Using Google Tools to Understand Audience & Drive Performance

Using Google Tools To Understand Your Audience

As digital advertisers, we are constantly trying to determine the optimal targeting for our SEM efforts. Understanding your customer personas, the profiles that represent your ideal customers, will help you tailor your digital marketing efforts and set your campaign targeting effectively.

While there are a handful of methods you can use to understand your customer base, including market research, surveys, polls, and social listening, one of the best ways is to dive into your site & campaign analytics. Google offers two tools that can help you quickly understand your audience: Google Analytics & Google Ads Audience Insights.

Using Google Analytics for Audience Research

Google Analytics is a rich source of information about your customers. You can see where your site visitors came from, which terms they searched to find you, how much time they spent on the site & more. You can also find valuable information on your customers’ interests, age, gender, location and even which device & browser they used.

Audience Reports in GA

Google Analytics Audience Reports give detailed information about who visited your site. Audience Reports contains over 15 subsections, but we will focus on Demographics & Interests here.

The Demographics report gives you insight into the age and gender of your site visitors, and each demographic group’s behavior on the site. The overview gives you a high level demographic breakdown of users by age and gender, and you can toggle through other key metrics like sessions, bounce rate, and session duration as well. The Age & Gender reports give a more granular look at each age group’s or gender’s behavior on your site, including bounce rate, pages per session, duration, and goal completion.

The Interest report in turn gives you a psychographic view of your audience. Google Analytics segments interests into three categories: Affinity, In-Market, and Other. Affinity includes users with a more general interest in topics, such as “Cooking Enthusiasts” or “Travel Buffs.” In-Market includes those users at the bottom of the funnel who are ready to convert, with more specific segments like “Home Decor” and “Hotel & Accommodations.” Other categories is similar to Affinity, but provides a more granular view, for example “Home & Garden/Bed & Bath/Bedroom/Bedding & Bed Linens.” Like the Demographic overview above, the Interests overview breaks down key metrics by each of the top ten interests in each category, and you can drill down into each category’s report acquisition, behavior, and conversion metrics.

Understanding the demographic & psychographic composition of your customers will not only ensure your campaign settings target the users with the highest conversion or goal completion rates, but also inform the creative, ad copy, and overall messaging of your marketing efforts. These reports can also help you gauge whether your campaigns are, in fact, sending the right visitors to your site. You can even use age, gender, and interest segments to create remarketing audiences to use in Google Ads.

Using Google Ads Audience Insights for Audience Research

The Google Ads audience insights tool helps you learn about who your converters and website visitors are, as well as find new audiences to target. Audience Insights is housed in the Shared Library under the Audience Manager.

Google Ads Audience Insights report

The Audience Insights report is a valuable resource for determining where, when, and to whom you should be advertising your products or services to drive conversions for your Gmail, YouTube, & display campaigns, and can also help you choose more relevant keywords & messaging to implement in your search campaigns, set bids, and more. Audience Insights benchmarks your website visitors against the United States on demographics, location, devices and interests. For example, the traffic for one of our clients in home goods retail is 66% more likely to be female and between 35 to 54 years old, 42% more likely to be parents, and 76% more likely to be visiting from a computer than the general US population. We also know that our visitors are 10.3x more likely to be in-market for “Kitchen & Bathroom Counters” and 3.2x more likely to be “Beach Bound Travelers.” Armed with your customer persona, you can leverage your findings and refine your paid media strategy to drive high-value traffic to your site.

Once you’ve created your customer persona, continue to periodically review your data in Google Analytics & Google Ads. Buying habits & preferences can change over time, so it’s important to reevaluate and recreate your personas especially if you’ve gone through new product launches or industry changes.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Kellogg’s Goes Back-To-School

As students begin to head back-to-school in the upcoming weeks, with it can come a mix of emotions. Excitement for a fresh start and seeing friends is often overpowered with feelings of anxiety for children on the autism spectrum. Changes in routine and overwhelming sensory overload can make heading back to class feel less than desirable for these students. Parents also feel the stress as they want to eliminate discomfort from their children. While for many students, a note from home can be just the trick to calm their nerves, many on the autism spectrum find solace with in texture.

Understanding this need, Kellogg’s is collaborating with Autism Speaks to create Love Notes, which are textured, heart-shaped sensory patch-like stickers that can be placed on Rice Krispy Treats as a subtle way for parents to send love and support to those who need the extra reminder.

Parents can visit the Rice Krispies Love Notes page to request a pack of the sensory stickers, free of charge. Each sticker includes multiple textures including: silk, faux fur, fleece, satin, and velour. Kellogg’s is also highlighting stories from kids and families who inspire the program with hashtag #SoMuchToLove.

Kellogg’s has made partnering with non-profit organizations a regular focus in their business. Last year, the company created Braille Love Notes and recording devices for blind children as they kicked off the school year. However, Kris Bahner, Senior VP of Global Corporate Affairs at Kellogg’s has an extra special connection to this year’s initiative. “This cause is very dear to me as a mom of a child with autism,” Bahner said in a press release. “I know firsthand that love and emotions aren’t always easy for children on the spectrum to express and receive –but they need to feel it and share it as much as any other child.”

Google Is Betting Big On Fantasy Sports

Google is making a big change to its advertising just in time to score this fantasy football season. After historically being the only big-tech network prohibiting DFS (daily fantasy sports) companies from advertising on its network, the ban will be lifted this month, opening up opportunity to reach a massive and captive audience. 

Previously, DFS giants were some of the biggest digital advertising spenders in the US, allowing for rapid growth of their customer base and increase in profits. However, regulations were put in place aimed at how they conduct business and appeal to users online, causing for a significant decline in advertising spend. As regulations have evolved, budgets are beginning to ramp back up, opening the need for additional network options.

Lifting of the ban also comes as companies anticipate more interest in DFS sites with the recent legalization of sports betting and online sports gambling. While DFS companies are still in debate if they fall into the online betting category, their audiences are likely to be similar, opening niche targeting capabilities that could boost media spending.

With the update in Google’s advertising policies comes strict requirements around creative state licensure for DFS companies. Criteria include holding a state license in at least one state regardless of their own location’s policy and those wishing to promote online gambing must also apply for certification through the company.

The play by Google to expand to DFS ads and meet monitoring requirements that can vary by state, presents increased regulation and responsibility by the company. The desire to take on this vertical demonstrates confidence in their ability to regulate ad delivery and further prove their digital targeting capabilities.

Twitter Unveils A List Of New Features

In their ongoing efforts to increase users, Twitter has released an array of features this week. The product team introduced the particulars at a press event, discussing the additional capabilities as they continue to roll out. The improvements are an aim for a better and more engaging user experience.

Topic Lists: Twitter has found users can often feel overwhelmed in choosing accounts to follow. Now, they can now opt to follow interests which encompass feeds from multiple accounts. Tweets related to select topics that have been identified by the company, such as sports teams, pop culture, etc. can be viewed within the user’s home feed. Monitoring and selection of related tweets will be done through machine learning in order to filter efficiently. To avoid spoilers, particularly for television programs or sporting events, users will be able to mute topics

Conversation Subscription: Users can cut through the clutter and opt to subscribe to specific or tweets and be notified of replies. While still in testing, this option is expected to be extended to all users in the near future. 

DM Search Bar: Reviewing DMs (direct messages) for a specific user or conversation can be frustrating. A new DM search bar has been added that allows users to easily filter.

