On-Demand Webinar: Snap ’til You Drop

Snapchat Advertising Thumbnail

Wondering how today’s leading commerce and retail advertisers are taking advantage of Snapchat’s advertising solutions to drive sales? If you answered yes, you aren’t alone. With the average Daily Active User spending over 30 minutes per day inside the mobile app, and 3 billion filters, one of Snapchat’s most popular advertising offerings, viewed daily, it’s no surprise that marketers are getting involved with Snapchat.

Marketers looking to achieve their direct response objectives need to understand what Snapchat offers. The building blocks are ad types, targeting, and measurement, but how do you bring them all together to achieve your direct response goals? Learn that and more in this Brand Networks on-demand webinar about Snapchat’s advertising solutions.

People with a Promise: How the Brand Networks Paid Social Activation Team Sets Itself Apart

Picking a media services team

So, you’re looking for a managed media services team to run your social advertising campaigns?

I could offer an easy answer and tell you to look for a team whose cumulative experience exceeds a specific number of years. That’s imperative for success, but you already know that. So, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to talk about five intangibles that set the Brand Networks Paid Social Activation team apart from the rest.

For us, success is always in the future. The next insight. The newest best practice. Sometimes, it’s even in the transition from managed media services to insourced licensing by a brand’s in-house team. That’s because Brand Networks offers the very best software and services in social advertising. We don’t have to care whether you want managed or self-service. We have the luxury of focusing solely on your success in social.

We won’t rest on our laurels, satisfied with what we’ve accomplished in the past—that’s a promise.

The 5 Intangibles: How the Brand Networks Paid Social Activation Team Sets Itself Apart  

We know our industry: We’re all social advertising experts—don’t you have to be to keep up with the ever-changing ecosystem? The industry is changing daily, whether it’s software updates, new ad types, new targeting capabilities, or new advertising inventory. It’s crucial that our team stays current on all innovation to ensure we provide strategic recommendations, share knowledge with clients, and execute as effectively as possible. Understanding how our industry works plays a pivotal role in how we succeed; thankfully, our leaders know how important this is and is and invest in it, and our teams are curious and passionate about all of the intricacies in this exciting space.

Fun Fact: According to an eMarketer study, social advertising will account for approximately one-quarter of total digital ad spending by 2020.

We focus on the details: The Brand Networks social media services team may sport sweatshirts and baseball caps, but what we’re lacking in style, we make up for in the details. We have intensive and detailed internal processes that are uniform across accounts and offices. This operational maturity ensures that we provide the most accurate and efficient service possible. We have an extensive and reliable Quality Assurance process for all campaigns that must be both self-checked and checked by other media analysts. We’re also constantly performing internal retrospectives to make sure we are aware of nuances to help improve this system and the performance we deliver for our clients. Not only does this process-centric work happen prior to campaign launch, we’re constantly making optimizations so there’s room for improvement every day.

We’re fearless: One of our Corporate Values at Brand Networks is Tenacity, and our managed services teams bring that to life in our passion for presenting and testing new opportunities with clients. We never say no to a challenge and work closely with our partners in organizations like Facebook and Twitter, to make these opportunities happen. We don’t stick to the old, easy, routes when it comes to planning; we look to new targeting strategies and offer ideas, however unexpected they may seem. Not only do we recommend out-of-the-box approaches or new ad types, we recommend utilizing Brand Networks’ additive technology like Optimize Now and Open Signals to help our clients take their campaigns to the next level. We are far from fearful; we are bold.

Did you know? Optimize Now saves the average paid advertising team eight hours per week per person in manual calculations and optimizations.

We have access to knowledge: While we have offices around the country (and the world—shout out to Sydney!), we’re constantly knowledge-sharing across accounts, offices, and departments. It’s pertinent that we work as a team and enlist others who can work well in a team environment. Because a lot of what we do isn’t inherently intuitive, it’s imperative that our teams communicate effectively. This ensures new best practices spread like wildfire inside Brand Networks Paid Social Activation. We also work very closely with our partner representatives for all media channels in order to execute. Some of our job titles may just say “Media Analyst,” but we do so much more than this title can begin to explain—a major part of this job is forming strong relationships with our partner leads and internal departments so that we’re providing the most up-to-date information and strategies possible.  

We Care about Excellence: Everyone in our social managed services organization would tell you that this is not just a day job. Social advertising is always on, and our teams are always willing to help after our doors close for the night. This quality ties into the fact that our teams care about the work and dive deep into every campaign, every plan, and every report. We go above and beyond to ensure our clients are happy and that the services they’re receiving drive effective and efficient results. I can tell you personally that the majority of our Media Services teams made the decision to skip  Summer Friday’s last year (despite wanting to be outside) in order to make sure this level of service was preserved. Rain or shine, bad mood or good mood, our teams bend over backwards to deliver excellence.

The Proof Is in the Pudding: Success You Can See on Pinterest

Goal: With brand awareness and video advertising already key to a client ’s social advertising success, when Autoplay Video became available, the brand was eager to test it out. The retailer hoped that Pinterest Autoplay Video would create cost-efficiencies while improving overall performance.  

