Reading Time: 3 minutes
Woman holding Apple iPhone 11 pro

A few weeks ago, January 9th to be exact, marked 15 years since Steve Jobs first introduced the original iPhone to the world. It was first billed as three products in one: an iPod with a touch screen, a cell phone, and an internet device to connect to the web. Since then, it has become so much more. It’s an extension of our everyday lives. The iPhone not only changed how we communicate with each other but changed the face of media and advertising all together.

For reference, I was born in 1981 and grew up in an exciting time before the internet and before smartphones. Actually, I didn’t get a phone until I was out of high school, I was maybe 19 or 20 years old. So, I do have some perspective of pre and post internet/smartphone worlds. Having said that, let’s take a quick look at the landscape back when the iPhone was introduced. It was 2007 and the following companies didn’t exist: Instagram, Uber, TikTok, Twitch, Snap, Lyft, DoorDash, Tinder, Postmates, Venmo and Pinterest. Wow, some big changes in just 15 years.

When I think about the impact iPhone has had on media and advertising, I break that down into three categories. Let’s take a look:

  1. Digital and Mobile Advertising – Back in 2007, mobile advertising spending had an annual total of roughly $1.7 billion. Today mobile ad spending is north of 140 billion annually. Although mobile advertising is just one spoke in the digital advertising wheel, it now makes up about half of all the digital ad spend. That makes sense when you think about the recent growth in ad revenue for social platforms like Facebook & Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Google. The introduction of iPhone and smartphones have kept users connected to the web 24/7, 365. At the same token, allowing them to be targeted by digital and mobile advertisers whenever and wherever they go.
  2. Communication and Entertainment – Today we use our phones to stay in touch and get our news in real time. This has significantly changed the way our country reacts to everything from politics to the latest trends on social media. It has also changed the way we are targeted and advertised to. With native advertising, we get a seamless experience of receiving advertisements while we are consuming our favorite content and they blend right in, trying to make it the least intrusive experience as possible. More and more people are watching TV and using streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix when it comes to getting entertainment. Large cable companies are noticing consumers cutting the cord, especially the younger generations like Gen Z. They simply consume content and have different beliefs than generations before them. This lends a challenge to marketers and advertising professionals; how do they reach this new type of consumer in the future. Using smartphones and advertising via social and digital platforms will certainly be key but gaining knowledge about the consumer will be essential. That brings us to our next category, data!
  3. Consumer Data – I purposely saved this point for last because let’s face it, when it comes to the future of digital and mobile advertising, data is king. Data about consumers, their values, location, and behaviors will be what advertisers base the next few years of strategy, planning, and budgets on. Over the past 15 years we have carried around several versions of the iPhone or the smartphone of our choice. All the while giving companies and large social platforms all the data in the world about us. What we consume, what we purchase, where we shop, who we communicate with, our race, age, gender, income, search history, and you get the idea. Whether we like it or not, this little iPhone has been a tracking device for all of our most important, personal information. As much as I think there will be changes in the future, I believe consumer privacy concerns will be a constant. We have already noticed the “opt-in” messages on apps and social media platforms. This may have an impact on advertising but like everything else we will learn and adapt

In the next few years, I expect digital and mobile ad spending to continue to increase and the push for innovation and new tech will be the focus. One thing the Apple iPhone did over the past 15 years was create competition and it really took the mobile and tech industry to a new level.

Having an iPhone or a smartphone in our pocket means we have access to everything right at our fingertips. We connect, we search, we communicate, and we solve. I look at iPhone as the ultimate solution. Sky is the limit when it comes to advertising opportunities and smartphone capabilities over the next 15 years!

Written by:
Bob Freas
Social Media Specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In April 2021 Apple came out with an update that introduced ATT or App Tracking Transparency. The purpose of which was to return some control back to iPhone users, and give people a choice, to allow or not allow apps to track your activity across other companies’ websites. Apple’s company line is that they are doing this to improve privacy of the iPhone users and give them greater control over what apps were using to market products or services to them.

Built into the Apple operating system was a tracker called IDFA, (Identifier for Advertisers) which tracks your activity between applications. As more companies accessed that data, it became concerning to many about the access the apps had to this personal data.

