Targeted Display Advertising

Targeted Display Is Changing Advertising Strategies

In today’s world there are so many different ways to advertise. Odds are if you are a small business you are well aware, due to the many solicitations from every web marketing company under the sun. We wrote an article about the history of advertising in which we covered some of the core tenants of advertising. These things have not changed and continue to remain essential to any successful advertising strategy. Targeted Display adds a new level of targeting to the right consumers at the right time with the right message. RiverTown Multimedia offers many solutions if you have needs for digital marketing.

One thing that does change (and quite frequently) is the mediums that you choose to target your potential customers. Years ago businesses bought “banner ads” on websites in hopes of getting clicks, but the methodology was the same methodology as billboard advertising. You knew roughly how many people would come through and you would just hope that they saw your advertisement. In today’s world of big data we have so much data available about consumers that we can target ads to them in exciting new ways.

Let’s explore a few targeted display techniques

Demographic / Behavioral Targeting.

Audience Segments

With demographic and behavioral targeted display your ad will be delivered to defined audience segments based on your marketing goals. Targeting ads to people based on who they are and not what sites they visit eliminate waste, creating better results. With the data available to you in your websites analytics and social insights you can gather a clear view of who your online audience is. This data will help you figure out who is most likely to engage with your messages online. So a Demographic targeted display campaign might look like this:

A targeted display campaign for a local garden center might target women 35-54 with interest in gardening.


Site Retargeting

Site Retargeting

Site retargeting is the practice of displaying online ads to consumers who have visited your website. These ads are displayed across the whole internet on websites / apps that sell ads on their website. This is an effective medium for many reasons, but the most significant is that the people seeing your ads have already expressed an interest in your business. Here is an example.

Have you ever been shopping on amazon to leave the website without making a purchase only to find that you start seeing amazon ads around the rest of the internet? Amazon knows you had an interest in that product and uses “site retargeting” to remind you to come back and complete your purchase.


Search Retargeting

Search Retargeting

Search retargeting is the practice of showing ads to consumer based on what types of searches they are performing. We leave digital fingerprints everywhere we go and with everything we do online. Many companies sell this consumer data to help monetize their websites. The anonymous searches performed on their website get sold to a data broker which inturns sells access to it for an advertiser to target ads to consumers. This would look something like this.

A online consumer is out researching a major purchase like a buying their first home. They are searching on sites like trulia for new homes in a certain area, they are searching on sites like for first time homebuyer tips, etc. That consumer has left digital fingerprints indicating that they are likely in the market for a home purchase. Now when they start going to places across the rest of the internet, they may be served ads from local realtors through a targeted display campaign.


Contextual Retargeting

Contextual Retargeting

This form of targeted display is deployed based on keywords that are within article that consumers are reading. Back to our previous paragraph, we leave digital fingerprints across the internet even with the types of information we are consuming. These can be used as signals of consumer intent as well. An example of something like this would be.

Keeping with the new home purchase theme, an online consumer is reading blog posts and articles about first time home purchases. Perhaps they read about first time homebuyer loans or perhaps they are reading articles about how to make a good offer on a home. They now have left digital fingerprints indicating they are likely in the market for a home purchase and could start seeing ads from a local realtor.


Last thoughts on targeted display

There are many more ways that targeted display can target consumers across the internet. Each business in today’s world needs to find a way to target their potential customers online. Targeted display allows you to target active and passive consumers that are likely to convert to customers. By using targeted display in businesses advertising strategies, even a small business can leverage the power of big data.


Video Retargeting

How Video Retargeting Fits in to Your Campaign

Video Retargeting is an additional tactic that can be applied to a Retargeting campaign. Retargeting is a common and powerful advertising channel in today’s digital marketing landscape. It is the technique of targeting display ads to consumers based on their online behavior. Retargeting ads can be triggered by a consumers visit to your website, by searching for information relevant to your products or services, or even by reading blog posts and articles about topics in your industry. Which ever tactic is used to trigger the ads the objective remains the same. Targeting your display advertising message to consumers that are actively in the market for your goods or services.

How does this happen you ask?

Well, in the world we live in we leave digital fingerprints all across the internet about our daily lives. We provide a wealth of data to various places around the internet about our purchase intentions, interests and hobbies, and future activities. All of this data is used by large websites to learn about consumers and to build anonymous data profiles that can be used to serve behavioral advertising to target audiences. Once you leave digital fingerprints on the web that shows you are interested in a certain product or service, you will then start seeing display advertisements on websites all across the internet.

We are going to talk about the three main types of Retargeted Display Advertising.

Here is an example of Search Retargeting: Let’s say you go to a popular travel booking site, you enter in the following information: Leaving MN, need a hotel for 2 adults, 3 children, 1 pet, no smoking.