Strategy: Having run successful brand awareness (CPM) campaigns with Brand Networks on other platforms in the past, the brand was excited by the promise of Pinterest Autoplay Video. To see if the ad type would have a future in the retailer’s social advertising strategy, the Brand Networks Paid Social Activation team built an approach that would effectively demonstrate the impact video could have on its target audience.

Using product-centric and actionable Autoplay Videos, the latter helping drive an increase in view-through rate (VTR), the campaign leveraged a myriad of advanced targeting capabilities offered by Pinterest, including Engagement Audiences and Actalike Audiences.

Results: In total, the campaign generated a view-through rate (VTR) 21% greater than Brand Networks’ internal benchmarks. Moreover, the campaign drove a cost per view (CPV) 57% less than the industry benchmark.
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Don’t be fooled by the keg and kombucha on-tap, ping pong table in the lounge, or community scooter waiting in the corner. Truthfully, I’ve never worked with a better team, nor a more successful team. I’m proud to work in the Brand Networks Paid Social Activation organization. If you’re looking for a stellar managed services provider in social, take it from me—this is not just a team, it’s a family.

Brand Networks Announces Three New Appointments to its Leadership Team; Introduces New Digital Activation Team

Boston, MA—April 4, 2018—Brand Networks, the company recently named a “Leader” in Social Advertising Technology by independent analyst firm Forrester Research, today announced three strategic appointments to its leadership team, along with the introduction of its new Digital Activation division, adding programmatic display and video advertising services to the company’s suite of offerings.

Effective immediately, Brand Networks has promoted current EVP of Finance Justin Shepard to the role of Chief Financial Officer, and has promoted current Vice President of Human Resources Kristen O’Hara to the role of EVP of People and Culture. The company has also appointed Derrick Chan, formerly of Tapad, to SVP of Operations.

“As long-time industry veterans and proven leaders in their respective fields, I’m thrilled to welcome Justin, Kristen and Derrick to Brand Networks’ leadership team as we continue our focus on growing the company, while delivering world-class service and unmatched advertising technology to our clients,” said Dave Fall, CEO of Brand Networks. “I truly believe Brand Networks’ leadership team is among the strongest in the industry; this team will help us as we continue to extend our market leadership position over the coming years.”   

Justin Shepard, Chief Financial Officer: As CFO, Justin Shepard is responsible for overseeing Brand Networks’ corporate finance, strategic planning, financial reporting, tax, treasury, and financial planning and analysis functions. Prior to joining Brand Networks in 2014, Shepard held the position of Director of Finance at Retroficiency, where he led the finance, administrative, and human resources functions, and participated in the fundraising efforts utilized to support its operations leading up to its eventual sale to Ecova (now ENGIE Insight) in 2015. Prior to that, Shepard held positions in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Transaction Services practice in Los Angeles and Boston and Grant Thornton’s Audit practice in Boston. He is a CPA in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Kristen O’Hara, EVP of People and Culture: With more than two decades of experience in the industry, Kristen O’Hara is responsible for overseeing Brand Networks’ people and culture team. In this role, she is charged with fostering a sustainable, energized company culture by establishing policy and procedure, driving training and development, and generating programs to enable personal growth. The first human resources staffer to join the company in 2012, Kristen has been a mainstay at Brand Networks for over six years, and has been the primary shepherd of the culture’s advancement. Prior to joining the company, she developed a specialization in deploying internal training and human resources best practices across an array of marketing and advertising firms.

Derrick Chan, SVP of Operations: In his role as SVP of Operations, Derrick Chan is responsible for overseeing and expanding business intelligence amongst all divisions of the company through financial analyses, technology enablement, and backend vendor management. His experience in leading services organizations in the programmatic display and video space makes him a key strategic member of Brand Networks’ leadership team. Prior to joining Brand Networks as part of the Tapad partnership, Derrick worked at MediaMath and Akamai Technologies in various senior and management roles where he was responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations and analytics for entire business portfolios.

The appointments to the leadership team come as Brand Networks introduces its new Digital Activation team, comprised of team members who joined Brand Networks earlier this year through the company’s strategic partnership with Tapad. The creation of this new division is a further step in Brand Networks’ commitment to bringing digital advertising—including display, video, and rich media—together with paid social advertising in one streamlined media solutions offering.

During my time at Tapad I had the opportunity to work with many of the members making up the Brand Networks’ Digital Activation team, and am extremely excited to have them on board,” continued Fall. “Combined with our Social Advertising team, the Digital Activation team will be instrumental in helping us scale the value of our managed media services toward omnichannel solutions for all of our clients.”

The foundation of the Digital Activation team’s tech offering is device graph data, a technology that collects data about billions of digital devices and maps them together. By leveraging this technology, the team can build custom models to help clients identify prospects most likely to convert, and hone campaign targeting to address only this group. The team will also have access to in-depth analytics providing cross-device insights along with audience insights, helping brands gain a better understanding of their customer’s behavior across all devices.

To learn more about Brand Networks, please visit www.bn.co.

