Is advertising on Pinterest something that your brand/advertiser needs to take advantage of? Time will tell, so let’ s figure that out. Pinterest, an image and search platform, functions almost like a mood board for the user. The social sharing platform is designed to help people discover information across the internet. Users “pin” images they like to their “boards” which are upload by other users. Pinterest serves the user an algorithmic feed of content based on the pins they have pinned to their own boards. Despite the site being an interaction between users and their content, CEO Ben Silbermann has previously said that Pinterest isn’t a social site, but more of a catalogue of ideas intended to spur users to make creative decisions in the real world. Whether you view Pinterest as a social media platform or a search engine of sorts, the main question brands and advertisers have is can Pinterest Advertising help my business, are they effective, and should I invest?

Facebook, the behemoth of social media, currently has over 7 million different advertisers across the world. That number doesn’t seem as farfetched since the it currently boasts a month user count north of 2 billion. With all that competition on Facebook to advertise and reach your audience through their vast algorithms, it would be unwise to ignore the smaller platforms, like a Pinterest.

As of 2019, Pinterest has hit 300 million monthly users worldwide, 85 million in the United States, and currently 1.5 million brands connecting with users every month. Looking deeper into the demos of Pinterest, according to Statista, in 2019 79.5% of Pinterest users in the US are women, with the men increasing every year finishing at 20.5%. Not only is there a strong female presence on the platform, but with millennials also with one out of every two millennials using the platform every month. While those numbers are appealing to any brand and advertisers the most important is the conversion. Business of Apps, a media site that provides news, analysis, data & marketplaces for apps repots that 98% of Pinterest users have tried something new they have discovered on the platform and Pinterest reports that 87% of users have purchased something after seeing a promoted pin (paid pin by a brand or advertiser). This coincides with their numbers that 84% use the platform when they’re undecided on which products to buy, so by utilizing the platform you can reach the user at all levels of the purchase funnel.

What distinguishes Pinterest advertising is how well the types of ads are receptive from the users, with 73% of users saying content from brands makes Pinterest more useful. To utilize the advertising on Pinterest, its best to the know the different types that you can use.

  1. Promoted Pins: Promoted Pins appear in the home feed and search results just like a regular Pin except that they’re boosted and targeted to deliver way more reach. Other than the “Promoted” label on the Pin, they look and behave the way other Pins do. Users can Pin them to boards, share them, and comment on them. Once they share the Promoted Pin to their page, the “Promoted” label goes away so it will look like organic content on the user’s board, but if clicked will still take them to your landing page.
  2. Promoted Carousels: This ad type features two to five images that Pinners can swipe through. These multi-image ads can appear wherever Pins can, and they behave the same, except for the dots beneath that signal the swipe option. Each card in a Promoted Carousel ad can feature a different image, title, description, and landing page. These ads are useful when you have multiple products or features to showcase because different images or messages will attract different users.
  3. Promoted Video Pins: These ads are just like Promoted Pins except the static image is replaced with video. Like Promoted Pins, Promoted Video appears in the home feed, search results, and the “more like this” section under a Pin close-up. Pinterest videos auto play as soon as they’re 50 percent in view. A Pinterest study conducted with Millward Brown found the Promoted videos are four times more memorable than non-video ads. And 67 percent of Pinners said that video inspires them to take an action.
  4. Promoted App Pins: These ads let the user download your mobile app directly from Pinterest. These mobile-only ads are a good fit for Pinterest’s audience, since 80 percent of Pinterest traffic comes from mobile devices.
  5. Buyable Pins: These ads are designed to be shoppable. Also known as Shop the Look, these Pins allow Pinners to find and buy products directly from your Pin. These Pins work across mobile and web and appear in the same places as a Promoted Pin would.
  6. Story Pins: The newest of the ad types, these ads are being tested with select business accounts, Story Pins feature up to 20 pages of images, text, and links. Story Pins appear in users’ home feeds with a cover image and a title. They also say “Story” underneath. Tapping a Story Pin allows you to see all its pages.

With these different ad types, you’ll need to select a specific campaign type, and Pinterest offers four different options: get traffic to your website, build brand awareness, increase installs for your app, and build awareness through video views. With these ad types and combined with the right campaign goals, target audience, and interests and keywords, Pinterest offers many combinations to reach your target audience and reach your campaign goal.

