25 hard numbers why clients hire and fire ad agencies 0

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Rob Petersen

ad agencies

From Mad Men to Sad Men, relationship factors have driven the selection and dismissal process of companies and their ad agencies for decades.

To arm your company with the characteristics to pursue as well as what to avoid, here’s your guide. 25 hard numbers why clients hire and fire their ad agencies.


  1. 98% say the best work comes when clients trust their agencies. (USA Today)
  2. 97% of agency professional agree a long-term relationship is important, while this number is 89% for client-side marketers. (Association of National Advertisers (ANA))
  3. 94% of clients believe their process of hiring an agency is effective (American Management Institute (AMI))
  4. 90% of agency professionals agree the agency “plays an important role in driving business results,” versus 74% of client-side marketers. (ANA)
  5. 60% of digital agencies are independents (SoDA Report)
  6. 58% of clients say they provide clear assignment briefs versus 27% of agencies. (ANA)
  7. 57% of clients “like” or “love” the process of choosing an agency. (AMI)
  8. 56% of clients believe agencies have the right talent to meet client needs while agencies believe it’s 64%. (ANA)
  9. 51% say their company has a “special sauce” for finding the best agencies. (AMI)
  10. More than 50% of the clients work with only one or two digital agencies, up from 47% in 2015 (SoDA Report)
  11. 49% of companies say they typically take more than three months to choose an agency once they’ve decided to begin their search. (AMI)
  12. 35% of clients are often required by their organizations to review multiple agencies even if they’ve already identified the one they want to hire, and to review agencies frequently, even if they’re happy with their work.(AMI)
  13. 34% are skeptical and believe most agencies pretend to know more about their industry and their business than they really do, and that agencies usually don’t give their company’s needs the level of attention they should. (AMI)
  14. 31% of clients are looking for a personal connection with their agency partners. (AMI)
  15. 26% of clients say their marketing budget is established based on a calculation of lifetime customer value, tolerable expenditures per customer gained, and annual sales targets. (AMI)
  16. 21% of agencies indicate they were now working with nearshore and offshore partners for digital production. (SoDA Report)
  17. Only 20% of respondents report having an Agency of Record. (AMI)


  1. 90% of agencies they understand their client’s businesses, only 65% of clients agree. (USA Today)
  2. 88% of clients claim to speak their mind freely, even when it’s uncomfortable. But among agency leaders who frequently interact with clients, only 36% believe this is true. (USA Today)
  3. 76% of agency executives say their clients are afraid to take risks. (USA Today)
  4. 61% of marketers and 70% of agency executives admit they don’t share the same definition of creativity. (USA Today)
  5. 56% say their agencies are more interested in “selling” them their work rather than solving their problems. (USA Today)
  6. More than 50% of clients believe their agencies lack digital talent. (SoDA Report)
  7. 46% of clients say there are factors that automatically disqualify agencies. When asked to share them, respondents cited characteristics such as bad publicity or agency reputation, a poor website, a lack of integrity or experience, and personality conflicts. (AMI)
  8. 13% of companies believe they can create agency services in-house and don’t need an ad agency. (SoDA Report)

Do these numbers reflect your experiences? Do they represent reality? Are you rethinking your agency relationships?

Top 10 social media listening tools from fee to free 3

Posted on June 19, 2016 by Rob Petersen


social media listening tools

Social media listening tools identify and assess what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand on the internet. They are used to identify trends, track competitors, understand customer sentiment and discover insights for business building.

Whether it comes with a fee or is free, social media listening tools should be able to:

  • Listen for specific mentions across social media
  • Identify trending topics or phrases
  • Detail customer sentiment
  • Organize customer information
  • Identify thought leaders and influencers

Is this valuable for you business? What are the best ones? Why?

Here are our 10 top social media listening tools from fee to free.

social media listening tools sysomos

1. SYSOMOS: Is a comprehensive social media listening tools especially relevant for businesses with global reach. It can monitor 186 languages and translate 55. Sysomos is a platform comprised of products with specific roles. Sysomos Everything Together (SET) is an integrated social platform that brings together four of its leading products: 1) MAP – which identifies influencers, understanding customer sentiment, or tracking your own social strategies over time, 2) Heartbeat – to monitor, analyze, and understand all the conversations around specific topics all over the world, 3) Influence – helps identify the individuals that can amplify your message and encourages others to take action and 4) Optimize – to engage directly with your target audience is important for all advertisers. Sysomos requires a subscription licence based on the number of users. Subscription fees are monthly and can be purchase by product for a suite of products. Unlimited use of the Sysomos MAP with no restriction on the number of queries, topics or results and complete support and training of an Account Manager is $2,500/month. For Sysomos Heartbeat, $500/month and $1,000/month for Heartbeat Pro to give you an idea.

