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Paid Media

Top Media Trends for 2002

By Insights & News, Paid Media No Comments

Today, we are looking at the top programmatic and media trends that will matter in the coming year according to Acronym’s SVP, Performance Media, Gregg Manias; VP, Media Integration, Joanna Cohen; and VP, Performance Media, Peter Semetis.

Display and programmatic will continue to grow in importance.

Programmatic lowers the barrier to entry enabling smaller brands to leverage media types that were originally unattainable for them. With programmatic, brands can reach people in different areas in a cross-channel environment to deliver contextual targeting. This is becoming more important because of the changing viewing habits of customers.

“Programmatic display is like using a scalpel to pinpoint precisely where your money is going,” explains Peter Semetis, VP, Performance Media. “For comparison, consider a highly rated program, like the Super Bowl, where a wide audience is watching your ad for floor tiles versus an online video about how to tile a floor targeting someone who recently purchased a home. That’s the power of programmatic – getting your message directly in front of the person most likely to want it.”

Another clear advantage of programmatic is tied to the increase in video consumption. Media consumption today is video based and with scrolling behaviors changing, the amount of media consumed in a given moment has grown exponentially. For example, more TikTok videos are watched in duration than on YouTube today. The consideration of how people engage with video content has changed and as such, their engagement with programmatic display is changing as well.

There will be a continued rise in CTV.

There are more connected TV subscriptions in the U.S. than cable subscriptions today. With this wider audience, comes more opportunities for incremental reach.

“We’ve seen connected TV growth surpass previous expectations, with viewability metrics eclipsing mobile devices” Semetis said. “The industry expected to see this kind of growth over two years, but with everyone at home during the pandemic, consumers began cutting the cord at an accelerated pace.”

Streaming services are focusing on the “hold-out” content that kept some users watching cable, specifically sports content. Helping clear up the misconception about sports content streaming services, YouTube TV has been the premiere sponsor for sporting events like the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the World Series. This additional programming is expected to drive even more cord-cutters in the coming year and that’s good news for marketers.

“There are clear advantages to CTV and addressable video media opportunities”, said Joanna Cohen, VP, Integrated Media at Acronym. “With CTV, I know who my target audience is and what they are watching. Rather than targeting content and programming as a proxy to reach an audience, I am able to target an audience directly using data (set-top box and digital identifiers) and furthermore onboard and activate first, second, and third party data to prescriptively locate and address an audience in real-time. In the world of integrated media, data-driven targeting and addressable media opportunities represent a significant breakthrough – enabling far greater cost efficiencies, lower waste, and targeted reach – yielding improved brand experiences and performance results on behalf of the brands and marketers we serve.”

First-Party Data will become the best defense and offense for all brands.

The collection and utilization of first-party data has always been a priority for marketers. This data can create a clear and accurate picture of the customer, which allows marketers to better understand their mindset, wants and needs. With the expected dissolution of cookies, brands are placing a greater importance on first-party data in the coming year – along with data purchased from retail marketplaces. (Learn more about how retail leaders have allowed brands and agencies to combine their first-party data with marketplace data here.)  

“The more we understand who the customer is, what types of content they like and the types of products they want, the more personalized we can be in the content we deliver to them,” explains Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media, at Acronym. “Having data that you can buy through an auction site or marketplace or through other partners, alleviates the burden of not having cookies for targeting and measuring.”

With first-party data marketers can better capture the demographics of a customer and what they’ve bought, enabling brands to build a more honest and direct relationship with their customers. With all this data, we will also see an increase in neuromarketing as it becomes more powerful and subtle. (Learn more about Acronym’s approach to neuromarketing here.)

“First-party data is the best offense and defense for brands facing bigger players in their space,” Semetis added. “Brands leveraging CRM data are starting to realize what it’s worth and the fact that only you have access to it, gives you an advantage. Brands just need to be sure they don’t just sit on this data – they need to use it.”

If you are unsure how to best leverage your brand’s first-party data or want help combining it with marketplace data and the right CTV or programmatic campaigns in 2022, contact us. We’re happy to help.

POV by Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media; Joanna Cohen;, VP, Media Integration; and VP, Performance Media, Peter Semetis.

Navigating the Modern Retail Landscape

By Brand Engagement, eCommerce and Marketplaces, Insights & News, Paid Media No Comments

Since the pandemic began, we have seen an accelerated convergence of brand and performance media where now all brand outcomes are measured.

