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Ad Blockers Affect Everyone

 

NO ADSThe sudden rise of Ad Blocking software and Apple’s integration of this software on its iOS9 program have created a lot of buzz in the digital marketing world. Users are fed up with advertisements taking up their screens and intruding on their content. It’s incredibly frustrating to visit sites with awful user experiences.It’s no different than enjoying meal after meal at your local restaurant and then having an awful experience and writing about it on Facebook or Yelp. The few negatives always stand out more than the “expected” outcomes.

What exactly is an ad blocker?

An ad blocker is hardware or software that blocks certain ads on a page. Ad blockers can come in the forms of extensions on web browsers, or mobile-specific ad-blocking browsers. No matter how an ad blocker is deployed the purpose is the same: To remove ads from the viewer’s screen. Ad blockers aren’t exactly new. This technology has been around for years, but Apple’s interest in the space, a move geared towards garnering partnerships with content publishers, has certainly driven the recent interest in the topic. The Interactive Advertising Bureau refers to ad blocking as “highway robbery.” So there’s another definition.

ad-block

What does ad blocking do to the free content eco-system?

It won’t be a surprise to anyone reading this that I, a digital marketer, am not a fan of ad blocking. I like getting a paycheck, but more importantly I love how digital has changed the way we consume information and socialize with friends and businesses. The data has allowed us more targeted and relevant advertising to consumers.

 

Great content isn’t free. Stories, reports, websites, and most importantly, TIME, is not free. Throughout much of advertising’s existence the understanding between content consumer and publisher was that if I provide you content there will be advertising around it to support the business of creating such content. If we remove ads from the ecosystem, there will be no revenue coming in to support said content. Publications, TV, Radio, Newspaper and digital-only content would have to become subscription-based. Many of these mediums already are for some. But imagine a place where I can no longer go on CNN.com for political updates. I again would have to pay $100+ for a satellite or cable provider to show me CNN, or more accurately in the near future, pay $1 per month or $0.25 per pageview. Many favorite blogs would need subscriptions, or find a major distribution partner, to stay afloat.I don’t know many people interested in this scenario. Without the free web, many entrepreneurs and start-up bloggers wouldn’t have the opportunities if people had to pay for that same beginning content.

 

Where do we go from here?

Great question. Thanks! (Stop inner monologue). Two things need to happen in my opinion. First, an organization needs to govern the advertising online and make it virtually illegal to deploy intrusive or obnoxious advertising without indication from a user. The IAB could be that organization, but their self-described failures have been well-documented. in allowing the industry to chase display ad dollars and not see the denigration of user experience. To their credit the IAB is looking into ways to keep digital advertising from becoming a nuisance and return us to the days where the relationship was understood: Want free content? Deal with a few ads. Pretty simple.

YesitsFREE

Secondly, ad blockers and mobile use have driven the need for content-based advertising through Native Ads or Sponsored Content. This has given the user less intrusive, more environment-appropriate messaging. But the near future of digital marketing is in content and creating information that is fun, insightful, helpful or entertaining to the consumer. Content marketing allows for more sharing via social networks and often creates a consumer appreciative of something of value and not just an ad. My fear is in a matter of time Native Ad spots will become ineffective and be glossed over as much as banner ads are today. Alas, this industry is resilient and continues to adapt and change to reach consumers wherever they go.

 

One final thought on ad blockers

Those of us in this industry are the most responsible. Some publishers and websites do a great job of creating experiences for customers/viewers that not only inform but also entertain. We provide a place for business relationships to occur, sometimes subtly and other times through user-triggered advertising. Regardless how a business chooses to run a site and advertising, we are responsible for creating environments in which our consumers feel like they can get the information they want easily, effectively and with a reasonable amount of advertising. Full takeovers, in-your-face tactics do not work and should not be deployed unless an interaction has triggered such a move. Otherwise, we’re continuing a revolt against our industry of digital advertising and digital content consumption.
Publishers and advertisers need to hold each other accountable. Consumers won’t care enough. They’ll move on to someone like Apple who will provide them what they want. Be respectful of a user’s time. People aren’t our commodity. They are our connection to the digital ecosystem.

Don’t Go Changing: How Advertising has Changed Over Time

Advertising and marketing have been around a long time. From the days of medicine men driving cross-country in a covered wagon to Mad Men of the 1960s and today’s generation of data-driven and web marketing tactics much has changed. But the basis and strategies haven’t changed as much as we think. For a quick look, check out this awesome video via Mashable and Adobe.

