Posts tagged advertising

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Why understanding frequency is key to success with Facebook advertising

How do you ensure that your Facebook ad campaign is working as hard as it possibly can? 

For Facebook advertisers, it can be easy to get stuck into the multitude of statistics and metrics that your campaigns generate.

For those that are analytically minded, Facebook marketing can feel like being a kid in a candy shop, but can be equally daunting to the uninitiated.

Reach, the number of unique individuals have seen your post, gives you an indication of just how far your ad has been seen, but it doesn’t really give you much of an indication of how effective it is.

It’s a similar story for impressions, which tells you how many times your ad has been served. The key metric is the latter divided by the former – frequency.

Frequency is a measure of how many times a user has been exposed to your post, and acts as an indication of how effective your targeting is. If your frequency is low, you are arguably targeting too wide an audience, investing too little to reach your target audience, or a combination of the two.

There are different ways of viewing frequency, and Facebook divides your campaigns into three levels; you can view the frequency for each ad, each group of ads (an ad-set) or each campaign (a collection of ad-sets).

Ad level frequency

Ad level frequency is the simplest level of frequency analysis. In the example below, each dot refers to a unique user, with the encompassing circle representing one ad.

As users who have already seen the ad are served it again, the impressions increase. However, because the number of users hasn’t increased, so does the frequency (because a greater number of impressions are served to a static number of users).

facebook frequency

In this example, we have 19 unique users (represented as individual dots), with an ad that has been served a total of 27 times (once to 13 people, twice to four people and three times to two users). This generates a frequency of 1.42.

Ad-set level frequency

Ad-sets are designed to group ads together, making it easier for advertisers to organise and manage multiple campaigns, and manage their collective spend and targeting. This allows the targeting for many ads to be changed quickly and efficiently.

That might be great for campaign management, but it’s not so brilliant for frequency management. Ad-sets track all of the users who have visited all ads and if an individual is served several ads from an ad-set, that will still only count as one unique user.

One user that sees five ads would be considered as “one unit” of reach, five units of impressions and so that individual’s frequency would be classed as ‘five’.

facebook ad set frequency

In this instance everything within the larger oval is the ad-set.

  • The green Ad still retains its 19 unique visitors, 27 impressions, and Frequency of 42
  • The red Ad has 20 unique visitors, 22 impressions (as 2 individuals see the ad twice), giving a Frequency of 1
  • 12 of the users however, have seen both Ads, with 1 user seeing both Ads twice
    • The total unique users is 27 (not 39, which would be a combination of both ads)
    • The total ad-set impressions is 49 (which is the combination of both ads)
    • This pushes the frequency of the ad set up to 81, despite the green ad having a frequency of 1.42, and the red ad having a frequency of 1.1.

Confused yet?

As both ads in this ad-set are served with the same targeting, they’re just as likely to be served either ad. Adding new ads within ad-sets would only compound the problem, so you should look at limiting ad volume within ad sets wherever feasible.

Campaign level frequency

A cursory look at the next level of frequency reporting potentially complicates matters further. In campaign level frequency analysis, we have a situation where a campaign may include several ad-sets, each with their own targeting.

That’s not really an issue when each ad-set includes mutually exclusive targeting, typically when negation is applied, but as we can see from the example below, many targeting approaches will overlap. After all, your audiences may have many interests.

A user may be a fan of a specific confectionary brand page already, or they may not – they can’t be both. However, complications arise when the targeting may seem mutually exclusive at first glance, but in actuality it isn’t. A fan of chocolate may also be a fan of candy, which means that they are likely to see ads from both ad sets.

campaign level frequency

In the above example, ad-set one (to the left) has two ads, as does ad-set two (to the right). Ads one and two, in ad-set one, have 31 unique users between them. As some individuals have seen each ad several times, their impressions is at 71, giving that ad-set a frequency of 2.09.

Ad-set two (to the right) has 35 unique users, and 82 total impressions, giving that ad-set a frequency of 2.34.

However, some of those users will feature in both ad sets, so the campaign as a whole has 54 unique users, and 153 impressions. That’s a frequency of 2.8, which is a step up from both ad-sets.

So how does this work in practice?

Let’s take an example of the sweet company wanting to promote their latest line of confectionary products.

Of the two products that they want to promote, one includes gelatine based products, and the other contains chocolate products, the brand therefore creates a campaign with two distinct ad-sets: one aimed at gelatine lovers, and one at chocolate lovers.

One of our target audiences, Tom loves gelatine, whilst another member of audience, Dick, loves chocolate. However, poor Harry loves Turkish Delight. Unlike Tom and Dick, he gets targeted by both the gelatine product ads and the chocolate product ads. While Harry is technically well served by the targeting, he gets an ad about milk chocolate, then an ad about jelly beans, rather than just one type of confection.

