BuzzFeed: Bridging the Gap Between Speed & Scale of Programmatic Ads

BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is our favorite place to go for Tasty videos and quizzes and they’ve come up with a brilliant idea. They have the perfect follower base and steady reach to perfect native advertising (even though they are already the poster child of native). They even think they can come up with ads that people will actually like!  BuzzFeed is coming out with two new ad products. 

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Whoa Google, Those are Some Big Promises

Google just let out a teaser video and we don’t know what to think. It’s a little ominous if you ask me. The ad sheds no light on what kind of phone this is going to be. But, after some simple Google browsing, I was able to determine Oct. 4 marks the release date for the new Google Pixel 2. Check out Google’s recent video ad below.

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The Social Media Competition

Social Media Competition

The social media competition is in its all-time prime. Snapchat and Instagram entered the market around the same time over 6 years ago. Since then, we have seen the never-ending competition between the two. One would think that Snapchat stories would be dominating Instagram because they “started it”. However, this is simply not the case. 

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Instagram’s Lack of Transparency

Instagram's Lack of Transparency

Instagram is an ideal platform for advertisers due to its lack of transparency and ability to provide native advertising. It can be difficult to differentiate between paid and unpaid content, especially when it comes to the vast number of influencers and sponsors. To be more honest and forthright with consumers, Instagram is testing a feature similar to Facebook’s.

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Mobile Vs Desktop: How To Reach The Consumer On The Go

There are few things in life that actually live up to their hype. For example: The Grand Canyon, The Internet, Tesla cars, Game of Thrones, peeling plastic off of a new electronics… And of course smartphones.

Remember when your grade school math teacher drilled long division into your head because: “You’re not always going to have a calculator in your pocket”?  Guess who has the last laugh now.

I called it a while ago that 2015 would be the year on mobile. It looks like the world is beginning to agree.

Here’s why:

During their 2015 Adwords Performance Summit, Google announced that for the first time, a long time speculation came true: mobile is beating desktop in the search game. Honestly, this should not come as a real surprise to marketers. With the growing number of apps and smartphones available on the market, and the fact people are always on the go has resulted in the growth of a mobile concierge economy. Combine that with the long awaited Mobilegeddon of Google, and you have all the makings of a coup d’etat for the digital crown.

It is an inescapable truth that mobile devices have become a fundamental part of life. It is not only the screen glued Millennial’s that sleep within an arm’s length of their phones. We feel lost and disconnected when we cannot find them. I can’t be the only one who has ever experienced a phantom vibration when I don’t have my phone in my pocket.  The world is of course faster paced today and we are constantly on the move within it. So all of this mobility begs the question:

How do you reach the consumer on the move?

You can see there are numerous trends appearing around the country now if you followed the news from SXSW, or any of the other trade shows marketers frequent. One growing in popularity that I foresee really making a significant impact in the digital world is that a number of retailers have begun installing beacons inside their stores. This technology essentially is the next level of CRM (customer relationship management) device that allows for a unique and personalized bottom funnel sale /remarketing ability exclusively to mobile devices.

For another we can look to an older medium radio for inspiration. Traditional radio is sharply declining. In its place are Internet radio services like Pandora and Spotify which bring in new listeners in droves. Why is this? Simple: mobility and personalization. Consumers want things now, and they want them, the way they want them.

Uber-For-Everything
^Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

People are commuting farther and more frequent these days, and to help them get where they are going (mad men nod) they are using traffic crowd source apps like Waze and Google Maps to help them get where they are going.  This is an opportunity.

It is said that there is now a Uber for everything. This rise of a concierge economy is powered almost exclusively through the prevalence of mobile. Need a cab? Summon an Uber or Lyft. Want some booze but don’t want to drive? Drizly or Saucey have you covered. Have to get some laundry and dry cleaning done? Washio has your back. You can even order a doctor or a massage using the apps Heal or Zeel.

I bring this up because each of these services has an audience that is on the go. There are advertising opportunities available within each of these, as well. Google Display Advertising can allow you to place your message within these apps giving you the ability to reach people during their commute or free time.

So which is better Mobile or Desktop?

