TMK's The Fridge

As the media landscape around us changes, so do we. What started as a printed newsletter now lives digitally on Tumblr as an ever-changing, digital version of The Media Kitchen. The Fridge is more than a newsletter. It's a compilation of the ideas, insights, and independent thinking you have come to expect from us at TMK.

Why The Fridge? It's where important stuff goes. And there's a lot of important stuff happening everyday in the world of media. Visit for our ideas, insights, creativity, and culture in real time. Stay for the leftovers. Friends, welcome to The Fridge!


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How Location-based Marketing has Evolved

Location-based marketing is evolving beyond check ins and cheeky reviews. And while it may still be cooler to check in at your local mom­-and-pop coffee shop than to advertise your last visit to Starbucks, location-based marketing has become too important for national brands to ignore. 

Foursquare members have penned more than 33 million user-generated tips about stores, restaurants and other venues represented on the site. These sentence-long tidbits offer social networkers advice on where to find the best vegan smoothie or the most extensive milkshake menu in town. Even larger is Yelp, which averaged 117 million unique monthly visitors last quarter and features 47 million localized reviews on everything from hobby shops to hookah lounges.

While most LBM sites are known for their free tools to help local business owners monitor the tips and reviews customers share, some sites’ paid advertising packages are becoming increasingly attractive to bigger brands.

“Their upper hand is they already have an engaged viewer,” said Kristen Whisenand, senior public relations manager for Yelp Inc.  “People are turning to Yelp to help them make a spending decision and there is a unique opportunity here for brands to get in front of a highly engaged audience. Yelp works with national brands to create custom programs that incorporate content from some of Yelp’s 47 million reviews.”

Among those custom programs is a sweepstakes from Toyota that prompts Yelp users to pin nearby restaurants for a chance to win gift certificates to their local favorites or a grand prize dining extravaganza for two to New York or San Francisco.  Then there’s the Shell sweepstakes that offers users a chance to win a $50 gas gift card as well as suggestions on “where to fill up on excitement” at nearby parks, martial arts studios and climbing walls. Or Yelp users can “indulge anytime anywhere” at local wine bars and coffee shops without worrying about staining their smile if they enter and win free products from Rembrandt’s line of teeth whitening products.

Small, midsize, and big businesses alike are also increasingly using online loyalty programs like Belly, which allows customers to track their activity through a smartphone app, to offer frequent visitors personalized or location-specific prizes. Belly and programs like it let businesses create localized rewards that go beyond generic discounts and free appetizers. For example, Saint Louis’s Big River Running Company offers running enthusiasts the opportunity to have their favorite shoe named after them at the retailer’s three stores. For those who prefer watching sports over participating in them, some Buffalo Wild Wings locations in the area are currently offering Blues hockey tickets in exchange for Belly loyalty points.     

Other brands with big budgets are creating their own LBM apps to encourage user interaction online, in person and through social networks. One example is Target’s Cartwheel program that allows users to go online and create their own personalized coupon collection. The savings are unlocked in store when cashiers scan a specialized barcode on the user’s smartphone. The Cartwheel program also allows users to reuse coupons, double up by using traditional coupons and earn badges in order to expand their list of available online coupons. Users can unlock badges by encouraging Facebook friends to join the program, adding coupons from a friend’s list or saving $10 or more with the program. 

“I think the common theme right now is incentivizing people to interact with your company,” said freelance writer and content marketing consultant Brian Honigman.

One of the latest trends is tying those interactions — whether they be in person, online or through social networks — together through a single loyalty program that makes patronizing your favorite places seem like a game in which earning points and prizes makes spending money fun. 

“Location on its own is getting integrated into every aspect of marketing,” said Honigman, who writes about social media marketing trends at www.brianhonigman.com. “It’s all one cohesive experience.”

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The Present and Future of Real Time Bidding (RTB)

Online advertising is changing and Real Time Bidding (RTB) is quickly emerging as a highly effective advertising method. In RTB, advertisers bid to have their ads shown to web users. This means that in the split seconds it takes for you load a web page, a digital auction occurs, awarding the ad space to the highest bidder.  The growth of RTB can be attributed to two main factors: market acceptance and data intensity.

What Makes Real Time Bidding Appealing to Advertisers?

With RTB, the network middleman is removed. Advertisers and publishers directly connect across online media exchanges in a free market for the online display world. In this market, ad prices are determined by demand and supply. Moreover, marketers can bid on individual impressions based on a number of factors including website, demographics, location, and more, allowing them to bid highest on impressions that offer the most value. This transparency ensures that the right individuals will see the ad, and the result is pricing that benefits not only advertisers, but publishers as well.

Premiums publishers increasingly understand that marketing their inventory over exchanges does not necessarily mean losing revenues. While CPM for some ranges of publisher inventory may go down, this is usually more than compensated by the decrease in unsold ad space.

The Future of RTB in Mobile

This automated buying of display ads has seen remarkable success on desktop, with industry experts saying that desktop RTB has lead to a more efficient and transparent digital ad market. RTB has just as much potential in mobile, if not more. RTB campaigns can reach people based on context and location, wherever they carry their smartphone.  Ads can also be delivered as soon as the user takes an action on the mobile web or an app.

Summary

Publishers stand to get a better ROI from RTB advertising. For example, premium-level inventory will receive maximum monetization value due to higher-volume demand, leading to higher overall revenue for the publishers, better ads and better user experience. Apart from this, niche inventory will have greater access to higher liquidity of offers in the marketplace. Industry players also point to a greater and deeper understanding of which inventory assets generate what levels of monetization thanks to greater inventory transparency.

Buyers also stand to benefit from RTB. As more players enter the industry, increased activity will lead to improved revenues. For example, with multiple bids, buyers have a better chance of realizing their budgets and reducing lost opportunity scenarios. The economies of scale from increased bidding will drive access to more and better premium inventory.

In a new MediaPost blog article, Barry Lowenthal discusses how programmatic buying is changing the media industry and the role of agencies.  

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China’s Evolving Media Marketplace

imageDue to the ever-increasingly global economy, businesses are spending more dollars on advertising campaigns outside the US.  China, for example, presents a massive opportunity for marketers.  In order to navigate and successfully leverage this emerging market, it’s important to understand Chinese media channels, especially those that are rapidly expanding.

Although state-run media outlets still hold the majority of market share, private business models have begun to grow through the onset of economic reforms.  Independent media companies can incorporate advertising state-run companies cannot due to fewer journalistic guidelines set by the government. However, regulatory agencies, such as the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), continue to set strict regulations on subjects considered taboo by the government.  The web is not as clear cut, but blocked websites and filtered search results remain commonplace.

Traditional media (television, print, and radio) are increasingly competing with online media, as the web has surged in recent years after a late start.   As in the West, both social and mobile usage has skyrocketed, and the two trends are intertwined.  More than 460 million people use a mobile device to connect to the internet, and according to a Kantar Media study of 100K mobile internet users, 43% are frequent users of social media.  32% visited a social media site within the last day, 65% more than general internet users.   Sina Wiebo, a micro-blogging service similar to Twitter, has more than 500 million registered users, making it one of the most popular sites in China. 

China’s larger multi-platform media companies are also investing millions in integrated outdoor billboard and in-elevator advertising networks.  According to China Outdoor Data Co., the Digital Display LCD/Advertising sector has experienced substantial success, with industry revenue growing 35% from $5.4 billion in 2011 to $7.3 billion in 2012.

Even in the face of heavy government monitoring, China’s media companies, especially in the digital sphere, are evolving to accommodate the rapid commercialization of their businesses, harnessing the growing demand for reaching this immense audience.  

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