Following the crowd onto the big platforms is sometimes a good idea, and sometimes it’s not. Huge online monopolies like Facebook and Youtube have great advantages, but this means that everyone understands their value and thinks that they are the place to be; a saturated advertising environment is going to drive up competition and make your ad campaigns more expensive.


 Pinterest and Reddit Marketing 


It’s therefore worth thinking outside the box and working on different sites like Pinterest and Reddit; these offer a fantastic alternative for advertising and it’s often significantly more efficient to run campaigns with them. This is because they operate on the basis of constructing and discussing niche interest; users do half your work for you by actively building fora for their interests and priming themselves for making a purchase.

For example, if you want to sell camping equipment on Facebook, your target users are unlikely to be thinking about camping equipment when they see your ad or your page; after all, they’re online to build their own social brand by interacting with their friends and planning new events for themselves (perhaps they’re even online to stalk friends of friends or impossible romantic interests).

Even if Facebook targeting is helping you out, their inclination to make a purchase is a matter of luck. But if you want to sell your camping equipment on Pinterest or Reddit, your prospective customers are already looking for what you’re selling. Their user experience is specifically tailored to discussing and exploring all kinds of niches; if you can get your product in front of their eyes, they’ll be far more likely to make a purchase.

Pinterest works by allowing users to collate image-themed content on subject boards; users create ‘boards’ based on particular topics and can subsequently ‘pin’ images and products to their core theme. At this point, it’s possible for them to follow either other users or particular boards published by other users, and to make and receive recommendations centered around their interests. They use the site as a repository for ideas, and often to plan events like weddings or holidays.

It’s easy to see how to advertise here; you could theoretically run a very simple board for your business and have a social media manager interact with other users in order to build up traffic to your product pages. However, Pinterest also allows you to create a business account with access to ‘rich’ pins, which use meta-tags to boost rates of ‘repinning’ (sharing) and provide more analytic information to the business user. Pinterest operates as a kind of visual search engine, so you may have to do a little bit of research and optimise your SEO, but it really gives you the resources to interact with potential customers who are actively searching for the niches which your products occupy.

Reddit is in many ways conceptually similar but operates in a slightly different way. It is composed of a series of pages on every topic imaginable where users post comments on the subjects which interest them; topics are organised according to ‘subreddits,’ and users submit links so that other users can vote them up or down. As a result, the site automatically filters the best material in a given topic to the top of the relevant page.

Advertising on Reddit is very different from working on other platforms. Users are hostile to ads which seem inept or insincere, and they do not like to feel that they are being manipulated. This sounds bad, but it is in fact, the opportunity that a sensible advertiser is looking for; if you present an ad which is transparent about being an ad but also reads with the conversational style of an ordinary post, the campaign which you can run with Reddit’s user-friendly advertising services can be really effective. It may take more research to set up and target your ad campaign than on a platform like Facebook, but, with the right choices, you’ll see a far better conversion rate.

These sites may be very different from the most prominent social media sites, but their advertising potential is extraordinary and you should definitely be paying attention; it’s always worth considering alternative methods to make your business take-off, especially if your marketing budget isn’t as big as you’d like.



 Alejandro Betancourt

One of the greatest things about the internet is the ability to share videos. Though it’s not strictly true that other forms of media are obsolete, with the death of printed books regularly prophesied, one third of all online activity is spent watching videos. The demand for data storage grows every day, as approximately 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and there is no reason to believe that such trends are going to change.


 YouTube Logo 


YouTube is a soaring monopoly, with a reach far beyond traditional television networks in most demographics and a more than a billion active users scattered across the entire online world. Not only that, but, because it’s essentially a massive database, it also functions as the internet’s second largest search engine, which means that any investment in marketing and advertising using it will increase SEO as well as ordinary brand awareness.

So, basically, you really should consider having some kind of presence on this platform.

