Kanban to the Rescue

Use Trello to organize anything and everything.

Trello is a simple but powerful visual tool for organizing, managing, and tracking team or individual tasks. At AcrobatAnt, our favorite setup for using Trello is known as a Kanban board. Originally developed at Toyota to improve manufacturing efficiency, Kanban boards are commonly used today in agile software development.

Kanban boards are made up of lists of cards. Each individual task is assigned to a card and then pulled from left to right between lists as work progresses from an outstanding task to completed item. The simplest Kanban boards we’ve seen include lists for To DoDoing and Done. Most of the time, we’ve found it helpful to also add lists for HoldReady and Test.

Lists within a standard AcrobatAnt Trello board (from left to right):

  1. To Do: The initial bucket of things to do. This is the backlog of all of the outstanding issues in the project. New issues are added here.
  2. Hold: Something is blocking this task from being pulled through the system. Another task needs to be completed first, a stakeholder needs to weigh in, etc.
  3. Ready: This card is ready. Nothing stands in the way of work being started!
  4. Doing: Work is underway! The task is actively being worked on.
  5. Test: The initial work for the task is finished, but it still needs to be checked for quality and completeness. In software development, this is where quality assurance happens; for copy, this is where the text should be proofed. When issues are found, the card should be moved back to a previous step in the process for additional revisions/work.
  6. Done: This is for when a task on a card is done. The task has been completed and tested to ensure that it is truly complete.

Here is an example board using household chores as the tasks that need to be completed.

Kanban is different from other project management strategies because there is no set period of time in which a project phase must be completed. Instead, Kanban uses the continuous delivery of updates to create constantly progressing products and projects. This can be difficult to reconcile with a hard deadline for the initial launch of a project. At AcrobatAnt, we use additional tools for task management and time-tracking in conjunction with our Trello boards so that Kanban becomes a process within our larger project management strategy.

In the end, using a Trello Kanban board is a great way to organize, manage and visually display the state of a complex project, like launching a new website, at any given moment.

If you would like to learn more about Kanban, Trello or agile project management, contact Ryan at 918-949-3109 or RyanWatkinsHughes@AcrobatAnt.com.

The following articles are also great resources to learn more about Kanban and/or Trello:

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

IP Targeting—Leveraging Your List

We have all heard the expression “right person, right message, right time” when it comes to developing effective marketing strategies. With great lists and on-target messaging, direct mail can still be a viable tactic to include in your communications mix. Because direct mail falls short when it comes to message frequency, including it as part of a multi-tactic plan is needed to be effective. Unfortunately, other mass media tactics often fall short when it comes to being able to precisely target messaging to an audience.

Most companies spend valuable time and money to ensure that their direct mail audience list is as targeted as possible to help improve conversions. It is now possible to take that exact mailing list, with names and physical addresses, and target the same households digitally; IP targeting. This technique allows you to add frequency of message to your already targeted prospects to improve conversions more than direct mail alone.

If you have been in the marketing world for a while, you are probably familiar with the Rule of 7. The marketing Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they’ll take action. In today’s cluttered marketing landscape and bombardment of messages, it will likely take more than seven impressions to be noticed and make an impact on your target consumer. Another benefit of IP targeting is being able to deliver targeted, frequent impressions to reinforce the message to the prospect, who also received the same message via direct mail.

Digital impressions are viewed while prospects are engaged in their daily digital activity; checking their stocks, reading the news, exploring social media, etc. That being said, to get the most out of IP targeting, it is important to (1) serve enough impressions to each household to be noticed over a period of time and (2) utilize remarketing to engage those who have shown interest after they leave your site. The prospect may not have time to complete the action immediately, so reminding them that they were interested may encourage a conversion when they are not actively engaged elsewhere online.

If you would like to learn more about IP targeting, remarketing, list acquisition or direct mail, contact Angela at 918-938-7912 or via email.

