Blog : Business Basics

What is “cost per registration (CPR)”?

What is “cost per registration (CPR)”?

In order to measure the fiscal health of a company, businesses must measure key performance indicators (KPIs). One critical measurement is determining the cost to acquire one new paying customer. For subscription base companies this model is known as cost per registration (CPR), or cost per acquisition.

The New York Times is in the media industry. In a simplistic model, the media outlet sells subscriptions as one of its revenue streams. For every subscription that the Times sells, some money is spent to cover the cost of advertising. Their net gain is the amount spent on advertising subtracted from the funds raised by the new subscriptions purchased.

No business can avoid this cost. To stop all advertising is to lose subscribers. Subscriptions cannot be attained without advertising. Yet, if there is no reliable consumer base, the Times cannot afford to spend money on ads.

Casual readers who have not purchased a subscription cannot be counted upon as a revenue source. Their inconsistency does not allow them to be relied upon for long-term sales. However, they can be persuaded to become subscribers. Special promotions that are tailored to their situation or lifestyle will increase subscription sales.

For example, repeat visitors to the Times’ website could be re-targeted for a free trial to the print version of the paper. If enough of these readers decide to continue with the service, the Times will have made more money in the long run. Or, existing subscribers could receive a discount flyer for the New York Times’ weekend edition. The revenue lost by giving a discount will hopefully be negated by a wave of new subscriptions.

A careful balance between advertisements and subscribers is the only way to maintain a successful, profitable business. If properly organized, any additional costs taken on in this model will be negated through sales revenues.

CPE Engagement

CPE Engagement

As consumers change the way they interact with brands, so do the advertising strategies that market those brands. The most common model of advertising is still Cost Per Mille (CPM), in which the advertiser pays the publisher per every thousand impressions (viewings) the advertisement gets. Unfortunately, this model is becoming outdated. We’re bombarded with thousands of advertisements and brand exposures every day, all competing for our attention. With that said, the average person actively interacts with only 12 of those ads.

What is Cost Per Engagement Advertising?

Cost Per Engagement (CPE) is a combination between Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Cost Per Click (CPC) models of advertising. In CPA, the advertiser only pays the publisher when their ad leads to a sale (or acquisition). CPC works by paying per click on the advertisement. CPE acts as a hybrid between these two models, in which the advertiser pays per engagement with the advertisement.

Engagement refers to any active interaction with an ad. What counts as an interaction varies from advert to advert, and can be anything from pressing the pause button on an advertisement video to typing out a word.

Why use Cost Per Engagement Advertising?

  • CPE motivates users to interact with your brand instead of merely passively glancing at it. Whether the interaction is answering a question or sharing a post on social media, you can be sure that they’ve recognized and connected with your advertisement on some level.
  • CPE delivers accountability that other models cannot give. It guarantees you (the advertiser) that the user has interacted and connected with your brand, with no ambiguity.
  • CPE ensures that you get your money’s worth. By paying per engagement, you can be sure that you’re getting value for publishing your ad. If users aren’t interacting, you don’t pay.

In essence, the publisher is offering something valuable to the user in return for their interaction with your advertisement. Hulu, for example, offers users the ability to watch their favorite television series for free in exchange for watching 90 seconds of commercials. This is a particularly attractive deal when considering broadcast networks show an average of 13 and a half minutes of ads per hour.

CPE advertising can be highly effective, especially when paired with audience targeting. By finding the right publisher and efficiently targeting your audience, you can reach users in an innovative way that counteracts the selective attention of consumers.

Click-through rates

Click-through rates

Click-Through Rates (CTR) are one of the most important pieces of data for measuring the success of your advertisements, but it can be confusing to interpret the numbers and apply them appropriately to your mobile app marketing and advertising campaign. Here’s a breakdown of what a CTR is and how you can maximize its use:

What is a click-through rate?

A CTR is the number of clicks that a pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement gets for every number of impressions (views). In essence, it tells you how many times your advertisement is viewed before someone clicks on it.

Why do click-through rates matter?

A higher CTR ultimately leads to lower costs for advertising. Google and other search engine platforms commonly offer lower prices for ads that offer a higher relevance to search engine users. Google, for example, determines the cost based on your Quality Score. The higher your quality score, the less you have to pay for a PPC advertisement.

How do click-through rates work?

What makes a CTR “good” really depends on your industry and the ad’s position, but overall, Google AdWords has an average CTR of 1.91% for search network and 0.35% for display network. With this in mind, your CTR should be as high as possible while still maintaining relevance.

How can I increase my click-through rate?

  • Use targeted keywords. If a keyword isn’t relevant to your business, it could end up costing more money than it’s worth because your ad is leading to click-throughs but not conversions.
  • Use visual content. Images and video boost engagement. In fact, research shows that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts click-through rates by 65%.
  • Offer freebies. Consumers love free stuff, so promoting an offer like a significant discount off the price of a product is likely to increase CTR.

Click-through rates are used as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), used to evaluate performance against the market competition. It allows for an apples-to-apples comparison. Numbers can be tricky sometimes. To understand those numbers, it’s important to see your company’s marketplace performance from another angle.

Social media marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing (SMM)

Business Basics

Every hour of every day, social media allows people to consistently create and share information. This constant interaction has driven companies to fully embrace social media as a vital marketing tool. It aids them in displaying their products; manufacturers connect with their returning and future customers. With over 2.3 billion active social media users, a company’s robust, social media presence will continue to solidify the company’s earnings.

Social media marketing (SMM) allows companies to market their brand on social media sites to increase traffic to their websites and stores. The goal of social media marketing is to raise brand awareness on a platform that the customer uses daily. By displaying ads on a site, home screens, or creating a company page with updates, customers are repeatedly exposed to the company profile and products. If the customer likes what the company has to offer, the customer is likely to share videos, images, ads, and articles about the enterprise. This media span reaches potential clients who have not seen the brand’s web presence. SMM allows companies to increase their brand recognition and draw in, as well as retain, customers.

Shoe manufacturer TOMS saw a huge boost in their brand recognition with their #withoutshoes campaign on Instagram. In 2015, Toms designated one day a year as “One Day Without Shoes Day.” Each year on that designated day, the company asks users to post one barefoot photo on Instagram with the hashtag #withoutshoes. For each post, one pair of shoes is donated by TOMS to a child in need. Not only did the campaign rapidly spread, but TOMS also established itself as a socially conscious driven brand. This type of savvy promotion allows customers to feel that their photo contribution and any purchase of TOMS shoes will add to a larger, positive impact on the company.

As seen in the TOMS campaign, social media marketing can increase web traffic, raise brand awareness, and broaden audience bases. Camera manufacturer GoPro frequently uses their Instagram account to show the quality of their product. GoPro extensively uses user-generated content for its Instagram page. Besides their company photos, GoPro encourages users to send in pictures of their best shots with their GoPros. This type of social media marketing not only promotes their product but helps customers to consistently use their GoPros and send in their photos with hopes of being featured on the account.

The prominence of social media in society has created a strong personalized sense of marketing. The life-blood of social media is built upon allowing people to create and share information with others. By marketing brands through ideas, social media allows people to be exposed to products they may not find elsewhere. This type of industry is not bound by a geographical location nor an allotted time slot; it is readily available. Whether the appeal comes from an ad, company page, or a friend’s referral, social media marketing is essential in staying relevant in peoples’ lives.

MAUs: Monthly Active Users vs Driving Downloads

MAUs: Monthly Active Users vs Driving Downloads

Business Basics

Online businesses need to identify their customer base to understand the relationship between themselves and their clients. How do companies measure success? Why do businesses keep track of their performance? How often should companies even keep track of certain information? These are questions critical to a business’ survival. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allow companies to measure almost every facet of their respective businesses interactions. With this data, they can understand their performance relative to the marketplace.

For some companies and mobile apps driving app downloads is the KPI but for those companies that operate solely digitally, a central KPI measurement is the Monthly Active Users (MAU). A standard definition of the MAU is defined as the number of “unique” users over the course of 30 days. This performance indicator is commonly used by social networking sites, digital gaming platforms, e-commerce businesses and mobile apps. MAU measurement allows digital services know who is using their product and how they use that product.

An active user is not just a person that may randomly access a site/service. An active user is determined as an individual who has created an account through email or username to access a site or service.

