Original article posted by Ed Newman at Medium

Whereas it’s true that magazine and newspaper publishing has taken a hit these past fifteen years, it would be wrongheaded to assume these forms of connecting with readers-–that is, consumers — would disappear altogether. In fact, a recent study indicates that print continues to be among the most effective media for reaching customers with your marketing messages.

A new study by the marketing analytics group Ebiquity, conducted in October 2017 and January 2018, has provided numerous insights to help businesses evaluate their marketing mix. One of the study’s aims was to not only determine the most effective marketing channels, but to discover how much the facts align with what agencies are telling (or selling to) their clients.

I don’t have space to tell you everything in this 34-page report except to say that when the facts are on the table, print is far from a dinosaur.

No carpenter builds a house with a hammer alone. The builder has saws, drills, wrenches, measuring devices, etc. Print is one tool in the toolbox.

The researchers began by establishing criteria as regards what is important when it comes to advertising. Targetability and Return On Investment (ROI) were ranked one and two as regards what matters most. Also important: triggering a positive emotional response, increasing brand salience (top of mind), and maximizing reach.

Judged against these criteria, television and radio scored highest in effectiveness. Print media — magazines and newspapers — also scored high, but are massively underrated. In contrast, online video and paid social media are overrated, the Ebiquity research shows. This is not to say that social media and digital has no value.

Eight Reasons To Reconsider Print

Here are just a few of the reasons print continues to have value.

  1. Print has evolved to be very dialed in to the specific and narrow interests of its readers. There are publications for every category and for very specific market niches.
  2. The perceived value of print can be seen in the way magazine subscribers get an emotional lift when their favorite magazine shows up in their mailbox. Online eMags and eNewsletters may have value but seldom generate the same enthusiasm.
  3. What continues to make print ads valuable is the (nearly) undivided attention that readers give to magazine and newspaper content, rather than multitasking like they do when consuming digital content. (1)
  4. According to an AllBusiness Networks study, 56% of all consumers trust print marketing more than any other advertising method. (2)
  5. Research shows that the average reader of a branded magazine will spend up to 20 to 25 minutes with it. “On the Web, you’re hoping for two minutes, maybe. So if you’re looking for engagement, a custom magazine can get you 25 minutes.” (3)
  6. According to this cross-media study, print advertising has the highest ROI. (4)
  7. People who read magazines are more committed to lifelong learning than non-readers.
  8. The ads in magazines are targeted to readers who spend their money for this content. It’s something they went out of their way to acquire, not something they stumbled upon while surfing the digital universe. They pay for their subscriptions or use hard-earned discretionary income for the material they are reading. The ads in most magazines are relevant to the content that surrounds them. There’s no clickbait, and no annoying pop-ups that take over your page and hold you hostage.

30 years of experience has shown me that print is an effective way to grow many kinds of businesses. But, here’s the caveat. I’ve never believed that there’s only one way to market your goods or services. No carpenter builds a house with a hammer alone. The builder has saws, drills, wrenches, measuring devices, etc. Print is one tool in the toolbox, or as I prefer to say, one leg of a multi-legged table. And I admit it’s not always absolutely essential.

Look at Google, one of the largest companies in the world and hardly two decades old. They built a better search engine and cybercitizens literally beat a cyberpath to their page. I can’t recall ever seeing a print or television ad for this brand. Can you?

The Ebiquity report is simply a wake-up call for companies to re-evaluate their marketing mix. How much of what you’re doing is because everyone else is doing it, and how much is the result of your own applied critical thinking?

Al Ries and Laura Ries make a case in their 2002 bestseller The Fall of Advertising that brands are built by publicity, not advertising. They cite Starbucks, Wal-Mart, the Body Shop and Red Bull to make their case. They argue that because credibility is a crucial ingredient for brand building, and advertising lacks it, “only PR can supply that credibility.”

They cited Red Bull as an example of using PR to build the brand, but then what is Red Bull doing now? A couple years ago they began publishing a print magazine. Shell, an oil marketer, also started publishing a magazine, as have many other companies. Even J.C. Penney is back in the catalog printing biz. Is print really dead?


