What's New With Media

Emerging media effects on integrated marketing communication


Ad Blockers: Love them or hate them, you’d better embrace them


I’m a marketing and public relations professional and I hate ads. I mean really, really hate them. They are cheesy, loud, and annoying at best, and at worst they can be offensive, disruptive, and embarrassing.

Point in case – how many of you have ever been sitting quietly, say at the doctor’s office, and scrolling on your phone to waste time. You click on a link to read a news article about how Grumpy Cat is going to appear in an actual performance of Cats on Broadway (I know, this is a very specific example) only to be bombarded with loud music and some lady talking. It’s an auto play ad and of course the volume on your phone is turned way up. You jump and yell along with everyone else inside the crowded waiting room. And for a moment you worry as an elderly man briefly grabs his chest and takes several deep breaths – all because you wanted to know more about the Internet’s most cranky feline, and the almost unethical tactics used by an advertiser to get your attention.

After said incident I – I mean you download an ad blocker so you never have to deal with an almost life threatening incident caused by advertising again. And you’re not alone. People are rapidly embracing ad blockers as a solution to the annoyance of constant advertising.


In a recent post from eMarketer.com, they say that 69.8 million Americans will use an ad blocker this year, which is a jump of almost 35 percent from the previous year. That breaks down into at least one in five people using an ad blocker with most use occurring on desktops and laptops (90.5 percent). However, use on mobile devices is also growing steadily as you can see in the graphic below.



Chart from eMarketer.com

The chart below from HubSpot details that the majority of people block ads because they are annoying and intrusive. In addition, 83 percent of people wish that they could block all ads on their mobile device.


Chart from HubSpot

For marketers and publishers, Ad blocking cost the advertising industry $22 billion in 2015 and it is predicted that it will cost the industry $35 billion by 2020.


Yes, they really are. They are telling us that we as marketers are reaching a tipping point of how much time and space we can spend in their daily lives. Some brands like Proctor and Gamble are rethinking their ad targeting efforts by coming to the realization that the more data you have about your consumers can actually make you lose sight of the person you’re trying to reach. They become a sequence of data points that you string together and then implement a strategy to reach them in the best place and at the best time.

However, as Adweek.com points out, “The correct audience has fidelity. They’re not reached by just demographic identifiers or tracking cookies but by messaging that’s personal, in-context and highly relevant to their needs and emotions…For example, you might think you’re retargeting ads to a woman who browsed your site for high heels, but it’s just as likely you’re bombarding her husband with discounts for pumps.”


I really do hate ads, but there is an exception. I love advertising that is done right – meaning that it is creative, insightful, and that it speaks to me on an emotional level. It goes beyond trying to sell me a product and instead it tells a story that is relevant to the world around me. Data points and analytics will only go so far as to understanding what really moves me, or any other consumer for that matter.

Marketers can and must be authentic in today’s digital landscape to be successful. I know clichés are bad, but in this instance the one that goes “Don’t lose sight of the forest because of the trees,” is applicable. If you want to reach consumers that are increasingly using ad blockers, you must keep who they are as individuals into perspective and learn how to communicate with them outside of traditional advertising.


1 Comment

On Air: your brand in real time

Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night…or so the saying goes except now with the innovation of mobile apps like Periscope and Facebook you can be live, on-air any day, at any time, and from any location.


Periscope, which was launched in March 2015, is owned by Twitter and has 10 million users. Within one year there have been 200 million broadcasts.


Infograph from Visually


Combine that with Facebook Live, which rolled out in April 2016, and you have millions of potential users who can self-broadcast what’s going on in the world around them.


Infograph from Social Media Today

And it’s not just individuals who are embracing the live stream, for example, ABC News partnered with Facebook to do live online broadcasts of both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention in addition to live streaming all of the presidential debates.


This also means that brands – both for profit and nonprofit have a new medium to tell their stories and connect with potential consumers and advocates. According to Adweek.com, “Sixty-four percent of consumers have watched live online videos in the past year.”

So should you be advertising in conjunction with live streaming content? Adweek.com also found that live ads are 75 percent more emotionally engaging and purchase likelihood is 77 percent higher, while 31 percent of consumers said they remember live ads.

Beyond running ads during live events, marketers can use Periscope and Facebook Live to broadcast their own content and tell their own stories in compelling ways. Use it as a platform to get to know your audience and give them the opportunity to know your brand better. Conduct a Q&A session, live stream a new product launch, or give brand advocates a chance to tell their own stories – the possibilities are limitless. For more tips on how to take your brand live, check out this post from Social Media Examiner.



