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How AHS’s Social Media Campaign Delivered Record Numbers

As an American Horror Story (AHS) fan I have been patiently waiting for the new season to air. Like most other fans, I found myself watching sneak peaks, reading up on new cast members and counting down to the premier. American Horror Story broke records with more than 10 million viewers on Wednesday.

Since its unveiling of “Freak Show”, AHS has kept everyone on their seats with terrifying (yet amazing) trailers, images and constant reminders of its season premier on Oct. 8. AHS didn’t leave any social tactic undone with its campaign. From social media contests, videos, effective hashtag usage, it kept audiences wanting more. As a digital marketing professional, I can appreciate when a campaign is done so beautifully. Here’s why I think it worked:

  • The scariest :11 second videos you’ve ever seen: AHS Video Clipl

 

  • Actually Interesting Cast Member Interviews

    AHS - Cast Member Interview

  • Relevant Contest Sweepstakes
    Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 4.13.24 PM

  • Repetition, RepetitionRepetition – You could not get on social media sites in the month of September without seeing these sponsored posts

  • Consistent Hashtags People Will Use #WeAReAllFreaks

If you weren’t a viewer of AHS before this season, you might be now because of its social campaign. If you haven’t watched the whole trailer, you should:

 

 

Join SS Digital Media & Google’s VP of Global Small Business Sales For Google Partners Connect!

Google has selected SS Digital Media to host its 3rd Google Partners Connect, a free digital marketing seminar available to Metro Detroit business professionals. A panel of Google experts including Allan Thygesen, VP of Global Small Business Sales and Fred Vallaeys, AdWords Evangelist will be sharing their insights on how to establish and maintain brand awareness across a variety of digital platforms. Whether you’re a business owner or simply looking to learn more about digital marketing and advertising best practices, the seminar will offer valuable information.

Learn How To Better Position Your Brand Online From The Experts

As the digital marketing world is constantly changing, it is critical that your brand keeps up in order to remain relevant. Between the frequent updates by Google and heightened competition within the marketplace, it is becoming more critical to have a solid digital strategy. Although it’s dependent on several factors including your business goals, industry and marketing budget, your strategy should incorporate the following tactics to some degree in order to reach your full potential online:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Google AdWords
  • Content Creation
  • Social Media

Although it’s important to utilize these tactics, it’s even more important to know how to use them correctly in a way that makes the most sense for your business. At Google Partners Connect, you will learn from the experts themselves how to tailor your strategy to your brand.

Reserve Your Spot at Google Partners Connect!

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Google Partners Connect will take place at SS Digital Media’s Troy office on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. It is free to attend and a variety of refreshments will be provided. SS Digital Media is located at 950 Stephenson Hwy., Troy, Michigan 48083.

Be sure to RSVP today to reserve your spot!

RSVP today for Google Partners Connect digital marketing seminar!

 

I Hate the Word SEO

Amanda FriedtWhen people ask me what I do, I never say SEO. That word makes my skin crawl. Mostly because I think it devalues what I do. SEO is an old term that needs to be thrown out. When people think SEO they tend to think some weird tricks to get at the top of search engines. People need to start thinking about search marketing as a whole marketing strategy, opposed to “SEO”.

Search marketing is complex. It is no longer the goal to reach the top of search engines for a list of keywords. The goal is to reach your potential customers when they are looking for you, and get them at each stage of the buying process. Whether they are researching and find a relevant blog on your website, are comparing you to your competitors and see you have a great social presence, or are ready to make a purchase, it is critical you are there.

What is SEO Really?

Everyone knows it means search engine optimization, but what does that mean heading into 2015? Effective search marketing combines a properly developed website, engaging design, unique and relevant content (blogs, videos, etc.), an established social presence, and a cohesive SEM campaign. Everything about your strategy must be cohesive. When it’s cohesive you see higher results with less costs. And, being cohesive means you can’t hire one company to do SEO and another to do Web development, and an in-house employee to do social media, while another company writes your blogs and handles your paid campaigns. One company needs to specialize in the whole digital process.

Search Marketing – Where It’s Going

Everything is about quality. Even paid campaigns. It’s not in Google or any other platforms best interest to serve you ads that aren’t relevant to you. That’s why there is so much controversy over how much information Facebook is delivering to its advertisers. Facebook actually allows you to not only target by age, but life events, interests, location, etc. That means you can target men 24-32 that have been in a relationship more than a year, that live in your area but are not yet engaged, engagement ring ads.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Search is location-driven. Whether you are a company that serves a small local area or serves the continental U.S. or overseas, you can create a campaign for that. There is no business too small or too large to be affective online.