That may not sound like a huge problem, but it doesn’t give you a true indication of your Facebook ad strategy.

So what level should you listen to?

Campaign level frequency will provide you with the truest picture, but that alone won’t tell you the full story behind your campaigns.

campaign frequency on facebook

Check your campaign. If it’s got a low frequency, then no problem. If it’s starting to creep up, then look at the ad-set level. If the ad-set levels are fine, then the first thing to look at would be to see if and where your targeting is duplicated.

If one or more of your ad-sets are high in frequency, then look at your ads. See if you have too many, turn them off, review how broad or narrow your targeting is, and look to either expand, or turn the ad-set off completely.

Why is high frequency an issue?

With the average internet user exposed to 1,707 banners each month (Comscore), campaigns can be serving your ads to people who just aren’t paying attention to them. They come up in their feeds, but they don’t get seen or actioned upon, leading to what is sometimes known as “banner blindness”.

Banner blindness (individuals learning to sub-consciously recognise, and then ignore your Ads), and campaign fatigue (signs of the campaign being less effective as time goes on) can be disastrous for your ads campaigns. It leads to soaring costs and diminished returns, but this isn’t the worst case scenario for a campaign.

If users receive several iterations of an ad over and over again it can start to feel like spam, and breeds negative sentiment towards the brand. Even worse, given that the ads are being displayed on a social platform, it’s easier for users to vent their frustrations as comments that remain visible to all future audiences.

So just what should your frequency be?

There’s a fine line, and much debate, on whether or not individuals will get annoyed, or whether they’ll see an ad enough times to be finally convinced to click.

The size and type of targeting that you’re doing will ultimately determine what the optimum frequency should be.

Smaller campaigns, focusing on a smaller number of individuals, will naturally reach a higher frequency, but if the ads are more accurately targeted, a higher frequency might be less of an issue.

If you focus on an audience that loves bear shaped gelatine products in London only, but the ads are tailored to the London Gelatine Bear Emporium just around the corner from where the audience lived, they may take more kindly to seeing the ads more often.

While it’s less likely to reach a higher frequency as quickly, broader targeting may start to annoy users who see the ads multiple times.

Users may become much more sensitive to how often they’re seeing the ads, given the drop in relevance with the targeting. Non-specific ad copy is for anyone, and being told about sweets 11 or 12 times when you’ve seen the message, taken it on board, and decided to do something about it (even if that decision is to ignore it) the message serves only to frustrate an audience.

As a rule of thumb, a frequency between five and ten for an entire campaign is still acceptable, but you have to review this at a campaign level to ensure it encompasses every individual that sees every ad, and not just focussing on either ad set one, or ad set two.

Splitting the report up will count a unique user every time they’re served an ad, giving false duplicates. Only viewing at campaign level with no other splits (demographic/day by day/device etc.) will show the true story.

So how do you avoid ad frequency mayhem?

Having established that there is no defined “right or wrong” answer to the frequency conundrum, how do we go about ensuring that we can at least control our ad campaigns? There are some key stages to go through:

Do your targeting homework

Understand your audience and use some of the extensive tools that are available to you in order to find them. The more you know about your audience, the better your targeting can be.

Plan your targeting coexistence

Could there be any cross-over between your ad-sets? If so, try to separate one group from the other to minimise the risk of duplication.

Choose your budget wisely

If an audience is particularly niche, track the reach, and campaign duration. If you plan to reach 100 people a day, are expecting £1 cost-per-click and the campaign lasts seven days, then £700 for the campaign will need every single user to click on the ad (or for some users to double click). Calculate your possible CTR and if it’s unrealistic, plan ahead by reducing spend or widening your targeting pool.

Manage campaigns, ad sets, and ads properly

Don’t setup several campaigns to target specific groups of people that will likely contain similar users. For example a group that likes chocolate, and a group that likes Mars Bars – one of these groups will largely encompass the other. Frequency won’t show up at an ad-set level report as Facebook will tally each individually, and your folly will only appear under the campaign level reporting.

Know how to report on frequency

Look at the big picture. Don’t review frequency on a day by day basis, ad by ad, or even ad-set by ad-set (each splits up your unique users). Look at the whole campaign.

Limit ad volume

A large volume of ads pushes Facebook to serve as many of them as possible to the same audience, increasing the likelihood of frequency jumping high.

While you may be tempted to include many ads to A/B test your creatives, don’t do this to an excessive level. A couple of ads per ad-set should be your limit. Trust your creative!

Review your ad relevance score

If some of your ads have a low score, it’s likely not resonating with the audience, so remove it. This removes the ad from collecting additional reach.

Will Conboy is head of marketing communications at Stickyeyes and a contributor to SEW. This article was co-written with Jonathan Hemingway.

