YOU’D NEVER GUESS THE SECRET BUSINESS OF CLICKBAIT

Please share!

Oxford dictionaries describes click-bait as “content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page”. It’s those articles that have headlines like “You’ll never believe what Kim Kardashian did” or “Nicki M’s Paris Fashion Shocker”. Websites like BuzzFeedPerez Hilton, and UpWorthy are notorious for this type of media and with Buzzfeed gaining revenues of $167 million in 2015 its an important concept to understand.

Click-bait or more humbly known as ‘content marketing’ has transformed the way media that new media is consumed. But why is click-bait important? If people are so frustrated with it why does it still exist?

In an article published by Marketing Insights written by Marguerite McNeal, she discusses the psychology behind this new type of media. The information gap theory of curiosity tells us that there is a disconnect or mental gap between what we know and what we want to know. When we see such sensational headlines, it peaks our natural curiosity and once we click and find out what that “secret” is, that gap is filled and curiosity is satisfied.

This Youtube video explains the theory further and why it has such a strong presence in our world.

 

Now its difficult to quantify if there is an actual profit or monetary advantage when click-bait is used, however the numbers don’t lie.  In an example highlighted by McNeal the same YouTube video, advertised with modest vs click-bait titles garnered  1 million vs. 17 million  views.

However this leads to the frustration of consumers and content creators alike. Why? Many of these articles don’t actually contain substance are only meant to keep their viewers for a 15-30 seconds, whereas sources of credible factual information that don’t utilize the click-bait tactics have hard time finding internet traffic and views to their website.

But those opposed to ‘content marketing’ state the the consequences of click-bait without any substance or value has negative long term effects for revenue and viewership. In order for content creators to create a long term relationship with their viewers, it is necessary to add substance to what is being published otherwise consumers feel disappointed and mislead. Furthermore the old adage ” first impressions are everything” truly holds its weight in these scenarios. It has been shown that consumers don’t trust the credibility of the sources that utilize click-bait for the sole purpose of web traffic.  Additionally the lack of content deteriorates the brand reputation in the consumers mind and makes the consumer less likely to visit the websites for future purposes. BuzzFeed and UpWorthy both write about current events and BuzzFeed even has its own News section, however, since the reputation has been muddled by their extensive library of surveys to “figure out what flavor of potato chip you are”, people will not and do not trust the validity of their news reporting. Additionally YouTubers who mislabel their titles with stories like ” I ALMOST DIED” are finding commenter backlash for misleading their subscribers are are experience a decrease and/or stagnation in both following and viewership because of it.

But do I see click-bait losing its presence in the future? Absolutely not.

People will always be curious and not all click-bait tactics are all bad. In order to gain viewership of your content there needs to be some attention grabbing element  in order to captivate your audience. Furthermore blogs like this one contain tags, links, and other visually stimulating media in order to create traction.

Therefore my two cents on the matter of click-bait would be: Don’t be afraid to use the attention seeking methods in order get people to view your content. However, HAVE CONTENT. Be informative, and use credible information.

 

 

Please share!

Trolls Without Borders

Please share!

What is a troll? Scandinavian mythology describes them as ugly, dangerous, annoying, human-like creatures that possess magical powers and live in dark places. Although not magical, present day internet trolls share the rest of these characteristics with their mythological relatives, in addition to one more –  they are very dangerous.

Internet trolling began as a benign exercise in self-amusement.  In the early ages of “trolling”, internet trolls would invade discussion forums, chat rooms or blogs with the express but ultimately harmless purpose of drawing an emotional response from the readers/visitors and later engaging in heated arguments with as many possible users.

However, the destructive appetites of these trolls soon proved insatiable, and insulting innocent commenters that simply wanted to express their opinion was simply not enough to satisfy it. Therefore, to expand their horizons they began targeting, well, everyone and everything. Proof of this are the well-known internet memes, which are images with satiric content that spread “virally” from one person to another via the Internet. Memes spare no one – you can find memes that contain images of grandmas, puppies, celebrities, political leaders, the pope, the mentally challenged, and even gods – no one is safe from internet trolls.

