Do marketers really understand digital marketing?

Digital Marketing: do you understand it?

It’s a scary thought: marketing has moved on so substantially from the old days of print and radio however have marketers kept up with this move? We assume they have but recent studies of relatively advanced markets such as the U.S. and the U.K.

Marketers appear to be unable to catch up with the pace of technological change within digital marketing practices. Similar apprehensiveness has been noted in the U.S., where a mere 9% of marketers confirmed their confidence in the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns, and 61% referred to recent digital marketing approaches by most companies as in a cycle of learning by doing or trial and error.

A similar sentiment is felt in the UK, where over 50% of marketers are basing their digital campaigns on intuition as opposed to rigorous testing of campaigns and content which is the norm with more traditional forms of marketing, such as employing a focus group to obtain feedback on a new television spot. A part of this problem can be attributed to a lack of data analysis and insight strategies by marketing departments, resulting in a lack of relevant information to inspire confidence in the direction of digital campaigns.

There are multiple issues here including a lack of training and the massively fast moving pace of the industry.

Other issues encountered by the marketing sphere due to this lack of assurance include the downplaying of the significance and value of emerging channels. Especially mobile marketing channels are not being utilised in an effective manner to reach consumers. In fact, almost half of marketers have not employed a formal mobile marketing strategy for their respective companies. These statistics are surprising considering the personal, portable and ‘always-on’ nature of mobile devices makes them highly conducive as a channel for reaching consumers.

At OfferForge we’re here to help you decipher your online marketing needs without the fluff. We’re here to genuinely help and inform and no question is ridiculous. Give us a shout here and we’ll get your online marketing up and running.

What on earth is an iBeacon?

With the launch of iOS 7 last week many are focusing on the fact that Apple are now selling colourful phones. The really interesting issue to consider here are the interesting marketing opportunities surrounding their new iBeacon technology that looks like it has the potential to leapfrog both NFC and QR Codes.

Here’s the technical bits behind the concept of iBeacon

‘iBeacon’ is an Apple marketing term for a specific type of Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE, Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Smart) peripheral. They can be either dedicated hardware, made by third parties, or iOS 7 devices acting as iBeacons via third party apps.

iBeacons simply advertise their presence so that iOS devices that are specifically looking for them can find them. Developers give each beacon an identifier and then add code to their apps to ask the user’s phone to notify the app when that identifier is detected.

Apple have already implemented a showcase of the technology using their Apple TV and any iOS device using iOS 7. Apple’s added an even newer feature that will let you tap your iPhone or iPod Touch against your Apple TV and automatically fill in all your Wi-Fi info, iTunes password, language preferences, and the like. Specifics here.

From a marketing perspective, increasing the sophistication of user targeting is one of the keys to realizing mobile’s vast potential as an advertising platform.

The more tightly an advertising message can be targeted towards a particular context, user behavior or user profile, the more likely it is to offer real value – and deliver better engagement and results. Location is undoubtedly important.

A rapidly growing number of customers already use their devices in-store to research and compare products, so the behaviour pattern is already in place. Advertisers would dearly love to be able to measure how close a consumer is to a particular area, and target a message to that consumer’s device accordingly. iBeacons appears to be an elegant solution to this.

Here’s the most exciting part:

iBeacons will be the biggest change for retailers since smartphones. Within the space of a month or so there will be 700m iOS devices with iBeacons, enabling indoor positioning, micro-location, and a new form of contactless payment.

Considering NFC and QR Codes have never been particularly massive one can’t help wonder whether this will be a particularly successful solution. It is vastly more elegant than previous solutions so we remain to see exactly how this succeeds.

Moving from agency to in-house marketing

To agency or not to agency

It’s an age old question: do you hire an in-house production company or do you rather outsource to an entire agency. Both have pro’s and con’s: in-house has more control but outsourced means access to more creatives and resources. Why would you pick one over the other? There has been huge outcry when large companies move their work in-house. If you look at Woolworths in South Africa they had massive PR fallout when they fired their agency to move in-house but a few years later, the work is arguably vastly better.

According to an Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey, 58% of US client-side marketers said their company used an in-house agency this year, compared to only 42% who five years earlier said the same. And 56% of respondents said in May 2013 that in the past three years, they had moved at least some established business previously handled by an external agency to their in-house agency.

