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Category Archives for "Programmatic"

Mar 27

5 Rules for Graphic Design

By Austin McDade | Creative , Programmatic , Uncategorized

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

Whenever you are working with text it can be easy to just crank down the leading to make the text take up the least amount of space possible, but you want to make sure that there is enough leading between the tallest part of the line below and the lowest part of the line above to ensure that there’s nothing touching. There should be enough room for you to be able to run a line between them without it touching either one. This rule is more flexible when you’re designing logos because they usually only have a handful of words as opposed to a full paragraph, and sometimes you can play off of the letters touching.
When choosing text do not make every font stylized otherwise they’ll be fighting for the viewers’ attention, you want to only choose a maximum of three fonts. For your primary font, you can choose whichever style you want, this will be the attention piece of your design. For the secondary font, choose on that is more readable that you would use for a paragraph heading. This font should be what grabs the viewers attention after they’ve read everything you want at the forefront. And for the third font, you should choose something easy to read in bulk because this will be what you use for all the lengthy content. The font you chose should be simple to provide a visual break from the previous two.
When working with colors never choose all fully saturated colors, choose one or two colors that you really want to stand out then choose more subdued colors from there. Start by choosing any color you’d like, preferably not a fully saturated color like 100% red, but your mileage may vary. For your next color, choose something complimentary to the first one, while keeping the saturation under around 70%. And for your final color, it should be something plain in comparison to the others, this will be the color you use most so it shouldn’t take away from your primary.
Never use two fully saturated colors on top of each other when it comes to text, a common example would be red on blue or vice versa. When you have two colors like those right next to each other, they create a visual tension that makes it almost impossible for the viewer to read. Another example would be when you are designing for people above 60 years of age, or who have poorer eyesight. In that case, you should try to avoid white text on a black background because when they look at it the black constricts the white type. So to counter this you should choose a nearly white background for your text so that it doesn’t have to fight for dominance.
Finally, you shouldn’t leave visual elements too close to the edge of your design. This creates a visual tension that either leads the viewer’s eyes off the design or makes it harder for them to focus on anything else in the design. You should keep all elements within a good distance of the edge, anything that leads off the page should be intentional. An example would be if you are trying to lead the viewer through the current design and guide them into the next.
These are just some examples of the ways that our graphic design team ensures quality work for their projects. They are very precise when it comes to details, and they keep the client and their target audience in mind with their designs. If you want to know more, contact us about taking your marketing to the next level.

Mar 25

The Best Software for Graphic Design

By Traci Hudson | Creative , Programmatic

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

There are options for people that want to build graphics and different programs offer features for various needs of graphic designers. At Starfish, we use Adobe programs for most of our creative. Adobe offers several programs in its Creative Suite; InDesign, Photoshop & Illustrator.

When building ads, I tend to use both Photoshop and InDesign. I choose the images that will be used and edit them for contrast, colorspace and sizing, then I save them for use in InDesign.

InDesign is the program I use to lay out large amounts of text or to create multiple pages of copy. While most ads I build for Starfish are more graphics heavy, I use InDesign for most of the ads that I create. I previously worked for various newspapers and that is the program that we used the most. The text is easiest to manipulate in this program and it has guidelines that make it easier to keep items aligned. Drawbacks to the software include lack of adjustments for graphics, which means that they need to be ready for layout prior to being imported to the file, and the files can be quite large when exporting them.

Photoshop is my second favorite software for creating art. I love the multitude of options for editing, and its interface is pretty straightforward and simple to understand. The reason I don’t really use it for ad building is that I find the text tool difficult to use. But my favorite options are the filters, which I use to make photos look like paintings or stone. I also cut-out objects from the backgrounds of various images on a daily basis and photoshop makes that easy to do.

Illustrator is the most powerful of the three programs. It is used for creating larger, vector type files which can be scaled for large display signage and other uses. I typically do not use the software but it is great for people who want to create characters and logos.

I enjoy using these programs and they go hand in hand together with design. There are other programs available for designers and people who just want to do simple photo editing. There are free options out there as well. I am so grateful that I have the ability to use the Creative Cloud.

Mar 22

How Are We Different?

By Abel Sanchez | Accountability , Family , Hustle , Programmatic , Social Media , Starfish Core Value

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

I was asked the other day why I opened up an ad agency and quite honestly my answer is that I just got tired of working for media companies. They measure their success based on their own metrics rather than on results, and customers don’t know who or what to believe anymore. A lot of customers have misconceptions about how digital works because they have this rep that they trusted and that rep was told how to pitch a product based on some metric that was given to them by their “corporate VP of digital sales” or whatever. Those are incorrect metrics.

