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Why Direct Mail Beats Email and How You Can Make It Work for You

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 @ 11:53 AM

Ever since digital technology came onto the scene, the myths about print marketing began swirling. But those myths – the ones that claim all print channels are dead – are just that, myths.

The truth is, print marketing is very much alive and well. Direct marketing in particular has been enhanced by web technologies and works synergistically to get leads to visit a webpage to collect information from prospects.

But, too many marketers are relying on digital channels alone, ignoring the data that clearly indicates consumers want to be engaged via multiple formats. A better approach is to engage your prospects everywhere they are. This includes in there living rooms or kitchens with a direct mail piece.

Make no mistake, with the increased saturation of digital marketing, direct mail response rates are higher than ever. Here are four reasons why you should consider using direct mail in the new year:

People are Overwhelmed by Emails

How many emails would you say you get a day? 10? 30? 100 or more? The truth is, most people open, let alone read, very few of the daily emails they receive. While it used to be fun to hear, “You got mail,” many of us now dread checking our email fearing we will be instantly overwhelmed by all the news, updates, and solicitations awaiting us.

What does this mean for email marketers? It means big budgets wasted on sales messages that never get read.

But, going to our physical mailboxes and pulling out the few pieces of mail, especially when none of those pieces are bills, is an enjoyable and welcomed experience nowadays, which means your sales message has a much better chance of being read.

People Trust Print MorePeople Trust Print More

In some ways, technological advances have made consumers’ lives easier, but in many others way, technology has made them vulnerable to privacy risks. With so many reports of hacking in the news, people are becoming more and more fearful of digital communications.

Direct mail is simply not faced with these same privacy issues, and hence, people fear secure opening your mail.

Direct Mail Offers More Creative Options

Human beings look for visual signals throughout their daily lives that help them know how to react to things. When people look through their mail they watch for thick envelopes that may hold treasures, colorful envelopes that seem like the letter is from family or friends, or actual handwriting on the envelope instead of a typed label.

You don’t get these same creative options in email marketing. You have one shot – the subject line – to grab someone’s attention. But direct mail offers many more creative options that will help get your message noticed.

Now that you know why direct mail marketing is beneficial, let’s look at some of the best practices so you can ensure you get the optimum ROI on your next campaign.

Use PersonalizationUse Personalization

Consumers today demand personalized communication, so if you want your direct mail campaigns to be successful, you need to analyze your customer data. By mining information from your CRM and automation platform, you will be able to narrow your segments and personalize each offer and message.

Leverage the Power of Integrated Campaigns

It’s important to make direct mail a part of your overall marketing campaign and integrate it with your other channels. Always send multiple waves of personalized offers through direct mail and make sure your branding and messaging is consistent across your print and digital channels.

Measure Outcomes

How will you know if your direct mail campaign was a success? What does that look like to your business? You’ve got to determine this before you launch any campaign.

Be sure to forecast KPIs and set up your direct mail programs in a way that makes it easy to track results. To determine the ROI of your direct mail campaign, consider using metrics such as cost per mailing, response and conversions rates, and average revenue per buyer.

If you’ve heard that no one is using direct mail any more, you’ve heard wrong. Direct mail is an extremely effective channel and, in many ways, outperforms email campaigns. To be successful with direct marketing, just be sure to focus on personalizing your messaging, integrating your campaigns, and tracking your results.

Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.

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Topics: email marketing, direct mail

5 Things That Will Give Your Billboard Ad Maximum Impact

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 08, 2016 @ 11:49 AM

As the digital marketing landscape evolves and technology advances at a quickening pace, OOH campaigns continue to offer advertisers big ROI. Billboard ads in particular act as terrific physical markers allowing thousands, and even tens of thousands, of people to interact with your brand on a daily basis. When designed well, billboards will get your message across in a memorable way.

Here are 5 things that will give your billboard maximum Impact.

