Insights

AffinityX
11/06/2018

Introducing White Label Email Marketing Services with AffinityX

Email budgets are on the rise in 2018. A survey found that 47 percent of respondents expect email spending to increase this year. There is good reason for this prediction, as almost half of participants said they are satisfied with their email return on investment: 18 percent rated it as excellent and 29 percent as good.   To meet this demand, AffinityX is now offering its partners turnkey email marketing services they can sell for both B2C and B2B campaigns with:   Fast design, set-...

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David Grant, EVP/Founder
10/23/2018

The Local Media Association’s Media Transformation Conference

Last month I attended the Local Media Association’s Media Transformation conference in Kansas City, Missouri, along with heavyweights from the local media world. I was quite impressed with the topics and speakers.   The entire conference was buzzing with good ideas and important conversations, but a couple of noteworthy themes made an impression on me: how do publications compete for readership in an age of free news services, and the current state of diversity in local media.  ...

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AffinityX
10/12/2018

TrueView is Coming to You with AffinityX

The YouTube TrueView ad format video ad format is popular because it gives viewers choices, including the ability to skip pre-roll ads after five seconds. It is also designed so advertisers only pay when people opt in to watch their video ads.   It's a win-win — viewers see videos they're curious about and advertisers get more views from audiences they know are interested. Because advertisers choose what they want to pay for a view, they get the right audience at the right price — unlike...

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Sandra DeFilipp
09/17/2018

The National Association of Broadcasters’ Small Market Television (SMTE) Exchange Event

I had the pleasure to attend NAB’s Small Market Television Exchange (SMTE) Event — the national conference for small market groups and stations — in Nashville earlier this month along with Carolyn Baird, vice president, business development and Sara Droke, director of business development.   It was a high-quality audience of approximately 500 attendees and a great opportunity to demonstrate AffinityX’s digital expertise with local media groups. Even better, it was valuable to mingle with...

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AffinityX
07/11/2018

AffinityX Brings Connected TV to its Suite of Advertising Products

The late great Stephen Hawking once said “We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.”   And now, we can all connect with endless reams of streaming content through Connected TV (CTV).  Connected TV helps advertisers looking to reach viewers — including both cord-cutters and cord nevers — who make up the 64 percent of U.S. households that own CTV devices today (Edison Research, Nielsen, Triton Digital and Statista, 2018).  Incredibly, it’s predicted that there...

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AffinityX
06/14/2018

AffinityX Introduces Search Engine Optimization and Call Tracking for Google PPC

In order for small businesses to compete with other small businesses — as well as big corporations —SEO can be transformative: 74 percent of internet users are performing local searches and 76 percent of people who search for something nearby on their smartphones visit related businesses...

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AffinityX
05/15/2018

Rev Up Your Digital Advertising with Dynamic Ads for Auto Dealers

According to eMarketer, 12.9 percent of auto industry ad budgets in 2017 went to digital. Spending is expected to increase by 17.6 percent in 2018 and continue to grow by double digits through 2021. In fact, the percent of ad budgets spent on digital versus traditional campaigns is higher than in any other category except retail.   Auto dealers clearly see the value in digital, allowing them to engage with the 22 million Americans going online in the past 12 months to research and shop...

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AffinityX
05/01/2018

Programmatic Recruitment Advertising is a Game-Changer

Recruitment advertising (or “job ads”) has been around as long as, well — jobs. From “help wanted” signs in store windows to newspaper classifieds, job listings have always been essential to employers to attract the right talent.   Then along came the Internet, which radically turned recruiting on its head. Sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder, Craigslist, SimplyHired and Indeed blossomed and became the resource for just about every professional job seeker and recruiter in America....

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AffinityX
04/12/2018

Ads.Txt is Gaining Momentum: Are You On Board, Publishers?

Launched by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) last spring, ads.txt is growing in importance. The concept is that publishers host a file on their servers which lists all the companies that are authorized to sell their inventory. Buyers can then validate the sellers they are purchasing from to avoid spoofed domains and arbitraged inventory. Sounds like good news all around!   Yet, adoption of ads.txt was slow at first. Only 13 percent of the 10,000 most popular domains that sell...

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AffinityX
04/04/2018

Takeaways from Borrell Associates’ Local Online Advertising Conference

Borrell Associates held its Local Online Advertising Conference at The Grand Hyatt in New York City recently and focused on hot-button themes such as local programmatic advertising, video advertising, SEM/SEO, packaging digital services, the best OTT strategy for “local,” Facebook‘s latest plan for local news and much more.

AffinityX’s Carolyn Baird, vice president of business development, and Anne Flanagan, sales development specialist, joined hundreds of digital media executives at...

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Brian Kennett
03/30/2018

In Case You Missed it: The Buzz at the Local Media Association Mega Conference

At the end of February, the Local Media Association held its Mega Conference in San Diego and Brian Kennett, Vice President Business Development, AffinityX was in attendance for an action-packed show!

Personalization of Content. He reports that one of the main themes was personalization of content (i.e., how do local media companies serve unique audiences and make sure content is personalized for them all). Another popular topic was whether media companies should experiment with...

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AffinityX
03/27/2018

The Creative Antidote: How WPP’s Mindshare and AffinityX Both Approach Media Planning for Clients

WPP's Mindshare, the global media agency network, just announced a new service for clients — Mindshare 24 — designed to deliver a media plan within 24 hours of receiving a brief, by pulling in global team members to collaborate on ideas overnight.

That’s a great offer for Mindshare’s enterprise clients. We totally agree with their point of view that it’s all about “speed, gut” and ingenuity to deliver what marketers of all sizes need to compete...

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AffinityX
02/21/2018

An Effective Facebook Strategy Requires Paid Media

Advertisers of all sizes know that Facebook is an easy way to reach and engage consumers. In the past, this has been particularly helpful for small and mid-sized businesses (SMB), as well as brands marketing on a local level. These businesses could start their own pages, gain followers and then message target audiences to stay top-of-mind and make themselves part of their customers’ online community.
 
While that worked for some time, Facebook has evolved to the point where SMBs...

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AffinityX
02/07/2018

“Style automation” isn’t Synonymous with Sophisticated Advertising

Perhaps the biggest impact that technology has made on the advertising space in the past five years is automation. Media planning and buying are no longer the laborious processes they once were, as advertisers large and small can use software to help them find their audiences online, buy ads and deliver messages to consumers in fractions of seconds. More sophisticated advertisers can even serve different creative messages to different audiences, or stratify the segments of the audiences that...

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AffinityX
01/31/2018

Reality Check: Facebook’s Algorithm Change Isn’t a Death Blow to Local Businesses

Recently announced algorithm changes at Facebook have thrown many businesses and publishers into a tizzy. And understandably so. On January 11, Facebook confirmed that its news feed would begin deprioritizing their content in favor of posts that users’ friends and family share and comment on. “As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands...

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AffinityX
01/19/2018

It’s Still Too Early For Local Publishers to Give Up on Display

To many internet users, the first kind of online ads that come to mind are display ads, the familiar units that have historically been placed at the top of page or running along the sides. Yet despite their ubiquity, many publishers are abandoning display ads altogether, instead opting for sponsored sections, branded content and new,...

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AffinityX
01/02/2018

The 2018 Local Advertising Opportunity Lies in Digital

Local ad spending is on the rise, according to the latest forecast from BIA/Kelsey. In 2018, the local ad market will hit $151.2 billion, a 5.2% increase from 2017. That incredible figure is both the largest annual increase in five years and approximately 70 percent of...

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AffinityX
12/13/2017

The Ways Marketing Vendors Fail to Deliver to SMBs and How to Avoid Them

The shift to digital media has created a bit of an obstacle for SMB advertisers. Rather than buy ads in newspapers, on TV or on radio stations, these businesses must now figure out how to get their ads visible to consumers across a mix of local and national websites and apps. As a result, SMBs are turning to a wide variety of marketing services vendors and tech companies to help them get their messages online and in front of both active and prospective customers.
 
Of course, a...

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AffinityX
11/29/2017

Video Offers SMBs Opportunity Outside of Social

Facebook and Twitter are immensely popular with SMBs. In September, eMarketer published findings that they were the two most popular marketing channels for SMBs, with 80% of respondents to a survey saying they used Facebook and 51% using Twitter. The same poll found that the use of newspapers (17%) and television (10%) is flagging among SMBs.

Meanwhile, marketers...

