Viewing posts tagged digital

Three Digital Advertising Trends for 2019

1)  Advertising Spend

Programmatic advertising is no longer an up and coming trend for advertisers to jump on the bandwagon to compete with their competitors. The inherent technology behind programmatic has been developed and refined and is now an essential, viable channel that you must have when developing your clients’ 2019 media plans.  Programmatic advertising must be part of your overall omni-channel strategy targeting your consumer base, meeting and exceeding marketing objectives.

For the first time since the inception of this technology, Programmatic advertising spend will surpass $84 billion in 2019. This amount translates to a 19% growth year-over-year. Advertisers globally continue to pour their budgets and efforts into this effective strategy to realize future gains as the monumental growth for this realm will account for 65% of advertising dollars spent when considering all channel offerings.

As an independent trading desk, our focus is helping our clients take advantage of this overwhelming shifting trend into programmatic advertising. We deploy and optimize all channels for a holistic omni-channel campaign approach to drive optimal business outcomes.


2)  Artificial Intelligence

Programmatic advertising inherently leverages AI technology driving efficiencies streamlining automated bidding based on identified consumer behaviors.  Currently, there are inefficient human interactions that are required for thorough data analyses to inform optimization decisions. With Artificial Intelligence rapidly gaining traction, we see these inefficient steps becoming obsolete providing the critical information each advertiser needs to become more involved with other optimization tasks enhancing campaign performance.

Machine learning provides the ability to rotate best performing creative assets into the optimized flight. This will free up ample time for the strategist to focus their time on more productive tasks at hand.  Dynamic creative optimization further augments the programmatic value proposition of delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time and place.

As with any form of automation, the human touch remains necessary since anything left untouched can go rogue and off objective.  At, we pride ourselves on our all hands-on-deck mentality where each client receives white-glove service.  It is this that defines our “why” as an organization: to be a better partner for our clients, anticipating what’s driving better campaign results.  In tandem with various automated processes, this human effort allows multiple points of contact from campaign beginning to end. Our fish-tank style of collaborative thinking allows to stay ahead of the curve, bringing new ideas to the planning table.


3)  GDPR

Enacted in late May of 2018, GDPR’s purpose was to restrict and privatize consumer data points and was also created to expand user individual privacy rights from advertising practices. When the regulations were deployed, advertisers were forced to scale back spending to comply with the law.

Marketers were afraid to overstep, hoping to avoid incurring financial penalties drawn from the regulating committee. Now that the smoke has cleared, and we have a better understanding of the regulations, advertising spend has begun to pick up significantly. Lastly, due to the fair advertising practices being established, Programmatic advertising will now take the centerfold in leading the overall growth of digital marketing’s current state.  Keep an eye out for an increasing dependence on first party data and textual targeting as more data privacy regulations come to market and the instability of the cookie’s future is in question.


If your brand is considering a new programmatic advertising partner, we would love to help you.  Just email us at, call 561.868.9080, or contact us.


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Questions to Ask Your Programmatic Advertising Partner

At just over a decade old, programmatic advertising is everywhere around us. It is no surprise this channel quickly became the way buyers deploy their digital advertising. With almost 85% of the US digital display ad market bought via programmatic platforms and processes in 2019—a stat expected to creep up to 88% by 2021—the decision isn’t whether it’s a ‘yes or no’ to use it, instead it’s a matter of who is going to deploy your programmatic efforts.

US Programmatic Digital DIsplay Ad Spend, April 2019, by eMarketer


Here are 6 evaluation questions we felt new programmatic buyers should be asking potential partners in 2019.

1) How long have you or your company been working with programmatic advertising?

As with the “social media guru” boom of the mid 2000’s, we’re seeing the same influx of programmatic advertising gurus today. We can thank the low cost of entry to execute. With these “gurus” trying to sell you their consulting services and media management, check resumes and ask whether they have been sell-side, buy-side, in an agency setting or client side, hands-to-keyboard, or simply just sold it. I am all for those fast learners; companies must start somewhere but be sure to trust the people you’re giving your media budget to those that have done it before. Look for those partners who are tracking attribution differently and who offer a level of service you’re not getting from other media companies.


