Focusing Creativity with Data

July 27, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

The idea of mixing data analysis with creativity seems counter intuitive like mixing right brain and left brain thinking. In the advertising agency business, though creativity is driven by information about target audiences, consumer experiences, focus group research and human observations. The clearer the picture of the audience, goals of the campaign and calls to action are a treasure trove for creative directors as they craft the right message for the right audience.

As more data has become available, there are real opportunities for data to provide specific, fact-filled insights to craft messages that will have a higher chance of creating the intended impact. Understanding past shopping behavior, use of promotions and coupons, and where and how products and services are discovered all lead to more precise campaign and creative development.

One example of how data and creativity can successfully coexist is in DevHub's creation and maintenance of websites and landing pages. Companies who host websites see hundreds if not thousands of interactions each day by business category, region and top performing sites. By utilizing data mining and machine learning, specific patterns of successful conversion begin to emerge. In DevHub's case, we utilize heat mapping to study how consumers interact with website content to better understand how content position, navigation and inclusion of creative elements drive conversion and time on site.

The goal of all this data analysis is to understand how to replicate success and quickly install these patterns of success in web design templates, ongoing updates and to test creative approaches. From a creative standpoint, this data analysis and machine learning approach provides insights on how to optimize campaigns by understanding what types of creative visuals and messages have the most impact. Having a fast feedback process allows creative teams to personalize and adjust approaches proven out by the data, offering a more precise view of specific categories, regions and customer types to seek out variations and opportunities.

From a creative and site management standpoint, being able to monitor site traffic and how creative approaches enhance conversions, allows agencies and franchise organizations to respond quickly with updates, conduct A/B testing on new concepts, adjust the layout of content and creative, and surface immediate opportunities to change out creative to drive revenue on a per location or system wide basis.

Big data and creative development may appear as strange bedfellows to outsiders, but strategy driven agencies are quickly inventing their own data driven creative approaches. Data becomes more powerful when blended with creative approaches to content, design and user experiences. When used as an input on creative direction, data analysis can help agencies and franchise organizations get to their desired ah-ha moment much quicker.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Sr. Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub

National or Local, Websites Are the New Marketing Hub

June 29, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

Both national and local merchant advertisers clearly understand that their audiences have moved online and are searching for their locations on the go, on mobile, and tablets. Recently released Thrive Analytics data reveals consumers are accessing local information increasingly on the go with seventeen percent in the car and thirty-five percent on the go. BIA/Kelsey goes a step further reporting, ninety-seven percent of consumers use internet when researching local products/services.

Gone are the days when websites were online brochures. The modern website has become the hub of all online marketing. No matter the campaign element, all roads lead back to the website and custom landing pages. As the hub of all online marketing, a company’s website needs to perform many more functions in order to convert visitors. From the basics of clear navigation, to more sophisticated ecommerce and scheduling applications, the website is an integral part of campaign planning.

In a BrightLocal survey

“thirty-six percent of respondents said that a clear and smart website gives a local business more credibility.”

Consumers now conduct more of their research online before contacting a business. Digital advertising, listings and local search all drive customers to your website’s doorstep, but often this is where the ball gets dropped. Frequent miscues include not sending prospects to the exact page they were seeking, poor optimization for mobile viewing, not developing a campaign specific landing page that compliments the online campaign, not having campaign measurement in place to attribute traffic, and not offering ways to find specific local outlets.

As content is frequently shared on social media sites, it naturally draws audiences back to the main website. Integrating social media links and content on websites has become the norm for local merchant marketing efforts. Having a website that allows easy posting and housing of blogs, video or written content extends its value, improves SEO, and offers more ways to be found in searches by topic and by location. But, what good is content if the main website does not provide additional opportunities to educate, engage and ultimately convert prospects into customers?

Leading prospects to your company’s online front door then delivering a poor experience is of no value. Your website needs to work harder and learn from the campaigns and site traffic to continually understand what improves your conversion rates on the site and through other online campaigns. DevHub creates and manages highly converting sites, landing pages and dealer locators that work harder to support site visits as well as improving marketing campaign performance.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Sr. Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub.

Agencies and Franchisors Seeking the Local Path to Purchase

June 24, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

Retailers, franchise organizations and multi-location brand advertisers continue to struggle with the multitude of online marketing options, keeping their location data accurate, and understanding what online media elements drive their customers from looking online to purchasing in their stores. A recent survey from Streetfight and Thrive Analytics showed the key issues impacting the use of customer and marketing data include, “not enough knowledge or expertise, not enough resources, or not enough time.” The complication stems from advertisers employing separate strategies and platforms for buying media, creating digital media, and measurement approaches to understanding what specifically drove consumers to contact or purchase from the brand.

