Blog : Advertising

Real-Time Marketing and your audience

Real-Time Marketing and your audience

With technology changing daily, consumers’ need for immediacy has become an expectation. Communicating with your clients through social media isn’t just a leg up, it’s a necessity to keeping your company ahead of the game. Although real-time marketing has been around for a few years, its appeal kicked into top gear during 2016 with multiple social media companies introducing real-time sharing to their sites. These new features offer businesses a cheap and distinctive way to communicate with customers and deliver content of value.

What is real-time marketing?

Real-time marketing is a strategy that focuses on adapting content to fit with current events or timely topics. Before the recent influx of live video features, real-time marketing showed itself mostly through memes or Instagram photos. Now, you’ll see it more regularly through Facebook Live webinars or Instagram stories.

Why use real-time marketing?

Real-time marketing ultimately allows you to humanize your brand. It creates an organic feel to communicating with your clientele. Customers are seeing your brand advertised on the same medium that they see pictures of their niece or videos of an old friend on vacation. This unique aspect of real-time marketing creates an authenticity that you won’t get elsewhere.

How does real-time marketing work?

Real-time marketing primarily works through social media. It allows your company to respond to events or topics related to your product immediately. Although this doesn’t mean that it needs to be a lengthy blog post. Something as simple as sharing a photo can offer an authentic contribution to the conversation that creates a bond between the company and its customer. For example, when the power went out during the 2013 Superbowl, Oreo responded with a Twitter post: “Power out? No problem.” The attached image was just one oreo, spotlighted, with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark.” The clever post received over 15,000 retweets.

Within the last year, Facebook and Instagram both introduced real-time sharing features, and more and more companies are taking advantage of this platform. In addition to helping build relationships with customers, using real-time marketing creates a sense of urgency, encouraging consumers to act immediately. Many major brands have benefited from this strategy. Marc Jacobs, for example, introduced its 2017 fashion line via live video streaming. Fortunately, you don’t need high-tech equipment or an endless budget to utilize this strategy. Social media alone can help you use real-time marketing to build company-client relationships and provide unique, diverse content.

Artificial intelligence (AI), your sales, and customer dollars

Artificial intelligence (AI), your sales, and customer dollars

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the use of computer systems that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Artificial intelligence allows big data sets to be analyzed, segmented and filtered while also gaining the meaning behind them.

AI maximizes data and customer targeting. Most digital campaigns implement data in a broad way. They will identify users who fit a profile and send a mass campaign their way. This type of marketing will target a vast amount of people who may no longer interact with that profile or no longer identify with that profile.

If a retail chain wants to promote their newest pair of basketball shoes, they may target their entire sports audience. Yet, not all of these customers are basketball affiliated. By marketing this product to the all-sports sect, the business would be wasting its time marketing to customers who aren’t interested in the product.

The use of artificial intelligence is able to target specific users. By examining who engaged with the basketball shoe ad, artificial intelligence is able to predict who will engage with similar campaign ads.

In order to keep up with the increased efficiency of the digital age, artificial marketing is necessary to keep digital marketing consistently relevant. The use of artificial intelligence allows marketers to spend their time more wisely by managing campaigns rather than worrying about crunching numbers into data. As digital marketing continues to expand so will artificial intelligence.

The importance of online micro-communities

The importance of online micro-communities

Online micro-communities help to define a customer’s needs and definition. If you follow a fitness ‘guru’ on Instagram, you have probably seen sponsored posts promoting health supplements or gym memberships. This reflects the prevalence of micro communities in social media. A brand can most easily gain traction among people with relevant interests.

Focused content means targeted engagement. Sticking to what is pertinent to your industry will lead to higher revenue. The best way to grow and keep your following is to only promote relevant content.

A critical action is discovering which social networks your target market. Seeking out popular users in relevant industries is also vital. Their support will direct followers to your page.

Using the power of micro-communities is a straightforward way to find your target consumer group. Once you have cultivated an audience, that user following will expand out. Those with similar interests can be introduced to your brand through social media engagement, such as their peers’ ‘likes’.

Engagement should be valued over community size. 5,000 Facebook Likes is nice, but 5,000 people on a mailing list or using your company’s hashtag is even better. Promote your brand, not just your business.

Having 10,000 to 100,000 followers is statistically proven to be an influencer’s sweet spot. As a page’s follower count grows, their interaction levels tend to decrease. The term is ‘micro influencer’ for a reason.

The effects of going viral are short lived. It rarely leads to continued success. Broader recognition can mean easily getting lost in the sea of other huge brands. It is therefore vital to recruit influencers with a more specific demographic.

Asking Kylie Jenner to promote your investment firm will get you some clicks. Will they convert to revenue and continued engagement? Probably not.