If one were to go back in time to those early days of the Internet one would find that I, like many others, had drunk the Kool-AidÒ. I believed what Michael Crichton said to the National Press Club in the mid-90s, that the Internet would kill television. For many years I was fond of citing Crichton, until the emergence of social media whereupon I quickly discovered that the biggest discussion themes trending on Twitter were generated by content from television. Celebrities, big sporting events, stupid reality shows — it’s all there on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.

Print publications are another media channel that was predicted to fall by the wayside. Kindle eBooks would purportedly smash the book publishing industry. Magazines would likewise become an endangered species. Or so they said. The reality is au contraire.

# # # #

(1) American Marketing Association, “Why Print Matters.”


(2) “Print Marketing Is Still Not Dead”


(3) CMO by Adobe: “Digital-First Content Marketing: The Return of Print!”

(4) http://www.inma.org/blogs/research/post.cfm/cross-media-study-shows-print-advertising-has-highest-roi

EdNote: This article originally appeared in my Marketing Matters column for Business North., a regional business publication serving the Northland.

Original article posted by Jessie Sampson at International News Media Association

Brands are missing out on £3 billion profit by underspending in news brands, according to Newsworks’ latest effectiveness research, Planning for Profit, conducted with Benchmarketing.

The study — a meta-analysis of 684 econometric models built between 2011 and 2017 — concentrates on profitability, the primary indicator of marketing success.

Investing wisely in trustworthy news brands ensures companies do not leave money on the table.

Encompassing news brands in both their print and digital forms, the work isolates news brands’ digital spend from general online display for the first time, allowing for an accurate assessment of the impact of context in the online environment.

As Philippa Brown, chief executive of Omnicom Media Group, says: “Digital news brands are often singled out for the brand safe online environment they provide advertisers, and rightly so. What’s so encouraging about this work is that it proves that these environments are also primed to deliver solid business returns for advertisers if utilised at the right level.”

Overall, the research highlights the huge profit advertisers are missing out on by not investing in news brands at optimum levels — £3 billion overall.

Looking at digital news brands, boosting investment would result in higher profit levels, up to as much as £300 million. Meanwhile, in print, increasing news brands’ share of budget to the optimum level would more than double current campaign profit return on investment (PROI).

To make the results of the work as widely applicable as possible, Benchmarketing developed five super-categories, such as “Everyday pickups” and “Shiny new things.” These cover 86% of the total UK advertising market and more than 90% of advertised brands.

In addition, there is also in-depth category analysis for four individual categories: supermarkets, finance, motors, and retail.

Take a look at some of the key findings for each:

Supermarkets: Profits could be increased by 60% if spend in print news brands was raised by a minimum of four and up to 11 percentage points. For digital news brands, allocating a 2.1% share of budget is recommended to optimise PROI.
Finance: Clients are missing out on £264 million potential profit by under-investing in print and digital news brands. For maximum profit return, the average recommendation for print news brands’ share is 11.9% of overall campaign spend (compared to the current 7.2%), while for digital news brands it stands at 5.6% (compared to the current 4.1%).
Motors: Clients are missing out on £56 million potential profit by under-investing in newbrands, particularly print. With a current average spend of 4% of overall media budgets, print news brands’ recommended minimum share is 6%.
Retail: Boosting print’s share of media spend to an average 21% of total campaign investment (from just under 14.4%) and digital news brands’ to 3.7% (from 1.7%) is Benchmarketing’s recommendation. Overall, the category is missing out on £1.34 billion potential profit.
The results of the category and super-category analysis have been fed into a PROI optimiser tool, allowing planners to see how much they should be investing in news brands for optimum returns. As a whole, the study provides clear evidence advertisers could be achieving much higher pay back from news brands if levels of investment were tweaked.

It also highlights the fact news brands deliver real, measurable business returns. As media commentator Brian Jacobs wrote of the research for Mediatel: “It’s refreshing to be reminded of the obvious fact that advertisers advertise in order to deliver results — particularly profit. This may come as a shock to those who seem to think advertising is doing its job by delivering huge and largely meaningless metrics from digital media forms, but the fact remains that it’s up to all of us to prove that advertising does in fact build business.

“And, that good advertising in the most appropriate environment works a lot better than bad advertising placed somewhere by someone, or more likely something, making choices based on the biggest numbers.”

