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In an always connected world, the window of opportunity to engage with a consumer is precious and fleeting. People have shorter attention spans these days, and according to the latest research by National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a person (eight seconds) is shorter than that of a goldfish (nine seconds). To help marketers make a powerful impact in a short amount of time, consider the following seven tips which incorporate programmatic and dynamic creative optimization technologies and best practices to better target and engage with a viewer.

Creative sizes
Ensure you have multiple ad sizes and placements to maximize efficiencies -- this will ensure your ad is served to your target at the precise moment the opportunity arises.

Deliver a simple message and a strong call to action
If you include every detail about your offering, it could be overwhelming and not grab the prospect's attention. State your point and grab the viewer's attention with an intriguing call-to-action.

Avoid ad fatigue and overexposure
The use of the same standard creative can result in ad fatigue, drops in click-through rates (CTRs) and eventually drops in click per actions (CPAs). Furthermore, with retargeting campaigns, it's key to avoid serving ads to already-converted customers. Consider excluding recent converters from that ad, but instead upsell, cross-sell, or offer referral discounts.

Target recent visitors right away
Visitors to your website have a limited attention span in terms of their interest in a specific product. For instance, compared to earlier visitors, those who have visited your website during the last 48 hours are more likely to convert due to their high interest. Try to bid higher and retarget audiences based on how recently they visit.

Use campaign performance reports and insights to your advantage
It is important to ensure the campaign you're running is being properly tracked and analyzed along the way so you can better optimize and ultimately gain the results you want. Investing in marketer's solutions that give simplified yet intelligent reporting in order to leverage the insights for better return is a must!

Marketers need to invest in marketing solutions that give them such simplified, intelligent reporting so that they can leverage the insights to get better returns for their spend.

Inventory quality transparency
Ask for inventory quality reports to keep a close eye on where your ads have been served. Fraud is rampant in this ecosystem, and being smart and aware of the problems is key. Work with trusted vendors who buy inventory from quality supply sources and with those who screen their ad material for suspicious activity.

Creativity and programmatic are not mutually exclusive: Focus on DCO
Every ad should be dynamic and leverage all the audience and other signals used in programmatic media buying to make the creative relevant. This can be done by infusing first or third-party data on demographics, location, and previous website behavior to alter the headline call-to-action, image, or assets of the ad unit to ensure that the message resonates with the user. Doing this can double yield on interaction rates.

Given the Internet of Things (IoT) world we live in, with new technologies emerging all the time, the competition for a consumer's attention will become fierce. As the eight-second window of opportunity starts to shrink, marketers will increasingly rely on smarter tools and techniques to maximize their opportunities to connect with an individual. These tips will help guide marketers in the right direction as the ad world continues to better understand and embrace programmatic and dynamic creative technologies.

Kiran Gopinath is the founder and CEO at Adadyn.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

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Measuring audiences: gaining insights that ensure audiences are accurately targeted

Clearly, programmatic has a long way to go before it becomes as mainstream as mobile and desktop advertising. Many marketers are afraid to let go of their manual processes and have doubts about the quality of programmatic inventory. They also fear the future of their jobs. It's up to good communicators to explain away these myths and misconceptions.

For the analytics team actually delivering impressions there is a very large challenge in programmatic execution: measuring online audiences across channels and learning more about them. The ways advertisers have traditionally gained insight into online consumers are becoming less reliable, mostly thanks to the fragmentation of devices and channels. Consumers are on the go and leave fewer reliable breadcrumbs for marketers to follow. Luckily, this challenge is being addressed every day and accurate processes for learning consumer patterns are solidifying. From location tracking to registration data, marketers are finding stronger ways to identify audiences. As devices, channels, and platforms continue to multiply, identifying consumers for programmatic delivery continues to be the biggest ongoing battle.

Few know more about programmatic audience delivery than Lauren Moores, VP of analytics at Dstillery. She speaks with iMedia at the 2015 Clorox iConnect conference about why identifying audiences to gain true insight is a big industry issue, and how marketers are addressing it.

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Article written by media production manager David Zaleski and video edited by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Back view of a young man with head phones watching a big TV panel" image via Shutterstock.

