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Insights: The EGC Blog

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In the ongoing race between social media platforms, the focus has included the triumphs of Facebook (and its offshoot site, Instagram), the teetering fortunes of Twitter, the decline of Google+ and the novelty of Pinterest. There is one other social site that (until recently), has not received as much press. That site is Snapchat. And if online video is part of your marketing plan, pay special attention.

Over the last couple of years, there has been a steady increase in questions asked and conclusions drawn as to how viable Snapchat is as a marketing tool. One distinguishing feature of Snapchat is that content eventually disappears from the mobile device (accounting for ghost icon as a logo).  How then, can a brand’s image be effective if it is not even going to remain once downloaded? Isn’t the risk of “out of sight, out of mind” a possibility, which would make advertising on Snapchat futile? Not necessarily.

As was discussed in Insights , over one year ago:
Snapchat is an app that is downloadable on Android and iOS 7, allowing “friends” to share “Snaps,” or pieces of content in video or image form that they can manipulate. Once the recipient retrieves the snap and that piece of content is viewed, it will be deleted and no longer accessible. A user (or a brand) can, however, create a “Snapchat Story” that allows all followers to access this snap or piece of content for 24 hours.

So, this progression is similar to any online advertising formula: if a person notices an ad, finds it interesting, and wants to find out more about the brand being promoted, they will click on the ad. If they find the ad message memorable, and they first saw it on Snapchat, they will search online in another site to learn more.

If Snapchat’s presence in relation to advertising has been somewhat eclipsed or in the background, it recently came to the forefront, and is now very visible. Yes, very visible.

Tiernan Ray, writing for the ‘Tech Trader Daily’ section of BARRON’s, covered the views of Robert Peck, managing director of leading corporate and investment bank SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, who compiled a 39-page report that emphasized how marketers must sit up and take notice of Snapchat, as it is emerging as a genuine competitor to other social media sites.

Snapchat currently has “…150 million daily active users, $350 million in revenue projected for this year, and has a $16 billion valuation, bigger than that of Twitter.” (Yes, as if Twitter did not have enough competitors, it must now contend with Snapchat.) The report goes on to state that Snapchat’s mobile app is more popular than those of other social media sites, and that it is stealing advertisers: “As we discuss later, Snapchat commands a significant amount of time spend of younger users as well as high engagement levels.”

The “young users” that Mr. Peck refers to are Snapchat’s biggest audience. They are also members of the millennial generation, which has become the largest sector of consumers. Brands and businesses with an advertising budget should therefore give strong consideration to moving some dollars into investing in a Snapchat presence. Think of the future – especially video.

In a recent Business 2 Community (B2C) article, Brian Honigman details how Snapchat has been a key contributor in video with an article, appropriately titled “The Big Flip: How Snapchat Reoriented Video Advertising.” The argument over creating video in portrait mode – while most people preferred viewing it in landscape mode – was literally and figuratively ‘flipped’ (to quote Mr. Honigman). In a world where watching movies on television in widescreen format (i.e., landscape), it seemed natural this would carry over to mobile for viewing brief video content.

One strong reason cited by Mr. Honigman as to why portrait mode is becoming the preference is that the smartphone industry is outpacing personal computers. Another reason relates back to the millennial generation: “For the desktop-first generation that was viewing on early video-sharing platforms, vertical video was a nuisance. But the younger, mobile-first set saw things differently. They viewed the world through their phones, and the idea of flipping that screen every time they wanted to watch a video was more of a nuisance than a narrow aspect ratio ever could be.” Once again, the younger consumer has made their choice known. And, for brands to stay relevant, adapting to these new forms is necessary.

To sum it up, Snapchat is making its presence known. In time, the little ghost icon may join those of Facebook’s lowercase ‘f’, Twitter’s little bird, and Intstagram’s small camera at the bottom of any number of webpages. It may be time to consider a Snapchat presence. (If not, you may be haunted whenever you see that little ghost.)

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Brands have their work cut out for them as far as getting their message to the public; more so than ever before. Ad blocking technology is one example of obstacles advertisers face. To deal with this dilemma, a change in perception is in order. Don’t think about why ads are not working; think about what you can do to make them work. What kind of story do they tell? Yes, focus on the story.

This past week, two articles (from different online publications), presented the argument that there is no more powerful method of persuasion than a well-crafted story, particularly in relation to advertising.

