101 Series: What is Native Advertising?
There’s been a lot of chatter among marketing/communications pros in recent months involving a new buzzword for a relatively old phenomenon: Native Advertising. There’s a good chance you’ve come across this digital marketing tactic while reading your favorite blog and if done correctly, hopefully you didn’t realize that it was in fact an advertisement.
In a nutshell, native advertising is when brands pay for sponsored content on a blog. The placement takes on the look and feel of an editorial post yet it’s paid advertising. Many insiders including PRNewser’s Patrick Coffee will tell you that traditional paid media, such as banner ads are on their way out and native advertising is taking on a greater role in brands’ marketing campaigns. Not only does native advertising provide greater opportunities for brands to share in-depth content with online audiences, but it also allows publications to have more control over the advertising they feature as many write the copy with approval from the advertiser.
Buzzfeed is an excellent example of a website utilizing native advertising. Scroll down on their feed on any given day and if you look closely you’ll see posts highlighted with an unique background, noting that it’s “Presented By a Featured Partner.” Many brands are taking advantage and using native advertising on the popular site to share a message connected with their product or service such as the recent post, 14 Reasons Why You Should Be Afraid Of The Dark presented by the SyFy network.
Native advertising is not an entirely new concept. Marketers have long-since paid for sponsored content in traditional print publications better known as advertorials, however now this strategy is moving online, yet another indication that marketers are continuing to infiltrate the digital landscape.
Check out the other installments of our 101 Series posts:
The Big Money of the Big Game
Each year the Super Bowl is one of the most watched television events in the world. There’s millions of eyes on the game, and millions upon millions of dollars behind it and tied to it. A Super Bowl ad has now become the most expensive 30 seconds on TV, at more than $3.4million per spot.
There’s more to take into consideration than simply the cost of the ads though. A recent survey by Lab42 revealed the following:
- 39% of people prefer the ads over the actual game (one of the reasons we created Big Game Advertising Bingo)
- 64% said that more than half their game related conversations the next day revolve around the commercials
- 69% have re-watched a Super Bowl commercial online
- 72% believe the game commercials are funnier than “regular” commercials, while 57% consider them more creative, and 21% say they’re memorable
Clearly, there’s a lot expected of the ads, and the benefits extend both before and beyond the game. Toyota’s “Wish Granted” commercial starring Kaley Cuoco has garnered over 10.6 million views before the game, with many others reaching millions of views as well. Advertisers can also expect a 20% increase in web traffic as well.
Influence extends well beyond ads during the game. Some restaurants and bars are seeing an increase in foot traffic and orders. And the food people by for parties? Figures from 2012 show that 16 million chicken wings were sold during the game, as was 4 million pizzas (not counting frozen pizzas), while spending over $10billion on beer. Dominos pizza drivers alone will drive over 4 million miles on Super Bowl Sunday (revenue for transportation, fuel, etc.).
Advertising, food, and beverage categories are still only a small piece of the pie. There’s events, the hospitality industry for the host cities, and apparel and merchandise sales for the teams, which affects the retail industry. And of course there’s the teams themselves. Any way you look at it, the “big game” is big money, affecting in ways you might not even have noticed. So, how’s does the big game affect you?
Play the “Bigger Game” During The Big Game
There’s a bigger game at stake during the Big Game on Sunday. The advertising game. With sponsors spending billions of dollars pre, post and during the game and consumers wondering what outlandish entertainment the branding game has in store. And now, statistics are proving what we’ve always known to be true.
39% of people prefer the advertising to the Super Bowl game. Of those, 64% said they talk about the ads the next day.
At Halo, we play ad games every day but this one’s for you to play.
How To Play BIG GAME ADVERTISING BINGO.
1. Print out the Bingo-style game boards where numbers are replaced by the advertisers (and in some cases, potential advertisements). The center square, the Halo logo, is played as a free space. Share them with your friends, and you’re ready to play.
2. When one of the ads on your board is televised before, during or after the game, cross it off.
3. The first person to get five in a row (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal) wins.
Of course, you’re welcome to create your own unique ways to play.
WARNING: This may prevent more conventional use of commercial breaks for eating, calling home or relieving oneself.
Be sure to post your comments and board pictures using #biggamebingo on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. Download and print your game cards below.
2013 Is The Year To Double Down On Your Marketing
Creating a winning marketing strategy for recession is no more or less creative than marketing in an economic boom. No doubt, many brands will struggle to survive but for some it’s an opportunity to thrive and the absolute right decision will be to get aggressive. After an analysis of competitive strategy and client mindset, that’s the decision I’ve made for The Halo Group. We’re an independent branding and marketing organization that’s well positioned for growth. The demands that a tight economy will put on marketers make us a better choice than many, much larger competitors. We’re doubling down.
Discount retailers, eBay and Subway’s $5 Dollar Foot Long promotion are some obvious winners in an economic downturn. But with some creative thinking there are also opportunities for brands that have lived in the shadows of category giants.
Not everyone will feel the same impact of a recession, but whether immobilized by fear or even a sense of guilt, consumers may become more open minded in their search for more practical, affordable solutions. They’ll need permission to indulge in that luxury purchase. Brands, old and new that position themselves as a “smart splurge” have an opportunity to win. As an example, that’s the position Liebherr, a German newcomer to the US luxury appliance market has taken in their battle against category giants Sub-Zero and Viking, who are entrenched in consumers’ minds. Liebherr products are continuously hailed as technically superior offerings at a lower price point but until now, it was not a game-changer. With the combination of more aggressively promoting their new position and a more malleable consumer, they’ve experienced 3rd quarter sales growth in an economy where kitchen renovation has sputtered.