Your Customers Are on the Web & Mobile Devices

Yes. All of them. The business owners, CEOs, retail shoppers, 62 and up crowd, the tweens, the hipsters, whoever your customers are, they are on the Web and on mobile devices. Many times I’ve heard clients tell me their clients aren’t on mobile, they have desktop computers, all the while I am seeing 40 percent of their traffic coming from mobile devices. So, yes, your customers are there, even if you’re a B2B business, they are on the Web. It’s your job to connect with them.

Why Pay for SEO Monthly?

So once you pay for SEO isn’t it there forever? No. Search marketing is an ongoing, never-ending process. Yes, never ending, meaning to my knowledge unless your business closes its doors, should never ever stop. It is a continual marketing campaign that changes as the Web does, and you optimize it over and over again. Meaning it only gets better. Unless you stop adapting. On one side of this I have seen clients increase Web traffic hundreds of percentages month after month, and on the other side I have seen it significantly drop, immediately once they stop marketing.

Search marketing is more than just about being #1. It’s about connecting with your audiences. So, stop thinking about SEO and start thinking about communicating with your customers more effectively on the Web.

 

Google’s Been Busy Making Changes in AdWords: Here’s This Month’s Roundup

Google Partners : Changes & Updates Aug 2014

This month has been full of new and improved changes to Google AdWords. The Google Shopping deadline is fast approaching on Aug. 31 and conversions are more important than ever. Here is a snapshot of what’s Google has been up to:

 

Dynamic Call Tracking

You can now track a phone call from a website after they originally came in from AdWords. This is a dream come true for those who don’t want to use expensive, third-party platforms. Also, you will be able to use these in conjunction with existing tracking phone numbers and methods. Talk about being able to calculate your ROI! Learn more about how to start tracking calls.

Say Goodbye to Exact Match

This is not really what some AdWords managers want to hear since these keywords can help eliminate irrelevant traffic but by the end of September, you will no longer be able to opt out of close variant matches. This change will automatically enable misspellings, plurals and other close variants. If you are not using this feature already, you should be prepared to see an increase in volume.

Google Updates

Bulk Editing Tools Released

Google also released new bulk editing tools this month. New features will incorporate a filter for campaigns targeted to a specific location, the ability to update multiple campaigns with a new targeted location, as well as the ability to update other popular settings such as ad rotation and language.

Hello Google Shopping

Well the deadline is coming up and all PLAs must be converted to Google Shopping. If you haven’t done so already, Google has made it easier this month by providing a simple upgrade tool. Learn about the tool here >>> http://bit.ly/shopping-upgrade.

Changes in Google Shopping

Currency Tracking

For those who track multiple currencies through their site, you now can track conversions based on one value–the one set up in your billing settings. You will no longer have to calculate revenue manually based on currency. This new feature will allow goal values in Google Analytics to transpire into your Google AdWords account, making accepting and calculating ROI on multiple currencies easier.

Stay tuned as these new updates keep rolling out!

 

You Might Also Like:

What You Really Need to Know: Running Successful AdWords Campaigns

 

Keeping up with Google: How to pick through the nonsense

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Ok, so it’s not just trying to keep up with Google, it’s keeping up with the entire Web. That includes search engines, social media, today’s trends, the newest applications, and within all of that, trying to figure out how it all applies to you. In this ever-changing digital landscape, it can be difficult to pick through all of it. After four years of actively running everyday to keep up, here are just a few things I’ve learned:

Start Following & Subscribing

I get most of my Google updates from Google’s own Matt Cutts, world news from my favorite media outlets, and my SEO updates from Moz, Mashable, Search Engine Land and plenty of others. I am all over Twitter, Facebook and industry sites everyday, and everything I find relevant I save and decide what to read more in depth later.

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Details

Google is updating all the time. It’s impossible to know every single update they make, mostly because they don’t even report all of them. Instead it’s important to look at the big picture of what Google and most importantly, its users are looking for. And that is quality. As long as you are always producing relevant, unique, share-worthy content that is optimized, you will be fine. If you’re out trying to buy links (I sure hope not), doing anything spammy, or any “trickery” then you probably should be worried. But as long as your focus stays on quality you will survive the updates.