Scott Donaton, writing for Adweek, in a to-the-point titled article, Why Brands Need to Skip the Ads and Start Telling Stories, pointed to another challenge to the advertiser: the “Skip Ad” option for video ads. If the percentages for “Skip Ad” are higher than those where the video spot was watched until its finish, it's time to use those stats to inform next steps: revisit the ad script.

Whether ad blocking apps are in full force, or the option of “Skip Ad” is taken, Mr. Donaton states that it is all about what customers want to see – and they hold the reins: “If we're in search of a narrative thread, the last 20 years in this business have been about one thing: consumer empowerment.” He goes on to state that what he terms “ad avoidance” has also been strengthened by cable services and the advent of watching television via Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, for example.

The solution to this “walls-closing-in” situation is effective storytelling that both engages viewers and ultimately familiarizes them with your brand. As Mr. Donaton goes on to explain: “We are all suckers for a great, well-told story, whether that's Ridley Scott's The Martian or Ridley Scott's 1984 commercial for Apple. More recently, Leo Burnett Madrid entranced 5 million viewers with, of all things, a Pixar-caliber lottery ad.

Dr. Lu Zheng, Assistant Professor of Advertising at the University of Florida expands on the belief that powerful storytelling leads to effective advertising. In an article and accompanying podcast for Academic Minute, Dr. Zheng states, “Human brains are naturally wired to grasp and retain information in a story format. And storytelling constitutes one of the most fundamental methods for human beings to pass and disseminate knowledge from one generation to the next.”

Dr. Zheng employs “advergaming” – an advertising online video media that is used by many companies to brand and market their products – in her studies and research: “In my current advergaming study, the game story is purposely crafted to market the brand. The study also assesses the impacts of background music and different types of advergames on the user’s processing of information and ensuing belief changes.” (As a complement to this, it is worth noting that the subheading to Mr. Donaton’s article reads: “Don't Get in the Way of What Consumers want, Be What They Want.”

So, do great minds like Scott Donaton and Dr. Lu Zheng think alike? Was it mere coincidence that both should publish articles about storytelling in advertising within the same week? Whatever the case, if your brand strategy is not working, now is the time to examine the story that drives the campaign.

In our fast-paced, just-the-facts (and now) world, the concept of storytelling can sometimes be lost. It may be a paradox, but it is because people are hard-wired into “fast and now,” that the answer to attracting their attention is a clever first impression “hook” that will lead them into taking the time and wanting to find out what the content (and your brand) is all about.

Make people want to see your ad, especially if they could become potential customers.

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Facebook held its annual F8 developers conference this week, where its leadership discussed a vision for the future. The goal? Creating more reasons to stay within Facebook for all online activities and enabling more users to access the platform, from wherever they may be.

Courting publications to create new ways to experience the news, challenging video giant YouTube with new video experiences, and developing its Messenger app as an alternative to texting, Facebook has long been working to create a digital experience that reduces the desire to go off platform to perform tasks. New plans for Messenger were the star of the show during this year’s F8.

Hailing a cab? Soon you may be able to order a pick up from services like Lyft or Uber through Messenger.

Feel like doing some shopping? Ordering through Messenger may be as easy as using the Starbucks app to place your order for coffee or ordering from Amazon Prime. 

While more details about Facebook's efforts to create an all-in-one platform and monetize Messenger will continue to unfold (stay tuned here!), what's clear now is that in order to continue global usage of the platform and its apps, connectivity will have to improve. One billion users have accessed Facebook in a single day – but what if more obstacles to online access were addressed? How many more users (and potential customers for the brands that actively advertise there) could be reached?

In a Facebook Code blog by Neeraj Choubey  and Ali Yazdan Panah, this vision for better online experiences and connectivity are discussed (along with a plan to address it). “Facebook believes that people ­– no matter where they live – deserve a consistent, high-bandwidth internet experience.” 

Solutions for bandwidth can be expensive and impractical in some places on the globe. They announce: “Facebook's Connectivity Lab is working on a range of new technology solutions to help connect the unconnected and improve the experience of the underserved.”

One component of Facebook’s vision for a solution is Terragraph, which “leverages technology created to manage Facebook's massive data center infrastructure.” Choubey and Panah add, “…the Terragraph system can be externally attached to a building and connected to an in-building Ethernet data network. Combined with Wi-Fi access points, Terragraph is one of the lowest cost solutions to achieve 100 percent street-level coverage of gigabit Wi-Fi.”