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It's been said that in a traditional ad agency, "the A Team pitches, and the B Team plays the game." This model may work for some firms, but it can really gum up the works for clients who prefer to know exactly who they are working with and who they can go to when they have questions, concerns, and creative input. This is especially true for social media firms.

The new agency model that works

In a client-centric model, it may help to think of it in terms of a ring around each client, with an entire team supporting each one. All members are trained in copy, graphics, and metrics, so when an issue arises -- an image needs replacing, new content discussed, a post edited -- anyone can handle making the necessary changes. When clients discover an entire team at their beck and call, it's more value added, especially when it means increased responsiveness, creativity, and brainpower.

Every client, whether they are small business owners in a rural town or executives of a national brand, wants to feel like they are the center of attention. In many ways running a social media campaign for a company is a lot like running your actual social media agency --  it's successful when it's engaging, resourceful, timely, and genuine.

It's worth breaking down a little further. Let's get started.

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With Super Bowl Sunday falling the first weekend in February, it should come as no surprise that seven of the 10 brands on February's iMedia Brands in Video chart were big game advertisers.

Budweiser's adorable "Lost Dog" racked up enough viewership after the game -- 35.7 million views to be exact -- to keep it at No. 2 on the chart, dropping one spot from January. Bud Light, McDonald's, and Microsoft also maintained a place on the chart from January to February with their big game campaigns. Mazda, Nissan, and T-Mobile were three more Super Bowl brands to join the chart in February.

The Super Bowl will be the biggest advertising event of 2015. Already it has generated more than 467 million views. And because the ads are such an integral part of the Super Bowl experience, the buzz that brands can leverage around the game is unequaled even during bigger events, such as the World Cup.

But if there's one thing that online video has taught us, it's that a brand doesn't need the Super Bowl to create big viewership. All it needs is compelling creative. In February, three brands made the chart without spending $4.5 million on a Super Bowl spot.

The top brand in February, Adidas garnered a True Reach viewership of 75.5 million views, nearly 40 million views more than Budweiser. Nearly 50 million of those views came from its "Take Today" campaign, a one-minute anthem spot featuring soccer, volleyball, basketball, and football players preparing for and excelling in their sports. An inspirational voiceover plays over the video and ends with the narrator saying, "No one owns today. Take it."

The video was accompanied by 15-second clips of 16 athletes -- from rock climbers to runners -- sharing their personal stories of "taking today."

Google was the second brand on the chart not to participate in the Super Bowl. It took the No. 4 spot with 32.6 million views. Nearly 44 percent of its viewership in February came from "Friends Furever" campaign, which generated 14.2 million views.

The adorable campaign features a variety of strange animal pairings -- a cat and a chick, a dog and an orangutan, a sheep and an elephant, a dog and a lion cub -- frolicking as the "Oo De Lally" theme from Disney's "Robin Hood" plays over the footage. The video ends with the tag, "Be together. Not the same." It is a very subtle dig at Apple's closed ecosystem and a promotion of Android's inclusive one.

Samsung was the third non-Super Bowl brand to make the chart in February. It came in at No. 5 with 29.9 million views. While Samsung has advertised during the Super Bowl in the past, the electronics brand opted to leverage another event this year, the Oscars.

Brands pay big money -- not Super Bowl big, but big nonetheless -- to advertise during the Oscars, but there is rarely buzz around Oscar advertisers. (They have to compete with movie stars, after all.) Samsung, however, produced a campaign that capitalized on the theme of the night and drove a fair bit of viewership. More than 56 percent of the brand's viewership came from its awards show campaign, "Movie Magic."

The video features a woman who, after seeing a less than stellar movie, decides to make her own film using Samsung products. The amusing video shows her going all out -- shooting and editing, painting a green screen in her house, buying food for the crew, and persuading her plumber to make a cameo, all in the name of her perfect film.

How have these three brands overshadowed those that paid millions to have airtime during the most-watched television event of the year? Simply put, each developed creative that wasn't just good -- it was creative that tapped in to the emotion of its target audience.