2) What metrics do you evaluate success at each stage of the marketing funnel?

While programmatic has become the method to deploy display advertising, it naturally is a demand generation tactic more so than lead generation. We see it differently. Most times when it comes to the success or failure of a campaign—yes, even within a display campaign—the number of leads generated reigns supreme.  This is especially true for those who don’t budget millions to build brand equity.  Decreasing website traffic costs and cost-per-action/conversion are some mid and low funnel metrics, respectively, that should be an area of focus in this space.  Be wary of those who approach programmatic advertising the same way they would a traditional digital media buy.


3) How do you measure leads and attribution?

Your programmatic advertising partner should be just that: a partner.  Forget the order takers, instead work with those pushing the envelope getting tracking tags set up properly ensuring accurate campaign measurement. Last view and last click attribution are the methods to measure conversions in digital advertising, keep an eye out for the increasing authority of cross-device attribution.  With data and ad serving tracked back to the more desirable device ID over browser cookie—especially with news of increased privacy constraints—marketers are able to prove ROI credit to mobile or OTT device impressions driving conversions on laptops.


4) How do you address Brand Safety?

Brand Safety is the cornerstone of every kick off meeting before campaign deployment. Your programmatic partner should already have these built-in campaign settings; however, brand safety must also be dictated by…the brand! Brand safety is a collaborative discussion and implemented by the collective team. Your partner should bring to the planning table a variety of brand safety tactics such as domain, IP or publisher blacklisting. For more complex brand safety deployment, page-level blacklisting via Grapeshot, is proven to help with event specific brand safety situations as well.  You should never go to market with a blank slate.

grapeshot logo

5) What new tactics are you capable of deploying?

Programmatic advertising is ever evolving as each month passes. Some organizations bring together disparate platforms providing value through their own proprietary processes, while others will partner with technologies that bring most of these disparate systems together. The former provides scale of inventory and data, while the latter offers speed to market and cleaner reporting. In 2019, Connected TV, streaming radio and Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) should be on your media plans for discussion.


6) How often do you optimize your data segments?

Specifically referring to third party data (3PD), the data attributes that makeup the audience exposed to your addressable market changes over time. This is especially true if your campaign is longer than three months. The 3PD segments you target should change with other unknown data attributes identified through your partner’s DSP or DMP.  As the advertiser, you may share the known attributes of your target audience—household income, age, in-market data—that your partner can apply to a variety of flights.  However, these unknown segments—often the psychographic data (i.e. spa mavens, big spenders, etc.) are those that are not as obvious, but could have value.  These could be cycled in and out throughout the campaign duration to keep the audience data fresh.

These are just six of the top questions we came up with to help folks ask of their prospective programmatic advertising partner in 2019.  What other questions would you ask?


If your brand is considering a new programmatic advertising partner, we would love to help you.  Just email us at, call 561.868.9080, or contact us.


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Google’s 4 Smarter Bidding Strategies are all about Conversions

With more than 70% of advertisers opting for automated bidding over manual bidding, Google is unveiling new smart bidding strategies by placing more emphasis on improving the automated bidding algorithm. In the coming months, these enhancements will give advertisers more options and control over their paid search bidding strategies.

 1.  Campaign-level conversion settings. Currently, marketers are only limited to setting conversion goals at the account level. This new feature will allow advertisers to set conversion goals at the campaign level. Having this flexibility means that advertisers will be able to set up, analyze and optimize conversions based on specific individual campaign goals and calls-to-action. This will also provide even more control over budget, spend caps and bid adjustments based on conversion-based smart bidding strategies.

2.  Seasonality adjustments. With a lot of buzz around customer journey, Google now makes it easier for brands to promote their products and services to consumers when they need it the most.  Advertisers will have the capability to schedule these seasonal bid adjustments as they set up their campaigns. Using seasonality adjustments as a bid strategy could make a big difference in sales and revenue for a lot of brands. The ability to schedule or automate these specific seasonal adjustments around promotional events or peak seasons takes the work out of manual adjustments for most advertisers.