See our results from an IP targeting + direct mail campaign by reading this case study.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Ants Get LinkedIn at Talent Connect

AcrobatAnt Account Supervisors Angela Harless and Audrey Chambers attended the recent LinkedIn Talent Connect 2017 conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

In today’s business world, recruiting, branding and marketing continue to converge into a single unified strategy to reach business goals. The theme of this conference, “Where Instincts and Insights Meet,” was reinforced through many excellent keynote presentations and breakout sessions. Here are our Top Ten takeaways:

1) 76 percent of candidates want to know the recruiter before applying because they:

      • Feel they can get a leg-up on the hiring process
      • Can get an inside view of the company
      • Can better stand out as a candidate
      • Can see if the recruiter is qualified to recruit for their skillset

What would key candidates find when researching your recruiters?

2) 90 percent of people on LinkedIn have indicated that they are open to new opportunities, while 63 percent say they feel flattered when approached by a recruiter or company with a position that is a good fit for them.

3) Ed Nathanson’s session about the importance of using humor and heart in content was a great reminder that recruiting and content marketing go together. He reminded us that consumers (even candidates) use emotion to purchase: “Positive emotions toward a brand have greater influence on loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on brand attributes.” His takeaway: Think about your employees, how/why they do what they do, and use that to drive emotion and authentic communications. These emotions can make online content go viral:

4) Goat yoga is awesome. We’d heard that Nashville had goat yoga, knew we had to try it and are so glad we did. We stretched and strengthened, had lots of laughs and got walked on by baby goats. Thanks for a unique experience, Shenanigoats.

5) A big part of successful recruiting is collaboration across an organization to build the brand. One company that understands this is Heineken, which created a great interview and recruiting video that stays true to its brand while enticing audiences through interactive and unique content. Take a few minutes and start The Interview.

6) Brene Brown’s presentation was equally inspirational and challenging. We could write pages of takeaways about courage, vulnerability, leadership and gratitude, but we’ll limit it to a few quotes that should inspire you to listen to her TED talks or grab one of her books:

        • Vulnerable systems are different than vulnerable relationships. We don’t want vulnerable systems, but we need vulnerable relationships.
        • Vulnerability is about showing up. It’s having the courage to show up and be seen even when we have no control over the outcome. It’s not weakness. It’s the foundation of courage.
        • If you’re brave, you will get your butt kicked.
        • It’s not the critic who counts. If you aren’t in the arena getting your butt kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.
        • The Four Pillars of Courage are Vulnerability, Clarity of Values, Trust and Rising Skills.
        • Reality-check the story that you tell yourself. Your brain always wants a story; it’s the way we are wired. When faced with an uncomfortable situation, say to yourself: “The story I’m making up right now is…”

7) If you are trying to get people to relocate to your small town for a position, communicate your culture. What makes your location different? Where does it win out and how can it compete with other markets (traffic, cost of living, weather, etc.). Talk to people who have relocated to your company and/or area; their unique insights could help determine your points of differentiation, which include people, culture and location. How can you use points of differentiation to tell a story that sets your brand apart? Inspire people with your love for your town and your company.

8) LinkedIn knows how to throw a party. #NashvilleNights at #TalentConnect was one of the best conference events that we’ve had the privilege to attend. They wanted us to experience “Music City” to its fullest and even provided acoustic performers on the bus transportation to downtown Nashville. Once we arrived, there was an abundance of live music, food, drinks, saloons, activities, and plenty of photo ops and fun. We sang karaoke, screenprinted our own T-shirts and two-stepped with new friends from LinkedIn.

9) Sarah Wagener from Pandora reminded us to follow our instincts when it comes to career-defining moments. Data and insights only go so far—following your insights can lead to a fulfilling career.

10) LinkedIn is developing some exciting new tools that utilize membership data to leverage talent surplus, compare talent between organizations and source candidates. One new platform, Talent Intelligence, will provide the data needed to help leverage and support instincts for more efficient recruiting. We’re excited to get access to this new tool on behalf of our clients in the coming months.

Talent Connect 2017 was a great event and we look forward to utilizing these insights to improve our clients’ branding and recruiting strategies.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Adaptive Content

Adaptive website design“Adaptive content” picked up steam as a buzzword a couple years ago. It’s one of those phrases that’s a little vague and hard-to-define, but once you pin it down, the concept is important to consider.

Content specialist Noz Urbina defines adaptive content as “a content strategy technique designed to support meaningful, personalized interactions across all channels. It is content that is conceived, planned and developed around the customers: their context, their mood, their goals.”