Social Sales vs Selling Social


A recent study published at Social Times highlights the surprising fact that Millennials are not shopping on social media. The study looks at why users access various social media channels, which is not for shopping, but rather to be social with friends and family, keep up with the news, and to follow celebrities. The most interesting statistics state:

  • 99% of respondents indicated that they had never made a purchase on Snapchat.
  • 94% of Pinterest users have never made a purchase via Pinterest.
  • 91% of Instagram users have never purchased from Instagram.
  • 60% of respondents skipped ads if given the choice.


As depressiiphone-1451614_1280ng as all of this may sound, the good news is that it doesn’t mean that Millennials aren’t engaging with brands on social media – they just want more from them sales pitches. Millennial shoppers look for brand authenticity, loyalty programs and discounts via social media.

They also take to social channels to conduct research before making a purchasing decision. According to the study, “40% of global consumers ages 16 to 24 use social media to research products. And 30% of the general population uses these platforms for product research before they buy,” and they are doing this overwhelming from their smartphones (89%).


So as a marketer, don’t throw out your social media efforts, just adjust them to focus on building a lasting relationship with your target audience. Social media is called social for a reason. Take advantage of the medium’s strengths by getting to know your consumer. You may not have immediate sales conversions, but your patience will be rewarded with long term conversions over time.





For everything there is a season, as the saying goes and media/technology is not immune to various seasons of change. While the first half of the 20th Century was a time of rapid change and entrepreneurship in regards to what we now call legacy media (print, radio, broadcast TV), so far the first half of the 21st Century is not disappointing either when it comes to new and emerging technologies.

There is a phenomenon in mass media theory called convergence which is the blending of a legacy media with an emerging media. We’ve seen it time and again with newspapers and magazines going digital, TV shows and movies streaming online, etc. When one thinks of radio convergence, usually the first thought is of music streaming services, but another form of emerging media is breathing new life into the old format of talk radio – or as you may call it, the podcast.


And while podcasting might be considered a new media and not an emerging media, its popularity is on the upswing and its marketing potential is yet to be fully realized. According to AdWeek.com, “21% of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month. That’s a 17% increase in the last year and a 75% increase since 2013.” AdWeek also notes that recent college grads are more likely to start a podcast than a blog.


Podcast users also tend to skew younger, be highly educated, and more engaged on social media. Not to mention that nearly 70% of podcast downloads were on mobile devices. As noted by the blog Maximize Social Business:

Podcast listeners also spend more time online in general than the rest of the U.S. population. Plus, podcast listeners tend to favor the Internet over any other form of media such as TV, radio, or newspapers. This means that whatever marketing you’re doing on these more traditional forms of media is likely not reaching these younger podcast listeners.

So why aren’t brands/businesses jumping on the podcast wagon? One of the main reasons is that while podcast audiences are growing, overall it’s a very small share of the market.

Another problem according to the Pew Research Center is that there is a lack of reliable metrics for measuring audience size. “The main way a podcast’s audience is generally measured is through downloads. Download data, however, is limited in that the statistics do not identify if the podcast downloaded was actually listened to, either in part or in its entirety, or how many different people may have listened to the podcast.”


While the above stated drawbacks for measuring market share might sound like a call to abandon the podcasting ship, don’t be so quick. The fact that podcasting has a small audience share overall means that the landscape is not yet cluttered. Not only that, those tuning in seem to be the ever elusive, highly sought after, highly prized Millennial audience. A blog post from WeEditBlogs.com points out that:

Of 300,000 podcast listeners, 63% bought something that a host had promoted on their show. Of that same group, 71% said they had visited a sponsor’s website, while 62% said they would consider paying for the advertised product or service.

Another benefit of podcasting is that it can lend a more personal voice to your brand and help drive consumer conversations if the content is authentic and of value. Also, unlike reading through a blog (the irony is not lost on me as I sit here and type this blog post) podcasts allow listeners to multitask. They can listen whenever and wherever they choose – in the car, at the gym, cooking supper, etc.

For those interested in learning more about Podcasting, Kissmetrics.com has a great blog post that talks about the pros and cons of using a podcast for your business, and it includes some great “how to” tips.

Hope you enjoyed reading this week’s post. Now, I’m going to go download the last installment of Serial.


The Internet of Things: May the odds forever be in your favor

jetsonsWe’ve spent the past week in my IMC class discussing the Internet of Things and Enchanted Objects. And depending on your outlook in life the future is going to be great like the Jetsons or dystopian like any number of recently popular books/movies like the Hunger Games or the Divergent Series. Let’s face it, government states and robot uprisings are not for the faint of heart so I prefer to try and focus on a world created by IoT that is similar to the Jetsons.



