NMPi and DQ&A Complete Acquisition of Creative Specialist, Joystick

Joystick officially joins the NMPi and DQ&A family today, as we sign the contracts and complete the acquisition. After announcing our agreement to acquire Joystick at Cannes a few weeks ago, we are very excited to begin working with them to reinvent what it means to be a customer-centric digital marketing specialist – whether that’s as a creative, media, or technology specialist.

Together, this means that we can provide a more complete digital marketing service focused on a brilliant customer experience. Not only can we offer digital media strategy and management across Paid Search, Display and Paid Social advertising, but we can also offer targeted and personalised creative solutions at scale, such as Dynamic Ads, Programmatic Creative, and Rich Media Display Ads, and even tailored digital experiences with Responsive Website Development, Experiential Apps and Campaign Landing Pages.

“It’s been months of hard work from many people on our teams, and we’re very excited to start building on this relationship and working closely with the Joystick team,” says NMPi CEO Luke Judge. “Together, we will be able to improve the way that people engage with advertising, and break down the silos that have found their way into the industry.”

Sara Francis, CEO of Joystick added, “It was incredibly important for us to find a partner who shares our ideals and our belief that the perfect blend of technology, data and artistry makes every execution smarter, more dynamic and more effective. NMPi and DQ&A are a perfect fit, and we are looking forward to the future.”

Joystick bring over 90 digital creative experts across 5 international offices to the group, increasing our global presence to over 340 employees across 16 offices from Los Angeles to Malaysia. They bring with them an extensive clientele that includes Google, HBO, Disney and Kroger, adding to NMPi and DQ&A’s clients such as, L’Oréal, Papa John’s,  Hanes, Freeview, Melia Hotels, and Samsung.

Joystick will be making their first official outing as part of the family at our July seminar, “Great Experience: Where Art and Science Meet.”

We’ll be bringing together speakers from NMPi, DQ&A and Joystick as well as Harvey Nichols and Charlotte Tilbury to show how you can break down the silos between media, creative and technology to drive flawless customer experience. It’ll be one you won’t want to miss, so make sure you register to join us in London, or on our live stream: Register Now

This acquisition was completed by NMPi and DQ&A UK’s parent company, Net Media Planet Ltd.

Introducing: Sara Francis, CEO of Joystick

A few weeks ago NMPi announced that we would be acquiring US creative specialists, Joystick. We are very excited to have Joystick’s entire leadership team, including Sara Francis, remain on post-acquisition.

Sara has over 18 years experience in digital marketing, having begun her career primarily focused on entertainment working for such companies as Miramax, Deep Focus, and Moxie Interactive. In 2010 she began her career at Joystick, leading the Los Angeles office and account management team company-wide before being elevated to CEO. 

We sat down with Sara to find out more about her, the agency, and what she’s looking forward to about this acquisition.

How do you think the industry will benefit from a joint media and creative agency?

Every digital touchpoint is an opportunity to create a connection and a conversation with the audience. At Joystick, our quality creative plays an integral part in campaign performance and ROI, something that is lacking in many campaigns. But oftentimes creative work is created without a complete picture of the consumer journey, making it hard to truly have an impact.

By joining forces with NMPi, we are able to close the gap between creative, media and technology. Media and creative have been extremely fragmented, now that we’re together, we can break down the barriers that exist. We’ll have more control over the customer touch points and the consumer’s experience throughout the brand journey.  

This may sound lofty, but we want to build a web where people love ads. Love them because they’re a great experience and are useful. This is what inspires us every day and we believe we’re working with the right partners and clients to make this happen.

What innovative technologies and strategies do you think NMPi will gain from adding a creative perspective to their digital offering? Conversely, what insight will Joystick gain from partnering with a global digital agency such as NMPi?

Joystick is one of the first creatively-led agencies with deep expertise in ad technology. This will add a number of complimentary service offerings to NMPi. Our work in innovative technologies will add a robust offering to brands who are looking to add immersive experiences to their mix or augment their voice and visual search strategies.