When promoting your company, stick to what makes sense. Utilize the right kinds of social media. If you don’t know how to engage, find people who do. The benefits of finding the right niche will be invaluable.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the cost of information

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the cost of information

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a growing field for decades, but the uprise in virtual assistants in the home has opened a new channel of advertising. With it comes new challenges. Virtual assistants, like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, give consumers a hands-free, hassle-free way of looking up information, keeping track of their plans for the day, or even trying new recipes. But the marketing industry has been hit hard by consumers’ new ability to make purchases or browse the internet without being exposed to a traditional advertisement.

AI brings both benefits and pitfalls to the marketplace. Marketers have new tools at their disposal, but they’ve also been given quite a few hurdles to jump through.

Pros of AI:

  • Virtual assistant devices offer better, more precise data that’s willingly volunteered by consumers. For example, Amazon gets detailed, individualized data with every task Alexa takes on.
  • AI creates a discrete form of advertising that doesn’t feel like a marching band of business owners trying to sell you their products. For example, ask Alexa to buy you a soda, and she immediately suggests the top two products, one of them being a 24-pack of Izze Sparkling Juice drinks. Izze drinks are getting quick advertising to interested customers disguised as a casual conversation. Consumers don’t recognize advertising as easily in this new and unmarked territory.

Cons:

  • Now that consumers are able to order a new product or search something on the internet without even pushing a button, the emphasis on digital marketing is threatened. Desktop and mobile devices have been the biggest platforms for reaching consumers. Only time will tell how AI will modify the relationship between customers and new businesses.
  • AI devices are always listening to all sound sources in the home, waiting to be activated. AI marketing is supposed to be the next big leap in marketing, but what information is gathered, how, and what happens to that data? What price are customers willing to pay for those advancements. Privacy in our homes is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Will consumers give up that right by agreeing to a software licensing agreement? Sometimes, with no marked path to follow, a fresh line will need to be drawn when it comes to what is ethical and what is business-savvy.

AI emphasizes the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) more than anything. Recommendations by virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are based on the top results in search engines. Making sure that your service or product is at the top of the list will allow your business to wedge its way into those recommendations. AI management of various details in our lives can be a great asset. The question becomes, “what will be the cost of that growth?”

Data visualization

Data visualization

Data visualization tools create graphic representations of business data to make information understandable and meaningful. By doing so, they can bring insight to your marketing strategies and shed light on trends, patterns, and possible changes that affect your business. These insights change with growing technology. The modern visualization tools make viewing data simpler, more accessible, and easier to apply to your marketing strategy.

These tools essentially allow you to look at data from a bird’s eye view. The wider scope means more accurate results. So instead of taking a small sample of data and applying it to your larger consumer audience, you can rake through your entire customer database for more precise results.

Data visualization also gives you the freedom to uncover trends within highly specified categories in your customer database. You can analyze customer data based on purchase history, demographic, or response rates to campaigns and use it as you fine-tune future strategies. The tools even give you the ability to study correlations between specific services or products so you can personalize future offers to your customers.

One of the primary reasons data visualization is important is that it helps to draw meaningful conclusions from the data and make the most of the numbers. By doing so, it can reveal patterns and trends and give hints into upcoming opportunities to interact with your consumer audience. This is especially significant because it not only gives you a direction in which you can move forward; it also gives insight into previous campaigns. Getting a more granular knowledge of your strategy can show you where you’re wasting money and where to focus your spending in the future.

Data visualization tools do all of this while cutting down on time and resources. There’s no longer a need to hire a specialized IT worker to sift through the numbers. Even marketers with a very basic knowledge of analytics can easily navigate and react to the system.

As technology rapidly advances, data visualization allows for more complex analytics at an almost instantaneous rate. Quite literally, it allows you to do more with less by giving you a more comprehensive analysis of your data with fewer resources.

Push Notifications, How They Drive Engagement in Mobile Apps

Push Notifications, How They Drive Engagement in Mobile Apps

An ever-growing mobile audience is challenging the mechanisms needed for marketers to interact with the audience’s fluid movement. Desktop Marketing finds itself struggling to keep up with the quick pace and instantaneous engagement on mobile devices. Despite the statistic that desktop still accounts for 42% of internet time. Web push notifications, also known as browser push notifications, are a new channel of marketing that brings the personalization of the mobile medium to the desktop.

Web push notifications are pop-up messages from a website that, when clicked, send the user to a specific link (for example, a new blog post). They’re not the same thing as web notifications, which are active only on an open web page. Instead, web push acts much like mobile application notifications, which are initiated only when the user gives permission to receive them. After the user gives permission, the company can send push notifications at any time, even if the website isn’t open in the browser.

A clean example of this is when a newspaper can notify its readers about the content of the most recently posted story. This immediate interaction helps to provide additional context to the story at hand.

Unlike the more common medium of email marketing, web push allows websites to engage users without having their contact information. Users are more likely to opt-in to the push notifications because they’re generally less invasive and make it easier to unsubscribe. Research has shown that less than 10% of users who opt-in for web push notifications unsubscribe within a year. This is despite the ease of opting out.

