Thursday, December 29, 2016

Influencers Take "Popular" To The Next Level

Remember the popular kids in high school? Maybe you were that kid, maybe you wished you were that kid, or maybe you despised that kid. Wherever you fit on the popularity spectrum, I’m sure no one saw the new level of popular in the world.

The popular kids used to be the caption of the cheerleading squad, the prom queen, or the student council president. Now the popular kids have hundreds of thousands of online followers, a presence nationally or even globally, and are getting paid to be, well… popular.

With a connected social world and the rapid speed in which internet sensations go viral, the popular kids, now known as influencers, can reach more people than ever imagined. On top of that, influencers reach a select niche audience. Advertisers are becoming more and more aware of this emerging opportunity.

Kylie Jenner posted a simple Instagram post showing off her new Fashion Nova jeans and received a ridiculous 2.2 million likes from her followers. There’s no doubt that Fashion Nova paid a pretty penny to have Kylie pose with their product, however, the return was surely worth it. With loyal followers, Kylie’s post first appears to be an organic post, only to be noted as an ad with the #ad at the end of the caption which will go unnoticed by many. Similarly to desiring to be like the popular kids in high school, Kylie’s groupies have a strong desire to be like her causing them to go on a shopping spree for the perfect pair of Fashion Nova jeans.

According to Forbes, 84% of marketers plan to execute at least one influencer campaign in 2017. Influencer campaigns don’t stop at Kylie Jenner either. Influencers are in all market categories from travel to makeup to athletic equipment to organic food. These campaigns also aren’t limited to social networks. Many influencers have strong followings on their blogs where they share in more detail about their experiences.

Through these influential people, advertisers can target their audience directly, make a lasting impression, strongly sway the opinions of viewers, and avoid waste. Forty-seven percent of online consumers use ad blockers which increases the effectiveness of people sending messages through their personal and un-blockable accounts enormously.

Internet stars come in all ages, genders, races, beliefs, cultures, lifestyles, personalities, etc. making it easy for advertisers to find the perfect fit for their company. As the social world expands, influencers are likely to do the same. You’ll be targeted through your favorite celebrities whether you know it or not. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Younger Generations and Social Sharing are Changing Tourism

Take a second and think about your family. Consider yourself, your children, your parents, and grandparents. Pinpoint which generation each member is a part of. Now that you’ve got that down, think about their travel habits: How often do they travel? Where do they go? Do they consider traveling a luxury or a priority? Etc.

Chances are, the older generations traveled less, traveled for different reasons, and didn’t expect to travel as a part of life.

In 2013, nearly 290 thousand American students studied abroad for academic credit. That number has since jumped to over 313 thousand in 2016! On top of that, there’s a rise in American young adults who travel for volunteer and internship positions worldwide.

If I think about my life, the first time I went out of the country was my sophomore year in high school. Since then, I have traveled to 6 different countries on three different adventures. My parents on the other hand first left the country on a cruise back when they were newlyweds. My mother now has no desire to travel outside the US and my dad visits to Scotland solely for golfing excursions.

So why is that? Well, there are a number of reasons as you can imagine. Millennials and Gen Z might have more disposable income than the Boomers had at our age; they definitely spend it differently. Younger generations tend to be stuck in a “right here right now” mindset instead of planning for the future. Traveling is easier than it was when our parents and grandparents were young adults. Alongside all of those easy to assume reasons is the less obvious answer of social media.

Yep, that’s right. Social media fills people with wanderlust. In fact, Millennials and Gen Zers are more likely to choose a travel destination from what they see on social media than any travel ad they may view. For younger generations, the word of another carries much more weight than an advertisement. Eighty-four percent of Millennials and Gen Zers will even make travel plans based off what their friends or influencers post online.

Comparing my dad’s travel plans verses my own shows firsthand the vast differences: he uses a travel agent; I use Pinterest and online blogs. He communicates directly with the hotels he will be staying at; I book online. He takes pictures to keep to himself; I take pictures to post on social media.