Large banks have leveraged their size to dominate the financial services market. But financial institutions have become the target of mistrust and thought to be, real or perceived, the cause of many economic consumer woes. Consumers have become more financially savvy about banking products and are reevaluating their loyalty. This is time for credit unions, credible lending institutions to step in and compete head to head with larger banks by offering the value and personal financial planning committed to serving and educating their customers.
Rest and relaxation is most certainly a priority in good times as well as bad. Entertainment choices will change with more emphasis on home entertainment or local getaways. Regional entertainment brands can engage consumers once jettisoned for the hot travel destinations of the moment. Perhaps those travel locations could offer special promotions to provide deeper more exciting experiences that they can share with family and friends and establish relationships that endure long after the turnaround.
Of course every brand has unique variables that need to be evaluated but doubling down in 2013 is not a gamble at all. It’s an investment in short and long-term brand viability based on smart marketing strategy.
A version of this post first appeared in Modern Entrepreneur Magazine
The Five Things You Shouldn’t Have Missed This Week - Halloween Edition: Friday, November 02
Brands’ Special Halloween Treats (Print) - Branding Magazine
Don’t Haunt Me Bro - via Nestio
10 Classic Logos Re-imagined for the Zombie Apocalypse - via Inspiration Feed
USA Luge Team To Dress Like Superhero X-O Manowar - via Bleeding Cool
10 Things Not to Do When Using QR Codes for Marketing
We recently came across a few lists about how not to use QR codes. Some were helpful and some were humorous. While some of those lists were good, we’ve got a few things of our own to say, as always. Our list is intended to serve as a guide and to help outline some (not so) best practices when using QR codes. The caveats below should help give you a better understanding of what to do and what not to do when considering using QR codes.
1. Don’t put a QR code in locations with limited/no wi-fi or data access. Why? It’s simple. If you don’t have a signal, you don’t have the ability to actually scan the code. Make sure you place any codes only where a signal is available.
2. Don’t make a QR code too big or too small. Going extreme in either direction, too large or small, can cause scanning issues. Be sure to check what size works best for the media you’re using.
3. Don’t put a QR code out of reach of the scanner. Have you seen a QR code on a highway billboard or the side of a moving vehicle? It’s likely these sites are too far out of reach for people to scan the code. Make sure your codes (and any other marketing collateral) are within reach of your audience.
4. Don’t put a QR code on your website (or in your email). People are already on your website; they don’t need to scan something. That’s actually making it harder for them. If you want to send them somewhere else, use a link. The same goes for email, especially considering that many people read their email on mobile devices and thus have no means to scan the code.
5. Don’t send users to a web page that is not optimized for mobile. If someone is scanning a QR code, it’s via a mobile device of some sort. You’ll want to make sure the user experience is optimized for mobile. If it’s not, it’s very likely visitors will quickly leave your site. Give them the best experience possible.
6. Don’t send users to a cluttered web page. Just as you want to make sure any page is mobile-optimized, you also want to keep if generally clean and clutter free. QR stands for quick response, and in most cases, you’ll be using it for a quick actionable item. Directing to cluttered pages makes it difficult to navigate and understand what you’re supposed to do.
7. Don’t slap a QR code onto your marketing and simply hope people scan it. Give them a reason to scan it. Why should people scan it? Do you want to give them an offer? Do you want them to fill out a survey? Do you simply want to give them more information? Know why you’re using it, and give people a reason to scan it.
8. Don’t promote QR codes to an audience who doesn’t know or use them. If you’re promoting to an audience who doesn’t use a smartphone, you’re not going to get a response. You want to use them with an audience who knows what a QR code is, uses a smartphone, and already has a scanner app.
9. Don’t send users to a page that automatically plays media (without letting them know first). Do you want to be directed to a page that automatically plays a video or blares music at you? Probably not (though in some instances it may make sense). You want to give a little warning so someone can put on headphones or lower the volume if they choose.
10. If you choose to brand your QR code, make sure they still scan! Did you know you can custom design your QR codes? If you decide to “spice up” the design, make sure they still scan! Adding colors, reducing contrast, and incorporating other design elements can make the codes harder to scan properly.
Keep in mind that a QR code is essentially a link. Remember they are quick response. Putting thought and strategy behind your QR codes will help put you on the road to success.
Do you have any QR code success or horror stories? Let us know in the comments.
101 Series: What is a QR Code?
No doubt you’ve heard of QR codes. You’ve almost certainly seen them around town, on mass transit, or in print ads. But what exactly is a QR code?
QR code stands for quick response code, and is a variation of a barcode. Simply stated, it’s a link in the form of a specific image that can be scanned with a barcode reader. In most cases, QR codes are show as a small black and white square box. They are however, customizable, and can results in some interesting designs. One of the best features of the codes is that they allow a user to quickly go from one medium to another, without the need for text input. This allows you to create specific call to action elements in your ads.
QR code usage has grown tremendously as smartphones have become ubiquitous. We certainly have seen some interesting uses recently. There are also a lot of mistakes that are made when QR codes are used in marketing. Want to know what to do and what not to do when utilizing them for marketing purposes? Well, more on that later.
Check out the other installments of our 101 Series posts:
The Five Things You Shouldn’t Have Missed This Week: Friday, August 31
Campbell’s Soup releases Warhol special edition cans - via Creative Review
Las Vegas Ads Salute Prince Harry, Denounce the Traitors in His Midst - AdWeek
Louis Vuitton’s take on the ‘spot the difference’ game - via Games.com
Obama Does Reddit AMA: President Answers Questions and Crashes Site - via ABC