Visual EngagementVisual Engagement

Consumers who are driving or walking around their towns and cities only have a few seconds to interact with your billboard before moving on. For this reason, it must be visually engaging so people remember your brand’s message.

Effective billboards are ones that offer surprising visual elements and shock value that leave a lasting impression. When thinking of what it is you want to say, focus on elevating the mundane and making it extraordinary. You might want to consider using different shapes and 3D elements into your design.

Here are some powerful billboard examples that leave lasting impressions.

KISS

You know the old adage that in order to convey your message you should KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. While this is true for most advertising formats, it’s particularly true for billboards because you have only seconds to get your point across to drivers and pedestrians.

It’s better to rely on impactful visuals and colors instead of words. When words must be used, be sure to keep text short and sweet. The less words you use the bigger you can make them.

Having said this, sometimes a text-only billboard can be incredibly effective. Who doesn’t remember the famous “Got milk?” campaigns. These two words in white set against a plain black background were highly impactful. When using words as your main visual, be sure to select the right colors and typography.

Create a Strong Call-to-Action

All good ads have one thing in common: they facilitate conversions. Billboard ads should be no different. You’ve got to plant a suggestion into your audience’s mind so they TAKE ACTION after seeing your ad.

Chick-fil-A does this with their slogan “Eat More Chikin.” When hungry drivers see that message, then see a Chick-fil-A at the next exit, they’re apt to go and ‘eat more chikin.”

When creating your billboard ad, think of how to lead people to immediate engagement, or if that’s not possible, how to create suspense or curiosity so people will visit your web site or social media pages later.

Use Your Billboard to Prove a Point

All consumers require proof before taking action, so use your ad to prove a point. This can be done in an emotional way or in a literal way.

For example, here’s a very effective billboard in New Zealand that gets its point across by using actual rain to signal to drivers how dangerous driving conditions can be in the rain.  

Think about your product’s function and prove it. Taking a second look at some visually engaging ads, notice the duct tape ad that looks as though the tape is holding the billboard up. The company is proving a point: Their tape is so strong it can actually hold this big billboard up.

Stay Consistent

It’s easy to think of your billboard ad as a standalone piece, but it’s important to remember its design should fit into your larger marketing puzzle. Is your messaging consistent with your overall marketing strategy? Does it match in tone and style other ads of yours on other channels? Consistency among your different advertising outlets is as important as the actual advertisements themselves.

As the holidays approach, billboards will be a great way to grab the attention of shoppers as they rush home with their treasures. Just make sure you’re taking full advantage of this potential by following these 5 tips to create impactful ads.

Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.  

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The Biggest Digital Marketing Trends for 2017

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Nov 01, 2016 @ 11:54 AM

2016 is almost over, which means it’s time to reflect on your marketing campaigns to determine what worked and what didn’t. It’s also time to think about upcoming digital marketing trends for 2017 so you can begin planning your marketing budgets for the first quarter.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the upcoming trends that are likely to shape digital marketing in the coming year.

More Companies Will Invest in Social AnalyticsMore companies will invest in social analytics

While some can’t remember a time before social media, the truth is, it’s still in its infancy. There are still great opportunities that will be presented by social media in the coming years.

But to fully leverage social media, you’ve got to collect data from your channels and analyze it. Currently, 70% of companies still are not doing this. But this is expected to change in 2017, as more CMOs, who are being held accountable more than ever before, focus their budgets and efforts on social campaigns.

Video Will Skyrocket

2016 was coined by industry experts as “The Year of Video Marketing,” and the use of video by marketers is expected to increase over the coming years. Statistics point to increased adoption of video marketing by businesses of all sizes as well as an increase in overall success rates of marketing campaigns. Consider these:

  • According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate.
  • According to ComScore, 45.4% of users viewed at least one video online over the course of one month.
  • Unbounce reports that including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%.
  • YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year.
  • According to ComScore, the average user spends over 16 minutes watching online video ads every month.
  • Forrester researcher Dr. James McQuivey estimates that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words.
  • According to Online Publishers Association, 80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.
  • 65% of U.S. marketers plan to increase their mobile ad budgets to account for video according to eMarketer.
  • 87% of online marketers use video content according to Outbrain.

