America’s Most Patriotic Brands

America's Patriotic Brands
The study looked at how close brands were to the consumer ideal when it came to how much patriotism consumers emotionally credited to the brand, assigning each a percentage score relative to a category benchmark. Jeep’s leading score of 98% (for the second consecutive year) means that it almost fully meets consumers’ emotional ideal for patriotism in the auto category. While many of the brands also were among the top 10 scorers last year, additions to this year’s list include: Apple; Amazon; and Google.

America's Patriotic Brands

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 4,680 consumers aged 16 to 65, who evaluated a collection of 35 values, including patriotism, for 225 brands.

Have a great July 4th holiday!

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America’s 10 “Most Powerful” Brands of 2014

branding

Most powerful brands of 2014Source: CoreBrand

Notes: Coca-Cola has topped the rankings since their inception in 2008, while Amazon is this year’s fastest riser, up 25 spots to 91. The overall BrandPower average score for the top 100 rankings is at its highest point this year since 2009, fueled by an increase in familiarity rather than favorability.

About the Data: Drawn from CoreBrand’s Corporate Branding Index (CBI) for close to 1,000 companies across 50 industries. CoreBrand’s index is based on research into brand familiarity and favorability.

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Big Data Helps Reveal Behavior For Marketers

Big Data Reveals Behavior
Marketers, agencies on same page regarding benefits from data analysis

Big Data holds many promises for companies—some of which it is already delivering on, and some of which have yet to be realized. According to an August 2013 survey of senior marketers in the US conducted by Forbes Insights and Rocket Fuel, companies are seeing returns on their Big Data investments in a number of areas.

Among US agency and brand executives, 85% said Big Data had yielded more than half of marketing initiatives when it came to increasing insights into consumer behavior. Increasing sales, sign-ups and registrations, ROI, customer satisfaction and sales leads also saw similar numbers when seeing benefits from using Big Data.

Advertising agencies and marketers were largely aligned in determining the major benefits of Big Data initiatives. For agencies, 64% said Big Data allowed them to develop insight into customer experiences to help drive useful strategy, and 63% of marketers said the same. Agencies and marketers were also on the same page about the benefit of using Big Data to parse customer feedback and identify products that they wanted—52% of agencies and 50% of marketers saw this as a benefit.

The web is playing an ever-increasing role in collecting the raw information needed to fuel Big Data initiatives, according to a separate survey conducted by Forbes Insight and Turn in September 2013. Sixty-five percent of companies said they used the web to collect customer data, making it the most popular source for information. Call centers and in-person data gathering techniques were more popular than several other digital channels, however, including mobile devices and social media.-eMarketer

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Quality Content and Social Media Increase Brands Google Rankings

Google HummingbirdA recent study aims to not only prove the longtime theory that Google and Bing favor brands, but that content quality, social media signals and backlinks are associated with higher-ranking pages in search engine query results (SERPs).

Brand Web sites have an advantage when it comes to ranking higher in search engine query results on Bing and Google. Findings from the Searchmetrics SEO Ranking Factors–Rank Correlation 2013 for Bing USA study identify key factors helping Web pages rank well in searches on Bing in the U.S., and compare them with results from a similar earlier Searchmetrics study of Google U.S. results.

Content quality will become one of the most important ranking factors in the history of search engine optimization for Bing and Google. Overall, pages with more text tend to correlate 0.09 higher in rankings. Pages that rank in the top 30 Bing results feature about 100 more words than URLs that rank in the corresponding positions on Google search engine results pages (SERPs).

The study found that for Bing this relationship exists up to a limit of around 700 words on average; adding text to boost ranking isn’t the answer. In terms of images, Bing differs from Google with respect to their values. In Google searches, the higher the number of images on a Web site, the better the ranking correlation in general — about 0.08. For Bing, the correlation for the number of images is much lower, at 0.03.

