Monthly Archives: digital ads
Man with his credit card in hand is getting ready to purchase items off eBay.

The Pros and Cons of Holiday Marketing

Ho, ho, ho, the holiday season is upon us! It’s once again the time of year where our email inbox is flooded with specials, text message deals come flying in, and all over ads are making use of the festive season to target you. While sales tend to skyrocket during this time of year, the marketing efforts that go behind them can be “snow” joke. Whether you have a large budget or are relying on small marketing efforts, holiday marketing can be the thing that helps you “sleigh” the competition. Here at ON Advertising, we’ve compiled a few of the pros and cons of holiday marketing to keep in mind.

Cost of Christmastime Marketing

According to an article by WordStream, bid prices can increase by 140% over their yearly average during the holidays. Con? This means that your marketing budget has to match your efforts. Pro? Your ROI could increase as well. In a piece by emarketer, they revealed that in 2018, holiday retail sales finally crossed the $1 trillion mark, making it more crucial than ever to secure your spot in a saturated sales snowstorm. An article by Vivial using a report by Ignite showed that companies spent almost $27 billion on social media marketing in 2018 alone and allocated 25% of their annual budgets to social media marketing over the holidays. Essentially, sticking with the same budget is no longer viable and it may be time to up yours. CNBC states that holiday spending is expected to rise 5% this year, so it can be extremely beneficial to revisit your numbers and budget from the previous year to find your baseline. Make sure your budget is substantial, your strategy is flushed out, and that you know your goals. You’ll be feelin’ “pine”. 

Digital vs. In-Store Shopping

Do you like to do your holiday shopping online, or do you prefer to head to the store to snag your deals? If you like to purchase on the web, you aren’t alone. CNBC also states that according to Tim Cadogan, chairman, and chief executive officer for OpenX, 53% of all holiday shopping is expected to be done digitally. A press release from Adobe Analytics showed that during Cyber Monday, direct website traffic ranked highest for driving revenue at 25.3 percent share of sales (down 1.2 percent YoY), followed by paid search at 25.1 percent (up 7.4 percent YoY), natural search at 18.8 percent (down 2.8 percent), and email at 24.2 percent (up 0.5 percent). They noted that social media had a 1.1 percent share, impacting online sales very minimally. WordStream’s findings also revealed that 8 in 10-holiday shoppers are influenced by the internet before making a purchase. Con? You may not see the largest crowds in your brick and mortar store. Pro? If your holiday marketing efforts are eye-catching and a substantial enough deal, you’ll have your “elf” a merry little Christmas when it comes to sales. 

Coupons and Deals

It’s no secret that most people are happy to find a deal or a discount when shopping, including us! In a 2019 report, emarketer showed that internet users “always” or “very often” use coupons when shopping online. Con? You may need to include some stellar deals in your marketplace to lock in the sale. Pro? As reported by Google, one of the most influential factors in buying decisions was sales, discounts, or promos. That’s directly in line with WordStream’s finding that one-third of shoppers reporting that their holiday weekend purchases were driven by promotions. So while Santa doesn’t need discounts to come out on top this season, you do! 

ON Advertising hopes that you have a profitable, successful, and strategic holiday marketing season! If you want help with harnessing consumer spending habits and setting your brand up for success both during the holidays and all year long, contact us.

A woman looks at her phone thinking of what she is going to look for. Tag reads find help Phoenix.

Looking for help? You found it!

As mentioned in some of our previous blog posts, we have helped with the Maricopa County of Public Health before to build awareness on different health issues and the general well-being of the community. This season we were tasked to create a bilingual campaign to advertise the resources on Why? Because there was an alarming 69% of parents who said if they knew how to locate more family resource services, they would use them. was created by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) to provide residents an easy way to find social and health services. The user-friendly platform offers 1,500 resources including free and low-cost screenings, doctors, disability services, and more. Each of these services is vetted by the county and available for Maricopa residents who want to increase their quality of life. In fact, the website offers bilingual assistance in English and Spanish for those who need language assistance.

The Advertising Campaign

We were entrusted to come up with a plan of action to effectively advertise to Maricopa County families in need of guidance. We started this process by researching their exact target audience. Who are they? Where do they live? How old are they? After we dove deeper into who their exact consumer was, we evaluated where they would most likely be exposed to an ad. We determined Facebook and YouTube would be the best digital platforms, and rotating billboards on Arizona freeways would be a great traditional channel. 

After we decided who their target audience was and how we were going to reach them, we brought the information to the creative team. From there, the creative team wrote a story and a narrative that would resonate with the audience to grab their attention. See the creative content below. 

Maricopa County Department of Public Health / “Find Help Phoenix” (Spanish) from ON Advertising on Vimeo.

Maricopa County Department of Public Health / “Find Help Phoenix” from ON Advertising on Vimeo.

The Results

We are pleased with the performance and results that the ads have produced so far. The entire campaign launched Monday, September 16th, 2019, and will run through November 27, 2019. There have been 223,000 impressions for the Facebook campaign, with nearly 1,000 link clicks. YouTube has garnered 463,700 impressions that have generated 850 clicks to the website. For the billboards, there are 10 locations rotating weekly around Phoenix for 8 weeks, with an estimated 5 million impressions.

Here at ON Advertising, we always love working with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health because they are trying to improve the lives of their residents. However, if you or your business is interested in spreading an important message through effective advertising campaigns, contact us today.

A neon sign that reads "data has a better idea" is in front of a background of large buildings.