With this, how do advertisers get in front of these young travelers? Like in all areas of advertising, they have to adapt and evolve with the changes. Continuously put paid media in front of viewers without them thinking they’re viewing an advertisement. The use of social media is vastly important as well as native content, influencers, and user generated content. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Click-Thru Rates Compared Across the Globe

Billions of impressions are delivered each year across the world. Sizmek, an Open Ad Management company, decided to sift through those billion impressions and provide some detailed data on who clicks the most.

Regional Banner Ad Engagement (1st Half 2016; 1.3MM Individuals, Billions of Impressions.)
Standard Banner CTR
Rich Media CTR
Rich Media Unique Interaction
North America
Latin America
East Asia
South Asia
Data Source: Sizmek, November 2016

As you can see from the chart above, standard banners have a CTR of 0.16% globally across all industries. North America falls slightly shy of that with an average CTR of 0.14%.

Without much surprise, rich media ads have a higher CTR globally at 0.27%. Again, North America falls shy with a 0.21% average.

However, these numbers are for all industries. It would be foolish to think that an ad for the latest and greatest smartphone holds the same CTR as an ad for dentures. Of course, Sizmek knows this and took a look into industry categories as well.

For standard banners, apparel, telecom, and retail ads held the highest rates at 0.24%, 0.21% and 0.20% respectively. Falling in last were careers at 0.10%, corporate at 0.08% and sports at 0.07%.

Surprisingly enough, the script is flipped for rich media ads with corporate leading the pact with an average CTR of 0.53%. Bringing up the rear are gaming (0.13%) and medical (0.12%).

Sizmek reports that, “rich media CTRs outperformed standard banner CTRs in 19 of the 21 sectors analyzed, with standard banners holding a slight edge only in the gaming and medical verticles.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Growth in Email Shows Growth in ROI

In a world full of emerging technology some might be surprised that the “email users” category is growing. Not only is email continuing to grow, but it’s continuing to perform with high success for marketers.

eMarketer estimates that there will be 240.1 million email users in the United States in 2016 accounting for nearly 89.8% of internet users and 74.1% of the US population. On top of that, eMarketer expects there to be 258.9 million email users by 2020.

With the growth of people using email, the ROI (return on investment) for email advertising has surpassed other mediums by a long shot. 

The chart above shows an astonishing 122% ROI for email marketing! Other platforms like social, direct mail, search, and display don’t even come close with their success stories.

Don’t hear me wrong, I’m not saying 100% of ad dollars should be spent through email marketing; but if email isn’t a part of your media mix, maybe it should be! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Multitasking TV Watchers on the Rise

Have you ever been watching a television show when your mind wanders so you pick up your smartphone only to lose focus on the show causing you to rewind your show to re-watch what you just missed due to your smartphone distraction? I know I’m guilty!

Turns out, I’m not the only one. Ericsson, a communications technology company, conducted a survey concluding that a growing amount of people are multitasking while watching television programs. Ericsson surveyed over 30,000 internet users ages 16 to 69 and found the following insights:

eMarketer also looked into this trend and found that most people are multitasking during live television programming (53%) with time-shifted television following (28%) and third being streamed content (19%).

So how do marketers adjust to this trend? I have a couple ideas. One is to have a presence on a variety of mediums. Television, pre-roll video, display, etc. to reach people while their watching, but also email, outdoor, radio, print, etc. to reach people when they aren’t watching.

Another idea is to take advantage of the dual screens. Encourage viewers to visit your website, search for a video, login for a discount, etc. This way, you’re embracing the shifting behaviors instead of trying to ignore or reject them.

One thing that’s always been true is that in marketing, things change. All. The. Time. So embrace the changes and explore new opportunities. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

How Much Appreciation is Too Much Appreciation?

Businesses are always aiming to have better relationships with their customers. One way of doing this is by customer appreciation. You know what I’m talking about, that awesome time once a year when your favorite food joints have “customer appreciation day” and give out free food. Yeah, those days are the best!

However, there are other ways to appreciate your customers than handing out free lunches. Researchers from Duke University, University of Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt University came together to determine if a simple “thank you” is enough to ensure that customers feel appreciated after consuming a business’ product or service.

 Jumping to the conclusion, the study found that, “the inclusion of a financial benefit can actually subtract from, rather than add to, customer goodwill.”

