Friday, May 19, 2017

Image Recognition and the Future of Targeting

With the rise of Instagram and Pinterest, the Internet has become increasingly visual. While text-based targeting is still relevant, the recent shift in how consumers use the Web has brought image recognition technology to the forefront.

Companies, such as Cluep in Toronto, have developed engines to scan public images, recognize a brand or product, and then determine the consumers’ interests or lifestyles. This presents an amazing opportunity for advertisers.

The CEO and co-founder of Cluep, Karan Walia, reports that even beta tests of the platform are receiving significant increases in conversions and click-through rates.

Coca-Cola utilized an image recognition engine for a recent Gold Peak campaign. By serving ads to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter users who had posted photos containing iced tea, Gold Peak creative click-through rates increased four times their usual rate.

Image recognition allows brands to not only target potential consumers but also research their lifestyles and preferences. DigitasLBi, the digital agency for Miller Lite, scanned Instagram for photos containing beer to provide a new perspective on beer drinkers. 

Even Pinterest has tapped into image recognition technology. For the past year, Pinterest’s related pins have been selected based on visual similarities to previous pins.


Digiday reports that while many social platforms do not allow advertisers to utilize their image recognition capabilities, brands can still drive sales through image-based targeting by partnering with companies that have their own engines and servers.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Power of Data and Transparency in Media Buying and Planning

Adweek released its list of the 15 Most Innovative Agency Executives in Media Buying and Planning this week. The detailed list not only highlights the extraordinary qualities of the honored individuals but also the challenges of media buying and planning strategy in a rapidly evolving industry.

The rise and fall of various advertising formats has created a challenge for media buyers and planners. This becomes especially problematic when tools traditionally used for planning, such as Nielsen, lack transparency.

Scott Hagedorn, CEO of Hearts & Science, says of Nielsen, “they might be missing 40 percent of total video, because they’re missing a lot of the OTT data”. As millennials increasingly view content on mobile apps, the lack of streaming data presents a problem even while mobile devices allow for more individualized targeting.

The inclusion of data in creative strategies has helped agencies remain productive during times of change. The vice president of media operations for Horizon Media, Jennifer Dass, describes the most vital data as being, “accurate, actionable, and easily interpreted”.

In recent years, media planners and buyers have evolved into the realm of marketing strategists and the power of change is emphasized throughout Adweek’s article.  Andrea Millett, president of Havas Media New York, says, “I believe strongly in continuing to try new ways of doing things, new models and new iterations in every aspect”.

Transparency between agencies and clients is described as being essential in order to effectively reach target audiences. While this requires a simplification of media strategy at times, the resulting cooperation allows for “both an upper- and lower-funnel approach”.


Whether the campaign is digital, social, traditional, etc., top-notch media buyers and planners utilize individual skills as well as data and creativity to aid clients and consumers on the media journey.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Risks of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been a hot topic in the past few months with media companies increasingly hiring influencer managers to help build brands. Influencers can bolster trust between a brand and its consumers but there is risk associated with this strategy.

Anyone who has been online within the past week has probably heard of the Fyre Festival fiasco. What was supposed to be an exotic music festival experience, complete with celebrity endorsements, quickly soured. From the cheese sandwiches and lack of alcohol to the questionable lodgings (literal disaster relief tents) in the Bahamas, the “once-in-a-lifetime musical experience” had guests scrambling to book flights back to the U.S.

Not only does this reflect poorly on the event organizers, including rapper Ja Rule, it also harms the credibility of the celebrity influencers who have been promoting the festival for months. AdWeek reports that it is expected for consumers to be more wary of influencers’ endorsements. So how can brands avoid potential fallout when using influencer marketing?

Devon Wijesinghe, CEO of InsightPool, recommends for brands to develop relationships with influencers rather than simply paying for a product post. Shared values between a brand and an influencer result in more authentic, trustworthy endorsements. Jennifer Aniston’s long-term partnership with Aveeno is an example of a successful celebrity endorsement.

It is important for brands to remember that while an influencer can be paid to promote something, it won’t always have the intended outcome. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Goodbye To YouTube’s Unskippable 30-Second Ads

Campaign reports that YouTube is moving away from the unskippable, 30-second ad format. By 2018, Google’s video site will completely phase out the long unskippable ads in favor of shorter preroll formats.

According to YouTube, mobile devices account for more than 50 percent of views. A 30-second unskippable ad can have negative effects on a user’s experience when they are watching on a device with a limited data plan.

BI Intelligence’s 2017 Digital Trust survey found that users consider Facebook and YouTube’s ads to be the most annoying.




