Ready for your close-up? How virtual make-up aisles are making the future of advertising more attractive.

Woman tries out the Sephora Virtual Artist at the beauty retailer’s store
Credit: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The global cosmetic skin care market is set to reach $185.5 billion by 2027.
Since the start of the pandemic, the use of online platforms to communicate has forced us to take a good look at ourselves…literally.

How many times during a Zoom call have you found your eyes drifting away from the person you’re talking to, to the small image of yourself in the corner of the screen? It’s happened to me more than I care to admit, and there was me thinking the digital age would allow me to look virtually perfect at all times!

It’s therefore no surprise that beauty consumers are changing their buying habits, gravitating towards items that allow them to replicate the salon experience at home and shield them from the possible impact of an increasingly webcam-centred lifestyle.

Foundation in particular is one of the most sought after products and even the sale of skincare fridges has seen a considerable rise.

I’ll be honest, I had to look up what a skincare fridge was (it turns out it’s pretty obvious). People are also adding in more steps to their skincare routines to avoid that washed-out online look. Serums in particular are on the up, with a 20-40 % increase in searches since the start of the pandemic.

So what is Beauty tech and how is it changing the cosmetics industry?

With people unable to visit make-up experts, digital algorithms and online quizzes have stepped in to help deliver that camera-ready look.

Augmented Reality (AR) allows for ‘try-on’ face scanning tools, which takes a picture of your skin to create your perfect shade match. MAC Cosmetics was one of the first to rise to the challenge and its virtual try-on allows you to scroll and click on swatches, making it possible to experiment with 800 different shades.

A new type of customer interaction

As advertisers, we are always looking for ways to make the customer journey more immersive.

Contextual ads combined with AR technology are a step in a more productive direction. This type of content integrates into the customer’s own physical environment, creating an absolutely unique experience – a suspension of disbelief that leads to an interaction with the object in a completely novel way. A key part of advertising is to create relevance, and augmented reality certainly does that.

Digestible advertising

Research by eMarketer found that global Augmented Reality ad revenues are expected to reach $2 Billion by 2022. AR bridges the gap between the physical and the digital. It offers people an immersive experience…perhaps the closest we can get to the outside world at present. The novelty of the experiences makes them pay close attention and stay hooked to the content.

Have you ever tried a smart beauty mirror or a web aisle from the comfort of your sofa or will you be waiting for stores to re-open?

It’s Chocolate Cake Day!

What better opportunity to talk about the divisive Jaffa Cake issue and how advertising can make a difference.

Jaffa cake close up

During strange times we tend to reach out towards the familiar. During just four weeks of lockdown, between June and July, the UK snack-hungry Brits have spent an extra £19million on biscuits, according to market research firm Kantar. Biscuits started as dried bread and in the Baghdad of the middle ages, sugar was added to the mix for the first time. So how did it become such a British food?

Mainly through imperialism and industrialisation: the navy relied on rusks, early prototypes of biscuit, which stimulated an even wider production. The UK went through a ‘biscuit revolution’ with Reading based Huntley and Palmers establishing themselves as the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world by the 1900s. However, their major competitor, London’s Peek Freans, had invented the ultimate sugary biscuit: The Pearl, ultimately establishing themselves as the strongest.

What set Peek Freans apart?

They advertised like there was no tomorrow. They produced the Garibaldi, brazenly called their biscuits after royalty and created the Marie biscuit named for Marie of Austria who married into the royal family. Using aspirational marketing words such as “distinguished” and “superior” was the key to their marketing success. Mass market biscuits went up a notch as they were given an aura of technology.

1960 Peek Frean's magazine advert

Yet while Brits – and the rest of the world – were happy to accept industrially manufactured biscuits, they were reticent when it came to mass produced cakes.

Enter Jaffa Cakes: the best of both worlds. That’s to say a cake advertised as a biscuit, always found in the biscuit aisles of a supermarket, packaged like biscuits, and eaten with hands and not a fork (which is the norm for cakes).

In the war of cakes against biscuits the real winner is the one that can be a bit of both: the Jaffa Cake.

Jaffa Cakes were the subject of what has become one of the most famous cases in tax law history – not just in the UK but in the world. In the 1990s a UK court was asked whether Jaffa cakes should be regarded as cakes or biscuits. Not to settle a particularly intense workplace argument, but for reasons of cold hard cash. Cakes in Britain are VAT free, whereas biscuits carry the extra levy.

