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.

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 online display advertising

September 2013 Marketing Newsletter: Retargeting

In this Issue:

  • Note from our Ad Director
  • Re-targeting your potential customers
  • Statistics about our audience
  • Upcoming Opportunities
  • Business Subscription Offer
  • Digital Tips and Trends from around the web


From our Ad Director
We have a number of exciting things going on at RiverTown Multimedia that benefit any local or regional business owner.

The first item is one that we are very proud to report;

OUR AUDIENCE IS GROWING!  Yes, contrary to what other media outlets are struggling with, our audience has grown in the past year.  Our readers and online viewers have responded to our award winning journalism and second-to-none local news coverage, helping our audience grow by over 8% in the last year.  This is great news for our advertisers who are able to put their message in front of an engaged, affluent, and GROWING local audience in our print publications and on our web and mobile sites.

I am also pleased to report on our redesigned web sites.  We launched the new web platforms on each of our 11 local sites in August with “responsive web design”.  Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at building sites to provide an optimal viewing experience (easy reading and navigation) across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).  What this means to our readers and advertisers is that we are even more accessible every day, 24/7.  Whether in print, on a desktop or laptop, or on any one of the ever growing mobile or tablet devices, our sites can be seen without missing a thing.

To learn more about responsive design, click here to check out an infographic on our website.

Great things are happening every day at RiverTown Multimedia.  The results are enhancing what we bring to our readers and advertisers.

If you’d like to learn more about these items or any of our other powerful products please send me an email or give me a call.  I love visiting with our customers and talking about the wonderful solutions that we can provide to help you reach your business goals.

Retargeting your customers online
retargeting online display advertising
Have you heard about the latest technology in online marketing? Introducing, Retargeting by Forum communications.

Retargeting pinpoints people who have shown purchase intent by searching for keywords related to your business. Retargeting shows your display ad to consumers based on their search terms, from broad keywords related to your products and services (like “types of braces”) to specific trademarked terms that show purchase intent (like “Invisalign prices”). This works whether they are on our network or not!
Retargeting means your brand is top of mind when customers are ready to buy!

Why is retargeting so effective? – Click here to watch a video

Retargeting generates greater online sales by keeping your brand front and center
and bringing “window shoppers” back when they’re ready to purchase. Every time
your customer sees your retargeting ads, your brand gains traction and more
  • “Replays” your message to viewers who’ve found you online
  • Your ad follows the customer based on their specific needs
  • Increases return visits to your website and ultimately your store
  • Increases conversions/sales

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you target you customers online.

Our Audience Packs a Punch!!
Did you know?:

  • Our audience will spend over $43 million for Auto Repair/Maintenance in the next 12 months
  • Our audience will spend over $105 million on Eyewear and Opticians in the next 12 months
  • Our audience will spend over $461 million going out to eat in the next 12 months.
  • Our audience will spend over $100 million on their pets in the next 12 months.
  • Our audience will spend over $313 million on Travel/Vacations in the next 12 months.
  • Our audience will spend over $818 million on New and Used Vehicles in the next 12 months.

*Q3 2013 Pulse of America Readership Survey

Upcoming Opportunities
Don’t Miss These Upcoming Opportunities to reach our AudienceA quick look at upcoming opportunities to reach all or portions of our audience with a targeted local publication (dates subject to change.  Contact your Account Executive for more information):

  • Fall Car Care Tabloid
    Publishes:  Week of October 21
    Space Reservation Deadline:  October 4
  • Business Insider (New Richmond, Hudson, and River Falls):
    Publishes:  October 31
    Space Reservation Deadline:  September 30
  • Official St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance Magazine:
    Publishes:  Week of December 2
    Space Reservation Deadline:  October 25
  • 2013 Holiday Guide:
    Publishes:  November 27
    Space Reservation Deadline:  October 25
  • January 2014 Healthy Lifestyle:
    Publishes:  Week of January 27
    Space Reservation Deadline:  December 20, 2013
  • 2014 River Valley Brides Magazine and Bridal Fair:
    Magazine Publishes:  First week of February 2014
    Bridal Fair:  Sunday, February 16
    Ad space and booth reservation deadline: January 6, 2014
Special Offer For Business Subscriptions
Special offer for business newspaper subscriptions

Business Newspaper Subscription SpecialsSave $30 off the home subscription price.