The Benefits of AI in Advertising

What Is AI in Advertising?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. AI for advertising is an umbrella term that describes technologies like machine learning, computer vision, process automation, and dozens of others. AI has positive impacts on the advertising industry as it can analyze large sets of data more efficiently than humans. The most advanced AI learns from this data and improves its analysis, recommendations, and predictions over time. AI technology predicts how ad copy and creative will work best in an advertising campaign while using insights from consumer interaction to optimize and enhanced performance. 

AI is being utilized far and wide in the advertising and marketing industries. Many tasks being handled by AI, and other machine learning, is making user experiences possible that were not achievable only a few years ago. AI is doing far more than just housekeeping, it is doing the heavy lifting to enable personalization and meet the rising demands of consumers. Keith Eadie, Vice President and General Manager of Adobe Advertising Cloud notes that features within the advertising platform can optimize search, display, and video ads, and that AI is even making adaptive ad buys based on human-set goals. In short, he says “Automation and AI are amplifying what is possible for humans to do.” 

For some time, social media has been immune to AI, much of it happens in real-time and allows for real-time optimization. Working within social media you have to nail the right tone, tenor, and timing, which is something AI hasn’t been able to do. It’s machine learning, you have to teach AI what you want it to know, it can’t just “pick up” a new skill or tone of voice as humans can. But with a new dawn of technology comes new dawn of social media. The data we can now receive from AI goes beyond when our audience is online and what they’re interested in, AI can help us boost our conversion rate by drastically increasing relevance and resonance of copy and imagery. And many tools are helping social media marketers craft ads and copy based on their audience’s historical emotional engagement. How? AI.

How is AI Changing? 

The marketing and advertising industries are at the center of a seismic change in the way people engage in the world around them. The AI-powered conversational intelligence and voice-enabled platforms, like Siri and Alexa, are significantly changing our idea of what digital marketing can do. Now that there are personalized ads tailored to consumers, a general message doesn’t cut it anymore. 

What Does This Mean for the World of Advertising?

AI already has advanced data collection capabilities, however, with growing technology, there is always room for improvement. Within the next few years, the amount of data expected to be analyzed will double. This will allow for an increase in the number of predictions and recommendations AI will use to create better content for the consumer. With less time being spent on analyzing data, it creates more time to connect with the consumer through creative development. 

How Can We Help?

Marketers are highly valuing the world of AI and are already planning to use it to better target their audience this upcoming year. ON Advertising is well-versed in using different strategies to assist and enhance your advertising experience. By using AI techniques, such as customer segmentation and content generation, we are able to personalize content to better appeal to the consumer. All social media platforms and Google offer customization to select an audience for us to target with our ads, which is done through artificial intelligence. We are able to select our audience based upon age, gender, location, behaviors, interests, language spoken and more. This allows us to run ads for many clients at one time and target different audiences based upon what we determine needs to be selected for the client. We use the audience selection to ensure that our message and ads reach the appropriate individuals without spending unnecessary money. For more information on how we can help you reach your AI marketing goals, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help market your business using AI technology.

What Are the Best Performing Digital Ad Formats?

The good guys at shared some data about the best performing digital ad formats.  Let’s look at their information a little more closely to see what conclusion the typical marketer can draw.
First, it’s worth noting that this study was conducted by an Australian firm (Fairfax Media) on 100 Australian consumers who self identified as “visiting content sites regularly” and who were shown ads embedded in the content of a specific publisher (The Sydney Morning Herald).  This brings up 3 questions of validity for applying these conclusions to ourselves:

  1. Can the results of a study on Australian consumers be generalized globally, or at least here in the United States?  On this point, my personal belief is that they probably can be.  I don’t have any compelling evidence that Australians consume media very differently than other people around the world.  But I could be wrong.
  2. Can the results of people who visit content sites regularly be applied more broadly, such as to people who do not think of themselves as visiting content sites regularly?  This one is a little more challenging.  I certainly imagine that there are useful insights from this test groups that apply to humans generally, but I could also imagine that the ad attention habits of consumers who don’t visit content sites regularly could be very different from those who do.
  3. Can the results of a single site be applied to placements on all sites across the internet?  On this point, I am the most dubious.  How consumers take in ads on one news site, might be very different from how they take in ads on a different news site with a different layout, both of which might be even more dramatically different than a mommy blog, or a comedy site, etc.

But let’s put those doubts aside for a second, and look at the results for the best performing digital ad formats.  First, the study found different results for mobile and desktop ads.  For mobile ads, the most viewed ad format is a medium size rectangle that breaks up the content being consumed.  On desktop the most successful ad format, much to my surprise, was the “gutter” ad.  A gutter ad is a skyscraper style ad that is displayed completely to the left and/or right of a site’s primary layout.
I think it’s curious that we have essentially opposite results for desktop and mobile.  Mobile, you want the ad as integrated into the content as possible, and desktop you want it as separate from the content as possible.
Having seen what the results are, let’s get back to our doubts about applicability.  Should you start buying only mobile ad formats that will be embedded in content, and only gutter placements for desktop.  I don’t recommend this.  The big reason is that YMMV.  Running tests with your own ads is so cheap and easy it should be mandatory.  So don’t just buy mobile ad placements that break up content, spend a few extra bucks to test other mobile ad formats, then continue running those placement types that perform well.  And do likewise with desktop gutter ads.  You may find that your results are different from this study, and even from your previous campaigns.  Doing a little testing means that your budget will be focused on the best formats for your specific audience and creative.
So what are your best performing digital ad formats?  Do your own results mirror the study, or is your experience different?

Contact us today to learn more!