The Home Improvement Season

February 6, 2014 § 11 Comments

Sure, we’re in the thick of winter and Punxsutawney Phil says spring is still weeks away, but the do-it-yourself (DIY) and home improvement season is just about at our doorstep.

The latest Remodeling Market Index (RMI) numbers are out from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the fourth quarter of 2013 is at its highest reading since the first quarter of 2004—suggesting that the growth in home equity and home sales prompted home owners to undertake upgrades that they put off during tough times.

In late December 2013 and early January 2014, we surveyed 3,400 US online adults aged 18 or older to investigate whether the positive RMI trend would continue this spring with home owners and renters taking on remodels, repairs and redecorating projects—and see which media outlets respondents turn to and use for home improvement resources.

Check out our DIY research summary and key findings here, grab the full research report (PDF) here, and see our infographic below. Oh, and think spring!

BurstMedia_HomeImprovement_Infographic_feb2014

Second Screens Score at The Big Game

January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

“Super” Sunday is a few days away and the media buzz surrounding the Big Game is fast becoming a roar.

Whether you’re in it for the football, the commercials, the entertainment or ALL of it, chances are you know what you’ll be doing Sunday evening.

At the start of the season last September, I wrote a guest post for Venture Beat that touched upon how second screens (mobile devices) and football fans literally go hand-in-hand. Fast forward to this week, and Burst’s latest research—which takes a look at how digital media and devices impact the Big Game viewing experience—found that just under one-half of respondents will check their smartphone and/or tablet at least once during the event. Second screens are especially huge among 18-24 year-olds: 3-in-4 of them will be checking their device(s).

Check out our Big Game research summary and key findings here, and our infographic below—and enjoy Sunday!

BurstMedia_BigGame_Infographic_jan2014

It’s content …

January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Jump into the hot-tub time machine and travel back to an era when another Clinton had their eye on the White House. The line that defined the campaign for Bill Clinton was “It’s the economy, stupid”. Lets riff on that a bit today “It’s content, stupid”. Within the ad economy the conversation has turned very rapidly to the rise of the machine and programmatic buying. This is a healthy conversation as for a certain part of the marketing spectrum inefficiency is being rung out of the system – and marketers are able to capitalize on the full potential (efficient reach and frequency) of the digital medium. That said programmatic cannot support all marketers goals. Yes brand dollars will flow to programmatic – but brand dollars are not going to be cut off from more integrated digital executions.

So back to “It’s content, stupid”. Maximizing reach and frequency are very top of the marketing funnel strategies that build awareness – however to bring a brand into a consumers’ consideration set a brand has to deliver a much different “advertising” experience. This is where content comes to play. Brands have a lot of content, and the internet has a lot of content – and both are constantly creating and flowing content into the system. The beauty of the system is the simple fact that it encourages and entices sharing of content. Savvy brands are pushing their content out and pulling complimentary content in – no walls. By pushing content out brands are broadening the exposure of their assets to a much wider audience – and starting and building conversations with consumers. That is one step in how a brand moves from awareness to consideration.

A big connected world

January 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Like a lot of folks I love data – data on its own is a bit like following the threads of a story. A person, place or thing pops-up in the text and the next thing you know you gone from reading about the local weather to investigating the best places to see the aurora borealis (and researching flights and hotel accommodations in Iceland). That free thinking is what good data, assembled into meaningful buckets lets you do. It doesn’t present conclusions – it provides the fuel for investigation, thought, and the development of your own findings. The folks at WeAReSocialSG have pulled together a lot of great data in this slideshow that is just incredible opportunity to let the mind meander and develop hopefully some new thinking. Enjoy .. and let me say the breadth of the reported data smacks you with the reality of how truly global and massive the connected world is.

Another End of Year List …

December 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Like just about everybody with a voice and a soapbox I am going to wade into 2013 nostalgia and present my top 10.   Sorry not movies, music, epic fails etc . just the 10 things I think had the most resounding impact on the online advertising space – and will have influence in 2014.   So in no particular order ….