Source: Insivia.com

If you haven’t incorporated video into your campaigns yet, it’s time to get on board. Those marketers who focus some of their budget on video will be set to outpace the competition by delivering relevant and highly-engaging ads to their audience.

Cross-Device Communication

Marketing is challenging enough in this new digital landscape, but it’s about to get a bit more difficult. Consider that the average consumer is now connected through five addressable devices. This certainly offers marketing opportunities, but also marketing challenges. In the coming year, marketers will not only have to engage consumers but also track any actions they take across multiple devices.

Plan for more wearablesPlan for More Wearables

In 2016, 72% of the US population owned a smartphone. While smartphones won’t become obsolete anytime soon, they will be outpaced rather quickly. Wearables are giving smartphones a run for their money, and industry experts predict that by 2018, the global wearables market will reach $19 billion.  What does this mean for marketers in 2017? They need to start planning to produce and distribute content to fit that specific format so they can continue to target their audience.

Hiring the Right Talent

We know that big data is a game changer in media planning and other industries. Analyzing this data will require a certain skillset. It will no longer be enough to hire team members who specialize in web design or app development, CMOs will now have to ensure they have talent with technical acumen in order to leverage the data and technologies to reach their customers effectively and efficiently.

2017 will be like many new years before it: there will be new opportunities and new challenges. The marketers who will come out at the end of the year unscathed and in the black will be the ones who continue to look forward and embrace the changes as they come.

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5 Banner Ad “Best Practices” That Kill Conversions

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 @ 01:43 PM

If you’ve spent any time or budget on display advertising, you already know that one of the biggest detriments of a campaign is underperforming creative. And, while there is plenty of advice going around the web about the best practices for creating banner ads, it doesn’t mean much of it is good. And that’s because this advice usually takes a one-size-fits-all approach.

But there are no universal best practices to creating banner ads that convert. Each campaign, as well as each product and brand identity, is unique.

With this in mind, here are 5 banner ad best practices that may be killing your conversions.

Using Bright Colors Will Help You Stand Out and Get ClicksUsing Bright Colors Will Help You Stand Out and Get Clicks

You’ve probably read many an article or blog post that offered statements like “green increases clicks,” or “orange encourages action.” And it’s easy to see why people believe brighter banner colors will draw attention, as most webpages are white, so colorful banners will definitely stand out.

But it’s incredibly rare that any two scenarios will align. One campaign may find a green button beats a red button, yet another campaign may find a yellow button beats a green button. There is no one magic colored button that will create massive conversions.

Takeaway: It’s far more important to stick to your own brand style guidelines than to follow someone else’s rules on what the perfect banner background color is.

If You Want to Boost Banner Performance, Always Use Photos of People

It is usually assumed that ads featuring people will outperform ads that don’t. While a great photo can absolutely attract attention and improve performance, using the wrong photo will typically do more harm than good.

For instance, a consumer brand may experience great success with an ad that features a person using their product. In fact, this is one of the most effective ways to showcase a brand’s offering.

But for B2B businesses, using these types of photos can be very hit or miss.

Takeaway: Don’t follow image rules, just make sure the image you use is relatable and relevant to your market. If your photo helps your customers see themselves gaining value from your product, go for it, but if not, try something else.

You should Rely on CTR Exclusively as a Performance Metric

Just because you invite 200 people to your wedding, doesn’t mean you’ll end up with 200 gifts you’ll love, or even like. While CTR can be a valuable measurement for determining the winner of an A/B test, there is no guarantee those clicks will correlate to conversions. At the end of the day, it’s better to have only 10 clicks with five of them converting, than 200 clicks with only one of them converting.

Also, if the goal of your campaign is branding, then clicks aren’t necessarily a valuable tool. CTR is great for measuring traffic, but when it comes to revenue generated, it is in no way the be-all-end-all.

Takeaway: Success should be measured based on your campaign’s ultimate goal, so don’t get caught up measuring clicks if you’re looking for sales.

You Should Always Use an Urgent Call-to-ActionYou Should Always Use an Urgent Call-to-Action

There’s no denying that every piece of advertising should include a call-to-action. If you want people to click on your banner ad, you’d be wise to include one. But some marketers advise that a call-to-action include a sense of urgency, such as “buy now!” or “only 8 left in stock!”

Now, urgency can definitely get consumers to take action, particularly if the offer is really strong. But with larger purchases like B2B software, gentler calls-to-action like “learn more” or “call for a free demo” can work much better.

Takeaway: Craft your calls-to-action on your specific customer base and your offer’s price tag.

Flash Banners Are More Effective Than Static Banners

There are many marketers who have reported that flash ads significantly outperform static ads. But the punchline is, the measurement used by many marketers is CTR, and as we’ve already discussed, if conversion and revenue is your ultimate goal, then depending on CTR is pointless.

Takeaway: At the end of the day, know what your marketing goals are and do some testing to determine if flash ads outperform static ads.

 

When it comes to designing and testing banner ads, taking a one-size-fits-all-approach is never a good idea. If your ultimate goal is conversions, then you’ve got to know your offer, know your audience, and test, test, and test some more.

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3 Advantages of Site Direct Media Buys

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 @ 01:15 PM

There’s been a lot of hype over the last few years about programmatic ad buying. While it has the potential to allow advertisers to reach their audience at scale and at a low cost, and though it makes real-time optimization possible – the technology is still in its infancy and there are definite issues that need to be resolved.

For instance, the inventory differs between publishers, and this can cause major problems for companies. While some publishers open all of their inventory to programmatic, others only offer up their below-the-fold “remnant” inventory.

Also, because site direct ads happen across multiple publishers, buyers must use polite loads for their creative. This doesn’t mean they can’t use rich media, but it means they’ll be limited in the scope of use.

While the industry busies itself working out these programmatic kinks, some media buyers are helping their clients by going right to the source. Site direct buys are what they sound like – you contact the website publisher directly and work out the placement directly with their ad team. When it comes to reaching an audience in a premium and highly creative way, we’ve found that site direct buys work best for our clients.

Here are 3 advantages of site direct buys:

Work with a Real PersonWork with a Real Person 

Programmatic marketing exchanges are impersonal; you make a buy using an algorithm and hope for the best. But site direct buys mean you can work with an actual person that can help you maximize your strategy. The website publishing team is able to provide expert advice and data about placements, which will ultimately help you reach your target audience. Plus, the website’s publishing team can help you craft digital media strategies that will help you reach your campaign’s goals.

Ideal Placement 

As I mentioned earlier, with programmatic ad buys, you’re never really sure if a publisher has opened all of their premium inventory or just their remnant spots. But working directly with a website publisher means you can place your ads exactly where you want them to be.

For instance, you could request:

  • That your ad be placed around specific content. If you know your audience like reading about celebrity gossip, you can place your ad directly on the entertainment page. If they like sports, your ad can be placed on the sports page.
  • A premium placement such as the first content block on the page, a takeover, transitional, etc. Premium spots are effective because they interrupt the reader’s path and force them to see your ad. These premium ads are typically not available through programmatic buys, only site direct.
  • To have an ad size that is not standard to help your message stand out.
  • A larger ad load size that’s not offered through programmatic. This means your ad can be thoroughly creative and engaging to your audience by using video, maps, and animations.