About Brand Networks

Brand Networks offers advertising optimization and insights combining paid social media, programmatic display, and video. Brand Networks delivers award-winning adtech and managed media services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including 81 of the AdAge 100 Leading National Advertisers and 14 of the 25 top US companies as ranked in the Fortune 500. The company leverages Iris by Brand Networks, the first AI-based platform for social advertising, and the Tapad Device Graph™, which powers the company’s Digital Activation services, to deliver unified digital advertising experiences for customers worldwide. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.

Artificial Intelligence: Transforming Social Advertising and the Way You Work

With the market for Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the rise and the increased proliferation of AI-powered tech being presented to Marketers and Advertisers, you may be asking yourself if Artificial Intelligence is right for you. In the world of Social Marketing and Advertising, AI has certainly arrived.

What pessimists fail to note is that AI isn’t new and the sky hasn’t fallen. If you’ve turned to digital advertising in the past, say, via a DSP, you’ve used AI. Sure, the future of AI-powered social ad tech is unclear in terms of the role it will ultimately play, but there’s no reason to fear it—thoughtfully-designed Artificial Intelligence isn’t built to replace you, it’s built to assist you and to complement your skillset.

AI-Powered Social Ad Tech: Your Biggest Enabler

According to Britannica, Artificial Intelligence is, “the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.” From that, you could concoct a number of doomsday scenarios. In the context of social advertising, AI is far from your enemy—it can and should be your biggest enabler.  

In its current state, AI-powered social ad tech is best suited to manage your social campaigns. Using technology like Optimize Now, Brand Networks’ proprietary optimization technology, AI can reduce the strain of repetitive and tactical work and increase the time you spend on higher order work that a machine cannot—think campaign strategy and creative insights extraction.

While some pundits claim there’s more smoke than fire surrounding AI, in the realm of the increasingly complex and unruly social ecosystem, AI should become your friend.

“Right Place, Right Time” Takes On a Whole New Meaning

Historically, consumers consumed—they flipped through periodicals, watched commercials, and listened to the radio. They were forced to receive whatever information you put in front of them and either believe it, or not. They couldn’t publicly question it or engage in discourse about it. Until recently, that worked; today, consumers are empowered. They’re fueled by a state of perpetual digital connection where US smartphone owners spend five hours per day. This has led to a feeling of empowerment and even entitlement among consumers. Now, instead of consuming whatever they’re fed, they’re asking for a completely new menu—and they’re used to getting what they want, when they want it.

Think about it:

– Spotify creates playlists based on your listening habits

– Amazon, the originator of auto-curated product recommendations, is now delivering via drone

– Google Maps populates the quickest way home

– Netflix suggests content based your viewing habits  

This trend has led to the modern consumer expecting smart connections that help make their lives easier. As the point of engagement and transaction continue to merge, the need for immediacy, personalization, and authenticity will become even more of a necessity.

Thankfully, Artificial Intelligence can help. In the context of social advertising, AI-powered technology can revolutionize your work day.

What You Can Expect From AI-Powered Social Ad Tech

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that managing the sophistication of today’s social ecosystem exceeds our cognitive capacity. This knowledge gap has led to the increased use of AI-powered systems, which are built to optimize problem sets quickly and efficiently without external interference. Said another way, AI-powered social ad tech will complement you and close the opportunity gap by optimizing the customer journey.

Let’s break it down into three benefits:

Efficiency: There’s no shame in admitting that computers process data faster than humans—we’re facing an unmanageable proliferation of information. Let AI take over the time-consuming processes of the past, and get valuable time back that you can spend researching, strategizing, or working on creative.

Smart Decisions: Limited access and insight into your data can prevent you from making the personalization decisions consumers expect. AI-powered social advertising solutions are built exclusively to consume large amounts of data from multiple channels and then analyze it. With those data, they can offer recommendations into creative, targeting, budget allocation, and more. As an end result, you’re creating a more meaningful experience for your customers.

Continuous performance improvements: Traditional marketing processes are discrete, time-bound, and hard to manage. Frankly, they can be arbitrary to your customers. AI-powered solutions operate continuously and learn as they go in relation to your inputs, like creative and targeting, as well as your goals and KPIs.  

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Artificial Intelligence is already impacting digital advertising. Its emergence in paid social, while steady, has proven to be one riddled with apprehension. But history has shown us that curiosity and courage are the hallmarks of great marketers and great marketing. Think about the first company to raise what’s become the modern billboard during the rise of American industry. Even the first advertisers on social were taking a degree of risk. Looking back, they’ve all been rewarded, to some degree. So dive into AI-powered social advertising technology—you’ll be leading the march of progress in the digital age.

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Introducing the Brand Networks Digital Activation Team

Brand Networks Digital Activation

The call from the market has been clear: Marketing leaders are hungry to move beyond siloed multi-channel advertising into integrated omnichannel strategies.

Our response is simple: Let Brand Networks coordinate your display, video, rich media and social advertising campaigns as a single provider, and we’re confident we will be able to create better synergy and add strategic value.

This past January, we announced the expansion of our managed media capabilities and offerings through a strategic partnership with Tapad.