These are not the only benefits to using web push notifications:

  • Web push notifications deliver immediately to users, eliminating the possibility of being sent to a spam folder, like email.
  • Web push notifications have conversion rates 30 times that of email.
  • Push notifications are less content-heavy (generally between 40-120 characters) and better appeal to the shortened attention span of the consumer audience.
  • Web push offers the benefit of mobile app push notifications without investing money in developing an app.

Web push is supported by Safari 7.0.3, Chrome 42, and Mozilla Firefox. The channel continues to grow, pushing email marketing to the wayside and offering companies a more direct and concise avenue of communication with consumers. While there is yet to be much research on the direct success rate of websites using web push notifications, it is expected that it will be close to that of push notifications in mobile apps, which boost engagement by a notable 88%.

Web push notifications allow for a low-profile and noninvasive way to communicate with customers. Its low cost makes it a great investment for small and medium-sized businesses, so we can expect it to be on the uprise within the coming years.

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Advertisements today can be overwhelming to consumers. Especially in the last decade as advertising has come to focus upon online consumerism, customers are constantly bombarded with popups for the latest and greatest products. The negative response to this shift in marketing has led to a need for innovative and unique technologies that avoid overwhelming consumers while still reaching an audience. Indoor location technologies, such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons, is one of these innovative designs.

What are BLE Beacons?

Bluetooth Beacons are wireless devices that draw attention to a specific location, within a finite space. A clear example of a beacon is a lighthouse: its light draws attention from offshore ships, letting the ships know their distance from the lighthouse and the shore. Bluetooth Beacons do the same thing in a virtual environment, allowing brick-and-mortar businesses to send out signals to mobile devices in the immediate area.

Bluetooth Low-Energy Beacons, also known as Bluetooth 4.0, are just as their name suggests. They do the same thing in practice while maintaining low energy consumption.

How do BLE Beacons work?

The wireless device draws attention to its location by periodically putting out a radio signal. This radio signal consists of a small packet of data, usually advertisements. A beacon at a sports store, for example, might periodically send signals for current deals on hiking boots. Compatible mobile devices within close proximity to the beacon (usually about 100 meters) would then receive those advertisements, triggering applications to prompt responses like push messages or actions.

Why use a BLE Beacon?

Bluetooth Beacons, in general, allow businesses to deliver highly contextualized and personalized advertisements to their customers. Unlike other indoor location technologies such as GPS and NFC, Beacons are hyper-localized and specified for indoor environments. This means that the customer isn’t going to get advertisements for every store in the mall, but they also don’t need to be standing directly next to a product to receive an advertisement.

BLE Beacons also cost 60-80% cheaper than classic Bluetooth Beacons (although classic Bluetooth is recommended for more complex applications). Their low-energy consumption allows them to last much longer than the classic Bluetooth Beacon. The BLE Beacon stays in sleep mode unless it is actively configuring a connection, so it can last up to 3 years on one coin-cell sized battery.

Who benefits from using BLE Beacons?

Both Classic Bluetooth and BLE Beacons can be beneficial to a company. Classic Bluetooth can handle larger amounts of data, but BLE Beacons are ideal for transmitting advertisements to applications that periodically use small amounts of data. This, in addition to their low-energy consumption and cheaper cost, means that small businesses may benefit from using a BLE model over classic Bluetooth location technology.

The value of in-store retail sales influenced by beacon technology increased by $40 million between 2015 and 2016. The benefit of being able to personalize advertisements to customers continues to appeal to businesses, and it’s expected that 4.5 million beacons will be active by 2018.

What is Influencer Marketing?

What is Influencer Marketing?

The emphasis of digital marketing has continually shifted over the past three decades. For the last few years, our industry has been consumed by content marketing. Now, a marketing shift toward influencer marketing has grasped our collective attention. The product or service is falling subordinate to the salesman’s sales-pitch.

Influencer marketing relies on the individual’s popularity or reputation to draw market share to a company’s bottom line. A person’s online persona can sway the choice of thousands of followers in an instant. Their popularity enforces the value of the product, encouraging followers and fans to buy the product. If a consumer finds the influencer enticing, often all that is needed is a simple Tweet to bend a market.

The rise in social media has created a far stronger illusion of intimacy between big names and average people. Instead of relying on traditional media, consumers can go directly to a politician’s Facebook page, or see pictures of a celebrity’s child on Instagram. This direct connection between influencer and follower deceives the follower to trust an influencer in the same way that they might trust a friend or family member. Influencer marketing offers a new type of digital and mobile advertisement that appears far more organic and natural.