Conversely, we look forward to combining our dynamic creative expertise with NMPi’s skilled programmatic strategists to offer a full-service solution unmatched by others. We’ll have audience and creative alignment that will enable us to create truly personalized creative and ad relevancy that delivers results.

What plans for growth do you have in the upcoming year?

Well for starters, we’ll need to service a global client base and expand existing services into new markets. We also see immediate opportunity to expand how we’re working with our current technology vendors.

So all of this will mean that we’ll need to grow our team and invest in our talent to learn about how to bring our collective services together. We see our new global footprint and expanded capabilities as a huge opportunity for growth.

What are the challenges facing digital marketers in the coming twelve months?

We’ve been having meaningful discussions with brands around how they think about activating brand and business growth. We all desire to create meaningful brands fueled by consumer-first thinking and data. Many want to know how to action their data and sequence ads and content to work together to keep things fresh and relevant to consumers at any moment.

We’ve also heard a lot about the challenge of maintaining creative quality with programmatic buying. That’s a challenge we’re going to take head-on. We’re bringing high touch creative to programmatic. We plan to roll out a suite of high impact creative formats for programmatic delivery which is something the industry desperately needs.

What do you look forward to most with this partnership?

We look forward to re-imagining what it means to be digital marketing specialists. We are in essence bringing art and science together. Data-driven creative is our art. And with our creative chops combined with the expert minds of NMPi’s analysts, we can push that even further.

We are also looking forward to expanding our global footprint to have service areas in 16 countries and a team of over 340 of the most highly trained experts across search, display, video, social, data and analytics.

Personally, I’m excited about the opportunity to collaborate with our collective of agencies. We’re all specialists in our respective disciplines and we now can work closely and non-competitively on what the future agency model looks like.

What is the most exciting recent development in digital marketing?

Well, to be honest, there are always exciting new developments in digital marketing. We’re always developing emerging formats using new advancements in technology and putting them to work in new ways.

We’re also happy to see that platforms are doing more to create a space to give a creative a voice. Great creative is finally getting a spotlight again which is a huge priority for us.

And lastly, what is your favourite project that you have worked on?

There are so many I consider my favorite, it’s hard to pick just one. A recent favorite would have to be the voice-enabled unit that we worked on with our client and partner True[X] for Amazon Echo. Our team had seen how more and more people were using voice search and we wanted to see if we could put this to work in an ad by using speech to text conversion technology. When True[X] came to us with a voice-activated experience they were working on with Amazon Echo, we had a couple of approaches to recommend. The result was a highly engaging and entertaining voice-enabled ad unit that featured the Echo’s capabilities in a compelling way. This is a great example of the true collaboration we love having with all our partnerships.

 

NMPi to Acquire Creative Specialist, Joystick

Today, we are so delighted to announce that NMPi and our sister company, DQ&A, have agreed to acquire a fantastic international digital creative specialist, called Joystick.

Established in 2006, and now with a team of over 90 digital creative experts in New York, Los Angeles, London, Santo Domingo, and the Philippines, Joystick is a market leading creative specialist with extensive expertise in data-driven dynamic ad technologies, and is one of only four DoubleClick Certified Creative Partners in both the UK and the US.

Joystick works with some really incredible and exciting brands including, Disney, Nissan, HBO, and Kroger. In a recent project for Google, Joystick created a dynamic ad which had over 60,000 different creative variations and was localised for an impressive 22 markets and 7 languages.

We are looking forward to joining forces with a company who shares our belief that the perfect blend of technology, data and artistry makes every execution smarter, more dynamic and more effective.

NMPi CEO of UK & US, Luke Judge, shared his thoughts on why this acquisition is so important: “As data gives us a better understanding of the consumer and their online journey, we are seeing a rapid shift in the digital ecosystem. It’s no longer about choosing channels to run your marketing activity; now the spotlight is on creating a flawless experience for the consumer. This is exactly why we are focused on reinventing what it means to be a digital marketing specialist, and joining forces with Joystick is a major step in that journey, allowing us to offer a more end-to-end service focused on brilliant customer experience.”

