Why You Should Be the James Bond of Banners, and all Display Advertisements Really

James Bond, aside from being hunky and suave spy, happens to be a master of sleuthing and scoping out his competition. As a leading marketer (and in general) you should strive to be more like James Bond.  Think we’re exaggerating? That your competitors aren’t as evil as Goldfinger? As cunning as Dr. No? Think again!

In a perfect world your digital advertising strategy would be measured solely for its value and creativity, however in a world in which brands are constantly compared against others, your competitive strategy, especially in the display advertising world, must stand out on its own and in comparison to those of your competitors.

So how can you build a strategy that stands out?  Take a cue from the James-Bond-Badassery-Book and start your competitor analysis.

Things you should look for:

  • What publishers are they using for most of their campaigns?
  • What is the most common mediator they are using for their campaigns?
  • How many campaigns do they run per month? Per quarter?
  • What CTA’s are they using on their banners?
  • What are the messages on the landing pages?
  • How does the funnel from text to display ad to landing page look?

How can this information help you? Consider a quick examination of the publishers and mediators used by a competitor over 6 months. You will either see a steady dependency on certain outlets or a rise/decline in particular publishers or mediators. If for example your competitor depended heavily on a particular publisher 3 and 4 months ago but this month has completely ignored them, you can avoid making their mistake and focus on the publisher that works.

Wondering how many campaigns is too much? Want to find the sweet spot number for how many banners and unique campaigns you need to convert potential clients? A great way to find that number is (you guessed it) to see what works and doesn’t work for your competitors!

Another great way to build a strong display advertising strategy is to look and see where your competitors aren’t. By examining existing strategies you will be able to spot untapped resources – or as Sun Tzu said, “You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended” – in the world of digital advertising, the undefended is the untapped; and as a marketer, your goal is to get there first and conquer.

By identifying your completion and understanding their strategies, you will be able to develop your own digital advertising strategy that is built on the mistakes and successes of others, minimizing your risk and maximizing your profit potential.  Keeping a keen eye on emerging businesses can let you know what potential threats are lurking around the corner, and examining indirect competitors can help you understand more into your consumer psyche.

To truly master spying on your competitors and staying one step of the game, you need a competitive intelligence program that will help you understand the competitive landscape in which you are playing.

That’s where AdClarity comes in.

Just think of us as your very own Ring Camera; with us, Max Zorin (aka Christopher Walken, AKA the elusive and crooked industrialist from A View to Kill) doesn’t stand a chance!

Are you ready for your next mission marketer?

Color me Converted – Color Selection in Digital Advertising

The impact of color selection is often stressed when dealing with branding, but rarely touched upon where digital advertising and marketing is concerned; luckily, we’re here to help you out.

Since the moment we open our eyes, we are flooded with color –colors stir emotions, drive actions and have powerful associations so engrained in our psyche, it would be foolish for advertisers to ignore them.

As a marketer, your goal is to increase conversions. Regardless of what you are selling or offering, if you are spending money on digital advertisements, your goal is to drive potential clients to do something (preferably something you want them to do). How can you increase chances of conversion? By clever use of color of course!

Want to be our test subject? Great! Look at these colors

Color me converted pic 1

What are you craving (hint, probably something fatty and greasy and delicious like a Big Mac with an extra large coke).

Why? Because this combination of colors translates, in your mind, to speed, efficiency, and, thanks to KFC, burger king and other fast food companies, high calorie deliciousness.

So what does this have to do with your digital advertising strategy? Plenty!

When developing digital advertising campaigns, it’s important to take into account colors and the feelings they invoke in consumers.

If, for example, you are advertising a service, such as financial services, legal services or even something that is support to be unbiased (like a news outlet), consider relying on the color blue not just for your logo but also for display ads. Since your goal is to convince potential clients of your trustworthiness, and since blue is known to involve trust and loyalty, using any other color would be downright foolish.

Don’t just stop at the color scheme of your display ads – spend time considering the call to action button. As we discussed, you are always selling something – but if you don’t drive potential clients with a powerful call to action, what good is your well thought out color scheme? When compared in split testing environment, red call to action buttons universally increased conversion rates when compared to green.

