April 23, 2013

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Master Mobile E-mail Mobility has transformed e-mail. Unfortunately too many brands haven’t kept pace. As a result, they squander the power and impact of the most ubiquitous and most effective digital communications channel because messages don’t render properly or links drive users to pages that can’t be read or properly interacted with. Ninety percent of e-mail subscribers access the same e-mail account on multiple devices. Between 15 and 65 percent of e-mails are opened on these devices, according to the guys at emailmonday, often at different locations and with expectations than before. Savvy marketers are using “sniffers” to identify the universe of devices and/or turning to responsive design to automatically adapt and resize e-mail creative and technology for maximum impact. Everybody has to factor in basic changes. Mobile screens have different dimensions, usually smaller and narrower. You have to put the most important thing up top. Mobile users are on the go. They scan. They spend less time per e-mail so they need to get to the point faster and need different response mechanisms. You are getting partial attention and the flick of a thumb rather than a full screen, two focused eyes and ten fingers or a mouse for response agility. Your call to action must be clear and BIG. Increase the point size of text so it can be seen in any light and from any angle. Buttons, links and other response mechanisms need to be presented early and enlarged to account for fat fingers and finger faults. Put a link to your mobile website in the pre-header to offer an option to read the e-mail in the browser. Be sure that any destination is equally mobile friendly. Think about the entire experience from transmission/reception to interaction to destination/desired action. If you break any part of the chain, you essentially dump your customer or prospect. Too many e-mails opened on mobile devices take customers to pages that don’t work or look awful when they get there. Just kiss off those customers. The expectation of frictionless mobility combined with an in-the-moment intensity of interest amplifies the emotional reaction to your message. When it works its pure brand mojo. When it doesn’t your brand takes a bigger hit than if your e-mail doesn’t work right on a desktop or laptop. The good news is that simple planning and fixes allow you to maximize customer satisfaction.
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Tumblr's Advertising Challenge The cool kids have abandoned Facebook and headed to Tumblr. Twenty-nine million unique visitors signed in four days each week to gain access to 44 billion posts on 102 million blogs. The average user logged-in for 154 minutes and looked at 30 pages per visit. One in eight used a mobile device to tumble. Tumblr users skew male, young (18-34), single, childless and rich (1/3 have household income greater than $100K). One in five is Hispanic and one in six is in the Pacific Time zone. Now that they’ve drawn a crowd, Tumblr is trying to figure out how to make a buck. They have a “Radar” feature, which highlights curated posts and is supposedly seen by everyone, although I can’t figure out which posts in my feed are the “Radar” ones. I checked my dashboard and couldn’t find an ad even though they sell access at a minimum of $25,000 a pop. Supposedly, a bunch of well known brands have used the platform. But I’ve never seen hide nor hare of them, nor do I follow any of them. Maybe they appear in the 50-odd content categories that range from Actors, Cute and Gaming to Poetry, Street Style, and TV. They’ve also rolled out a mobile ad unit, initially embraced by GE, Warner Brothers and ABC, that is served four times each day in their iOS and Android app. And they insist that ads appear as posts rather than as ads. I’ve never seen one of these puppies either. Buying Tumblr for brands is a challenge. Blog content is highly visual and idiosyncratic. Like Facebook users only see content from those they follow. Unlike Facebook you can follow anyone without his or her blessing. So brands will have to develop significant followings to get substantial reach and or frequency against desirable segments. The content categories aren’t channels per se just convenient ways to find blogs to follow. And they don’t reflect anything by a tiny selection of the 102 million blogs. Brands can’t frame up appropriate messaging because there is no common experience. Each of the 29 million users follows a different set of bloggers for 29 million different reasons and nobody has crunched the numbers to determine what the patterns and affinities might be. The other consideration, beyond advertising competition from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, is an undefined user experience and customer expectation set. Brands need to know why people use Tumblr and how either the people and their moods and behaviors differ from the other social networks. And we haven’t even started to talk about qualifying the audience or determining product and service use. It’s hard to imagine running contests, begging for Likes or distributing coupons to this crowd on this platform. So what’s a brand to do? As a focus group of one, for me Tumblr is a diversion; a time waster filled with startling images of people, places and things that I don’t see on Facebook. The 111 people I follow (fewer than the 133 average number of Facebook fans per user) post historical documents, travel shots, photography, cartoons, landscapes, portraits and very little copy. Posting short essays, I’m generally in the minority. And unlike Facebook, I don’t follow any brands and I don’t know or care how many followers I have. It’s a semi-private, self-constructed universe, where intrusive ads would be unwelcome. Tumblr faces the classic social media paradox. They’ve developed a sizeable audience but they can’t yet package it and sell it to advertisers. And if they do, will Tumblrs hang around and take in the ads or will they defect and be off to the next cool thing?

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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