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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.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media 

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Topics: digital advertising, Ad conversion

How CMOs Can Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Digital Age

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Thanks to the rise of digital marketing, big data, and the need to engage consumers across multiple platforms and with personal interactions, the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) has become even more important.

The rapid pace of change sure does explain why so many marketers are completely stressed out.

Besides taking many slow, deep breaths and going for walks in nature, there are some things CMOs can do to keep pace with the changes while keeping their sanity intact.

Embrace Marketing Automation

Proving the value of marketing has never been an easy task. But in recent years, with the addition of ridiculous amounts of data and constantly-emerging marketing channels, proving value has become a bit of a nightmare. Add to this the fact that most CMOs are not techies – they’re simply people who have been forced into situations where they have to figure everything out or else.

This is why it’s important for CMOs to embrace marketing automation tools that make it easy to read and share data. Better customer insights lead to better marketing outcomes.

Hire Those With Skills You Don't HaveHire Those with Skills You Don’t Have

A lot of CMOs cut their marketing teeth during a time when digital was something “out there” that was taking place. But now digital is happening front and center and in their very own department.

This means few CMOs have the skills necessary to constantly adapt, which means they need to hire marketers who can fill in that skills gap. They need to hire people who are proficient in using today’s technologies, can analyze mounds of data while constantly thinking strategy. Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO of Neustar points out, "As we continue to move at breakneck speed, finding and retaining data scientists and data analytics talent will become a major pain point for us." 

Finding marketers who wear multiple hats may become a trial, especially for those brands not located in major metropolitan areas. The next best bet is to create specialty teams who collaborate with each other. For instance, you may develop a “content center” whose team members are ninjas when it comes to creating and distributing content. You may also have a “marketing technology” team that specializes in testing and selecting the right tools and channels for distribution.

Think Like a Publisher

 Back in the day, when you heard the word content, you tended to think of PDFs and brochures. But today’s consumers expect more. They want ThinkTsmart, intuitive, personalized experiences across all channels.

Today’s CMOs have to be in the publishing business and distribute content that is relevant and consistent across all channels. (Oh, and it has to educate as well. When you educate an audience, they tend to trust you more.)

All of this is to say that CMOs need to stop thinking of themselves as CMOs and instead think of themselves as publishers whose goal is to use data to create integrated, meaningful experiences for their audience.

CMOs Must Coordinate Teams EfficientlyCMOs must coordinate teams efficiently

It is not uncommon, even for smaller, local businesses, to have parts of their marketing team located in another city, state, or even country. One of the biggest challenges for CMOs in this situation is to make sure all of these dispersed team members are working as a cohesive unit. This requires ensuring everyone is regularly communicating and sharing data, insights, and content.

CMOs also must be able to be the voice of the translator that serves as go-between of what a company does and what a customer needs. This requires understanding the product roadmap while keeping your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs and demands – always listening to those digital conversation taking place ‘out there.’

With all of these demands, it’s easy to see why some CMOs have trouble sleeping at night. But by following these guidelines, they can rest easy while proving their value.

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4 Effective Ways to Marry Your Print and Digital Ads

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 08, 2016 @ 02:15 PM

In the last five years, the death of print media has been talked about almost as much as what the Kardashians are wearing. While we can’t speak to the effectiveness of tight pants and low-cut blouses, we can say with 100% certainty that print marketing is alive and well. In fact, consumers feel traditional channels such as newspapers and magazines are more trustworthy and credible than their digital counterparts.

That being said, most consumers use a combination of print and digital channels when searching for news or information about a product or service, and this can be advantageous to marketers who take an integrated approach to their campaigns. By combining your print and digital strategies, you boost the effectiveness of both channels.

Here are four easy ways you can marry your print and digital ads and ultimately boost your bottom line:

Use Your CTAs to Drive Traffic to Digital Assets

Gone are the days when print ads had to be passive (read boring) and designed with the limited idea of raising awareness of an offer or brand. Today’s print ads can send traffic directly to your digital assets, thereby creating further engagement with the consumer.

Be sure to use your calls to action smartly and send traffic to your online landing pages where prospects can get even more information about your offer or sign up to your newsletter (HINT: this is a great way to continue nurturing the relationship until they buy from you and become a customer for life). Also consider using special promotional codes to incentivize that traffic, while at the same time giving you a way to track the numbers and collect data.