While online media buying platforms offer advantages such as efficient buying, access to a network of sites and inventory, coupon tracking or offer tracking, the data points media platforms focus on are the awareness and engagement points, but not the last mile, which is the actual purchase. This gap in the purchase path becomes wider when the marketing goal is to drive local traffic and purchases at specific locations.

Franchise and multi-location advertisers often have common local marketing goals which involve multiple campaign elements. On a branding level the goal is reach and frequency, while locally-focused campaigns have very different objectives. Some of the key local marketing objectives of franchisors and multi-location brands include:

  • Being found locally – while brand recognition is important, being found in local searches and in a company location finder is of greater importance to drive calls, inquires and foot traffic
  • Brand and message consistency – Maintaining the brand is important to the corporation, but there needs to be elements on each franchise site with a local flavor that resonates with consumers and appears in local searches
  • Targeted offers – individual locations often require a variety of offer messages based on seasonality, local needs and opportunity. Flexibility to test new messages allows campaign managers to see what performs better and adjust
  • Responsive ads, websites and landing pages – as mobile search and the use of tablets increases, sites and pages need to be visible on multiple screens and offer users a good browsing experience
  • Content updating – to maintain a local feel, franchisees and dealers need to have easy ways to add and update content like events, offers and local news. Keeping this content on message, targeted to specific locations and coordinated is the key

All of these marketing elements generate valuable data which can help inform future marketing messages, website updates and tee up greater insights on conversion metrics by location and category. Feeding this level of data into programmatic media buying strategies as well as having insights into messages that convert, offers that perform, and seasonal response rates all drive key business objectives.

Advertising agencies that serve multi-location brands and franchise organizations benefit from creating complete path to purchase solutions. While the investment and focus has been on the “pipes” that deliver messages to “the right customers” at “the right time,” there is a definite need to bundle in services that learn and deliver “the right messages” and “the best offers” that convert. Utilizing conversion and location-based data ensures both ads and messages have the ability to convert consumers in local markets. Coordinating offers and content by location, city or region provides agencies and franchise organizations a more coordinated and successful lead generation approach.

DevHub has developed a seamless approach for agencies and franchise organizations marrying existing programmatic media buying expertise with an online presence platform that learns from multiple campaigns, delivers sites and landing pages that convert, ensures sites get found by location and gathers data to improve campaign efficiencies. A partnership with DevHub allows agencies and franchisors to extend their online campaign capabilities, with a single platform to coordinate messages and offers all in one place.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Sr. Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub.

Programmatic Media Buying Only Offers Brands Half The Value

June 17, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

The push for adopting programmatic and Real Time Bidding (RTB) continues to move forward at an incredible pace. Magna Global reports

“programmatic buying of digital media inventory will reach $7.4 billion this year in the US, of which $3.9bn will be transacted through Real-Time Bidding (RTB), and another $3.5bn will be transacted through other programmatic/automated platforms (including social media).”

Brands, agencies and media companies are quickly adopting programmatic and RTB platforms to take advantage of the opportunity while publishers are quickly developing inventory to fulfill the targeted media requests being transacted. According to AdapTV, in 2014

“51 percent of publishers made premium inventory available through programmatic platforms.”

The current issues being raised about the growth of programmatic and RTB media purchases centers on viewabilty, whether it is static display or video advertising units. While being more efficient in reaching an audience is important, the real value lies in what takes place after the ad is viewed. Purchasing a view by the brands ideal audience at a more competitive rate is only half the value of the effort. Converting views into actions provides the rest of the real value of the effort. With the availability of data, a complete view of engagement to purchase is what is being demanded by brands, agencies and franchise organizations.

Currently many online ads are measured in click through rates or video viewing time (viewability) which focuses primarily on old forms of online measurement and campaign success. According to xAd and Neilsen,

“a more effective way of measuring online media value looks at Secondary-Action Rates (SAR), which reflects the percentage of secondary, highly-engaged actions like calls, directions and Store Visitation Lift (SVL).”

The methods of media buying won’t provide insights into Secondary-Action Rates without additional campaign components which can determine the “what” and “where” of the purchase path.

Within a branding campaign, the goal is reach, numbers of impressions and ad recall. While these measurements address media buying efficiencies, they lack deeper insights into how the placed ads were reacted to in context to what secondary actions were taken and just as important, where the action(s) took place. For franchise organizations and brands who rely on calls, appointments and store traffic, being able to link ad views to the actions taken and specific stores that benefitted is the new focus. By joining together programmatic and RTB media campaigns with customized websites, landing pages and enhanced listings, brand managers and franchise owners can utilize localization as an effective means of determining campaign ROI. The movement of programmatic to local is already happening with an estimated 4.7 percent of media buys being attributed to local, according to Borrell Associates. Reviewing placements, conversion rates for advertising messages, calls to action and specific promotional offers can be valuable in informing future campaigns combining programmatic media buying with effective conversion tactics.