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Twitter tweet advertising to 2,700,000 Real People, Boost sales traffi

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Search Marketing Standard – SEO / SEM – Ad Advertising $GOOG $FB $TWTR Adwords

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The 10 greatest social media advertising tips for content marketers

Let’s start with the bad news first. It’s tougher than ever to get your content noticed.

Changes to Google’s search results pages have further obscured content organically, especially on competitive commercial searches. Meanwhile, paid search CPCs are at all-time highs in established markets.

Organic reach in social media? It’s pretty much dead. Half of all content gets zero shares, and less than 0.1 percent will be shared more than 1,000 times. And Facebook just announced that you’re even less likely to get your content in front of people who aren’t related to you. (Sorry.)

Additionally, the typical internet marketing conversion rate is less than 1 percent.

Social media advertising Butters meme

How content marketing doesn’t (usually) work

How does content marketing actually work? Many people believe content marketing is basically a three-step process:

  1. Create new content.
  2. Share your content on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
  3. People buy your stuff.

Nope. This almost never happens.

Social media advertising how content marketing doesn't work

Most content goes nowhere. The consumer purchase journey isn’t a straight line – and it takes time.

So is there a more reliable way to increase leads and sales with content?

Social media ads to the rescue!

Social media advertising bad time ski instructor meme

Now it’s time for the good news, guys! Social media ads provide the most scalable content promotion and are proven to turn visitors into leads and customers.

And the best part? You don’t need a huge ad budget.

A better, more realistic process for content marketing would look like this:

  1. Create: Produce content and share it on social media.
  2. Amplify: Selectively promote your top content on social media.
  3. Tag: Build your remarketing audience by tagging site visitors with a cookie.
  4. Filter: Apply behavioral and demographic filters on your audience.
  5. Remarket: Remarket to your audience with display ads, social ads, and Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) to promote offers.
  6. Convert: Capture qualified leads or sale.
  7. Repeat.

You can use the following 10 Twitter and Facebook advertising hacks as a catalyst to get more eyeballs on your content, or as an accelerant to create an even larger traffic explosion.

1. Improve your Quality Score

Quality Score is a metric Google uses to rate the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads – and influences your cost-per-click. Facebook calls their version a “Relevancy Score”:

Social media advertising Facebook Relevance Score

While Twitter calls theirs a “Quality Adjusted Bid”:

Social media advertising Twitter Quality Adjusted Bid

Whatever you call it, Quality Score is a crucial metric. You can increase your quality score for Twitter and Facebook by increasing your post engagement rates.

A high quality score is great because you’ll get a higher ad impression share for the same budget at a lower cost per engagement. On the flip side, a low Quality Score is terrible because you’ll have a low ad impression share and a high cost per engagement.

How do you increase engagement rates? Promote your best content – your unicorns (the top 1-3 percent that performs better than all your other content) vs. your donkeys (your bottom 97 percent).

To figure out if your content is a unicorn or donkey, you’ll have to test it out.

Social media advertising unicorns or donkeys

  • Post lots of stuff (organically) to Twitter and use Twitter Analytics to see which content gets the most engagement.
  • Post your top stuff from Twitter organically to LinkedIn and Facebook. Again, track which posts get the most traction.
  • Pay to promote the unicorns on Facebook and Twitter.

The key to paid social media ads is to be picky. Cast a narrow net and maximize those engagement rates.

2. Increase engagement with audience targeting

Social media advertising South Park meme

Targeting all of your fans isn’t precise. It’s lazy and you’ll waste a lot of money.

Your fans aren’t a homogenous blob. They all have different incomes, interests, values, and preferences.

For example, by targeting fans of Donald Trump, people with social media marketing job titles, NRA members, and the hashtag #NeverHillary (and excluding Democrats, fans of Hillary Clinton, and the hashtag #neverTrump), this tweet for an Inc. article I wrote got 10x higher engagement:

Social media advertising Trump tweet engagement

Keyword targeting and other audience targeting methods help turn average ads into unicorns.

3. Generate free clicks from paid ads

On Twitter, tweet engagements are the most popular type of ad campaign. Why? I have no idea. You have to pay for every user engagement (whether someone views your profile, expands your image, expands your tweet from the tweet stream, or clicks on a hashtag).

If you’re doing this, you need to stop. Now. It’s a giant waste of money and offers the worst ROI.

Instead, you should only pay for the thing that matters most to your business, whether that’s clicks to your website, app installs, followers, leads, or actual video views.

For example, when you run a Twitter followers campaign you only pay when someone follows you. But your tweet that’s promoting one of your unicorn pieces of content will also get a ton of impressions, retweets, replies, mentions, likes, and visits to your website. All for the low, low cost of $0.

4. Promote unicorn video ads!

Would you believe you can get thousands of video views at a cost of just $0.02 per view?

