Selling To The Small Business Owner And Google Advertising

Selling To The Small Business Owner And Google Advertising

In 2017 we cant as small businesses we cant afford to stay in the sidelines and watch as this mammoth takes over and ruins our local small businesses for good. The state of technology and its advance, cripples us that are not in the know, and catching up is costly and time consuming.

Whilst I know that this video is not local to South Africa, the battle to educate is real, and it doesnt change, no matter what country you are in. The truth is that we access the internet via Google, Facebook, Twitter, the list goes on… And if we are not going to be thinking like you and me, and accessing our niche market via the same means we use those platforms then we are doing something wrong.

You have to know that not every paid online advertising model is a perfect fit, for example, a roofing company will have to follow a completely different solution to a blanket manufacturer. Such is the same for a publisher vs a marketplace. Im not saying that you wont need to advertise online, it really depends if youre growing a following or selling something. If youre wanting to do both, then you need to be looking at an earned media and paid for strategy.

All in all this is a great clip that highlights the conundrum from both sides.

Please go to our contact page and drop us a line if youre needing some assistance with the perfect solution for your business and your budget.

Digital Brand Lift VS Ad Recall

Digital Brand Lift VS Ad Recall

The current industry problem

The majority of big brands know very little about ATL-aligned digital brand lift strategies, and that they can cement and amplify longevity in brand lift through quantifiable, trackable, exploitable data, generating brand lift that is not limited to the campaign alone.

Let’s look at this as a relationship. For argument’s sake, the lack of digital brand lift in online promotions or campaigns is sharply akin to a one-night stand, and the consumer is the ‘one-night stand’. The digital campaigns that activate will only ever be a fly-by-night; the one-of-a-kind prizes brands offer are data points such as the opt-in, collected on the basis of the consumer’s interactions for remarketing. The one-night stand in its infinite glory.

What is not well-known by most is that, statistically, online competitions and promotions have no genuine consumer-data value at all. After a competition or promo win, winners may have zero intention of buying the product nor converting to brand only because they won; their goal could purely be “free stuff”. Competition triathletes are a breed of online users, and of social media platforms especially, who are growing faster than we data-junkies care to admit. However, this tiny bit of data facilitates the understanding that changes the ball game considerably. It boils down to this:

Brands are probably buying into false online-engagement data and success metrics, limiting the true velocity of digital brand lift and resulting brand identity/loyalty achieved long after the campaign ends. When applying this to brand campaigns and brand content, it’s clear we have a hit-and-miss.

Often consumers who’ve been profiled and captured are only ever exposed to the brand the next time the brand decides to do a campaign. The consumers have been segmented and profiled; 12 months later, the brand tries to reignite the same data assets, not once considering that the consumers probably disengaged when the last campaign ended, as no digital brand lift strategy existed to keep them interested and neither value in between campaigns was offered nor attempts to forge stronger interactions or identity association.

What does this mean?

A sweet spot has been forming with digital brand lift and identity loyalty or identity association, and that consumer brand-identity loyalty/association is forged through longevity and continuum of active engagement long after the campaign ends. Primarily, in the digital arena, we achieve digital brand lift and identity loyalty specifically through optimised content-marketing efforts in social media to activate positive growth and/or upward shift in consumers’ perception and brand awareness.

Identity loyalty or brand identity association is easily explained: Think of that one brand you believe in, not one you merely like or subscribe to but one you recommend to those you love, knowing the brand will follow through and cement your loyalty. Got that brand in your head?

Identity loyalty, however, does not happen by accident, nor is it an out-of-the-box application. For it to work, brands need to be highly data-proficient, maximising data strategically and using it to facilitate connections with aligned consumers. Once achieved, a marketing oasis is created with customers who ally with brand, and as long as the brand identity is clear, concise and clearly outlines the brand’s values and ideals consistently through content marketing, for example, it can attract devoted consumers like bees to flowers.