Only 24.7% of Bing.com Web page URLs on page one also serve up on the first page of Google, but results do not necessarily serve up in the same order. The study is based on an analysis of search results from Bing.com for 10,000 popular keywords and 300,000 Web sites in the top 30 search results and picks out the issues that correlate with a high ranking on Bing.

While brand sites have an overall advantage, Google’s algorithm seems to more effective identify brands. It also can distinguish them from non-brands. Both engines consider it natural for brands to have comparatively more backlinks with the name of the company in the link text alone.

The number of backlinks to a Web page from another site are closely linked to higher rankings on Bing, according to the research. For Bing, the number of back links has a high correlation of 0.29.

Web sites also should have “no follow” links that do not convey ranking benefits on search engines and links that contain in the anchor text neutral “stopwords” such as “in,” “and,” “to” — as well as links that are generic words like “there,” “here” and “page.”

The Searchmetrics study found that between 52% and 53% of Web site backlinks rank among the top 30 results on Bing contain keywords in the anchor text — about 10% more than Google. And 2% of backlinks of pages ranked in the top 30 on Bing contain a stop word, compared with 10% on Google.

Web sites that rank in top positions on Bing tend to have a large number of social signals. Well-ranked URLs have many more shares, likes, comments, +1 and tweets. The quantity of social signals attached to the Web site tends to fall with its SERPs ranking. Google+ at 0.34 has the highest correlation, followed by Facebook comments at 0.32 and Twitter tweets at 0.30.-MediaPost

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Social Media Marketing Goals [survey]

Engagement, brand lift are leading social goals

Marketers struggle to get the most out of their presence on social sites, and with brands’ continued tenure on the networks, their goals and the metrics they use to measure their performance have changed. According to a 2013 survey of US marketing professionals by Pivot Conference, which hosts leading social business events, consumer engagement and brand lift were the No. 1 goals of social media marketing, each cited by 67% of respondents. This was up significantly from 2011, when those goals were cited by about 50% each.

Last year, using social media marketing to garner positive sentiment was the leading goal, whereas this year it dropped to No. 4. Marketers may be finding that it is less important that their posts get a warm reception from social users and more important that they keep consumers posting, “liking” and sharing social content.

Among the biggest changes overall was the decrease in the importance of sales vs. two years prior. In 2011, increasing sales was the No. 1 goal of social media marketing, embraced by 100% of respondents. In 2012, it dropped below 50%, as marketers reassessed their priorities. This year, they seem to be reaching equilibrium, as increasing sales was cited as a leading goal by 58%.

And similarly, when marketers want to evaluate the performance of their social marketing, engagement is the primary metric, used by 23.3% of respondents. However, measuring increased sales was still high on the list, pointing to the fact that some marketers still expect to get a dollar conversion out of their social efforts.

Most marketers seem to be getting a better handle on social. The percentage that said lack of a social strategy had prevented them from moving beyond experimentation went down between 2011 and 2012, from 41.6% to 32.5%. Meanwhile, budget became the biggest hindrance to forward action on social, cited by 62.5% in 2012, up from 47.2% the previous year.

More than 60% of brands from the marquee retail and travel sectors worldwide participated in seven social sites or more, according to July 2013 data from L2 Think Tank, while just 5% confined themselves to three or fewer sites.

This indicates that marketers are seeing enough return on investment from across their social outreach to keep extending their efforts—or, it could mean, they are spreading themselves somewhat thin and waiting to see what sticks.

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“Socially Devoted” Companies Say Social Care Drives ROI

Socially Devoted Companies

76% of the world’s most “socially devoted” brands believe that social customer service is an ROI driver, and 71% believe the customer service they provide via social media is a cost-saver, per results from a Socialbakers survey. It’s not surprising that the brands that are most focused on social care would trumpet its benefits, but the study goes a little further in examining how these brands are managing their social care efforts.

