The Value of Advertising on Connected TVs

Usage of Connected TV (CTV) is booming at the moment, with its US audience predicted to grow from 180 million in 2018 to over 200 million by 2021. This huge surge in popularity is also supported by figures from Cisco, which predicts that 82% of all consumer internet IP traffic by 2021 will be video traffic. So, advertising on Connected TVs is understandably becoming a topic of major importance for businesses and marketers alike.

This is especially true considering the massive wave of ‘cord-cutting’ which is redefining how Americans watch TV. By the end of 2019, more than a third of American households won’t have a traditional television subscription, yet the number with ‘over the top’ streaming subscriptions is over 45% and growing year after year. 

Considering the growing importance of advertising on Connected TVs, we felt it was time for a run-down of what value is out there and what prospective advertisers need to know about the shift to CTV.

Connected Television vs. Traditional Television

First up, it’s probably good to give a rough outline of exactly what CTV is. Connected televisions are basically any sets that are connected to the internet by any means, which could be:

  • Games console (Playstation, X-Box, etc.)
  • Online Media Players (Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast)
  • Smart TVs

As the TV set is online, it then becomes possible for it to show what are known as ‘over the top’ (OTT) video platforms, which describes all video content that’s transmitted outside of the regular cable and satellite methods. Examples of some of the most popular OTT streaming providers are:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime
  • Sling TV

The terms connected TV and OTT are generally used interchangeably as, along with other devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, OTT subscribers view their video content over their TV set, thus replacing the traditional TV delivery mechanism.

The Benefits of Advertising on Connected TV

Greater engagement

The data coming from digital advertising on connected TVs has been pretty outstanding, with ads showing a 97% completion rate, with the main reason being that they are unskippable. This means that video advertising can afford to be longer form without having to worry about viewers switching channels or skipping ahead as soon as they can. 

The result is that the 30-second video ad dominates the scene, accounting for nearly 70% of all connected TV ads. Longer ads mean greater story-telling ability and an opportunity to connect more with your target audience.

Picking the right audience

One of the greatest advantages of digital advertising is the ability to target exactly who you want with your ads. Rather than the approach of traditional television, where shows were made to fit slots that were meant to be watched by certain demographics, with advertising on connected TVs you can be far more certain of who is actually watching your ads. OTT providers and CTV, for example, could allow slots on all crime shows or for everything watched by 50+ retirees, without wasting spend on outliers or having to compete for primetime audiences to reach a niche.

This has been heralded as the “holy grail” of TV advertising by a consortium of some of the biggest names in entertainment (including Disney, NBCUniversal and Comcast) who are establishing a standard for addressable advertising.

Greater metric control

Though there is not currently the level of feedback and data that is possible with other digital advertising, due to the lack of third-party cookies on connected TV ads, like anything online, the level of metric control still outstrips traditional television. As users will more than likely be signing on through their social media or Google accounts, there is a huge amount of consumer information that can still be gained at a basic level, even before getting into the preferred-level access likely to be offered by all OTT providers to their partners.

Consumers growing more accustomed to ads

Consumers are getting more used to the idea that piracy is bad, not just because it’s illegal but because it also affects the quality of their experience. Viewers are therefore increasingly coming around to the idea that watching ads is a fair price to pay for having high-quality TV on tap. Many consumers also find that connected TV ads are “less annoying”.

Programmatic delivery

As the market for advertising on connected TVs is still relatively young, inventory has yet to get near the levels of traditional TV. However, this is changing quickly with several ad tech companies getting in on the act, which promises to improve the availability and ease with which connected TV ads can be bought and delivered to the right target audience as part of a campaign.

At Bloom Ads we’ve built our reputation on finding the best blend of advertising for every customer and each campaign, no matter what the platform. Reach out to us today.

A Beginner’s Guide to Paid Search Campaigns

Being online is now as unremarkable a part of life as watching TV or driving around town. On average, people will spend hours every day on all of those things, and the actual event isn’t worth mentioning. This is what makes digital marketing such a fantastic opportunity for brands who want to get closer to their audience. With digital marketing, they’ll get to share the same online space as their community without it ever seeming like they’re trying to force things. 

This is what digital marketing is all about, and it encompasses everything that organizations do to connect with current and potential customers. Here, we’re going to look at the largest element of digital marketing: paid search. 

What is paid search?

Paid search has a number of different elements but can ultimately be boiled down to paying a search engine to put you at the top of the list for a certain word or phrase related to your business. 

For example:

Billy’s Sportswear specializes in selling hiking boots in the busy nature-trail town of Madeupville, Colorado. Their marketing department recognizes that as most potential customers are not from the area (they already have appropriate footwear), their shop needs to be getting in front of the eyeballs of people who are visiting, which they’ve heard from the local tourist office is about 50,000 people a year.

They set up a Google Ads account and start a campaign using the keywords “hiking boots” and focusing on their geographical area. Now, when someone in the Madeupville metro area enters “hiking boots” into Google, Billy’s Sportswear comes up at the top of the page. When someone clicks through to their website from the ad, Google is paid a pre-agreed amount, which is known as the Cost Per Click (CPC).

As can be seen from this basic example, paid search advertising has the power to massively transform a business’ success, which is why it has also become the most significant area of marketing spend in the world. Paid search accounted for over 1/5 of all advertising spending in 2018, coming in at around $100 billion with that number growing about 10% per year

What you need to know before starting a paid search campaign

As there’s a lot of terminology, targeting, and metrics to understand, getting a paid search campaign underway can be a bit daunting. Apart from enlisting help from some experts in the field, there are many other tips that can make your campaign a success.