Ford, Harley Davidson, Apple, Air Jordan and Nike have all perfected this. Let’s evaluate a Nike Women campaign that is nailing it with viral video and developing exceptionally strong identity loyalty and brand lift. Called #betterforit, this is the story of Margot and Lily. “Two sisters — total opposites — make a bet that pushes them both way outside their comfort zones. One is a fitness YouTube celebrity with no friends, and one a rebel with no clue but loads of friends…”

What’s most interesting with this campaign is the digital brand lift strategy:

  1. To facilitate and entice consumers to buy outfits worn in the YouTube episode
  2. To promote the download of the latest workout
  3. To activate the NIKE Training Club (NTC) mobile app
  4. To connect coaches and experts to consumers embarking on this challenge, and for consumers to easily get the advice they need to get #betterforit

Key takeaway

Digital brand campaigns can be data-rich and insight-poor, lacking the understanding that social-media and brand-lift strategies are not an ATL output. ATL-type campaigns in social media are the very reason Google and Facebook have algorithms that attack brand spam. Social media is as personal as it gets with a consumer — it’s as close as you will ever be. Identity loyalty is forged here, by clear communication of your values, by aligning with the consumer’s identity. Identity loyalty and brand lift (ad recall) are totally within your control, and may be amplified to achieve specific outcomes. Things don’t just happen; it’s a discipline designed to get specific long-term results.

If brands are going to compete for the online space and the online consumer, as detailed in my previous column, then it makes sense to start focusing upon the things that matter, such as digital brand lift, to drive brand entrenchment two years down the road.

Amplify Programmatic By Using Data-Driven Creative.

Amplify Programmatic By Using Data-Driven Creative.


Way back in 2014, we heard the faint whispers of this “Mobilegeddon” that was coming for all of us, brands especially; needless to say, we are finally there. However, that being said, the global data and facts don’t lie: eMarketer estimates (and it hasn’t been wrong yet ) that mobile will account for about 72% of US digital ad spend by the end of 2019, coupled with Google’s tech-forward audiences who are online on their mobiles for more than 74% of their time. We may safely assume that marketers need to start responding to consumer behavior, as SA is not as far behind the curve as most believe.

Given the deep penetration that mobile has, as per my first column, marketers need to start paying attention to their mobile efforts, marketing strategies and digital marketing budgets, as well as molding the creative to the awesome capabilities programmatic and mobile offer.

Search has evolved so much over the last five years, due to the super computers we call mobile devices, and the “always-on” device is becoming the “always-on companion”, therefore driving the need for contextualised creative, all the while with the need to remember that nothing in this world can connect with a human better than a human. Neither programmatic, nor SEO, nor content marketing — none of these can forge that connection better than a real person, but we can damn sure come close!

1. Use all the available data to understand what your audience wants

Do this by leveraging the technology and molding the creative that is interesting and relevant to the consumer.

Some of you may already be using your market research and CRM to inform digital campaigns, but there is an entire boatload of data you could be missing out on: website data such as your most popular products, or audience data such as time of engagement, interests and places, contextual data like location, device, screen 1, 2 or 3, etc.

The key point here is: Know all the data before you make a decision on what your audience needs; figure out where you can be smarter with your creative.

2. Collaboration is a prerequisite

In my experience, it’s all too often that the digital, creative and production agencies are brought into the campaign process at different times, often well after the media strategy has been decided.

What’s missed is that, if we bring the creative in with the digital agency and brand from the beginning, we can build more creative relevant strategies around your target audience.

3. Communication is vital

Looking at a typical campaign, the process is frequently that one party does one portion of the work and then it’s handed over to the next party, yet it more than likely comes with no insightful data.

By involving everyone from the get go, you can ensure the ongoing communication and a much more-effective campaign.

4. Maximising programmatic

Programmatic advertising allows the brand to reach their target audiences in the moments that matter, when they make a decision, changing how we buy and sell media. In doing so, it changes the way we have to look at creative in the programmatic sphere.

There is a wealth of data available through programmatic, from first-party analytics and third-party audience data to the contextual inputs such as devices. Get smart. Leveraging all the data and insights from all the campaigns that you run may be a daunting task, and may very well require a huge change to your processes, but it’s the key to amplifying programmatic and creating more efficient, smarter campaigns.

