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Uber Launches a New Feature – Uber for Business

Posted August 25, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:13 am

The new feature is designed to absorb user feedback for streamlining travel policy, group-based access as well as custom programs

uber for business

Uber, ridesharing app is introducing a major revamp for its business platform and has launched a business-to-business (B2B) model called “Uber for Business”. This model incorporates a lot of user feedback to enable new cases like late-night rides, from work to home, daily commuters and much more. It helps the organization in saving costs as it ensures that employees travel within company travel policy.

It is time-saving for admins and managers since previously HR mangers used to tell employees what they were or were not allowed to do in terms of Uber usage, now as per the “Uber for Business” model business set rules ahead of time to streamline the process of using rides as well as group-based access levels and custom program creation.

Based on the employee eligibility or transportation requirements, a manager can configure programs like the type of car used, what time of day the service is to be used or even geographic limits can be set for Uber. How much an employee can spend and set travel location and if the rider’s travel could fall out of policy, they will be prompted to add their own payment method, while staying within the limit of organization policy. So they follow flexible approach, where they can mix and match these rules that work best for their company.

“Late night rides policy” as per this policy managers can set automated programs for airport rides, business travel and any other mobility needs such as, if employees are working late night, under this policy they can use a comfortable ride as this policy works for trips taken after 8 p.m.

Overall, “Uber for Business” is a great redesign with new features and has changed the way employees travel around the world as well as its use for businesses of all sizes for future growth. The Uber for business dashboard gives administrative flexibility and looks like a convenient option for expense departments trying to ease the workload.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Google and Walmart Team up to meet Amazon’s Challenge

Posted August 24, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:05 am

For the first time, Walmart is using a website other than its own to sell its products while Google sees a real challenge in the search business

google-walmart-teamup

Very few people would have thought that two global leaders in their respective fields would feel threatened by a single rival who is thundering towards their huge markets at great speed. That rival is Amazon, the world’s biggest e-retailer which dominates online shopping, aims to win a sizable chunk of customers from the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, Walmart, and is posing a serious threat to Google’s dominance of the search market as more and more people start their web searches for products directly on Amazon instead of Google. It has set alarm bells ringing ever more frequently in the Google and Walmart boardrooms, eventually bringing these two global giants together to tackle the common threat to their dominance.

Now Google will start offering Walmart products to people using Google Express mobile app and website. Hundreds of thousands of Walmart items can be purchased through Google Assistant, the AI-driven software assistant found in smartphones running Google’s Android software and Google Home devices. For the first time ever, Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer felt obliged to make its products available outside its own website, in the United States. Here’s how it works – first, customers need to associate their Walmart account to Google via a feature called Easy Reorder that helps organize the items that the customers will purchase online and in store by speaking to Google Home.

The two intimidated giants said their partnership is more about where online shopping is going in the future and less about how it is done today. Google Home, the voice-controlled speaker on Google will surely offer stiff competition to Amazon’s Echo and the future Walmart customers will reorder items they had purchased before, by speaking to Google Home. Walmart is also experimenting with new delivery methods with Google and in a year’s time, shoppers will be able to buy groceries and pick up voice orders on Walmart stores. Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart US ecommerce, said, “When it comes to voice shopping, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers—that’s why it makes sense for us to team up with Google.”

Filed under: Digital

Relations Between Agency and Marketer Depends on Trust

Posted August 23, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 11:12 am

Agencies and marketers should rebuild fractured relations, continue partner on industry initiatives and keep open the lines of communication

agency and marketer

Agencies work for marketers and every brand has its horizon of work. As the marketer or brand has the responsibility to develop a product, they lend emphasis on product development rather than on the creative visual communication needed for marketing or selling of the product. That’s a full-time job done by ad agency professionals and it’s just not the core competence of the marketer. At the same time, it’s a critical part of the marketing exercise and so a lot depends on how well the brand marketer and the ad agency is able to sync and coordinate on a common strategy to implement the ideas generated by the ad agency. Here it boils down to ‘trust,’ which is a very big factor between the brand and the agency.

As far as the brand marketer is concerned, it is absolutely essential to treat the ad agency as a partner and not just as a vendor that will work according to the brief. Here it’s important to understand what exactly is the ‘brief’ – it is actually the guideline that the brand marketer provides to the client about the strategy to be followed. It is for the brand to understand why it has hired an ad agency to work on its creative communications and leave the arena free for the agency to come up with interesting ideas based on the strategy that has been outlined.

On the part of the ad agency, it is important that it should not step into uncharted territory by raising questions about the brand’s product offering. The agency’s job is find the best and most interesting way to communicate the benefits of the brand’s product. It should not exceed the brief or try to get involved with product development. Of course, these are not hard and fast line that either the brand or the agency doesn’t ever cross, but these are always exceptions and not the rule. That’s why in cases of misunderstanding or any gap in communication between the brand and the agency, there should be CBMs (confidence building mechanisms) available to handle crises.

Filed under: Agencies

CNN and Volvo Have Teamed up to Produce Live Ads During Solar Eclipse

Posted August 22, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 11:21 am

The epoch-making phenomenon had last happened across the United States from coast to coast about a century ago

podcasts marketing

The Great American Eclipse on Monday, Aug, 21 is the first total eclipse that had been seen from coast to coast across the United States in nearly a century when the earth, the moon and the sun came under a single alignment. This phenomenon presented a unique opportunity for brands and TV news networks across the country to tune up for the once-in-a-lifetime event that would be watched by a huge audience. The first big name that came up was that of CNN which has partnered automobile major, Volvo to cover the epoch-making solar eclipse. Ads featuring Volvo, produced by Courageous, which is the in-house brand studio of CNN, were shown during the break of the livestream of the once in a century solar eclipse.

The live ads showed Volvo in 4K virtual reality and 360-degree video across all of CNN’s digital and social platforms. SVP of news content partnerships at Turner Broadcasting, CNN’s parent company, Michal Shapira, said, “Since launching Courageous, we’ve been intensely focused on experimenting with new creative formats and innovating with our marketing partners to help tell more powerful brand stories. Live ads are simply the next iteration of this effort, born from the fact that we live in a ‘live’ culture that values real-time experiences. This incredible partnership aligns Volvo with CNN’s live VR capabilities, our award-winning brand studio Courageous, and massive global reach to capture this unique moment in time, while underscoring the spirit of the all-new Volvo XC60 to embrace the future.”

Bob Jacobs, VP – marketing product and brand communications at Volvo, said, “We wanted to bring the innovation and creativity that Volvo is known for into viewing the eclipse, a once-in-a-lifetime event. We developed a virtual reality and 360-degree camera concept that we pitched to multiple media outlets. After an extensive search, we chose to partner with CNN, who we believe will provide an exceptional and immersive media event.” As the eclipse progressed, Courageous filmed influencers, who shared their views on the significance of this momentous eclipse even as it happened, with the help of four cameras stationed across different locations around the country.

Filed under: TV-Video

Podcasts are Gaining Popularity in the United States

Posted August 21, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:57 am

Around 25% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month and the number is expected to grow

podcasts marketing

In the United States popularity of the podcast market is increasing. At present, approximately 25% of US adults aged 18 to 49 listen to podcasts at least once a month. In the last two years, many large digital publishers have released their own podcasts. Increase in digital media consumption on mobile has made it more attractive to both listeners and advertisers.

Distributers have now started monetizing podcasts. In 2016 advertisers in US, spent an estimated $35 million on podcasts and this number is more than 2% as compared to 2015. As per the study by comScore, nearly two-thirds of all podcast listeners have shown their purchase interest after hearing advertisements on podcast and that number could surge, in case podcasts assuage advertisers’ concerns.

Because of strong growth in mobile, video and social spending, dollars are flowing from traditional media such as newspapers and magazines to digital media and changing the face of US media market. California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are the states that have the highest number of podcast listeners using podcast players.

As per measurement done by Acast, a European podcast streaming platform and distributor, curated platform for podcast, that listeners enjoy podcast either early in the morning around 7-8 am or later at night around 11 pm ET respectively. Oskar Serrander, general manager, Acast US, said “As home devices become more popular, people can enjoy hearing the morning or evening news in the same way they used to use the radio. We all have some version of screen fatigue these days, so being able to just take a moment to listen may also be fueling this podcast expansion.”

Filed under: Digital

Account-Based Marketing is the Future

Posted August 18, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:04 am

In order to convert prospects and manage accounts that matter, marketing and sales must work in sync to clinically achieve results

Account-Based Marketing

Is the ‘cold call’ as we know it, burning itself out? Many marketers seem to think so especially with the way sales callers tend to go berserk at anyone and everyone almost in the manner of unrelenting zombies. In the pre-online days it made sense to carpet-fire across a wide perimeter and score a hit or two by sheer chance rather than shoot and scoot specific targets because that meant making efforts with both brain and brawn. The cold call is typically a sales terminology because it still has the same SOP (standard operating procedure) of picking up data from open and public sources like telephone directories among others.

This is not the end of direct sales though, but there needs to be some strategy about how to engage more customers. Every business exists for financial performance and the key to successfully nurturing and converting leads is effective coordination between marketing and sales teams at every level – from the concept of strategy to the details of execution.

If marketing and sales do not sync, the company’s strategy will be inconsistent and weak and execution will be flawed and inefficient. As per the latest approach, selling is going to be a more social and relationship-based effort as a follow up of sound marketing strategies. You need to nurture, meet and care for prospective customers and sell your brand to people who are not ready to buy from you. Here are some well-devised strategies that can help craft the right approach to marketing and sales.

