This Week in Digital Advertising: August 7th, 2020

This Week in Digital Advertising: August 7th, 2020

Hello, Bidtellectuals! Wow, it’s August! What a summer. Congratulations to Star Bidtellectuals Jonno Burden, Todd Green, and Lysa Vincent for their mega team power! 

Goodbye TikTok? Hello Instagram Reels.

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday banning transactions with ByteDance,  the parent company of popular app TikTok. The order takes place in 45 days and makes any transactions between ByteDance and U.S. citizens outlawed for national security reasons. It’s not a direct ban, but this would mean a halt in advertising and likely a removal of the app from app stores. A similar order was passed banning transactions with WeChat, which has a smaller presence in the U.S.

TikTok has threatened legal action, saying the executive order was “issued without any due process” and would risk “undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law.”

Right on time, Instagram launched its TikTok competitor, Reels, on Wednesday in 50 markets. It’s yet another example of parent company Facebook’s typical “if you can’t buy it, copy it” strategy, wrote Adexchanger. And honestly, if you haven’t checked it out, sometimes I scroll through it and accidentally think I’m on TikTok instead of Instagram.

Remember Cookies? This is Still a Thing.

Coronavirus may have clouded the collective industry memory, but the shift to a cookie-free future is still rolling. Firefox and Safari browsers have blocked third-party cookies. Google Chrome will do the same by 2022. Contextual targeting (targeting based on the information available on the page or site of the ad space, rather than user data) and Universal ID (a unique, shared identifier amongst the industry – see TTD 2.0 one) solutions will be jumping off point. Read more here so you know what’s happening and steps we’re taking. 

“Better be Nice to the Boomers” Says eMarketer

eMarketer’s latest report on the state of spend by generation points to some obvious ones: Gen Z and Millennials have significantly increased their digital spend during the pandemic (65% and 63% increase, respectively), which is great news for digital advertisers. So have Baby Boomers, but at a lower rate:  47% have increased their online spending during the pandemic. Even though that’s less than their younger cohorts, they hold the largest share of wealth, are least likely to be affected by the current high unemployment,  and are more likely to own their own homes – so they are above-average-spenders. It’s time to adjust messaging and targeting to get a greater share of that Boomer money, honey.

Google’s DV360 Testing Out Programmatic Audio

Google launched new programmatic sales capabilities for audio publishers in their Ad Manager on Thursday. This is their first time they’re venturing into audio after growing interest from publishing partners. Is this the future? Maybe.

Good News: Beyoncé, Roger Federer, and the Other Cookies

Last week we were obsessing over Taylor Swift, this week it’s been all Beyoncé. I mean how stunning is her visual album? TGFNMFQDAP (Thank God For New Music From Queens During a Pandemic – yes, I obviously made that up). If you’re looking for a wholesome feel-good-can’t-stop-smiling-moment, watch Roger Federer surprise the two junior tennis players who went viral for playing tennis across their roofs in Italy. The trio hit some balls then eat some pasta together because…it’s a Barilla commercial. Finally, New York’s favorite bakery, Levain, will soon sell their famous cookies in grocery stores. Yes!

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Up Your Game: 5 High Impact Creatives for Max Native Engagement

Up Your Game: 5 High Impact Creatives for Max Native Engagement

Advertisers: “High impact” may sound like a buzzword, but it makes a real difference for engagement. Here’s how to upgrade your Native Ad creatives to grab attention and keep it. I’m not talking basic “how to write a headline” – this is a little more advanced. Note: this is strictly from the creative standpoint – I don’t go into tech / platform capabilities to better optimize creative, such as creative optimization, placement, dynamic rendering, etc. Stay tuned for that in Part 2!

1. Images: Bright Colors, Personal Focus

It’s time to channel your inner-influencer! Bright colors and aesthetically pleasing images always have the highest engagement. And happy people as the main focal point always perform well. Animals and children, even better. 

BTW, looking to upgrade your creative during the pandemic? Read this: How to Refresh Your Coronavirus Ads to Connect With Consumers and Bring Hope

2. Video

I mean, duh. There’s a reason why video is the fastest growing ad type: it’s the OG high impact creative. Programmatic video ad spend is still expected to increase 11.6% in 2020, even with the pandemic, according to eMarketer. In-ad video capabilities are improving constantly, and now there’s better tracking of engagement thanks pause-out-of-view and autoplay behaviors. Vertical video packs a bunch over mobile so videos can be viewed on-the-go.  The key with Native is that it blends seamlessly into the environment, so videos don’t attack you like some of those ugly banner ones.  