Ensuring that the creative team is working with the planning team and that they all work with the analytics team will enable you to maximise the value of your programmatic by creating unique, niche, customised campaigns for current and potential audiences.

In conclusion:

  • Creative agencies: The opportunity is that you can deliver the “creative proposition” in the right context to the right audiences, lending its way to impactful memorable content.
  • Digital media agencies: The opportunity exists to ensure that all parties have the right creative and that production agencies have the right format for the media buys. This opens the doors so you can offer a greater breadth of service to your clients.
  • Production agencies: Efficiencies can be created with access to data, and insights; data-driven creative creates a far more-structured environment and process that can create efficiencies, even with campaigns that do not rely upon any dynamic creative.
  • Brands: The long-ranging effects — of how brands reach users will depend upon data-driven insights that inform brand strategy, content strategy and marketing strategy when applied correctly — are vast but, in order to achieve all of this, marketers need to change their mindset. A collaborative, iterative strategy for the long-term marketing strategy.

Once all of this is achieved, your creative may be the powerhouse of your programmatic success.

How Mobile And Search Change Retail

How Mobile And Search Change Retail

At any given moment (micro moment) people are searching for content online based on their intent. It’s no longer about the best TV campaign, the best banner campaign, homepage takeover, the best AD campaign, it’s not about the biggest billboard or the or the best radio campaign, it’s all about a brands OMNI PRESENCE and the searchers / consumers INTENT.

Many retailers are feeling as if their business is under siege, some even going as far as saying its retail apocalypse. In essence however it is an opportunity for brands and business to shift with the times, and break free of the old way of marketing and thinking. I’m not saying ditch your hard earned skillsets, just expand on them.

I’m also not negating the historically inspirational tactile experience that you get when you actually go shopping at a store you love. I doubt mobile will eradicate going to a store, but it definitely adds something new to the mix of marketing tools we have available.

Mobile and Retail Converge

It’s as if the smartphone has become the sales assistant. Deep down in the core of it, mobile retail experiences CAN provide that all time feel good, especially when finding deals directly in line with the consumers INTENT and or purpose.

There are a fair amount of retailers and coders that are upping the game and turning our smartphones into the all-time instant gratification, discovery and inspirational tools under the sun, therefore evolving the (dare I say it) “traditional experience”.

The rapid increase of, shopping apps, online video, gaming and online platforms like social media has most people glued to their devices. People are no longer meandering the isles and isles of goods in stores, they no longer go from shop to shop by foot or car.

The reality of local retail and search

We have learned this last year, is that the relationships have changed between digital and retail stores, and there are 3 new realities that are peeking their heads into consumer data understanding, and these realities are predicted to drive retail from a digital perspective though out 2016 and beyond.

1: The in-store shop assistant IS the smartphone

2: In store traffic CAN be driven via digital

3: An Omni presence approach will help brands tackle the various shopping styles and habits thereby locking in consumers

What’s evident, and key to understanding this, is that there are some techno savvy retailers that are reaching their customers by focusing on the online conversion journey and not so much on where that sale happens.

The “on-the-go” consumers, do their research online, averaging about 15 hours per week. In the search data game we call them “snack shoppers” they like to take things at their pace, and research across all devices, smartphones, tabs and desktop, at any time they find convenient, even in front of the TV.

So iteratively, all the data tells us to focus on the journey of the consumer, be there for the consumer at every turn, be helpful, be present, be authentic, but be there. And by there I mean omnipresent.

It’s a common misunderstanding and myth that if a searcher finds something online that they want to purchase that they will inevitably want an online store to do so, but local search data tells us a different story.

Local online information can motivate instore visits, let’s look at what the data says about the information the consumer finds helpful in making a purchasing decision.