The digital fingerprints you just left were that you live in Minnesota, you are most likely a parent, you are a pet owner, and a non-smoker. Large websites take this information and sell it to third party data brokers to help them monetize their website. If you can picture this happening across all the different websites that have search engines across the internet, there is a lot of data. This is called search Retargeting. Retargeting display ads to be based on the types of searches consumers do.

Here is an example of Site Retargeting: This is the most common version of Retargeting that you will see companies offer. When a consumer visits your website, a little piece of code is triggered and the consumer will now begin seeing display ads with your marketing message.

Here is an example of Keyword / Contextual Retargeting: This type of Retargeting is triggered by keywords in articles / blog posts that people are reading. So if I’m reading content like “10 Things For First Time Homebuyers To Know”, or “What to look for in a mortgage”, its pretty safe to assume that I might be in the market to purchase a home. By reading these types of articles online, a real estate agent could start displaying their display ads to this type of consumer.

So what about Video Retargeting?

This is where Retargeting steps up the opportunity for richer engagement to consumers active in the market for your products or services. Video is one of the most exciting frontiers for consumer engagement. Figures from eMarketer show that adult viewers are consuming massive amounts of video (to the tune of over 5 hours average per day). This presents an exceptional opportunity to engage those consumers in a rich and meaningful way.

Video allows you to speak and show your message to an audience that is steadily moving away from traditional video outlets like the television to online channels. So this is where big data, online video consumption habits, and advertising collide. With Video Retargeting, you can leverage the power of Retargeting with the adding benefit of engaging consumers with rich video content. River Town Multimedia offers a comprehensive Retargeting program that can include video as a part of your Retargeting mix. See some of the solutions below.

Video Retargeting options offered through our program

  • Pre-roll Video Ads: These video ads appear immediately before free video content on publishers like YouTube,, Forbes, ABC Family,, Local News Sites and others.
  • Mid-roll Video Ads: These ads appear within the content of longer videos such as complete television episodes.
  • Post-roll Video Ads: These ads appear at the end of a video.
  • Non-skippable Ads: These non-skippable ads are 15 seconds or less, ensuring that prospects complete the video before continuing to their free content.
  • Skippable Ads: Ads that are greater than 15 seconds are skippable after the first five seconds.
  • In-banner Video: These videos are converted to in-banner format and size to run in standard display ad spaces.

To sum it all up, Video Retargeting offers a powerful and engaging way to reach consumers actively in the market for your products and services. Take advantage of the massive amounts of data available on the web and target your advertising to your active consumers.



Ad Blockers Affect Everyone


NO ADSThe sudden rise of Ad Blocking software and Apple’s integration of this software on its iOS9 program have created a lot of buzz in the digital marketing world. Users are fed up with advertisements taking up their screens and intruding on their content. It’s incredibly frustrating to visit sites with awful user experiences.It’s no different than enjoying meal after meal at your local restaurant and then having an awful experience and writing about it on Facebook or Yelp. The few negatives always stand out more than the “expected” outcomes.

What exactly is an ad blocker?

An ad blocker is hardware or software that blocks certain ads on a page. Ad blockers can come in the forms of extensions on web browsers, or mobile-specific ad-blocking browsers. No matter how an ad blocker is deployed the purpose is the same: To remove ads from the viewer’s screen. Ad blockers aren’t exactly new. This technology has been around for years, but Apple’s interest in the space, a move geared towards garnering partnerships with content publishers, has certainly driven the recent interest in the topic. The Interactive Advertising Bureau refers to ad blocking as “highway robbery.” So there’s another definition.


What does ad blocking do to the free content eco-system?

It won’t be a surprise to anyone reading this that I, a digital marketer, am not a fan of ad blocking. I like getting a paycheck, but more importantly I love how digital has changed the way we consume information and socialize with friends and businesses. The data has allowed us more targeted and relevant advertising to consumers.


Great content isn’t free. Stories, reports, websites, and most importantly, TIME, is not free. Throughout much of advertising’s existence the understanding between content consumer and publisher was that if I provide you content there will be advertising around it to support the business of creating such content. If we remove ads from the ecosystem, there will be no revenue coming in to support said content. Publications, TV, Radio, Newspaper and digital-only content would have to become subscription-based. Many of these mediums already are for some. But imagine a place where I can no longer go on for political updates. I again would have to pay $100+ for a satellite or cable provider to show me CNN, or more accurately in the near future, pay $1 per month or $0.25 per pageview. Many favorite blogs would need subscriptions, or find a major distribution partner, to stay afloat.I don’t know many people interested in this scenario. Without the free web, many entrepreneurs and start-up bloggers wouldn’t have the opportunities if people had to pay for that same beginning content.