There’s no shortage of predictions at the start of a new year, especially for marketers.

Deciding where to invest your time and money is hard enough without long lists of flash-in-the-pan fads and experimental tactics. So, when we produce our annual Social Trends Report at Hootsuite, we focus our analysis on trends that are both realistic and actionable.

We’ve combed through global data, survey results, and analyst reports—and here are the five biggest trends we believe are worth pursuing in 2018.

The evolution of social return on investment

As a chief marketing officer, I expect to see business results from social strategies. Likes, comments and shares don’t show the true value that social media brings to the business. The demise of these short-sighted “vanity” metrics has been predicted for years, but in 2018, I think we’ll finally see this long-promised shift finally take place.

Why? Organizations are discovering the value social can bring to other phases of the customer journey besides top-of-funnel engagement—from lowering customer-service costs to attracting top talent. Some are even feeding social insights into supply chain analyses.

Marketers must rethink their metrics as their social strategies mature, since strict ROI calculations (which divide revenue by cost) only capture part of social media’s value.

How to take advantage of this: Invest in activities you can measure. Set simple targets, such as boosting event attendance with social or reducing customer churn by identifying at-risk customers with social listening. Or use direct-response tools offered by social networks to draw a straight line between social activity and direct sales.

Mobile fuels the growth of social TV

As consumption of video content skyrockets, brands have turned into publishers. But in 2018, social networks will encourage brands to become broadcasters as mobile video and social TV-style programming take the spotlight.

Creating broadcast-style content won’t work for every brand, but for many industries, this will open up innovative social advertising formats and bold new ways to engage social audiences.

How to take advantage of this: Combine search-engine optimization and Facebook Live. Once your Live broadcast is complete, Facebook videos are also indexed by Google. Target high-volume keywords and include a text summary under the video to be picked up by the Google bots.

Trust declines, while peer influence rises

According to Edelman’s global study of consumer confidence, consumer trust in the media, academics, CEOs and government sunk to historic lows in 2017.

This erosion of trust in mainstream institutions impacts both businesses and consumers. As trust in governments and corporations declines, consumers turn to a familiar source: each other.

In 2018, we’re moving toward smaller spheres of influence where customer advocates, micro-influencers and engaged employees matter more than ever.

How to take advantage of this: Set long-term goals for employee and customer advocacy. Advocacy is a great way to fight declining organic reach, and it also builds real and lasting human relationships with customers and employees. Focus on creating meaningful customer and employee advocacy, rather than chasing quick fixes for boosting organic traffic.

Humans, meet AI

Automation can be exceptionally useful, but artificial-intelligence strategies must stay focused on being human, helpful and relevant at scale.

AI is still a future-facing trend, but marketers can expect to start reaping the practical benefits in 2018. Facebook, for example, has released new predictive analytics to help marketers find insights faster. And visual search engines are using machine learning to help consumers search by images rather than keywords—a shift that will redefine the future of online product browsing.

How to take advantage of this: Focus on one of the four AI use cases.

  • Social commerce: Help customers research or complete purchases.
  • Customer care: Use a bot to reduce frequently-asked-questions interactions that could easily be automated, giving social teams more time to build relationships.
  • Content delivery: Help social audiences binge-consume related content after discovering you on social channels.
  • Analytics: Reduce manual reporting and use predictive analytics to arrive at insights faster.

The promise (and reality) of social data

There’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of uncovering customer insights with social data. But integrating social data with other analytics systems—or finding usable insights from mountains of social mentions—requires more work and resources than many organizations previously thought.

In 2018, the promise of social data remains, but organizations will have to recalculate the effort and resources needed to turn it into a true source of customer insights that can be used across the enterprise.
How to take advantage of this: Apply social data to your business’ challenges. Social data is a valuable source of customer intelligence. Leverage this unvarnished truth at scale to help solve urgent business challenges or provide feedback to product development.

You don’t have to take a huge gamble in 2018 to take advantage of these trends. Start small and invest in the trends that are most aligned with your current social media strategies. Remember, social media is about connecting one-on-one with your audience. So, no matter which trends you follow, keep your customers at the core.

Penny Wilson is chief marketing officer at social media management platform Hootsuite.