Social media advertising 2 cent video views

Shoppers who view videos are more likely to remember you, and buy from you. A couple quick tips for success:

  • Promote videos that have performed the best (i.e., driven the most engagement) on your website, YouTube, or elsewhere.
  • Make sure people can understand your video without hearing it – an amazing 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound, according to Digiday.
  • Make it memorable, try to keep it short, and target the right audience.

Bonus: video ad campaigns increase relevancy score by 2 points!

5. Score huge wins with custom audiences

True story: A while back I wrote an article that asked: do Twitter Ads work? To promote the article on Twitter, I used their tailored audiences feature to target key influencers.

The very same day, Business Insider asked for permission to publish the story. So I promoted that version of the article to influencers using tailored audiences.

An hour later, a Fox News producer emailed me. Look where I found myself:

Social media advertising Larry Kim Fox News interview

The awesome power of custom audiences resulted in additional live interviews with major news outlets including the BBC, 250 high-value press pickups and links, massive brand exposure, 100,000 visits to the WordStream site, and a new business relationship with Facebook.

This is just one example of identity-based marketing using social media ads. Whether it’s Twitter’s tailored audiences or Facebook’s custom audiences, this opens a ton of new and exciting advertising use cases!

6. Promote your content on more social platforms

Medium, Hacker News, Reddit, Digg, and LinkedIn Pulse call all send you massive amounts of traffic. It’s important to post content here that is appropriate to the audience.

Post content on Medium or LinkedIn. New content is fine, but repurposing your content is a better strategy. This will give a whole new audience a chance to discover and consume your existing content.

Again, you can use social media ads as a catalyst or accelerant and get hundreds, thousands, or even millions of views you otherwise wouldn’t have. It might even open you up to syndication opportunities (I’ve had posts syndicated to New York Observer and Time Magazine).

You can also promote your existing content on sites like Hacker News, Reddit, or Digg. Getting upvotes can create valuable exposure that will send tons of traffic to your existing content.

For a minimal investment, you can get some serious exposure and traffic!

7. Optimize for engagement for insanely awesome SEO

RankBrain is an AI machine learning system, which Google is now using to better understand search queries, especially queries Google has never seen before (an estimated 15 percent of all queries).

I believe Google is looking at user engagement metrics (such as organic click-through rates, bounce rates, dwell time, and conversion rates) as a way, in part, to rank pages that have earned very few or no links and provide better answers to users’ questions.

Social media advertising RankBrain SEO

Even if user engagement metrics aren’t part of the core ranking algorithm, getting really high organic CTRs and conversion rates will have its own great rewards:

  • More clicks and conversions.
  • Better organic search rankings.
  • Even more clicks and conversions.

Social media advertising Facebook Experian case study data

Use social media ads to build brand recognition and double your organic search click-through and conversion rates!

8. Social media remarketing

Social media remarketing, on average, will boost engagement by 3x and increase conversion rates by 2x, all while cutting your costs by a third. So make the most of it!

Use social media remarketing to push your hard offers, such as sign-ups, consultations, and downloads.

9. Combine everything with super remarketing

Social media advertising super cereal South Park meme

Super remarketing is the awesome combination of remarketing, demographics, behaviors, and high engagement content. Here’s how and why it works.

  • Behavior and interest targeting: These are the people interested in your stuff.
  • Remarketing: These are the people who have recently checked our your stuff.
  • Demographic targeting: These are the people who can afford to buy your stuff.

Now you need to target your paid social ads to a narrow audience that meets all three criteria using your high engagement unicorns.

The result?

Social media advertising more money meme

10. Combine paid search & social ads

For our final, and most advanced tip of them all, you’re going to combine social ads with PPC search ads on Google using RLSA.

RLSA is incredibly powerful. You can target customized search ads only to people who have recently visited your site when they search on Google. It increases click-through and conversion rates by 3x and also reduces cost-per-click by a third.

But there’s one problem. By definition, RLSA doesn’t target people who are unfamiliar with your brand.

This is where social ads come in. Social ads will help more people become familiar with your brand.

Social ads are cheap way to start the process of biasing people towards you. Although they may not need what you sell now, later when the need arises, people will either do a branded search for your stuff, or do an unbranded search but click on you because they remember your memorable or inspirational content.

Social media advertising unicorns

If your content marketing efforts are struggling, then these ridiculously powerful Twitter and Facebook advertising hacks will turn your content donkeys into unicorns!

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How the future of advertising is in servicing the ‘moment’

Great advertising starts when a brand delivers a service to the consumer – rather than an ad, says Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, Brian Wong.

Wong is the 25-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Kiip – an advertising tool that allows advertisers to send ‘rewards’ to mobile users during moments of online achievements. It gives the 700 brands using the platform, access to more than 200 million monthly active users across 5000 apps.

Kiip_hulu_you deserve a treat_600

*Image: Kiip

Ad blocking has forced the advertising industry into some self-reflection, while simultaneously pushing the trend for native and platform-driven content.

