A Tale of Two Timeshare Calls

Today I learned something about getting things your way. The story begins with a weekend road trip to Havasu Falls in Arizona with my friend Sergio. While on the road, I received a call from a polite woman who quickly began to tell me that I had been preselected for an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. Before I could speak, she continued into the traditional pitch about all the things that this trip included and how it would be at no cost to me. I’ve been tricked into a few timeshare meetings in the past and knew the routine. I began to interrupt the woman with questions like “How did you get this number” and “Can I speak with your supervisor about the do not call list, you do not have my permission to call this number”. For some reason on this day, I was fiery. As the woman began to back down, I continued to speed up with aggressive comments about how this was not ok. In the end, she just hung up on me. I sat back feeling that I had won that situation only to look at Sergio, who’s jaw had dropped. As all friends do, he quickly called me out and said “Nice job King Geoffrey”, which was a reference to the aggressive and blood-thirsty young king on Game of Thrones. I had gotten my way (to end the call) but it was at the expense of another persons emotional cup being depleted.

Flash forward to today. I am on my way back from the best hike in all of Los Angeles, a six mile loop from Topanga State park to the Parker Mesa Overlook. A wonderful overlook that allows you to view downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Catalina Island and Malibu. We’re in the car as I get another call from a polite young woman telling me that I have been selected for an all expenses paid trip to Mexico. This time, knowing that Sergio was in the car, I quickly set the phone to speaker so he could hear the conversation. I still had no interest in attending any timeshare meetings, but this time I wanted to try another approach. As the woman talked, she told me the trip was for two individuals. I waited until she was finished and then began to tell her how flattered I was that she was asking me out on a date, and that I would love to accept this trip for the two of us to get to know each other better. She was quiet for a bit and then began to clarify that this trip was for me and someone else, not for the both of us. To this, I quickly countered and said that she seemed nice and began talking about the things we could do while in Mexico like go to the beach, swim in the pool, ride donkeys around. It made her smile and I could hear her laughing on the other end. She had to turn from the presentation and tell me that she already had a boyfriend and wouldn’t be able to attend with me. At this point, I smiled and told her that I was not able to attend without her and that her boyfriend must be a very lucky guy. She smiled, thanked me and our call ended.

So this got me thinking. I received the same outcome from both people, but one had their energy depleted after talking with me and the other got a compliment. Plus, in both situations, I got exactly what I wanted, which was to end the call and not attend a presentation on time shares. The lesson I learned was that there is always another way to get the outcome you want. If your nature is to be aggressive, try a passive approach and see if you can get the same results. If you’re a grumpy person, try something that involves a positive note.






The Best Vegan Protein Powders

While it has nothing to do with digital marketing, last month I set out on a challenge to create an “Ultimate Vegan Protein Powder Review”. The quick story is that I recently became vegan and picking random protein powders at Vitamin Shoppe lead to some interesting moments. I partnered with Jeff, a good friend that runs the a vegan blog called “The Plant Eater” to sample the best vegan proteins and create our review. The vegan protein review went live this morning and I thought I’d share it on my blog. Check it out online at: The 10 Best Vegan Protein Powders. Enjoy!

18 Start-up Incubators Located in Silicon Beach & Southern California

Here is a list of silicon beach incubators located in the Santa Monica or Southern California areas. If it’s helpful to you, please feel free to share or pass it along. Cheers.


URL: Amplify.la

Address: 1600 Main Street, Venice CA 90291

Investment Stake: $50,000 and $150,000 in seed funding, for a 5% to 15% stake in the company.

Founders: Paul Bricault

Details: Amplify is backed by investors that include Mark Burnett, producer of Apprentice and Survivor, as well as Paige Craig, Tim Draper, and some heavy-hitting VC firms, such as Accel Partners, BC Capital, Greycroft Partners, Rustic Canyon, and Tomorrow Ventures. GetBonkers, Look IO, TidePool, Invested.in, StackSocial, and The Kive Company are some of the notable companies that have come out of Amplify. Applicants will have access to high-profile CEOs, such as Josh Berman, co-founder and CEO of BeachMint.

