Thursday, June 25, 2015

What's the point in using a unique tracking URL code?

I was recently in a meeting with a client, and we were working to set up a digital protocol for all current and future advertising campaigns. One topic of conversation was the kind of URL (Uniform Resource Locator) to use. A benefit that online campaigns have is how trackable they are. In order to maximize this, we discussed attaching unique tracking URL code to the messaging.

When I say unique tracking URL code, I mean that we are taking the landing page address where we want the ads to be directed to, and adding some descriptive parameters to it. In doing so, the client is able to see on the website analytics side more in-depth details like:

·        What website a visitor came from
·        What creative a visitor clicked
·        Which vendor can be attributed to the click (This is                helpful if you use more than one.)
·        What type of medium can be attributed to the click like        display, email, or search engine marketing

For example, if I ran a digital campaign and directed visitors to the Ruth Burke & Associates homepage of, I’m not able to know on the analytics side where traffic came from. So, if I’m interested in seeing traffic from our blog, I would create the following URL with descriptors like: Blogspot as the campaign source, Blog as the campaign medium, and Unique URL Blog as the campaign name. That way, I know clicks with that information attached to it came from this particular blog post. It will help me see if it resonated with the audience because of how many or few clicks it received compared to normal traffic. Here is an example of the code:

Knowing this information can help clients do A/B testing with creative to see what messaging leads to more clicks; in addition, clients can see which vendors produce the most clicks or which websites drive the most visitors. This information will hopefully aid the advertiser optimize the campaign to be the most effective and successful it can potentially be.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Where are women watching digital video content?

Watching videos online has become the new norm, more or less, for internet users in the United States. The question becomes is there a site where people view content more than others? While YouTube has the lion share of viewership, other vendors have made a dent in the landscape. A new poll conducted by SheSpeaks outlines how American women access digital video content online.

eMarketer reports on the poll results which shows that internet users who are female discover videos through these conduits:

·        YouTube with nearly 100% of poll responders
·        Facebook with 83%
·        Websites at 54%
·        Word-of-mouth at 49%
·        Blogs at 36%
·        Twitter at 27%
·        Instagram at 21%

Facebook is also one of the primary ways the women polled shared video content. Approximately 71% answered that they used Facebook to share.

Research shows that women have the slightly higher Facebook audience than men. In fact, eMarketer released estimates stating that females should hold the majority at 54.9% of the Facebook community from now through 2019.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Emojis become the new norm for internet slang

Communicating with people is something that we humans deem necessary in life. However, communication has branched out into many different forms. Over the last few years, digital stickers or emoticons have invaded our language. In fact, some experts believe that emojis have become the new preferred form of “internet slang.” Acronyms like LOL (Laugh Out Loud) have been dethroned.

In fact, AYTM Market Research polled US adult internet users 18+ about emoji usage in text messages and/or in social media posts. eMarketer reported the following findings:

·        14% of respondents use emojis on social media or text messages often
·        22.7% sometimes use the graphics
·        12.2% rarely use them
·        51% responded that they never use emojis

Please note that this does not take into account the younger internet user demo of 12-17 year olds. It’s estimated that the emoticon usage is much higher among that age bracket.

In regards to the adults 18+ demographic, approximately 58.1% utilize five or fewer emojis on a consistent basis. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

The true/false of media buying and planning

How do you hire someone to join your team? Every industry and place of employment has to determine what will make an ideal candidate for an available position; media planning and buying agencies are no different.

Currently, our agency is looking for a person who can fill our coordinator job position. Because media planning and buying is typically not the main focus of advertising curriculum at universities, a lot of the interviewing process is effectively explaining to college graduates what media planners and buyers do.

For those college graduates who are excited to join the advertising world, first of all, welcome. Secondly, here is a quick true/false list about our job here at Ruth Burke & Associates:

Truth: You need to understand math. Media planning and buying largely consists of balancing budgets, negotiating rates with vendors, updating flowcharts and formulas, dealing with gross budgets, net costs, and calculating client commission rates. Therefore, your brain, a calculator, and Excel are going to be utilized constantly.

False: You quit working every Friday at 4:30p to drink. While we like to have fun and celebrate with agency outings, pizza Fridays, summer hours, holidays, birthday parties, etc., we are here to work. Some other agencies like to advertise the fun atmosphere of the office with “Beer Thirty” on Fridays, which is fun, but it comes from the “work hard, play harder” mentality. Meaning, while it’s fun to stop work on Fridays early, it’s expected to work past the 5pm quitting time all other days of the week. We like to work hard and enjoy life.

