All posts by Tom Thompson

Next to Now for December 2016

For our final post of 2016, we wish you a happy holidays and terrific last-minute gift-finding success for all your loved ones (pro tip: look in a bookstore).

 

FACEBOOK EXPERIMENTS WITH GREATER AD CONTROL FOR CONSUMERS

This week Facebook announced that are allowing users greater control over which ads they see. First available for blocking: ads for liquor and parenting. This is ultimately a win for advertisers as well as consumers. It is a great way to prevent wasted impressions.

#facebook

 

MARKETING HACKS FOR INSTAGRAM

Instagram’s new save feature was good news for advertisers from the moment it was announced. But some marketers have taken it a step further, exploring creative ways to use the save tool to increase consumer engagement.

#instagram

 

HOW MEN SHOP

If you’re looking to reach men for holiday shopping, look to the last-minute. According to a National Retail Federation study on Christmas shopping,

“51.2% of men (compared to 48.3% of women) said they expect to buy the last holiday gift between Monday and Sunday.”

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#lastminute #men

 

WHAT’S NEW IN RUSSIAN AD FRAUD

The New York Times reports on a Russian criminal organization that specializes in using bots to fake ad impressions, pocketing millions a day from unsuspecting advertisers.  The best ways to avoid this ad fraud is to make sure you’re working with scrupulous partners. While all programmatic companies—whether it’s Google or Turn or another—are working hard to minimize the problem they haven’t yet been able to stamp it out. The surest way to avoid ad fraud is to buy directly from sites such as NYTimes.com, rather than going through dodgy 3rd party providers.

#adfraud

Next to Now for December 16

As the holiday season lights the way from one year to the next, this week’s ad news gives us a glimpse of what’s working, what’s not working, and what’s worth testing.

 

BANNER AD TIPS FROM BBDO

BBDO has run a study of the best performing banner ads. What they learned is worth noting:

  • Keep copy less than 5-10 words
  • Treat them like billboards
  • Make them look like ads (don’t make them look like fake edit)
  • Keep branding consistent

#banners #bestpractices #creative

 

FACEBOOK ADMITS TO MORE MEASUREMENT ERRORS

In a recent announcement, Facebook admitted to more errors in reporting likes, reactions, and shares. While we applaud their transparency, it underscores how digital reporting is built on an inherently opaque set of data. There remains an enormous amount of trust involved in seeing data from advertising partners who have an incentive to inflate results.

#facebook #social

 

INSTAGRAM NOW ALLOWS YOU TO SAVE OTHER PEOPLE’S PHOTOS

Instagram has introduced a new feature that allows you to save photos from your timeline. This will be a nifty feature for users, but is perhaps even better for businesses since it makes it easier for consumers to bookmark products they like so they can look at them later.

#instagram

Next to Now: December 9

SELF SHUTTERS PRINT, GOES DIGITAL ONLY

Conde Nast’s Self is ending the print version of the magazine, and ramping up the digital brand. Media Post reports,

“Since 2014, Self’s single-copy sales dropped from 148,000 to 44,000. Circulation has dropped from just over 1.5 million to just under.

“Meanwhile, video viewership experienced triple digit growth compared to last year, according to Condé Nast. In September, Self.com broke previous traffic records with 5.3 million unique viewers, representing a 56% increase year-over-year.”

#self #print

2017 LOOKS TO BE THE YEAR INSTAGRAM GAINS GROUND OVER TWITTER

eMarketer’s survey of marketers suggests that 2017 will be the year more advertisers choose Instagram over Twitter:

“By 2017, the research firm forecasts, 74.2% of U.S. companies (or at least those with more than 100 employees) will use Instagram for marketing purposes — markedly more than the 66.2% that will be using Twitter.”

#instagram #twitter #social

MARKETERS NEED TO BE ON SNAPCHAT. THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S EASY.

The case for using Snapchat to reach 18-24 year olds is clear:

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That makes the platform a great place to experiment reaching this age group, but as this tale “from the trenches” of a recent Ben & Jerry’s geo-filter campaign shows, it’s not the place if you’re looking for flawless execution.

#snapchat

SNAPCHAT INNOVATIONS

Digiday reports on the Snapchat campaign run by Birch Box: By using vanity urls, Birch Box was able to sell direct to its highly engaged Snapchat fan base and measure the results. It’s a model of a scrappy direct response campaign on an emerging platform.

#snapchat

NATIVE ADVERTISING TILTS TOWARD SOCIAL

MediaPost reports that advertisers and agency executives are looking to run more native advertising in 2017, with more going toward social (and more of social going to Facebook) than traditional sites such as NYTimes.com and BuzzFeed.

#native

FACEBOOK’S “DEDICATED MEDIA” TAB A HIT WITH MEDIA BUYERS

We’re not sure how consumers will feel about it, but Digiday reports that agencies love it:

“The company has been testing out a dedicated video tab inside its mobile app among a small group of users over the past year, as it aims to make video a more integral part of its mobile offering. The tab appears on its bottom menu alongside the notifications, timeline, marketplace and settings tabs, and opens up into a separate video hub, delivering a feed of live videos and other video content based on a user’s subscriptions or interests.

“For media analysts and media buyers, the dedicated video vertical firmly equips Facebook to grab more ad dollars from TV.”

Matt Heindl, director of social media at Razorfish, doesn’t think TV has anything to worry about in the near future, but Snapchat and YouTube? Yes, they might want to start to worry.

#facebook #video

TOP APPS

In a post on the continued growth of streaming music services such as Pandora and iHeartRadio, eMarketer reports that Pandora is the ninth most popular app of all, and the #1 most popular after various Facebook and Google apps. Here’s a chart that lists the top fifteen most popular apps according to comScore:

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In the continued Pandora or Spotify debate, it’s worth noting Pandora’s dominance in the app category.

#music #pandora #apps

Next to Now: December 2

These are dark days in America—yet there remain sources of light. You might wonder if that’s a comment on the state of our polarized political discourse and the role books can play in revitalizing our national conversation. Maybe. Maybe not. But it is definitely a comment on the days getting shorter as we approach the first day of winter and raise a glass to the holiday season. Here are some highlights of news we’ve noted this week, shared here as part of our effort to stay on top of current trends and best practices.

 

PROGRAMMATIC FORECAST

The good news is that the programmatic community continues to make headway in combatting ad fraud. The bad news is that is likely to mean a 20% increase in costs. Even with a 20% increase, however, programmatic remains a highly efficient way to reach book readers. Weeding out bad ad impressions is definitely worth a slight increase in CPM. In a separate post, Digiday published five charts that indicate the global outlook for programmatic.   Related: you can now gain access to some influencer marketing  through programmatic channels. 

#programmatic

 

TABOOLA RESPONDS TO CRITICISM

The 2016 presidential election has created a firestorm around the question of “fake news.” Many are pointing to paid content distribution systems such as Taboola as a major culprit in a world-wide epidemic. Here is Taboola’s thoughtful response. Let’s hope they back it up with action.

#taboola #fakenews

 

CNN HIRES YOUTUBE STAR TO MAKE NEWS

In a move that echoes the creation of companies like Fusion and Mic, CNN has hired YouTube star and entrepreneur Casey Neistat to help make news “relevant” for a new generation.

#news #youtube #video

 

BEST PRACTICES IN PERSONA MARKETING

Persona marketing isn’t used much in book publishing, where we value the particularities of every book and honor the uniqueness of every reader. But we ignore it at our peril: it can be a great way to focus in on the target customer in a way that can be applied and tested across a genre. This ClickZ article shows how to think about persona marketing while still understanding that no one reader is exactly identical to another.  

#persona

 

THE STATE OF THE ART OF INFLUENCER MARKETING

Digiday takes a look at the highly public practice of influencer marketing: who’s doing it, how they’re paying for it, and does it work?

#influencer

 

Photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for November 23

Next to Now is thankful for . . .

 

Improvements in Mobile Ad Targeting

Nielsen reports that the ability to target specific demos on targeting has increased to 60% of mobile ad impressions (up from 49% a year ago). This indicates that post-Cookie targeting capabilities are improving.

#mobile #targeting

 

Facebook Working toward Measurement Transparency

Related: We’re also glad we never migrated to Atlas ad serving because they’re shutting it down. 

#facebook

 

The End of Black Friday as a Stand-Alone Event

Let’s spread the wealth among a few days and stop the stampede.

#blackfriday

 

Ad Agencies Waking Up to What People Are Really Aspiring To

Ad agencies rethink data and recruitment post-election. 

#data

 

Snapchat Spectacles

Especially that they’ve opened a pop-up store near us in time for Christmas.

#snapchat

 

 

Next to Now for Nov 17

What’s the best way to use hashtags on every social network?

