Know you need to advertise, but don’t know what to say, or how to show it? It’s always a good time to review Strong Creative Best Practices to help you get the most out of your advertising campaign!

Use keywords in your ad copy: They will help tell the story without lengthy text that can be distracting.

Keep it simple: Busy ads have lower click through rates and brand recall. Avoid wordiness and show or tell the customer what’s in it for them.

Clear call-to-action: Make it short and simple (“BUY NOW,” “SIGN UP” etc.) Putting the call-to- action on a “button” in the banner ad is also helpful because people naturally know to click buttons.

Show off your brand, not just the deal: Banner ads help people with branding recall so even if a customer doesn’t click on a banner ad immediately, they remember your brand when they type it into Google Search or a web browser at a later time.

Integrate the ad with other marketing: Marry traditional and digital media by using similar visuals, fonts and colors that are used in TV spots or billboards. This continues to build brand recognition and credibility.

Entice the customer: Use special offers or discount to catch the user’s attention. Time sensitive specials can add a sense of urgency (“Memorial Day Sale,” “Limited time offer” etc.) and help guide consumers to click the ad and make the purchase sooner.

Keep things fresh: You don’t want users getting bored with and ignoring your ads.

Deliver the goods on the landing page: Banner ads should be linked to a destination page that is exactly what the ad promises (if your call to action is “BUY TICKETS NOW” your landing page should be the ticket buying portal for whatever event you are advertising.) The shorter and easier you can make a customer’s journey from seeing your ad and making a purchase, the better. (Think about Amazon’s “Buy Now” button that requires 2 clicks to make a purchase.)

Don’t underestimate the power of good design: Engaging and provocative design will turn prospects into clients. Use crisp, high-resolution images on uncluttered backgrounds. Images with people using or enjoying your product make the most impact.

Need help making these best practices come to life in your next advertising campaign? Royle Media is your one-stop-shop for creative, digital advertising, so give us a call at 503-376-7141 !

In 2013 Royle Media started running programmatic advertising campaigns for select clients. Our preferred platform, the Google Display Network, did not offer the advanced targeting capabilities we needed. We understood programmatic display’s potential, but few of our clients were ready to move significant budgets away from Google AdWords, radio and television.

Today I am proud to announce our partnership with Simpli.fi, the industry leader in localized programmatic ad buying. We selected Simpli.fi because their self-serve interface allows us to create and manage geo-fencing campaigns for our clients. These localized campaigns, which target specific neighborhoods, streets, and buildings, were not affordable for small retail businesses. With this agreement, we can now run geo-fencing campaigns with $2,500 minimum buys.

Simpli.fi is providing us with dedicated support, improved targeting and wholesale pricing. We are thrilled to have them as our official display advertising partner.

google LSA

Google just debuted their new Local Service Ads (LSA) in 30 markets, and are calling plumbers, locksmiths, electricians and HVAC companies directly. Participating businesses must pass “Advanced Certification” guidelines to verify they are established and have safe employees.  When certified, they may purchase the GOOGLE GUARANTEED ads at the top of local search listings. A good article about LSA can be found at Street Fight.

Advanced Certification is really ad verification. Generally speaking, advertising verification is designed to decrease online fraud. For example, Facebook recently started verifying all political ads in wake of Russia’s tampering in US elections. From an advertising agency point of view, verification improves the industry. Digital ads have more trust with consumers. Verification should be a win for everyone – consumers, ad agencies and publishers alike.

However, in this verification case, we are talking about Google. Part of their business model is based on industry disruption. Paid search has disrupted the Yellow Pages.  Free Google Sheets and Docs continue to target Microsoft Office revenue.  Google Analytics eroded paid analytics services like HitsLink. With LSA, verification is a tool to disrupt the advertising agency model. Now companies like Royle Media are in their cross-hairs. Our active clients include electricians, plumbers, and HVAC contractors.

What’s Wrong with Google Going Direct?

  • For 18 straight years, we’ve been telling business owners that, “Google never calls you,” and telemarketers posing as Google are frauds and scammers. That all changes now as Google makes outbound sales calls. They have opened Pandora’s box and created more opportunities for bait-and-switch advertising criminals. Business owners beware.
  • Google AdWords was introduced Q4 2000. Since then, local digital agencies have been Google’s bread and butter, their biggest advocate, and sales force. Going direct means Google is cutting off the hand that feeds them. There is no loyalty in Mountain View. Will the direct sales model backfire as agencies shift more budget to Bing, Facebook, Pandora and programmatic ad networks? Why send business to Google when they are a competitor?
  • Now that Google will “guarantee” a company’s trustworthiness through LSA, does that mean their other paid and organic listings are full of unethical companies? Did Google create verified ads because AdWords and Google organic search results have always been full of predators?
  • Removing the agency reduces accountability. Google only cares about Google. Facebook ads often CRUSH Google AdWords when it comes to ROI. Pandora and Bing regularly provide better return than expensive Google AdWords. Digital agencies measure ROI, verify that ads were properly delivered, and recommend the best advertising options for the business owner.
  • Google’s new Local Service Ads push the organic listings further down the page, maybe even page two. For the businesses that have invested heavily in search engine optimization (SEO), they now need to pivot to Google paid advertising. That does not diminish the value of SEO with Bing and their partners.
  • For the last couple years radio, television and newspaper companies have moved to the “agency model”, where they build and optimize websites, sell Google AdWords, and programmatic banner campaigns. Now LSA will be competing directly with broadcasters and publisher-sold AdWords campaigns. These media companies will surely drop Google from their digital advertising toolboxes once they figure it out.

Ten years ago, I held a corporate position with Entercom Communication, and Google was courting our radio group to sell AdWords. I attended a conference in Mountain View where they wined and dined us broadcasters, as well as newspaper and phone book publishers. Google wanted us “partners” to sell their ads. We had the sales teams, and AdWords seemed complimentary to local radio spots.

The Stanford MBA’s at Google created complex formulas to determine commission rates. The commission tables were difficult to understand, much less explain to a commission sales rep in the field how they got paid.  A simple percentage of gross sales was unreasonable to Google. They needed to have leverage over their partners. When it comes to partnerships, win/win is not in Alphabet’s vocabulary. One decade later, and Google is still up to their same tricks. There is no loyalty or win/win in Mountain View.

Previously when we had problems with Google, we simply called them and were routed to Mountain View or Arizona. Now Google customer service calls are routed overseas. Unfortunately, the new customer service folks do not have the same depth of advertising knowledge as the North America-based client service professionals. This makes Google frustrating to work with. Will the Google Guaranteed customer service people be overseas also? I’m not sure the busy plumbers and electricians will have the patience for off-shored customer service.

This blog post may seem overly critical of Google, but sorry Silicon Valley, you can’t always have your cake and eat it too.  Maybe we’ll lose our Google Partner status for slamming them. If that’s the case, then so be it. We can buy around Google with Facebook and programmatic display ads and hot beholden to Alphabet’s cold soup.