I came from a pretty big organization, and I had a lot of the VPs and people that were supposed to be more educated on digital come to me and ask me questions once they found out that I was IAB certified. Once I became certified I got a lot of pushback because those people felt threatened by me. They thought I was going to come in and take their jobs but honestly, I didn’t want their jobs even though I knew more than they did. Was I looking for a “seat at the table” so to speak? Yes absolutely. That’s why people go to college and get an education so that they can be compensated in some way, shape, or form to move up the corporate ladder.

And the reality is that working for a media company fucking sucks. Unless you are at the top it really does just suck. Being an account executive or a sales manager means that you don’t have any pull or say so in what you are trying to accomplish for a client. You are pretty much just pushed to the side and told “shut up” and “do what you’re told” and “go to your corner”. One of the most fundamental differences in what I want to instill in my ad agency is that I want to train and empower people. I want to surround myself with people way smarter than I am and who know way more about a specific platform than I do.

Half of the business that we have generated has come strictly from referrals. It’s been amazing because of the talent that we have as an agency. My team is extremely talented and I want them to understand that I want to empower them every day. I always tell them “I’m not saying no. I want you to convince me as to why this is going to work” and it doesn’t take much to convince me honestly. It really comes down to the fact that I opened an ad agency because I got so fucking tired of ad agencies lying to their client about this proprietary bullshit. Everyone is buying from the same exchanges and the same platforms, unless they are an ad tech company. They have invested a ton of capital onto an actual technology that they own. That is the only thing that would really set you apart as “proprietary”.

Now when it comes to the fact that I feel that I am one of the most intelligent individuals when it comes to programmatic in East Texas… I will own that every. single. day. As a matter of fact, there are two events, one next week in New York and another in San Francisco, the “Who’s-Who” in programmatic will be there. Those are the two places that I need to be if I want to stay on top of this game. This industry moves at such a rapid pace and it’s constantly evolving.

There is so much technology behind programmatic that it’s impossible for you to stay in one platform. That’s why a lot of people don’t like programmatic because they feel like they need to have an understanding of how it works. You can learn it, don’t get me wrong, but it will take you a lot of time to teach yourself. I am not going to take the time to educate a client on how each and every little step to programmatic works because that would take months. That’s why a lot of people fall back on things like Facebook and Google. Those platforms set up free training that is very easy to complete, but programmatic is a little more difficult. It involves the entire ecosystem.

You have to ask yourself how you are going to use programmatic in a way that is going to be not just the vehicle but the engine that will get you to your desired destination. Also, understand that search and social are the driver and the passenger inside of that vehicle. You still have to have someone to direct you to that place. That’s what I was just talking about yesterday.

Media companies and most agencies haven’t figured that out. And they’re not going to because they are stuck in that rut of social or search, or they’re afraid of trying to deliver real results because it will cut into their bottom line profit. I am not worried about that. I am going to make sure that I can generate real results. That’s why I am in business. The only way that I will succeed is if my clients succeed.

Mar 20

Utilizing Instagram Stories

By Caroline Herman | Creative , Programmatic , Social Media

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

Instagram was founded in 2010 as a new social media platform for image sharing. It quickly took off, gaining over one billion users in just 8 years. In August of 2016, a new feature was rolled out. Instagram Stories were introduced as a new way of sharing moments. They only last for 24 hours, and after that, you can choose to have them saved in an archive where you can also choose to repost them later. The content that you share to these stories won’t show up on your profile grid or in someone else’s feed. They show up at the top of your followers’ feeds as your profile picture with a colorful ring around it and they can click on it to see your stories. If they click on the right side of the screen it will progress them forward, and if they click on the left side it will rewind to the previous post. If you swipe to the left you will go to the next person’s story. They are shown in chronological order as well.

There are a few top ways that brands on Instagram are using stories. Many companies will show behind-the-scenes content to give their brand a more personal reputation. They also have employee takeovers where a staff member will take their followers on a journey through their day as an employee of that business. A takeover could also be when one brand will takeover an Instagram account from another brand. Stories are very useful for one-on-one communication as well, by asking direct questions, taking polls, and going live.

Stories are a great way to stay at the top of someone’s news feed because that is where your story would show up if you were actively posting content to it. They can help drive traffic to websites by having a direct link where viewers could “swipe up” to load the link. Stories don’t have likes or public comments however, and they can also be muted. So if you are posting too many stories to the point where a follower has to take a lot of time to get through yours and onto the next, you could be muted too.

