Archive for ‘Digital Marketing Trends’

Acquity Group Acquires Anova Group

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Anova Marketing Group is pleased to announce that we will be joining Acquity Group ( after completion of our acquisition by Acquity Group.

Full Text of Announcement found at

The SEO Link Building Bubble Has Officially Popped

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Chief Marketing Officers should connect the dots on three recent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) articles.   The first being the NY Times article on how JC Penney’s SEO link building scheme collapsed and the resulting SEO performance drop.   Soon after,’s paid link building scheme also unraveled.   Then on Friday, Google announced changes to its search engine algorithm to fight against low value content sites such as eHow.

Chief Marketing Officers should be noting that years of SEO investment by these companies were literally wiped away in hours.   If SEO investment were an asset on these companies balance sheet, they would be disclosing huge earnings write downs.   In addition to the SEO drop, these companies also receive a brand hit as they have been called out as cheaters and spammers.

The bottom line is that Google is trying to connect people to outstanding, original and relevant content.   The SEO link building schemes and low value content approaches were working on the premise that they could disguise their flimsy content from Google.  Sooner or later, these schemes inevitably have to collapse like Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme.

On the other hand, if these companies had invested in great content over the past few years, they would benefit from not only an improved SEO position but also from a more positive interaction with prospective customers.  In the end, all efforts to trick Google or a prospective customer are going to end badly.  If you haven’t been caught yet, you will be.  However, it  is not too late to start focusing on a sustainable SEO strategy built upon great content.

Posted by Jeff Aliotta. Jeff is Managing Partner and co-founder of Anova Marketing Group.

Why e-Mail is losing to Twitter and Facebook?

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Everyone and their Grandmother now has Facebook. Questions like “do you have a Facebook?” or “can I look you up on Facebook?” have become questions of the distant past, everyone is on Facebook. Twitter too has grown exponentially in popularity. Twitter launched in 2006 and now boasts 190 million users. In 2010 alone 100 million new users joined the social networking and micro blogging service. With the increased viability of these social networking behemoths more and more people are using them for communication and advertising, turning their backs on traditional methods like email.

Online communication is no longer dominated by email. Everything from formal emails between clients and colleagues, to informal chatter between friends and family, and even information from news sources and discounts from online retailers was done via email. Today this is no longer the case. Yes the total number of emails sent per day dwarfs that of tweets, 294 billion to 65 million, but that figure is deceiving. Nearly 90% of all emails sent are spam. When only 1 in 10 emails are of any substance people begin taking their business elsewhere, spam has become the Achilles heal of electronic mail.

People utilize Facebook’s private messaging system much like they once utilized email. I use Facebook for just about all of my personal communication. Facebook is great for casual communication because it’s so much quicker to write on someone’s wall or send a private message than having to draft an email, it also comes without the negatives of spam.

The great thing about Twitter is that it packs an expansive amount of information from thousands of sources into one central location, all at the discretion of the user. So instead of turning to email people turn to twitter and can get their daily news fix, gossip, and sales discounts without having to wade through all the annoying spam. I love Twitter because I can view information from several different sources all on the same page without having to individually visit each website.

Social networking sites are allowing for easier communication, efficient surfing and gathering of information, for extremely personalized web experiences. Emailing and traditional online sources of information still have their place but will only see their share of trafficking dwindle as more and more sophisticated sites and services come into the limelight.

Advertising Enough to Justify Facebook Valuation?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Facebook has risen to the top of the barrel as the undisputed king of social media and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Goldman Sachs recently valued the social media titan at $50 billion. This comes as a bit of a surprise. According to those who saw documents pertaining to Goldman’s valuation Facebook’s net earnings in 2009 were $200 million- meaning their stock is valued to be worth 100 times their earnings. Clearly Goldman and Facebook are predicting major revenue increases in the near future, but for Facebook to be valued at 20 times future earnings they need to grow net earnings to $2.5 billion. Facebook must deepen their channels of revenue and look beyond just advertising if they hope to continue their marked success.

Over 500 million people are currently members of the Facebook network. It is used by a lot of people around the world, especially by college students, to stay connected with one’s peer group. Be it friending that one girl you just met at the bar, checking in on your buddy who goes to school two thousand miles away, or just staying current with your friend’s constant profile picture changes and status updates, Facebook has infiltrated the favorites bar on virtually every undergrad’s web browser in the world. There’s no denying that the “book bug” has plagued numerous individuals. Yes it’s abused, yes it’s impossible to ignore this post or that status, and yes I personally check Facebook daily and against my better judgment it has become a part of my routine web surfing, but are these facts any indication that advertising on the social media mammoth really works? Simply put, no.

