Blog Archives

Jason Alleger

Jason Alleger

Jason Alleger is Penna Power's Digital Media Supervisor. He covers technology, media and advertising-related subjects.

Brand Hijacking

Brand hijacking could be one of the most effective ways to get your brand noticed. In the example to your left, a boutique kitchen supply company named Gygi in Salt Lake City designed its billboards to match that of Cavalia, arguably the largest billboard advertiser Salt Lake City has ever seen. This year, there was a Cavalia billboard on nearly every mile of the freeway and dotting every neighborhood.

This marketing tactic, brand hijacking, works because of the media phenomenon of frequency. When one sees an ad, one does not actually “see” it the first time. Your eyes looked, but the connection to your brain about the message just isn’t usually made in the first impression. In the case of billboards, it usually takes up to 10 ad impressions (times seeing the billboard) to actually recognize it. Between 10-20 impressions in a month is the sweet spot, because when one sees the billboard one understands the message.

Now here’s where brand hijacking comes in.

A brand, such as Cavalia, has spent a lot of money to get its audience up to a 10 frequency to really start understanding their message. Now when Gygi, runs it doesn’t need to spend the money to get up to a 10 frequency, the audience has already seen it. But with the subtle differences the audience recognizes it immediately. Their brains start comparing it to the boards they’re familiar with. And all of a sudden, when it’s time to buy kitchen supplies, they find themselves at Gygi.

Brand hijacking is used in every media channel. Probably one of the most common examples is where a commercial is shot with the same look and feel of the television show it’s running on. For example, you’re watching The Walking Dead and fast-forwarding through the commercials, when all of a sudden you see zombies so you unpause. You then realize it’s not The Walking Dead at all, but just an Audi commercial. Clever, huh?

Hopefully the next time you see a familiar ad you’ll think twice.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Writing a request for proposal (RFP) for your company’s marketing needs can be daunting. You want the best firms to respond, and you want to really get a sample of what their work is like. But having to summarize the entirety of your organizational goals, target audience, invoicing process and a million other considerations into a succinct document is nearly impossible. Here are some tips when writing your next RFP:

  1. State your expected budget. Too often, RFPs leave off a budget, usually on purpose to see what the agency proposes. But, there is a big difference between a $100,000 marketing budget and $1,000,000 marketing budget. If you want to see what the agency proposes at different cost levels, then tell them the different cost levels. The best RFPs say “for the sake of this RFP, our expected marketing budget next year is ____.” Personally, I review a lot of RFP submissions for digital media, and it’s impossible to compare them if they’re all different budget amounts.
  1. Only include references if you’ll use them. Obviously, the references a marketing firm will give will all be positive and won’t really help you in the evaluation process. Consider alternate ways to get references – ask around, have them list a client they no longer do business with, or just consider having specific letters of recommendation in the proposal (e.g. how often do they provide proactive recommendations?). Just like when you’re interviewing someone for a job, you need to be able to get useful information from the references.
  1. Don’t ask “yes” and “no” questions. If you’re asking the question, it must be important. Instead of asking “Does your agency use do video in-house?” you could ask “Please describe your video capabilities and the expected cost of a 30-second spot.” This will yield superior answers and help you to better compare the submissions .
  1. Steps to writing a marketing RFPInclude target audience information. If your target audience is residents who live five miles from your store, then say it! Too often, RFPs keep this hidden or say they want submitters to define the target audience. Wouldn’t you rather have proposals that outline what media channels your target audience uses, what drives them and what messaging would resonate better with them?
  1. Proof your RFP. We’ve all seen a Powerpoint presentation that was obviously put together by more than one person. It has different font sizes, a different layout and just doesn’t look professional. It reflects poorly on those presenters. The same goes for a marketing RFP – even though it’s easy to change your fonts, is the message consistent? As a firm that submits many marketing proposals, usually the questions we ask after reading it have to do with this: Do you want the target audience as you stated in the background section or the scope of work section? You’ll get better proposals if your RFP is consistent and error-free.

A good way to gauge how well-written your RFP is would be to see how many questions you get. If there’s few questions from submitting firms then it was a success, but if you get lots of questions then you missed some crucial pieces. Oftentimes good firms will read over an RFP and choose not to submit based on the quality of it. You don’t want that to happen to you.

