Monday, November 30, 2015

Data and a Digital Marketing Mindset

This Bloomberg article briefly talks about data based on digital marketing, and how difficult it is to derive meaning from it.

With every move we make on the internet being recorded and later analyzed by companies for trends, preferences and more, big data has a big role to play going forward.


E-commerce is transforming Black Friday

Long hours of waiting in the queues for the bargain deals in Black Friday weekend is becoming a thing in the past, according to this FT article. Early indications show that online sales in Thanksgiving increased by more than 25% to $1.73billion in 2015, according to an Adobe Digital Index research which tracked an online traffic of 180 million visits through the day. Mobile sales increased from 29% to 37%, showing yet again that m-commerce is now a prominent channel by itself. Black Friday sales also saw an increase of 14% in online sales, reaching $2.74 billion. The shift to e-commerce and m-commerce is definitely a threat for traditional brick-and-mortar stores, which are continuing to invest on omnichannel capabilities in order to address consumers with a more integrated value proposition. Multichannel efforts seems to be paying off for retailers; according to Walmart’s Chief Merchandising Officer, Steve Bratspies, “more than 25 million customers accessed store maps and promotions through Walmart’s online and mobile tools for Black Friday.” 


Tiff over rights for old seasons of the popular show Homeland

It was interesting to read this article after last week's guest speaker and the discussion around rights for the shows. How this has evolved especially in this age of streaming and instant viewing. 

Homeland is such a popular show and it's also interesting to note how the various parties in this transaction react and make statements. Netflix has told studios it will discount fees for streaming reruns by about 30% if TV networks make full seasons available on-demand.


Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and wearables open a new landscape for marketing

Ambient interactivity in public places (VR, AR, wearable technologies) is expected to significantly grow over the next five years, creating a new landscape for marketers. 
Some of the more common forms of ambient interactivity include interactive windows and interactive tables, which are being leveraged to deliver informational, marketing, and entertainment applications.

In fact, wearable technology—from Google Glass to Apple's iWatch to the Fitbit—is poised to become a billion-dollar industry worldwide. Analyst firm Juniper Research predicted that wearable spending would hit $1.4 billion in 2013 and will reach a staggering $19.0 billion by 2018. 

And where consumers go, marketers follow. The marketing promise of wearables is tantalizingly apparent. For example, it's no stretch to imagine consumers in a shopping mall targeted with personalized, relevant advertising via their wearable device. And that may happen sooner rather than later. Qualcomm Retail Solutions' platform Gimbal already enables retailers to scan customers' smartphones to deliver timely personalized content. And just last week mobile powerhouse Hipcricket announced that its AD LIFE platform will now support website rendering and text messaging technology across wearable technology, such as Google Glass.


In-app ads fastest growing sector of mobile advertising

Someday we may live in a world where ads aren’t pesky, interruptive distractions.
Spending on in-app advertising is expected to reach $17 billion by 2018, according to a report by Juniper Research. This amount is up dramatically from the $3.5 billion spent in 2013, and makes in-app advertising the fastest growing sector of the mobile advertising market.
Mobile advertising, to put it simply, is where the money is.
Juniper predicted in October that mobile advertising will grow over 300 percent to $40 billion over the next five years. Facebook went from almost no mobile revenue, to a whopping 41 percent of its revenue coming from mobile apps, and a third of Google’s paid clicks are now on mobile devices. Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 1.07.17 PMWithin the world of mobile advertising, experts view in-app advertising as the future. 
App ad company MediaBrix found that in-app ads can yield 20 percent engagement and 2,000% higher click-through. Consumers would rather see ads than pay for apps, however banner ads are easy to ignore, and interruptive ads are irritating.
In-app advertising is [ideally] more effective because it enables advertisers to target people with the right ad at the right time — capturing their attention without being annoying, encouraging interaction, giving them greater control over the situation.
As VentureBeat’s John Koetsier put it, we like ads don’t suck, fit into our current context, and give us something we want. Shocking.
Juniper said advancements in “rich media ads” (meaning ads that expand when users click or roll over them, and provide interactive content) have contributed to the growth of in-app ads. Rich media ad spend is expected to surpass display ad spend by 2018.
Another factor here is improved targeting capabilities.
The report’s author Sian Rowlands said that there is a clear trend towards “utilizing location-based advertising to drive greater relevance.” Advertisers and ad networks now have the ability to collect and process large amounts of consumer data, and quickly leverage that information into a targeted ad.
Finally, Juniper argues that tablets will “propel” spending on in-app ads. According to the report, smartphones currently account for around 70% of in-app adspend. CPMs (cost per 1,000 impressions) are higher with tablets than smartphones, particularly for rich media ads, and by 2018, the tablet/smartphone adspend split will be 50/50.