Today, I am very proud to formally introduce a new division of Brand Networks, the Brand Networks Digital Activation team, comprised exclusively of Tapad alums who joined the company through that partnership.

Brand Networks Digital Activation

During my time at Tapad, I had the opportunity to work with many of the members of this team, and I am thrilled to welcome them to Brand Networks. The launch of the Digital Activation team is the first step in our commitment to bring digital advertising—including display, video, and rich media—together with paid social advertising in one streamlined media solution.

Meet the Brand Networks Digital Activation Team

The new Brand Networks Digital Activation team is composed of expert digital advertising specialists, many of whom have been working together since 2011. Though new to Brand Networks, the average Digital Activation employee has been part of the same display and video advertising team for over three years.

Here at Brand Networks, these individuals are now working alongside social advertising specialists in offices around the United States, including, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Well known in the Automotive, Financial Services, and Retail verticals, with deep knowledge of those industries and others, this savvy collective is already trusted by over 50 of the Fortune 500.

Over the past 7 years, the team has developed the ability to deliver effective campaigns at every stage of the consumer journey. Whether you care about raising brand awareness or driving sales, they know how to deliver engaging experiences to your consumers in any context.

Powered by Device Graph Data

The foundation of our Digital Activation team’s tech offering is device graph data, a technology that collects data about billions of digital devices and maps them together. Audience Magnifier, the proprietary solution for direct response campaigns, profiles the interests, lifestyle and intent behavior of the brand’s converters across every device, providing a holistic view of their consumer context, including interests and behaviors. Based on these interest and behavioral patterns, our new Digital Activation team is empowered to build custom models, identifying prospects most likely to convert and honing campaign targeting to address that specific group.

When it comes to measuring campaign performance, in-depth analytics are also available to provide cross-device insights into reach and frequency, performance lift and device pathing to conversion. This thorough analysis also uncovers audience insights, enabling brands to gain a better understanding of their consumers’ behavior across devices.

Another unique service is this team’s Creative Services division, which specializes in extending campaign creative to bridge the gap between concept and objective. The award-winning group helps brands enrich their cross-device storytelling with custom, interactive elements appropriate for every device. This enables brands to deliver compelling and memorable experiences tailored to their goals.

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This is only a fraction of the team’s capabilities, knowledge, and potential. As we look toward an omnichannel future, I am excited to welcome the new Digital Activation team to the Brand Networks family and look forward to all that we can achieve under the same roof. 

Are you ready to get started? 

Stories Everywhere: Preparing Snapchat For the Future

Snapchat Stories Everywhere

It doesn’t take much to see that Snapchat’s changing. Snapchat’s user growth increased by 5.05% in Q4 beating Wall Street’s expectations. Today, Snapchat has roughly 187MM daily active users (DAUs). Moreover, Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company, reported that 90% of Snap Ads were bought programmatically, lending further proof to the efficacy of its auction-based ad buying system. But of all the stats unveiled in the Q4 roundup, the one holding the most promise may be the fact that the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) in the “Rest of the World” region nearly doubled. For advertisers, this translates to “Snapchat is operating more efficiently in areas with slower connections.” Over time, this could open the door to global campaign execution and a significant bump in reach.

The real story begins, however, when you consider the strategic, albeit uncharacteristic move that goes against the historical grain for Snapchat. Instead of keeping its users in its mobile app, Snapchat is now allowing users to share content outside of its core app through a feature called “Stories Everywhere.” While the move may seem counterintuitive, it’s one made to foster user growth while continuing to make Snapchat a popular and engaging destination for premium content.

How Stories Everywhere Works

Historically, Snapchat’s main allure was its exclusivity—unless you had a Snapchat account, you couldn’t view its content. That worked for Snapchat as it established itself, but, as its industry counterparts moved further away from this insular approach, Snapchat seems to have reacted by wholly embracing the shift.

With this pivot, anyone can watch and share select Snapchat content to Facebook, Twitter, email, text messages, third-party websites, and more—all via a link generated by Snapchat. Snapchat is initially restricting content eligible for Stories Everywhere to Official Stories, Our Stories, and Search Stories, but we’re bullish that this will eventually encompass more of Snapchat’s content types as its re-design and new features take shape.

Official Stories: Content created by celebrities and influencers will last 24 hours outside of Snapchat

Our Stories: Content created by Snapchat around marquee events, for example, will last for up to 30 days outside of Snapchat

Search Stories: Content created based on topic or location will last for up to 30 days outside of Snapchat

Stories Everywhere: Preparing Snapchat for the Future

Stories Everywhere is a significant change to the Snapchat experience. This isn’t an “advertising thing” yet, but it’s changing Snapchat, and it could impact advertising opportunities soon. Here’s why it could ultimately be a boon for advertisers:

Increased Discoverability & User Growth: The immediate benefit of Stories Everywhere pertains to the reach and addressable audience for publishers and influencers. As these parties strategically curate and place content around the web, don’t be surprised if the coming fiscal quarters result in a noticeable upswing in older demographics turning to Snapchat. The extended reach may also be enough to entice influencers previously unattached to Snapchat’s model to make the switch. Theoretically, they would also bring with them their loyal followers from other realms.