If you have the means to produce and publish content on a daily basis, setting up a YouTube channel is a complete no-brainer; it’s straightforward to do, offers opportunities to create a customized user experience, and free. There are also options for optimizing your videos for searches and ranking, like adding captions, targeted descriptions, and metadata. However, nothing beats daily posting for getting the attention of a search engine, and, if you can afford a structured and consistent content production plan, you’ll get your content in front of more viewers just by posting a new video every day. Since there are many aspects of the customer experience to discuss, there is also critique value in committing to such a campaign, as you’re likely to discover strengths and weaknesses of your business as you engage with your viewers.

On the other hand, you may merely want to get your product ads in front of viewers; though the average viewer skips ads so often that many begin with a ‘don’t skip!’ section, and popup ads will typically receive a judicious dismissal, there is still significant value in getting a product link in front of a viewer for a split second. One great advantage is that YouTube charges for ads on a pay per view, so if your ad is skipped you won’t be charged for it.

You’ll also be able to select target demographics, just like on other social media advertising like Facebook, and it’s easy to engage a specific audience with content tailored to your objectives, whether you want to build brand awareness with video ads or get clicks to product pages with popups.

It may seem that the market for advertising is flooded, but Youtube is specifically designed to make it easy to share and digest content, so it’s still a very good idea to get involved in the flood rather than just spectate.

If you can produce as much as you consume, you’re ahead of the game.


 Alejandro Betancourt

Twitter is a logical step in the evolution of the Internet and has become one of its essential components; it is a platform dedicated to real time experience which matches the need for a constant stream of novelty with bitesize packets of information to satisfy the limited attention span of the modern consumer. It combines the flexibility to keep abreast of current events with a sustainable means of engaging with potential customers, and it offers a suite of useful features to enterprising businesses: it also has approximately 330 million active users – if you’re not taking advantage of this platform, you’re missing out on an ideal opportunity to make money.

Twitter is based around short, pithy sentences of a limited number of characters, and relies on hashtags and @usernames to amplify topics and particular tweets. Users who follow one another can communicate by direct message, and it’s possible to interact with almost any user by retweeting of mentioning them in your own content.


 Twitter marketing 

There are two aspects to optimising this social media platform for business: advertising and branding – juggling the two might require some tradeoffs, but a proper use of the available options will amplify your business results considerably.

When it comes to advertising, Twitter offers two different kinds of ‘cards’ to improve the effectiveness of an ordinary tweet. A free account set up for your business can produce as many ‘product’ cards as you like, as long as you have the multimedia available to add to the card. These cards allow for a tweet optimised for engagement – images or video, links, commentary, and review information can be combined to make a powerful and visually engaging offer to any prospective customer. Once your card has created an engagement, you can get to work on your conversion.

Alternatively, you can let Twitter do most of the work for you with ‘lead generation’ cards. When you’re using Promoted Tweets – running a basic ad campaign – your advertising pitch gets upgraded with a button which allows a customer to provide you with their name, @username, and e-mail address directly to your database with one click. Even if you don’t want to pay for this neat trick, Twitter provides you with analytics to determine how well your efforts are performing, and its campaign management page offers a wide selection of parameters to narrow down your target audience.

It’s also worth mentioning that Twitter provides the option of promoting your account; this is useful for building long-term trust and reputation, and a successful campaign will cause your account to appear in the ‘who to follow’ section of the user’s homepage.




Twitter really is the place to build a brand. Twitter chats are custom made for audience capture because they function as a hub for people who are already interested in a particular niche. A straightforward pitch is a mistake, because such conversations aren’t a captive audience, but they’re a perfect opportunity to do some market research and contribute useful content; it’s certainly possible to identify high-quality prospects by sharing content related to your business with interested people in the conversation.

Twitter can also function as a real-time complaints department; not everyone can dominate Twitter like some of the top companies do, but everyone appreciates a quick response, and a small Twitter team can make a huge difference to the overall experience of interacting with your business. Even better, managing complaints in an exposed way is excellent at drawing in new customers. All sorts of people will be able to see your business’ engagement with customers and they are likely to respond positively to seeing your interactions even when you’re not directly engaged in advertising or marketing.