Application Page: https://angel.co/amplifyla-amplify-la-accelerator-program/apply


Launchpad LA

URL: http://launchpad.la

Address: 1520 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States

Phone: (310) 562-3492

Investment Stake: On the first investment (usually $50k), we receive around 6% common stock of your company. The second investment (usually $50k), which is your option to take or decline, is offered as a convertible note with a maximum valuation cap. If you’ve raised significant capital already, we may adjust our offer as appropriate.

Founders: Sam Teller

Details: During the four month long program, entrepreneurs receive free office space,” a massive network of mentors, investors, & advisors,” and “tons of free perks.” Some of those mentors include Ara Katz, Head of Creative at Beachmint; Bill Gross, founder and CEO of IdeaLab; Geraldine Martin-Coppola, COO of Shoedazzle; Gil Elbaz, founder and CEO of Factual; Tony Adam, founder and CEO of Eventup. Launchpad has invested in 18 companies, 17 of which raised outside capital, over $30 million combined. Some of its alumni include JobSync, Atlas, Divshot, Tuition.io, Tradesy and Lettuce.

Application Page: http://launchpad.la/apply



URL: Muckercapital.com

Address: 910 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401

Contact: William and Erik

Investment Stake: Each company receives up to $21,000 and, in exchange, MuckerLab receives, on average, a 6% to 8% stake in each company in the program.

Founders: Erik Rannala and William Hsu

Details: MuckerLab also gives its applicants access to mentors, which include: Aileen Lee, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Ali Rosenthal, former Head of Business Development at Facebook; Amit Kapur, CEO and Co-Founder of Gravity; Brian Lee, Founder of ShoeDazzle and co-founder of LegalZoom; Greg Isaacs, Vice President of NFL.com; and Satya Patel, VP of Product Management at Twitter.

Application Page: https://angel.co/mucker-lab-2014/apply


Start Engine

URL: Startengine.com

Address: 604 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica CA 90401

Email: contact@startengine.com

Investment Stake: The accelerator invests $20,000, with a 6% to 8% equity stake, in each of the companies that it accepts.

Founder: Howard Marks

Details: Some of the mentors that applicants have access to include Brian Wong, CEO and co-founder of Kiip; Chris DeWolfe, former CEO of MySpace; Frank Monestere, President and COO of LegalZoom; Sizhao “Zao” Yang, COO of BetterWorks; Stacy Haitsuka, co-founder of NetZero; and Walter Driver, CEO of Scopely. GonnaBe, Tintup.com, PageWoo, Enplug and GoEmber.com are among Start Engine’s notable graduates. Current teams in Start Engine include TruBrain.com, DreamSha.re/Gum.bo, and Goodfit.co.

Application Page: Startengine.com Click “Get Funded” Link


USC Viterbi StartUp Garage

URL: http://vsi2.usc.edu/startupgarage

Phone: 213-821-2993

Investment Stake: The University does not take equity in any of the accelerator companies.

Founders: Paul Bricault & Ashish Soni

Details: Ten companies, who will work out of the Viterbi Startup Garage facility, will be chosen. They will be housed in USC’s Information Sciences Institute in Marina Del Rey for twelve weeks beginning May 28, 2013. 10 startups will be selected for the first class. Applications are open to any USC undergraduate or graduate students or USC alumni who has graduated in the past 5 years, though at least one member of the founding team must be an enrolled student in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering or a USC Viterbi alumni. Right now only digital media, internet, software and hardware companies are being accepted.

Application Page: http://www.f6s.com/startupgarage


Curious Minds

URL: Curiousminds.com

Address: 8560 West Sunset Blvd Penthouse 10th Floor, West Holllywood, CA 90069

Phone: 310-276-5900

Investment Stake: $30,000 to $200,000

Founders: David Gonen & Jonathan Gonen

Details: Curious Minds is a hybrid incubator-accelerator-angel investor firm designed for startup founders with entrepreneurship in their DNA. We nurture great ideas into Minimum Viable Products and then into independent revenue-generating companies. Their approach to business development is based on Eric Ries’ Lean Startup method. According to Ries, startups can reduce risks and expenses by iteratively building products that meet the needs of their early customers. Curious Minds helps entrepreneurs to apply these ideas to their own startups, ensuring traction, growth, revenue, and additional funding.

