Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

Twitter Promote Mode – save your $99

I like Twitter. It is the social media that I use the most. Maybe followed by Instagram, since I’ve always liked photography. I don’t spend time on Facebook/LinkedIn like one would expect. So my energy seems to be Twitter-centric if I’m going to use social media. On my iPhone, Twitter is on the main screen, which tells you I consider it useful :)

Before the social media apocalypse on the stock market recently, I thought I’d try to pay $99 for Promote Mode. I had been invited for many months but summer seemed like an ideal time to try it. Long story short? Save your $99/month.

I started with 4,660 followers. Today I have 4,547 followers. Less, how? Why? There was a recent purge of bots and fake followers, and I lost 2.64% of followers.

In the end, Twitter said I gained 19 new followers, with 185 promoted tweets, and I had 35% more reach (+107,274). 19 new followers for $99 seems like daylight robbery. I was targeting USA based folk.

When I asked their support if I could switch to the UK, they said it was not possible. The only other option was Japan, and I didn’t realise I had to choose so wisely at the start. And now you can only reactivate the subscription when promote mode gets out of beta (but with such poor performance I am unlikely to do that).

I wasn’t the only one how has had such a poor experience. Ahsan Anis writes, Is Twitter’s promote mode worth the $99 monthly subscription? (disappointed), Buffer writes How Effective is Twitter Promote Mode? We Tested It for 30 Days. (did not renew due to performance, limitations and ease).

Guess they’ll have to find a better way to make me pay to use the service so that the stock price can go up! (I am not an investor in Twitter stock, but really do like the product and want to see them survive in the long term).

zalora malaysia II

Untitledcontinuing my awe with the great go-to-market execution of zalora malaysia, i happened to visit a starbucks over the weekend (my first in quite some time; i prefer drinking my rm2-5 coffee at the club). i also purchased my first frappuccino, normally preferring to go for a long black or a caramel macchiatto. why?

you can thank zalora & lazada. i saw an awesome banner offering a rm30 and rm50 discount.

one thing is clear though is that i could have probably done without the frappuccino. the starbucks staff weren’t proactive in giving me the voucher, and when prompted they just told me to take it. anyone could grab it basically…

that said, this is smart. in addition to whatever zalora is doing, they’re also going after the starbucks/yuppie/coffee drinking crowd. whom are mostly surfing the internet (no shortage of laptops at this particular starbucks). target market? check.

see the design for the coupons: zalora and lazada.

zalora malaysia: some quick thoughts

I’m not your typical shopper, but I’ve worked with a tonne of e-commerce in my days. From shopping carts to getting the word out, I’ve probably got to start listing more down here. 

One of the first shopping malls in Malaysia to me was jipaban. The terms (for sellers) weren’t awesome (have a bunch of stuff scribbled in my notebook that never materialized into a post), and I have no idea how they’re doing in Malaysia today. Strength? Blog advertising network link. Shortly thereafter, I saw postme, run by pos malaysia. I saw ads in the edge and even regular newspapers like the star. Clearly more promise but again, no idea how they’re doing today.

Then came zalora. Its hard to avoid them. Ads on the radio. Loyalty with bcard (seen at borders, starbucks, etc.). Today in email, hsbc cardholders get 15% off on zalora. Almost every other google ad that I see happens to be from zalora.

They’re going strong with mass media. And that’s brilliant because in Malaysia, online shopping/e-commerce have many impediments and zalora is out there spending money to make it better and convince people that buying online makes more sense. Malaysia totally needs this sort of forward thinking. Going beyond just the blogs that are part of blog advertising networks. 

Whether zalora succeeds or not in the long term, the money spent on a&p, getting the word out and persuading more people to become online shoppers is highly welcome. It will certainly help lots of independent retailers do well too.

Disclosure coming of age – Kudos Nuffnang!

Just read a good CNBC article titled Bloggers: Asia’s Next Generation of Product Endorsers. Some highlights from Nielsen’s 2nd quarter Global Consumer Report:

  • Over 60% of Asian consumers (compared to 43% globally) use social media – including social networking sites and blogs to help them make purchase decisions
  • 6% of Asian consumers identified “influential bloggers” as one of their top 3 trusted sources when making a purchasing decision (compared to only 1% of North Americans and 2% of Europeans)
  • In China, lots of new foreign brands are flooding the market, and customers have not formed brand loyalty yet, so influence helps
  • Nuffnang’s company revenue grew nearly 250% this year, netting them about SGD$10 million, according to co-founder Cheo Ming Sheng
  • Blogs popular with advertisers (on Nuffnang at least): women’s blog, focusing on families, with food and tech blogs coming in at a close second

“When you write an advertorial (online), there (must be) full disclosure that it’s an advertorial,” says Cheo. “It’s the same as an advertorial in a magazine or newspaper.”

Right on Cheo Ming Sheng. Good work Nuffnang. Bloggers, be clear, make sure you disclose clearly what an Advertorial is (newspapers and magazines clearly mark ADVERTORIALs). This will ensure that readers and the audience trust you (and trusting you grows trust in the advertising network too). And you do not mislead the audience (after all, with great power comes great responsibility).