As a bonus, most marketing RFPs follow this format.

Marketing RFP Format

Purpose of RFP – Why it’s being issued (usually contract expiring).

Background – What your company or organization does and the challenge or opportunity faced.

Question & Answer Period – Details how to ask questions and the deadline to submit questions.

Restrictions on Communications – Don’t allow firms to communicate or wine and dine your employees.

Submitting a Proposal – How to submit a proposal with the deadline.

Length of Contract & Terms & Conditions – All the legalities.

Interviews – If you want to interview the top submitting companies, this is where you put that.

Qualifications – Ask for proposals to include related work, business license and bios of employees.

Scope of Work – This is the most important part. It outlines what you want done (e.g. PR, media buying, a website, etc.) and gives details about your target audience and your goals for each.

Technical Response – Details how you’ll evaluate the response. Most firms use a point value, for example: references are worth 100 points.

Proposal Format – Outlines exactly how you want proposals laid out (e.g. page 1 is the title page, page 2 is the executive summary, etc.).

Proposal Evaluation – Shows who will evaluate the proposal and the expected timeline.

Obviously, this format would change based on the scope of the RFP, but these items are typically included. We hope you will consider these guidelines for your next marketing RFP to get the best responses. Now that we’ve helped you make your next RFP easier, please make sure to invite us.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Digital analytics is booming, but it’s still so new and everchanging that there aren’t any textbooks yet. Sure, there are online certifications like Google Analytics, but those are really specific to a channel. And those keep changing too! After teaching a course on digital analytics and interacting with students every day, here’s what I have learned:

You don’t need to have technical skills to be an excellent analyst. You need to be curious. Ask questions. Be unafraid to shake the boat. Oftentimes, the big insight isn’t in the raw data – it’s in the patterns.

I’ll walk you through an example.

After running a digital campaign with interactive banner ads (the user could draw on them), we had a standard summary report which included impressions, placements, clicks, actions, interactivity with the units, time of day, and all the normal stats that come with a summary report. But then we were curious – did the interactive units really move the needle? Would it have been better to have just run static ads with more impressions? Here’s the data:

Type Impressions Clicks CTR Submissions Submission Rate
Rich Media 5,135,652 1,326 0.03% 121 0.00236%
Static Images 477,143 1,110 0.23% 11 0.00231%
Total 5,612,795 2,436 0.04% 132 0.00235%

Rich Media additional stats:

  • Display time – 322,395,407 seconds (613.39 years)
  • Interaction time – 970,907 seconds (1.75 years)
  • Average interaction time – 5.0 seconds
  • Interaction rate – 3.6%
  • Total interactions – 184,702


If we would have just looked at CTR, then the static images were far better (0.23% compared to .03%). If we were to just look at the submission rate, then the rich media units barely beat out the static ones (.236% compared to .231%). But then we started to weigh interactions. On a static banner, one can just see it and click. On a rich media unit, one can interact with it. The rich media units had a 3.6% interaction rate, with each user spending five seconds in the unit, spending a cumulative time of 920,907 seconds (1.75 years) interacting with the units.

So to take it the next step further, does 1.75 years of interactivity outweigh a lower click through rate? Does it justify a higher ad serving cost? We did the math and found the cost-per-click to be 9x higher with the rich media units. However, if you looked at cost-per-action (interaction or click) the cost was actually 2x lower with the rich media units. The end goal was awareness and submissions, and the rich media units played a vital part in the success of the campaign.

Lastly, if you’re asking yourself why the conversion rate was so low – first please apply for a job at Penna Powers, but then rest assured that we dove into this as well. We looked at the conversion funnel and identified an area where most users were dropping off and were able to correct it.

Obviously every campaign is different. If one learned to always look at CTR, then one would miss the impact of the rich media units.

Curiosity helps in the approach. None of these calculations required more math than division or multiplication.

When teaching my students how to approach problems analytically, we start with creativity exercises, such as writing down 20 uses for a thumbtack. We then do a mountain of case studies. Even though every problem is different in the real world, the case studies help students become familiar looking at patterns. Lastly, we just do a lot of analysis on real companies. Again, every analytical problem is a little different, but for example it helps to see a few ecommerce problems along the way.