Goals when engaging influence marketers:

  • Plan in advance. The use of influencers requires research and focus. A scattered, shotgun approach to marketing runs contrary to the use of influencers.
  • Be strategic in your selection of individuals. Each influencer has a specific audience that follows specific individuals. Each audience has its own habits and tastes. Select a palette of influencers to facilitate your goals.
  • Allow the influencer to use his or her own voice. Influencers have a following because of their brand; they speak with their own voice. This is why you hire them. Let them do their job.

Influencer marketing allows the company to step deeply into the consumer’s circle of trust. In the same way that we are more likely to listen to a good friend, consumers rely on social media to construct their reality. As marketers take hold of this opportunity, consumers become less hostile and more accepting of endorsement by influences.

If you want guidance selecting the elements of you next marketing campaign, contact Colure’s advisory team.

Exploring the consumer purchasing journey

Exploring the consumer purchasing journey

The traditional purchase decision process has been transformed into the new buying decision journey. What used to be a narrow funnel of steps taken by the customer to reach an investment decision, has evolved into a circular path that takes into account diverse consumer experiences. The purchase decision journey has been compressed, but this compression does not mean that the trip is now simpler. In fact, it means just the opposite due to today’s technology that has evolved within the purchasing cycle. It is a series of consumer experiences, without a defined beginning or endpoint.

The purchase decision journey described by McKinsey begins with consideration, followed by evaluation, then enters the continuous cycle, also known as the loyalty loop. The components of the circuit include the purchase, experience, advocacy, and the bond, which will lead back to the acquisition. The cycle will repeat in a never ending circle, until the consumer leaves. A marketer’s goal is to lock the customer into the loyalty loop. To do this, marketers have to forget about traditional strategies and now must proactively personalize the consumer’s next step in the purchase decision journey.

The mission has changed for consumers and companies. For consumers, McKinsey proposes that the systematic narrowing of the initial consideration set no longer occurs. This is a result of businesses taking advantage of the purchase decision journey. Many companies who understand the buying decision journey have eliminated the steps of consideration and evaluation that consumers would typically undergo. Marketers can optimize competitive advantage by using automation, proactive personalization, and contextual interaction throughout the journey to create and maintain loyal customers.

Advertising and promotion alone cannot suffice with the recent purchase decision journey in existence. To reach success, companies must come to this realization and work toward innovation. As the presence and utilization of marketing, media expands, companies’ approaches must change to reach the consumer before the journey begins. The efforts of marketers do not stop there; it is necessary for them to continue to engage with the customer throughout the cycle to create a personalized experience.

Lastly, communication has shifted into a conversation. Originally, marketers were the sole communicators and consumers were the receivers. A relationship between marketer and consumer has now formed because of the presence of two-way conversation that replaced one-way communication.

The path of the consumer purchase decision is no longer a process that comes to an end. Rather, it is an endless journey. Where the buyer steps on or steps off is unknown. What is known is that the marketer can no longer take the consumer for granted.

Advertising and the Olympic Games

Advertising and the Olympic Games

The 2016 Olympic Games are upon us. This year, Rio de Janeiro plays host to the world’s finest athletes. They have converged upon Brazil to discover who is the best-of-the-best. While this venue remains the largest stage for national pride, corporations have established a long history using these games to highlight their dominance in the advertising marketplace.

The history of these games date back as far as 776 BC, but the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 AD, appropriately in Athens, Greece. There, we saw the Olympic Games generating revenue through advertising for the first time.

Traditionally, the rules surrounding the relationship between athletes and advertisers were quite tight. During the Rio Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has provided more breathing room for advertisers. As a result of the negative feedback from athletes, regarding the advertising restrictions during the 2012 London Olympic Games, the IOC revised the restrictions contained in IOC Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter.

According to Rule 40, “except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer, or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture, or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games”. The rule was established to prevent over-commercialization, protect official Olympic sponsors, and focus on the athletes performances, not ads. Under Rule 40, only official sponsors had complete ownership of advertising during the Games. In addition, athletes were banned from tweeting or publicly mentioning their unofficial sponsors.

The Rule 40 revision still bars athletes from posting about their sponsors but allows unofficial sponsors to feature their sponsored athletes in ad campaigns during the Games. However, the ads cannot mention Olympic terminology. These terms include Olympics, Rio, summer, medal, victory, gold/silver/bronze, and performance.

Yet to qualify for these changes, U.S. athletes and unofficial sponsors had to submit waivers to the United States Olympic Committee by January 2016. In addition, the ads must have been in-market by March 27, 2016; for unofficial sponsors, this can be a problem. In order to stay relevant to the Games, those campaigns had to start in March and keep circulating until August. That can get extremely costly for brands, especially for small businesses.

Big corporations, like McDonald’s, Samsung, and Visa are all Rio official sponsors. These official sponsorships can cost as much as $200 million. This limited list of big brand sponsorships hold contracts with a select, few Olympians. The restrictions imposed by Rule 40 may do damage to the lesser-known athletes who don’t have as much recognition as other competitors.