Where do we go from here?

Great question. Thanks! (Stop inner monologue). Two things need to happen in my opinion. First, an organization needs to govern the advertising online and make it virtually illegal to deploy intrusive or obnoxious advertising without indication from a user. The IAB could be that organization, but their self-described failures have been well-documented. in allowing the industry to chase display ad dollars and not see the denigration of user experience. To their credit the IAB is looking into ways to keep digital advertising from becoming a nuisance and return us to the days where the relationship was understood: Want free content? Deal with a few ads. Pretty simple.


Secondly, ad blockers and mobile use have driven the need for content-based advertising through Native Ads or Sponsored Content. This has given the user less intrusive, more environment-appropriate messaging. But the near future of digital marketing is in content and creating information that is fun, insightful, helpful or entertaining to the consumer. Content marketing allows for more sharing via social networks and often creates a consumer appreciative of something of value and not just an ad. My fear is in a matter of time Native Ad spots will become ineffective and be glossed over as much as banner ads are today. Alas, this industry is resilient and continues to adapt and change to reach consumers wherever they go.


One final thought on ad blockers

Those of us in this industry are the most responsible. Some publishers and websites do a great job of creating experiences for customers/viewers that not only inform but also entertain. We provide a place for business relationships to occur, sometimes subtly and other times through user-triggered advertising. Regardless how a business chooses to run a site and advertising, we are responsible for creating environments in which our consumers feel like they can get the information they want easily, effectively and with a reasonable amount of advertising. Full takeovers, in-your-face tactics do not work and should not be deployed unless an interaction has triggered such a move. Otherwise, we’re continuing a revolt against our industry of digital advertising and digital content consumption.
Publishers and advertisers need to hold each other accountable. Consumers won’t care enough. They’ll move on to someone like Apple who will provide them what they want. Be respectful of a user’s time. People aren’t our commodity. They are our connection to the digital ecosystem.

5 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing

There’s no shortage of email in the world. Despite email being one of the oldest forms of online marketing we still find incredible value when reaching an inbox. But while email’s importance and targeting has improved, the clutter has increased. Here are 5 simple ways to stand out in your email marketing campaign.Image result for email marketing

1. Be responsive


The Pew Research Center found that the use of phones to read email doubled between 2009 and 2013, and the November 2014 Ericsson Mobility Report estimates that smartphone subscriptions and traffic per phone will have respective annual growth rates of 15% and 25% until 2020. The importance of mobile-ready creative is key. MailChimp says its”responsive email templates get higher click rates on all devices.” Use responsive design to allow an outstanding User Experience no matter the screen size. The worst result for any business is to send an email marketing blast to a user who is ready to engage only to have formatting issues on the screen. You may never get this customer back to your site or engage with your products or services.

2. Get to the Point

Use a short, concise subject line. The subject line is what drives the interaction with the email. You need to tell the user why they should open the email in as few words as possible. Also, use attention-grabbing headlines and explain the benefits quickly. A picture says a 1,000 words and a video says 10,000. Instead of explaining all the benefits of your business have a video embedded that says something like, “Click to get the experience” or another applicable call to action. Because so many people view emails on their phones and more video is consumed on mobile devices every day, you can utilize a responsive design with photos and video to convey your overall message effectively.

3. Mine your Data

Lead Gen Tactics

According to Marketo, “the company website, trade shows, conferences, and email marketing are the most results-driven lead generation tactics used presently.”

If you’re using an internal email marketing database already you probably acquire the list from 1st party data, or your current customers. A great way to build your internal database is to utilize 3rd party email marketing programs, such as the one through RiverTown Multimedia. Your current CRM database will tell you a lot about people most likely to be your customers. Target a 3rd party email program to”Like” customers, or those similar to your target audience and most likely customers. You can also look at Social Media data to understand who is most likely to engage you on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Your data is useful. Put 1st party and 3rd party data to enhance your current program.

4. Provide Value

Give me a reason to subscribe to your email list. This can include exclusive offers, unique information or events, or discounts prior to non-subscribers. Other ways to provide value would be with market information, educational tidbits or things that improve your customers’ lives. Appliance dealer customers may want to know about kitchen design. Let your auto customers know about upcoming manufacturer incentives. Another great value proposition is showcasing your image. Have fun with email. People like to feel good and see other people smiling. Although it may not be the feature of an email send make sure you convey how incredible your business is.

5. Tie it all Together

Email should be a component of your entire marketing plan. It should not be seen as a one-off project with unique messaging. If you have a YouTube channel embed a video in your creative. Want to boost Facebook likes? Provide an incentive within your email for customers to like your page. Email marketing is a great opportunity to reach an engaged audience with a goal of increased engagement, content distribution, social enhancement, and lead generation. If your subject line is good and the user opens the email you have their attention, probably moreso than any other digital space. The chart below outlines why email is so valuable…people spend time reading it. You have the users’ attention. Take advantage of it.

