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

Are you doing these 5 things to look after your customers?

If there is anything you can do to make your digital marketing customers happy then now is the time to ‘do a Nike’ and JUST DO IT.

Is it time to shift the focus from making completely new customers to instead investing energy in those “casual customers”?
Who are casual customers? They are those new visitors that have already purchased something the one time and are just one step away from making that valuable second purchase.

Consider this likelihood of success:
Selling to an existing customer 60-70% vs selling to a new prospect 5-20%. Now is the time to build a solid relationship, company to customer, by interacting with them with informative content during each phase of their journey.

Here are some of our tips on how to turn one-time buyers into loyal customers:

  1. Use special occasions to promote your products. Is it New Year? Xmas? An anniversary or 5 years since you launched your business? Celebrate this! It’s an occasion to talk about your brand by reminding customers when they first bought your product or send them wishes on their birthdays. These a great way of reminding them that you are there. Even if they don’t take you up on your offer of a discount they will appreciate that you remembered their birthday!
  2. Let your customers know about price changes. If your customer was one step away from making a purchase then some additional information on the price can really influence them when it comes to making that transaction. What’s important here is conveying a sense of urgency when it comes to them adding the product to their basket. These messages with purchase updates create more engagement and promote stronger ties with the brand.
  3. Send a top-up reminder. Has the customer already bought a product that could be running low now? Ink, water filters, copy paper? Now is the time to send a reminder that they should reorder and this will encourage repeat purchases and make sure they don’t go to a competitor for the same product.
  4. Reward Loyalty. Make sure you make the customers who stay loyal to your brand feel that you appreciate their support. Either premium content or exclusive early access to a sale, for instance, encourages commitment to your business.
  5. Reviews. Has your customer made a purchase? Following it up with a request for a review will make sure that your company gains visibility in the eyes of other customers- especially if it’s positive!

Strengthening your Brand in a Time of Crisis

Is it time to think about what type of content is likely gain consumer trust?


One of the many consequences of the Pandemic in consumer spending has been the increased awareness customers have on how best to spend their money. People everywhere are becoming more switched on when it comes to how best to spend their money.

Let’s be honest, it’s just not the best time for people to splash out or try new things. They will for sure go for brands they trust and that provide the continuity that the outside world cannot right now.

This makes brand values and how money is spent more relevant than ever and that must be the focus for marketers that want to engender trust and survive in a new market.

Why is it important to know what your ideal customer looks like?

The lockdown has meant spending more time in front of computers with increased online activities which includes, of course, online purchases. Of course online shopping was already a thing but from being a mix of both face to face and online, stats show that 90% of consumers admit to avoiding physical shops as much as possible and this change has consequently meant how consumers interact with brands has also changed.

Engagement with the increased digital communication on behalf on brands has increased notably but understanding what your ideal customer looks like and needs is important, now more than ever.

How can you create interesting content that inspires loyalty?

So, what helps build this picture of your brand’s ideal consumer? How can you give your customer, the customer who will invest and remain loyal to your brand, a face?

In this increased pandemic digitalized scenario, tracking what customers are really interested in has become possible through a type of advertising that sits within relevant content accessed by those customers. In addition to being relevant it is also content that, because it seeks not to disrupt the flow of the general context, tends to engage on an emotional level with your shopper creating engagement and a longer lasting impression.

In short, this is content aligned with that customer’s personality engendering success as a consequence. Both liked and trusted, your brand is now situated in prime position to achieve the best results. How? Through engaging content.

This Reuter’s survey states that 75% of consumers admit that if the content is interesting to them, it is guaranteed they will somehow interact with it.

Taking Ikea as an example, with whom we work with all year round on the Italian market, you can see how their brand message adapted to these turbulent times through native advertising.

Following changes in their communication, ecommerce went up by 60%. Why was that? Is it just because people are on their laptops, tablets and smart phones more? Perhaps. But crucially, native advertising makes sure the right eyeballs are seeing the right content.