As consumers became tired of seeing pop up Privacy Agreements at the bottom of the screens, forcing them to accept that the app used cookies to optimize your experience, Apple felt it should be at least a choice for the user and not a decision dictated to them. The ATT was initiated and delivered a choice to either let the App Track user’s activity or ask it not to track their activity. They even went as far as allowing users to go into the privacy settings and opt-out of tracking. This was good news for users, but bad news for advertisers trying to target their ads.

One example of the impact of this change was demonstrated when one store had been spending $27 in advertising on Facebook for every new customer they acquired. Since the elimination of activity tracking, they will be forced to spend $270 for every new customer added. What provides protections for consumers, drives the costs up for businesses to properly reach and add the same types of consumers, they reach before the change.

Apples new approach of ATT is important, when one considers the end to third party cookies in Chrome starts in January 2022. These actions on top of the governmental privacy regulations such as GDPR & CCPA, and as of November 2021 layered with Facebooks changes in ad targeting, will make for a more challenging ask of advertisers and agencies attempting to reach the correct potential consumers.

As part of the rebrand of Facebook with “Metathe company is removing targeting options like health, race, ethnicity, political affiliations, religious or sexual orientation beginning January 19th, 2022. It will take effect on all three platforms they control, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. In 2018, it removed 5,000 ad-targeting classifications to keep advertisers from excluding certain users. This effort to prevent discrimination, prevent ad targeting abuse and attempt to improve privacy has substantially restricted legitimate ad targeting methods. While the reasons behind the changes may be admirable, this leaves Digital and Mobile advertisers scrambling to find new ways to segment their ad delivery and provide the right ads for the right products and services reaching the right people.

So How Will Advertisers and Agencies Find the Right Path to Potential Consumers?

Apple’s introduction of ATT will make ads substantially less relevant for consumers, except ads delivered through Apple’s own personalized ad system. Apple Search Ads has displaced Facebook as the best ad network for mobile marketers on iPhone and iPad. Apple is introducing a measurement solution called SKAdNetwork (SKAN), which makes performance data available at the campaign level. SKAN is considered “differential privacy” which is the approach of using statistical methods for marketing measurement which make it impossible to infer and individual user’s behavior.

What can Advertisers and Agencies Do to Persevere Through These Challenges?
  • Deepen your understanding of your audience. Products that suffer most due to these identifier-based targeting methods are those with niche products. By building a broader appeal for your product or service, the more people that will be receptive to it and less targeted you must be in your ad segmentation.
  • Get more creative. The focus to develop new, engaging, and attractive ads can help minimize efficiency loss due to removal of the identifiers. As your ads reach the most important members of your audience, your products will break through the generic and non-descript advertising from competitors.
  • Increase Opt-In retargeting. Not all digital ads reach the right potential consumers, but by utilizing the reduced targeting categories of FB, Instagram or Messenger for your initial digital ad campaigns, while increasing the frequency of retargeting to those that have engaged or opted in with emails, you have limited your ad waste, and increased your chances of success since retargeting can lift ad engagement rates up to 400%. The average click-through rate (CTR) for display ads is 0.07%, while the average CTR for retargeted ads is about 0.7%. Those that engage with your re-targeted ads have a far greater likelihood of becoming future customers.

It’s imperative that every agency and company who uses digital ads understands the changes coming and the ways to succeed despite the changes.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic it is estimated that only 6% of the US workforce worked remotely. Due to the pandemic that number jumped to a high of 70% in April 2019.

There are benefits to remote and/or hybrid work models for both business and the workforce.

What are the benefits on the workforce side?
  • Remote employees save an average of 40 minutes daily from commuting.
  • Since 2020 people have been meeting by video calls 50% more since COVID-19.
  • After COVID-19, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.
  • 23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently.
  • People are saving on average close to $500 per month being at home during COVID-19. Resulting in savings close to $6000 per year.
  • 81% of those surveyed believe their employer will continue to support remote work after COVID-19.
  • 59% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.
What are the benefits of remote working for employers?
  • Surveys show companies save an estimated $11,000 per year savings per remote employee.
  • Geographic boundaries removed allow for a larger talent pool to fill positions
  • Lower absenteeism rates
  • Office “Politics” reduced or eliminated
Why don’t people want to return to a traditional work model?
  • Change in daily routine: 27%
  • Being away from family or pets: 26%
  • Office politics and distractions: 34%
  • Childcare or caregiver responsibilities: 15%
  • Lack of health and safety measures (i.e., wearing a mask, social distancing): 32%
  • Being required to adhere to health and safety measures: 21%
The negative impacts to business:
  • The belief that workers will slack off if “no one is looking.”
  • Employers are afraid employees are more likely to engage in improper behavior while working from home, such as visiting inappropriate websites.
  • Employees might misuse company equipment or information.
  • This kind of distrust often results in many employers trying to monitor their employees who work from home.