According to Forbes.com:

This (IoT) is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig…The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).


While this may sound like something that will happen in the future, the truth is that IoT is already happening now with wearable technology like the Apple Watch, or with home monitoring and security like the Nest, which is owned by Google. An article in Wired.com explains that:

Nest’s thermostat, for instance, doesn’t just turn itself on and off when you tell it. Over time, as the Nest Learning Thermostat uses its sensors to train itself according to your comings and goings, the entire network of Nests in homes across the country becomes smarter.

The paramount value of the devices, in a sense, likes not in the hardware itself but the interconnectedness of that hardware. As the devices talk to each other, by building an aggregate picture of human behavior, they anticipate what we want before even we know.

Another current, and probably the most recognizable, example of IoT is Tesla’s self-driving cars. It’s been almost a year since Tesla pushed out an automatic update to their cars that made them somewhat self-driving. Despite recent setbacks, Tesla is committed to moving forward and making improvements to their self-driving cars. And just like with the Nest, Tesla’s fleet is connected and continuously learning from other Tesla owners’ experiences. According to Wired.com:

Even when the system isn’t on, it’s gathering data. The radar could be triggered by a sign over the road, and think there’s something in the path. The radar image still gets geotagged, but if the driver doesn’t manually brake, and neither do several other Teslas at the same place, every Tesla everywhere will learn that it is not something to worry about.


IoT is coming whether we want it or not, and while it has the potential to solve real problems and make life better, there is some cause for concern over privacy issues. How will companies handle the data they collect from you while you are using a connected object? And what about security breaches and hackers? If I live in a smart home, then there is a real potential that my home’s system can be hacked. These are all very real concerns that business, industry, and government must address as we as a society move forward into the Internet of Things.

1 Comment

Mobile Websites: Go Fast or Go Home

A Day in the Life of a Consumer

We’ve all been there, on our smartphones, scrolling absent-mindlessly through our news feed on Facebook to waste time, when all of a sudden you come across an ad that features a product you just have to have. You know the ones – the quirky T-shirts, the cat themed handbags, the “sign up for Stitch Fix,” etc. You click on the ad because you are super excited and then it happens. You get the spinning wheel of death. The page won’t load, or even worse it crashes the Facebook App all together. In frustration, you either put the phone away or switch on over to see what is going on in the Twittersphere while wondering why the Facebook gods forsake you. Well good news – Facebook just announced changes to encourage advertisers to have fast loading websites.

What this means to Marketers

According to Wired.com:

If an advertiser’s website is slow, its ads won’t show up as frequently on the world’s most popular social network. And soon its ads won’t even show up when people visit Facebook on a slow Internet connection…When mobile sites get faster, Facebookers are less annoyed when they click on ads. They’re more likely to use Facebook. And in the end Facebook makes more money…Advertisers get more clicks. And, most importantly, the web is improved for all of us.


As a marketer, this may sound like Facebook is being tough on us, but Google also took similar steps last April to push businesses to make sure their websites are mobile friendly, which includes a fast load time. And load times do matter to consumers. Recent statistics reflect that:

  • 73% of mobile Internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
  • 51% of mobile Internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
  • 38% of mobile Internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available.
  • 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost them $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

Go Fast or Go Home

As a business, if you’ve yet to invest in a solid mobile web presence, now is the time. Consumers expect it and companies like Google and Facebook are starting to demand it. For more information about how load time effects your bottom line, check out this infographic from Kissmetrics.com.



Virtual Reality: A Walk in the Park

2000px-US-NationalParkService-ShadedLogo.svgThis past week marked the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and to celebrate President Obama took us on a tour of Yosemite National Park via virtual reality. According to Social Times:

“Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America’s National Parks” was created by National Geographic, Felix & Paul Studios and Oculus, and it is available via the Oculus Store for the Gear VR, with an Oculus Rift version coming soon, as well as Facebook (you can view the 360 video via the Facebook link).

And while it might seem like an odd thing to experience something as magnificent as Yosemite in virtual reality, the reality is that many of us may never have the opportunity to see the park in real life. By using the emerging media of virtual reality the National Park Service is raising awareness about the importance of our natural resources in addition to the U.S.’s national park system.


Yosemite in the summer. Photo from nps.gov

Who knows – you might be so moved by the VR experience of Yosemite that you actually make it a vacation priority. According to Ryan Horrigan, chief content officer of Felix & Paul in interview with wired.com says that, “…[We are] transporting your mind and your heart, ideally, to this place, but we don’t want you to stop there. We want you to actually go see this place.”

So be it with virtual reality or real reality, either way take this opportunity to rediscover what the National Park Service has to offer. You will not be disappointed.