A hard question but to answer it, I’m going to take another page out of radio’s play book. Imagine search as a Hot Clock. There are high traffic times and low traffic times. Times when you know people are more likely to be on desktop, and times when they almost certainly have to be mobile. The folks over at the IDG Knowledge Hub put together a killer graphic that goes into this with a little more detail. Click here to check it out.

It is not just search in which mobile wears the crown. Take a brief look over any campaign reports from Facebook or Twitter to see how mobile your target audience is. If you separate out the placement of your ads I would wager you are likely to see a stark contrast in the CTR and impressions between mobile and desktop.

Mobile IT purchases and when people are most active on their mobile.

So should I drop desktop entirely?

Not by any means. While I am clearly an advocate of the strength of mobile over desktop, “traditional computers” (going to coin the phrase now) will still reach a broad demographic. It depends on who your audience is and what day part you want to hit them. Be honest: how many times have you watched a YouTube video or did a little Amazon shopping while on a computer at work?

When buying things online, there is still some level of distrust from consumers. Google’s Mobilegeddon aimed to relieve some of that hesitation and make the internet a bit more mobile friendly place. The trend is that consumers are doing research on their mobile devices, but when it comes to time to buy, they return to their desktops. A integrated marketing campaign will, as always, produce much better results.

What does this all mean for digital advertisers?

Bottom line? The ability to meet your target audience on the go and where they work was once a luxury, but now, it is  essential. The traditional sales funnel is changing and we as [digital] marketers must change with it.

Looking for more analytical proof about why mobile is important? Check out this blog on StrataBlue to learn more.

Want to talk more about how to advertise inside apps and search to reach your customers while on the go?

Click here now to contact us online!

Make the Move to Mobile

In their 2013 Mobile Search Moments Report, Google and Nielsen found that 77% of mobile searches occurred while users were at home or work and had a PC readily available. With 20% of all traffic occurring from smartphones or tablets, now is the time to reevaluate your business’ mobile website design to make the user experience simple and visually pleasing to increase sales.

Content Still Reigns King

While images and video are important on mobile, having the right keywords is the first step of consideration when designing a new mobile site. Google Analytics is a great tool to utilize first for ordering content in order of importance according to your audience. Using shorter words in paragraphs or providing lists with your keywords also makes the user experience better. Content coincides with the overall design of your mobile site more than you think.

Responsive Web Design

Nothing can interrupt the user experience more on mobile than having to scroll in or out and have the screen size readjust several times. This is where the buzzword, responsive web design, is important to understand. Responsive web design means having one website design that is user friendly across all devices – tablets, smartphones, EReaders, etc. – and content that fits in the different screen dimensions. Let it be known that having a better responsive web design also means an increase in page load time.

Interactive Features

With content as your foundation and a responsive web design in order, now you can vamp up your mobile website with creative interface options. Carousels are perfect for easy right-swipe scrolling and can highlight events or specific news. Progressive disclosure icons are ideal to segment topics users are looking for. If you are selling your products online, you’ll want to be sure of having the feature to allow users to zoom in on images.

Progressive disclosure

Think your website needs a face lift on mobile or desktop? We’d love to help! E-mail us at [email protected] or let us know in the comments section!

Buffalo Bill Didn’t Tweet, but Healthcare Companies Should

Social media within healthcare is sort of like the Wild West. The laws are unclear and intimidating, many are trying to decide how to best navigate the new terrain and the most pioneering individuals have a head start mining for gold.

There are many reasons why social health is developing at such a mind-boggling pace. According to a white paper published by HP, social platforms facilitate patient and provider education, encourage patient health reporting and help patients connect with others who are affected by similar health conditions. Since this brave new world is so expansive and has so many angles worth exploring, this article will be the first in a short series. To begin, let’s explore a few statistics and consider what the data is telling us about the importance of social media adoption for professionals within this space.

According to Mediabistro, over 40% of patients report that information they find through social channels impacts how they deal with their own health.