Highlight What’s Important

Highlight common themes in the updates, like speed, mobile-responsiveness, schema markups, etc. If you keep seeing it everywhere, that probably means you should pay attention.

Don’t Ignore the Technical Stuff

Just because you don’t do anything with code that doesn’t mean it is not important. The structure of a website is just as important as the content you are sharing. Make sure to use Google Webmaster and other developer tools and take note of the improvements that they are recommending.

Don’t Freak Out When Something Changes

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve logged into a Google account or a social media advertising platform and the whole thing has changed. It’s important to always be ready to adapt and more importantly not to ignore your account notifications. Most of the time account notifications will not only pre-warn you of updates, but also teach you more about them. Even if there wasn’t a notification provided, don’t worry Google has great help forums and on-going training for products like Google Analytics.

Remember that in order to stay competitive, you must stay relevant. Although keeping up with the changes can be a full-time job in itself, I’ve found that making it a priority to consistently read new articles helps to organize the chaos. Because let’s be real, not acknowledging change is just plain nonsense!

 

Happy 313th Birthday Detroit!

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Days of birth only come once a year, or is it once in a lifetime? Our beloved city only turns 313 years old once. Nobody appreciates the coincidental numerical significance of the age also being the area code more than we do.

Detroit has had it’s ups and downs. It’s a hero city to those across the globe. And boy, does Detroit know how to throw a party!

We did the Cupid Shuffle in the middle of the street, got a bite to eat and met plenty of Detroiters excited to celebrate the birth of their city. The air that downtown Detroit brings is contagious. The city gives off the inspiring vibe of young and passionate people who are invested in making great things happen. For those of you who couldn’t make it, check out some snapshots of our Motor City escapade:

Motor City Adventure IMG_6698 Detroit 313 Birthday Motor City Downtown Adventure Downtown Detroit Adventure

Click thumbnails to enlarge.

SS Digital Media Tries The “Papple”

SS Digital Media Tries A Papple

Nick Skislak was walking through the new Cantoro Italian Market in Livonia. As he walked through the produce section, something caught his eye. What is this? He stopped. Is it a pear, or an apple? Is it both? “I stared at it for 5 minutes. I didn’t know what to do. My wife was there with me.” he says. He purchases just one. After all, you can’t walk past a Papple and not buy it.

The next day he brings it in to show the team. Everyone is in awe at the contradiction living inside this seemingly simple fruit. The results are interesting across the board.

See What The Critics Have To Say:

“It tastes like an apple thats a little over-ripe to me. Like an old apple. You know? It’s got that texture.” – Jon Cumberworth

“I don’t even know what to think about it. I like it. The texture…” – George Hester

“Is it like an apple that’s supposed to be a pear, or a pear that’s supposed to be an apple?” – Mandi Partello

“I don’t know. I just don’t know. It’s pretty good though!” – Nick Skislak

“Somebody made this in a lab. Maybe the dude who came up with the Liger” – Michael J. Taylor II

Overall, the Papple has brought this team an insightful and rewarding experience. How come this hasn’t been around for hundreds of years? Why are we just finding out about it now? The world will never know.

Logo Design – How Simple Can Be Tough

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A simple logo is just easy – easy to read, easy to pick out of a crowd (or perhaps on a busy magazine page), and most importantly, easy to remember. Simple is not always easy to make however. A truly great simple design can often be more challenging to create than a detail heavy one. Simplicity can ride a fine line between “a child could have done that” and “boring”. The middle ground, though difficult to achieve, can produce a breath-of-fresh air, often nostalgic, appeal and message. It is of no coincidence then, that the most identifiable and time enduring brands have a great simple logo behind them.

Brands - both established and new - that exemplify how a great logo looks and feels.

Brands – both established and new – that exemplify how a great logo looks and feels.

Design is like many other things in our culture – ever changing and often cyclical. Not unlike fashion, the look and feel of an earlier time is something that seems to always come back around in the world of design. What’s popular today can be outdated tomorrow. What was popular 50 years ago can be popular tomorrow. It is hugely important for your logo to be current and contemporary, while still maintaining a timeless and long-term sustainability – all without appearing old-fashioned. Sounds easy, right?!