3 out of 4 searchers who find local information results are more likely to visit the actual store

42% of IN STORE shoppers search for information IN STORE

64% of those use search engines

75% would like the price of the item at a local store

74% would like to know what’s in stock at a local store

66% would like the location of the nearest store with said item

63% would like details about the store like hours of operation and phone number

59% would like a map showing the stores that hold said item

56% what else is available at the store that carries the said item

Here’s the slammer, ALL research for a consumer begins with a search engine, VS an app or a mobile site, immediacy and proximity are very important as 69% of searchers expect the store / product / business to be located within 8 – 10 kms of them, and more than 50% want instant gratification and want to purchase within the hour, a micro moment showing its head again. Mobile influences the consumers purchase decision, as data shows that 93% go on to buy!

The new consumer is so spoilt for choice, the new tech has delivered new opportunities, but this surplus also means that the new mind set has implications, according to a study done by Google, TNS and Ogilvy.

The new consumer mind set shop with the same purpose that they consume content. Bringing us back to the user’s intent. Purpose equals purchase, they want sustainability, media that virtually matches the purpose they lead their lives with, and this perspective in turn helps the consumer fulfil their interests, needs, wants and desires. This study also revealed that 42% of the “new consumers” chooses brands that actively engage with them on their passions and interests, VS those who did not.

Humbly we say goodbye to the feel good tactics that brands used to use in the past, who’s love affair with TV was scheduled around the seasonal happenings, split by the time of the day and totally dependent on broadcast media.

The learning here is simple, digital is a powerful metric of connection for the brand / store and the consumer, retailers should use online presence that is amplified by solid SEO and tools such as; mobile CRM, mobile apps, mobile ads, video, search data, geo targeting, and local ad inventory to best position themselves for the dawn of generation C and the millennial age.

The 5 Things Nobody Wants You To Know About Programmatic

The 5 Things Nobody Wants You To Know About Programmatic

There is much ado about programmatic buying and advertising in the arena lately, it’s a little like teenage sex, everyone is talking about it but nobody is doing it right… yet.

The attraction to programmatic cannot be denied, from purely a pricing perspective the efficiency that it harnesses must be appreciated, its ability to bring immediate returns and showcase how messaging is optimised is awe invoking and it also offers scalabality never before seen.

That being said, there are some flaws with programmatic that nobody wants you to know about, it’s not a bed of roses or pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and here is why:

  1. Transparency

By now we all know that transparency is the key, there is a severe lack of transparency in its pricing model, and agencies and businesses alike want more insight regarding the “agency Std” vs the costs of media and the technology. So a lot of businesses are taking programmatic in house to try and bridge this gap.

So while efficiency is apparent, transparency is not. In many a way this in turn makes the whole process of transacting ad inventory a “grey area” particularly with location data, and especially when there is a mistrust of programmatically transacted ad inventory that has location data attached. This is because there are a million ways that data is collected for programmatic and we never always know where that data is coming from. A certain degree of trust is required between the DSP and DMPs working with the buyer.

  1. The PVT marketplace

We have seen of recent the buzz around this programmatic solution, that it offers the buyer and seller a pvt marketplace to sell their inventory, however not mush is said about the incredibly difficult task of getting this to work. It’s not a plug and play solution to save costs, its knee deep in data alignment, in-fact if done wrong it can plummet your savings and increase your costs!

  1. Data Complexity

Let’s look at the complexity that lies before us with programmatic, the fore running problem we have is finding the right people with the right skills if you are to run this in house. The next issue is that the problems only start once the technology is all set up and ready to go, as absolutely everyone needs to be involved from the very beginning, IT, Creative, Operations etc., next is the issue of marketers who don’t know how to use the data, and should probably be looking to build profiles they are looking at targeting further down the line, rather than exploit them.

You will need a DMP once your audiences are segmented and defined, and again someone inside the business or agency to run programmatic for you.

  1. Mobilegeddon & Social Media

Programmatic behavioral targeting is only possible through tracking cookies which as we know are non-effective on mobile. This in turn limits the ability of brands and agencies wanting a cross device campaign.

Social media networks have something that programmatic does not and that is login data, that allows them to connect with a user’s identity across any device! Additionally, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are buying up programmatic AD serving tech, this means we can be sure that the big boys are playing hard for this space.

  1. Fraud:

URL masking is a prevalent fraud practice when it comes to programmatic, typically a publisher will list their site in the ad exchange as a much more reputable one, and the buyer never knows where these ads are being served.