Live Photos Support: Currently only available through iPhone, Live photos capture 1.5 seconds before and after a picture is taken resulting in a short clip of live action. Twitter users can now utilize the photos in Tweets. The enhanced content is likely to appeal to both users and advertisers for interesting and often humorous live action shots. 

The expansion of offerings exemplifies Twitter’s ongoing effort to tailor content and increase users on the platform. Overall, the company’s ability to listen to consumers and improve their platform experience shows a focus on growth and digital evolution.

Learn How to Recruit in an Ultra-Competitive Marketplace

In 2019, employment in the United States experienced staggering growth.  By May, 156.8 million Americans were employed resulting in a record low unemployment rate of just 3.6 percent. With the majority of job seekers fully employed and in search of very specific opportunities, companies need to be strategic in how they boost desirability in the market before the job is posted.    

Get Your Advertising Right

You can have the best job opportunity in the world, but it amounts to nothing if the right people don't see it. Consider these techniques:

  • Maintain a careers website: Post your jobs to a dedicated page, providing all of the relevant information and a simple application process. Use search engine optimization techniques or pay-per-click advertising to improve Google search result placement. This is also an opportunity to capture some contact details to continue to market to potential job seekers.

  • Post on job boards: Online job boards are a popular way for job seekers to look for a new position. With hundreds of new posts every day, you need to ensure you make your advert stand out, using a catchy title and a succinct description of the key benefits or being an employee.

  • Use social media: With an estimated 2.77 billion social media users worldwide, social media is an important tool for recruitment, granting access to the largest possible talent pool. On Facebook, it's possible to create engaging content that targets specific candidates while also drawing the attention of passive candidates who aren't actively in the job market. Social professional networks such as LinkedIn are one of the top three methods for people to seek new jobs, and provide an excellent platform for companies to develop a successful recruitment strategy.

  • Seek advice: If you don't have an advertising team, or you're unsure how to proceed, consider the services of an external advertising agency with the necessary skills.

Build Your Reputation 

Skilled workers won't jump at the first job opportunity they find. There are two important ways to build your company's reputation to make your job offers more appealing: 

  • Be a good employer: Company reviews by employees are becoming increasingly important, with a 2016 study revealing 70 percent of people consider such reviews before choosing a new employer.

  • Become a thought leader: Publishing important white papers and trendsetting ideas positions your company as a thought leader. The most skilled workers want to work for the best and brightest businesses, and they naturally gravitate to those at the forefront of their fields. 

Connect On Social Media

Social media isn't just a way to post your recruitment adverts. It's a great way to develop relationships with talented people by keeping them engaged, between job postings or when they aren't actively seeking employment. Reach out potential prospects  by posting content about your company that makes them interested in finding out more and sharing your job opportunities as they become available. If you foster these relationships, workers are more likely to think of you first when they're ready to make a change.

Use an Employment Referral Program

Referral programs are an incredibly cost-effective way to find new workers, with almost 25 percent of recruiters claiming they found their best candidates through referrals. Offering your current employees a meaningful incentive to recommend friends for key roles has the potential to bring talent through the doors without investing in expensive advertising and serves as an additional benefit to roll into your compensation package to make working for your company more appealing.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Disney Bundles Streaming Services

The launch of the much anticipated Disney bundle, which includes Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu’s ad-supported platform, has been given an official starting date of November 12, 2019 and excitement is growing. While all have and will continue to be offered individually as well, the bundle offers an extensive lineup of programming at a cost-effective price, similar to that of Netflix.

The announcement comes on the heels of Disney’s recent acquisition of Hulu and its efforts to increase subscribers to the service. The move to promote the streaming services as a bundle will expand the customer base by appealing to a wider audience, including all members of a household due to the expansive video selection. 

While only Hulu will be a ad-based in the bundle, they plan to create a less invasive ad experience, specifically for binge watchers. With a recent focus on viewer-first advertising, new techniques such as “pause ads” that appear when programming is paused or leveraging binging behavior create personalized ads from advertisers such as food delivery services, are an effort to increase engagement with marketers.

Despite Netflix continuing to be an ad free streaming service, the bundle announcement seems to take direct aim at the competitor. With the extensive line-up found exclusively within the new package, Disney is placing its bets that subscribers will not be deterred by the ad experience.

Facebook Announces Special Ad Audience Targeting

In light of the recent restrictions on how personal data can be used for advertising purposes, Facebook recently announced the introduction of Special Ad Audience targeting as an alternative which would rely more heavily on user behavior rather than user demographic information for reaching audiences. The changes have some advertisers concerned on how this may limit campaign performance as they continue to be pushed to refine their social strategies due to regulation updates.  

While the company is excited about the new option, the impact on reach and engagement is still largely unknown, leaving questions about a decline in effectiveness. With much more general audience targeting, marketers are leary of the shift and its greater impact. The inability reach audiences based on current customer profiles extends to other aspects such as marketing content and linking URLs in their campaigns, which may cause them to reevaluate and revamp their overall approach.

Moving forward, advertisers wishing to promote any sort of finance options now find themselves severely limited in messaging content and click through URL options. Including even suggested pricing information in the messaging goes against the new policy and would require the advertiser to remove the information or amend the targeting to a less granular level, potentially failing to utilize marketing dollars in the most effective manner and failing to drive sales.

Auto dealers specifically are finding it exceptionally challenging to adhere to the new targeting parameters based on the nature of their marketing efforts.

With a growing hyperfocus on the security of personal information online and how it’s being monetized by big tech, these adjustments are not likely to be the last. Marketers should anticipate having to continue to amend their strategy as regulations continue to evolve.

Snapchat Guides Brands Through The Holidays

It may only be August but the holiday focus for advertisers is already in full season. Following guides from other platforms such as Facebook, this week Snapchat released it’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2019. With impressive stats showcasing the shopping habits for Snapchat’s 203M daily active users, the guide breaks down shopper profiles with insights and techniques for how and when to reach them on the platform.  

With similarities to the Moments In Focus, which was released in June, the guide assists advertisers in best creative practices and tools available for making a magical impact this holiday season.  With 95% of app users saying the app makes them feel happy, users are an engaged audience ready for a fun and cheerful brand experience.

As more platforms provide detailed information on their users, it reduces the barrier for those unfamiliar with emerging technology.  By creating more trust in these partnerships, marketers are encouraged to expand their digital strategy and techniques.

Updated: Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner Program


Adtaxi is pleased to announce becoming a Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner!

What is the Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner Program?

This new Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner Program is for partners who have proven and trusted expertise in driving growth to small- and medium-sized businesses through a deep understanding of the search advertising landscape, specifically through the Microsoft Advertising platform. These partners are committed to providing high-quality support and service and have the requisite technology, innovation and skilled workforce to help businesses see success using Microsoft Advertising products.

What are the benefits of working with a Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner?

  • Expertise that maximizes ROI through custom-fit digital marketing campaigns, the latest technology, performance tracking and tailored reporting.

  • Dedicated support that lets customers focus on their business while the Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partners take care of their marketing needs.

  • Deep industry and Microsoft Advertising platform knowledge gained through exclusive access to customized training and industry insights.

AdTaxi is excited to continue to help clients change the marketing conversation with this Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partnership.

Crafting Adaptable Social Media Marketing Strategies

Marketing on social media today requires a unique set of skills, attentive and conscientious to the consistently changing interests of your audience. Algorithm changes and new features for businesses are constantly evolving. It's important to have a social media marketing (SMM) strategy that can adapt to changes in technology and the interests of your audience.