Application Page: https://angel.co/curious-minds-lean-lab/apply


Start Up UCLA

URL: http://startupucla.com

Email: startupucla@gmail.com

Investment Stake: Each team must have more than 50% of founders’ equity owned by UCLA students and/or recent alumnus (graduated within 2 years). UCLA will NOT take any ownership stake in the participating companies. Team members will be paid a fellowship.

Details: Startup UCLA is fostering entrepreneurship at UCLA and the greater technology community. Our programming includes speakers, recommendations for courses and an accelerator program during the summer. The Startup UCLA accelerator program is a ten-week bootcamp for software-focused startups. The goals of the accelerator are for the companies to launch their product, iterate, and then present during a demo day. These student-led companies are provided with on-campus office space, a financial stipend, legal services, hosting services, and world-class mentorship from entrepreneurs, investors and those with deep skill sets. Requirements for the summer accelerator are that you must have a software component in your startup, half of the founders’ equity must be current UCLA students or alums who have graduated within the last two years, and there must be at least one technical member on the team. Startup UCLA does not take equity in the companies. Applicants will have access to Aaron Hirschorn, the founder and CEO of DogVacay, Alex Quilici, the CEO of YouMail; Brian Lee, CEO and Co-Founder at The Honest Company; Hans Yang, General Manager at Zynga; and Mike Jones, the CEO of Science, and the former CEO of MySpace

Application Page: http://startupucla.com/application



URL: http://www.octaneoc.org/

Address: 65 Enterprise Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

Phone: 949.330.6569

Email: info@octaneoc.org

Details: Octane offers two programs: Launchpad, which is its “hand’s-on, pro bono accelerator for start-up companies in the technology, life science, and clean tech industries. LaunchPad helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into successful businesses.” Capital connections, which connects early to mid-stage companies with venture capital, grants and other investment contacts. Octane is sponsored by companies including YouMail, FUGU, GluMetrics, HomeUnion, Ipplex and My Open Road. Octane has helped 110 companies receive more than $346 million in investment and equity exits. With LaunchPad’s help, over 82 companies have raised in excess of $172,000,000 in Seed, Series A, and Series B investments.



URL: http://k5launch.com/

Address: 4590 McArthur Blvd Newport Beach CA 922604

Investment Stake: Selected teams receive equity funding of up to $25k along with approximately $50k worth of legal, web, and PR services. K5Launch typically takes on average 6-8% position in a company. During the three and a half month accelerator program, the teams receive hands-on advice from real entrepreneurs and real-life successful CEOs and CMOs of startups. Specific training in Business model design, Customer Development, Go-to-market strategy and sales. K5 typically focuses on technology-oriented companies, especially those focusing on the mobile, social, local, and Internet marketplaces. Mentors include Farsheed Atef, a co-founder & CTO at Drumbi; Shervin Talieh, the founder and CEO of Drumbi; and Patrick Vlaskovits, author of The Lean Entrepreneur.

Some of startups to come out of K5 include Social Rewards,Verbling, Connectifier, Nanoogo and LightFish. K5 is run by successful entrepreneurs and investors, and provides an intensive three-month mentorship-driven investment program for Southern California based startups. We carefully select companies via our online application process, and use entrepreneurial mentorship along with pre-seed funding to help them build their product and prepare for their next milestone, most likely the next round of funding. Program graduates will have the opportunity to pitch to a network of investors and venture capital firms on our K5 demo days.

Application Page: http://k5launch.com/apply/



URL: http://www.idealab.com/

Address: 130 W. Union Street Pasadena CA 91103

Phone: 626-585-6900

Founder: Bill Gross

Details: Founded in 1996, the incubator seeks “to infuse start-ups with the support they need to rapidly introduce innovative products and services,” by offering them such perks as office space and the accompanying office services, development and technology, product and graphic design, marketing, financial advice, human resources, competitive research, legal, accounting and business development support and services, advice on strategy, branding and corporate structure. Some of Idealab’s notable alumni include Tickets.com, Picasa, Internet Brands, Answers.com, Jobs.com, and PETsMART.com.