Predictive targeting is one of the strategies to analyze the audience, especially to know which users are likely to buy based on in-market signals and possibly what particular products they are likely to buy. Content relevance and timing can also affect the prospects. Content is meaningless unless it serves the purpose of conveying the benefit of your brand and product to the customer.

A Customer centric approach should cover excellent user experience on the site, transparent transactions, scope for customer reviews, helpful and proactive customer support, fair and balanced returns policy, competitive pricing, and above all, quality products.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Amazon Spark Set to Light Up Brand Discourse on Social Media

Posted August 16, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:31 am

The retail giant’s entry into social media is likely to attract brands as only Amazon Prime customer will get to use Amazon spark

Amazon Spark

Amazon Spark is a social feed of user-posted images in the manner of a ‘story’ on Instagram or Snapchat but there are some crucial differences – Spark is not open for posting pictures and commenting for everybody because this right belongs exclusively with Amazon Prime customers who pay an annual fee of $ 99. However, just about everyone can read and see the content on Spark. So, what’s Amazon up to with this secluded platform? Like most other things that the retail giant does, there’s a definite strategy and method involved in this latest venture. Unlike most other social networks that depend on mass adoption and targeted ads, Spark will have content created and posted only by Amazon Prime members who are active shoppers spending $ 600 more on average than non-Prime members.

Amazon Spark may not even be looking at the kind of scale that other social sites like Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest boast but it is by no means unlikely that Spark might hit some significant scale if all or most of Amazon’s plans attain a reasonable degree of success. After all, Amazon Prime has 80 million members which is a huge number boasting the highest spending power. That’s a marketer’s dream target market. Spark users are allowed to run comparison polls between two Amazon products which enables their network to provide feedback on their likely purchase. Additionally, they also get to post pictures of products with relevant links.

A new user can get to Amazon Spark through the “Programs & Features” menu option in the app’s navigation. The platform will ask them to select at least five interests that they might be interested to follow and once they provide this information, Spark will create a precise feed of products, pictures and proposals that are relevant to the kind of things the user prefers to buy, or know more about. The scope is endless with what Amazon can do with Spark but at some point the retail giant will have to consider some kind incentives for expert users who post high value content on the platform.

Filed under: Brand Marketing

How brands are adjusting and adapting to digital media

Posted August 14, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 8:30 am

The priority now is to create digital and mobile content first and then we take the communication to all the traditional channels

digital transformation

Digital marketing has today become an indispensible part of any media mix as shoppers are increasingly showing their preference for online purchases. At the same time, social media has grown at a fast pace and it is playing a leading role in replacing the old tradition of shopping at brick-and-mortar stores with online shopping. Retailers are quickly adding digital stores in addition to physical stores and spending more money in developing smart websites to make it easier for online shoppers. Brands these days are also procuring tools to analyze informal chat on social media although not all brands are adjusting to the shift as easily as they would have liked.

Despite that, brands are realizing the fact that they need to move towards digital media in order to keep pace with technological advancement. For brands, digital media serves as a vehicle for connecting, selling and engaging their prospective customers as studies reveal that 51% of Americans prefer to shop online. CMO Emily Culp, of Keds had focused on treating the company as the number one store in the world. She therefore, worked towards digital transformation of the company by bringing in ecommerce, marketing, social media and public relations as one team. She had good reason to mix the culture because Amazon and other shopping sites were scrambling to move from physical to digital storefronts and putting more and more money into smart websites.

In the beginning of this year, Pernod Richard, the maker of brands like Absolut, Malibu and Jameson – started hiring their own internal manpower and using software tools to become more digital. It began working with its sales force to collect and analyze data as part of bigger customer relationship efforts. Manager of data analytics at Pernod Ricard, Evan Huggins, said “Amazon is an easy, consummate example, and they’re just going to eat everyone’s lunch. If it’s not them, it’s businesses that emulate their model of convenience and personalization and accessibility to potentially disrupt our business.”

Filed under: Digital

Facebook’s Watchlist Will Heat Up the War of Ad Spaces

Posted August 11, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:40 am

The new video tab that Facebook is launching, called Watch is aimed at disrupting the online advertising market

facebook watchlist

Facebook is soon going to launch a new feature called “Watch,” which is going to disrupt the online advertising market. On the Watch tab of Facebook, several dozen original shows will start rolling out on mobile, desktop and Facebook’s TV apps.

In addition to the Watch tab, there will be another feature called “Watchlist” where users can keep track of their favorite shows or list of programs and when these will be streamed on the platform. There is another value added feature, like a newsletter, which allows users to subscribe for updates on new episodes of their favorite shows. Publishers share their shows to the news feed to help people discover them. The Watch feature is also going to be personalized. It will help users to discover shows, which are relevant to their interests with suggestions based on what Facebook communities are watching. It includes both live and recorded shows, so users can choose as per convenience.