But why are trolls so dangerous when it seems like the worst they can do is give you a headache? Well, if you’re one of the people who believes that, you’re wrong. You might think of internet trolls as just a bunch of nobodies that hide behind a computer screen and try to hurt everybody to compensate for their real-life frustrations and insecurities, and you wouldn’t be totally wrong. However, internet trolls are powerful creatures, and they know it. They can bring down people, organizations and even companies in the blink of an eye.

Internet Trolls don’t need much to hurt companies. Although they are not magical themselves, they live in a magical place that allows them to do everything they want. That magical place is called the internet. All they need is an internet connection, a device with a browser, and a bad day to take their frustrations out on everything and everyone.

Here are some examples of companies that had well intentioned marketing campaigns that did not take into consideration their natural enemy, the trolls:

These campaigns went horribly wrong and ended up causing great damage to the brand of their company and the people involved in it.  It is not easy to estimate the monetary losses that companies suffer because of trolls with these types of campaigns, but to get a rough estimate, Twitter offers different types of advertisements: promoted tweets, accounts, which might go up to $4.00 per interaction, and a sponsored trend cost $200,000 a day. The McDstories hashtag was taken down after 2 hours of activity, and had thousands of interactions, therefore one could estimate that internet trolls cost McDonalds around $250,000 in just a couple of hours.

The “internet troll virus” is a contagious one. It can infect anyone in seconds, immediately turning them into an angry and strongly opinionated troll. In the real world, this is referred to as ‘Mob Mentality’. All it takes is one individual to rally others behind and idea, whether it’s good or bad. Influencers with many followers in social media can reach thousands and even millions of people across the globe in just seconds, turning a group of individuals with nothing in common into an angry mob ready to bash anyone on the internet.

Even though there are physical borders in the real word, there are none on the internet, with the exception of some countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China and others. The clear majority of countries have no restrictions on the content a user can post online, therefore everybody from basically anywhere can access the information. These conditions make trolls especially dangerous since they can target companies from anywhere in the world without getting on an airplane.

In conclusion, beware of internet trolls, they are waiting for you, to make fun of your hashtag, turn you into a meme, and give you their unsolicited in-expert opinion. Next time you think of an internet troll, don’t just imagine a sweaty, greasy, single man that lives in his mother’s basement and spends all his spare time trashing you on social media – remember that a troll can be anyone. Even you!

Please share!

How to Find and Build Business Contacts Internationally

Please share!

Welcome back to our last installation of the International Marketing Channels blog!

Today we will discuss how to build and retain professional business relationships with partners abroad. Hopefully, this will serve as a quick go to guide when thinking about building contacts abroad. This information will be based on internet research and will provide advice from different sources and organizations. This is mostly suitable for businesses in the United States but should be similar in other countries.

According to Entrepreneur.com:

  • Contact your states Commerce Department which should offer import/export assistance
  • Use a sourcing agent
  • examine industry research through the Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) and trade groups specific to your industry

FITA has comprehensive business directories on many source countries, while the Export-Import Bank now offers larger capital loans for small global traders. The U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key Matching Service introduces entrepreneurs to U.S. embassy officials overseas, who then introduce Americans to local suppliers.

Some other good sources are:

  • Trade Information Center (TIC) at the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • export training at Export Small Business Development Centers
  • Directories of overseas buyers can be found at www.export.gov and www.buyusa.com , two websites sponsored by the U.S. Commerce Department.
  • Another good site is the U.S. Export Institute’s site
  •  You can also find partners in a particular country by calling or e-mailing the U.S. Embassy there.

Remember that caution should be taking when dealing with international partners and meeting in person is always recommended.

Please share!

Railroad Transportation (of Energy) in Russia

Please share!

