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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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Last week, Bidtellect held its annual company all-hands meeting in Delray Beach, Florida. We managed to bring together all of our employees from around the country for a jam-packed, informative three days – with a little fun, of course. One thing is for certain – and it hasn’t changed since my first day at Bidtellect – I love this company and I love the people I work with.
Here are the top ten reasons I’m proud to be a Bidtellectual.
1. Our CEO is Awesome.
Our conference kicked off with a lovely party hosted by our CEO… at his home. How many CEOs do you know that would open up his or her home to the entire company? Talk about generous. Talk about awesome.
At any given time, every employee knows exactly how the company is doing – from new sales opportunities to tech planning to our marketing endeavors, we are well-informed on the status of each department and the trajectory of the business.
We work with some of the most brilliant people in the business – and we’re paving the way to the digital advertising future. There’s no greater excitement that comes from walking into a workplace every day where you know you’re going to learn something new.
Not only does Bidtellect support a healthy work/life balance (hello, Responsible Adult Vacation Policy!), but from the minute you start at Bidtellect, you are part of one big work family, too. Many make it a priority to pick up kids from school, make it to family events, and leave at a reasonable hour to spend time at home – and my Bidtellect family respects that.
5. We Work as a Team.
It’s rare for just one person to get a shout out during our weekly meetings. When Bidtellectuals have a project to tackle, we collaborate in groups or pods to get things done as a team.
I work in a department where my creativity is explored, supported, and challenged every day. In this business, we are constantly exploring new and creative ideas on how to package our products and solutions, as well as provide creative custom solutions for our customers.
Our tech team is constantly innovating. Each week they make updates to our platform, improve the way it works, constantly check the systems in accordance with quality standards, and create the most advanced bidding and placements technologies out there.
8. WE LOVE OUR CUSTOMERS.
We take a customer-centric approach to everything we do in every department. We even had a “Shark Tank” team building exercise last week to figure out how we can improve and do EVEN MORE for our clients. Watching each team work together was inspiring and the ideas that came out of this were incredibly unique.
9. We Empower Women.
Bidtellect understands the importance of a balanced, representative workforce – and just under half of all employees are women with roles in leadership, director, and C-level positions.
10. We Have FUN.
Did we mention we have fun doing it? From post-work dinner cruises and themed potlucks, we know how to have a great time.
Missy Steiner is the Vice President Marketing at Bidtellect.
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Each quarter we provide a high-level overview of the Native Advertising ecosystem so that marketers can have a deeper understanding of their content distribution strategies. This quarter, in addition to trends in Standard Native, we are taking a look creative best practices across devices, ad formats, multiple verticals and KPIs.
One of the biggest benefits of Native Advertising is the opportunity for brands to engage their audiences with high-quality creative and content. Native ads are not offer-driven or intrusive like banner ads, but value-driven content provided for consumers in organic, immersive environments. But for this to be effective, brands need to understand how to best create and deliver smart, engaging content to consumers.
Bidtellect’s in-house creative services team, [b]+studio, has a deep knowledge and expertise in developing high-performing creatives across devices, ad formats, campaign objectives and verticals. Based on experience and performance, we created multiple best practices to follow, for example: Educate, entertain and bring value, Use Compelling Headlines that are Value driven vs. Offer Driven, Facilitate concern, doubt or worry, Offer to educate or solve problems, Ask questions, Choose authentic, emotional images, Use bright colorful images etc.
For the Q3 2017 Native Intelligence report, we took a deep dive into the best practices for creating and executing premium creative that drives results for brands. [b]+studio analyzed over 100 campaign creatives in Q3 2017 across the fashion, travel and tech industries to reveal important creative best practices and insights.
For Successful Fashion Creative, Ask Questions and Be Educational:
- Creatives that ask questions drove high Engagement Score results on all devices
- Headlines that ask questions had very high performance. For example:
- Using questions creates intrigue. They immediately draw the reader in, driving engagement.
- Headlines that are compelling, educational and value-driven also performed very well across all units.
- Campaigns performed best when the product is showcased.
- Use bright colorful images to attract consumers.
- In-feed and In-ad on mobile drove high Engagement Scores for both clothing and shoe campaigns
Across the Bidtellect platform, we found that within the fashion category CTR is typically higher on mobile than desktop, but Engagement Score is higher on desktop than mobile. In terms of specific Native ad types, Engagement score for fashion brands’ content is highest on In-Feed formats but CTR is highest on Recommendation Widgets.
Travel Content Performs With Call to Actions and Bright Images:
- Call to action performs best for the Travel vertical both in headline or description. For example:
- The most popular ad format was In-Feed.
- Using the call to action creative best practice drove the highest CTR.
- The Listicle, Call to action and “How to” best practices delivered the best performance for Engagement Score
- Using bright colorful images and having people in relevant settings performed best
Taking a closer look at the travel category we found similar trends by device. CTR is typically higher on mobile than desktop, but Engagement Score is higher on desktop than mobile. In terms of specific Native ad types, travel brands’ content Engagement score is highest on In-Feed formats but CTR is highest on Recommendation Widgets.
With Tech Content, Consumers Will React by Facilitating Worry or Doubt:
- Headline and Descriptions that facilitate worry or doubt had an average Engagement Score of 7.5 and a CTR average of .52%.
- Asking questions and offering to educate and inform performed best in this vertical. For example:
- Desktop In-feed drove the most conversions.
- Tablets drove the highest CTR with an average of .51%.
- Creatives that display products in the creative had an average Engagement Score of 8.3 and a CTR of .14%
More specifically for the tech category, we found that CTR is significantly on mobile than desktop. Similarly, Engagement Score is significantly higher on desktop than mobile. In terms of Native ad types, travel brands’ content Engagement score is highest on In-Feed formats but CTR is highest on In-Ad.
Key Native Trends from Q3 2017
Mobile CTR was higher than desktop by nearly 30%.
Conversions were the primary campaign objective this quarter. Engagement continues to be an important indicator of success for marketers in their Native campaigns and Video (including cost per completed view and play rate) is on the rise.
Goal Type Utilization Q1 2017: CTR: 36% Engagement: 17% Conversions: 42% Video 5%
In Q3 2017 Shopping related content was the most engaging. The third quarter includes back to school, shopping for new fall styles, fall season sales and the holidays on the horizon. The second most engaging type of content was travel.
See below for previous quarterly reports: