Report On Six Second Ads Shows Narrative Is Key

Content is getting shorter and so are our attention spans. But, shorter doesn’t always mean better. It’s been reported six-second ads aren’t as engaging as longer ones and because these short spots don’t touch viewers emotionally. Because of the shorter time, it’s harder to build a narrative that connects consumers. Storytelling is still vital for success and new research finds these six-second ads generate a teasing effect.

Teads partnered with RealEyes to analyze the emotional impact of these ads to figure out how to make a six-second spot the most effective. The study called ‘Done in 6 Seconds: How to Make 6 Second Ads Work Harder’ studied reactions of 166 global six-second ads from 75 brands.

“RealEyes assigned each tested ad an EmotionAll® Score, a proprietary measure,” said the press release.

Viewers may be more likely to finish a shorter ad than longer ones, but the shorter ads score lower and often fail to connect emotionally. Longer advertisements have just that—more time to actually tell a compelling, emotionally-effective narrative. The study found on mobile, six-second ads have an average EmotionAll score of 3.6 compared to longer format ads at 5.1.

The study found repurposing an ad for a smaller format drives confusion and lowers its emotional impact—just cutting it isn’t the solution. It must be pre-tested to find the most effective six-second selection.

But some marketers have found ways to make this short window work, and the report offered examples. In a Snickers commercial, a grandmother holds a baby and tells the mother her sister’s baby is cuter. The ad ends with “snarky, eat a Snickers.” It has a clear narrative and ending. In another successful case, Royal Canine shows a yawning puppy with no dialogue.

The study found using a celebrity doesn’t mean an ad will automatically be successful, and these ads actually averaged a 35 percent lower score. Conversely, funny commercials drive better engagement, the more laughs the higher the score.

For a six-second ad to be profitable, it needs to be simple. If there are more than three “messages” in a six-second ad about 19 percent of respondents don’t understand it and engage with it less. The report also found sound doesn’t really matter in terms of emotional connection, they actually had the same score at 3.6. This could be attributed to how people are seeing videos on social media, which are most often muted. And whether marketers use a voice-over or not, these videos should be “optimized for off sound.”

Finally, no matter where you put the brand—start, throughout, midway, or end—it has no impact on emotion or attention. RealEyes and Teads found only 16 percent of these six-second ads had a call to action, but due to their teasing effect, consumers should be able to act in order to drive more engagement.


Valentine’s Day 2019: Brand Campaigns Round-Up

“Sweethearts” may be gone, but Valentine’s Day is still an opportunity for brands to show the love. Some companies are focusing on the traditional romantic aspects of the holiday while others are embracing the single life—and still are keen to do giveaways (including a bearskin rug).

We’re making a list of the innovative ways brands are marketing Valentine’s Day 2019.

We will be updating up to February 14.

Dyson Singapore Plays Cupid

Dyson Singapore posted a short video promoting their Valentine’s Day sale. The video shows an arrow—ostensibly cupid’s arrow—shot through Dyson hair dryers before popping a heart-shaped balloon. So far, 15-second video has garnered close to 700,000 views on YouTube.

Frankie & Benny’s Recreate Romantic Movie Moments

UK-based Italian-American chain Frankie & Benny’s recreated scenes from films like Lady and the Tramp and When Harry Met Sally for their Valentine’s Day Instagram post.

Caulipower ‘CaulMeMaybe’ Campaign Eases Pizza Guilt

Caulipower, the maker of a cauliflower pizza crust, has built an OOH campaign for Valentine’s Day around people’s complicated “relationship” with pizza. The campaign is titled CaulMeMaybe—a cheeky reference to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. Caulipower has set up the site detailing deals and

The company conducted a study to analyze customers’ relationship with pizza. They found that three-quarters of Americans would eat more pizza if it was healthier and 37 percent of those surveyed would give up social media to eat all the pizza they want to without the guilt.

The campaign will have digital billboards in New York City’s Times Square and Chicago. Caulipower will also post a love letter in the New York Times on National Pizza Day, to win the hearts of Americans again with its healthier version.


KFC Launches Online Contest To Win Colonel Bearskin Rug

Kentucky Fried Chicken continues its irreverent streak, this time the company is offering a faux bearskin rug in the likeness of Colonel Sanders. The contest, exclusively on Reddit, will also give the lucky winners two fried chicken pajama onesies, a KFC gift card, and a year-long subscription to an online streaming service.

There are three ways to enter the contest: a photoshop battle, a storytelling challenge or a drawing duel—each one centered around romance. Additional details are here. The contest ends on February 10 and KFC says the prizes will be delivered in time for Valentine’s Day.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop Celebrates Singles With Free Cookies

Potbelly is celebrating self-love this coming Valentine’s Day. The company is running a promotion on V-Day that allows singles to come in and get free cookies, with the purchase of a sandwich or salad, including a limited edition red velvet cookie. According to the press release, customers can also enjoy a “special, yomantic music playlist devoid of slow jams, sappy duets or any lyrics that reference piña coladas or getting caught in the rain.”

Potbelly CMO Brandon Rhoten said in a statement, “if you are happily solo, we’re here for you, Potbelly will be a singles’ sanctuary, free of judgment. Basically, a simple sandwich paradise for those who don’t need anyone else to make them feel whole at this point in their lives.”

Dunkin’ Adds Dunkintines Cards 

On February 8, Dunkin’ will launch Dunkintines cards. The first 100 customers to get a dozen donuts will get a sheet of the Dunkintines. If you can’t make it, Dunkin fans can download and print them out.

Dunkin’ is also taking over a chapel in Las Vegas on February 9th and the first 100 couples that drop-in will be given an exclusive Dunkin’ bouquet for their ceremony or as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Hallmark Launches A ‘Missed Moments’ Contest

Hallmark is expanding its Paper Wonder cards—pop-up cards with intricate designs—and launching a new campaign for the upcoming holiday. The cardmaker started a nationwide Missed Moments contest, where fans can submit a moment from their relationship they feel needs a do-over.

The winners will win a weekend getaway and opportunity to recreate their moment at Hallmark’s creative headquarters. The campaign will also include influencer social posts, interactive digital ads, streaming audio and radio ads.

Terminix Will Send Your ‘Love Bug’ Chocolate-Covered Insects

The pest control service provider announced a way to show your loved one they’ve been “bitten by the ‘love bug'”—by sending them chocolate-covered insects on V-day, crickets in this case. The delicacies will be shipped in a heart-shaped box ready to be photographed for social media.

“Terminix is hoping to add a little fun with a twist on the typical Valentine’s gift this season,” said Terminix president Matthew Stevenson in a statement. “While we normally get rid of our customers’ pests, this Valentine’s Day we’re helping customers celebrate with chocolate-covered pests instead.”

If you and your partner are into insect treats, you can enter the online sweepstakes for a chance to win the free bug-filled chocolates.

Primanti Bros. Will Throw You A Wedding

Any couple who gets engaged on Valentine’s Day at a Primanti Bros.’ ‘Love at First Bite’ event can save some money and receive a free, all-expense-paid wedding ceremony.  The group wedding—officated by the restaurants’ brand ambassador Toni Haggerty—will be held at their original restaurant in Pittsburgh and Primanti Bros.’ “Almost Famous” sandwiches will be provided. 

Anyone interested just needs to show up and tell the general manager they’re going to pop the question.

“Sometimes folks–mainly guys–don’t need the added pressure of an expensive restaurant when they are trying to pop the question,” said Haggerty in a press release“Here, they can have fun, a great meal, and a free catered wedding ceremony to boot. It’s a no brainer.”

Planter’s Mr. Peanut And Dr. Ruth Answer Your Love Questions

The famous sex therapist, Dr. Ruth, and Mr. Peanut team up to give you love and life advice for Valentine’s Day. The discussion launched on Twitter and you can either ask your intimate question on the social media platform (for the world to see) or through her hotline. Dr. Ruth is trying to target a millennial audience to promote her updated book Sex for Dummies.

Green Giant Partners With Farmers Only To Find You Love

Green Giant and Farmers Only are coming together to find you a match this Valentine’s Day. They’re offering a free week of premium access on February 14—using the code “GreenGiant.” Don’t feel any shame in signing up, the Jolly Green Giant himself created an account in his effort to find his special someone. In his about yourself section, the giant writes “As a Minnesota country boy though, I’m pretty grounded. I love to cook, travel, and laugh. I’m looking for someone to love me as much as I love my greens.”

Insomnia Cookies Brings Back Two Favorites For Valentine’s Day

Insomnia Cookies is returning two famous cookies to their menu, the Red Velvet cookie and the Heart Shaped Cookie Cake. Fans can have the cookies delivered or picked-up until 3 a.m. and you can even ship the cookies nationwide. The two items are only available for a limited time until February 18.

