Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Gen Z: A Unique Challenge

It’s back to school season and as Gen Zers head to college, marketers are realizing that they present a unique challenge. Ilyse Liffreing of Digiday reports that, while often grouped with millennials, Gen Zers are at “different life stages, care about completely different things and need to be programmed for and communicated to entirely differently.”

This realization has spurred an effort by agencies to begin researching this audience. Characterized by a progressive ideology and short attention span, Gen Z is very digitally savvy, having never known life without internet access. This generation also saw their parents go through a recession, in turn affecting their own purchasing behaviors.

Agencies and brands “are bulking up their own Gen Z expertise.” In order to help brands establish a connection, the Day One Agency created a website where Gen Zers answer questions covering various topics and the NFL partnered with AwesomenessTV for a series targeting Gen Z fans.

Sony Music Entertainment even created its own video production company, called Astronauts Wanted, to reach Gen Z. When asked what sets this group apart, Christine Murphy, Astronauts Wanted’s svp of branded entertainment, said, “They kind of have this heightened sense of intuition… and they really are progressive.”

 It is estimated that by 2020, Gen Z will number 2.6 billion and have an annual purchasing power of $44 billion. It would be wise for marketers to begin differentiating between millennials and Gen Z.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Argument for Awareness

Back in the day, the primary goal of advertisers was to raise awareness for their brands. In recent years, the focus of advertising has shifted to engagement, but it may be beneficial for brands to go old-school and once again drive awareness.

Now that consumers are engaging with various media all day every day, it can be hard for advertisers to break through the clutter and be noticed. In Adweek, Brian Sheehan makes the argument that advertising is no longer about persuading consumers but rather about being remembered.

Oftentimes it is the most innovative brands that receive the most attention. Advertising becomes similar to publicity for disruptive brands such as Tesla Motors, “the most valuable car company in the world despite being one of the smallest in sales volume.” T-Mobile also cultivates awareness with near constant innovation, making it “one of the hardest brands to compete with in the telecom world.”

Driving awareness from the bottom up has also been a successful strategy for companies such as Blue Apron and Glossier. These brands have demonstrated that they understand what consumers share and recommend to each other.

Considering the current cluttered advertising landscape, it would be wise for advertisers to make awareness their primary objective again rather than engagement.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Introduction to Podcast Advertising

If you are a listener of podcasts, you have probably heard advertisements for everything from mattresses to food delivery services. Although podcasts have existed for over a decade, many marketers are unfamiliar with the advertising opportunities associated with the medium.

Podcasts are unique in the delivery of the advertisements. Most podcast hosts read the copy points themselves and the length of time spent promoting the product varies. The audience is more engaged since they have to opt-in to the medium.

A study done by comScore found that podcast ads were considered to be the least intrusive, and listeners tend to take action after hearing an ad. NPR reports that “75 percent of podcast listeners take action on a sponsored message.”

As an advertising medium, podcasts are expected to grow exponentially. Steven Goldstein, CEO of Amplifi Media, said podcasts’ “’live reads and limited commercial loads are attractive” to advertisers. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Advertising Market Predictions Through 2021

Every year, Price Waterhouse releases their Entertainment & Media Outlook report with advertising market predictions through 2021.

Since last year’s report, online advertising has overtaken television by about $15 billion. By 2021, the online advertising market is estimated to be 50% larger than TV and has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9%.

Mobile has the largest share of online ad spend and accounts for 71% of all internet consumption, as reported by Digiday. Fueled by social video, “mobile advertising is projected to grow by an annual average of 18.7% from 2016 through 2021”.  

Television advertising spend is growing slowly and is expected to reach 38.8% share of the market in 2021. Its low CAGR of 1.3% is due in part to declining viewership, a trend driven by younger demographics. Marketing Charts reports that this decline is not only due to cord-cutting but also the fact that 18-24 year olds are watching less traditional television.

With both the magazine and radio markets remaining flat, the only market expected to see a decline in revenues by 2021 is newspaper advertising. Despite loyal readership, the newspaper market revenues are expected to drop by $4.6 billion between 2017 and 2021. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Most Improved Brands Among Millennials

In the results of a recent survey released by the public-perception research firm, YouGov BrandIndex, millennials reveal which brands were the most successful in gaining their patronage. Although some of the brands are not so surprising, others, including brands considered to be traditional, stand out from the list.