Teaching students entering the workforce has so many parallels to our self-learning at work. I’m amazed at how few professionals develop the analytical skills necessary to excel in their jobs. Whenever someone tells me that they’re “not a numbers person” I just think to myself that few people are. We’re humans and all like pretty pictures over an Excel spreadsheet. But we all are curious. So take an hour out of your day and go hunting for some patterns. You might be surprised what insights you find.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Ad agencies are full of young and ambitious people, all aspiring to change the world for the better. So it’s no surprise that we have some of the hottest individuals in the Utah ad agency marketplace…


…And no, we’re not talking about physical hotness, we’re talking about what roles are most sought-after in marketing. Here’s a list of the top six emerging roles that our clients are asking for.

Social Media. We all know Facebook is huge. Twitter is dying, slowly. Pinterest and Instagram are booming and everyone is secretly using Snapchat. Plus, there are thousands of other niche social channels out there. Social media strategists are abreast of what channels customers are using. Also, large ad agencies have entire departments devoted to future hunting, where they just find emerging channels to advertise on.

Behavior Change. If a company is looking to change someone’s behavior (e.g. stop texting and driving), a typical marketing campaign just won’t work. You’re trying to change behavior, not sell a product. Many of our healthcare, government and nonprofit clients ask for our behavior change experts to be in the room. These people specialize in grassroots efforts, community outreach and know the psychology behind changing one’s behavior.

Digital Media. Nearly everyone consumes digital media, and almost every channel has the option to click through to a website. Digital media includes channels such as Pandora, Google AdWords, Hulu, Xbox and YouTube. We’re seeing trends for these channels to become more programmatic (automated), which means that we’re less concerned with the channel itself and much more interested in the audience. We’re also seeing television ad buying becoming programmatic over the next few years.

ROI Analysts. Ad agencies capture tons of data when running a marketing campaign, and ultimately need to show what worked and what didn’t. Our ROI analysts use advanced software, such as Tableau, to look at correlation coefficients between media channels, campaign flight times and purchase data. This creates efficiencies and learnings. For example, we mapped the correlation between a radio ad schedule to website visits to show they were positively correlated, but when we mapped a television ad schedule to website visits there was little correlation. So we cut television and moved the dollars to radio.

Creatives. I’m not making this title up. Ad agencies have a team of creatives, which include designers, copywriters and production. This is the engine of an advertising agency. These people come up with the messaging and actually create it. You cannot have a good marketing campaign without the marketing content being on-target.

Account Strategists. Yes, it’s important to have someone who can hit deadlines and take your phone calls, but ultimately, clients need a strategist who understands their business. Our account strategists walk our clients’ hallways. They dive into research. They see emerging category trends. Most of our clients don’t know they need an account strategist until they have one, and after they do, they are in every meeting and working tirelessly behind the scenes.

These six roles are the hottest in the advertising industry. Did we miss any? Did you feel this article was just clickbait? Let us know in the comments!

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Many government entities buy digital media to reach their target audiences. We’ve aggregated our data to calculate industry benchmarks to help our clients know what to expect in terms of performance.

Type Industry Benchmark Government Benchmark Notes
Programmatic Banner Ads 0.08% CTR 0.13% CTR We typically see an inverse relationship between CTR and conversion rate, so the higher the CTR, the lower the conversion rate
Site-Direct Banner Ads 0.10% CTR 0.18% CTR Although we typically see higher CTRs buying site direct, the tradeoff for the higher price is typically unwarranted
Programmatic Mobile Ads 0.15% CTR 0.23% CTR Larger units such as 320×480 average much higher CTRs
Site-Direct Mobile Ads 0.15% CTR 0.32% CTR Usually, these mobile banners run as part of a site takeover
Mobile Video 69% Completion Rate 74% Completion Rate Completion rate significantly higher for 15-second versions over 30-second versions
Desktop Video 72% Completion Rate 80% Completion Rate Completion rate significantly higher for 15-second versions over 30-second versions
Viewability 52% Viewability 70% Viewability Government campaigns should have the least tolerance for questionable content or bot traffic

Why Not Conversions?