The reason? When VAT was introduced in 1972, cakes were regarded as everyday items while biscuits were considered as luxury products.  Ultimately, the court concluded that Jaffa Cakes were indeed cakes and therefore did not qualify for VAT. The compelling argument that won the day was deliciously simple: Jaffa Cakes go hard when they are stale, just like cakes, whereas biscuits go soft. The ruling set the precedent for many other products in the market. 

Jaffa Cakes: Advertised as a biscuit-sized cake McVitie’s can have their cake and eat it!

The big question is, which one do you think should be classed a luxury and which one should be deemed essential- cakes or biscuits? But more importantly what do you think of Jaffa Cakes’ new flavours? I hear the pineapple one is the best one yet…

Makeover 2021: How to Whip Your Digital Marketing into Shape

….And also what happened to Primark?

Primark during lockdown

When the facts change, I change my mind is an oft-quoted phrase, and have facts ever changed as quickly as they have in the past 12 months?

From temporary lockdowns to permanent shutdowns, it is still unclear exactly what the new ‘facts’ of living in a post-Covid world will look like.

With that in mind, now is a good time for businesses of all sizes to re-examine their direction of travel. Will film studios now skip the cinemas for streaming? And is the high street now truly dead?

If so, then e-commerce will have finally won the battle it has been dominating for the past decade-or-so. And that means businesses need to start taking e-marketing seriously….

Look at Primark. Great shop, fantastic brand, loyal customer base. But the company’s online strategy? Stuck in the past. And not even the recent pre-Covid past.

Though things will return to a reality closer to the one before 2020, it will never be exactly the same. Try to plan ahead and work out what this will mean for you in terms of a strategy that can work.

1- Consider E-commerce as an integral part of your business.

Primark lost £430m of sales during lockdown with 11 stores open 24 hours, at the end of last year, to try to make up for the loss and is now shut again. Often questioned for not having plans to sell online or have an e-commerce site retail consultant Graham Soult pre-Covid had stated: “While the high-street business is thriving and growing, Primark can make a convincing case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Well, it now undoubtedly ‘broke’ so this could be a good time to change things. Even if we were to go back to in-store shopping, undoubtedly e-commerce will never lose its grip again so it’s worth investing in this side of your business if you haven’t already.

2- Plan your social media posts

Plan your social media posts now so that you can advertise your product and hit the ground running for when sales increase. What tools are you tempted to try out?

3- Consider contextual forms of advertising

Consider contextual forms of advertising that appear as a natural continuation of your customer’s journey. Our proprietary technology offers the insight necessary for you to know when your audience is searching for something aligned to your product, even geolocation wise making the search more productive for all…check it out -> www.vertismedia.com

4-Create engaging content

The first step to getting content right is to ask yourself:

  • What do you spend the most time doing online?
  • How long do you think typical users spend online every day?

Recent studies show that on average consumers spend 8 hours or more a day engaging with digital content. Content is EVERYWHERE…it’s at the heart of every internet journey.

SO

What does online content mean to you?
How many of these would you included in your content strategy?

• text
• audio
• video
• photos
• images
• graphics
• animations

5-Think about integrating 3D/ AR elements to your strategy.

According to global augmented reality statistics, there will be about 1.96 billion mobile AR users by 2021 and 2.4 billion users by 2023. A BRP report showed that nearly 50% of consumers were more likely to buy products from retailers that were also providers of AR experiences. When customers experience advertised products in context, by placing three-dimensional (3D) holograms of the products in their physical surroundings this AR-enabled product reduces the effort required to create purchase-related imagery. Where customers are increasingly distant when it comes to the purchasing context, AR makes it easier to imagine the product.

Which of these 5 points have you already integrated in your strategy?

We’d love to know.

Image from The Times.

Low resolution thinking: Why 3 simple Goals are better than 10 ambitious ones

How’s it going then? Still on that diet? Finished any of those very serious books you treated yourself to in the sales? Stopped craving cigarettes yet?

Post-it with 2021 Goals

Ok, maybe this year more than ever it’s understandable why the thought of committing to a New Year’s Resolution just has no appeal whatsoever (she writes as she eyes up the new running shoes she’s only used twice!).

Even in non-world-is-going-absolutely-mad times, only 46% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them.

The top ten self-improvement pledges are pretty predictable – exercise more, lose weight, get organised, learn a new skill, seize the day, save money, quit smoking, see family and friends more, travel more, read more – but the current state of everything means some of these are not just unappealing, but downright impossible!