Understand what you want

The simple answer might be obvious (more customers), but the reality is that paid search advertising can perform a wide variety of marketing roles so “more customers” might not necessarily be right for you. For example, with a Google campaign, you can set the goals as being Leads, Sales, or Website traffic. It’s worth taking the time to evaluate and plan what’s the best use of your marketing dollars and what you want to achieve with the campaign.

Set your bar for success

Once you know what you are looking to achieve with your paid search campaign, it’s important to establish what will be viewed as a success. For example, if your site gets 10,000 visitors a month, then higher click through rates of 1,000 or 1,500 will represent a 10% – 15% increase in visitors. 

Aligning your business goals with your marketing plans is a sensible plan in any situation, but with digital marketing, it can also help to track progress and understand what can actually be achieved.

Take time to understand keywords

One of the most common words in paid search and all Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is “keywords.” These are the words that people type into their search bar. In the example above, it was “hiking boots” but it can be any and all words related to your business. 

The goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to rank highly for the keywords on the first page of results (which 90% of people never look beyond), but with paid search you skip the hassle of having to optimize your page and can rank on Page 1 right away in the ads section. 

When starting your campaign, Google Ads will give you information on the keywords related to your business, such as how often they are searched for, how much it costs per click to claim a paid search spot, or what the level of competition is like for that word.

Implement a holistic approach

While it is possible to just pay to be displayed on the top of Google’s results page and leave it at that, it is obviously also a good plan to back this up with efforts based around the campaign. 

For Billy’s Sportswear this might include a landing page (i.e. where the user goes after they click the paid search ad) dedicated to “hiking boots” or making sure that there are plenty of quality blogs and content related to the subject on their website. It is also important to utilize Ad Extensions, which are opportunities that Google provides to offer more information about your business which can improve your click through rates.

Keep user experience in mind

Not only does this thinking make sense from a marketing perspective, e.g. people searching for “hiking boots” being sent directly to the page that sells them, but Google also rates the user experience of ads with a Quality Score

Watch your quality score 

Google’s goal is to constantly improve the chances of users finding exactly what they are looking for with as much ease as possible. The Quality Score that they advertisers thus measures their users’ experience through metrics like expected click through rates, the quality of your landing page, and how relevant your ads and pages are to users. The better this score, the more favorably Google will treat your ads, including through lower prices and better positions.

Paid search advertising is a huge area with many niches, metrics, and strategies for achieving the best for your business, all of which can be a bit overwhelming. Yet, it’s also absolutely unavoidable for basically any organization. That’s why, when it comes to planning and executing campaigns, a good place to start is with a team of experts in the field, who know exactly how to walk you through a new campaign. Bloom Ads is full of just those type of people, who know precisely what you need to maximize your ROI on your marketing spend.  Get in touch with us here.

Six Tips for Writing Social Media Ad Copy That Converts

As many a business owner has discovered, writing ad copy for social media is more complicated than it initially seems. Throwing up a pretty picture and a few words off the top of your head is unlikely to convert into traffic and sales. There is a real art to writing good social media ad copy, but it’s something you can learn with some knowledge and a little practice. 

Here are some tips you can use to transform your flat copy into social media copy that packs a punch.

Be A Problem Solver

They say that the best products are invented when someone sees a need and creates a product to fill the gap. The same goes for social media ads. Life is full of challenges, and people are always on the lookout for ways to make their day-to-day happenings easier. You can grab the attention of existing and prospective customers in your social media ad copy by explaining how your product/service solves a problem for them. For instance, you can lead with a question about how the problem affects them and then briefly explain how your product/service eliminates the issue.

Be Real and Know Your Audience

Everyone’s seen their share of cheesy ads on social media. When you’re brainstorming ad copy for social media platforms, think about the kind of ads that capture your interest and make you want to click. Customers appreciate honesty in advertising. Remain genuine in your message. You also need to have a clear understanding in mind of the audience you’re speaking to so you know how to approach your pitch. 

Pique Their Curiosity

Your social media ad copy should clearly grab your audience’s attention with why they’d need your product/service and then state what you’re offering. Starting with a question is a good way to approach writing this type of ad. For example, ‘Struggling to write your own ad copy? Discover the trade secrets to simplify the process.’

Give Some Direction

You may not like to be bossy in your everyday life, but in your social media ads, you need to give a little direction. Once you’ve caught their attention, you need a call to action (or CTA) to let them know what you want them to do. Phrases such as ‘call now’, ‘click here to shop’, or ‘learn more’ let potential customers know how to get to you. You don’t need added details here about the product/service itself. Copy on social media platforms is meant to be attention grabbing to entice browsers to click. Once you get potential customers to your landing page you can be descriptive because now they’ve asked for the extra information.

Be Succinct

There are times in life when you want to be flowery and descriptive. Writing effective social media ad copy is not one of those times. Most people on social media aren’t interested in wading through a ton of description before they get to the intended message. The goal is to catch their eye so that they’ll want to click to find out more. 

Test and Test Again

Often Facebook ad copy and copy for other social media platforms needs some revising to really produce the conversions you’re looking for. This is where split testing comes in. The term refers to testing two different versions of social media ad copy to determine which performs better (more ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘comments’, etc.). Ideally, you would only adjust one element of the ad copy at a time to properly determine which change makes the difference. 

For example, you could adjust the headline, the call to action, or any other facet and test it against the original to see which version performs the best. In this way you’ll refine the copy down to the absolute best performing combination. That said, you may not have time to tweak your ad a little bit at a time. If you’re under a time crunch then coming up with two completely different sets of copy and split testing them against one another to see which converts the most is probably the best course of action.