URL: Science-inc.com

Address: 1447 2nd Street Suite 200 Santa Monica CA 90401

Details: The company has received funding from Rustic Canyon, White Star Capital, The Social+Capital Partnership, Tomorrow Ventures, Siemer Ventures, Philippe Camus, Jean-Marie Messier, Jonathan Miller and Dennis Phelps, who put $10 million into it collectively. Science is kind of a mix of incubator and accelerator, as it both creates and develops its own business ideas in-house, as well as acquires other Internet startups with the aim of scaling them. But it has no set timeline regarding exits or releases. Some of its alumni include EverySignal, HelloSociety and Marigold Media.

Application Page: Email info@science-inc.com



URL: http://laincubator.org/

Address: 411S Hewitt St Los Angeles CA

Phone: 212-375-8980

Investment Stake: While LACI doesn’t invest money is companies but does “significant time and expertise. And we go to bat for them, putting our network to work. That’s why we think of the teams we incubate as ‘Portfolio Companies.'”

Founder: Fred Walti

Details: Program benefits: It accepts companies that are early-stage, meaning “somewhere between the garage and serious investment,” though it does also accept smaller companies that are changing focus, “turn-arounds,” companies that are launching new projects, and international companies looking to enter the US market. Companies have access to mentors that include Josh Bigelow, CEO of Syncromatics; Doug McPherson, General Counsel and V.P. of Corporate Development at Idealab; Jonathan Fram, CEO of Nularis; and Steve Glenn, the founder and CEO of LivingHomes.

Application: http://laincubator.org/companies/apply-now/



URL: http://www.originate.com/

Address: 10990 Wilshire Blvd Suite 140 Los Angeles CA 90049

Investment Stake: For early-stage startups, Originate invests capital for a share of equity. The process takes two to four weeks.

Details: Originate alumni include Ploom, Snapspot, Yowza, Rootz and jQuery.



URL: http://www.commnexus.org/

Address: 4225 Executive Square, Suite 485, San Diego, CA 92037

Phone: (858) 768-5056

Investment Stake: They provide services entirely free of charge. Our incubator companies are under no financial or IP-related obligation to EvoNexus when they graduate.

Details: Program benefits furnished office space, domain experts and mentors, opportunity to leverage a network of business and VC contacts. EvoNexus has 22 companies currently incubating, and 10 successful graduations to date. Its companies have raised $144 million in total venture funding raised and created over 600 jobs. Alumni include: FatSnunk, Dealstruck, Breadcrumbs and GoFastCab.

Application Page: http://www.commnexus.org/evonexus/apply/



URL: http://www.begreat.co/

Address: 5900 Wilshire Blvd 21st Floor Los Angeles CA 90036

Phone: 855-247-8585

Investment Stake: Be Great Partners invests on average, $25,000 to $50,000

Founder: Lin Miao

Details: Program benefits include Medical, Paid time off, Meals, Parking, Retirement plan, Entertainment.
Mentors include Gautam Guptam, the co-founder and CEO of NatureBox; Michael Orza, the founder and CEO of Webair; Jeff Avallon, a co-Founder of IdeaPaint; Darcy Webb, the founder and CEO of PayVia.
Portfolio companies include Naturebox, Kively, Taste Of Blue, Skinny Bikini and Friendbuy.

Application Page: http://www.begreat.co/join


The Design Accelerator

URL: http://thedesignaccelerator.com/front-page/overview/about/

Address: Pasadena CA

Details: The Design Accelerator focuses on early stage design and technology businesses with opportunities to use great design as a critical disruption point. We use proven low-cost startup management techniques to spur growth. We believe that our design driven startups will create outstanding returns for our investors. The Design Accelerator and its seed-stage investment fund are for-profit entities created by Art Center College of Design in partnership with Caltech. We have seated our first set of startup companies in June, 2013.