Does this mean you should always use red call to action buttons? Probably. But what it also means is that you should split test your colors as well as rely on insight you can gain form competitors when building your digital advertising strategy.

And don’t forget – colors can drive conversions!

B2C Companies are Shifting Marketing Strategies to Stay Current – Are you?

2016 is turning out to be a pivotal year for digital marketers, specifically those operating in the B2C realm. According to eMarketer, 2016 will be the first time in U.S history that digital display ad spending will surpass search as spending, marking a critical shift in the way B2C marketing is done.

The increased dependency on display advertising, specifically on social media, coupled with the increased funds allocated to mobile marketing ($42.01 billion out of $67.09 billion) means that marketers, specifically those operating in the B2C world, will have an even harder time in 2016 targeting their audience, captivating them with their ads and driving them to convert as clients.

Increasing Dependency on Programmatic Advertising Increases Customization in Campaigns

In an effort to improve their advertising targeting, companies have increased their reliance on programmatic advertising with the hopes that automating the decision-making process will eliminate human emotions and error and accurately pin point relevant target audiences and demographics. Programmatic advertising technologies will take up $14.88 billion of the $58.6 billion that advertisers will spend this year.

Prior to the modernization of programmatic advertising, media buying expensive and unreliable and media buyers struggled to reduce overall costs and efficiency. With better technology and improved programmatic capabilities, companies are able to focus on optimizing their campaigns and enhancing their display advertising strategies, making digital advertisement campaigns even more sophisticated, customized and hyper-targeted to meet the needs and pains of their exact customer persona.

What this means is that companies are spending even more money to create highly specific digital advertising campaigns that will speak directly to their consumer.  As each company strives to monopolize as many micro-moments of their consumers day with targeted advertising, the display ads used are increasing in sophistication as they attempt to do more than advertise a product, but actually be a part of the decision making process consumers undergo.

Displays Designed Depending on the Journey

The idea that display advertising can be a part of the consumer journey is a relatively new. By understanding where the consumer is on their journey to conversion and assessing the information they want and need at each step, B2C marketers are able to be a part of the journey, shift it in the way they want it to go, and ultimately see results in the form of higher conversions that yield more profit.

Some industries, such as the automotive and insurance industries, have had more experience then others in segmenting and targeting campaigns to be a part of the customer journey, and the improvement in programmatic advertising technologies only enhances their ability to do what they have been doing for years.

Automotive brands have long perfected the art of being storytellers. Despite that, the past few years have been marked by declining purchases due to poor economic forecasts and increased gasoline prices, leaving the automotive suffering. Out of this struggle rose a new way to target consumers that incorporated brands’ ability to tell a story that is interweaved with the stories of their consumers.

The automotive industry has honed in on the ability to use audience behavior in the advertising journey by recognizing that each target audience takes a different journey. As more and more companies increase their dependency on programmatic advertising, the automotive industry is really putting the pedal to the metal as they say, driving targeted campaigns to even higher gears.

Companies such as Volvo, Ford and Audi have incorporated already at the start of last year augmented reality advertisements geared at the early technology adapters and forward thinkers, while other companies like Mercedes-Benz have made families reconsider their car for safety and not just style with their super viral “uncrashable cars” campaign that features kids trying (unsuccessfully) to crash toy cars.


By showing little kids and using their playtime habits to drive home the notion that their cars are ‘uncrashable,’ Mercedez was able to reach out to a new audience – families with small children that put safety first. An advertisement like this might not have had the same impact on a young single businessman or a retired couple, however the use of programmatic advertising technologies ensure that companies can decide which viewers see what ad.

Social Engagement on a Local Level

Anyone who has a mobile phone and is connected to at least one social media account can attest to the fact that advertisements no longer feel like advertisements. In a further effort to streamline their story into the narrative of their consumer, companies have developed new ways to engage with their consumers on a hyper-targeted level.

The conversation and lines of communication most frequency open on the social media channels, where it is often the use of videos and imagery that drives consumers to click.