While this “new normal” has both positives and negatives there is also a serious risk associated with remote work. Removing a secure network environment can have unforeseen and potentially wide spread and costly consequences.

  • Phishing Schemes
  • Weak Passwords
  • Unencrypted File Sharing
  • Insecure Home Wi-Fi
  • Working from Personal Devices

Cybersecurity spending is expected to increase at a double-digit rate in 2021, driven primarily by the need to enable employees to work from anywhere. Gartner is forecasting worldwide spending on information security and risk management technology and services will grow 12.4% to reach $150.4 billion in 2021.

The long-term impact of a remote or hybrid workforce will be reviewed and analyzed for years but one thing has already emerged as a result, “…. what we’re seeing in the data is a shift in people’s mindset post-pandemic.” This new remote/hybrid work model has changed the landscape of employee – employer relationships. The 2nd quarter of 2021 saw the highest number of US workers voluntarily leaving their jobs as business started to reopen. The workforce has readjusted their priorities. Even workers who are not able to do remote work are feeling empowered to ask for more in terms of work-life balance. It would appear that a mutually beneficial relationship has taken a back seat, for now.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Laptop computer with project management workflow on the screen showing several employees working

Imagine working in a company with over 300 employees and 15 different departments whose only way of communicating is through email. Imagine if one important email was accidently deleted which led to multiple departments having to redo hours of work. These types of situations happen quite often in many companies that lack project management systems. With so many to choose from, what are the 3 best project management systems to use?

Trello

First, there is Trello. “Trello is the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything, trusted by millions of people from all over the world.”

Trello has a basic plan and a premium plan in which you can pay for, but since they have so many features in their free plan, a lot of companies can freely use Trello’s services to organize their team projects at no cost. Trello also allows your company to have unlimited amounts of people make an account to manage one project. This means a team of 100 people, could all have their own login account and be segments into smaller teams to create and execute different project flows through Trello. Since Trello has an application for Android and Apple, project management can be controlled from access of your phone anywhere. Project Boards are the base features which Trello offers. The great advantage of these boards is that the team lead can create unlimited boards and create a private board for themselves. These boards include features like To-do List where you can check items off, set deadlines, add documents, assign names to projects, and get notifications once a project is complete via email. Trello’s private and public board feature makes it so the user can interact on a public team board while they also have their personal projects on their private board. Even though Trello has a ton of features on the front-end, Trello’s third-party company named, “Power-Ups,” provide dozens of plugins that add even more desired features to your project board. The list of features Trello has to offer is extensive, but with their being so many options out there, it really all comes down to opinion and preference.

Wrike

Next on my list, is Wrike. Wrike is a digital work management tool that lets users track and coordinate projects, combining a simple user experience and interface with enough depth for power users. Unlike Trello, Wrike has a time tracking feature where users can keep up and get data collected for time spent on a project. Another great feature this software has is the reporting tool. This tool allows businesses to receive information about important projects from multiple teams. Budgeting and cost can be very important to most businesses, so Wrike’s budget feature was created to help companies track cost and send out alerts while comparing and collecting data.

Monday

Last on the list is Monday. This project management system allows companies to create and manage their own applications and work management. This software allows you to create team projects by organizing everything in a grid style layout. With many color- coded choices, you can create an interactive To-do list and mark task complete when finished. Monday even has an alert function, that will notify you even when not using the software.  When managing a team, Monday makes it easy for the manager to watch and control their team’s workload and rearrange as needed.

Monday has a lot of the same features Trello has but its free version is only a 14-day trial period and then you must pay for the software.

Constantly working on multiple client projects, we at A3 Media organize different projects through the Trello Project Management system. Each project has its own Trello board, and each team first lays out the project and adds each team member to the specialized project on the board. Since Trello has an alert feature which notifies when a job has been completed and ready for the next department, all communication is simply done through Trello. At A3 Media, we strive to make sure each job is done correctly by making sure each internal process is organized and creates a high-quality product for each of our clients.

Written by:
Arielle Adams
Digital Media & Graphic Designer