The rise of the sharing economy puts Uber at the top of the list, despite public relations woes plaguing the company. Chase also occupies the list at No. 13, prompting Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGov BrandIndex, to say, “ethics are good, but price and convenience carry the day”.

Traditional brands can also be found in the top 20. The presence of Puma, Delta Airlines, Visa, Adidas, and Ace Hardware show the value millennials place in adaptability. However, it’s important to realize why these brands make the list. These “graybeards” so to speak, aren’t popular for their nostalgia but rather for their ability to stay relevant and adapt to current times.

Another head scratcher on the list is number five, TLC, which dates back to the 1970’s. However, the network has gone through several facelifts to evolve from an education-oriented channel to a source of entertainment filled with Honey Boo Boo and shows like, “My Fat Saved My Life”. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reaching Communities Through Mobile Advertising

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity had the who’s who in advertising and communications flocking to France last week. The festival presented an opportunity for marketers to share insights and new innovations as participants waited to hear who would be awarded a prestigious Lion award.

Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, and Airbnb’s CMO, Jonathan Mildenhall, presented on the growth of global communities and how marketers can reach them through mobile advertising.

The trend in marketing has been to move away from selling a product or service and instead connect the consumer with a community. Airbnb especially relies on the idea of community as it utilizes technology to connect people in real life. “Without our community there is no Airbnb, there is no brand,” says Mildenhall.

To effectively reach these communities, Sandberg says brands need to create attention-grabbing native mobile ads with “thumb-stopping creative”. With Facebook and Instagram, advertisers are able to test an ad’s performance while maintaining the ability to change out creative if the desired results are not achieved.

Noteworthy campaigns often combine multiple mobile elements. The “New Year, New Roads” campaign for Chevy used video and chatbot among other platforms to connect with consumers.  

Airbnb has seen significant benefits to investing in its own community with user-generated content receiving six times more engagement than advertising video on social media.

“At the end of the day,” says Sandberg, “this (ad) community’s job is to drive our businesses. Explain our purpose, but also drive sales.”  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What Verizon’s Acquisition of Yahoo Means for Marketers

For marketers looking to expand beyond Google and Facebook, Verizon’s new subsidiary, Oath, will offer improved targeting and measurement. Through its merging of Yahoo and AOL, Oath will benefit from the advertising capabilities of both companies as well as Verizon’s subscriber data.

The focus on content brands, such as HuffPost and Tumblr, will set Oath apart in the digital advertising space. These content brands will soon be “automatically available on the ‘decktop’ of Verizon subscribers’ phones”.

Oath plans to focus its growth beyond the United States by targeting key markets and possibly acquiring more companies. Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, stated the goal is for Oath to double its consumer base by 2020.

Verizon bought AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion and recently acquired Yahoo for $4.5 billion. eMarketer estimated Verizon and Yahoo will generate a combined $4.7 billion in digital ad revenue this year.

News coverage around Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo has focused primarily on the resignation of Marissa Mayer as well as Yahoo’s plans to lay off 2,100 workers. The Wall Street Journal reports that most of the job cuts will occur where there are duplicate roles and teams.

From the marketing perspective, however, Oath represents an opportunity for digital advertising to grow. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Header Bidding: The Trendy Programmatic Technique

Most digital advertisers have been familiar with programmatic selling for a while but may just now be hearing of header bidding. As the newest trend in programmatic, header bidding has the potential to help both advertisers and publishers.

According to Digiday, header bidding is a technique which allows for multiple bids on the same inventory. This increases the yield for publishers and provides more data points for advertisers.

According to Technorati CEO, Shanie Higgins, “the entire idea of this system is to eliminate the need for pushing inventory back and forth, which is inefficient and wasteful”. While header bidding does help to streamline the programmatic process, it comes with a significant drawback.

By adding yet another SSP tag to their page, a publisher risks raising their page load times. Page latency has helped fuel the popularity of ad blockers in recent years.

While the header bidding technique is not perfect, publishers greatly benefit from the increased transparency and revenue. With programmatic ad spend estimated to reach $37.9 billion by 2018, the chance of more revenue is worth the risk and inconvenience for many publishers.

In response to the recent popularity of header bidding, Google has released exchange bidding in Dynamic Allocation for publisher testing. According to The Programmatic Publisher, Facebook’s Audience Network has also integrated with tech partners for header bidding. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Key Takeaways from the Internet Trends Report

From YouTube’s decreasing share of mobile traffic to the personalization of voice-activated devices, the newly released Internet Trends report offers unique insight into the digital advertising industry. Thanks to Adweek, marketers do not need to read through the 355-page report for the key takeaways.