For as long as people can remember marketers have tried to get their products in front of people. There weren’t a lot of tactics in the early years so businesses chose to mass market via the largest newspapers, widest-reaching radio stations or network TV. Target marketing still wasn’t a thing. But remember, when there are only 3-4 mediums you ARE reaching your target market….plus everyone else! Niche magazines and Soap Operas, publications and programs emerged to hone in on that target even more, eliminate waste and find the most engaged potential customer.

bigdataData and research have been around as long as marketing. The amount of data and trackability of users has not. That’s really all that’s changed. Focus groups and Nielsen ratings have given way to engagement rates and web traffic. Anyone who watched “Mad Men” knows how big a deal it was to get a computer in the 60’s. But there was a lot of data being used prior to that. As the data we use becomes more reliable and accurate the delivery of advertising also does just that.

 

I still firmly believe that advertising and marketing consists of two major components: Data & Research and Sociologicaly/Psychology. It’s great toData Tube know the target market, downright amazing what we’re capable of doing, but if the message doesn’t resonate with the audience it won’t have the maximum results. If we can’t reach people and touch them at their core, change their behavior with our message, it doesn’t matter that we’re reaching women 25-34 who have shopped at Norstrom for sweaters in the past 30 days. Vice versa if the message is brilliant, catchy and beautifully done but the audience isn’t in the buying cycle or the intended target is missed, how effective will it be?

In 2015 wSociology braine get caught up with all the data and target marketing. But there will always be a creative side to marketing. It’s how you stand out. In a world in which ads are delivered constantly and everyone is vying for that short attention span, who stands out? Not those with perfect data and targeting tactics. It’s the marketers leveraging data to deliver a perfectly suited and timed message.

The delivery on which we see and consume content and advertising has changed. What makes an effective campaign has not. There is still a balance between tactic, medium, content and data. There are more tactics, media and data than ever before. Use what the Internet, Mobile and Social have given us as marketers. But continue to find the creative solutions that resonate with your target audience. That’s how you TRULY stand out in today’s ever-changing marketing landscape.

And as always, sign up for our newsletter by going here. And follow us on Twitter , Facebook or Google Plus.

Fitting SOCIAL into Your Overall Media Plan

SocialMedia function

“Finalizing the 4 functions of Social media – the 4 C’s” Posted on March 30, 2011 by makkara

Over the last 8 years of working in the advertising world I’ve heard a lot of things. I’ve heard reasons to NOT advertise, reasons it doesn’t work, complaints about my company and complaints about others. But one of the most common phrases I’ve heard from small businesses is “I have Social Media and it’s FREE!”    

Any marketer or business owner who thinks Social is the answer to all advertising problems is either A) Misguided or B) Misinformed. Social Media is as much advertising as word of mouth. It may be a form of marketing, but by definition is NOT advertising.

Your Social Media function may take many forms depending on your strategy. It’s an opportunity to have a conversation with users in real time. In this sense it’s more of a Public Relations or Customer Relations tool. For example, Social Media is great at engaging your current customers with fun games, unique opportunities and contests. However, providing a 15% off discount alone without any further interaction is not what your followers are seeking. They expect you to be Social on Social Media. Weird concept, right?

Many businesses also use SM to filter complaints. If a complaint catches on and goes viral the business may lose many customers. If they answer a complaint quickly and provide solutions, which can be done quickly on SM, at most they lose one customer. Airlines are known for this. There’s nothing worse than sitting on a tarmack for 3 hours. What else can one do, but post their anger on Social Media?

Most social channels now offer paid opportunities, meaning an advertiser could advertise through and on Social Media. Of course, this costs money like any form of advertising. Your standalone Facebook page is in and of itself NOT advertising. I like to think of it this way: Using your social channel is a great way to reward or interact with current customers, but does very little to bring in new customers. And the number of people you can reach organically through a Facebook post continues to plummet. So it’s obvious that what was once a “Free” opportunity to interact with followers is now becoming a forced buy.

Organic_reach_of_brands_Facebook_posts

Social value-time function

“4 Composite Functions of Social Media” from The Relationship Economy by JAY DERAGON on 12/08/2009

Most small businesses don’t have the staff to consistently create excellent content that goes viral and gets shared at no charge. It’s extremely difficult to garner the scale intended when Facebook first started.

In the image to the right, most small businesses only have time to hit the “Administration” and “Listening & Learning” stages. It takes at minimum a specialist, and at most a team, to think, plan, engage and measure your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other accounts. But at minimum listen to and learn about your customers. If you have time to plan and measure great! But we all know it’s hard to find that time.

