Advertising On Connected TV

If you ask any Millennial or Gen Z’er what it is that they do for fun, a healthy majority will list off curling up on a couch and binge-watching their favorite tv show.

More and more people are turning away from traditional TV and are tuning in via Connected TV (Netflix, Hulu, Sling, YouTube, HBO GO, etc.).

What is Connected TV?

According to Centro, Connected TV is defined as a television set that is connected to the internet via built-in capabilities, a media streaming device, gaming console, or Blu-ray player, and facilitates the delivery of streaming video content.

Right now, 69% of households have a Connected TV, with that number projected to increase year-over-year. Similar to traditional TV’s audience, Connected TV users are using the platforms to watch full episodes of their favorite shows and to tune-in to live events like The World Series and The Emmys.

While the audience that consumes traditional TV is skewed older, Connected TV’s audience is younger and more affluent with a median age of 31. So, if your advertising tactics are strictly focused on traditional TV, you’re missing out on reaching an important audience.

Right now, there are three different ways to reach your audience using Connected TV advertising: in-stream video, interactive pre-roll and home screen placements.

In-Stream Video

In-stream video ads are :15s or :30s non-skippable ads that play either before the user’s program or during breaks. This kind of advertisement is a really great way to repurpose spots created for TV to earn impressions and reach other demographics.

Interactive Pre-Roll

Just like in-stream video, interactive pre-roll ads play before and during the user’s show, but it gives the user the option to interact with the ad. In the example below, Snickers made a game out of their interactive pre-roll ad for YouTube which ends up not feeling like an ad at all, but rather a fun and memorable interaction with a brand.

Home Screen Placements

This option is the least intrusive ad type on Connected TV. These ads are placed on the home screen of a Connected TV app and have the capabilities to feature interactive calls-to-action like, “Click to Learn More.”

Let’s Get Connected

So where do you start? First, define your audiences. Are your clients or consumers viewing more traditional or Connected TV?

Then, figure out the goal of your messaging. Do you want to send your audience members to a landing page and collect leads or are you more interested in earning impressions?

Next, take a look at your options for Connected TV platforms. For example, Netflix is still an advertising-free platform whereas Hulu and YouTube are not.

Finally, it’s time to put together a creative and memorable ad to serve to your audience. That’s where TAG comes in. Let’s talk about your digital strategy and figure out a campaign to deliver measurable results.

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4 Basic Things Your Brand Needs to Excel at Digital

The fall season is the perfect time to embrace your inner basic. “Do you want whip cream with that pumpkin spice latte?” You bet your sweet Aunt Sally I do! Even when it comes to your digital strategy, think basic.

At TAG, when we talk about a digital strategy, we’re not simply talking about your website. It’s all of your digital components and how those components work together to deliver results.

Those components include social media, websites, analytics, digital ads, AdWords, etc. -  you get the picture. It’s a lot to think about and monitor, so start slow. Below is what the TAG team believes are the four basic elements your brand needs to master.

1 | Mobile Responsive Website

A mobile responsive website means that your website will be just as clear and easy to navigate on a computer, as it is on a smart phone or tablet. Mobile responsive sites aim to minimize resizing, panning and scrolling so that your consumer can have a seamless interaction with your site and its content.

According to Adobe, nearly 8 out of 10 consumers would stop engaging with a piece of content if it’s not displaying well on their device. And, with roughly 60% of all internet access attributed to mobile traffic (which will continue to grow), can your brand afford to not be mobile responsive?

Think of your own habits. We’re all busy and when you’re looking for information fast, you don’t want to find yourself accessing a website on your phone and constantly having to zoom in to look at the text. It’s a hassle, and consumers and clients alike will find themselves seeking a mobile experience elsewhere.

2 | Social Media

Curious as to another digital tactic where most traffic comes from mobile? Ding, ding, ding! Social media. If you’re a brand, it’s imperative for you to have a focused social strategy. This doesn’t just mean throwing up pictures to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day (although, we do have a tactic for using National Days…), it means being in touch with your audience and knowing what kind of content they’re  looking for on your social media accounts.

Advertising on social media platforms has blown up over the past couple of years, and it will only continue to grow. Create a goal and then create a social media ad campaign that will deliver those results. For example: If you want people to visit your website, create a Facebook Ad campaign that will send traffic to your site. Or, if you’re wanting some exposure for your brand and your audience is relatively young, consider creating a Snapchat filter for a local event you’re sponsoring or that aligns with your brand.

3 | SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

When a potential customer is searching for your product or services online, what would they type into the search bar? Write them down, and then incorporate those words throughout your website because that’s how search engines pull results.