1)    Dip in Smartphone Sales
In 2016, smartphones saw not only a decrease in sales but also in user-base growth. Globally 2.8 billion people own smartphones. While they remain extremely popular, the user-base only grew by 12 percent in 2016 compared to 25 percent in 2015.

2)    Increased Time Spent on Mobile
Adults spend an average of 5.6 hours per day consuming digital media. The majority of that time (3.1 hours) is spent on mobile devices while desktops account for 2.2 hours. The remaining 0.4 hours come from other devices.

3)    Internet vs. TV Ad Spend
The total Internet ad spend is growing faster than television ad spend, and 85 percent of Internet ad spend is through Google and Facebook. Compared to its 2015 ad revenue, Facebook experienced a 62 percent growth in 2016.

4)    Voice is the Next Frontier
Between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first of 2017, Amazon’s voice-enabled assistant, Echo, gained 3 million users. With its increasing personalization, voice and visual recognition are considered to be the “next frontiers in search and discovery” by Photon’s VP of marketing, Michael Levine.

5)    Ad Blocking on the Rise

With about 640 million devices utilizing ad blockers in 2016, marketers have the right to remain wary of the software.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Gen Z and the Future of Television Advertising

In an effort to understand the future of television advertising, Tremor Video and Hulu partnered on a study to research the viewing habits of Generation Z compared to Millennials and Gen X. Gen Z is not only watching less television than their forebears but how they choose to access shows and movies is unique.

Even the language differentiates generations. The vast majority of Gen X say “watching TV” means access through cable or satellite whereas the majority of Millennials and Gen Z consider watching by an online source to qualify.

The reliance on streaming videos allows Gen Z to watch more at one time than through traditional cable or satellite. As reported in “How Gen Z Connects to TV: Exploring the Generational Divide in the Future of TV”, 60% of Gen Z watch multiple episodes in one sitting compared to just 44% of Gen X.

In an interesting twist, Gen Z is actually more receptive to advertisements and are the most likely to share video ads through social media. However, advertisers should be aware that Gen Z expects ads to be relevant to what they are viewing.

With 48% of Gen Z saying they watch less television than their parents, it would be wise to target ads thoughtfully. By advertising across platforms (48% of Gen Z say they browse social media while watching TV) and reducing ad loads, advertisers can reach Gen Z when it most counts.

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. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cinema Advertising Stands Strong

Cinema advertising is often overlooked by many marketing departments and booted from their media mix. Video Advertising Bureau released some data that might make marketing managers change their minds about the big screen.

According to VAB, box office ticket sales saw an eleven percent increase from 2014 to 2016. Perhaps this is due to the rising median household income amounts. From 2010 to 2015, the median HHI has increased from $53,569 to $56,516. With an increase in HHI comes an increase in disposable income which has grown from $11,515 in 2010 to $14,281 in 2016 (referring to personal disposable income).

Demographically, heavy movie goers tend to be young, multicultural, affluent, educated, and professional. The majority of these people are ages 18-44, employed, home-owners, college educated, and making over $50k per year.

So, what’s so special about cinema advertising? Well, beyond the fact that you’re speaking to a captive, engaged, willing audience; cinema advertising drives consumer action. Many steady cinema advertisers like Vans, Shazam, esurance, LG, Infiniti, and see an increase in website activity when cinema is a part of their media mix verses when they’re not on the big screen.

On top of that, consumers are choosing to spend leisure time watching movies at a theater more often than other activities like attending a sporting event, going to the zoo, or having a picnic.

It might be time to rethink that marketing mix and see how your brand on the big screen can make a difference.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dominate Digital Forces Look to Continue Their Growth

As eMarketer projects digital ad spend/revenue for the next few years, Facebook and Google look to hold onto their top ranks. Ad spend in the United States looks to grow by 15.9% equaling $83 billion in revenue. Both Facebook and Google look to increase their ad share percentages by 32.1 percent and 14.8 percent respectively.

Overall, Google wins the gold by owning 40.7 percent of the US digital ad market with Facebook settling for silver with 19.7 percent. However, when that’s broken down by search and display the tables turn just a bit.

Google still takes home the prize when it comes to search with an estimated $28.5 billion in ad revenue for 2017 (77.8%), but Facebook comes in on top when we’re talking about display. Facebook brings in $16.3 billion in US digital display ad dollars making up 39.1 percent of the market. Both Google’s search and Facebook’s display revenues are expected to continue growing through 2019.