During the Olympics, athletes tend to be at their earnings peak. Without being able to fully leverage their Olympian status, athletes cannot financially capitalize upon their global publicity. The Rule 40 change has allowed athletes and sponsors to think creatively on how to market themselves in ways that comply with the restrictions.

Under Armour, an unofficial sponsor, sponsors 250 Olympic athletes. The brand created a widely circulated ad with Michael Phelps that has been airing throughout the Olympics. The ad revolves around Phelps swimming to a song with the lyrics “the last goodbye”. The ad alludes to Phelps last Olympics while promoting the Under Armour brand. With Phelps’ Olympic prominence, it doesn’t matter that the ad is not an Olympic sponsored ad. The ad exudes Olympic undertones.

Although official sponsorships can use the Olympic ring logo and terminology, if an ad has a prominent Olympian people will think of the Olympics. Now that unofficial sponsors can now run ads with Olympians during the Olympic Games, the value of official sponsors may be devalued. With everyone on a more evenly leveled playing field, each marketing campaign fiercely competes to capture the consumers’ attention.

Programmatic Native Advertising

Programmatic Native Advertising

We’ve all had the experience of mobile pages loading almost instantly, littered with gaping holes in the text. After a few seconds, we see those holes filled by an advertisement that finally drops into place. A significant reason for this lag-time is the different file types used to create those mobile pages. Often times, when that ad finally appears, it may not quite “fit” the page.

By its very nature, mobile content has to be powerful. It needs to be nimble on delivery. To meet the needs of the mobile user experience (UX), Google created the open-source format, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Their end-purpose is to load mobile data quickly regardless of the mobile platform.

Users expect close to an immediate load, but studies show that “an alarming 77% of (mobile) publisher’s today, their web pages take more than 10 seconds to load…and the average is actually 19 seconds.” The same studies show that publisher’s “who can deliver this content in five seconds or less earn twice as much (search volume) as those at the average point.”
Paul Muret VP, Display, Video & Analytics, Google

Google announced the AMP format in December 2015; soon mobile screens were rapidly filled with new content. This covered the main content of the mobile pages. Unfortunately, the advertisements were still left dragging with a format that took longer to load, thus creating the gaping holes.

The solution was Google’s release this month of AMP for Ads. This format allows for advertising content to load at the same rate as the page content. Google also announced AMP for landing pages. This way, all mobile content is delivered seamlessly without the time gaps.

What about the mobile UX?

This technology translates to a cleaner transmission of page elements. But how do you tackle the issue of merging content, context, and UX? The answer is the Programmatic Native Advertisement in their DBM (DoubleClick Bid Manager). In short, Google has created an environment where advertisements are built from scratch to maximize each individual page load.

Before now, the artwork for a mobile ad was selected from amongst three or four established graphics previously built by a graphic artist. As an ad was called up, the best fitting graphic was chosen for that request/platform. Now, when an advertisement is requested to fill a unique audience/seller/publisher combination, the ad is crafted from scratch to fill that request. Each of the elements of those artworks is individually uploaded. The computer decides the best selection, configuration, and layout of those separate elements, relative to the audience. This programmatic approach allows for a fluid display of content across all campaigns and platforms.

Think of it this way – currently, a graphic artist may use a graphic design program to craft a polished graphic. That artwork may consist of 30 or 40 layers of visual elements. When they’re finished, a couple of polished elements are presented as options dependent upon the needs of the ad. Now imagine taking a collection of those graphic elements and tossing them all into a bowl. Programmatic Native Advertisement will select a specific cluster of those elements to create a new graphic, for each page load. The ad will be built to fill the screen, platform, size, device, all built in context to the user.

The beauty in this development is not so much the uniform data transfer rates, as it is the context in which the advertisements are experienced. The ad’s form and function will be subordinate to the mobile user experience (UX). This technology adds a unique flexibility to advertisements in the mobile universe. Gone are the days of guessing how to best craft your mobile message. If you have questions about addressing your audience, contact Colure’s development team.

Mobile Technologies and Wearables

Mobile Technologies and Wearables

Technology that helps to improve fitness is continuously growing and expanding. The goal of many of these apps or devices is to transfer information seamlessly from the physical world into an app. This particular niche has proven to be a goldmine. The wearable technology industry is projected to be worth $34 billion by 2020. Tracking is currently a large component of these technologies. By providing the ability to track steps, flights climbed, and calories burned, the fitness technology provides detailed insight into a wearer’s life and fitness habits. From there, the wearer can improve or maintain fitness levels.

This booming industry could be either an opportunity or a threat of independence to traditional gyms and fitness clubs. One fitness club, Equinox, took the opportunity when Apple and Nike released HealthKit. The fitness chain engineered its own digital platform with Apple. Personal trainers could now access customer’s accurate data to tailor fitness programs to the customer’s needs.