Viewability has become a key metric as a result, forcing brands to be more honest about where their ad dollars are going.

“It’s always important to have these moments of responsibility and accountability in an industry. After the whistle is blown, people are more careful, more conscious, and ultimately more responsible,” says Wong.

Here are Wong’s key tips for advertising which goes beyond reach and placements to engaging connected consumers during the moments when they are most receptive to receiving ads.

1. Native advertising

Native advertising has become a key trend this year, largely as a way to outmanoeuvre the ad blockers. It’s also what has helped drive the rise of platforms like Snapchat and Hulu.

“There are platforms where the more native you are, the harder it is to block you,” says Wong.

He says users don’t want to have to skip or block an ad, they want an advertising model that’s entertaining. And a platform like Snapchat allows brands to do just that.

Snapchat_homepage_app_300

*Image: Snapchat

This dynamic is forcing advertisers (in a really good way, Wong adds) to be more conscious of their content.

“In the past, a brand would use its own creative and spew it out across thousands of publishers. That no longer works, you now have to be a lot more curated and a lot more intelligent about what you’re trying to push out there,” says Wong.

2. The connected consumer

Forget millennials, the real consumer a brand should be targeting is the connected one.

“Ultimately it’s not about age groups or generations – it’s about the level of connectivity that the consumer is experiencing,” says Wong.

This level of connectivity comes from the number of devices a consumer owns, and how often they are interacting with them.

Mobile is enhancing this level of constant connectivity in both developed and emerging economies, and for brands it means developing strategies for these constantly connected consumers.

Wong uses his mum as an example. She has an Apple Watch, an iPad and an iPhone.

“Just because I’m a millennial, doesn’t mean I’m in a special generation that requires such treatment. My mum requires special treatment.”

Brands need to recognize that consumers adopting these technologies expect special types of services that come from being constantly connected, and that’s not just millennials.

3. Servicing the moment

A core component of the Kiip tool is access to user ‘moments’. Wong and his team are using these moments to build a new metric around the modern connected consumer.

A ‘moment’ is when a user is connected to a device while experiencing a period of time where they’ve just done something ‘meaningful’. For example, they have achieved a new high score in a mobile gaming app, or hit a target during a work out.

This is where the value of this moment can be detectable in real time. It puts a brand in a very advantageous position if it can communicate with the consumer at these moments where they are most receptive to an advertising messaging, says Wong.

Kiip_2_Reward for running_600

*Image: Kiip

“We are trying to create a model where the brand is conscious of the time component, where someone is active on mobile and being respectful of that experience in bringing the advertising in to that moment,” he says.

The best way to do this is to engage with them via a reward on mobile. This leaves the consumer with something valuable, but something they can takeaway and engage with at a later time.

“That’s important on mobile – at the moment I am doing something else so I’m not going to immerse myself into your brand. However, if you give me something to takeaway, I will be able to spend time with it later on,” says Wong.

Kiip_Rewards_400

*Image: Kiip

Where does data and privacy come into all of this? Wong believes privacy isn’t so much of an issue when the ad stops being an ad, and starts being a service to the consumer.

For example, when a hotel knows everything about the consumer, the better they can serve them and it becomes about the experience.

4. Respectful advertising

It all comes down to being conscious of the consumer and the consumer experience. In short, the consumer has to come first.

That means if a click through rate is just 2% to 5%, advertisers need to face up to the reality that 95% of people don’t want to consume that ad.

“Be respectful and cognisant that you need to create something the consumer wants,” says Wong.

In addition, it’s about timing. Wong says 90% of the battle is knowing what time to be a part of a consumer’s digital habits.

“You might have the best ad ever, but if you are there to interrupt them, you will get flack,” he says.

5. Awareness and product

A common mistake advertisers make is thinking that if a product is good it will sell itself.

“Unfortunately with all the noise out there, good advertising needs to accommodate that product,” says Wong.

The product still comes first, but these products need to be integrated into the fabric of a consumer’s daily life through advertising. The product itself begins to create new ways for the brand to become relevant, he says.

Good advertising and good products have to be combined – it can’t be mutually exclusive.

6. Data

Wong believes a common mistake brands make is running an ad campaign without paying attention to the data that is being generated from it. Worse still, the company the brand has just bought the ads from is probably using that data, whether that’s for things like retargeting or profiling.

Brands should therefore take hold of their data, store it in a DMP, knowing they have it at their disposal to use in future campaigns.

7. Mobile first

Mobile will continue to be the dominant focus for advertisers as they target mobile first audiences. Traditional forms of CRM and advertising via television are no longer going to cut it.

The juggernauts like Facebook, Google and Twitter already have a lot of mobile first data, and more and more brands will start to look at the consumer from this point of view. Wong predicts that by 2020 most big brands will have a mobile profile of the consumer.