 

A customer’s first interaction with you is RARELY your Social Media page. They either hear about you from someone else, see a shared post/video, visited your store or been to your website. But how do you get them to find you?

 

advertising

Advertising, as defined by numerous sources, is more or less a paid message through TV, Radio, Newspaper, Digital and Outdoor. Advertising is one branch of Marketing called “Promotion.” Social Media, PR, marketing products (pens, can coolers, t-shirts) are also part of promotions. But only one is paid space or time…

Advertising. Reaching your audience through targeted display advertising can be a great way to find new, potential customers. “But how can Social and display work together,” you ask? Utilize the demographic information you find from your Facebook page to target your display ads. If a group of people already “Like” you, similar people may also like and buy from you. If 75% of your followers are women 35-54 you already have a targeting strategy in mind. Advertising is where people expect to see offers, deals, image ads, branding, etc. And as already explained, users don’t want advertising while using Social. (More targeting tactics were discussed in a previous blog post.)

Native Toyota headline

Toyota’s Native Advertising campaign distributed through the RiverTown network.

There are ways to blend the content you put out on Social Media channels into a subtle form of advertising called Native Advertising. Pay someone to distribute your message to enhance reach, find new customers and entertain/inform/educate a new audience (see above). Businesses can also sponsor content previously produced by their partnering vendor. Complement the content you push out to followers and friends on Social Media with content distributed the other media vendors. It’s a great way to reach new customers with a message you already approve without reinventing the wheel! More thoughts on this topic will be coming down the road.

Keep these differences in mind when planning your media strategy. Advertising is paid. Social Media is content you share with mostly current customers.

Thanks again for reading. If you aren’t already, follow us on Twitter @rivertownmedia and let’s continue the conversation.

Have a good one!

 

June 2012 Newsletter

 Audience. Reach. Results
Dear Advertiser,You’re busy. I’m busy. So let’s keep this short. Welcome to the debut issue of our quarterly advertising and marketing newsletter, a free service to our valued advertisers. Once a quarter, this email newsletter will provide you with “information bites” designed to improve your exposure in the marketplace: surveys, statistics, programs, success stories, and much more.We promise it will be a quick read full of fast facts – an email charged with great ideas to energize your business. Sit back and enjoy.

In this Issue:

Introducing RiverTown Multimedia
RiverTown Multimedia LogoRiverTown Multimedia? What is that? What happened to RiverTown Newspaper Group?We are still here, better than ever.

Our organization, however, has taken on a new identity.I am excited to answer questions like these because it is an opportunity to talk about all the great new solutions we are working on.  As the media world is changing we are changing too.  While we still are proud to say that we produce the leading community newspapers in the region, we have become more than just a newspaper.

The growing list of marketing solutions includes our eleven local news websites, which have over 325,000 unique visitors per month.  Our auto search engine, www.carsHQ.com has over 80,000 page views per month with over 17,000 vehicles to browse from over 60 regional auto dealers.  We are also proud to say that over 180,000 unique visitors use our leading local job site, www.jobsHQ.com to assist in their job searches.  In addition, www.apartmentsHQ.com  has over 243,000 page views and 24,000 unique visitors per month.  The best news is that as a part of the Forum Communications Digital network we can offer a total digital audience of over 1.7 million monthly unique visitors with over 415,000 coming from the Twin Cities region.

Along with our growing list of digital marketing brands and solutions, we have also launched several other solutions of note in the past year.  We have four niche publications that reach different audiences on a regular basis.  Home & Garden publishes twice per year and reaches over 268,000 readers in the region.  dining & destinations, our guide to summer dining, travel, and events is read by over 75,000 people and, most recently, published in the middle of May.  Healthy Lifestyle/Senior Lifestyle magazines publish quarterly and reach a total audience of over 100,000 readers.  Last, but not least, is our much anticipated Holiday Guide magazine which publishes the day before Thanksgiving each year to an audience of over 268,000 readers. Each of these niche publications are also published electronically via our network of websites.

While we have continued to grow our overall audience and regional presence with our web sites and niche publications we continue to be entrenched in each community that we cover.  Our ten award-winning weekly community newspapers continue to grow local readership at a time when the metro dailies are losing readers.  We pride ourselves in being the number one local news source in our communities.  In addition to our weekly news coverage of local government, crime, schools, sports and more we continue to publish our full library of local special sections and niche publications.  Graduation sections, Community Guides & Maps, Community Event publications and much more are produced in each of our markets to meet the need of our readers and advertisers to connect to their local communities.

