NMPi Graces Shortlists for the Drum and PMAs

The 2019 award season has well and truly kicked off this week as both the Performance Marketing Awards (PMAs) and the Drum Search Awards released their shortlists. We’re delighted to say that we have been tipped in both of these highly prestigious awards.

The PMAs is now in its 13th year and aims to highlight the industry’s best and brightest within the performance marketing sector. With categories across the industry, from content and influencer marketing to PPC and programmatic, to verticle specific awards, the PMAs is a virtual “who’s who” in marketing.

At this year’s PMAs, we have been shortlisted in three categories:

Best Paid Search Campaign – NMPi & Superdrug Online Doctor: The Only Way is Up.

Best Use of Programmatic – Liverpool FC & NMPi in partnership with Webgains.

Most Creative Performance Marketing Campaign – Liverpool FC & NMPi in partnership with Webgains.

The Drum Search Awards focuses on the outstanding PPC and SEO campaigns within the industry. It seeks to celebrate the individuals and companies at the forefront of Search innovation.

We have been shortlisted in two categories at the Drum Seach Awards:

Best Health Campaign – NMPi & Superdrug Online Doctor: The Only Way is Up.

Most Effective Use of Paid Search as part of a Programmatic Strategy – NMPi & Pets Best Insurance: Doing What’s Best for Pets Best Insurance.

We are immensely proud of the work our teams have put in over the year, and we’re looking forward to the award ceremonies in April.

Top Tips for Maximising and Measuring your Social Advertising

Read Time: 6 mins

It would be an understatement to say that social media had a difficult year in 2018 with the Facebook family dogged by scandal after investigation after scandal, Kylie Jenner’s infamous “does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” tweet, and the steady stream of controversies regarding Twitter.

In light of this, you would be forgiven for asking why Paid Social matters; why would you want your brand to be on these undeniably flawed platforms? The short answer: the billions of users ripe for targeting with unparalleled creative capabilities.

Making your Social Advertising work as hard as your other channels is no easy feat. The question for many of us remains:

How can marketers operate efficient, impactful Social campaigns that have a positive, measurable impact across their marketing portfolio and wider business?

The starting point for this lies in your foundations. Intelligently implemented & complementary audience and creative strategy, with clear goals, is the bedrock of the most successful campaigns.  

Solid Foundations

Begin by choosing the right campaign goal. On Facebook, this will not only affect the options available when setting up your campaign but will also inform all optimisation decisions available moving forward. If you’re running a Traffic-based campaign when you’re aiming to maximise ROI or a Reach-based campaign for your new branding video, your campaign will never truly succeed even with perfect targeting.

As you’re setting up your audiences, ensure that you’re making the most of the vast array of audience information that can be layered to create complex and highly granular targeting strategies. Whilst lookalikes, interest targeting and dynamic prospecting can all be very powerful, they need to be narrowed down to be truly effective.

Finally, as you roll out your creative strategy, check that it aligns with your audience and campaign goals. Are you trying to draw in new customers, requiring a more informative creative? Are you driving existing customers to your site, or re-engaging with lapsed customers? Creatives for these audiences will need to focus more on any offers or new products.  

A coherent creative strategy is crucial as it increases the value of an impression in a time where a user’s attention span is more fleeting than ever. You increase the value of an impression when the imagery of that specific ad matches any interactions they may have had, or will have, with your brand.

Cross-Channel Sharing

There a very few campaign attributes that do not overlap across your channels. Your budget, attribution, audiences, performance data and landing page optimisation – amongst many others – are all incredibly important to share across your marketing mix. If you don’t know where to start, Jack offers a couple of starting points.  

Creative Strategies: Whilst there will naturally be a difference between the copy and imagery used across Social, Search and Display, it would be a waste not to utilise a clear shared strategy as this allows for a clear and coherent customer journey.

Performance Data: We’re given a wealth of data from each individual channel that all too often is criminally underused outside of its own silo. Whilst any advertiser worth his salt will be optimising at a product level on Google Shopping or selecting products for the home page based off sitewide performance, there aren’t enough cases of that data being freed to influence bidding decisions & dynamic product selection across Display or Paid Social.

Audiences: Play into each channel’s strengths and adopt a customer-centric approach which appreciates the touch points that users have taken so far along the path to purchase. Passing audiences from channel to channel allows you to adapt bids, creative, copy and other strategy points as you deem necessary.

A Source of Truth: Many advertisers still rely on Facebook’s tracking, which is incredibly flawed; operating in a silo which doesn’t take into account the other touchpoints in the path to purchase, wildly overestimating Facebook’s contribution. This leads to inefficient budgeting, an inability to effectively test, and inappropriate bid optimisations. A combined approach is needed, using deduped social activity to gauge true ROAS whilst also using Facebook post-view attribution on appropriate campaigns to assess further impact.

 

An appreciation of Social’s role within your wider marketing mix and business strategy is a key area of growth for many advertisers, to break it out of the silos and drive increased performance across your business. Armed with Jack’s advice, you’ll be able to develop a complete marketing strategy which allows you to share your insights to great success. You can view Jack’s slides here.

 

NMPi Shortlisted for UK Biddable Media Awards

We had a great year for awards in 2018, winning 8 trophies for the cabinet over the course of the year. Already a month into 2019 and we’re very excited to say that we have been shortlisted for two UK Biddable Media Awards for our work with Liverpool FC.

There’s no substitute for good display, and our data-driven kit launch campaigns prove just that. By having our creative and media teams work together, we were able to deliver a truly great experience for the consumer. In the sharing of media insights to inform creative decisions and the integration of data into the functionality of banners, we drove performance that went above and beyond Liverpool FC’s expectations.

