Starfish Ad Age Digital Marketing Agency Longview

Cookies without sugar!

What are cookies? 

Cookies are small pieces of code on websites that are used to help marketers track consumers’ behavior and interest. Publishers (websites) sell that user data in a marketplace auction. DMPs (Data Management Platforms) are ad tech companies that make a profit by collecting PII (Personal Identifiable Information) from cookies and other data tracking codes. 

 

What do cookies collect? 

Some of the data points that are collected are browser info, location-based data, device IDs, search history, IP addresses, and financial information. These are just a few things that you have given permission to sites to collect. I highly recommend that you download the browser extension called Ghostery (click here http://bit.ly/2nGpms6) this extension will provide you with more control over these third-party data trackers. 

Now that you have an idea of what DMPs track, it should be more obvious why these data points are so important to advertisers and publishers. Losing the ability to track users across an enormous ecosystem would render marketers useless very quickly. Walled gardens (Google, Facebook, and Amazon) have caused a serious debate over these platforms’ ability and their permission to harness our data. After all, isn’t the idea to connect inventory to users’ data and ultimately follow the consumer journey? 

 

What is happening to cookies? 

More and more users are demanding control over their data and how it is used or sold online. Browsers have taken significant steps to eliminate these cookies altogether, making it difficult for users to be tracked or targeted. Safari took an aggressive step to block cookies when ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) was introduced in 2017. It worked to protect privacy by restricting companies’ ability to track users online. Like many in this space, Apple believes that privacy is a human right, and we should have the choice to opt-in or out.

The most notable privacy regulation known as GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation) is not even a law in the US, yet it has still become the framework for the protection of user data. Many US states are starting to adopt similar regulations. For example, the  CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act) goes into law in 2020 and will mimic the GDPR about user data and identity protection.

 

How can I protect my business? 

First, you have to understand that there are so many moving parts to this, but the easiest thing to do is to make sure that your business is GDPR compliant. Regulation around privacy is taking its steps from the EU, so start there. Second, make sure you have easy access to a list of third-party trackers. Third, be sure to store all of the data securely and have the ability to remove any user data at any time. 

 

Wait, how will I be able to track my audience?  

It is not all bad news. As more and more regulations on digital privacy begin to merge, it is best to start understanding your targeted audiences. Marketing is all about having a connection with a consumer and making them feel like they have that personal relationship with you. 

Censorship & Cryptocurrency

Let’s start with the most recent YouTube announcement. YouTube is changing their guidelines to ban videos promoting the superiority of any group as a justification for discrimination against others based on age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. This will result in the removal of all videos promoting discriminatory ideologies. Users will no longer be able to post videos stating historically documented events did not happen. For example, the events surrounding 9/11. YouTube has already reduced the number of views by 50% for this type of video. The “next watch” panel will start to include videos from reputable sources instead of similar content only. Channels who repeatedly push the limits on discrimination policies will be restricted from running ads or using Super Chat which lets subscribers pay creators directly for additional chat features.

I’m curious to see how YouTube will interpret and apply their own policies especially considering they’re currently under fire for hate speech made by Steven Crowder (Louder with Crowder) towards Carlos Maza (Vox Strikethrough). Steven openly ridicules Carlos in his videos for being homosexual and Carlos has since received a daily influx of Social Media messages and emails including death threats. That’s the very definition of something that insights bullying and hate-speech yet YouTube is not taking down the content or doing anything to stop Steven Crowder. There is such a thing as good-natured ribbing or fun and people do that regularly even including racial/homophobic/religious, etc. slurs, but if the recipient is good with it and jokes back, then it’s obviously not bullying. That’s not what happened here.

I’m also a little unsettled by the thought that YouTube plans to “police” content. Does YouTube really want to step into an area of “censorship”? I say, let the Conspiracy theorists have their content about what did or did not happen on 9/11 or whatever other “well-documented” event that happens. Isn’t that part of free speech? Why does YouTube feel the need to “control” that type of content? It seems to me that they have an agenda and in time it will be revealed. Everything comes to light at some point.