So why is that? Why do customers sometimes feel more appreciated when they’re given a “thank you” without a monetary incentive? Well, as Lance A. Bettencourt puts it, “like many things in life, we compare what we get to norms of what we expect rather than nothing.”

One study tested the ways of “appreciating” people after taking an online survey in a hotel lobby. Some people were given a letter of thanks from the hotel and the others were given a letter of thanks in addition to a financial gift (worth $0.05). In the end, participants with the simple thank you letter felt significantly more appreciated. Most likely because a financial gift so small is lower than expectations resulting in disappointment whereas a simple “thank you” is sometimes more than expected all on its own.

Another study looked at financial acknowledgements in the form of a certain percentage off of a future purchase. In this case, consumers felt less appreciated when they received a 5% discount (compared to receiving nothing), equally appreciated with a 10 to 25% discount, and more appreciated when they received a discount of 30 to 40%.

In the end, a simple “thank you” can go a long way while sometimes monetary gestures can backfire. If a monetary gesture is the plan for appreciation, make sure it’s substantial enough to go above expectations.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Facebook Fights for Their Ads

In recent months, Facebook announced that they would begin blocking ad blockers and pushing ads through to users with the blocking software.

In a gist, it’s a back and forth battle: ad blocking engineers develop software to block ads – Facebook engineers develop software to block the ad blocking software – Ad block engineers develop new software to block ads – Facebook develops newer software to keep pushing ads through. You get the point.

The goal of blocking the blockers was to first and foremost to grow their ad revenue from advertisers. After all, that is how Facebook receives money to keep the business running and free for users. Second, Facebook created a setting allowing users to tell Facebook what type of ads they do and do not wish to see. Basically, they made ads user friendly. Not interested in Chinese food? Fine, we won’t show you that ad. Not only does this make ads more relatable to users, it also assures less waste for advertisers.

So is the consistent battle of fending off ad blockers worth it? After seeing desktop ad revenue increase by 18%, I would say their approach thus far has been a success. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

How to Make Video Marketing More "Do-able"

Digital video is a new and intriguing opportunity for many advertisers. However, the first obvious roadblock in a video marketing campaign is the cost of production. Common sense tells us that creating a video is more expensive and time consuming than creating an image, however I’m here to tell you to not mark it off your list of opportunities just yet.

Forbes recently published an article titled, “How To Master Video Marketing On a Budget” and listed several tips to get the job done.

First, do your research. With any marketing campaign, you want to make sure you’ll stand out, be noticed, and be successful. Make sure to nail down the purpose of the video. Are you trying to get people to purchase a product, visit a new place, or simply become aware of your brand? Once you’ve figured out your goals, make sure you research your competitors to avoid creating a look-alike ad causing consumers to get déjà vu when they view.

The next suggestion is to ask your audience. Consider using user generated content to increase engagement and authenticity.

Third is to cut back on actors. Let’s face it, actors are expensive. If budget is an issue, try going for animation or only using a few faces to get your message across.

Which leads me to the next recommendation, get to the point. Think about a child telling you a story, you know how it takes forever for them to build to the climax? Well, we don’t want that (usually). On average, “your audience’s attention span is just eight seconds” so we want to deliver the message before they get distracted.

Promote Promote Promote! Put some targeting behind your message. Use tags and keywords to give your video higher rankings. Make sure it’s on YouTube! YouTube is the second largest search engine by volume only falling behind Google, so make sure you’re where the audience is.

Also, feel free to repurpose your video content across a multitude of platforms. Share it on social, send it in your email marketing, post it with a blog, etc.

Lastly, be sure to keep quality high. Never sacrifice the quality of your content. If budgets are tight, look for other ways to make due. Lowering the quality of your content will only lower the viewers opinions of your brand.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mothers Mindfully Manage Their Role as Household CFO

Take a minute to think about who holds the spending power in your household, your friends’ households, or the household you lived in while growing up. While no family operates in the exact same way, it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the money spenders were the mothers.

Consider this, who is the person that buys groceries, goes back to school shopping with the kids, and purchases the household necessities like shampoo and laundry detergent? Chances are it’s the mother who is often referred to as the “chief financial officer” for their household by marketers.