  • Why should you care? Given the number of individuals using social media today, social tools have the potential to help a huge number of individuals improve their health and wellbeing. From a strictly altruistic perspective, health organizations should take notice. However, in a time when population health, chronic disease management and patient satisfaction are so closely tied to reimbursement, profitability and long term viability make their way into the conversation. Can healthcare organizations afford to not be social (I will touch on social media and Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements in a later article in this series)?

social-media-health-care1

42% of healthcare consumers use social media to obtain information about health providers, treatments and products.

  • Why should you care? A growing majority of today’s healthcare consumers are social and mobile savvy. Since they’re turning to social platforms to gather and share health information, doesn’t it make sense for health leaders to be active there as well? Tech-savvy patients classify companies and professionals lacking a strong social media presence as “behind the times,” effectively removing them from their shortlist of places to receive care. This fact is driven home by this infographic by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group which states, “41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.”

According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Medicine and PatientsLikeMe, a surprisingly large percentage of individuals are in favor of sharing their health information on social networks despite possible data compromise risks.

  • Why should you care? As more and more patients become comfortable with sharing personal health information on social media, the amount of data will boom. This rich source of information could prove extremely beneficial not only for disease tracking and health research purposes, but also for health organizations seeking to identify competitive advantages. Does anyone else see a potential marketing automation tie-in here?

What’s the bottom line? Healthcare organizations that don’t currently have a social and mobile strategy need one ASAP. As Kelly Barnes, U.S. Health Industries Leader at PwC puts it, “Health organizations have an opportunity to use social media as a way to better listen, participate in discussions, and engage with consumers in ways that extend their interaction beyond a clinical encounter.” If you need help with your approach contact StrataBlue today!

Keeping Your Business Mobile: New Techniques You Need to Try

Hopefully you read my blog last week. If not, shame on you! I’ll forgive you this time, but it was about mobile marketing and why it will be important for your business to adapt to this rising trend.

According to a Motorola Solutions survey, retailers believe that over the next five years, 56% of all transactions will be completed via mobile POS, self-checkouts at terminal or on mobile devices. In that same survey, 42% believe that improving the in-store experience will involve sending coupons to a customer’s phone based on their location in the store. If you still don’t think you need to take advantage of mobile, look around the next time you are in a restaurant or waiting on a street corner and really notice how many people are on their phones. These are all potential clients!

It’s no surprise that people’s attention spans have reduced dramatically over the past couple of years. With video accounting for 50% of all mobile data, you’ll need to adapt to this trend. Micro-content will be key in keeping your customers engaged with you. You will be seeing more companies take advantage of Vine, Instagram Video and even Snapchat as they continually rise in popularity.

Cezar Kolodziej, president and CEO of Iris Mobile predicts that Rich Media Messaging (RMM) will explode in 2014 (with already a 99% open rate and double the conversion rates of SMS). RMM allows Android users to no longer receive iPhone content that they will not be able to open and iPhones will stop receiving Flash videos that are not compatible. RMM allows companies to send messages designed for each specific phone which allows the image, video or coupon to fit the screen.

Have you considered Geoconquesting? This is done by setting up a geofence around your top competitor’s location(s) and scheduling a message to go out on high traffic days and times for those areas. This is first accomplished by getting a second opt-in from your customers. After you have received that information, you will be able to send messages to your customers when they are near your competitors. You will be able to send a real time text message to them saying something like this: “Stop by our location in the next hour and receive 15% off any full-priced item! Show MSG when checking out.” This gives them a specific call-to-action and incentive to leave your competitors and come directly to your store.

Have you already adopted mobile marketing techniques? Are you seeing a bigger ROI? Comment below and grab my attention on Twitter.

How Mobile is Your Business?

Is your business mobile? I don’t mean literally, unless you own a food truck, but are you taking advantage of mobile marketing? According to eMarketer, U.S. adults spend an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes on non-voice mobile devices every day! Are you taking advantage of this? Better yet, are you reading this on a mobile device?

Going forward, your marketing must be designed with both mobile and desktop in mind. Before you create that next email, ask yourself, “How will this look on a mobile device?” Internet traffic on mobile devices will soon exceed traffic from traditional desktops.

