The Transformation of Display Advertising

Not that long ago, Bill Cameron introduced the world to “the growing phenomenon that is the Internet.” While absurd to think about today, the introduction of the Internet and the simplification of connectivity was groundbreaking and not as well received as one would expect.

While many industries took the slow route on their journey to accepting Internet as a way of life, advertisers were some of the first to recognize the increased advertising space the Internet brought them.

The Early Days: Banners Ads

In 1993, Global Network Navigator (GNN), a project company of O’Reilly Media, realized that they could work directly with similar companies in order to promote products on their site for money – and so they became the first commercial publisher to offer display advertising in the form of direct partnerships.

Soon after offering the first advertisement to a local law firm, companies recognized that there was a new form of advertising in the making, and quickly jumped the direct partnership bandwagon, however it was HotWired which really changed the world of display advertising as we know it.

On October 27th, 1994, HotWired ran a delightfully cheese clickable ad with the simple words “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will” on it and forever changed digital advertising. By setting aside dedicate space on their sites as commercial space and developing a new model based on clicks, HotWired effectively introduced the CTR model to advertisers – a move which quickly proved to be extremely profitable thanks to their reported 44% click through rate (Just a little perspective – today marketers consider anything in the double digits a unicorn).

The Growth Spurt: Ad Networks

After recognizing the potential to reach millions of users in the form of digital advertising, the idea that there should be a solution connecting the website owners with space to sell to the companies with products or services to advertise came up – and so ad networks were introduced.

In 1996, DoubleClick unveiled the first platform that did more than connect space sellers and buyers – it had the ability to track banner click through rates and impressions, giving key insight into their effectiveness while helping companies earn revenue and understand consumer behavior better. Beyond offering reporting capabilities and tracking banners, DoubleClick showed the world that advertisements are not as permanent in the new digital age. If formerly advertisers had to commit to a single campaign and run it on print ads and television, with DoubleClick, they could easily customize campaigns and change ads almost instantly, reducing wasted funds and improving segmentation and effectiveness of their campaigns.

The Rise of Google

Two guys by the names of Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded a little thing called Google in 1998, competing with the likes of AltaVista and Yahoo in the search engine space. Around that same time, Bill Gross invented the PPC model of advertising on his site GoTo.com. Recognizing that PPC was a way to monetize search engines and not just commercial sites, Google quickly sought a way to monetize their search engine and shortly after launching introduced AdWords.

Initially AdWords only offered CPM advertising, leaving them in the dust in terms of revenue when compared to GoTo (which became Overture when Yahoo purchased it for a whopping $1.63 billion). When Google revamped AdWords in 2002, they took a page from Bill Gross’ playbook and offered PPC advertising, as we know it today. Page and Brin understood that clicks played a part, but relevance to the search was what drove customer experience – suddenly companies had to pay big money to appear first, but they also had to be relevant to what the consumer was searching.

This simple understanding that consumers drive demand and not the other way around is what drives digital advertising today (and makes Google the undisputed search engine king and advertising conglomerate it is today).

The Social Media Revolution

In 2004 Facebook was launched as a platform to connect college students, yet the social network quickly took off as a platform extending beyond the confines of higher education. Just two years after foundation, on August 22nd 2006, Facebook announced the launch of their advertising module – a move that would have a profound impact on social media marketing and digital advertising as a whole.

Within a year Facebook developed the algorithms to enhance hyper segmentation based on the vast data it was able to accumulate on users, and from that point on, the only digital advertising that matters is the one that meets your exact target audience. By taking the “relevancy” criteria Google integrated with their PPC network, Facebook taught consumers and digital advertisers alike that consumers should only be shown target ads based on their specific likes and behavioral patterns. Other social media sites such as Twitter, YouTube and even Google+ quickly fell in line, quickly catapaulting the impact of social media on the world of digital advertising.

Where will digital advertising go?