3. Cinemagraphs 

Cinemagraph literally means part cinema (moving image) and part photograph (static image). The format combines the movement of a video with the stillness of an image – usually just one part of it moves.  Cinemagraphs are highly effective at telling a short story and conveying a specific setting or emotion. Viewers can feel as if they are physically there. They are also more cost effective than full-length videos. One advertising agency found that cinemagraph content tends to have more virality, with 71% higher organic reach than still photographs. Talk about high impact.

Read more about Cinemagraphs: Bring Your Content to Life with Cinemagraphs

 

4. Carousel

Feel like you want to tell more with your ad than just a headline and description? Tell a story through multiple images that you can scroll through with carousel. It’s like a mini instagram post! Carousels drive maximum in-unit engagement and captivate users. They are also extremely useful and popular for information requirements, such as pharmaceutical ads. 

This leading shoe retailer saw a huge jump in CTR thanks to high impact Carousel and Scroller Units: Leading Shoe Retailer Sees Impressive 0.67% CTR With Bidtellect

5. Scroller Units

Scroller units are an eye-catching experience for the user – using a parallax effect, it is when you scroll through content the ad seems to appear from behind the publisher page. It’s so cool! Scroller units drive impact and clicks since they are so memorable. You’ll seem pretty advanced – doesn’t every brand want that?

These 5 high impact creatives will transform your native ad engagement! If you have questions about how to use these with our platform, ask your account manager or reach out to us! Our in-house creative team are pros at making creatives shine. 

Want more examples? Check out our Case Studies!

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This Week in Digital Advertising: July 31th, 2020

This Week in Digital Advertising: July 31th, 2020

Hello Bidtellectuals! Hope you’re staying cool and safe. Congratulations to Star Bidtellectual Karl Hentschel!

Which Industries are Surviving (Thriving?) this Pandemic

MediaRadar’s Tea with Todd webinar offered some great insights into changes in consumer advertising during the pandemic. Some big takeaways: Streaming services (ad spend up 284% YoY) and food subscription boxes (up 130% YoY) are crushing it, duh. (eMarketer also forecast that food and beverage will be the fastest-growing ecommerce category this year, with year-over-year growth of 58.5%.) But RVs are outplaying us all! To save those summer travel plans, ad spend is up 400% YoY and in June, 80% of RVs sold were to first time buyers. Road trip, anyone?

High Impact Creative Guarantees Engagement

By the way, are you getting the most engagement out of your creative? For Native Ads, packing a punch with eye-catching creative assets is everything. If you haven’t yet, check out How to Refresh Your Coronavirus Ads to Connect With Consumers and Bring Hope. Then watch our video for five ways to really up your creative assets to “high impact.” Isn’t that what we all want?

The [insert adjective] Antitrust Hearing

The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust grilled execs from Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon on industry dominance at a virtual hearing on Wednesday. Words that I’ve read to describe it include “meandering” “showdown” “historic” and “ironically streamed on Google-owned Youtube.” The hearing aimed to uncover whether or not anti-trust action should be taken, as all four have exhibited common patterns of anticompetitive behavior and exploitative practices, though each in different ways and to varying degrees. As CNET points out “No single rule, law or action will likely fix them all.”

Other News: TTD Unified ID 2.0

The Trade Desk is building out the second iteration of its Unified ID. Unified ID 2.0 will rely on encrypted email addresses, not third-party cookies and the new version will hopefully avoid friction since it’s open-source – the entire digital industry can shape and ultimately participate in it.

Good News: Impossible Foods, folklore, and Architectural Digest

Faux-meat brand Impossible Foods will now be in Walmart stores! The deal with Walmart and other retail locations across the country increases the company’s physical footprint 50x. Taylor Swift dropped a surprise album and if you haven’t listened to it yet what are you even doing?? the last great american dynasty and cardigan are currently playing on repeat – what are your favorites? Read this interview on the process – it was all virtual! I am crushing hard on the latest “Inside AD” video of Kendall Jenner’s home designed by Kathleen and Tommy Clements and Waldo Fernandez. Does anyone else think this is basically just MTV cribs but with better editing? ~The power of marketing.~ ~Tell me I’m wrong~

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This Week in Digital Advertising: July 17th, 2020

This Week in Digital Advertising: July 17th, 2020

Hello Bidtellectuals! We’re halfway through July – can you believe it? Congratulations to Star Bidtellectual DUO Jason Taylor and Helgi Ragnarsson! We don’t know what we’d do without you. 