The types of ads listed above mixed with the campaign goals and objectives correctly, will lead to the results listed earlier, but there are many more reasons as to why Pinterest ads are beneficial for any brand/advertisers to include in their next overall campaign. Bannersnack Blog, industry related blog that covers design, marketing, and industry updates suggests these 5 additional reasons Pinterest ads are beneficial (summarized):

  1. Pinterest ads Increase Conversions: Pinterest user behavior shows they have higher engagement and purchase intent. The visual nature of the site gets people in the shopping mood, driving more purchase intent decisions than other less visual social networks.
  2. Pinterest ads Generate Demand: Pinterest is a great platform for the demand generation. As many as 97% of Pinterest’s search queries in Pinterest don’t mention a specific brand, users are in active discovery mode. They’re open to finding new brands to explore and eventually purchase from so they could be discovering yours.
  3. Pinterest ads Drive Traffic: If utilized correctly, Pinterest can be one of your best social referrals in analytics. Pinterest has over 2 billion monthly searches on the platform, and with Pinterest ads, you can target and narrow your focus very granularly.
  4. Pinterest ads Increase Brand Engagement: Pinterest engagement rates on promoted pins avg around 2-5%, exceeding industry benchmarks. Pinterest says brands also get an average of 30% free engagement when they conduct promoted pin campaigns. TO get the best engagement for your pins, Pinterest advises you to promote your best-performing organic pins and watch the re-pins reap the benefits.
  5. Pinterest ads can Help you Promote Your Evergreen Content: If a promoted pin already gained a significant number of repins, it continues to drive organic traffic if it’s a searched term. This means paid repins keep generating impressions, repins, clicks after the campaign ends. Most advertisers see about 5% more impressions the following month after a Pinterest ads campaign has ended.

The people that use Pinterest, are taking actions at a much larger % than other social media platforms with the ads from brands and advertisers. What may be concerning to some is the lower number of monthly users compared to a Facebook, it mainly being a female focused platform, and having to have a business account with Pinterest. With the current trends in the industry though, year after year Pinterest continues to grow and prove to be an effective tool. If you have the budget to do some experimenting on something new, and you haven’t yet tried Pinterest advertising but want to give it a shot, the best way to be successful is to pay attention to the trends and patterns users respond to in your industry, and utilize this knowledge in your Pinterest ads. This will give your audience a new platform and way to discover your brand/advertiser.

Media agencies across the country come in various sizes, each have their own cultures. Some may have multiple offices around the country with thousands of employees, and others with one office and a handful of employees. Whatever the size of the agency, the distinct personality will shine through because of the executive staff and the employees that make up the heart of the organization. The culture of the agency is what’s key to keeping a healthy work environment for all. When I was looking to transition from my previous job, finding a company with a great culture and work environment was key. I wanted to find an agency that I could flourish with professionally and grow alongside the company. This led me to A3 Media.

For nearly 25 years, A3 Media has grown to represent more than 250 companies, launched new products and continues to do so, introduced national brands into new markets, and helped smaller local companies build on their success and become mid-market regional companies. A3 has had this success while remaining a boutique firm. A boutique agency is a smaller agency that has a handful of employees that focus on your brand/company, giving it individualized attention. This was a main attraction for me when accepting the offer to join A3, having a staff of less than 25 employees and a client list that they were able to fully invest their time and resources into. As a traditional & digital media agency, each employee has their own role, but is able to assist on other various projects that may differ from their expertise. As A3 was growing, they were looking to fill the role of a Jr. media planner & buyer to learn each specific role in the traditional and digital departments, which I gravitated towards because I would be able to further myself professionally along with helping the company take on newer and bigger projects.

Larger agencies will have two separate departments: Media Planners, and Media Buyers. The media planner’s role is to maximize returns on advertising spend across the different media channels. Media planners will analyze data and use this information to create strategies so that the advertising will reach the right target audience in the most effective way possible. This entails them to keep up to date on the ever-changing media landscape, audience behavior, and how it will affect the bottom line going forward. A Media Buyer, too put it simply, buy the media space. Once a planner is finished their research, they will pass along a detailed plan to the buyer. The buyer will take this plan, and contact media reps from the mediums the planner put into the plan and begin to gather pricing and then negotiate price to get a buy in place. Why the buys are in place, the buyer in addition with the accounting team will monitor to make sure it runs successfully. Since A3 is a boutique agency, there are not two separate departments, you’re doing all the said work above of a planner and then taking that information and buying the media. Being able to learn and execute both positions has been ideal for myself, I enjoy researching the information and crafting a custom plan for our clients, and then putting that plan into place and watching my research come to life.

For me personally making the transition to A3 Media was the right move for me professionally for a multitude of reasons. The boutique aspect is something that I believe has been very beneficial to myself. I’ve been able to get one on one training and hands on experience with current projects, which has taught me on the fly and how to handle different scenarios. Each person in our office handles a different aspect of the company, so coming in and learning each one of the different mediums and how to successfully plan and buy them, will only help make the agency work more efficiently.

Understanding the characteristics of the millennial consumer is key towards putting an effective ad campaign together that grabs their attention. While they tend to reject interruptive and blatant approaches, if an advertiser manages to get into their circle of comfort, millennials can be your biggest non-paid brand advocate.

There are a couple new media categories that millennials wholeheartedly support, one of which is the rise of influencers. Influencers promote products they like and show their support across social platforms. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can be an influencer, all they need is a social following. This has become a legitimate ad platform to reach millennials and part of its popularity is due to presenting the preferred, indirect promotional style for a sale. 

“As a marketer, you have the opportunity to work with these influencers to create campaigns that will captivate the millennial audience. If done correctly, you can reach the audience you want to reach without it feeling like an advertisement at all. Influencer marketing is revolutionary because it allows your brand to be the center of attention to an audience that is within your target demographic as a company.”