When looking at mobile, the two digital powerhouses combined accumulate for 57 percent of mobile spend with Google acquiring 32.4 percent and Facebook earning 24.6 percent.

The below chart shows multiple digital providers and their ad share percentage projections through 2019 while focusing specifically on digital mobile ad revenue.

Snap Inc., the inventors of Snapchat, is expected to see the most dramatic increase over the next few years. However, their share is still small and far from the dominating digital forces.

Other platforms like Twitter, Yahoo, and Yellow Pages are expected to decline in the near future. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Making the Most of Email Marketing

Email marketing – when executed correctly – can be a huge success for any marketing campaign. Seamas Egan, Associate Director of Revenue Operations at Campaigner, digs into the art of email and provides three tips to making the most of your email marketing.

1.     Subject line
Subject lines of an email provide a teaser to the recipient and is ultimately what makes them decide to open or delete your email. In fact, thirty-three percent of recipients report the subject line to be the only factor in deciding whether they will open a marketing email or not. Subject lines should be personalized with either the recipient’s name or the words “you” or “your” to establish a personal connection. Numbers can also be used to help your subject line stand out and create a sense of urgency. Subject lines should also be under 30 characters as sixty-six percent of emails in today’s society are opened via mobile device.

2.     Past purchasers
Segment your email lists based on purchase behavior and target specifically those who have converted with your business on prior occasions. This information will help you send emails that are not only personalized, but directly targeted at the recipient’s interests.

3.     Frequency
Just remember the Goldilocks and the Three Bears – too hot… too cold… just right! You don’t want to annoy your customers with too many marketing emails, but you also don’t want them to forget your brand. It’s important to strike the right balance to keep your product at the top of customers’ minds while not overwhelming them. A good way to test your frequency is by some A/B testing; compare separate emails lists with different frequency levels to discover a happy medium.

When email marketing is done right, it’s a huge success. In fact, 91% of Americans say they like receiving marketing emails. Consumers frequently complain about marketing and how advertisements “obstructs their task”, but in the email space, marketing is actually welcomed. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Back to Basics with Generation Z

As Generation Z grows into young adults who hold a little bit of spending power, marketers are eager to see how their path to purchase compares to the generations preceding them. Since Gen Z is technology savvy, one would assume that their behavior would revolve around the digital world.

However, a study conducted by Accenture shows something a little different.

Older Gen Z consumers (ages 18-20) actually prefer purchasing at physical brick and mortar locations. In fact, 77% of older Gen Z consumers would rather purchase in-store.
When compared with Millennials, Gen Z shoppers lead the way with in-store and mobile shopping while Millennials still lead when it comes to desktop and tablet.

The difference being, Generation Z consumers are influenced greatly by social media on what to purchase. In fact, 72% of US Gen Z survey participants said they want to make purchases directly from social media. Half of the participants said that social media inspires them to purchase products, and one third of respondents have increased their use of social platforms specifically to inform their decision-making within the past year; as shown by the chart below.

Going beyond social media, Gen Z consumers are open to developing shopping methods like voice-activated ordering (45%), curated subscriptions (77%), and automatic replenishment (66%). 

Jill Standish, senior managing director at Accenture, says, “I think the key takeaway for marketers is you have to be listening in social media. You’ve got to be there, and you’ve got to be inspiring.”

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Back and Forth of Marketing Strategies

When I was a kid, my favorite piece of equipment on the playground was the teeter-totter. My goal was always to find someone who could balance the scale so that we would both be elevated a foot or two above the ground. In an interesting way, the world of marketing mirrors that playground activity.

Andy Sippel writes an article for AdWeek titled, “Reach is the New Black: Advertising’s Mass Reawakening”. Sippel looks at two sides of marketing: mass reach and precise niche targeting of specific people.

While specifically targeting the single soccer mom with two kids aged 7-10 who brings in $80k per year in the Kansas City DMA might sound perfect for your advertising plan, it shouldn’t be the only strategy for your campaign. In fact, Procter & Gamble CMO, Marc Pritchard, announced that his brands “were stagnant due to targeting too narrowly on Facebook”.

Big picture being: throwing all your eggs in one basket won’t work. Advertising doesn’t flourish as we would like when it’s limited to one medium. Sippel reports that, “in 2011, there was nearly a 100-point difference in net ‘plan to spend’ optimism between the highest and lowest media” however, advertisers are seeing the flaw in that thinking and, “last year, the difference compressed to only 42 points.”

