Blue Devils play Fond du Lac in elimination game Thursday at 1 p.m.By Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — The start to the 2017 Wisconsin Junior American Legion State Baseball Tournament could not have been any worse for the host Marshfield Post 54 Blue Devils.After starting approximately 40 minutes late due to rain, the Green Bay Shockers scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning and went on to beat Marshfield 13-3 in five innings on Wednesday night at Jack Hackman Field.Five singles, two errors, a hit batter, and a walk led to the eruption by the Shockers, who scored at least once in all five of their at-bats. Marshfield finished with four errors in all, and its two pitchers walked eight.Marshfield scored on an RBI single by Joey Goettl in the second inning. After the Shockers added single runs in the second and third innings to open up a 10-1 lead, the Blue Devils struck for two in the fourth.Mitch Wilhelm scored on a passed ball, and Tyler Spaeth singled to drive in Tyler Wein, but that was all Marshfield could get across in the defeat.Marshfield (19-8) will face Fond du Lac in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Thursday.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Shockers 13, Blue Devils 3Marshfield 010 20 – 3 8 4Green Bay 811 21 – 13 11 0Green Bay roster not provided.LP: Logan Schreiner.SO: Schreiner (1 1/3 inn.) 1, Ty Pankratz (2 2/3 inn.) 1. BB: Schreiner 3, Pankratz 5.Top hitters: M, Tyler Spaeth 2×3, 2B, RBI; Mitch Wilhelm 1×3, run; Hunter Weik 1×2, run.
Checkpoint Systems, Inc., a leading global supplier of merchandise availability solutions for the retail industry, today announced that AEON Retail, a major Japanese retailer, is switching out existing acousto-magnetic (AM) electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems for Checkpoint’s radio frequency identification (RFID)-upgradeable RF EAS systems to improve inventory management and the shopping experience.AEON RETAIL will also pioneer Checkpoint’s RFID robot prototype to automate the in-store inventory cycle-counting process so it can improve inventory visibility and enhance the shopper experience.AEON RETAIL and Checkpoint have begun to implement source-tagging for apparel and consumer packaged goods merchandise. The source-tagging program will ensure merchandise arrives at stores already tagged and shelf-ready. With these solutions in place, AEON RETAIL aims to improve operational efficiencies with accurate inventory visibility, automating tasks that allow staff to focus their time on customer-facing activities, thus improving the overall shopper experience.- Sponsor – AEON RETAIL has been piloting Checkpoint’s RFID solution and will now expand it to its latest flagship store. It will utilize Checkpoint’s OAT Enterprise software fully integrated into its point-of-sale and point of exit systems and Checkpoint’s new UNO RF/RFID label. This technology will enable AEON RETAIL to automatically match its inventory with merchandise sales and identify to the unit any items that left the store. The accuracy of the information will help reduce excess inventory, reduce out-of-stocks and improve operational efficiencies.The flagship store will also feature a first of its kind, Checkpoint’s prototype robot-enabled inventory counting solution. The robot will automate the inventory cycle counting process to eliminate human-error, reduce operational costs and shift what used to be an employee task to value-added activities where they can better serve the shopper.AEON RETAIL ensures that the investment in EAS can be upgraded to RFID and the labels can be utilized in conventional EAS or in an RFID-enabled store for both loss prevention and inventory visibility.“We are excited to work with AEON RETAIL on this RFID pilot, and we are committed to a successful and evolving inventory availability program for the company,” said Per Levin, President, Merchandise Availability Solutions, Checkpoint Systems. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