B2B & Coronavirus: The Digital Opportunity

B2B sales during coronavirus are holding steady thanks to ecommerce. In fact, the pandemic has accelerated a clear shift to ecommerce, online sales, and digital events due to the new work-from-home normal. The problem is B2Bs are spending more on content creation than on distribution: 43% of US B2B Marketers are reallocating event marketing budgets not used because of coronavirus to content creation. The golden opportunity is digital advertising, and experts are urging B2Bs to shift to digital advertising now more than ever. Read more and download our one sheet here

Privacy Wars

The EU struck down the US-EU Privacy Shield, the transatlantic data-sharing framework. Europe is basically saying that their data standards can be trusted but those in the US cannot, according to Jonathan Kewley. More than 5,300 companies, most of them small or medium enterprises, rely on the Privacy Shield, and will now need additional contractual agreements directly with users to continue using data on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Latest Twitter-Gate

Ah, another social media scandal. Will these ever end? This one is kind of scary: on Wednesday dozens of big names in politics, tech, and entertainment posted similar messages on Twitter: send Bitcoin and the user would send back double your money. Some of the names: Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Kanye West, Joseph R. Biden Jr, and Elon Musk. Unable to stop the tweets at first, Twitter disabled the ability of verified users to tweet for a couple of hours. One theory points to a Twitter employee hacking the accounts in exchange for a payout. What if a more sinister tweet were administered from a world leader, let’s say?  I mean, I feel like it might be time to switch your social ads over to a more brand-safe platform if you haven’t yet?? Download our onesheet.

The Move: Car Sales, Rideshares, and Public Transit 

Uber is eyeing public transit. The OG ride-sharing app announced Thursday that it has acquired Routematch, an Atlanta-based company that provides software to more than 500 transit agencies. Routematch’s software provides trip planning, vehicle tracking, payment and tools for fixed route transit like buses as well as paratransit services.

And on the topic of cars, the ecommerce wand has touched car sales this pandemic, too. Online sales normally only account for 1% of all used car transactions, but now the number of people willing to buy a car online recently doubled, from 32% to 61%, according to a CarGurus survey in April. The logistics of buying and delivering cars online is still working out the kinks, but this may be the future?!

Good News: Honeybees, Staycations, and Royal Weddings

The honeybee population bounced back after a brutal previous winter.  Check out this Summer Safety Guide from “safecations” to beach safety to camping – the hottest new vacation trend. I ordered this super cute variety pack of face masks and now my outfits & mask can coordinate! And Princess Beatrice married fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a private ceremony in Windsor Castle. Apparently only twenty people attended! Imagine. (Any other Crown fans out there?)

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B2B and Coronavirus: The Digital Advertising Opportunity

B2B and Coronavirus: The Digital Advertising Opportunity

B2B sales during coronavirus are holding steady thanks to ecommerce. Adapting to work-from-home and digital events is key. The golden opportunity is digital advertising, according to data.

The Good News: B2B Product Sales are Happening Now Thanks to Ecommerce

The pandemic has accelerated a clear shift to ecommerce and online sales. Online purchases have not only risen from last year to this year, but from pre- to post-onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Tech, financial services, and energy are benefiting the greatest out of the the B2B sectors. Digital strategies will need to adjust to keep up – including shifting to greater digital advertising efforts and online sales use. 

  • The number of online B2B purchases has risen from 41% before lockdown to 46% during lockdown (Wunderman Thompson Commerce via MarTech Series, June 2020)
  • B2B online purchases have increased by 24% since last year. (Wunderman Thompson Commerce via MarTech Series, June 2020)
  • There is a 23% increase in the worldwide average company revenue share driven by ecommerce before vs. during the coronavirus pandemic. Research (McKinsey & Company)
  • Even in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of US B2B buyers are currently considering purchases for their business (LeadMD via eMarketer, April 2020). 