One non-traditional fitness app made by a gaming company boosted their net worth by 7.5 billion dollars. The company, Nintendo, created the app Pokemon Go with Niantec and the Pokemon Company. This app features the use of a smartphone’s GPS and camera system to make a highly interactive game. The player must walk around in the real world to move their virtual avatar in the game. The avatar will randomly encounter Pokemon. Then the app uses the camera to place the creature as if it is in your “real” environment. You also need to take a certain amount of steps to achieve accomplishments. The Pokemon franchise is so huge and well known that players of all ages download the game. Many users reported that the game is helping them boost their fitness since walking is a necessary component of playing the game.

All this tracking and fitness apps and technology creates a jackpot for mobile advertisers who use data. Since most use GPS, companies can get a detailed look at the lives of their consumers. Additionally, they can receive information about your general state of wellness, health conditions, diet, etc. from these apps. All this data could be sold to create more detailed advertisements, similarly to the online data tracking that already exists. This may be an issue of privacy for many. Others may enjoy having advertisements that are more relevant to their needs and wants.

The fitness technology industry is exploding with growth. Companies who take advantage of this trend will have a potential to reap major benefits. Contact Colure’s mobile advertising team to provide a solid go to market plan for your next mobile app.

Creating a marketing plan

Creating a marketing plan

Every business needs a marketing plan. Businesses rely on sales and customers. These commodities cannot be generated without an effective marketing campaign that effectively communicates the company, product, and message. Though many businesses are well aware of the need for a strategic marketing plan, not all of them understand exactly how to implement it.

A marketing plan can include all of the following and much more: content development, emails and newsletters, market research and data analysis, SEO, social media management, sponsorships, website development, and mobile app marketing. While it is possible for a business owner to create, manage, and maintain a marketing plan alone, it takes a considerable amount of time and patience.

The ‘Do It Yourself’ approach

Owners thinking of a DIY approach should realistically calculate how much effort they can spare. For those undeterred by the tasks ahead, willing to tackle this challenge, below are three cheap and effective steps towards better results.

    • Do your homework: Research is key. Understand the market you are targeting and decide on your company’s message. Analyze competitors for blind spots and opportunities to shine. Don’t compete in areas they’re good—find your niche.

    • Email is big, cheap and often provides the highest ROI: It is also a preferred method of communication by customers.

    • Your website matters: Make sure it works on different platforms. Streamline the online experience. 81% of consumers use online to explore their options beforehand and gather information about purchases. Don’t give them a reason to be disappointed.

Hiring an individual or an advertising agency

Perhaps the amount of work ahead is too daunting, or perhaps you might not have the time to invest in creating something polished that best represents your company. While the immediate idea you might have is to hire an employee in charge of marketing operations, you’ll be surprised to realize that, in the long run, hiring a person could be more expensive than hiring an agency. Employees have more costs than salary once you include training costs, taxes, insurance, and the software needed. Excluding price, advertising agencies have other benefits, most notably:

    • Expertise: both in the niche market you’re seeking and in the types of marketing you might require whether that be mobile marketing or marketing online.
    • Experience: with creating and executing plans and consulting businesses.
    • Efficiency: a marketing agency does not require training. They can start often times immediately and implement a plan of action urgently.

Working with a marketer requires trust and a willingness to try new things. Communication is crucial to keep both sides on the same page. Both parties must have an understanding of the other party. You should discuss the roles each party with play in the process. Advertising agencies make life easier by freeing you up to focus on what you do best – running our own company. Regardless, they still rely on you for information and the materials needed to create the campaign, so there is no easy shortcut when it comes to marketing your business. The tools for success are out there at your disposal, but the drive ultimately comes from you.

Reach out to Colure’s development team to discuss a plan to advance your next project.

The function of ad servers

The function of ad servers

Business Basics

When we pull up a webpage, the page in front of us appears to be a single, seamless webpage, seemingly created by a single computer. However, that page is actually the end product of several computers working in concert with each other. Together, these computers or servers, each provide content that is compiled to create the final webpage that a user sees.

Ad servers provide a specific set of advertisements to a web page. Websites provide content that draw an audience to a specific web page. Publishers monetize this content by running ads for companies looking to reach that audience. Those advertising spaces on the web pages begin as an empty space that are filled with the appropriate advertising only milliseconds before it loads. Ad servers make that selection possible.

In generic terms, each server has its own function. The publishing server provides the bulk of a webpage’s content. The ad server provides the specific advertisements that have been selected for that user at that moment. The function of an ad server is to place the most efficient advertisements in front of a user. The conversation between these computers is the function that creates the displayed webpage.

An ad server is a platform that stores information and manages the display of ads. It works in the background to determine which ad is selected through a process of analyzing the targeting criteria. The marketer has established these criteria and the performance goals of the campaign. In addition, ad servers provide a way to test which ads perform better, helping marketers optimize the campaign. Publishers, or content-producers, use ad servers to determine which advertiser will be promoted while advertisers use ad servers to select which specific ad from the campaign to show to each user.