In fact, the ability to react and adapt quickly to change is ranked as the most important factor for succeeding in today’s social media environment.

Research platforms and trends

Social media channels are always changing and upgrading and vary widely by features and algorithms. For example, in 2018 Facebook added a way to boost retargeting efforts with their Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences (DABA) that uses interest, behavior, and demographic data to serve the products it thinks is most relevant from your product catalog. This new algorithm would be an excellent addition to a campaign focused on boosting sales or increasing web traffic.

Social media usage and popularity also shift year to year. Look also at the behavior of users on particular channels. Instagram users, for example are likely to be more engaged with posts with a location. Knowing key details like this will help marketers better adapt SMM campaigns.

Research each social media channel and continue researching throughout your campaign. Social media marketing is not a “set it and forget it” arena.

Goal alignment

Begin by setting attainable goals. Use a variety of campaign objectives. Establishing intentions for your strategy creates a benchmark on which to measure the campaign’s success. The content you put out there should reflect the goal of your brand.

Next, align your goals and platforms. If your goal is ecommerce, then a platform like Twitter would not be your best bet. And don’t choose just one platform.

Finally, target your core audience. Social media targeting involves using factors like keywords, hashtags, geotargeting, etc., so you can display posts to specific audiences. The targeting tactics you choose are dependent on the channels you use. An adaptable SMM strategy will move with your target demographic.

Ways to Engage

For most social media campaign objectives, audience engagement is key. It just might look different for different objectives.

If the goal is education to move users through your sales funnel, create a variety of original content that can be disseminated in several mediums (think video, shareable content, etc.), rather than sharing recycled content.

One of the best tools for engagement may be the users themselves. Putting engagement tools in the hands of users creates organic content that is highly engaging. The camera feature is a great example. Most social media platforms have a camera feature; take advantage. One idea is the “lenses” or “filters” features on Snapchat. Brands can promote products through these features creating engaging, shareable content that promotes brand awareness.

And sometimes your best promotional tool is the people who already know and love your brand. Influencer marketing is a great way to stay fluid in the SMM space. Reach out to a variety of influencers to promote your product or brand.

Evaluating your strategy

Choose metrics that will best assess your goals. This is perhaps the biggest piece to the puzzle as this data-driven approach will help you adapt your strategy.

If your goal is to raise brand awareness, you should be monitoring metrics like engagement and organic likes. Conversely, if your goal is to increase web traffic, you’re likely going to have more success measuring ROI or CTR.

It’s important to design, track, and optimize campaigns for the conversion metrics that matter to your business. Return to these metrics often.


Weekly Digital Breakdown

Get Your Competitor’s Facebook Ads, Straight To Your Inbox

If you’re like most marketers, you often wonder what your competition is promoting on Facebook in an attempt to adjust your own strategy. By combining Facebook’s Ad Library and some clever automation, PixelMe released a way to be notified of your competitor’s latest marketing with an alert sent straight to your inbox. 

The introduction of the free service, called AdInboxMe, makes tracking your enemy’s ads easier than ever. The process is simple, marketers create an online account and enter Facebook page URLs they’d like to track. AdInboxMe will then send alerts with the launch of new Facebook ads for the corresponding brands with the link to the promotion details. That’s it! You get up-to-date information delivered without any extra searching.

Although only recently launched, the company has seen overwhelming excitement around the service and is currently on a waitlist. However, interested marketers can complete a form to reserve their spot. As PixelMe evaluates performance and interest, they are also considering offering a similar feature for Google Ads and Linkedin.  

While the process seems simple, the tool’s time-saving ability may prove invaluable. The waitlist isn’t getting any shorter so hop over and save your spot.

Spotify Hears Advertiser’s Requests

Spotify has been expanding its targeting capabilities on its self-serve advertising platform to help marketers better reach their desired audiences. In response to recent reports that show a 25% increase in brand awareness with use of the platform, advertisers are looking for ways to leverage the streaming service to strategically market to audiences.  

The new targeting options include interest targeting and real-time context targeting, available to reach Spotify Free users. Interest targeting analyzes users’ data through playlist and podcast preferences to identify related targeting categories for a more granular reach. Real-time context targeting allows advertisers to reach listeners when they are streaming at specific times of the day as they relate to activities identified by account use. Options include working out, studying, dinner time, etc. for delivery of a more personalized experience. The additions come just a month after the introduction of podcast-based targeting, which allows brands to market to listeners based on podcast content categories.

Spotify’s continued focus on expanding targeting capabilities comes as advertisers are looking for additional ways to reach the ad-supported service available free to users. The expansion of opportunity also helps the company better monetize the growing free user base.

Netflix Accesses Physical Activity For Streaming Improvements

Netflix is taking its streaming capabilities one step further. The app has been discretely tracking customers’ physical activity to evaluate the need for increased video buffering for viewers on the go. The relatively innovative concept is an attempt to provide higher quality streaming for those in motion without any extra steps from the user. 

The initial tests were run with Android app users to collect and evaluate data that would aid in the improvement of the viewing experience. The testing considered not only daily physical activity such as walking or running, but also outside factors like commuting via mass transit which could impact the strength of signal. Lower quality service during such times could result in frustrated users who then abandon their streaming during those times.  

While the company seems to have concluded testing, users are apprehensive about how the data collection was handled. The permissions were automatically activated and could only be disabled manually if customers happened to notice. The lack of required consent makes some have increased privacy concerns about other tracking pushed without their knowledge. 

Although now publicly addressed, the company has yet to elaborate on next steps in response to the results. Netflix has also neglected to respond to requests on if or when the physical activity recognition tracking will now be disabled.

5 Key Strategies for Improving Customer Retention and Driving Loyalty

Companies spend a fortune on advertising and influencer marketing to draw in new customers, but they shouldn't neglect their existing customers in the meantime. The cost of attracting new customers is said to be up to seven times greater than the cost of retaining existing customers. Profitability has the potential to soar by 75 percent from just a 5 percent increase in retention. Here are five simple ways to help ensure you keep your hard-earned customers coming back for more.

 Keep It Personal

Never miss an opportunity to treat people as individuals. If you send out emails, personalize the greeting and give your customers the opportunity to tailor their experiences on your site to meet their needs.

Remember, customer service is key. Customers have countless options for companies to deal with, and they won't stick with one that doesn't give them the service they expect. Research reveals that 47 percent of customers would leave a company within just one day of a poor customer service experience.

Go Mobile

The world's gone mobile, so don't get left behind. In 2018 there were approximately 4.57 billion mobile phone users, and those people expect to be able to engage with your brand wherever they are. That means not only having a web-presence, but also making sure your website is mobile-friendly. If customers cannot access your services, or if they become frustrated with your website because you haven't optimized for mobile devices, they're going to turn to another company instead. You may even want to consider an app if that could be applicable to your business to make sure your mobile experience is as streamlined as possible.

Use Social Media

Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. It's a way to build a relationship with your customers. You have the opportunity to communicate with them through tweets or videos, and they have an opportunity to engage with that content by liking, sharing, and leaving comments. This helps to build a sense of community. If you keep providing enjoyable content, your customers are going to keep coming back to see more of it.