As with the automotive industry, the auto insurance industry has honed in on the ability to take the consumer from the social networks to the display-advertising funnel and all the way to their physical locations. Both the automotive and auto-insurance industry suffered from the same setbacks, each taking their own hit due to the declining economy, use of cars and increased price of gasoline.

Taking the automotive tactics of being part of the journey, auto insurance companies showcased their true expertise by taking the consumer from the digital world to the physical world by personalizing and localizing their campaigns in a way that truly spoke to their consumers. Companies such as Allstate have recently launched a series of campaigns that puts the agents picture on the display advertising, putting a true name and face in the forefront as an aggressive advertising strategy and driving people to communicate with a face they already see in front of them.

Other companies such as Geico recently launched a series of campaigns that target university alumnus and offer discounts based on their alma mater – another aggressive technique that showcases the unique ability of auto insurance providers to truly hypertarget and segment their advertisements based on the traits of their consumers.

How can B2C Companies Learn from Car Brands and Insurance Companies?

More than any other industry, the automotive and insurance industries have led the revolution in display advertising, drawn primarily out of a need to shake up their industries in lieu of economic recession.

B2C companies that are operating in the digital world (which should be all B2C companies) should look to these industries as examples of shifting with the times and staying relevant in the eyes of their consumers.

Relying on programmatic advertising without shifting strategies and messaging to reflect a journey that is in line with the consumer needs will prove ineffective and will reduce the benefit of such technologies.

With a lack of unlimited funds, the best thing for companies to do in order to prepare their advertising material for programmatic advertising purposes is to examine the publishing tactics, advertising strategies and campaign images and language of competitors.

There are many tools that can help B2B marketers discover the actions of their competitors without the need to spend money on trial and error campaigns in order to see what works. AdClarity is one of those ways that companies can complement their programmatic advertising tactics through a thorough examination of the competitor strategies – all with just a few clicks.








Automotive Mobile Web Industry Report

Is mobile advertisement changing the way we buy cars? Perhaps. In 2015, the automotive industry reestablished its advertising dominance by increasing ad spending to $7.3 billion in the U.S alone, making it second overall after retail.  Experts anticipate that in 2016 the automotive industry will spend a total of $8.49 billion in the U.S signaling immense growth and assurance in a strong sales year.  Almost half of the 2015 digital advertising budget ($3.43 billion) was spent on mobile advertising and it is likely that 2016 will see an even further increase in mobile advertising spending.

The ability to search and compare information about cars from the palm of their hands has led consumers to enter the automotive sales funnel already from their mobile phones. As 71% of consumers report having visited an automotive websites from their mobile device, it is no wonder that automotive executives want to grow their brand identity and increase their presence on mobile devices. The purpose of this report is to provide forward thinking automotive executives with key insights on the mobile advertising spending in the automotive industry by focusing on campaigns, publishers and creative of leading automotive brands.

We hope this report will help provide you with an in-depth understanding of the digital advertising spending habits of the automotive industry and help your mobile advertising strategies increase in effectiveness.

Download your free report today!

Binary Display Industry Report

As binary industry ad spend continues to rise in the upcoming years, it is imperative that Financial CMOs use their display ad budgets wisely. This report seeks to provide Financial CMOs with an overview of the digital advertising strategies of some of the 3 largest financial industry brands: the best performing publishers, highest converting landing pages, campaigns, creatives, and so forth.

By the end of this report, we hope you will have a stronger understanding of what it takes to create a successful digital advertising strategy in one of the largest and most promising industries in the world.

Download your free report today!

Financial Display Industry Report

By the beginning of 2016, the U.S. financial industry will have spent $7.19 billion on digital advertising, a 14.5% increase in growth from the $6.28 billion spent in the previous year, with display advertising accounting for $3.02 billion of that total.*  And as the growth rates continue to rise in the upcoming years, it is imperative that Financial CMOs use their display ad budgets wisely.

This report seeks to provide Financial CMOs with an overview of the digital advertising strategies of some of the 5 largest financial industry brands: the best performing publishers, highest converting landing pages, campaigns, creatives, and so forth.