Use mobile marketing to create loyalty among your customers. If you are relying on loyalty “punch cards,” you might actually have the reverse effect in some cases! Let’s say you own a restaurant and pass out loyalty cards. A potential customer is out looking for a place to eat and passes by, but has forgotten their loyalty card so they probably won’t stop in. Even if they were in the mood for your food, they will go somewhere else and wait until they have their card to eat at your place. If you were to offer a deal for anyone who checks in on Foursquare (a location-based social network), you would never have to worry about that. People can also connect their Twitter or Facebook page to Foursquare so all their friends see they’re at your place. That is some great user-generated marketing right there.

If the weather is bad or you’re having a slow night, send out a quick tweet offering a special. For example, most people aren’t inclined to go out to dinner on a cold and snowy evening. As a restaurant, send out a tweet that you’ll give half priced bottles of wine to anyone who shows their server the tweet tonight. It’s a great, easy way to market on-the-go, and it also rewards your social media fans for following you.

Have you ever been into an Apple store? No matter how many people crowd their stores, you never see an angry line of people waiting to check out. Each employee can fulfill your purchase anywhere in the store with their mobile device. Imagine how much better your customer service would be if a customer walks in and finishes a transaction with one person without having to deal with multiple people or waiting in line to resolve their issues.

With mobile subscribers projected to reach 7.5 billion people by the end of 2014, can you afford not to use mobile marketing? Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing different tools and techniques for mobile marketing. Are you already using FourSquare for your business? What kind of promotions have you successfully ran? Leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter!

Tapping Into Your Mobile Customers

Cyber Monday this year was the biggest shopping day in history. According to IBM’s Holiday Benchmark Reports, Cyber Monday shot up over 20% in sales since last year. Online sales also smashed Black Friday deals by over 31%. But for businesses, the Thanksgiving weekend is already in the rear-view mirror. Now, everyone needs to focus their attention on the next three weeks.

If you are a little worried about your initial holiday sales, the good news is that online shopping is on your side. With the rise of cybershopping, consumers are stretching out their holiday spending more than ever. Simply put, more customers view internet purchasing as faster, easier and more convenient. People will be waiting until the last minute to purchase their holiday gifts hoping for the best deal. If you want to make the most of that market, keep these statistics in mind:

Mobile shopping is king. According to IBM, mobile sales accounted for 17% of all online sales this year, an increase of over 55% since 2012. And while smartphones were the weapon of choice when it came to browsing for deals, tablet devices accounted for over 11% of online sales. That’s double what smartphone-based sales were. Tablet-based sales also increased from 2012. With more of the features of a desk-top and the mobility of a smartphone, tablets may become the purchasing vehicle of choice for the tech-inclined.

But brick-and-click might be the winner. According to Adobe, hybrid online and traditional retailers out-competed their online-only counterparts by over 60%. Businesses like Macy’s didn’t even offer their best discounts on Cyber Monday. There’s also the fact that brick-and-click stores can offer special discounts and extras. Of course, these hybrid retailers could lose some of their initial advantage as the holiday season continues. Overall, apparel and toy stores saw a rise in sales, but electronics retailers took a hit this year.

Money—and technology—change everything. Just as the internet has dramatically changed how we shop, it appears that mobile devices are changing how we purchase online. As tablets and smartphones rise in popularity, we can only expect out-of-touch brands to fall by the wayside in the face of progress. The key here is for retailers to keep striving for new ways to connect with their customers without losing sight of why that connection is important. Here are a few ways you can connect with your customers via mobile and tablet:

  • Create a mobile app. According to one study, 51% of online shoppers said they would download an app for their favorite online shopping site. Giving those customers a mobile app that is easy to use can only increase your sales.
  • Give deals and offers via text. If you have customers that download your mobile app, have them sign up by giving their mobile number. During the holiday season, send out text messages with special deals and offers for these customers. This will make people feel valued, turning them into loyal and lifetime customers.
  • Referrals. Once people have used your mobile app and been rewarded with a discount, they’re going to want to spread the word among their friends. Make it worth their time to share your information by creating a loyalty or referral program.
  • Check out Red Stamp. This service lets small businesses send customized notes, cards, invitations and announcements for both mobile and desktop. As a customer buys a product from you online, get his/her email during check out and send a custom thank you note as soon as the purchase is made.

How are you connecting with your mobile customers?