My generation has grown up hand in hand with the Internet. We were born with dial-up in our homes and now have 4G cell phones with video chat capabilities in our back pockets. My peers are extremely well versed in the ins and outs of the World Wide Web and have learned to filter what they wish to see, and not see, while using it. If there is anything we have instinctively learned to ignore while surfing the web it’s banner advertisements. While I hop on Facebook to check the daily news feed and write on a few friend’s walls I’m more concerned with the political instability in North Korea than with what advertisements Facebook is lamely running. Banner ads and referral marketing are white noise to the veteran Facebook user. Over the years of perusing the internet people have become hard wired to ignore the side bars and pop-up ads that seem to be on almost every website.

People are not going to Facebook to be told what they should buy or where they should buy it, people are going to Facebook to simply utilize the network and stay in touch with their friends and family. When I reflect on what persuades my purchasing habits it never seems to be what ad I just saw on Facebook, and honestly I couldn’t tell you what ad I just saw on Facebook because ignoring them is an automatic response. For Facebook to retain their dominance they must create alternative avenues for generating revenue. The more time users spend on Facebook the less effective their advertisements will become. As new Facebookers become veteran Facebookers they will start to navigate the website more efficiently, get done what they came to the site to do, and then continue on with their web surfing routine, all while ignoring Facebook’s main revenue generators: banner advertisements and referral marketing.

-Max Blankenhorn

DePauw University Economics Student and Anova Group Intern

SEO Benchmarking Moving from SEO Tactics to SEO Strategy

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

What is good search engine optimization performance?
Are we ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than our competitors in SEO?

Chief Marketing Officers and brand managers have been increasingly asking these questions. Previously, they monitored revenue attributed to SEO as the yardstick of SEO effectiveness. Not surprisingly, SEO revenue steadily increased with an overall global digital sales uptrend. However, simply seeing SEO revenue growth really doesn’t answer the question of whether your SEO performance is better than your competitors.

The Coupon Site Affiliate Toll

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Coupon sites are, by far, the largest segment of affiliate marketing. The coupon site business model begins by aggregating coupons, sales, and promotions available on a retailer’s website or provided via other marketing campaigns (e.g. e-mail, search engine marketing). The coupon site then creates a separate page specific to each retailer highlighting all known promotions. In exchange, the retailer pays a commission to the coupon site for every customer who clicks on these promotions and then buys something on the retailer’s site. To be blunt, our advice to our clients is these coupon sites (note: we assume somewhere a coupon site adds value, but we haven’t seen one yet) are literally just diverting traffic already destined for their site and cutting into their profit like a toll booth on a highway.

BP Oil Spill Live Feed and Agile Digital Marketing

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

The BP Oil spill live feed offers the Anova Group a chance to demonstrate a few lessons in agile digital marketing. As of the time of writing this blog, millions of people have been searching on Google, Yahoo and Bing the following 5 words – “BP Oil Spill Live Feed”. I myself actually performed that search 4-5 times over the past few days in hopes that the ‘top kill’ procedure would have worked.

Anova Group is distinguished as a Google Certified Partner

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Google Certified PartnerGoogle has notified us that Anova Group is now a Google Certified Partner. Anova Group is pleased to join this very select group of companies recognized as a Google Certified Partner. At the time of writing this post, Anova Group is one of only 2 companies in the Charlotte, NC area and one of only 5 companies in the Chicago, IL area Google certified.

Agile Digital Marketing. Are you ready to act and react?

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

I recently read a post about the cultural changes a company needs to make before engaging their customers on social media platforms.  The emphasis was on the organization’s readiness to have their dirty laundry exposed and their willingness to implement cleaning strategies to mitigate negative buzz.  I found this to be insightful, because many companies do not recognize how much organizational change management is involved in today’s digital marketing environment.

Norwegian Team Curling Pants Another Social Media Mania

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Norwegian Olympic Curling Team PantsEvery day in social media, an event takes place that creates an unusual and uncontrollable social mania. My wife, who is Norwegian, introduced me to the Norwegian Curling Pants Facebook Fan Page. I have attached a picture of the pants in action at the Olympics at the right. As of February 22nd, this current mania can be measured by over 300,000 Norwegian Curling Pants fans. The fan page includes minute-by-minute score updates. As I write this blog, Norway is leading the French Team by a score of 7-2.

By their very nature, no marketer can predict exactly an upcoming social media mania. However, at the same time, I would bet that some social media activity concerning Olympic curling is not that surprising given the history of jokes (at least in the U.S.) about this sport. Furthermore, while a few entrepreneurs have jumped on the bandwagon in attempting to sell similarly styled golf pants, for the most part, this social media event may live and die without any marketing gurus taking advantage of the situation.

The lesson, I think, is that marketers who want to take advantage of social media should both be constantly brainstorming potential social media manias and have the capabilities in place to pounce within days or perhaps hours upon the temporal mania. For large companies, this is a scary proposition to have a team plotting for a social media eruption and expect that team to respond quickly without bureaucratic reviews and approvals. At the same time, considering the recent Toyota recall fiasco, not having a team in place to respond to social media eruptions may soon be the cause of senior executive firings.

Posted by Jeff Aliotta of Anova Group.