Have a Strong Brand Message

Your customers are real people with real emotions, and finding a way to tap into those emotions helps to develop loyalty. People like to deal with companies that share their world views. Having a strong brand message (such as reducing your impact on the environment) gives them a reason beyond value and customer service to back your business. In fact, in a study by Verint Systems, a company specializing in customer engagement, 69 percent of respondents said ethics was a strong factor in choosing an organization, with 49 percent of them saying they would likely switch companies for ethical reasons.

Listen and Learn

The best way to deliver what customers want is to put yourself in their shoes. Listen to what they're saying and never miss an opportunity to receive feedback. Read the comments on social media, provide feedback forms, encourage them to complete questionnaires, and monitor their usage of your website to identify the pain points that cause them to click away. Analyze data carefully, and incorporate the information into your strategies.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Amazon Invests In Homebuying

Buying a home can be a daunting and stressful process. Amazon has recognized the struggle and is extending their services to include real estate. With a partnership with Realogy, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company, The two have created TurnKey for real estate shoppers. Potential home buyers will be able to find and purchase a new home primarily online with access to top real estate services such as Coldwell Banker, Century21, Sotheby’s, etc. Those that complete the process through TurnKey will receive credits that can be used to purchase Amazon Home Services and smart-home products.  

The process will begin by asking users to answer preliminary questions around their desired location and house requirements. Once completed, a Realogy agent will contact the prospective homebuyer to further evaluate their timeline and seriousness to purchase. Home service and smart-home product coupon values will vary based on final home cost but could be valued at as much as $5,000.  

The partnership gives Amazon access to a desired vertical to promote its smart home devices and home services. It also opens up extended advertising opportunities for a niche market with specific interest. From Realogy’s perspective, it’s a much needed branding boost in response to a slowing housing market and increased competition from sites like Zillow. By working with Amazon, they will now be associated with the retail giant’s captive audience and brand enthusiast.  

The TurnKey program officially launched in select cities this week with expansions planned in the future.  Amazon’s direct access to real estate shoppers expands the company’s ability to be a one-stop shop for all things and further hold on the retail market.

Snapchat Continues Record Success

Snapchat just released record user and revenue growth in their Q2 results and marketers are taking note. The company added 13 million daily active users making the platform a welcome alternative to others which have previously dominated the space. 

After a significant decline in users following a 2018 app redesign, the rebound in momentum magnifies the company’s determination to be a key industry player. The company attributes the record success to new filters, Android app improvements, and expanded advertising opportunities. 

The investment in Android paid off with app downloads increasing 37% over prior year.  App users are experiencing a faster mobile experience and as a result, are sending 7% more posts. The popularity of new filters, such as gender-swapping, has also enticed new users to the platform. As for advertisers, Snap added Snap Select, a premium ad service that offers ads in bulk for a fixed price which play during popular content. 

Much of the success can also be attributed to the apps increasing popularity among teens, which are the platforms fasting growing demographic. Snapchat estimates 90% of 13-24 year olds are reached through the platform, making it ideal for marketers to capture this audience and cultivate brand loyalty as these users age.

Snapchat has no plans of slowing down as they continue to gain a larger share of the social media market. The rapid and significant growth shows the company’s commitment to evolving the platform based on user engagement. The company plans to continue to ride the momentum and set the bar high with the Q3 goal between $410 million - $435 million, far exceeding original projections.

Facebook Mobile News Feed Has A New Look

Facebook is optimizing its mobile ad experience in August to match the recently redesigned mobile app, with a direct effect on advertisers. The update aims to create a less intrusive user experience. As users have become less receptive to traditional advertising and younger audiences continue to steadily decline, Facebook has made platform innovation a primary focus to attract and retain users.

The changes to the mobile ads will impact the aspect ratios of photos and videos as well as the amount of text available in the ad on mobile news feed posts. The most substantial of the updates being the decrease in available text to just 3 lines. Advertisers will now need to be extra clean and concise on their images, video, and text selection in order to make the most impact with less space and cause users to stop mid-scroll to engage.


The new dimensions are intended to allow advertisers to use assets across Instagram and Facebook without the need for adjustments. The consistency and simplified format will make thumb-stopping content more critical than ever.

Using Snapchat To Drive Auto Dealership Engagement

When dealerships are creating a marketing strategy, Snapchat is not likely to be top of mind.  However, failing to capitalizing on this highly engaged audience could be doing your business a huge disservice.  With over 186 million daily active users, 90% of which share their location, it’s a prime opportunity to tap into mobile users around your dealership for a fun and authentic ad experience.

While mobile devices heavily influence auto shoppers, particularly for younger buyers, Snapchat offers a way to be in front of the always-on, always sharing audience.  With unique ad units, fun filters and stories feature, the platform offers a variety of options for this captive audience.

Watch our webinar to learn how to use Snapchat to accelerate past the competition.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Google Is Listening To Its Users

If you are becoming increasingly wary of voice activated in-home devices, then you aren’t alone. The uncertainty around how much the speakers are hearing and where that information goes has become a major privacy concern. Speaker listening when not prompted in light of the recent leak of confidential data security policies has many wondering what is being recorded, saved and heard by real people. 

Google’s product manager for search did in fact confirm these suspicions were rooted in truth but not for reasons many feared. However, the explanation for such practices was positioned as a way to help the user experience. Google insists conversations are reviewed by language experts in order to advance search query technology and advance product capabilities and speech recognition. The audio snippets used for these purposes are not associated with a user account and conversations not directed at Google should not be transcribed.

However, the concern that the devices could be “listening” to conversations when not being directly prompted or engaged in what Google calls a “false accept,” increases questions around the company’s practices These can be heard without any action from the users but still may be reviewed as part of the desire for product and voice recognition advancement.

While Google claims just 0.2 percent of all audio snippets are being accessed by language reviewers, there’s no way to confirm the validity nor if there are any user actions being inadvertently taken to prompt the recording.

As the industry continues to face mounting privacy and data monetization concerns, the confirmation that voice data is not being used strictly for AI but can be accessible to a live human may increase the wariness. Questions remain about that data then being leaked or used for malicious purposes with little to no trail leading back to the culprits.

Technological advances are creating increasing conveniences but at what cost remains unknown. Companies are recognizing the mounting dissent and are faced with trying to find ways to increase user’s trust. Confidence in a brand’s integrity is becoming paramount.

Prime Week for Retail

The 2019 Amazon Prime Day sales figures are still uncertain but are predicted to have surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. With shoppers eager to snatch up deals at discount prices, the effect of the sale on retail as a whole is becoming apparent. No longer are the low prices exclusive Amazon. Instead, companies are embracing the hype for their own sales in an attempt to ride the momentum. According to Adobe Analytics, retailers with over $1 billion in annual revenue saw their own spike in sales on day one of Amazon Prime Day of up to 64%, compared to an average Monday. Proving the Amazon effect extends much further than the platform itself.

As the online event continues to gain popularity as a staple for summer shopping, other companies are leveraging the sale to promote exclusive savings of their own. Many of their offers extend longer than just two days in an effort to capture those eager buyers throughout the remainder of the week. Overall, visits to online retailers as a whole accounted for a 66% lift in revenue so far this week. With RetailMeNot reporting 35% of competing brands using clever marketing to play off Amazon’s messaging such as “Prime Savings” or “Prime Deals,” the impact of the strategy seems to be benefiting retailers across the board.

While competition continues to increase for what is now one of the biggest sales of the year, it appears Amazon’s reach combined with two day shipping continue to lift the company above the rest. However, as brands continue to refine their approach, it will be interesting to see who gives Amazon the best run for their money.