It should be noted that the objectives of many of these campaigns are to increase awareness (e.g. awareness of the dangers of texting and driving), as well as have a measurable goal (e.g. pledges to not drive distracted). Because the goal differs on each campaign, click-through rate, completion rate and other metrics are used in lieu of conversion rate for standardization purposes.

Why the Better Performance? 

These digital government benchmarks are useful to know before planning and buying digital media. Government campaigns usually outperform typical ad placements because they are (a) not selling anything and (b) have a clear message. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when one sees a government campaign outperforming a retail campaign. Also, it should be noted that government campaigns are usually very targeted. To stick with the texting and driving example, ads are typically targeted to adults ages 18-34 who are heavy phone users. If it were a mobile campaign, it could be further targeted to the demographic who are using their phones in a moving vehicle. The increased relevance increases the performance.

What Types of Government Campaigns does this Include?

These digital benchmarks include transportation safety, public health campaigns, environmental campaigns, and safety campaigns. These are generally state-specific, for example: a texting and driving campaign in Utah. The Penna Powers team loves working on these campaigns and measuring their results.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter
#1 Ad Agency in Utah Web Traffic Last 12 Months. Source:

We wanted to thank our website visitors for making us the #1 agency website in Utah in terms of unique visitors and pageviews. (source: is currently ranked as the 180,589th site in the world, averaging over 50,000 visitors per month. Our website visitors love our blog and capabilities pages, and we actively work to optimize our site and provide meaningful content.

Penna Powers applies the same principles of success for its clients. If your company is looking for help with your search engine optimization or marketing strategy, please contact us today!

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Working as a media planner gives me the opportunity to interface with a lot of sales reps. Their titles vary from account managers, business development executives, marketing specialists, or sales managers, but they all share the same central role – to get people to use their company’s services.

Media planners act as giant filters. They are tasked with analyzing all of the opportunities available and fitting them into a client’s media plan that helps achieve specific goals.

Sales reps and media planners have a symbiotic relationship. One thrives along with the other. A good media planner is always looking for new opportunities, and a good sales rep provides those opportunities.

What creates the most value for a media planner (and their client) is for a sales rep to provide relevant information for their product. This is the best form of selling. My favorite reps send regular updates, for example:

  • Showing what’s new in their platform
  • A recent success
  • A new product
  • An idea they’ve had for one of my clients

That keeps them top-of-mind, and I make updates to a spreadsheet of all the companies and their product offerings that I work with. I’ll oftentimes pass along this list to my colleagues and clients, which creates long-term value.

Bad salesmanship usually falls into one of four categories, with all being related to selling blindly without an objective in mind. Some of the worst things sales reps can can do are:

  • Wildly ask to get on the next proposal
  • Just follow up casually
  • State that they’ve seen our client advertising and asking why it’s not with them
  • Do the above mentioned items through email

A good salesperson cultivates relationships with their clients. Because those relationships typically aren’t built through email, neither should their sales pitches. I’ve compiled a few emails my colleagues and I have received that showcase this form of poor salesmanship.

Example 1 – Overselling

I wanted to reach out to you to get the specs for the upcoming digital campaign for client X. Are we looking at $3,500 -5,000 for this campaign? Please let me know so that I can reserve the impressions for you. It’s a hot commodity because of its efficiency and I want to ensure that we can fulfill your request.

Example 2 – Blind Selling

I want to gain your endorsement as a visionary in the digital space. There have been features integrated into our platform which I believe you’ll find impressive. I implore you to get on board, grab the future by the lapels and run a native advertising campaign to amplify your branded content. May we count on your support?

Example 3 – Why Isn’t It Me?

We noticed that you guys have a billboard on the I-15 talking about this and that. We can take this to the next level for you guys. We can run banners on the site. Press releases. You could even sponsor our X show that goes out through the FB feed, on the website, etc. Seriously, Jennifer, you guys are not taking advantage of our services. We even have the coupon of the week that goes out to X email subscribers that KILLS it. Let’s do something. How do we get started?

Example 4 – Casual Follow Up / Passive Stalking / WTF?

Just popping by and checking in on your current planning at Penna Powers. Below are two photos of what I would look like if I were a caterpillar of sorts just checking in, or a dolphin just popping by. Let me know the scoop when you’re able.

Bad Sales Emails

Bad Sales Emails





These images were actually embedded into the email.

