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Dear marketers, your controversial stunts can do more harm than good

Posted September 25, 2013 by fran @ 1:14 pm

Earlier this month, outdoor marketing company Hornet Signs came under fire due to a controversial marketing stunt that it did.

It created a decal that showed a blonde woman curled up–seemingly unconscious–on the bed of a pickup truck. She was tied up and her hair was obscuring her face. The decal was then attached to the back of an actual pickup truck, creating the illusion that there was real woman lying there.

The tactic was meant to demonstrate the high quality of Hornet Signs decal and show how realistic its signs are.

The stunt was so believable that some individuals who saw it even called the police. Needless to say, the authorities weren’t pleased to be called because of some marketing stunt. They weren’t the only ones who were disgruntled though. A lot of people were outraged at Hornet Signs’ actions and after the story went viral, people from all over the world posted critical comments on the company’s Facebook page.

Hornet Signs was forced to take the decal down. Brad Kolb, owner of the company said to the press, “I wasn’t expecting the reactions we got, nor do we condone this by any means.” The businesses also announced that it donated $2,500 to the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco.

In spite of the bad press though, Kolb also said that the stunt resulted in a rise in decal orders.

The question is: Was the rise in orders worth the whole PR mess? We’d like to venture a guess that it wasn’t. Despite his claims that the company’s actions increased their decal orders, we’re guessing that if Hornet Signs were given a do-over, the company would demonstrate its realistic decals in other ways–you know, ways that didn’t involve abuse to women.

Let this serve as cautionary tale to marketers who are trying to garner more exposure for their products and services. Instead of resorting to being snarky, offensive, or controversial, why not try being creative and genuine instead? Use the wide range of online advertising formats out there to target your audience and deliver your message in a creative, tasteful, and fun way.

Because the fact is, snark and controversy aren’t just lazy tactics to get attention, they’re also second-rate, compared to genuine and wonderful content. Don’t believe us? Take Upworthy, as an example. The media company doesn’t resort to LOLcats or shady tactics to gain traffic. Instead, it focuses on curating meaningful content around relevant and serious issues such as immigration, politics, heath care, etc. The result? 20 million unique monthly visitors, 5 million subscribers, 3.2 million Facebook Likes and Z-E-R-O publicity mishaps. Oh, and did we mention that the company is just 18 months old?

Indeed, when you’re given the chance to choose between being shady or genuine, do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor and go with the latter. Because when it comes to getting more exposure, the challenge isn’t garnering attention–it’s doing it in an authentic and meaningful way. Choose to challenge yourself. The industry–heck the entire world–would be so much better off when marketers choose the honest route.

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Wearable Tech: The Future of Advertising?

Posted September 9, 2013 by fran @ 1:54 pm

Smartphone, be prepared to move over, because it looks like another mobile advertising darling is about to take over.  In an insightful article, AdAge brought attention to the fact that many of the companies that we all know are love are venturing into wearable technology (aka: wearables).

From smart watches to wrist bands, and even glasses, businesses everywhere are pushing envelope in mobile technology by allowing users to integrate their smart devices into things that they can wear.  Consumers on the other hand, can’t wait to get their hands on these devices. The demand is evidenced by the sheer number of people clamoring to fund or get on the waiting lists for such devices.

For instance, there’s the Pebble smart watch, a project that grew to be the most successful campaigns on Kickstarter. The project not only reached its goal, but it garnered over 10 million dollars in funding. (Now available at a Best Buy near you.)

Samsung recently entered the smart watch space by introducing GALAXY Gear, “a perfect companion device that further integrates the Samsung GALAXY experience into everyday life. Samsung GALAXY Gear combines smart device connectivity, tailored technological features, and stylish design as a single premium accessory.”

And let’s not forget Google Glass, the search giant’s innovative device that fuses mobile technology with eyewear.

Yes, it certainly appears that we’re at the cusp of a new age in mobile technology. These devices are redefining the concept of connectivity for users, and advertisers can’t help but take notice.

Evidently, being able to advertise on wearable devices puts brands in a very valuable position. With wearable technology, advertisers can seamlessly offer their sponsored messages to users.

We can see now that large enough companies can develop their own devices that they can offer to their users. Take note though that brands developing wearable tech devices aren’t limited to technology companies. Nike for instance, has Nike+ a sporty wristband that lets users track their activities, set goals, and improve performance.

But does this mean smaller advertisers have no place in the wearable technology department? Not at all. Of course, the specific method on how adverts will be displayed is yet to be determined, but we anticipate that wearables will provide all kinds of opportunities for advertisers–large and small ones alike.