Leverage Social NetworksLeverage Social Media Networks

When it comes to reaching the masses quickly, you really just can’t beat social media. If you’ve grown a nice following on channels like Facebook and Twitter, your pages can act like a launching pad for your printed marketing campaigns. Not only are print campaigns a great way to send traffic to your digital pages, but the opposite is also true. If you’ve got any kind of social media following, leverage that for your next print campaign.

Find the Balance Between Unique and Cohesive

The key to an integrated marketing approach is to make sure your brand remains cohesive, no matter which channel it is found on. It’s important that your messaging is similar across all mediums while at the same time adapting to the particular audience of each. Look at how national brands accomplish this.

A brand like Best Buy will make sure their ads are instantly recognizable with logo and color scheme, as well as overall brand message; yet one of their ads in a local newspaper may use language that will attract the baby boomer crowd while their ad on Instagram will speak to a younger generation.


Coordinate All DepartmentsCoordinate All Departments

Perhaps the biggest challenge of integrating digital and print media campaigns is the in-house coordination that is necessary. It’s important that your digital team and print teams talk to each other and share relevant data so the overall picture can be seen and strategy adjusted when necessary.

(Of course, when you use a media buying agency, they can coordinate for you and make your life a whole lot easier.)


Now is not the time to abandon traditional channels like newspaper and magazines and invest all of your time and money into digital. Instead, integrate your efforts to reach even more prospects and show them your brand is credible and here to stay.

Free eBook: The Benefits of Print Advertising

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The Top 5 Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Trends Taking Shape in 2015

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 09:47 AM

As human beings we spend a good portion of our day out of the home. As we go from place to place we are exposed to all manner of media, much of it now of the digital variety. In fact, on average we interact with digital out-of-home media (DOOH) for about 14 minutes each week. Is it any wonder investments in digital out-of-home advertising are expected to grow significantly by the year 2017?

What is driving this growth? Consumers. Consumers are now looking for an engaging, emotional, and captivating medium. We as hyper-connected individuals are looking for memorable experiences that we can share, and the urban environment is an optimal landscape for these interactions to occur.

Here are the top five digital out-of-home advertising trends taking shape in 2015:

Location-Targeted Advertising is Growing

According to BIA/Kelsey, advertisers spent $1.4 billion on location-targeted mobile campaigns in 2012. This figure is expected to rise to $10.8 billion by 2017. DOOH is benefiting greatly from this rapidly growing segment. By using the same big data to reach mobile consumers, yet on much larger, higher impact screens, advertisers are able to create cross-screen, location-based campaigns that have even more impact on consumers outside the home.

The Top 5 Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Trends Taking Shape in 2015Programmatic solutions are evolving in DOOH which make finding scale and ease of buying a reality. Also evolving are 1st and 3rd party data sets that allow buyers and sellers to better specify consumers exposed to DOOH media. Sellers benefit by maximizing revenue through digital inventory control, and buyers benefit from the hyper-targeted capabilities.

DOOH Provides Highly Relevant Messages in Precise Locations

New types of targeting and subsets have made it easier to reach specific audience segments in ideal locations. And that’s a good thing because consumers are far more likely to be impacted by messaging outside the home. In fact, a recent study by YuMe and IPG Media Lab found that consumers are 41% more receptive to advertising experienced in public spaces than at home. As consumers, the devices we carry around with us create a natural visual bridge to the outside world we experience. Relevant DOOH advertising can enhance that visual experience through existing screens around public spaces.

Unique Creatives Reach Unique Audiences

There is almost no experience that isn’t being created in the DOOH space. We are now seeing highly creative advertising that combines live experiences and augmented reality, using everything from vehicles to street furniture. This is building brand awareness and driving impressive results for advertisers.

DOOH can reach unique audiences and create serendipitous parallels between messaging and location via locally-focused campaigns or larger cross-media tactics. Best of all, digital out-of-home advertising is now able to drive immediate impact and scale close to point of purchase.

The Top 5 Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Trends Taking Shape in 2015Cross-Platform Targeting Allows for More Personalized Experiences

As mobile technology becomes more advanced and mobile devices more ubiquitous, cross-platform targeting opportunities with out-of-home digital screens are more common. Newer technologies like NFC, beacons, and geofencing capabilities allow today’s advertisers to personalize their prospect’s experience and allow immediate engagement.