While millions quarantined and conducted business from their homes, we witnessed a massive expansion in the retail world as retail-built networks (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kroger) and retailer partner networks (e.g. Criteo, Ad Citrus, Promote Iq, etc.) began to monetize their first party data.

In the past, a shopper marketing strategy focused on traditional tactics such as in-store promos, circulars, and co-op tv spots. However, over the last decade these strategies evolved to include co-op digital media such as search, display videos and social media that – for the most part – was run by the retailer on behalf of the brand.

During the pandemic, this changed as retail leaders such as Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Kroger, Target, etc. allowed brands and agencies to combine their first-party data and leverage the retailer first-party rich audiences to buy media within their own media platforms, and in return receive a wealth of measurement metrics such as sales data. This ability to analyze the shopper at a more intimate level allowed both shoppers and brands to develop better marketing mixes that target the retailers’ consumer with more precision and develop more persuasive marketing strategies to target the general category consumer as well.  

This is important as we move to an uncertain world without a cookie identifier, brands are seeking ways to leverage their first-party data. Moving forward, brands are focused on spending retailer dollars with a maximum use of data that allows them to make smarter decisions with their investment choices. This can help mitigate wasteful spend and provide a self-serve space that allows retail media performance to be directly tied to brand outcomes.

Brands know about their category and retailers understand the consumers who are buying in that category. The combination of this intelligence through a omni-retail media mix can result in precision targeting with persuasive messaging in the upper funnel and creates the ability to capture demand from onsite search.

While these brands will always need a traditional national branding strategy, they now can focus less on national branding and more time, budget, and attention on supporting retailers with connections to the outcome. This can be particularly advantageous when retailer contractual commitments continue to grow, reducing brand media dollars.

What has caused brands to gravitate to retail media?

  • The ability to understand media’s correlation to SKU outcome and to access a retailers’ first-party data..
  • Using co-op dollars on self-serve media platforms for measurable outcomes
  • Retailers built their own on-site search platforms. Kroger, Amazon and WMT (O&O only) have also built their own programmatic platforms for offsite media.
  • DSPs like Tradedesk and Data Onboarding tools are fighting to help these retailers and brands partner together to build full self-serve models that allow the combination of first-party retail and brand audiences to be targeted across a funnel approach including ad exchanges and media types (OTT, Display, Remarketing, etc.).         
  • Brands can understand a shopper at an individual level and through retail media strategies, they can better understand what drives a consumer to purchase.

Why do shoppers lean into this?

  • Having a media mix that is both tied to Media Mix Models and digital measurable outcomes enables shoppers to build a better omni-channel mix using data.
  • Almost everything is measurable; they no longer need to rely just on in-store promotions and coupon clipping.
  • By combining a Performance Media and Shopper Strategy, brands are better able to understand the consumer more intimately. This allows them to drive a better omni-channel mix.
  • Omni-channel support that is targetable and trackable not only drives in-store and online sales, but media that is also married with in-store makes the insights more useful than just what we have mined from digital. This can also help inform future creative testing ideas.            
  • Understanding consumer behavior better than they can with their own first-party, brands have the precision of targeting that allows for more effective persuasive messaging.

POV By Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media

Neuromarketing

How Neuromarketing Creates Connections and Conversions

By Brand Engagement, Content Marketing, Insights & News, Paid Media, Uncategorized No Comments

With customer data and AI driving digital engagement, brands need to take a human-first approach to create value through personalization and relevance. Enter neuromarketing.

What Is Neuromarketing?

Acronym’s VP, Integrated Media, Joanna Cohen is a neuroscientist and brand marketer. She explains,

“In its simplest sense, neuromarketing focuses on the psychology and brain physiology behind customer decision-making. Neuromarketing gives brands the ability to create more effective campaigns by understanding the way we perceive and process information. It helps us identify the emotional and perceptual triggers that are key to a customer’s decision-making and purchase process.”

How Does Understanding Neuromarketing Improve Brand Experiences?

The subconscious, specifically, emotion, plays a large role in influencing behavior. It can even change the way a certain brand, product or image is internalized in the brain. Most marketing strategies approach buying behaviors as a rational, conscious decision as illustrated below.

However, the human brain is much more motivated by emotions and the subconscious thought process, which is driven by the customer’s hopes and fears; their emotions and ego; their experiences and expectations; existing attitudes and beliefs (including social and political) and their behaviors. The process is actually more closely related to the below illustration.