  • Programmatic buying – 2013 was the year more and more brands accept programmatic buying as a viable compliment to their high impact programs.  Programmatic emerged from the “black box” to become a true component of a broader advertising effort and helped many advertisers create efficiencies by streamlining the partners they work with.
  • Content curation/distribution – We live by the mantra content is king and 2013 was the year brands realized that being a walled garden of content was, really, of little value.  Brands rushed to curate good quality content of their own or user-generated – and more importantly recognized that it is served best when distributed and shared to the masses.
  • Native advertising – along with “twerking” perhaps the most over used phrase in 2013.   Native advertising when done well is a beautiful thing – when done poorly seems like nothing more than a shrill plea for attention.  I think 2013 was the infancy/toddler years for this concept and 2014 will be its adolescence – which could mean more angst as brands learn to strike a delicate balance of engaging with consumers without seeming needy and pandering.  Stay tuned ….
  • Mobile – there are somewhere over 3bn smartphones in use on earth, almost double the number of PCs ….what more needs to be said
  • Blur … TV, video, beyond the screen – 2013 was not the year of video.  It was something much more as consumers found a whole new array of short and long form video content available, and a widening of choices for when, where and how to consumer it.  Also 2013 was the year in which content producers turned to the web in full force to keep the conversation and story going and providing fans with immersive experiences well after a season has ended.
  • Vine – it’s amazing what can be accomplished in 6 seconds.   Vine captures perfectly the immediate payoff viewers expect from content – got 6 seconds and here it is.  Brands are getting on the bandwagon and successfully using vine to partner with influencers, curate content and even create TV spots.
  • Moms – the consumer power this group has makes a brand manager’s knees quiver.  We talk a lot about the impact of youth on marketing, but think for a moment on how brands have shifted their marketing plans and spend to engage moms – its staggering and is impacting across the board how they market to nearly all adult demographic segments.
  • Cross-platform programs – 2013 was the year when savvy marketers went all-in with programs that took advantage of the unique characteristics and distribution power of multiple platforms.  We’ve seen this with social being affixed to nearly all programs, but the scope of programs today tying together in a cohesive package social, display, live events, influencer marketing, video, content curation etc… is staggering.
  • Traffic quality – kudos to marketers for demanding accountability and transparency.  Kudos to the supply partners who stepped-up and delivered on their promises.   We are in a very young industry and the pains we suffer at times are normal – when we have an environment of trust and verification we will all succeed.
  • Data – I’m not talking about NSA type data.  I’m talking about the deep, rich data we are getting about the impact and reach of campaigns – across platforms.   The data is providing us with a much clearer view of the effectiveness of a campaign – making optimization easier, inventory acquisition more efficient and ultimately our clients more successful.
  • Washington – OK so I said no epic fails, but any list not mentioning how the gridlock in Washington impacted marketers, agencies and consumers would be shortsighted.   The seeming inability of Washington to move beyond partisan bickering and the shutdown of the US government cast a pall over consumer sentiment and threw a wrench into many marketers Q4 planning.

The coming year will be a good one for the industry – all signs point to a recovering economy and hopefully a recovered consumer.   Year in and year out I am amazed by the kinetic pace at which our industry changes, adapts and evolves.   I expect a year from today I’ll be in much the same reflective mood and again be amazed at the strides the industry has made over the previous 365 days – and happy I am still here.

Is Mobile Eating the World?

December 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

We’re lucky from our vantage-point in that we get a direct view to both the online publisher and advertiser communities. Very often the needs and interests of these two groups’ tack in different directions. That is not the situation we find ourselves in today as both groups are faced with the necessity and challenge of developing an all-out mobile strategy. The mobile numbers are staggering – 1.7billion (yes billion) mobile phones were sold globally in 2012. The numbers for 2013 will tell the same story. A fantastic presentation that documents mobile eating the world can be found here

mobile growth

The chart to the left comes from the presentation and is staggering and a reality punch that we have truly entered (and in a relatively short period of time) an untethered world. What does it all mean? Well mobile might not be eating the world, but it is certainly reshaping it and how we live our daily lives. What does it mean for the small sphere of online advertising? For publishers mastering content anywhere at anytime – and for advertisers figuring out how to engage their customers in a portable world or content anywhere and at anytime.

Spending Season part 2

November 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

As you can imagine our seasonal consumer study (http://bit.ly/17gxvol) produces reams of data – much of which doesn’t make it into the final report. One of the points that caught my eye and reminded me of findings we used to see in our household studies is the fact that 1/4 of moms say they shop online because “there are no store hours to worry about.” At face value that seems to imply that convenience rules in a hyper busy world – but in today’s near 24/7 brick-and-mortar retail experience I’m not so sure that is entirely what it means. I think comfort comes into play – comfort in being able to browse without someone asking “can I help you”, comfort in abandoning the shopping cart without guilt, comfort in taking your time, comfort in comparing price, and comfort in knowing that you just can walk away. As we roll into the peak shopping season retailers should look at the online experience they provide and if it doesn’t feel comfortable – fix it.

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