These are the B2B sectors experiencing minimal impact (as compared with others), according to eMarketer, May 2020:

  • Tech and telecom (21%)
  • Financial services (28%) 
  • Energy and utilities (29%)

 

B2B Sales Strategy & Budget is Shifting From Live to Digital 

With live/in-person events canceled en masse in mid-March and continuing concerns around face-to-face meetings (most offices won’t be opening until 2021), B2Bs are adjusting their strategy and leaning on digital channels.Virtual events, email reach out, and Zoom meetings are the new normal.

This is not just a temporary fix; this will likely be a permanent strategy in the future. B2B marketers are even preferring digital reach out, and are recognizing the value in digital marketing and interactions. 

  • Almost 90% of sales have moved to a videoconferencing (VC)/phone/web sales model, and while some skepticism remains, more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19. (McKinsey, April 2020)
  • The same goes for live events: 49% of US B2B marketers replaced some of their live events with digital ones, while 19% used digital to replace most of their events (B2B Marketing Zone via eMarketer, March 2020)
  • B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions in the future.  (McKinsey & Company, April 2020) 

 

The B2B Opportunity: Digital Advertising

Buyers are online, and they are looking for answers to their company’s problems. Digital marketing, in the form of content marketing and distribution through high-quality digital advertising to scale, will be able to carry the load to reach target consumers, increase awareness and brand favorability, and establish B2Bs as a trusted source of expert information. Problems that include: downsizing, shifts to virtual, and greater technology needs. 

“Without in-person events fueling the top of the funnel with leads, digital channels will need to do that heavy lift, at least short term. It is critical to optimize all channels and weigh how much to spend and where.” (eMarketer, June 2020) 

The problem is B2Bs are spending more on content creation than on distribution. 43% of US B2B Marketers are reallocating event marketing budgets not used because of coronavirus to Content Creation (eMarketer, March 2020). 

The most important action steps B2B marketers can take is sharing the content they are creating with targeted buyers. As our CEO likes to say “If content is king, content distribution is king kong.” If no eyeballs see the content, it’s not worth its creation. Forbes recommended the same in their recent Five Ways To Pivot B2B Marketing Plans During The Pandemic, urging markets to leverage digital advertising as you reallocate marketing dollars. “With people currently spending more time at home and online, now is the time to jump into digital ads if you haven’t yet. Not only can ads help you build brand awareness, but they also can capture new leads”

A year ago in 2019, B2B companies in the US spent $6.08 billion on digital advertising, up 18.7% year over year, according to eMarketer.  Even with this growth, eMarketer stated, B2B companies were slow to shift dollars to digital ads. Many still lacked the foundational data and technology to successfully leverage digital. There’s a gap that needs to be filled. B2B’s would do well to shift dollars and strategy to a full-service programmatic platform that has the technology to target buyers and decision-makers.

Further, utilizing contextual targeting in a digital platform can strategically deliver ads next to relevant content, complementing other intent strategies and delivering deep engagement with B2B’s content. (Read more about Just Media’s successful approach to B2B digital advertising here). Contextual optimization capabilities enable content to go beyond where standard banner and display ads can reach and in front of the eyes of decision-makers like CTOs and CIOs for meaningful engagement.

Another big opportunity: mobile. While more than 70% of total US digital ad dollars will go to mobile formats in 2019, B2Bs will spend just 37.3% of their digital ad dollars on mobile placements in 2019 (eMarketer)

In our opinion, “short term” is short-term thinking. This pandemic will instigate a long-term if not permanent strategy and budget shift to digital.

 

Stay active in messaging: provide valuable information, truthful

Digital advertising will also keep B2Bs in touch with consumers. While some B2Bs paused their communication plans at the start of the pandemic, it should continue now if it hasn’t yet. B2Bs providing content that is relevant and useful will gain traction.  Adjust messaging so it is informative and solution-oriented.  According to eMarketer, B2Bs should show compassion and offer solutions and deals while being consultative during pandemic.

B2B buyers agree. Roughly a third of B2B buyers said they would need more quality and accurate information about what they are buying, while 23% of respondents noted they would need to have more confidence in the purchases they are making. (eMarketer, April 2020). The key is not just shoving information down buyers’ throats, but offering thoughtful, useful solutions and advice (products, services, and technology included) that will make their lives easier. 

This includes catering to working-from-home. If B2Bs offer technology services to make working from home easier, this is their golden opportunity. 