Movable Ink “US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q2 2014″ (2014)

Email marketing can be as complicated or simple as you want it to be. RiverTown Multimedia offers two different email marketing solutions to best fit your needs and budget. But these 5 tips should get you started or help adjust your current plan to make it more effective. Email is a wonderful solution and should probably be incorporated in most campaigns.

Don’t Go Changing: How Advertising has Changed Over Time

Advertising and marketing have been around a long time. From the days of medicine men driving cross-country in a covered wagon to Mad Men of the 1960s and today’s generation of data-driven and web marketing tactics much has changed. But the basis and strategies haven’t changed as much as we think. For a quick look, check out this awesome video via Mashable and Adobe.

For as long as people can remember marketers have tried to get their products in front of people. There weren’t a lot of tactics in the early years so businesses chose to mass market via the largest newspapers, widest-reaching radio stations or network TV. Target marketing still wasn’t a thing. But remember, when there are only 3-4 mediums you ARE reaching your target market….plus everyone else! Niche magazines and Soap Operas, publications and programs emerged to hone in on that target even more, eliminate waste and find the most engaged potential customer.

bigdataData and research have been around as long as marketing. The amount of data and trackability of users has not. That’s really all that’s changed. Focus groups and Nielsen ratings have given way to engagement rates and web traffic. Anyone who watched “Mad Men” knows how big a deal it was to get a computer in the 60’s. But there was a lot of data being used prior to that. As the data we use becomes more reliable and accurate the delivery of advertising also does just that.


I still firmly believe that advertising and marketing consists of two major components: Data & Research and Sociologicaly/Psychology. It’s great toData Tube know the target market, downright amazing what we’re capable of doing, but if the message doesn’t resonate with the audience it won’t have the maximum results. If we can’t reach people and touch them at their core, change their behavior with our message, it doesn’t matter that we’re reaching women 25-34 who have shopped at Norstrom for sweaters in the past 30 days. Vice versa if the message is brilliant, catchy and beautifully done but the audience isn’t in the buying cycle or the intended target is missed, how effective will it be?

In 2015 wSociology braine get caught up with all the data and target marketing. But there will always be a creative side to marketing. It’s how you stand out. In a world in which ads are delivered constantly and everyone is vying for that short attention span, who stands out? Not those with perfect data and targeting tactics. It’s the marketers leveraging data to deliver a perfectly suited and timed message.

The delivery on which we see and consume content and advertising has changed. What makes an effective campaign has not. There is still a balance between tactic, medium, content and data. There are more tactics, media and data than ever before. Use what the Internet, Mobile and Social have given us as marketers. But continue to find the creative solutions that resonate with your target audience. That’s how you TRULY stand out in today’s ever-changing marketing landscape.

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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Any Business Seminar


We can all agree there are different benefits to all the different seminars, presentations and the like. We attend because we want to learn, grow our business, or network. On the rare occasion you can get all 3 done at the same event. It’s even more rare that everything is discussed. So what types of things should we be looking for when attending an outreach event? We can’t retain all of it, so here are 5 things I recommend paying attention to while at a conference or event.


April 21st at WITC – “Marketing Plans, Social Media and Digital Advertising” put on by the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce.

1. Use your time to solve a problem. Understand your reason for attending this event. You know the topic and it should be relevant to your needs. Utilize your attendance to find solutions or create more efficiency. For instance, you may have a good handle on leveraging your Social content to drive engagement on Social Media. But you don’t know how that correlates to other facets of marketing. Be sure to listen explicitly for information on data, advertising, how Social relates to Search, etc. You likely won’t find value in ALL the information presented. I rarely do.  But there is usually 1 or 2 things from each seminar or event that of which I take note. They key is narrowing your focus to solve a specific need.

2. Know the crowd and key players. I always enjoy conferences because the knowledge in the room is so high. You can literally learn from everyone. Bounce ideas of your table compadres. Listen to the speaker. Find out who’s asking the “good” questions. Then discuss with your colleagues any further topics you want explored. Once you know who are experts or who else is in your industry you can start going back to Tip #1, solving a problem. Have a plan of action. Even if time doesn’t allow, set up a time for a phone call or meeting. This creates a lasting relationship that can be mutually beneficial.


Apr 1, 2015 “Leveraging Your Social Media Data into Advertising” at Westwind Supper Club in River Falls.