Programmatic will continue to grow, but its future success remains with tying it to longer range brand and franchise sales objectives on a local level. The more programmatic can be tied to meaningful ways of driving calls and traffic to specific locations, the more value brands and franchise organizations will place in its methods. DevHub has developed several high converting campaign extensions media buyers and brand managers can utilize to better inform their media buying process and deliver key secondary actions at the local level. Contact us to see how we can help improve campaign ROI and provide a greater understanding of the path to purchase.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Senior Industry Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub

The Yin and Yang of Creativity and Ad Technology

June 4, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

Advertising agencies have always made use of technology to support creative messages on behalf of its clients. However, the blistering pace of new media coming onto the market, the need for more immediate message development and deployment, and the pace of digital adoption has created a rift between fast developing ad technology and the creative development process of advertising agencies.

Over the last 20 years, advertising agency income “per unit of work has fallen 40%,” according to agency consultant and advisor Michael Farmer. Another impact to agency revenues are brands going direct to ad technology companies to better manage the quickly changing digital media world. This need for digital speed, however, often leaves behind the creativity required to make messages relevant, noticed, on target, brand appropriate and drive specific calls to action.

The current need for data control and analysis has also given ad technology companies access to brand CMOs. The key justification for bringing tech media functions in-house is to exercise greater campaign control and reduce costs, particularly in the areas of media planning and buying, social media monitoring and data analysis. Scaling back billable hours and media fees reduces agency billing and fees for service creating significant margin squeeze. The need for creating reoccurring revenue streams and adopting quicker ways of executing on time intensive tasks all point to the utilization of technology.

While there are a myriad of digital solutions agencies can utilize, core digital campaigns focus on responsive websites, promotional landing pages, digital display (static and video), and store locator sites to direct traffic to local franchise or brand partner locations to drive specific calls to action. Combining the creativity of the agency and the ability of a tech media platform to quickly launch and update brand and local sites, mobile landing pages and display ad units, provides agencies a critical product set to offer brands. Technology platforms now allow campaigns to be launched or updated in days rather than weeks. Saving time and resources allows the agency to protect and often increase its margins. Utilizing a technology platform also creates a new reoccurring revenue stream for hosting and managing the brand and local franchise sites and distributing display advertising and listing updates while enabling quicker testing and data analysis.

The key is seeking out platform partners who can support creative executions by speeding production, local campaign updates, distribution and campaign feedback. Technology can’t develop creativity, but it can speed it to market and analyze what drives conversions and leads to inform future messaging and executions. Advertising creativity and ad technology are certainly more powerful together than in competition. Call it the Yin and the Yang or the parts being more powerful as a whole. Call it what you will, we at DevHub just see it as smart business.

About the author:  Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Senior Industry Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub

Google Forgot the Mobile Roadmap For Publishers

May 20, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

So “Mobilegeddon” has happened and publishers continue to scramble to deal with the impact of not having their small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) set up with mobile responsive websites. The delay can be attributed to many things including the use of old technology platforms to build and update sites, no easy path to migrating the hundreds or thousands of sites in a quick and reliable fashion or a clear sense of available options who can be of the most help immediately as site traffic SMB page rank and visibility drops in local search results>

Media Post's Maria Shinkevich writes,

"Even if publishers were prepared for the inevitable favoritism that Google would give to sites better optimized to mobile, they may not be as optimized as they can be.”

The key is not making changes that are a mobile band-aid. “Mobilegeddon” represents an opportunity for publishers to make changes that are meaningful for their SMBs, improving site analytics, allowing for easier updating and the distribution of content, and implementing a platform for the future. Many publishers are ham-strung by older site builder platforms which rely on out-moded templates, poor SEO and a lack of understanding of what creates conversion opportunities. Relying on these old platforms prevents many publishers from making many of the changes Media Post and others have recommended.

The DevHub platform delivers all of these options, allowing for mass migration in a matter of days, more flexibility in updating sites and distributing content, utilizing big data to improve conversion rates by business category, improving SEO, allowing for more social integration, and offering deeper analytics on site performance and key actions taken.

While Media Post and others offer solid advice on how publishers proceed, DevHub has already created the roadmap. Our platform allows for quick action to be taken and offers publishers more flexibility and revenue opportunities. Give us a Call to find out how we can guide you.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Senior Industry Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub

Guest Post on the Yext Partners Community

March 26, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

DevHub CEO Ed O'Keefe's recent post about the upcoming Google changes affecting non-mobile optimized websites was picked up as guest post on the Yext Partners Community.