For example, when I type in “home improvement store davenport,” Lowe’s Home Improvement in Davenport is one of the first things to appear. Why? For one, they have home improvement in their name (genius) and it’s also sprinkled throughout their website. If you go to their Company Information page, their description says, “…Lowe’s has been Improving Home Improvement.”

So, if you’re currently dependent upon organic search traffic but aren’t getting the results you want, it’s time to do a word overhaul on your website.

4 | Analytics

Once your website is mobile responsive, your social media tactics and campaigns are running and your search engine optimization is as optimized as it gets, the next step is reviewing the analytics.

If you have a website, make sure it’s set up with a basic Google Analytics tracking code. That way, you’ll be able to see who’s visiting your site, when they’re visiting your site, how long they’re staying, what pages are most viewed, etc. in order to see what’s working with your audience and what’s not.

Social Media sites also have analytics in order for you to see which posts or ads are performing the best. Facebook to Snapchat and everything in between will offer you metrics such as impressions, reach, engagements, click through rates, etc. so that you can see the results, analyze them and then put your money where it makes most sense.

Whether you need help with the basics or if you’re looking to take your digital strategy to new heights, contact the TAG team of social media, web and analytic experts to help you reach your goals.

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Which is Better for Your Brand: Snapchat or Instagram?

59% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram (via SproutSocial) while Snapchat reaches 41% of 18-34 year olds in the U.S. every day (via Smart Insights). Needless to say, if you’re not on at least one of these platforms, you’re missing out on marketing to a large, and important, audience.

While Instagram and Snapchat are similar, the two cater to different audiences, with different content that can be interacted with in different ways, so we’re breaking it down to help you figure out which platform is best for your business.

 Similarities

Instagram was released in October 2010, just shy of a year before Snapchat’s launch in September 2011. Instagram and Snapchat allow their users to share their experiences through images, and both platforms eventually expanded to incorporate video.

Snapchat originated the “stories” concept early into its existence. A “story” gives you the option to share one or more photos and/or videos for up to 24 hours with your friends. Instagram implemented its “stories” feature in August of 2016 and, for many, blurred the lines between the two platforms. As you’ll learn below, Snapchat and Instagram are still very different when it comes to audiences and content.

Audiences

Instagram caters to an older audience when compared to Snapchat. 59% of its audience is made up of 18-29 year olds, with 30-49 year-olds making up 33% of its audience.

Instagram’s audience base is also more educated than audiences on other social platforms. 37% of adults with some college experience use Instagram and college graduates make up 33% of its users.

Instagram’s income demographic reinforces the fact that its users are college educated, as 37% of adults who make more than $75,000 are on the platform.

Source: SproutSocial

Snapchat is the most-used social platform for people aged 12-24. In fact, 13-24 year-olds account for 60% of Snapchat’s total audience. According to MediaKix, 60% of college students would purchase from a brand if they were sent a coupon on Snapchat and 77% of college students use the platform daily, averaging 25-30 minutes.

Source: Smart Insights

Content

(Fun fact: Kylie Jenner revealed in her E! series Life of Kylie that she pays nothing for advertising. The 20-year-old CEO of Kylie Cosmetics says that the only advertising she does is on her personal Instagram and Snapchat accounts.)

Snapchat and Instagram both offer a platform for people to share photos and videos, but the content being shared differs.

Content on Instagram is often edited and refined. Brands are easily found on the platform, and the content shared is accessible by anyone, as long as your account is not set as “private.” Posts on Instagram also have a longer life-span, as once they are “posted,” they’re available for people to look at and interact with forever (or until the person who posted it, deletes it).

Unlike Instagram, most of the content that’s shared on Snapchat is typically between two “private” accounts and isn’t open to the public. However, there are public profiles (brands, celebrities, public figures, etc.) and the content that’s posted from those accounts is raw and unrefined. This kind of authentic content really resonates with Gen Z, as they feel that the brands that share raw and real content are more trustworthy.

A lot of brands find success using Snapchat geofilters, which can be designed on Snapchat’s website with their pre-made templates, or personally designed and uploaded (Geofilters are photo and video overlays that are accessed within a set location). For example, if your business is putting on an event where you know a lot of its audience members will be on Snapchat (concerts, fairs, etc.), then a geofilter would be an easy, effective and cost-efficient way for that audience to interact with your brand.

Interactions

The content is different on each platform, so the way it’s interacted with is different, too.

Content on Instagram can feature custom hashtags, users may tag other businesses or people, and there’s the ability to “like,” “comment,” “share,” “save,” and “send” photos and videos. In fact, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded, according to SproutSocial. Much like posts on Facebook, when you’re posting to Instagram, you also have the ability to select a location to associate your post with, giving that piece of content yet another way to be found.