‘Qdoba For A Kiss’ Returns To Help Hungry Kids

Qdoba Mexican Eats is launching its ‘Qdoba for a Kiss’ promotion again this Valentine’s Day. The restaurant will be offering a free entree’ when a customer kisses anyone or anything and purchases an entree’ of equal or greater value. If you love your burrito bowl, you can kiss it and it will count—all kisses are welcomed.

Additionally, from February 8-14 Qdoba is partnering with No Kid Hungry to raise funds to help end childhood hunger. Diners can donate $1 or more to the campaign at a Qdoba and they can also post #QDOBAFORAKISS on their social media accounts and the chain restaurant will donate $1 to the nonprofit for each post containing the hashtag.

“Qdoba for a Kiss is our longest-running promotion,” said Jill Adams, VP of marketing at Qdoba in a press release. “We’ve been hosting this promotion for nearly a decade and what makes it especially unique is how many of our guests have made ‘Qdoba for a Kiss’ a Valentine’s Day tradition that they celebrate with their family and friends every year.”

New ‘Amazon Moments’ Offer In-App Rewards To Help Avoid Churn

People love to be rewarded, it’s human nature. Research, conducted by Dr. Robert Cialdini and described in his book Influence: The Psychology of Behavior, shows that the pleasure reward circuit in the brain is an area that can be highly stimulated by food, sales or special offers. This is exactly what makes rewards so addictive and what makes them a killer marketing technique.

Amazon knows this. The company is debuting a new service, Amazon Moments, that will allow marketers to easily offer unique perks to customers who complete high-value actions, such as subscription renewal.

TikTok, Bravo, Sony Crackle, Sesame Street, Washington Post, Disney Heroes and other brands have already tested Amazon Moments. And according to Amir Kabbara, Amazon’s head of digital marketing and consumer innovation, these brands saw impressive results.

Also, an unnamed “video streaming service” created an Amazon Moments targeted campaign toward “lapsed” customers (previous customers that terminated their subscription), and with the new Amazon tool, these customers were two times more likely to subscribe again, Kabbara said. Subscriber numbers also doubled during the company’s Moments campaign.

He continued, “If you look back in history, marketers used to either discount their products, extend free trials if it’s a subscription app, or give away items to drive engagement. And some marketers, especially on the loyalty side, ended up spending a ton of time trying to source rewards and figuring out how to deliver the products to their customers.”

According to Kabbara, Amazon faced this problem too—the company struggled to engage more customers and now aims to put this hassle to an end with the new tool.

The process is quite simple: Amazon Moments automatically creates a customer-reward landing page for every single campaign and shares the rewards links—containing the rewards API—with marketers.

“The reward link works like magic,” Kabbara said, “Customers click on it, go through to collect their rewards on Amazon, and, by the way, with all the benefits that they expect from Amazon. If it’s a Prime customer, [he or she] will get same day shipping; and any customer can, of course, track their items.”

Marketers, in their turn, are presented with the choice of choosing one Amazon product, several products, or a monetary reward that then can be spent on Amazon, but this, again, gives more options to a customer.

Kabbara said that it is up to the marketer to determine the experience that they want for their customers. However, what the company typically recommends is to give the customer an option to redeem their reward right away, inside the app, which provides more gratification—instead of making them wait for a confirmation email.

“Through this program, we really want to give marketers a new way to guide engagement, create promotions, but delight the customer with fun moments that lastwhile we are at it,” Kabbara said.

DMPs, CDPs, DSPs And The Ecosystem Of Customer Data

Marketers want to genuinely know their audience—this is obvious. And using data is vital for brands to best tap into their customer’s needs or ones they want to acquire. This data has been collected in many ways, through online surveys, telephone interviews, focus groups and, most recently, over social media. DMPs or Data Management Platforms try to go deeper by consolidating all of this information in one place.

In December, Lotame released a follow-up report to one released a month prior, called Data Activation & Success. It found around 80 percent of 300 marketing professionals surveyed use a DMP in their organization.

So what exactly is this magical tool? The platform lets marketers collect, organize and activate their first-party data for digital marketing. According to a whitepaper by BlueKai—an Oracle-owned, data management platform—a marketer can compare their data to third-party data to make “smarter media buying and campaign making decisions.” DMPs, says BlueKai, help marketers achieve better campaign performance, overall ROI and deliver targeted results.