Basically, it’s personalization—but adaptive content must go far beyond just slapping a customer’s name on an email or letter. It has the specific aim of making brand experiences interactive.

Urbina provides a great example of adaptive content’s potential in an article for the Content Marketing Institute. He attended a wine-tasting event where the winery provided tablets which allowed attendees to view products on their website. Cool, right?

Right, but Urbina said the winery could have also:

  • Allowed check-ins by social media
  • Displayed a personalized welcome screen on the tablet
  • Used the tablet to suggest wine lists and pairings, such as cheeses
  • Adapted the micro-copy and tone of the website based on the user’s visit

Most importantly, he said, they should have allowed tasters to select wine on the website and then had it ready to purchase at the register when they left. In neglecting to do so, they missed an incredible opportunity for increased sales and a streamlined, interactive experience. Thinking above and beyond like this is one of the core tenets of adaptive content.

Using adaptive content is a complex endeavor and can be a challenge. Many companies simply don’t have the technology and the scope of content to fully implement an adaptive content-based business model. Here are just some of the factors that can affect the content you choose to create:

  • Device (operating system, mobile, tablet, desktop, screen resolution)
  • Context (time, location, velocity, humidity, temperature)
  • Person (age, gender, stage of life, language, relationships)

Additionally, Urbina warns, it’s easy to accidentally take “personalized” into the realm of “creepy.” However, he maintains that the benefits of adaptive content outweigh the costs:

  • According to a Google Smartphone User study, 88 percent of users who look for local information on their smartphones take action within a day—mobile users are action-oriented, making the platform ideal for conversions.
  • According to McKinley, adaptive content converts three to 10 times more viewers than average.
  • And according to a survey of 17,000 people (Gen X, Y and Z) by Time Inc.:
    • 90 percent like the idea of custom content
    • 89 percent see it as an effective way to break through the clutter of brands online
    • 92 percent think brands have expertise on certain topics
    • Two out of three consumers trust custom content more than traditional advertising

While adaptive content may not be feasible for everyone, it’s never a bad idea to consider how you can personalize your customer’s experience. Check out these sites for suggestions on how to get started:

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/02/adaptive-content-customers/

http://www.intelligentcontentconference.com/5-ws-adaptive-content/

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Mobile Usage Facts

Mobile Phone UsageWith smartphone use on the rise, knowing exactly how mobile users interact with websites compared to their desktop counterparts can be a huge advantage in structuring the online side of your business. Here’s a quick guide to user trends that can help you maximize your internet exposure.

  • Mobile user activity usually peaks during morning (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and evenings (6 p.m. to 11 p.m.), while desktop users are mostly online during working hours(9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
  • Mobile users are generally on the hunt for specific information, while time consuming activities or aimless browsing are usually reserved for the comfort of desktop computers.
  • Research has indicated that mobile users tend to scan rather than fully digest content.
  • Desktop visits last three times longer than mobile visits on average, with more pages viewed and half the bounce rate.
  • 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. 46 percent of mobile web users reported that they would be unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing in the past.
  • Mobile users rarely go idle. If a page is open, it’s usually the only active page on the device. By contrast, desktop users frequently open tabs, leave them idle and return to them multiple times.
  • Mobile users spend more than 80 percent of their browsing time on five or so apps—mostly run by Facebook and Google.
  • Users aged 18-24 are significantly more likely to spend time on their smartphones compared to users over the age of 25. They also tend to be more receptive to branded content than desktop users.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Source: https://www.appticles.com/blog/2016/03/mobile-vs-desktop-13-essential-user-behaviors/

Social Media Spotlight: Keebler

Branded Twitter accounts are a tricky business. Everything and everyone has Twitter these days, and it can be difficult for brands to get noticed amongst the sea of content and attract followers who are actually interested in seeing branded posts. Many perceive branded accounts as irrelevant, inauthentic or uninteresting.

The folks at Keebler took both these considerations into account and decided not to waste time pretending to be social media savvy. Their “Ernie Keebler” account is essentially a chronicle of the lovable old elf’s attempts to master the ins and outs of the worldwide web.

Ernie’s Twitter bio sets the tone of the page: “Was so busy baking uncommonly good cookies and crackers that I just found out about the Twitter. Now I’m working hard to get up to date. Hashtag excited!”