Read more here: Responding to the Google Responsive Design Penalty

DevHub a Finalist in the LSA 2015 "Ad to Action" Awards

March 25, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

DevHub was selected as a finalist in the Presence Management category for the Local Search Association's 2015 "Ad to Action" Awards. Out of 91 entries, DevHub was selected as one of the 20 finalists.

Winners will be announced at the 2015 LSA Conference in Los Angeles, April 20-22

Maybe 5 million+ SMB websites should be de-ranked by Google on April 21st

March 23, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

Google will penalize any website or landing page that is not responsive designed for an optimized mobile experience as of April 21st, 2015.  To quote Search Engine Land:

Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji [said] at SMX Munich the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm will impact more sites than Panda or Penguin algorithms. 

If we look at website quality audits done by our friends at BuzzBoard (as well as others) who take into account responsive design for mobile, we find that millions of SMB websites will experience a serious hit in their Google ranking on April 21, 2015 because they are not mobile optimized. The winners will be those websites that are already designed responsively and have a mobile-friendly consumer experience built into the layout. I'm reminded of the excerpt from Scott Jehl's Responsible Responsive Design, which provides a intelligent guide for web designers to future-proof the sites they build:

Sustainability: The ability for the technology driving a site or application, to work for devices that exist today and to continue to be usable and accessible to users, devices, and browsers in the future.

The shift in consumer demand from desktop to mobile discovery is on a clear hockey stick trajectory.  Today's small businesses must have web content optimized for our multi-screen world -- what works on on desktop will not necessarily translate well to a smaller screen. Being aware of this means investing in good technology, design, and other web resources. Google is selfishly (and probably rightfully!) pushing this requirement at a pivotal moment in web development; as the Google mobile search experience will improve dramatically for consumers.  It's actually overdue.

Today, I worry that those SMB Marketing companies that host large volumes of non-responsive designed sites will see a portion of their subscription based product revenue take a hit.  The number of leads they report to the SMB’s (calls, clicks, form-fills, map-draws, coupon downloads, etc) will decline significantly when these sites no longer rank on Google.  Same for those companies that are using websites and landing pages for leadgen and/or PayPerCall models.  This could have a sizable impact on renewals, new sales and the confidence their sales channels have in selling the product.  As well, I worry about all the SMB’s that will loose their primary source for new customers, traffic, leads, and revenue when they no longer rank on Google.

This situation is not anyone’s fault.  It's just a matter of the recent blistering pace of the shift to mobile by consumers. Digital marketing players across our Digital ecosystem were building non-responsive design as late as 3 years ago.  Why?  1. The tech was not there.  2. Mobile penetration was not there to push us. For reference, Media Queries is a CSS3 module allowing content rendering to adapt to conditions such as screen resolution (e.g. smartphone screen vs. computer screen). It only became a W3C recommended standard in June 2012, and is a cornerstone technology of Responsive web design.  Many of the non-responsive websites out there were built years ago, and these sites are hosted by the large SMB marketing companies (think companies like YP.com, YPG, Yodle, DemandForce, ReachLocal, AffinityX, etc) on their web-builder platforms.   Most of those companies in this situation will need to rebuild the sites …..website by website.

Alternatively, those companies can use new, proprietary migration tech to seamlessly lift those non-responsive sites off the third-party platforms in large batches, reproduce them exactly, and then re-publish them with responsive design mobile optimization.  Meaning their clients can be ready for Google’s algorithm change on April 21st without a service interruption. Migration tech like this ensures that the primary traits of Responsive Design, as defined by Jehl, are delivered:

  • Usability: The way a website’s user interface is presented to the user, and how that UI responds to browsing conditions and user interactions.
  • Access: The ability for users of all devices, browsers, and assistive technologies to access and understand a site’s features and content.
  • Sustainability: The ability for the technology driving a site or application to work for devices that exist today and to continue to be usable and accessible to users, devices, and browsers in the future.
  • Performance: The speed at which a site’s features and content are perceived to be delivered to the user and the efficiency with which they operate within the user interface.

As an example, DevHub has migration tech that makes any website responsive and mobile optimized, and can mass process tens of thousands of websites overnight, saving those SMB marketers (large and small!) a significant amount in rebuild expenses, while ensuring SMB's themselves are prepared for the Google Mobile-Friendly algorithm change coming down the pike on April 21st.

About the author:  Ed O’Keefe is an international digital strategist, VC Operating Partner and CEO at DevHub, a tech platform that merges Merchant Conversion Intelligence with WebSite Creation Technology. Check out the company's website at www.devhub.com.

DevHub Featured on the 2015 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic

January 31, 2015 By DevHub - 0 Comments

The 2015 edition of the chiefmartec.com marketing technology landscape supergraphic has been released with 1,876 companies represented across 43 categories.

DevHub is featured in the Backbone Platforms > Web Content/ Experience Management category.

The full Supergraphic with all the categories can be checked out here:
Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2015)