DOOH Campaign Success Is Now Easily Verified

There are more advanced measurement opportunities now than ever before. Evolving location and mobile data sets are offering marketers new ways of measuring attribution in OOH media. What DOOH advertisers now recognize is that, as an audience definer, location is just as important to them as it is to mobile advertisers.

Successful campaigns no longer try to simply mimic online models. These campaigns are developed around the idea that location is the best context and they deliver real-world messages that are close to point of purchase. A consumer’s exposure to DOOH messaging can be verified more easily, improving advertisers’ confidence in their ability to isolate the impact of DOOH from other channels in the integrated media mix.

The last half of 2015 is expected to continue pace with the number of digitally connected screens increasing as well as the inventory and creative options in DOOH. If you haven’t considered this channel yet, now may be the right time.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying


Image credit: "Edmonton's First Digital Billboard?" by Mack Male is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Topics: digital advertising, out-of-home advertising

8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Digital Advertising Agency

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 09:33 AM

These days you can’t throw a stone online without hitting a digital advertising agency looking to charge you an arm and a leg in exchange for ho-hum knowledge and service. As more businesses head to the Internet to market themselves and extend their brand reach, more and more agencies crop up claiming to be experts. But most of these “experts’” expertise is debatable.

8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Digital Advertising AgencyBefore you sign on any dotted line or hand over your advertising budget, you’ll want to ask the following eight questions to ensure your campaigns are in the right hands. And, as a heads up, if the representative you speak to is “too busy” to answer these questions, take that as your cue to run for the hills.

1. What is their real world experience in your industry?

Many digital ad agencies will try and impress prospective clients by giving them a large number of years they’ve been in business, but it doesn’t matter to you if collectively they have 38 years in digital advertising. What you really want to know is what kind of experience they have in your particular industry. If they don’t have practical experience running digital campaigns in your industry, ask them what other verticals are relevant.

2. Will they audit your account?

You’re not asking for a full-blown audit here, just a light one so they can give you a 30,000 foot perspective on your current campaigns and insights on what they feel is working and what adjustments they would make.

3. What can you expect as far as communication?

You’ll want to know right out of the gate what you can expect when it comes to having your phone calls and emails returned so ask about their response times. If they say they can typically respond within 24 hours, does that work for you or do you realistically know you require a quicker turnaround?

4. Who will actually be handling your account?8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Digital Advertising Agency

Don’t assume the person you spoke with will be the one working on your account. In actuality it could be an intern who is doing most of the work. It’s your right to know who will be responsible for your budget and campaigns.

5. Do they guarantee performance?

This one is a trick question, but very important to ask because no ad agency should guarantee they can get your website on page 1 of Google’s search results or get you 10,000 new subscribers. If a prospective agency is making claims like these this is a major red flag. While it’s important to set goals, nothing in life, especially life online, is ever guaranteed.

6. How do they charge for their services?

This is a simple question which requires a simple answer, nothing more. They should be able to say, “We charge X amount of dollars per hour.” Also, for campaigns consisting of paid media, find out if they charge a percentage of spend or flat rates. Should they charge a flat rate, you want to also inquire what happens if you increase your spend, will their management fees increase also?

7. Are they able to provide a list of references?

A reputable agency will be more than happy to provide you with a list of references and you should absolutely follow up with these. Ask current clients how the agency has helped them reach their marketing goals.

8. Who are their ideal clients?

You’ve been seeking answers thus far to gauge whether they’ll be a good fit for you, but you also want to know if they think you’ll be a good fit for them. Find out what types of clients they like to work with and what they think a successful relationship looks like. For instance, if they mostly work with well-established brands and you are a small, local business with not much reach yet, it may not be a good fit.

These questions will hopefully help you choose the right digital advertising agency for your needs. Remember, you’re not selecting a vendor here but a real business partner who will become an extended arm of your company, working with you to meet your objectives and grow your business.

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Image credit: Pixabay

Topics: digital advertising

The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 08:58 AM

Gartner recently surveyed 315 CMOs about their digital marketing budgets and learned budgets are expected to increase by 8% in 2015. In its worldwide survey of CMOs, IBM found CEOs are increasingly calling upon their CMOs to offer strategic input. The survey further illustrated that the role of CMO comes second only to the CFO in terms of influence they have on the CEO.

