Blog

Maximize Your Ad Dollars and Minimize Your Vacancy

Vacant properties are a stress on time and money and the quicker they are filled, the sooner they become profitable. In order to reduce the gap between qualified tenants, you must have a strategic marketing plan in place. However, navigating digital marketing can seem complicated and overwhelming without the proper tools. With so many available options, how do you evaluate and implement a strategy to hit budgeted occupancy efficiently?

It starts by taking a proactive approach to get in front of prospective renters before their search begins and helping them through the journey.

Watch our webinar to learn the steps to maximize your property ad dollars and attract quality traffic.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Google, Too Big To Go Unnoticed

A major announcement came this week with the opening of an antitrust investigation into Google. The tech monopoly is being scrutinized for their stronghold on the market which is stifling competition and industry innovation due to their overwhelming control of the market. The probe specifically targets Google’s advertising structure and search technology which have made it difficult for other businesses to compete in the space, harming availability and pricing for consumers.

Big tech companies have experienced this level of criticism from European countries but this is the first it has come within the US. The multi-state bipartisan investigation has been prompted by filings from 50 US Attorneys Generals in what they see as a lack of Google’s desire to leverage the free market for success and undermining consumers to gain an overwhelming share of the digital space. 

The investigation is still very much in the preliminary stages but is expected to expand to data privacy and usage, as has been the focus for other large tech companies. The banning together of the state attorneys generals should not be taken lightly as they have had significant impact on the structure of other industries such as payment from Big Tobacco for related health issues and anti-smoking campaigns to the reform of mortgage lending practices that were harming consumers. The spotlight on Google could intensify the digging into big tech practices depending on their findings.

While it would be premature to speculate where this will lead, it’s clear that the tech giants are under the microscope. It’s also important to note the timing of the investigation as it pertains to the political arena. With so much concern around fake news and bias by big tech, it could be another push for clean and fair election practices.

https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/google-targeted-by-state-authorities-in-antitrust-probe/562565/

Some Good News For Facebook

The Facebook News Tab is becoming more of a reality and details are emerging about how the platform will integrate with publishers to curate news content. The move to include a news tab has been carefully planned as the company has faced ongoing scrutiny whether they have previously harbored political bias when choosing stories to highlight. In the new launch, Facebook plans to partner with ‘high quality” news outlets that lend credibility to ensure information shared is accurate and dependable.  

An internal memo was obtained this week detailing Facebook’s news content selection process which included the assistance of human editors who will play an integral role in choosing which news headlines are displayed on the tab. What was not clear was how the company will create clearly defined policies for those employees as to avoid personal bias playing a factor.  

As outlined, the editors will focus on promoting news based with the outlet that first broke the story and also prioritize those done by local media. While this sounds good on paper, the execution could prove to be a bit tricky, especially in the case of major news events where it’s critical to get the information out quickly and accurately. 

The most critical of the editor duties noted in the memo may be working to avoid content that’s “constructed to provoke, divide, and polarize” and focusing stories with “on-the-record sources.” Many news outlets choose more riveting headlines to evoke an immediate response to read and share the news. Using less descriptive headlines may decrease engagement for both Facebook and the publisher. 

Reports on publisher licensing were also included and are said to involve three-year contracts between the news organizations and Facebook that also include up to $3 million in payments from the social media giant. The large payout is believed to show Facebook’s commitment to building a reliable news platform. However, it also poses questions about the details included in the arrangement and the accountability required by entering the partnership.

As the electoral season is about to head into full swing with candidate and social topics taking up much of the news cycle, it will be interesting to watch this story develop. The addition could open an opportunity for news redemption for Facebook or it could plant additional seeds of doubt as to the company’s motives.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/more-details-emerge-around-facebooks-coming-news-section/562735/

Uncle Ben’s Brings Dinner To Life

If you’ve ever wandered the grocery aisle hoping for some dinner recipe inspiration, Uncle Ben’s is serving up just what you’ve been looking for this month. In a partnership with the visual search technology of Google Lens and Innit, a personalized food shopping solution, shoppers will be able to scan the company’s products as well as some in-store displays for an enhanced shopping experience during “Family Meals Month.” The scan will connect with Innit for recipes and how-to videos incorporating the selected product. Customers who are registered Innit users will have access to additional recommendations based on their app profiles where they’ve provided food preferences or dietary limitations.