By the end of this report, we hope you will have a stronger understanding of what it takes to create a successful digital advertising strategy in one of the largest and most promising industries in the world.

Download Your Free Report Today! 

Why Online Video Advertising is so DAMN Effective: Introduction

When Bulova ran the world’s first video ad on NBC on July 1, 1941 for a total of $4, I truly don’t think they could have anticipated the impact they would make on video advertising less than a decade later. Not a direct impact, of course, as the number of brands playing in this market went from a handful to, well… too many to count. But they started something when they took what was traditionally in print and radio format and turned it into something visually stimulating.

And it worked.

Why? Because the human brain processes images over 60,000 times faster than text; it responds better to visual cues than it does to text.[i] In fact, video advertising became such a phenomenon that psychologists developed a field around trying to understand the impact that video ads have on our brain and emotions. And that’s what this article is about: understanding why video ads are so damn effective and impactful. Specifically, online video ads.

I’m not going to inundate you with statistics about how many people prefer to watch videos on their phone or the decline of TV viewing or the ever-rising internet users. There’s enough written about that.

But what I am going to ask you is this: why is it that when a group of internet users were asked to recall the message of a campaign (video & conventional display), only 22% of them could remember the messaging in the conventional display ad and 37% of them remembered the video ad? Why is it that when another group of internet users were shown an ad in a video format and conventional display format, 40% of the group highly favored the video ad while nixing the display campaign?[ii]

The answer lies deep within the most complex object in the universe: the human brain.

Stay tuned for the next in the series of why video advertising is so damn effective….

(Hint: you might gain a new appreciation for how your brain works)

[i] http://www.webmarketinggroup.co.uk/blog/why-every-seo-strategy-needs-infographics/

[ii] How to Measure Digital Marketing: Metrics for Assessing Impact and Designing Success; Flores, Laurent; 2014

Increase Conversions with Your CTA

CTA is basically the only acronym you need to know where conversion is concerned (ok not really, but it’s definitely your favorite if you’re on the acquisition side of conversion). The coveted ‘call-to-action’ button, otherwise known as your CTA, is what will drive a person to click your ad or to pass on and give take their business elsewhere (probably to one of your CTA-savy competitors).

How important is the CTA? Some might say it’s more important than your content! Don’t believe that’s true? Imagine you have a great banner promoting an awesome new product, but instead of driving your potential customer to ‘buy now’ or ‘learn more’ about it, you write ‘click here to kill puppies’ – no one will click it even if the visuals and product and price are great (because everyone loves puppies).

Having the right CTA is critical, no matter what industry you are in. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ CTA that is guaranteed to drive consumers to click your banner and convert on your website, there are a few things you can do to ensure your CTA is optimized.

Below are our 4 simple steps to ensuring your CTA is optimized for conversions

  • Make sure you actually have a CTA – may seem obvious, but it’s not. Many companies invest time, energy and money into creating visually beautiful banners and landing pages with exciting content, but forget to include a CTA completely. The first step to having a CTA that converts is having a CTA at all.
  • Don’t go crazy-creative on your buttons – If you’re concerned about a CTA’s effectiveness, you’re probably a marketer. If you’re a marketer, you probably like thinking outside the box and being uber creative. Well stop. CTA’s are not the place to showcase your creativity – give the consumer what they want. And what they want is a simple button that they recognize as something they are supposed to click.
  • Go completely crazy with your creative – Marketer? Great! This is where you shine – have compelling copy that drives people to want to click on your button. Instead of “read more” or “buy now” try coming up with something more specific or more engaging. CTA’s that drive people to “Test is out” or “Do it – it’s free!” are more exciting and are more likely to increase conversions.
  • Think twice about placement – don’t just throw that CTA button anywhere. Putting thought into the location of your CTA can improve your conversion rates. Want people to sign up for your newsletter? Better put that CTA after telling them why. Want people to click through to see your products? They should click after seeing what you have to offer.