His tweets are sprinkled with comical misuse of internet lingo. For example, “People here say to avoid trolls. But why would I? My neighbor’s a troll, and he loves Fudge Stripes. He’s the best!”

Others feature shaky home videos of the Hollow Tree cookie factory and clumsy attempts at selfies. One post features a gif of Ernie playing Pong (a game some younger Twitter users may have never even heard of). Another asks, “Can someone put me in the picture with the Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes? I haven’t been to the Photo Shop.” It’s accompanied by a shot of the new Pumpkin Spice cookies and a hilarious, awkwardly posed photo of Ernie.

It’s a fun strategy that plays off a familiar old character, a clever interpretation of both Ernie’s status as a well-loved symbol and his physical age. People have taken notice of it on Twitter—many of Ernie’s tweets have garnered a few thousand likes and retweets—and the account has been mentioned by users on other websites like Tumblr.

There are a surprising number of customers interacting with the account. Ernie always responds with a carefully curated and lovable personality. For example, he greeted one of his new followers: “By golly @alainhanna55! I see that you started following me on the Twitter, but when I looked over my shoulder…you weren’t there!”

Twitter users—especially young people—are a little jaded by brands making shaky attempts to latch on to the latest trend. They’re much more likely to be sympathetic to the technologically inept Ernie, who seems honest and endearing.

The Ernie Keebler account plays off social media norms in a subtle way, suggesting that while Ernie may not know how social media works, the professionals at Keebler sure do. They’ve done a great job building a personality for Ernie and using their social media in a creative way that attracts Twitter users rather than alienating them.

Do you know of any branded Twitter accounts worth talking about? Tell us about your favorites in the comments.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Facebook Rolls Out Mid-Roll Ads

Facebook_Mid-roll_adFacebook has unveiled a new strategy for its advertisers—mid-roll ads.
The social media giant began testing mid-roll ads in late February.

They now offer the opportunity for advertisers to deliver these five- to 15-second video ads, called in-stream video, within live and non-live videos posted to Facebook.

In-stream video uses audience-based targeting, meaning that viewers of the same video may see different mid-roll ads depending on their interests. Advertisers can choose to exclude their ads from certain categories of videos (such as tragedy and conflict, debatable social issues, mature, etc.) in order to avoid any awkward clashes between video and ad content.

Mid-roll ads aren’t a new concept, but Facebook’s are notable in that they can begin as early as 20 seconds into a video. To qualify to display in-stream video ads, a video must be at least 90 seconds long and ads must be at least two minutes apart within a video.

Live videos have slightly different requirements—the video must be rolling for at least four minutes before an ad can begin, and the streamer must have at least 2,000 followers.

There are a lot of pros to this ad format. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has allowed publishers to make money from branded content in the past, but has always been opposed to pre-roll videos, which are more standard in the industry (think YouTube). Mid-roll ads provide a fresh strategy and an opportunity for advertisers to monetize, which was often difficult with Facebook’s old parameters. The revenue split is 55 percent to the publisher and 45 percent to Facebook. Targeted viewing allows advertisers to reach their exact intended audience. It also makes it easy to A/B test creative concepts and view detailed results using Facebook analytics.

On the other hand, the mid-roll format poses some risks. While many viewers have learned to expect pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads are rare and can be a jarring interruption. Advertisers have to somehow produce creative that doesn’t cause people to get annoyed and abandon the video entirely—a hefty challenge considering consumers’ finicky viewing habits and ever-shrinking attention spans. YouTube, one of Facebook’s biggest competitors, doesn’t even allow mid-roll ads in videos shorter than 10 minutes for this exact reason.

What do you think? Are mid-roll ads an obnoxious fad or an inventive approach to boost engagement? Let us know in the comments.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Content Remains King

shutterstock_248890441Content. The little seven letter word that everyone is talking about. And you should be, too. In this age of marketing, content is paramount. What is content? Content is anything you put out that people engage with. Articles, blogs, social posts, radio, TV, online advertising, anything and everything.

When you begin to think about a new campaign, you have to think about the new campaign as an ecosystem. This ecosystem contains all the ways you plan to reach potential customers or clients. As the marketer, you must have a strong content ecosystem.