As an entrepreneur, Wong has this concluding advice: Never learn the rules. “When you go to different industries, it’s kind of cool not to know the rules because you are ultimately going to take people who have been in the industry for a long time by surprise,” he says.

*Brian Wong is a keynote speaker at ClickZ Live Hong Kong on August 3-4. Join him there to learn more about successful marketing to the connected consumer and what it takes to be a Silicon Valley startup entrepreneur at 19.

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What can Medium’s Creative Exchange bring to native advertising?

Last week, social publishing company Medium announced the launch of a programme that will allow its writers to partner with brands to create dedicated sponsored content: the Creative Exchange.

The Creative Exchange is by no means Medium’s first foray into native advertising: in the past, it has produced a number of verticals in partnership with different brands, including BMW, Marriott and Samsung. But this is the first time that Medium has opened up native advertising for the wider community to take part in.

In its blog post announcing the new programme, Medium acknowledged that, “One of the things we’ve heard consistently is that our community wants a way to make money from their work on the platform. It takes effort to produce a piece of high-quality content and that effort should be rewarded.”

While this is undoubtedly true, the writers who called for Medium content to be monetised probably wanted the ability to earn money from the independent content they write, rather than to be paid to write sponsored content for a brand.

Still, there are no doubt plenty of others who will welcome the venture. But what can Medium contribute to the field of sponsored content, already crowded with publishers and platforms, that’s particularly new? And what do brands stand to gain?

What can Medium bring to native advertising?

Medium has always been a slightly strange entity, whose exact nature is hard to pin down: it straddles the divide between publisher and network, between social and blogging; giving writers a space for their voice to be heard, but very much on Medium’s terms.

“Medium’s greatest asset is our community of writers and publishers,” the blog post which announced the Creative Exchange began. Clearly this is what Medium intends to be its main selling point as it expands its venture into native advertising: an established network of writers, many with huge followings, and readers who will eagerly consume writing published to the platform regardless of whether it is sponsored or not, as long as it is of the quality and type they have come to expect.

A screenshot of the top of a Medium sponsored piece entitled 'How to Rewrite Your Past, Present and Future'. At the very top of the page are the words 'life well lived' in gold and blue, while underneath the heading the text reads 'Presented by GUARDIAN' with the logo for Guardian life insurance.A piece of sponsored content on Medium, with branding clearly marked

Medium’s blog post cites two past pieces of sponsored content as examples of what writing produced by the Creative Exchange is likely to look like. One is sponsored by Guardian, a life insurance company, the other by Upwork, a freelance marketplace.

Both are well-written and valuable pieces of content which don’t read like advertising or even mention the sponsored brand by name (although they are both clearly marked as sponsored with logos above and below the piece).

Neither of them made me want to buy anything either, but then, the aims of native advertising are usually more subtle than that.

In many ways, Medium is exceedingly well-suited to native advertising, much more than other publishing platforms. For one thing, it’s already heavily branded. Criticisms have been levelled against Medium for taking away creative control from writers who publish to its platform, denying them the ability to choose how their content looks and is offered to readers.

A screenshot of a Medium post by Rebecca Sentance, entitled 'Reflections on Liberating Corporate Data'. The post is laid out in simple, no-frills style, in black serif font with a wide margin either side. The Medium logo in grayscale is present in the top left corner.Publishing to Medium offers writers very little leeway, if any, to impose their own style on the content

The design, the layout, the branding is all very much Medium’s; and so users who are happy with this arrangement are unlikely to object to a further level of branding being applied to their content. It seems unlikely that any devoted writers or readers, if they’re content to use Medium as it is, will abruptly draw a line and say no, this amount of branding is a step too far.

So Medium can offer an engaged community of writers and readers among whom there is already a demand for some kind of monetisation, and an openness to sponsored branding. All points in its favour – but what else is Medium offering to brands in the deal?

How will brands benefit?

At the moment, Medium isn’t opening up the Creative Exchange programme too widely to interested writers and publishers; the programme is currently in “closed beta”, and aspiring participants will need to add their details to a waiting list. But Medium is placing no such restriction on brands who want to take part. This makes sense, since Medium has writers in abundance, but the brands are where the real money lies.

Medium’s approach to content publishing, that it simplifies the process by taking care of the unimportant details that no-one wants to concern themselves with (like design) is also the main thrust of its appeal to brands: it offers an all-in-one deal, “including writing, editing, project management, editorial strategy, publication creation, and publication branding.” In its bid, Medium plays up the fact that it can “manage the entire process for you, including publishing approved content from your brand account.”