Think of the office worker who has been asked to work from home: they’ll most likely do some research on how to improve their home office – or perhaps how to assemble one from scratch. They search for an article detailing this… and there is Ikea. Offering solutions to a problem the person is researching, within the very article that the person is reading. Not a generic banner ad at the top of an irrelevant website, but targeted to the very people who need to see it at the very time they are searching for it. The right place at the right time.

Speed was of the essence for these campaigns at the start of lockdown and the great thing is here that you can repurpose content you already have, and can you imagine…Ikea has tons of it…Ikea’s messaging resonated with people because it still reflected its values: adapting to what your situation is and making the best of it, promoting a type of space that can allow a sense of togetherness even through difficult times.

Do you think your brand is worth it try a type of advertising which can get you the results that will carry you through these difficult times? I’d love to hear from you on how you plan to boost your brand for 2021!

Mad//Anywhere 2020…What a blast!

A massive thank you to all at MAD FEST LONDON for putting together such an amazing and powerful event last week. The Vertis team was delighted to sponsor the two-day conference that brought together the brands and people leading change across marketing, advertising and tech.

Check out Allie’s 5-minute talk, From Victims to Victory: How a Crisis Can Make Marketing Matter More Than Ever, on being brand ready in challenging times and how to ensure future growth through contextual advertising.

Here are 3 tips on how to emerge stronger and start 2021 with a bang!

  1. Create authentic content. Respond to customer needs by creating and re-purposing authentic content. Reach your consumers with relevant, engaging and timely content and ads on the platforms that most align with your brand values.
  2. Not sure what your brand values are? No problem! Go back to the drawing board and really get to the bottom of what the brand stands for and work onwards and upwards from there.
  3. Be flexible. Given the historical moment we are currently experiencing, flexibility is everything. Be ready to adapt extremely quickly in order to react to the changes that are occurring, sometimes on a daily basis.

What brands and consumers can expect for Christmas 2020

With the Christmas countdown starting as early as July 2020, how is your brand getting ready for the year’s most important shopping season during these Covid-times?

Have you been exposed to Christmas ads as early as August 2020? Was your reaction a mix of astonishment and uncertainty? Probably the last thing you’d expect in an already very unusual year.

Yes, because 2020 will be surely remembered as the year where the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the world as we know it. People are living differently, buying differently and, in many ways, thinking differently. Is Covid-19 going to affect Christmas 2020 too?

Consumers starting 2020 Christmas shopping earlier than usual

According to a research by financial comparison experts at money.co.uk, August 1st was officially identified as the best day for Brits to start shopping for Christmas 2020 and bag the biggest discounts.

John Lewis opened its Christmas shop earlier than ever after it found that searches for festive products had nearly quadrupled compared with last year (Guardian, 24 August 2020).

In US Burger King ran a multichannel campaign to celebrate Christmas in July 2020. Image Source: marketingdive.com. Courtesy of Burger King

Brands have started launching their Christmas advertising campaigns earlier than ever, and this is happening not only in the UK and not just online. In the US, Popeyes has already started the 2021 New Year countdown in Times Square, 135 days early. Burger King ran a multichannel campaign to celebrate “Christmas in July (2020)” aiming to bring goodwill and cheer to consumers during a difficult year.

What Brands can expect for Christmas 2020

According to a report by Pinterest, Earlier than Ever: Holiday 2020, “historically, people on Pinterest start making holiday plans in September. This year, they started searching and saving for the holidays … in April.” The report suggests families, in particular, are focused on making this year’s holiday period feel special by making it feel as normal as possible but better and on a budget.

In facts, a research from Rakuten revealed that the top priority in 2020 is to celebrate in the most cost efficient way possible. Consequently, more than a quarter (27%) of UK consumers are to start Christmas shopping and prepare for the 2020 holiday earlier than usual.

The same trends are confirmed by a recently released Ebay’s Christmas Spend Trends report. The survey, based on a sample of over 2,000 adults in the UK who celebrate Christmas, found out that almost half of consumers plan to do more of their Christmas shopping online than they have done previously, with a third expecting to do all their Christmas shopping online this year.

Consumers are more likely to conduct their peak Christmas shopping via online channels

Surge in demand prompted John Lewis to start online sales 10 days earlier than 2019. Image Source: John Lewis Christmas

What Consumers expect from Brands this Christmas

In touch with reality. Informative. Inspirational. This is what consumers want from brands this Christmas, according to the Ebay’s Christmas Spend Trends report.

A survey by OnePoll and production company Truman Films, found that one-third of consumers said they would feel less positive about a brand that spends a lot of money on Christmas TV ads considering the impact of the pandemic.

Asked about the style of advertising they would like to see, respondents of the OnePoll survey signalled a preference for real stories and a move away from scripted, fictional characters. Just 8% of people thought brands should cast actors over people telling their own stories.

How to plan marketing and advertising this Christmas

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.

What messages brands need to be sending outs

There are two important messages that we, as a company assisting in the distribution of brand messages, believe that brands 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.

3 practical ideas to connect with consumers this Christmas

If you are a marketer or a founder working on strategies for the important Christmas period, these are some simple ideas that we at Vertis Media have put together to pivot and prepare your business for the Christmas shopping season.

  1. Create Authentic & Real Content. Respond to customer needs by creating and re-purposing authentic and real content. Reach your consumers with relevant, engaging and timely content and ads on the platforms that most align with your brand values.
  2. Use native advertising effectively. Native ads are informational rather than promotional by nature and may be crucial for your storytelling and for building inspirational and effective Christmas 2020 ads. Native advertising is very versatile allowing brands to rapidly change and adapt overtime to match what consumers require in specific moments and by giving the ability to transform existing assets into thousands of unique ads.
  3. Be flexible. Given the historical moment we are currently experiencing, flexibility is everything. Be ready to adapt extremely quickly in order to react to the changes that are occurring, sometimes on a daily basis.

What’s your weapon of mass marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is another word for experiential marketing and that is to offer an immersive and exceptional experience to potential customers.

mass marketing action

The term, first used in Levinson’s book ‘Guerrilla Advertising’, finds its roots in the term guerrilla warfare, a form of warfare that utilizes the element of surprise and sabotage to win against enemies. The shock value provokes engagement and after having experienced this immersive experience, the consumer is then more likely to share their memorable experience with the advertisement through word of mouth.

Guerilla campaigns are normally targeted towards city centers or public areas with high traffic in order to encourage the most number of people possible who see it to “record” it in some way: picture it, film it and spread it across their social media platforms.

Why are Guerrilla Marketing tactics so popular?

  • Low cost: the focus is more on creativity and time than money.
  • The surprise element makes it easier for consumers to share the experience
  • Experiential marketing creates a sudden “connection” between the consumer and the brand because of the “shock” factor.

Look at the following example of Guerrilla “street marketing” to advertise the HBO series, The Sopranos:

guerilla marketing sopranos

Thanks to guerrilla advertising, companies are focusing on having a better relationship with their customers and improving their customer follow-up. By using tools such as email subscriptions, newsletters and offers, companies are able to retain repeat customers and get new ones through referrals and word of mouth.

Should I do paid advertising on Facebook?

Did you think Facebook was big? Well, think again…Facebook is humungous! Not only is it the biggest social network out there, but it’s also one of the largest and results-oriented online advertising platforms that exist in the entire world.

How to run a successful Facebook paid ads

This fact actually blew my mind considering its beginnings as a uni intranet system and it shows how far we’ve come.
What shouldn’t come as a surprise however is that Facebook, with a user base of approximately 2 billion, has the potential to help you nail down the majority of your target audience. I.e. People who are actually interested in doing business with you.

All this sounds great, right? But in order to get the kind of positive results you want, you need to know what goes into running successful Facebook paid ads. Because if you get that right then it gets a whole lot easier to get a high return on your initial investment.
Don’t be discouraged by the process if you’ve never worked with Facebook paid ads before it can feel really frustrating. This is your money you are investing and it is real so the last thing you want is to waste your budget, here are some ideas to avoid just that.

Choose your market goal objective i.e.

  • More sales for your latest product?
  • Are there any quality leads that you can nurture?
  • Can you improve brand awareness?
  • Can a company blog increase your traffic?

No matter what your ultimate objective is, the Facebook paid ads you create and the campaigns you run must be aligned with it — right from the start. This helps you achieve two things:

  1. You will be able to design more relevant and click-worthy ads that your audience can connect with.
  2. You will be able to choose the best and the most relevant campaign objective (e.g. Local Awareness, Conversions, etc.)

Remember, choosing the right objective is integral for your campaign, not only because it’ll stop you from losing your advertising dollars but also because it’ll set you up for better Facebook paid ads campaigns in the future.

Target properly…Don’t waste your money!

SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING… I guess you’ve heard that before? This is also true of Facebook’s user base! And especially so when it comes to choosing your audience.

Please avoid targeting anybody and everybody with your ads… Quality over quantity and so on and so forth! Doing so may let you generate a lot of engagement and a whole bunch of paid clicks. But what’s the actual point if the people seeing your ad if they aren’t actually interested in what you have to offer? Even if they engage and click, they won’t convert because they cannot benefit from your service or product.
So, don’t waste your money.

What size is your perfect size?

Some useful questions:
How large is the group of people that will be interested in your product or service?
Is it bigger or smaller than you thought?

In order to experience a strong return on investment, try to achieve a balance between the following:

  • Quality of your audience
  • Size of your audience
  • The price you’re paying to reach out

It’s all about the images

Facebook ads are all about the visuals. This means that if users stop scrolling and look at your ad, they will focused on how interesting the image is to them.
The challenge is to match the visuals or creatives used to fit the target audiences’ taste. If you snooze you lose (their attention) and their precious clicks.

Mad//Fest 2019 wrapped up

A huge thank you to our friends at MAD/ Fest for curating such a powerful and future-focused event last week. The Vertis team was delighted to sponsor the two-day conference that brought together the brands and people leading change across marketing, advertising and tech. From mega global brands like Google, Snapchat and TikTok through to fresher-faced startups, like, well, us, we came together to meet and learn in a hub of innovation, creativity and culture.

Brand clarity and purpose

Highlights include Dishoom’s Thamil Thakrar share how this deeply authentic group has imbued culture, story and experience into its brand to truly disrupt its category – on their terms, to deliver a customer experience that’s big-hearted and first class.
Elsewhere Skyscanner’s Jo McClintock took a full-house through the growth brand’s marketing transformation, rooted in values – for them, everything starts with the traveller – data and an attitude of courage.

CMO Katie Evans shared Burger King’s journey to re-invent itself as a legacy brand, and its integrated strategy to create Whopper Day resulting an instant 30% surge for the brand.
The common thread running through these brand strategies is having foundational values and purpose at your core.

Key adtech trends for 2020

Laura caught up with MAD//Fest’s content team to share her thoughts on 2020’s key adtech trends too. Here’s what she predicts:

  • With 80% of internet traffic being video by 2020, marketers will need to ensure their content creates cut-through. Using the latest video formats across your marketing funnel is how your brand will stay competitive.
  • Producing innovative, memorable content with storytelling at its centre will create the opportunity for brands to connect with their customers on a more emotional level – essential for the purpose-led consumer.
  • We’re seeing a rise in long-form video content. Already brands such as Patagonia are going beyond “snackable” content, to create longer-form (beyond 3 minutes) content that is engaging, culturally relevant and inspires stronger brand loyalty.

Putting human back in brands

MAD//Fest was the opportunity for our team to forge new relationships, explore partnerships and meet our peers in person as well as stay ahead of the adtech trends defining 2020. A great reminder of the power of real connection.
If you’d like to discuss where contextual and native advertising fits in your 2020 plan, get in touch.