Along those lines, the digital world is unable to form a regular audience build comparable to that of television or even radio. When people routinely tune-in to their favorite programs, a loyal audience forms amongst viewers that is unique to the delivery method of your ad.

Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) recommends three “smart-spending action steps” for advertisers who might find themselves stuck on the uneven teeter-totter.

1.      Invest in multiple platforms rather than shifting money from one to the next
2.      Add traditional media to your digital investments to maximum ROI
3.      Spend to reach millennials on traditional and new media – and not just mobile

ARF even recommends spending roughly 71-78% of budget on traditional media and 22-29% on digital (based on a $15 million budget).

So, don’t get caught on the high or low end of the advertising teeter-totter; instead, return to the media mix and reach your audience in more ways than one. The more roads your deliver your message on, the more your brand will succeed. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gen X Surpass Millennials in Social Media Usage

Surprisingly enough, Millennials are not the strongest social media users of the bunch. That’s right, according to Nielsen; Generation X (ages 35-49) spends the most time on social media at nearly 7 hours per week.

Millennials do fall in second place with over 6 hours on social media weekly. Across gender lines, females spend 25% of online time on social media while men only reach the 19% mark.

Sean Casey, President of Nielsen Social states that 39% of heavy social users believe that finding out about products and services is an important reason for using social networks.

Thirty-five percent of heavy social users say that special discounts are important and 29% say supporting their favorite brands or companies is important.
On top of that, women are likely to interact with social and television simultaneously. 

Sixty-one percent of unique Facebook users who discuss television on the social network are female.

Generation X females may be the best people to target with a mix of television and social. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Emotions Brought to Marketing in 2017

What’s one thing that the recent election, inauguration, and Super Bowl all have in common? Empathy. That’s right; all three events have given the people of the United States a feeling of empathy or a desiring to receive empathy. But how are they connected exactly?

Kevin McKeon puts it this way, “The election fueled it, the inauguration sealed it, and the Super Bowl was its first big state, offering a $5 million shot to put your brand’s empathy on display for all America to see and admire.” Sure enough, the Super Bowl hosted many more politically driven commercials than in previous years. Brands took a stance on today’s hot topics and let their opinions be known thus kicking off the newest trend in marketing for 2017: empathy.

Empathy is defined as: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

McKeon, author of the article, “A Brand’s Guide to Empathy: Marketing’s Latest Buzzword”, gives advice to advertisers as they strive to be empathetic in order to win customers for their brand.

You don’t own empathy
That’s right, empathy isn’t something you have; it’s something you give. Empathy isn’t about you; it’s about the person you’re relating to. In a business worldview, empathy isn’t about your company or how great you are, it’s about the customer feeling understood and welcomed.

Empathy isn’t just something you feel – it’s something you do
While empathy may begin as a feeling, it has the ability to grow into action. Businesses have the resources to make action out of feeling. Let empathy be shown through your company’s deeds.

Think like people, not like marketers
Why would people care? Would people want this? How is this delivering real value? If I were in their shoes, would I buy it? Think like people who are in search of something, not like marketers trying to sell something. Understand what people want and provide that for them.

Empathy should also be fun
Let’s face it; Super Bowl 51 lacked some “laugh until your stomach hurts” commercials. But empathy and humor don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Ikea (Sweden) reminds the world that life should be fun and provide laughter with their “Retail Therapy” campaign. They’ve got a whole website ( filled with products renamed to match Google search results regarding relationships in Sweden. Some of my favorites being a mattress wedge titled, “She Doesn’t Want to Cuddle”, a floor length mirror called, “World’s Most Beautiful People List”, and a pair of scissors named, “My Son Plays Too Much Computer Games”.

Empathy isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution
Remember your audience, your brand, and your message.

While 2017 may be the year of empathy, remember that your customer is the most important part of the equation. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Ads are Introduced to Facebook Messenger

In 2011 Facebook released the first version of the Facebook Messenger App. As with most new social platforms, some people loved the new offering and others hated it. However, as time went on, the Messenger App became the only option for Facebook users as Facebook removed the option to message directly from the Facebook app.

Now, roughly six years later, Facebook is doing the inevitable and introducing ads to the Messenger app.