It’s important for marketers to define their target audience but more importantly they need to know their behaviors. eMarketer released a study claiming that mothers tend to be bargain hunters. There are more single mothers in today’s society than in the past which means more women are living in a one paycheck household. For these women especially, good deals are important.

This chart shows that mothers are more likely to shop around, wait for sales, and cut coupons than women without children.

In order to reach mothers, marketers must know their priorities, and for most moms out there, price is at the top of the list. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Software Updates Shine New Light for Mobile Video

Recently, iPhone and Android users have been able to update their smartphones to the newest software iOS10 and Chrome 53. Typically, these updates simply improve user experience and keep customers interested. However, this recent update might be a huge step for advertisers as well.

iOS10 and Chrome 53 lift strict guidelines that restricted auto play and inline video on their devices. Now, video can play automatically on a mobile web browser without any interaction by the user. The only catch is that video cannot have sound that plays unless the user interacts.

Video can also be “inline” or weaved throughout content. Formerly, video had to be played with the software’s native video player whereas now, video can stream seamlessly wherever it is placed.

Facebook and Snapchat have already benefitted from these changes as they continue to explore options with full screen vertical video and automatically played content.

Previously, advertisers aimed to get around the restrictions by creating GIFs with heavy movement to resemble a video ad. With a substantial amount of animation, the GIF files were huge and ultimately, slow to load. Now, heavy GIFs can be replaced with light video and run automatically and quickly without slow load times.

Thanks to iOS10 and Chrome 53, vendors will surely begin to fiddle with new ad sizes, elements, and varieties to excite their advertisers. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Social: Saying 'See Ya' to Social

What if I told you there would be no more social media? Chances are you wouldn’t believe me, but recent news implies that saying see ya to social is exactly the direction we’re headed in… kind of.

Companies like Snap Inc., Twitter, and Facebook have ditched the term “social media” for more sophisticated terminology.

Snap Inc. after recently changing from Snapchat, now classifies itself as a camera company. Twitter has removed their app from the “social” section in Apple’s App Store to the “news” section. Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, says, “There are so many jokes to crack about that…” in response to the idea that Facebook is a social media platform. Sandberg says, “It’s certainly not even a term I think we’ve used in a while.”

So why are companies treating the term “social” like it’s the black plague by running in the opposite direction? Well, by ditching the “social” label, companies are able to offer brands a bigger “media” concept resulting in more ad dollars. 

It might seem crazy at first, but these companies evolving from social media into more sophisticated niches might not be such a bad thing. Nick Cicero, CEO of Snapchat-focused agency Delmondo, says, “When you compare Twitter as a news app to any one individual news organization’s app, Twitter wins, hands down”.

The term “social media” has always had a ring to it that’s attractive to the younger demographics; your millennials and generation z crowd.  Now, with a more buttoned up category, advertisements associated with these media platforms will be able to spend their ad dollars with a more prestigious feel.

Instead of advertising on a place where kids go to talk about their lives, post pictures from their weekend, and share memes (social media), marketers can advertise on a place where people go to get direct news, forecasts, and reliable information (media network).

Monday, October 3, 2016

Snapchat: Growth Charts, Name Changes, and Recording Glasses

Snapchat has experienced substantial growth in the social world and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, Snapchat is moving up the ranks in terms of users, popularity, and time spent on the app.

Snapchat made an announcement last week regarding their branding change and the new name of their company, Snap Inc.

This name change is for the company as a whole, as the app will still be referred to as Snapchat. The new name was rolled out alongside a new product that eliminates the “chat” feature.

Snap’s new product is video recording sunglasses which let customer’s record experiences from a first person viewpoint. The glasses record 10 second videos with a simple finger tap. Videos are then sent to the app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.

Snap Inc., while slowly rolling out more advertisements within their app, are also opening doors for new opportunities within their new product. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Digital Radio Goes Programmatic

It comes as no surprise to see digital radio (audio) numbers escalating. Nevertheless, all the bells and whistles to follow bring forth some interest.

eMarketer estimates that by 2017, “Digital Radio listenership will grow to 57.8% of the population”. Mutually, ad dollars being spent in the digital audio sector will also grow. However, those ad dollars might be spent in a slightly different way than usual.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) expects for one in five radio dollars (approximately $4 billion) to be booked programmatically by the year 2020. As defined by Prohaska Consulting programmatic buying is, “the process of executing media buys in an automated fashion through digital platforms such as exchanges, trading decks, and demand-side platforms (DSPs). This is an alternative to the traditional use of manual RFPs, negotiations and insertion orders to purchase digital and other platforms.”

