When Good Intentions Go Horribly, Desperately Wrong

Selling great creative ideas is tough.  Building consensus around something dependent on aesthetics is rife with challenges.  So over the years, I’ve learned to temper my dismissal of agencies when their creative projects go awry.  God knows, we all live in that glass house from time to time.

Still, most projects start with hope.  A clean screen beckons with the promise of something remarkable to come…unless your briefing sounds something akin to this:

Client:  “So we need an ad campaign–TV, online, OOH–to encourage Boomers to file their Social Security paperwork online, because that cuts government expenses.  You can do anything you want!”

Agency: “Great!”

Client:  “–as long as you use George Takei.  You know George, he played Sulu on Star Trek? We’re playing with the idea of ‘Boldly Go’–but that’s just a thought starter…”

Agency:  “Oh.  Uh-huh…  Well, we can probably work with tha–“

Client:  “Oh, and Patty Duke.  We signed Patty Duke too.”

Agency:  “The one who played Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker?”

Client:  “Exactly!  Sulu and Helen Keller–together at last! It’ll be magic!

Or not.  Sometimes, you just get dealt a bad hand.  But this is really hard to look at every time you get off the commuter train in Chicago…

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson, Minneapolis

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Doing Social Media 9-5 Means You’re Doing It Wrong

Back in the 80’s, I worked with a really smart research guy (this was waaaay pre-planning) named Jim Crimmins.  Jim biked to work not because he was green (this was waaaay pre-green) but because it made sense to him.  He was a soft spoken presenter of deeply-resonant ideas, one of which was the importance of aperture, which simply means finding the right place and time to maximize your message’s persuasiveness.

In those days, aperture referred to the right place and time for television, radio, print or outdoor (this was waaaay pre-internet…are you sensing a theme here?).  It was an important thought then, but today’s hyper-connected, social media/web 2.0 times magnify aperture’s importance ten fold.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson, MinneapolisAccording to a recent statistical analysis by Buddy Media, a leading supplier of social marketing software for clients and agencies, 89% of retail brand posts launch between 8 AM and 7 PM Eastern Time.  That makes sense because those are the work hours of the corporate people writing the posts.

Except it doesn’t make sense, because that’s when subscribers and consumers receiving those posts are busiest.

According to the study, brands reach people more successfully when they launch their messages in more favorable apertures.  For the Facebook crowd, engagement with retail brands rises 20% on posts between 8 PM and 7 AM.

In fact, it’s not just time of day but day of the week that drives engagement.  Buddy Media’s data reveals Facebook user engagement varies over the course of a week, peaking on Wednesdays and Sundays.  In comparison, Friday is the worst day for consumer engagement.  Retailer fans engage most with posts outside of traditional workdays.

All of which means it might be time to rethink our posting schedules and perhaps even invest in publishing tools and software, which not surprisingly, Buddy Media offers.  You can download their statistical report and check their methodology here.  Self-interest notwithstanding, it’s a pretty compelling argument for adjusting when we try to engage consumers online.

Other quick highlights of the report?  Facebook engagement drops with the frequency of posts during the day–less than three seems ideal for generating Likes and comments.  And keep them short: lengthy posts kill engagement. Only 5% of retail brand Wall Posts are less than forty characters, but those receive 86% higher engagement.  And in a sucker punch to the hopes of every creative in marketing, posts containing “$ off” and “coupon” pull a 55% higher user engagement rate and simpler posts work better than more interesting and involved ones featuring links to video and photos.  Apparently when you are interrupting someone’s social experience, they are hopelessly self interested and simple-minded.

If I learned anything from Jim, it’s that aperture matters.  Which means this blog post is waaaaay too long.  Oh, and perhaps not surprisingly, Jim now teaches at Northwestern University.  Some folks can’t stop learning. And teaching.  For that, thank you Mr. Chips.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson