May 10, 2013Posted by: Heather Weaverling, Media Director
As a rule, when I help clients create media plans, I always recommend they choose at least two types of media for their campaigns, which benefits reach and frequency. Radio and newspaper, broadcast and outdoor … the combinations differ depending on the audience and budget. But, these days, I rarely recommend plans that don’t include online ads. Almost all audiences are online for one reason or another — many while they’re doing something else like watching TV — and online offers great tools for tracking.
Whatever the budget, there are ways to get great leverage from online ads. For the smallest budgets, Facebook advertising can get a lot of bang for the buck. It can help generate new “Likes” for your Facebook page or increase traffic to your website. And, because you can target by geography, age, sex and interests, it can work really well for niche audiences.
For more elaborate campaigns, our media team utilizes networks, which offers a mix of national and/or local websites that they identify based on your audience’s specific habits and preferences. The tracking capabilities of these network vendors are outstanding, which is useful for organizations that want more metrics than can be obtained from traditional forms of media.
Many vendors can customize buttons on your ads, giving you something special to call out, like your Facebook or Twitter page. Often, they’re willing to give bonus impressions or other value ads in exchange for a monthly commitment.
As with traditional media, a strong call to action is vital with online ads. Make sure the design is engaging, yet simple and concise. Give audiences a reason to interact with the ad. And, of course, make sure the ad complements the other ads or materials in your campaign. Finally, keep in mind that click-through rates aren’t the end all of measurement. Just like with TV, radio or outdoor, online viewers may see the ad but not immediately take action. It might take a couple times seeing the message before they act.
If you want to learn more about how to add online to your marketing mix, contact me.
January 31, 2013Posted by: Trilix
Every day, at work and at home, the average consumer is barraged by sophisticated marketing campaigns from electronics and technology giants touting the many advantages of their new or enhanced products. From tablets and computers to mobile phones and the latest, most popular social media apps, keeping track of what’s new and what’s on its way out the door can be tough for even the savviest gadget lovers.
Here’s our take on what’s trending up and down for early 2013:
While Apple phone aficionados are vocal about their adoration of the devices, Android has quietly dominated the smartphone market. In Q3 of 2012, over 70 percent of smartphones shipped were Androids. It's amazing to think that at one time, the iPhone more or less had this market to itself, but 70 percent represents clear market domination. iPhones account for roughly 15 percent of market share, and predictions don’t indicate any significant changes in the next several years.
Yes, even though Android enjoys global dominance in the smartphone market, Apple's iPhone 5, for at least Q4 of 2012, outsold Android devices in the U.S. And Apple’s dominance in the tablet space is unmistakable. Though other tablets are gaining some ground, it’s hard to imagine a future where the iPad isn’t the gold standard. The recently introduced iPad Mini is also becoming one of Apple's best-selling iPads.
By far, the best-selling Android phones are manufactured by Samsung. The Galaxy s3 is, in fact, the world's best-selling smartphone, even greater than the iPhone 5.
Not only does Google own the most widely used search engine, as well as Android — the most dominate smartphone operating system in the world — it is also now getting into data transmission. Google implemented Google Fiber in Kansas City and is now the fastest supplier of bandwidth in the U.S. Plans for the expansion of Google Fiber and for wireless transmission services are being crafted as you read this.
The retina display has been very successful introducing consumers to a screen resolution that is much higher than the norm. TVs are also headed down this path and are beginning to implement 4K technology (four times the resolution of high def). Movies and TV shows are now also being shot in HFR (high frame rate), which is in itself a type of increased resolution.
3-D TVs were nearly absent at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) show in Las Vegas. It appears manufacturers are all but giving up on the technology, which never really took off as a home theater desire. TVs instead will most likely now be focusing on being “smart” and having higher than high-def resolution.
Microsoft had its biggest launch year in recent memory with Windows 8, Surface tablets and Windows Phone 8. The company took a risk and launched a newly revamped product line. The response, however, has been lackluster. Though certainly not in financial hardship, Microsoft is perceived by many in the industry as being in a long, slow decline. Windows 8, in particular, has been skewered by critics. Laptop manufacturers are even blaming the OS on their lukewarm sales. While Microsoft will continue to be a dominant force in the market, their leadership on innovation has lost respect in the community.
Any company that loses $235 million in one quarter and considers it a triumph is in trouble. Customers continue to flee the sinking Blackberry ship while RIMM continues to push the deadline back on the Blackberry 10 OS. Let's hope that its release in 2013 can help turn that around.