Ad Server functions:

Ad servers provide several functions that make the marketing process convenient and efficient:

  • First, they allow marketers to specify which ads to run on which sites and provide them with an easy way to edit the creative elements. Instead of contacting every publisher to update an ad, the marketer can provide updates to a single server.

  • Secondly, they are useful in targeting advertisements based on user’s geographical location and time of day.

  • Third, ad servers let the marketer set a start and a stop time for a campaign. This time-limit is then used in the algorithm that determines which ads will be shown.

  • Finally, ad servers provide all the statistical reporting of performance in one place, making it easier to analyze than getting several reports from different websites.

How ad servers assist agencies and clients:

A person at the marketing agency, called a trafficker, will upload the ads onto the ad server before listing the ad space their buyer has reserved and the specific targeting criteria. The ad server will store this information and provide the trafficker with an ad tag (an HTML code) for the trafficker to send to the publishers. When the publishers decide to serve the tag, the ad server is called upon and selects the most relevant ad to pick based on the criteria. It takes into account the format of the ad (banner, mpu, etc), how many impressions, and how much time is left, amongst other factors. After the ad is published, the server tracks the impression and any associated clicks to establish how people are responding to the ad.

Several ad server systems are available for your business. The system you select will be determined by a number of factors including your products, market share, budgets, and other variables. Ad servers aid marketers by making trillions of decisions a year at a speed difficult to comprehend. The process is as complex as it is effective. The end result is a crafted page that loads in a blink of an eye.

Unlike print, websites allow for the ads that appear on a page to change based on who’s viewing it. This advantage makes online advertising a customizable and more cost-efficient experience. It allows marketers to bypass some of the steps in the purchase decision chain by targeting people closer to the end of it. The better you understand the function of an ad server, the more you’ll understand the process of placing an advertisement online. 

Content at the core of all media

Content at the core of all media

Business Basics Series

A brand’s voice and personality depend on the type of content it produces. The effectiveness of a brand’s marketing campaign depends on the delivery method of that content. The substance of your media is intimately involved in every step of the purchase decision-making process. It is the most stable mechanism of brand promotion.

Customer engagement, which is a strong predictor of company growth and brand loyalty, is built through providing value to the consumer. This action is most often achieved through value, usually achieved through useful content. “Emotional engagement is far more important to consumers than promotional content,” thus making the quality of the content the main factor in its success.

A reputation…is it owned or earned?

While everyone recognizes the role of content in owned and earned media, it’s harder to determine if content has a place in paid media or if paid media is rendering content useless. Owned, earned, and paid media sources are almost always used together in unison. They’re used to build off each other, but they have key differences worth elaborating.

Owned Media refers to all channels that a company manages and curates, like websites, blogs, and social media. Its main strength is the control it gives a company over their brand image. Its main weakness is its limited reach—though 89% of marketers are using social media around 16% of Facebook fans see the brand’s content on their newsfeed.

Earned Media includes all mentions of a brand on third party channels. Sometimes referred as organic advertising, search engine optimization and mobile app store optimization. It is the shared, the reviewed and the viral. Its main weakness, that of having no control of what is being said when, is counteracted by its main strength, the power of word-of-mouth to influence people’s decisions. The skepticism people have when viewing ads is equivalent to the trust that comes from another person’s recommendation.

Paid Media is comprised of all of the advertisements that you have paid. These include Adwords, sponsorships, and content written by others for a fee. Many times, this can appear as sponsored items, appearing in a news channel feed. Another name is “native advertising”. It is expensive, yet, far-reaching. This is a highly targetable resource. While many have frowned upon it, paid media is important to a marketing campaign because, without it, your best content might remain hidden. It is not a replacement for “true content”, but it is a valuable tool in taking owned media and pushing it to possibly blurring the line toward earned media. Competition online has made it hard to sift through information on the basis of interest alone and paid media allows one to place an ad before eyes who are searching for it.

At the core of all three strategies lies content. It is content that draws people to your website. It is content that makes people want to talk about your brand and share it with their friends. And it is content that keeps people engaging with ads even when they’re savvy enough to recognize and avoid them. Paid media will reach an audience, but it will rarely keep them watching more than they have to.

Content is what makes consumers say, “Wow, I didn’t even know that was an ad for something!” Questions for the ad industry become “Where do we draw the line between advertising and content?” and “How visible do we make that line?”

The power of multimedia convergence

The power of multimedia convergence

The diversity of mobile devices has increased the way information is spread across society. No longer do individuals rely on only a single device as their data source. The increasing volume of mobile devices used by any one person allows individuals to constantly want to check the latest trends, follow the latest celebrity, or look at the latest technology across all their devices. The melding of media is starting to be practiced by many.