 As consumers are increasingly aware of display advertisements and competition heightened by availability and easy access, companies have to improve their creative campaigns and digital strategy in order to appeal to consumers and gain the coveted clicks and conversions. To do this, many digital advertisers are turning to competitive analysis tools (such as our very own AdClarity) to gain valuable insight about competitors and leverage the results similar companies achieved in order to improve ROI and maximize customer conversion.

In the future, digital advertisers will have to continually focus on the competition while trying to balance the ever-so-delicate line between content and advertisement, as consumers want more and more relevant content that feels less and less like an advertisement.

The Evolution of Programmatic Buying: Top Obstacles in Programmatic Advertising

In today’s day and age, it seems that programmatic advertising is everything. Despite being a relatively new tool for digital advertisers, it has increased in popularity rapidly due to the improved results advertisers can get from hyper targeting and modifying bids in real time without the need for manual involvement.

Despite the dependency on programmatic advertising, there is still a great deal of challenges that digital advertisers find themselves dealing with.

The Danger of Bots

One of the most notable obstacles that programmatic advertisers have to deal with is the presence of bots on the internet. It is believed that almost 50% of the web is comprised of bots, and an overwhelming majority of them are considered ‘bad bots’ that skew advertising results, impersonate humans and increase the prevalence of spam.

Viewability Fraud

One of the most common obstacles bots cause is in the viewability results displayed to digital advertisers. Ad Fraud, especially due to viewability issues, is such a concern that companies such as Google and AppNexus have premium services guaranteeing “fraud free” ads for advertisers. Despite this solution, the problem is still a difficult one for digital advertisers, especially those seeking non-traditional advertising ad networks to use for their campaigns.

Time to create creatives

An interesting obstacle that digital advertisers have had to deal with is the inability to make enough creative to test as quickly as programmatic tools can accept them. To combat this, many programmatic creative tools have been created, yet their use is one advertisers are slow to integrate into their workflow.

Ultimately, the biggest concern digital advertisers have to deal with is the lack of understanding of programmatic and the newness of the technology.

 

 

Same Product, Different Campaign: How Brands Adapt to Suit Different Mediums

Today’s world is centered around globalization and easy communication which transcends locational boundaries which once seemed out of reach. We are in touch with markets not only in our direct local communities, but nationwide and even worldwide. The biggest factor that allowed for this growth was the advancement of the internet and the technology platforms which support it. We have entered an age where everything is available behind a screen, and there are so many screens to choose from, from mobile to tablet to desktop!

With the sharing of ideas across the world, we’ve also had to reform the way we market to reach both our local and faraway communities. In marketing, the next big thing has therefore become adaptive marketing, an approach which allows marketers to adjust their campaigns and marketing activities to fit the needs and interests of their customers as best as possible. This means adapting not only their products, but also the marketing platforms and channels to adapt to different mediums customers might use to access their products and sales marketing advertisements.

Desktop Campaigns

The desktop is the original internet platform, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t adapt to the times! In order to keep up with marketing trends in desktop campaigns, it is important that your desktop campaigns fit aesthetic trends and keep up with the visuals that pushing boundaries.

Mobile Campaigns

Mobile has taken over. It is not just the future; it is the present! In order to stay relevant for a growing mobile market, it is essential that your brand has a mobile strategy so that it can target mobile audiences. While mobile sites are sufficient, it is highly recommended to turn to a responsive site which can translate between mobile and desktop. Wanna be a top player in the field in terms of accessibility and innovation? Consider designing a mobile app for your brand!

Video Campaigns

Thanks to the incredible increase in accessibility to ways to produce high-quality videos, more and more brands are turning to video content to reach an audience that is already so responsive to visual advertising. Video campaigns can increase ROI and engage audiences in a way that makes them visualize themselves with the product. This will lead to increased loyalty and brand engagement!

Tablet Campaigns

Tablets hold a funny spot in the market – they’re not quite desktop, not quite mobile. But with the increase in interest in tablets from kindles to iPads, it is important that brands include tablet users in their marketing strategies. Consider layouts and aesthetics of your (responsive) sites and ways the larger screen can benefit the mobile platform. Possibilities are endless!