How location-based mobile marketing can boost your sales

By now, most understand that display ads typically target consumers based on their online behavior — websites visited, keywords searched or content read. But, with the number of mobile users growing rapidly – more than 17 million Canadians are using smartphones to go online – ad targeting is expected to shift.
One of the new, and as yet under-used, approaches is location-based mobile marketing, meaning inferring intent or motivation based on people’s location (as identified by the GPS in their smartphones), and serving them relevant ads and/or messages designed to get them to take action.
Whether searching for restaurant recommendations or getting directions, people rely on mobile devices as a vital source of information affecting purchase decisions. So having your messages appear on consumers’ mobile devices can be an effective marketing tool.
Whether referred to as geolocating, geofencing or proximity marketing, they all aim to target consumers and influence behaviour based on their location through an app.
Imagine setting up a ‘geo-fence’ to a specific proximity of your retail store, and every time a person who has your app on their phone enters that ‘geo-fence,’ they encounter a push notification with a promotion to a product or service in your store. MDG Advertising says 72 per cent of consumers say they will respond to calls-to-action in marketing messages they receive within sight of the retailer.
So how does location-based mobile marketing work? Most apps require location services to be turned on for them to function on your phone, which in turn transmits the co-ordinates of every place you go. (It’s the reason Instagram, for example, knows where you are when you want to tag a photo with your location.) That doesn’t mean someone is physically tracking your location, only that your location may automatically trigger a message being pushed to you.


TV ads will now be re-targeted through mobile channel

Millennial Media, a leading advertising network, has now started to allow advertisers to retarget their customers by combining the traditional and the upcoming channels in advertising. Customers will now be retargeted through their mobile devices with the ads that they have seen on television. This novel advertising technique resulted from a vertical integration of services, as Millennial Media was recently acquired by AOL, which was recently acquired by Verizon. As Tim Armstrong, the AOL Chief Executive, puts, “this is the year when TV and web budgets are going to collide.” This is by no means a surprise; mobile advertising is the fastest growing channel but the majority of ad spending is still on broadcast and cable channels. Millennial’s move will accelerate big brands’ spending in mobile, as retailers will now be able to follow up a TV spot with a mobile video ad, in ways that traditional TV channel would never be able to achieve, like location-based offerings.


Publishers' Adaptive Strategies against Ad-Blocking

This year has been one big coming-out party for ad blocking. Thanks to Apple’s high-profile entry into the space, ad blocking has greatly increased its traction, resulting in more users leveraging tools like AdBlock and Adblock Plus to remove ads from a website. By deploying massive “filter lists”, ad blockers target not only display ads but also sponsored content widgets from Taboola and Outbrain. Even the so-called native ads can fall victim to it.

Ad blockers have a “block everything rule” that makes donation buttons, visitor counters and analytic tools no longer work. There are also other filter rules to block loading images and requests to third-party services. Publishers include in the “block everything” list will see their page view numbers go down, further affecting their ad revenue.

Video has become another ad-blocking battleground for publishers. Marketers have been negotiating with software providers to define the “appropriate” video format. According to Adblock Plus, it strived to optimize users’ video viewing experience by allowing only those that need to be clicked to play and cannot be pre-roll before other content.

Publishers have also decided to target only at interested users in response to this trend, driving programmatic advertising  such as Google DoubleClick on fire. In addition to better targeting, Google has made moves to increase the speed of mobile pages and to allow flexible ad placements so that banners would appear on the most suitable platform.

Other publishers have expended more money in new advertising formats, such as Skippable YouTube Ads, which leave users with greater discretions. YouTube’s new ads appear either in-display, which is on the queue of related videos to the right, or in-stream, which are the pre-roll ads that can be skipped after five seconds. YouTube’s targeting tools allowed retailers’ resources going to viewers who have demonstrated interest in the ad. In addition, since research has shown that retail ads seeing the most engagement weren’t utility driven, but were instead the entertaining ones, brands and publishers started to feature more product demos, testimonials and how-to videos so as to increase their products’ awareness.