“Our clients use DMP as a tool for prospecting—taking known customer and using some of our features within the product to do things like look-a-like modeling, to intelligently find more customers that want to get down the funnel,” said Brian O’Connor, Lotame’s VP of product to AList.

“They (customers) will come to us and ask how they should go about this, and a DMP allows for customer suppression. To make sure that you’re not marketing a product to an existing customer because that is a waste of ad dollars in your marketing strategy.”

However, not everyone believes DMPs are very useful. Steven Wolfe Pereira, chief marketing officer at Quantcast, an AI technology company told AList feels data management platforms became a “mess.”

“Maybe people back in the day, thought it was going to be very helpful, but I feel with how things have evolved, people realize these DMPs are probably not the right tools that people necessarily need,” said Pereira.

“A lot of marketers have been saying—not my words, but their words—DMPs are where data goes to die.”

Pereira used the example that if you want to do something in real time, you have to take your data and put it into then DMP—which takes it offline—then build a third party segment, cleanse the data or activate the data, all of which could take weeks.

DSPs, demand-side platforms, and SSPs, supply-side platforms, are similar but exactly the same as DMPs. They’re both non-controversial, and pretty straight-forward, automated ways to purchase advertising.

SSPs play a critical role in the digital marketing ecosystem, and they aggregate supply in that marketplace—designed to maximize impressions prices. DSPs are used to buy display, video, and search ads in a cheaper, more efficient way. Depending on whether you’re a publisher that’s trying to sell inventory, or you’re a marketer that’s trying to buy inventory, in either one of these scenarios, data is informing some of the buying and selling decisions

“We are the data layer that helps the marketers reach their target, and it helps the publishers that use our product, surface the right inventory for buyers to choose. We are all connected. There are even some DSPs that have DMP-like capabilities,” said O’Connor.

“A DMP at its core is unifying first-party data, allowing customers to access third-party data sets, mix and match the two things to execute a data strategy within the eco-system. They’re made to maximize the prices impressions sell at.”

CDPs or customer data platforms are the newest type of tool and have gained a lot of buzz. These were born out of mobile-only and email marketing platforms and focus on first-party data. You don’t have to be in IT to use CDPs, however, because it’s such a new concept it means different things to different people.

There is no consensus on what a CDP is.

“If you ask five different people in the industry, you’ll like get five different answers on what a CDP is, whereas a DMP is more mature in the market place and there is more consistency in understanding what a DMP is and what it does in the ecosystem as compared to a CDP,” added O’Connor.

Despite the vagueness, O’Connor believes CDPs are powerful at engaging with the marketers’ existing customer set to execute actions like pushing the product or interacting with customers through text messaging. Some CDPs even have the functionality to integrate with call centers or even email marketing platforms.

Even though CDPs have gained popularity, some experts find challenges in the tool with privacy, regulation and customer data management. But others think the idea of having all of your first-party customer data in one place can eventually simplify a marketer’s work, allowing marketers to ultimately focus on the customer.

“I would say the overarching north star for CDPs is truly understanding your PII within first-party data and having it used for marketing purposes.” Pereira says,” Advertising is important, but when you want to understand patterns in your customer and audiences to get down to all the different dimensions of their behavior so that you can tap into creative—[finding out] what is going to be interesting to these different cohorts of customers and why they buy—that’s more marketing work.”

“How does that tie into your data assets, marketing systems? I think that’s where the CDP lives.”

Hennessy Debuts Ridley Scott-Directed Branded ‘Seven Worlds’ Short Film

Cognac brand Hennessy is releasing their four-minute film The Seven Worlds directed by Oscar-nominated director Ridley Scott (The Martian, Gladiator). A 60-second version of the film will air during a commercial break on the most prestigious motion picture award night, the 91st Oscars.  Ridley brought his futuristic style to showcase that “each drop of Hennessy X.O. is an Odyssey.”

Created in 1870, Hennessy X.O. or “extra old” was the first cognac to be classified as such due to its aging process.

Giant golden men, fiery red skies and an ethereal forest are all parts of the journey through the Hennessy XO’s seven flavor profile. The seven notes materialize into the different realms of Sweet Notes, Rising Heat, Spicy Edge, Flowing Flame, Chocolate Lull and Wood Crunches which all peak into the Infinite Echo.

