Recommended Content: Best Practices

  • Make sure your recommended content is taxonomy linked, that it expands your native content in a way that’s relevant to your audience.  It’s a key to user engagement.
  • Use an outside content recommendation service.  You can do it in-house if you have an editorial staff or the development capability to automate the process.  Both impact the budget.
  • Page design counts.  More native is better, less crowded is better too.
  • The more connected to your content, the more connection you will make to your audience.
  • High quality images are important.  Content without images or with poor quality images send people away.
  • A/B Test elements such as position on the page – right panel, left panel, bottom, relative size, number of recommended slots per page, etc.
  • Make the distinction between “More from the Web” that just connects the user to an ad and quality recommended content that carries an ad.  The latter is best for engagement and revenue.
  • Use content recommendation as a sales tool, either by adding meat to your own site’s information or by recommending relevant, related products.
  • Beware of assumptions about your audience if you’re doing content recommendation in-house.  Taxonomy algorithms are best for psyching out the user.
  • Just as page design is best when less crowded, pages with to many ad carriers on will have a negative effect on page loading time and drive users away – diminishing returns.

Source: Publishing Executive

Apps are Built for Targeted Marketing

If you ask why in-app advertising is today’s sweetheart, this simple graph will provide the answer. All data show that people are more engaged with their mobile devices, and that for many functions, phones are replacing desktops. And when they get to their phones, they are living in their apps and not their browsers.

Advertisers are realizing not merely that the numbers are moving in the mobile direction, but that because apps are narrowly defined, single function programs, they specify the user better than almost any other medium.  The singularity of apps is built for targeted marketers.    Source: Technavio

IAB Taxonomy:A Winner for Digital Advertising

The value of IAB Taxonomy in a time when fraud threatens the flowering digital ad market is clear.  It provides trust and control to both supply and demand sides fo the equation.   Advertisers are concerned about placing their ads in an environment that does not conflict with or tarnish the brand behind the message.  In contrast, legitimate publishers don’t want to be running toxic ads that repel users.

A good taxonomy scheme also has the benefit of better audience targeting.  Ads that match the content’s classification will appear less like spam to the audience, thus, raising the quality for both the user and the advertiser.  The user will fell less offended by the interruption while the advertiser gets a better yield.

As an industry, quality assurance on both sides makes projected growth realistic. If we fail, those projections will not be reached.   Source: Business2Community

Deeper Mobile Strategizing Required

Military Strategy

  1. Mobile data provides an opportunity to reach people at the point of decision – when they are walking on the street near an ice cream store or the when they are moving from one branded mobile website or app to another. It’s an opportunity because it could be acted on in the moment, but that contact will degrade to just another advery quickly.
  1. Mobile ads are often viewed negatively by users who feel intruded upon. That requires care by advertisers. Ads need to be created with that fact in mind; they need to be compelling enough that they leap the negativity bump to be received favorably.
  1. Advertisers who can integrate data from ‘dark social’ (emails, instant messages, texts), where people reveal the most intimate knowledge about their closest friends and associates, will benefit from a deeper insight into their audience.

The message: To win the advertising lottery in a mobile environment, brands are increasingly required to up the ante.   Source: AdAge

Maximizing the Digital Video Rage

Rewarded Video

There may be lessons about video advertising that can be drawn from the gaming world and applied in the broader advertising world.  Here’s the logic.  When asked which type of ad was preferred, gamers designated rewarded ads by far.  The reason is obvious; users get something in return for the interruption. And because of the reward, there is a documented completion rate of 90% for rewarded ads and impressive recall and association rates as well.  Add those facts to data that strongly recommends a six-second preference for pre-roll ads and you have a formula for successful advertising beyond digital gaming.  Reward ad viewing and keep it short. Source: AdExchanger

Management Lessons from Alibaba

Alibaba's Growth 2018

The growth numbers for Alibaba are mind-bending – “more than 50% year-over-year revenue growth for each quarter in the past two years.”  That’s for an already giant company, for a company through which 45% of China’s population discovers or purchases products.  How can that growth be sustained?