Bonus Tip: Trust the Professionals

Still questioning where to go with your social media ad copy? At Bloom Ads we live and breathe marketing. The marketing game is ever-changing and we make it our job to stay on top of those fluctuations. Check out our website to learn more about our services.

How to Rock Your (Last-Minute) Back-to-School Ad Campaign

Summer has a way of slipping by in the blink of an eye. Even when you start out with the best of intentions for getting your back-to-school ad campaign on track, sometimes life just gets the better of you. If you’ve found yourself deeply entrenched in the dog days of summer with no back-to-school ad campaign in sight, not to worry. There are still some last-minute options available to rock that advertising push.

While you’ve probably missed the boat on using print marketing materials for this back to school season, social media marketing campaigns can be much quicker to put together and are often very effective. 

Photo Promo

Parents love to share photos of their kids, so what better way to engage your customers than with a picture contest ad campaign. Ask customers to submit their favorite back-to-school photos on your Facebook business page. Next, get entrants to vote and advise them to encourage friends and family to vote for their photos too. This drives additional people to your page and gets more eyes on what you have to offer. The photo with the most votes at the end of the promotion is awarded a prize such as a gift card or free product/service.

Think Targeting

When planning school campaigns, many retailers see their target audience as parents, but focussing in on specific types of customers may be more advantageous. Using offers tailored to specific groups can really concentrate your marketing campaigns to bring in traffic. For instance, according to a 2017 Bizrate survey, dads spend approximately $200 more on back to school shopping than moms do. College students are another group to explore speaking directly to. Also, don’t forget about teachers; offering a discount specifically for them can really win fans, as many spend their own money on supplies for the classroom. 

Using social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, is a great way to launch a set of customized promotions, especially when you’re working under a time crunch. Know your target audience and tailor the messages and offers specifically to them.

Email Exclusives

If you’ve spent some time building up your email list, then a quick way to get the word out about your specials is through that list. Many parents and students do their back to school shopping early, but there are always some hold-outs. Getting a friendly back-to-school ad campaign email with a special deal is an excellent way to pull in the stragglers. It provides a reminder that back to school is right around the corner and can include a special offer such as ‘free shipping’, ‘BOGO’ or ‘15% off’ to help attract bargain hunters.

Invest in Influencers

Don’t forget about local influencers when you’re working on your last-minute back-to-school ad campaign. These people are experts at getting the word out fast. Contact a handful of popular local influencers to see if they’d be interested in a basic partnership for the back to school season. Work out a rate for the number of posts about your brand that you’d like to see within the time period you have in mind. Some may even be willing to exchange their services for your product/service. Just be sure to look for influencers who regularly speak to your target audience.

Back To School Board

Pinterest may not be the first option that comes to mind when planning last-minute campaigns, but the site sees a lot of traffic and many users admit to planning their purchases on there. Create and share a few Pinterest boards dedicated to back to school and direct link the items to your product pages so that shopping them is easy.  

The Countdown Is On

You are likely feeling the pressure of launching a successful back-to -school ad campaign, but don’t forget that your potential customers are also feeling the crunch as classroom time draws closer. You can use that sense of urgency to your advantage by promoting limited-time deals. School campaigns that run for ‘one day only’ or ‘only for the weekend’ tend to be motivating, as they drive home the fact that there is little time left to catch a deal and get everything needed for back to school.

No matter which back-to-school ad campaign(s) you decide to go with, be sure that your offer is front and center. Last-minute shoppers don’t want to have to hunt around for the deal.  
Remember, we’re easy to reach if you have any questions about quick advertising ideas. Give us a call at 818-703-0218 or visit our website to learn more about our media buying and planning services. Also, keep an eye out for more helpful tips on social media.

Three Tips for Improving Your Relationship with Your Advertising Agency

You have a vision that needs to be realized. A story that needs to be told. Or maybe just an idea, an inkling, you think has potential for your marketing strategy. It’s your advertising agency’s job to translate that vision, story, or idea into reality.

In a perfect world, this process would be as seamless as a dance between two all-star partners. But in the real world, how do you stay in sync and make sure you’re getting what you need from your agency without tripping over each other’s feet?

We’ve worked with enough happy clients to feel pretty qualified to share some of our wisdom about maintaining a great client-agency relationship. Scroll down for our next installment of advertising tips – how to get the results you deserve by improving your relationship with your agency.

Advertising tip #1: Prioritize communication and transparency.

Sometimes, more is more.

Advertising agencies specialize in translating dreams into reality – but they can’t always read minds. You can help your agency do their part by giving them as much information as possible, both at the beginning of your relationship and throughout your work together.

First, define success and share it with your agency. To help you accomplish your advertising goals, your agency needs to know exactly what success looks like for you. Is it a certain number of impressions per month? 1,000 new leads by a certain date? A certain percentage increase in sales over the next year? Share your goal posts with your agency so that they can both create a strategy for hitting them and take initiative when it comes to monitoring and reporting.

Make sure your agency understands your product, service, or technology. Let’s say you’re introducing a new housing management software to the market. You hire an advertising agency to create display ads targeting potential customers in the university housing industry.

To create ad copy that highlights the unique benefits of your software and presents a clear call to action, the agency needs to understand exactly how your software works. Provide them with this information through briefs, product demos, or webinars before the project begins so you’re all on the same page (and so you can reduce time spent rejecting or revising subpar work).