That’s why companies looking for more innovative ways to reach their customers should certainly keep an eye on the wearable technology space to ensure that they’ll be able leverage it when the right time comes.

Image credits:  The Pug Father, giuseppe.costantino, and  aaronparecki on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

Why Promotional Branding Is A Worthy Investment For Your Business

Posted September 5, 2013 by fran @ 9:01 am

If you’re not using branded promotional products in your advertising campaign, you’re missing out on a powerful marketing tool. Giving away promotional items is a surefire way to draw attention and increase awareness of your brand. By associating your business with a reliable brand image, you give customers something concrete that they can trust. Below are just a few advantages of using promotional products to establish your brand.

Reaches a Wide Audience

The best way to reach a wide and diverse audience is to invest in a variety of different advertising tools. It’s easy to find promotional items that reflect the purpose of your business as well as the message of your brand, but you should also take your customer base into consideration. If you’re marketing to the general public, basic home and office items are best. For specific subsets such as IT techs, it makes more sense to invest in specialized items like branded USB drives. Getting specific with your advertising makes customers feel like you know them and opens the door for future communications that translate into sales.

Builds Recognition

Customers are more likely to keep promotional giveaway items than they are business cards, pamphlets and other printed materials. Choosing products such as pens, mouse pads and mugs keeps your brand visible on a daily basis. Portable items such as tote bags can become mobile advertisements that bring your brand message to an even wider audience. The more exposure a that customers get, the more likely they are to think of your company the next time they need a product or service you offer.

Improves Customer Response

An advertising campaign is only effective if it works to grow your business. The statistics don’t lie: promotional products generate markedly higher customer response than other forms of advertising. This includes providing contact information, generating referrals and making purchases. Repeat orders also increase with the use of branded items. Such tangible results make it easy to measure how well your promotional campaign is working and whether or not you need to make adjustments to bring in more businesses.

Lowers Marketing Costs

No matter what the size of your business, you want to make the most of your advertising budget. Investing in promotional giveaways gives you a greater return on each impression than other traditional methods. That’s good news if you’re looking to increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. A single branded item may be seen by dozens or even hundreds of people depending on the type of item and how long a customer holds onto it. With some products costing less than a quarter a piece, that’s a hefty return on your investment.

Establishes a Positive Reputation
Giving customers something they can use establishes your business as friendly and helpful. When people associate positive experiences with your brand, it helps build trust. Trustworthy businesses get word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers and draw existing customers back to make repeat purchases, an effect that grows over time.

 

Abi is a marketer, interested in everything marketing. She writes for promotional merchandise specialists Fluid Branding, click here to view their full range of items.

 

Image credit: Woodlands Ad Agency on Flickr

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

5 Keys To SEO and Your Home-based Business

Posted August 28, 2013 by fran @ 11:56 am

When operating any home-based business, it is vital to establish an effective Internet presence. This takes more than merely building a website. Before a customer can view a highly informative and well-coded site, the customer must reach that site. One of the best ways to achieve unique views and generate leads is to maintain the top position for a relevant search engine result. Driving business becomes much more difficult as the site decreases in its rankings.

When a search engine crawler gathers information about a site, the site owner wants that crawler to tell the search engine that that site best matches a particular set of keywords. Optimizing a site for search engine results is called search engine optimization (SEO). If you own a home-based business and you want to optimize your own website, there are several things to keep in mind.

1. Seek professional help to optimize success

SEO is an industry in itself. Countless service providers ranging from sole proprietors to dedicated professional enterprises like http://www.eversparkinteractive.com/ will ensure that a site obtains and maintains a high site ranking. Unfortunately, marketing budgets for home-based businesses are often nonexistent. Hiring a qualified expert in SEO can cost thousands of dollars. As a result, many business owners will attempt to go it alone.

This is usually a mistake. SEO requires a fine touch with respect to keyword densities and relevant content. The ideal techniques for optimizing a site for search engine results can vary between search engines; for example, different sites will respond to different keywords densities and content levels. To the crawlers, sites with too few relevant keywords appear to be irrelevant while sites with too many appear to be spammy. Hitting these narrow ranges is a job for a professional, as is structuring the site.

2. Not all “experts” are created equal

There are a variety of techniques that some SEO professionals use to improve their clients ratings. Some of these techniques can lead to short-term gains at the expense of long-term placement. Link building networks and software that can instantly produce thousands or millions of new links can raise a site to the top position quickly; usually, this is long enough for the “expert” to cash the client’s check.