For the film, Ridley teamed up with former visual effects experts he worked with on cult hits such as Alien and Blade Runner. The composer from All the Money in the World and The Counselor wrote the score for the Hennessy film.

“I was attracted to this project because I was inspired by the potential for art and entertainment to bring this story to life,” Scott said in a statement. “Hennessy has a great product, and I was lucky enough to have the freedom to interpret this and create something amazing. I think people will be stunned when they see the film.”

Last September, the cognac maker disclosed its campaign collaboration with the English filmmaker—an end to his 15-year hiatus from the advertising industry. Initially, the ads were set to be 3D, but now the film is part of an interactive multichannel campaign, not only featuring the movie but a ‘making of,’ behind-the-scenes content and an interview with Ridley Scott.

“It is an honor for Hennessy to partner with a visionary like Ridley Scott,” said Hennessy global CMO Michael Aidan. “This film showcases Ridley’s artistic genius conveying the essence of Hennessy X.O through entertainment that transcends traditional advertising.”

This is not the first time Hennessy partnered with an artist for a campaign. Last summer, the brand worked with Alexandre Farto aka “Vhils” to design a limited “very special collector’s edition” bottle. It was unveiled in December during the Miami Art Festival. One 750ml bottle was valued at $1,000.

Last year, liquor sales rose and revenue growth was up 5.1 percent according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Cognac was one of the key drivers with sales jumping from $250 million to $1 billion. According to the president and CEO of the council, Chris Swonger, the results show millennials tend to favor spirits over beer and wine.

Report: Appearing Next To Competitors Deemed Most Threatening To Brand Safety

In 2017, brand safety was a big issue among marketers. Brands like Verizon appeared next YouTube videos by groups like ISIS. At that time, around 90 percent of those surveyed by GumGum—an AI company with a focus in computer vision—felt the problem was severe. Now, in GumGum’s “Brand Safety Crisis: One Year Later” report, only 60 percent of marketers felt brand safety was a big problem when it came to their marketing efforts in 2018.

GumGum—along with Digiday—surveyed 274 industry professionals in brands, agencies, online publishing and technology providers between October and November of last year.

Many respondents were satisfied with the way platforms handled the issue. Some brands even took matters into their own hands and created their safety measures and hired people specifically for the task. However, the enemy has changed. In 2017, bad news was the most common type of threatening content respondents said they were exposed to. A year later, a competitors’ branding was the most brand-unsafe content.

Some brands got proactive and felt they needed to tackle the issue themselves. The report highlighted Bank of America and GroupM, a media investment group, as examples of such brands. “A lot of media clients we work with have someone who in their job description is to be the de facto brand safety officer,” explained Joe Barone, managing partner of brand safety for GroupM in the report. Barone added these specialists tend to “emerge from companies’ existing marketing teams.” Despite the effort, only 5 percent of the industry professionals surveyed feel these specialists have helped a lot. Around 63 percent believed they’d helped a little and 31 percent these specialists have been of moderate help.

In 2017, around 28 percent of respondents believed a competitor’s branding was the biggest issue. A year later, it became the most substantial dilemma—around 63 percent of marketers think its the most common brand-unsafe exposure. This concern isn’t new to the digital space though, competitor’s branding has always been a problem.

“It’s the same thing that exists in traditional television,” said Blake Sabatinelli, CEO of publisher Newsy in the report. “In other words, the fear of being grouped with a competitor is not exactly a new one for brands — in fact, it’s one of the oldest. But it’s never been a more pressing concern than it is now.”

Bad news lost its top spot and turned into the least worry. These findings show social platforms are doing a decent job in vetting bad news and marketers seem to agree. In the past 12 months, Facebook and Twitter were ranked as the highest in improving on brand safety. Approximately, 45 percent of respondents believe the latter is the most brand safe. Publisher platforms are worrisome to many marketers, about 45 percent of them feel these platforms are the most unsafe for brands. Further, 65 percent think the display ads on publisher sites are the most unsafe types. In response to these attitudes, around 55 percent of marketers have turned to direct relationships with publishers they trust to prevent these problems.

There are also new problems marketers will start to face, such as “deepfake” a form of visual content that uses AI to create genuine-looking fake videos. Some organizations, such as DARPA—the technological research division of the U.S. military—spent $68 million on “deepfake” detection tools. Also, platforms like Facebook and Google have been efficient in detecting and eliminating this type of content.