More Content From Publishers & Influencers: By allowing content to survive for a more extended period outside the app, Snapchat could be creating an environment for publishers and influencers to create more content. Why? Because more strategic opportunity is available. A publisher, for example, could use Stories Everywhere to point Snapchat users to its website. Ultimately, this extended reach via cross-posting can add value insofar as broadening the opportunities and chances for engagement at different points within the purchase lifecycle.

Proof of Concept for Snapchat: Not only will publishers and influencers continue to see how many views their content receives within the app, but Snapchat’s commitment to measurement solutions is apparent by the ability to report on impressions outside of the mobile app. This alone could be a selling point for advertisers focusing on reach. Plus, Snapchat’s counterparts don’t currently support cross-platform sharing, which makes this offering even more enticing.

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It’s too soon to tell, but the impact of Stories Everywhere may reach beyond Snapchat’s immediate audience. If this catches on, it’s likely that this will affect the broader digital advertising space. As we wait to see what Snapchat rolls out over the coming quarters regarding both capabilities and paid ad offerings, take the time now to experiment and acquaint yourself with the new organic content experience.

Brand Networks Establishes Austin Presence; Ramps-Up Commitment to HVSMB

Brand Networks in Austin

Brand Networks is expanding its presence across the US with new offices in Dallas and Detroit following our partnership with Tapad. We’d be remiss, however, if we didn’t mention a strategic expansion in Austin, Texas—a move indicative of our commitment to helping High-Value Small and Medium Businesses (HVSMBs) achieve their social advertising success.

3 Reasons Austin Makes Sense for Brand Networks


1. We Can’t Ignore the Thriving Tech Community

Sure, Austin may be the Live Music Capital of the world, but it’s also quickly becoming a premier business destination, and one of America’s fastest-growing cities. Moreover, the World Economic Forum ranked Austin as the top city in the world for technology—topping San Francisco, Singapore, and perennial tech powerhouse, Tokyo.

Fortune 500 Brands like Dell and IBM have well-established presences in Austin. Other tech companies, like Bumble, HomeAway, and RetailMeNot also have roots in the Lone Star State’s fourth largest metropolitan area. We don’t expect the growth to slow either. Combine low taxes, favorable real estate, an ever-present entrepreneurial culture, and access to some of the world’s top talent, and you can place your bet that Austin will be one of the world’s tech hubs for the foreseeable future.

Plus, if Austin wins the bid to become the home to Amazon’s HQ2, the growth and output of the city will increase exponentially.

2. We Value Our Tech Partnerships

Brand Networks prides itself on collaborating with like-minded tech leaders across the industry in order to create leading digital advertising capabilities for our customers. Having a presence in Austin will better equip us to do that.

Three of Our Strategic Partners in Austin:

Facebook: In 2012, Brand Networks became one of the first Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developers. Three years later, Brand Networks was among the first Facebook Marketing Partners. In the years since, our commitment to staying on the cutting-edge of Facebook advertising hasn’t wavered. As Facebook expands its presence in Austin and bets big on HVSMBs, Brand Networks will follow suit to ensure we’re able to provide best-in-class technology and service to HVSMBs.

Tapad: In 2018, Brand Networks formed a strategic partnership with Tapad, the leader in cross-device marketing to bring programmatic display and social advertising together into one streamlined portfolio. Per the terms of the partnership, the Tapad Media Services Team became a division of Brand Networks to streamline our entry into, and management of, digital display and video campaigns. Along with Tapad’s seasoned industry veterans, came its Dallas office, which will remain open, positioning our display and social teams just hours apart.

Lithium Technologies:  Headquartered in Austin, Lithium Technologies is a social media management and digital community platform ranked as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Social Media Management Solutions, Q2, 2017. Brand Networks and Lithium teamed up to provide a holistic solution to seamlessly auto-promote organic content into smart, efficient paid advertising campaigns.

3. Endless Networking Opportunities

With Austin’s endless list of events and networking opportunities, we thought it was important to be there. When you consider that some of the world’s most well-known conferences roll through the city, like SXSW (March 9-18), Austin City Limits (Oct. 5-7 & Oct. 12-14) and Social Media Week Austin (Feb. 2019), our new home in Austin makes sense. Beyond these annual events, Austin is full of innovators and entrepreneurs creating communities and hosting events, such as Built-In Austin and Creative Meet Business. I’ve enjoyed joining Austin Women in Tech & Austin Young Chamber to meet other go-getters passionate about their careers and our city.

Who wouldn’t want to be at the epicenter of the next Silicon Valley?

Live in Austin? Visiting Austin? Let’s connect!

Lisa Fruggiero,
Director, High-Value Small Business
Brand Networks, Austin
Lisaf@bn.co
@Lisafrug
Linkedin.com/in/lisafruggiero

How to Use AI for Marketing Optimization in Social

Artificial intelligence (AI) may be an untested tool in your marketing arsenal, but it’s already deeply ingrained in the environments where your marketing dollars are spent.