Smaller influencers work better than big celebrities because fans feel micro-influencers are more in tune with their every-day lives, are living similar lives, have similar beliefs, are touchable and behave much like your ‘next door neighbor’.

Micro-influencing has also begun to take its place. These are lesser-known personalities with smaller numbers of followers but who may have influence is certain niches. They are YouTube video stars, for example, who have amassed a following, although certainly smaller than the Kendall Jenner’s of the world. They may have short spurts of sponsored content housed in their videos or may even promote products or services openly in very short spots.”

Emma Grace Moon was recently quoted in the Huffington Post on her experience working with micro-influencers:

“Moon agreed that micro- and nano-influencers (generally influencers with a following of between 1,000 and 10,000 Instagram followers) often provide the best ROI to brands because of their hyper-engaged audiences. “I value and acknowledge the hard work that influencers do,” Moon said. “Many of the influencers I work with contribute to the increase of revenue, brand awareness and social media traffic, and in such an authentic and organic way.”

Since this category is so new, payment is negotiable, as you will see a wide variety of requested fees from influencers. The key is evaluating who the bulk of their followers are on the platforms your brand desires to be seen upon.

Besides influencers, one the best ways to reach a millennial with video content is through YouTube. A recent study from Defy showed that up to 85% of their Millennial respondents regularly watch YouTube content. Back in 2015 ComScore reported that Millennials  preferred YouTube as their video destination of choice versus older viewers across a range of different content types, including movies and even current season TV shows. This study showed that 1 in every 8 Millennials considers YouTube their preferred destination for watching “current season TV shows”.

“Despite the advent of Facebook Live and emerging video platforms, YouTube remains the leading digital video platform and has maintained its strong appeal to US millennials—a group that adopted the digital video streaming platform early on. According to eMarketer.com, 54% of 18 to 34-year-olds visit YouTube at least once per day, making it the third-most popular social media platform for daily usage among this age group.”

Advergaming is another new hot spot to target millennial consumers. Advergame is a video game that promotes particular brands, products, or marketing messages by integrating it into the game.

Video games are part of the childhood millennial diet. Gaming is an engrained, habitual part of their routine life. They not only routinely gravitate towards gaming for stress-relief and fun, but also incorporate gaming subscriptions and costs into their monthly finances.

“Millennials, the first generation to grow up with widespread access to video games, are now adults between the ages of 22 and 38. The oldest Millennials were four years old when the Nintendo Entertainment System launched in North America in 1985. Those who spent their childhood playing games didn’t suddenly abandon the hobby when they reached adulthood.”

Video games were created to lure players in with healthy mix of feeling excitement, stress-relief, and to create the competitive desire climb game levels 9or beat live competing players. There is a plethora of free online games (usually ad supported) that can be played on any device, even smartphones.

“As an audience, Millennial gamers are far from monolithic. Some Millennials play games to immerse themselves in interactive, movie-like experiences, while others do so for the thrill of competition. And then there are those who simply play to relax and pass the time.”

As millennials grew older their love for gaming also developed. Brands pay big money to earn product placement within hot sellers, like MBA2K, Fifa, Call the Duty, Halo and Gears of War. Games such as these are purchased as a DVD, and product placement deals are made between the game developers and big brands. These deals cost quite a bit because they live permanently within the game. Advertisers can also place ads within the online games.

“Among Millennial gamers, seven in 10 (71%) watch gaming video content (GVC), or online videos about games, on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. In addition to watching GVC for nearly six hours each week…. Games have become part and parcel of the Millennial media diet, with 2 in 3 U.S. Millennials now playing every month. Brands and media companies should add gaming to their media plans, so they reach a highly engaged Millennial audience.”

Millennials also budget for games: “On average, Millennials spend $112 on games every month, $20 more than Gen Zers, and nearly twice as much as Gen Xers, who only spend $59 a month. Much like the music and movie industries, the video game industry has largely moved online, with in-store purchases of physical games giving way to digital offerings. Overall, Millennial gamers spend $72 a month on game downloads and gaming subscriptions, compared with $39 a month on physical copies. They also spend $22 each month on in-game content, which includes virtual items like costumes for Fortnite characters.”

One of the most exciting things about video game product placement and advertising is that a player’s attention is totally captivated and entranced with the screen. Gamers are completely absorbed and focused on whatever appears, whether it’s game action, product placement or a pop-up video ad.

Gaming is a very engaging and captive environment that requires your full concentration. Unlike when people watch the Super Bowl on TV, however, they’re multitasking – tweeting and commenting on their Facebook page throughout the game,” said Dave Madden, senior vice-president of global media sales at games developer Electronic Arts.”

The Benefits, The Ads to Utilize, & The Ways to Measure

Why is YouTube so effective? The answer is easy, YouTube is simple. YouTube has made it easy for content creators to share their material with a large audience at the click of a button and has made it just as easy for the consumer to find this content. For decades, Television ads have been viewed as the king of advertising, but when one ad in a major media market can bring in a rate $ of $10k – $100k it makes it hard to invest if your company is smaller to medium in size.

This is where YouTube has capitalized and flourished.  Across the world, 1 billion hours of YouTube video is watched, and 50 million content creators across the platform are uploading 576,000 hours of new content daily, giving an almost endless supply of inventory for brands and advertisers to place their advertisements. According to google, people who watch these ads placed through YouTube that are watched to completion are 23 times more likely to visit or subscribe to a brand channel, share a brand video, or look farther into the brand. If the ad isn’t watched to completion, the person watching the ad is 10x more likely to do one of the previous said actions. The numbers speak for themselves, but how those numbers are achieved.

Worldwide, YouTube is closing in on 2 billion unique users, making it one of the most popular social media sites, and putting them closer to Facebook in monthly active users. The number of unique visitors is astounding, so it makes sense that a recent DataReportal  study has reported that79% of all internet users have a YouTube account. These numbers are attractive, but how can you get there. Marketing Bitz, a leader in educating small to medium size companies on digital marketing and how to utilize it for their business, have narrowed down the 5 reasons that make YouTube such a strong partner for business wanting to advertise video content (summarized):

  1. YouTube’s Reach is Enormous: As a hybrid search engine/social media network, YouTube is uniquely positioned to reach an incredibly wide range of internet users. Forbes classifies internet users into two basic categories: those seeking information and those seeking social interaction. The second largest search engine and second most visited social media platform, YouTube reaches both of Forbes categories. Google also reports that YouTube reaches more people aged 18-49 than any broadcast or cable TV network—and that’s on mobile alone.
  2. YouTube Influences Purchasing Behavior: Between advertisements, vlogs, and videos by prominent influencers, studies show that YouTube content has a significant impact on customer purchases. A recent YouTube Insights report also notes that 66% of beauty product purchasers, 72% of auto-vehicle purchasers, and 62% of smartphone purchasers indicate that YouTube influenced their buying decisions. 
  3. It’s Easy to Track Metrics: Up-to-date metrics are key in evaluating your advertising strategy and ensuring that your ad dollars are being used most efficiently. YouTube makes this process easy and accessible. Google offers information about views, costs, and budget details through AdWords, while the Analytics tab of your YouTube account provides more in-depth information about your viewers.
  4. Advanced Targeting is Available: Through YouTube, you can target people based on demographics like age, gender, parental status, and interests. By targeting affinity audiences, you can ensure your ads reach people who have already demonstrated an interest in relevant topics. 
  5. ROI is High Across Pricing Options: A recent meta-analysis conducted by BrandScience, Data2Decisions, GfK, Kantar Worldpanel, MarketingScan, MarketShare, and others reveals that YouTube advertisements offer a higher ROI than traditional television ads, in almost 80% of studies.

Youtube is one of the best options for creating a cost-effective advertising campaign and gives a variety of ads to utilize on the platform. These ad types range from skippable in-stream ads to boosted posted that will be featured alongside organic content. The 4 main varieties are TrueView In-Stream Ads, Non-Skippable ads, Bumper Ads, TrueView Discovery Ads.

The first, TrueView In-Stream Ads, are the ads that play before the video. They are designed to reach users interested in your product which you’d enter in your targeting. These ads allow the user to skip after 5 seconds, and only charge advertisers if they’re watched for at least 30 seconds. Next, are the Non-skippable ads. These ads don’t come with a banner and are typically used to generate brand awareness. You do run the risk of irritating the viewer, but the viewer will see the entire message about your brand. The third ad are the Bumper Ads. Bumper-Ads are also non-skippable, but these ads have a short 6 sec limit, like an ad on Snapchat. These ads are helpful if you’re trying to highlight something that can be conveyed quickly. Last, is the TrueView Discovery ads. These ads show up on the search results page, in related videos, and on the YouTube home page made to seem like they’re blending in with the other videos that are similar to your search. These ads are best used when the content tells a story; reviews, walk-throughs, tutorials, and anything that answers questions, informs, or entertains. Challenge with these is to get the user to click, but if and when you secure that view, they’re genuinely interested and want to learn more about your ad. Now that you’re familiar with the statistics and what types of ads to use, what are the best way to measure your ads success.

Metrics that coincide with video advertising can be tricky, especially if you do not include a link to your site or product landing page. The metrics for any video ad depend on the goal of the ad, the type of ad that you’re utilizing, and various other factors. Ignite Visibility, a Digital Marketing firm, alongside the recommendation of Google AdWords, focus on these 7 metrics:

  1. View rate:  Looks at how many views or engagements an ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown — essentially, it’s actual views compared to how many times the thumbnail shows up in someone’s account. 
  2. Avg. CPV: Average cost per view. This is the average amount you’ll pay when someone watches 30 seconds of a video or the duration (if shorter than 30 seconds) or takes an action.
  3. Watch Time:  Looks at the total length of time people watched your ads, represented in seconds. This can help you get a sense of how interested people are in your videos.
  4. Avg. watch time / Impression: Looks at average watch time, divided by the number of possible views. Again, this metric can tell you whether you’re on track with your messaging or if something needs to change.
  5. Views: Represents how many times someone watched your video ad or took action. This metric reveals how much of your target audience you’re reaching. 
  6. Clicks: Like search ads, clicks represent the number of times viewers clicked a link on your video. Clicks let you know whether you’ve created an engaging ad that makes people want to learn more. 
  7. Video viewership: Viewership is a bit different than Views. This metric offers a breakdown of video completion rates. The benefit is you can see where people lose interest–do they complete 25%, 50%, 75%, or the whole ad

Video content should be apart of any media plan; may it be television, OTT/CTV, programmatically across the web, YouTube, or etc. Youtube continues to grow in viewership, content creators, users, and metrics making it one of the best forms of video advertising not only on the web, but across all of the media industry. Video content does take more work to produce, but brands and advertisers whose budget may not be big enough for more expensive options, such as television, can still utilize this content effectively and in budget with the help of YouTube. Like any other advertising decision that your company makes, YouTube Ads do require constant updating and optimizing to achieve the best results, but if done correctly and efficiently, it can prove to yield some of the strongest results. Currently on YouTube there is a lack of competition and a surplus amount of inventory to utilize, so with a creative strategy and the right targeting, your brand can reach one of the largest audiences in the media industry.

The popular question for the last few years in the media industry has been, when should I start taking podcast advertising seriously? As the years pass, the number of listeners steadily increases, as well as the advertising dollars. According to Edison Research yearly study, The Infinite Dial, the podcast audience has grown to 90 million listeners per month in the US, an increase of 113% since 2014. With an increasing number of monthly listeners, continuing to trend upwards, the industry is seeing advertising dollars being shifted from traditional broadcast radio in their media budgets.

How much money? IAB & PWC released a revenue study and put the total amount spent in the US in 2018 at $479.1 million dollars, up 53% from 2017’s $313.9 millions dollars. Many brands and advertisers are putting a portion of their media budget into podcast advertising, others are still somewhat hesitant because of certain metrics the industry is still lacking, so if your brand or agency are ready to try this ever growing medium, you need to educate yourself on how it works, determine its effectiveness and what still needs to improve.  

On average, a typical podcast episode will have 3 advertisements through out the show: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. Pre-roll ad normally happens after a brief introduction, and on average goes for 15-30 seconds, the listener wants to get to the show so a longer ad could be deterring. A mid-roll will air halfway through the episode and on average will last 60-90 seconds. This gives the host a break or a spot to transition into a new topic, and the longer ad flows better since the listener is committed to finishing. The post-roll ad will air prior to the closing statements from the host, and on average last 20-30 seconds.

The listener is still engaged with the episode, but better to keep it shorter than the mid -roll spot because they will know that it’s the end of the show. These ads can either be read live in the show by the host or inserted in from a previously recorded spot. Podcast hosts read most of their ads during the live taping, as opposed to placing a prerecorded ad from themselves or a creative company into the episode. Listeners of a podcast feel a connection to the host because of the personal nature of podcasts, the listener feels like they’re listening to a recommendation from a friend, as opposed to an advertisement.

A common misconception by the general public, advertising doesn’t always yield positive results. In podcast ads, and any form of advertising, you need to have a solidified plan and budget to be put in position to have a positive ROI. Katie McKenna, Director of Content with Portent, wrote that you need to ask yourself six questions to decide if you the brand/advertiser are ready to invest in podcast ads:

  1. What are you advertising? – What is your product/service?
  2. Does podcast advertising make sense for your audience? – Does your target demo listen to podcasts?
  3. What are you offering/branding? – Awareness campaign, or an actual service?
  4. Is it a good offer? – Price competitive, ready for market?
  5. What is your budget? This will determine your reach & frequency and if it’s worth investing.
  6. What is your timeline? When are you planning to launch?

After you’ve answered these six questions with your team, and you’re ready to invest, you’ll need to get the most out of your campaign. South Eastern University, in association with Marketing Dive, suggest these five tips to make sure your campaign is effective:

  1. Midway is the best way: Schedule your ad to play during the mid-roll ad slot, people are listening closely as you’re flowing from the first to second half
  2. Find your fit: Podcasts cover a wide array of interests and audiences, you should identify shows that will sync with your brand, products, and services.
  3. Test ad performance: Consider advertising on eight consecutive episodes to reinforce your call to action, then review.
  4. Use promo codes and metrics tools: Use these to see if your message is being acted on and people are following your message.
  5. Trust a host’s appeal: The host is somebody your audience likes and trusts. Build a connection so they’ll be sincere about your product/service.

Once the campaign finishes, and you’re ready to assess the success of your campaign, you’ll want to see the metrics of how it performed. Metrics, and backend reporting are the areas that need the most growth in the podcast industry. According to the IAB (International Advertising Bureau), podcast advertising lacks the uniformity in measurement systems and metrics. Their statement also noted that “meaningful measurement has been thwarted by an inability to connect, track, and analyze user requests; measurement products that use dissimilar, proprietary algorithms; and a lack of an agreed-upon set of metrics and their meanings.” Standards do exist, but currently podcast advertising generally performs better for direct to consumer brands, as opposed to multinational established corporations.