How Digital Media is Impacting the Elections

Once upon a time, presidential campaigning was simple in terms of advertising. In order to communicate their platform and views on various issues and gain the vote of the public, candidates would rely on more traditional means of marketing. This included posters, informational leaflets, live speaking events, and with the introduction of the television as an American household staple, televised debates. When digital marketing was introduced to campaigning, election marketing changed to fit the wants and needs of an increasingly technologically aware public. While we could see right away the effects of digital media on the election process, just how far does this influence go?

America’s first introduction to the profound effects of digital marketing on election campaigning came with the 2008 presidential elections. During that election, we saw direct tangible correlations between digital campaign spending and viewer response with the dichotomous approaches of Obama on the one hand, with $47M spending, and Romney on the other hand, with $4.7M campaign spending. During that time, social media was at its peak for campaign marketing, serving as a platform to reach out to the increasingly large demographic of social media users.

While social media still plays a significant role in campaign marketing for the current 2016 elections, digital marketing has evolved greatly to include more sophisticated approaches to viewer and voter response. Of the $11 million projected spend during this election cycle, approximately 10% of that budget is projected for digital advertising alone, evidencing an all-time high for election focus on digital media.

Social media still plays a big role in branding for candidates, whom have shown a heavy presence on networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat to disseminate content and gain support. This has opened doors for candidates to target voters directly rather than micro-target demographic groups by way of advertising targeted to specific niche issues. Even the platforms themselves have opened up new marketing tools for candidates, such as Facebook, for instance, which, new to this election cycle, made it possible for candidates to upload voter databases and link registered voter emails to specific Facebook user accounts so that candidates can communicate with those voters directly via the social platform.

While social media still has a presence, however, there is a notable decrease in focus on social media by candidates than in last election. Now, in addition to social media, candidates are placing heavy focus on more traditional display advertising, namely native ads. Native advertising is paid content made to blend in effectively on websites. It is seen as a good way by which to cut through the clutter of digital media and reach a larger demographic of people in a non-obtrusive way. The increased benefit of native advertising and other display advertising for the election campaign marketing is, above all, the trackability of these methods and the programmatic software developed to distribute these advertisements with ease. By creating interactive display advertisements with integration of retargeting links and landing page campaigns, candidates can track the online response of their voters. In some cases, this even means insight into population areas with large support through location tracking.

The increased spending on digital media during the 2016 elections evidences the tangible results and effectiveness of digital media marketing. Whether we see the election end with a Clinton or a Trump victory, we will be able to utilize data on their digital marketing campaigns and how they correlated to the ultimate victor. With the speedy growth of the digital marketing world, we can’t wait to see what all of these developments will bring to the table during the 2020 elections!

 

 

How Does Winter Weather Impact Online Advertising

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day…

That’s usually how the saying goes…and for the most part, it’s how we all feel! That is, unless you’re a digital marketer!

In the past few decades, digital marketing and advertising has developed impressive strategic approaches to tackle competitor marketing and ensure a successful marketing strategy and campaign for any online platform. From programmatic advertising to more traditional calendar-based tips and tricks, competitive advertising has grown to track and respond to market trends and buyer needs.

Weather has always been one of those factors that are considered most random and beyond our control. While we certainly can’t control the weather, however, the development of digital marketing and advertising have allowed us to use even weather to our advantage!

Several studies have been carried out to investigate the connection between weather and sales. Overall, the results point to certain trends that can benefit any programmatic platform. In short, there is a distinct correlation between weather patterns that digital marketers would do well to notice. While warm, sunny weather is beneficial for in-store sales, restaurants, durable goods, and other habitual services, colder rainy days are beneficial for online shopping, specifically within clothing, home and furniture, and wholesale retailers. The difference between online sales during clear and cloudy days can jump as high as even a 10-12% increase!