It’s time to advance from marketing in ecosystems where AI determines the way advertising dollars go to work. Today’s marketers must begin to leverage AI-powered tools to enable their teams to work better, faster, and smarter in those ecosystems.

If your brand is running paid media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Snapchat, or delivering ads via real-time bidding in a DSP, then AI is already dictating the way your ad dollars go to work for your brand. This has been, historically, an overwhelmingly positive evolution for marketers.

AI is Already Helping Your Brand in Social

According to eMarketer research published in September 2017, programmatic ad spending in channels like those mentioned above will top $39 billion in 2018. With that many ad dollars flowing, algorithmic systems and machine learning will help advertisers deliver trillions of impressions in 2018, with many of them matching the proverbial right message to the right consumer at the right time.

The auction-based ecosystems powering advertising in the social platforms make programmatic ad serving widely available, helping brands reach users more likely to engage with their products. Even better, these AI-powered auctions can help your brand reach people more likely to complete the action that matters most to your business. For example, Facebook and others can rank order consumers in your target audience and show your ads to people more likely to take the action you care about.

While this kind of AI-based optimization is part and parcel of the social advertising experience, the burden felt by advertising teams spending large budgets and delivering at scale campaigns is still massive.

Let AI Help Your Advertising Team in Social

Today’s top social advertising teams work day and night, making minor, repetitive changes to their live campaigns to maximize performance. They manage hundreds or even thousands of manual calculations and edits over the course of a large campaign, walking a high wire between achieving optimal performance and accidentally delivering millions of dollars’ worth of media to the wrong audience with the wrong message at the wrong time.

Paid social advertising teams spend their days in AI-enabled ecosystems; these people deserve AI-enabled tools.

While philosophers and futurists warn that AI could render the human race obsolete in the long term, marketers have much to gain from partnering with AI in the near term. Instead of viewing AI as competitive, marketers would do well to view AI-powered technologies as a new category of tools in the marketing arsenal.

This new category of tools isn’t theoretical or experimental. Teams are already leveraging specialized AI-enabled technologies to combat advertising complexity and drive incremental performance from both their teams and the campaigns those teams operate.

Iris by Brand Networks, the first social advertising toolset with an AI engine at its core, features cross-channel social advertising workflows that put AI to work for paid social teams. Typical social advertising analysts and media buyers save eight hours per week thanks to the assistive AI inside Iris by Brand Networks.

Now that’s working better, faster, and smarter with AI.

Brand Networks Lets AI Run Social Ads In Its New Platform

Barry Levine of MarTech Today touched on a new chapter for Brand Networks, which includes Iris, the first and only AI-based social adtech solution.

In the piece, Levine quotes Brand Networks’s CEO, Dave Fall who says the company’s strategy went from “let’s build the best Facebook and Snapchat tools in one platform” to “let’s build tech that takes advantage of the free tools.”

Brand Networks Introduces Iris, the First AI-Powered Social Media Ad Optimization Platform

Boston, MA—February 13, 2018—Brand Networks, the company recently named a “Leader” in Social Advertising Technology by independent analyst firm Forrester Research, today introduced Iris by Brand Networks, the first cross-channel social advertising solution to feature assistive artificial intelligence.

Iris offers a new, streamlined social ad technology platform providing a first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence layer that works in conjunction with the native ad-buying tools offered by Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest. Serving as a virtual assistant, Iris by Brand Networks brings intelligent automation to media buying, and offers significant time savings, performance optimization, and risk reduction for media buyers, including an average time savings of eight hours per week per user, a 50 percent lower risk of overspend, and a 14 percent better chance of spending earmarked budget in full.

Iris also features a new live performance dashboard for monitoring campaign pacing and delivery across social platforms. This new social advertising homepage is designed to help advertisers identify campaigns in need of human intervention, providing support for users in the new AI-supported work context.

“The need for programmatic assistance in social advertising is part of the larger paradigm shift in the way digital advertising gets done,” said Dave Fall, CEO of Brand Networks. “Today’s marketers require sophisticated solutions to deal with the complexity created by the volume and velocity of the digital advertising data they’re creating. Brand Networks is currently the only player in social media advertising offering assistive artificial intelligence, helping to reduce the barriers to success in an increasingly nuanced auction-based ecosystem. Our goal with Iris is to streamline this process to help marketers simplify media buying and shift focus to their business goals, while saving time and reducing risk.”

Optimize Now, the core artificial intelligence technology underlying Iris by Brand Networks, has been optional to Brand Networks users for over three years and has successfully managed hundreds of millions of dollars in social advertising spend across every social platform Brand Networks technology supports. The Iris system has proven its ability to improve ad performance across channels and devices, while giving advertising teams the tools to work smarter, faster, and better together.

To learn more about Brand Networks, please visit www.bn.co.

About Brand Networks

Brand Networks offers best-in-class social media and programmatic display advertising optimization and insights. The company delivers award-winning adtech and services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including 71 of the AdAge 100 Leading National Advertisers and 14 of the 25 biggest US companies as ranked in the Fortune 500. Featuring the first and only Artificial Intelligence-based platform for social advertising, Iris helps brands outperform the competition with better ad performance, and helps media teams work smarter, faster and better together. As a virtual assistant, Iris brings intelligent automation to media buying, saving media analysts an average of 8 hours per week. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.

