Posts filed under Strategy

Social Media Posts Can Make For A Hotbed of Testing

I hear it a lot; how do I get started with "A/B" testing? I agree that it's not as simple as diversifying your email subject line and hope to make a monumental business lift. Moreover, more and more businesses are doing their marketing internally and therefore, don't have creative agencies that might do spending against focus groups, or do preemptive testing within a crowdfunding environment. Lastly, if you are dealing with an agency or creative house, you know that it can be extremely costly to make large campaign shifts.

Enter social media posts —

One of the many things that you could do is to create a "one-off" piece of creative and run as a social media post against your primary channels. It's not to say that you will have an overabundance of success with one particular post. However, boosting/promoting posts is relatively inexpensive, can be done in a short period of time, and can render even if minimal analytical results that you contest against. You'd be suprised how often this little trick is overlooked.


The agency likes it. The agency sells it well and the client likes it. Then off it goes with minimal testing (in some cases) if any testing and you're DUMPING scads of budget against a 6-month runner and praying for results. See the nice part about social media posting is not only can you test variability against large differentiations in creative but you can then dial in one piece and test subtle teaks to the CTAs and actionable offers.

The key to doing A/B testing was social media post is not much different than anything– be consistent with each one. Don't favor any particular piece of creative and assign the same amount of money to each individual insert as its own campaign – say one week at $100.

Once you've received your analytics back after the week, start to make tweaks against a silo'd campaign (while you test another creative outside of this directive) that has variations in specific attributes of called to action and content of the offer. Each time you rotate a cycle of creative, be sure to analyze your cost-per-action (or acquisition) dependent upon your business model. From there, as you adjust your creative spend, more money can be applied to the granularity in messaging to ensure the best combination of elements is working for you.

Now when you start down the path of ramping up a budget to a larger more complex content deliverable, like OTT or influencer campaign, you can do so with the knowledge that you've done far more than passive testing to ensure success.

Here’s an examples of a couple of creative pieces from various “micro-campaigns” that we’re testing online.

Posted on August 19, 2019 and filed under Advertising, Strategy, Process.

False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources

False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources

The Following post is by Melissa Zimdars . © 2016

Some of contents of this educational resource/google document, specifically the list of potential false, misleading, clickbait-y, and/or satirical news sources, have been removed in order for it to be transferred to and expanded on in a more permanent, dynamic, and collaborative home.  This page will reflect updates as they become available.

Tips for analyzing news sources:

  • Avoid websites that end in “lo” ex: Newslo. These sites take pieces of accurate information and then packaging that information with other false or misleading “facts” (sometimes for the purposes of satire or comedy).

  • Watch out for websites that end in “” as they are often fake versions of real news sources  

  • Watch out if known/reputable news sites are not also reporting on the story. Sometimes lack of coverage is the result of corporate media bias and other factors, but there should typically be more than one source reporting on a topic or event.

  • Odd domain names generally equal odd and rarely truthful news.

  • Lack of author attribution may, but not always, signify that the news story is suspect and requires verification.

  • Some news organizations are also letting bloggers post under the banner of particular news brands; however, many of these posts do not go through the same editing process (ex: BuzzFeed Community Posts, Kinja blogs, Forbes blogs).

  • Check the “About Us” tab on websites or look up the website on Snopes or Wikipedia for more information about the source.

  • Bad web design and use of ALL CAPS can also be a sign that the source you’re looking at should be verified and/or read in conjunction with other sources.

  • If the story makes you REALLY ANGRY it’s probably a good idea to keep reading about the topic via other sources to make sure the story you read wasn’t purposefully trying to make you angry (with potentially misleading or false information) in order to generate shares and ad revenue.

  • If the website you’re reading encourages you to DOX individuals, it’s unlikely to be a legitimate source of news.

  • It’s always best to read multiple sources of information to get a variety of viewpoints and media frames. Some sources not yet included in this list (although their practices at times may qualify them for addition), such as The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, and Fox News, vacillate between providing important, legitimate, problematic, and/or hyperbolic news coverage, requiring readers and viewers to verify and contextualize information with other sources.

For more tips on analyzing the credibility and reliability of sources, please check out School Library Journal (they also provide an extensive list of media literacy resources) and the Digital Resource Center.

Here's the link to the complete document.

What is Your Wawa?

I talk about branding constantly. Just ask the poor guy who sat next to me on a flight to NYC last week.

One of the many things I always hit on is the “essence” of a brand. But in many cases, a brand also has a physical manifestation.

That point hit home for me in a personal way when I was driving to the taco joint ... um, I mean Whole Foods ... a few days ago and eyeballed a Wawa convenience store/gas station under construction in my neighborhood. For those of you who don’t know Wawa, there is nothing more fabulous when it comes to a convenience store.

The brand has roots in the Northeast, but has progressively found a home in the South. The first Orlando location opened with the amount of fanfare we normally reserve for visiting celebrities and high-profile court cases. My wife and I eagerly stood in line the first week awaiting the opportunity to use Wawa’s DIY touchscreen sandwich maker and get a whiff of their multiple coffee flavors.

Now I am getting a Wawa less than a mile from my home. From a brand standpoint, something hit me like a ton of swizzle sticks while I sat at a red light and surveyed the construction site. At least in our region, all the new Wawa stores have a consistent architectural style defined by a sloping roofline that covers the gas pump area. 

And guess when they build that pavilion?

They construct it before the first yard of concrete is poured, and before they erect the walls for the building that will dispense those heavenly sandwiches.

Sitting at that red light, it suddenly occurred to me that Wawa takes advantage of a brand-centric pre-marketing device like no other. For months before the new store opens, that roof structure spreads the gospel like a street-corner preacher promising to deliver us from mediocre gas-station food and bland coffee.


What other brands have this effect? 

Back in the day, Taco Bell used to have a little “bell” niche on the building’s facade that might have given you an indication. For those who remember the freestanding restaurants, Pizza Hut had a distinctive roofline. You can probably think of others.

So what is the Wawa for your business? More specifically, when you deploy a product or service in a new marketplace, what signals your arrival? This question has actually haunted me for a couple of weeks. I’m tuned into it every time I see a building under construction. And that’s easy here in Central Florida, where new shopping centers, restaurants and banks pop up like zits the week before prom.

Pre-marketing takes on a lot of forms:

  • Actors, musicians, and miscellaneous celebrities always spin a good tale about the next big thing they are involved in
  • The traditional “coming soon” sign
  • Certainly doing a press release creates some momentum, but only with specific customers and businesses through the right media channels
  • Capitalizing on social media and asking the audience to share expansion updates with friends in new markets
  • Blogger buzz, immersive marketing, and outdoor advertising may also get the needle to twitch 

However, I’m fascinated that Wawa can announce its arrival without any typical media spend. The physical structure already does the job.

Now I would like to challenge you to see if you can identify any other brands or products that employ this tactic whether or not they know that they’re doing it. The challenge is great but I think you’re up to the task.

Posted on April 13, 2015 and filed under Brand, Process, Strategy.

“Plinko” Content: Zig and Zag Your Way to Brand Awareness

Storytelling is the most powerful messaging tool available to us. It doesn’t matter if that story comes from blog articles, video, podcasting, or other channels. Nothing can convey the heart and soul of brand essence like a solid story that can be retold (shared) with all the contemporary social tools. However, there is also a fallacy in the assertion that a great story is all you need...

For the remainder of this article click here:

Posted on April 13, 2015 and filed under Brand, Advertising, Strategy.