Facebook is not Twitter is not Instagram is not Snapchat. This Click Z post helps you craft your voice to the social network you use.

#social

 

10 Creative Exercises That Are Better Than Brainstorming

Creativity is crucial to advertising (duh). But classic brainstorming methods don’t always bring out the best in your team. Especially if you have a good number of super creative introverts in the room (cf. Susan Cain’s Quiet). Hub Spot posted several good and different ways to generate new ideas.

#creative

 

LinkedIn Opens Up In-Mail Targeting

Combining LinkedIn’s targeted business readership with the power of email marketing makes the new in-mail targeting option a very interesting one for reaching the business audience.

#business #social

 

Facebook Continues to Reveal Problems with Its Reporting

Caveat emptor: campaign data is crucial if it’s accurate, but there remains a good amount of question about how accurate the numbers are. The most powerful companies in the world also have a worrying tendency to be walled gardens re: their data. “Just trust us” is not a line that should go very far with any responsible media buyer.

#facebook #data

 

Speaking of Facebook: Ads Are Coming to Messenger

We saw this coming. And despite our concerns about measurability (see above), we welcome ads that reach readers wherever they are—and a lot of people are using Messenger.

#facebook #messaging

 

Photo of this week's Union Square Subway Station post-election post-it wall (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for November 4

 

PUBLISHERS RETHINK TABOOLA AND OUTBRAIN

They were supposed to be the next big thing in advertising: a kind of native advertising you could book and run programmatically. But the New York Times reports that those “Promoted Stories” style ads with rows of photos and links beneath articles are falling out of favor. While we’re fans of native advertising when it’s executed with an authentic voice, real content affinity, and true transparency, we’re not big fans of “native programmatic”—a concept that seems like an oxymoron at best. As readers continue to complain and high end website continue to notice how poorly click-bait headlines look on their pages, we expect to see less of this kind of advertising going forward.

#programmatic #native

 

IS “PROGRAMMATIC” DEAD?

OK, that headline is a little click-baity. Programmatic is livelier than ever, responsible for as much as 89% of overall banner ad  buying by some counts. The question is really: has the word “programmatic” out-lived its usefulness? This “Op-Ed” by 360i’s Kolin Kleveno argues that the term is being used so frequently that it’s becoming meaningless. He argues that the true use of the term should point to two factors in a campaign—data-driven and automated—but it’s being bandied about by every ad tech vendor under the sun. That said, even if we limit the term to those two factors,it doesn’t narrow usage down much these days. With everything from applying an optimization algorithm to running ads in emails only when they’re opened, what’s *not* data driven and automated?

#programmatic

 

REDDIT UPS ITS AD OPTIONS

Reddit, the online community of communities, is introducing a new ad option that lets advertisers target users by the groups they frequent most. As Reddit is a passionate community, this is a great way to target users by interest. Because many Reddit users are also outspokenly anti-advertising, the company is wisely providing an “opt-out” option for all users. No advertiser wants to launch their product in the face of someone who would likely turn around and trash the product, just because it’s being advertised to him or her.

http://digiday.com/agencies/op-ed-time-retire-term-programmatic/

#reddit

 

RADIO STILL RULES

A post on eMarketer suggests that listeners still turn to radio for music, followed by owned music, and then by streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. While radio doesn’t offer the campaign metrics of streaming services, it remains a great way to reach a broad and engaged group of people.

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#streaming #audio #radio

 

INSTAGRAM V. SNAPCHAT

Instagram and Snapchat are the two most popular apps for Millennials and Gen Z. But how do they fare mano a mano? Adweek compares the two based on polling and finds that they’re neck and neck. Instagram doing a little bit better with ad recall, but Snapchat ahead by a nose in quality of features and perceived “coolness.”

#instagram #snapchat #millennials

 

HOW DO SILICON VALLEY DIGITAL DARLINGS MAKE A STATEMENT?

In print. Just saying.

#slack #apple #microsoft #print

 

BUT PRINT IS GOING TO NEED A LOT MORE STATEMENTS . . . AND QUICK

Columbia Journalism Review points to the massive decline in print ad revenue at major papers such as The Wall Street Journal—and how we’re seeing the real effects of those declines now.