Hi again,

      Welcome to our second to last installment in this exciting Marketing Channels blog which deals with the Global Market! Today we will discuss Russia. Considered as part of the BRICS economies and certainly making headlines frequently Russia is located between emerging Asia, the troubled Middle East, and mixed Western Europe. Below is a map which includes the Russian railroads.

Railroads in Russia

This map is interesting for several reasons. First, you can see the extent to which Russia approximates the Nordic countries, western European countries, eastern European countries, middle eastern countries, China, and Alaska. In addition, it helps to think about these as either oil producing (such as Norway and Alaska) or oil buying countries as most of the rest are. The Railroads mostly help to transport oil and gas through western Europe which is densely populated. Some railroads also lead to China.

It is important to remember that most of Russia’s revenue is from energy (around 68%). Currently, Russia was in the process of building an oil pipeline to southeastern Europe but instead redirected it to Turkey due to tensions with the west.  According to the US Energy Information Administration:

Russia is the second-largest producer of dry natural gas and third-largest liquid fuels producer in the world. Despite its significant reserves of coal, it produces only modest amount of coal. Russia’s economy is highly dependent on its hydrocarbons, and oil and gas revenues account for more than 50% of the federal budget revenues.

This is important for two reasons.

First, all of this information is important for business that rely heavily on energy. Energy intensive businesses would probably benefit from the proximity to Russia or one of its railroads. This includes businesses anywhere on the supply chain; from manufacturers of oil extraction machinery to refinery of oil to auto makers and producers of petroleum based products.

Second, businesses probably would not want to invest in Russia unless it is oil related. We have seen that Russia has been expropriating companies such as McDonald’s due to political tensions. Russia’s economy is also too dependent on energy so unless a company is in that industry they should not expose themselves to such risk unnecessarily.

But, if we have learned anything it is that where there are risks there is opportunity. In the future, when clean energy grabs hold of market share and climate change warms the north these railroads might provide transportation to numerous different industries from China to the rest of world. Or who knows, maybe Russia might still become a superpower.

Please share!

Consumer Preference in Asia Pacific – Online Shopping vs. In – Store

Please share!

Hello,

Thank you for your continued support and for reading our blog!

Today we would like to discuss e-commerce in Asia-Pacific. This is important because as companies look to expand for growth, China and India are the two largest markets in the world. Combined they represent greater than 2 Billion people and more than 30% of the world’s population. In addition, sales increasingly occur online; especially in developing countries where the percentage of connected consumers is growing substantially.

 

Asia

Total online retail revenues in 2012 was $ 156 billion in Asia- Pacific. The apparel, accessories, and footwear segment are the fastest growing. The electronics segment enjoyed revenues of $ 30.7 Billion. Each segment accounts for about 20% of total revenues. Much of the growth comes from China, Japan, and South Korea. Much potential is expected from India in the future.

Total revenues are expected to keep growing at a diminishing rate with expected total revenue of $394.5 billion in 2017. Although there exists strong rivalry from low switching costs and many players the growth alleviates the competition. Asian internet penetration was just 27.5% in 2012. Security is a big factor in choosing online retailers and practicing loyalty. Increasing ease of use and search has increased price competition. All in all there are few barriers to entry due to low fixed costs, little regulation, and easy access to suppliers. Large retailers are mainly undifferentiated while smaller companies cater to niche groups.

Main Asia-Pacific players include:

  1. Alibaba
  2. Amazon
  3. Apple
  4. Rakuten

As you might know the founder the founder of Alibaba is now the richest man in Asia. The IPO valuation of the company speaks to the expected growth of the market. With increases in cell phone usage, internet connectivity, and wealth in Asia online shopping will surely increase its presence in the marketplace.

I hope this blog has served as a crash course in e-commerce in Asia-Pacific. The take away is potential, growth, and speed to market. All of this data was found in the market service Marketline Advantage.

Please share!