3. Be a Social Butterfly. I’m not talking about bouncing from conversation to conversation, although being open to meet new people is a given. I’m talking about Social Media. Follow the hashtags and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever Social Media the conference or event is utilizing. I’ve found I sometimes miss a great tidbit of information because I’m either spacing out (NEVER!) or taking notes. What someone finds interesting or insightful may skip you until you see it on the host’s Twitter feed. Live events are perfect for Twitter. The real-time engagement of the audience is measurable. Who knows, you may even see someone you know Tweeting about the conference, but you had no idea they were attending. #meetup


Jan 9, 2015 “Evaluating Your Online Presence” courtesy of the Woodbury Area Chamber at Platinum Bank in Oakdale, MN.

4. Don’t let conversations with new people drag on too long. This is something of which we’re all guilty. We start a conversation with someone new. We learn their name, company, what they do and maybe even where they are from. But then the dialogue dries up and there is awkward silence. It’s OK to walk away. Say “It was really nice meeting you” and be on your way. Of course grab their card before removing yourself. Understand there are plenty of conversations to be had and often you’ll realize if it’s going to be of utmost productivity early. If you’ve hit a 5-minute limit and small talk has begun it may be time to move on. I really don’t want this to come off rude, but one point of attending events, seminars and conferences is to network. It’s hard to network when you get locked up in a boring conversation and it’s moved away from a productive talk to anything less. You’re there for work and business purposes. Learning personal information can be helpful and is important in getting to know and understand your potential partners. Just don’t let it be a drag on your overall networking opportunity.

5. Recap. I find the return in a car, or plane, is a great time to reflect on what you learned, most important takeaways and next steps. Some bosses will want documentation on what you did, key people with whom you spoke and what was accomplished. Use travel time to organize your thoughts. The key is knowing not only WHAT you learned, but HOW you will apply it in your upcoming projects, sales efforts or brainstorming sessions. After all, Tip #1 was about solving a problem. Now it’s time to take action. Make it meaningful. Too often we learn valuable tips that can help our business, but when we return it gets left on the back burner and soon it’s forgotten. Post your action items on the wall in your office or somewhere you see them often. Once it’s instilled in your mind you will automatically think about this tip when the time comes. You won’t have to be reminded.

Thanks for checking out this blog on getting the most out of a seminar or event. As always, you can reach us on the website “Contact” button or through Social Media @rivertownmedia on Twitter or RiverTownMultimedia on Facebook.




Millennials Content Description

Tips to a Sensible Small Biz Digital Strategy

Small business owners can get caught up in the wild web we weave. We (alliteration will end soon, I promise) being digital marketing folks. SMB owners have limited staffs, resources, time and money. So here are a few things to think about when putting together a digital strategy.

First of all, why is a digital strategy important? I would ask, why is any strategy important? They keep us on the right track. Strategies help guide our decision-making. If we didn’t have a strategy we’d make a lot of individual decisions without understanding how it will affect our business long term. Oh, you’re doing that right now? Keep reading please.

Have a strategy

Your strategy should have these 7 steps:

#1: Identify Business Goals – growth, expansion, etc.

#2: Set Marketing Objectives – what products, at what price, where to promote, where to sell (e-commerce?)

#3: Identify Ideal Customers – current or prospective, what do they look like?

#4: Research Competition – what do the BEST in my industry do and how?

#5: Choose Channels & Tactics – what channels connect with my brand and my customers?

#6: Content Strategy – What’s the tone of my website, Social, email, etc. content and does it match my brand?

#7: Measure your success – how will I know I succeeded or failed?

The single most important factor of a digital strategy is knowing who you are. Understand what it is your business does well and what it doesn’t. Know your core customers and how you can best satisfy their needs for your product or service. If you offer a loosey-goosey, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants in-store experience than portray that on your website. If you have a serious tone and treat customers in a similar way, don’t make jokes on Social Media. It’s all about knowing your business and owning its personality.

We use the image below in our “Fitting Social into Your Overall Media Plan” presentations and I love it. Many people I run into assume that because they’re using “free” Social Media that is all they need. But enhancing your Social Media with paid ad spots or enhanced posts may be necessary if your content isn’t going viral. Just remember what unpaid Social is and what it isn’t.

What Social Media Is & Isnt

But also keep in mind the Social channels you choose. If you want constant feedback and interactions with customers or followers, Twitter is great. Are visuals important and easily delivered for your company? Try Instagram. Do you want the biggest potential reach with photos and video? Use Facebook. Do you need to instruct customers on how to use a product or provide value by offering free help videos? YouTube is great at this. (I have used a YouTube video many times when performing home “repairs.”)

