasons. Among them:
• Subscribers who have opted in have made it official they want more information
• Email builds relationships that nurture leads and convert them
• It provides information that informs the buying decision
• Email doesn’t have to compete for attention in the daily deluge of social networking updates.
All that adds up to conversions. Some 66 percent of online Americans surveyed said they’ve made a buying decision based on an email from a brand. That compares to 20 percent for Facebook, 6 percent for Twitter and 4 percent for LinkedIn.
Email is effective, customizable, and inexpensive. And it’s still on top. How’s that for a status update?
January 24th, 2013
Millionaire Network was a new entrant into the BLUE BOOK Top 20 for 2012 – an amazing performance for a network that was founded only two years earlier. During that time we at Revenue Performance have been able to see their increasing popularity via our annual survey. What has been intriguing is that while the sheer volume of publisher votes hasn’t been especially high, the average level of influence of those publishers has been. Millionaire Network may not get the most votes, but it does seem to get votes from people who matter.
June 27th, 2012
Online marketing doesn’t lack for fans these days, but two new reports give us some very encouraging numbers to go with all the enthusiasm.
The first came earlier this month from the Internet Advertising Bureau, which said Internet advertising revenues for the first quarter set a new record at $8.4 billion. That was up $1.1 billion — or 15 percent – from the same quarter a year earlier.
“The year-over-year growth between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 sets quite a milestone,” said David Silverman, a partner at PwC U.S. “Moreover, a 15-percent increase over the comparable period in 2011 is a solid affirmation the Internet is delivering on its promise to attract consumers and the advertising dollars that follow.”
Also this month, Forrester Research, the global research and advisory firm, completed a study on the impact of affiliate marketing. “Affiliate Marketing: The Direct and Indirect Value that Affiliates Deliver to Advertisers” explores how affiliate marketers are meeting the needs of shoppers and retailers online. A summary of the findings was announced by Rakuten LinkShare, which commissioned the study. It said:
- Spending on affiliate marketing is increasing and will keep pace with other areas of digital spending through 2016
- The affiliate channel produces new-to-file customers and generates incremental customer acquisition
- The affiliate channel attracts consumers who spend more than the average online shopper and are profitable for advertisers
- Affiliate marketing helps trigger brand reconsideration and often closes the sale for online shoppers
- Promotions in the affiliate channel have a positive impact on an advertiser’s brand reputation and loyalty.
The best news? Forrester forecasts U.S. affiliate marketing spending will grow to $4.5 billion annually by 2016, increasing by nearly 17 percent a year.
How are we going to maintain that kind of momentum? By continuing to offer a return on advertisers’ investment is the easy answer. But it’s more than that.
We have to continue to commit ourselves to long-term relationships that emphasize ongoing campaigns over making a fast buck. We have to surround ourselves with reputable people who care as much as we do about protecting brands. And we need people who believe in the power of relevant content, focused marketing and treating consumers with the respect they deserve.
June 18th, 2012
The annual report “Internet Trends” is out, and it details several of the email marketing trends that have had our attention of late, especially those related to mobile devices, quality content and online opportunity. The report, authored by Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, reviews statistics about Internet use, the American economy, even the national debt.
Meeker points out that 29 percent of American adults own a tablet computer or e-reader, up from under 2 percent less than three years ago. The industry-leading iPad has grown in popularity three times faster than even Apple’s game-changing iPhone. Mobile now grabs 10 percent of global Internet traffic, up from 1 percent at the end of 2009.
Need more upside? Despite Apple’s technological dominance, Android smartphones were shipping at a rate four times that of the iPhone when compared 13 months after their respective launches. And while there are 953 million smartphone subscriptions worldwide, according to Meeker, that’s less than one in six mobile phone subscriptions.
The bad news, as we know, is that the average revenue per user is higher on desktop Internet compared to mobile, and lower revenue per user constrains mobile’s growth. Meeker gave the examples of Pandora (1.7 times higher on desktop), Tencent (3.3 times) and Zynga (5 times).
Still, Meeker says “mobile monetization” has plenty going for it, including free and cheap apps, a base of innovative developers, sophisticated advertisers and engaged consumers. That seems to imply that the challenge won’t be whether mobile will be properly monetized, but how and how soon.