Adidas inspired audiences in the way that only sports can, showing the lengths to which athletes go to play the game and play the game well. Android made viewers let out a collective "awwww" with its cuddly animal BFFs. And Samsung produced a campaign that was humorous but still inspiring in the sense that it shows how technology can help all of us reach for goals that might seem a little out of reach.

Each of these campaigns elicits emotion in its viewers with a message that is universally relatable. Time and time again, we've seen that a universal message and the creation of genuine emotion go farther than any placement during a big game.

Mallory Russell is content editor at Visible Measures.

iMedia's Top 10 Brands in Video chart, powered by Visible Measures, focuses on aggregated brand view counts across related social video ad campaigns. Each brand and campaign is measured on a True Reach basis, which includes viewership of both brand-syndicated and audience-driven video clips. The data are compiled using the patented Visible Measures platform, a constantly growing repository of analytic data on close to 400 million videos tracked across more than 300 online video destinations.

Note: This analysis does not include Visible Measures' paid-placement (e.g., overlays; pre-, mid-, and post-roll) performance data or video views on private sites. This chart does not include movie trailers, video game campaigns, TV show, or media network promotions. View counts are incremental by month.

Learn more here.

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Knitting a new pair of socks. Building your own woodshed. Baking and frosting the perfect batch of cupcakes. What once were tasks associated with folksy country bumpkins are now quite the opposite -- they're marks of special social status and brag-worthy accomplishment.

Some articles credit The Great Recession for the fashionable rise in do-it-yourself projects. After all, DIY is generally more affordable than buying pre-made or hiring someone else to do it for you. But even if frugality was at the genesis of the movement, the economy's rebound certainly hasn't been its undoing. DIY is just too dang cool at this point. Pinterest's launch in 2010 threw some serious fuel on the fire as the social destination for sharing DIY projects and ideas. Meanwhile, over at YouTube, search volume on "how to" topics reached and remains at absurdly high levels.

The brands that have tapped into the DIY fervor in recent years are some of the finest content marketers out there. And you don't have to be a Home Depot for a DIY approach to make sense for your product. Draw inspiration from these DIY marketing powerhouses and consider the simple tips and tricks that you can pull into your own strategy.

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Force-fed advertiser integration into influencer content

Here's the temptation: you connect with an influencer or an online celebrity who attracts a huge portion of your target audience, and so you begin to craft calculated content that allows your brand to shine. Sounds simple, right? After all, as the advertiser you're the one paying. Why shouldn't you be able to dictate how the content is drafted?

This is a mistake on many levels and is easily the best way to botch a partnership in this arena. First off, the audience that an online influencer attracts has no initial interest in your brand. Second, audiences are not dumb and can smell inauthenticity a mile away. Lastly, influencers are trusted people. If an audience senses they are "selling out" the influencer could lose fans and impact. All around, it's a bad idea.

The solution to this problem is equally as simple: instead of force feeding audiences custom content, allow your partner to do their job naturally. From there, give the influencer a choice of the brands that they want to work with for legitimate reasons. These reasons could range from "I love this product," to "I support their stance on social issues." It really doesn't matter as long as it's authentic. Lastly, let the influencer communicate in a transparent way why they support certain brands to their audience. Allow the brand to slip seamlessly into content where it is relevant and appropriate. If the audience knows about the partnership and believes the reason that it exists is authentic, they will not be offended when they see it. Above all, audiences don't like to be tricked.

Jordan Hoffner, CEO of Federated Media speaks with iMedia about his company and the ideal process for working with online influencers, celebrities, and content creators.

Click here to subscribe to the iMedia YouTube channel!

Article written by media production manager David Zaleski and video edited by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Photographers are taking a picture of a film star" image via Shutterstock.

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6D Global Technologies, Inc. announced that Tandy Harris has been appointed vice president, global human resources.

Adadyn, a global advertising technology company formerly known as Ozone Media, announced its rebrand to better reflect the launch of its new technology platform.

Bitly introduced Deep Links, its new functionality that empowers marketers to drive mobile app installs and re-engagement.

Enso has appointed Shelley Ong as brand impact lead, a newly created position.

Garfield Group released a new eBook titled "Day One Branding" which discusses how and why early stage companies face the challenge to create a powerful brand.