Truth: You will get free tickets to concerts and events. This is not a guarantee, but because media planners and buyers constantly work with sales reps from all media, free tickets become available. A lot of the time, the tickets are sent to clients as a “Thank you” for working with us. However, there are times where you can enjoy a concert or show that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see.

False: You never travel or get out of the office… hello cubicle! We’ll be honest, the majority of the time, you will be in your office conducting work via email and phone. A large portion of our time is coordinating between the vendor and the client and making sure everything runs smoothly. However, there are times when we get to be social and interact with the media community in a non-work capacity. Also, a good portion of our clients are not local to the Kansas City area. So, occasional market visits can come up. And for those clients who are in Kansas City, we get to go to different areas of town that may not be in our comfort zone.

False: Every media buy is the same, so it’s easy to be a buyer/planner. Every client has a different set of goals when advertising. Budgets are different as are geographic and demographic target parameters. If trying to reach a woman 25-49 in northern Kansas City, it wouldn’t make sense to advertise in a magazine that is distributed only in southern Kansas City. Each media platform has to be evaluated to determine what makes the most sense for the client and the campaign.

Truth: If you like solving puzzles, you might be a planner. A lot of what we do is problem solve. Whether it’s picking up tickets for radio promotion for the client, updating a flowchart and campaign to account for the $20,000 cut in the budget and still keeping the majority of the media unchanged, or determining if a makegood meets the criteria needed to be approved, media planners and buyers ultimately make decisions that affect a lot of different outcomes.

Overall, we look for team members who are willing to lead projects, be the supportive role for other employees when needed, be engaged in the clients’ needs, rein in big ideas and implement them in a real-life way.

One way to best summarize a media planner/buyer’s job objective is to organize the chaos. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is "smartphone-dependent" the new norm?

As smartphones take the foothold of the mobile phone marketplace in the United States, a term has surfaced to describe those individuals who primarily utilize a smartphone to have access to the internet. These people are called “smartphone-dependent.” The Center for Media Research released details from a series of surveys orchestrated by Pew Research Center and Jon S. and James L. Knight Foundation about such mobile users.

Of the American smartphone owner population, the following statistics can be extracted:

·        10% of users do not have broadband internet in the home
·        7% of owners do not have broadband available in the home and do not have easy access to internet services on anything other than a smartphone
·        15% of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 are deemed “smartphone-dependent”
·        About 13% of people who have an annual household income lower than $30,000 are “smartphone-dependent”
·        1% of people who have an annual household income above $75,000 are also “smartphone-dependent”
·        Demographic breakdown of the dependent population:
o   12% African Americans
o   13% Latinos
o   4% Caucasian

As more people utilize mobile phones as his/her internet access point, it will be necessary for advertisers to keep that into consideration when creating campaigns.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Which age bracket boasts the biggest user share of Snapchat?

It’s easy for marketers to assume that young adults are well-established with social media. While research may back that up, which social media is touting the highest share of 18 – 24 year-olds in the US? eMarketer recently reported on comScore Media Metrix research, which broke down the traffic by age group.

American 18 – 24 year-old internet users have the following share percentages on these social media platforms:

·        45% Snapchat
·        28% Tumblr
·        28% Vine
·        23% Instagram
·        19% Twitter
·        16% Google+
·        16% Facebook
·        15% Pinterest
·        14% LinkedIn

With social vendors like Facebook and Google+, the share among the different age brackets was a little more even. Snapchat, Tumblr and Vine were the only media vendors that exceeded 50% share when combining the 18 - 24 and 25 - 34 age brackets together.

Overall, young adults are heavily involved in social media. As it was predicated when Facebook came out after MySpace, the younger generation tends to flock towards the newer platforms instead of established brands. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How many households do not have landlines?

New research reports that US households without landlines are growing steadily. The Center for Media Research recapped the findings from GfK Mediamark Research’s recent interviews with US adults.

Approximately 44% of adults in the United States do not have landline telephones in the household but do have cell phones. By comparison, there were only 26% of households in 2010 that only had cell phones. That is a growth of about 70% over the last few years.

The research further broke down the percentages of cell-phone-only households by age groups.
·        64% of Millennials
·        45% of Generation Xers
·        32% of Baby Boomers
·        13% of Pre-Boomers

Overall, about 93% of all adults in the US have cell phones according to recent accounts. Time will tell in how the cell-phone-only households’ growth will trend.