CCH Tax Day ReportHouse Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., on April 3 reintroduced the bipartisan Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Bill. In the 114th Congress, the bill was unanimously approved in the House by a 415-to-0 vote (TAXDAY, 2016/09/23, C.4).The bill’s passage in the House in 2016 followed a May 25 hearing that examined the IRS’s former civil asset forfeiture procedure. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified at the hearing that the Service’s Criminal Investigations Division no longer pursues the seizure and forfeiture of funds associated solely with structuring occurring from a legal source. Thus, the measure would codify the IRS’s current policy.If enacted, the bill would limit the IRS’s authority in conducting civil asset seizure and forfeiture relating to structuring transactions under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). “Civil asset forfeiture may have begun as a tool to combat criminal activity, but it has morphed into a complex process that unfairly entangles innocent individuals,” Crowley said in a statement. “There is no question that the laws are deeply flawed and the process was riddled with abuse.”Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Tim Scott, R-S.C., are expected to soon reintroduce their version of the bill in the Senate. The senators introduced the Restraining Excessive Seizure of Property through Exploitation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Tools (RESPECT) Bill (Sen 3353) last September (TAXDAY, 2016/09/30, C.1).By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff
I walked by an Abercrombie and Fitch store in the mall recently and something struck me. The doors were open, but all the windows had heavy wood blinds over them, making it impossible to see inside. Loud music played from within. You could not see a single item they sold. If I didn’t know the brand, they could have sold fishing equipment or been a law office. Window shopping was impossible.Abercrombie had a completely different store window than nearly every other store in the mall. Even Victoria’s Secret, which might actually want to hide some of their merchandise because of social norms had huge glass windows with mannequins showing off the latest “fashion.”Why? Sometimes hiding things generates attention because of the perception of exclusivity.Just like the hot clubs in LA that don’t have a sign to tell you where they are, or the new web 2.0 applications that only let in beta users 100 at a time, Abercrombie is creating the appearance of exclusivity by hiding their merchandise. As humans, sometimes we want what we can’t have, or at least what is hard to get.Have you thought about making your product harder to get? Or maybe making a special part of your product only available to certain people?This concept can be scary, because as marketers we try to be known everywhere, by everyone, at all times. But maybe an experiment in exclusivity will pay off. Try it, and let me know.Webinar: Rethinking MarketingWant to learn more about how you can use inbound marketing to grow your business?Download the free webinar to learn how to turn your website into an internet marketing machine. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Mar 31, 2009 11:57:00 AM, updated March 21 2013
To answer that question, we compiled 15 mini-case studies of successful B2B Facebook pages. You can see a preview of the case studies below, or On average, B2C businesses reach more people on Facebook, but there is a growing number of B2B companies that are reaching prospects and closing deals via Facebook. What type of businesses are we talking about? Turns out there are many B2B businesses getting significant value out of Facebook. Social Media Video makes your Facebook Page dynamic. Like, photography, it helps customer understand your product and get to know the people within your company. Facebook is a dynamic, social platform for marketers to take advantage of — but that doesn’t mean that everything you feature on Facebook needs to be native to the web. . Photos make your company and your products easier to understand. But what about businesses more like yours — B2B businesses? to have access to these charts for use in your own presentations . Originally published May 25, 2010 10:30:00 AM, updated October 01 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , or you write So what can you learn from these business? Here are five lessons that stand out: Download the ebook now! If you’re a B2B marketer, you’re probably skeptical of Facebook. Sure, Facebook Pages work well if you’re the (2) Use photos (3) Use video. (1) Build an active wall , you Free Download: Marketing Data: 50+ Marketing Charts and Graphs columns for The New York Times Your Facebook Page should focus on engaging with visitors, but make sure you don’t forget to include product information. sell energy drinks (4) Highlight offline marketing. (5) Use calls to action. President of the United States Topics: HubSpot has complied over 50 marketing charts and graphs on topics including Lead Generation, Blogging and Social Media, Marketing Budgets, Twitter and Facebook download the free ebook here . An active wall creates social proof — it’s hard to fake, so it’s a sign of a successful Facebook page and a successful business. .