Marketers and brands should take common emotional triggers into account when planning their digital campaigns. In fact, according to an IPA dataBank Study, marketing campaigns that focused on emotional drivers (the Feel, Think, Choose approach) were 31% effective as compared to campaigns that used the rational drivers (Think, Feel, Choose), which were only 16% effective.

How Can Brands Create an Emotional Connection with Customers?

So, if customers feel before they think and choose, how can brands tap into those emotions? The answer is visual imagery.

To begin with imagery is essential. Implicit memory, which is primarily visual, affects the way brands are perceived and this is encoded in our memories.

We’ve all heard the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Consider that two-thirds of the stimuli reaching the brain are visual and about 80% of learning is visually based. In fact, facial signals are encoded in the brain and have a much more immediate effect on customers’ attitudes than words.

Brands can shape customer attitudes by tailoring perceptual cues through the use of color, image selection, wording – including font style and size – facial expressions seen in images, messaging sequence and storytelling. In other words, focusing on how the brain stores information and the psychology and physiology behind customer decision-making, brands can reach individuals across the customer journey with the right messaging.

The more brands understand how their customers make decisions, the better they can leverage insights about the brain and how it stores information to design memorable and effective marketing strategies that target both the conscious and the subconscious mind.

If you’d like to learn more about how neuromarketing can improve your digital marketing approach, contact us today.

POV by Joanna Cohen, VP, Integrated Media.

How-To Plan for SEO, Paid Media, & Social Media Success on #NationalPlanner Day

By Paid Media, Paid Search, SEO, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments

Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to plan, you are planning to fail.”

We believe that to be a self-evident truth. After all, effective planning is the foundation of success. So, in honor of #NationalPlannerDay, some of Acronym’s group leaders are sharing their top three tips for effective planning across your SEO, paid media and social media programs.

3 STEPS FOR SEO SUCCESS – Winston Burton, SVP, SEO

1. Structured Data  

Marking up your content and having structured data is the best way for Google to find that content fast. Structured data gives your content to Search Engines in a way they can understand it in real time, as opposed to waiting and hoping that the bots find your content. 

This saves both bandwidth and time.  It is also important to understand Search Engines are playing a ‘long game’ with structured data as it enables a far more efficient way to effectively answer a search query with a personalized and factual set of results. This is called ‘data retrieval’ versus the traditional and time-consuming exercise of ‘information retrieval’.

2. Voice Search and Task Completions

Search will transcend mediums yet again in the very near future. Like the meteoric trajectory we saw with the mobile device type revolution, where the preference swapped from desktop to mobile driven search, text-based search will soon be surpassed by Voice Driven Search with more results sets being of the audible variety.

Being prepared for this future of Voice means creating resourceful dynamic experiences that not only solve for the micro-moment but also personify your brand to the customer, creating lasting affinities into the next frontier of Digital.

Critical steps to take now include creating Actions for the Google Assistant and Skills for Amazon’s Alexa. Voice assistants represent a powerful application of Voice search and represent one of the leading behavioral influencing sources for quickly moving consumers off text search and into Voice. Soon Voice assistants will be able to complete tasks and you should be ready for that moment.

3. Creating Content for 5G  

Be prepared for 5G. 5G will speed up and change the content experience allowing new and innovative ways to connect with customers.

Hyper-personalized content delivery, high-bandwidth digital experiences, faster websites will ensure the CX is exceptional. It’s also predicted that the usage of ad blockers will go down, allowing advertisers to serve ads effectively.

Digital will evolve from 2D to 3D, and interactive and live content will become the norm.

3 STEPS FOR PAID MEDIA – Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media

1. Establish Parameters for the Plan

Begin by defining the overall objective you want to achieve and the specific conversion goals to demonstrate success. You also want to determine the timing of the campaign and consider the opportunities and challenges inherent in that timing. Also, plan for the frequency of the message within that timing.

Next, you need to understand who the target audience is and examine their online behaviors and media preferences.

Finally, determine your overall budget and KPIs as this will drive the spend allocation and metrics for success.

2. Analysis Historical Performance & Research Landscape

After defining the parameters, you should review past media performance at every possible level to understand how it has traditionally performed. When you’re running ads online, you have to know what you’re spending your money on, and which ads are delivering the results you need.

This will help determine what needs to be changed to achieve the new goals based on where you’ve seen success in the past.