There are also two types of active users. There are first time users and recurring users:

  • A first time user is a new user who has accessed a site for the first time.
  • A recurring user is a user that frequents the site. It is important to clarify data to this extent when you are trying to track performance.

Ultimately it is up to the site or service to distinguish who they believe is an active user. Traditional social networking services like Facebook and Twitter have both have differing definitions:

  • Facebook defines a Monthly Active User as anyone that is a registered Facebook user, who has accessed the service through the website, messenger app, or mobile app at least one time in the last 30 days.
  • Twitter employs a slightly more complicated approach than its competitor. You must follow a minimum of 30 accounts and be followed by a third of the number of accounts you follow to be considered an active user. To put that in simpler terms, if you are a registered user who follows 30 accounts, with at least ten followers, and uses the site at least one time in 30 days, you are considered an active Twitter user.

It is crucial to measure user activity on digital platforms when examining performance especially with mobile app marketing. Calculating the metrics of Monthly Active User data is a practical industry practice. The proper manipulation of this data will help companies find the information they need to succeed.

If you need help tracking your audience’s habits, contact Colure.

Vital customer engagement (or how not to leave your customers at the door)

Vital customer engagement (or how not to leave your customers at the door)

Customer engagement (CE) is the living and breathing relationship that exists between a customer and a company. This critical relationship is a critical factor that helps to determine the success or failure of a company. The challenge to every business is that almost all buyers have different needs and wants. Consumers aren’t unanimous, even within similar demographics. There are different ages, lifestyles, ethnic backgrounds, etc. There’s an excellent chance that the motivating factors for one middle-aged customer may differ significantly from another. It’s incredibly important for a business to operate with their customer base as individuals.

So how do we go about the act of engaging a client? Here’s a few starting points to orient your mobile app marketing and digital advertising efforts:

  • An engagement marketing strategy is crucial. How will your company reach out to potential customers? How will you respond to their inquiries? Detailed analytics are necessary to help answer these questions. Actively learning about a customer’s lifestyles, rather than lumping people together based on a singular demographic. Remember, numbers are cold, your customers are real people. Think of them in that fashion. The more accurate and detailed your customer database is, the stronger foundation you will have for engagement.
  • Learn to predict consumer behavior. When looking at the unique lifestyle of your consumers, where can you see areas where they can benefit from your service or product? Big-box retailers like Walmart and Target do so by using data mining to notice trends in purchases. Walmart used data mining and discovered that Strawberry Pop-tart sales increased sevenfold before a hurricane in southern states. The reaction? Place Strawberry Pop-tarts at the cashier area of a store. More exposure to the pop-tarts increases sales even more. In the end, all parties benefit. Walmart and Kellogg’s experience increased sales, while customers have an emergency food source in case of natural disasters.
  • The benefits of customer engagement are limitless. Customer retention is critical. Customers can see the value in a company that puts the effort into satisfying their customer base. Satisfied clients can be the most powerful form of marketing. The family and friends of current customers are potential future customers. Nothing is more valuable than a recommendation from peer-to-peer. One survey even concluded that 92% of customers trust peer recommendations, compared to 47% trusting TV or magazine ads.

Customer engagement is beneficial, if not necessary, to a company’s success. Perhaps one of the most satisfying aspects of customer engagement is the company-client relationships built upon it. Increasing interaction cultivates and grows these relationships. Knowing that your company makes a positive difference in the life of your customers is a huge reward.

Creating a marketing plan

Creating a marketing plan

Every business needs a marketing plan. Businesses rely on sales and customers. These commodities cannot be generated without an effective marketing campaign that effectively communicates the company, product, and message. Though many businesses are well aware of the need for a strategic marketing plan, not all of them understand exactly how to implement it.

A marketing plan can include all of the following and much more: content development, emails and newsletters, market research and data analysis, SEO, social media management, sponsorships, website development, and mobile app marketing. While it is possible for a business owner to create, manage, and maintain a marketing plan alone, it takes a considerable amount of time and patience.

The ‘Do It Yourself’ approach

Owners thinking of a DIY approach should realistically calculate how much effort they can spare. For those undeterred by the tasks ahead, willing to tackle this challenge, below are three cheap and effective steps towards better results.

    • Do your homework: Research is key. Understand the market you are targeting and decide on your company’s message. Analyze competitors for blind spots and opportunities to shine. Don’t compete in areas they’re good—find your niche.

    • Email is big, cheap and often provides the highest ROI: It is also a preferred method of communication by customers.

    • Your website matters: Make sure it works on different platforms. Streamline the online experience. 81% of consumers use online to explore their options beforehand and gather information about purchases. Don’t give them a reason to be disappointed.

Hiring an individual or an advertising agency

Perhaps the amount of work ahead is too daunting, or perhaps you might not have the time to invest in creating something polished that best represents your company. While the immediate idea you might have is to hire an employee in charge of marketing operations, you’ll be surprised to realize that, in the long run, hiring a person could be more expensive than hiring an agency. Employees have more costs than salary once you include training costs, taxes, insurance, and the software needed. Excluding price, advertising agencies have other benefits, most notably:

    • Expertise: both in the niche market you’re seeking and in the types of marketing you might require whether that be mobile marketing or marketing online.
    • Experience: with creating and executing plans and consulting businesses.
    • Efficiency: a marketing agency does not require training. They can start often times immediately and implement a plan of action urgently.

Working with a marketer requires trust and a willingness to try new things. Communication is crucial to keep both sides on the same page. Both parties must have an understanding of the other party. You should discuss the roles each party with play in the process. Advertising agencies make life easier by freeing you up to focus on what you do best – running our own company. Regardless, they still rely on you for information and the materials needed to create the campaign, so there is no easy shortcut when it comes to marketing your business. The tools for success are out there at your disposal, but the drive ultimately comes from you.

Reach out to Colure’s development team to discuss a plan to advance your next project.

The function of ad servers

The function of ad servers

Business Basics

When we pull up a webpage, the page in front of us appears to be a single, seamless webpage, seemingly created by a single computer. However, that page is actually the end product of several computers working in concert with each other. Together, these computers or servers, each provide content that is compiled to create the final webpage that a user sees.

Ad servers provide a specific set of advertisements to a web page. Websites provide content that draw an audience to a specific web page. Publishers monetize this content by running ads for companies looking to reach that audience. Those advertising spaces on the web pages begin as an empty space that are filled with the appropriate advertising only milliseconds before it loads. Ad servers make that selection possible.

In generic terms, each server has its own function. The publishing server provides the bulk of a webpage’s content. The ad server provides the specific advertisements that have been selected for that user at that moment. The function of an ad server is to place the most efficient advertisements in front of a user. The conversation between these computers is the function that creates the displayed webpage.

An ad server is a platform that stores information and manages the display of ads. It works in the background to determine which ad is selected through a process of analyzing the targeting criteria. The marketer has established these criteria and the performance goals of the campaign. In addition, ad servers provide a way to test which ads perform better, helping marketers optimize the campaign. Publishers, or content-producers, use ad servers to determine which advertiser will be promoted while advertisers use ad servers to select which specific ad from the campaign to show to each user.

Ad Server functions:

Ad servers provide several functions that make the marketing process convenient and efficient:

  • First, they allow marketers to specify which ads to run on which sites and provide them with an easy way to edit the creative elements. Instead of contacting every publisher to update an ad, the marketer can provide updates to a single server.

  • Secondly, they are useful in targeting advertisements based on user’s geographical location and time of day.

  • Third, ad servers let the marketer set a start and a stop time for a campaign. This time-limit is then used in the algorithm that determines which ads will be shown.

  • Finally, ad servers provide all the statistical reporting of performance in one place, making it easier to analyze than getting several reports from different websites.

How ad servers assist agencies and clients:

A person at the marketing agency, called a trafficker, will upload the ads onto the ad server before listing the ad space their buyer has reserved and the specific targeting criteria. The ad server will store this information and provide the trafficker with an ad tag (an HTML code) for the trafficker to send to the publishers. When the publishers decide to serve the tag, the ad server is called upon and selects the most relevant ad to pick based on the criteria. It takes into account the format of the ad (banner, mpu, etc), how many impressions, and how much time is left, amongst other factors. After the ad is published, the server tracks the impression and any associated clicks to establish how people are responding to the ad.

Several ad server systems are available for your business. The system you select will be determined by a number of factors including your products, market share, budgets, and other variables. Ad servers aid marketers by making trillions of decisions a year at a speed difficult to comprehend. The process is as complex as it is effective. The end result is a crafted page that loads in a blink of an eye.