3.  Maximize conversion value. After rolling out maximize conversions a few years ago, Google is making additional adjustments in the coming months by adding maximize conversion value.  Marketers will have the ability to optimize campaigns for the most conversion value within a specific budget. Until now, bidding strategies have been focused on efficiency.

4.  Conversion value rules. This new smart bidding feature will provide advertisers the flexibility to assign value to their calls-to-action or conversion goals. This can also be based on different conversion values such as location, device and audience type. With this rule, advertisers can customize conversion values so they align more closely with their business goals.


How we use automated bidding

Automation is quickly becoming the way of the future and by utilizing smart bidding we reap the benefits of better performance while saving time on manually adjusting bids.  But before you automate, you should test the waters. At, part of our optimization strategy for under-performing tactics is to test the waters before making any major shifts. Looking at information such as keyword performance, quality score, competition, impression share are all ways to glean insight before jumping into any automated bid strategy.  Testing is an easy way to gather data to make an informed decision prior to making any major adjustments to the campaign. Using automated bid strategies allows our team to gather useful insights that we can then use to improve the campaign, inform expansion or optimize on other channels.

Google said these smart bidding strategies will roll out in the next few weeks for Paid Search and Display, and in the coming months for other channels.

Prior to implementing these smart bidding strategies, you may need to adjust your current campaign bid settings or structure to accommodate these strategies.


If your brand is not taking advantage of the latest trends in paid search, we would love to help.  Send us an email at, call 561.868.9080 or contact us.


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Enhancements Announced at Facebook’s F8 Conference

Here are 3 that will impact your social marketing

On April 30th, Facebook held F8, their annual conference to announce their latest product changes and launches.

With privacy as a top concern, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed the company’s shift to focus on connecting people and communities within protected spaces. Will the newest product enhancements benefit consumers, and marketers alike? While the team consistently uses Facebook and Instagram for our clients’ campaigns, over the past year we’ve seen CPMs rise, and targeting capabilities decrease.  So, some new opportunities for marketers to forge meaningful connections on their platforms are coming just in time!  Here are three highlights on the changes, and how they can impact your approach to social advertising:

1)  New Design Makes Stories More Prominent. If you haven’t already shifted a portion of your creative to video, now is the time.  In Facebook’s new design, the Stories feed is larger and impossible to skip over. In 2018, Facebook Stories had more than 150 Million daily users – this will only go up with the new design. We recommend Facebook Story Ads as a place to get your ad seen. See screenshot below.

Source: Facebook

Plus, with the new interactive features on Instagram’s Story Ads, your videos can take your brand message to a new level across these platforms. Polling is an awesome feature for Story Ads! Did you know that a quarter of all Instagram ads are single videos? Facebook is now fully in the ad stories game, get your brand in there too!

2)  Facebook is declaring Groups are the heart of the platform. The new design features a prominent Groups tab with a personalized groups activity feed.  Facebook’s investment in Groups will enable users to develop communities and share within those circles – a way to connect, but with more privacy and control. As a marketer, cultivating meaningful groups to listen and contribute will help build your brand. For example, University Alumni groups are a great way to communicate campus news and build a development pipeline. With the new design, news and activities from the group will be front and center.  Later this summer, Facebook will roll out a new events tab “so you can see what’s happening around you, get recommendations, discover local businesses, and coordinate with friends to make plans to get together.”

3)  Messenger will support lead development. Facebook is completely re-building Messenger from the ground up with the promise that it will be lighter and faster – to be rolled out later this year. In addition to the revamped build, there will be some new solutions making it easier for businesses to cultivate leads and drive in-store traffic. There will be a lead gen template for Messenger within Ads Manager and the ability for consumers to book appointments within the Messenger app.  See screenshots below. will keep an eye on the releases and test as soon as we can.

Source: Facebook

If your brand is not on taking advantage of the best features of these social platforms, we would love to help you.  Just email us at, call 561.868.9080, or contact us.


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