Today’s content ecosystems look vastly different than content ecosystems even just a few years ago. Today’s content ecosystems are filled with social media, blogs, sponsored posts, advertorials, print, broadcast and pretty much any other way you can put your advertising in front of people.

While content is important, it’s imperative to produce content that connects to your audience. This is how you secure your customers. It’s not always about creating content yourself, but curating the best content available.

With traditional advertising mediums like broadcast, print, etc., once you distribute the content, there’s nothing left to do but count impressions. With digital, there is a constant flow of content. If there is an article or blog written about your industry, leverage that and share it with your followers. If someone produced a fancy video of your product, leverage it. If someone wrote a great review, share it. Content curation will save you many hours of producing your own content and help you keep the cycle moving forward.

In this day, content is critical to driving brand awareness and giving your customers a reason for sticking with you. And at AcrobatAnt, we believe in great content. We are here to help your marketing department create and curate the best content that delivers results you can take to the CEO.

Mobile is key.

shutterstock_169100729

You’ve probably heard it before time and time again, mobile advertising is the hot trend right now. But mobile is more than a trend, it is here to stay. This year looks to be a breakout year for mobile advertising and for a good reason. “Consumers today are addicted to instant gratification and ads need to serve up not only what they’re trying to sell, but the benefits as well,” said Tamara Green, AcrobatAnt Media Director. As mobile advertising has matured, so have the data companies. From precise geo-location data to more refined demographics, consumer data collected through mobile advertising is robust.

In order to be successful with mobile advertising, you have to deliver memorable content. “You have little time on mobile and an even greater challenge to gain the consumer’s attention because consumers are easily distracted as they swipe across to the next image/page/comment/post/status/etc.,” Tamara said. In mobile advertising, you have less than five seconds to capture the consumer’s attention. Meaning that creativity in message delivery is more important than ever. A simple banner ad will no longer sustain the results they used to. Advertising content needs to be dynamic, personal, engaging and customized for the target audience. It needs to look like it was made just for that single consumer.

With Facebook video now dominating the newsfeed, it’s time to really consider spending the money to integrate video content into a campaign. Integrating video is also one of the keys with mobile. There isn’t just one media type to satisfy the needs of a brand. It needs to be a well planned mix of all mobile has to offer based on data that has been collected. Paying more attention to data will guide and help a campaign improve over time. Tamara added, “Consumers are more and more demanding that the click takes them somewhere, tells them something, provides some benefit. A click with no benefit, just content will result in the consumer dropping off and possibly passing you by.”

To learn more about how we can help you, or if you have any questions regarding mobile advertising, send us an email or give us a call.

User Experience: What is it good for?

shutterstock_177174377Since the advent of the Internet, people have always put their personal style into the websites they build. Now more than ever, user experience and how a user will interact with a website is in the forefront of designers’ minds. And recently, that also means taking into consideration how a website performs. Specifically how long it takes to load a page. In a recent study, data showed that if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, nearly 40 percent of users will leave the site. Let that sink in a minute. Your website has less than three seconds to grab the customer. If not, they’re on to your competitor. But if you have your site optimized and ready to handle a user’s request, they’ll proceed.

We asked our resident web developer and designer, Mattie McClain, what she had to say about user experience. “I have always believed user experience is the most important element of a design, and right now user experience is everything in the web space. Users want to find what they need, quickly. When we started seeing mobile devices of all shapes and sizes, suddenly a website that looked and functioned great on a large screen was no longer relevant — or even useful!”

And when talking about how to make a site that not only performs well, but also looks great on a phone, you need to make your site responsive or mobile-friendly. “Zooming in on a screen filled with tiny print and unnecessary links on a smartphone was not anyone’s idea of a great user experience. Responsive design corrected this and has become the key for producing a seamless user experience across all devices. It allows us to give users the effortless experience they now expect: what they need, only when they need it,” Mattie said.

She is right. In this day and age, consumers don’t like to wait. Period. The way we communicate and interact on the Internet has changed drastically. We communicate in less than 140 characters, and your website needs to load in less time than it takes to read a tweet.

As a full service agency, AcrobatAnt is here to help your business get on the right digital track. We pride ourselves on delivering results that work for our clients and their users. So the next time you are standing in line at Starbucks and are browsing the web on your phone, think about the experience a potential consumer would have on your site.