Terragraph is currently being tested around Facebook’s home base in California. “We're currently testing Terragraph at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park and preparing a broader trial with the city of San Jose in California. We selected the latter for its mix of building types and neighborhoods, its proximity to Menlo Park, and the city’s commitment to demonstrating new technologies through the mayor’s Smart City Vision.”

Facebook’s second point of focus for creating greater connectivity opportunities is on transmission technology. Project ARIES aims to “build a test platform for incredibly efficient usage of spectrum and energy.”

Creating bandwidth in rural environments can be expensive and logistically challenging. To address this and open opportunities away from urban centers, Facebook’s team notes they’re looking to tap into the infrastructure of urban areas to create broadcast possibilities within a radius around it that extends into rural areas.

“From our recent population distribution study across 20 countries, we know that nearly 97 percent of the global population lives within 40 kilometers of a major city,” they explain. “As such, we are interested in developing this technology to harness the incredible gains in providing communications to rural communities from city centers.”

Additionally, Facebook says they aim to “make this technology open to the wireless communications research and academic community.” They explain that the goal is to “…help build and improve on the already implemented algorithms or devise new ones that will help solve broader connectivity challenges of the future.”

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Are you are marketer who is wondering about where to spend some ad dollars? Do you work for a business that is looking to highlight the brand name and image in a very strong way? These two questions apply to any and every advertiser or company – large or small, famous or not well-known.  And the answer would be a loud and clear “yes!”

That being the case, you should give strong consideration to this method – native advertising. If you are already engaged in creating and promoting native ads, intensify your efforts. If you have not yet adopted native advertising, the time to begin is now.

Last summer, there were concerns about where the future of ad content for the web was headed. Software that could hammer out ad copy was a major threat to content. Compounding this concern was the rise of ad blockers. On the other hand, there was hope that not all content would become software-driven and mechanical; and that cause for hope was native advertising.

There is a difference between content marketing and native advertising, as Gavin O’Malley writes in Media Post: …native ads are distinct from content marketing, which aims to match content and format. By contrast, native ads ­– particularly those found on mobile devices ­– match the style of the site or app where they appear.”  Regardless of the differences, the advent of native advertising is something marketers can look forward to with optimism.

A study was recently conducted by Facebook and IHS Inc., a company that specializes in providing data to organizations (among them business and governmental) to help them in determining important decision-making choices. Their findings were more than impressive, and were utilized in several articles that appeared online this week. (As is becoming typical, marketers have Facebook – specifically, the Facebook Audience Network – to thank for helping to understand and define the positive outlook of native advertising.)

Ginny Marvin, writing for Marketing Land, reported, “The key driver for the significant rise of native ad units is that they have higher engagement rates than traditional banners,” and that “…engagement rates are 20 to 60 percent higher on native ads than on banners and drive retention rates that are 3x higher.”

The conclusion is that by the beginning of the new decade, native ads will make up 63 percent of mobile display ad spending. Media buyers will spend $84.5 million dollars on mobile advertising, of which native will play a strong driver of mobile growth.

Complementing these findings, Mr. O’Malley goes on to state, however, that it is not so easy to just move over to native advertising. Everything – from learning how this format works to successful adaptation and implementation – will require a lot of effort.

He explains, “The key challenges to adopting native advertising by app developers and publishers include a lack of awareness of native ad formats, and restricted infrastructure and technology.” At the same time, “…developers are also struggling with limiting scale, the low sophistication of native ad formats, and a lack of universal pricing and measurement.”

To view a bar graph (courtesy of Business Wire), that displays the current and projected power and growth of where native advertising (via mobile) is headed, click here. (Spoiler alert: It is amazing – in a time period of less than 10 years – how fast native advertising is expected to grow.) This then, should be the inspiration and motivation to adapt and learn native advertising.

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Earlier in the month, Instagram announced that they would be moving to an algorithm-based feed. You can wave goodbye to this photo sharing app’s chronological list of photos that we’ve all learned to love. 

The new Instagram algorithm will sort posts based on the “likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relation with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.” Instagrammers are becoming more vocal about the update ever since the hashtag #turnmeon started trending. Instagram users are asking their followers to turn on notifications every time they upload an image to Instagram – for fear that their photos will never see the light of day.

Instagram1We Fear Change.