Magazine advertising, social media, online display advertising and search engine marketing were the services most commonly handled by an in-house agency. Traditional TV and radio advertising were the least likely formats to be handled in-house.

We’ve moved from in-house being a cost saving experience to one with better control and understanding of the brand. However the disadvantages also stacked up. Forty-five percent of the survey respondents said it would not be as easy to stay on top of key trends with an in-house agency.

agency vs. in-house marketing

We foresee more and more agency work moving in-house when it comes to larger companies as they require a certain level of control. Whether creatives will accept this is debatable and whether they want to work at a company is also an issue. For now though, cost saving is reason enough.

Should you be using an agency for your company?

That is a question that isn’t easy to answer. There are however many large companies in South Africa that prefer to stick to using agencies. You should however evaluate why you are using them. The companies that do so successfully use them for specific purposes.

Some of the niches in which large companies use different agencies:
– brand awareness marketing
– lead generation
– paid search marketing
– social media marketing

These are just four of the areas that they might operate in. It often happens that a company would take the work in-house without the proper knowledge and know-how. If this is the case it could spell disaster. The efforts that go into brand awareness should for example not be seen as a platform for lead generation. The same goes for social media marketing which doesn’t necessarily always work for brand awareness.

Should SEO be part of the marketing department?

If you think back to the days of the first websites for companies: the development was almost always led by the technical department. These days it’s on someone in the marketing departments KPI’s for the year to ensure that the website is constantly update. We’re happy to get the IT department to develop a site but we don’t trust them with the layout, design or content.

The same is true for SEO. We exclusively trust the marketing department to come up with an SEO strategy and while we, on the odd occasion, might trust the IT department to do the hard graft we don’t want them to go near anything “creative”. Generally we outsource our SEO to a third party that knows very little about your company. If you consider that the marketing and sales departments are usually separate in a company you can see a potential problem putting SEO purely in the hands of the marketing department.

If sales are being fed the leads and marketing is unaware of the quality of these leads is there really a point in putting money into SEO?

It should be a joined up process that might start with digital marketing and PR but which should end with your sales department feeding back information about the quality of leads and volume of new business that SEO instigates. Thankfully SEO as a term being phased out of many marketer’s vocabulary, with €˜content marketing€™ and online PR€™ the two front-runners as its replacement. Surely that change indicates a need to move towards a more integrated approach?

The situation is especially bad when using multiple third parties. The PR company doesn’t inform the SEO (content) company what is happening and the marketing and sales departments fall flat. It doesn’t have to be like this!

A working example of the benefits of taking this approach is when a brand’s PR agency is running a campaign that is generating a lot of coverage then the SEO agency should be informed of this in order to ring around the publications where coverage has been gained and turn these mentions into links.

SEO, PR, advertising, marketing and sales teams are ultimately all working towards the same goal: to generate new business.

It’s time to stop seeing different departments as the enemy when it comes to SEO. If you continue to see SEO as a purely marketing function, you might as well be flushing your cash down the toilet.

You should consider the look of the marketing department

A move away from working in silos will result in a more cohesive image of the business being portrayed. Working in collaboration helps all facets of the business to grow continuously. Taking an approach where the successful total is the sum of all the moving parts, you will be able to build a long term sustainable department.

A look at the Cannes Cyber Lions winners

Whether you work as a publishers, advertiser or agency, a little bit of creative inspiration is a great way to help your own work. Last week we saw the Cannes advertising festival where the worlds greatest advertising creatives got together to celebrate their year of work. In 1998, the Cyber Lions were introduced to celebrate digital work. This year the Gran Prix winners included Intel and Oreo with Pereira & O’Dell and DraftFCB being the respective agencies.

Intel + Toshiba 

According to the agency both Intel and Toshiba were the client and since Intel wanted to refresh “Intel Inside,” Toshiba wanted to feature the Ultrabook it made sense.

The campaign had 70million views, 26million interactions, 97% approval on Youtube and led to a 66% lift in brand perception for Intel, a 40% for Toshiba. The campaign led to a 300% sales increase.

You can also see the social media work done on Facebook here.

Oreo Daily Twist

Born in 1912, OREO was turning 100. Having always spoken to families in a traditional way, the brand had developed a traditional image.