So, why is digital making this switch into the programmatic world? Well, simply put, it’s easier and more detailed.

Easier – no longer do buyers have to ask for a proposal, negotiate for the best price, and send in an insertion order in order to make a buy. Now, buyers’ impressions (radio spots) are purchased automatically through a bidding format.

More detailed – Programmatic allows for layers upon layers of targeting with the use of app-login data, first-party registration data, and other third-party data.

So instead of just targeting a person who probably listens to alternative music during the hours of 6am – 8am, advertisers can now target that 28 year old male who loves alternative, drives to work between 6am – 8am and has also been eagerly searching for the perfect diamond ring, wedding venues, houses on the market, and all-inclusive resorts. That extra piece of information opens tons of doors to advertisers to specifically target the soon to be married male in contrast to a 28 year old male who loves alternative and lives in his parent’s basement. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Unexpected DVR Trends

I remember when my family first got a DVR; I was a young teenager with two very frugal parents. However, when the cable company offered a free trial, my dad bit the lure and after a few months we were hooked.

Even as a kid, I remember hearing the buzz about how DVR would ruin the television industry and take away from the advertisers. Surprisingly enough, data from Nielsen and the Video Advertising Bureau report a different story.

During the first quarter of 2016, time-shifted programming (recording television and watching it at something other than the original air time) has dropped 12% among viewers 18 and older.

For years, estimates had been that viewership would be roughly 50/50 between time-shifted programming and live programming. However, data from first quarter 2016 shows that 77% of viewing is done live while only 23% comes from DVR viewing.
Other demographics have seen a decline in DVR viewing as well. Those aged 50-64 have dropped 6% while people 65+ have declined 7%.

So, why aren’t people watching as much prerecorded television shows as they used to? After all, it does give you the power to fast-forward through all those commercials. Perhaps the industry is simply shifting. One theory is that the rise of digital media is to blame.

In my mind, this is great for advertisers. Most digital streaming video has opportunity for advertisements without the ability to fast-forward.

Fear not! Viewers are still watching television and they’re still watching their DVRs. Advertisers can still reach their audience during shows; it just might be through their laptop or smartphone screen rather than on “the tube”. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Managing Makegoods and Broadcast Buys This Political Season

What’s worse than seeing political ads nonstop? If your answer is something other than, “having your ads pre-empted due to political ads nonstop” then it’s almost guaranteed that you don’t work in the media industry.

Borrell Associates Inc. has estimated that during the 2016 election season 5.8 billion dollars will be spent on broadcast television. And yes, you did read that right, that’s billion with a “b”. To top that, broadcast television advertising makes up roughly half of the total advertising spend for political this year.

So how do we prevent these pre-empt spots? Evan Brown points out some strategies in his article, “Working Around the 2016 Political Advertising Season”. Here are a few:

1.      Buy early! Typically stations use a “last-in-first-out” method, so the sooner, the better on those broadcast buys.
2.      Avoid buying five spots per week for a standard program like morning or late news. This gives the station absolutely no flexibility in your placements.
3.      See if 15 or 10 second spots are less likely to get bumped. Political ads are commonly 30 seconds in length.
4.      Accept the fact that the spot you paid $100 for last buy will now be double and adjust accordingly.
5.      Keep on top of your makegoods. Despite receiving them all day, every day, it’s important to respond rapidly to have the best chance to re-placed spots.

Hopefully these tactics can be of assistance in reducing the amount of makegoods into a more manageable task. As The Little Engine that Could would say, “I think I can, I think I can”, so stand strong broadcast television media buyers, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Native Advertising: Accepted by Millennials but Questioned by Baby Boomers

You might be asking yourself, “native advertising, what’s that?” no worries, 42% of the adult population is clueless, too. Native advertising is defined by YouGov as, “the practice of placing videos or articles on a website that appear similar to the site’s regular content, but are actually paid ads that promote a product or company.” Remember the last time you were on a news related website and saw a couple stories with a label such as “sponsored” or “advertisement” next to it? Well, that is native advertising.