The solution to these brand threats? The report concludes it takes the correct technology. Image recognition tools and natural language context detection will be essential to alleviating these problems. However, the majority of marketers aren’t using these tools, but ones who are have seen “impressive results.”

“It’s absolutely true that we need to move beyond a semantic analysis of brand-safe content or even what’s starting to be called sentiment analysis,” added Barone.

Seriously EVP On Leveraging Influencers For Mobile Game Marketing

Best Fiends, a mobile puzzle game, came out in 2014 and its success grows every year. In 2018, revenue for the game grew 65 percent, getting to around $69 million. It’s been downloaded over 86 million times and the game has about 1.8 million daily active players.

Philip Hickey, EVP of brand and marketing at Seriously—the creators behind Best Fiends—spoke with AList during the DEW conference in Marina Del Rey, California. Hickey talked about how he leverages influencer marketing got promote Best Fiends and the changes in the influencer space since he worked as vice president at Rovio, where he led marketing strategies of the highly popular game Angry Birds. 

In a broad sense, how are you using influencers?

We’re using influencers in two ways. First and foremost, it’s the easiest way to measure driving installs to our games. Secondly, to help build the brand. There is definite power of frequency and repetition that helps the brand build, but that’s the least measurable part—so we have to back it up in installs. What we’ve done primarily in the YouTube space is we’ve figured out a cost-per-view that works for us that backsets the cost to install and we can value it from there.

We use them for brand awareness and for reaching a new audience. Without many videos, we hope some our audience stays with us as they do and the community building has been a quarter of building Best Fiends. We always like every post, engagement and we follow, interact and we take feedback. By doing so many videos naturally, our audience stays with us. If there is a trust with the influencer and the product they’re selling, then the chance of sticking with us for long-term is highly likely.

Do you use larger influencers or many, smaller influencers

We use a bit of both. We measure by engagement, so when we were small and didn’t have a big budget we used a couple of massive influencers, but over time we’ve learned three categories of influencers that work well for us and that’s beauty and lifestyle, family and the LGTBQ community. We use everything from the biggest to the smallest influencers—as long as they’re authentic. We [also] look for influencers that are creative and put in the effort because it usually matches the business results we are looking for.

What social platforms are your influencers using?

We’ve tried everything. YouTube is the biggest and that works for us. We love it and the influencers can also showcase the game. But we’ve also done Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Live; we were the first brand to do a Periscope influencer campaign. We try everything to we see what works. However,  I think the tried, true and tested platform that works best for us has been YouTube.

How has influencer marketing changed since your days at Rovio working on Angry Birds?

It [has] changed massively. It’s funny, we’ve used some of the same influencers at Seriously that we used at Rovio, but for Angry Birds, someone paid us to do the integration. It’s a different transaction than with Best Fiends. I think the influencer space was unknown [then], but there was something bubbling that was super powerful.

I think it’s become a much more mature industry and I believe influencers have realized they are their [own] commodity and we [all] need to deliver on what is agreed upon. I’ve seen a lot more professionalism over the last couple years and a lot more conversation on how to do it right. We always believe in giving the influencer room to be creative. We generally give them three talking points and we let them be as creative as they can be speaking to their audience and it works much better.

What’s changed in marketing for mobile games since your time at Rovio?

The competition, the number of platforms and the consolidation of competitors have changed. It’s massively competitive. When I was at Rovio we used to look at other games as our competitors, and now we look at [platforms like] Hulu, Netflix as competitors. Anything where someone spends time on their phone or mobile device with, is [now] our competitor.

We are in the brand building business, we want Best Fiends to be the next generation IP and we would like to make a series and products down the road. The results of the game are continually improving every year, so we are building towards that.

Do you hire any agencies to help vet and manage influencers?

We do. We have a lot of direct connections because now we’ve been doing this for four years. In scaling influencer marketing, there is no easy way to do it. We want to vet every talent, so we look at what they’ve done like what their last couple videos do, the relationship of comments and likes in the video and its still a very manual process, so we work directly and we look at everything.

We also have a couple of agencies that have been good partners. I think there are [also] exciting platforms emerging like Matchmade. It’s an interesting formula because it streamlines the process, the middle man and helps the direct connection a bit better.

What do you think is the future of influencers?