During the broadcasts it will allow users to ‘like’ and comment as well as play the content via web, iOS, Android and Apple TV. They can join groups with people who like the same shows, and build a community. Before spreading globally, Facebook plans to roll out access to Watch for more users in the United States. A new video hub will be added, using a TV-shaped Watch button in the navigation bar at the bottom of Facebook’s main app.

Facebook’s shows will range from live event coverage to reality TV to scripted program. There will be a long list of categories of shows to view. When you open Watch, you can scroll through, and alternately, you can check any notification about some new program. Once you’ve opened an episode you’ll see all the details about it, with one tab for joining a live comment reel with other viewers, and an “Up Next” tab displaying the names of the programs after the current episode.

Filed under: Digital

CPV Advertising is set to Rule Online Advertising in Future

Posted by Rashmi D @ 4:11 am

The most evolved form of online advertising is the CPV format because it is much better defined and balances all stakeholders’ interests

CPV format advertising

As with most rules of the internet, online advertising rules are also framed and set by Google because of the way it approaches the matters related to the internet and its uses. Therefore, after Google introduced CPV advertising, it is gradually becoming law as all the other big players also begin adopting it. This isn’t easy for an organization that dominates the business overwhelmingly, but to their credit, Google has been able to uphold the interests of the common user with its periodic updates. This has not just won it the respect and trust of users all over the world but has also consolidated its foundations and made it the gentle giant it is today. True, at the end of it all, Google has to consider the business end of things and this balanced approach has only made its business stronger than ever before.

CPV advertising is a milestone

As an advertiser, if you get charged for every click on your ads across domains, irrespective of whether those clicks were intended or not, you feel there’s some kind of unfairness in the system. As a user, if you end up spending 30-40% of your browsing time waiting for ads that you clicked unintentionally after they popped up on you, rather annoyingly, you’re likely to feel cheated. And then the first thing that crosses your mind is – ‘this is madness…isn’t there a method to it?’ Rest assured, there is, and none other than your friendly neighborhood Google and now, Facebook says so.

Enter CPV advertising. So, what exactly is it and why is it special? Let’s understand it from the advertiser’s point of view first. Under CPV advertising, or more precisely, under what Google designed, TrueView, you pay for views or clicks only when your ad has been viewed for at least 30 seconds or clicked and then viewed for at least 30 seconds. Apparently, this format includes both the CPM and CPC methods but the overriding principle is that in either case, the ad would have to be viewed for at least 30 seconds. As an advertiser who has been paying for every click, intended or unintended, this is great.

Now, how will CPV benefit the common user, or, as an online business may say, the customer? As customers many of us know that marketers call us the “King.” But in reality, do they treat us like kings? If you look at the way they ‘ambush’ us at every turn with pop ads that take their time to load when clicked, intentionally or unintentionally, it would not appear that they care about the king. When you end up spending half your browsing time negotiating these pop ads that fall on you like rain, you’re reminded of the old joke – “Long Live the King. The King is Dead!”

Who’s responsible for this madness?

As a common user, your first reaction to this pop ads madness is to be angry at the advertiser. Well, you have reason to be angry but you’re mistaken if you think it’s the advertiser who’s responsible for this madness. Let’s first understand how it works – the ads could belong to any advertiser e.g. Coke, Pepsi, Starbucks, etc. but it’s the website you’re on, where all this madness takes place. If you notice carefully, the intensity of ads popping up every now and then is not the same on every website that you visit. So, it is the website owner or publisher who is running this riot. And CPV advertising is designed to pull these rioters up and get them follow the rules set by the big boys like Google and Facebook.

Now let’s look at another interesting side of this madness where the advertiser whom we decided to cover thinking they’re not to blame for bombarding users with pop ads. The objective of an ad is to get the customer to a seller’s website because it is a seller who advertises, generally. Now when you land up on the seller’s website there is every chance that you would again come up against the barrage of pop ads that the seller would use to upsell other items that you hadn’t planned to buy. Alternately, since the seller is now the website owner, he would have other businesses advertising on his site. And that again brings us back to square one which is what we called ‘madness.’

CPV advertising is designed to deal with this madness and make it difficult for marketers to run riot on the internet. With the bulk of the traffic originating from mobile devises that work on touch-screen method, we just can’t afford to have the kind of wastage of time and money that unintentional clicks on pop ads cause. After all, it is today’s advanced marketing automation tools that make such advertising happen and it is taken advantage of by the website owner or publisher who sells advertising space on his domain. It is the publisher who uses advanced marketing automation ads to bombard visitors to his site with pop ads. Till now it was earning him revenues from unintentional clicks. Not any more…thanks to CPV advertising.

Filed under: Digital
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