A graphic of a brown box with parcel tape across the top, with "this side up" icons on one side in blue, and on the front-facing side, a blue stick figure carrying a house.
Medium’s native advertising aims to offer brands the whole package
Image by OpenclipartVectors on Pixabay, available via CC0

This is likely to be an appealing prospect for brands who are new to native advertising or don’t have the time or the resources to micro-manage every aspect of the project. However, as with writers who publish to the Medium platform, there are drawbacks in the form of ownership and control. Medium is coy about the subject of brands owning the content produced via Creative Exchange, saying only that, “We have several different licenses available. We’ll work with you to meet your needs. Contact us for more information.”

There is a lot to be said for publishing to a platform which, as I covered above, comes with an in-built community of readers eager to consume that content. In many respects it puts Medium ahead of native ad providers like Outbrain and Taboola which have to depend on luring readers away from platforms where they are already reading content, with gimmicky headlines and psychological tricks.

A screenshot from the platform game Fez, featuring floating platforms against a bright blue backdrop, with square green trees on top of them.Brands are already faced with an overabundance of platforms demanding their content
Image via Wikimedia Commons, available via CC BY-SA 3.0

But there’s a drawback to it, too: brands are already faced with an overabundance of platforms to which they could publish content, each with their own appeal. Medium boasts one engaged community of users, but Facebook has another, as does Twitter, and Google, and Snapchat, and every other contender which is throwing its hat into this expanding ring.

No matter how good the offer is, ultimately brands have to make a choice as to how many channels are worth spreading their presence across. And if they are a brand which already has an established presence on Medium, why pay for what they are already getting for free?

To an extent, Medium’s all-in-one approach does solve that problem, by allowing brands to reach an extra audience without having to expend the time and effort that they would normally need to invest in publishing to a new platform: Medium will take care of all of that. But brands will still have to decide whether the exact audience they want to reach is present within Medium’s walled garden, and if it isn’t, they are likely to take their business elsewhere.

View full post on Search Engine Watch

73% of marketers believe UX in digital advertising needs to be improved

Digital advertising is experiencing a shift towards a mobile and multiscreen world, and despite all the available opportunities, user experience is not always satisfactory.

Interactive Advertising Bureau, Kargo and Refinery29 conducted a survey among 283 marketers and media agency executives, discussing how the advertising experience can be improved.

According to IAB’s Improving Digital Advertising Experiences with Liquid Creativity report, 73% of marketers feel that user experience has to be improved in digital advertising.

There is consensus about the many different challenges they need to overcome when creating a campaign, with ad clutter, creativity and user experience being chief among their biggest problems.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 08.38.20

In fact, ad clutter has led many users to ad blocking, due to the quantity, irrelevance and disruptive nature of many ads. According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, the use of ad blocking has significantly increased over the past few years…

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 10.14.58

Michael Lebowitz, Founder and CEO, Big Spaceship, is not surprised by this increase:

“We added negativity with more tracking and more cookies; we increased negative values to consumers progressively instead of adding new value to them.”

User experience is more important than ever for consumers and that’s what brands tend to forget when creating a new ad. It’s the combination of speed, relevance, quality and security that make users appreciate an advertising experience and modern marketers should focus more in this direction.

How important is the user experience then in a mobile world? Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer of FCB, replies:

“If you don’t get the design right in the mobile-first world, you will miss the largest audience. If users have to do all the work, scrolling, moving back and forth on mobile, the odds of me sticking with you is small. The mobile-first world has a lot to do with UX, understanding design over creatives.”

The challenges of UX in mobile advertising

In order to improve user experience in mobile advertising, it is important to begin with the realisation that a mobile screen is different from traditional media and “bigger screens.”

As people use a mobile screen for different reasons than they do for a laptop or a TV, so marketers should seek new approaches to stay relevant and get their message heard.

According to Steve Wax, Managing Partner, The Cooke Wax Partnership, the key to success in the mobile world is to “provoke people, move and engage them. Build into the experience you already have on mobile, while understanding the utility unique to mobile.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 08.38.12

IAB’s survey showed that 79% of marketers and ad buyers consider the overall site/app experience and the page’s load time very important, while creative quality and content relevance are also close. A positive advertising experience should focus then on offering the necessary value to the user, establishing a relationship that is both useful and rewarding.

It’s becoming clear that user experience in mobile advertising will always have areas of improvement and as the challenges keep increasing, it will be even harder (but possibly more rewarding) to stay up-to-date.

How to improve the digital advertising experience

Despite the challenges in mobile advertising, there are still many ways to take advantage of the rise of mobile, and these tips may form the start of a seamless advertising experience:

  1. Know the audience. No matter how many changes mobile UX may bring, the proper understanding of your audience is always the first step to a successful campaign. It’s all about delivering the right content for the right audience.
  2. Integrate the right content in the right context. By the time you learn your audience, it’s time to create the best content according to the context. The quantity and even the quality of the content may not be enough if you don’t take into consideration the context.
  3. Shift user approach from transaction-driven to relationship-driven. Engagement may be easier if you start building a relationship with your consumers. Start with one step at a time and loyalty might become easier.
  4. Improve UX design. A better user experience leads to more positive results. Whether it’s the page load time, the responsive design, or the ad clutter, there are certainly many areas to consider in mobile advertising.
  5. Take risks to innovate and maintain creativity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new trends and it’s a good idea to use the creativity along with technology and data to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors, capturing the attention of your audience.
  6. Improve upon efforts at industry standardisation and collaboration. Don’t forget to be part of the industry in key areas that are constantly changing.