Exchange feedback regularly. First, ask honest questions often. This helps your agency do its job to demystify their processes and strategies, which in turn empowers you to make better informed and more effective requests for future work. If you’re not exactly sure why your agency has chosen a particular keyword to bid for in your paid search campaign, just ask! Seriously – we’d be happy to bring you into our decision-making process with our best advertising tips because it makes both our lives easier.

It’s also important to give and receive feedback as work progresses. Confront us (nicely, please!) if something isn’t meeting your expectations. In turn, your agency may illuminate a limitation you may not have been aware of, or your feedback may make them aware of something they didn’t foresee – either way, it’s an opportunity to learn and improve. Take note of what your agency says about their rationale and processes so you can better understand their limitations, strengths, and workflow.

On the flipside, tell us when you’re happy with our work! That helps us know what’s working and, of course, gives us a rush of satisfaction. Pro tip: If you’re really happy with your agency, they’ll always appreciate you sending them referrals.

Advertising tip #2: Trust your agency to do what it does best.

Let us do the hard work we were meant to do.

Understand what your agency specializes in. This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to forget how complex the world of advertising has become. While some agencies, like Bloom Ads, have vast experience with all major types of advertising, others may specialize in digital marketing only, or even subsets such as SEO or content marketing. Still, others may write, produce, and place advertisements all in-house, while some may outsource certain parts of the process. Know what your agency specializes in and make sure your goals align with what they do best.

If you ask them to do something outside of their specialty, on the other hand, you’ll probably end up with subpar work and the relationship won’t be any better for it. (That said, they may be able to help find someone who can do it – doesn’t hurt to ask!)

Be open to our feedback. Advertising agencies should serve as subject-area experts. They want to do the best job they can by letting you in on their insider knowledge. By being open to their feedback, you can gain a better understanding of how the marketing landscape works for your industry or product, including what your competitors are doing.

Trust us (and your instincts). An advertising agency worth its salt will do the very best job it can to deliver results within its strengths and limitations. If you feel you can’t trust your agency, either because the results aren’t matching your expectations and communication isn’t fixing the problem, or because you just feel that they aren’t able to make you understand what they’re doing, it may not be a great fit.

Advertising tip #3: Strive for a true partnership.

Your agency should be an extension of your team.

Treat your agency as though they were your own employees. Seeing your agency as a part of your team helps you empathize with their strengths and limitations. This helps you craft requests they will understand and be able to fully deliver on while conveying to them your understanding and appreciation of what they do.

All roads lead here – in other words, all the tips in the list are really focused on this objective. Prioritizing communication and transparency is the foundation of creating a true partnership. Whether you use face-to-face meetings, regular video calls, or a sophisticated project management platform, staying in touch with your agency and keeping your communication honest and solutions-oriented will empower them to act in your best interest.Bloom Ads does its best work when clients treat us as extensions of their team. In return, we’ll treat your campaigns as though they were our own, putting our media obsession and expertise to use for your unique message. Learn more about our media buying and planning services today.

How to Measure Your Digital Marketing ROI

As we’ve discussed before, marketers are shifting their focus away from rigid (and sometimes misleading) ad metrics and towards measuring business outcomes. This amounts to a more holistic approach, a way of zooming out and asking simply – did the business make more money during a particular time period or not? In this way, marketers avoid getting mired in data, instead focusing on the big picture.

So how does this translate to the overwhelming number of digital marketing metrics at our fingertips, available on web analytics platforms like Google Analytics? In this blog, we hope to clear the air and make measuring the success of your digital campaigns a little easier (and more accurate).

Digital Marketing ROI: Setting Up Your Strategy

No matter what type of campaign you’re running – whether paid, organic, or social media – monitoring your success requires planning up front. Prior to launching into a campaign, make sure to set goals, then determine KPI’s to measure them.

1. Set specific, measurable goals.

In other words, decide what you want your campaign to accomplish. What do you want users to do? Sign up for a mailing list or free demo? Share your social media posts? Make a purchase? Get specific – maybe you want to get a certain number of mailing list sign-ups in a given timeframe or hit a particular conversion rate by a certain date.

Determining if and how the goals of a particular marketing campaign align with your business objectives will help you determine what kind of campaign you should be driving, and what kinds of KPI’s to set up in order to figure out whether you’re doing what you set out to do. For example, if your goal is increased sales, a lead generation campaign based on blog content won’t get you very far.

2. Set up relevant KPI’s.

Once you’ve established your goals, determine which KPI’s will help you see how you’re doing. We’ll go into more detail about which KPI’s best fit which kinds of campaigns. But as a general rule, you can ask yourself the following questions from Hootsuite to help narrow down the most appropriate metrics:

  • Does it align with my goals?
  • Does it help me make decisions about the future of my strategy?
  • Do I have the ability to actually measure it?

If your goal is conversions, for example, focus on metrics like conversion rates or cost per conversion. Define conversion – maybe it’s landing on a “Thank You” page after signing up for a free trial – and then track that behavior. At Bloom Ads, we use tags and pixels – bits of code strategically embedded into your site – to generate 1st party data you can use to track target actions so you have a fully hands-on approach to performance monitoring.

How to Calculate ROI: Revenue / Cost

Your digital marketing ROI is simply the amount of revenue your business gains for every dollar spent on marketing. As such, the specific variables will differ slightly depending on whether you’re calculating ROI for paid search, content marketing, or social media.

The most common way to calculate ROI for a marketing campaign is to divide the total revenue gained by your total marketing costs for that campaign. If the resulting number is greater than 1, you have a positive ROI – a net profit. If not, you probably need to tweak your strategy.