social listening tools visible technologies

2.VISIBLE TECHNOLOGIES: Is an online social reputation management and social media software solution for enterprise marketers and agencies worldwide. Visible Technologies uses two sentiment-analysis techniques for an accuracy of 80 to 90 percent. The company operates Visible Intelligence, a technology platform that focuses on social media monitoring, data analytics and insights, and customer engagement areas. Its platform also facilitates guided search navigation; repeatable search categories, such as demographics, segments, and attributes; post scheduling; reach analytics; advanced filtering; and scheduled reports. Pricing is monthly subscription requiring a one-year contract. It is one of the more expensive option because you are paying for unlimited search. Pricing starts at $12,000/year.

social listening tools salesforce social studio

3, SALESFORCE: Is a social media management solution designed to build and maintain relationship throughout the “customer journey.” Salesforce Social Studio is keyword based so it is important to know the topics, subjects and brands you are listening for. Salesforce Social Studio help are to listen more effectively across multiple platforms. Social Studio draws tech strengths from Radian6 including social customer monitoring and engagement as well as management across multiple social channels. Social Studio is also used for scheduling posts, customer engagement and social media publishing. Social Studio is cloud based operating on an annual contract. It has channels for email, mobile, ads, and web it addition to Social Studio that helps brands listen, engage, and publish on social networks. Pricing starts at $15,000/year and is determined based on the number of users, brands and keywords.

social listening tools brandwatch

4. BRANDWATCH: Is a platform for social media monitoring, allowing you to analyze and utilize conversations from across the social web.  From social media monitoring to functions such as investor relations, public affairs and media relations, Brandwatch integrates data from a wide variety of area into telling dashboards. Online focus groups can even be set up. Brandwatch is one of the strongest social media anayltics tools you can find. Its pricing is going to be a little out of reach for small businesses but it is an excellent social media listening tool for mid-sized business on up. Pricing starts at $800/month.

social listening tools viralheat

5. VIRALHEAT: Encompasses every aspect of social media monitoring by providing a very handy solution that allows you insight into how your competitors are performing, who they are engaging with and which users are the big influencers. You can monitor and analyze in real-time and you’ve got a powerful base to create conversations or join conversations that are happening right now. You can also drill deeper into the monitoring of your brand by comparing keywords and monitoring any current trends. ViralHeat was acquired by Cision to build out the most comprehensive suite to build out the most comprehensive suite of social media tools. It is still available on a stand-along basis. Pricing is on a monthly subscription basis. It starts at $9/month and is based on the number of users.

social listening tools simply measured

6. SIMPLYMEASURED: Is one of the best single-source solution for web and social analytics out there. SimplyMeasured consolidates metrics into a single, easy-to-use reporting dashboard make to make things easy to digest when sharing metrics across the organisation. Simply Measured is fully compatible with mobiles and tablets. The layout fits perfectly on mobile and tablet, regardless of screen size, with a fully responsive design that looks as gorgeous as the web view on a desktop. Pricing is monthly and starts at $500/month.

social listening tools sprout social

7. SPROUTSOCIAL: Makes managing multiple platforms simple by allowing you to schedule, post, and follow up on users. It creates an ability to find new users and search by topics so you can find new followers and topics to keep up with. Sprout Social’s dashboards is very clean and organized. Sprout Social offers excellent integration with Google Analytics as well as excellent customer service. Pricing is monthly, reasonable with opportunities to trade up as needed. For a business that is serious about social media monitoring but not yet ready to make a major financial investment, Sproutsocial should be a strong consideration. They offer a free trial. On an annual basis, costs are in the area of $3,000 for use by a team of 4.

social listening tools hootsuite

8. HOOTSUITE: Is one of the more popular social media management platforms and probably the most popular with small buisnesses. A primary advantage of Hootsuite is that it connects to virtually every social network. So if you want to run, manage and monitor campaigns on multiple social network, Hootsuite does it simply. The interface on HootSuite is organized by tabs allowing users to divide engagement activity into social networks and streams. The number of social networks that Hootsuite users have access to is determined by their account level: Free, Pro, or Enterprise. The Free version is limited to three networks. Their Pro version is $9.99/month.

social listening tools addictomatic

9. ADDICTOMATIC: Searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. Twazzup, Addict-o-matic and SocialMention are three free platforms that allow you to measure your social media mentions instantly with the buzz on any topic. Addictomatic is a discovery platform. After you search, you can personalize your results dashboard by moving around the source boxes. When you’re done, bookmark the page and keep coming back to your personalized results dashboard for that search.

social listening tools social searcher

10. SOCIAL SEARCHER: Social Searcher is also a social search engine. But Social Searcher also provides you with access to some interesting analytical tools, such as sentiment (in terms of positive, negative, neutral and ratio), the source of the content that you have found: Content, types of result (links, photographs, status updates), keywords (1 word, 2 words, 3 words) and popular content (such as retweeted tweets). You can use Social Searcher free for 100 real time searches per day. The basic version allows 200 searches per day going through to the professional version at 800 searches per day, based on network usage. Costs go from €3.49 per month to €19.49 a month.