As you can see we are more than just a newspaper.  I hope you will give us an opportunity to show you how one or more of our solutions can meet your marketing and business needs.  I am confident you will not be disappointed with the power and effectiveness that RiverTown Multimedia can bring to your business.

Upcoming Advertising Opportunities
Don’t Miss These Upcoming Opportunities to reach our Audience!A quick look at upcoming opportunities to reach all or portions of our audience with a targeted local publication (dates subject to change. Contact your Account Executive for further details):

Healthy Lifestyle Magazine:
Publishes: Week of July 16
Space Reservation Deadline: June 22

Official Woodbury Days Preview Section:
Publishes: Week of August 22
Space Reservation Deadline: August 10

Official St. Croix County Fair Section:
Publishes: Week of July 9
Space Reservation Deadline: June 29

Official Pierce County Fair Section:
Publishes: Week of July 16
Space Reservation Deadline: July 6

Official Dakota County Fair Section:
Publishes: Week of July 30
Space Reservation Deadline: July 20

Autumn Home & Garden tabloid:
Publishes: Week of September 10
Space Reservation Deadline: August 24

Senior Lifestyle Magazine:
Publishes: Week of September 17
Space Reservation Deadline: August 17

 

6 Summer Marketing Tips
Marketing IdeasIt’s warm and sunny, the beach calls. You ask yourself “Why shouldn’t I just give in and go? Marketing is a waste of time at this time of year.”

  1. Summer with its delicious distractions tempts you to decide that nothing is going to happen in your business so why not just enjoy the season.
  2. If you decide to make that choice you will be joining much of your competition in thinking summer time is play time.
  3. With the competition out of the game, now is the time to get out and get serious about your business as they lie on the beach.
  4. Give yourself a break from the everyday pressure of marketing and sales by working on future business NOW!
  5. Going into the fall with business on the books before you start the season is not only a great feeling; it changes your perspective when a prospect that may not be a good fit comes along.
  6. Having core business gives you time to explore and investigate other opportunities that come along. Those other opportunities sometimes form the basis for innovation in how you do business, the way you market and what the primary focus of your business is.Put the power and control of your future back in your own hands.

>> Implement these summer marketing tips starting today:

• Summer is a slower time of year for some media which means you can negotiate a better deal and extend the buy into the higher priced fall by planning and booking now.

• Send a Press Release while media staff is reduced by the holiday season and pressure to produce is on fewer numbers of media writers with less time to look for stories.

• Do take some additional time to read some new marketing books, write some new articles and learn a new marketing skill i.e. blogging or social marketing

• Hold an annual or semi-annual sale with clear parameters of what, when, and how to ensure it doesn’t creep into the busy fall.

• Offer a free seminar, put on a picnic, sponsor a high profile summer time event, and/or hire a student to distribute a coupon. Do something different to capitalize on the opportunity created by large gatherings at special events and more people out on the street in the summer.

• Make a special offer to your current customers to introduce them to another product or service they haven’t yet bought.

 

If you need to see the possibilities before you put an effort into summer marketing try the following exercise:

• Draw a circle on a piece of paper representing the market size of your industry. Mark your pie shaped share of the market, no matter how small.

• Draw a larger circle around the same central point and extend the sides of your piece of the pie to the new perimeter.

• See what happens to your piece of the pie when people return to their fall routines and the prospects you spoke to and those who decided to do business with you told their friends?

That increase is your customer base growing exponentially from the marketing work you did while others were relaxing in the sun.

“Some people forget to plant in the spring, idle away the summer hours and then expect to reap in the fall.”
-Grant M. Bright

There is still time to give attention to your summer marketing and reap the benefits this fall and into 2013.

Source:  www.notabenemarketing.com

Our Audience = Your Potential Customers
Whatever product or services you sell, chances are good your customers are getting their news and information from our newspapers and websites. Are the people you want to see walking through your door listed below?PERCENTAGE OF READERS WHO:

• Intend on using a Car Wash   75.5%
• Plan of shopping for Women’s Clothing  67%
• Intend on an Oil Change  66.9%
• Plan on shopping at a Liquor Store  49.9%
• Exercised 12+ times at a Health Club last year 40.4%
• Ate at a restaurant 4+ times in the past 2 weeks  65%
• Plan on buying a vehicle in the next year  12.1%
• Intend on Buying or Renting a New Home  5.8%
• Plan on visiting a Butcher Shop  34%
• Plan on travelling to a lake in the region  46.8%
• Will shop at a Hardware Store  36.2%

Source:  Q2 Pulse of America regional survey of consumer shopping habits

Our audience