Consumers are more open than ever to new things, as evidenced by all the “re-imagining” we’ve seen in everything from computers and connectivity to sports pages and coupon clipping. “Magnitude of Upcoming Change Will be Stunning,” reads one headline. A key, Meeker says, is “beautiful, relevant, personalized, curated content for consumers.”
The report details something we’ve all felt, a cycle of change and growth marked by hype, disappointment, realism and growth. Meeker says this particular cycle is faster and broader than previous ones. And how’s this for opportunity? Meeker sees “fearless and connected consumers,” “fearless and connected entrepreneurs,” and “available and experienced capital.”
It’s hard to ask for more than that as we make our way – and our businesses – in a world increasingly impacted by the Internet.
June 8th, 2012
Email marketing is about relationships; we know that. But how? And what kind of relationship? We liken effective email marketing to a happy marriage. Buyer and seller understand one another, trust one another, and get their needs met. Here are five ways to make that happen:
1. Tell a good story. Bore your spouse at dinner with too many work stories and she’ll tune you out; the same goes for customers. We tell a good story with attractive offers and compelling content. The most important line of a good story is the first one; the most important content in an email is the subject line. That subject line has to convey the benefit and pique interest. Use templates that have worked in the past and take the time to split test and get it right. The goals are the same as for any storyteller
2. Know when the time is right. Email recipients need relevant and helpful information and time to react to it. Opt-outs happen when information isn’t valuable and frequency is too high. Ask yourself: When was the last time I got what I wanted from someone by pestering them? (Maybe never.) And if I got what I wanted, did it help the overall relationship? (Probably not.)
3. Be honest. An effective offer, like a nice dinner out, can’t have a bunch of fine print or strings attached. The benefits have to be obvious and the risks minimal. Isn’t that the thinking behind almost any decision we make in life? And rather than treating an offer as a transaction, we can term it what it is: an offer.
4. Surprise. An email tied to birthday or other milestone can really help make the thought count. It’s like flowers “just because.” It conveys thoughtfulness, and thoughtfulness encourages trust.
5. Say what you need. Marriage experts call this getting your needs met. Marketers call it a call to action. For us a clear call to action is how we make clear where we want the relationship to go.
Any other thoughts about email marketing and a happy marriage? Tell us in the comments.
May 24th, 2012
The closing this week of Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility might attract attention for its price tag, but for those of us in email marketing, it’s another reminder of the growing prevalence of mobile devices. Now more than ever it’s incumbent on us to take into account mobile devices as we design campaigns for clients.
A recent study found that half of the mobile phones in the U.S. are smart phones. Nearly nine of 10 Americans use their mobile devices daily to check email; and almost half of the time Americans devote to mobile Internet is spent on email. And very soon, this study predicted, more email will be opened on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
Here’s the bad news: Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they would close or delete an email that wasn’t optimized for their mobile device.
Adjustments can start with the subject line, which can be shortened for the small mobile display. Keeping the strongest information toward the top minimizes scrolling. A single-column design keeps the recipient from having to scroll from side to side.
Images and graphics should be minimal, as they slow download times. Tables should be avoided. Links from the email should be easy to get a finger on, and the corresponding landing pages need to be optimized for mobile as well. Test those mobile pages on various devices to check the display.
Remember too that mobile device users are by definition on the move and will take less time with an email than perhaps they might at home. That’s another clear argument for keeping messages simple.
Mobile devices have brought us challenges along with opportunities. And for the resourceful, opportunities bring results.
May 18th, 2012
Several members of the Millionaire Network team were among the affiliate marketing professionals who gathered in Austin this week for Affiliate Summit Central.
The event is the latest in the Affiliate Summit series organized by Shawn Collins and Missy Ward, and it was great to be able to show our support for them, especially in our home state.
This being Austin, the event kicked off Monday night with live music. Tuesday included a Meet Market, two sets of sessions, Q&A roundtables, and a presentation by Maribel Sierra, Social Media and Communities Director, Listening and Engagement, at Dell. Wednesday featured 20-minute sessions and open networking.
The event was kept small, but that didn’t stop us from meeting a lot of quality people. And the industry events were fun and well put together.
See you in New York in August when we gather for Affiliate Summit East.