Logo design has seen a dramatic shift over the past few years. The glossy, 3D beveled and embossed look of the early 2000’s has given way to minimalistic flat vector based principles. You don’t have to look much further than arguably the biggest brand in the world to see this movement:

googlenew

You will change your logo. It is just a fact. Almost all of the biggest brands have tweaked their logos over the years. The key here is they are often just minor changes that avoid damaging the true values of it’s design. Having a solid core logo from the beginning is thus critical to avoid a future overhaul which may put your brand, and it’s relationship with your audience, at risk. Brands such as Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Shell, Walmart, and Pepsi have all successfully done this throughout the years – because their original design allowed for it.

So whether you’re a startup looking for your first logo or an established company contemplating a new look, be sure to think broadly about about the sum of the parts and how your decision now could affect you down the road.

Is Your Smart Phone making You Dumber?

Here’s a quiz: Can you recite the top 10 phone numbers  you frequently call without your phone in hand? If so, you’re likely in the minority. A recent report stated that nearly 1 billion smart phones are in global circulation and 143 million of them are used here in the U.S.  As a kid I can remember being able to quote dozens of my friends phone numbers, birthdays and even street addresses. But today my smart phone makes it incredibly easy to just hit a button and recall any piece of info.

“More than 50% of mobile phone users, use mobile as their primary Internet source”

Now before you dismiss where I’m headed, let me give the disclaimer that I’m an avid user and fan of my smartphone, smart car, smart toothbrush or any other device that helps me get through the day efficiently. But our dependence on our devices begs the question, “Is your smartphone making you dumber?” As a creative for a branding and advertising firm I’m always looking for ways to increase exposure and engagement between a product and consumer. And our ability to now provide relevant and actionable information to the fingertips of those looking for it is a game changer.

Consider the following:

  • Mobile consumers spend 15 hours a week researching products, deals, and services.
  • 81% of smartphone users will make instant and spontaneous purchase.
  • Only 58% of PC or Laptop users will go on the spur of the moment.
  • $31 billion will be generated by mobile commerce by year 2016.

So, Is your smartphone making you dumber? If you’re not taking full advantage of the business opportunity it provides maybe the answer is yes.

 

Sources: RichRelevance, Forrester Research

images: Nielsen/Google

What Being An Entrepreneur Means To Me

So typically I write my blogs about the latest tips or trends in the digital advertising industry, but today I wanted to just take a few minutes to really talk about what being an entrepreneur means to me.

Growing up, my biggest role model was always my grandpa. He really had it together, I thought he had it all–boat, nice big house, multiple cars, property… I was always so proud. The one thing I’ll never forget is that he told me that he had never been rich. Ten-year-old me thought that was crazy. But it was the truth. He was a musician who dropped out of college, but he was also a sailor, a veteran, eventually a graduate, and a business owner. The point in all of this is that he was smart and had a great business mind. He saved, he invested and essentially he succeeded.

Now, I find myself surrounded by a lot of the same type of people. People who don’t always go by what society says, people who think outside of the box, and most of all people who take risks. I don’t think being an entrepreneur is about college, your job, punching a clock or even what someone can teach you or tell you what to do. It’s a lot bigger than that. I think it’s about people who can see something out of nothing, who will work for what they want, and continue to break barriers.

What Being An Entrepreneur Means To Me

It definitely starts with the little things. It’s about showing up early to work, not because you have to but because you want to. It’s about talking about work more than anything, not because you hate it but because you love it. It’s about coming up with new ideas or addressing concerns and not just talking about them, but actually doing them. You take the extra responsibility at work, not because you are going to get a raise or a bonus, but because you actually want to do it. I find myself very passionate about the digital advertising industry, and I think the passion stems from helping other businesses grow and succeed, and truly being a part of it.

In the four years that I have been with SS Digital Media (or what used to be Skislak Digital Advertising), I have seen some amazing things happen. I have seen individuals succeed, the company succeed and overall I believe we’ve made an impact. What once was just me and Nick has grown into 3x the accounts, 3x the revenue, more employment opportunities (at our firm and at the companies we work for), more students with real-world experience (and actually getting jobs!) and limitless possibilities for the future.

Entrepreneurs Are a Different Breed

Someone close once told me that there are two kinds of people in this world. Doers and talkers. People who talk about doing big things and people who actually do big things. I am definitely a doer and I think that’s what my grandpa was, and who the people I surround myself with today are.

 

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