As we all know, digital marketing is a vital piece of any successful marketing strategy. With internet usage in the U.S. estimated at 84% by a recent eMarketer study, digital channels continue to serve as a marketing platform with unrivaled reach and engagement potential for businesses. And while there isn’t anything new or surprising about the saturation of internet usage in the U.S., there are several key trends highlighted in eMarketer’s report. These latest statistics on how, when, where and why people use the internet will only continue to transform and disrupt the digital landscape over the next few years.

From how users are accessing the internet and where they choose to consume information, every business needs to pay attention to these trends in order to develop and sustain effective marketing strategies in 2018 and beyond.

Mobile Devices Are Becoming The Top Entry Point For Internet Users

Last year, 93.4% of internet users in the U.S. used a mobile device to get online. Although this may be slightly higher than some marketers would guess-timate, this isn’t any kind of newsflash for most of us.

The really striking factoid in eMarketer’s research on mobile devices is the fact that 14.9% of users exclusively used smartphones (and the like) to access the internet. Based on their findings, they estimate that upwards of 18% of internet users will rely solely on mobile devices without ever using a desktop or laptop in just a few years.

14.9% of users exclusively used smartphones to access the internet 

What does this mean for your marketing strategy in 2018? In the past few years, more than enough emphasis has been placed on the need to optimize digital marketing for mobile experiences. However, faced with this kind of changing tide toward mobile-only internet users, those experiences are becoming increasingly critical to reaching new customers and keeping their attention. One big piece of a mobile-first approach involves developing apps that offer unique value and innovative experiences – meeting potential customers’ needs directly through the device glued to their hand 24/7. Plus, considering that Statista projects that mobile apps will generate roughly $189 billion in revenue by 2020, this is one gravy boat no business wants to miss out on.

Statista estimates that mobile apps will generate roughly $189 billion by 2020

Video And Social Media Are The Most Popular Digital Activities

On a monthly basis, 81% of internet users streamed or downloaded video content. According to eMarketer, the growth of video content on social networks is one of the key drivers of overall video traffic. As we’ve all seen in the past few years, social media companies have been working overtime to optimize their products with a mobile-first experience, integrating more and more video content and interactive experiences for their users. Of course, Facebook is by far the most popular social network among users in the U.S., reaching more than 170 million users last year. The closest ranking platform behind Facebook is Instagram, which has roughly 85 million users according to the latest estimates.

Facebook now boasts more than 170 million users

Now, what does this mean for you? First and foremost, if you aren’t taking advantage of Facebook’s hyper-targeted advertising platform then it’s time to get on that bandwagon with branded video content and enticing marketing experiences. If the cost is what’s kept you from doing social ads then that’s just silly. If you are already investing in paid search for lead gen, social advertising is just as valuable of an investment. It’s never been easier for businesses to create and share video content or engaging interactive experiences for target audiences – what makes that content valuable is how much interest it drives from prospects and customers. Although you can certainly get traction through organic social networking, you’ll get the most bang for your buck by developing targeted ad campaigns on social media. The key is to find the social networks used most by your target audiences and make strategic decisions about the messages you’ll promote.

Final Thoughts

At first glance, it may seem like these trends are both common sense based on the way the digital landscape has shifted in the past few years. However, when you look closely at the statistics highlighted in this article and in eMarketer’s report, there are some key findings that inform smarter, more efficient marketing strategies that can give you the leg up in increasingly competitive climates.

Do you know your DMP from your DSP? If not, this glossary of programmatic advertising terms by Ben Walmsley of Sizmek, an independent open ad management platform, will help.

We would be remiss if we didn’t start with a definition of programmatic advertising: programmatic is the automated buying and selling of digital advertising. It is used by multiple media-buying platforms including DSPs, ad exchanges, and agency trading desks.

There are various programmatic models, here are four of the most common:

Preferred deal: A non-auction model with a fixed CPM and non-guaranteed inventory.

Programmatic guaranteed or direct: A non-auction model with a fixed CPM and guaranteed inventory.

Private marketplace or exchange: An auction model that uses real-time bidding and price floors. It is open to an invitation-only group of buyers.

Open exchange buy: An auction model based on real-time bidding and variable CPM. It is open to any buyer.

