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All the attention has been on Facebook and fake news, yet everyone in the room is missing another issue being Twitter’s massive bot problem. Estimates are circulating that bots are over 15 percent of active users, something Twitter disputes and pegs at about 5 percent. Whether it is more than 15 percent or less than 5, the point is Twitter’s bot problem is out of control and they need to do something about it.

Recently we analyzed a Twitter campaign that utilized the website traffic objective to see how active bots are on Twitter. Within 24 hours, the ads delivered 1,882 clicks and 13.76 percent Click Through Rate (CTR) which seemed very odd to our team. Deep down we all want a 13 percent CTR but immediately knew something was wrong. After further investigating, we immediately saw that majority of impressions served and clicks came from Android devices which raised a huge red flag.

Figure 1 – Campaign Delivery

After flagging Android devices as an issue, we considered the languages our ads were delivered. Again, we saw another red flag with a large share of our ads delivering to people who spoke Japanese, Portuguese and Turkish–to name a few.  

Figure 2 – Impression Breakdown By Language

Our analysis concluded the rush of clicks over 24 hours could be explained in no other term except for bot fraud. Now this was a very small, target campaign in the U.S. Bots are a worldwide problem for advertisers and governments when used in an inauthentic manner.

You may be asking yourself what can my brand do? Is my agency aware of Twitter’s bot problem? Right away you can look at engagements on your tweets. Look at the profiles engaging with your content. Click on profiles to see if they have real photos and information. Bot profiles will have the standard egg profile photo or they won’t match the target audience you were seeking. If you work with an agency probe them, asking if they are aware of Twitter bots and what they’re doing to combat them.
Staying ahead of ad fraud will continue to be an ongoing battle. Something we hope the major social media channels take very seriously and will develop sophisticated tools to help detect. If you have additional questions regarding Twitter’s bot problem or online ad fraud, please email us at content@pennapowers.com

 

 

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We recently attended the 2018 Silicon Slope Tech Summit to learn about the state of tech in Utah. The conference covered everything from gender equality to the entrepreneurial spirit. Here are a few of our favorite takeaways from the conference:

Relevance is key

Facebook’s Vice President of Global Communications Caryn Marooney stressed the importance of relevance in content marketing. If you can’t get relevance right, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you can offer. If you can get relevance dialed in, that’s the real ticket.

Don’t mistake motion for progress

Another highlight from Marooney’s talk centered on progress. She paraphrased Bill Gates’ famous quote: “People overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in ten. You need to put a building block on it every day.” However, Marooney stressed the importance of staying simple; be intentional in what you create. “The longer you are in business and the more successful you are, the harder people will pull at you to become more complicated,” Marooney said.

Your employees deserve transparency

Allbirds CEO attributed the success of his company to the employees. He stressed giving employees access to the greater vision in order for them to make better decisions. If your employees are truly invested in your vision, they are being driven by the right reasons. As soon as money becomes the motivating factor, you’re going to be paying a lot and the employees are going to jump ship.

Utah is the place to be

Although shadowed by Silicon Valley, the Silicon Slopes is operating at optimal density right now. Because of its competitive tech culture, Utah’s talent pool is creating something magical in the state. Multiple Utah-based CEOs agree that the state and its quality of life are the driving factors for success. “Almost everyone I know who comes here says ‘I’ll give it a little bit of time.’ Utah is a wonderful place that wins you over,” said Experticity CEO Tom Stockham.

We loved attending the 2018 Silicon Slope Tech Summit and look forward to the presenters they bring next year.

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Facebook recently announced major changes to how your newsfeed will look soon. We all know the days have passed where brands organically pushed out their content to waves of engagement, reaching a large audience. With this new algorithm change, Facebook is taking it one step further by showing you less business and media content, and more personal content from friends and family. Overall, the social media giant expects people to spend less time on the channel, meaning less time on brand content.

You should be asking yourself not if this will affect my brand, but how will it affect it moving forward. Now more than ever brands will have to fight for attention and space on newsfeeds.

Big Changes:

  1. Time spent on site will decrease

Less space for brand posts will lead to less reach, engagements and referrals to one’s website. If your brand relies on Facebook to deliver a large portion of its blog and website traffic, you’ll want to adjust your strategy on the platform. Consider adding new channels, such as email marketing or a paid platform, in the form of native content placements.

  1. Engagements will decline, becoming more valuable long-term

As people spend less time on Facebook, engagements will naturally decline. Short term this may be bad, but long term the value of an engagement may increase as people spend quality time engaging with content vs. scrolling and liking mindlessly.

  1. Facebook will look at your engagements more closely

You may have already noticed on your personal newsfeed that a friend’s post with a healthy conversation is staying at the top of your newsfeed longer than it used to. This is not by accident. Facebook is now looking more closely at engagements beyond likes, shares and comments, examining if a brands content is leading to dialogue.

  1. CPMs (Cost Per 1,000 impressions) will increase

Now that you know Facebook is making more room for friends’ and family content, that means more brands will need to utilize paid placements on Facebook more than ever if they want to amplify their content. As demand increases and supply decreases, an increase in CPMs is expected, continuing a trend we’ve seen over the past few quarters.

What your brand can do moving forward:

  1. Better content

Sure, it’s easy to say you’ll need to create better content for your brand, but it’s true. Moving forward you’ll need a well-planned content strategy that aligns your brand by delivering relevant and interesting content to the target audience.

  • Live organic videos will fare better vs. pre-recorded organic videos
  1. Diversify

Consider adding new channels to your content strategy, such as email marketing or a paid platform like native content placements. Brands also should evaluate how they use existing channels, such as paid search which could be tweaked to drive blog or content views on a website.

  1. Facebook ads

If you’ve sworn off paid ads or use them sporadically, stand back and reevaluate how you use Facebook products. Brands and marketers have for years treated Facebook as a pay-to-play channel. 2018 will be the year where brands can no longer ignore using Facebook ads to amplify their content. An “Always-On” strategy—whether it’s $50 or $5,000 per month—used wisely can still increase brand content reach and desired actions.

The biggest takeaway from this change is that brands no longer have the upper hand they once did on Facebook. It has been a slow decline, but the most recent change will require brands to rethink and shift their strategies. In 2018, influencers will be crowned the kings/queens of content because at the end of the day they are people first, brand second and these algorithm changes will favor them.

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Penna Powers took home some serious hardware at the 30th annual Golden Spike Awards Gala on Nov. 16. We earned six Golden Spike awards and one finalist award at the 2017 Golden Spikes in categories ranging from research for governments/non-profits to community relations.

2017 Golden Spikes

Golden Spike Awards

Harmons Grocery Local Print Ads

Category: Print display advertising
Harmons Grocery has been operating in Utah since 1932. What started out as a farmstand has blossomed into a progressive chain of grocery stores committed to quality food, unsurpassed service and community wellbeing. Supporting local vendors has always been at the forefront of Harmons mission, in fact, Harmons has been an integral cog in helping many local businesses get started. Over 2,300 products sold in Harmons are local items. With this in mind, Harmons asked Penna Powers to develop print ads with an emphasis on local. The ads featuring local products and produce were placed in various local Utah publications reaching more than 250,000 in readers.

 

UCAIR & Penna Powers: Show Them UCAIR

Category: Community relations
UCAIR and Penna Powers have conducted fully-integrated educational campaigns for the past several winters, when Utah’s air quality suffers most. Research in early 2016 showed that Utahns are concerned about air quality, but many believe air quality challenges are beyond their control. However, research participants activated around the issue when presented with the health impacts poor air can have on those they love. Building on this insight, UCAIR and Penna Powers created the “Kidult” campaign, inviting Utahns to “Show Them UCAIR” by changing behaviors to reduce emissions.

 

UDOT & Penna Powers: UDOT 1-15 Tech Corridor

Category: External audience videos
Utah County is growing rapidly, resulting in commute-time traffic jams. The Utah Department of Transportation planned to expand I-15, but funding wouldn’t arrive until 2020. In 2017, the State Legislature approved a bond to accelerate construction.
A public awareness survey showed that only 24 percent of locals knew a project was coming. UDOT developed a video to educate stakeholders on the project and announce the accelerated timeline. The video link was emailed to government and business leaders and promoted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to area residents and commuters.