For the vast majority, social care is provided via multiple channels, with just 16% of the “hundreds of brands” surveyed saying they provide social customer service only on Facebook. Similarly, 87% manage their social customer care internally, with few turning to outside help.

When looking at the average number of questions received by select departments, the survey results reveal that there’s an inverse correlation between number of questions received and average question response time. That is, the more questions received, the quicker the response time. For example, the customer care department on average receives more than 3 times as many questions as the digital marketing department (821 vs. 226, though the relative percentages are far more useful than the exact numbers, which presumably show great variation from one company to the next), while taking slightly more than half the time to respond to those questions (413 minutes vs. 769 minutes, with the same caveat). Similarly, the PR & Communications department receives more questions than the Digital Marketing department on average, and has a quicker response turnaround.

While that may seem counterintuitive at first, it does make sense that the departments receiving more questions are more attuned to social care, and therefore more likely to prioritize it. Even so, departments should speed up their average response times: according to recent survey data from Havas Worldwide, 48% of consumers around the world are frustrated by slow social response times.

For Socialbakers, a brand is able to call itself “Socially Devoted” if it responds to at least 65% of questions posed to it. The researchers also look at the number of fans, questions posted on a brand’s page, the response time, and the percentage of user wall posts that are responded to.

The latest quarterly data from Socialbakers, released just before the survey results, suggests that brands are paying more attention to social care. During the second quarter of this year, brands responded to 62% of the questions posed to them on their Facebook walls. While that’s more than double the rate from Q2 2012 (30%), it should be noted that most of the increases occurred in late 2012. This year’s gains have much more incremental – climbing from a 60% response rate in Q1 to 62% this past quarter.

Still, all of the industries tracked have boosted their response rates over the past year, with airlines topping the charts at 79.1% of questions answered, up from 55% in Q2 2012. Close behind in Q2 were finance (77.7%, up from 46.4%) and telecom (75.2%, up from 60.4%) brands, followed by retail (65.5%, up from 43.6%) and fashion (64.9%, from 24.9%). Even the least devoted sectors, alcohol and automotive, have upped their response rates from around 5% in Q2 2012 to roughly 38% this past quarter.

The results indicate that brands are pouring more resources into this area: the year-over-year increase in overall response rate comes amidst an 85% increase in questions asked on brand pages on Facebook.

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Branded Content Marketing – The Most Effective Tactic [survey]

Branded Content Marketing70% of brands and 77% of agencies have employed branded content marketing for advertising purposes in the past year, and about two-thirds of each group say that branded content marketing has become very or most important to their marketing mix, according to a MailOnline survey of more than 600 online marketing and advertising executives. With branded content now perceived by brands as being among their most effective branding tactics, 72% report having increased their spending on it in the past year, and 69% plan to pour more money into branded content in the coming year.

Agencies similarly report increased spending by their clients: 71% say their clients have spent more on branded content in the past year, and 73% expect more spending in the next year.

Interestingly, while brands indicate that they most often create branded content for their website or email marketing (83%), about 7 in 10 also said they distribute branded content in digital media beyond their own website or emails.

The study notes that branded content marketing ranges “from native advertising to content hubs, from advertorials to branded entertainment and even custom video.” With all these types at their disposal, agencies are most likely to acquire their branded content via partnerships with the publishers they are buying the media from, with many also acquiring it from the client or a third-party content producer.

Other Findings:

  • For brands, the preferred method of measuring content marketing program effectiveness is “brand lift,” cited by 30%, while for agencies it’s “sales lift,” indicated by 32%.
  • Among buyers who aren’t yet using branded content marketing, 57% of brands plan to test it out over the coming year, as do 84% of agency holdouts.
  • 24% of brands and 17% of agencies say nothing is preventing them or their clients from investing more in branded content marketing.

About the Data: The survey was in field for 3 weeks during April. Of the 610 respondents, the majority were media buyers (17% brand site, 47% agency side), with the remaining 36% being publishers.-MarketingCharts

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