Accessing personalized, real-time content offers the company a competitive edge for shoppers struggling to plan a quick meal. By offering meal suggestions that include other Uncle Ben’s products, it could also boost sales and boost brand loyalty.

The partnership could be the first of many as visual search continues to gain popularity. The additional customization that comes from using Innit brings added ability to remove the stress of family meal planning, providing additional convenience to shoppers and more family time around the dinner table. 

https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/uncle-bens-serves-dynamic-content-in-stores-via-google-lens-integration/562785/

Marketing Your Way To Social Success

Most marketers know including social media is a necessity but when it comes down to crafting a strategy, many don’t know where to start. Simply being present on the various platforms isn’t enough. It’s important to understand the intricacies such as creating proper ad units, which platforms engage with the right users at the right place in the journey and most importantly, how to track and measure success. 

While all of this can seem overwhelming, breaking down the social media platforms and aligning their capabilities with your campaign goals can make the process more digestible.  Thinking outside the box to develop a strategic and creative approach can help your brand achieve social success.

Learn how to how to implement strategies that work and turn online interest into conversions.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Facebook Considers Removing Likes

After more than a decade of building its business around likes, Facebook will begin testing removing the count from public view in user feeds. Much like Instagram, the parent company intends to shift focus to content quality to better foster a sense of online community and keeping people connected. The like or reaction count would be visible to the post creator but would be hidden from view from others and could be permanently implemented across the platform. 

While the potential change would likely not have much impact on brand advertising, it could dramatically affect their relationships with influencers. Brands currently review influencer follower and like counts when choosing partnerships. Without this information, evaluation would require other aspects of an influencer account, such as content creativity and follower interaction, when determining which partners would be the best fit for the brand. This could create an additional hurdle for content creators when seeking brand sponsorship opportunities.

The company currently has no projected timeline for if or when they plan to implement the change to all users but, it does appear the shift could be on the horizon with testing now taking place on both major platforms. This combined with other recent changes by Facebook, imply a refined focus by the company on creating quality content and rebuilding user trust in the wake of ongoing privacy concerns. The process of rebuilding may also come renewed faith by marketers, driving engagement and advertising dollars. 

With social platforms being a relatively new industry, there is still much that’s unknown on creating maximum effectiveness and peak usability without the invasion of user privacy.  As people continue to evolve their use of social media, the platforms themselves will need to be prepared to adapt in order to stay relevant.

https://marketingland.com/facebook-confirms-it-is-considering-removing-like-counts-266535?

Binge-watch With The Help of Google 

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by all of your streaming options, you’re not alone. Looking for the right program can sometimes take longer than the actual show or movie itself. To help those undecided viewers, Google announced the release of a recommendation feature connected to searches to make binge watching that much easier. 

The added feature will customize suggested titles by considering entered search terms, selected providers, and historical reviews of movies or shows previously viewed. Prior to the update, Google supplied program details such as ratings,critic and user reviews, and the cast list but search criteria had to be specific. Now, users can look for suggestions more broadly with terms like “80s movies,” “romantic comedies,” or “good shows to watch” and a list of top picks will populate.Once suggestions appear, users can further customize by creating a profile of likes and dislikes under “Top picks for you.” The feature will display 5-10 show and movie titles with the option to like, dislike, or skip which helps the algorithm understand the user future search suggestions. Users can also opt to indicate which streaming services and cable options they use which will allow for direct links from programs to services available.   