IBM’s survey also uncovered some surprising (and not so great) news, which is very few CMOs have made any headway in building a robust digital marketing strategy. For example, according to the survey, only 20% of participants had even set up social media accounts, and an even smaller percentage had implemented methods to integrate company interactions with clients across different channels or installed analytical tools to mine customer data. An overwhelming 82% of CMOs said they felt completely underprepared to deal with the ongoing explosion of data.

All of this is to say in today’s increasingly complex digital marketing landscape, a digital media buyer can be a CMO’s greatest ally. But not all digital media buyers are created equal. Use the following three considerations to determine whether or not your digital media buyer is making the grade.

Are They Asking the Right Questions?The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?

By the time you begin working with a media buyer you’ve already had countless discussions with numerous internal team members about everything from strategy to creative to legal issues; however, your media buyer has not been a part of these communications. But, in order for them to get your campaigns up and running, they need to get up to speed and understand the big picture.

In order to do this they should be asking some basic questions such as what is your biggest concern and what technologies are you particularly interested in trying? What methods or channels have you tried in the past that worked and what methods or channels didn’t work?

In other words, your media buyer shouldn’t just write down your ideas and concerns, they should ask what led you to those ideas and concerns. Only by asking rigorous questions and getting the big picture can your media buyer know your true business objectives and help you reach them.

Are They Consistently Testing Across Multiple Marketing Channels?

The digital media landscape is becoming increasingly diverse and consumers have a choice between various communication channels, devices and touchpoints. Because of this fracturing, your digital media buyer should focus on two important things:

1. Continuously testing new opportunities and channels while…

2. Developing multi-channel marketing strategies that create an ever-present brand experience.

Before beginning any project, your media buyer should sit down with you and discuss the importance of having a flexible testing budget in addition to the budget that will fuel the channels and strategies that are already working. If your media buyer isn’t bringing you new ideas and opportunities to explore, they may not be in tune with the complex digital advertising landscape. You may think you’re happy staying put with what has been working for you, but casting a wide net and creating a testing budget are incredibly important to your ROI.

The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?Are They Doing Their Homework?

The digital advertising landscape is flooded with the aggressive sales pitches of ad networks that all promise unique targeting capabilities and proprietary data at a minimal cost. Good media buyers see through these potentially-empty promises and do their homework before spending $1 of your advertising budget with any potential partner.

Your media buyer should ask prospective advertising partners what types of businesses they generally work with and what goals they’ve been able to help these companies achieve. They should inquire as to the metrics the partner uses to gauge success, who are their biggest repeat clients, and do they have any sources of historical data available. Your media buyer should do their due diligence to make sure any advertising partner is transparent and equally passionate about helping their clients reach their goals.

Many in the industry predict that CMOs will begin to wear even more hats in 2015 and oversee the entire landscape of brand engagement, increase the quality of creative output, and improve the perceived value of digital interactions with clients and prospects. If you are a CMO and feel you could use the guidance and experience of a digital media buyer, contact us today.

Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!


Image credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht

Topics: digital advertising, media buying

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 07:28 AM

We get this question a lot from clients and it’s a good one. If you’re spending money on certain campaigns and strategies, you need to know whether or not you’re getting a return on that investment. Sadly, many advertisers are spending and getting little in return from their digital campaigns.

According to ComScore research, between May and February of 2012, a whopping 54% of online display ads were never seen by a human being. And to be clear, “never seen” doesn’t mean they were displayed but ignored by people, never seen means actually never seen due to technical glitches, user habits or fraud.

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?eMarketer estimates that last year alone, $14 billion was spent on online display advertising. When you combine this fact with the fact that 54% of online ads are never seen by anyone, you suddenly realize billions of advertising dollars are going down the drain every year.

Technical Snafus and Fiendish Factors

As we mentioned, sometimes ads are not seen because of technical issues, like when ads are displayed on the part of a browser that’s not open on the user’s computer screen (say for instance when the ad is displayed on the bottom of the screen but the surfer never scrolls down). Other times ads may load so slowly that the surfer clicks off of the page before the ad ever has a chance to be seen.

And then there are the nefarious factors such as outright fraud by publishers. Oftentimes advertisers pay for “impressions” that are completely based on fake traffic. This happens when malicious software gives the impression a person is actually on a page and then ads are served up to fake visitors. In other scenarios, online display ads will show on several web pages, but those pages are hidden behind a window on a particular website that is the size of a pencil point.