I think you’ll see influencers regularly become part of a brand’s marketing mix which wasn’t necessarily true before. The first question everyone in the influencer space asks themselves is why would I want an influencer, what do I want out of this relationship or transaction, and then you go from there.

I think people are getting smarter about what they want and influencers are getting brighter in how to deliver what brands want, so the relationship should be good on both sides.

Report: What CMOs Need To Know Before In-Housing

Creative services are increasingly being shifted from agency to in-house. Many CMOs are choosing to make the shift in order to acquire more brand knowledge and efficiency—but it isn’t always smooth sailing.

According to the “2019 In-House Creative Management Report,” creative and marketing leaders are falling short because creative teams are experiencing a slew of challenges including low morale and the relationship between creative and marketing teams. For CMOs, the work doesn’t stop after simply bringing a new team in-house.

The survey conducted by InSource and InMotionNow analyzed over 500 respondents that work in brand creative and marketing departments. Over 70 percent of them hold creative roles and around 51 percent are in managerial positions. Those surveyed work in teams of various sizes and industries.

“As in-house creative services departments mature and become more embedded within their organizations, more is asked of them on an almost daily basis,” says Andy Brenits, president of InSource in his introduction to the report. “If marketing managers merely see the creative team as their go-to resource for execution of tactics, they are missing out on the actual value this in-house resource can be to them. The creative team has problem-solving and idea generating capabilities that extend far beyond executing design and content.”

The study found 45 percent of creative say their team morale is high and 44 percent of them say their company invests in training, The rest of the respondents are either neutral or disagree with these statements. But there has been an improvement over the last year. Around half of those surveyed agree the relationship between marketing and creative teams has improved.

How the teams collaborate is very indicative of the core connection. Not surprisingly, the numbers aren’t very contrasting when it comes to feelings about collaboration. About half feel the partnership is effective and around 22 percent believe it’s not.

So how do you improve the rapport between creative teams and marketers? Timm Chiusano, VP of production and creative services at Kernel, believes it’s how the organization is structured and mutual respect. Even though the two teams are separate, they need to have a clear understanding of each other’s work and goals.

“When you reach this level of understanding, the entire organization can harmonize like a symphony,” said Chuisano in the report. “The quality and turnaround time of creative work is incredibly more effective. It sparks greater creativity: if you have a deeper understanding of the purpose, you are in a better position to find a creative solution to achieve it.”

In the survey, teams with stronger relationships attribute it to better creative briefs, morale and open communication. Ineffective teams noted a lack of leadership support and a growing volume and speed of creative work. It mirrors what the survey found when respondents were asked what the top challenges in-house creative teams encounter are: speed and volume of creative work.

More effective teams say collaborating on the creative brief, streamlining workflow and feedback helps. The report found creatives don’t get enough information during the briefing process—around 72 percent say getting this information is wasted time that could be used creating. Those that spend less than four hours on administrative tasks are more likely to be on teams with better outcomes.

Simultaneously, a timely review process is just as vital. About 16 percent of respondents that finish reviews in two rounds or less are 80 percent more likely to get projects approved in three days or less. Feedback and tracking results also improve efficiency with the business impact being the most valuable when measuring creative work to both the individual and the organization.

IAB Report Outlines How DTC Brands Continue To Evolve

The direct-to-consumer brand economy is getting stronger and it continues to transform the traditional marketing landscape. A new report by IAB titled “How to Build a 21st Century Brand 2019,” shows how DTC brands are disrupting the industry and the ways they’re finding success. This report comes a day after IAB released a list of the 250 DTC brands to watch.

Most importantly, these direct brands are acquiring individual consumers from a cost-per-acquisition to a lifetime value strategy through Facebook, podcasting, building community and direct delivery.

On February 11, at the IAB Leadership Meeting, CEO Randall Rothenberg addressed the direct brand transformation. Rothenberg began the presentation by saying “In broad strokes, the business of our business is changing.”

The power of these disruptor brands comes from personalization through customer data collection and managing individual customer relationships. According to IAB, CAC-to-LTV is the “new purchase funnel” and the heart of the direct brand lifecycle. Community building is a big part of this. Consumers are more in control of what they buy and are receiving honest information about a brand from other consumers is critical. The report showed 70 percent of Glossier’s online sales come from peer referrals and Fabletics’ customers in areas with physical stores spend more through all their channels.

The report also uncovered omnichannel shopping is foremost, while strictly buying via brick-and-mortar stores is taking a back seat.