The basis of the addition is all about customization users crave and expect online. Google confirms that the information is strictly used to help viewers and is not leveraged for advertising opportunities. Based on the wealth of entertainment data available if you can’t find something with Google’s assistance, you may be better off going to bed.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/05/googles-new-feature-will-help-you-find-something-to-watch/

IMG_6748.jpg
Image-123.jpg

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...Already

The calendar may only say September, but holiday shopping is already on the minds of marketers. For the rest of the year, it remains the primary strategy focus and will only continue to gain momentum.  Understanding the shifts in shopping behavior is essential to brands for messaging and utilizing the proper channels to reach consumers during this peak shopping time. While shoppers remain divided on their approach, a recently released Coresight Research Holiday 2019: US Shopper Survey,noted the increasing shift to online shopping continues.  However, an overwhelming number of shoppers, 55% of Gen Z shoppers and 54% of Boomers will continue to go in-store to check off their holiday shopping list. While this is good news for retail locations, it leaves much uncertainty as to whether shoppers continue to come in-store simply to browse and price compare and then complete their final purchases online.

Shopping behavior continues to be mixed as many survey respondents indicated they will use a combination of online shopping and visiting brick-and-mortar locations while others are happy to never stepping foot in a store. Reasons for continuing to go into retail locations ranged from the need to browse for the perfect gift idea, tangibly seeing and testing items before purchase, and simply enjoying holiday shopping time and being part of the festivities. Although many plan to continue to shop in-store, over 44% of survey respondents felt just the opposite and liked the convenience of online shopping to avoid crowds followed by those who liked the ease and time saving elements of digital shopping. Consumers planning to do at least some holiday shopping online, are largely choosing Amazon over Walmart and Target, which were popular stops in previous years.

A somewhat surprising finding from the survey was the impact of recent economic changes on behavior.  Nearly 60% of the 1,784 shoppers surveyed reported concern of product price increases this season due to newly imposed tariffs on items coming from China. This uncertainty may have a larger effect on brands as it could require an adjustment in strategy to overcome shopper hesitation. 

The overall consensus from the survey data and behavioral trends illustrated primary concerns for shopping decisions come down to four common themes; price, product availability, promotional opportunities, and finding the best product quality across brands. Overall, consumers are not committed to one way of holiday shopping and will continue dividing their efforts online and in retailer locations. While the behaviors continue to evolve, there are still a large percentage of people who simply enjoy the energy and magic of the in-store experience during the holidays. 

https://www.retaildive.com/news/walmart-target-could-lose-holiday-customers-to-amazon/562203/

Using Google Tools to Understand Audience & Drive Performance

Using Ad Customizers to Personalize Your Google Search Ads

What are ad customizers?

Though we are constantly testing ad copy, it’s not feasible to manually create hundreds of variants to ensure we are showing the most relevant ad to each and every searcher. Fortunately, Google offers tools that allow us to create text ads that update dynamically based on the terms someone is searching, his location, day of the week, device & more at a large scale. When using customizers, be mindful that your ad copy allows for the additional characters the customizer generates and stays within Google’s character limits

When and how to use ad customizers

Countdown ads allow you to include a real-time event countdown in your ads. The counter will count down by days, hours, then minutes to the event and can appear in any headline or description. Countdown ads are useful for creating a sense of urgency around sales, holidays, and deadlines, which can improve conversion rate and conversion volume. To create a countdown ad, type “{“ where you want the countdown to appear & select “Countdown” from the dropdown menu. Fill in the start & end dates, time zone, and language, then save. The countdown customizer will appear in your ad as {=COUNTDOWN(“YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS”,”language”,daysBefore)}. GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN displays the same count across time zones. A florist might include the countdown “Order Now, Only {=COUNTDOWN(“2019/5/12 00:00:00”,”en-US”,10)} Until Mother’s Day!” in her ad copy, which will appear to a searcher as “Order Now, Only 10 Days Until Mother’s Day!” Countdown ads automatically end when the countdown is over, so make sure you have at least one static ad in each ad group.