If you haven’t already noticed, every time a social media platform puts out a significant update, people tend to go into an uproar, start rumors, and tweet about their dislike for whatever the new update is. In the end, people adapt and continue to use the app and we all move on rather quickly.

Why The Change?

Through research, Instagram has found that its users don’t necessarily always see the posts that they feel you might care about the most. I personally check my Instagram feed a couple times throughout the day and I find that I’m usually missing a large majority of my friend’s posts. On average, users miss out on 70% of their feeds according to Instagram. There are a lot of rumors swirling around with the hashtag #turnmeon about the new feed update on Instagram, don’t believe everything you read on people’s posts on Instagram. Your followers are still going to see your posts; they’ll just appear in a different order.

Instagram2Why You Shouldn’t Worry

Instagram understands that this is going to take time to get right. They are taking the necessary precautions (which is why they are slowly rolling out the algorithm change and carefully listening to your feedback). Luckily, Facebook owns Instagram, so you know you’re in good hands, since this type of algorithm-designed feed has been in the works for a few years now. I'd bet that most Facebook users wouldn't choose the older chronological feed over their current newsfeed (with the algorithm).

Will My Brand’s Instagram Account Be Affected?

Instagram currently has over 400 million users. It is very unlikely that these 400 million users will just stop using Instagram over this redesign. People will quickly adapt to this change. After all, Instagram offers a unique experience with quality content. The algorithm feed makes sense for the platform.

Wouldn’t you rather see photos from your friends and families first, and not have to scroll past all the Kardashian accounts you follow? What are your feelings on Instagram moving to an algorithm based feed? Will it hurt or help one of the fastest growing social media platforms of 2016?

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In an understatement, Facebook has been good to advertising. In the past year alone, whether it was the phenomenal success of the Facebook-based platform Instagram, or the evolution of Clicks to Website ads, the positive power that this social media site has had on marketing is undeniable.

And now…Facebook presents Delivery Insights, another feature which will prove useful to social media advertisers.

In an article for Marketing Dive, David Kirkpatrick states very simply, “Frustration with bad advertising is sweeping the industry.” One example of this is the recent proliferation of ad blockers, which has made the need for premium quality advertising (i.e., ads that potential customers will want to see and not block) all the more important. (Even search engine Google has changed its format with the elimination of “right rail” ads.)

As the stakes for online advertising have gotten higher, how can this new feature from Facebook help?

Essentially, Delivery Insights (which will be part of the Ads Manager section in Facebook) will help marketers understand how well (or poorly) their ads are competing at Facebook ads auction. Marty Swant, writing for Adweek, explained what a Facebook ad auction was, and how it operated: “Advertisers submit requests for ads and select their target audience, objective and a price bid for each click or conversion. Then, each time Facebook has a chance to show an ad to a person in that audience, an automated auction decides which ad the user will see.”

Additional deciding factors of which few ads (among many) will win the auction and be seen by the masses on Facebook include the quality and relevance of the ad, and where and when – not to mention whether or not – Facebook users will take action (by clicking on the ad, or, in a perfect world, become a customer). As one can see, there are many variables that determine what makes an ad worthy for being selected to appear on Facebook.

Tense and stressful odds, yes? Enter Deliver Insights. While this new feature cannot guarantee success at the automated auction, it can help diffuse some of the tension and stress. Through Delivery Insights, advertisers can see what’s not working, and from there, experiment by making changes – either to the ad content, its bid amount, timing, or any other of the previously listed variables.

Not only that, but as Ginny Marvin pointed out in a report for Marketing Land: “Delivery Insights gives the advertiser information about why the ad set is underperforming and offers optimization recommendations to make the ad set more competitive in the auction.” So, not only do advertisers see what’s not working, but they can get guidance on how to fix the problem(s).

The official launch of Delivery Insights is within the next few weeks. Will it be a competitor to Google and Google AdWords? Doubtful. One strong possibility, however, is that the few brands that do not advertise on Facebook might very well decide to do so soon, thanks to Delivery Insights.

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Last summer, it seemed that Google – giant of internet search engines – had met its match when it branched out into social media. The prediction was that Google+ was on the way out. In competing with Facebook, Twitter, and every other social site, Google+ always fell short. To this day, however, Google+ continues to hang in there. The platform is still available to active members and for those who wish to join. And there is something new on Google+ that may make a difference (for the better).