Facebook Cryptocurrency

You read that right. Facebook has created their own Libra cryptocurrency and they’ve secured the backing of over a dozen companies which include major financial organizations like Visa and Mastercard, and trusted internet giants like PayPal, Uber, Stripe, and Booking.com. The announcement comes shortly after Facebook’s new update which allows users to participate in e-commerce through messaging products like WhatsApp and Messenger. They reportedly are looking into building physical terminals similar to an ATM so people can choose to convert their money into Libra.

The name of the currency interests me because it was a currency used in Ancient Rome and in Zodiac signs it represents a person who wants to create equilibrium in all areas of life. Is Facebook sending a message that they’d like to create a currency that is universally used and accepted? That sounds like it may be a move of Biblical proportions. Only time will tell.

Connect

2019 All Rights Reserved Starfish Ad Age LLC | Privacy Policy

Starfish Ad Age Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Agency Texas

What keeps you creative?

In a word? Coffee. But on a serious note, it is a challenge to be creative 24/7. However, it is one of the daily requirements, being a graphic designer. It is important to keep things fun while staying true to the requirements set forth by the client.

Personally, I take a lot of photos while I am off of work. I also travel quite a bit, so I like to use my personal photos in the ads that I create. I go walking on my lunch break and look for cool images that could be used for backgrounds. Sometimes a picture of something seemingly boring like a gravel path can be interesting when added to an ad.

Starfish is a digital agency, so I also use the social media platforms that we design ads for in my personal life. I like to be able to keep it fresh in my mind how the images will look on phones or tablets. Each platform has its pros and cons, and it is important to be aware of both.

Plus our work environment makes easier to come up with ideas. We have a fun group and joke around when brainstorming.  Our more “out there” ideas get written on our chalkboard walls. One step into our office and you would have a chuckle at our antics.

I also like to look over ads that others have created so I can get ideas, but also avoid accidentally copying artwork others have done in the past. I look at ads that I have created before but try to make them look refreshed, and new and exciting.

Those are just some ways that I can keep myself in a creative state of mind. It is very important in this industry, and each person is different, which is what makes our company so great. We all have different perspectives and techniques that come together to create amazing content for our clients.

Starfish Ad Age Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Agency Texas

What to Expect Partnering With Us

When trusting an agency to build up your brand and grow your business, you want to know what you are getting yourself into and who you are trusting your company with. There are a few things that you will get out of a partnership with Starfish…

A Full Digital Audit

Auditing your digital presence will allow us to identify areas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Digital audits align with one of our core values (hustle) because we work hard to continually improve. We perform an initial audit as well as additional audits periodically throughout our partnership.

 

A Customized Strategic Digital Plan

Many ad agencies offer predetermined packages that cannot be customized to fit your specific needs. One of the reasons we perform a full digital audit prior to beginning our partnership is because it allows us to identify areas that best meet your needs. We also continue to perform audits so that we can revise the strategic plan as necessary. In other words, as your companies digital needs change, we can customize the strategic plan to meet your needs instead of continuing to offer the “same old, same old.”

 

Personalized Advertisement

This specific area sets us apart from other advertising agencies. Many programmatic advertisers and Social Media marketers offer packages that only include generic advertisements they can use with any company. Our creative team produces personalized advertisements in which the images and content are tailored to appeal to your specific audience. Personalized ads are important for increasing brand identity in your market which aligns with one of our core values: family. We strive to produce content which will invite people into your brand’s family.

 

A Partner Invested in Your Success

We are more than an ad agency. We form partnerships because we understand that building a digital presence requires open communication and consistent effort from both partners. It also aligns with one of our core values: accountability. Partners hold each other accountable for their contributions to the partnership because those contributions make an impact on results.

 

We are invested in your success. Every ad, every post, every strategy, etc. is formulated from analyzing the data from your individual accounts. We are investing time and expertise in improving those results. It’s important to fully understand that we are making a long-term investment into your success. Just as social changes do not happen overnight, neither does a digital performance.

Starfish Ad Age Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Agency Texas

Meet the staff: Caroline

My name is Caroline Herman and I am Content Writer and Digital Media Assistant for Starfish Ad Age. I am the youngest staff member here at just 23 years old, but I like to think that being so young makes me a great addition to the team because I have a completely different perspective to bring to the table.