Engagement leads to engagement; this is how Twitter works, and this is why it’s not going away – if your business is on Twitter, it will always be connected to your customer base.

 Alejandro Betancourt

 Reflections on ePayments by Alejandro Betancourt 



I remember when each morning before my parents left me at school, they used to give me some bills to buy a snack at break time. At that time, it was necessary to use paper money and it was part of our daily lives in our societies. Today my wife and I make electronic bank transfers to my son’s school so he can buy snacks that, when I was a child, I used to pay with coins and bills in the school cafeteria. How have times changed!

And the point is that because of the way societies and their needs are evolving, we will go out only with what we are wearing and our cellphones, because that will be the only things we will need. And not only to pay, also for daily activities such as opening our houses or cars, activate alarms, turn on or off devices remotely, the same way it is happening with the so-called “internet of things”.

The topic about shopping is already handled in these contexts. There are studies which refer that many people in the world have lost the “fear” to enter their banking card number by internet through their mobile devices, increasing their traffic 50%, thanks to certain improvements applied to the topic of usability and geolocation of services. It is projected that transactions of this kind will go over from 300 million dollars reached in 2015, to more than 600 million in 2019.

Another point to take into account is that more than 25% of smartphones users in the world, have decided to pay through their cellphones, and more than a half assure that they would do it more often if there were promotions or discounts. Is it also worthy to note the fact that women are in charge of the non-digital shopping world; meanwhile the online buyer’s profile is men who are between 25 and 34 years old, they spend more on books or music, and they do it from their computers using platforms which offer security when paying, such as PayPal.

The most common payment way in the world is payment through “point of sale (POS) terminal”, where cellphones act as banking cards, which through a contactless connection, makes possible the connection to the bank making direct payments.

The belief is that for the year 2020, 50% of payments will be made this way. It is believed that in the last years, e-commerce has grown 20%, making development of applications of the Wallet kind easier, and that facilitates access to all information related to your cards or purchases in different stores.

From Apple to Microsoft, going through Google and the very same Visa, have started to work on platforms to pay the phone, the same way this can be made through the already known PayPal. Facing this scenario, what are you waiting to polish these details in your virtual store?

 Alejandro Betancourt

 Alejandro Betancourt eCommerce 


It is expected that in the next years, there will be more than 2 billion users registered in e-commerce platforms worldwide, projecting incomes close to one thousand 328 million dollars. According to Goldman Sachs, average expenses per user will increase to 514 dollars next year (2018), which makes this kind of commerce unlimited, since it will not stop growing until becoming one of the main industries, boosted by changes in consumer habits and technology advance, so that there are more devices connected to the net. These four facts show e-commerce growth:

1. China gives it all importance: Alibaba, the Asian electronic commerce giant, improved revenues of 7,403 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2017, increasing 56% in regard to the same period in 2016.

2. Walmart and e-commerce: This American giant recently acquired the men’s clothing company Bonobos for 310 million dollars to reinforce this area,  obtaining results just between April and July this year for 123,400 billion dollars; an increase of 2.1% in regard to last year. 

3. Amazon worries: As I wrote in my previous article, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer based in the United States and with the highest billing related to e-commerce. Just in 2016, it reported revenues of 139,990 billion dollars. Amazon knows they could be stranded if they do not revamp their strategies; that is why they want to diversify their services and products with the recent launch of ‘Instant pickup’, a series of locations for ‘order receptions’ in several cities in the United States, as a pilot program to add an innovative ingredient and risk in their equation of e-commerce.

4. Artificial intelligence on e-commerce: Addition of artificial intelligence to the world of businesses is not just a simple projection or science fiction fantasy, since e-commerce is seen as the most appropriate platform to commercialize. Last month, Sokadi, a company founded by Amazon ex-workers, launched a platform focused on marketing for e-commerce and analytics, which operates based on artificial intelligence.


Spanish version: 4 datos que demuestran el crecimiento del e-commerce

Alejandro Betancourt