Facebook Guides Advertisers Through The Holidays

Media companies are increasing their arsenal of planning tools to help advertisers strategize and reach consumers more effectively. With the biggest shopping time of the year quickly approaching, this week Facebook released several tools that highlights trends, past insights, and tricks for gaining an edge on the holiday market.

The announcement included the release of an insights tool which is a compilation of previous year’s finding on how people shop and types of ads that drove purchases. The tool is an incredibly helpful aid for planning holiday marketing strategies. While it’s only July, marketers should already be reviewing their plans and budgets for the holiday season. Leveraging this data can assist in creating a campaign structure that is both impactful and cost effective for ad dollars.

In addition, a 2019 Holiday Marketing Guide was also unveiled. The guide walks through the consumer journey and how shoppers can be nurtured along the way to complete a purchase. Facebook also highlights its reach and influence throughout the process. The 63 page marketing planning tool covers through everything from important dates, in-depth analysis about how people shop, and step-by-step instructions on how and when to strategize as well as what’s needed at each phase. 

The goal of providing such resources is to help marketers which in turn, helps Facebook’s bottom line. Many other big tech platforms realize distributing this information comes with huge benefits for everyone. While Facebook did a similar guide in previous years, Snapchat released their own guide which walks advertisers through key events, including holidays on a much higher level as an assistance to marketers. The insights are incredibly valuable and are sure to help brands across platforms.

5 Must-Know Marketing Tips for Advertising on Amazon

The "Amazon effect" sums up Amazon's massive success and disruption of the ecommerce industry. As of 2018, the online giant amassed around 50 percent of the total e-commerce sales in the country and earned a 250 percent increase in third-quarter advertising revenue. But there's still good news for companies concerned with remaining competitive: You can utilize the Amazon site to market your products and gain brand recognition.

In the past few years, brands have moved toward advertising on Amazon. Recent studies suggest more than half of the brands surveyed plan to increase their Amazon ad spend while shifting their ad budgets away from Google and Facebook. Here are five essential tips for marketers who want to stand out from competitors while leveraging "the Amazon effect" for their businesses.

Choose the Right Advertising Format

There are several formats you can choose. To be successful, select the one that best meets your marketing goals. If you're unsure, experiment to find the best format. Options include:

 ●       Amazon Sponsored: Best for promoting a specific item and sending traffic to a product page for fast results, these ads are typically displayed at the top, middle, or bottom of search results and on individual product pages.

●       Sponsored Brands: These pay-per-click ads are best for increasing customer loyalty and brand recognition. They appear in the headline banner on the search results page to direct consumers to your preferred landing page.

●       Amazon Product Display: Effective in increasing product visibility during the last step of a consumer's buying process, these ads are interest- or product-targeted to help consumers choose between similar products offered by multiple sellers.

●       Video Ads: Best for reaching a large audience and building brand recognition, video ads appear on various sites and devices owned by Amazon, including the website, Fire TV, and IMDb.

 Create Clear, Succinct, Persuasive Product Pages

The purpose of your Amazon ads is to get consumers to visit your product pages. Those pages are what move people down the funnel, transforming browsers into customers. Choose your most popular products and those that are competitively priced and in stock. Make sure you have accurate, descriptive titles that contain your keywords whenever possible and include useful product information and high-quality images to entice buyers.

Use the Right Mix of Keywords

Most of Amazon's PPC advertising formats use keywords to help with targeting. Use match types to create a combination of broad, exact, and phrase keywords to extend your reach and get your ads in front of buyers most likely to make a purchase.

●       Broad keywords cast a wide net. For example, if your keyword is "handbag," your ads could appear in a variety of searches, including "leather handbag," "black handbag," and "formal handbag."

●       Keyword phrases can change the context of consumer searches. For example, "copper salad bowl" indicates you sell salad bowls. "Salad copper bowl" indicates you sell copper bowls, not just copper salad bowls.

●       Exact keywords are restrictive and require consumers to search for that exact keyword, with no words before or after.

Tip: Use automatic keyword targeting so the system targets the most relevant keywords for your ads. Also, use the reporting tool to keep an eye on ad performance.

Flag Keywords That Aren't Producing Results

Much like how marketers could block negative keywords with Google's AdWords, you can also flag keywords that don't lead to conversions as well as negative keywords that prevent your ads from showing up in front of the wrong people. For example, if you sell handbags but not luggage, you could add "luggage" as a negative keyword so only users looking for handbags will see your ads.

You can download search term reports to find out which keyword searches led to consumers seeing your ads. That also gives you valuable information about the keywords that aren't working, allowing you to flag them and move on with optimized keywords.

Get Familiar with Amazon's A9

Amazon uses complex algorithms to decide when and where products show up in search results. A9 is the powerhouse behind the search box. It decides the product recommendations to make, based on data from previous queries made by shoppers. A9 looks at everything from product titles and descriptions to listing conversion rates to seller feedback. Around 70 percent of shoppers never move beyond the first page of results, which is why you need to understand how it works to optimize accordingly.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Tech Giants To Face Congressional Hearing

Next week, digital tech giants Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook will put their competitiveness aside as representatives from each are set to testify before a congressional panel. The companies are all part of an antitrust investigation as concerns rise about their hold on the market. Details are still sparse, but questioning will likely center around the massive control and influence the digital companies have over internet practices.The case comes as there are growing concerns the tech companies are abusing power to discourage competition.The hearing will involve each facing the House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee. 

As the congressional trial hearing looms, the case isn’t to be taken lightly as big tech company practices have been under intense scrutiny over the last year.  the investigation is not focused on any one particular company, but rather the operation of the industry as a whole, potentially having a ripple effect on others in the space.

 The probe is just one of the legal challenges big tech is facing lately. As reported by the Wall Street Journal last month, Google is involved in a separate investigation with the Department of Justice in relation to the collection and monetization of personal data. Legislation, such as the DASHBOARD Act and a bill preventing location tracking without direct consent from users, is also being proposed to better regulate the industry and protect consumers.

As the spotlight continues to shine on tech industry leaders, more details are being uncovered about operation practices. However, with the evolution of technology continuing at record speed, proactively protecting consumers will be an ongoing challenge.

Instagram Adds Restrictions For Bullies

In a follow-up to Instagram’s anti-bullying commitment, the company unveiled a new platform feature this week intended to combat harmful and offensive comments. As previously noted, Instagram has been experimenting with ideas to promote a greater focus on community rather than competition and encouraging users to have more control over their experience.

The new feature will leverage AI to monitor comments as an added reminder for posters to rethink negative online comments. When a user attempts to post something which could be deemed offensive, they will receive a notification asking if they are sure they want to continue the post. The alert is meant to trigger additional thought and reconsider their actions before posting.

The next phase of control options plans to test ways to restrict unwanted users without their knowledge. With many young people reporting that they are hesitant to block, unfollow or report harassing users in an effort to avoid escalation, both on and off online, Instagram will offer a “Restrict” option. Without notifying the offensive party, all comments from the restricted user will only be visible to them as if they are posted but no others will see their comments on posts without the approval of the profile owner. This will also prevent the blocked user from seeing if the person who enabled the function is online or has read their direct messages. 

As bullying and positive mental health continue to be prevalent issues for social media platforms, Instagram is dedicated to refining their strategy to maintain a community focus.