View full post on Search Engine Watch

73% of marketers believe UX in mobile advertising needs to be improved

Digital advertising is experiencing a shift towards a mobile and multiscreen world, and despite all the available opportunities, user experience is not always satisfactory.

Interactive Advertising Bureau, Kargo and Refinery29 conducted a survey among 283 marketers and media agency executives, discussing how the advertising experience can be improved.

According to IAB’s Improving Digital Advertising Experiences with Liquid Creativity report, 73% of marketers feel that user experience has to be improved in digital marketing.

There is consensus about the many different challenges they need to overcome when creating a campaign, with ad clutter, creativity and user experience being among their biggest problems.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 08.38.20

In fact, ad clutter has led many users to ad blocking, due to the quantity, the irrelevance and the disruptive nature of many ads. According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, the use of ad blocking has significantly increased over the past few years, with mobile ad blocking seeing an impressive increase since 2014.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 10.14.58

Michael Lebowitz, Founder and CEO, Big Spaceship, is not surprised by this increase, “We added negativity with more tracking and more cookies; we increased negative values to consumers progressively instead of adding new value to them.”

User experience is more important than ever for consumers and that’s what brands tend to forget when creating a new ad. It’s the combination of speed, relevance, quality and security that makes users appreciate an advertising experience and modern marketers should focus even more towards this direction.

How important is the user experience then in a mobile world? Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer of FCB, replies:

“If you don’t get the design right in the mobile-first world, you will miss the largest audience. If users have to do all the work, scrolling, moving back and forth on mobile, the odds of me sticking with you is small. The mobile-first world has a lot to do with UX, understanding design over creatives.”

The challenges of UX in mobile advertising

In order to improve user experience in mobile advertising, it is important to begin with the realisation that a mobile screen is different from traditional media and “bigger screens.”

As people use a mobile screen for different reasons than they do a laptop or a TV, so marketers should seek for new approaches to stay relevant and get their message heard.

According to Steve Wax, Managing Partner, The Cooke Wax Partnership, the key to success in the mobile world is to “provoke people, move and engage them. Build into the experience you already have on mobile, while understanding the utility unique to mobile.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 08.38.12

IAB’s survey showed that 79% of marketers and ad buyers consider the overall site/app experience and the page’s load time very important, while creative quality and content relevance are also close. A positive advertising experience should focus then on offering the necessary value to the user, establishing a relationship that is both useful and rewarding.

It’s becoming clear that user experience in mobile advertising will always have new areas of improvement and as the challenges keep increasing, it will be even harder (and possibly more rewarding) to stay up-to-date.

How to improve the digital advertising experience

Despite the challenges in mobile advertising, there are still many ways to take advantage of the rise of mobile, and these tips may form the start of a seamless advertising experience:

  1. Know the audience. No matter how many changes mobile UX may bring, the proper understanding of your audience is always the first step to a successful campaign. It’s all about delivering the right content for the right audience.
  2. Integrate the right content in the right context. By the time you learn your audience, it’s time to create the best content according to the context. The quantity and even the quality of the content may not be enough if you don’t take into consideration the context.
  3. Shift user approach from transaction-driven to relationship-driven. Engagement may be easier if you start building a relationship with your consumers. Start with one step at a time and loyalty might become easier.
  4. Improve UX design. A better user experience leads to more positive results. Whether it’s the page load time, the responsive design, or the ad clutter, there are certainly many areas to consider in mobile advertising.
  5. Take risks to innovate and maintain creativity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new trends and it’s a good idea to use the creativity along with technology and data to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors, capturing the attention of your audience.
  6. Improve upon efforts at industry standardisation and collaboration. Don’t forget to be part of the industry in key areas that are constantly changing.

View full post on Search Engine Watch

Million Real Visitors and SEO Submit Website Web Advertising

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100,000 Real Visitors and SEO Submit Website Web Advertising

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The Google Checklist: Marketing Edition 2016: SEO, Web Design, Paid Advertising,

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Twitter advertising to 84,000 People, Retweets 5 times….Increase SEO

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Twitter tweet advertising to 1,192,000 Real People, Boost sales traffic

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Twitter tweet advertising to 2,700,000 Real People, Boost sales traffic

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Premium 1 FULL YEAR All-In-One Custom SEO& Advertising Website Package-sales up!

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