So instead of the same old clichés, here’s three simple goals which we at Vertis Media think are more attainable and more beneficial than all the others (although you definitely should quit smoking).

  1. Time to prepare. It’s difficult to change habits and this requires a lot of mental energy. The brain simply won’t be able to focus on too many aims on top of the day-to-day tasks that you need to achieve on a daily basis.
  2. Less to deal with means more energy you can invest in the resolutions you choose. Dig deep into what it means for you to succeed: is it work? Quality time with a loved one? What tasks need to be carried out regularly in order to achieve this?
  3. Breakdown milestones within your goals and you can celebrate when you reach them! Make sure each task is achievable by setting realistic time-frames. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

What new skill will you be learning this year? We’d love to know ❤️

2020 Wrapped Up!

5 points it could be useful to bear in mind when it comes to your digital advertising strategy next year.

1) Videos are shared more than text and links combined.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that compelling video content is one of the most effective advertising tools. Why? Because people remember videos for longer and share them more often than other forms of media.

2) 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.

That’s a staggeringly high percentage, right? Also, customer reviews influence 67.3% of purchasing decisions. Sounds like people trust them just as much as personal recommendations which makes sense as the borders between people in real life and people we interact with online are blurring a tad more during lockdown life. This makes reviews an incredibly important resource for businesses especially at a local level.

3) Ad spending is on the up for 2021

eMarketer’s Global Digital Ad Spending Update Q2 2020 predicts that spending will achieve a moderate 2.4% growth this year but it is expected to bounce back with a growth of 17% in 2021.

4) Over 70% of YouTube watch time comes from viewers on mobile devices.

The number one gateway to internet access? Mobile phones. It follows that they have also become the most popular devices for watching video content. Nearly a quarter of the world’s population will watch a video on a phone this year.

5) 88% of consumers who search for a local business on their mobile call or visit that business within a day.

This staggering statistic shows the importance of making a good first impression on customers. What’s more, 18% of all local searches lead to a sale within 24 hours. It’s important to cater to your local clientele, as 72% of people who visit a physical shop choose one within five miles of their location.

Though these are just a few stats they point to the fact that this industry is in a state of rapid flux. As digital marketers get to grips with all the rapid technological advancements, an incredible wealth of opportunity has opened up. In this highly competitive landscape are you at the top of your game when it comes to standing out from the crowd?

So what’s next?
Context is the new focus for 2021. But not all environments are brand suitable and safe. Vertis Media offers personalised, brand-specific expertise that works to optimise and get the most from the heart and soul of a page in order to accurately gage the content.
As marketers we know that getting to the heart of the context of content is the number one route to connecting with the ideal audience. Head to our site to contact us and let us know what the project you are focusing on now is and how we can help you get the best results www.vertismedia.com.

How can contextual advertising help your business? Yes, even a small one!

There are 2 things we could really help you with right now, they are:

  1. Creating ads that integrate naturally an represent what your company and brand is all about.
  2. Cutting out the clutter!

Are you feeling scared?

Is anyone else feeling that with resources diminishing, budgets shrinking and Brexit looming, we might feel worried or even, let’s just say it out loud, scared! How can you give your company (you don’t have to be a multinational!) a boost without breaking the bank?
Contextual advertising can offer an alternative that is easy and affordable to start with, while providing a high-quality level of relevance. Let’s see why.

How often have you clicked on a page and a product ad pops up advertising something that doesn’t interest you in the slightest? Vertis Media creates contextual ads for organisations that want to go straight to the heart of the matter. Unlike other contextual ads, ours are created to match the original environment.

As a company we feel passionate about addressing a growing issue for advertisers and publishers alike: engaging with targeted users without interrupting and overloading them with irrelevant ads while generating sustainable revenue.

Vertis has delivered more than 150 brand campaigns for leading international clients such as GSK, Coca-Cola, P&G, Vodafone, Nissan, IBM among others. How do we do this?

Contextual insight

Vertis Media uses AI to provide brands with contextual insight that target audiences more effectively. No personal data involved- perfect for the future cookie-free environment the advertising world is prepping for!

The changing algorithms used by the AI system optimise real time solutions that lead to campaigns with a difference. Vertis Media maximises ROI and is on top of the mutating complexities of advertising. A platform for simplicity, profit and versatility

Native ads

Vertis Media’s real-time native proprietary technology automatically renders ads so they natively match the style and user experience of any publisher’s site. Everything from the font used to the way a text changes when a consumer mouses over it, the ad will behave just like any other content on that particular site.