  • 30% of respondents of those spending more purchased videoconferencing software (TrustRadius via eMarketer, April 2020)
  • 15% bought security software, such as VPNs and firewalls, to keep company information protected while working remote. (TrustRadius via eMarketer, April 2020)

WATCH: 5 Ways B2Bs Can Adjust Digital Strategy & Brand Messaging Based on Coronavirus Impact

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This Week in Digital Advertising: July 10th, 2020

This Week in Digital Advertising: July 10th, 2020

Hello Bidtellectuals! It sure does feel like summer… hope you are keeping cool!  Congratulations to Star Bidtellectual Nicholas Herbst!

Is Social Media Advertising Sustainable?

Advertisers are feeling disillusioned with social media platforms. As of this week, more than 750 advertisers have boycotted Facebook. Concerns about safety have been brewing before this (remember Cambridge Analytica?); CCPA went into force on July 1, so the big platforms might soon be held accountable. Users feel distrustful anyway: social media is the least trusted media source at 39%, according to Edelman Trust Barometer, and 42% of users distrust ads on social networks according to a study by Nielson.  Just last year, eMarketer reported that advertising outside social networks and programmatic native advertising are the fastest-growing categories of native.  If you haven’t yet read Edelman’s sweeping 20 Years of Trust about the shifts in the media, political, and social landscape – do. Download our one sheet on social media and adapting assets for the open web. 

The Potential Downfall of TikTok and Quibi 

Meanwhile, TikTok users are panicking because reports emerged that the U.S. was considering banning TikTok and other Chinese-owned social media apps, according to statements made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week. On top of this, the app experienced a glitch where likes and comments were disabled, leading users to think this might be the beginning of the end. It may be the beginning of the end for Quibi, the overhyped under-performing short-form content streaming service. A report says that Quibi lost 92% of its earlier users after free trials expired, but Quibi pushed back and said its count of downloads was incorrect. Still, Quibi spent hundreds of millions of dollars on content, high-profile celebrity partnerships, and marketing on a streaming service that might have thrived pre-Covid, but is now greatly underperforming. Download our one sheet.

ECommerce Will Save Us All  

eMarketer’s latest report shows promise for ecommerce and a permanent shift to digital, and it’s saving the retail sector’s growth trajectory. Ecommerce is poised to grow 18.0% following a 14.9% gain in 2019, reflecting a notable increase in both the number of digital buyers and the average spending per buyer.  Ecommerce sales have been driven by a surge in click-and-collect, allowing US consumers to make immediate purchases while minimizing human contact; click-and-collect growth is expected to hit 60.4% – up from the initial forecast of 38.6%. These gains reflect the pandemic’s impact on new buyers joining the online retail space, including 12.2% growth for those ages 65 and older. Consumers will rely on trustworthy retailers, so the key is to communicate regularly. Messaging should provide value and offer solutions, as well as cater to frugal spending. Read more messaging suggestions here. 

Cancel Culture is Coming for…Cancel Culture

And speaking of social media, cancel culture is coming for everyone. Or is it? An open letter published in Harper’s and signed by authors, editors, journalists, and others including JK Rowling, Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, and Malcom Gladwell, took aim at the pitfalls of the “cancel culture” including stifling dissent, free speech, and, ultimately, prohibiting advancement of society and ideas. For those unaware, cancel culture is this effect of “cancelling” an individual for true problematic actions like blackface or minimalal offenses like insensitive social media posts or simple discourse like publishing an conservative-leaning op-ed in the New York Times. Cancelling refers to demanding a boycott of the person’s work and channels henceforth and can include firing. Celebrities, authors, editors, journalists, influencers, and more have been subject to it. Some actions are unforgivable and “cancelling” is warranted, but it leaves no room for apology or learning and moving forward. It assumes a kind of moral authority and a rigid, unchangeable human spirit. Still, the letter itself has its own criticisms, saying that the well-respected writers of the letter are just seeking to protect themselves from criticism and itself comes off as whiney and privileged – ironic, no?

Good News: Free Wedding Gowns, Mary W. Jackson, and Dad YouTube Star

Massachusetts-based nonprofit Brides Across America is giving away wedding gowns to health care heroes in communities around the country. NASA named its D.C. headquarters for Mary W. Jackson, its first Black woman engineer that was part of the computing unit featured in the movie Hidden Figures. And this Dad is a new YouTube star for his adorable how-to video series called “Dad, How Do I?” The videos answer everyday questions like how to tie a tie, iron a men’s shirt, swap a car battery, and unclog a drain. My heart is warmed!  

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