However, without quality connections, the purported gains will not last. The site may actually be penalized for attempts to “bomb” the engine, reducing its ranking further than had nothing occurred. Most crawlers will look for quality links and only maintain sites with those results. Any professional organization that you choose to do business with should have a history of maintaining and optimizing successful web sites.

3. Optimized sites require maintenance

Search engines periodically change how their crawlers operate. Even without an update, SEO experts often discover new techniques to improve a site’s ranking, which can push down sites using older techniques. Additionally, site owners routinely move around content or discover that certain wording resonates with their customers more effectively, which can negate prior work or make the site effectively invisible to crawlers.

4. Target the SEO focus

The Internet is a worldwide phenomenon and anyone can look at any site from any location. Unfortunately, a homeowner in Miami is unlikely to require the services of a plumber from Seattle. For a service business targeting specific markets, optimizing the site for customers looking for relevant businesses in that location can save money and trouble. Targeting based upon location improves the relevance of the results, leading to improved rankings and a higher likelihood of greater traffic.

5. Uncommon keywords are key

Specific keywords are less competitive than generalized keywords. This will usually mean a higher success rate and an improved chance of achieving a high ranking if the site is properly optimized. Spending the same money to obtain a high ranking with a slightly less common search phrase is much more likely to drive business than spending money to achieve a second-page result for a more generic phrase.

Whether your business involves international shipping or localized services, having a website is necessary in the modern world. Any site that exists to drive business should be optimized for search engine crawlers looking for results relevant to specific search phrases. What those phrases are will vary between industries; blue-collar businesses may target searchers looking for “24 hour” service in that particular industry in that particular location, while white-collar businesses may target customers looking for “cost-effective” solutions. As with any other marketing activity, SEO requires business owners to understand their customers and their market.

Author Bio: As a home-based business owner, writer LaGeris Underwood Bell can attest to both the importance of establishing a strong online presence and to the vital need for SEO-savvy professional help as keys to entrepreneurial success.

 

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/3657122566/

Filed under: Company Headlines

The AdMedia Team Hits the Ice

Posted August 20, 2013 by fran @ 10:57 am

It was a hot, sunny, 90 degree Friday in Southern California. With so many options of fun things to do in the LA area, the team at AdMedia went with the obvious choice — we went with the traditional LA activity of ice skating!

Ice skating isn’t the most synonymous activity associated with Southern California, but there are still a handful of ice rinks in the area. And it just so happens there’s one right next to our office. It was a simple one block walk to our local ice skating rink where the AdMedia team got together and hit the ice.

 

For most of that Friday morning, the AdMedia team skated, glided, raced, slipped and fell around the Pickwick ice rink in Burbank. Unfortunately, we did not find the next coming of Katarina Witt or Brian Boitano. Nor did we find the next Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby. What we did find was a great way to hang out and blow off some steam at the end of a busy week. A lot of team members got to skate for the first time and some actually knew what they were doing. And for a few of AdMedia team members, it was a humbling experience falling on the ice in front of colleagues.

 

At the end of our special fun day, we had gourmet pizzas waiting for us in the conference room. Tomato & Basil, Pesto, and Chicken Barbecue were just a few of the flavors that the team got to enjoy. It was a perfect day to take a couple of hours out for ice skating and pizza. You can say it was the perfect ending to a fun team building day and a hard-working week at AdMedia.

 

Why Publishers Should Think About Advertising Too

Posted August 14, 2013 by fran @ 1:19 pm

If you’re an online publisher then you’re probably familiar with serving up ads on your site to earn revenue, but have you ever thought about buying ads of your own to do the same thing?

It may seem counter-intuitive when you come across the idea. After all, you’re producing content to make money, not spend it all on online advertising, right? Here’s the thing though, in the business of online marketing and advertising, you often have to spend money–at least at first–to make money.

You need to invest in a lot of things, including yourself, your education, technology, and getting your name out there. Let’s focus on the last point. When starting from scratch, getting your name out there can be an uphill battle. Building an audience takes a lot of time and resources, and you need to produce awesome content often and at a consistent basis.

Say you’re already doing that. What if you’re already exerting a ton of your time and effort in producing great content, but it doesn’t seem to be paying off?

If you already have a great website with useful content in it but you aren’t getting the amount of traffic that you know it deserves then you probably need a boost to improve your numbers. That’s where advertising comes in.

When done right, online advertising can pay off tremendously. As long as you know your target audience and where to find them, you stand a good chance of reaping the benefits of your advertising investment.