Choosing Metrics for Digital Marketing ROI

Paid Search

If you’re investing in paid search, you need to be able to track conversions with precision. First, that means clearly defining what conversion means to your campaign – again, do you want leads, sales/purchases, or something else? Then, set up metrics that will track that behavior.

At the very least, consider tracking the following key paid search metrics:

  • Quality Score – Quality Score determines your ad ranking and, importantly, how much you pay per click (PPC). If your keyword relevance is too low, your quality score will decrease and your PPC rate will increase, hurting your pocket.
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR) CTR measures how many people are actually clicking on the ad and going through to your landing page. It’s an important measure because it affects your quality score.
  • Conversion Rate – The rate at which users actually fulfil the conversion action you want them to take tells you a lot about the intent of the users who are being exposed to your ads.
  • Cost-Per-Conversion – Cost-per-conversion gives you an idea of how much you’re actually spending on each lead or sale. If it costs you more to get the conversion than you make from the lead or sale, you’ve lost money on the customer.

By aggregating these metrics, you get an idea of what you’re spending on each ad vs. the effectiveness of those ads on your target audience.

SEO and Content Marketing

Organic search is a long-term form of marketing that can often take lots of time and calibration to bear fruit. In some ways, measuring content and SEO performance can be less scientific than with paid search – but it can absolutely be done. Again, the idea is to set measurable goals that are aligned with business objectives.

We’ll go over a few useful KPI’s for SEO and different types of content below.

  • SEO Metrics – SEO is about ranking as high as possible on organic search engine results pages. Some things you’ll want to measure are keyword rankings for particular pages or page types (like your blog), website visits, page speed, and bounce rates.
  • Blog Content – Many of the same metrics apply, such as website visits and bounce rates. Blogs have notoriously high bounce rates, so if this is the case for your blog, it may not be a red flag. It can be useful to focus instead on something like time spent on page, which gives you an idea of whether users are actually reading your blogs through to the end (i.e. engaging with your content). You’ll also want to look at specific web traffic analytics to see how people are finding your page.
  • Case Studies and White Papers – In addition to web traffic analytics and time spent on page, consider looking at shares and engagement and brand mentions (are other people linking to your case study or featuring you in the media)?
  • Podcasts – Look at new subscribers, downloads, and listening lengths to see how many people are finding and engaging with you vs. when and where people are losing interest.
  • Webinars – Like with podcasts, you need to see how many people are making first contact vs. staying engaged. Measure registrations against actual attendees, then measure drop-offs to see where you’re losing people.

Social Media

Just like with Google Ads and Google Analytics, social media analytics platforms offer a staggering number of metrics that can all seem equally mystifying. It can be difficult to interpret how post shares and brand mentions relate to your actual revenue.

People often talk about the “vanity” metrics of social media monitoring – basically, any metrics that don’t actually align with your objectives. For a sales campaign, for example, a high click-through rate might not be very valuable, since it shows that you have lots of traffic but not necessarily lots of purchases.

To avoid relying on vanity metrics, first note that social media might be contributing to business outcomes in an indirect way, rather than straight into your pocket. After all, most users aren’t logging onto Facebook to go shopping. Once again, it’s crucial to determine what you want to get out of your social media presence and then measure that.

Hootsuite breaks down social media metrics roughly into four types of campaigns:

Results-Driven Digital Marketing

At Bloom Ads, we’re not just obsessed with media – we’re obsessed with results. Contact us today to learn more about how we build monitoring into our strategy from the beginning.

The Pros and Cons of Focus Groups

The Role of Market Research

No matter the industry, virtually all companies need ways to measure audience perception of their products or services. Market research helps a business refine products before bringing them to market, improve on already existing products, and optimize its marketing strategy by integrating qualitative data from real audience reactions. One long-standing and popular market research technique is the focus group.

What are marketing focus groups?

A focus group is a tool used to measure the potential impact of a new product and determine how best to present it to the public. It’s usually a small group (about 10 or fewer volunteers, sometimes paid and sometimes not) who gather to discuss a product or idea. Their discussion and responses are collected and analyzed by a market research firm to measure how a larger population is likely to react.

It’s important to note that marketing focus groups are usually just one part of a larger equation. While they can afford invaluable insights about a product from real human beings – rather than faceless data – they may not provide enough information on their own. Below, we’ll break down some of the pros and cons of focus groups and illuminate how businesses can get the most out of them.

Pros of Marketing Focus Groups

Focus groups provide immediate responses in bulk.

Unlike market research techniques that rely on the long-term collection and interpretation of data – such as one-on-one interviews, written surveys, polls, or social media monitoring – marketing focus groups provide lots of direct feedback all at once — no need to spend weeks gathering data or answers, then more time analyzing it. With (granted) enough preparation beforehand, you can end up with a wealth of information about your product in the span of a day.

Face-to-face interactions provide richer insights.

We’ve said many times before that effective marketing is all about communication. It makes sense, then, that some of the best audience insights can be garnered from in-person interaction. While written surveys or social media conversations about your brand can offer plenty of clear audience sentiment, those avenues miss out on the potential of non-verbal cues which can add layers of meaning to a verbal exchange.

Skilled focus group moderators can learn a lot about how participants really feel about a product non-verbally, such as through facial expressions and body language.

Results can be more comprehensible than data.