Contrast this to the Nuffnang attitude two years ago (see: The Real Story behind Maxis Broadband). I sincerely believe that Nuffnang is having a coming of age and are realising that non-disclosure (see: Advertising & PR, Bloggers & Integrity: Making Money, While Being Honest which was a very popular talk at BarCampKL April 2009), click fraud, etc. is bad. I also believe that this is a natural progression as more and more people understand blogs, social media, and the social nature of the Internet. Largely in part due to traditional agencies playing an active role in this space. Oh, and let’s not forget metrics.

So kudos to you Nuffnang. May you set a good example for the rest of your competitors in this space. And all the best in expanding to new markets!

Twitter needs filters

I don’t know if @ev, @biz or @dickc will read this, but Twitter clearly needs filters. Its not something an external client should do (TweetDeck does this very well, BTW), but the main stream should provide.

The way I look at my Twitter feed, is like email. Twitter currently speaks IMAP, and I can read my feed on many devices: UberTwitter on my BlackBerry, Gravity on my Nokia N97, Seesmic Desktop when I’m on my Mac, and if all else fails, there’s always Twitter web or the mobile version of it.

The way I manage my email is simple – I use server side filters. So when I read my mail on my BlackBerry, or Thunderbird or Apple Mail, I only see what I want to see in my INBOX. Filtration is done using procmail recipes, or Google Mail’s awesome labels, on the server side. So when I look at things on the client side, I don’t have stuff I’d rather skip in my stream.

And is there stuff I’d rather skip in my stream? Sure there is. TweetDeck filters

  1. Live blogging is so 20th century, because in the 21st century, people tweet at an event, using a hashtag. If the event is truly one that I am not interested in following, I can filter out the hashtag.
  2. With the economy recovering, and advertising buyers being clueless on how to spend their money, they start getting people to spam their stream. Now, I must like these folk as people, because I follow them, but their occasional ads do annoy me, and I’d rather filter it out. Lucky for me, they have to use hashtags too, otherwise it can’t be tracked – filtering it out would rock!
  3. Advertising networks are popping up left, right and center. Malaysia is not spared – we’ve got ChurpChurp. TweetDeck allows me to filter from source, something I wish Twitter as being the server, allowed server side filtration.
  4. Foursquare is becoming very popular, but it has this evil ability to auto-post to Twitter/Facebook feeds as well. I can see its use – if I’m bored at a Starbucks and do want to meet strangers, I might tell people on my Twitter stream that. But people are auto-updating, and its getting quite annoying. From Foursquare’s perspective this helps their viral nature; but from my perspective, if I care to know where you’re at, I’d have followed you on Foursquare.

I’m sure the list can go on. The web version should allow me to filter, at the very least, based on Text (a hashtag), and a Source (clients that are known to be spam-generators). TweetDeck allows filtration by Name and Time too. Today, the web version already allows you to search based on a hashtag (think of that as Text + <string> in TweetDeck’s interface). It should allow filtration too.

This will be good – advertising networks benefit from those non-power users (probably the vast majority). Power users however have their own AdBlock built in.

P/S: This is a service I would pay a nominal fee for. I see Flickr and RememberTheMilk charging USD$25/year for a few additional goodies. I would pay Twitter that same price to use their service, and filter out what I’d rather not see (and if they have other features, like metadata support, all the merrier).

ChurpChurp alcohol advertising on Twitter

Twitter / Niki Cheong: [Churp] The Facebook app f ... While waiting for a meeting to start, I fired up Twitter, and I saw an interesting tweet from Niki Cheong promoting the Heineken Facebook application, which apparently allows you to “plant trees, send greeting cards, and gives you tips on how to party!”. Of course, this isn’t something Niki himself posted – it came via a Twitter advertising network, created in Malaysia, called ChurpChurp.

Malaysia is a country that doesn’t appreciate liquor advertising unless its qualified – i.e. you’re non-Muslim, and you’re of age (I’m uncertain if this is actually 18 or 21, but I believe it is the latter). Heineken basically asks for your date of birth on their website, and I blogged previously about Guinness going so far, to ask for your IC number or passport number! Heineken says you must be of legal drinking age

But look, they’ve found a loophole! Heineken Malaysia has 33,239 fans of this writing. Are they all above 21 years of age?

In fact, Niki’s tweet, just goes to their fan page, and under “Celebrate!”, they ask you: “Are you ready to party?” If you say “Yeah!”, it allows you to go to a Bar finder (note: no checking of age, etc.). What is a bar finder? A place to find lists of bars, in various states, that serve Heineken!!! I mean kudos with the application – the list, allows you to select “Klang Valley”, pick a bar, find all the contact details, show it up on a Google Map, and show you a picture of people having a good time. Kudos to Heineken for embracing social media and creating a Facebook application, and having so many fans on Facebook!

So, it seems that liquor advertising has found loopholes: you do it online, and you get other people to write about them. You do it on Facebook. You might do it on Friendster soon (considering MOL now owns it). You get bloggers to write about it. You get it out on Twitter (are all of Niki’s followers above 21?). Completely brilliant. Twitter’s terms of service doesn’t state anything about this, but it does mention “You may use the Services only in compliance with these Terms and all applicable local, state, national, and international laws, rules and regulations.” Funnily enough, I don’t think rules that apply to other forms of media, apply online at the moment.

BTW, I’m not picking on Niki Cheong (in fact, I just spoke with him before posting this – I have his blessings), or any of the other Churp’ers. I’m just making an observation on how alcohol companies are “going 2.0”, figuring out how to circumvent Malaysian requirements, by going completely online, by targeting social networks, et al.

Interested to hear your thoughts!