Application Page: http://thedesignaccelerator.com/front-page/application/getstarted/


FastStart Studios

URL: http://www.faststartstudio.com

Address: 1550-D Rockfield Blvd, Irvine, CA 92618

Phone: 949-837-4151

Investment Stake: FastStart Studios wants to help bring work to America, apply to see if you can get into the second round of their funded program.

Founder: Michael Sawitz

Details: Through a selection process start-ups and early stage companies are invited to take part in the FastStart.studio Accelerator Program. These businesses are given office space, support services, mentors.

Application Page: http://www.faststartstudio.com/apply


Disney Accelerator

URL: http://disneyaccelerator.com/ 

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Details: Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is helping today’s technology innovators turn their dreams for new media and entertainment experiences into reality. Through Disney Accelerator, select companies will gain access to the range of creative expertise and resources of The Walt Disney Company to help them develop their innovative new entertainment experiences and products. Disney Accelerator is a highly selective, immersive mentorship and investment program for technology-enabled startups in the media and entertainment space. Ten startup companies are being selected to gather in the Los Angeles area for three months to incubate their ideas and build new consumer media and entertainment products. Companies receive access to stories, characters, resources and relationships from across The Walt Disney Company, such as The Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, ABC, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Consumer Products, and Disney Interactive. Also receive support from and access to Techstars’ vast global network of mentors and alumni — an amazing collection of entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators interested in helping participating companies succeed

February 12 – Applications Open
April 12 – Application Closed
June 30 – Program Begins
October 14 – Demo Day

Investment Stake: Each participating company will receive $120,000 in investment capital.


*Special thanks to KMoreno for helping compile this information.

3 Things the Facebook Ad Platform is Missing

facebook ads

Yesterday Facebook released their earnings and surpassed Wall Street expectations, nearly tripling profit on a 72% increase in revenue in its first quarter. Revenue hit $2.5 billion, up from $1.46 billion in the same period last year. The Facebook ad platform has made some big improvements in the past year. However, Facebook is still missing some big opportunities by not having the following solutions for their ad platform. Here are three ideas they should implement to improve their system.

1. Removing Limits

Facebook ads will often not display for segments under 5,000 individuals. This is a huge mistake as it removes the long tail opportunities from Facebook advertisers. This long tail of advertisements has been known as a huge revenue segment for Google keyword searches. If I am selling a new book on the “Brazilian Treehopper” and there are only 250 people that like this subject on Facebook, I would be willing to pay a higher premium as those are exactly the customers I would need to reach. 

2. Keywords

Facebook gives advertisers the ability to target on key demographics and person interests, but has yet to introduce keywords. This misses a huge opportunity within conversations. Some might view this a bit creepy as Facebook is then interrupting conversations whereas the Google keyword system is based around actual needs and searches. However, I think this type of ad could actually prove helpful. My best example for this is “quickbooks training”.  A while ago, I was working on setting up Quickbooks and was extremely frustrated. I shot out a quick post about how I hate quickbooks and 20 minutes later, I had a private message from an individual that offered quickbooks training and said he could help me out. I was amazed and asked him how he found me. Turns out, Facebook used to offer a free keyword search tool and allow anyone to view the last 20 posts from all users on Facebook. They have since removed this feature, but I was amazed at how quickly my problem was solved through Facebook. Leveraging this same focus with their ad system could open new streams of revenue.

3. Negative Segments 

The big advantage Facebook has over other digital platforms is the amount of data they have on individuals. However, one area their ad system is still missing is the ability to add negative segments to its campaigns. For example, if I worked at Coke, I might want to target individuals that have liked the Pepsi fan page, but I would also want to exclude individuals that currently work for Pepsi or might live near their corporate headquarters. As an advertiser, this type of advanced segmentation would be extremely valuable and also only increase the Facebook bottom line.

Bonus: Report Totals

I’m going to add a little bonus suggestion as this drives me crazy. I have no idea why the Facebook ad team left this out but when monitoring and tracking campaigns, Facebook leaves out the totals for the numbers (clicks, impressions, cost, etc). This means when running several campaigns, you can see the totals for each of the individual campaigns, but not for all of them combined. So if you’re trying to find out how much spent yesterday on all your ads, you’ll need to export the data, then work in excel to total the fields. Bottom line: Facebook add totals to the pages.