With this acquisition, NMPi is now able to directly offer our clients targeted campaign solutions including, Dynamic Ads, Programmatic Creative, and Rich Media Display Ads, as well as tailored digital experiences with Responsive Website Development, Experiential Apps and Campaign Landing Pages.

We sat down with Sara Francis, CEO of Joystick, to get her thoughts on the agreement: “This is an exciting time for our businesses to come together as one strong force. The alignment could not be more perfect with what we do and where we want to go. We look forward to leading the way in digital innovation and collectively creating a compelling offering for clients.”

With over 18 years experience in digital marketing, Sara is a seasoned executive with extensive knowledge in management, client strategy and business development. For the first part of her career, Sara focused primarily on the entertainment vertical working for such companies as Miramax, Deep Focus and Moxie Interactive. In 2010 Sara joined Joystick to lead the Los Angeles office and account management team company-wide before being elevated to CEO.

Our sister company, DQ&A, is Google DoubleClick’s largest EMEA partner in the technology and professional services field. When combined with Joystick’s DoubleClick Creative Partner status, the acquisition forms a strengthened DoubleClick relationship, further solidifying its strategic offering and authenticity within the digital industry.

CEO of DQ&A, Mike Ossendrijver, added: “We saw a significant gap in the market for a solution that will enable our clients to enhance all aspects of the customer’s online media journey, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally close the marketing loop by combining technology, data, media, and now industry-leading creative services. Digital innovation is at the heart of NMPi and DQ&A, and this acquisition will bring further opportunities for us to drive development with the use of Joystick’s Innovation lab and its deep creative industry knowledge and partnerships.”

This news follows our 2017 global expansion into 6 new markets, including 2 offices in the US, as well as our recent acquisition of U.S boutique Paid Social specialists, MediaPact. With DQ&A also launching in South-East Asia, Australia, Africa and Italy, this only serves to strengthen the marketing group’s international presence and localised expertise. As a group, we are now able to boast a global presence of 340 people across 16 offices. 

The acquisition is subject to standard completion procedures and is expected to complete within the month.

If you would like to receive any further information, do not hesitate to get in touch.

NMPi Completes International Expansion with New York & Los Angeles Offices

Today, we are really excited to announce the addition of two new offices to NMPi. Over the past year, we have launched our brand in 8 new markets, including, Australia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa, and now New York and Los Angeles in the US!

We currently work with 27 brands in the US including, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Autodesk. “The US has always been an exciting region for us,” explains Alex Moody, Partnerships Director, North America. “The NMPi team and I are looking forward to catching up with all our US clients and partners over the coming months and exploring the opportunities that a permanent base provides including, broadening our strong relationship with Google which has been a major factor in our global success.”

The launch of our US offices follows a significant client win. In September this year, we began delivering Paid Search, Display, Paid Social and Analytics services for US retail group, Fullbeauty Brands, and seven of their subsidiary companies. Fullbeauty Brands has specialized in plus-size clothing for women and men in the US for over 100 years and includes the popular brands Jessica London, ellos, Woman Within, and King Size Direct.

“The transition of our paid media channels for 7 brands has been flawless. They truly feel like an extension of the team rather than an agency,” commented Vice President of Digital Marketing at Fullbeauty Brands, Bobby Missry.

In July this year, we announced a strategic partnership with global technology company, Pitney Bowes. We are helping them strengthen their industry-leading global e-commerce offering with enhanced consumer marketing solutions, including international paid-search campaigns, display advertising, social media advertising and fully optimized Google shopping experiences.

“As a key market for NMPi, the US was the natural next step to continue our international expansion,” states Luke Judge, CEO (Europe & US).”Relationships like Fullbeauty Brands, Pitney Bowes, and Google are just the beginning, and we are excited to move forward in 2018.”

NMPi Opens Offices in Asia

We’re pleased to announce that Clicks2Customers has rebranded its operations across Asia to NMPi as the company expands globally.