According to YouGov, millennials are the most welcoming when it comes to these advertised articles whereas older generations are worried about this paid content.

However, when users risk losing free access to website content, the older generations are more accepting of the ads.

Regardless of the immediate perception, native ads don’t seem to be going away any time soon. In fact, BI Intelligence estimates that by 2018, $21 billion will be spent on this form of advertising alone. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

The "Cans" and "Can'ts" of Google Mobile Ads to Look for in 2017

Google has made quite the headlines lately with their new page layout excluding right column ads, their new ad format allowing for more text space, and now their restrictions on landing page ads for mobile coming in 2017.

Greg Sterling reports to Marketing Land regarding these Google changes. Google has chosen to penalize ad ranking if an ad’s landing page includes “intrusive interstitials”. 
These intrusions are anything that includes a pop-up which blocks the content of the page, a standalone interstitial that has to be dismissed before viewing content, or an above the fold layout for an ad with the content below the fold.

However, few intrusions will be allowed including those in responses to legal obligation like cookie usage, age verification, or those top banner ads requesting app downloads.

With all of Google’s changes regarding ad formatting, it’s important to not forget the importance of landing page user experience. In 2017, it’ll be more important than ever. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

AdWords Flips the Script on the Well-Known Ad Specs

“If it’s not broken, why fix it?” might be one of the worst phrases to say to anyone involved in the advertising industry. A more accurate phrase would be, “if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late, if you’re late you’re running”. Well, that’s what my high school softball coach used to tell me, but hey, it applies to advertising as well.

In this case, Google AdWords would be running several laps for being so late to the game.

Anyone familiar with the traditional 25-35-35 character rule for AdWords has probably already taken note of this recent change. If you’re also late to the game, here’s the 4-1-1: Google has traded in its 15 year old design for a new and improved model. This new model lets advertisers have two headlines of 30 characters each followed by one description line of 80 characters.

This facelift allows for more prominent headlines, longer description line, and a relevant display URL that is automatically extracted from the final URL of the ad.

So what do we do with all the added real estate? Google suggests that advertisers focus on the headline saying, “big blue headlines are more prominent than your description text” which drive clicks and increase performance. Google also suggests that the second headline be cohesive with the rest of the ad. Use this space to deliver a call to action that previously was placed in the description like, “Attend Today’s Event” or “Sign up Here”.

So, why the sudden change after fifteen years? Well, Google announced that through their tests, “some advertisers have reported increases in click-through rates of up to 20 percent”.

The change might be hard though… especially for folks like Kirk who suddenly feels like he’s on an island in the middle of the ocean with no outside contact, that’s rough Kirk, real rough.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympics, Advertising, Gold Spikes, and Social Media Rules

The most anticipated event of the summer is well underway in Rio with people from all over the world tuning in and cheering on their country. For advertisers, the Olympic Games are a great opportunity to advertise on a large stage, however, you might want to double check what you say.

AdWeek brings to light the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games when Nike dipped their toe in some risky marketing strategies. At the time, Nike was not an official Olympic sponsor. So what do they do? Give Michael Johnson, a track and field superstar, shiny gold $30,000 racing spikes. Johnson ironically won the gold medal for the USA in the 400-meter dash stunning America with his gold medal and gold feet.

Not only did Nike sneakily advertise on Johnson’s feet, but they also (not so sneakily) built “Nike Centre” right next to the athletes’ village. On top of that, they handed out flags to visitors that had a huge swoosh on them.

But I’m not done… Nike made sure to load up on billboard advertising for the big event as well, flooding Atlanta with messages like, “You don’t win silver, you lose gold”.  As well as magazine ads that read, “If you’re not here to win, you’re a tourist”. Ouch, Nike.

Clearly, these tactics didn’t settle well with competitors who were official Olympic sponsors, like Reebok; or the International Olympic Committee (IOC). However, what was done was done, and couldn’t be reversed. Instead, the IOC and USOC (United States Olympic Committee) did what they saw fit and tightened up their rules.