You can see analytics such as how many times your content has been viewed and by who. Stories are highly customizable, with text in different colors and fonts, drawings, stickers, hashtags and even location tags, which increase discoverability. According to Instagram, 75% of users take action after seeing an ad, and you can post ads in your story directly from Facebook ads manager. You can also promote existing stories on Instagram as ads. So as you can now see, Instagram Stories can be a very useful tool for brands and businesses. You just have to know how to successfully utilize them in a way that benefits you.

Mar 15

Total Panic over Panic! At the Disco

By Mindy Lewellen | Family , Programmatic , Social Media , Uncategorized

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

On February 8, I took off of work and kicked off my weekend in Austin, TX for the Two Feet and Panic! at the Disco concert. I was so incredibly pumped to see one of my favorite up and coming artists, Two Feet, in concert performing live for the first time. It only made it 10 times better that Panic! was going to be headlining the show.
My name is Mindy, I am the Sales Director for Starfish Ad Agency, and this is my story about the time Brendon Urie touched my hand.
I grew up during the emergence of the Emo/Scene days, so getting to see Panic! perform with songs from their previous sound to their modern music with the new members was going to be amazing; however, Brendon Urie was the only original band member left. For those who don’t know Brendon, he is easily one of the most beautiful humans currently occupying planet Earth.
Anyway, I got to Austin and settled in with one my closest friends, Nicki. We had some snacks, wine, and got ready to go party it up at the concert. Once we got there we immediately took to our seats to see what kind of view we had of the stage. I had noticed pretty quickly while observing the auditorium that there was a round platform just to the left of our seats hanging from the ceiling. Anyone who follows Panic! and Brendon Urie knows he always performs a song playing on the piano in the crowd. Not to mention their Instagram page displayed several images from the tour showing the type of setup Brendon’s piano number looked like. We were a little skeptical at first about that being the platform, but after leaving our seats for fan merch, we were able to see the full platform and confirm that it definitely was his piano sitting right above and next to our seats!
As the concert went on with a brilliant performance by Two Feet, Panic! finally took the stage. We were so excited and could not wait for him to do his piano set. When they started playing “Death of Bachelor”, Brendon took off into the crowd, just as we suspected. It was at that moment Nicki and I both realized that Brendon Urie was about to walk literally right by our seats to get to his piano. I readied my phone because I knew without a doubt that I needed to document this once in a lifetime moment. He drew closer into the crowd and as he came right up to our seats, we threw out our hands in hopes that he would give us a high five or a handshake. Sure enough, he reached out and grabbed both of our hands while smiling and laughing. Nicki and I both, like little girls, just lost it and started squealing and screaming. I captured the entire moment on my cell phone. Later, after coming down off cloud 9, watching the video made me laugh so hard at how much I acted like a pre-teen girl. It’s so funny to see myself, a 28 year old woman, screeching and squealing over a pop star. Nonetheless, I do not regret a single moment of it and I will always cherish that memory in my heart.
Going to concerts has always been a passion of mine and most recently has developed into a dedicated hobby. Music is what gets be through my good, bad, and everything in between. I married a musician so my life pretty much revolves around it. As an artist, it helps me focus and drives my motivation and creativity. In January 2018, after Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the band The Cranberries, was found dead in her hotel bathroom, I made a pact with myself that I was going to seize every opportunity to see a band/musician that I enjoyed perform live. I always thought I would have the opportunity to see her and others like Tom Petty perform before they passed or officially retired. After both of their deaths, I realized that I could not wait around for the next concert date or put it off to enjoy the music I loved. Since making that promise to myself, I have been to 6 concerts/events, seeing a total of 13 bands perform live. I have one more concert coming up next month and I am actively awaiting the announcements of tours from others.
For this reason I am so glad that the digital advertising world exists. With my busy and chaotic schedule, I don’t have time to actively search and keep up with all my favorite artists. With modern technology and my behavioral data from my playlists, social media page follows and likes, and music venues I frequent, select marketers are able to target and serve me ads relevant to the music I love. Now I can be notified of these events through digital platforms to ensure I get first bids on tickets and seats. I am so fortunate to be alive in a time where the things I love can find me at the tips of my fingertips effortlessly. Now I won’t ever have to miss out on those cherished memories of gorgeous pop stars grabbing my hand and giggling along with me.

Mar 13

Marketing Funnels

By Abel Sanchez | Brand Strategy , Data Strategy , Programmatic , Social Media , Uncategorized

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

Marketing funnels are considered by some to be the very essence of building and growing your business, especially an online business. A marketing funnel is essentially a collection of “levels” that prospective clients progress through. Developed in 1898 by American advertising advocate, E. St. Elmo Lewis, they were originally designed with just four main objectives: awareness, interest, desire, and action. Ultimately, the purpose of these funnels is to drive prospective business through a series of conversions.