May 8th, 2012
Some affiliates in Illinois were hit hard last year by a new state law requiring them to collect and remit sales tax. But the online marketing industry won a victory late last month when the law was declared unconstitutional. Perhaps now we can work faster toward the solution that seems best for everyone: a national standard for online sales tax collection.
Credit for the victory goes to the Performance Marketing Association, which challenged the Illinois law. Executive Director Rebecca Madigan said, “We are thrilled with the outcome of today’s preceding and believe it paves the way for internet marketing affiliates to get back in business in Illinois.” After the law was passed in January 2011, online marketers had to decide whether to pull back from Illinois. One company, CouponCabin, moved across the border to Indiana.
The PMA sued citing the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which in 1992 was upheld by the US Supreme Court. It ruled in Quill vs. North Dakota that a state cannot require a retailer to collect sales tax on its behalf unless that retailer has a physical presence in the state. Some states have maintained that advertising on in-state affiliate websites is sufficient to establish nexus. But Illinois Circuit Court Judge Robert Lopez Cepero ruled on April 25 that the Illinois Affiliate Nexus Tax law not only violates the Commerce Clause, but that the statute was premature given a Congressional moratorium related to Internet tax fairness.
The PMA is taking the fight even further, hiring Monument Policy Group to lobby in favor of federal legislation on out-of-state sales tax collections. That’s right, in favor. The thinking is that a federal standard is preferable to a morass of state laws.
No one wants to charge customers more. But if must, we should do it in the fairest way possible. Kudos to the PMA and the work it’s doing on an issue so important to all of us.
May 4th, 2012
Millionaire Network Co-founders Parker Powers and Bryan Wiznuk were in San Francisco last week for Elite Retreat, which again provided a great mix of speakers, receptions and one-on-one opportunities in Internet marketing.
Here is Parker’s quick recap of some of the presentations he sat in on:
Retargeting and true customer value was the topic of a session led by Vik Duggal, vice president of revenue and operations at ReTargeter. Here are his Seven Effective Retargeting Tips:
1. When retargeting on display advertising, try not to show users more than 17 ads per month. Banner fatigue will make your CTR drop.
2. Use Ghostery.com for transparency – shows the cookies on a website, you can opt-out of specific sites
3. Mobile retargeting can be difficult as Apple iOS default settings are “Cookies off”
4. Build a pixel pool with your user base.
5. You can see the click stats from users you’re retargeting.
6. You can categorize your audience into different groups and target specifically.
7. Social media retargeting allows you to specifically reward users who retweet and spread your brand.
Tim Mayer is vice president of marketing at ShopAtHome, where he is responsible for website user experience, SEO, Social, Community and email marketing as well as merchandising. Here are his Five Rules for A/B Testing:
1. Be aggressive with the first test to gauge the level of potential lift.
2. Don’t use A/B testing in place of design best practices or product sense.
3. Test your competitor’s user interface changes (Google and Yahoo test each others new features).
4. Use isolation testing on individual features, but also try some big jumps and combinations.
5. Test identical buckets against each other to gauge significance.
David Greenbaum, CEO at BoostCTR, gave us his Top 10 Ad Elements to Test:
1. Specificity of product or service
2. Highlighting benefits (not features)
3. Presence of keywords/Intent Words
4. Call to action (test multiple)
5. Quantification (of pricing, selection details, etc.)
6. Risk mitigation/special offers
7. Experiment with the display URL
8. Formatting/ordering of key elements
9. Radical vs. incremental
10. Speak to a particular gender
Finally, Jason Nazar, the Docstoc co-founder and CEO, spoke about entrepreneurship. It was good stuff. Check out Jason’s December presentation at his undergraduate alma mater here.
It was great to see everyone in San Francisco, and we look forward to our next meeting later this month in Austin at Affiliate Summit Central.
May 4th, 2012
CEO Parker Powers and three others from Millionaire Network will be at Affiliate Summit Central May 15-16 in Austin, Texas.
Joining Powers will be the network’s vice president of business development, Daryl Goldstein, along with Affiliate Managers Victoria Hansen and Michael Lavender.
The organizers say this will be a different kind of Affiliate Summit, capped at a few hundred attendees. There will be two tracks of educational sessions, and a Meet Market with a couple-dozen tables.
If you’d like to meet with us and learn more about the only private affiliate network completely dedicated to advertiser success, just let us know in the comments.
See you in Austin!