I write most of the content on our site, as well as editing all of the blogs before they go out, and writing page content for our clients. I also am the assistant to Abel so I handle emails, to do lists, and note taking galore. I am a college student right now studying Journalism and Mass Communications, and when I told Abel that I loved to write, he instantly began to assign me all kinds of projects. I absolutely love getting to do what I do every day.

When I am not at work though, I really like to spend time with my dog and my fiance. I love to read, explore thrift stores, and watch movies. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I even like to sit at the kitchen table with a puzzle and a cup of tea. I have always loved school and being in college and working full time is difficult of course, but I wouldn’t change it. I love the challenge.

A fun fact that people don’t really know about me is that I have lived in 4 different states and I have moved a total of 14 times in my 23 years. When I tell people that the first question I get is if I am from a military family. The answer is no, my dad’s job just took us around and then when I got older it was my own choice to move again. Now I live in Longview and while I don’t miss physically moving all of my stuff from place to place, I do want to live in a bigger city again someday. But for now, I love it right where I am with school and my job and my family close by.

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

5 Common Social Media Problems & Their Solutions

When one of our fabulous Social Media Coordinators asked for a blog about common social media problems and their solutions, I jumped at the opportunity to assign myself to the task. I believe I could seriously write a book about this one (I’m a problem solver by nature) and sometimes it’s a bit of struggle helping a company move from point A to point Z especially when I want to be on point ZZZ (haha that wasn’t meant to be a sleeping joke, but it kind of turned into one).

 

  1. Branding
    A common problem with branding on social media is that companies think the same rules for traditional advertising apply to digital advertising. The short answer is – they don’t. Here’s the problem: advertising on social media is not as simple as taking your traditional advertising (flyers, leaflets, coupons, brochures, etc.) and reformatting to digital sizing. #Nope. Let me repeat that a different way in case you’re a visual person.

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

 

Branding on social media is more than using the same font style and layout for every post. In fact, that may hurt your company because the content becomes boring to the audience. Each platform’s audience communicates differently and each of your audiences within those platforms communicates differently. It takes time and patience to learn their languages.

 

Solutions: 1) forget most of what you know about traditional branding guidelines because very little of it applies to social media, 2) create social media guidelines that define your social brand and how you will/will not speak to your audience but don’t put too much emphasis on colors/font styles, and 3) learn what awakens your audience(s) so you can increase opportunities to speak with them, actually keep their attention, and cultivate engagement.

 

  1. Ads vs. Posts
    One of the biggest mistakes (IMO) I see companies making on social media is that they use every post to sell something to their audience. They have 2500 followers and so they think “everyone” saw their post because it’s digital. In actuality, they are reaching 50-100 people with less than 5% engagement and sometimes 0% engagement. That’s a low percentage of reach and engagement.

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

Solutions: Rethink how you use social media. It’s much more involved than making a pitch to a follower. Paid ads on social media should be 1) designed to attract a buyer with creativity and strategy and 2) create a connection with a potential customer that leads them to follow you.

 

Posts on social media should be 1) centered around content that generates an atmosphere of dynamic social response, 2) building a community of loyal followersand 3) limited to 1 pitch for every 20-25 posts (unless you are an influencer/public figure with a major following).

 

People who like your content will like your product, buy it, and promote it. It really is that simple. Companies who embrace this simple philosophy will see the power of social media work to their benefit. Companies who try to work against the different platforms/audience types will continue to struggle in their social media efforts.

 

  1. Reality vs. Expectation

SMH. This one. This one right here gets me every month. When I look at current results and the expectation of better results, I smh. Data is an important part of generating results on social media. Did you know that many of these platforms have advertisements that are actively learning multiple factors that affect ad performance? An active ad gathers information about potential customers that is extremely important for planning, strategy, and implementation of future content/advertisements. Problems: 1) expecting more for less, 2) impatience and 3) expecting immediate results.