“Simply put, media convergence is bringing together different media platforms to support one single campaign or promote a product.” – Gerhard Jacobs writing for Target Marketing

What is the power of multimedia convergence?

A vast majority of consumers are cross-device users regardless of age demographic and mobile device usage is on the rise,” according to Millennial Media. Because information is at our fingertips and individuals have to have the latest technology trends in their hands, there is no secret that multiple device users exist. In addition, individuals are more likely to choose a mobile device over a desktop to search the internet or just for enjoyment.

Millennials (Gen Ys) have definitely changed the way individuals view information on the internet. These individuals are at the forefront of the way information is received and will definitely continue to pave the way marketing and advertising companies deliver their product or service to the general public.

Great power lies in combined media sources; it allows for different mediums to display and send the same message. Because of this overlap, individuals are prone to look at multiple devices throughout the day. The question becomes “Why not streamline those messages to show similar images and branding pieces?” From the public’s standpoint, the increased convenience of information provided by converged stories makes using the media a better experience.”

Why is this such a powerful tool for marketers?

Being engaging with the audience is something that every marketer needs to keep in mind when creating content. The audience wants to know the latest, up-to-date information about their favorite product or brand. By displaying the same message across different platforms at different times during the day/week will help reach different audiences at different times in different ways.

Industry revenue resources will drive the deliverance of the messaging and will help marketers to gauge how to reach different audiences on different platforms. Of course, the difficulty will come trying to figure out rotation of advertisements and trying to figure out the best times to display those advertisements.

So marketers are faced with a multifaceted chess game – how, where, and when do place your content in a dynamic marketplace? How do you reap the greatest ROI with constantly revolving players?

Projected advertising revenue trends for 2016 – TV vs. Digital

Projected advertising revenue trends for 2016 – TV vs. Digital

As new types of mobile devices are introduced, digital advertising and mobile app marketing are projected top television advertising trends and revenue in 2016. Previous advertising trends are becoming mundane as new kinds of technology are introduced to the public. Smart watches and virtual reality goggles have made their way into the mainstream. Users of all demographics are excited about them. Shifting mediums equate to shifting advertising markets.

The way in which information is delivered will be a driving force for the future of digital advertising. Device users are devouring both the flexibility and the speed at which information is provided. The choice of format and flexibility is driving users to change their buying habits.

Millennials

Millennials, also know as Gen Y’s, will shift advertising trends more towards digital than television. Prior generations had to park themselves in front of the tube to get their fair share of publicity. Millennials are taking those mobile ads everywhere, in every format. Marketers need to move their ads to where their audiences are going. Millennials like to be involved in a brand and a product. Advertising agencies can use this type of behavior to their advantage. “Millennials want their agencies to stand for something more than pushing products on consumers.”

Predictions

Forecasting trends and predictions are showing digital advertising surpassing television advertising. “Digital media will continue its meteoric rise. Digital ad spending will grow 17.2 percent this year, to nearly $160 billion, and 13.5 percent in 2016, and is expected to overtake TV as the biggest advertising category by the end of 2017,” according to Sydney Ember of the New York Times. One reason for this is how often an individual uses their mobile device. Advertising companies have taken full advantage of habits of consumers by engaging them where they spend most of their attention.

New Mobile Devices

Smart watches and virtual reality goggles are two of the new mobile devices to make their debut in the market recently. For something as small as a smart watch, advertising companies have taken advantage of it. “Smart watches advertisers grab consumers’ attention immediately, no matter what they are doing.” Even though it is a small space, advertising companies have utilized the space to their benefit. They have the ability to keep their brand/image fresh in the consumers’ mind by being able to consistently display ads on the smart watch. Companies will have to discover the users’ boundaries, learning to not overly advertise and annoy a consumer. Even though the medium is ready and available, doesn’t mean it should be overused. Be engaging, but not bothersome.

A new mobile “toy” debuting this year is the “virtual reality goggles.” These goggles attach to most smartphones and allow for a virtual world to be seen through the goggles. What is expected to rise out of the virtual reality world is a new evolution of video ads. Even though video ads are not new, many still think of them as time-consuming and irrelevant. However, Google is incorporating video-based advertisements in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), rather than just pictures and text. By doing this, consumers are more susceptible to accepting video ads. Eventually, those ads will be second nature to users, not perceived as the annoyance they may be viewed as today.

2016 is proving to be a very exciting year for digital advertising. Millennials have set the stage for mobile advertising and will continue to do so for years to come. They want to be involved in the ‘life-cycle’ of a brand. Millennials want to be engaging with companies. This generation will lead the direction of new trends in digital advertising. As new mobile devices introduced, they will become a gateway to how mobile advertising will surpass television advertising. We will just have to wait and see how virtual reality and smart watch advertising will affect the future.

Advertising Budgets 2016: 4 Trends You Need To Know [Infographic]
Infographic
by MDG Advertising