After having operated in the Asian market for over 7 years, we will begin trading as NMPi as of today. Currently, NMPi has offices in Australia, South Africa, the UK, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

“We are excited about the name change as it forms part of the group’s ambitious growth plans for the Asian market. At NMPi we understand that it is important to align to a global marketplace but it is equally important in understanding the local nuances  across this region of the world. For this reason, we have localised teams based throughout the ASEAN markets” – Philip Mostert, Managing Director of NMPi Asia.

NMPi and Clicks2Customers share parent company, IncuBeta Group. The company began in 2003 and has grown steadily, now employing more than 400 full-time staff in 13 countries.

“The expansion into the Asian market will allow the global NMPi group to share their unique strategies, processes, and tools. Together, we are strengthening our international positioning and our comprehensive services which will, in turn, significantly benefit local clients,” says Alan Lipchitz, IncuBeta Group CEO.

We offer our clients a full range of digital marketing services: digital strategy and planning, SEO, display marketing and media buying, real time bidding (RTB), paid search (PPC), social media marketing, analytics, and data intelligence.

“The Asian market is showing a growing sophistication as our local marketing professionals embrace new technology and its ability to deliver meaningful business benefits. NMPi Asia is ideally positioned to help clients deliver campaigns which can easily measure up to the best in the world,” says Jonathan Gluckman, CEO of NMPi Asia-Pacific and Africa.

The NMPi Brand Expands to South Africa

NMPi is excited to announce the rebrand of its fourth international office in the space of 6 months. As of today, we are expanding our brand to Cape Town, South Africa.

We are pleased to be partnering once again with our sister company, Clicks2Customers, to bring our agency services together under the same brand.

The South African Agency team will be lead by Adriaan Strydom,  Managing Director of Clicks2Customers. Strydom has an extensive background in digital performance marketing and joined incuBeta’s executive team in 2005.

“The rebrand is a culmination of months of planning to align our service offering and company into a global outfit which is able to provide the very best insight, strategy and delivery to South African companies. Our clients can expect the same business and technical support, with the added benefit of all the knowledge and deep insight from our global team,” comments Adriaan Strydom, Managing Director of NMPi South Africa.

Strydom added, “The South African market is showing a growing sophistication as our local marketing professionals embrace new technology and its ability to deliver meaningful business benefits. NMPi South Africa is ideally positioned to help clients deliver campaigns which can easily measure up to the best in the world,”

CEO of NMPi UK, Luke Judge, was pleased to see the agency on track with its plans for global expansion. “We had planned extensive global expansion this year and I’m thrilled to see that we’re on track with realising those goals” stated Judge, “The rebranding of the South African office is not the end of the road for NMPi this year, we still have plans of reaching across to the US and South East Asia. This has been an exciting, and big year for our agency, and I’m extremely proud of our efforts.”

So, join us for some celebratory cake!

 

Google to Improve YouTube’s Cross-Device Metrics and Satisfy User Privacy Concerns

Google recently announced that it will take steps to improve YouTube metrics reporting for its advertisers, while addressing privacy concerns for users. It will rely less on pixel and cookie data to give advertisers an idea of how their video campaigns are faring, and focus on developing better mobile video tracking tools. On the user side, viewers will be able to mute advertisers that track them with irrelevant ads. Google is trying to strike a balance between transparency and control for viewers, and better, highly refined metrics for advertisers.

Why the sudden move away from pixels and cookies?

Google’s blog, Inside AdWords, indicated that 50% of all YouTube video viewing now happens on mobile. Traditional desktop tracking tools don’t provide an accurate overview for mobile based video campaigns because pixels and cookies were not designed for the way users interact with YouTube on mobile. This means measurement can be skewed. Google is developing a new way of measuring viewership to rectify this discrepancy.

How is this a win for advertisers?

In addition to a clearer view of campaign dynamics, it allows advertisers to reach the right audience. The new tool will provide accurate metrics to advertisers across devices. Information from a user’s Google account, such as past searches and Customer Match, can be used to suggest the ads they see on YouTube. In addition to this, Google will also allow advertisers to use their own data to target high value YouTube shoppers.