When Snapchats are played, users have the ability to privately respond either via text or by snapping back a photo or video. Recently, Snapchat gave its users the ability to attach a link to their posts when users swipe up, giving brands the ability to track traffic from Snapchat more easily. On Snapchat, users can also see who has viewed their posts, who has replayed a snap and which users have taken a screen shot of the post.

What’s best for your brand?

Now that you know the differences between Snapchat and Instagram you could go frolic in a field and throw paper hearts in the air in celebration (thanks for the transition, Chris Pratt), OR you could get serious about your social strategy and call TAG! Let’s talk about which platform is best for your brand.

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The Evolution of Paid Search & What it Means for Your Strategy

The Evolution of Paid Search & What it Means for Your Strategy


“Where can I find jackfruit?”

“Pool floats that look like donuts”

“Do I need special glasses to watch the solar eclipse?”

Those are just a few of our team’s latest Google Searches. Did you know that there are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone?

The Evolution

Over the course of the last decade, technology has evolved and so have our search patterns. Google has introduced numerous algorithms, and continues to refine them in order to better assist you in your queries.

Take a moment to think of your own behavior and how, it too, has evolved over the last 10 years. The first iPhone wasn’t introduced until June 29, 2007, so until then, Google search was limited to desktop users. In 2011, Apple introduced Siri – it’s voice-activated search tool for Apple product-users. 2012 marked Google’s release of their search app for iOS that featured its voice search function, rivaling Siri.

Paralleling these technological advances were also societal changes in the way we interact with our phones. 2007 was also the year when the state of Washington became the first state to ban texting and driving. Since then, many other states have followed suit and some have even banned calls from a hand-held cell phone device which, in turn, pushed for more voice activation options.

Earlier this year, The Webmaster released an article citing Hitwise’s study that found nearly 60% of all online searches are now happening from a mobile device, with the food and beverage industry reaching 72%.

What it means for Search

According to a recent HubSpot blog, 20% of queries in 2016 were mobile and android voice searches and a study by Ahrefs found that 64% of searches are at least four words or more.

This tells us that we’ve become much more conversational in the way we use search. So, instead of typing “Restaurants Quad Cities” like we did in 2007, we’re typing (or, dictating) “Where’s the best place to find tacos near me?”

What it means for Google AdWords

With many of our current clients reaping the benefits of Paid Search, the TAG team of Google certified experts decided that with this information, it was time to restructure our strategy.

Instead of the previously advised 10-20 keywords per topic in AdWords, because of the way consumers are searching we need to start thinking of them as “topics.”

The first step in this process is looking at your content from a low level. Segment the content you want your consumers to find into “topics.” For example, at TAG, one of our “topics” would be Social Media. We realize a strong social presence could be a potential client’s pain point and we’re here to help them succeed.

From there, we take our “topics” and segment them even further into “subtopics.” We think, ‘What are our potential clients searching for when they’re looking for help with their social strategy?” Then, “subtopics” for social media could be:

Social Media (topic)

  • Facebook marketing quad cities (subtopic)
  • More followers for my business Instagram (subtopic)
  • Is snapchat right for my business? (subtopic)
  • Email marketing tools (subtopic)

The subtopics help our team get into the mind of our clients and we’re able to then reformat our Google AdWords campaigns in order to deliver them the information they’re seeking and, ultimately, help their business succeed.

At TAG, it’s important to understand our clients, and their clients, so that we can create a comprehensive approach that fits everyone’s needs. Our TAG team of Google certified experts is excited to help your business grow, so let’s get started.

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Valentine’s Day—Social Media Style

Valentine’s Day—Social Media Style

Social media friends, be warned—Valentine’s Day is this weekend! Whether you classify yourself as single or taken this year, Valentine’s Day can cause anyone to feel a flurry of unsavory emotions—especially with all those crazy V-Day posts blowing up your news feed! Follow us as we examine the types of social media posts you can expect to see this Valentine’s Day, and uncover the true essence of this Hallmark holiday.

Look What I Got!
It happens every year—your friends upload photos of their special Valentine’s Day haul, captioned with something like, “My boo knows me so well, he’s the best! #loveyou #ValentinesDay.”

If you’re single, these photos just serve to show you another romantic holiday you’re missing out on. But don’t worry, whether you’re sitting at home sulking, or out with your love, we can all agree that spending the evening of Valentine’s Day scrolling through social media and judging your friends gifts is a treasured tradition.

