RDV Web: Strategy, Social, SEO, SEM, etc.

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More than 700 people came together to talk about the future of the Internet on April 21 at the first annual RDV Web. Adviso was there with its kiosk, which was a source of new contacts and an opportunity to further discuss the topics presented during the conferences. Antoine, Joëlle, Jean-François and I were all ready for a full day of conferences and meetings, a full day meaning 7:30 a.m. to 19:30 p.m. Here is a summary of the main conferences followed by our team.

Media use trends in Canada: Internet goes from emerging media to dominant media

Rob Young presented the cross-referenced data of four studies conducted by PMB, NADbank, BBM RTS and ComScore Media Metrix concerning Internet use among Canadian adults. As seen over recent years, the amount of time spent surfing the Web on a daily basis just keeps on increasing. Canadian’s today spend 26% of their time on the Internet versus 14% in 2001. The graphs shown were generally easy to read, but the important thing to remember is that in 10 years time, the Internet should represent a very large slice of the advertising pie as it will be the most viewed media across all generations.

Web business models

This panel on the future of Web business models was a discussion between agencies, clients and other supplier groups. Bos acted as a suggestion box, sharing its different areas of expertise, and Tourisme Montréal reminded us that in a world where everything is new, we’re not always keen to pay the agencies to learn… clients are quite capable of learning themselves.

Among the fundamental issues discussed was the notion of remuneration; by the hour, or by achievement? If the agency really wants to take a risk, it should bill the client far less with the potential to earn extra income if the project is a success. At the end of the discussions, all 5 panelists agreed that agencies will continue to bill “by the hour.”

Advertising models: what will work in the future?

Two very different conferences were presented as part of this workshop. The first, presented by Vlad Stesin, discussed the apparent scientific rigor of RTB (real time bidding), a complex new trend that, according to Vlad Stesin, could revolutionize how we buy Web advertising.

Martin Ouellette then presented a conference intended mainly for clients who wonder how much it actually costs. He submitted a number of questions to several agencies concerning the price of certain services:

  • A Facebook page for a restaurant owner? $2,000 to $11,000;
  • 1,000 visitors for a retailer (banner and CPC)? $2.50 to $27 per visit;
  • A viral video for an energy drink manufacturer? Hold tight … $14,000 to $ 560,000.

Martin spent quite some time discussing current advertising trends, but focused mainly on agencies and the change of face that took place with the arrival of the Internet, which coincides with a greater sense of humbleness and generosity on behalf of agencies.

SEO SEM: improving one’s ranking

Guillaume Bouchard’s presentation was of great interest if you consider the task he was assigned: presenting SEO and SEM in 30 minutes. He pondered on the inequality between these two concepts, and on the fact that Quebec is lagging behind in terms of SEO. He also presented some troublesome statistics on PPC investments: 86% versus 14% for SEO. He explained the impact of this delay on the future of the industry and the negative consequences that could arise. Part of his conference presented a very up-to-date picture of the industry and the market share of the main search engines. He concluded with an interesting challenge for the industry: investing 50% of the budget in SEO and 50% in PPC.

Tracy Smith then presented some very surprising figures. For example, 60% of SMEs in Quebec have no Web presence.

Social networks 2: strategy and profitability

The workshop on strategy and profitability offered an action plan for the integration of social networks in marketing activities, as well as a detailed presentation of Twitter. Pablo Stevenson presented a step-by-step plan that reflects the reality of social media: listen – analyze – take action - communicate (similar to the approach we presented a few weeks ago). He recalled the importance of not putting all your eggs in one basket; the nature of the content will determine the environment in which it is presented, hence the importance of “dividing in order to conquer.” To attract the attention of the masses on the Web, content must be “likeable.” Nobody wants to share boring, worthless content. It’s true that certain products and/or businesses are more susceptible to be “likeable,” but the fact remains that everyone has the ability transform their image and attract the attention of Internet users. A simple “presence” on the social networks is no substitute for an “existence” among the latter. Once this has been achieved, how do you measure the impact of your activity? One suggestion is to measure your brand’s impact using search engines in addition to website traffic.

Marilou Aubin then attempted to answer to the question that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue: “What should I be doing with Twitter?” Twitter users are mostly well-educated Montrealers and represent 7.1% of adults in Quebec. Twitter targets a niche clientele “comprised mainly of men with university degrees.” Twitter can be used to publish information that is time sensitive (e.g. crisis management, news, contests), to interact one-on-one with your stakeholders, or simply to keep an eye on things. It’s best to keep it natural with an actual photo and a real name. Getting involved in Twitter represents an ongoing and ever-evolving task given the rate at which information is shared.

User experience: making browsing better

Anastasia Simitsis of w.illi.am set out to demystify the buzz word of the moment, “user experience,” which just as much an art as it is science. To successfully meet customer needs, one must reach out to both the rational and the irrational nature of every user. And one must never lose sight of both the functional and the emotional side of the issue. Anastasia suggests applying the Peter Morville model (2004) that represents the 6 facets of user experience used to evaluate the value created. She maintains that this model can be streamlined by keeping 3 keywords in mind: ”useful, usable and desirable. A positive user experience will result in a higher conversion rate and increased customer loyalty, and will incite users to refer your business to others. According to Anastasia, an unsatisfying user experience is the result of a failure to ask the right questions and solicit the user directly for his or her opinion. In the end, not only is it important to encourage the participation of the main party involved, it also important that the various fields of expertise work together (technology + marketing + usability + design) rather than independently.

Following on from Anastasia’s presentation, Jonathan Bélisle shifted the focus to the problematic of creating to encourage the discovery of an historic on several platforms. This is a crucial issue as the means of diffusing information are multiplying (RP, MD, gaming, film, traditional media, Internet, etc.). He referred to the analogy of the Walled Garden, upholding that users are not bound by a single media or platform, and that they will grasp onto an historic. It is also important to immediately provide them with the means to share their experience.

Social Medias: all strategies aimed at reaching out to new customers

Chris Brogan had the final word for the day on the topic of the various social network strategies available. He of course suggested a few tricks like replacing the traditional newsletter-related “having problems viewing this email” with something different, and the 12:1 rule for Twitter (12 non-promotional tweets for 1 promotional tweet). However, Chris Brogan clearly provided too many examples originating from his business model and that apply more specifically to a social media consultant. Many organizations have very different objectives and issues and the presentation didn’t really give them much to go by.

I would like to thank Antoine and Joelle for their help in writing this article.

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