 

UDOT & Penna Powers: UDOT TravelWise

Category: Research for government/non-profits
In order to establish a baseline around the TravelWise Program, UDOT conducted a general public telephone survey of Wasatch Front residents through Lighthouse Research & Development, Inc. The research included a total of 810 interviews. It was the first time that research of this scale had been done on the TravelWise campaign. It substantiated our belief that the campaign is necessary, surprised us in the level of program awareness, and provided actionable insights that are currently being pursued by the team.

 

IDOT & Penna Powers: Iowa Zero Fatalities “Impaired Sports”

Category: Social media for government/non-profits

With 32 percent of all traffic fatalities caused by alcohol related crashes, Zero Fatalities Iowa identified a need to address impaired driving with residents. In an effort to reduce fatalities, Iowa Zero Fatalities implemented a social awareness campaign during NFL and NCAA sporting seasons targeting men ages 18-49. Event targeting reminded spectators to get a sober ride home after the game. The campaign successfully, reached 59.8 percent of the target audience and helped lift overall Zero Fatalities awareness by two percentage points.

 

UCAIR & Penna Powers: UCAIR Illustrated Inversion Education Video

Category: Photography and illustration
The Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) is a non-profit dedicated to clean air. UCAIR and Penna Powers have conducted fully-integrated educational campaigns for the past several winters, when Utah’s air quality suffers most. Part of the challenge of getting Utahns to engage around air quality is overcoming their general low awareness that what they do does, in fact, make a difference in pollution levels. Many believe nothing can be done about Utah’s poor winter air episodes due to the meteorology and geography of the local airshed. During the 2016-17 winter campaign, we produced an illustrated educational video to attack this issue head-on.

 

Gold Spike Finalist Award

UDOT & Penna Powers: Zero Fatalities

Category: Community relations
To reduce traffic-related deaths between Memorial and Labor Day, Zero Fatalities implemented a multifaceted campaign called the “100 Deadliest Days.” As titled, the campaign focused on educating Utahns about (1) the 100 DD of summer when roadway deaths nearly double in Utah and (2) how to best prevent a traffic-related tragedy during the summer. Not only has the campaign performed exceptionally well in reach, frequency and engagement – As of August 23, there have been 12 less roadway related deaths this summer when compared to this same time last year.

 

The Golden Spike Awards measure effectiveness regarding research, planning, execution, evaluation and project content. A Golden Spike Finalist is awarded to entries that earn at least 80 out of 100 points; the highest scoring entry earns a Golden Spike. The annual competition is sponsored by the Utah Chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicator and the Utah Society for Healthcare Communication and Marketing.

Additionally, President and Managing Partner Dave Smith, APR received the Professional of the Year award.

Thank you to our clients for your continued partnership. While we are proud to produce award-winning campaigns, what matters the most is driving meaningful change together.

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Varick Media

Campaign minimums got you down?

Although all clients and campaigns are significant, they don’t always have budgets for massive campaigns. While there may be a perfect media channel for your campaign, it may not be executable due to minimum budget constraints. Varick Media is one of many great partners who have created solutions to this very problem.

Who is Varick Media?

Varick Media Management LLC offers digital advertising consulting services. It provides campaign planning, research, consumer insight, campaign monitoring and measurement services. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in New York, New York. Varick Media operates as a subsidiary of MDC Partners Inc., a marketing and communications network. MDC Partners has 50+ advertising, public relations, branding, digital, social and event marketing agencies under its umbrella.

What is the technology?

In 2012 Varick Media Management built its own in-house digital monitoring product.

That product, called The Lens, is paired with an internal pixel server so that Varick can track its online display and video ad campaigns across the various demand-side platforms and plug the resulting data into one central data repository that their clients control.

In October of 2015, Varick Media released Alveo—a planning, buying and reporting platform. Operating originally as more of an internal trading desk, Alveo can now be used by Varick’s clients to manage and visualize data as well as access reports across multiple campaigns. Alveo is available as a managed service “with all of the access and data of a self-service offering,” described Jim Caruso, SVP of product and client strategy at Varick. While agency trading desks aren’t renowned for open access and transparency, Caruso said, “Alveo was designed to be agnostic across media channels, DSPs and inventory sources.”

What is the solution?

Combining both The Lens (DMP) and Alveo (trade desk) technology, Varick’s clients can access inventory through a robust channel inventory and layer with premium custom audiences to manage through one platform. This married opportunity allows for accurate performance and audience insights across multiple channels. Because Varick is a subsidiary of umbrella network MDC Partners, campaign minimums can be achievable for a wider set of clients.