Marketing funnels are deliberately designed to go in line with your specific business model. They keep track of results, automates the process, and reduces the amount of your own time you spend invested in the process. There are many different formats and templates for these marketing funnels, but no matter how you go about it, you need to have a system that gets people to know who you are, provides value and builds trust, convert them into buyers, delivers a great customer experience, and converts them into loyal repeat buyers. They are beneficial because you can see the weak points and where you are losing potential customers, at which point you can make any necessary adjustments to gain more business. These funnels take your client on a “journey”, all the way from discovering your business to purchasing your products, and even to a post-purchase phase that brings customer loyalty and repeats business. The data collected is also measurable at any given point in the entire process. The better a funnel keeps track of this customer data, and the more automated it is, the more successful it will be at getting you the results you want.

Funnels are more beneficial for subscription-based e-commerce businesses, but not as much for transactional, one-time-service businesses, such as a medical practice, auto dealer, or larger purchases, like real estate. In our business, we have taken concepts from what other templates for these funnels are like, and we have tailored them to fit our clients’ needs and the goals that they are trying to achieve.

Awareness, research, intent, and purchase are the main ideas in the templates we use. We create a plan that is more focused on the intent and purchase. Research is more used in a search or a social platform, and awareness is plugged into social, as well as programmatic. We have been able to take steps into not just generating leads, but also filtering out those individuals who are truly in the market for a specific product or service and eliminating those who are not ready for that purchase. There are steps that you can take to create that “filtering” process, but it is unique to each individual client. You could take that same concept and it would work well for one brand, but you could try and copy it to someone else and it doesn’t work. That’s the problem that a lot of companies that offer lead generation through a funnel process; they just copy and paste those funnels. They don’t focus on results, or the purchase or intent. They just focus on generating as many leads as possible, but those leads fall through because they are still in the research and awareness phase. You are wasting your time, money, and marketing efforts at the top of the funnel.

They shouldn’t even be called “funnels” anymore. They are customer digital journeys inside communities of fans, shoppers, explorers of all walks of life.

Mar 11

Creating Typography and Logos

By Austin McDade | Creative , Programmatic , Social Media

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

Here is a look into how I create typography and logos for our clients.

I start out by sketching a grid for the letter size, and any special effects that I might want to use. The first photo is of my initial sketch, I don’t worry about it being perfect though because once I bring it into Photoshop I’m able to edit it freely and with more tools.

Once it’s pulled into Photoshop I lower the opacity so I can start tracing over the initial sketch with a rough brush, this is the stage where I fix any mistakes or just change it to look more visually appealing.

Once the first pass is done I go back over once more with a solid brush to make it as clean as possible for the next step. Now that it’s all clean I bring it into Illustrator so I can convert it to a vector image. This is an extra step that isn’t necessary if you like the way it looks in Photoshop, but this just makes sure that it looks good at any size and can easily be printed on any product and still look just as great.

If you are interested in my work, maybe we can get a logo created for your business too. Call us to set up an appointment!

Mar 08

What the $&*^@ is a Hashtag

By Caroline Herman | Creative , Programmatic , Social Media

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

Do you know what a hashtag is? A hashtag is a keyword or a phrase used to describe a topic or a theme. For example, ‘#hashtag’ could be a tag but so could ‘#goodhashtags.’

A hashtag can be a broad subject matter, or it can be more specific. These tags become clickable links that will identify topics or themes. Anyone sharing content on a relevant question can add the hashtag label to their message. A hashtag improves the chances that others will find your post.

It’s pretty simple to use a hashtag, simply use a pound sign (#) at the beginning of your tag, #starfish or #StarfishKeepOceanClean. #Starfish is an expansive subject matter. Specific hashtags will zone into one particular topic.

Here’s the tricky part about hashtags… Knowing your audience and platforms. Hashtags can improve engagement, but by the same sword, hashtags can decrease engagement. It all depends on the way you use them.

Stringing too many words together with a single hashtag can be annoying to your audience. #TooManyWordsCanBeAnnoying #TooMuchOfaGoodThing
You also have to be aware that each network of the platform you are using has its own set of “subrules”, and these rules will constantly be evolving and changing.
#facebook #instagram #snapchat #twitter #pinterest

Try to be sensitive to your audience…Avoid over-tagging a single post or adding them to every word. #annoying #unfollow #makefriends #berelevant. Use hashtags only relative to the topic. Research which hashtags are trending. Don’t try to overdo things with a hashtag that isn’t relevant in an attempt to gain some engagement. #love may be trending, but is it at all #RelevantToYourPost?