From there, you want to research the category landscape, target audiences, and all data and insights available to you.

3. Identify Proper Media Mix Tied to Parameters

After taking the learnings from historical plans and research, you want to create an integrated media plan that ties back to all the parameters.

It’s important not to throw money at every shiny new channel. Remember that each media channel you use might obtain a single objective from the parameter.

For example, YouTube might be used to capture a younger audience in the awareness stage, while Bing might be used to capture demand from an older demographic who use a desktop device.

So, be sure you know what each channel offers in terms of the target audience and types of engagements within each media opportunity.

3 STEPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS – Mary Sutter, Director, Social Media

1. Use Social Listening to Stay Relevant With Social Trends

By listening to your target audience online and paying attention to the topics that most interest them, you can deliver organic content that meets their needs.

It can be very easy to believe you already know what your target audience wants from your brand(s). But, social media audiences, conversations and opportunities change constantly. So, listening to your target audience and even to your competitors can give you an edge in your content planning.

There are a number of terrific tools that enable you to follow the topics, issues, concerns and trends that matter to your target audience. We recommend Sprout Social as a terrific Social Listening and planning tool.

2. Utilize a Social Media Calendar to Stay Organized, But Be Flexible for Timely Posts

We all know content calendars are a useful way ensure you consistently deliver compelling content that addresses all key messages and product positions.

But, it’s also important to allow for spontaneous content that leverages memorable moments in time and/or allows you to include your brand in trending conversations.

There is something amazing about ‘spontaneity’, especially on social media.

People love it because it’s authentic. It’s not produced. It’s real. It just comes out of the moment. Of course, you want to ensure your in-the-moment content remains “on-brand.” Spontaneity in social media works when it’s still relevant to your audience. Don’t just jump on any bandwagon. Be selective as you mix spontaneity with planned content.

3. Track & Analyze Your Content To Determine What Works & What Doesn’t.

Too often, brands take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to social media. But, this could result in putting time and resources behind content that doesn’t deliver engagement or click-through.

It’s imperative you review the social media analytics (tied to your specific KPIs) so you focus on the content types that truly connect with your customers.

If you would like assistance with your planning process in Search, Paid Media, Paid and Organic Social Media or Business Analytics, please contact us today. In the meantime, Happy #NationalPlannerDay!

holding phone

Instagram Launches Reels Ads in All Regions

By Insights & News, Paid Media, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments

Instagram Reels are getting ads.

The company announced it’s launching ads in its short-form video platform, Reels to businesses and advertisers worldwide. The ads can be up to 30 seconds in length, like Reels themselves, and will be vertical in format, similar to ads found in Instagram Stories. Also like Reels, the new ads will loop, and people will be able to like, comment on, and save them, the same as other Reels videos.

Instagram previously tested Reels ads in select markets earlier this year, including India, Brazil, Germany and Australia, then expanded those tests to Canada, France, the U.K. and the U.S. more recently. Early adopters of the new format included brands like BMW, Nestlé (Nespresso), Louis Vuitton, Netflix, Uber and others.

In a blog post, Instagram officials stated:

“After testing in select countries, we’re launching Reels ads to the world. Reels is the best place on Instagram to reach people who don’t follow you and a growing global stage where brands and creators can be discovered by anyone. These ads will help businesses reach greater audiences, allowing people to discover inspiring new content from brands and creators.”

The ads will appear in most places users view Reels content, including on the Reels tab, Reels in Stories, Reels in Explore and Reels in your Instagram Feed, and will appear in between individual Reels posted by users. However, in order to be served a Reels ad, the user first needs to be in the immersive, full-screen Reels viewer.

Why this is important:

As Instagram continues to position their Reels feature as a worthy competitor to the TikTok juggernaut, they are likely high invested in this placement becoming a success. It is also helpful for brands across all verticals to have yet another option for running content and reaching users.

This placement will roll out for all brands in the coming months and is probably best suited for more upper funnel KPIs like brand awareness and video views.

What action should brands take:

For optimal performance, creatives in this placement should be sized in a 9:16 ratio. At Acronym, we are still determining if existing creative that already runs in story placements is optimal as far as content, or if Reels sees more success in ads that feel more native and organic, as is the case with TikTok. Look for an update on that once we have it.

In the meantime, if you need assistance implementing ads on Instagram Reels, please contact us. We’re happy to help.