Here’s how.  Last year we wrote that both Alibaba and its only competitor were building infrastructure to expand their presence in the more rural areas of China as a way to find future growth.  It doesn’t end there.  Now that they have penetrated those regions, they recognize a difference in the levels of sophistication between urban and rural, between established and new customers.

Using AI to psych out users, Alibaba is delivering one of two forms of their app.  For the user deemed to be sophisticated there is one version that’s been embellished with elements of social networking allowing users to interact and post product reviews.  By contrast, the version for the novice is more basic.  It emphasizes best value for the money and products more focused on basic needs.  The strategic thinking behind the approach is supported by the numbers.  The lesson for all companies is that you are never finished; you should never accomplish a goal without an eye to the next horizon.  Source: The Motley Fool

The Mobile Challenge


In an article from AdExchanger, Jeremy Steinberg, CRO of Yeldmo, lays down the gauntlet for advertisers to make the mental adjustment required for the obvious, mobile is where consumers live.  Therefore, he argues, creative adjustments have to be made to accommodate mobile form factor realities.


  1. Proper rendering for the hundreds of phone variations is essential for effective messaging.
  2. Creative “needs to be built for the thumb [for] how consumers scroll, swipe and tilt, or walk and touch.”
  3. Content needs to be “optimized for the mobile experience and properly deployed”
  4. “Interstitial ads pop up randomly”
  5. “Large format ads will break the page and confuse users”
  6. “Adhesion banners [are over used] and deliver unintentional clicks”
  7. “Audio-on video formats pummel users”

Advertisers that embrace these challenges and adjust for them will win the mobile medium.  Source: AdExchanger

New Media Combinations & Permutations


Our discussions are always focused on the latest digital marketing approaches as if traditional marketing is so old fashion as to not matter.  So it is refreshing to see writing that recognizes old ways haven’t completely disappeared and likely won’t.   It takes to view that combining old and new media might yield the best result.   Consider the following media combining strategies:

  1. Billboards with geo-targeting – to focus on people passing through your specific location
  2. Newspapers and online ads – to focus on a local community’s permanent population
  3. Magazines with digital content – to take advantage of a magazines specialized audience by advertising in both their print AND digital versions
  4. TV and video – Television ad costs have come down in recent years and You Tube ads are cheap, so the key is to produce a TV ad that can be also be cut down to 6-second and 15-second pre-roll times and spread the same budget on both mediums.
  5. Radio and streaming ads – As with TV, radio ads costs have come down allowing the same budget to compliment your morning drive time presence with a streaming presence on Pandora or Spotify or on selective podcasts.

These strategies point to a sophisticated, purposeful omni-channel approach to advertising.  Source:

One Opinion on How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2019

Neil Patel

Aside from his arms flapping like a bird at take off, Neil Patel is doing what he says; marketing his ideas via video.  His thoughts for 2019 suggest changes that include more omni-channel marketing, more voice search and more conversion optimization as well as attention to level funnels and the need for original content creation with an emphasis on video content and podcasting.  Watch his 6-minute video for details:   Source: You Tube

Lessons from the East – Part Two: Marketing

Chinese Advice - marketing

In case, you are a self-assured American business person, here’s an example of how the world is flipping.  The following is an excerpt that provides advice and counsel to the US (and world’s) businesses on the five, company-building things that need to be done for success in the modern world from the Chinese point of view.

Focus on Word-of-Mouth Advocacy  – In a social media environment, incorporating the power of influencers to stoke word-of-mouth is a required plank of a marketing plan

Capitalize on Mobile Videos – Parallel to the social media trend is the mobile video trend.  Long form video with informative content adds dimension to a brand beyond the 30-second ad.  It too needs to be central to a modern marketing strategy.

Live Stream – Maybe the most personal of all digital marketing strategies, live streaming, puts the immediacy of a current event in a customer’s hand.  The obvious is an athlete live streaming during a game, but even a company can ask its socially conscious people at a trade show to live stream the event for customers who are not there.

Become Green and Eco-Friendly – Another undeniable trend is the consumer demand for more healthy food and environmental sustainability.  Aliening those interests in your product and its marketing is a positive.

Stay Flexible – All good marketing requires flexibility, but digital marketing and the trend elements mentioned here, demand flexibility.  The same goes for the product side of business management.

Source: Pan Daily