Ads will be displayed in a “sponsored” section which will be added to the same window that shows which of your friends is active on the app. At least in the beginning stages, Facebook has assured users that the ads will not appear in a conversation; unless of course a user activates the “ad experience” or starts a conversation with a sponsored brand.

Similar to most new advertising opportunities, Facebook is rolling out the platform piece by piece in order to control any issues should they come up.

Advertisements are currently active on the Messenger app in Australia and Thailand.
As predictable as this change was, consumers aren’t too happy about it. However, once the dust settles and advertisements in the app become old news, I am willing to bet that business will go on as usual.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Secret to Great Content Marketing: Storytelling

To many advertisers, “content marketing” sounds strange, bizarre, and maybe a little too confusing of a task to tackle. However, there’s no need to fret, content marketing is not near as challenging as it may seem. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as, “the marketing a business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.

Toby Nwazor’s interpretation of content marketing is that it’s simply good storytelling, and who doesn’t love a good story? Nwazor clarifies in his article, “5 Reasons Businesses Shouldn’t Keep Ignoring Content Marketing”.

Everyone reacts to a good story – whether that story is in video form, words on a page, or told directly from the storyteller’s mouth; good stories bring out emotions that incline listeners to react in some way. For businesses, their job is to make their audiences emotions encourage them to react in a way that is profitable for their business.

Everyone likes a storyteller – and when everyone likes the storyteller they’ll begin to be aware and like your business as well; since the storyteller is in some way or another a part of said business.

Great storytellers can put you before the right audience – and keep you away from the wrong audience. Moment of truth here: I like cats and baseball. Because of this, I am prone to engage with stories regarding cats and baseball (or better yet, both). I am not a fan of the Kardashians or MMA fighting so if I come across an article on either of those topics, I’ll probably ignore it, but that is okay. Advertisers don’t want to be in front of an audience that doesn’t care about their product, they want to be seen by people who will interact and convert. This target audience is also likely to share a story they enjoy with other like-minded individuals, boosting your brand for free.

A great story is cheaper than a news article – and has the potential to be more creative. News articles definitely have their place and purpose, but stories have the ability to go above and beyond your traditional news article for a fraction of the cost.

Everyone can get hooked into a great storyteller – so let’s make sure it’s your storyteller. Get consumers hooked on your stories means getting them hooked on your brand. Top of mind is huge when it comes to consumer decision making and with consistent and relatable stories, your brand will be the first thing to come to mind.

Get personal, get creative, and get in front of your desired audience. Tell a story, trigger emotions, and drive consumers to react. Stop worrying about the unknown “content marketing” and remember the great stories you heard as a kid. Now, revamp those stories, connect them with your brand, and build a loyal customer base. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Long Live Radio

The casket may have been built by skeptics in anticipation of broadcast radio dying off, but that casket is far from being put in the ground. In fact, traditional AM/FM radio remains the number one medium in terms of reach across the United States reaching 93% of the population according to Nielsen.

Radio remains relevant for a variety of reasons including the fact that listeners are usually on the go. According to Edison Research, 86% of Americans drive to work and broadcast radio accounts for 70% of in-car audio. This means, drivers are consistently listening to AM/FM stations on their daily commute giving advertisers a reliable medium to reach them through.

On top of that, Americans listen to the radio when they’re driving for reasons beyond going into the office. With more leisurely drive times, advertisers can entice listeners with timely, local, and influential messages.

Radio is also changing on the back end of things that remains a mystery to your everyday listener. The push of programmatic buying has begun and companies like iHeartMedia and Jelli are jumping on board quickly. Jelli has created a platform for the radio giant, iHeartMedia, giving them the ability to sell inventory across all 858 network stations reaching a quarter of a billion people.

“Smart Audio Audience” buys have some obvious pros and cons. Pros consist of the ability to reach a large amount of people, targeting an audience rather than a daypart & demo, and the data to conduct more sophisticated buys to name a few. On the flip side, with such a large geographic, programmatic lacks the ability to buy locally eliminating the option for advertisers to promote local deals.

Digital support has also immerged in efforts to keep broadcast radio alive. Entercom, a broadcast radio company, created 120 websites for each of its 120 broadcast stations giving listeners the ability to interact socially, engage with DJ’s, and be connected like never before. In fact, Kansas City’s own 96.5 The Buzz doubled their station listenership when they added a streaming component.

All of that to say, radio isn’t ready to wave the white flag. In fact, radio isn’t even close to calling it quits, and neither are advertisers who take advantage of the successful media outlet.