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.