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

 

Solutions: 1) set expectations based on actual data and don’t just choose numbers out of the sky such as 50% growth over the last month or even 3 months because it’s most likely unrealistic and it lowers morale, 2) tell yourself over and over – chisel it in stone “There WILL be ups and downs. Plans don’t ALWAYS go according to plan. There are obstacles and external factors that affect results which may be out of your control. Adjust accordingly. Sometimes THAT IS the best anyone can do.” In other words, have patience with the process, and 3. It takes a minimum of 2 weeks to a full month to get a good baseline of data. Account for strategy/implementation time. Realize there will be adjustments along the way for each creative and even for every factor and all of those adjustments affect data/results.

 

  1. Audience & Growth

I just about fall out of my chair laughing when I hear someone question the population of their city and why they don’t have more followers. Here’s the problem: they think that potential audience growth is calculated by deducting followers from the population. That is absolutely incorrect. SMH. Let’s look at a real-life example. The population of Kalamazoo, Michigan is 75,807 (2017 US Census). Lindenwoods Dental has 222 Facebook followers. It’s a problem to think that they could potentially add another 75,585 followers. It’s unrealistic, unreasonable, illogical, and a whole list of other not so fabulous adjectives.

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

 

Solution: Realize that your data pool of potential followers gets smaller or larger as you consider internal and external factors.

 

Here are a few things I would consider to start:

What is the percentage of people in the area who use dental services?
How many competitors are in the area?
How far would they like to extend their reach?
Are they looking for customers who only want a specific type of dental service?

 

This list gets more detailed and refined as more factors are added into the audience growth strategy. The answer to these questions (and many more) will increase/decrease potential audience growth. And it makes a difference which platform of social media as well as whether or not you are a single local company, one with multiple locations/branches, a national chain, etc.

 

 

  • The Boost Monster

 

Problem: not knowing when to boost or promote a post. I call it the boost monster because some companies feed it lots of money with very little return. Month after month, they spend hundreds of dollars (maybe thousands) on boosting/promoting posts that receive less engagement than what they would if they were to focus on increasing their organic growth.

 

Solutions: 1) determine the level of engagement you require to boost a post and adjust this number as you grow your engagement rates and 2) evaluate your return on spending. Most social platforms are designed to calculate engagement and they provide useful tips to help you decide if something is boost/promotion-worthy. Evaluate your return. Were the results worth your cost (both in time spent/dollars spent)? What results could have been yielded if you spent those hundreds or thousands of advertising dollars on something that yields greater results?

The New Traditional

Recently, I had a conversion with a friend who has been in Traditional media for over 20 years.

Our discussion got a bit heated about how traditional is no longer as relevant as it was five years ago. Frequency is no longer the best format in traditional. The dollars are wasted, why? Because, no one is watching or listening anymore at 5 o’clock or on broadcast time, we are all too busy getting content from our phones.

Face it we now use our phones to pay bills, check balances, order pizza, play music, check up on family and friends through social media, communicate with emails, text and in some cases use the actual phone to make a real call to someone. We have moved quickly and quietly to a device that has hundreds of platforms out there we use every day.

To prove my point, I’m writing this blog on my iPhone right now using an app and listening to music at the same time while am waiting to get a haircut, Convenience!

Being able to reach an audience on these devices have become a difficult task.

My friend’s argument was that people don’t click on ads. “Ok, you got me there, cause I don’t either.” I don’t click on random ads, but when the ads are relevant or interesting TO ME, the chances have gotten much higher. It’s not about flooding a user with ads. Targeting audiences on the most personal device they own take a lot more planning, A/B testing, creative and optimizing.

Consumers move quickly from platform to platform, regardless of the news of companies like Facebook selling your data to advertisers (as if you didn’t already know, nothing is free and your data is currency). Consumers want instant gratification (there’s an app for that) and what better device than mobile.

Now, I am not advocating for brands to completely remove traditional from their marketing strategy, but the amount they spend on traditional shouldn’t be the same or more. If brands have not shifted budgets over to digital, they are going to come in last in this digital marathon, and trust me you don’t want to cross the finish-line or check that box off.

So my rebuttal was Programmatic creates that same kind of traditional gratification but in a digital format, focusing on mobile devices should be your #1 push.