Some programmatic platforms have access to TV and Radio, but for now, programmatic is not the most desirable plan for branding, yet it it most appropriate for direct response campaigns. If the environment the message lives in is as important as the message itself, you will get more consistent successful results if you attack it from a direct buying angle.

Programmatic is not viable on mobile, nor with social media, so it really only leaves you with desktop users.

Programmatic will also never be able to replace the human or the human touch, something we see is getting more important to consumers every single day.

5 Tips In Winning The 2016 Content Marketing Challenge

5 Tips In Winning The 2016 Content Marketing Challenge

2015 has been a long year, with a myriad of new algorithms affecting search and social media, content quality taking center stage, long form content fast on its heels, not to mention the advance of video marketing and the micro moment. PR and SEO are now one output or at least should be, as is SEO and content marketing. The blurred line is spreading across all the digital marketing outputs. We now know that SEO and SEM are not the same thing, that syndicated content is duplicate content, that social media has serious ranking power and that authenticity and relevance are key in content. Click baiting and link farming are the cardinal sin, and, we know that content is STILL king, and that the marketing of that content is the queen.

Yet the deeper insight here is often missed. In this past year I have had the pleasure of working with some of the largest news publishers in the country, the largest marketplace in SA, and some of the best digital agencies in town. And this is the insight I have for you.

The Content Marketing Deluge

The biggest threat to content marketing as a practice is content marketing itself, as content marketing does not equate to content marketing success. The issue I have found most prevalent in the industry is that there is a skills shortage, of epic proportions in the severe lack of content managers, content strategists & content marketing professionals.

Businesses need to build on their internal content teams, ensuring they are equipped with up to date SEO knowledge, principles of copy-writing, ORM and PR basics and of course social amplification techniques.

Copy-writing agencies are now content farms, digital advertising agencies are now social media experts, video production companies are now rich media creators, contract publishers are now rebranding themselves as content marketers… and all this is based on content created from a mix of inexperienced content creators that are already stretched to the limit with no idea on how content marketing works.

This translates to an influx of crappy content, and that means that its just a matter of time before content marketing blindness takes over. Consumers will wisen up to this “new” tactic of mass publication pretending to valuable content. The reality is that content marketing is a powerful tool to get the consumer to drop their defenses for just a little while so we can gain their trust and become their custom. But with crap content disguised as great content, the user who is bitten will not be clicking on the good content in a hurry. So content marketing in my view will become harder with diminishing returns as long as we continue to mass produce content under the guise of believing that hordes of content published means you are a successful content marketer.

Branded content, in my opinion, and yes it is jaded, is the swearword of the digital marketing space, the term “branded content” was created by the world of paid media  it has no place in content marketing in 2016, but allow me to elaborate: Unfortunately, the problem is that the people in control of marketing media budgets in this industry do not understand content marketing as a concept nor as a business strategy.

SO, Who and or what will be successful in content marketing? It’s going to be the businesses and brands that create something of value, something unique, something so close to the audience, it will be precious to them. Those who build a “content brand”, not brands publishing branded content. What brands often forget is that the consumer has enough wit about them to know that:” Brands are a symbol of a promise, and a strong brand is built on promises upheld”

Brands and publishers alike need to stop applying the same old marketing structures and principles to content marketing. Content marketing does not require content assets to be effective, however producing high quality content consistently will be a challenge and the key is: less really is more, less quantity but more quality”.

Smart Content Marketing Tips

Here are some examples of “smart” content:

  1. Answer A Question: Can be called the “how-to” format. This is perfect for instructions like how to bake a cake, or teaching your audience something.
  2. Provide Opinion: Kind of like a review style and a great opportunity to show your perspective on a specific topic.
  3. Add Context: Pick an angle to follow with your particular topic, this is the ideal format for interviews and event coverage. Always focus on connecting with your audience first, if you can illicit some sort of emotional response you’re on the right track, and PS: It’s at this level that people connect and make purchasing decisions.
  4. Smart content uses more than just words, it uses images, graphics, animations and video so use these to bring your content to life.