 Look What I got

PDA, Go Away
Come on, Kimye—knock it off. Why is it that couples feel the need to share their PDA via social media every Valentine’s Day? We’re not prudes, but no one wants to watch you and your significant other play tonsil hockey all over our news feed. And let’s be honest, seeing your friends celebrating the day with their significant others is the worst when you’re alone, stuffing your face with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Kimye

Anti-Valentine’s Day
There’s bound to be one or two people on your feed who hate Valentine’s Day, and are determined to let you know. This year, be prepared to witness a few posts about how Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday, or how being single is the worst. When you run into these posts, our advice to you is to scroll right along, and thank yourself for not giving into the crazy.

Liz Lemon

Single’s Awareness Day
The complete opposite of V-Day haters, some people take a different approach, and turn Valentine’s Day into their own personal Single’s Awareness Day. These individuals are truly an inspiration to us all to look on the bright side—and for that, we thank you!

V-Day Ecard

Alright, everyone. Now that you know what to be on the lookout for, it’s time to prepare yourself for the onslaught of social media posts this weekend. Even if you’re absolutely dreading Valentine’s Day, we can all agree that the holiday we’re REALLY looking forward to is February 15—Discount Chocolate Day!

Discount Chocolate

TAG Announces Staff Promotions As It Enters 26 Years in Business

Michael Vondran, CEO of TAG has announced the following staff promotions within the TAG executive team effective January 1, 2016.

Don_Mug_400_400_80_int_sDon Farber to Chief Creative and Digital Officer. Don has been serving as TAG Executive VP for the past two years. In his newly expanded role Don will drive all creative and digital services of the firm. “Don has been an outstanding leader as Executive Vice President, he has built a great team and is now ready to evolve the services and vision for TAG’s creative and digital teams. We look forward to great things with Don in the lead,” said Vondran.

“The world for our clients and ourselves continues to evolve with digital communications driving brand and sales, I’m confident Don will continue to enable TAG’s growth as the digital communications leader in the region,” said Randy (RJ) Jacobs, President and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO).

Natalie Johansen-Murray to Executive Vice President/Strategy. Natalie has been serving as VP of Natalie MurrayClient Strategy and Experience for the past two years. In her new role she will continue to provide leadership and business development assistance to the TAG account management team while also growing the strategic planning, research and Brand Summit products within the firm. “Natalie’s driving focus has been to build the best possible client experience when working with TAG, this will continue and expand with focus on emerging and evolving service lines,” according to Vondran.

“TAG is a team of enthusiastic and intense members, Natalie’s leadership will continue to strengthen our position as the regional leader that Builds Brands,” said Jacobs.

Kathleen Herber to Vice President / Tri States Market. Kathleen has been serving as Market Kathleen HerberDirector for the past two years growing and managing account relationships from the firm’s office located in Dubuque, Iowa. “Kathleen has been a tremendous addition to our TAG team, her focus on client development has been instrumental in our regional growth. Her new role will only amplify and enhance our efforts in service to TAG clients in the region,” stated Vondran.

“TAG’s expansion into the Tri-State region has been an exciting journey, Kathleen’s skills and client focus will only enhance the growth of our team to provide valued services to our client partners in the region,” declared Jacobs.

Social Media for Dummies

How do I use social media to market my business or myself? How often should I post on social media? Which social media network do I need to be part of? What type of content should I post? How do I generate sales from social media?

The tricky part about answering these common questions is that the answer is never the same. The choices you need to make in your social media marketing strategy will all depend on what it is you’re marketing—and to whom.

Do your research

Start by researching who your customers are, how they consume information and how they buy. Every product or service is different, so it’s important that you understand which audience is on which network and how they prefer to communicate. Once you’ve identified your customers’ habits, you can choose one of over 200 different social networks to share information with them.

Entertain, educate and promote

The right strategy for any social media platform is to entertain to grab your audience’s attention, educate to move them to the decision-making phase and promote products and services to close the deal. Over 70 percent of businesses are eliminated in a consumer’s research phase, so build trust by focusing on help instead of hype and creating top-of-mind awareness by being in the same space they are. Many times people will forget about what you do and how you can help if you do not constantly remind them!

Be social

Although social media can certainly be used as an advertising outlet, its platforms are primarily used as social networks. When you see good content, share it and tell your follower why it’s worth their time and attention to become an authority for your audience. Sharing content in a more conversational manner allows you to start discussions, learn more about customer needs and uncover opportunities. Also note that consumers nowadays demand interactivity with their brands. If you are not responding to Tweets, Facebook comments or actively listening for opportunities through social listening, you are missing out.

Manage your time

There are several free tools out there that will help you manage your time in marketing yourself on social media. Hootsuite and Buffer are two free tools that you can use to schedule your content posts in advance during the times your target audience is most active on social media. Gather shareable content from news reader sites such as Feedly which collect valuable content from several sources. Just be careful not to share anything from your competitors!