Here are more common marketing terms and acronyms you’ll come across working with programmatic ad tech.

Ad exchanges
Ad exchanges are auction-based, often highly automated, digital marketplaces that enable multiple parties including advertisers, publishers, ad networks, demand-side platforms, and sell-side platforms to buy and sell display, video, and mobile inventory.

Ad impressions
An ad impression is a digital ad being called from its source and counted once.

Ad inventory
Ad inventory is the ad space that a publisher can make available for advertising. Ad inventory can be categorized as premium, remnant, or long-tail.

Ad network
Ad networks are aggregators of advertising inventory that package it together to sell at an increased margin.

Ad server
An ad server is a platform that stores and delivers digital ads to Web browsers or mobile apps. It also provides reports on the performance of those ads, measuring all activity by the same methodology for the purpose of fair comparison.

Ad tag
An ad tag is a snippet of code on a website that communicates with ad servers to make the correct digital ad appear on a webpage or in an app.

Black list
A blacklist is a list of IP addresses that are suspected to be sources of spam, or are suspected to be fraudulent and have been placed on an anti-spam database. Public blacklists are databases that are openly available, but companies often also have their own private black lists. Its opposite number is a white list.

Bot traffic (or non-human traffic)
Bot traffic consists of ad impressions made by bots rather than humans. Bots, or web robots, are software applications that perform simple tasks on the Internet. While they have some constructive uses, they are most often associated with fraudulent activities, such as mimicking a human’s view of an ad.

Brand safety
Brand safety technology ensures ads do not appear in any context that might damage the brand image or reputation. The automation of programmatic advertising means brands do not always know where their ads will appear, so brand safety practices should limit exposure to inappropriate content on a publisher’s site. [Editor’s note: See British Gas, O2 and M&S ads appear on “paedo and incest” websites, according to The Sun for an example of why brand safety technology is important.]

Cookie sync or match
Cookie synching is the process of linking the user identifier (the cookie ID) from one technology to another. It helps advertisers to make better bidding choices and target users more effectively.

Cost per action (CPA)
Cost per action is the average cost of a single conversion, which can be defined as any desired action a user may take, such as requesting a brochure, during a marketing campaign.

Cost per thousand (CPM)
Cost per thousand is the price an advertiser pays for 1,000 ad impressions.

Data management platform (DMP)
A data management platform is a centralized platform used by agencies, publishers, and marketers to manage and merge data such as cookie IDs. A variety of data sources can be combined within the platform to generate audience segments for improved targeting.

Dynamic creative optimization (DCO)
Dynamic creative optimization allows marketers to create multiple versions of the same ad from a single ad tag, driving sophisticated targeting and optimization. Ad creative is broken down into individual elements and these are pieced together in real time to deliver the most relevant ad to individual users.

Deal ID
A deal ID is a unique number assigned to an automated ad buy that allows the buyer and seller to identify one another.

Demand-side platform (DSP)
A demand-side platform enables advertisers and agencies to automate the purchase of display, video, mobile, and search ads. A DSP assesses the attributes of every single ad impression and can assign a bid based on those attributes. By removing rate negotiation and manual ad insertion orders, the purchase of targeted advertising across a wide variety of publishers and platforms becomes quicker and more efficient.

First-party data
First-party data is information collected by digital publishers about their visitors’ behavior. First-party data often includes CRM, subscription, and social media data. This type of owned data is often seen as more valuable than external data sources as it typically has a higher degree of accuracy.

Long-tail ad inventory
Long-tail ad inventory is aggregated inventory from less popular or well-known publisher sources. Programmatic enables advertisers to combine disparate sources of long-tail inventory to reach highly targeted niche audiences.

Programmatic A/B testing
Programmatic A/B testing is the automated testing of different versions of an advertisement to determine the highest performing ads and remove ineffective versions.

Price floor
The lowest price a seller will accept for impressions.

Real-time bidding (RTB)
Real-time bidding enables the buying and selling of digital advertising through auctions which take place in a timeframe of milliseconds – the time it takes for a webpage to load. Auctions take place via media marketplaces such as ad exchanges that connect buyers and sellers, and the price paid for impressions is based on immediate demand.