This is where the hesitation still exists between larger, most established brands, they need assurance that their investment will yield a positive ROI. Another area that needs to grow is the targeting. Brands and advertising want a better way to target their desired audience. According to Verge, Spotify announced recently that advertisers can now target ads based on the podcasts people are listening to. The rest of the industry needs to follow suit.

Podcast advertisements are probably the closet thing to paying for word-of-mouth advertising. When listeners turn into a podcast, the relationship they build with the host/hosts gives them a sense of trust and friendship. This is key when looking into if investing in this growing medium is right for your brand/advertiser. The money is being invested and is growing, the listenership is there and is growing, but the metrics and backend reporting is still what holds some back from investing.

Until the podcast industry can give us all the metrics other mediums can, there are a few ways to test its effectiveness. Include a promo code in the advertisement and you’ll be able to monitor who used the code that was mentioned in the advertisement. Have the ad mention a URL that leads to a site or extension and you’ll be able to see who used the URL from the ad. Last would be a checkout survey, once they’re in the checkout ask how they learned about the promo. These three ways are thee most used, and able to see who heard the ad from the podcast episode, but this isn’t everything advertisers and brands want and need. The industry is growing at a rapid pace and does not show any signs of slowing down, the metrics and backend reporting will be what either holds the industry back or skyrockets them to the top.

In the ever-growing landscape of media, the way we purchase media changes just as often. Advertisers and brands are always looking to shorten the process, without losing any of the key details. With shortening the process and going against the norm, people can and will be hesitant to change. To get people on board with change, would be proven success, and in the digital world programmatic buying has become the new norm.

Defined by the Digital Trading Council, programmatic is the use of automation in buying and selling of media, which can apply to digital online, digital out of home, radio, television, and more. Programmatic started out as a means to use up remnant inventory, or what’s left over an AE hasn’t sold, but as technology and metrics have advanced, it’s become more mainstream. How it works is brands & agencies will work with a DSP (demand side platform) to decide which impressions to buy and how much they’re worth, and a publisher (website with open inventory) will use a SSP (supply side platform) to sell their ad space. The DSP and SSP will match in a matter of milliseconds, and along with the criteria you entered for your campaign, will match your ad up to appropriate sites.

What makes buying advertising programmatically so attractive to these brands and advertisers is rather than buying all of your impressions from one publisher and committing that money to set flight dates, you can instantly buy the same amount of impressions but spread those impressions out to multiple publishers and still target the audience you wanted to reach for the same dates. Can this model of buying only apply to digital, can the traditional king of media, television follow in a similar model? Linear TV (set top & digital antennae) is supply constrained, and digital media is the opposite, where the demand is heavily outweighed by the available inventory. If programmatic TV is to succeed it cannot just follow a blueprint molded by digital, the two mediums differ in many ways.

Television advertising spend on a yearly total has decreased recently, but as of 2018 roughly $80 billion was still spent in the US alone and linear TV still reaches more than 95% of Americans. Even with these large numbers, TV will remain supply constrained, putting pressure of advertisers and brands to place the right buy. By buying TV ads programmatically, buyers and sellers can engage rapidly, and move open inventory. How exactly will programmatic help traditional tv advertising though?

There are many reasons why programmatic tv ad buying could take over and be the focal point of the television ad business. This process would automate the planning & buying and have metrics across channels, screens, and formats. Martech Advisor broke down five major points as to why programmatic has promise to succeed: Automated Buying, Data-Driven Targeting, Cross-Screen Measurement, Unified Campaign Management, and Real-Time Optimization.

  • Automated Bidding: Traditional TV ad buying is still a manual process, once reports are generated, it’s too late to optimize. Programmatic will let buyers plan, execute, and measure alongside display, giving a better eye to all aspects of the ad campaign. This will speed up the process and eliminate manual ones.
  • Data-Drive Targeting: With programmatic, TV advertisers can go farther than just age, gender, reach, and frequency numbers of audience targeting based on GRPs (gross rating points). This will allow you to leverage first, second, and third-party data and optimize for a more personalized, relevant content to the consumer as they change the channel.
  • Cross-Screen Measurements: Ability to measure the effectiveness of campaigns across multiple channels, including TV, could be relevant in the very near future. This would help to develop a KPI between TV & digital optimization, comparable to GRPs, impressions, conversions, and more.
  • Unified Campaign Management: Over 77% of TV viewers have a tablet, phone, and or laptop close by, which takes attention away from the screen. A unified buying platform will provide a single platform for advertisers and brands to plan, buy, measure, and manage their advertising campaigns simultaneously, regardless of whether the audience is viewing the ads on the TV or another device.
  • Real Time Optimization: Programmatic will allow brands and advertisers to leverage real-time feedback to improve and optimize campaign performance.