 

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Reddit Ads

Reddit has grown from a small community forum to one of the top influential news sources online. Because of its passionate audience, Reddit has the 5th largest website audience in the United States with the most influential community online. Because of Reddit’s nature, many users often ask for advice in areas that are not their expertise. Using Reddit ads, your brand can provide the answer to their questions.

Reddit’s advertising platform is simple. Advertisements may redirect to a Reddit thread (subreddit) or redirect to a website. You can narrow the funnel depending on interests and also by location. Sponsored advertisements appear in a native content form, which blends well with organic content.

Bidding works similar to other content platforms, such as Facebook, and offers daily or campaign max spends. The platform also offers a creative preview, so you can see exactly how your advertisement will look on the website.

For our client Nevada Health Link (NHL), we saw an opportunity to reach the 18- to 35-year-old male demographic through organic and paid advertising on Reddit. This demographic is often hard to reach, especially on a topic such as health insurance.

For organic advertising, NHL will utilize the popular Reddit “Ask Me Anything” series. The feature has hosted everyone from an appliance repairman to the President-elect of the United States. It allows Reddit users to ask questions based upon a host’s knowledge and experience. These series are often successful and receive thousands of organic impressions.

For paid advertising, NHL will extend the longevity of the “AMA” series by linking advertisements to the subreddits. Advertisements before the “AMA” series will increase brand awareness and drive enrollments to their website.

With many of the health insurance questions on Reddit already focused on millennials enrolling for the first time, Nevada Health Link will be able to get on 26-year-olds’ radars and assist them with their first health insurance enrollment process. Be sure to look for our Reddit ads and “AMA” series during open enrollment from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

Reddit Ads

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Utah has a serious problem with fatalities on its roadways year-round. However, during the summer months fatal crashes nearly double. In order to create awareness for the Zero Fatalities’ 100 Deadliest Days campaign, we knew we had to capture attention on social media.

Using Facebook’s auto-play feature, our creative team designed several 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs to get people to stop scrolling through their social feeds. The isolated motion within the cinemagraphs is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also unique enough to capture attention among various Facebook advertisements. This offers a unique experience from other social ads.

The 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs were used across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Some cinemagraphs featured major holidays or were used in a collection of statistics comparing your odds of dying in an unbuckled car crash to other events.

In order to highlight their full beauty on Instagram, we broke apart the images into smaller thumbnails that were accessible on the Zero Fatalities profile. Clicking on the center image would then deliver you to the full cinemagraph.

Check out our favorite 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs used for the Zero Fatalities campaign below.

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Q1 Media

A lot of innovative media and technology providers pass through the halls of Penna Powers. We’ve decided to showcase some of these partners, tell you a little bit about what they do and/or how they have been a part of campaign solutions.

“We could always open up the targeting a little bit”

Hyper-targeted campaigns can be difficult to deliver on the local level. Too often local campaigns are faced with an inability to scale against the targeting that has been sold in. Common “solutions” to this under delivery is to open up the targeting, eliminating the customization that a campaign requires. Q1 Media has a solution that historically has delivered without compromise.

Q1 Media established their business 14 years ago in Austin, Texas. They recognized at that time that smaller publishers would need help moving into the digital media age and monetizing their websites. They saw this as an opportunity to begin establishing partnerships with publishers to develop custom digital media placements. In return, Q1 Media received premium inventory not available anywhere else.

As Q1 has grown, so has their breadth of publisher partnerships and targeting capabilities. One of their relatively recent partnerships includes targeting capabilities using polygon location targeting. Polygon targeting allows an advertiser to map an area -or multiple areas- to expose those within, to the campaign messaging. In our case, we used this technology to map specific road ways. This targeting allowed our campaign to capture all the people who had traveled through the mapped area.

With this captured audience pool, we could serve media to them in the mapped area as well as save them to serve later throughout the entire campaign. Additional customization included audience segmentation to deliver custom messaging. Q1 Media proved to an excellent vendor, in combination with the Polygon targeting and premium publisher inventory, our campaign earned an engagement rate 8x above the industry average.

Thank you Carlos Casas and Drew Warriner, we are excited to see what’s next.

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We may need to invest in another cabinet to showcase our awards because Penna Powers is adding three more trophies to the mix. Our team took home three bronze awards from the 38th Annual Telly Awards, which recognized the best videos across all screens. With over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five countries, we’re proud to be recognized for our work by the selection committee.

Watch our winning videos:

Utah Zero Fatalities:

“Potty Mouth” – Television

“Slow Pour” – Television

Utah Clean Air Partnership:

“Causes of Inversion” – Online video

The videos were viewed on websites, social media channels, in-banner paid video promotions and in movie theaters.

Thank you to our clients for placing their trust in us to create innovative social change campaigns. While being recognized for our work is rewarding, what’s more important is the behavior change that we are able to accomplish in partnership with our clients.

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Native advertising is currently one of the most overused buzzwords in the advertising world. Many people are quick to roll their eyes at native advertising, thinking of the original click-bait nature of headlines and the cheesy descriptions publishers used to lure the audience in, only to have them immediately bounce out. The channel has now evolved from click bait headlines, to include video with engaging content the audience seeks out. The ability to retarget off each unit is another fantastic feature found in the native space. As a result, content can more closely resemble a publication’s editorial content across a website, lowering advertisers cost and increasing engagement.

Two main units we look at and the cost associated with them include:

Native Articles:

This placement has expanded from simple CPM (cost per thousand) buying to now include CPC (cost per click) and CPE (cost per engagement) depending on the buying objective. Now more than ever, the buyer and the content strategist can work as one tying together the goal of the content and how its written with how the ad is bought. For example, one piece of content in a campaign could be bought to generate awareness while the second piece to go live could utilize the generated awareness to increase website traffic and website conversions. As mentioned, native articles previously served as a vehicle for click bait, but now with vendors like StackAdapt and OutBrain, native strategies can be taken to the next level.

Penna Powers Native Article Averages:

CPM: $4.45

CPC: $0.83

CPE: $2.94

Time spent on site (LP): 1m 38s

Native Video:

Video has been on a hot topic for a few years now with YouTube popularizing video as an advertising placement. Depending on video length a video will fall into one of two native camps pre-roll, playing before other video content and out-stream with the later only playing when in-view. By now you’re most familiar with pre-roll running pre, mid, or post and out-stream videos running within a piece of content, breaking up a Forbes article for example. One of the greatest features of the native video placement is the ability to retarget an audience based on completed video views. This allows the advertiser to further engage with the audience and lower the cost of a conversion since the audience has previously interacted with the brand

Penna Powers Native Video Averages:

CPM: $13.04

CPCV: $0.03

Viewability %: 57.87

Completion Rate: 67.34%

CTR: 0.33%

Display working with Native

These days everyone either hates online ads or blocks them all together. Insert display ads working in conjunction with Native articles and/or videos. The key difference when using display in a Native campaign is the ability to bid on a CPE model if you’re looking for engagements on a piece of content. Display ads offered by vendors such as StackAdapt provide a great opportunity to retarget your native campaign audience, further increasing engagement and post-click activity.

Penna Powers Native Display Averages: (Currently we are only using native display in retargeting campaigns)

eCPM: $4.74

eCPC: $3.56

CTR: 0.13%

StackAdapt Benchmarks:

Native

eCPM: $3.00 – $5.00

eCPC: $0.80 – $1.50

eCPE $2.00 – $3.00

CTR: 0.40% – 0.80%

Avg time on site: 55s – 1m5s

​PreRoll Video

eCPM: $12.00 – $15.00

eCPC: $9.00 – $12.00

eCPCV: $0.02 – $0.05

CTR: 0.10% – 0.20%

Completion Rate: 70% – 80%

Native Video​

​eCPM: $12.00 – $15.00

​eCPC: $3.00 – $5.00

eCPCV: $0.05 – $0.07

CTR: 0.50% +

Completion Rate: 40% – 60%

Display

eCPM: $1.50 – $3.00

eCPC: $1.75 – $3.00

CTR: 0.10% – 0.15%

Despite the perception, native advertising is not going anywhere anytime soon. Based on a IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough study, consumers looked at native ads 52 percent more frequently than banner ads. Native advertising presents a huge opportunity for agencies and their clients to create a lasting engagement that leads to further brand interactions and sales.    

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