AM Navigator Named Among Best Affiliate Management Agencies of 2013

While some would rank “best affiliate marketing companies” monthly (often bundling up affiliate program management (or OPM) agencies together with affiliate networks and other vendors in the space), it is the yearly rankings that are most honorable, in my opinion.

There are several of these around — from network specific to industry-wide ones. Among the latter ones in the U.S. are Affiliate Summit’s Pinnacle Awards and ABestWeb’s “The Best Of” Awards.

Myself (and my company, AM Navigator) had the honor of making the list of finalists for Affiliate Summit’s awards (including the 2013 inclusion in the “Affiliate Manager of the Year” category), but it’s been some time since AM Navigator was last nominated for “The OPM of the Year” award at After holding the award for three years in a row (2006, 2007, and 2008) I was thrilled to see us nominated again for 2013.

The voting closed yesterday, and I am happy to see that we, actually, came as #2 (gathering near 30% of all votes):

Thanks to Kush of VM Innovations (who himself holds an Affiliate Manager of the Year 2014 Pinnacle Award from Affiliate Summit) for his nomination, and big thanks to everyone who voted for me, my work, and my business here.

Congratulations also to Greg Hoffman for winning this one, and to all the other nominees. It is a truly amazing line-up of agencies and individuals. I am proud to personally know every one of them.

Entrust Marketing to Experts! Localization Disaster Example

I’ve been in marketing for so long that very few people remember (or even know) that, first and foremost, I’m a linguist and a translator. Having spent over 7 years of my life training for, and working in this area, I am particularly sensitive to translation and localization mistakes. And while many of them can be justified by complexities of grammar, the banner that I’ve spotted today was plain hopeless.

Checking my Yahoo mail earlier this morning I was staggered by what I saw in the sidebar. A banner which was clearly localized (the concept was likely American, the original ad copy was in English, but since I was accessing Yahoo from Russia, I was served a “Russian” version of it) contained 7 mistakes in 7 words:

What is even worse, all of the above are mistakes made by elementary school children.

When you need a surgery, you go to a medical doctor, not to a plumber whose mother is a nurse and he knows a medical thing here and there (and may even have similar tools). Why, then, when it comes to marketing, would you even think of hiring anyone but a professional? When you are marketing, you are putting your brand (your most valuable asset!) on the frontline. Do you really want to have it associated with low quality?

The above example has once again reminded me of Aldo Gucci’s “the bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.”

Entrust your marketing to experts! Unless, of course, you want your brand to be associated with dilettantism.

Is Your Business Local? Target Your Online Advertising Accordingly!

A recent study by EyeTrackShop (ETS) has revealed that due to the way Facebook users view it (see ETS’ heatmap below), “Facebook’s page post ad visually outperforms its standard ad.” The ads that imitate posts on your timeline yield “200% higher visibility” than the right sidebar ads [more here].

However, regardless of the types of ads that you use (Facebook, Twitter, paid search campaigns, etc), before wasting your advertising dollars, tweak your settings to display your ad only to your target audience. For example, if you run a taxi service which covers Washington, DC and vicinities, no need to bid on taxi-related keywords/key-phrases nationally. Serve your ads only to Internet users in DC, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland.

Here is a Facebook “page post ad” that I couldn’t help but spot on my timeline yesterday night:

While, there are other things that could be improved here, the main one that jumps at me is that they are located in (and servicing!) Southern California. Malibu is 2,700 miles away from me. No matter how well they do their job, there is absolutely no sane way that they can wash my windows. Why waste the money on serving this ad to me?

Viral Marketing Idea: Optical Illusion (and How To Create One)

A really amazing optical illusion has been making the rounds on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms lately. And, I must admit, I couldn’t help but participate in spreading it too. Here it is [Instructions: look at the red dot on the lady’s nose for 30 seconds, then turn your eyes on a plain surface (white ceiling or clean sheet of paper) and blink as fast as you can]:

If you do it right, you’ll see this picture of Deepika Padukone, a famous Bollywood actress. Regardless of that “HM” in the bottom right-hand corner, I couldn’t confirm that the spread of this viral optical illusion “campaign” was initiated by H&M. In fact, it appears that this particular illusion is based on a photo taken from Padukone’s endorsement photoshoot of Sony Cyber-shot cameras (which you can see her holding in her hand).

Whatever it was, this brings up a very interesting idea for creating viral marketing campaigns based on optical illusion. And it is also very easy to create these negatives! For example, as shown below, to do it in Photoshop you go to Image > Adjustments > Invert (or simply hit Ctrl+I). Just remember that the colors of the original “focus dots” will change too.

If you have Windows 7, the Magnifier tool will do this for you too [see “how to” instructions here].

Are you using optical illusions for viral marketing yet? I say, it is worth a try. Coupled with smart Social Media marketing, it can bear really good fruit. Just remember to also look beyond the fun, setting measurable goals (yes, “likes” and “ReTweets” but, ultimately, leads, subscriptions, and conversions), diligently tracking them.