We hope our clients appreciate the work we do to filter these, and that anyone selling can learn what is most valuable to provide to media planners.

What’s your worst sales email? Let us know in the comments.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Google Advertising Cost | Cute Puppies

We’ve all seen (and probably clicked) on an ad in Google. In fact, 1-2% of all Google ads are clicked on. But what did it cost the company?

Advertisers are only charged per click. The price ranges from $.01 per click to over $100 per click, based on the search term. Don’t worry though, the majority of advertisers pay between $1-2 per click.

Advertisers select a list of searches (keywords) they want to have their ad run on. Then, based on the keywords they select the maximum they are willing to pay for someone to click on their ad. I’m going to use an example of a pet store, PetMo.

Keyword List for PetMo

  • PetMo
  • Dogs for sale
  • Dog food

Obviously this list is overly-simplified, as most small businesses have around 1,000 keywords they target. Let’s walk through how much they would be charged per click. PetMo is willing to pay up to $2 per click.

  • PetMo – since this keyword is directly related to the company, even if other competitors might bid on this keyword, PetMo would only be charged around $.03 per click because it’s very relevant to the search. It makes sense for advertisers to bid on their own company name to avoid competitors ranking above them.
  • Dogs for sale – this keyword has little competition, as there are only a few stores in town that sell dogs. Each other store is only willing to pay $1 per click, so PetMo would pay $1.01 per click because of their bid of $2. Google charges $.01 more than the next highest bidder.
  • Dog food – this keyword has high competition, as a lot of stores sell dog food. One store is willing to pay $3 per click, PetMo is willing to pay $2 and other stores under $2. PetMo’s ad would show up in the second position and would be charged the full $2 per click.

If PetMo received clicks on these three ads their average cost-per-click would be $1.01 (.03+1+2 = 3.03 total, then divide by 3 to get average). The costs are dependent on relevancy, the advertiser’s bid and competition for that keyword.

The real question is do Google ads work? The short answer is yes! As an advertiser I have found Google search ads typically outperform any other form of paid advertising. One thing companies should consider before just running Google ads is to actively work on their site’s organic search ranking. Google ads are clicked on 1-2% of the time, but the top search result is clicked on over 33% of the time.

If you’re interested in how much ads cost on some other channels, here’s our suite of articles.

How Much do Ads on YouTube Cost?

How Much do YouTubers Make?

How Much do Ads on Facebook Cost?

How Much do Ads on Twitter Cost?

How Much do Ads on Instagram Cost?

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter


Have you ever wondered what the largest sporting events in Utah are? We’ve compiled two lists – one for the most attended sporting events in Utah and another for the most watched TV sports programs in Utah. We use these lists to evaluate sports sponsorships and to buy TV packages in general.

7 Most Attended Sporting Events in Utah

  1. Utah Jazz – 19.8% of all Utahns reported attending a game in the last year.
  2. Salt Lake Bees – 15.7%
  3. BYU Football – 11.0%
  4. Real Salt Lake Soccer – 10.3%
  5. University of Utah Football – 8.3%
  6. Utah Grizzlies Hockey – 7.1%
  7. BYU Basketball – 6.4%

7 Most Watched TV Sports Programs in Utah

  1. Super Bowl – 45.8% of all Utahns reported watching this in the past year.
  2. Olympics – 40.2%
  3. NFL Playoffs – 31.9%
  4. NBA Finals – 24.7%
  5. Utah Jazz – 24.0%
  6. Bowl Games – 23.5%
  7. BYU Football – 20.7%

Data Source: Scarborough Salt Lake City Feb14-Jan15 release

Were you surprised by any of these? Dismayed that the University of Utah has less attendance and viewership than Brigham Young University? Let us know in the comments!

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Are you creating a company blog team and don’t know where to start? Watch our video to find five key steps to get your company up and blogging in no time, including:

1. Select a team lead and get volunteers from all departments.
2. Choose a strategy – SEO, show company culture or prospecting new clients.
3. Have regular meetings to discuss statistics, plan and generate new ideas.
4. Set up quality control to check grammar, site staging and to ensure the content is on strategy.

It’s important to remember to always keep your blog on strategy, as your website/blog is one of the most important members of your organization. Need help starting a blog? We’d love to assist.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter