Get your pencils sharpened and your campaigns buttoned-up – back-to-school shopping season will be here before you know it! Did you know shoppers spend more on back-to-school and back-to-college than consumers spend on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day combined?! And 72% of consumers will shop online at least once during back-to-school! (NRF)
We have 7 things to keep in mind for back-to-school campaigns – and no, we won’t quiz you on it later (maybe).
1) Know the Biggest Shopping Days
According to RetailMeNot, the 3 biggest back-to-school shopping days are:
- Amazon Prime Day (mid-July).
- The first weekend of August (August 3rd-5th).
- Labor Day Weekend (August 30th-September 2nd)
If you’re not Amazon, that doesn’t mean your campaigns should get the day off! A quarter of back-to-school and college shoppers plan to use Prime Day to shop online deals at other retailers (NRF). For the first weekend of August and Labor Day weekend, plan to offer deals and content like articles with suggestions, inspiration, and trends ready to share (tip: try a listicle!)
2) Offer Deals
Back-to-school buyers are looking for deals. 65% of shoppers said that final price is the biggest determining factor in their back-to-school purchases and 70% said they look for more savings during this season than they do during other times of the year. So don’t get left behind: 80% of retailers will offer discounts. (RetailDive). Now is the time to offer enticing discounts and place them in your headlines and creative copy.
3) Location Matters
Remember that the first day of school differs by region! Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest schools tend to open their doors in early September, while the South, Northwest, and Alaska begin mid to late August. Parts of Arizona and Hawaii start as early as Late July. Plan your sales and target your campaigns to regions accordingly. (Check CNN’s handy start date map).
4) So Does Time of Day
Who’s your target? Moms? Kids? College-age sophomores? For example, consider “dead times” like after school pick up and morning drop off might not be a great time to target your content; shoot instead for midday or evening shopping times.
5) Mobile Matters
More than half browse back-to-school items on their smartphones because they can do it on the go, and 46% prefer mobile shopping because it allows them to multitask (RetailMeNot). Adjust accordingly!
→ For more mobile-related stats and advice, check out our Mobile is the Move blog post and Infographic.
6) Yes, You Have Content
Before you say you don’t have content – you do. You have a name and you have a website! For back-to-school season, create some articles or videos that inspire shoppers and establish you as a source of expertise.
Some ideas: back-to-school fashion trends, child safety, wellness, and nutrition tips, money-saving tips, time-saving hacks, and advice from parents and experts like pediatricians or teachers!
7) Maximize Your Content
“If content is King, then content distribution is King Kong,” Bidtellect’s CEO Lon Otremba says. Use a Native Advertising strategy to create content previews that match the form and function of the site they’re placed on. Contextual targeting ensures they are placed on relevant sites that readers will want to engage with, and Native Ads intrigue readers even when they have “banner blindness.” Did you know Native ads register an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than standard banner ads and have proven to boost in-store traffic by 21% (Sharethrough)?
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Read on MediaPost here:
A few weeks ago, Florida announced that smoking (medicinal) marijuana is legal (CBS). Missouri drafted rules for medical marijuana usage (KY3). There was news about a new New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (NORML). It was revealed that there has been a 76% increase in Cannabis Industry Jobs in the US (AZ Marijuana). This is all in the last month.
The Global Legal Cannabis Market is projected to hit $166 billion by 2025 (Euromonitor). It is the fastest growing market in the world, according to MarketWatch. “Within 10 years, cannabis will be a regular part of daily routines,” said Zora Milenkovic, head of drinks and tobacco at Euromonitor International. “From a functional ingredient to an intoxicating buzz, cannabis will reshape fast-moving consumer goods, with food, beverages, beauty, health and tobacco having the most potential for disruption.” (Euromonitor).
We are witnessing history: the growth of a new industry in conjunction with rebuilding a reputation from the bottom up.
As the cloud of marijuana stigma lifts in the United States, states are scrambling to create laws that keep up with the growing industry while grappling with varying moral and regulatory opinions. In some states, all that’s needed is a driver’s license to enjoy marijuana recreationally. In other states, consumers need to be vetted by a doctor, pay upwards of $250 for a medical card, then choose from highly-regulated products for ailments, similar to a prescription. Laws can differ even by county.
The laws are confusing. Interested consumers are often left wondering where they can go and what they can buy. The answer to clarification: advertising. The current advertising initiatives? Equally as confusing as the laws limiting them. And half-hearted at best.
Here’s the only advertising I’ve seen: side-of-the-road CBD sign-flipping in Florida (the guy was pretty good, I’ll give them that) and billboard advertising for weed delivery service Eaze in California. Not that we can entirely blame the companies. Social media advertising is limited and often restricted – the lack of law consistency is a headache not worth the trouble (ETF). For those venturing outside the walled gardens on programmatic ad platforms, targeting, measurement, and analytics are limited, especially for simple display ads, which often face roadblocks similar to social.
Turn to Content
If you’re a marijuana or CBD company, turn to your content. Chances are, you’ve got a ton of it: research articles, educational resources, tips, lists, recipes, and more. I read new articles every day about the latest healing benefits of CBD from inflammation to stress release to skin ailments. That’s the kind of content to distribute. Your stories can be the next wave of your advertising strategy.
Content is the chance to re-educate the masses on the positives of marijuana, but how its targeted to consumers matter. Consider: a mom is unlikely to start liking a social sponsored posts about weed on Instagram. She’s far more likely to read a sponsored article on the web about how Medicinal Marijuana helped another mom with epilepsy. Do you see where I’m going with this? A Native Ad that leads a user to high-quality content aligns with the goal of re-education and reputation-building. Fluffy flowers and glass bongs may be a no-go in Native ads, but content is your secret weapon.
MJ Lovers: establish your company as a thought leader at the forefront of cutting edge health and wellness development. Create high quality content that lifts your reputation above marijuana’s seedy past. Turn to a content-distribution platform to distribute your content in a targeted, trackable, and measurable way. Context is also key: get it in front of users that are already interested. The right content and right distribution with be the key to re-energizing the state of medicinal marijuana advertising.
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How you can use Bidtellect to expand your e-commerce digital efforts and drive sales.
Don’t Restrict Inventory:
Run nationally targeted campaigns utilizing all 3 ad formats (in-feed, recommendation widget and in-ad) across all 3 devices (desktop, tablet and mobile) to ensure we are able to find relevant users at any time on any device.
Consider the Customer Journey:
Since a consideration cycle is generally required to make a purchase, supplement a prospecting strategy with retargeting to drive prospects back to the site to purchase.
Capitalize on Company-Wide Sales and Initiatives:
Running an “always-on” tactic is an important way to continuously expand your brand reach/loyalty and drive new users to the website. Run initiatives to promote company-wide sales or product launches. Products with lower prices (or sale prices) tend to have shorter consideration cycles, you can both promote the initiative and capitalize on increased site traffic to drive incremental sales.
Keep Creative Relevant:
Run content that is directly related to your product(s) and refresh creative every 30 to 60 days.
Dive deeper into the success of your native advertising campaign by placing Bidtellect’s proprietary Engagement Pixel on your site. Bidtellect is able to measure and optimize towards post-click engagement metrics such as page views, bounce-rate and time spent on site.
→ It works: By leveraging Bidtellect’s Native Direct Response Best Practices, one high-traffic retail e-commerce client saw a 9:1 return on investment (ROI) in 2019, more than doubling their goal.
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Why shift your digital marketing budgets from Display to Native? We’re so glad you asked…We have 5 reasons why you’ll go Native and never go back.
1) Native Ads Create a Better Experience With the Brand
71% of US internet users believe banner ads are more intrusive now than ever before (Millward Brown). This means one thing: negative brand exposure. Native Ads blend into the form and function of a publisher’s site, minimizing disruption to the browsing experience. Like publisher content, Native Ads provide content previews and provide value – they are designed to inform, educate, and entertain. 59% of consumers find native ads interesting and are looked at 53% more frequently than display ads.
2) Consumers Want Content
Consumers expect brands to provide relevant content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences.The stats agree. 70% of US internet users want to learn about products through content versus traditional advertisements (MDG Advertising). This resonates especially with younger generations: 83% of Millennials believe online content is very useful in helping them make purchasing decisions (IAB) and 62% of millennials feel more connected and loyal to a brand after reading content from that company. ⅔ of Generation X and Z consumers trust branded content more than traditional advertising. (Time Inc. study).
3) Native Ads Pierce Through Ad Clutter
Consumers tune out Banner and Display ads. Only 0.05% of users click on banner ads (SmartInsights) at all, as rising distrust has led users to ignore them completely – a phenomenon now dubbed “Banner Blindness.” On the other hand, 85% of internet users don’t feel their browsing experience is hindered at all by Native Ads (Adweek), and nearly ⅔ of consumers find Native Ads interesting and informative (NAI). Users are TWICE as likely to click on Native Ads since they’re in the feed of consumption in a contextually-relevant placement (SmartInsights), emphasizing the importance of contextual targeting and optimization.
⇒ You might like: Back to Basics: What is Native Advertising?
4) Native Performs Through the Funnel
Native drives results. Not only does it support upper funnel brand awareness efforts, but it increases performance at the mid- and lower-stages of the funnel, from consideration through to conversion. Native ads register an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than standard banner ads and have proven to boost in-store traffic by 21% – and more efficiently than standard display ads (Sharethrough). Native not only engages consumers, but pushes them to the next stage in the purchase path, bringing audiences closer to conversion.
5) Publishers Are Shifting to Accommodate Native
The digital landscape has shifted. Publishers are developing their sites to accommodate more Native placements, including 75% of US publishers offering opportunities for placement already (NAI). By 2020 almost ⅔ of display spending will shift to Native, making Native Advertising a $53 billion business (eMarketer, March 2019). Native IS the new format.
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Last week, Bidtellect swarmed the inaugural ContentTECH Summit in San Diego, CA as the platinum sponsor. We were proud to be at the forefront of a conference filled of content game-changers and digital gurus, spreading the content distribution gospel to eager audiences. While we wish we could stay in sunny San Diego forever, we can reminisce on our favorite parts of the invigorating conference. Here are our top 5 favorite takeaways.
1. The New NEW Content Stack Panel.
What a power panel. This group represented each phase of the content cycle: determine what to create to best represent your goals/brand, how to create the very best and most engaging content, and then how to distribute it effectively and get it in front of the right eyeballs. Sitting on the panel included Lon Otremba, Bidtellect’s CEO, Corrinne Schmid of ScribbleLIVE, and Marty Muse of Vennli. Cruce Saunders did an incredible job moderating, guiding discussion, finding connections, and giving high-level overviews and bite-sized summaries. At each turn, panelists discussed the importance of using technology and advancements in AI to your advantage when creating and distributing content, but not to a fault – nothing can replace a human writing beautifully. AI and advanced optimization technology (hi Bidtellect!) can place content in the most contextually relevant placements for optimum engagement. A huge takeaway? 5% of content gets 95% of engagement. And Lon’s quotes were heavily quoted and trending on Twitter, especially “If content is King then content distribution is King Kong.” Amen.
Lon Otremba, Corinne Schmid, and Marty Muse on the New New Content Stack Panel moderated by Cruce Saunders. Image courtesy of Content Marketing Institute.
2. Location Location.
This may seem like a small detail, but it honestly made such a difference. Kudos to the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. Right on the Marina, the views from the hotel windows were incredible, as was our final rooftop lunch overlooking the water. More importantly, though, the staff at every turn was helpful and so kind. When one of my vendors was lost on his way to drop of our booth furniture, the head of valet personally spoke to him on the phone and guided him to the right entrance, while another team member rode in his truck with him. It’s hard to put into words how much extra stress that relieved. Help was at every turn – from the wait staff to the onsite UPS store to the concierge. The beautiful weather and poolside cocktail receptions were also gorgeous and made for spirited and happy conversations after sessions all day! Oh, and the food. Oh my goodness. So much and so good.
3. Lounge Seating is the Key to Booth Love. So Are Live Demos.
The bustling Bidtellect Booth!
That’s right, if there’s anything our savvy Head of Marketing Missy Steiner taught us, a place to sit brings people by the droves. We set up an awesome lounge in our booth space with sleek white couches, a white coffee table where we displayed ample collateral and yummy candy to snack on, and a cool high top table and seating to chat and work at. Everybody wanted to come hang. We accentuated this with a TV monitor that displayed an original promo video with stats on stats. Speaking of Key Booth Experiences, we also did two LIVE DEMOS of the platform. Our COO Jason Boshoff walked through putting creative assets into the platform to create optimal Native Ads and showed viewers what they looked like out on the web. Amazing. It really helped attendees understand at a concrete level what we’re capable of.
4. Your Brain on Content Matters.
The Bidtellect team all agreed that this was one of the most interesting sessions at the Summit. Cognitive Neuroscientist Carmen Simon of Memzy gave a full presentation on the brain, focus, stimulating interest, and how to create memorable messages. This means everything from asking questions (“Do you agree?”) to using movement and video for key statements at pointed times, plus habits to adopt, color schemes, communication styles, creating relevance, and more. I’m counting down to when these slides become available so I can memorize them. Some key new habits to adopt: Allow for some similarity and then deviate from the pattern. Balance abstract and concrete content. Direct focus and clarify the reward.
Carmen Simon of Memzy. Image courtesy of Content Marketing Institute.
5. Henry Rollins.
What. A. Powerhouse. The Summit’s closing keynote speaker was Henry Rollins: singer, writer, actor, speaker, podcast host, leader, and advocate. He is the ULTIMATE power content creator. His message was simple: your words matter. You can use your power to do good or you can be reckless with it. He took us through his own story: stumbling into becoming the lead singer of rock band Black Flag with no money to his name, to creating his own band Rollins Band, to acting, to writing numerous books and columns, and then to traveling the world and speaking to troops, at hospitals, and conferences, to launching a podcast, he understands the power of messaging and the beauty that the right content distribution can bring. The message you send matters. This man was full of energy, humor, and wonder, and proof that staying true to yourself can not only determine your path but inspires others to do the same.
Henry Rollins. Image courtesy of Content Marketing Institute.
And remember, those are SCREEN CLEANERS in your schwag bag, guys! 😂
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