For viewers, Google will put the control back in their hands by allowing them to mute a particular advertiser across multiple platforms. For example, if a user has purchased a gym membership and is still being tracked with gym promotions, they can mute that advertiser.

According to AdExchanger, the new system will be cloud based with Google collaborating with several Media Rating Council third party vendors. This initiative was recently rolled out to a few select advertisers.

Pinterest Play? Instagram Takes Steps Towards Shoppable Ads

Instagram waded into the shoppable ads arena when it trialled its version of the popular ‘buy now’ button with twenty US brands. The social photo sharing platform has taken steps to close the gap between browsing and shopping by allowing users to learn more about products from within their app, and then purchase them seamlessly. If this sounds eerily like Pinterest, you may be onto something.

Instagram recently ran afoul of Snapchat when it was accused of copying Snapchat Stories with its Instagram Stories.  After several failed attempts to purchase the platform, Mark Zuckerberg did the next best thing, copied Snapchat’s most coveted feature, Stories, on Facebook-owned Instagram as Instagram Stories.

Instagram is ready to play copycat again with its venture into Shoppable Ads. It set about testing posts with select brands in the US to allow users to learn more about the products they see before buying them. Instagram presents the user with a ‘tap to view’ icon at the bottom left of each photo which expands tags for up to five products. The tags contain the details and cost of the items but don’t immediately appear, users must hover over the ‘tap to view’ indicator to see a featured item. Users can then scroll through the products shown and decide to purchase from within the app.

Pinterest has had this feature for some time, and has seen remarkable results. 75% of its users have purchased something on the platform or because of it.  Pinterest users stay on the platform for approximately fifteen minutes per visit, giving marketers plenty of time to deliver ads to them. The demographic for Pinterest and Instagram used to vary widely, with Instagram being the platform predominantly for Gen Z and younger Millennials, and Pinterest skewing predominantly towards women in their late 20s to early 40s. Recently, Pinterest has seen a spike in Millennial use, with 67% of its users falling into that category.  Instagram is eager to cash-in on this potential new source of revenue and is now strongly courting brands to use its platform to reach their younger demographic. Add to this, the eventuality of a ‘save for later’ button, and Instagram fully moves into Pinterest’s territory as a save and shop platform.

This latest development is aimed at Instagram’s discovery audience, i.e., those who use the platform to look for the latest items but aren’t sure what they want just yet. Much like Pinterest, it enables retailers to capture users as they are information gathering and turn them from inspired browsers to buyers.

Why is this development important?

  • It cuts out a step/barrier to purchase. Users don’t need to leave the app and open a separate search window to find out more about the products they like. They can navigate and get all the pertinent information they need all within Instagram’s platform.
  • The consumer can then hit ‘shop now’ from within the tags and be taken directly to complete their purchase on the retailer’s website.
  • It solves the problem of inserting unwieldy captions to redirect users to click on links to circumvent Instagram’s ban on organic links within posts.
  • Shoppable ads have the potential to steal revenue from online shopping giant, Amazon, as users are heading onto sites like Pinterest and Instagram to discover new products and get alternative shopping ideas.
  • Most mobile use is spent in-app. Instagram has the highest rate of mobile use among social networks in the US. Given that Instagram is primarily mobile-focused, making products shoppable is a vital step for the social media platform and for brands that have a significant following on it.

Twenty popular US retailers have joined the endeavour, predominantly up-market brands such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade New York, Coach, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister. The tags will be initially rolled out to iOS users in the US, but there are definite plans in the works to expand globally. Currently, this is a free service to post to your followers but Instagram plans to monetise the shoppable format by allowing brands to advertise to relevant target groups outside of their followers.

While advertisers have seen success using Instagram ads, only time will tell how users will react to yet another form of advertising. If it does not alienate its original base of photography enthusiasts, it has the potential drive significant ROI from Instagram.