What other apps do you use to make your marketing life easier?Image credit: Marysol* 6) GoToMeetingHave you ever been on the train with terrible wireless but needed to call into a meeting or webinar? There is now a GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar mobile app that lets you do just that! It allows you to not only hear the presentation, but also see the presenter’s screen. Instead of simply calling into meetings when you are not in the office, you can now see them right from your mobile device! This app is available on iPhone and Android devices.7) EventbriteMany events now use Eventbrite to keep track of their registrations. You can buy tickets on Eventbrite, create backend reports, and track where your attendees are coming from. Eventbrite also has a mobile app that keeps track of the events you have registered for on Eventbrite, so you can easily access any of the information on their Eventbrite page. This will come in handy for people who don’t remember when and where the event is and are already on their way!Because HubSpot has seen the value in this app, we have created an app for our App Marketplace. It will keep track of who has registered for your event, your ticket sale progress, and import your registrants as leads into your portal so you can continue to have a relationship with them after your event. This is a great way to share some of the content from the event after it’s over and keep in touch with your attendees. This app is available on iPhone and Android devices.8) StatigramThere are some social media tools, such as Instagram, that do not natively offer reporting. But as a marketer, it’s crucial to have analytics in place to measure your social media marketing performance. Enter Statigram!Statigram provides analytics for Instagram, a mobile app that was recently acquired by Facebook and more and more frequently being used by brands in marketing campaigns. In addition to fun metrics to see what your most popular photos were and what filters were used the most, it also gives reports on the best time to post new photos, the average lifespan of a photo, which filters are triggering the biggest amounts of likes and traffic, and which followers are the most engaged. This app is available on all desktops.9) PinerlySimilar to Statigram, Pinerly measures activity on Pinterest. It helps find people who pin pictures that match your interests, helps identify people who have unfollowed you or you may want to unfollow, identifies popular pins that you may want to repin, allows you to schedule pins throughout the day, and provides statistics to show you what you are doing right and wrong. As a marketer, it’s important to be able to schedule pins throughout the day to constantly engage your audience, and then measure the activity around your pins to determine whether or not you are pinning images of interest to your followers. This app is available on all desktops, and if you’re new to Pinterest, download our ebook to learn more about how to leverage Pinterest for business. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published May 7, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Apps are everywhere these days, and not just on your iPhone. Apps are all over Android, mobile devices, desktops … even in your marketing software! And the functionality of these apps is ever-expanding, which is good news for marketers, because it means you can now download an app that does more than just fling angry birds at little green pigs. That’s right — now there are apps out there that make a marketer’s life easier, and even make them better at their jobs.As a marketer and fan of exploring new apps (although my colleagues might have a more emphatic name for me than “fan”), I wanted to share with you the apps that make marketers more successful at, well, marketing. Here are what I consider to be 11 must-have apps for marketers so you can really make a dent in your career!1) EvernoteAs a marketer, you are bound to think of your next campaign idea at an unexpected time: right before you go to bed, as you are about to step on the subway, or even when you’re out with friends. So how do you make sure you don’t forget your next lead generation idea? With Evernote, of course!Evernote is a way to capture your notes while you’re on the go. Not only is there a desktop application, but there is also a mobile application. As soon as you open either device, it will sync and update your notes so that you always have access to your latest information. The ability to constantly have a virtual notepad like this is so important for marketers who have to keep up-to-date on the changing landscape of marketing, and best of all, Evernote can be used on any device! For more tips on how to use Evernote for marketing, check out our blog post, How Marketers Can Use Evernote to Organize and Simplify Their Lives.2) DropboxDropbox is a fantastic tool for collaboration and file sharing; it’s so simple! It becomes a folder on your hard drive where you can upload files and share them with others on your team. You can also download Dropbox apps on your smartphone and iPad so you can have those files on the go — even when you aren’t by your computer. But the best part about Dropbox is that you can keep files that are too large to send via email, and immediately give access to other members of your team. This app can also be used on any device.3) GoDocsHave you ever been on the go but needed to access your Google Documents to update something you simply forgot to change before you left the office? GoDocs is not an official Google app, but it still works really well to access your Google Docs. It sorts your documents by the last one that was edited and allows you to see the entire document. You can even upload documents right from your phone. If