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Looking back on the last few years, it seemed that since its launch in the summer of 2011, there were doubts about how viable Google+ would be as a social media site. This shaky confidence continued, even with the implementation last year of Interest Collections which included perks such as “Google Photos,” which was the site’s emulation of Facebook’s very successful Instagram. (“Google Photos” it should be noted, was not successful and did not last.)

But give Google+ credit for its tenacity…which may pay off. In an article for TNW News, Nate Swanner reported on the recent innovation from Google+ – “Create” (Crea+e). (The logo consists of “Google+” in small type, right above the more predominant “Creat+e,” which clarifies that it IS affiliated with the social media site.)  Google+ Collections (the feature where people start individual folders on topics that interest them) is the platform that “Create” operates on. According to Frederic Lardinois, writing for Tech Crunch, Google+ began modifying the Collections section this past November for the incorporation and accommodation of “Create,” which was released last week.

What makes this new change in the Google+ platform different from other social media sites? More significantly, how can this change set Google+ apart from its more successful competitors? Very simply, “Create” caters to a very select audience; namely, leaders and hands-on experts in a given enterprise or creative endeavor. (This then is the justification for the tagline, which reads: “Get in front of the people who get you.”)

Mr. Swanner explains: “What Create (actually ‘crea+e’ in Plus-speak) hopes to do is source thought leaders around topics. Those who create themed Google+ collections with high quality content weekly are eligible to be part of the create program.”

In other words, not just anybody can join “Create.” The selection of topics, however, is wide for those whose expertise makes them eligible to join the site, and ranges from cooking to mountain climbing. In a statement that Mr. Lardinois got from Daniel Raynaud, the product manager for Google: “Magical things happen when you bring together musicians, craftspeople, athletes, photographers from around the world.”

The results of this new modification to Google+ have yet to be determined. (Keep in mind, “Create” is only little more than a week old.) As Mr. Lardinois reports: “Google says that since it launched the redesigned Google+ in November, the number of Collection follows has more than doubled. This means more people on Google+ now use these new features – though it doesn’t necessarily mean the number of Google+ users is also up.”

So, in a perfect world for Google, if “Create” does in fact catch on, and the exclusiveness of the site attracts a wide variety of experts, the “Google+” will likely develop an icon that reads, “Google+ Crea+e” – for keeps.

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At EGC we, the intern team, have found an amazing group of men and women who inspire us as leaders in the industry and all-around fun, creative people. 

To celebrate International Women's Day, we thought it would only be appropriate to interview some of the remarkable women here at EGC and gather different perspectives on who inspires them, advice they would give their younger selves when beginning a new career, and campaigns that empower women to reach their personal goals. We loved learning more about the individuals, media messages, music, advertisements, and TV programming that encourage these women who we get to work with to remain driven to succeed in all sectors of life. 

Having the opportunity to learn more about the role models and experiences that have shaped these women into the individuals they are today is truly inspiring! Check out the campaigns and causes that inspire the women of EGC. 

Veronica Rupay

What is your position at EGC?

Accounts Payable Supervisor is my official title, but I do much more!

What women inspire you – famous or otherwise? 

Working/Career Moms including my women co-workers. We’re all in the same boat, trying to juggle work and home life balance. 

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

Do more internships, join more networking organizations and try to learn all aspects of your chosen career so that you are more diversified in your skills and knowledge. 

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

The Purple Purse campaign (Allstate Foundation). For a few years now, EGC donates 24 hours of agency time to several charities. In 2015, we worked with an organization from Suffolk that supports domestic violence victims, and during our research we came across campaigns that also spoke out about domestic violence. The Purple Purse was one of them. 

What is your Girl Power anthem? 

Recently, it’s "Who Run the World?" by Beyonce. 

Jeanne Mitchell

What is your position at EGC?

Account Manager

What women inspire you – famous or otherwise? 

My greatest inspiration was my Mother. I am everything I am today because of her. And if I can be even half as amazing as she was, then I’ve succeeded in life.

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

Try not to stress out so much! 

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

I love the #LikeAGirl campaign that makes it clear doing something like a girl is something to be proud of.

What is your Girl Power anthem? 

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," of course!

Valarie Collier

What is your position at EGC?

Senior Search Manager

What women inspire you – famous or otherwise? 

My Grandmother, Ivanka Trump, and Michelle Obama. 

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

Find a career doing what you love and that allows you to learn at the same time.  

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

My favorite campaign is running now.  It’s the 2016 IWD 2016 “#PledgeForParity” campaign.

What is your Girl Power anthem? 