Better Ad Quality

It’s true that direct site buys typically cost more than programmatic, but this is because they never force you to compromise on the quality of your ads. As I mentioned, site direct buys allow you to get premium ad placement and offer flexibility of media and file sizes. Plus, direct ads can be placed on home pages and can even be full-screen, ensuring your content gets seen by your audience. That’s priceless in today’s crowded marketplace.

 

Are you interested in adding site direct buys to your media mix? We’ve formed relationships with website publishers across numerous and varying digital properties. If you need some assistance with your digital marketing campaigns, get in touch with us today.

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5 Marketing Ideas to Improve Your Print Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 11:22 AM

Fall is officially here, which means in just a few short months a brand new year will arrive, and with it, new marketing trends to leverage, social media sites to tame, and tactics to unleash. But before we even think about what marketing will be like in 2017, let’s see this year through to the end.

How have your print campaigns performed this year? Better than you thought? Worse than you thought? Or about exactly how you thought they would? Wouldn’t it be great to see some real campaign success by the end of this year to propel you into the next?

With this in mind, here are 5 proven marketing ideas to improve your print campaigns this year, next year, and beyond.

Understand Your AudienceUnderstand Your Audience

Print collateral and ads come in all shapes and sizes, from direct mailers to flyers and sales sheets to brochures – newspaper inserts to OOH displays. But what do they all have in common? Someone has to actually read them for your budget and efforts pay off.

Every print campaign must be developed with your audience in mind. Most businesses get this wrong – they start with their product or service in mind. But to be effective, advertising must speak to a person’s pain points. This means you have to understand your audience’s pain points. What do they fear? What do they hope for? How are they struggling? And how can you help?

Once you really understand the needs and wants of your audience, you can create ads that clearly show you have the solution to their problem.

Don’t Skimp on Design and Print Quality

One of the greatest things about print marketing is that it is so cost-effective. Obviously spending less to get more of an ROI is very attractive to any business owner. But, as the saying goes, “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”

In other words, when it comes to designing and printing your collateral – don’s skimp! If your budget allows, use the skills of a professional designer instead of trying to come up with a clever design using a desktop application. A designer will be able to choose the right layout and choose the most effective graphics and images that boost your message.

Also, when it comes time to actually print those postcards and flyers, be sure you use a professional printing service that offers a wide selection of papers and inks. Remember, you will be judged on the quality of the materials you choose so, again, don’t skimp.

Integrate your CampaignsIntegrate Your Campaigns

Print and digital really are like chocolate and peanut butter, they simply compliment one other beautifully. If you haven’t been integrating your campaigns, you’re missing out on increased reach potential. You should be advertising your print pieces on your social media pages and including social media icons and addresses on your print marketing materials. Just be sure your brand has the same look and core message across all channels.

Make it Easy for Readers to Visit Your Biggest Online Asset

It’s still shocking when we see print ads and collateral that do not highlight a brand’s website. At this point in time this should really be automatic. QR codes are an easy way to allow your print audience to interact with your digital assets. Or you can simply print your website address on your postcards and direct mail pieces.

Your digital assets will help you collect prospects’ information and nurture leads. The prospect that didn’t bring in that coupon for a discount may simply need a few emails from you, or read a few helpful Tweets, before they decide to do business with your brand. When your print campaigns point to your digital assets, you are using every opportunity to get people to convert. 

Track Your Print Campaigns

Digital marketers don’t send out campaigns and hope for the best. They use a variety of tools and tactics to track each campaign to make sure it is performing well. Data collected helps them make necessary adjustments to the campaign so it can perform optimally.

So why are so many print marketers not tracking their campaigns? It can be easily done by using things like custom phone numbers, vanity URLs, custom landing pages, discount codes and coupons, or by simply asking customers how they found you. Tracking print campaigns does not have to be difficult and the information you uncover will help you spend your resources wisely.

These 5 marketing ideas are deceptively simple. But, if you utilize any or all of them, you will be able to make sure the final quarter of 2016 goes out like a lion.

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5 Reasons Why Branding is Important for Your Small Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 09:33 AM

Many small businesses make the mistake of overlooking branding efforts because they think of themselves as a business and not a brand. Brands, they think, are the big fish in the pond with huge budgets and national recognition. Resigned to their supposed small-fish status, small businesses do little more than come up with a fun logo and some flashy business cards.

But branding is important for businesses of all sizes because it increases their value, gives employees direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.

Here are 5 reasons why branding is important for your small business.

Branding Creates TrustBranding Creates Trust

When a company presents themselves in a professional way, and when there is social proof that their products and service are quality, prospects will trust that company and feel more comfortable giving it their hard-earned money.

Branding Improves Recognition

While your logo should not be the be-all-end-all of your branding efforts, you should still put the time and effort into coming up with a professionally-designed, memorable logo. Not only should your logo be memorable, it should give the desired impression of your company so when people see it, they instantly think and feel what you want them to think and feel.

Branding Supports Your Marketing Efforts

Marketing is an important component of your brand. The mediums and channels chosen as well as the demographic targeted helps to build your brand. Be careful of too narrow of a marketing focus, or you’ll risk being “pigeon holed” and lose your ability to expand into new markets. Then again, too broad of a marketing focus could lead to an inability to create a definable impression of your company in consumers’ minds.

Branding motivates employeesBranding Motivates Employees

Anyone can hire employees, but only a strong brand can hire motivated employees that are inspired to carry your vision and mission forward. When your brand feels pride, your employees do as well. Having a strong brand is essential for employee morale and productivity.

 

Branding Generates New Revenue

Branding is one of the best ways to get referral or word-of-mouth business. And again, this is why it’s important that your logo, marketing, and reputation work cohesively to form an indelible impression on consumer minds. Think about it, you can’t tell your friend about the amazing golf clubs you just bought if you can’t remember the brand.

Now that you know why it’s important to develop a solid branding strategy, here are a few ways you can do it:

Always Have Your Customer in Mind

Your brand must align itself with your customers’ needs and wants. When starting any branding campaign, always have your customer in mind.

Create Messaging That Illustrates Your Value

You’ve got to create a direct and simple message of WHY your brand should matter to your customer. Most consumers don’t have the time or inclination to figure this out on your behalf. Your brand must create a story that answers the question, “why you?”

Use Emotion

If you give consumers a reason to care and feel something about your brand, they have a reason to buy. Most people make purchasing decisions based on emotions not logic, so create an emotion in your prospects every time they see your brand.

 

No matter what size they are, the most successful businesses are the ones that have established themselves as a leader in their industry by creating a strong brand. And, when these businesses focus on building valuable customer experiences, they easily transform customers into brand ambassadors.

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Is Native Advertising Right for Your Business?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 @ 01:02 PM

As technology advances and consumers are more able to ignore, if not completely shut off, blatant ads, more companies are turning to native advertising as a way to engage finicky audiences. But what exactly is native advertising and is it right for your business?

Native ads are sponsored content disguised as traditional content. Why is this so effective? Because if you asked a normal citizen the last banner ad they saw, they would draw a complete blank. Unlike ineffective banner ads that are ignored, native ads are embedded directly in places Internet users look for content. According to eMarketer, advertisers poured $1.9 billion into native advertising in 2013. That figure is expected to rise to $4.57 billion by 2017.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of native ads:

Here’s one for IBM in The Atlantic.

IBM Native Advertising

You can see it’s labeled “sponsored content” but it matches the editorial style and content around it.

Here’s a branded post by Dell in the New York Times:

 Dell Native Advertisement

And finally there was this great bit of sponsored content by Netflix found a few years ago in the Times again. This one is subtly promoting their hit show “Orange is the New Black”:

Orange is the New Black advertisement

But as effective as native advertising has been for many businesses, not everyone is convinced they should spend time or ad dollars on the endeavor. Though it is a hot marketing trend that is sure to stick around for many years to come, it may not be for everyone.

So how do you know if native advertising is for you? Here are some pros and cons.

Pros:

Native advertising offers many benefits to marketers. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

It Increases Brand Visibility

Native ads are located in places where readers want and expect to see traditional content. As a bonus, they are also likely to appear on popular high-traffic websites, which can give brand visibility a real boost. Done the right way, with transparency and proper alignment, branded content can yield a high level of engagement and ultimately a higher ROI.

It Grows Social Reach

It seems like not that long ago only savvy marketers were using social to gain customers. Now everyone and their mother is using social, which makes the marketplace incredibly crowded.

One way businesses can stand out from their competition is by seamlessly integrating native ads into their followers’ feed. Industry experts are betting that by 2017, 40% of social media ad spend will be on native social advertising.

It’s Generally Less Expensive

Compared to other forms of traditional display advertising and banner ads, native ads are less expensive and more effective. Since they offer a lower barrier to entry, many types and sizes of businesses can take advantage.

Cons:

Here are a few disadvantages to native advertising:

It Can Come Across as Deceptive

Some marketers intentionally use tricky headlines just to get readers to click. Then, when the reader does, they’re often not happy about where they land. This makes it harder for honest publishers to use native advertising.

Publishers Receive Backlash

Often when publishers allow native advertisements to appear on their website their traffic goes down, even as their revenue goes up. This then has a negative effect on future ad campaigns.

Google May Penalize Native Ads

Though no one but Google ever really knows why they do what they do, there has been speculation that the search giant penalizes publishers for including native ads on their site. There is also speculation, however, that Google itself is getting in on the native advertising game, so perhaps their views will change.

We can all be sure native advertising will evolve and grow in the coming years, but it’s best to weigh the risks and benefits before spending any of your budget. Should you decide that native advertising is a good option for your brand, just be sure to use best practices and you should reap many rewards.

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How to Negotiate with Media Vendors Like a Pro

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 @ 02:08 PM

Buying media for clients means ensuring we get them the best deal possible while nurturing our partnerships with media reps. This is how we create successful campaigns for clients and lasting relationships with effective media properties.

While it’s undoubtedly easier for a third party to work with media reps and negotiate contracts for clients, CMOs can also score some fantastic deals with media outlets, provided they know what they’re doing.

Here’s how you can negotiate with media vendors like a pro:

Do Some HomeworkDo Some Homework

Media reps don’t have time for tire kickers. It’s important that you do some homework before making any buys so you know exactly which properties and channels make the most sense for your campaign. There’s no sense wasting your time or anyone else’s meeting with someone who reps a property that doesn’t cater to your demographic.

Once you’ve selected your channels, you’ll also want to do some homework before approaching a media rep so you know exactly what they offer and at what price points. The more knowledgeable you are, the more seriously you’ll be taken.

Leverage Your Media Partner’s Expertise

Media reps know their product offerings inside and out, so it’s important to pick their brains. Let your rep know you want them to be really creative and think of innovative programs that will help your campaign stand out. Be clear of your wants – you want to break through the clutter and noise – you want reach – and you want it all to fit well within your budget. Reps are great at being able to come up with unique plans that will help campaigns be successful.

Make Yourself Available

Remember, you’re not just buying media for your organization, you’re forming long-term relationships with people. Because of this, it’s important to show some common courtesy with reps. Be sure to return their calls and emails and make time to listen to their updates and new ideas. If you talk to media reps only when you need something, you’ll never forge a real partnership. The stronger your relationships, the stronger your buys.

Play a Little Hard to Get at First

At the end of the day, you want to get the best deal possible. You also want to earn some respect. For both of these reasons you should NEVER accept the first proposal. You don’t need to be nasty about it, just smile and politely say that you are super excited about working with them, but that your job is on the line and you have to look like a hero when you report back to management. Just remind the rep that the last thing you want is to have to cancel the program down the road for lack of performance, and tell them the price needs to come down and the value-added placements need to go up.