The UK Biddable Media Awards celebrate and reward the expertise, talent and achievements of the UK biddable media industry. As such, it is a huge honour to be shortlisted for these prestigious awards.

The award ceremony is on 7th March, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll hit the back of the net with this campaign.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Super Bowl LIII

The Super Bowl is possibly the biggest advertising opportunity of the year, closely tied with Christmas ads. Super Bowl ads are a phenomenon apart from the actual game itself: a 30-sec spot would cost an advertiser $5.25 million, and that’s before they hired A-Listers to star in the ad.

With this much money behind them, it’s obvious why they stand in a league of their own. Sometimes, though, advertisers are more concerned with standing out amongst the other celebrities and flashing lights than producing something exceptional.

In this post-game haze, join me in the fantasy dreamland of Super Bowl ads as I lay out the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Super Bowl LIII.

The Good

Naturally, Super Bowl ads are a much higher quality than those at any other point of the year. Brands have bigger budgets, and audiences have bigger expectations. Never-the-less, there were a couple of ads that really stood out.

Amazon’s spot teeters on the line between good and phenomenal. It is saved by 10 seconds of pure genius: Alexa dog collars. Specifically: Harrison Ford’s Alexa dog collar. The concept behind the ad is failed Alexa integrations, with Alexa for Dogs being a definite fail. Ford’s tiny pupper can order dog food, gravy, and even sausages, just by barking. It was an ad that doesn’t take itself so seriously and it proved an overall crowd pleaser.

We’ve all heard the phrase. Many have come to dread it. “Is Pepsi okay?”. In their Super Bowl ad, Pepsi decided that it was time to reclaim the phrase in a loud and proud ad featuring Steve Carrell, Cardi B and Lil Jon.

After the ad was aired, the company then released a full-page piece thanking the people of Atlanta – long-standing Coke Country – for putting aside their differences and helping them to donate meals to people in need and ran a supporting Twitter campaign with the hashtags #PepsiSweepstakesOK #PepsiMoreThanOK. Cross channel advertising at its finest.

Finally comes an ad I didn’t expect to like, but I’m so glad I do. While one might have expected Bumble to have come up with something a lot more flashy, Serena Williams provides a welcome break with an inspirational spot encouraging viewers to make the first move. It’s an uplifting and timely piece that stands out amongst a crowd of loud and excitable ads.

The Bad

To say a Super Bowl ad is bad is simply to say that it is not as good as others. With huge budgets and clearly hours of creative time going into them, they still stand head and shoulders above the ads of the day-to-day. In context though, they aren’t up to snuff.

Olay put together a half-baked horror movie starring Sarah Michelle Geller, who can’t call for help because her phone won’t recognise her face thanks to her youthful looks courtesy of Olay’s products. An interesting concept in and of itself, but was frankly not long enough. Had Olay been more aware of the resources available to them, perhaps this might have been more effective and elicited more than eyerolls from this humble reviewer.

Burger King pulled footage from the archives for their spot to a lukewarm reception. Back in the 80s, Andy Warhol was given a Burger King rather than a McDonalds and they recorded him eating it. That’s the ad. Now, this clip itself is part of an artistic film made by Jorgen Leth in 1982 called 66 Scenes from America.

I surveyed the office, and very few people could tell who it was in the video clip, even with the caption “#EatLikeAndy”. The idea was to make something quiet that would cut through the noise of usual Super Bowl ads but it doesn’t appear to have paid off. As part of the campaign, Burger King sent out Mystery Boxes containing a wig, Burger King bag, and an empty bottle of ketchup so you too could #EatLikeAndy and post your videos on social media. Personally, I prefer to eat like Andy Doghol.

The Ugly

Sometimes brands have more money than sense and it certainly shows in some of the ads in this year’s crop. Cross-over episodes are the name of the game here: some cross-overs I can understand but these? Not so much.  

Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly” campaign has become something of a cultural phenomenon, with its pervasive catchphrase and medieval setting. However, its latest iteration, featuring Game of Thrones, was perhaps not the best move. Just because both occur in similar time periods does not mean a match made in heaven. Bud Light’s ads are incredibly lighthearted, while Game of Thrones is much more gritty. The reference to The Mountain is a good parody, but the introduction of a dragon is much more jarring. The two don’t quite work, and the result is something so over the top but all over the place.

Another cross-over that joins the ranks of the “Ugly” is the latest Doritos ad featuring Chance the Rapper……..and the Backstreet Boys. I still don’t understand it and I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t a fever dream. Chance on his own would have made a fine ad, but by bringing in the Backstreet Boys, the ad is once again unfocused and in places looks lazy.  Sorry Backstreet Boys, but you should have stayed in the 90s. I’ll always miss you.

A final note

Some ads just don’t fit neatly into a box. Perhaps they’re a cool idea that isn’t executed flawlessly. Expensify falls into this category.

Expensify’s concept was interesting: encouraging viewers to download their app and scan the receipts that appeared for a chance to win money. This in itself is incredibly exciting. Would viewers actively download the app based off the slot? If so, would this be the start of a new wave of advertising? The execution was another story. The ad as a music video is fine: not to my tastes but I could see how others might enjoy it. The introduction featuring Adam Scott, which was necessary to actually make this an ad, is what makes me cringe. Never-the-less, I’ll be keeping an eye on this ad to see if they did get an upswing in downloads and if others begin to take up this kind of “download now” messaging.