January 25, 2013Posted by: Yancy de Lathouder, Interactive Director
As much as today’s tech savvy society loves cool new apps and interactive websites, most people have little understanding of the programming that goes into their creation, which can sometimes be a complicated business. But, the way programmers think, in general, isn’t necessarily complicated. In fact, thinking like a programmer might be helpful the next time you have a project deadline looming or need to figure out how to handle a difficult personality.
Try shifting your mindset like this:
- If a task seems overly complex, it can almost always be broken down into smaller tasks, each of which is less complex than the whole. Breaking problems down into more manageable components makes the problem as a whole easier to solve, and that’s what programmers routinely do.
- For the most part, we’re a notoriously lazy bunch. If we have to do the same thing over and over again, we find a way to automate that task. Consider how you might rely on other technology to help do your work for you.
- Understand why things work and correct the things that don't. Voracious research can help you understand how the things around you work at a basic level, leading to simple solutions.
- Dealing with people can be like taking user input from a form. Programmers have to account for every incorrect type of input or action a user will make. Similarly, if you prepare yourself to deal with people in the same way, to anticipate any possible directive, you will be well prepared to steer them correctly.
- Be efficient. Brutally so. Programmers spend much of their time crafting their code to use as few resources as possible. Any daily task such as making coffee, driving to work, updating spreadsheets, can all most likely be made more efficient if you take the time to think about it. Taking ten minutes to figure out how to eliminate one step will pay off if you have to do that same task a thousand times.
Taking extra time upfront to plan or look for a better way can pay off with fewer bugs later. To learn more about Trilix’s Interactive team and how we can help you improve your online presence, contact me.
November 05, 2012Posted by: Jeremy Koppin, Interactive Designer
Wondering if it’s time for a website makeover? Take a minute to look at your site through the eyes of your customer, client or potential supporter, and ask yourself these three questions:
1. Is my site architected well?
Organization is the key to a good website; cumbersome pages with confusing paths can make a website visitor feel lost or frustrated. Make sure your information is easily accessible and quick to find.
2. Is my site aesthetically pleasing?
It can be tempting to use flashy tools to help messages stand out, but there are ways to give prominence to important features without blinking neon lights and sound effects. Simply said, cut the clutter. Use clear, descriptive buttons and pleasing color contrasts so important functions and messages don’t get lost in the shuffle or give your visitor a headache.
3. Do I have clear calls to action?
The purpose of any useful website is to have the visitor focus on the end goal. Whether they are there to buy, learn or get involved, you want the message to be clear. Pointing them in too many directions can create user fatigue. Help them help you. Give them clear steps to accomplish and reason to return.
If you answered no to one or more of these questions, the Trilix Interactive team is here for you. Check out some of the award-winning websites our team has created this year: www.iowaeventscenter.com and www.thebakergroup.com. Remember, a successful website is all about the user experience. Our interactive team can work with you to build a website that runs like a well-oiled machine.
May 30, 2012Posted by: Yancy de Lathouder, Interactive Director
Twenty years ago, if you had mentioned writing on someone’s wall, you would have been scolded by his parent. The advent of the digital age changed the way that many of our words are used. Consider the term “above the fold.”
“Back in the day,” as they say, if you wanted your ad to gain prominence in the newspaper, you
requested that it be placed “above the fold.” Today, many web designers and clients want all the pertinent information on their site to be above the fold (the visible portion of a web page that a user sees when landing on the site), but when was the last time anyone actually folded a screen, smartphone or tablet?
Why has the fold been held in such reverence? Because there is an assumption in the industry that users don't scroll. Recent studies have found this assumption to be not only incorrect, but in fact, the opposite of user behavior. Users are willing to scroll. In fact, a significant portion of them spend more time below the fold than above. Users have become jaded to the fold, assuming that the top portion of a page, which contains a disproportionate amount of ads, has been compromised by sponsored content. The real content, the in-depth content, will most likely be listed below.
The fold as a concept has become over-demanding and archaic. Typically, the designer is required to incorporate the branding, navigation, ads, headlines, feature content, latest news and links or buttons to donation page, etc. above the fold. Incorporating all these elements while maintaining an attractive design is nearly impossible, if not entirely impractical.
Devices such as tablets and smartphones have ingrained the concept of scrolling in the user mentality. In several studies, statistics have shown that a majority of users scroll for content, regardless of any fold considerations. In many instances, content and ads can do even better at the bottom of the page than they can at the top.
Design then, should revert to its roots by utilizing this “fold” space for simple identity, core messaging and accommodation for anyone that still clings to the dated fold mentality. Use typography, color theory, gestalt, etc. at their whims, but without serious regard to this antiquated notion of the fold.
And as they would say “back in the day,” that’s all folks!