Why Is Context Crucial?

contextual advertising

Until not so long ago, contextual solutions for advertising served two main purposes: brand safety and the identification of a potentially relevant inventory for ads based on keywords or contextual information.

The last few years, however, contextual advertising has taken advantage of powerful new technologies that provide a strong variety of cutting-edge capabilities and tools.

The businesses that are making the most of that innovation are no doubt gaining an advantage over their competitors in being heard by key audiences in relevant environments whilst protecting their brands.

The following 3 developments in contextual advertising are providing opportunities for the marketers of today and tomorrow:

1- Adding More than Text to Contextual:Impact and Relevance

This truly is an exciting step forward in contextual advertising: a horizon solely comprising words is expanding to include audio, video, images, and more.

Advertisers can use their existing contextual intelligence solutions through ever evolving integrations, allowing them to keep up with changing technologies and consumer consumption patterns through multimedia and multiple formats.

Marketers are now given a comprehensive understanding of content which includes audio, video, and images ensuring a more useful understanding when and where to publish ads.

2-The move from brand safety to brand suitability

The keyword-based blacklist approach used by many companies encompasses words, such as shoot or drugs, making it too wide and ineffective to a properly address the subtlety of brands and the human aspect of language more generally.

The appropriateness of contextual intelligence taps into the uniqueness of brand identity in order to offer control over where ads appear. It also avoids inappropriate content while maintaining the ability to stay connected to the particular reality of the brand.

3-Content analysis that makes the most of consumer trends

Content analysis is a portal into consumer engagement and hot topics that can lead to highly productive planning centred around specific dates: holidays, events, upcoming news, and other opportunities.

Contextual intelligence also allows marketers to analyze trending content to capitalise on media and make the most of real-time opportunities. This kind of event-based content is a core part of a strategy which aims to work from quality audience data. Marketers can take advantage of positive, brand-building content whilst avoiding negative information.

The result? A campaign that’s optimized to be its most relevant at the time of its delivery.

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…

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.

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.

What is the brutal truth about advertising?

Native knows what I need before I do…

The brutal truth about advertising

It is an important time for advertising: never has it been accessible to so many people.
There has never been less control over what is distributed generally. To think back at a time when a publisher decided whether to accept all of someone’s budget based on whether their readers were actually engaging with their print ad is ridiculous… But that is exactly how things work today digitally. With the enforcement of GDPR legislation, advertisers have even less control.

A lot of the consumers are now more vocal than ever about not wanting to be exposed to marketing. Ads are being ignored. The first banner ad came out 25 years ago which in internet years is around 100 years for every human year (!). Perhaps what was at one time disinterest has quickly turned into displeasure and to be honest most advertising is just making it worse!

Native advertising presents the consumer with an alternative that is creative, non intrusive and that actually makes sense to their journeys as customers.

I heard someone say the other day, ”Sometimes, I don’t even know what it is I need but I log on to my instagram account or read an article and the “right” ads come up with things that I wanted to get anyway!”.

This is because native ads respect peoples’ boundaries and look nice… This may seem like a strange thing to say but it is also equally as important for the ads not to give you a sore eye!

The Future of Advertising

Advertising is becoming increasingly personalised but also automated, immersive and experiential… All this is, of course, trackable as incredible technology is helping advertisers go where advertisers have never been before.

The Future of Advertising

1. For the first time ever, 2019 sees digital accounting for about half of the global ad market (eMarketer).

2. The growing fanbase for Voice. According to Juniper Research, 2.5 billion voice assistants were in use at the end of 2018, and that number is expected to more than triple by 2023 (Source: Adobe Digital Insights).

3. Interesting fact: 39% of people who heard a voice ad later went on to purchase the product advertised (Adobe Digital Insights).

4. The future is programmatic: by 2021, 88%, or $81 billion, of all U.S. digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically (eMarketer).

5. 50% of Generation Z and 42% of Millennials identified social media as the most relevant advertising channel (Adobe Digital Insights).

Win a £3000 worth Golden Ticket for MAD//Fest London 2019 with Vertis Media

Vertis Media is hosting a Golden Ticket give-away for MAD//Fest London 2019, the most exciting adtech, martech & tech disruption festival in the world.

MAD//Fest opens its doors on the 13th November for two days of inspiring content with the biggest brands and break-out start-ups. If you’re a marketer, advertiser or disrupter, join us to meet, learn and seek out new ideas, connections and partnerships.

VertisMedia, the European adtech startup are proud sponsors of MAD//Fest, committed to promoting diversity and opportunities for people from all backgrounds to enter the media industry and switch brands, agencies, publishers and tech firms.

The festival line-up includes some of the most influential senior marketers in the UK and:

  • 2,000 + brands
  • 150 + speakers from the world’s top brands, agencies + platforms
  • Pub of the future, interactive cocktail bar + MAD//Senses Room
  • 100 exhibitors across three curated halls.
  • Lots + lots of networking, drinks, parties + unconventional fun in an old East End brewery.

Register here for a chance to join the people carving out the future of marketing, advertising and technology.

The winner will be announced on 08/11/2019.

What is digital display marketing?

Display advertising is a type of advertising that uses text, animations, photos or videos to target users with a commercial message.

digital display marketing

There are 3 main types of display advertising campaigns:

  1. Retargeting
  2. Acquisition
  3. Brand awareness

Retargeting, also known as behavioural marketing relies on custom segmentations in order to deliver relevant ads to your audiences.

Acquisition ad campaigns can be very expensive and not give great results: a lot of banner ads are competing for the same space with highly retargeted ads that have a stronger chance of converting.

Brand awareness focuses on reach as opposed to direct conversions. The aim here is to reach as many people as possible and make sure they get interested in the brand/product advertised. These campaigns need to run for longer if they are going to be effective