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AffinityX
11/09/2017

Agencies Big and Small Working Smarter in the Pay For Performance Era

P&G’s Marc Pritchard kicked off a season’s worth of headlines with a speech at IAB’s annual leadership meeting in early 2017 when he “put his agencies on notice,” in a public demand for transparency from the entire digital advertising infrastructure. “The days of giving digital a pass are over,” he said.

By now Mr. Pritchard’s comments are old news. But the consequences for the agencies that have been “put on notice” are just beginning to emerge.

P&G’s newly aggressive...

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AffinityX
10/27/2017

Acquiring Digital Capabilities Is Easier Than Ever for Agencies

Agencies are an integral part of the advertising industry, responsible for helping bring clients’ creative ideas to life and then acquiring the media to put those messages in front of consumers. Historically, agencies have adapted with the shifts in media consumption, moving from print to TV and beyond.

But with digital media advancing so rapidly in recent years, some agencies have fallen behind. Whether it’s because they lack the money to build digital technology solutions of their...

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AffinityX
09/22/2017

What Does Apple’s Advertising Uproar Mean to SMBs?

Apple has earned the ire of advertisers lately with its plans to alter the cookie policy for its Safari browser on mobile. The main change is that Apple will delete all cookie data after 24 hours, where in the past marketers and ad tech providers could access cookie data for 30 days.
 
Six major advertising trade groups have joined together to oppose this plan, because, as Ad Age puts it, Apple’s new policy...

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AffinityX
09/13/2017

Agencies Can Serve SMBs Without Fear of Technology Replacing Them

Advertising and marketing software continues to revolutionize the way that brands deliver their messages to consumers. As digital media has altered the way that consumers consume content, it has made this software all the more important, which has attracted investment and Wall Street attention.
 
Across many industries, the influx of software has...

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AffinityX
08/30/2017

As Technology Advances, SMB Issues Remain Static

Dramatic shifts in media consumption have changed the channels through which SMBs can interact with both their existing customers and prospects. Print, TV, radio and out-of-home are still viable, but digital has altered the reach and targeting capabilities for advertisers of all sizes.
 
While digital is firmly established, it continues to evolve at a fast pace. Mobile delivery, hyper-targeting, programmatic buying, virtual reality and a fragmented media landscape give...

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AffinityX
08/17/2017

The Growing Opportunity for Small Agencies

The rise of technology has democratized the advertising landscape. Agencies no longer need to be among the largest holding companies to have global reach and cutting-edge capabilities. As The Drum recently pointed out, big brands are very interested in handing their budgets over to smaller agencies these days, given that these firms often have the same...

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AffinityX
08/08/2017

Amid Local Startup Growth, There is Opportunity for Media Providers

The marketing industry is currently ripe with innovation, with lots of startups looking to cash in on a growing field, especially in local digital advertising. There are “buckets” of money going toward scaling enterprise technology down to the SMB level, according to Neal Polachek, an advisor to the Local Search Association (LSA),...

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AffinityX
06/13/2017

For Local Media to Thrive, It Must Identify New Customers and Products in 2017

The widely-perceived story on local media is that it’s hurting, with organizations that once dominated local markets having ceded much of their ad revenue to digital companies such as Facebook and Google. But that’s an easy take on a more complicated story -- one that actually provides ample opportunity for many local media players.
 
In the latest...

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AffinityX
06/05/2017

How Agencies Big and Small Are Working Smarter in the No-Margin, Pay For Performance Era

P&G’s Marc Pritchard kicked off a season’s worth of headlines with a speech at IAB’s annual leadership meeting in early 2017 when he “put his agencies on notice,” in a public demand for transparency from the entire digital advertising infrastructure. “The days of giving digital a pass are over,” he said.   By now Mr. Pritchard’s comments are old news. But the consequences for the agencies that have been “put on notice” are just beginning to emerge.   P&G’s newly aggressive...

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AffinityX
04/07/2017

Digital Publishers Are Feeling The Revenue Pressure, but Help is On the Way

Online publishing is a tricky industry, especially for legacy print publications that long relied on subscriptions and pages of ad revenue. Today, these publications are trying to determine how to maximize their revenue while continuing to publish high-quality content and deliver a positive user experience so that they maintain readership. While those core top-level goals always remain, publishers’ minds are often occupied with the nitty-gritty details on how they’ll actually deliver on...