Last year, was the “peak retail apocalypse” according to IAB. Over 12,000 stores were forecasted to close compared to 9,000 in 2017. The future of malls seems bleak, around one out of every four malls could be closed by 2022.

For brands to survive, they must change their model, or they won’t survive the competition. Consumers are increasingly getting most of their information and goods through mobile. Around 40 percent of e-commerce is from mobile. From 2015 to 2017, there was a 133 percent increase in how much time adults spent on an app or website on a tablet. In those three years, the time spent watching live TV decreased by 14 percent.

DTC businesses, like Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club and Warby Parker are acquiring customers through mobile and via many platforms. Some even pioneered their own marketing methods. For example, Ipsy—a monthly subscription beauty bag—started marketing through YouTube influencer videos and Glossier launched its own media “Into the Gloss,” a beauty blog. However, the report found around 90 percent of DTC brands launched with a Facebook dominant strategy.

You’ve heard it before: storytelling and the content are vital to connecting with consumers.

The report highlighted Bombas, an athletic sock brand that advertised on podcasts, and measured their campaign performance using vanity URLs which led to a sign-up form to get a coupon code. The report says, “In a given week, ~50-60 percent of new customers could be attributed from paid channels… with podcasting ranging from 15 percent to 40 percent of that.”

“After more than 100 years, the consumer brand economy is moving away from an ‘indirect brands’ model,” said Rothenberg in a statement. “These indirect brands that you all know by their household names long dominated through owned and operated, high-barrier, capital-intensive supply chains. Revenue resulted only after a series of third-party handoffs from brand to publisher to retailer. In contrast, the new ‘direct brands’ model that builds value through low-barrier, capital-flexible, leased or rented supply chains, and revenue results from the direct relationships between the company and its end consumers. Any brand that wants to survive must prepare for this new reality.”

Kenshoo’s Q4 Report On Search Advertising, Instagram Spend

Kenshoo recently released its quarterly Q4 2018 trends report, which is bursting with data. The report focused on search and social trends—these remained strong throughout the year and still continue to lead in digital advertising spend.

The report suggests marketers look at Q4 as a solid indicator of how the following year will turn out and get vital insights to better prep for 2019.

Search Advertisement

Marketers invested significant amounts in search advertising last year, as search shopping campaigns prove to be a productive return on investment resource. According to eMarketer, in 2018, brands around the globe spent more than $120 billion on search advertising, and the lion’s share came in Q4.

Kenshoo’s report revealed one peculiar data piece related to search volume growth: while spending was up 14 percent, clicks and impressions were up even higher at 31 percent and 47 percent respectively. One explanation is shoppers’ convenience to search for anything, anywhere and anytime, thanks to successful search shopping campaigns tied to mobile. According to the report, three out of every four dollars spent on shopping campaign impressions were on mobile devices.

Social Advertising Performance

Social media advertising surged in 2018, as social video ads, for example, represented 40 percent of social spend in Q4 according to Kenshoo’s report.


Instagram, the second largest social ad platform in the world, saw a 120 percent increase in ad spend YoY. However, it is important to note that although Instagram is rapidly growing in terms of social advertising, Facebook is still dominating the field. This could be related to the fact that although widely successful, Instagram is still a relatively new player in the advertising industry arena.

The majority of Instagram ad spend growth came from advertisers who have been on Instagram for at least one year.

Per the report, “advertisers who have been using Instagram Ads since 2017 spent four times more on the channel than those who only started spending on Instagram Ads in 2018.” Also, despite being heavily criticized, Instagram stories grew faster in spending than Instagram feed. Instagram stories made up 10 percent of all Instagram ad spend share in Q4, marking a 2 percent increase from the previous quarter.

Social video ads were also up across the board, “Social video ads represented 40 percent of social spend in Q4 which was the same as Q3 and seems to be where advertisers have landed on its role in the social media plan” said the report.


What made Pinterest numbers unique was the growth of engagement on the platform, even before the holidays. The report shows that the ads skyrocketed in Q3, with a click-through-rate of 0.70 percent versus just 0.56 percent in Q2.

And, as a result, conversions came, Pinterest spending was 58 percent higher in Q4 than in Q3 last year.

This is a common trend on the platform because consumers check Pinterest for gift tips and inspiration in advance of the holiday season. This is what makes Pinterest a great channel for creating buzz around the products in the times when the users are only “shopping” for ideas and not things.