Today, brands who are not official Olympic sponsors are not allowed to use words/phrases on social media like: Olympic, Olympian, Team USA, Future Olympian, Gateway to gold, Go for the gold, Let the games begin, Paralympic, Pan Am Games, Olympiad, Paralympiad, Pan-America; and that’s just the beginning. Many brands are choosing the safer route and avoiding simple words like “summer” and “gold medal”. AdWeek lays out a clear list of do’s and don’ts here

Bottom line: cheer for the Red White and Blue, but be careful with what you type in that 140 character tweet. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why Pokémon Go Might Be the Best Thing for Marketers

As a kid, I remember walking into my friend’s house and seeing his Pokémon cards spread out on his living room floor. I thought he was weird; what was so interesting about cards? They couldn’t wear 4 different outfits in one day and drive around in Ken’s convertible like my Barbie’s could. Nevertheless, I convinced him to leave the mysterious cards to come play outside.

Now, in 2016, after having seemingly gone dim, Pokémon returns; but no longer as cards spread across a living room floor. Instead, Pokémon has hit the streets with the world’s newest phenomenon, Pokémon Go. For marketers, July 6, 2016 not only was the birth of a new hit augmented reality (AR) game, but a day when doors flung open with new opportunity. 

Today, I typed in “Pokémon go marketing” into Google and received an entire page full of useful, helpful, and informational articles about how any business would be crazy to ignore all the buzz. So here, I’ve compiled a few top reasons why marketers and businesses should be thrilled with this new game.

1.      Foot traffic goes through the roof –Tom Lattanzio, owner of a pizzeria in Queens, told the New York Post that he paid $10 to have a dozen Pokémon hosted at his restaurant. Since then, business has increased by 75%.
2.      Tops Twitter and Facebook – according to SimilarWeb, Pokémon Go has surpassed Twitter’s active daily users and records users spending more time on the app than on Facebook. Likely, when the fad wears off, the social media giants of the world will take back their crown, but for now, Pokémon Go holds the gold.
3.      Data Data Data – the app uses GPS location to track where players are. Marketers get giddy over data, so why not collect more?
4.      Get creative and advertise PokéStops – see this cute clothing store and their Pokémon spirit

So, Pokémon Trainer or not, your business can reap the benefits of this AR game that took the world for a spin. Whether you’re lucky and got a little creature in your store by chance, or pay for an appearance, you’re likely to drive traffic, sales, and word of mouth.

Good luck, and make sure to catch em’ all. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gone are the Days of Using Phones for Phone Calls

Remember when phones were used to simply call people? No? Me either. We live in a world where “phones” are rarely used to do the one thing that Alexander Graham Bell intended them to do back in the late 1800’s. If I think of all the things I’ve done on my phone in the past week the list would include things like, buying baseball tickets (which were never printed, but rather scanned at the gate), downloading coupons, streaming music and videos, storing flight itineraries and boarding passes straight to my calendar and “wallet”, editing pictures, browsing a plethora of social media platforms, and that’s just the beginning.

Gone are the days of using phones for phone calls. We’re immersed in a world of doing just about everything but making calls on our “smart” phones.

Ian Blair, cofounder of BuildFire, wrote an article published by Forbes regarding the importance of the ever-changing mobile world. Blair’s three key points are the mobile marketers should expect more mobile video, practical apps, and location based push notifications.

Mobile Video
While the idea of mobile video is no longer considered “new” and “trendy”, its ability to reach consumers is huge. Companies like Audi and AT&T have begun testing vertical videos and found an increase of 80% views to completion. Since consumers typically use their phone in a vertical setting, why not adapt advertisements to go hand in hand?

Practical Apps
Remember when the term “app” first started buzzing around? This new application was kind of unknown and people were pretty skeptic. I mean, why would you need an app for StubHub or American Airlines when you could simply go to the website? Well, users have embraced apps over the years and companies have made them incredibly practical and efficient. These “all in one” apps are sure to become the norm.