See, online ads can bring in more traffic, which could then translate to more readers and revenue (either through ad clicks or with the purchase of your products / services). Serve up relevant, targeted ads to in front of users that you know will love you’re content, and you’ll start seeing some improvements in your metrics in no time.

They key is serving up those ads to users that count. What’s the use of a million impressions if those users have absolutely no interest in what you have to offer? If you haven’t done so yet, conduct market research on your audience and determine where they hang out online and what ads and messages appeal to them the most.

By the way, before you start thinking that market research involves dropping a ton of cash on focus groups and what not–stop. In this day and age, even a one-man team can conduct effective market research without spending a dime. How?

Below are a few ideas:

- Send out a quick survey to your subscribers and ask for feedback’

- Read comments on your blog to get an idea of what types of content resonate most with your audience

- Turn to social media. Check out the pages that your target audience likes on Facebook, join relevant groups on Linkedin, and see who they follow on Twitter

- Conduct surveys using free tools such as Google Docs or GoPollGo

- Tweet out a question / post it on Facebook and take note of the responses

Doing the things above should give you a wealth of data and insights about your target audience. Take those insights and use them to create engaging ads that would drive more traffic (and eventually revenue) to your site.

Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines

How Metro Dominated Video, Web, Social, and Mobile with a Single Campaign

Posted July 24, 2013 by fran @ 1:45 pm

We’ve talked about cross-channel advertising and marketing quite a bit on this blog and for good reason: It’s future of online marketing. As consumer attention gets more and more fragmented by the amount of information and the wide range of channels at their disposal, it’s essential that businesses utilize more than one device, channel, or platform to reach their target audience.

As a case study, we’d like to bring up the public service campaign of Metro Trains Melbourne. You remember, them right? We melted with cuteness over their Dumb Ways to Die music video in November.

To refresh your memory, the Dumb Ways to Die campaign featured a bunch of adorable–but regrettably dumb–characters that did a bunch of stupid mistakes that led to their tragic (but cute) downfall. The video was released by Metro Trains Melbourne to encourage the public to put safety first when they’re around trains. The music video also featured a catchy song that got stuck in people’s heads (but in a good way).

Cross-Channel Marketing: You’re Doing It Right

The campaign went viral, racking up millions of YouTube views in a short period of time. It was a smashing hit, and considering that the campaign was a public service announcement, it was a colossal achievement.

The Dumb Ways to Die campaign was shared and viewed so many times that it pretty much dominated YouTube, the blogosphere, and social media. And just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better, it dominated the mobile arena as well.

How? By creating an app.

Released a couple of months ago, the Dumb Ways to Die app by Metro Trains Melbourne, it quickly rose to the top of iTunes’ games category because of it’s fun and addicting nature.

Dumb Ways to Die lets you play a number of games featuring the same adorable characters from the original video that we all know and love. Your job is to save them from themselves and keep them from dying.

Remember that guy who died trying to fish out a piece of toast using a fork? Well in the game, your mission is to help him gingerly take out the toast without the fork touching the toaster. Then that character that used its private parts as piranha bait? Help keep them safe by flicking to pesky fishes away. There are more fun games in store, so do yourself a favor and get it from the app store now.

The app is so successful, it’s been downloaded millions of times and at the time of writing this has 49,754 reviews. (Average rating is 4.5 stars).

What you can learn from Dumb Ways to Die

Aside from staying safe around trains, the Dumb Ways to Die campaign teaches us a very valuable lesson in online marketing: Use multiple channels. What’s great about Metro Trains Melbourne is that it didn’t stop with video, web, and social channels–it took the campaign to a whole new level by thinking outside the box and releasing an engaging app.

Filed under: Company Headlines

3 Killer Ad Combinations to Reach Your Customers

Posted July 10, 2013 by fran @ 1:43 pm

The rise of numerous advertising platforms and solutions on the web can be both good and bad for businesses.

On one hand, it’s great because there are so many options to choose from. You’re well-equipped to reach your target audience via multiple channels. As for the not-so-great side of it all? There are so many options to choose from. It can be quite overwhelming and you’re left asking questions like “Where should I advertise?” or  “What’s the best ad solution out there?”

The answer to those questions will depend on number of things, including your goals (is it to generate sales or to build your brand) and your target customers. While advertising across multiple channels will certainly help you cover more ground and increase your site traffic much more quickly, this route may not be the best one if you’re on a budget or if you don’t have the resources to manage multiple campaigns at the same time.