TV Advertisers in today’s growing media landscape deserve the same execution speed, performance, insights, ability to measure as the digital world, but also preserve what has made TV one of the most effective forms of advertising. Programmatic TV ads are still very new, and many cable and broadcast networks may be hesitant to make their premium inventory available to programmatic buyers in fear that a data-driven model might decrease prices and ratings from these premium ads. Programmatic TV ad buying might not be ready for the large scale in the industry, but as the money continues to be invested and more start to realize the full potential, this form of TV ad buying will continue to rise. Joe Camaco, CMO at Sabio Mobile says “The biggest challenges with mass adoption are the change in mindset of the industry as well as growth of programmatic TV technology. Real time bidding as well as measurement for programmatic TV are still in its infancy but is surely on its way there.” Its not a matter of if this will take off, but when.

The end of 2016 saw one of the most popular apps amongst todays youth, Vine, shut down its servers (later became a camera tool for twitter). An app that promoted short 6 second clip videos took off and started a wave of users to gain millions of followers and build fame and success and full-time careers. Why did it die? Years of a high-turnover rate in the executive branch of the company played a crucial role, and when brands dealt directly with the influencer as opposed to through the app, Vine had lost interest from the brands and advertisers lost millions of dollars in potential ad deals. Vine resisted monetization and never took a cut from these deals; other successful apps have and continue to do so. Public outcry amongst users and fans to save the company were met with the swift reality of the company closing its doors and rebranding as a camera app through twitter that’s like the camera on your phone. So, what was going to take Vine’s place?

Tik Tok, whom merged with the former app Musical.ly, launched in 2017 as a social media app for drafting and sharing short lip-sync videos. The app is targeted to 13-24 year old’s, with 66% of its users under the age of 30, and it allows the users to create 15 second videos, 9 more then the prior vine. By the end of 2018 it became the most downloaded free app on the Apple App store & Google Play in the US, and third in the world. 2019 hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, with 1.1 billion installs on smart phones as of March. With the popularity growing, the company decided to add changes to the platform to attract more users, such as: comedians performing stand up, skateboarders showing off tricks, pranks, dancing, and other videos showcasing a talent or some form of influence.

Not only are there everyday users and influencers on Tik Tok, but brands and larger companies, such as the NFL, are creating Tik Toks to market to the younger consumer. There are a few ways a brand can utilize this app. They can create their own account and then upload their own content through their own channel. A second way would be to work directly with influencers who have an existing following, which they can use to spread their content to multiple audiences at once. A third, would be to pay to advertise on Tik Tok, which can be executed in a few different ways.

Advertising on Tik Tok is still in its infant stages, with agencies and brands waiting for the full launch of the platform’s ad options to become available. Currently they have 4 options that are available to use: Biddable Ads, Brand Takeovers, Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Lenses.

The first, Biddable Ads, was launched as a beta version of Tik Tok’s managed service platform, where advertisers can set up and run the ads themselves. This still requires a rep to run the ads, so not full self-serve isn’t there yet, but the in-feed ads are available in CPC/CPM/CPV and have several targeting options.

Next is Brand Takeover, the ad type will appear when the user opens the app, so your ad is fully seen, and the image can be hyperlinked to an internal or external destination. Brand Takeover is limited to one advertiser per day, so until it grows exponentially it will be tough to use.

Third is the Hashtag Challenge. This will encourage the user to participate by creating their own content by asking them to participate in a challenge that revolves around a hashtag, ex: #TransformUrRoom, and they do a bedroom makeover.

The last is Branded Lenses, which is like the lenses on SnapChat where you can put filters over your face, but Tik Tok’s will bring face filters, 3D objects, and more to the user. Lenses bring a large amount of engagement to the app, and given the massive following Tik Tok has, it’s a very popular option to boost brand messaging.

Tik Tok is not Vine, it may have the same short video clip concept, but it incorporates its own twist to the idea, and business has not stopped increasing since its initial launch. Should a regional business start to utilize Tik Tok and move some of its media budget into advertising on this platform? The answer is unclear. There are ways to advertise and reach a large audience on Tik Tok, but most of its ad platform is still in beta, so the numbers and metrics are still very raw to confidently place a large amount of money in the platform. There is no reason not to give it a shot if your media budget has some extra money or a discretionary fund to work with, but until the metrics, targeting, and ad platform are fully launched its tough to invest a decent amount. Tik Tok has the tools and following to continue to grow and succeed, but they need to build their ad platform ASAP, so they do not burn out as fast as they came.

In today’s media world, two of the newer forms of advertising have made a major splash and are commanding a seat at the table with the original power houses. OTT, (Over-The-Top), and Influencer Marketing, have continued to each grow at such rapid rates that brands & advertisers are shifting massive amounts of their original media spend budgets to these mediums to reach audiences that vary in age across the board.

OTT (Over-The-Top), is any app or service that provides a product over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution, or television. In the United States alone there are over 200 OTT providers and as of 2019, 182 million subscribers across the medium, and roughly $2.7 billion in ad spending in 2018. Major players in the industry are Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, and many more are coming from major brands like Disney and NBC.