you’re working on a spreadsheet with multiple tabs, it includes all of the tabs as well. GoDocs also allows for multiple accounts. This is available for iPhone and Android devices.4) TrelloTrello is a collaboration tool for to-do lists. Each team member has a “board” where they list tasks they have to do, tasks they are working on, and tasks they have completed. Take a look:Trello also gives users the ability to assign other team members to tasks on their list, and give deadlines and priority labels to tasks on your list. You can also have checklists within individual tasks and track your progress on completing those tasks.Trello is both a website app and a mobile app. So when you are leaving work and want to know what you still need to complete, you can just grab your phone, open the app, and look at what your night or next day has to offer! This app is available on iPhone and Android devices.5) HootSuiteHootSuite provides a social media dashboard that helps marketers post, monitor, and measure their social media tools. It allows you to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ throughout the day, and even manage multiple accounts. Additionally, it provides analytics that are essential for marketers to be able to report and figure out how to increase their followers, traffic, and clicks. Similar to other apps, HootSuite can be accessed from your smartphone so you can continue to monitor and engage with your followers at any time. This app is available on all desktops. 10) iReachPR Newswire has always been the go-to tool for public relations professionals to send out press releases. However, putting a press release on the wire can be very expensive, and not always realistic for small marketing budgets. But HubSpot has an app in its App Marketplace that addresses that problem! For only $179, you can put a press release on the wire to a smaller segment of publications, but still over 1,000 websites including PR Newswire. We have used it in the past for big announcements with great results. For HubSpot customers, this app is available in your HubSpot portal. 11) ZerysBlogging and content creation is one of the most important components of inbound marketing, but all too often, it gets pushed to the back burner. The Zerys app provides a solution to this problem! Zerys allows you to post topic and title suggestions that you would like to have written for your blog, and then gets in touch with writers who want to help you write blog posts. You can then accept, request edits, or reject the content. It even helps you think of titles based on the topics you want to write about! This app is also available to HubSpot customers in your HubSpot portal. Mobile Apps
Yes, change can be … well … scary at times — but it can also be advantageous. The ultimate example: Inbound has brought about a big change in how companies concept and execute their marketing campaigns. With this larger change in how businesses reach consumers and grow their customer base has come many smaller changes.From the evolution of responsive design, to new advancements in social media, to emerging trends in website design, change is happening at a very stead pace — meaning marketers would be quite smart to keep up with the times and adapt their strategies accordingly.Below, you’ll find several of the latest articles to hit Inbound Hub in the past seven days — many of which focus on the various changes occurring in the world of marketing, as well as some that provide invaluable resources that can greatly help you acclimate to those changes.A/B Test Finds 55% Increase in Leads When Images Added to Tweets [New Data]We’re alllll about A/B testing here at HubSpot — and we need to be, since we strive to understand what works in our own inbound tactics. One such test helped us find some intriguing new data you may want to take note of: When it comes to images in tweets, lead gen opportunities bump up considerably over text-only tweets. Learn more about these findings in this latest post in the Marketing section.Create Ebooks in Half the Time With These Essential ResourcesTime can be on your side when developing ebooks — that is, if you utilize the wonderful resources included in this recent Inbound Hub post. Take advantage of these crazy-helpful offers, including free stock photos, icons, and ebook templates, and you’ll become a content creation machine.How to Sell Decision Makers on Responsive DesignResponsive design is becoming the norm for websites today — and yet, many companies still haven’t adjusted their websites accordingly so they appear the same on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. If you’ve got a hesitant boss who won’t listen to you regarding this much-needed change to your company’s site, this post can help you convince them to take action.Don’t Regret Your Website Redesign: The Resources You Need to Do It RightWhen redesigning your site, you’ll not only want to make it responsive, but also optimize it appropriately. That means preserving SEO, making it easier to track site metrics, and creating quality content, among other things. To learn all about the prime areas you ought to focus on when redesigning your site, take a few to gloss over this in-depth article.The Content Conundrum: Everyone Wants Quality, but Nobody Wants to PayTo pay or not to pay? That is the question (believe it or not) that some companies ask themselves today when it comes to investing in quality content. Beth Stackpole explores this “conundrum” further in her thought-provoking post featured in our Up and to the Right section.How to Get the Most Out of Your Dreamforce ExperienceIt’s that time of the year when salespeople, execs, and a variety of other professionals convene for Salesforce’s annual conference. With numerous speakers and booths there, it may prove difficult to organize your schedule accordingly. Leo Dirr provides his recommendations for maximizing enjoyment at Dreamforce, including which essential conference events to check out, in his latest post from the Sales section.What was the most interesting thing you learned this week on Inbound Hub? What do you want to see more of? Leave your feedback in the comments! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Twitter Marketing Data Originally published Nov 17, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