Google shopping just got more personal

For many shoppers, Google has become the first stop for a quick comparison of products and brands. Without having to visit multiple sites for information, a quick search displays multiple options for buyers, making shopping online even easier. The feature also benefits retailers as purchases must be made on their respective sites, driving additional traffic.

The ability to see reviews in the product postings is a feature many shoppers value when comparing options. In an effort to add authenticity and a more personalized experience, Google has now included customer photos to the product reviews. With 88% of shoppers researching products online before making a purchase, this addition will encourage more user-generated content and unscripted product information.

While it’s uncertain exactly how this will impact advertisers, it will incentivize them to encourage customer feedback and take note of what people are saying in the market. As shoppers are increasingly influenced by consumer reviews, the added feature will not go unnoticed.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Big Tech Could Be Required To Reveal Your Data 

With ongoing scrutiny of how big tech handles user’s data, specifically Google and Facebook, new legislation was introduced this week which could require companies to face more transparency than ever. The task? To reveal specifically what personal data is collected from users, how it’s used and what it’s worth as it pertains to advertising.

The proposed Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight And Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act, would require companies with over 100 million monthly active users to file an annual report assigning value with user data collected. The act would also require full disclosure with third party partnerships who benefited from this information for financial gain. As part of the pending regulations, the SEC would be responsible for developing the methodology for calculating value to data obtained that all companies would have to adhere. 

While people around the globe access free services like Facebook and Google around the clock, most fail to realize that these companies cannot operate for free and use advertising to make a profit. While this may seem obvious, what they don’t understand is how these companies then leverage profile and behavioral data to help marketers narrow in on their target audience. The Dashboard Act also proposes users would receive their own report, potentially impacting online behavior and willingness to supply personal information.

As users are becoming increasingly aware of lack of privacy online, the bill would be an additional step to protect their personal information while increasing the bar for some of the largest data based advertising companies.

Amazon Prime the Target of Competing Sales

With Amazon Prime Day quickly approaching, what started out as Amazon’s day to shine, has quickly become one of the most competitive shopping times of the year among e-tailers. Due to the overwhelming success of the annual event, over 250+ online retailers are expected to offer comparable sales July 15th and 16th in direct competition. According to a recently released study by RetailMeNot, Amazon Prime Day sales are the official kick-off for fall shopping, including purchases for back-to-school making it a critical time for retailers to capitalize on the excitement. The desire to get a piece of the action is well warranted based on last year’s sale beating out both Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

Target, in particular, has taken direct aim at the retail giant in its promotional push to encourage shopping during “Target Deal Days.” The event is being promoted for the same days as the Amazon Prime sale, in hopes of cashing in on the massive audience. The press release announcing the event goes so far as to address its sale has “no membership required” to shop and save on thousands of products, a not so subtle reference at Amazon’s membership requirement to receive the extended discounts. In addition, Target is offering the additional 5% discount offered to Target Redcard carriers along with multiple delivery and pick-up options, including same-day delivery.

There’s no doubt the playing field has changed for retailers in July. With over $4 billion dollars in revenue at stake based on Amazon’s sales in 2018, the competition is sure to heat up. In order to be part of the game, marketers need to be proactive, strategic and creative. The good news for shoppers, retailers are clamoring for your dollars which could result in record savings.

Instagram Moving To A Shift In Focus

This week, Instagram publicly addressed the negative effects of the platform’s likes and how it hopes to implement changes to the experience. In what has been an ongoing conversation since April, Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, acknowledged the company is considering various changes including removing public access to the likes a post receives. The brand has not solidified a solution, but they are experimenting with ideas.The goal is to remove aspects that contribute to online bullying and narcissism, both of which can be detrimental to mental health and create a larger focus on community.

Instagram is also looking at other ways to make the site more focused on people connecting rather than competing. Another suggested idea is the implementation of warning notifications on comments deemed harmful or offensive. The alert would not restrict the comment from being sent, but would instead be an additional layer to remind users to be more mindful of what they are posting.

While nothing has officially been decided, the company is very aware of the impact the social platform has offline for users. Acknowledging the problem and working to create a solution, despite  the possible initial impact to the bottom line, could in the end, increase platform usage and engagement in a more positive and less competitive space.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Augmented Reality Enhances YouTube Engagement

This week, YouTube unveiled a way for viewers to have a more authentic interaction with influencer content and increase engagement. A ‘virtual try-on” feature now allows products to be tested through the mobile app with the help of augmented reality (AR). Users can then shop for the items via a link to the brand’s website.

By using their recently acquired Famebit, a platform that allows content creators to monetize their YouTube channels, the company is able to tap into brands and influencers and link products directly to their videos. With content creators having a loyal following, adding augmented reality promotes a stronger connection for viewers with trusted personalities.

While the feature appeals across verticals, initial efforts are concentrated on beauty brands, specifically MAC Cosmetics. With consumers becoming immune to traditional advertising, augmented reality allows for consumers to interact with brands in a unique and helpful way on their own terms. Initial testing produced staggering results with 30% of viewers trying on the virtual lipstick with an average of 80 seconds spent per viewer.  

YouTube will continue leveraging beauty brands for the foreseeable future. However, based on early results the company expects to roll out the offering across verticals later this year. As content creators continue to be eager to partner with brands, the unique experience will revolutionize the partnership with the platform.

Snapchat Focuses On Trending Moments To Help Guide Advertisers

The key to engaging content on social media is capitalizing events in the world around you. While is sounds simple, deciding which events to include in your marketing efforts can sometimes be a struggle. To alleviate the stress, Snapchat has made keeping up with holidays, notable sporting events and other historically trending times incredibly easy with the publication of “Moments in Focus.” The newly released guide helps brands create Snap content and ads tailored around events with tips and insights to help foster success and capitalize on spikes in engagement.

For marketers looking to plan their Snap presence in advance, the guide is incredibly helpful. It will guide their efforts to not only plan their social campaigns, but also related advertising used to tie users back to Snapchat.  

What makes the guide unique?  Snapchat has gone the extra mile to breakdown platform statistics by month and event. Information includes; filters and lenses viewed during the event or date, stories posted, insider tips for connecting with users and associated mentions to include to boost content engagement.


While intended for Snapchat marketers, the guide can be leveraged across platforms to aid marketers in proactively planning their ongoing approach. It also can trigger creative ideas to relate to audiences they may not have considered such as incorporating related hashtags.

Gmail Gets A Dynamic Update

With many businesses turning to Gmail’s G Suite for their employees, the company is taking an additional steps to integrate their breadth of products. Beginning July 2nd, all domain and G Suite customers can dynamically interact directly in messages without having to move to another webpage.  This particularly comes in handy for collaboration projects hosted on Google products. For example, when a comment is added to documents such as Google Docs or Google Sheets and a user is tagged, they can reply within an email thread instead of opening an additional document, streamlining the process.

Dynamic email will not be limited to Google platforms. The partner list currently includes companies such as Pinterest, Freshworks, and Nexxt, among others and is expected to grow. Beyond the Google suite, the new feature will allow users to respond to reservations or save ideas to Pinterest boards without leaving the email interface.

As online security remains a growing concern, Google requires all partner companies to register before being connected with the dynamic system. The goal is to prevent spammers from tricking users into replying to requests that are disguised as something else.

While the company did a soft launch in March, it will now be a default which users are eager to use. For those with multiple projects and contributors, it will save time and excessive tabs from cluttering up your desktop.