 In order to improve the user experience, advertisers will have the option of 15- and 20-second unskippable ads instead. The relatively new 6-second bumper ads are also available.

For advertisers who wish for longer preroll options, TrueView ad formats have no time limit but are skippable.


With its increased efficiency, advertisers can expect more changes to their video ad options as Google continues to invest in YouTube. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Are Instagram Stories Hurting Snapchat?

Since its initial release in 2011, Snapchat has worked to establish itself as a competitor of Facebook. The social media giant released the Instagram Stories feature in response.

As reported by AdWeek, Instagram Stories now has 200 million daily users. When compared to Snapchat’s 158 million daily users, it appears that Instagram Stories is winning the hearts of Millennials. However, new data released by Episode suggests this is not true.

Women aged 13 through 25 make up the majority of users on Snapchat. Episode reports that 69 percent of these women said they do not use Snapchat any less since Instagram Stories was released. So how does Instagram Stories have more daily users?

The key lies in Instagram Stories’ definition of a user. Anyone who either posts a story or clicks on one is considered a user. So an Instagram account with a large following can generate many users with a single Story post.

Despite the addition of Stories to Instagram, Snapchat is far from dead. In fact, seven percent of Episode’s respondents said they still send between 50 and 100 snaps daily. Nine percent send more than 100 snaps per day.


Advertisers should not be so quick to give up on Snapchat as the engaging app maintains its popularity among teenage girls and young women. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Elements of an Effective Hispanic Marketing Campaign

Even as the U.S. Hispanic population growth is increasingly driven by U.S.-born Hispanics, a recent “Facebook IQ” study found that marketing in Spanish is still important. The study reports that 80% of U.S. Hispanics say they do not feel the need to give up speaking Spanish in order to assimilate into American culture.

This contradicts a recent trend of replacing Multicultural Marketing with an all-encompassing message delivered in a single language. As the number of bilingual Hispanics continues to grow, so do the opportunities for marketers to deliver culturally relevant messages.

When consuming media online, the majority of bilingual Hispanics use Spanish at least half of the time. This stands in opposition to the idea that Spanish becomes less relevant as a Hispanic consumer becomes acculturated.
It is important to note, however, that there is a gap between the ROI of TV ads in English and in Spanish. A Nielsen study found that the ROI of English ads were $0.30 higher than those of Spanish ads.

After an in-depth analysis of these results, Nielsen found that 54% of the Spanish ads actually had equal or higher ROI than the English ads. Several factors were found to increase the effectiveness of these ads:

·        Original Spanish language rather than translations from English ads or voice-overs
·        Humor relevant to Hispanic culture
·        Relatable settings

Ads that incorporated the above elements saw significantly higher ROI than English-language ads.


In order to effectively reach the growing population of U.S. Hispanics, campaigns not only need to incorporate the Spanish language but also culturally relevant messaging.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Digital Tops TV Despite Some Specific Struggles

Ad Age reports that US digital advertising sales surpassed television ad sales for the first time in 2016. Digital sales pulled in $70 billion compared to $67 billion on the more traditional television medium.

Magna, a strategic media forecasting company, reports that television saw a 4.7% increase in 2016 due to the Olympics and the presidential election. However, that growth is expected to settle back into the 3.7% range for 2017. Meanwhile, digital sales are projected to increase 14% in 2017. Magna believes that by the end of 2017 digital advertising sales will pass television in not only the United States, but globally.

With this, digital vendors are under the microscope more than ever before. Big brands like JP Morgan Chase are pulling the plug on their programmatic to avoid their ads being placed on unwanted sites.

Other large companies have had it with video hub, YouTube, as they are unhappy with the videos their ads are paired with. While advertisers understand that ads are placed with algorithms, formulas, and data, users are not quite as informed. Many users believe that the ad aligned with the video they are viewing is purposefully done.

YouTube isn’t taking a front row seat to their slow destruction though. The Google owned company is taking steps to allow advertisers to proactively avoid undesired content. Previously, YouTube had two preventative options to avoid, “sensitive social issues” and “tragedy and conflicts”. Now, YouTube has rolled out options to stay away from content that is, “sexually suggestive”, “sensational and shocking” and “profanity and rough language”.

While this may help advertisers, YouTube seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place as they’re receiving push back from content creators. YouTube states in a blog post that, “There’s a difference between the free expression that lives on YouTube and the content that brands have told us they want to advertise against”. With this setback, YouTube could potentially lose $750 million this year.


Even with upset brands and algorithm tweaks, digital advertising has a bright future as king of the castle.