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AffinityX
03/05/2017

For SMBs, DIFM & DIWM are the Best Ways to Spend on Social

Social media has changed the way that brands and businesses communicate with consumers. Whereas marketers historically directed a conversation toward the consumers, social media has given consumers the ability to speak directly back to the brands, as well as to each other about brands. This has also created a democratized landscape, where every brand stands on equal footing. This means that SMBs have the same ability to communicate directly with customers and prospects as larger, more well-...

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AffinityX
02/17/2017

With New TV Viewing Habits, SMBs Must Explore Online Video

TV is often the first channel many advertisers turn to, especially in local markets. But changes in TV consumption have forced many advertisers, large and small, to think differently about how they approach TV advertising. One growing trend is the “cord nevers,” a subset of viewers who have never paid for a cable or satellite subscription. This group accounts for 9 percent of the total...

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AffinityX
01/16/2017

Will Virtual Assistants Cause a Seismic Shift in SEO Strategy?

If you spent any time around the holidays camped out in front of a TV set, you likely saw commercials for virtual assistants. This new device segment is exploding, thanks in large part to the competition between Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home products. Of course, as products grow in popularity with consumers, they grow in popularity with marketers too.
 
As Digiday noted in early December,...

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AffinityX
12/22/2016

Fake News, Brand Safety and SMBs

The media failed to predict the election of Donald Trump, placing him way behind in all their models until the actual election results came in. And since November 9th, the media have been...

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AffinityX
12/12/2016

Preparing for Google’s Mobile-First Index for SMBs and Service Providers

Over the past few years, Google has constantly made ripples in the online media world by adjusting how its search algorithm weighs mobile websites. In the past, mobile sites were given preferential treatment, but now Google is testing a mobile-first index...

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AffinityX
11/30/2016

How SMBs Can Stand Out This Holiday Season

The internet has revolutionized holiday shopping. No longer are consumers confined by their nearest physical retail stores; nor are they restricted to items that are in stock. Now consumers can research and buy items without leaving their homes, which is a great relief to those who hate long lines and in-store madness during the holiday shopping season.
 
While this forces many retailers to rethink their holiday marketing strategies, it also levels the playing field for SMBs....

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AffinityX
11/16/2016

Pay Attention: Vertical Marketers Are Rewriting Local Advertising

When you think of local businesses that advertise heavily, a few specific industries are likely to spring to mind. There’s automotive, retail and real estate, which are all traditionally big spenders that work very closely with local media partners to reach regional audiences. Lately, these verticals have altered the way that they identify and target audience to better align themselves with consumer shifts toward digital media. It’s incredibly important for both advertising providers and...

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AffinityX
11/07/2016

Franchises: The Sophisticated and Loyal SMB Client

The media business often lumps all small and mid-sized businesses together into a single bucket, speaking of SMB as if they all looked alike. In reality, there are many different kinds of SMBs. There are independent companies that can range from family-run to a few dozen employees. And then there are franchises, which may still fit within the definition of SMBs but are part of a larger network of businesses.
 
Perhaps the most noteworthy characteristic of franchises is that...

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AffinityX
10/07/2016

Facebook’s Video Issues Proves the Importance of Metrics

Many SMBs understand the value of advertising on Facebook, as it provides them access to a massive audience and targeting tools to ensure they reach desirable, qualified customers. But the recent revelation that Facebook was inaccurately measuring the average time users spent watching videos is sure to raise an eyebrow among advertisers. If Facebook failed to...

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AffinityX
09/29/2016

Is it Finally Time For SMBs To Worry About the Rise of Ad Blocking?

Ever since our last blog post on ad blocking in November 2015, the practice has continued to bedevil digital marketers and publishers and today shows no signs of stopping. According to a recent report from eMarketer, the number of people using ad blockers...

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AffinityX
09/20/2016

Facebook is Huge, but Not SMBs’ Only Choice

Facebook's latest earnings -- more than $2 billion in the second quarter -- show that it's a dominant player in online advertising. The size and scale of Facebook make the channel a natural destination for advertisers of all sizes and, indeed, Facebook is actively courting SMBs who...