Now, how to use a centennial anniversary to actually rejuvenate OREO? Celebrating the culture of the day, every day.

The campaign created 100 ads in 100 days. Each morning they identified trending news stories, gave them a playful OREO twist, and pushed a brand-new ad to their social networks.

oreo 1st flight around the world ad

The results were staggering: 433 million Facebook views with +280% increase in Shares, creating 231 million media impressions and making OREO the brand with the highest buzz increase in 2012 (+49%). A full list of the images created can be found on Pinterest.

For a full list of winners and even more inspiration click for the full list on the Cannes Cyber Lion page.

Is there power in social media for local publishers?

There definitely is. These numbers are astounding and they might look out of reach. There is however huge scope in the South African marketing for those willing to take their digital marketing to a new level. The number of views on Youtube and interactions on Facebook keep growing with every passing month. If you are keen to give your digital marketing efforts a boost, you should invest the time in studying social media campaigns and creating your own top content.

The massive benefits of online performance marketing

Here at OfferForge we’re obviously big fans of online performance marketing (OPM) and believe in the power of the medium and are thrilled to see the latest report by the IAB and PwC to the ground-breaking study into Online Performance Marketing.

Whether looking from a network, publisher or advertisers, OPM providers fantastic benefits. There are some interesting areas of growth in the UK: financial services accounts for 45% of total spend retail 20%, media and telecoms at around 10% and travel and leisure at 9%.

Most large brands in the UK are involved in affiliate marketing and the study also signalled continued rapid growth with an average increase in investment of 25% this year.

The truth is that although the number of marketers that appreciate the value and on-going potential of affiliate marketing is growing, this is still a sector overshadowed by display and search.

The report does point out the biggest issue associated with OPM: affiliate marketing is seen as complex and let’s face it the general marketing community quite understandably likes what it knows i.e. advertising, direct response and display media spend.

To persuade more brands to invest in internal resource as well as external expertise, affiliate marketing should present itself as a strategic sales channel, not just another branch of the complex digital marketing world where spend is divvied up by agencies traditionally orientated to display.

The most heartening considering though is the fact that for every pound spent through OPM you’re looking at a return of eleven pounds in sales.

Online Performance Marketing is another part of the marketing mix that advertisers and agencies should consider and utilise in order to stretch and maximise their budgets.

Affiliate programs: Where do they fit into Online Performance Marketing?

Affiliate programs are the perfect give and take between online advertisers and publishers. Advertisers only pay for performance, while publishers only get paid if they perform.

For online advertisers it means having a sales force of websites working on commission only. If the publishers make you money, you pay them.

The most attractive offers you will find in the affiliate world are financial affiliate programs. The financial affiliate programs usually work on a lead generation basis. In tun for the leads you generate for them, they will pay you a set amount for each lead.

There are a number of affiliates at Offerforge who are raking in huge earnings from promoting financial affiliate programs almost exclusively. The industry is constantly looking for new publishers who can generate leads for them and competition is fierce between these institutions. The upside for publishers is a very attractive commission for leads generated.

The benefits of building relationships with performance advertising partners

For many years there’s been a very simple mechanism for performance marketing: a customer clicks an advert on a website, performs and action and the publisher is paid for their part in the process.

However, if the customer returns and make a second or third purchase should the publisher not be entitled to their percentages of the revenue share?

high performance advertising and marketing


Online gaming and iGaming (online gambling) were the first industries to widely adopt relationship-level tracking, which is commonly known as “revenue share.” As technology developed and evolved, the gaming industry quickly saw the value of maintaining long-term relationships between their partner base and the consumers (players). Armed with the ability to maintain a relationship between a player and its associated partner, gaming companies now can build a stickier, more productive base of partners.

Traditionally each customer has the same value and in the new world of in-app purchases and monthly subscriptions this is actually an outdated metric. With a more advanced tracking and analytics platform, an enhanced ROI can be created and evaluated. By marrying the customer with the affiliate, advertisers can continue to tracking conversions past the initial sign-up.

ROI is obviously a useful metric however a more useful tool would be the Lifetime Value or LTV. Working out the value of a customer over the lifetime of their purchases shows you how much to spend on acquiring a customer and paying a publisher. This is a game changer in affiliate marketing.