#cjr #wsj #print

 

photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for October 28

YOUTUBE VIEWING HABITS

YouTube is getting longer term views. The average viewing session on YouTube is now 40 minutes. That data point comes from a Google post about winning the customer over before s/he enters the store. While it’s written for larger brand advertisers—make-up, CPG, and cars—there are good takeaways for book advertising from the post.

#youtube #video #streaming

 

ON DATA AND “THE GIRL”

This isn’t advertising, but it’s such a rich analysis of book trends that anyone who loves books and data will find it irresistible: Acclaimed novelist Emily St. John Mandel writes a clever and nuanced post for Five Thirty Eight on publishing’s recent obsession with using the word “Girl” in titles. She looks at how many of the eponymous girls are actually girls (and how many are women), how many are written by women, how many are missing or lost or undead, and reports that we not yet reached peak “Girl”:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-gone-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-on-the-train/?&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-gone-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-on-the-train/?&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

 

HOW’S YOUR CAMPAIGN DOING? ASK A BOT

There has been a fair amount of press on how brands are starting to use bots to buy pizza, call an Uber, or book a flight, and a good bit more about the potential for new advertising platforms using bots on messaging apps like Kik and What’s App. Now, an article in Marketing Land points out new bots that help you measure advertising campaigns by integrating directly with such platforms as Facebook and Google or with existing third party servers such as Media Math and Sizmek.

#bots #AI #metrics

 

IAB STANDARD UNITS ARE DEAD. LONG LIVE IAB STANDARD UNITS.

Once upon a time, the IAB tried to tame the Wild West of internet advertising by introducing three standard units that would work across most sites: 300×250, 728×90, and 160×600. For a few years, all was well in advertisingland. But the advent of tablets and the new dominance of mobile devices soon began to mean more and more sizes. Then the native ad boom kicked in and things got wilder than ever—to the point where a single campaign can require more than ten different size ads, each with its own maximum file size, preferred file type, and timing. Even the IAB can see that it’s time to revisit the standard unit. If you want a say in what ad sizes are next, the public comment period is now open. 

#iab #standard

 

…OR ARE CUSTOM BANNERS THE NEW FUTURE?

On the other hand, an article on Digiday looks into the proliferation of custom units on such sites as the New York Times and Quartz, and wonders if the days of the standard banner are truly numbered. There’s a tension between the custom banners that perform better than the standard units, and the need for standard units to function with programmatic platforms.

#custom #iab

 

 

 

Fall tree photo (c) 2016 Martha Otis

Next to Now for October 21

NEW SPOTIFY VERTICAL VIDEO ADS

Spotify announced a new product — Vertical Video Ads — which allows advertisers to sponsor playlists. Users agree to watch the full video in exchange for thirty minutes of free listening. These kinds of ads are wins for the advertisers, the users, and the platform. At launch, the branded moments are based around six categories: chill time, workout, party, dinner, focus and sleep—each of which could work well for books from novels (chill time) to cookbooks (dinner) to lifestyle (workout). As with any newly launched ad product, the initial minimums are too great for any but the largest brand budgets. But with time, costs will come down, making this an initiative to watch.

#spotify #audio #streaming

SNAP TO UNLOCK: A NEW FUTURE OR THE NEXT QR CODE?

The first outdoor ads targeting Snapchat users for movies are running now in subways in NY and DC:

“Universal Pictures, a longtime Snapchat advertiser, is among the first to test the Snap code marketing for its new movie ‘The Girl On the Train.’ Mysterious billboards will be showing up around subways in New York and Washington, D.C., and in parts of Los Angeles, according to Doug Neil, exec VP of digital marketing at NBC Universal.”

While the premise may induce a painful deja vu for marketers who went through the great QR code marketing hype of a few years ago, the fact that Snapchat is already being used and recognized by a sizable audience makes all the difference. For genres such as YA, a Snap to Unlock campaign could make a delicious teaser.

#snapchat #outdoor #YA

 

WHAT MAKES A GREAT MOBILE AD FOR TEENS AND TWENTIES?

A new study of teens and people in their twenties shows that users in this age range care about content that can be saved and accessed later and expect ads to be relevant to their interests. Here’s more from eMarketer on the survey. 

216997 #mobile #millennials

 

WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO SHOW ADS?

A new study suggests that more users are inclined to engage with an ad in the middle of the day than at other times during the work week. While ad exposure is valid throughout the day, mid-day is when more users are taking breaks from studying or working and so more apt to click on an ad.

#time #engagement

 

 

Apples at Union Square Market (c) 2016 Martha Otis