Location-based Push Notifications
Blair’s example puts it best:

It’s the weekend, you’re visiting a friend’s city, walking downtown, and your favorite travel app sends you a notification about all the great lunch deals going on in the area. You check your phone and see the small restaurant across the street, though tiny, has a 4.5-star rating and is offering a buy-one-get-one 50% off on all lunch plates. The photos of the food look delicious, and you are getting hungry. So who gets your lunch dollars? That tiny restaurant you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.

While many users choose to opt out of said notifications, the ones who don’t might score big time with coupons, deals, and exclusives based on their location.

It’s pretty clear that phones have adapted in ways never imagined. If you told Bell that one day his invention would be able to work cord-free and with a touch screen, he might laugh at you… before even mentioning the laundry list of other possibilities. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cinema Advertising Rakes in the Ad Revenue

The cinema industry has high hopes for the future; and rightfully so with a 13% increase of ad revenue in 2015, topping $700 million for the first time.

The Cinema Advertising Council (CAC) recognizes the consistency of movie-goers. In fact, there have been at least 1.25 billion movie tickets purchased every year for the past 22 years! Katy Loria, CAC President and Chairman, notes that, “it [cinema advertising] delivers millennial audiences whose consumption habits compared with past generations are different and elusive… except for movies.”

Theater ads have high viewability in front of captive audiences, as well as the ability to target specific demographic and geographic consumers.

In addition to the ordinary cinema ad on the big screen, with the development of new data and technology, advertisers are beginning to connect brands with consumers before, during, and after the movie experience.

While cinema advertising is growing nationwide, the strongest area of growth is amongst national and regional brands. Two hundred fifteen new brands jumped on the cinema bandwagon last year. Overall, national and regional brands make up 77% of cinema ad revenue. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Advertisements on the Big Screen Verses the Small Screen

No one reading this blog would be surprised if I stated that people watch television shows on multiple devices. A statement that might intrigue you is that advertisements do not settle in with consumers in the same way across all devices.

Nielsen commissioned a study to be carried out by Hub Entertainment Research to measure how people watched the same five shows and their ability to recall advertisements. Viewers watched the shows: Bones, Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory, Survivor, and Family Feud across televisions, tablets, smartphones, and computers.

After the shows had been viewed, Hub Entertainment Research conducted 15-minute interviews and determined that those watching on televisions had the highest ad-recall percentage at 62, followed by tablets (47%), smartphones (46%) and computers (45%).

Hub also measured “attentiveness” using a scale of 1-10 where 29% of television viewers ranked advertisements in the 8-10 range.

Conclusions were drawn that the study had two primary factors: the size of the viewing screen and the role of multitasking when watching the shows. A mere 7-11% of multitasking was related to the brands featured in ads shown.

Peter Fondulas from Hub Entertainment Research puts it this way, “The more likely culprit for lower ad engagement on smaller screens is an ad delivery approach that doesn’t align well with the expectations, and viewing situations, of consumers watching on mobile devices.”

Simply put, viewers expect to see advertisements on television, that’s all we’ve ever known. Yet, when it comes to viewing video on alternative devices, viewers are less accommodating and accepting of these interruptions.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Where and When to Reach Your Customers

We all know that advertising is a way to reach customers and hopefully impact their opinions, actions, and decisions in a positive way. But what is the best way to impact customers before they make a purchase decision? Starcom Mediavest Group dove deep into researching customer activity prior to purchases to discover just that.

Through SMG’s research, they found that customers are highly impacted at all stages of the decision making process through audio and out of home.

From the above graph, you can see the correlation between purchase activity and media usage. Interestingly, each category affects consumers the most at the “consider” and “decide” levels except for television and digital video which highly affect consumers at the purchase point.

Taking a deeper look into the industry’s hot-topic generation, the Millennials (ages 18-34), SMG found that trends tend to be relatively similar. By analyzing the graph below, we can see that Millennials tend to react in a similar way when compared to non-millennial adults.

Surprisingly, television and digital video are the only media outlets where Millennials correlate at a higher level than adults 18+.  Search and social, while being incredibly popular with Millennials, have a correlation that fails to outperform that of the adult group.

For advertisers looking to influence their target audience in a way that will cause them to consider, decide, and purchase a product or service, this information is incredibly relevant and might require some re-strategizing to reach consumers in the most effective manner.