Unlike print, websites allow for the ads that appear on a page to change based on who’s viewing it. This advantage makes online advertising a customizable and more cost-efficient experience. It allows marketers to bypass some of the steps in the purchase decision chain by targeting people closer to the end of it. The better you understand the function of an ad server, the more you’ll understand the process of placing an advertisement online. 

The art of storytelling

The art of storytelling

The ability to communicate with your audience is crucial to every business. Your employees, your customers, and your potential audience all have the need to understand what your company offers in the marketplace.

Business Basics

The engagement of consumers with a simple idea is not a new concept, nor does it belong solely to marketers. The art of storytelling has long been central to society’s growth. As individuals, we might remember a terrifying story told to us as a youth, sitting around a campfire at summer camp. Others may remember a writer who evokes warm and cuddly feelings speaking of their first kiss. Be it terror or passion, the emotional component of the story is an element that often binds a narrative to our long-term memory.

We speak to our family, to our children, and to our peers with words meant to evoke a response. Whether we are writers, software designers, digital strategists, or graphic artists, we are all storytellers. The complexity of our stories differs from project to project, client to client. In the end, we ask only one thing – “remember my message.”

Storytelling components

If we are all shooting for the same goal, how do we stand out from the crowd? How do we send a message that is cleaner and more memorable than the competition? Emotion is one component that makes for an extraordinary story. However, knowing with whom you are speaking is incredibly important. A few gray hairs have provided me with these insights:

  • The K.I.S.S. Rule (AKA – Keep It Simple Stupid)

Try to keep your message focused. If you stray from the core of your message, you will lose your customer. Don’t fall victim to chasing ideas down a rabbit-hole. A creative environment allows for the creation of details. If those details are not kept in check, they can often dilute the original message.

  • Understand your audience

Be sure you understand your audience during this process. Be certain that you truly know your customer’s wants, needs, desires, and goals. If you just offer a message without focusing on the needs of your audience, there’s a good chance you’ll miss your mark.

  • Engage your audience

Communication is an interactive exchange of information between two or more people. This function requires a living, breathing relationship between those parties. Be sure that when you offer information to the next party, that they understand both the content and context of that information.

  • Don’t speak beyond your “voice”

As storytellers, we need to speak to our audience authoritatively. If a storyteller uses words, concepts, or ideas that are beyond their grasp, the audience will lose faith in the validity of the writer’s words. Readers have an amazing ability to identify rubbish when they see it. If you have to present an idea that is beyond your intellectual grasp, education, or base of life experience, attribute that idea to someone who possesses those skills. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. If you have to discuss theoretical physics, don’t BS your way through it. Offer a hyperlink to someone who is qualified to speak on that subject matter.  For example, I’m not a theoretical physicist, but this team at UC Berkeley is pretty comfortable discussing these concepts. In short, you take a potential liability in your writing and create an asset by providing proper attribution to your sources.

Storytelling has been deeply engrained in the human experience for thousands of years. If you visit the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, there you will discover the earliest known cave paintings. The images on the cave walls date back an estimated 40,000 years. These are the earliest visual stories known to be told by humans. The basic storytelling elements employed during this window in history remain the same today. Communicate an idea that can be clearly understood by your audience.

Sharing your thoughts in a context that is recognized by your audience is crucial to successful storytelling. As business leaders, you provide a material good or service that is desired by the consumer. Before they can appreciate your offerings, they must first be able to understand your story. You, in turn, must be willing to listen to what they are saying to you – not what you think they are saying. If you have any questions about reaching out to your customer base, contact Colure’s team to help you hit your mark.

Content at the core of all media

Content at the core of all media

Business Basics Series

A brand’s voice and personality depend on the type of content it produces. The effectiveness of a brand’s marketing campaign depends on the delivery method of that content. The substance of your media is intimately involved in every step of the purchase decision-making process. It is the most stable mechanism of brand promotion.

Customer engagement, which is a strong predictor of company growth and brand loyalty, is built through providing value to the consumer. This action is most often achieved through value, usually achieved through useful content. “Emotional engagement is far more important to consumers than promotional content,” thus making the quality of the content the main factor in its success.