The term “smarketing” refers to alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two.The goal is to have measurable goals that each team agrees to hit so there’s mutual accountability. For instance, Marketing might have a mutually agreed upon leads SLA (service level agreement) to hit, and Sales must agree to follow up with a certain amount of those leads.Discover five pieces of sales enablement content your business needs to be making.Smarketing goals should be made together, and re-evaluated every month to identify opportunities for improvement on both teams. Marketing and Sales Alignment Topics: Originally published Feb 15, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
This post originally appeared on Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to The Agency Post.Agencies have, within their walls, some of the most brilliant creative and strategic minds. But these creatives are subject to the volatile business of agencies: Project work that comes and goes, relationships with risk-adverse clients, and billing rates that are stagnant.Agencies believe they are in the services business, so that is what they do. But in reality, they have the knowledge, expertise, and experience necessary to create products, services, and software.That’s why so many agencies have launched their own incubators and accelerators in the past few years.How Agencies Have ChangedRedpepper, an agency with locations in Nashville and Atlanta, launched RP Lab in 2012. Since launching this initiative, the agency has launched a coffee brand for creatives, experimented with a RC Truck controlled by Siri that fetches beer, and created a Lego structure controlled by Facebook. It wanted to break the agency model and move some of the control — which has increasingly been transferred to clients — back to its agency.But one of the biggest motivators was the convergence of technology and marketing and how that has changed the industry. To remain relevant, the agency need to invest internally. “Thirty years ago, it was all about reach,” said Tim McMullen, Founder of redpepper. “The world we’ve been in for the past 10 to 15 years is the engagement era. We believe the next layer is ‘involved’ — where the consumers literally want to be involved in the products you actually offer, the services you actually provide. They want to help create them. They want to help shape them.” Brands that want to reach this ‘involved’ consumer are turning to their agency partners for innovation, not just advertising. “Marketing is changing at the speed of technology,” McMullen said.And the signs only point to this pace doubling and tripling in the next few years. Agencies need to evolve more quickly; otherwise, they run the risk of becoming irrelevant. Made by Many’s senior product strategist Rachel Mercer called this idea “future-proofing yourself as an agency.” “Creating the right product, the right proposition, and the right innovation is going to be a key skill set as digital agencies continue to adapt,” said Mercer.Made by Many is a product strategy and innovation studio based in London and New York. Its Hackaball, which is one of the products I’ll talk about in this post, is its first foray into creating a consumer product. The experimentation and rapid prototyping process the agency used to create the product and how it approached determining market demand was about more than just creating something to sell.“It lets us explore expanding our own skill sets as well as provide proof to our clients that we can create product and service innovations and not just in the digital space,” said Mercer.By creating additional streams of revenue through intellectual property (IP), keeping pace with technology through innovation and experimentation, and developing a deeper understanding of how consumers want to interact with brands and products, agencies will do more than just tip the scales of control. They will finally have leverage.I’ve put together a list of products launched from within the walls of creative shops. These innovations should make you consider how your agency can be both the inventor and marketer of a new class of products.16 Products Launched by Ad Agencies1) EOSCompeting with ChapStick is no small feat. People are loyal — even addicted — to their brand of lip balm. But EOS, those colorful egg-shaped containers full of lip moisturizer, became the best-selling lip balm in 2013. New York-based agency Anomaly helped to create the product and markets the brand to a young and fashion-conscious crowd of consumers. The work led to the agency winning an Effie in the IP Venture category.The agency has negotiated unusual contracts to create additional revenue stream. For example, it handled marketing for Aliph, the maker of bluetooth headset Jawbone, and receives a percentage of sales of headsets sold.Anomaly also works with global brands on more traditional advertising projects — it was the agency behind Budweiser’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial “Puppy Love.”2) HackaballHackaball started out as a side project for Made by Many; something the team was interested in experimenting with. As the concept and prototype evolved, the project became a larger initiative for the company. The ball is controlled by an iPhone program, where