What Can Marketers Do?

As with any form of advertising, there are no guarantees your online campaigns will be seen or drive traffic. This is why marketers must take a proactive approach in how they buy and monitor online ad campaigns so they have the best shot at significantly improving the percentage of impressions their ads receive.

Here are some ways you can help get your online ads seen:

Consider a Different PositionHow Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?

For many years, advertisers were under the impression (thank you) the best placement for their ads was the very top of the page. But, according to Google, the most viewable position for display ads is just “above the fold.” Above the fold is the part on the web page just at the break where part of the page is out of sight and requires scrolling.

This being said, be prepared to experiment with your ad placement because it is not the be-all-end-all indicator of your campaign’s success. Average viewability of above the fold ads is around 68%, whereas below the fold is 40%. Depending on your particular budget and if you are lucky enough to get a discount, you may find even below the fold your cost per exposure is good.

Choose the Right Size Ad

Google’s study also suggests vertical ads are on screen longer than horizontal ads and a 120x240 ad had the highest rate of viewability at 55.6%. So don’t put too much attention on grabbing up the most real estate. Ads that were 120x600 (bigger so you’d think better performing) had only a 52.5% viewability rate and a 468x60 had only a 48.2% rate.

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?Create and Maintain a “Block” List

When you’re buying ads through ad exchanges, it’s really important to create and maintain a block list that includes websites with known viewability issues. The sites on this list are then excluded from all future ad buys. You may find a universal block list online that is maintained by other ad buyers to help industry peers avoid fraudulent transactions.

Employ Verification Partners

Verification partners offer “active avoidance,” meaning they monitor and help you avoid unsafe and unviewable environments. Partners report viewability metrics and brand safety metrics down to the site level, and any sites with active issues are dealt with accordingly.

Good Ol’ Human Involvement

Tying all these viewability solutions together is the human marketer with expertise who can deploy, monitor, and oversee campaign setup, block lists, and verification partners. There are many technologies that can help online campaigns traverse the shaky digital landscape, but none of these will ever outperform the individual’s ability to improve their odds of ad viewability.

As an advertiser, you should definitely want to know whether or not your online ads are being seen. The key to increasing your campaign’s viewability is to experiment with ad placement and size, maintain a block list, work with verification partners, and stay involved and on top of your own campaigns, or hire someone to do it for you.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying


Image credit: Joel NilssonLoveteamin

Topics: digital advertising, online advertising

7 Benefits of Advertising in Digital Magazines

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 @ 10:21 AM

Unless you have a strong aversion to dealing with reality you’ve no doubt become aware of the fact the human race has gone mobile. Smartphones were adopted in a relatively short amount of time and have great influence on consumers. Additionally, this increased mobile usage has led to an increase in the consumption of digital content.

7 Benefits of Advertising in Digital MagazinesAccording to the Magazine Media Factbook 2013/2014, more than 90% of American adults still read magazines and an increasing number of them are doing so on tablets and smartphones. The report goes on to say that one in 10 tablet owners read digital magazines daily, and magazine apps frequently top the iPad charts in categories like Lifestyle, Health and Fitness, and News.

The factbook shared some other eye-opening figures that speak to the trend of consumers demanding and consuming more and more digital media in the form of online magazine publications:

  • 80% of respondents took some kind of action after downloading the digital version of a magazine such as visiting the magazine’s website, social media sites, or recommending the magazine to a friend or family member.
  • It’s predicted that by 2016 59% of U.S. Internet users will own a tablet.
  • 10% of tablet owners read digital magazines almost every day, and 13% of tablet users read digital magazines at least once per week. 17% of tablets users said they read digital magazines one to three times per month, while 40% read digital magazines once per month.

What do these figures mean to marketers considering advertising in a digital magazine? Digital magazines offer tremendous benefits unmatched by other media channels.

1. Reach Readers beyond Regional Boundaries

Digital magazines have the ability to reach readers on a global scale. They have become a powerfully engaging way to keep a reader’s interest while maintaining loyalty, even when readers have moved to another location. Digital magazines allow publishers to send content to readers no matter their location.

2. Faster Publishing and Distribution

Digital magazines reach their audience in a very short amount of time, and online readers often consume the edition the very same day it’s distributed.