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AffinityX
09/12/2016

It’s Time to Start Planning Holiday Marketing Efforts

Back-to-school season is just about over, with parents finishing up purchases of new clothes and supplies for their classroom-bound kids. While consumers are looking at the present, smart marketers know that success comes from planning ahead. If SMBs’ main selling season is back-to-school, then unfortunately they missed it. Now marketers of all sizes, from the small business level up to the Fortune 500, should be thinking about their holiday marketing plans.   One important way that...

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AffinityX
07/01/2016

Cannes Takeaway: Digital is Fueling Ad Creativity Evolution

The annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was held June 18-25, drawing global advertisers, agencies, celebrities and tech companies to honor the very best in advertising, creativity and media. A total of 26 Grand Prix awards were presented to winners, highlighting eye-catching and engaging creative across several media.   One big story from this year’s...

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AffinityX
04/05/2016

Is Cost-of-Sale Too Costly For Ad Tech?

How many VC-backed companies can sustain growth at such a high cost of sales? That’s the question recently posed in an interesting MediaPost commentary by Kelly Wenzel, the CMO of Centro, a digital advertising software provider and DSP.   As Wenzel points out, it’s quite difficult for the advertising technology industry to continue to scale....

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AffinityX
03/18/2016

Churn Remains a Problem, But Solutions Arise for SMB Service Providers

Advertising service providers face a huge challenge when it comes to recruiting new SMB customers in a highly competitive market. But new customers represent only part of the revenue challenge. In truth, advertiser retention is a major issue for all who serve SMBs. The good news is that while this churn can not be prevented, it can, at the very least, be slowed.

A new report from the Local Search Association, “...

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AffinityX
03/14/2016

​Now is the Time for Newspapers to Lead SMBs into Digital Advertising

Newspapers have struggled for years with declining ad sales, but expectations of continued growth at the local level, coupled with the ability to easily offer digital advertising services, represent a clear path to turn around those losses.

In a recent speech at the Key Executives Mega-Conference, media analyst Gordon Borrell called newspapers “marketing powerhouses...

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AffinityX
02/26/2016

How SMBs Can Tap into Tent-Pole Events Through Social Media

Advertisers often focus on the major tent-pole events throughout the year, devising campaigns and TV spots for moments that capture the public’s attention. The Oscars are the latest example of a major water-cooler conversation-worthy event, a list that also includes March Madness and this summer’s Olympics.

While these events are prime targets for major advertisers, there’s no reason that small, nimble brands can’t leverage the excitement of a major media event for themselves. Smart SMBs...

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AffinityX
11/24/2015

How Concerned Should the SMB Market Be About Ad Fraud?

The online ad industry is in the grips of a fraud crisis. Recent reports indicate that as much as $1 out of every $3 spent on online advertising goes toward fraud – nearly $18.5 billion. That’s an alarming rate, surely, and it has the industry searching for answers and assurances that fraud can be brought under control.

 

That said, this shouldn’t sway SMBs away...

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AffinityX
11/20/2015

What Does Ad Blocking Mean For SMB Advertisers and Their Partners?

Ad blocking has become a very popular topic in online advertising circles. The practice – in which users download technology that prevents display, video, social and search ads from loading on a page – has been part of the advertising landscape for years now. Yet the conversation has grown thanks to Apple’s announcement that its latest mobile operating system would allow consumers to use third-party apps to block ads on the Safari web browser. On top of that, the number of consumers using ad...

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AffinityX
10/01/2015

You Can Be Your Client’s Web Partner -- But You Don’t Have To Do It Yourself

Bob Provost, the Distinguished Executive-In Residence at Rutgers Business School, recently took to the INMA blog to talk about how media companies should consider hosting and developing websites for their advertising clients. There’s a big opportunity for media companies to diversify their offerings by doing so, while helping their clients remain front and center online.   We at AffinityX couldn’t agree more. However, media companies can capture the opportunity Provost outlines without...

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AffinityX
09/23/2015

Empowering Your SMB Clients with Social Media Creative

As we discussed earlier this month, the number of social media channels through which brands can interact with their customers and prospects has expanded dramatically. And while the number has increased, the most significant development is not the volume of social networks, but the ways in which each channel works.   The hot new social channels, such as Instagram,...