you can input commands that are triggered by movements or interactions, such as kicking. An example of this is a game where you have to move the ball extremely slowly — if the child moves it too quickly, the light in the ball changes from green to red and an explosion sound is triggered.Made by Many is currently working with hardware engineers and industrial designers, and it plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to evaluate demand and fund an initial production run. If demand is present, the agency may bring the product to retail and create a platform where kids can program and share games unique to Hackaball.Hackaball from Made by Many on Vimeo.3) Betsy’s BestOmelet, an agency based in Los Angeles, is getting into the peanut butter business with the launch of Betsy’s Best, a line of gourmet peanut, almond, and seed butter. It was launched out of the agency’s new Omelet Brands unit, which has plans to launch products or companies in other markets. Originally published Nov 6, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 4) TaoniiThis mobile app from redpepper connects users with deals based on a person’s preferences. Taonii uses beacon technology to reward users when they visit a location and sends them deals based on their past behaviors and likes. Launching in 2015, the agency is working on both a consumer app and a version that will be white-labeled and licensed to brands.5) Nail PolishKBS is working with an Italian company to create single-use nail polish that can match the shade of any color. The nail polish is expected to launch this winter, but the hardware invented to allow this type of customization — match colors on-demand — has an unlimited number of use cases for other products and services.6) Fat Pig ChocolateThe Brooklyn Brothers straddles the line between agency and innovation hub. Known for its shocking work for the United Nations, the agency also dabbles in the confectionery world with its Fat Pig Chocolate.7) Two Fingers Brewing Co.Armed with the statistic that one in eight British men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, seven friends working at Karmarama decided to support men through one of man’s favorite pastimes: drinking beer. The friends formed Two Fingers Brewing and launched their first ale in 2012. All profits go to Prostate Cancer UK, and it has plans to release a stout and a cider.8) Papa’s PillarCP+B holds a minority stake in a Hemingway-themed rum (Pilar was the name of the author’s fishing boat) that is a mix of rum from Hemingway’s favorite haunts: the Caribbean, Central and Latin America, and Florida. The agency helped create the Papa Pillar product and branding.9) Sir Richard’s CondomTDA Boulder (with a few investors) launched a brand of chemical-free condoms in 2011. However, this isn’t just about making a profit from selling protection. The brand operates on a buy-one give-one model: It sent millions of condoms to Haiti within its first few years. TDA continues to support the brand’s marketing, but the company now operates independently.10) Pearl Street MarketplaceVictors & Spoils (V&S) brought crowdsourcing to the agency world, and now the full-service agency is working to connect brands and creatives on projects through the Pearl Street Marketplace online platform.11) Playground SessionsIn 2006, BBH set up Zag to develop products and services for the agency. The agency now launches its own products and invests in startups. In early 2013, it launched Playground Sessions, a software that teaches people to play the piano.12) CinderIn 2013, the first Cannes Lion Innovation Grand Prix was given to Cinder, an open-source software platform developed by The Barbarian Group. Originally produced for Apple’s iTunes visualizer, Cinder was an internal agency project that transformed into a community-based platform for creative hackers and coders.Cinder Highlights Reel from The Barbarian Group on Vimeo.13) Field NotesIn collaboration with Draplin Design Co., Coudal Partners launched a series of notebooks for doodlers, writers, and avid note-takers. Field Notes’ covers are made from recycled materials, and new colors and styles are released on a seasonal basis. The Chicago-based firm also runs The Deck, an ad network run on sites that target design, creative, and web professionals.14) The Bouqs Co.Deutsch LA’s Side Project initiative led to three employees pitching and gaining support — in the form of advertising — for The Bouqs Co., an online flower retailer that is environmentally conscious. In 2014, the company raised $6 million in funding.15) CrowdtapLaunched in 2009, MRY (formerly known as Mr. Youth) created Crowdtap to help brands connect with consumers who would perform actions in exchange for rewards. In 2011, the platform separated from the agency and raised venture funds. And it looks like the change worked. During the past three years, Crowdtap’s revenue has increased by 5,217%, and it is working with clients such as Walmart, Hershey’s, and P&G to help them better understand their consumers and connect with social influencers.16) YouEarnedItRockfish has a long history of creating software services, including TidyTweet and CouponFactory. YouEarnedIt is an employee engagement platform that allows managers to recognize employees, give awards, and review data on employee activity. Used by Y&R, RetailMeNot, and Conde Nast, the software approach provides the agency with a scalable way to realize new revenue streams.Want more content like this? 