A reputation…is it owned or earned?

While everyone recognizes the role of content in owned and earned media, it’s harder to determine if content has a place in paid media or if paid media is rendering content useless. Owned, earned, and paid media sources are almost always used together in unison. They’re used to build off each other, but they have key differences worth elaborating.

Owned Media refers to all channels that a company manages and curates, like websites, blogs, and social media. Its main strength is the control it gives a company over their brand image. Its main weakness is its limited reach—though 89% of marketers are using social media around 16% of Facebook fans see the brand’s content on their newsfeed.

Earned Media includes all mentions of a brand on third party channels. Sometimes referred as organic advertising, search engine optimization and mobile app store optimization. It is the shared, the reviewed and the viral. Its main weakness, that of having no control of what is being said when, is counteracted by its main strength, the power of word-of-mouth to influence people’s decisions. The skepticism people have when viewing ads is equivalent to the trust that comes from another person’s recommendation.

Paid Media is comprised of all of the advertisements that you have paid. These include Adwords, sponsorships, and content written by others for a fee. Many times, this can appear as sponsored items, appearing in a news channel feed. Another name is “native advertising”. It is expensive, yet, far-reaching. This is a highly targetable resource. While many have frowned upon it, paid media is important to a marketing campaign because, without it, your best content might remain hidden. It is not a replacement for “true content”, but it is a valuable tool in taking owned media and pushing it to possibly blurring the line toward earned media. Competition online has made it hard to sift through information on the basis of interest alone and paid media allows one to place an ad before eyes who are searching for it.

At the core of all three strategies lies content. It is content that draws people to your website. It is content that makes people want to talk about your brand and share it with their friends. And it is content that keeps people engaging with ads even when they’re savvy enough to recognize and avoid them. Paid media will reach an audience, but it will rarely keep them watching more than they have to.

Content is what makes consumers say, “Wow, I didn’t even know that was an ad for something!” Questions for the ad industry become “Where do we draw the line between advertising and content?” and “How visible do we make that line?”

Project performance and KPI’s

Project performance and KPI’s

Business Basics

The success or failure of any project can be measured if you keep an open eye and know how to measure your company’s performance. You must have measurable data order to understand the significance of any market action. Goals must be set as benchmarks of success or failure. These goals should be realistic and attainable. These measurable benchmarks are referred to as “Key Performance Indicators” or KPIs. These are items that “help an organization assess progress toward declared goals.”-TechTarget.

What is a KPI?

These measurements “are used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization,” – TechTarget. KPIs allow organizations to measure the results of their campaigns. These items help to tweak current goals to better sell their product or service. Well set KPIs can determine the success of an organization. Simply stated – if you can’t accurately measure your established performance, there is no way you will be able to modify precisely those behaviors for growth toward your goals.

Differing from group to group

Because organizations in every industry vary, the KPI’s need to reflect those organizations must differ . Each KPI is relevant to a specific purpose. While the basic premise is the same, the goals for each team will be dependent on what the result needs to be. KPIs for a mobile marketing campaign can measure the lead generation and the capture of a customer, but those KPIs will differ from a hospital’s patient ER wait time. The goal of a KPI is to find the best possible way to gain success without spending enormous amounts of time, effort, and money to get there.

Why use a KPI?

When an organization thinks up a new idea, product, service, or campaign, the result and their needs goal has to be assessed. Which means, “before you start assigning KPI’s to everything you can think of, there needs to (be) a clear understanding of your business objectives and strategic directions,” Intouch Marketing. Organizations must ask questions before, during, and after the launch of the campaign to determine the importance of their KPIs.

For KPIs to be successful, an organization must know how to translate the data. “If management cannot translate the importance and understanding of the businesses KPI’s to their employees effectively, they will most likely fail,” Intouch Marketing. Management must be able to quantify the statistics to their employees, so those individuals can execute the campaign to drive success.

Success is something that every organization wants and needs. Measuring KPIs is a key tool to reach those achievements. Organizations must always have an action plan for end results whenever initiating and executing something new into the mix. Otherwise, not setting goals will inevitably end in failure. Be wise and use those KPIs!

If you need guidance on measuring your corporation’s growth and performance, contact Colure’s Project Managers to help you define your next step for corporate growth.