There’s no doubt that big data has an important place in today’s marketing landscape, and technological advances afford us plenty of tools to analyze that data efficiently. But putting names and faces to audiences helps marketing teams engage with their consumer base on a deeper level, better equipping them to understand consumers’ unique pain points and meet them with good products or services. The qualitative data engendered by focus groups is a great supplement to more impersonal data.

Cons of Marketing Focus Groups

There’s no guarantee of depth or accuracy.

While marketers hope to get honest responses from a random sampling of average users, there’s no guarantee that a focus group will provide such honesty. Moderators and other volunteers can subtly affect participants’ responses; volunteers may feel uncomfortable breaking with the group opinion or “offending” the moderator. What’s more, the sample size may be too small to represent a larger population. As HowStuffWorks acknowledges, Pepsi learned this lesson the hard way when positive focus group responses to their clear Crystal Pepsi failed to predict the sales bomb the product ended up being.

Moderator bias, peer pressure, and small sample sizes can all affect the degree to which your sample size actually reflects the larger population, while responses may not be as honest or in-depth as with one-on-one interviews.

Focus groups can be expensive.

Successful marketing focus groups need highly skilled moderators who know how to pose questions and facilitate discussions in an unbiased way to garner the most productive, useful, and honest responses. This is why most companies and advertising agencies hire a market research firm that specializes in focus groups. It can be costly to hire the firm and finance the production of surveys and product demos, not to mention possibly pay participants for their time.

The Lesson

Focus groups are efficient methods of collecting valuable insights in bulk, all at once, but mileage may vary when it comes to their cost and reliability. As such, marketing focus groups work best when paired with both quantitative and qualitative data from other market research strategies. We explore some examples below.

  • One-on-one interviews – These offer similar qualitative data to that provided in focus groups, with the advantage of being more in-depth because peer pressure is reduced and there’s no need to steer unwieldy discussions.
  • Written surveys – While written market research surveys don’t give researchers access to the non-verbal cues of face-to-face interaction, they can be efficient ways to gather honest responses unfettered by moderator bias.
  • Polling – This is another relatively easy way to leverage technology for market research, though responses may feel less personal.
  • Social media monitoring and listeningThe conversations happening about your brand on social media are priceless sources of data on your audience sentiment. While social media monitoring requires time and resources to gather and effectively analyze all that data, it’s an invaluable market research technique when paired with other qualitative data.

Having trouble putting your finger on the pulse of your audience? The media-obsessed experts at Bloom Ads put results at the forefront of all our campaigns, because we understand that success can’t be achieved without real knowledge. Learn more about all the services we offer today.

What is Social Listening? Plus How to Do It Well

A key component of marketing for any business is audience research. That means not just measuring how specific marketing campaigns are being received by your target audience, but also checking the pulse on your general brand sentiment. Insight about how people feel about your product, service, or brand as a whole allows you to make wise pivots to better serve your customers – and hopefully gain more in the process. This is the very ethos of social listening.

If you’re new to the concept of social listening, you may be wondering what it is and how it differs from social media monitoring. Below, we’ll break down the role of each of these brand monitoring techniques, their relationship to each other, and how to incorporate social listening into an existing social media strategy.

What is social listening?

Listening is an exchange of feeling or information between two people – one person communicating the sentiment and the other receiving it. Good listening is active and empathetic and may lead to action addressing the sentiment communicated.

Think, for example, of an exchange with your boss where you may communicate that you’re interested in gaining a particular skill set. If your boss is a good listener, they wouldn’t simply hear this information and send you on your way – they may also begin giving you assignments that allow you to develop that skill set. While this all may seem obvious, it can be immensely helpful for marketers to approach the concept of social listening from this basic truth.

The social listening experts at Hootsuite define social listening as a process that looks beyond data to “consider the mood” behind social media posts, mentions, or conversations about your product or brand. In other words, social listening consists of:

  • Tracking what people are saying about you on social media
  • Considering why they’re saying it
  • Taking concrete steps to engage with and/or address the sentiment

How is social listening different from social media monitoring?

While definitions vary, social media monitoring generally means collecting and analyzing data from social conversations. This usually consists of using social media monitoring tools that can quickly and efficiently gather lots of data from all the social platforms you’re using. Social listening, on the other hand, gets at the why of those social conversations and the how of addressing them with positive actions.

Rather than thinking of social listening and monitoring as two separate components of social media marketing, you can see them as existing on a spectrum, where the more you engage and enact informed change – whether that’s responding constructively to a negative review or shifting your entire brand strategy – the further you move from simply monitoring toward actually listening.

What are the benefits of social listening?

Turn insight into engagement. Social listening implies a dialogue rather than a one-sided exchange. By truly listening to what people are saying about your product or brand, you create an opportunity to in turn provide them with value that is specifically tailored to their concerns, strengthening your relationships with your base.

Address PR problems right away. Social media can be a double-edged sword for marketers. While you can use social to get the word out about your product or brand in the blink of an eye, so can unhappy customers. Let’s not forget that one of the daggers that brought down the notorious Fyre Festival was a viral Twitter post featuring a picture of a cheese sandwich. Social listening gives you an opportunity to address or neutralize PR disasters before they spin out of control.

Gain competitor insight. Social listening doesn’t just give you insight into your own brand sentiment. It can also help you learn how your customers think about you in comparison to your competition. You can use this comparative analysis to fill in gaps in your own strategies or learn from your competitors’ mistakes before making the same ones yourself.

Anticipate customers’ pain points. It’s a marketer’s job to address customers’ pain points, but in order to do this well, a brand must know those pain points in the first place. Social media is a great place to figure out firsthand what your customers care about and need.