Relevant Links:


Email Marketing in the Mobile Age

112 billions business emails are being sent everyday, 93 billion private mails. Even though it is not perceived as a very "hip" channel, after more then a decade of successful usage, email marketing still is tremendously relevant. 

With the mobile internet on the rise, sending and receiving mails brings new challenges but also opportunities. The obvious advantage is the fact that with our mobile devices we are always online and many check their mails even more frequently then on a PC. 
On the other hand, conversion rates of mails being opened on mobile devices are much worse. This is mainly because most people do not make purchasing decisions while they are on the go. Furthermore, many people have a higher feeling of trust when they are online on a home PC. Also, it is still hard to track people's interactions and purchasing behavior across multiple devices. 

If you research for the best practices of email marketing, most tips have been around for quite some time:

1. Relevant content: Here it will be exciting to see, if automized content can be increasingly contextualized to address people individually in their (mobile) environment

2. Intelligent Personalization (see 1.)

3. Holistic and integral communication across all channels

4. Modern email marketing tool-architecture that allows a data-driven and comprehensive CRM.

5. Staying creative in the way you approach customers or leads (despite automatization and data-drivenness) 

6. One last important point is the format of the mobile screen. Thorsten Blöcker, head of consulting at the marketing agency Netnomics, says in a blog post: marketeers should try to make their mobile mails as interactive and compact as an app. 

This video shows an example how mobile mails can be optimized for the channel and how content can be adapted to a small screen.

It will be exciting how email as a channel will evolve in the mobile age. If email marketeers make their content adaptive to the mobile screen and if data-driven personalization is used more and more for a creative address, its relevance could further increase. 


Black Friday Shopping - The Internet Wins!

It was reported that online was for the first time generating more sales than traditional offline channels during the annual black friday sale. This is yet another sign for how fast shopper habits are changing. More and more people appreciate the convenience of online shopping, many deals were also already available ahead of time. I think this is a very interesting development - what is the purpose of cyber monday if the deals are already happening online a couple of days earlier?

Where did you do your black friday shopping?

WSJ for more details:


Sunday, November 29, 2015

5 Digital Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From Politics

A decade ago, U.S. politics was a technological hinterland, exemplified by Ted Stevens, the head of the Senate Committee on Commerce, referring to the Internet as “series of tubes” that could somehow get jammed up.
Today that has clearly changed. Politicians and the groups affiliated with them use the full spectrum of digital tools available—from websites and social media accounts to sophisticated databases and analytics suites.
Of course, not all of these forays have been successful (case in point: Anthony Weiner). Still, there’s plenty digital marketers can learn—both good and bad—from politics. In particular, here are five recent lessons:
1. Respect Your Email List Subscribers
When the midterm election predictions started looking grim for Democrats earlier this year, someone in the party must have decided to go all-in with email messaging. The outreach started with a few extra emails to subscribers each week and grew into a fevered pitch of seemingly never-ending solicitations.
The flood of desperate messaging prompted Jon Stewart to go on a lengthy rant against the tactic on The Daily Show. A choice line from the broadcast: “Then there are the emails, oh God the emails. With a frequency matched only by a Nigerian prince selling Groupon coupons for boner pills, the emails from the Democrats will not stop.”
The emails were clearly part of a conscious strategy to fight tooth-and-nail to retain control of the Senate this year. The problem, of course, is that while it may lead to a short-term boost in donations, long-term it is a terrible strategy. This sort of extremely aggressive messaging—sometimes two or three times a day—is certain to lead to significant unsubscribes, as well as general antipathy.
2. Your 404 Error Page is an Opportunity
After the last presidential election, the Republicans were seen as being the less tech-savvy party. In 2012, while the Obama camp was making the most of Big Data, Mitt Romney’s get-out-the-vote system couldn’t even function when he needed it most.
The Grand Old Party has recovered well since then. It has closed the technology gap by focusing on both big projects and small tweaks. One of the latter is the 404 error page for, which cleverly takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton’s “dead broke” comment earlier this year.
The small move paid off well, garnering laughs from the faithful and plenty of good press.
The lesson? Every page on your website matters. Also, a second lesson: Sometimes just have fun.
Digital Marketing Lessons to Learn From Politics
3. Your Social Profile Elements are an Opportunity, Too
The Republicans may have gotten the better of Hillary with their 404 page, but she’s shown that she’s plenty digital-savvy as well.
Case in point: Hilary’s social media pages, especially her Twitter profile. Rather than use a standard politician headshot (like Bill does), she cleverly references the Texts From Hillary meme with her profile photo and header.
Moreover, she makes a winking reference to her future presidential plans/non-plans in the description (“…pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD.”).