Did you know about these social media listening tools? Are there any you would add or delete in your top 10? Do you need help identifying the right social media listening tool for your business?

22 facts show social media is pay to play now 1

Posted on June 12, 2016 by Rob Petersen




social media pay to play

For many businesses, an allure of social media is it’s a free way to promote your company. Seductive thinking. Maybe that’s why 88% of U.S. businesses use social media marketing.

Companies worldwide spent $23.68 billion on social media advertising in 2015, according to eMarketer, a 33.5% increase from 2014. By 2017, social network ad spending will reach $35.98 billion, representing 16.0% of all digital ad spending globally.

Seductive thinking to social networks and their shareholders raising the question: Would a social network favor someone who pays for an ad over someone who posts for free?

Here are 25 facts that show social media is pay to play now.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Social network revenue from advertising is growing at significant rates.

  1. Facebook advertising revenue jumped 57% in the first quarter of 2016 to $5.2 billion from $3.3 billion. Mobile ads, which command a higher price than those shown on desktops, accounted for roughly four-fifths of that revenue. (The Wall Street Journal)
  2. LinkeIn’s ad revenue grew by 29% in the 1st Quarter of 2015 to $154.1 million. (MarketingLand)
  3. Twitter in fourth quarter 2015 made $641 million from advertising, up 48% year-over-year and with mobile accounting for 86% of that sum. (Ad Age)
  4. By 2017, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion, accounting for over 10% of parent company Facebook’s global ad revenues. (eMarketer)
  5. Snapchat sold its first ad in October 2014, brought in $3 million that year, and is on track to generate $100 million in revenue in 2016. (Business Insider)
  6. Pinterest’s leaked financials revealed the company is targeting $2.8 billion in revenue by 2018. (Business Insider)
  7. Social programmatic ad platforms are growth engines. Spending on FBX, Facebook’s programmatic platform, increased by 150% year-over-year globally during the second quarter of 2014, based on a sample of advertisers compiled by Ignition One. (Business Insider)
  8. Social networks earned an estimated $8.3 billion from advertising in 2015. (Jeff Bullas)

AD PRODUCTS FOR ALL BUSINESSES: It’s a very sophisticated marketplace. There’s an ad product for every business.

  1. Small businesses spend an estimated $5 to $50 a day on promoted posts and ads on Facebook. (Reuters)
  2. 76% of B2C respondents use promoted posts – boosted Facebook posts and promoted tweets and pins. 61% find promoted posts effective. (Social Media Examiner)
  3. 80% of LinkedIn’s revenue growth is from sponsored content. (MarketingLand)
  4. Google+ advertising is changing the way social ads work. Called +Post ads, they allow businesses to pay to have content shared on Google+ appear as an expandable, interactive display ad across the web. (Modern Connection)
  5. Snapchat charges $750,000 for a disappearing ad on its platform drove an audible gasp from the industry. (eConsultancy)

ORGANIC REACH IS DECLINING: It’s getting harder to achieve the same results posting for free on social networks.

  1. “Organic reach” of content from brands and small businesses has fallen to less than 2 percent of all fans. (Inc.)
  2. In December of 2013, Facebook changed the algorithm that determines who sees what content, resulting in business pages losing 40-80% viewership of their posts. (Modern Connection)
  3. Company Facebook pages reach as little as 2.6% of their followers. (Adweek)
  4. Of the 2.6% of users pages reached with their posts, 11.8% engaged with those posts, on average. (Adweek)
  5. Pages with more than 1 million Likes saw link posts perform the best, at 3.78% reach. For those with fewer than 1,000 Likes, video posts perform best with reach up to 30.0%. (Adweek)
  6. Average organic likes growth was 0.53%, and pages with fewer than 1,000 Likes saw that figure rise to 1.62%.(Adweek)

SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS: Is social media worth it? The facts say “yes.”