Worried about your CTA’s? Don’t be. The great thing about the internet is that nothing is permanent (except those terrible i-can-haz-cheesburger meme’s. those are forever).  You can change your CTA frequently – in fact, you should! Testing your CTA and seeing what drives more conversions is the best way to find the terminology and visuals that work for your product and your target audience.

Political Advertising: A little out of control?

The world of digital advertising has changed dramatically since the 2008 elections and with the latest elections in full campaign mode, the most notable difference isn’t the candidates and their platforms, but the way in which they rely on digital advertising in order to convey their message.

The total digital political spending in 2008 was $22.3 million and in 2016 that number is expected to skyrocket to over $1 billion.

That means the politicians will spend nearly 9000% more just to get voters. This means that their display strategies are more powerful and carefully constructed than ever before.

The End of the Social Media Era

Everyone remembers the social media frenzy that took place during the campaigns in 2012 and 2008 – Barak Obama dominated the social scene and his ultimate election and reelection were clearly foreseen due to his ability to capitalize on an untapped audience.

In 2016 that is not the case. The social media presence of the candidates has little correlation to their support and polling statistics and the paid advertising seems to be focused on traditional display advertising rather than social media campaigns.

Trackability Trumps Everything

With the rise of programmatic display technologies and the enhanced ability to track candidate’s online presence, display advertising is undoubtedly the most guaranteed way to get to voters. Candidates are spending more money on display advertising and relying heavily on integration of tools such as exit popups, retargeting campaigns and landing page campaigns. The only difference in the political world is that instead of driving you to buy a product, politicians push you to put money and get nothing tangible in return.

 The Triumph of the Underdog

Consider the two candidates no one gave a chance to during the early campaign elections; Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Surprisingly, both have exceeded expectations and this is largely due to the unique way in which they approached their campaign tactics. From heavy investment in digital advertising and branding as well as clever programmatic advertising and conversion strategies, both candidates proved that digital is on the rise where politics is concerned.

The success of these two underdogs tells us that future elections will forever be changed in years to come.

Here lies Adobe Flash; Born 1996 – Died 2016

Dear Flash,

We’ve had a great run. When Jonathan Gay created you in the mid 1990’s, you probably thought you would take over the world –and you did for a while. You had a rough start but by the time Y2K came around, you were on top of your game and Flash5 became the go-to tool for websites, video games and music playback. Then some guys who created PayPal decided to use you as a base for this little project called YouTube and…well… you dominated everything.

But then something happened; Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone and transformed the way the Internet was consumed. There were conspiracy theories that you could have joined forces, but somehow that didn’t end up happening and the rise of smartphones was inevitable your own demise.

The slow unraveling started in 2007 with the YouTube decree to bypass you and provide consumers with a mobile optimized site, and so you were pushed aside in favor of finger-technology. We thoughts Jobs really dug your grave back in 2010 when he unleashed “Thoughts on Flash” which was a really polite way to say evil things about you, but still you pulled through.

Until 2016. This year has been rough, and we’re sorry to say but we think you’re on your way out.  This is the year that mobile advertising is going to surpass desktop campaigns which means you are going to be more obsolete than ever as advertisers rely on HTML5, static images and other ways to entice clients to click their ads or visit their site. More people are shopping on their mobile phone, viewing sites on their mobile phones and doing everything you didn’t think possible on their mobile phones – and that means all those sites are revamping their look (and their code), eliminating all traces of flash.

But even that is not the ultimate nail in the coffin. What really made us write your pre-death obituary is the Google announcement from February 9th, 2016, that announced that Google Display Ads will be 100% HTML5 starting January 2017. That may be the official day on which Adobe Flash will die, but we believe there will be an immediate decline in reliance on flash in the coming weeks and months leading up to the big bye-bye.

How will companies react to that? With a lot less resistance than you would expect. Companies will continue to rely on digital advertising and programmatic campaigns, which means if they have to pick and choose – they will always choose Google.

And so we say adieu dear Flash. It was fun while it lasted but we must part ways in favor of better ad placement (and making Google happy). We thank you for all you have done.

Best, The World