Keyword insertion makes ads more relevant by inserting the keyword that matched to a searcher’s query into your ad copy. For example, if your ad group includes the keywords plumber, best plumber, commercial plumber, and emergency plumber, your ad copy will show best plumber to people who search “best plumber” and emergency plumber to people who search for “emergency plumber”, etc. To use dynamic keyword insertion in your ads, type “{“ where you want your keyword to appear and select Keyword insertion from the dropdown menu. Fill in the default text field and select your capitalization. A title case keyword will show as “{KeyWord:Default Text}” in your ad copy. When a keyword is too long to be inserted, your default text will show instead. You can also enter create ads with dynamic keyword insertion manually by typing {KeyWord:Default Text} directly in your ad copy. Capitalize “keyword” based on the case you want to use. Make sure this capitalization is consistent with the rest of your ad copy. Now, when a customer uses one of your keywords in their search, Google Ads automatically replaces the code with the keyword that triggered your ad.

Be careful not to use dynamic keyword insertion on competitor ad groups & make sure that your keywords are short enough to be inserted. Otherwise, your ads will serve with your generic default text, instead of the relevant keyword.

IF functions insert text based on audience or device and are useful for remarketing and device specific offers or CTAs. To use an IF function, type “{“ where you want your message to appear and select IF function from the dropdown menu. Then, select your condition. Choose Device to customize your ad copy for mobile devices or Audience to customize your message based on the audience the searcher belongs to. In the THEN box, type a customized message for your mobile users or chosen audience. In the OTHERWISE box, enter your default ad text. The IF function will appear in your ad as {=IF(Condition,insert text):default text}.

A college enrollment campaign might use a device IF function to drive calls from mobile users, while directing desktop users to an online registration form: “Visit State College {=IF(device=mobile,Call Today to Schedule a Tour.):Register for a Campus Tour Online.}.” Mobile users will see “Visit State College. Call Today to Schedule A Tour” while desktop users will see “Visit State College. Register for a Campus Tour Online.

eCommerce advertisers can use audience IF functions to drive revenue through remarketing by showing a special discount to cart abandoners and standard ad copy to everyone else. For example “Save {=IF(audience IN(cart abandoners),25%):10%} Sitewide.” Cart abandoners will see an ad that says “Save 25% Sitewide” while all other audiences will be given a reduced discount with “Save 10% Sitewide.”

Ad customizers allow you to tailor your ad copy to the context of a searcher’s query by any attribute of your choosing based on a feed of your business data, including geo, keyword, ad group, product type and more. You can upload feeds in Google Ads under Settings > Business Data. You can schedule regular feed uploads to make sure your business data is up to date. Google Ads even offers an ad customizer data template to help you get started. As with dynamic keyword insertion and IF functions, ad customizers allow you to set default text for your attributes in case the data from the feed pushes your copy beyond Google’s character limits. Once the feed is uploaded, you can insert customizers into your ad by typing where feedName is the name of your feed and colName is the column in the feed you are pulling data from.

One attribute you can use an ad customizer for, target location, is especially useful for advertisers who have multiple store locations. Target location customizers update your ad based on the location of a searcher or the location a searcher is interested in. A paint store with over 50 locations across multiple states can easily create ad copy that is relevant to local searchers without manually writing the store location into multiple ads with “Find the Perfect Latex Paint at Your Interior Paint Store.” They also allow the campaign to scale with ease as new locations open.

Experiment with different ad customizers as part of your ad copy testing to see what performs best. You can also apply learnings from your customizers to your static ads. Ad customizers are a powerful tool for managing ad copy at scale and can help you show the most relevant ads to searchers.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Facebook Increases Political Ad Security

Political advertising got more intense this week as Facebook announced increased security measures to ensure advertising validity. Paid ads by political candidates or groups must adhere to more stringent requirements and approval process before going live in a move to increase transparency and gain user trust.

Moving forward, US political advertisers must submit a valid US address, phone number, business email and corresponding website along with either a tax-registered identification number (EIN), a government website with matching email which must end in .gov or .mil, or a Federal Election Commission (FEC) identification number. Any political advertisers currently running must provide or update this information in order to avoid being paused in October. Once the organization is confirmed by the platform, ads will display the “i” icon where users can learn more about the Political Ads policy and signifies a “Confirmed Organization.” 

Local politicians or smaller businesses wishing to advertise election focused ads have the option to conform to the original requirements or provide the page admin’s legal name on their personal information document. In these instances, the “i” icon will read “About this ad” for users to gain additional information.