Keep Future Buys in MindKeep Future Buys in Mind

Advanced renewals typically get rewarded, and the deals get better and better as your relationship blooms. When your rep knows you’ll be coming back for more business, they’ll naturally want to keep you very happy.

Making great media buys is not easy, but it can be done if you know exactly what you’re doing. And by following this advice, you stand a great chance of making smart buys and building relationships at the same time.

Having said that, not every marketing manager has the bandwidth to be their brand’s buyer. It’s important to be realistic. Using the services of a professional media buyer means you will get the best deals possible without adding one more thing to your already-full plate.

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How Local Advertisers Might Cash in on the Pokémon Go Craze

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

You would have to have been living under a proverbial rock to have not heard about the mass hysteria revolving around Pokémon Go, the game made famous 20 years ago by Ninetendo. Within two days of its launch, the app had completely surpassed the dating app Tinder and was generating more downloads than any other iPhone app in the U.S. market. Pokémon Go has also acquired more US users than even the social media giant Twitter.

For all of these boasting rights, the game is still in its infancy, and industry experts are predicting that once Pokémon Go begins a monetization strategy, it will be a game-changer (yes, pun intended). This could have big ramifications (and good ones) in the world of advertising for brands of all sizes.

Here are some reasons why local advertisers might one day soon be able to cash in on the Pokémon Go craze.

It Already Generates RevenueIt Already Generates Revenue

Players create revenue through in-app purchases via PokéCoins. These can then be used to buy tools that will improve their overall performance and hence gaming experience. According to App Annie, a business intelligence firm that watches apps and digital goods, Pokémon Go is on its way to earning potentially more than $1 billion annually from these in-app purchases.

As impressive as that figure is, there is still huge earning potential should Pokémon Go decide to open its platform to advertisers. These advertising partnerships would have to be strategic and creative, but the financial gains would be worth the effort.

For instance, they could charge a company a fee to become a branded PokéStop or Gym, where much of the game’s action takes place. John Hanke, the chief executive of Niantic, the company behind the app, has already confirmed that sponsored locations will soon be seen on Pokémon Go. Niantic is currently working on a branded relationship with McDonald’s. It’s only a matter of time before smaller brands can capitalize.

For now, local businesses are leveraging the game’s popularity by hosting Pokémon Go parties or offering special deals for players in order to get bodies in the door.

Huge ReachHuge Reach

Pokémon Go has captured a lot, and I mean a lot of peoples’ attention. There are the diehard fans who were playing the game, watching the cartoon and collecting the playing cards back in the 90s. This is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. But, because of its unique use of augmented reality, the game is also attracting thousands of users who had never played the game before.

Beyond the sheer number of people playing the game, the really exciting news is just how often they’re playing it. Data indicates that more than 60% of the users who have downloaded the app are playing it daily. And, by midsummer of this year, users were playing an average of 43 minutes a day. TechCrunch has also revealed that users are spending more time playing Pokémon Go than they spend on Facebook.

It’s exciting to think of the reach and exposure the game might give local advertisers one day in the very near future.

Location, Location, Location

Local marketers have had the concept of location-based marketing shoved down their throat over the past five years or so. Those that paid attention are now reaping the financial rewards.

Well, you could say Pokémon Go knows a thing or two about leveraging location and combining it with gaming and branding. Once brick-and-mortar establishments begin to get on board, the results could be huge.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar location wondering how you can turbocharge your local marketing efforts, start paying attention to Pokémon Go and watch how it evolves. Play the game, get to know the user base to figure out ways you can someday capitalize on its enormous popularity. You’ll then be ready to not only take full advantage of the game once it starts monetizing, you’ll also be for the new marriage of location marketing and augmented reality, projected to be a $120 billion market by 2020.

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