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AffinityX
09/16/2015

The Emergence of Pinterest and Instagram as Must-Have SMB Ad Tools

At this point in time, every SMB advertiser knows the importance of social media. Facebook has become a crucial part of any company’s web presence, and Twitter is growing in importance. Some may even choose to leverage those platforms’ paid ad models to help expand their audience beyond their existing customers.

Marketers have gotten used to Facebook and Twitter, and now have more social media options than before, which is good news for SMBs. This summer alone, Pinterest and Instagram...

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AffinityX
05/06/2015

It’s National Small Business Week

This week, May 4 to 8, is National Small Business Week, an annual event dedicated to celebrating the American entrepreneur.

This year’s theme is "Dream big, start small," and here at AffinityX we know as well as anyone that every revolution starts small. Small and mid-sized businesses are an important part of our local communities and our national economy, and it’s easier than ever for these businesses to grow by reaching new consumers through an...

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AffinityX
04/24/2015

Google’s “Mobilegeddon”: How to help SMBs Survive and Thrive

This week, Google implemented transformative changes to its algorithm that give preferential treatment to sites it deems mobile-friendly, ranking them higher than sites that are designed for desktop display. Fears of a "mobilegeddon have spread throughout the tech ecosystem, as businesses small to large scramble to comply with the latest change.
...

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AffinityX
03/31/2015

Facebook’s F8 Conference: Key SMB-focused Takeaways

Facebook has steadily turned itself into a digital marketing powerhouse, one of the most trusted tools for SMBs and multinational advertisers alike for reaching consumers. That was evident last week at the company’s F8 developer conference, when the social network announced several new advertising and technology products, many of which will impact marketers of all sizes. Here’s what SMB leaders need to know about Facebook’s recent announcements:

Video
Video is one of the most...

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AffinityX
03/23/2015

SXSW Interactive 2015 Wrap-up

The key takeaway from SXSW Interactive 2015 is the story is still what matters.

PBS identifies seven takeaways from their time in Austin, but there’s one that acts as a common thread throughout: "Story, story, story." It’s the perfect reminder that for all the bells and whistles that technology offers, it’s the story — told through the creative execution — that drives consumer engagement.

...

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AffinityX
03/16/2015

SXSW Interactive 2015 Update #2: The Hot Trends and What They Mean for SMBs

Everyone loves tech

Ad Age’s big takeaway is that “SXSW is a mishmash, just like the media and marketing industry,” with one of the biggest trends being that “every brand is a tech brand now -- or at least wants to be one.” At SXSW, that means big brands like Visa, McDonalds and GE...

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AffinityX
03/15/2015

SXSW Interactive 2015 Update #1: SMB-focused Highlights

The annual South by Southwest Interactive conference can feel like a bit of a circus, even if you’re far from the event. But that doesn’t mean that the panels, presentations and promotions in Austin don’t have any impact on the world of SMB marketing. Here’s a brief look at the news from first few days of SXSW Interactive 2015 that SMB-focused companies need to know.
 
To Stand Out at SXSW, Give Them Something To Tweet About
...

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AffinityX
11/19/2014

SMB Marketing Services

The “agency model” and the managed services associated with it are no longer confined to traditional ad agencies and holding companies. Companies across several different verticals are finding that they can grow revenue by offering services that benefit the growing SMB marketplace.

This is a market that has a variety of needs, including logo creation, marketing materials, developing online presence, and online advertising. But SMB owners aren’t necessarily marketing professionals, so...

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AffinityX
11/19/2014

Ayala Corporation

Affinity Express’s parent company Ayala received the 19th Annual IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award in a ceremony in Dubai on Oct. 16. With this recognition, Ayala joins the ranks of international brands such as S.C. Johnson, Hermes, Merck, Barilla, and LEGO, all of which have been recognized by the Family Business Network International.

"This award highlights the vital contribution that family businesses like Ayala make to the global economy,” said FBN-I chairman and...

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AffinityX
11/19/2014

Mobile for SMBs

Prospective customers are just around the corner for many small businesses, and mobile can bring them in the front door. During a recent "Digital Front Door" webinar, Borrell and Netserve stressed that the world has changed for retailers.

"The Main Street location is no longer the front door to businesses,” according to the webinar. “Rather, the front door to businesses is their online presence.” Consumers are smarter and more media savvy, with 97% of using online media to shop...

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