Preparing Your Brand For Amazon Prime Day

The details of this year’s Amazon Prime Day still remain a mystery but one thing is for certain, it’s never too early for brands to start preparing for one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  With 75% of Americans relying on Amazon for product and brand discovery, and nearly 60% of shoppers spending time weekly to browse product availability, exposure during this sale can boost revenue and create lasting customer loyalty.  

Many businesses are already selling on Amazon, but being ill prepared for this event can have negative long-term effects. The following steps will help set your brand up for prime success in the countdown for this year’s Amazon Prime Day.

Optimize Your Strategy

The Amazon shopping experience is centered around search. Ranking high in the results will allow more customers to find your products, increasing sales.  Amazon’s search algorithm has more condensed ranking signals than found on Google or Bing. It’s important to understand the differences and refine your campaign structure in advance, including formatting keywords and creating copy that converts.  While this is always true on Amazon, it’s essential on Prime Day when users are searching for the best products and deals in a hurry.

Prepare bid adjustment strategies in advance.  As with the holiday shopping season, the influx in search traffic will influence bid costs. Increase click and daily budgets to offset higher costs ahead of time. Being at the top of the results will result in increased visibility and drive sales.

Focus on all the details of your products. Take time to review product information pages from imagery to copy. Shoppers are visual and rely heavily on photos for decision making. Make sure the main image follows Amazon’s guidelines but also utilize the additional image options to highlight product features and show real life use scenarios. Description copy should be accurate, concise and easily digestible. Consumers want the information readily accessible so they can review and make their purchasing decisions quickly.

While all this sounds good, some brand product catalogs are too large to examine every page and this can seem like a daunting task. In this case, it’s important to make smart decisions to best utilize your time and effort. Focus on best selling and highest revenue products first and work from there. Users are likely leveraging the sale to get those coveted items at a discount. Capitalize on this information and use this as your starting point.

Promote Your Presence

The tight time frame for consumers to find and purchase items makes it paramount your promotional strategies are prepared and tested in advance. Test copy leading up to the sale for the best results and conversion drivers. There isn’t time during the sale to make adjustments. It must be clear, concise and appealing.

Utilize additional coupon options that can be applied at checkout. The additional discount can be the decision maker for shoppers looking for the best deal. This also fosters a better customer experience, which encourages customers to shop your store again.

Don’t limit yourself only to Amazon. Market your presence for Prime Day at all opportunities. In the weeks leading up to the event, engage with loyal customers and new prospects to increase anticipation of sales opportunities and tease discounted products. You should focus your efforts on appealing to your social channel following, emailing your  customer base, and leveraging programmatic ads across platforms.

Prepare Your Operations For Increased Orders

Increased Prime Day sales are great, but if your back-end operations aren’t prepared, it could be a logistical nightmare.  Stock your inventory in preparation for higher than average sales, particularly best selling items. If your business utilizes Fulfillment by Amazon, it’s important to check their stock as well.  With over 100 million products projected to be purchased during the event, you don’t want to be unprepared.

Make sure all systems are ready for order processing and payment at high levels. Delayed orders or inaccessible customer service could impact the shopping experience, leaving a lasting effect and impacting customer loyalty. Double check these areas in advance, so that there are no surprises.

Continue The Message

Once you’ve survived Amazon Prime Day 2019, maximize the increased exposure. Continue the momentum from the sale to nurture shopper’s customer loyalty and brand awareness.  Follow up with shoppers on their experience while also encouraging them to register for additional communication, including sales and promotion emails, product releases or reminders for next year’s sale. This information can then be used to create ongoing personalized messaging and customer profiling.

Use the sales event data to your advantage. You now have a wealth of information about which products are most popular. Continue your marketing efforts, highlighting these items and those that are complementary to boost checkout revenue. If you overstocked for the event, use this information to sell off the additional inventory.

Finally, analyze the results to prepare for next year. Review your approach against the results and adjust accordingly. This will help not only your next Prime Day experience, but also how you go-to-market for the holidays and other big sales events.

As online shoppers continue to gravitate toward Amazon for their retail shopping needs, brand marketers must meet them on their journey. Taking extra steps to prepare your business for Amazon Prime Day can benefit your business all year.  

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Netflix Tests Extras On Its Mobile App

Finding what to watch on Netflix isn’t always so chill and the company is experimenting with ways to help users find something that interests them quicker.  With so many options, from movies to original programming, many viewers can feel overwhelmed with the amount of content available.

To help guide viewers, the company introduced an “Extras” option on the navigation bar of the mobile app. Users are now offered a variety of helpful programming suggestions including New Arrivals, upcoming releases and additional programming suggestions based on previous viewing history.

Delivered in a story format similar to those found on Instagram and Snapchat, video clips and photos of Netflix programming are displayed as you scroll.  Users can then add shows or movies to playlists for viewing or choose the “reminder” option and be notified when upcoming programming becomes available. While most Netflix viewing is still on television, the mobile app provides a unique opportunity to reach and engage a captive video audience.  

Based on the success from other platforms, moving to shareable videos is yet another way Netflix can not only personalize the experience, but also promote their own programming.  It’s also an effort to better connect fans with shows they love and expand viewing options.

IMG_5564 (2).jpg

Netflix noted that the feature is still in testing and there’s no official word on a roll-out to the masses. The capability does allow the company to join a larger social discussion about content provided or what’s desirable, providing untapped audience insight and potentially increased time on the platform.

Snapchat Is Changing Its Story To Include Ecommerce

In the wake of Instagram’s recent release of the checkout feature and branded content ads, other social platforms are feeling the heat to close the gap and help influencers better monetize their content. Snapchat, in particular, added a shopping feature this week to boost its ecommerce efforts, increase the competition, and use influencer partnerships as way to more authentically reach audiences.

By partnering with Shopify, the company updated accounts of select high-profile influencers (Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Shay Mitchell, Spencer Pratt and Bhad Bhabie) to test the capabilities. The native checkout will be enabled with the addition of a shop button that lets users purchase products from the influencer’s respective brands.

The enhanced commerce experience distinguishes Snapchat as one of the leaders in the space and creates focus on their ability to increase available user profile data and add monetization. Snapchat has been an industry sleeper, but the addition could help shift the pendulum in their favor, positioning the company to gain more influencer interest which translates into more ecommerce advertising dollars.  As Snapchat continues to build out its shopping capabilities they can more accurately attribute sales dollars to specific ads, increasing platform value.

The partnership further exemplifies the evolution of shopping from brand websites to social media channels. As Snapchat continues to refine its strategy and gain social momentum, the company’s innovation helps establish their growth in the market.

Kid-Tech A Largely Untapped Market

With shrinking attention spans, marketers are under pressure to get their message conveyed fast.  This is even more true with kids who have grown up in an age where information and media are accessible at lightning speed around the clock. To reach this influential younger market, advertisers plan to spend more than $1.2 billion in ads globally by 2021, according to new research released by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The focus is primarily on international audiences across devices and platforms such as social media, search, and video formats.  However, the report magnified the need to market to this captive audience early and often.

“Kids-tech”, particularly social platforms, have been largely ignored by big tech due to the amount of red tape. While companies have released limited kid-friendly offerings such as Facebook’s Messenger Kids, Amazon’s Echo Dot Kid’s Edition and YouTube’s Kids app, advertising outside of these platforms has marketers feeling lost. The lack of attention to the space has since paved the way for innovative startups to create safe environments for both user and advertiser.  Programs are being developed to simulate what’s available for adults, but with stringent online privacy policies that prevent data being collected and used for ad delivery. Instead, ads are being served by site or page context without the use of cookies for personalized targeting. Platform moderation is also not left to chance with automation, but done manually by humans.