It’s not an anthem, but I really like what India Arie says in her song “Video.” My favorite lyric from the song is “My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes/ No matter what I'm wearing I will always be India Arie.”

Aileen Rosica

What is your position at EGC?

Receptionist/Admin

What women inspire you – famous or otherwise? 

Jackie Kennedy and Mother Theresa.

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

Do what you feel passion for, whatever that may be! Follow your dreams!

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

Purple Purse.

What is your Girl Power anthem? 

"Roar" by Katy Perry and "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten.

Jamie Erhardt

What is your postion at EGC?

Account Supervisor

What women inspire you? (famous or otherwise) 

I’m fortunate enough to have been raised and surrounded by strong women my entire life. My mother, family and friends inspire me. I commend women that do it all and find that perfect balance of career and family while still maintaining a sense of self.

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know what door is about to open…and you want to be the one standing in front of it!

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

I think Dove has done a great job with their “Real Beauty” campaign.

Amy Edel-Vaughn

What is your position at EGC?

Content Strategist & Developer

What women inspire you – famous or otherwise? 

I'm so inspired by comedian Amy Poehler and producer Meredith Walker who created Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. I love that they're putting their own career success to work to empower girls to dream big and go for it.

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

Think big and be bold.

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

I love the Goldiblox campaigns. "Fast Forward Girls" is a fun and clever look at the importance of seeing women achieving in diverse fields for girls. It speaks to the power of not limiting how you see your future and absolutely seeing yourself as a future entrepreneur, engineer, chief justice, etc. "What If All the Action Heroes Were Girls" spotlights the disparity between starring roles for men vs women and the power of seeing ourselves as heroes.

What is your Girl Power anthem? 

"Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill.

Angela Mertz

What is your position at EGC?  

Media Director

What women inspire you – famous or otherwise? 

Those that inspire me have evolved over the years as I have evolved as a person. It used to be “pie in the sky” famous women that started with meager beginnings and had to work for success (Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Pink).

Now it’s real life examples, like the daughter of a friend of mine. Last year, my friend delivered her baby girl at only 1lb.  I am now watching that little girl struggle to achieve what are considered simple milestones, and she does so with a smile and strength I can’t even imagine. That little girl inspires me to be better every day.

And another friend of mine whose child has autism. The hardest job you will ever love is being a Mom to a special needs child. These people are EVERYTHING and inspire me to be strong when I’m at the end of my rope.

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

Great question! Having been at EGC for 20 years now, I have seen so much. I’d go back and tell myself simply “don’t sweat the small stuff” and above all “girl – you have what it takes, so keep using your instincts, they will get you far.” 

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

"Girls Can" by Cover Girl. If there is one thing I do not like to hear it’s the word “Can’t.” This campaign highlighted that just because you are a girl, doesn’t mean you Can’t do it or are less. 

What is your Girl Power anthem?

For a long time it was "Just a Girl" by No Doubt. I was in college when this song was released and that was basically the time of my life when I decided I was going to take on the world and never depend on someone else to do everything for me. Today, I think "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten is amazing and uplifting. It’s the story of staying true to yourself and never giving up. I strongly recommend that one to my daughter. 

womens_dayAmanda Mauceri

What is your position at EGC?

Account Manager

What women inspire you – famous or otherwise? 

My mom, my sisters, my girlfriends, the ladies at EGC, Leslie Knope, recent Academy Award winner Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams, and a big shout out to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton…

What advice would you give your younger self in starting your career?

You’re stronger than you think, smarter than you know, and capable of anything. Don’t let anyone tear you down, or make you feel small, or make you feel inferior for any reason. Be inspired by the people who believe in you, and never let anyone or anything hold you back from pursuing your dreams and reaching your goals. 

What are your favorite campaigns that empower women?

AT&T and Under Armour.

What is your Girl Power anthem? 

Oh shucks, there are too many to name:

Destiny’s Child – "Survivor"; 702 – "Where my girls at?"; TLC – "No Scrubs"; Destiny’s Child – "Independent Women"; Mary J. Blige – "No More Drama"; Katy Perry – "Roar"; Britney Spears – "Stronger"

 

 

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With Google Ads no longer visible on the right of the screen when conducting a search, it would be an understatement to say that there are many questions as to what new marketing strategies must be learned and how much of an impact this literal absence will have on online ads. Will it be a question of reinventing the wheel? Are creative professionals overreacting? The list of questions goes on.