The Complete Guide to Facebook Ad Targeting

Facebook Advertising Targeting Options
12 months ago the Facebook advertising platform was horrible… well… actually more like a joke. In comparison with platforms like Adwords, it lacked common features like conversion tracking and remarketing pixels. I had almost given up hope on Facebook… until they won me back.

Over the past few months, the Facebook Advertising team has slowly implemented the foundational changes needed for a powerhouse advertising system. Its the first time in almost 10 years that I’ve seen anything that comes remotely close to Adwords, in fact, in some instances, I think Facebook now has the advantage over Google.

One of the features that Facebook has over additional platforms like Adwords, is its ability to provide advanced user targeting for its ads. I’m often amazed at how most individuals and advertisers are not aware of the targeting options available to them through Facebook. Here is a quick overview of the targeting options currently available to you when advertising on Facebook. Enjoy.

  1. Remarketing – In advertising terms, Remarketing allows you to display ads to individuals that have visited your site or clicked on your ads gaining valuable branding with a targeted audience. This is done through a placement of remarketing pixel on the website, landing page or app. From a users perspective, they click your ad because they are interested and then as they browse the internet, see your ads all over the place, thus assuming that your company is everywhere.
  2. Custom Audiences – Facebook allows advertisers to create custom audiences. By uploading a list of emails, say of leads, Facebook will encrypt the emails and then run them against their database. Any email addresses that line up with profiles will be logged and Facebook will generate a similar audience based off all their data. This is a great way to allow big data to do the heavy lifting for you and find other individuals that match your target audience.
  3. User Targeting – User targeting is where Facebook has really improved over the past few months. They are continually allowing advertisers to fine tune their audience targeting and display their ads to exactly as needed. Here is the complete list of options available for User Targeting on Facebook.

Market Segments

  • Ethnic Affinity (Hispanic)
  • Generation (Boomers)
  • Household Composition
  • Moms
  • Parents
  • Politics
  • Life Events

User Targeting

  • Interests / Likes
  • Location (Country, State, City)
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Demographics


  • Automotive
  • Charitable Donations
  • Digital Activities
  • Financial
  • Mobile Device User
  • Purchase Behavior

Residential Profiles

  • Likely to Move
  • Recent Homebuyer
  • Recent Mortgage Borrower
  • Recently Moved
  • Travel


  • Education Level
  • Field of Study
  • Schools
  • Undergrad Years


  • Employers
  • Job Titles
  • Industries
  • Office Type


  • Home Type
  • Home Ownership
  • Home Value


  • Income
  • Net Worth


  • Interested In
  • Relationship Status




Internet Advertising Hits $43 Billion, Now #1 Advertising Media Source

2013 top digital advertising formats


There is a new king in the advertising world. In a press release issued yesterday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) stated that the U.S. interactive advertising revenues for 2013 hit an all-time high of $42.8 billion, exceeding broadcast television advertising revenues ($40.1 billion) for the first time ever. This momentous figure marks an increase of 17 percent from 2012’s landmark revenues of $36.6 billion.

Other highlights from the release include:

  • For the third year in a row, mobile achieved triple-digit growth year-over-year, rising to $7.1 billion during full year 2013, a 110 percent boost from the prior year total of $3.4 billion. Mobile accounted for 17 percent of 2013 revenues, whereas it was 9 percent of revenues in 2012.
  • Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, brought in $2.8 billion in full year 2013, up 19 percent over revenues of $2.3 billion in 2012. As a result, it also increased its share to become the fourth largest format, directly behind mobile.
  • Search revenues totaled $18.4 billion in 2013, up 9 percent from 2012, when search totaled $16.9 billion.
  • Display-related advertising revenues in 2013 totaled $12.8 billion or 30 percent of the year’s revenues, a rise of 7 percent over $12 billion in 2012.
  • Retail advertisers continue to represent the largest category of internet ad spending, responsible for 21 percent in 2013, followed by financial services and closely trailed by automotive which account for 13 and 12 percent of the year’s revenues respectively.