The Guardian unveiled project Pangaea, a global digital advertising alliance with fellow founding partners CNN International, the FT and Thomson Reuters, with the Economist.

Havas Worldwide announced the addition of Coral Garvey as head of art for the New York office.

Hired.com announced that Tyler Willis has been selected as its new chief marketing officer.

Inneractive announced new hires Welby Chen as vice president and general manager of North America based in New York and Avichai Belitsky as vice president and managing director of international based in Tel Aviv.

Mindshare North America announced the appointment of Rolf Olsen as chief data officer.

Mintz + Hoke promoted Michael Perry to the position of digital technical lead.

Leadspace has just announced a partnership with Madison Logic Data.

Maxifier announced the newest director of their sales team, Kim Cheever.

Rakuten Marketing announced the acquisition of Deep Forest Media, a programmatic mobile marketing company and demand-side platform.

Siegel+Gale launched a video series called "Simplifiers," which aims to shed light on the emerging trend of simplification.

Signal announced that Patrick Venetucci will join the company as global chief operating officer (COO).

Simulmedia announced that J. Peter Ban has been promoted to chief operating officer, Adam T. Quinn has been promoted to director, advertising sales, and the company hired Lori O'Connor as general manager, entertainment, a newly created position.

Wizeline announced the public availability of a new offering designed for enterprise customers.

Editor's note: We list the companies and people alphabetically. Our bimonthly column is always looking for announcements, so please email them to agata@imediaconnection.com.

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You don't need a lot of content to make a big impact.

Mere hours after Sen. Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring and announced his candidacy for the highest office in the land, TedCruz.com went live. The site consists of one sober page, white text on a black background:

Unsurprisingly, social media lit up with (deservedly) derisive comments. The same would have been the case 10 years ago. Cruz is hardly the first politician to flop so spectacularly online. I can recall Rudy Giuliani's MySpace profile during his presidential bid -- the page was marked "private" so no one could see the posts.

But that was then. I don't think that today it's going too far to say that a candidate that doesn't have the foresight to secure his own name (not to mention any and all related domains) doesn't deserve my vote. It's bad decision-making. It's bad politics. It's bad content, image, spin, and PR. What would have been a big "oops" 10 or 15 years ago is now indicative of someone who (politics aside) is not making informed decisions.

Because today, digital is too important to ignore. Barack Obama owes his two terms not just to a platform that resonated with the electorate, but with one of the all-time greatest digital CRM campaigns. The White House has a chief digital officer now.

Contrast that with Cruz, who doesn't have a top-level domain in his name.

This choice, or oversight, or whatever you care to call it, speaks volumes about Ted Cruz as a leader. What kind of people has he brought on as campaign advisors if this critical element of his messaging has been completely overlooked? A president is only good as his lieutenants. It's hard to imagine a candidate who can't buy a web domain becoming the most powerful politician in the world and appointing a qualified cabinet.

My friend Vin Crosbie has pointed out that ICANN's Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) could, in fact, return TedCruz.com to Ted Cruz, because the current owner is using it in bad faith. To do so, Cruz would have to file a complaint.
 
"I could get it for him by the end of the week," an SEO and reputation management expert commented on my Facebook page. "But he isn't going to ask."

It's going to be an interesting election season. Simply from a digital marketing perspective, I don't think the first candidate in the ring is going to be able to go the distance.

Rebecca Lieb is an analyst, digital advertising/media, for Altimeter Group.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

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There is no perfect system or right way to nimbly and effectively manage social media. Your current results from earned media and engagement should be your guide on whether you have a successful structure in place or not. But no matter how your social is handled, strategy and creativity should live together in harmony.

It's been a decade since Facebook launched, and brands have many options for managing social media. They include keeping the function in-house, leveraging their PR firm, hiring specialized social agencies, or working with a full-service shop that also handles all brand creative work. None of these options are mutually exclusive, as multi-organizational hybrid models are popular as well.

Begin with identifying your needs, objectives, and expectations from social, at which point you can narrow down who and how to bring dimension to your brand online. It's important to pick the right partner who is curious, gets the space, and understands your business.