  • People are spending nearly an hour every day scrolling through Facebook status updates, liking Instagram posts, or chatting on Messenger (Business Insider)
  • Facebook has 50 minutes of your time each day (NY Times)
  • 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. (Source: State of Inbound Marketing 2012 (Zephoria)

Do these facts convince you social media is pay to play now? Does it change your thinking? Does your business need help navigating social media in a pay to play world?

10 best competitive intelligence tools to know your enemy 0

Posted on June 06, 2016 by Rob Petersen




Competitive Intelligence

Competitive intelligence tools gather, analyze and distribute information about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers making strategic decisions for an organization.

Sun Tzu’s wisdom to know your enemy and know yourself in The Art of War is as true today as it was in 500 B.C. If Sun Tzu were with us today, would he be using digital competitive intelligence tools? Probably. Why wouldn’t he? There are some excellent competitive intelligence tools out there. Many are available for free.

Here are 10 best competitive intelligence tools to know the enemy.

  • GOOGLE TRENDS: Measuring individual sites (yours or competitor) is good but the real fun in this is comparing trends. That will give you the key context you need to make even more sense of this competitive data. Don’t focus on the actual numbers (you’ll notice I say this a lot in this post). You want to compare the trends and each line gives context to the other two. That is deeply meaningful. –Avinash Kaushik (Google)

competitive intelligence tools


  • COMPETE: Has a useful interface, speaks the right language (unique visitors, visits, etc.), offers the ability to compare multiple sites, and its data is easy to understand and well presented. Compete is best used for comparing competitors’ website traffic. The trends are reliable. The information could be meaningfully used to look into seasonal trends between competitors. – Sam Crocker (MOZ)

Compete competitive intelligence

  • ALEXA: Has been around since 1996. It’s a (mostly) free service that will help you analyze traffic on your competitor’s ecommerce store. Type in your competitors URL and Alexa will give you their global traffic rank, number of sites linking in, search analytics, audience insight, average site load time, and a whole lot more. You can really dig deep with Alexa, but it’s important to note that there are inaccuracies with Alexa’s information, since they get their data from those who have installed their toolbar for IE and Firefox or installed their Google Chrome extension. Take the numbers with a grain of salt. – Mark Hayes (Ecommerce University)

Alexa compettive intelligencce

  • HITWISE: An Experian product, provides excellent data and insight that no free/ low-cost alternative can rival. With Hitwise, you can build an even more accurate picture of where you are versus your competitors. Upstream and downstream reporting allows you to form an impression of the behaviour, intention and ‘mindset’ of visitors to your website. An ‘upstream’ report will show you what sites visitors have been to before visiting yours and shed light on the types of behaviour customers are displaying before they visit you. – Gavin Llewellyn (Smart Insights)

Hitwise copetitive intelligence

  • SIMILAR WEB: Is a company that aggregates data from multiple sources to estimate traffic, geography, and referral data for websites and mobile apps. Their traffic data can give insights into the reach of almost any website, and according to one study, SimilarWeb ranked as the most accurate for their traffic estimates and had coverage of almost 90% of the internet. These traffic estimates can be used to compare the reach of your website with those of your competitors, and gives you a good sense of your standing in the marketplace. One of the best features of competitive intelligence tools like Similar Web is seeing the breakout of competitors’ traffic. – John Doz (DOZ)similarweb-competitive-intelligence
  • KEYWORD SPY: Offers a free Organic Competitors report that can help identify who the top competitors are for a particular keyword. Using this tool to identify competitors can not only help identify competitors you may not have known about, but also lets you see how competition differs around different keywords.  –Mark Purtell (Search Engine Journal)

Keyword Spy Competitive Intelligence

  • OPEN SITE EXPLORER: Is one of the free tools which will enable you to check link popularity, and monitor existing backlinks. If you are trying to promote your website with the help of blogs or guest blogs, you should definitely keep an eye on the links that you create. Open Site Explorer can help you predict page and domain authority, calculate total number of inbound links and determine the domain’s ranking potential (with the help of over 40 parameters). – Anna Robeson (Grow Map)

Open Site Explorer Competitive Intelligence

  • QUANTCAST: Provides “free direct audience measurement for all website owners including traffic, demographics, business, lifestyle, interests and more.”  What I love most about this free tool is the amount of data it shows, in graphical form,without needing to sign up for an account.  See the screenshot example below for – Amin Shawki (InfoTrust)

Quantcast Competitive Intelligence

  • SEMRUSH: Lets you monitor competitors’ organic keyword positions, find relevant long tail keywords, see your competitors’ PPC ads, and more. It also includes SEO tools. There’s a wealth of data available from the free search bar on the homepage, though you will have to upgrade ($69.95 per month) for more queries and results – Chris Kilbourn (Kiss Metrics)

SEM Rush Competitive Intelligence

  • WEBSITE GRADER: Allows you to learn about the overall success of your competition’s SEO. With this tool, you can learn website traffic patterns and SEO data. You can also see which tactics are working and which aren’t, and you can also learn if conversions are being made. This tool will score you out of 100, and it will even provide you with suggestions on how you can improve your SEO. – Indiesilver Marketing

competitive intelligence tools - website grader

These are our 10 best competitive intelligence tools. Do they match yours? Would you add another?