Ranking high in search is on everyone’s “Must Do” marketing list. Google recently altered their search algorithm to increase the importance of mobile-friendly sites, especially when searched on a mobile device. But it’s hard to keep up with Google’s changing algorithms. So best practices include:

  • Create engaging content on your site every other week or at least once per month
  • Utilize Video whenever possible (Google owns YouTube for a reason)
  • Avoid listing keywords to try and “outsmart” Google
  • List your Social Media buttons on your site
  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Use HTML5’s responsive design if possible

January 28, 2014 by: ZOG Digital

Content Marketing is one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing. And there’s a reason. Creating content can drive business. But it has to be the right content and it can’t be faked. Telling stories about your business, not about products, can resonate with today’s audience, specifically millennials. Millennials want to find more than just a product. They want an experience. They want to buy from those they trust or those with whom they connect. A low price is great, but if you’re helping the environment and your price is in the ballpark…count me in! The folks at Clarity Coverdale Fury write a lot about the “Conscious Consumer.” People care less about who writes content, and more about the quality of it. Brands are using this medium to connect with people about more than just products. Use your content to tell your story, provide valuable information or a 30-second break from reality. However you choose to utilize content make sure it fits your STRATEGY.

Finally, how does advertising fit into this digital strategy? Social Media does a great job of reaching current customers and if paid placements, new customers. In today’s world, if you’re collecting data from your customers through site visits, purchases, Social Media followers, or another way, you now have your hands on an extremely valuable marketing tool. You can target advertising to this specific audience. Take what you know about your Facebook followers and target your advertising to those people. Not only will data tell you WHO to target, but find the common content among the most interactive Facebook posts and use something similar in your ad copy. The content of that post resonated with your audience. There’s no reason the same content shouldn’t do similar things to the same audience who doesn’t follow you on Facebook.

RiverTown Multimedia can help you use your Social Media and other marketing data to find the perfect audience through targeted online advertising campaigns. Learn more about our Retargeting and Audience Segment offerings by speaking with a sales representative. Click here to contact us.

And that’s how all of this ties together in Digital Strategy. Take what you know about yourself and your customers and use it to meet your objectives. Stay true to your brand, deliver great content in a multitude of ways, track your success and find RESULTS. It’s not rocket science, but it can be easy to lose focus. When all else fails stick with what works. And if that doesn’t work, call the experts at RiverTown Multimedia. We’re glad to help you figure it out.

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Content is King: Effective Content Marketing

Content Marketing is becoming the buzzword of our business in 2015. And the reason is obvious: without quality content your brand won’t engage consumers. Facebook’s “content” or lack thereof, are the reason I deleted my account. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg still has my data, but that’s a blog for another day. The key in all content marketing is to be at least one of the following: informative, educational or entertaining.


There are literally countless forms of content and ways to distribute said content. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to discuss the most common ways businesses create content and a few best practices for delivering those messages. The most important part of content marketing is understanding the medium. Be cognizant of the user experience and how users use the particular medium. People go to Facebook for a different reason than they go to your website, YouTube, stream radio on Pandora, or browse their favorite Star Trek blog. Make sure wherever your content goes it’s hitting the right user at the right time with the right message.

A website is the cornerstone of online marketing. Most businesses’ digital strategy starts with driving traffic to a website. Once there how do you get people to come back? What about your website drives users to come back or buy from you? Many times a consumer’s first touchpoint with your business or your brand is through your website and thus their user experience on your site is vital. So how important is it to have engaging, relevant and recent content on your website? Let’s just say Google’s algorithms are constantly changing to find the most up-to-date and relevant information. If your last website change occurred in 2007 people most likely aren’t seeing you on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Another growing factor in search results is video. So make sure your website is hosting video, preferably YouTube videos since Google owns YouTube.

Another extremely popular and growing segment of content distribution is Social Media. Remember, SM should be used responsibly and with a strategy. (Check out our previous post on fitting Social into your overall plan). Your message needs to be consistent with your overall marketing plan and should be delivered through SM in the same fashion. If your business doesn’t like to discount, don’t send out discounts through SM. Again, if you haven’t posted on Facebook in 2 months, you may be losing out on the SERP. A post on Twitter will look and act differently than on Pinterest. Facebok is very conversational. Pinterest is great if you can provide new ideas to enhance people’s lives in a tangible way. Instagram is a great tool to showcase work with photos. Twitter is a good use for quick messages, bits of info, or time-sensitive messages. Who can forget this from the 2013 Super Bowl?


Outstanding use of content on Twitter.


Think about the medium when using content in advertising and the difference. When you put content on your website, YouTube, Social Media, etc it’s being delivered to people who are seeking it out. These users have found or searched you directly. The content within ads has to be delivered in a way people understand your brand or objective in a matter of seconds. In this way, advertising copy has to be extremely effective, hence the rise of advertising agencies. And again, digital ads need different content than a TV, radio or print ad. Use the space accordingly.