The full IAB report can be viewed online. While Internet advertising has surpassed the other channels, Steven Perlberg at the Wall Street Journal commented on the IAB report and stated, “That figure doesn’t factor in cable dollars. Total TV advertising including network, syndication, spot, and cable TV is still far ahead and amounted to $66 billion in 2013.”

When looking at what is driving this massive increase in digital advertising, VentureBeat stated that “Retail is the largest category, at 21 percent, of Internet and mobile ad spend, according to the IAB. That’s up a point from the previous year. Financial services made up 13 percent of revenues, automotive was 12 percent, and telecom accounted for nine percent of the total digital ad spend.”


digital advertising top markets

When looking at which digital ad formats are growing, search is still king with over 40% of all digital ads. But mobile ads are exploding and nearly doubled in volume from 2012 to 2013.


Digital Advertising 2013 Top Ad Formats


Digital advertisements will only increase in the future as they provide an abundance of targeting options that are simply not available to other sources. Plus, unlike traditional media sources like TV or radio, their financial barriers to entry are much lower, thus allowing smaller businesses to participate.

AdBirds Feature Adwords

Adwords Launches New AdBirds Targeting

Was checking my Adwords account this morning when I came across a pleasant surprise. Google Adwords now allows for the targeting of ads by birds.

The site describes the service as AdBirds: A new ad format that takes your campaign to new heights by placing ads on real birds. Select your bird and write your ad. Then, you’re ready for takeoff.

Your bird will fly in any existing targeted locations in your account. Migratory birds may only be available in certain regions depending on the time of year, or may completely fly out of your targeted region.

Your AdBirds options include:

Sparrow: Small, quick and efficient.
Owl: A great option for those with nocturnal business hours.
Duck: Available at most parks and community areas.
Eagle: Broad audience reach. Majestic birds may require a higher bid.
Pigeon: Best for large cities with crowds of people.
Penguin: Best for cold arctic regions. Limited to location, as they can’t fly.

What happens next?

Your AdBird will be reviewed by Google, and may not fly until that review is complete. Most AdBirds are reviewed within 1 business day. No birds will be harmed by using this ad format.

The team at Google made me smile today. Thanks for being so creative and providing a wonderful April Fools prank.



How to Set Up YouTube Remarketing Video Ads

When it comes to digital marketing, remarketing campaigns will usually trump other campaigns in terms of ROI. For those that aren’t aware, remarketing is the process of adding a piece of script to certain pages of your site or landing pages. Once a visitor lands on this page, a cookie is dropped onto their computer or mobile device. As the visitor continues to search around the Internet, ad networks like Adwords will check for any remarketing scripts prior to displaying an ad. If a script is present on the visitors machine, they will see an advertisement of the page they just visited.

YouTube’s ad system is tightly integrated with Adwords, which means you can leverage your Google remarketing campaigns and link them with YouTube. The end result is that visitors to your website will now begin to see your videos and commercials play before they watch any videos on YouTube. This gives your customers the impression that you are everywhere on the Internet while paying a small fraction of the price of a full ad campaign on YouTube.

Here is how to set that up in a few easy steps.

1. Generate Google Remarketing Tag

(Read Full Remarketing Instructions at Google)

  • Log into Adwords.
  • Click on Shared Library (left hand column)
  • Select Audiences, then go to the Remarketing Tag button at the top.
  • Click the View tag details button then click Setup.
  • Click View remarketing tag and instructions to get the remarketing code.

Google Remarketing Tag


2. Place Google Remarketing Script on your Website or Landing Pages.

  • Add the remarketing tag code to all your website pages, before the closing </body> tag.
  • If you’re using WordPress, this can usually be added by going to the Editor tab, then selecting the Footer.php file and pasting it right before the </body> tag, then click Update File.