First and foremost, in regard to keyword positioning, marketers maintain to apply whatever has worked in the past and make adjustments as needed. As Valarie Collier, Senior PPC Manager for EGC Group recently stated, “Look at your historic benchmarks for your keywords. Analyze the conversion rates and traffic you saw in the past and look for changes, daily and weekly. If you begin to see a pattern of change, it’s time to set new benchmarks and really take stock of your keyword positioning.”

Search Engine Land published two articles shortly after Google’s change to the search engine results pages (SERPs). The combined opinion of the two authors is to not jump to conclusions. Kevin Ryan, CEO of Motivity Marketing, feels that, “Any change in how search ads appear will have an effect on performance, but there’s no reason to panic.”

Part of his advice is for marketers to include third-party reviews and site links (if these are not as yet included), as these can multiply search results. Additionally, advertisers should expand search ad positioning, which will connect particular customers to their specific searches, quickly and efficiently. Backing up Mr. Ryan’s claim is Larry Kim, founder and CTO of WordStream, who states simply: “Keep calm.”

Mr. Kim went on, however, to list that there are those who would benefit (PPC marketers; ads showing up in position 3; product listing ads), as well as those who will lose out (ads showing up in positions 5-11; organic search). Organic search results. Ah…

It should be noted that Mr. Ryan claimed in his article that organic listings would be negatively impacted by the expansion of ad positioning. Marketers that have relied heavily on organic search for success in search will therefore need to make the greatest change to their online strategies.

Marcus Andrews, writing for “HubSpot Blogs,” gives a clear and detailed explanation of how the new SERP has been changed, and how it will effect organic search. Until last week, the familiar layout in any given search result featured a series of ads down the right and three at the top of the Google page. Now, there are no ads to the right, and four at the top. “While fewer ads could increase organic traffic, a fourth ad above organic results could also push results down the page to a point that lowers traffic.” Mr. Andrews concludes that, “Regardless of the result, the need for great content and a smart keyword strategy is more important than ever.”

So, with four ads appearing at the top of a Google search results page, marketers will be playing a game of “king of the mountain,” conducting laser-like precision of keywords in order to attain (and hopefully maintain) one of those coveted positions. Keywords will be watched and adjusted with the same scrutiny as figures in the stock exchange. Here’s hoping that Mr. Ryan and Mr. Kim will be correct in their prediction in that there no need to jump to conclusions. 

But as we know as search marketers, there is a premium cost to be on the top. Definitely stay on guard, and be ready to adapt.

 

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As of this week, Google has eliminated its right rail ads. How will that impact your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign?

EGC’s Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Team notes that in the next couple of months, during reporting, many advertisers will likely hear the question, “What happened to my traffic?” With the recent switch from three paid ads to four that display at the top of the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – along with the removal of the side rail ads brands may see changes in the traffic their search campaigns generate.

IMAG0003_1Those “mid-traffic” keywords that advertisers tend to settle into snug positions 4-6 (the keywords that drive substantial traffic, but not are not necessarily top converters) that once were displayed above the fold on the side rail will now take their new positioning below the fold. Although the keyword position won’t “change” in number, their new placement on the SERP may impact performance. Even though these keywords may not have been optimized as top keywords because of their conversion rates, but because of their ability to drive traffic, they are the lifeblood of successful campaigns.

As a result of the shift, brands will now likely find themselves competing to get above the fold, which may cause the cost-per-click to rise. What should brands be doing to account for this new Google advertising landscape?

EGC’s Senior PPC Manager Valarie Collier explains, “Work with your PPC team, ensuring the professionals managing your campaigns won’t wait too long to address. ‘Set it and forget it’ won’t work. The people who will succeed now are the ones who monitor their key terms in the SERPs daily.”

What should advertisers look for? Valarie advises, “Look at your historic benchmarks for your keywords. Analyze the conversion rates and traffic you saw in the past and look for changes, daily and weekly. If you begin to see a pattern of change, it’s time to set new benchmarks and really take stock of your keyword positioning.”

Making adjustments based on this analysis will be critical. As Valarie summarizes, “Define what is important to your campaigns’ success and how these keywords help you achieve your goals with your PPC team.”

Stay tuned to EGC Insights as we follow the impact this change will have on brands and for more insights on marketing and advertising from our team. Let us know what your thoughts and concerns are on this and other industry issues on social. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

 

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