At Starfish, we always review the performance of our posts to determine which tags are improving in their engagement. We can totally geek this out and hashtag the heck out of things…but we choose to be sensitive to our audience. #winning

Mar 06

Meet the Staff: Kelsey Canon

By Austin McDade | Programmatic , Uncategorized

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

My name is Kelsey and I am the Digital Media Assistant at Starfish Ad Age.

I was born in Tyler, Texas but raised in White Oak, Texas. I went to school at Texas State University where I studied Public Relations with a minor in Communications. I also attended LeTourneau University where I earned my MBA with a specialization in Management.

I have been working here for just about 3 weeks now and every single second of it has been amazing. I am learning so much from the people I am surrounded by every day. I THOROUGHLY enjoy everyone I work with. Abel has made a great work environment here. We are all so different, but we all come together to achieve a common goal.

The best part about my job is getting to be the “right hand” to someone like Abel Sanchez. The talent that he posses and the passion for what he does is something you can easily see in his every day work.

If I had to tell someone about myself in 5 words or less, I would say that I am chill as fuck. Because I am and I feel like people should know it.
I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self that “half the shit you are worrying or crying about won’t even matter next year, men ain’t shit, and remember that your money and education won’t wake up one day and realize that they don’t love you.”

Personal goals I have for myself are that I continue to grow, learn, adapt. I need to continue to have an open mind and heart. Continue to be the person that we all need at one point in our lives. Continue to listen more than I speak. Continue to listen to understand, not listen to respond. In my career, I really want to grow with this company. I can see it really taking off very soon.

When I am not at work, I love to travel. I have visited Alaska, Canada, Greece, Italy, London, Paris, Spain, Bermuda, Nassau, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Belize, and Honduras. Next I want to travel to Peru, Patagonia, or maybe Kenya. I haven’t seen the entire world…yet. I also enjoy taking care of my succulents (my plant babies) and driving around in my jeep when the weather is nice. Hiking, camping, and anything outdoors is something I really enjoy.
I am the type of person that if it is something I haven’t done yet, it is on my list.

One of these days I will get the courage to skydive, until then it remains on the bucket list.
Another bucket list item is to take a rental car and drive down to Bolivia and drive across the Salt Flats; don’t know what I am talking about? Google it, you will be amazed.
My favorite pastime is talking about dank memes and wanting to die…yes, that was a meme reference.
“And that’s the way the cookie crumbles” (Bruce Almighty)

Mar 05

All Things Mardi Gras

By Caroline Herman | Creative , Family , Programmatic , Social Media , Uncategorized

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

Happy Mardi Gras! You may be an active participant of this celebration, or you may also be like me and not really know where this day comes from.
On March 3, 1699, two French explorers named Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed near present-day New Orleans, Louisiana. They had a celebration where they landed with their ships and called their landing place “Point du Mardi Gras”.

However, Mardi Gras has much deeper roots than that. It all started as a way for Christians to prepare for Lent. People would eat all of the foods they had in their homes that they would be fasting from in the weeks to come. This celebration followed those two French explorers to America on their expedition, but when the Spanish took control of Louisiana, celebrations were banned until Louisiana became a state in 1812.

In 1827, a group of college students in New Orleans donned colorful costumes and recreated the festivities they saw while they were visiting Paris. This became the first recorded Mardi Gras parade in the US. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus, organized a torch-lit parade, complete with marching bands and rolling floats, which set the tone for the festivities we have come to love today. Other lasting traditions include throwing beads and other small trinkets and treasures, wearing masks, decorating floats, and eating King Cake; a braided cake, laced with cinnamon, and topped with icing colored with purple, green, and gold. There is also a small plastic baby in the cake, and the most popular tradition says that whoever receives the baby in their slice of cake has to supply the cake the next year, and possibly host the party.

The words Mardi Gras literally translate to Fat Tuesday; people would binge on rich, fatty foods, and it is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, which signals the start of Lent. The signature colors of Mardi Gras- purple, green, and gold- come from the Rex Krewe, which is one of the longest lasting Krewes of Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras is only a legal holiday in Louisiana, but many areas around the world celebrate the holiday and, in some places, the festivities last as long as an entire week.
Locally, Jefferson, Texas is our hub for all things Mardi Gras. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Krewe of Hebe. The theme of the celebrations for this year is “Games People Play” and it is all kicked off on Friday, March 1 at 7pm with the Krewe of Hebe’s Doo Dah Parade and a live band on the main stage. Events will be going on all weekend until Sunday night, with live music, parades, a children’s carnival, and the historical Jefferson riverboat tours and historical museum.