Outsource your social media management

Although the social media channels are free to sign up (for now) and creating posts are also free, you will soon learn that social media marketing is not free. Time is probably our most valuable asset, and it is very easy to invest many “free” hours into your social media strategy. Even if you have the expertise and capabilities to successfully engage buyers, the amount of time it requires may lead you to explore outsourcing options.

TAG excels at gathering, creating and posting content that engages our clients’ target audiences, and one of the most important advantages of working with TAG is that our clients save loads of time on their digital marketing strategy while still reaping the benefits of the top-of-mind awareness, trust and leads that come with it. Click here for more information on TAG’s social media services!

Salesman or Spokesman?

Social media means something to everyone, even if you aren’t an active user. For some it’s a social hangout, to others it’s a way to publicize business. For advertisers, social media is a tool that changed the industry. Honestly, it changed the world, but that’s another story.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Paid Search, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, Foursquare, etc. What do they all have in common? Well, they all have the potential to generate sales. Yes, sales. The purpose behind social marketing can be seen as two fold; to build an audience while also building brand loyalty and to drive sales.

Steps for Social sales success:

  1. Strategy: As advertisers, we start with a strategy – first priority is to identify what platforms fit our clients need. Why do you want to use social media for your business? How can you use social media to sell your story?
  2. Platform: Which social media platforms are right for your business? There are multiple ways to reach your customers. Don’t limit yourself to the traditional Facebook and Twitter platforms.
  3. Delivery: How will you tell the story you want customers to hear? Connecting the dots from brick and mortar to virtual and back again. Aiding in a clients understanding of the work we do for them also helps connect the dots to the success of their business.

Take a company like Patagonia. Their Facebook page doesn’t have advertisements for products they sell; it has stories about the people that use their products. The stories they share depict a lifestyle that lives and breathes their mission. By sharing these stories Patagonia grows their own customer base. People read the stories and become inspired to live their life along the mission of Patagonia. This inspiration should be every company’s goal when it comes to implementing social media.

At TAG, we understand the value in a social presence for your business. We also understand the complications that go along with having a social presence. Lucky for you, we’re here to help! Check out our white paper on social media for your business by clicking here to get you started.

Current Culture: Multi-generational Workplace

For decades, employees from different social backgrounds, educational backgrounds and even different generations have worked side by side. New employees fresh out of school and eager to make a name for themselves sitting next to employees who are reminiscing on a life-long career and preparing for a relaxing retirement. In advertising, we are always striving to produce a seamless message across all mediums.  Does a multi-generational workforce aid in our never-ending quest for the next great idea, or does it prove to be more of a setback?

How does a multi-generational workplace affect office culture and productivity?

Advertising agencies tend to have an office culture that is unlike any other office you have ever seen. Relaxed dress policy, monthly snack-attack (surprise snack time here at TAG) and employees riding around on scooters are just the beginning. A relaxed environment where employees feel free to be creative is important for productivity. Breaking down the walls, literally, is one of the most effective ways to cultivate this creative freedom. Baby Boomers are familiar with the notion of working towards a corner office. This top-down mentality hinders the creative spark needed in advertising. Creative work environments motivate all levels of employees to engage and contribute to the success of the team.

Things that fall into the cracks between generations.

More than years separate generations. Generational norms change over time, and each generation as a whole becomes comfortable with certain working conditions and motivators. Advertising has changed drastically since Baby Boomers entered the work force. Graphic design, social media and Klout are all vital to any advertiser today, but that wasn’t the case twenty or thirty years ago. New technologies and mediums for advertising can be seen as a fad that will soon go out of style, or they can be viewed as the industry’s future. Earlier generations can be hesitant and resist change in the work place. Refusing to adapt can leave your business behind that is why it is important to constantly challenge yourself to adapt. Change is inevitable in the creative field, but those who adapt positively and quickly are those who will have the most success.

Positive aspects to a multi-generational work force.

A multi-generational workforce offers new perspectives and ideas to flow freely – the core objective of most creative companies. Who says upper management are the only ones with good ideas? If a creative company gets stuck in these generational barriers, they have failed to fulfill their core objectives. Each generation has their objectives in the work place. Some work to live while others live to work. The key is to have employees from a range of generations but understand how they relate to one another. No generation is 100% unique, there are similarities across the boards. Utilizing these complimentary qualities will not only create a unified office culture, but it will also prove beneficial to the agency’s work.

At TAG, our mission relays our positive feelings on a multi-generational workforce.

Learn more about the TAG culture by clicking here.