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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, ad agencies are devoting time and resources to help deliver branded content across...

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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 wondering went wrong. Astute observers pointed to a number of legitimate explanations, from...

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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 that looks at the mobile version of websites before moving onto desktop sites. This is, of...

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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. Although smaller in both size and ad budgets, SMBs that reach consumers during their holiday research...

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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 their SMB customers to monitor trends in ad spending, because these major verticals are likely blazing...

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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 they tend to spend more on marketing. According to a BIA/Kelsey survey from earlier this year,...

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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 provide a clear measurement of this stat, what else were they doing incorrectly?
 
Facebook...

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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 in the U.S. will climb from 69.8 million in 2016 to 86.6 million next year, accounting for 32%...

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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 may not already advertise...

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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 marketers may choose to engage with their audience this holiday season is through email, which is a...

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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 festival was the growing presence of technology companies, especially within the advertising space. “What...

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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. This illustrates a need in the market for companies that serve as “integrators” – that is, companies...

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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, “SMB Advertiser...

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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,” noting that his research indicates papers are often biggest digital sellers in their markets.

...

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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 have a real chance to leverage the popularity, with a fraction of the budget, if they think...

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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 from advertising online. The Internet remains a great engagement medium and it is where they’re...

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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 blockers in the U.S. grew by 48 percent in the past year, according to a...

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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 having to do all of the work themselves, which means they can take advantage of this opportunity...

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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, Pinterest, Vine and Snapchat, are all highly visual. Consumers flock to these to share images and...

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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 launched advertising APIs that will help brands better identify their prospects on the platforms....

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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 improved digital presence and...

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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.

It’s easy to understand why Google is moving in this direction. Nearly half of all search...

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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 effective advertising formats on Facebook, and SMBs that leverage this tactic just got a lot more...

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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.

SMB-focused companies can help their SMB customers focus on what makes them unique and...

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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. But SMBs need to explore technology as well. Digital marketing is no longer the province solely of...

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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
Entrepreneur looks at the need for companies large and small to “show more...

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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 they need help navigating the marketing ecosystem.

“There’s really not a fixed solution for...

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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 managing partner, Thierry Lombard. “The award recognizes the way multi-generational families manage the...

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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 locally, according to Borrell. The webinar likened this to a “moving Main Street.”

There are a...

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