For big tech, their responsibility to this audience is great.  They must consider a myriad of factors such as online privacy which includes personal and geo data collection, strict advertising guidelines and ways to enforce policies with minimal for error.  However, with kids making up the fastest growing online audience, they can’t continue to leave this market untapped.

Key Marketing Trends For Online Retailers in 2019

Today’s e-commerce landscape is more competitive than ever with consumer expectations at an all time high.  As a result, retailers are working tirelessly to provide a seamless shopping experience across platforms. For maximum effectiveness, retailers must find innovative ways to reach shoppers, personalizing the experience and provide enticing calls to action in order to nurture consumers down the funnel, leading to purchase.  With so much evolution occurring in the space, we have broken down key trends, challenges, and strategies for e-commerce success in 2019.

Key Trends

Artificial Intelligence - When looking at the data, we know that consumer engagement spans platforms and devices.  A customer may be introduced to a brand via a programmatic display ad, engage with their products on social media and then make their final purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.  In this process, AI can be used to create an accurate customer profile to aid across marketing efforts. Data garnered can then be used for creation of personalized content and lead to educated budget shifts across platforms.

Omnichannel - Marketers are moving to an omnichannel approach for a more fluid process to optimization.  By doing so, all the platforms work together to optimize to their main KPIs, adjusting strategy and budget with performance.  

Custom Content - Using custom content to meet users in their exact stage of the buying journey, whether it be branding and preliminary exposure, or the consideration phase, works well when layered with an omnichannel approach.  Following with dynamic retargeting, users can be moved down the funnel to conversion.

Key Challenges As A Result Of Evolving Marketing Trends

The main hurdle faced is simply keeping up. Rather than to try to stay ahead of all trends, retailers should concentrate on what works most effectively for their business and refining their strategy.  Many marketers are also too focused on manually accomplishing goals instead of utilizing technology for efficiency. This often results in misguided concentration and costly mistakes, taking away from business growth opportunity.

Common Digital Marketing Mistakes And Ways Retailers Can Overcome Them

One of the most common mistakes is not focusing on the entire buying journey and meeting buyers at their specific stage of the process. Brand messaging at every interaction should include a tailored call-to-action to continue to move consumers down the funnel, leading to purchase and post purchase nurturing. By leveraging A/B testing for messaging in combination with AI, data-driven decisions can be made to segment audiences and create more effective personalized messages.  This strategy helps both branding and path-to-conversion.

Leveraging platforms that offer dynamic A/B testing, such as Facebook and Google, can be incredibly helpful for the retail sales life-cycle. Both platforms dynamically present creative to the audience based on behavior providing key conversion performance data, leading to more educated budget shifts and campaign adjustments.

Another misstep is not properly understanding various attribution models as they apply to the campaigns and their goals.  When properly utilized, the information garnered can be useful to make optimization decisions across platforms to aid in an omnichannel strategy.  

How Retailers Can Address Digital Marketing Technology Changes

Platforms are finding new and creative ways to enable the audience to be part of the story and engage with the content in new ways.  Using emotion to connect with the audience through engaging visuals and video is prominent. Products such as Snapchat’s AR lenses, Facebook’s Instant Experience, and Google’s visual search create an authentic experience with lasting impressions.

While many retail marketers may not be experienced in all of these strategies, the best approach is concentrating on a specific marketing area in which they excel and outsource others for optimal results.  By leveraging outside resources, retailers are able to access expertise and analytics that can help propel their brand and sales as well as maximize ad dollars.

Digital retailers have a wealth of tools and opportunity to be successful in the digital e-commerce space.  For optimal effectiveness, they must meet buyers throughout the buying journey and continue to nurture through the process.  This includes dynamic personalized messaging across platforms, omnichannel marketing strategies, and custom content creation.  By focusing on their areas of strength instead of tackling all trends, retailers can effectively compete and drive success.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Amazon Continues to Soar Above the Competition

In their constant pursuit to be the preferred shopping platform, this week Amazon released changes to its delivery that will transform the space. The company unveiled a new drone with the capability to seamlessly take off vertically with flying features similar to that of an airplane. It also comes equipped with use of artificial intelligence to steer clear of any obstructions, in air or on the ground. The creation could make deliveries that much faster and efficient  

The announcement didn’t include further details as to where and when the devices will be tested. However, the FAA followed the Amazon announcement with its own statement granting the company limited approval to test over the next year.  With the timeline for domestic deliveries unclear, Amazon doesn’t anticipate a speedy process to begin in-flight service. While drones are becoming more reliable, regulations are still being designed to fully monitor the space in order to address safety and security concerns.  

Despite no lead up to the announcement, the sophisticated drone shows Amazon has been quietly working behind the scenes to create a system that works both under current and future aviation laws, thus changing the retail space.

Instagram Influences Paid Ads

Advertisers are getting a new platform for Instagram influencers with this week’s roll out of Branded Content Ads. Brands can now turn their influencer product posts into paid ads, with the intention of reaching a larger audience than just the followers of each individual. With 68% of people coming to Instagram to interact with creators, the new option gives brands an authentic way to promote various products and grow their following. Brands will also have the ability to measure success which can lead to better understanding their consumers and how they can leverage more influencer involvement.

In order to use posts as a paid ad, influencers, or branded content creators, must allow the brand permission and access. As Instagram and Facebook, its parent company Facebook work to improve ad transparency, all Branded Content Ads will be noted with “Paid partnership with” along with the advertisers name so it’s clear to users the product is being promoted.

The new feature is a win for both brands and influencers as it has the potential to expand both of their follower bases, by increasing reach and brand exposure.  Branded Content Ads is in limited release while in testing but will be officially rolled out to all advertisers June 17th.

Google Optimizes Smart Bidding Tools

By the end of June, Google will be making a permanent change to its campaign bidding strategy.  Both Target Search Page Location, which focused on showing an ad at the top of the page or on the first page of Google search results, and Target Outranking Share, a bid strategy with the goal of outranking ads from another domain, will no longer be available. Advertisers will instead be encouraged to utilize Target Impression Share with the aim to gain the largest percentage of impressions available against competitors in the space.

The automated strategy to target impression share was released last fall as part of Google’s Smart Bidding strategies roll-out. The method is set at the campaign level with the goal of gaining a set percentage of search impression share based on the corresponding keywords and bid limits in place. Google will then show your ads to that percentage of eligible auctions for the campaign, trying to win the bid.

Google’s shift in available structure is an attempt to get advertisers to view SEM in terms of page placement rather than average position to focus on reach and effectiveness. This will also impact how market competitors design their campaign structure and bidding strategy when going against each other in the space. While the goal of getting the most and best PPC traffic remains the same, Google’s continued focus on Smart Bidding tools is creating more efficiencies in optimization to help guide marketers.

Turn Up The Heat On Your Summer Marketing

Summer is upon us and with it comes opportunities to engage audiences in a fun and playful way by leveraging all of the season’s activities. From family travel to summer holidays, preparing your brand for a summer makeover can help expand your audience and meet users at their time of need.  With users always-on and always-sharing, it’s important to be innovative with your strategy and utilize platforms that can best customize messaging for heightened engagement, brand awareness and increased conversions.

Watch our webinar for more insight on popular summer trends, ways to customize your messaging, and strategies that will help you make a splash this summer.