Facebook has also decided to narrow its social issues list with a broader focus to encompass more pertinent topics. The shift will not change the authorization process and the company will continue to keep the list fluid, making changes and updates as needed.

With previous demonstrations highlighting necessary advertiser vetting to avoid fake ads and in turn, false information, Facebook wants users and advertisers to be assured what they see is legitimate during critical campaign times as well as prohibit parties that aim to discourage voting. Facebook hopes the additional steps will disbar ongoing questions about their 2016 election involvement and create documented transparency as the country enters a new election cycle that is sure to be eventful.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/28/facebook-will-require-political-advertisers-provide-further-credentials-or-have-their-ads-paused/

The Cleveland Browns Have A Win With Budweiser

As Cleveland Browns’ fans gear up for football season, this year’s new roster brings renewed hope for a team that’s in need of a big win. While it may not sound like much, the team has had a dismal showing the past few years. Despite the outcome, loyal fans tirelessly cheer on their home team, hoping their luck will change. In recognition of city’s unwavering dedication, last season Budweiser partnered with the Cleveland Browns on their “Victory Fridge” campaign. Due to the overwhelming success, the two have teamed up for a repeat season, only better. 

The 2018 campaign was simple, Budweiser sold fridges to Cleveland-area bars with the message, “When the Browns Win, Cleveland Wins.” Each fridge came stocked with Bud Light and would automatically unlock via smart technology with the first regular-season win. With a 0-16 season in the rearview mirror, fans were anxious for the long awaited victory. When the team won in the third week of the season, the city partied into the morning hours, along with Budweiser marketers, with the overwhelming viral coverage. 

Like the hopes for the team’s season, Budweiser decided to make 2019 bigger and better. In collaboration with WWE star and Cleveland, Ohio native, The Miz, the brand will be selling the coveted beer fridges to devoted fans in a limited-time pop-up store located in the heart of the city. The nostalgic appliance store will only be open for sales this weekend and all proceeds will benefit the local Browns Give Back community partners program. In addition, buyers will receive a redemption code to stock the fridge with discounted Bud Light. 

The campaign comes in response from numerous fan requests who want their own Victory Fridge to show their undying support. While Bud Light continues to battle dwindling sales, the focus on an area of the country that loves Bud Light almost as much as Cleveland sports, is sure to be an early season win.

https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/340016/bud-light-opens-cleveland-pop-up-selling-browns-v.html

Instagram Helps Friends Find Common Threads

Facebook’s Instagram is internally testing a new app for sharing messaging and photos called Threads, poised to be a companion app to Instagram and potentially a direct competitor with Snapchat. Using the close friends list feature, which was unveiled last November, Threads lets users automatically share their status with those on the list. Messages can include those entered by the user, photos, videos, general location, or that they are “on the move” by using GPS tracking. 

The communication allows those friend groups to be constantly connected, with the intention of  growing interest and engagement. By opting for automatic sharing, the app would regularly update your daily activity for more authentic daily highlights. Messages from friends would appear in a central feed which would also indicate which friends are currently active with a green dot. The feed would also show recent story activity by friends as well as a camera to capture photos and videos to share within the group.

The company is keeping details quiet but it appears Initial plans are to launch Thread as an independent app with an ultimate goal of integrating with all of Facebook’s messaging services. The announcement comes as Mark Zuckerberg has made it known that Facebook plans to put a heightened focus on private messaging in order to foster online community and the connection of close friends rather than sharing to the masses. 

https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/26/20833903/facebook-instagram-threads-messaging-app-close-friends-snapchat


Using Google Tools to Understand Audience & Drive Performance

What In-Market Audiences Are And How To Use Them

Search advertisers have an array of audience targeting options at their disposal. They can remarket with RLSA, reach current customers with Customer Match, prospect with Similar Audiences, or narrow their reach with demographic targeting. Google Ads also offers a newer targeting tool, In-Market Audiences for Search, that allows advertisers to reach users at the bottom of the sales funnel.