Remnant inventory
Remnant inventory is a publisher’s non-premium inventory, which is usually sold at a discounted rate by a third party via non-guaranteed programmatic buys.

Second-party data
Second-party data is first-party data that is owned by someone else, shared by mutual agreement or traded.

Second price auction
Second price auctions means the winner of an ad impression pays just one cent more than the next highest bidder. This limits the risk of overpaying for impressions and maintains efficiency in programmatic.

Supply-side platform (SSP)
A supply-side platform is a software platform that enables publishers to automatically sell display, video, and mobile ad impressions, maximizing the price they can charge for these. A SSP allows publishers to access a large pool of potential buyers including ad exchanges, networks, and DSPs in real time, and to set a minimum price known as a price floor.

Targeting allows relevant advertising to be served based on various criteria. Behavioral targeting analyses a user’s past activity to determine the advertising they are most likely to respond to, while contextual targeting serves relevant ads based on the content of a web page. Advertising can also be targeted according to demographic data such as age or gender, and by geography, where a user’s IP address is used to determine their location.

Third-party data
Third-party data is information that is aggregated from platforms and websites owned by third parties. It comes from a wide variety of sources including surveys and panels, cookie-based tracking, opt-in digital tracking, public records, registration data, and offline transaction information such as loyalty schemes.

Trading desk
Trading desks perform digital media trading as a managed service, and are seen as experts in the use of data and technology. Those not owned by large agency holding groups are known as independent trading desks.

Viewability is an advertising metric that tracks whether users can actually see impressions. For example, some impressions may be on a part of a webpage that the user did not scroll to.

White list
A white list is a database of approved websites where an advertiser is happy for its ads to appear. It’s opposite number is a black list.

Win rate
Win rate is a ratio that is used to measure the effectiveness of bid strategy. It is calculated by dividing the total number of impressions won by the total number of bids submitted.

By now, you’ve seen them. The ads that are targeting you based on websites you’ve visited, searches you’ve conducted and even content you’ve read online.

As a business owner, you may have wondered if targeted display tactics might help you acquire more customers. These compelling facts will help you decide if targeted display is a tactic that will help you hit your target goals.


ROBO stands for research online, buy offline and it perfectly describes the customers of local brick and mortar businesses. By the time they come through your front door, your clients are more educated than ever.

Targeted display technology identifies those users who are doing online research for a product or services and then shows them relevant ads as they surf the web, thus influencing their offline purchase.

No other digital media has such eloquent timing: User does research online. User sees display ad related to research. User buys product or service from advertiser offline.


Certainly, we are not remembering all of them. In fact, I would challenge that if you took a minute to think about the ads you remember seeing just this week, you would only remember ads that were targeted specifically to you based on sites you had visited, searches you had done, or content you had read. Anything else you’ve probably forgotten or didn’t notice in the first place.

The ads you remember were relevant to you. This is because a part of your brain called the reticular activating system is being triggered by these targeted ads.

The reticular activating system is the part of your brain that pays attention to the world around you when you’re not. Its job is to alert you to information that is relevant.

Here’s an example of your RAS in action. Have you ever been at a restaurant, waiting for your table, and there are people all around you having conversations? You could hear them if you wanted to be creepy and listen in, but you don’t. You tune out their conversations. It all just becomes this white noise. That is until you hear someone say your name. Then your ears perk up. You’re all like, “Is someone talking to me?” That’s your RAS in action.

Remember when you bought your new car and suddenly realized that everyone seemed to also have that same car? Why didn’t you notice all those Nissan Sentras before? The same reason you didn’t notice the 1700 display ads you were bombarded with as you surfed the web this month – because they weren’t relevant to you.

But when an ad is relevant to you, it gets noticed.

So if you haven’t done display because “No one notices those display ads anyway”, you may want to reconsider. When the ad is relevant, more than three fourths of people will notice it.


In other words, targeted display tactics increase name brand searches and web traffic significantly.
This next part comes directly from the news release on PR Newswire:
The study evaluated the various strategies in terms of the average lift in search activity that they generated for the advertised brand, while also considering their average reach and cost in comparison to the baseline Run-of-Network strategy. Among the six different placement strategies, [site] retargeting generated the highest lift in trademark search behavior at 1,046 percent.