For a new subscription delivered to your business. With a 3 year subscription

Call 1-800-284-3402 and mention the Business Subscription special to start your subscription today. Unlimited number of subscriptions delivered to business address per offer.


Digital Tips and Trends
  1. Online Buyers Notice Retargeted Ads:
    Online retailers are putting more dollars to retargeted ads to remind shoppers of the item they once seemed interested in buying. And there is evidence that consumers do notice these ads.
    >>> Read more
  2. Research shows newspaper advertisements across platforms deliver best results

    Just as newspaper content extends across all platforms, research — from news media companies like Aftenposten and MPG — indicates advertising should also migrate from print to online to mobile.
    >>> Read more

  3. Smartphones And Tablets Have Revolutionized Consumer Connections:
    According to a recent Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, nothing is growing faster than the adoption of portable devices and the consumption of content on these devices. Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized our ability to be connected to each other and to our favorite shows at all times.
    >>> Read more
  4. Ad execs think online video ads are equally or more effective than television ads at reaching audiences:
    The online video advertising ecosystem has gained both prominence and complexity, but that might be because buyers have found that the ads really work.
    >>> Read more

Advertising and Marketing Online with RiverTown Multimedia

May 2013 Marketing Newsletter

In this Issue:

  • – Responsive web design (Hint: We’re re-launching our websites!)
  • – Our audience packs a punch!!
  • – Business profile: Bruce Andrews Seamless Gutters
  • – Continuing Excellence with our Award Winning publications
  • – Upcoming advertising opportunities
  • – Digital Tips and Trends from around the web


Responding to our audience

Responsive Web Design

Technology has made it increasingly easier for people to access the internet using a number of devices. As a result, we continue to find our online viewership growing across the world wide web. Our local news coverage is viewed every day by people across the globe, whether they are using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. We wanted to give you the above preview and a sneak peak into our re-design plans for our websites. Our website analytics are showing us that between 15-20% of our monthly audience is coming to our website on a wide array of mobile devices.

Our job is to ensure that our readers are able to view our website in a consistent format that is optimized for their particular device and that our advertisers messages effectively reach them. So we’re re-designing our website with what is now called “responsive Web Design”. The code of our website will adapt and respond to any device that our website visitors come to our sites on. With our mobile traffic projected to grow to 40-50% of our audience by next year, we are well positioned to ensure our readers are satisfied and our advertisers messages are effective on all platforms.


Our Audience Packs a Punch!!

Did you know?:

  • Our audience will spend over $153 million at Home & Garden stores in the next 12 months
  • Our audience will spend over $105 million on Eyewear and Opticians in the next 12 months
  • Our audience will spend over $461 million going out to eat in the next 12 months.
  • Our audience will spend over $100 million on their pets in the next 12 months.
  • Our audience will spend over $313 million on Vacations in the next 12 months.
  • Our audience will spend over $235 million on College in the next 12 months.
  • Our audience will spend over $818 million on New and Used Vehicles in the next 12 months.
*Q2 2013 Pulse of America Readership Survey


Business Profile: Bruce Andrews Seamless Gutters

Bruce Andrews Seamless Gutters has partnered with RiverTown Multimedia for over 12 years. Over the years we have brought him and his company many advertising opportunities that have helped him grow his business almost every year. Bruce feels very strongly about the success he has had in his business and attributes a great of his success to the successful marketing efforts he has put into place.

Through Print, Online, and Video advertising Bruce has found a powerful and unique audience that has helped him gain and attract new local customers.We appreciate the partnership Bruce has developed with us over the years and will continue to serve him and all of our customers with the best local advertising solutions in the communities we serve.

Click Here to watch a 2 minute video of Bruce talking about how his business has grown.

Award Winning Publications
Award Winning NewspapersEvery year our publications enter and win awards from the Minnesota and Wisconsin Newspaper Associations. We are proud of our journalists and the extraordinary work they do as they serve the information needs of our communities. Below are a list of our publications and the awards we received for 2012.


Rosemount (Minn.) Town Pages:– Typography & Design; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; second place.- Editorial Page as a Whole; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; third place.

– General Reporting; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; second place.

– Social Issues Story; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; Emily Zimmer; first place.


Farmington (Minn.) Independent:

– Editorial Page as a Whole; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; first place.

– General Reporting; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; third place.

– Sports Reporting; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; third place.

– Use of Photography as a Whole; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; first place.

– Headline Writing; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; first place.