Google classifies searchers as in-market for a variety of products and services ranging from “Motor Vehicles By Brand” to “Gyms & Athletic Clubs” to “Strollers & Baby Carriages” to “Moving & Relocation” - over 170 audiences overall. In-Market audiences allow you to target users whose search & browsing behavior indicate they are actively researching & considering buying, or “in-market” for, your products or services. Targeting audiences with a high purchase intent can drive conversions & help reduce wasted spend. In-Market audiences, which are also available in Microsoft Ads, can be added at the campaign or ad group level.

If you’re unsure which In-Market audiences are most valuable to your business, use Google Ad’s Audience Insights or Google Analytics to find valuable, data-based information on who your customers are and how they compare to the average searcher. Insights are available in Google Ads when at least one of your audience lists includes 1000+ people. An auto dealer client, for example, can reach an audience of 25 to 30 million searchers in-market for “Vans & Minivans”  who are 18.6x more likely to convert than the average searcher. This makes sense, however some highly indexed audiences for the same account are less straightforward: those In-Market for “Camping & Hiking Equipment” are 11.6x more likely & those In-Market for “Fireplaces” are 14.2x more likely to convert than the average user.

After deciding which In-Market audiences to test, apply them across your campaigns or ad groups on Observation (Bid-Only) mode. Applying your audiences on Observation mode ensures you can gather data on the In-Market audiences you’ve applied without restricting your campaign targeting. Once your In-Market audiences have gathered enough data in Observation mode, you should have a good idea of which In-Market audiences are driving conversions relative to your account’s overall audience, and can adjust bids up or down based on performance. You can leverage your findings across the Google Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, and Search. Bid these audiences up on search, or create a video or display campaign targeting only the users in your top In-Market audiences. Continue to monitor & analyze audience performance, as it may vary across campaigns & channels. In-Market audiences are a powerful targeting tool that every search marketer should be testing.

Weekly Digital Breakdown

YouTube Alters Ad Policy

As big tech continues to find itself under a microscope in terms of the privacy of user’s personal data, YouTube announced plans to discontinue ad targeting to videos geared toward younger audiences or those more likely to be viewed by children. While the company has created a separate, ad-free YouTube Kids app, children’s content can still be found on YouTube and receives billions of views. 

Currently, ad targeting on YouTube relies on the collection of user data and includes information such as demographics, interests, topics, or keywords to reach viewers. While this practice has been largely accepted for adults, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents the company from using data collection and targeting for minors. Critics of the recent policy change are concerned the additional layer of ad safety, while good intentioned, may be difficult to accurately regulate due to the categorization of videos and the subjectiveness of which content is “directed toward children,” making it difficult to know precisely which videos should exclude advertising. 

While it’s unknown if the recent decision is a direct result of YouTube’s potential breach of the COPPA policies and the involvement of the Federal Trade Commission, it’s likely part of the agreement or an act of goodwill. The only certainty from the situation is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for ad serving platforms to adhere to strict guidelines being put in place as they constantly find themselves unable to keep up. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-20/youtube-plans-to-end-targeted-ads-to-kids-to-comply-with-ftc

Voice Assistants Are Commanding Attention

If there was ever any doubt about the ability for voice-controlled technology to make an impact on the market, recent reports by eMarketer show just how impactful voice search technology is for users and brands with nowhere to go but up. Currently, over 111 million people in the US, 33.8% of the total population, are using voice assistant monthly at minimum and are projected to exceed 122 million people by 2021. In addition, voice commanded searches are projected to account for 30% of all website sessions within the next 18 months.  

Accessibility to voice technology is now incorporated in the daily lives of most with the adoption of smart phones and smart home devices, creating more familiarity with the capabilities and increased trust in accuracy. Reasons users state for accessing voice assistance ranges from getting directions, listening to music, or finding nearby dining which allow users to easily multi-task while getting information. When it comes to device preference for voice assistance, mobile continues to be the clear front runner over home devices based on time in the market.

