How you can stand out in a world dominated by Facebook and Google

Just because you believe something to be true doesn’t make it so. It’s one of my favorite adages, and it has some correlation to what’s going on with our friends over at Facebook and Google regarding digital advertising. I fervently believe this duopoly, as it’s now called, will be impenetrable by other paid media platforms.

But is this true?

These two powerhouses, according to some reports, account for nearly 85 percent of all digital media spend. All other platforms are collectively scrambling for the table scraps. Take Twitter, for example. As far as mobile goes, it controls just 2 percent of the total ad spend — down from 2.6 percent in 2016. The good news is that brand marketers can find efficiencies by focusing on just two platforms with…

Auto-play video and banner ads are seen to be least effective digital formats by global CMOs

What digital ad formats should you use to get the best ROI online? One way to answer the question is to flip it on its head, and ask, what are the least effective formats? According to a survey of global CMOs, the worst ad formats are auto-play videos and standard banners. Standard banners are hardly surprising, as ad blockers and 'banner blindness' have taken their toll of the years. It's gotten so bad that on many sites the majority of banner ad clicks are actually accidental. It's interesting that no CMOs thought that sponsored content was an ineffective technique, and very few thought pre-roll ads were ineffective. This shows that it isn't video ads that are ineffective, just video ads starting when the user hasn't opted in to watch anything. …

How to use Artificial Intelligence to boost ROI from advertising

For marketers, the tide of artificial intelligence has finally crashed ashore. It has begun making waves at industry events like WSDM: The 9th ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining Web Search and Data Mining conference in San Francisco. In his keynote address, Google research fellow Jeff Dean told attendees it’s time to embrace techniques like deep learning. Once a land of buzzwords, rapid improvements in machine learning have made AI a pivotal member of marketer’s toolkits. As best practice guidelines on Machine Learning at Google shared by Martin Zinkevich (technical) show, Google are actively using Machine Learning in many projects. Dean and others are excited about AI because it will finally allow marketers to take full advantage of the hordes of data they’ve begun collecting. While we’ve been able to generate mind-boggling mounds of data for a while —…

JP Morgan Chase found it was advertising on 388,000 sites to no effect. Brands using programmatic advertising need to sit up and take notice.

Over the past several years we've seen programmatic ad spend saw, Icarus-like, to dizzying heights. At the start of this year, UK programmatic spend was predicted to increase by over 30% in 2017, whilst US programmatic ad spend has tripled since 2014, becoming the single fastest growing ad medium. So-called gurus predicted this trend would continue, by doing what so-called gurus always do and assuming the future will resemble an extrapolated version of the past. Hence the predictions that programmatic spend will double by 2020, reaching an incredible $42 billion dollars globally. But the present has got in the way. Ever since The Times uncovered programmatic ads for major brands appearing on the websites of far-right hate groups or terrorists (See Mercedes Advert on an IS video below), brands have…

A brand-building case study focusing on format length, branding and testing best practices

YouTube is becoming an increasingly important tool for digital marketers, both from an owned and paid media perspective. Over the last five years the platform has continued to grow and with over a billion users and many millions of views a day, Google can genuinely claim to have both the first and second largest search engines on the planet and a media platform to rival many mainstream broadcasting rivals. From an advertising perspective, the reach YouTube offers marketers is phenomenal, however as with all forms of advertising, optimising the media alone will only get you so far. I’ve recently been involved in a multichannel equity campaign and due to the storytelling nature of the content we’ve had to really think about how best to recut the main TVC for the YouTube TrueView campaign (which is using skippable pre-roll ads). The…

How to avoid the common mistakes of programmatic advertising

Access to digital display ad inventory is becoming commoditized. It used to be that marketers and brands worked with publishers independently, leading to “handshake deals” that often left smaller players out in the cold. Thanks to online trade desks and programmatic ads, this is changing. Most trade desks and platforms cooperate, and with the democratization of ad inventory, marketers and competitors operate on a relatively equal playing field. It’s great that the playing field is equal, but that doesn’t mean marketers can mix a martini and call it a day just yet. The failure or success of your campaigns is ultimately up to you, and there are plenty of obstacles to pay attention to. And as with most things in life, you as a marketer need to play an active role in your media buying to guarantee you’re getting the best results.

The Hangover

Traditional trading…

3 new features make Facebook ads a tempting prospect for bricks and mortar retailers

Importance: [rating=3] (For bricks and mortar retailers) Recommended Source: Facebook blog 9 out of 10 retail sales still take place in-store, despite everything you hear about shopping moving online. Mobile is a great facilitator of in-store purchasing, with people using their phones to research purchases and locate stores. Now Facebook are launching new features to help retail businesses take advantage of the growth of mobile, to both target ads more effectively and help track the effectiveness of their campaigns. Here's a breakdown of the new features just announced:

Native Shop locator

Facebook already has an ad format that lets stores with multiple locations serve ads that dynamically display the location of the nearest store to that person. But now to remove friction on the buyer journey Facebook is launching a shop locator, that lets people find the route to the nearest…

Comparison of time spent with media against advertising investment shows a gap in the mobile market.

For many years IAB ad spend statistics showed that there was a gulf between the time  consumers spend online, against Internet advertising investment to reach and persuade these consumers. These latest stats comparing ad spend vs time spent in media for traditional and digital media shows that in 'digitally mature' markets such as the US, this is no longer the case. We can see that the percent of Internet ad spend (23%) is now greater than time spent (22%). Yet if we drill down to look at the ever-increasing time spent using mobile devices to consume media a very different picture emerges with just 12% of Internet ad spend on mobile compared to 25% of Internet media consumption on…

What marketers can learn from Wendy's Vs Burger King, Dunkin Vs Starbucks and General Motors Vs Ford

Coke Vs. Pepsi, Wendy’s Vs. Burger King, Mac Vs. PC… What do these things have in common? They are examples of some intense rivalries between powerful brands. As long as advertising has existed, companies have engaged in fierce competition with one another, and they haven’t shied away from calling one another out. There are examples of this in print advertising, and television and radio commercials. Today, the fight has been taken to social media where brands are duking it out on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Keep reading to take a look at some of the most intensive advertising wars over the past decade or so, and get some insights into what marketing professionals can learn these intense rivalries.

Starbucks, McDonald's…

We talked to Lee Evans about how he sees ad-blocking affecting digital marketers

It's hardly surprising that digital marketers are no fans of ad-blockers. For many online publishers who make their revenue that way, it can feel like people are basically making off with their content without contributing to their revenue. As you'll know Ad blocking is on the rise as these latest stats on the popularity of ad blockers show. It's an imporant issues since in some countries, in younger age groups over one third of audiences used ad blockers. For digital marketers who work it other areas like ecommerce or marketing a SaaS product, the problem is more around missing out on large segments of their potential audience when they run ad campaigns online. But marketers need not despair, there are ways to circumvent ad-blockers,…

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