And the reality is usually a collaborative effort with a person or persons in the decision-making seat, working together to create a consistent brand voice, while coordinating paid amplification. Let's look at the potential players for managing a brand's social efforts and some of the pros and cons of each.

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A couple of years ago, the industry was abuzz over the idea of putting little black and white squares on products, packaging, and signage. Many thought that QR codes would revolutionize the industry, becoming the link between the physical and online worlds -- and a dream come true for shoppers. And while QR codes did gain popularity amongst marketers, they were never truly embraced by consumers. It turns out that downloading a scanning app and then reaching and straining to scan something was just too much for the limited return they felt they received. Live and learn.

However, technology continues to evolve, and marketers continue to think up better ways to engage consumers. The next step in the mobile marketing evolution is image recognition.

Image recognition has long been a tool used for surveillance and data processing, but with the uprising in mobile technology, it is now becoming an integrated part of retail, to serve up "gamified," interactive shopping experiences. Amazon made a splash when they released their "Flow" app, which allows users to scan different types of items such as books, DVDs, and packaged goods to trigger an augmented reality (AR) experience. They took it one step further with the release of the Fire Phone, which came standard with a built-in image recognition tool called "Firefly." Retailers such as Ikea, IBM, Walgreens and many others have begun dabbling in the world of AR; and of course, the most famous AR technology to date: Google Glass.  

According to AugementedRealityTrends.com, it is expected that by 2017 more than 2.5 billion mobile AR apps will have been downloaded. By 2016, the total revenue generated from AR is expected to surpass $600 billion. This is nothing to ignore. 

Image recognition -- and the AR experiences that it enables -- allows shoppers to create a deep connection with the retailer or brand's content, while making shopping more of an interactive and exciting experience versus a task. Shoppers engage with the brand, but do so by receiving useful content and information. Not only is AR useful while within a brick-and-mortar, which helps to combat showrooming, but these engagements can also be fulfilled at home, bringing the physical experience of shopping right into your living room.

What makes AR appealing to marketers is that they no longer need to be concerned about placing QR codes on the item packaging or in-store signage. The entire item or package of items now serves as a giant QR code, if you will. This makes logistics and timing easier for the retailer or brand. As for the user, AR makes shopping more fun and engaging. So rather than scanning a barcode which will typically push the user to a website or landing page, they can now interact and engage directly with the product. AR can drive users toward games, content, contests -- the possibilities are infinite. Not only is AR limiting the work for the advertiser or marketer, it's making the entire process seamless and exciting for all involved.

Clearly there are great opportunities to enhance the shopping experience, but this is only scratching the surface of why AR is such a valuable tool. Retailers and brands can obtain tremendous valuable insight from their consumer base with the data that is accumulated from a shopper's AR journey. What kind of content a consumer enjoys or doesn't enjoy, how long they stay on a page, and where they were when they engaged are just a few key points that retailers can learn from these events. This data is golden for brand monetization and for creating audience segments for advertisers to use for precise targeting.

Imagine this, walking into a store and using that retailer's mobile app to bring objects in-store to life. Hovering over a grocery product can create an overlaying video or virtual chef on how to create a brilliant recipe, or scanning over a piece of clothing to get hosted fashion tips and style guides for an upcoming season. Image recognition makes this all possible and AR makes it fun and engaging for the customer. Consuming more content and information before purchase can drastically help increase a user's potential to purchase.

It is especially useful to serve as a "digital in-store assistant" when it may be more difficult to find a store attendant. AR can also make shopping and interactivity with products at home just as engaging. Ikea does a very good job at this by allowing users to interact with its print catalog. From there, a mobile device can make the print come to life, giving users the ability to see what furniture and items from the store look like in their own home. This is another example of identifying and learning more about a product in order to drive sales. That's why in early 2014, Accenture found that "natural user interfaces" such as augmented reality were among the top technologies senior executives worldwide said they would consider as part of their future digital/IT agenda.

The QR code will likely never completely disappear, but when given the choice to choose an engaging, interactive, and educational shopping experience over traditional barcode scanning, it seems evident that AR will win every time.

Will Cohen is senior director, mobile at Triad Retail Media.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

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