Native Audience Example

An example of Native Advertising on the Forum Communications network via a mobile phone.


Native Advertising has grown tremendously in the past year. According to almost all projections, it’s only going to continue to grow. Native Advertising is a generic term for sponsored content that fits into whatever medium on which the user views the content. For instance, Promoted Tweets are Native Advertising. Advertorials are a form of Native. Most online publishers, including NY Times, Washington Post, Vanity and of course RiverTown Multimedia and Forum Communications Company, have adopted Native Advertising as a new form of revenue. And according to this study, Native ads are working.

Email is another rather simple, almost archaic, form of content marketing. You control the message. You can control who you’re sending the email to via a 1st party list or a 3rd party list. Sending to your 1st party email list will have one message while 3rd party is going to look and act differently. Keep in mind the amount of information you put into an email. How long do you typically look at an email? What subject line would you open? As I said at the outset of this post, keep the content informational, educational or entertaining.

No matter your marketing strategy understand how people use and view content. Articles like this show how people don’t necessarily care WHO wrote the content as long as it’s engaging and informative, given they know who wrote it. Deception is never a good idea when creating content. So be transparent with your Native Advertising and provide true value for the reader. Every touchpoint with your content is an opportunity to lose, gain or persuade a customer. Often the content’s tone, message and effectiveness will dictate which way they go.

Finally, have a plan. Schedule your content so it’s timely and reaches the desired audience at the right time. Know ahead of time when you will be sending what Tweet. Have a calendar reminding you to update your website with new content. Upload another YouTube video every quarter. Every medium that touches your audience should have a calendar. We all know sometimes life gets in the way and certain things take a backseat. That’s fine. But when you have a plan you’re more likely to stick to it and be consistent in your content than just winging it.

Thanks for reading this month’s blog. If you haven’t already, please follow RiverTown Multimedia on Twitter @rivertownmedia and on Facebook by clicking here.

Fitting SOCIAL into Your Overall Media Plan

SocialMedia function

“Finalizing the 4 functions of Social media – the 4 C’s” Posted on March 30, 2011 by makkara

Over the last 8 years of working in the advertising world I’ve heard a lot of things. I’ve heard reasons to NOT advertise, reasons it doesn’t work, complaints about my company and complaints about others. But one of the most common phrases I’ve heard from small businesses is “I have Social Media and it’s FREE!”    

Any marketer or business owner who thinks Social is the answer to all advertising problems is either A) Misguided or B) Misinformed. Social Media is as much advertising as word of mouth. It may be a form of marketing, but by definition is NOT advertising.

Your Social Media function may take many forms depending on your strategy. It’s an opportunity to have a conversation with users in real time. In this sense it’s more of a Public Relations or Customer Relations tool. For example, Social Media is great at engaging your current customers with fun games, unique opportunities and contests. However, providing a 15% off discount alone without any further interaction is not what your followers are seeking. They expect you to be Social on Social Media. Weird concept, right?

Many businesses also use SM to filter complaints. If a complaint catches on and goes viral the business may lose many customers. If they answer a complaint quickly and provide solutions, which can be done quickly on SM, at most they lose one customer. Airlines are known for this. There’s nothing worse than sitting on a tarmack for 3 hours. What else can one do, but post their anger on Social Media?

Most social channels now offer paid opportunities, meaning an advertiser could advertise through and on Social Media. Of course, this costs money like any form of advertising. Your standalone Facebook page is in and of itself NOT advertising. I like to think of it this way: Using your social channel is a great way to reward or interact with current customers, but does very little to bring in new customers. And the number of people you can reach organically through a Facebook post continues to plummet. So it’s obvious that what was once a “Free” opportunity to interact with followers is now becoming a forced buy.


Social value-time function

“4 Composite Functions of Social Media” from The Relationship Economy by JAY DERAGON on 12/08/2009

Most small businesses don’t have the staff to consistently create excellent content that goes viral and gets shared at no charge. It’s extremely difficult to garner the scale intended when Facebook first started.

In the image to the right, most small businesses only have time to hit the “Administration” and “Listening & Learning” stages. It takes at minimum a specialist, and at most a team, to think, plan, engage and measure your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other accounts. But at minimum listen to and learn about your customers. If you have time to plan and measure great! But we all know it’s hard to find that time.


A customer’s first interaction with you is RARELY your Social Media page. They either hear about you from someone else, see a shared post/video, visited your store or been to your website. But how do you get them to find you?