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Overall, it’s a smart use of profile page elements that many people (and brands) often write off as being unimportant.
Digital Marketing Lessons to Learn From Politics
4. Find Your Own Tone on Twitter
Representative John Dingell was born in 1925, yet has somehow mastered social media better than many Millennials.
How? He (or someone on his staff) found a wonderful middle ground between ignoring social networks and trying to look more hip than would be natural.
Dingell tweets regularly about a mix of topics (politics, sports, technology, etc.), almost always with a dry, self-deprecating tone. His self-swipes about his age and looks are often brilliantly mixed with pop-culture references—which is one of the reasons BuzzFeed labeled him as “probably the best person on Twitter.

5. Consumers’ Media Consumption Habits Have Changed
Finally, some stats and insights from a recent report about voters’ media consumption habits.
The research—from Google, Targeted Digital (a Republican digital consulting firm), and Well & Lighthouse (a Democrat digital consulting firm)—found that less than half of likely voters say live television is their primary way of viewing video content, yet the vast majority of political video budgets go toward traditional television ads.
Basically, there’s a huge gap between where spends are going and where consumers are actually spending their time.
The report’s conclusion: “Campaigns on both sides of the aisle must now adjust to the proliferation of methods to watch video content.”
Those, of course, are important words for not just campaigns, but for all of us.
Discover digital marketing tactics that will accelerate demand and boost salesContact MDG Advertising today at 561-338-7797 or
MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include print advertising, direct mail marketing, branding, logo design, creative, digital marketing, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, Web design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and SEO. To learn about the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG Advertising today at 561-338-7797 or visit


Holiday Season and Digital Marketing

At the time people fall in love with the digital world, we have to admit that it changes everything. Nowadays, more and more customers choose / prefer online shopping, which saves a lot of time and energy. Since people have large amount of choices, the use of digital marketing becomes crucial this winter. In other words, when two competitors promote similar products, timing is everything. 

First of all, we need to release holiday marketing campaign early. According to the article, “approximately 52% of shop do not make an actual sale until November, but will begin browsing as early as September”. In my opinion, customers also will not start buying until late November. More likely, they could either drop the products into shopping cart, or forget about them for now. So the frequency of advertisement is tricky. .

Furthermore, social media plays such an important role the whole holiday season. We can not only use social media to target (and reach out) the potential buyers, but also spread out the words of (for example) certain brand to a bigger population in a cheap and quick way. The best thing is that people will share promotions and deals with their families and friends -- free marketing. The power of recommendation is one of the most efficient strategies for online marketers, and it is capable of growing by itself. 

Last but not least, “free shipping” is definitely the best card. Shipping fee is the biggest disadvantage for online shopping. Especially when people facing substitutes (same price), without doubt, they will choose the one which has lower shipping fee. Therefore, during holiday season, even “discounted shipping” is not enough anymore, and “free shipping” is a basic offer. “According to the 2015 Holiday Shipping Survey produced by Pitney Bowes, 88% of holiday shoppers prefer free shipping”. We need to make customer feel like -- they are lucky to shop online and saving a lot. 


Instagram and its ad platform

With more than 400 million active users, Instagram is now one of the world's largest mobile ads platforms. Its photo and now also available, video sharing features differentiate it aside from other social media platforms such as twitter and facebook. Visual expression’s creative, artistic and chic nature make Instagram a very engaging platform for users and brands can easily resonate with its followers expressing a certain lifestyle spirit. The demographic and behavioral characteristics of Instagram users make the platform a great place for brands to promote brand metrics and interactivities. According to GlobalWebIndex, around 70% of Instagram audience are under 35 and about 53% users follow brands using this platform, ranking the highest among all major social media platforms.

Recently, the platform has launched a new targeting tool for marketers, which allows them to capture the segment of audience who are excited about holiday shopping i.e. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas purchase, by locating keywords and hashtags. A lot of brands are using Instagram to provide gift ideas and promote festive sales. It will alert advertisers when people posting content relevant to holiday buying.

A special thing about Instagram is that it does not have filtering algorithms, which allows ads be seen by a higher percentage of audience comparing to other social media platform which implement filtering algorithms. Instagram also provides good measurement functions for advertisers to evaluate campaigns’ ROI and effectiveness.