Influencer Marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placements from individuals on their social media accounts. This can be utilized as the influencer being an expert on the brand or product, or a testimonial of the influencer who the customer will see as a potential buyer like themselves. In 2018 alone, the money spent on influencer marketing was estimated at $4.6 billion and is expected to continue rising, potentially surpassing $6 billion by the end of 2019.

Mavrck, an influencer marketing platform, recently released their Influencer Marketing Quarterly Trend Report: Q2 2019, and a major excerpt from the piece was The Rise of the OTT Influencer, a dive in how tv and social are coming closer together than ever before from updates to social media and streaming services. As brands and advertisers are already spending an increasing number of dollars in each medium, it was only a matter of time before the two industries merged and OTT providers started to utilize influencers in their content & tailor their services on the back end to help these content creators create new content for their OTT services at a rapid pace. Giants in the industry Netflix and Instagram have made changes to their offerings to adapt to the OTT & Influencer combination.

First, YouTube has the highest share of reach and watch-time across the OTT ad supported platforms, the audience and views are far above the likes on television. Back in May of 2019, YouTube hosted their annual 8th Brandcast event, where it unveiled plans to change the Google Preferred offerings, which will help advertisers maximize advertising efforts, and plans to remove their paywall for original series, making them ad supported. With the preferred offerings, they will now support the Nielsen Total Ad Ratings (TAR), which will allow advertisers to compare YouTube and TV reach simultaneously. A major update that will only attract more ad spend towards YouTube over traditional TV because metrics can now be measured against the same metrics as TV. With the paywall gone, advertisers will be able to collaborate with top content creators, and reach a broader organic audience, driving results. TAR metrics will help validate the reach of the influencers and what audience they’re reaching, which can be simultaneously measured against TV metrics.

 Next, Instagram, whom some may not realize is an OTT option, has made a play with long form video with their IGTV update to the app. IGTV is a way from brands, influencers, and a typical user to post long form content that’s over the time limit of a video post or Instagram story. What was troublesome for some content creators, was that the videos could only be posted in portrait layout, and if you view your phone on a side angle, it had no landscape option that other apps supported video with. This deterred some away from IGTV because they would need to film separate versions of their videos to meet the necessary requirements to fit the IGTV settings. With this landscape update, content creators are able to use their videos on IGTV that they would’ve posted on other platforms and not have to worry about it not meeting the required settings in a portrait angle, which will attract back the previously deterred brands, influencers, and typical user.

Some are saying that influencer marketing is a fad, that in a few years if it doesn’t adapt to how media has been rated and viewed in the past it will die off as quick as it came. The social media platforms these influencers are using are updating their metrics each quarter, because the ad spend is increasing, which is why other mediums, like OTT, are changing their offerings to better suit influencer marketing and their offerings. OTT platforms are giving more detailed metrics on how this is working, who they’re reaching, and how it compares to other forms media, this will convince brands and advertisers to continue to move budgets away from traditional forms of video to OTT & Influencer Marketing.

A3 Media continues to monitor the changes in this every changing landscape and will be able to utilize and create a plan for your brand or product. Reaching your target audience is key, and by layering these different mediums together that are performing well and continue to grow, we will be able to help you reach your goals.

The minimum standards for counting a standard ‘view’ for online video ads has long been a sore subject for Advertisers. The IAB, which sets the standard requirements for the digital ad industry, states an ad that has been viewed for 2 seconds can count as a legitimate ‘view’, meaning anything less than 2 seconds would not justify paying for that ad.

What’s a viewable ad?

Active View metrics” have been created in compliance with industry standards for measuring the viewability of online ads, as developed by the Media Rating Council(MRC). According to MRC guidelines, the standard for measuring the viewability of ads are as follows:

  • A display ad is counted as viewable when at least 50% of its area is visible on the screen for at least 1 second. 
    • Note: For large display ads of 242,500 pixels or more, the ad is counted as viewable when at least 30% of it’s area is visible for at least 1 second.
  • A video ad is counted as viewable when at least 50% of its area is visible on the screen while the video is playing for at least 2 seconds”.

The good news for marketers is that Twitter announced that it will be stepping forward and raising the viewability bar. They have created a setting in their paid ad platform source that allows advertisers to not pay for an ad viewed less than 6 seconds.

“On Monday, Twitter announced the new method of bidding on ads, which lets advertisers set a goal of getting viewers to watch for at least 6 seconds. If a viewer scrolls away from the promoted video before the 6 seconds are up, the advertiser doesn’t pay”.

This is great news for advertisers, not only because they feel more info from ads can be absorbed within 6 seconds vs. 2, but research has shown that 6 seconds has evolved into a popular spot length for online video. “Brands can apply the 6-second minimum to videos that are up to 15 seconds in duration. If videos are longer than 15 seconds, the brand has to rely on a lower viewability standard.” For other Twitter advertisers that only air a 6 second spot, it will mean their entire video was seen and justify fair payment.  

Either way you look at this Twitter is definitely giving advertisers a win here.