Advertising, as defined by numerous sources, is more or less a paid message through TV, Radio, Newspaper, Digital and Outdoor. Advertising is one branch of Marketing called “Promotion.” Social Media, PR, marketing products (pens, can coolers, t-shirts) are also part of promotions. But only one is paid space or time…

Advertising. Reaching your audience through targeted display advertising can be a great way to find new, potential customers. “But how can Social and display work together,” you ask? Utilize the demographic information you find from your Facebook page to target your display ads. If a group of people already “Like” you, similar people may also like and buy from you. If 75% of your followers are women 35-54 you already have a targeting strategy in mind. Advertising is where people expect to see offers, deals, image ads, branding, etc. And as already explained, users don’t want advertising while using Social. (More targeting tactics were discussed in a previous blog post.)

Native Toyota headline

Toyota’s Native Advertising campaign distributed through the RiverTown network.

There are ways to blend the content you put out on Social Media channels into a subtle form of advertising called Native Advertising. Pay someone to distribute your message to enhance reach, find new customers and entertain/inform/educate a new audience (see above). Businesses can also sponsor content previously produced by their partnering vendor. Complement the content you push out to followers and friends on Social Media with content distributed the other media vendors. It’s a great way to reach new customers with a message you already approve without reinventing the wheel! More thoughts on this topic will be coming down the road.

Keep these differences in mind when planning your media strategy. Advertising is paid. Social Media is content you share with mostly current customers.

Thanks again for reading. If you aren’t already, follow us on Twitter @rivertownmedia and let’s continue the conversation.

Have a good one!


Retargeting and audience segments

Targeting Active vs Passive Consumers

A lot has changed in 10 years. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The housing market was still expanding and had yet to crumble. President Bush had just began his 2nd term in office. Thankfully, Ray Charles won a Grammy for Album of the Year, so I can’t make fun of some horrible music winning Best Album. And I was still in college. That seems like a LIFETIME ago!

The world of online advertising has changed a lot since then too. We no longer worry about targeting an ad on a specific site. Instead we find users we want, no matter the site they happen to read. We also have a mobile audience today that was non-existent in 2005. Can you imagine not catching up with friends, Tweeps, and the news through your 5-inch screen?!

Today, I’m looking at two specific targeting options in our current media landscape: Retargeting and Audience Segments. Although Audience Segmentation can be considered a form or part of Retargeting, for today’s exercise let’s consider them separate and unique. I’ll compare and contrast the two and then let you decide which best fits your strategy.


Example of Site Retargeting


Retargeting, or remarketing as some call it, is a way to target users who express an interest in you or your products or services through a digital touchpoint. They may visit your site, search your name, read content online with specific keywords. One way or another the advertising is triggered by an action taken by the end user. For this reason, I like to call Retargeting the “Active” targeting model. These are consumers actively seeking you, your product or service, or possibly reading about your product, service or competitors. Our partner,, does a great job of looking at only specific elements of data that matter to your campaign.

Audience Segments, Behavioral Targeting, Demographic Targeting whatever you want to call it, takes a users information, collects similar touchpoints and puts them into categories called segments. The user may have expressed an interest in a topic at some point, but perhaps they aren’t currently looking to buy, hence a more “passive” advertising message. Segments can be built by demographics (think of all the info found just through Facebook), interests, attitudes, behaviors, and intentions.

The easiest way to explain the difference is through an example. If I’m a travel agent and I want to target users who have expressed an interest in travel, I can do that. People can get placed into a travel segment by reading blogs, checking reviews, commenting on pictures they see on Facebook or TripAdvisor. However, this person may not currently be seeking a vacation themselves, they are just passively looking at travel content. But if a person is filling out dates on Kayak, looking up places to stay on VRBO we can safely assume they are actively seeking a trip in the near future. One person has interest and could buy now or in the future. The other has an intention to buy now and is making it known by their online use.

Audience Segments

Example of Audience Segmentation

Audience Segments are great if you can categorize the majority of your customers. If 90% of your business comes from women 35-54, there’s your audience segment. If you only want people interested in Real Estate, there’s a segment for that as well. If you want to reach anyone potentially looking to buy a home, then retargeting people based on searches done on Trulia, Zillow, mortgage rates, etc could be the best answer. If some business comes from 25 year olds, others who are 60, men, women, those making $250k+ or less than $50k, then Retargeting them based on only those looking at the time may be the best solution.

Again, this all comes down to an advertising strategy. Do you want to target people by “Who they are” or by “What they do online”? It’s Active vs Passive. Each individual campaign strategy can be different. You might use audience segmentation for one product or service, but maybe that doesn’t fit your other products so you utilize Retargeting. All of these discussions need to happen with your media partner so expectations and objectives can be created and upheld.

Fewer online ads are wasted than ever before. Publishers, content creators, media companies, data management companies are always trying to perfect and enhance the online experience, including the advertising with which it comes. Today’s targeting options aren’t perfect, but they’re a heck of a lot better than 2005.