However, a weakness of Instagram as a marketing platform is that it lacks behaviorial data beyond the trending hashtags. As mentioned by Sarah Vizard, brands could hardly draw insights on how audience engage on Instagram.



How to Do Mobile Programmatic Right

As programmatic advertising moves into mobile, companies have a tremendous brand-building opportunity with consumers who are spending more and more time on their phones than on any other device.  However, as this article states, capitalizing on this opportunity in a way that builds positive equity towards brands is a difficult endeavor that requires companies to get three things right:

-  First, companies need to consider the timing of when their ads are shown.  Ads are only relevant to consumers when they are actively seeking something.

-  Second, companies need to invest in quality ads that consumers at the very least, can tolerate, and at the very best, enjoy watching.  With consumers constantly being bombarded by advertisements, this is crucial for companies to rise above ad-blockers.

-  Lastly, social media activity gives companies a trove of information on what consumers and their friends are interested in.  To the extent companies are able to capture this information, it provides valuable clues as to what products will be most compelling to consumers.

Clearly, while mobile programmatic is a tremendous opportunity, it is also extremely difficult to do well.  What it all boils down to is how well companies are able to collect and effectively use the enormous amount of data consumers provide on their shopping behaviors, tastes and interests.



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Solving The Persistent Security Threats for The Internet of Things

Original article:

As companies invest increasingly into new technologies and all kinds of connected devices, consumers are becoming more and more concerned, and rightfully so, about the security of the information they are sometimes unwittingly providing.
The industry is evolving quickly as it is still in its infancy stages, and defining a security framework in which to operate is extremely tricky, if not almost impossible. Because the very nature of the Internet of Things requires devices of all sorts to be constantly connected, hacking threats are also pretty much constant and highly likely to occur. Devices in the space are often produced with the user experience in mind, and security concerns are often relegated to an afterthought.
There are ways to tackle rising concerns and data encryption may need to be prioritized to secure more sensitive data.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Five Keys to Nailing Social Video Strategy from the NBA, MLS and Fox Sports

This article does a nice job of framing the challenge leagues, teams and companies face in dissecting the cumbersome world of social media strategy. For instance, the type of content that resonates as a story told on Snapchat isn't necessarily the type of content that'll do well as a moment on twitter. In similar fashion, an Instagram post doesn't necessarily have quite the same impact on Facebook. This conundrum poses the challenge of configuring how to navigate the social media landscape particular when companies know this is an important medium through which to communicate with customers/consumers/fans. At last month's Hashtag SportsFest, executives from the NBA, MLS and Fox sports shared insights on winning social media strategies in an extremely competitive space:

  • Engaging fans with content such as highlights in real time is a strategy that particular resonates with the millennial tech-savvy sports consumer  
  • Prime time content pushes around major events such as MLS' Decision Day which essentially was a successful attempt to 'socially' cover all relevant incidences on the final day of the regular season that ultimately decided which companies made the playoffs 
  • Leveraging the community and following of key personalities and anchors is key to social media success. Examples such as Steven A. Smith, Skip Bayless, Katie Nolan and Clay Travis demonstrate that when journalistic personalities have a clear message and perspective, they are able to drive a level of engagement that in of itself
  • It's essential to get comfortable experimenting as the social media game (to some extent) is about throwing a few different attempts at the wall and seeing what sticks


The impact of wearable devices on digital marketing

The impact of wearable devices on digital marketing
Wearable devices understanding is very important to stay ahead of the curve in digital marketing.  Specially because “Wearable tech companies could see growth from 33 million units sold in 2014 to 148 million units sold in 2019.” The major impact will be in:
  • Social media: now that customers will wear the technology, users will consume, share and interact differently with content. Social networking sites will have to adapt to the different technologies and surface will probably be different, so brands have to adapt to offer wearable-specific features.
  • Data and analytics: wearable technology will gather much more information about consumers. For example, technology that measures heart rate could sell their data to sports brands or vitamin brands. Companies will have to invest more time and money on analyzing this data to take advantage at digital marketing.
  • App development: with new apps specific to the wearable technology there would be new ways to do display advertising.
  • Search: each wearable technology has a different screen size, so search is going to be affected. For example, if the screen size is smaller people will use more voice search where people tend to speak much longer keyphrases than they would be willing to type.
Sources: ImFORZA,