How to add google remarketing tag to wordpress


3. Create a Remarketing List

  • While in Adwords, click Audiences, then + Remarketing Lists
  • Enter the name of this list. Something like “All Visitors – 30 Days
  • Select Visitors of a Page
  • Enter your homepage URL
  • Set your membership duration to 30 Days (30 days is my suggested time but you can enter a max time is 540 days if you want)
  • Hit Save

google remarketing list setup


4. Set Up Video Marketing Campaign in Adwords

  • In Adwords, Select All Video Campaigns on the bottom of the left side column
  • Select + Campaign
  • Enter Campaign Name
  • Set your Daily Budget. This is the maximum Google will charge you per day, so your daily charge will usually be less than this amount.
  • For delivery method, my preference is standard. Standard will display ads over time, accelerated will show as quickly as possible.
  • Select Location you want your video to play in. My recommendation is to focus it around the area where you do business.
  • Ad – Enter in the URL for the video you want to remarketing towards the visitors of your website.
  • You can edit Schedule, Ad Delivery and Device Targeting for Tablets and Phones. What you select here will depend on your business. You can always edit these later, so my recommendation is to revisit this after the campaign has run for a few days.


5. Select Bidding and Audience

  • Select Name
  • Enter Max Cost Per View. This is how much you’re willing to pay per video view that a persons views for more than 15 seconds. If the viewer presses the skip button while your ad is playing, you will not be charged.
  • Under Target People Watching Content, click Remarketing Lists and select your List
  • Select Save Targeting Group

google adwords select audience

google adwords remarketing audience

6. Build an Ad

  • Select + Video Ad
  • Ad Formats and Networks. My recommendation is to leave on Automatic. This will run your ads on YouTube, Google Display Network and YouTube Search. You can manually select the ones you want to by clicking Let me Choose.
  • Enter Headline, Description & Description 2. This is what appears on under or besides the video while its playing.
  • Select the thumbnail you want for the ad.
  • Enter Display URL (this is what the viewer sees). My recommendation is to just use your homepage URL.
  • Enter Destination URL (this is where the visitor actually goes. This can be a long URL that includes tracking variables.
  • Give your ad a Name
  • Under Advanced Ad Attributes, you can upload a 300×250 or 300×60 banner ad that will display in the sidebar next to your video while its playing. Its not required but I’d recommend doing this to gain double the exposure while your ad is playing.
  • Ensure your targeting is set for the remarketing list you created.
  • Click Save

create a new youtube ad


7. Set a Call to Action

The final step is one that many people are not aware of. It ads a call to action overlay to any specific videos.

  • Click the Videos tab when viewing your Campaign.
  • Next to your video, select Add Call-to-Action-Overlay
  • Enter Headline
  • Enter Description 1 & 2
  • Enter Display URL
  • Enter Destination URL
  • Upload 74×74 image. The ad appears on a black background, so I added a blackbackground to my image.
  • Click Save

google adwords youtube video remarketing call to action

google youtube remarketing calling to action


Well done, you’re finished and should be all set. Visitors to your website will now be amazed at how they see your commercial or video when they are watching YouTube or an embedded YouTube video on another site. Just make sure to keep tabs on your spend and watch the analytics for how many people are clicking away from your video before it finished. Just make sure to optimize your budget and spend more money on the videos that people are watching longer.


The Darkside of Paid Search Click Fraud Explained

I’ve always been aware of click fraud with Facebook or Adwords, but I’ve never been able to explain in a simple manner until I watched this video. Click fraud is basically the process of individuals and/or automated programs that attempt to generate money by clicking on your ads.

In the attached video, Veritasium provides a clear example complete with data about how the Facebook ad system allows this, and in some instances actually promotes this happening. The video also goes in specific details about how the issue of fake “likes” has grown into a major problem and why Facebook can’t necessarily stop it.

The video follows an example of a fan page for “Virtual Cat” that paid to increase their likes, only to find out that most of those likes were from oversea countries or from accounts that appeared to be fake.

While the attached video mostly focuses on Facebook, I see this same type of occurrence often happening with Google ads. The bottom line, click fraud is a known evil and while the major companies are fighting to reduce this when possible, there is actually little you can do on your end to prevent it. My advice, know it exists and watch out for it, but understand that it will probably never be completely solved.