While the deviations are small enough to leave room for debate, the pattern makes perfect sense. It points to the tendency for people to spend more time browsing and buying non-habitual products or sales during days where outdoor activity and shopping trips are less accessible due to the weather. For example, if you are on the lookout for a bookshelf, a sunny day might make you more likely to take a trip to several furniture stores, while a rainy day might make you more likely to snuggle up in the comfort of your home and search for a bookshelf that meets your needs online, either for reference or purchase.

The implications this has for digital marketers are simple: rainy days and colder weather are good times to release digital banners advertisements to potential customer and consumer bases. In this case, it is especially advantageous for targeted marketing using location-based information. So next time you see a rainy day forecast, resist the urge to fall into a rainy day laze and get jumping on that marketing train!

Desktop Isn’t Dead! Reasons Why Desktop Advertising is Still Important in a Mobile-First World

As of late, one of the most noticeable trends in digital marketing is the shift in focus from desktop to mobile. Advertising trends have adapted to an increasingly tech-savvy world by responding to the increase of mobile reliance and the subsequent change in consumer habits. While in the beginning, companies strove to have mobile-friendly platforms, the trend has now shifted from “mobile-friendly” to “mobile first.” But does the rise of mobile necessarily mean the death of the desktop?

It is hard to ignore the importance of mobile marketing today. Mobile usage is higher than ever and it has unprecedented advantages for marketing, from hyper-targeting through consumer data to the instantaneous, universal outreach it allows through the accessibility it invites. However, while this is all true, it is important to recognize that desktop is still important as ever in a well-rounded successful marketing strategy.

Desktop Usage Remains Constant

Mobile usage is certainly on the rise, and it is certainly true that more people today use their mobile device as their go-to medium than ever before. However, an increase in mobile usage did not correlate with a decrease in desktop usage. In fact, despite the increase in mobile usage, desktop usage has remained pretty constant!

Cross-Platform Approaches Are Best

Any company hoping to expand their customer base and better their marketing strategies would do well to take a cross-platform approach. This approach relies on the understanding that consumers often switch between devices in interacting with a company. For example, a user might find a company through mobile hyper-targeting, yet once they do they are likely to visit the company website from both a mobile and desktop platform. When a company takes a marketing approach to ensure seamless transition between platforms, it allows a customer to trust the reliability of the company as a whole. A responsive website, for example, allows companies to use one shared website for both mobile and desktop viewing with this very goal in mind – an ideal situation! All in all, a cohesive experience is key.

Desktop Optimizes Screen Display

Mobile marketing, as savvy and relevant as it is, has a distinct disadvantage of limited screen space for displaying digital marketing. As a whole, the space limitations can be overcome with desktop. This not only allows companies to express their company vision more in-detail on a desktop platform, but it allows for a new aesthetic for mobile versus desktop platforms within one company.

New Users Lean Towards Desktop  Advertising Use

While e-commerce is increasingly adapting to mobile platforms, it is still true that companies are often more approachable for new users through desktop than mobile. For example, customer profile information is easier to complete on desktop than mobile. While mobile is better for discovering new websites and maintaining customer loyalty, desktop remains a better experience for new customers looking to fully explore and understand a new company.

Certain Settings Depend on Desktop

Desktop, while traditional, maintains its’ air of professionalism. Office settings, for example, depend on desktop systems to create a work atmosphere (this would be a little more difficult to attain through a mobile-only platform). As a whole, it seems like desktop is still being used for academic or business oriented use, while desktop is seen as “extra time” or “on the go” internet surfing time.

ROI Thrives with Desktop

Of all the reasons to keep desktop marketing as a top concern, the most important is its’ benefits regarding ROI. When it comes down to it, Return on Investment (ROI) on ads on desktop still wins over that on mobile sites. While mobile ROI is improving, mobile still has a lot of growth to achieve in performance measure in order to reach a similar tipping point in ROI as that achieved on desktop.