 

Media Contacts:
Colleen McCormick Blair
Email: cblair@launchsquad.com
Phone: 617-945-1915

Instagram Is Turning Into Facebook, and That’s Bad

Katherine Bindley of the Wall Street Journal touched on the current state of Facebook and Instagram and how the latter’s rise can largely be attributed to features its big brother, Facebook touted before its time—think the algorithmically charged feed.

Bindley also noted the rise of paid ads within the Instagram experience. Citing Brand Networks, whose clients delivered 17 times as many ad impressions in 2017 as in 2016, she implies that this rise hasn’t reached its peak. According to Brand Networks research, we expect Instagram impressions to grow by 25% in the first quarter of 2018.  

Brand Networks Forms Strategic Partnership with Tapad to Expand into Cross-Device Programmatic Display Advertising

Brand Networks Adds Programmatic Display

Boston, MA—January 31, 2018Brand Networks, the company recently  named a “Leader” in Social Advertising Technology by independent analyst firm Forrester Research, today announced an expansion of the company’s capabilities and offerings through a strategic partnership with Tapad, the leader in cross-device marketing. This collaboration will bring programmatic display and social advertising together into one streamlined portfolio, helping Brand Networks’ partners move closer to achieving the vision of a unified customer experience across all of their digital advertising touchpoints.

Per the terms of the partnership, Brand Networks will license the proprietary Tapad Device Graph™ to execute managed media campaigns. Additionally, Tapad’s media services organization will be joining the Brand Networks organization, providing Brand Networks with seasoned industry veterans to accelerate the company’s entry into and management of programmatic display campaigns.

“This expansion comes at a strategic time for Brand Networks, as the company continues to address the ever-mounting rise of video and mobile,” said Dave Fall, CEO of Brand Networks. “Social has been an inherently strong sector to develop expertise in these categories, offering the opportunity to create multi-device experiences by leveraging the graphs available through the social platforms. With the additional depth and scale of the Tapad Device Graph™ and the infusion of talent that comes with the addition of the Tapad media services team, Brand Networks is immediately equipped to handle video and mobile in the multi-device paradigm across display, as well.”

“Tapad, at its core, is an entrepreneurial company and it is a natural progression to move from the more transactional media business to focus on what we do best in the industry — identity,” said Sigvart Voss Eriksen, CEO of Tapad. “Tapad’s talented media team will now have a new home that focuses on their core strengths giving them an environment to further progress and succeed in the media business. I look forward to the successes we both will realize by working in tandem and I am proud to have Tapad’s technology power Brand Networks’ display offering.”

This strategic move provides Tapad with the opportunity to become more focused on its identity products and already successful core graph while gaining a well-respected partner and customer in Brand Networks. As the company continues to evolve, Tapad will expand its data business, strengthening its infrastructure and creating best-in-class identity solutions for marketers at scale.

Through the partnership with Tapad, Brand Networks continues its growth as the leading provider of social, and now programmatic, advertising optimization and insights. Since its founding twelve years ago, the company has acquired two competing social advertising SaaS platforms — Optimal and SHIFT — and has received an infusion of equity from AEA Investors, a leading private equity fund based in New York. Brand Networks now serves hundreds of enterprise customers and is powering more than $500 million in media spend across every leading social media channel.

About Brand Networks

Brand Networks offers best-in-class social media and programmatic display advertising optimization and insights. The company delivers award-winning adtech and services to hundreds of enterprise customers, including 71 of the AdAge 100 Leading National Advertisers and 14 of the 25 biggest US companies as ranked in the Fortune 500. Featuring the first and only Artificial Intelligence-based platform for social advertising, Iris helps brands outperform the competition with better ad performance, and helps media teams work smarter, faster and better together. As a virtual assistant, Iris brings intelligent automation to media buying, saving media analysts an average of 8 hours per week. Brand Networks was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boston with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Sydney. For more information, please visit bn.co.

About Tapad

Tapad Inc. is a marketing technology company renowned for its breakthrough, unified, cross-device solutions. The company’s signature Tapad Device Graph™ connects millions of consumers across billions of devices. The world’s largest brands and most effective marketers entrust Tapad to provide an accurate, privacy-conscious and unified approach to connecting with consumers across screens. In 2015, Tapad began licensing the Tapad Device Graph™ and swiftly became the established gold-standard throughout the ad tech ecosystem. Tapad is based in New York and has offices in Chicago, London, Oslo, Singapore, and Tokyo. Tapad’s numerous awards include: Forbes’ Most Promising Companies, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, Crain’s Fast 50, TMCnet Tech Culture Award and Global Startup Award’s “Startup Founder of the Year.” Tapad was acquired by the Telenor Group in 2016. Telenor is one of the world’s largest mobile operators with more than 170 million subscribers in 12 countries.    