In simple terms, you know that your Twitter campaign gained 10 new clients last week. On average, your gaming clients spend $15.75 per month and your customers usually play your game for six months before moving on. The Lifetime Value of the Twitter campaign is $945 (10 clients x $15.75 per month x 6 months). You should spend less than $94.50 per person ($945 ÷ 10 clients) to acquire a client via Twitter.

With greater information an advertiser can discover which channels provide the best value and how best to market their products. We can’t stress the importance of monitoring ROI, your sales funnel and clickthrough rates enough. If you want to turn your affiliate marketing efforts from generating money to printing money, you should learn from the analytics.

New cost per click campaign for TouchBasePro

TouchBasePro has teamed up with Offerforge to offer a new cost per click affiliate marketing campaign. TouchBasePro offers a bulk email and sms marketing platform with the following key benefits that differentiate us from our competitors:

  • Easy to use system puts client in control of their own electronic communication
  • Enterprise class database management, target segmentation and high volume message delivery
  • Integration with existing infrastructure through API and auto-scheduled reporting
  • In-depth campaign reporting, exportable and customisable to individual needs
  • Confidentiality and security, your databases remain your intellectual property at all times
  • High Deliverability through strict anti-spam policy and sound IP and domain reputation management
  • Pay by usage, competitively priced per email/sms rates, with no additional setup or admin fees
  • Pay-As-You-Use and Monthly Contract options available

TouchBasePro specialises in email and sms marketing, having gained invaluable insights into the key factors that drive a successful campaigns. We also offer managed services that enable clients to outsource elements of their email and sms marketing entirely if desired.

If you cater to B2B clients this would be an ideal CPC affiliate campaign to run. The value that they would be able to offer you is phenomenal as most companies would be looking to get in contact with customers in this way.

We ensure longevity, once trust has been established with your subscriber base your email and sms communication channels can be visited over and over again, for a fraction of the cost of buying traditional

Alcare Aloe launches sales campaign

Alcare Aloe sales campaign

With Alcare Aloe, The House of Aloes brings you a range of beauty and wellness products that harnesses the Aloe ferox’s powerful properties in an effective and convenient form.

The Alcare Aloe range is extensive, catering to your every need. Products contain only the best quality ingredients and, for skincare products, up to 80% of the active ingredients present in fresh aloe leaf gel. Most of our cosmetic products are available either with or without perfume.

Commission:15% on all sales
Cookie Life:6 month cookie life
Search Marketing:Yes, search engine marketing on all product / brand names.
Recommended Search Terms:Health & Beauty Related Brand and product Names (e.g. alcare, aloe, aloe detox, skin care, day lotion, night lotion, facial cleanser, eye make up remover, foot cream, heel balm, hand and body lotion, aloe sunscreen, body wash)
Datafeed:Launching soon – contact us
eMail Marketing:Yes, Opt In Email
Coupons:Yes – contact us
Linking Methods:Banners & Text Links

The product range on offer will appeal to a wide audience on a number of lifestyle and related sites. Displaying these ads will be a good addition to most South African sites as the value of aloe vera is well known by South Africans.

As a result there is good potential to earn from the sales of their products. Unlike lead generation the earning potential is a lot greater and with the cookie life of 6 months comes with the offer, the potential for repeat purchases and subsequent commissions goes up a lot.

Ziinga Launches CPC affiliate campaign

ziinga cpc campaign

Ziinga is a web based auction where brand new desirable products sell for prices well below the market rate. Our mission is to be the leading operator in online Auctions in South Africa and many other countries. The trust that our customers have in us is an important factor in our strategy. Ziinga respects the privacy of all its customers and commits itself to protect any data about customers from outside parties. Ziinga also has an efficient bidding, and delivery process which guarantees great customer service and support.

Ziinga’s intent is to make bargain hunting possible from the comfort of your very own home. You would be able to generate an extra income stream through this affiliate marketing program by targeting your South African audience.

In South Africa these types of online services have continued to grow rapidly over the past few years. The market locally is also constantly maturing and much more is being spent on online purchases every single month.

Although it was a foreign concept a few short years ago it has gone from strength to strength. If you want to benefit from this wave, you should join this affiliate program so that you can also cash in.