Discover potential influencers and evangelists. It’s one thing to use social listening as a way to engage with unhappy customers, but it can also bring you into contact with people who love you – and are saying so online. If you notice positive word-of-mouth marketing happening online – for example, someone posting a picture of themselves at the latest marathon they’ve run with a caption raving about your brand’s running shoes – consider reaching out to these potential brand evangelists.

Maintain customer relationships and acquire new ones. Social media is a great place to maintain good customer service with concise, well-constructed replies to customer posts or questions. This not only helps keep existing customers happy but communicates your value to new customers as well, showing them that you’re committed to taking care of them.

How to Make Use of Social Listening

1. Outline your goals.

In order to set your brand up for success, define your goals upfront. Are you looking for general brand sentiment? Conversations about a specific product? Insights on a particular user demographic? Decide what you want to listen for and how you’ll track those conversations. You’ll need to take careful inventory of your brand or product name and social handles, those of your competitors, relevant hashtags, and/or industry buzzwords.

2. Find where people are talking about you.

The most common social listening battlefields are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Yelp, YouTube, or even Reddit, or anywhere that marketing happens. Not all platforms will be relevant for all brands, so determine where your customers are hanging out.

3. Pay attention to your competitors.

Remember, listening to audience sentiment about your competitors helps in two ways: it gives you a comparative analysis of your own strengths and weaknesses, and lets you learn hard lessons without making the mistakes yourself.

4. Use insights to take informed action.

Without action, social listening is simply social media monitoring. While they’re both important, social listening lets you engage with your customers in a meaningful way that can have more far-reaching benefits, including word-of-mouth marketing and customer acquisition.

Social listening does require effort and data, and there’s a wealth of automation tools that you can use to make the process more efficient. But at the end of the day, it helps to have experts who know how to measure results and use them to make wise pivots, whether that be on social media or traditional advertising venues like television or radio spots. That’s what we do here at Bloom Ads. Learn more about our services today.

The Best Advertising Campaigns of 2019 (So Far)

 

As the halfway point of 2019 approaches, we think it’s time to highlight some of the most exciting, interesting, risky, and just plain best ad campaigns of the year so far. While we won’t necessarily see the sales impacts of these campaigns for some months, it’s worth considering what the hype around them has meant for their brands in the short-term.

The Best Ad Campaigns of 2019 So Far

  1. Volkswagen’s “Hello Light” Spot

We’ll start off with possibly the riskiest ad on this list. During Game 3 of the NBA finals, VW launched what may be the most outside-the-box ad since its famous 1959 “Think Small” print. But why exactly? Basically, the ad breaks a major rule of advertising.

As Car and Driver points out, it’s long been accepted that you never mention anything unpleasant in an ad, because no matter what the ultimate message is, the audience will only focus on the negatives. Nevertheless, VW’s “Hello Light” opens with soundbites from radio reports about the company’s “Dieselgate scandal” from 2015, reminding viewers right away of how the company cheated emissions tests with diesel cars sold to Americans. It then spins a tale of self-reckoning and redemption to a Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack, before introducing a new electric concept car.

Critics warn that the ad could bring up bad blood that customers had largely forgotten. But as the company has seen sales rebounds since 2015, the new commercial’s combination of nostalgia and modern priorities may actually work. Only time will tell.

  1. Bud Light + Game of Thrones for the Superbowl

Bud Light and HBO collaborated to deliver two mind-bending and somewhat sassy Superbowl spots with true entertainment appeal this year, both of which deserve a spot on our list of best ad campaigns.

For Bud Light’s part, it also chose to take a risk: calling out competitors like Coors Light for using corn syrup in their beers. Critics have pointed out that Budweiser also uses corn syrup, just not in traditional Bud Light. But there’s no doubt the Game of Thrones-themed Super Bowl ad caught eyes with its humorous approach.

Either way, Bud was able to ride the wave of an HBO collaboration when a second ad featuring Bud Knight turned out to be a promo for the highly anticipated final season of Game of Thrones.

  1. KFC’s Bucket Bangers

KFC recently launched a digital marketing campaign using one of the internet’s greatest offshoots: music streaming. The brand collaborated with Spotify to create a playlist of 46 hip-hop songs that reference KFC.

Instead of building brand awareness from scratch, it simply aggregated and promoted messaging that was already there. In this creative and mutually beneficial process, KFC not only got to ride the wave of its own organic brand presence but also threw exposure to the musicians included… though few would argue that artists like Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar need any help in the marketing department. Still, in the end, users got to enjoy great music while celebrating The Colonel.

  1. Dove’s Project #ShowUs

Dove has partnered with Girlgaze Photographers and Getty Images to collect about 5,000 of photos “of women by women.” This is just the latest marketing campaign in Dove’s efforts to redefine beauty standards in media and advertising.

The photos, all taken by women and woman-identifying photographers, aim to show a more accurate picture of the world’s women, inspired by a statistic that says 70% of women still don’t feel represented by traditional branding. The photo library shows a diversity of racial and gender identities, body types, abilities, cultures, fashion choices, hairstyles and more, while marketing material features slogans like, “Show us more women who look like me” and “Show us all hair is professional.”

According to Digital Agency Network, Dove, Girlgaze, and Getty Images will all feature the photos on their websites, marketing materials, and social platforms, and plan to use the hashtag #ShowUs to prompt similar user-generated content.

  1. Love on Every Billboard

Sometimes the best ad campaigns aren’t selling anything at all. In the case of Love on Every Billboard, which Bloom Ads helped launch, the only message is “love,” which is why creator John Pogachar has rented billboards across the globe – including Russia! – that say only that. What started as a single red billboard featuring the word LOVE in Spokane, Washington, has grown into a phenomenon inspiring people to simply spread love.