So, big picture, site retargeting generates the most lift at over a thousand percent, but its success is dependent on your business having some site traffic to retarget. Adding search retargeting, keyword contextual targeting and even category contextual or premium networks can extend that reach, and every single tactic increases brand name searches and traffic.

These next few facts come from The Online Publishers Association. They commissioned comScore to “assess 80 of the biggest branding campaigns across 200 of the most trafficked sites over a month’s time, analyzing consumer behaviors of those internet users who were exposed to display advertising.”

Basically, the study looked at how users who had seen the display ad at some point subsequently searched for the business by brand name, visited their site or spent money on the advertiser’s brands.

Here are some key findings taken word-for-word from the OPA’s presentation:




Although the OPA study is a few years old, you’ll find that if you track brand searches, website traffic and time on site using analytics, these still hold true today.

There is one caveat to this fact, though. The traffic that comes from mobile devices doesn’t always fit this mold.

I’ll give you one last stat from the OPA study, and this is for those e-commerce sites out there.


While specific to e-commerce, this is still very telling for local business. It basically proves that display impacts dollars spent. At the very least, it implies that prospects who see display ads have a higher willingness to part with their money.

Our next fact comes from the National Retail Federation and is also specific to e-commerce. That said, I think you’ll agree that it probably translates to local as well.


So what does that imply for your local business? We know that 98% of first time website visitors leave without taking action. If 26% of e-commerce prospects can be influenced to come back and spend money, surely site retargeting is influencing at least that many users to come back to your local site.

You spend all kinds of money and use all kinds of tactics to bring customers to their websites – and MOST of those customers end up leaving the site without contacting the business or making a purchase. What business wouldn’t want to use a tactic that can bring those customers back?
While still one of the newest strategies in digital marketing, targeted display has been around long enough that most people aren’t freaked out when they see an ad for a pair of sneakers they were just looking at following them around the web.


The study was based on 5,343 surveys from online shoppers after they completed purchases through online retailers affiliated with Bizrate. Among those surveyed, 60% of the respondents say they feel neutral about retargeted ads, and 25% like them.

Among reasons for clicking on retargeted ads, the consumers mainly cited that they liked the product shown or that it served as a convenient way to visit a website of interest.
Advertising that consumers like. Enough said.

Our final stat is, in my opinion, the most powerful. If you’re like most business owners, you don’t want to be left behind.


You may be hesitant to invest in something new, something you maybe don’t fully understand. You want to put your dollars into an advertising strategy that is going to work. While no one can guarantee that any kind of advertising is going to work, seven out of ten business owners just like you are investing in retargeting. Surely they wouldn’t continue to do so if it wasn’t working.

In fact, 90 percent of them said retargeting performs the same or better than search, email and other display campaigns.”

So is it time for you to give targeted display a chance? Are you ready to take aim with these arrows and target your goals? We hope so.

Thanks for reading.

David McBee

Compared to large enterprises, marketing for small businesses is an entirely different beast. With fewer resources and staff, it’s easy for SMBs to get overwhelmed.

A recent study found that 71 percent of small business owners do their own digital marketing, a stark contrast to CMOs and directors of marketing in larger businesses. The problem, however, is not that SMB owners are doing their own digital marketing — it’s that they’re using the wrong tools (at least that’s what I hear from many small businesses).

Small businesses who don’t know where to start with marketing automation often opt for all-in-one solutions, an often overwhelming undertaking. Unfortunately, the “simplicity” of marketing suites does SMBs more harm than good. Bundled package deals trap them in a pricey, standard-issue marketing strategy using the most simplistic tools available, and SMBs can’t afford to waste resources on inadequate digital marketing.

I’m starting to see more SMBs opening their eyes to the multitude of solutions to choose from and turn to third-party platforms to build highly specialized, best-of-breed martech stacks. By weaving carefully-selected tools together, SMBs can construct an enterprise-level toolbelt that’s affordable, top-of-the-line and easy to integrate.

With a fully-loaded martech stack, any small, local business can take its digital initiatives to the next level.

Why all-in-one solutions can be harmful
It’s no surprise that many SMBs are attracted to the one-size-fits-all mantra of marketing suites. Every tool we need in one convenient place? Absolutely. This is compounded by the fact that most small business owners do their own digital marketing, and by opting for an all-in-one solution, they’re saving valuable time and energy.

What they don’t know, however, is that enterprise suites are actually hindering their digital marketing strategies. Here’s how:

• The solutions aren’t specific. With enterprise suites, SMBs are settling for an average array of solutions. When one company is responsible for creating a multitude of marketing tools, how specialized and top-of-the-line can each one be? Many of the solutions included in enterprise suites fail in comparison to leading solutions on the market. SMBs that rely on all-in-one solutions are ignoring thousands of niche-oriented tools created by companies specializing in that tool, rather than by a platform for it to exist in.For social media management, for example, SMBs would be wise to choose a tool created by a social media management company, rather than a marketing software giant. These third-party martech tools offer better products, lightning fast customer service, and more frequent rollouts of important updates.

• All-in-one solutions can cost more over time. Because enterprise suites promise marketers every tool they need, they can end up costing SMBs more over time. By bending over backwards to fit all-in-ones into the budget, SMBs are paying for tools they likely won’t use. That also means when an SMB finds a tool they need to add on, it becomes expensive to purchase an additional third-party solutions on top of the all-in-ones they’re already paying for.Through careful selection of martech tools and deliberate building of best-of-breed stacks, SMBs buy only what they need and what they can afford. There’s also less commitment with integrated stacks — if an SMB no longer needs its email automation solution, it can drop the provider from its stack and put the money to better use.

• The flexibility just isn’t there. Part of running a small business is adapting to the twists and turns that arise in all aspects of the business. SMBs hoping to succeed must always be on their toes, and their marketing tools must follow suit. With all-in-ones, SMBs are stuck with a fixed set of marketing solutions. They can’t mix and match tools whenever they see fit, and in today’s ever-changing business climate, such flexibility is a prerequisite to success.With third-party solutions, however, SMBs can link a multitude of them together. As few as 4 or 5 solutions integrated with one another creates a true martech stack that can accomplish and automate multiple marketing activities. The only difference is that it’s cheaper and more specialized than a suite.

It comes as no surprise that most small business owners do their own digital marketing. After all, they lack the numerous resources and large headcounts of bigger businesses.

But what small business owners lack in staffing they make up for in ingenuity. They know their business better than some marketing departments since they’re closer to the end customer’s experience. They’re therefore more in-tune with customer preferences and are resourceful enough to select only the tools they need to catapult them to the next level of success.

When it comes to building a marketing stack, small business owners just need to trust their intuition.


Google never explains exactly how its search algorithms work, but we all know it’s critical to stay up to date with known changes. If you want to optimize SEO campaigns for your clients, you should check out the trends that analysts expect will dominate the search field next year. Here are a few items from a comprehensive list compiled on SearchEngineLand.com last month.

Search Engine Results Pages, SERP, have grown a lot more sophisticated. Back in the day, marketers could tweak their keywords to manipulate where their pages showed up on a Google listing. But marketers now have the option to pay a little extra to display a featured snippet or a listing with other enhancements. Consumers who are searching aren’t just looking at a straightforward list anymore. If you want to help your clients stand out in the new world of SERP, you may need to invest in tools to help you track how well a featured snippet is working for them.

Google pays attention to how quickly your clients’ pages load. Three seconds is the magic number. When your clients insist on fancy page formatting that slows down loading, let them know that it’s impacting their search ranking. The further down the SERP list they are, the lower the likelihood that consumers will click. And, if they do convince someone to click, the slow-loading page will result in them moving on to another site. Google offers a free page speed test. Make sure you use it.

Google’s crawler pays attention when pages contain structured data. Using a specific set of HTML tags allows marketers to identify pieces of enhanced data, like images, reviews and videos, on their pages. When this information is picked up by search engines, your clients’ pages will display what is known as a rich snippet – a listing on the SERP that shows a picture and a link to reviews. Consumers are definitely drawn to search results that show images and links to something besides plain text. The availability of reviews , for example, is a huge plus.

Your clients’ competitors will be using every advantage to win the SEO battle in 2018, so make sure you are giving them work that’s optimized for the best outcome.

-Kathy Crosett