The ad is also served as part of the framework of the site itself, which means if the publisher makes any stylistic changes to the layout of the page, the ad will automatically update and seamlessly match the look and feel of the site.

We can help you deliver engaging experiences so contact us to find out how.

Are you ready for a world with no cookies?

With many celebrating #nationalcookieday over the weekend are you ready for a world with no cookies?

The digital world is becoming cookie-free

GDPR changes have ensured that data is now handled with greater care, along with the CCPA and regulations in other regions following in their footsteps. Changes in data security practices have also taken place, with Facebook and Google: i.e. the removal of third-party cookies from internet browsers. Safari blocked cookies in 2017, along with Firefox, and Google Chrome, which accounts for around 60% of browsing, has announced a two year transition period to do the same.

What does a cookie-free marketing world look like? The last 10 years have seen the use of cookies to control data and get to know more about consumer audiences and how to target them efficiently. Consumers are worried by issues of malpractice which have endangered their privacy, leading them to increasingly question what data is collected about them and by whom

New exchange dynamics with consumers

Cookie freedom is happening and the most important thing to remember is that targeted digital advertising is here to stay but that the tools used to deliver it will adapt to incorporate more choice when it comes to consumers. The entire industry is now re-thinking the dynamics of exchange with consumers.

Google’s decision to drop support for cookies will entirely change the way advertisers can target consumers through its Chrome browser. Blocking the supply chain to these third-party data platforms will place a limit to what knowledge advertisers can gain once consumers leave their owned channels.

On the other hand, publishers have been educating their consumers about what it means to access free content, with ideas including paywalls and memberships- another way into the collection of data.

Next steps

Our industry has already braved a number of storms but has stood its ground. If we look to the opportunity rather than the threat of a cookie-free world, we can step into 2021 without fear. Engaging content and skilful positioning contextually will always stand you in good stead no matter what the changes are.
To find out more about your business and how we can work together in a cookie-free world, get in touch with us today.

What’s your advertising strategy for 2021?

3 questions you can ask yourself right now:

  1. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to increase your sales, generate more brand awareness or maybe you need to generate leads?
  2. Who is your audience?
  3. What kind of interesting, relevant content is going to get you where you need to be?

Step 1: Goal setting

Building an advertising strategy starts with being clear about which goals need to be set. What are you looking to achieve through your ad campaigns?

Goal examples:

  1. Generating leads
  2. Increasing sales
  3. New subscribers for a newsletter or website
  4. Increasing website traffic
  5. Raising brand visibility

The important thing here is not to be vague about what your goals is. Make your native ad campaign goals specific. Do you want more people to subscribe to your website? Have a figure in mind and make sure you set a deadline to work towards reaching that goal.

Step 2: Decide who your Target Audience is

Define the audience you want to reach. Contextual and native ads are actually able to direct content to people who have yet to hear about your brand but who would be happy to read information involving it.

The great thing about these types of ads is that you can target ads by age, gender, interests, location, device usage and more. This makes certain that the right people are being targeted with the right content, on the right devices, in the right places, at the right time.

Step 3: Build great content

Content is at the heart of any native advertising strategy. Our number one tip is that you need to think like a reader and not like an advertiser. What does your target audience want to see?

Aiming for informative content is always a winner!
Content to consider includes:

  1. Useful content to educate and inform people, and help them get to know your brand
  2. Informative content aimed at generating leads for particular products or services
  3. Content to drive sales

Start off by following these 3 starting points and you’re set for a successful and effective native advertising strategy for improving brand awareness, attracting leads and making sales. Get started with Vertis Media’s contextual and native advertising.

What does 2021 hold for digital marketing?

The sectors that came out winning from 2020 were media streaming businesses, mobile gaming and e-commerce propelled forward by peoples’ increased confinement for long periods of time.

As we creep towards 2021, however, our hopes are also tentatively gearing towards normality returning so let’s see what we think the two main trends for brands are:

  1. Creativity: In order to build unique and engaging experiences the future of native includes, without a doubt, the increasing integration of creative features and assets. Brands were already demonstrating more involvement in how its messages were being marketed but with Covid this process has accelerated, with brands using their in-house resources to develop new ideas when it comes to promoting what they have to offer.
  2. Flexibility: Given the historical moment we are currently experiencing, flexibility is everything. As distributors of digital campaigns Vertis Media are having to adapt extremely quickly in order to react to the changes that are occurring, sometimes on a daily basis, with the brands we work with. In a world in which things are changing at a faster pace than we could have ever imagined before (and that’s pretty fast because we basically lived on-the-go before anyway!) monumental changes are taking place which will affect how people behave. As a company we are supporting clients through a process that needs to reflect and adapt to the change in order to continue supplying users with the necessary support.

There are two important messages that we as a company assisting in the distribution of brand messages need to be sending out right now:

  1. Reassurance: brands need to let their consumers and audience know that they aren’t just still up and running but that they are, even more so than before, here for the long haul. Brands need to show that they are still able to provide the products, services and offers as they have done before…even in a situation of drastic change as with Covid.
  2. Innovation: ensuring that how the company is adapting to the current change is being made known to people as this is a demonstration of flexibility and strength at a time when many of our certainties are crumbling.

At this stage, it is impossible to predict what will happen and what our new normal will be. One thing is for sure: gone are the days when companies and brands were able to plan their marketing strategies months in advance.

It is of the utmost importance, therefore, to adopt a strategy that has within it the potential of adapting rapidly to changing messages that reflect the rapid change of the unpredictable times we are living in.

So how do you get started with native and contextual advertising? It’s easier than you think.

With 10 years’ experience, we’re experts in taking ideas, injecting creativity and distributing your branded content to the right audiences with your marketing objective in mind. To get things rolling contact us.


The Evolution of Native Advertising

The term “Native advertising,” an extremely popular term now, is actually fairly recent. It was first coined by Fred Wilson at the Online Media, Marketing, and Advertising Conference in 2011.

Native advertising is used to create content in order to build connections with their potential customers. The fact that the term itself is recent may lead people to assume that native advertising is a modern-day creation. In reality, the history of native advertising dates back to as early as the end of the 1800s, when John Deere published his agricultural journal, “The Furrow”, to promote his products to farmers.

How it all started

In the mid-18th and early 19th century newspaper ads were a one-column piece with very few images. Magazine advertisements were mostly reserved for the back pages of magazines.

Only a handful of companies utilized branded advertising to promote their products until a change occurred in the late-19th century. This change took place when companies began to manufacture standardized products such as soap, canned products, and cigarettes, with the objective of attracting buyers through an advertising campaign that spanned the entire nation.

New advertising styles were born at this time, including native advertising. As mentioned John Deere’s “The Furrow” was the first example with articles on agriculture and farming tips targeted at 17 different regions, the magazine’s, importantly, also included adverts that promoted his agricultural products.

The 20th century

The 20th century, saw native advertising taking on different formats. In the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of radio and TV industry in the 1920s and 1930s contributed strongly to the growth of native advertising.

On radio, companies often provided funding to radio programs to sustain their advertisement spots. “The Eveready Hour” was America’s first sponsored radio program on WEAF Radio in New York. It was first aired in 1923, and was sponsored by the National Carbon Company to promote the company’s Eveready Batteries.

The mass production of televisions meant that more businesses began to advertise their goods to specific audiences. America’s multinational consumer goods company P&G was among the first sponsors of branded TV drama series, hence came the term, “soap operas.”

The 21st century

The Internet, in the 21st century has provided the ideal environment for native advertising. Modern-day native advertising is no longer limited to radio or TV. Search engine companies encourage businesses to promote their services through search ads that connect with target customers.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also users of native advertising, meeting advertisers’ needs by displaying sponsored posts and tweets throughout their feeds. Starting 2011, Facebook started featuring “Sponsored Stories” in users’ News Feed, streamlining its advertisements into a combined unit with social context.

Similar to Facebook, Twitter interacts with businesses through its “Promoted Tweets” purchased by advertisers seeking to attract a particular audience group’s attention. This year has seen a rise, however, of non-social native advertising. The native growth rate in articles and publications is three times higher than native advertising in social media.

Why Native?

Native ads are visually similar to the publication: they use the same fonts, layouts, and graphic design as the environment that surrounds them. Brands are using it to promote their products in every type of medium, including print, online, video, and social media and they function just like natural content.

What are the advantages of Native Advertising?

In contrast to other, more traditional and invasive advertising formats, like banners or pop-ups which interrupt the internet user’s navigation, native advertising has the ability to attract much more attention from the readers.

This is mainly due to the fact that native advertising uses the format and style of the digital content to promote a certain content or product.
For full details of how native & contextual advertising can benefit your brand head over to www.vertismedia.co.uk