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Hackers create fake websites, and then sell ad space on these websites.You might be asking yourself, why do businesses and ad agencies sell to these sites if they know they’re fake? It’s because of what Dr. Fou calls “programmatic media buying and media placement.” Nowadays, the process of buying and placing online advertisements is mostly automated. This means there are no humans involved in checking to make sure ads are placed on legitimate websites. Ad exchanges are particularly prone to fraud because they’re the ones most likely to buy the enormous quantities of “ad impression inventory” for re-sale, says Dr. Fou. “In the early days of the internet, a big advertiser might go to an established brand like Yahoo! or ESPN and say they want to place ads on their websites,” says Dr. Fou. “But with the advent of Web 2.0 and then Web 3.0 came a slew of super longtail sites — tiny, tiny websites that aren’t big enough to matter to those big advertisers. Ad networks came about as a result, which aggregated tens of thousands of these longtail websites so they could aggregate the media buy of ad space on those websites.”The number of online display ads bought and placed using automated systems has been rising steadily for the past few days according to Dr. Fou’s research, and it is expected to continue rising steadily.Image from Dr. Augustine Fou’s Webinar”And as more digital ads are placed entirely programmatically, the opportunity for fraud continues to rise,” warns Dr. Fou. And hackers always seem to be steps ahead of the industry’s initiatives to detect fake websites and blacklist them.Hackers load up their sites with tons of ads.Once the hackers create their fake sites, they use a variety of tacts to load them up with a whole bunch of real ads they’re selling to the ad exchange. For example, hackers have discovered ways to stack tons of ads above the fold on fake websites. This makes it easy for bots to “see” all of the ads at once without scrolling — they can simply load the page, register all of the ad impressions on the page at once, and then repeat the process. To make these ads be immediately viewable to bots, hackers will stack up to 72 hidden iFrame layers. Another tactic is to set the dimensions of each ad to be 1×1 pixels or 0x0 pixels, or setting the opacity of the ad to 100%.Image from spider.ioWhile the industry is slowly learning how to detect these things, the bad guys continue to outsmart with new techniques.Hackers use bots to visit and reload their webpages.Once they’ve loaded up their fake sites with a whole bunch of real ads, they send bots to visit the sites and create impressions on those ads. But the bots don’t just view these pages once or a few times — they repeatedly load the pages, thereby clocking up tens of millions of ad impressions.Hackers profit.They sell a chunk of these ad impressions to the ad exchange, and the ad exchange then sells it to whichever advertiser placed the ad. In other words, these exchanges get some revenue when advertisers sell ads to the bad guys’ websites.Those are the basics of impression fraud. Now, let’s move on to the basics of click fraud.How Click Fraud WorksClicks measure the number of times an advertisement is actually clicked on. The types of ads typically measured this way are primarily search-based ads, plus a portion of mobile search ads. Any advertisements sold on a PPC (pay-per-click) basis falls into this bucket and are potentially liable for click fraud.How Search-Based Ads Are Supposed to WorkBusinesses create advertisements, and then they pay search engines to publish those advertisements in response to users’ search queries. Typically, search companies use auctions to sell these advertising slots — and to participate in these auctions, businesses select a set of keywords and submit bids on each of them. When a user searches for that term, the search company runs an auction among businesses who have placed bids for keywords matching the query, and winners are arranged in the ad slots. Then, the search engines charge the advertising businesses for each click their ad receives.How Hackers Use Search-Based Ads to Make MoneyUnfortunately, hackers don’t just know how to create bots that can load and reload webpages; they also know how to create bots that perform fake “mouse” movements and actually click on webpages. Alex Kantrowitz wrote in Ad Age, “So much for bots giving themselves away by acting like, well, bots. Turns out they can be made to act quite human, which is foiling efforts to detect them.”Save Originally published Dec 12, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Hackers create fake websites to carry search ads.These websites are super simple — often, they’re automatically created using basic templates. This is easy because of that programmatic media buying and media placement I touched on earlier. Before everything was done automatically, hackers used to rely on luring real humans to their webpages to click on stuff. They used algorithms to plagiarize webpages and trick humans into thinking they’re a legitimate website. Then, when a human clicked an ad on the fake website, an affiliate cookie was planted. If the human ended up buying something via that ad (which, remember, is a real ad from a legitimate business), the hacker gets a revenue share.”They found that wasn’t a great way to make money,” Dr. Fou told me. “Even if the human bought a $2,000 TV, the revenue share from the affiliate cookie would only give them a small percentage, like 5% or something. This didn’t scale very well, so hackers moved on from relying on humans to developing more sophisticated bots that can click on ads themselves.”These new websites are designed to show search ads and then self-click on them to siphon CPC revenue.Hackers target the biggest PPC spenders.How do the bad guys choose which search ads to run on their sites? To get the most bang for their buck, of course the bad guys are going to go after the industries and companies that spend the most on PPC advertising. According to Dr. Fou, this includes insurance companies (they spend between $60-80 per click) and retailers (they spend between $20-60 per click).Hackers send bots to their pages.Hackers send their bots to their own fake sites. The bots then type in high-value keywords to cause the paid search ads to appear. Then, those same bots click on the ads. The advertisers pay for each click they receive on these ads, so hackers pocket the profit.That’s it for the basics of click fraud.How Is the Industry Fighting This?There are a number of tools available that ad exchanges and agencies use to detect fraud and start the mitigation process. When the ad exchange is able to detect that a website is fake, they add that website to a blacklist. When a website is on a blacklist, the ad exchange filters it and doesn’t run ads on that website.But Dr. Fou says the problem is that the fight against digital ad fraud depends on the reliability of these huge blacklists and how often they’re updated. As soon as the bad guys become aware that their sites aren’t making money anymore, they shut them down, “spin up” new sites, and continue the fraud. So, while blacklists are part of the solution, they are easily and quickly outwitted.What’s a Marketer To Do?”[The ANA] study puts a stake in the ground,” ANA President Bob Liodice told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s a wake-up call for marketers to pay attention.” So what’s a marketer to do about it?Dr. Fou suggests asking your media agencies for detailed reports on ad spend and activities, while simultaneously putting technologies or mechanisms in place to independently verify those numbers.The adoption of inbound marketing is another, longer term way to fight fraud, says Dr. Fou. “As more clients focus on and evolve with inbound marketing, they’ll begin asking their agencies questions like ‘Did a human actually take an action here?’ They’ll insist their agencies think about the subsequent actions after that impression or that click: that the impression or click turned into a purchase, or at least a step toward a purchase. Once businesses focus on those metrics, as opposed to the number of ads served, we can optimize for fewer ads and more human interactions — which is a good thing.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack How much money do you think you’re wasting on paid advertising?A new study from ANA, in which online ad purchases by 36 major U.S. brands were tracked between August and September 2014, found that 11% of online display ads and 23% of video ads aren’t actually displayed to real people. And it’s estimated that advertisers could lose more than $6 billion globally to ad fraud in 2015.If your marketing team is paying for online advertising, you want and expect the views and clicks on your ads to be coming from humans — real consumers who could potentially buy your product or service somewhere down the line. But in reality, a portion of those impressions and clicks you’re seeing in your analytics may not be human at all: They could be bots, i.e. computer programs that mimic real users to defraud advertisers. The hackers create these bots to exploit the paid ad system, and they’ve been stealing billions of dollars of ad spend from businesses and agencies around the world. (And we’re talking about organized criminals here, not tech-savvy twenty-somethings trying to make a buck on the side.)How exactly are they doing this? In a nutshell, they build fake websites to host ads, sell ad space to businesses, agencies, and ad exchanges, and then send out robots to make fake impressions and clicks on those ads. And the potential for it “exists anywhere that media spending is significant and performance metrics are ambiguous and incomplete,” writes IAB. That includes banner ads, video ads, search-based ads, and mobile search ads. So if you’re going to spend budget on advertising, you’d better know the risks.To learn more about digital ad fraud and how it affects marketers and agencies, we spoke to a leading digital strategy and social media marketing expert Dr. Augustine Fou, who earned his PhD from MIT and founded Marketing Science Consulting Group in New York City over 14 years ago. Dr. Fou focused on fraud associated with display ads (which can be affected by “impression fraud”) and search-based ads (which can be affected by “click fraud”) because they represent the largest portion of total ad spend. And since hackers follow the money, that’s where the bad guys are spending the bulk of their time and effort.In this post, we’ll share with you what we learned from Dr. Fou about how impression and click fraud work, what incentivizes the hackers behind these schemes, how the industry is fighting back, and what marketers who advertise can do.How Impression Fraud WorksImpressions measure the number of times an advertisement is displayed (i.e. viewed or seen), without taking into account whether or not the ad gets clicked. The types of ads typically measured this way include display ads (like banner ads), video ads, and a portion of mobile display ads. Any advertisements sold on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis fall into this bucket and are potentially liable for impression fraud.How Impression-Based Ads Are Supposed to WorkBusinesses create advertisements, and then they pay third party website publishers to publish those advertisements on their websites. The businesses that created the ads then pay the website publishers an agreed-upon amount of money for every 1,000 times the ad is seen. While the businesses who make the ads hope the ads will expose their products and services to new audiences, ads also help the website publishers make money off their sites.How Hackers Make Money From Impression AdsBut the “bad guys,” as Dr. Fou calls them, have found ways to take advantage of the system. Here’s how:Save