3. Content Flexibility

One of the advantages digital magazines have is they can contain an increase in the number of pages without changing the layout or having to condense text to work with a particular format. Also, publishers do not incur additional costs for paper or printing additional pages in a digital version of a magazine, which means no additional fees are passed on to advertisers.

4. Digital Magazines Don’t Kill the Printed Versions7 Benefits of Advertising in Digital Magazines

Some would have you believe digital publishing replaces print, but this is simply not so – there is room for both printed and digital magazines. In fact, the MPA factbook reports 87% of those interested in reading magazines on a mobile device still want a printed copy. Owning the digital publication of a magazine does not stop readers from wanting the printed copy as well.

5. Better Understanding of Readers

True customer satisfaction often relies on two-way communication, and digital publishing software allows digital magazines to track reader engagement and identify preferred topics, which can then enhance future publications. When content is created around the audience’s interests, they are more engaged and more apt to click on advertisements distributed throughout the content.

6. No Revenue Loss from Unsold Copies

With digital magazines, publishers don’t have to worry about the expense and logistics associated with unsold copies. Again, the more money a publisher saves, the more savings will be passed on to advertisers.

7. Built-in Metrics

Thanks to ad-management and ad-serving technology, publishers can tell advertisers exactly how many readers clicked on ad links. Advertisers are also not limited to plain text links but can now use and get reporting back from rich media such as videos and interactive links.

Digital magazines offer an enhanced brand advertising experience because they place the reader in a highly designed editorial context which drives reader engagement and purchase intent. Publishers can then use special tracking software that uncovers actionable insights into how audiences engage with editorial and advertising content, which allows advertisers to tailor future campaigns for maximum results.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media


Topics: digital advertising

5 Digital Advertising Trends for 2014

Posted by Hannah Hill on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 09:08 AM

The following is a guest post by Jenna Bruce.

Spring has finally arrived! Unless of course you live in New England where it won’t arrive for another two to three weeks. Nonetheless, in many parts of the country, people have officially begun that grand ol’ tradition of spring cleaning.

This time of year is also when advertisers can do their own version of spring cleaning: throwing out those campaigns and strategies that didn’t work, polishing the ones that did, and embracing new tactics and channels which offer the potential for tremendous business growth.

With that in mind, here are five digital advertising trends for 2014 you may want to consider adding to your marketing arsenal:

Social Media Diversification

Disclaimer: I’m about to date myself.

Remember when TV only offered a few channels? You were essentially limited to watching ABC, NBC, CBS or PBS. Then cable came along and offered other viewing options. Today, TV audiences literally have hundreds of channels at their viewing disposal.

5 Digital Advertising Trends for 2014The same thing is happening today with social media. Not too long ago your real choices of social marketing channels were Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But now networks like Pinterest and Instagram are big players, and there are countless new social channels entering the space each month. Some of these channels will never gain momentum and some will rise to the top. This ever-shifting social landscape makes it imperative that advertisers don’t put all their social networking eggs into one basket.

Social media diversification will help advertisers deal with constantly changing algorithms, terms of service and acquisitions, as well as give them a way to extend their brand reach.

Video Marketing

Video marketing isn’t a new concept, but with the introduction of Vine  which is expected to grow in popularity in the coming year, no doubt spurring countless copycat video sites – advertisers can easily convey brand messages in a uniquely creative and engaging way. Also, videos are increasingly being watched on mobile devices (and we all recognize the significant opportunities mobile marketing offers) and that’s a potent competitive advantage, able to instantly alter consumer behavior.

Location-based Marketing

Perhaps the most dynamic advertising development to emerge in recent years is location-based marketing, and this is sure to be one of the biggest digital advertising trends of 2014. Talk about target marketing – the GPS technology allows multimedia content to be tailored specifically to a particular geographical location and delivered directly to a prospect’s mobile device. According to a report by Pew Research, 91 percent of adult mobile phone users have their devices within arm’s reach 24/7. Also, social apps like Ban.jo, Path and Foursquare are helping this trend move along by providing vital consumer data.

Big Data

And speaking of data...5 Digital Advertising Trends for 2014

The focus in recent years has been how to collect and manage big data. The new thinking is how to make all that data useful and actionable and lead to consumer insights. Once advertisers can harness the power of data, they will have the ability to optimize their messaging and ensure it shows up in the right place and on the right device.