If you’re trying to decide which best route to take for your online advertising needs, below is a quick guide to give you insights on the different ad solutions and combinations that you can try:

Display + Remarketing

Serving up display banner ads on websites relevant to your business is a great way to bring attention to your brand. But if you want to take your display ad campaign a step further, you should try adding Remarketing to the mix.

Known as one of the most innovative ad solutions on the web, Remarketing lets you bring back lost visitors to your website. For instance, if a shopper visited your website without buying anything, the Remarketing technology will kick in and “follow” that user to other parts of the web.

That way, when the shopper is checking their email or reading news sites, they will see ads for your company and be reminded to go back.

Video + Social

These channels are two of the hottest ones in online advertising mainly because they’re highly interactive and engaging in nature. They also go hand in hand when it comes to making content go viral, as video is becoming one of the most shared content type on social media.

To take advantage of this combination, you can encourage social sharing within your videos. Produce a funny or witty advert and actively encourage users to share it. Fortunately for you, video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo make it extremely easy to share media with a click of a button.

Alternatively, you may also want to look into FooterRoll, an ad solution that comes in the form of a toolbar with social buttons and an expandable video ad.

Remarketing + Insert Ad Solution Here

One of the many reasons why we love Remarketing is that it has the ability to enhance just about any ad campaign. For instance, you can use Remarketing with social media so that ads for your company show up on people’s newsfeed after visiting your website.

Or you can use Remarketing with video by displaying your ads on top of videos that your users are watching. Alternatively, you can also use Remarketing to follow your on-the-go customers by serving up ads on their mobile phones. The possibilities and opportunities are endless thanks to flexibility and versatility of Remarketing advertising.

Image credit: jared on Flickr

 

 

Filed under: Company Headlines

AdMedia Goes Bowling!

Posted July 2, 2013 by fran @ 12:29 pm

Last Friday, the AdMedia team headed to the Pickwick Center (just one of the many recreational facilities in Burbank) for a couple rounds of bowling! There’s nothing like kicking back after a week of hard work, so all of us were more than happy to participate.

A lot of AdMedia employees played like pros out there. Daniel P. for instance, one of our savvy ad execs, bowled an impressive 6 strikes in a row, leading to a total of 255 points! Then there were some of us who were just happy to knock down a pin or two. Regardless of the scores though, we all had a ton of fun.

Check out the photos below and see us in action!

And if you’re looking to join this fun team, be sure to swing by the AdMedia Career Page to view our latest job openings.

          

Filed under: Company Headlines

3 Ways to Make Mobile Ads Work for You

Posted June 20, 2013 by fran @ 1:12 pm

Getting started on mobile advertising? Or maybe you’re already doing it but you’re looking to boost your CTRs and conversion rates. Whatever the case is, optimizing your mobile ads is critical, especially now that more and more users are flocking towards the mobile arena.

Below are a few best practices that you can apply to your mobile ad campaigns to ensure that they give you the best possible results:

Evaluate your options -  Recognize that there is no such thing as “one size fits all” in mobile advertising (or any other ad format, for that matter). You have a lot of options when it comes to this platform. For instance, will you be targeting iPhone users, Android users or all of the above? Will you serving up ads on both tablets and smartphones or both?

Take note that it isn’t just about the type of device that should be taken into consideration. Software-wise, mobile advertising gives you a number of options as well. There are mobile websites, mobile apps, and social media apps that support ads.

Not to mention that TYPE of ads that you’re going to use. There are banner ads, video, audio, in-apps, and more.

Be sure to consider all your options. Conduct the necessary market research to determine which devices, ad formats, and apps/websites resonate most with your target customers, and make a decision from there.

Be creative – When it comes to deciding what types of ads to display, it’s all too easy to go straight for display ads (i.e. banner ads and videos). And while display can certainly be effective, it’s important to note that it’s not the only ad format that’s available, especially on mobile.

You opt for audio ads and advertise with apps like Pandora or Spotify, for instance. Another thing that you can do is partner up with other developers and offer incentives to get people to check your company out. For example, a lot of gaming apps offer extra coins or points to users who would view and ad or download an app.

Find your categories – When you’re advertising within other applications, be sure to select your categories (and even subcategories wisely). If you have the option of handpicking the apps to advertise on then by all means, do so–it’ll boost your clicks and conversion rates.

For example, if you’re advertising a shopping app, then advertise on fashion-related apps where shopaholics hang out.

Image credit: Johan Larsson on Flickr

Filed under: Company Headlines
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