– General Excellence; weeklies 1,501-2,500 circulation; second place.


Red Wing (Minn.) Republican Eagle:

– Typography & Design; weeklies over 5,000 circulation; second place.

– Sports Reporting; weeklies over 5,000; third place.

– Sports Story; weeklies over 5,000 circulation; Chris Harrell; first place.

– Local Breaking News Coverage; weeklies over 5,000 circulation; Sarah Gorvin, Anne Jacobson, Danielle Nordine, Don Davis, Regan Carstensen; first place.

– Best Use of Video; all weeklies; second place.


Hastings (Minn.) Star Gazette:

– General Reporting; weeklies 2,501-5,000 circulation; second place.

– Use of Photography as a Whole; weeklies 2,501-5,000 circulation; third place.

– Sports Story; weeklies 2,501-5,000 circulation; Chad Richardson; second place.

– News Photo; weeklies 2,501-5,000 circulation; Chad Richardson; second place.

– Photo Story; weeklies 2,501-5,000 circulation; Chad Richardson; second place.


South Washington County Bulletin (Cottage Grove, Minn.):

– Sports Reporting; weeklies 2,501-5,000 circulation; first place.

– Category X (excellence in utilizing public records); all weeklies; first place.


Woodbury (Minn.) Bulletin:

– News Photo; weeklies 2,501-5,000 circulation; Riham Feshir; third place.


Hudson Star Observer

– Best Niche Publication in-paper; weeklies over 3500 circulation; First place

– Best Use of Local Photography; weeklies over 3500 circulation; Second place

– Best Niche Publication out-of-paper; weeklies over 3500 circulation; Second place

– Entertainment Pages; weeklies over 3500 circulation; Second Place

– Best feature photo; weeklies over 3500 circulation; Third place

– Best Advertisement; weeklies over 3500 circulation; Third Place


River Falls Journal

– General Excellence; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Second place

– Best feature story; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Second Place

– Best news coverage; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Second place


New Richmond News

– General Web Excellence; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Second place

– Best Advertising Special Section; weeklies over 3500 circulation;First Place

– Best Special Section; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Second place

– Open Records & Freedom of Information issues; weeklies over 3500 circulation; Second Place

– Special Projects; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Second Place

– Best editorial Page; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Third place

– Best environmental Reporting; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Third place


Pierce County Herald

– Advertisement – Best use of color; weeklies over 3500 circulation;First Place

– Best Advertising Section; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Second place

– Best sports writing and photography; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Third place

– Best page Design; weeklies over 3500 circulation;Third place

Upcoming Opportunities
Don’t Miss These Upcoming Opportunities to reach our Audience
A quick look at upcoming opportunities to reach all or portions of our audience with a targeted local publication (dates subject to change.  Contact your Account Executive for more information):

  • Healthy Lifestyle Magazine:
    Publishes: Week of July 17
    Space Reservation Deadline: June 19
  • Official St. Croix County Fair Section:
    Publishes: Week of July 7
    Space Reservation Deadline: June 20
  • Official Pierce County Fair Section: 
    Publishes: Week of July 31
    Space Reservation Deadline: July 12
  • Official Dakota County Fair Section:
    Publishes: Week of August 1
    Space Reservation Deadline: July 17
  • Autumn Home & Garden tabloid:
    Publishes: Week of September 12
    Space Reservation Deadline: August 23
  • Senior Lifestyle Magazine:
    Publishes: Week of September 18
    Space Reservation Deadline: August 20
Digital Tips and Trends
  • What Is a Good Click-Through Rate for PPC?:
    A commonly asked question in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is “what is a good click-through rate (CTR)?” There is no easy answer and it can vary greatly depending on channel, targeting, keywords, and more.
    >>> Read more
  • 50 resources for getting the most out of Google Analytics
    The resources below will help anyone, from the beginner to those who have been using Google Analytics for some time, learn how to get the most out of this great tool.
    >>> Read more
  • Your Website and the Importance of a Value Proposition:
    A website tells a lot about a business. It shows how much thought the business puts into its brand and whether it values having a website.
    >>> Read more
  • Online Content Discovery Heightens Traditional Shopping:
    Online marketers may joke that Best Buy and other big-box retailers have become the local showroom for Amazon, Zappos and other online-only etailers, but studies released Thursday suggest that online and offline content could have a greater influence to bring consumers into stores.
    >>> Read more