8 tips to design better business dashboards 0

Posted on May 30, 2016 by Rob Petersen


business dashboards

Business dashboards are information management tools used to track KPIs, metrics, and other key data points relevant to a business, department and its objectives. With the right data visualizations, dashboards simplify complex data sets to tell its audience a clear and understandable story.

Dashboards are not venues for artistic impression. That’s because the purpose of business dashboards are to provide relevant and timely information; that captures the attention and teaches valuable lessons.

Here are 8 tips to design better business dashboards.

  • KNOW YOUR KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs): KPIs metrics tied to a target based on a business objective.  The most important role of a business dashboard is to tell the audience if the business is achieving its objectives. KPIs represent how far a metric is above or below a pre-determined target. To reassure the audience your dashboard is going to present a complete story, KPIs should be the first thing your audience see.
  • BE AWARE OF HOW DATA SAVVY IS YOUR AUDIENCE: Will the end-user be familiar with the data or are they new to the data? For familiar users, ensure that the metrics and visualizations align with the standard way the business is using the data. For new users, make sure to give the visualizations and fields intuitive titles, and to align the metric to familiar business goals. This dashboard can include text boxes to reinforce the point the charts clearly convey.
  • USE FAMILIAR CHARTS: Use charts managers and executives already know how to read these and assimilate. Line, Bar and Pie charts may not be new or sexy, but they ground the story you want to tell with familiar landmarks. Maps can also give an immediate signal of the area to be discussed. Use unfamiliar, highly multidimensional chart types (x/y, heat/treemaps) with caution — these are best used for analysts working across broad data sets as part of exploratory interactive data visualization.
  • KEEP CHART SIMPLE: This applies to charts themselves too, where “less is more.” The aim should be to communicate the data with as little visual “noise” as possible.  In practical terms this means averring the use of unnecessary decoration, chart backgrounds that add no meaning, redundant text, 3D visualizaion and grid lines — anything that adds nothing to the communication of the data or worse obscures it.
  • SELECT THE RIGHT CHART FOR YOUR DATA: The primary charts to consider for a business dashboard are:
    • Line Charts – A Line Chart is an effective graph formed from a series of data points connected by the eponymous line. They are often used to show developments over time and identify trends.
    • Bar Charts – Perhaps the most common misconception about charts and dashboards is that more is better. Bar Charts are a simple and effective way to look at different values and segments (like sales by region) and provide clear and compelling analyses and comparisons.
    • Pie Charts – These charts are often the subject of controversy. Data visualization guru Edward Tufte writes, “pie charts are bad and that the only thing worse than one pie chart is lots of them.” No matter how you feel about pie charts, the only time you should use them is when you need a graph representing proportions of a whole, when the total of your numbers is 100%.
    • Tables – Tables are great for detailed information with different units of measure, which may be difficult to represent easily in a graph or chart.
    • Gauges – This type of graphic typically displays one or more values using indicators and appropriate metrics. They are often used in dashboards to highlight a specific KPI that needs attention.
    • Area Charts – Area charts are awesome for multiple data series with part to whole relationships, or for individual series representing a physically countable set.
  • EMPHASIZE KEY VALUE IN CHART WITH NUMBERS: Although the right chart is the best way to display a set of data on your Excel dashboards and reports, you still might want to call attention to the top values in that chart. The selective use of numbers can point out key information or highlight a specific period making your point without the need for text.
  • ALLOW DRILL-DROP CAPABILITIES: Just as you go from the front page to deeper pages within a news site, a business user often has to drill into the details beyond the data to determine what business action is called for. A report or graph displaying a trend is nice, but what is useful is drilling into the detail to see what is causing the trend and in what area the business user needs to take action.
  • DESIGN FOR THE MOST POPULAR PLATFORM: How will your users interact with your application? Will they view it on their iPad, on a full resolution PC, or on their smartphone? Knowing the platform which your users prefer is key to building a powerful and usable interface.

Well designed business dashboards are remarkable information management tools. But don’t forget the purpose it serves. To guide your audience to making better decisions because they have been told a story that presents a complete picture from beginning to end.

Did these tips help you design business dashboards? Does your business need help creating a better business dashboard?


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