Multichannel Marketing

Digital technology has created what is now being called the “always on” consumer, and this modern consumer poses many a challenge to today’s marketers. On one hand, it’s far easier to reach potential customers because they are continually using their mobile devices, searching the web, watching videos and interacting on their favorite social media networks.

On the other hand, modern consumers hate being annoyed and will tune your message out in a heartbeat. In order to get them to trust you and buy, you need to have a continuous two-way conversation that offers them useful information within a personalized experience. This is where a multichannel strategy can help. Multichannel no longer means delivering a consistent message across multiple channels; with consumers being in control, multichannel marketing now has to mean combining messages and channels in a meaningful way that enhances the customer’s experience of your brand.

These five digital advertising trends will not only bring better experiences to the consumer but more successful campaigns to the marketer in 2014. That’s a win-win!

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Image credit: erlen.co.uk, akrayasolutions.com


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Topics: digital advertising

Creative Holiday Ads Result in Strong Holiday Shopping Season

Posted by Scott Olson on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 03:11 PM

Just before Christmas we put together a list of holiday ads featuring both naughty and nice advertisers to demonstrate the different takes brands and advertisers develop to entice shoppers to spend their hard earned money in their store or on their product.

Following that post we conducted a very scientific poll on our Facebook page to determine what people like better and what touched people. You can check that out here. The question still remains though: were any of these ads really effective in driving traffic or generating additional sales for retailers during this critical time of the year?

Now I don’t have the metrics from these advertisers to actually answer that question. But what I do have is some information recapping the holiday shopping season and trends that came out of the 2013 holiday shopping season. But before we get into that, I have one other question: do retailers and holiday advertisers hibernate for a week or two after the holidays? I mean, they have to be there after Christmas for all the returns and to help people spend those gift cards, but about now are they just settling in for their winter naps or just recovering and getting ready for the next big holiday: Valentine’s Day? Just something I’ve been thinking about. Let me know what you think.

gift cards continue to trend up despite advertiser's desires to drive consumers to purchase products or servicesBack to the subject at hand: trends from the 2013 holiday shopping season.

1. Gift Cards – Personally, I don’t like to give gift cards as I consider it the lazy man’s way out of putting thought into a gift for the special people in your life, but people continue to increase their spend on the little plastic devils. So much so in fact that Nielsen reported gift cards were the most popular gift to buy. The funny thing is, aside from my personal dislike for the cards, All Things D reports that gift cards often go unspent, or only partly spent with remaining balances for all of eternity. There’s another reason, if you needed one, for getting your loved ones something other than a 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 piece of plastic.

2. Christmas Creep – This is something we’ve discussed before and I think we’re getting closer to ValenPatIndeB2SHalloThanksMas. It’s just a matter of time. In the naughty or nice post a Kmart commercial was featured, and for good reason, the retailer actually started their holiday campaigns in September. Yes, that is before Halloween and Thanksgiving. But whatever works I guess.

3. Mobile and Online Growth – None of us should be surprised by this, as people become more and more connected electronically and tablet and smartphone adoption continues to rise. Part of the reason this year may have been the shortened shopping season. Regardless of the reason, IBM reported online sales for the fourth quarter rose 10.6% and mobile increased 46.6% from prior years. Those are significant jumps.

4. Paying Full Price – For the past few years I’ve considered myself a bargain-shopper year-round. I hardly ever pay full price for something and typically find rebates, coupons or shop outlet stores to save some coin. Turns out I’m certainly not alone, which I’m fine with, I just don’t feel quite as smart anymore. Time reported nearly half of all shoppers waited for 70% off sales to arrive before they made their purchases. To you fine citizens, I say ‘well done.’

These are just a few of the trends from this year. You can get more trends as well as recaps of the shopping season through this article from Ad Age and this one from Time. More is sure to come out about the success or failure of the holiday season as public companies wrap up their annual reports, but the initial reports show spending was up, probably as a result of the advertising, both in print and online.

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Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions. His career has spanned marketing positions in the non-profit, software and utility sectors providing various marketing experiences. You can connect with Scott on FacebookGoogle+Twitter or LinkedIn.

Photo courtesy of The Times in Plain English

Topics: digital advertising, black friday, holiday advertising