Food for thought…

Social Platforms and Programmatic

This morning I had a thought as to how brands can leverage some of the platforms across all of these different ecosystems. One of the things that I have learned, based purely off of experience and practicing what I preach, is being able to build a brand inside of these ecosystems. When you look at social, those platforms are the best way for you to build your brand regardless of if you are just starting out or have been in business for decades.

On these platforms, there is no way that you can go in there and think that what you did five or ten years ago with traditional will give you the same brand recognition on those platforms. You have to go at it like nobody knows who you are… because they don’t.

It’s kind of like what Gary Vee’s book Jab Jab Right Hook says. Can you sell a product on these platforms? Absolutely. I believe you should. But not every single post should be about you trying to sell something to someone. You are actually talking to another human being. This is an interaction and a networking opportunity for you. Once you establish that connection with your consumer, then you have the ability to target them. You can use that same methodology; jab with social and give them a right hook programmatically.

A lot of people don’t understand that you can use programmatic strategically as an overall capability to leverage so much of your marketing and your strategy. Because so many people get lost in just two platforms, or maybe they hate programmatic. Gary Vee is not a fan of programmatic, but he talks about doing a Google search and hours or days later you go on youtube and see an ad for what you searched previously. That is a form of programmatic. When you think about it, you are actually telling Google what you want to see. You put yourself in an auction environment inside that ecosystem. You are telling the market what kind of product you want to see and what you are interested in buying.

Being able to do that is a form of programmatic regardless of what you think. It is extremely important for brands right now to use social as a way to tell a story. If you can’t tell a story, and you are just going to rely on the traditional media you have used for the past 50 years, you won’t get any engagement or new business. You need to be able to appeal to a younger generation; someone who is actually using these platforms. You need to give them a reason to buy your products and tell them a story that makes them feel comfortable as if your product is the right one for them at that particular time. If all you are going to do is sell, sell, sell… you are going to lose.

2019 All Rights Reserved Starfish Ad Age LLC | Privacy Policy

Starfish Ad Age Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Agency Texas

Psychological Marketing

There are many key components to being a successful marketer. One of them is understanding how (and why) people think and behave the way that they do. It would be really hard to create a motivating ad for someone if you don’t know what it is that motivates them in the first place wouldn’t it? Understanding some very basic principles of psychology can really help your marketing go from good to amazing. There are 5 basic principles to psychology that you should be using in your marketing strategy:

Priming- Here’s how this works: You are exposed to one stimulus, and it affects how you respond to another. It’s that simple. For example, if you ask someone to follow a word you say with the first word that pops into their head, they will respond to whatever you say with their semantic association to that word. I would say “banana” and you would say “yellow”. In marketing practices, you could benefit from priming because you can subtly help people remember your brand better. Think about the smallest details; they could make a huge difference.

Reciprocity- If someone does something for you, you will naturally want to do something for them. In marketing, there are a lot of ways to make this work in your favor. Giving away freebies is a great way to make people feel like they should do something to “pay you back” in a way. And it could even be something as simple as a piece of candy or a pen with your business’ name on it.

Social Proof- This is the theory that people will become very similar to the people closest to them and that they trust. In other words, this is a desire to conform. Use social sharing and follow buttons on your blogs that display the number of followers you have. That causes people to fall in line and follow you too.

Scarcity- The rarer an opportunity or product is, the more people are inclined to purchase it. You just have to be very careful with how you word this one. You have to make it sound like there used to be a lot of a product but now there aren’t due to popular demand. You can’t make it seem like there are only a few products total because that is all you had to begin with.

Anchoring- People base decisions on the first piece of information they are given. That means that if someone normally buys shoes for
$50 and they see some on sale for $35, they are going to buy the cheaper shoes because they think they’ve gotten an amazing deal. But on the other hand, if someone who normally pays $20 for their shoes sees those $35 sale shoes, they aren’t going to be as impressed. That’s why online sales have the sale price listed next to the original price, which is exactly the principle you want to follow.

As you can see, there are many different ways our psychology can affect how we purchase products or services. Which means that as a marketer there are almost limitless possibilities to how you can use this information to your benefit. You just have to know the science behind it all.