In evaluating the breakdown of usage by assistant type, Google Assistant remains the clear winner with 93% accuracy based on recent reports when compared to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. When testing, the biggest discrepancy in scores occurred during commerce-related questions (such as those requesting online ordering), with Google Assistant correctly answering 92% of requests, Alexa 71% and Siri 68%. 

With the data showing a clear trend in the use of voice assistance, the big question for marketers is how to best address the change and what does this mean for digital marketing.  Voice searches are unlike those typed into a search bar with requests done in more natural language and reaching these audiences requires adjustments to PPC campaign structure. Advancements in technology also allows for the devices to take searches the additional step by actioning items such as completing an online order. Addressing these audiences requires additional optimization for increased voice search traffic and it’s uniqueness in order to maximize brand exposure. Marketers need to be focused on implementing design changes to meet the demand and gain valuable market share.

https://searchengineland.com/voice-assistant-usage-now-at-critical-mass-as-google-assistant-crowned-smartest-320798

Los Angeles Has A Maisel Makeover

Marvelous Mrs Maisel fans in LA enjoyed a true 1950’s California experience last Thursday with Amazon’s coined #MaiselDay. The promotion of the upcoming season for the streaming hit included nearly 30 businesses in the Los Angeles area with throw-back pricing, reminiscent of times gone by. Patrons experienced everything from 51¢ movies, $2 manicures or hairstyling, a 75¢ shoe shine, and 85¢ reuben sandwiches, as seen in many of the comedy’s episodes featuring main characters Midge and Susie.

While Amazon encouraged the 1950’s pricing for participating partners, many went for a full Maisel makeover with period inspired decor, such as working payphones and jukeboxes while others showed the award-winning series on loop on lobby screens for customers to be fully immersed in the experience.   

The promotional campaign garnered so much attention with the record low 30¢ gas prices that local law enforcement had to unfurl the unexpected traffic. While most were understanding of the tie-up, it did cause a temporary shut down in pricing until police could get assistance with traffic direction. 

The overwhelming success of Amazon’s promotion had fans raving and those unfamiliar questioning what they were missing, which is just the publicity Amazon was seeking with Masiel Day. The added hashtag allowed fans not in the area to join in on the fun, further invoking curiosity and enthusiasm for the much anticipated season three release.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2019-08-14/marvelous-mrs-maisel-amazon-deals-emmys

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.

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.

Updated: Microsoft Advertising Select Channel Partner Program

bing-ads-elite-smb-premium-badge

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.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/new-tool-provides-email-alerts-whenever-your-competitors-launch-a-facebook/559669/

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. 

https://www.adweek.com/digital/spotify-ad-studio-now-offers-interest-targeting-real-time-context-targeting/

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.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/1/20750424/netflix-physical-activity-tracker-data-stream-quality-test

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.

https://www.curbed.com/2019/7/23/20706958/amazon-realogy-turnkey-real-estate-industry

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. 

https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/snap-adds-record-13m-users-in-q2-as-revenue-jumps-48/559387/


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.

2019-07-24_1059.png

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.

https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/facebook-shrinks-ad-space-on-mobile-news-feed/559194/

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.

https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/google-is-absolutely-listening-to-your-conversations-it-just-confirms-why-people-dont-trust-big-tech.html

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.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/heres-how-the-first-24-hours-of-prime-day-shook-out/

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.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/facebook-launches-new-holiday-season-insights-guide-to-assist-in-campaign-p/558982/

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.

https://adage.com/article/news/google-amazon-apple-testify-antitrust-probe-congress/2182656

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.

https://instagram-press.com/blog/2019/07/08/our-commitment-to-lead-the-fight-against-online-bullying/

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. 

https://searchengineland.com/new-google-shopping-program-enables-customer-photos-to-show-with-their-product-reviews-319341

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.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/new-united-states-legislation-would-require-internet-giants-to-disclose-the-value-of-user-data

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.

https://www.retaildive.com/news/target-aims-at-amazon-as-it-preps-for-another-prime-day-melee/557686/

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.

https://www.cnet.com/news/instagram-boss-adam-mosseri-says-likes-might-go-private/