Media Contacts:

For Brand Networks:
Colleen McCormick Blair
Email: cblair@lauchsquad.com
Phone: 617-945-1915

For Tapad:
Dana Casalino
Email: dana@kitehillpr.com
Phone: 973-464-7642

Snapchat’s Disrupting Digital Advertising By Daring to Be the Same

Brace yourselves, fellow marketers. But whatever you do, don’t let a fear of change buck you out of one of the most disruptive advertising opportunities in the last 20 years.

Snapchat is currently rolling out a refreshed app experience, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that power users are expressing a bit of frustration with the change. Some advertisers have already been spooked this year; a report this week from Cowen analyst John Blackledge found that ad buyers overwhelmingly preferred Instagram to Snapchat, citing concerns around metrics like return on investment, user targeting, and campaign measurement.

Although there might be disruption as the update rolls out to Snapchat’s user base during this transition, everyone will embrace it in 2018—advertisers included. If the evolution of social media advertising has taught us anything, it’s that we MUST be patient and not panic as these updates roll out.

Snap, Inc. reported lower-than-expected user growth for the fourth straight quarter in its Q3 earnings call. The good news for everyone came when CEO Evan Spiegel announced a major redesign was in the works.

“One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback,” Spiegel said. “As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use.”

Spiegel also predicted the update would help Snapchat “appeal to a broader audience.”

The new Snapchat app that’s started rolling out since then is dramatically simpler. Swipe left for the “social” epicenter, Friends. Swipe right for the “media” section, Discover. The biggest change is an algorithm update meant to better curate the experience.

There’s a risk here, but it’s not unprecedented.

Bold steps in this direction are exactly what helped Instagram break its user barriers in the months and years following its acquisition by Facebook.

In March of 2016, Instagram’s newsfeed shakeup, which put algorithms in charge of the order in which posts appear, initially drew fierce criticism from daily active users and influencers. Even moms in ‘80s jeans freaked out. But the move successfully improved the overall experience and fueled user growth for Instagram. As of last fall, Instagram has grown to a staggering 500 million daily active users.

Along with new Snapchat designs revealed in December in multiple publications, an op-ed by Spiegel appeared in Axios describing the underpinnings of the redesign. In it, Snap’s CEO revealed a similar step. Snapchat has applied a different approach to curation in the new version, but one that will amplify the personal relevance experienced by users in the app all the same.

Instead of taking cues from the close connections of each user, Snapchat will take an approach similar to Netflix’s, according to Spiegel, selecting new content to display based on the past behavior of the individual user only. At the same time, Snapchat will begin deploying human curation—the same good old-fashioned editorial approach that the modern media industry was built on.

How Will This Impact Advertisers?

First, users will experience a more personalized Snapchat experience. The redesign will surely provide a more integrated advertising solution to brands, offering advertisers access to a more contextual environment. Ads delivered in the app could feel more like an extension of the Snapchat experience and less like a “commercial break.” This improved “native feel” will pay off for brand awareness and direct response advertisers, alike.

Turning the focus to targeting, the new algorithms recommending content should quickly fuel interest-data expansion inside Snap, deepening the opportunity for targeting segmentation on the advertiser side. More importantly, the esoteric user experience that made Snapchat feel clandestine and cool to younger demographics could give way to make room for a new wave of users—the adults looking to get in on the youthful trend that’s evaded them so far. As new users in untapped demographics download the app, a broader user base will ultimately lead to larger audiences and even richer data for better segmentation.

What Will Come After That?

There’s a chance this redesign will also lead to further borrowing from pre-existing playbooks, making Snapchat a friendlier place for direct response advertisers. The end result of a more personalized experience will likely be a more focused delivery for advertisers to an audience that’s in the right mindset and ready to take action. Again, there’s some precedent.

In March of 2015, Instagram undertook another step that its power users spurned before ultimately welcoming the change. The app expanded from a self-contained mobile experience to one that enabled clickable ads, a move that coincided with Instagram’s user boom to 400 million monthly users in the spring of 2015.

Snapchat already offers “swipeable” ad units, but swipes remain an arcane gesture type for the populous, unfamiliar to a generation that came of age after the Tinder and other apps popularized the swipe. While it’s unknown whether Snapchat is experimenting with it, true clickability could be a boon to advertisers in much the same way it was for Instagram advertisers.

As Snapchat evolves, other sweeping changes to the experience will most certainly pay off for advertisers.

Time will tell.

If we’ve learned anything in the Social Media Era as marketers, it’s that fear of change will do more than buck us out of opportunities to beat our competitors. It will buck us right out of our jobs. Fear of change is the reason many of today’s boldest marketing leaders started rising in the ranks 10 years ago—when our old bosses were too stuck in their ways to push hard into digital. On the other hand, willingness to change is how Facebook, Netflix, and other disruptive channels have rewritten our job descriptions.

Viewed through that lens, a change like this app redesign is a good reason to be bullish on Snapchat, while many of your competitors step back and reassess. And that’s a recipe for performance on any digital channel.

Ultimately, Snap is a risk-taking company that has stood out by daring to be different. Now that the company is daring to be similar, it may be just the move marketers need.