In February, the TODAY show covered the campaign, and a billboard was even featured in the music video for Jason Mraz’s “Love is Still the Answer.”

No matter what your message is, Bloom Ads has the creative energy and expertise to help you spread it. We’re media-obsessed, and we’re happy to work hard for all of our clients. To learn more, visit our website and check out the advertising services we offer at Bloom Ads.

Embracing the Media Mix: How to Choose the Right Channels for Your Ads

Where should you spend your precious ad dollars? It’s probably the most common question in advertising, and it’s virtually impossible to answer – at least in one sentence. The fact is, the success of your advertising strategy depends on several factors besides the financial ones: your brand, your target audience, and your creative, to name a few. Another factor is having the right media mix.

Embracing the media mix isn’t just about blasting a one-size-fits-all message through whatever avenues you can. Instead, it’s about strategically constructing a web of messaging and engagement that allows the right audience to seamlessly follow your brand wherever they are, from TV to the web to their mobile phones. It’s important to make calculated decisions about what channels will work best for you based on your brand and, yes, your budget.

In this blog, we’ll take you through the available media avenues and leave you with some tips on choosing the right media mix for your company and product.

Your Media Mix Options

Television

While TV viewing habits may be changing, TV advertising can still be majorly effective. If you’re targeting populations that still watch broadcast and cable TV, you can get high ROI with the right TV ads.

Pros: Moving images can tell stories and drive deeper engagement with your brand. Both local and broadcast TV lets you target audiences geographically and psychographically while still offering a wide reach.

Cons: Broadcast TV is one of the most expensive forms of advertising, while cable TV can limit your audience.

Radio

While radio advertising doesn’t provide the same targeting abilities as TV, it’s one of the most cost-effective options for both small and large businesses depending on your product or service.

Pros: Radio advertising is an affordable option with a relatively high ROI. You can reach wide audiences right where they are.

Cons: If you’re selling to a niche market, radio has slightly lower targeting capabilities than TV.

Outdoor

Outdoor advertising is perfect for reaching a wide audience for a relatively low cost. A billboard can communicate a snappy message quickly, easily, and effectively. To see for yourself, take a look at how a single word went viral in the Love On Every Billboard campaign, which Bloom Ads helped develop.

Pros: Outdoor marketing can be affordable and wide-reaching.

Cons: Messages have to be incredibly concise because you’re limited to short messages and a static image.

Print

Print advertising may be a traditional form of advertising, but it’s still thriving. Newspaper ads, magazine ads, yellow pages, and more let you reach highly specific audiences with eye-catching design and concise messaging.

Pros: Newspaper readers can be customers with high purchase intent, while magazines offer specificity for brands selling niche products and services.

Cons: Print can be costly, and your design and ad copy must be punchy.

Sponsorships and Endorsements

A partnership with a high-profile company or an endorsement from a celebrity or athlete can shoot your brand into the awareness of the people who matter most. Sports player and celebrity endorsements, in-stadium marketing opportunities, celebrity/athlete on-site appearances, and TV/radio or print presence can add value to your media mix.

Pros: Sponsorships and endorsements can add a high dose of name recognition to your marketing efforts, which can be especially useful for small or growing companies.

Cons: To avoid off-brand messaging or even offensive partnerships, make sure your values and messaging match up well with your sponsor or celebrity endorser.

Digital and Mobile Advertising

Digital and mobile-first marketing are here to stay, and while traditional advertising is still thriving, some brands can’t get by without going digital too. Digital advertising is a broad field with many distinct but interrelated subfields, including:

As you can see, digital marketing spans the super-technical, like web design, all the way to the age-old question-and-answer format. Paid search and social media ads function almost like virtual billboards or print ads, while SEO and content marketing focus on building a brand’s credibility and authority online. Meanwhile, social media can help brands reach highly targeted audiences at low costs.

Digital marketing thus includes many different opportunities and channels at a wide range of price points. While a strong digital strategy is a coherent one, with all digital campaigns working in conjunction with one another, not all brands need to use all types of digital marketing. The size of your company and budget, where your company is in its life cycle, and the type of product or service you offer all determine what digital channels are best for you.

How to Choose the Right Media Channels

Successful media planning is all about coming up with a calculated strategy for reaching the right people with the right message at the right time – without going over budget, of course. Yet there’s no easy formula for knowing exactly what results you’ll get for a certain amount of ad spend. The best way to chart your path across the marketing landscape is to make some honest considerations about your product and brand.

  • Budget carefully. Figure out how much money you’re working with. This will help you narrow down and prioritize the channels that will give you the best ROI.
  • But know that just spending lots of money won’t automatically bring high results. The most important factor weighing on your campaign is the message. Invest in good branding and writing so that your ads have substance.
  • Understand and define your product, brand, and value proposition. This will help you craft a message that speaks to who you are.
  • Know your audience. Know not just who they are and where they shop, but also what they value so that your message reflects those same values.
  • Know where your competitors are advertising. This can give you an indication of where you yourself may get the best ROI.
  • Set realistic goals and then measure them. There’s no better way to refine your marketing strategy than by monitoring your results and implementing the findings on future campaigns.

The marketing landscape is a dynamic one, always changing with the tides of technological developments and user trends. Luckily, the media-obsessed experts at Bloom Ads are happy to help you find the perfect media mix for your brand and budget. Learn more about our services at our website.

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