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Skinny Up Your Digital Ads

Have you ever noticed how some digital ads work so much better than others? Perhaps you’re not even sure why. But they pop. Loading quickly. Looking crisp.

Ad Lightning reports that more than 40 percent of online ads exceed industry best practices. These fat ads slow down sites, annoying readers and advertisers alike. After all, if they don’t load, they can’t be viewed. Speed rules. People rapidly click away from sluggish pages. Lighter ads with less stuff weighing them down perform better.

Chunky Ads Hurt You in Many Ways
If files are too large, publications may not even take them. They don’t want to subject their readers to long downloads and negative experiences that might prompt them to turn on ad blockers. We all lose when that happens.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) sets a 300-kilobyte limit on display ads. Webpage advertising typically doubles a page’s load time. If ads aren’t sized properly, they can drag load time down even more. Remember, Google search prioritizes sites that run faster.

Our animated ad series for Eisenhower National Airport (left) promotes Southwest Airlines’ destinations, pricing deals and all-the-time benefits like bags fly free. Naturally, we’ve optimized these ads to work beautifully on mobile for people on the go.

Words of Caution for Your Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic ad networks and their requests can be major offenders, too. Today’s programmatic digital display ads don’t use human negotiations or manual insertion orders. Instead they go into open auctions with ad networks placing bids or requests. Software automates the work once done by humans, delivering real-time, data-based purchases. The buyer and seller agree on pricing before anything goes live.

Pieces of code placed on the ads track performance. The IAB’s guideline of 15 network calls per ad in an auction gets routinely ignored. The average is more like 60. Since programmatic advertising constitutes more than 80 percent of digital display advertising today, doing it right matters.

Piedmont Airlines’ pilot-recruitment campaign (right) deploys both static and video ads. They show how you can creatively communicate key messages – such as an advantageous east-coast location and industry-leading pay scale – while adhering to IAB guidelines.

The Reward: A Better Tool to Manage, Measure and Connect
While you can’t directly affect the programmatic ad network, you can select advertising partners that are IAB certified. Any programmatic media partner who wants to work with our clients must adhere to IAB guidelines that create a positive online experience because that directly correlates with meeting campaign goals. And we love achieving goals.

Moral of the story, check your file size before you send. Don’t let large ads slow down your ability to reap the rewards of targeted digital advertising.

The travel-assessment ads (below) we create for Executive AirShare have been very successful for lead generation. Data helps identify and attract prospects by targeting audiences similar to EAS’s current client base.

This column originally ran in the Nov. 22 edition of BlueSky News. 

DOX Spotlight Shines On

Pictured: Sonia Greteman (left) presents Robin Berghaus (right) with the DOX Spotlight award. Photo Courtesy: Tallgrass staff photographer Mike Briley.

The winner of the inaugural DOX Spotlight documentary competition for women directors recently emailed me her thanks. For Greteman Group’s sponsorship. For our standout creative. And for our support of the cause. I like to think that DOX will achieve its goal of encouraging more women to put a video camera in their hands and show the world what they see.

The Tallgrass Film Festival ended October 22, but I’m still on a post-fest high. Robin Berghaus’ note arrived at just the right moment. She helped formulate thoughts and feelings that continue to swirl in my own head and heart.

The DOX Spotlight moved me. Opening me to lives and experiences so different than my own. Listening to directors in the post-screening Q&As, I gained insight into directors’ challenges. Their problem solving. Their tenacity. In the case of Berghaus, she found a story then shot footage for four years and edited for another one. With little funding and no promise of ever reaching a broad audience.

(l-r) Agency President and Creative Director Sonia Greteman, DOX Spotlight Award Winner Robin Berghaus and Tallgrass Film Festival Co-founder and Creative Director Lela Meadow-Conner. Photo Courtesy: Fresh Takes.

With Berghaus’ permission, I share her letter here.

Dear Ms. Greteman:

On behalf of my team, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you and Greteman Group for sponsoring the Tallgrass Film Festival’s DOX Spotlight Competition, and to art director Meghan Smith for designing an exquisite award.

What makes Tallgrass special is its focus on diversity. This ensures a place on screen for each one of our stories, and gives us a platform to entertain, inspire, challenge attitudes and change lives. As a corporate sponsor, you are sending a powerful message that “everyone is welcome,” and you should be proud of the community that you are fostering.

As a filmmaker, festivals are key to my professional growth, and I take full advantage to network with industry leaders and build an audience for my films. From the socials and panels, to the screenings, Tallgrass presents an array of events where we can engage and learn from one another.

Thank you for all that you are doing to support Tallgrass and to make an impact in the Wichita community and beyond.

Sincerely, Robin Berghaus, director/producer, STUMPED,

Tallgrass celebrates artistic acts of courage, focus and drive. I learned so much at the festival. If you missed it, you missed out. Try not to next year. The 16th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival runs Oct. 17-21, 2018.

Sonia Greteman also spoke to the audience before the STUMPED screening and expressed the hope that more and more women will take up a camera and capture stories through their lens.