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October 2013 - Posts

  • Getting Started in Paid Media: 5 Tips

    Oct 29 2013

    Josh Lazo is Phelps’ newest media coordinator. Prior to Phelps, Josh completed an internship at a radio station running media and search which fueled his passion to pursue a career in paid search. He graduated from UC Riverside in 2013 with a degree in marketing.

    1. Know what you’re getting into: You can get a head start on the learning curve if you already understand the common terms used in paid search - CPA, CPL, CTR, CPM, ROI. You can’t just memorize these terms - you must become comfortable using them. I recommend becoming a regular reader of industry blogs, including:

    Spend the first 10 minutes in the office each day reading the most important stories related to your job. Clients and co-workers love to talk about the latest industry news – make it a habit to stay current.

    2. Become best friends with Excel and PowerPoint. Especially Excel: You’ll be using Excel and PowerPoint non-stop. Have a firm knowledge of pivot tables, VLOOKUPs and know how to set up charts for information sets. Make Excel your best friend because you will be dealing with tens of thousands of lines of data. Make PowerPoint your other best friend because you’ll be doing a lot of reports and dashboards. Take the time to learn common functions and formulas – it will pay off at your first job and later in your career.

    3. Get certified: Take the Google Certified Partner AdWords exam and the Bing Ads Accredited Professional exam - they're both free! Having these certifications will force you to quickly learn about the intricacies of these platforms. And they're a clear signal to your company that you are serious about learning (plus this is a great asset for your résumé!).

    4. Network and pick some brains:
    My professor called it “informational interviews.” Connect with someone in the industry and pick their brain. Search geeks love to talk about their work! Who knows, it might land you your next gig. ThinkLA is a great place to network and meet industry folks.

    5. Try an internship or a contract position:
    Test drive to see if paid search is right for you. There is no “paid media” degree in college and very few courses can really prep you for the real world. Everyone starts at the ground level in paid media. The experience from an internship will benefit your career and provide insight into figuring out a clearer career path.

    Good luck and get used to seeing pivot tables every Monday morning!

    Josh Lazo - Media Coordinator



  • Instagram ads started appearing today and the Internet is not pleased

    Oct 25 2013

    Just minutes after Instagram's new sponsored images started appearing, users were quick to leave angry comments threatening to quit Instagram. But where would they go that doesn't have ads anyway - Snapseed, Pixlr-o-matic, Hipster, Camera+, Streamzoo?  More than likely, users will just have to get accustomed to these new Instagram sponsored images the same way they had to get used to Facebook and Twitter's sponsored posts/Tweets. But with brands taking up more and more social media real estate (up to 40% of Instagram video), what is the breaking point for a user's tolerance to ads intruding into their personal online space?


    Photos courtesy of Craig Allen

  • Boston and St. Louis agencies use the World Series to demonstrate their capabilities. And it works like a charm.

    Oct 25 2013

    CTP and HLK are working together to promote the World Series with a socially driven microsite that pulls in the best content posted on various social media channels with the hashtag #beardsvsbirdsad

    This gives both agencies a chance to do great work for their clients while showcasing their abilities to create engaging content at a rapid turnaround across multiple communication channels. Their choice to work together to use one platform and one hashtag amplifies the power of the campaign. We'll be watching to see what they come up with as the series progresses.

  • Apple Builds Brand Loyalty by Giving Away Free Software - "Christmas in October"

    Oct 24 2013

    Yesterday's iPad event was nothing short of "Christmas in October." New laptops. New tablets. New super-computer desktops. Upgraded software (and a lot of it). A brand new operating system. And the best part? Free stuff available immediately.

    Apple’s latest news is proof positive of their overwhelming dominance and hyper awareness of the marketplace. It was a barrage of new, improved and ‘get it right now for less money than before’… or better yet, no money at all. The live streamed event was a huge boost to their site traffic and saw an immediate increase in sales to loyalists and new customers alike. By offering products for free, Apple furthers their relationship with brand loyalists while also appealing to new users.

    True to form, their event was incredibly on-brand. Every detail sounded, looked and felt like Apple. We as marketers have become almost cliché in referencing the world's "top brand" when we attempt to describe what we aim to achieve in the work we do for our own clients. We may not all have the chance to work with the world's top brand, but we can certainly learn a lesson from Apple about how to stay on top.

    Lessons to take away from Apple's latest love-fest:

    • People love new stuff... especially when they already loved the old stuff.
    • People love it when stuff costs less than it used to.
    • People love getting stuff for free... especially when it's high-value stuff.
    • People love getting stuff immediately.
    • People love getting what they want (so give it to them).
    • People love Apple.


    Aaron Dubois - VP Digital Production


  • FB Insights Decoded

    Oct 18 2013

    Facebook's new insights offer more actionable data, and more data per post. This allows social media managers to create content that gets more organic reach and helps assess paid support more efficiently.

    PTAT (people talking about this) has been replaced with individual actions: New Page Likes (fans), People Engaged (unique users who clicked on, liked, commented on, or shared your post), tags of your Page made by others, and Page check-ins (for Place pages). Virality was renamed to Engagement Rate, which also includes post clicks. Each post has its own unique "Scorecard" so you can bring up metrics on each post. To access a post's scorecard, click on an individual post from the Overview tab or Posts tab.

    The insights dashboard is now broken into the following:

    • Overview: a seven day snapshot of highest performing posts and change in overall likes, reach, and engagement.

      facebook insights

    • Likes:
      • Metrics: paid vs organic likes; where fans came from.
      • What it tells us: how relevant the page content is to people. (Do they want to see updates in their newsfeed?)

        facebook insights

    • Reach:
      • Metrics: insights into each individual post and which actions were on paid vs organic posts. Includes Post Reach, Likes, Comments and Shares.
      • What it tells us: How many people are seeing a post and how. The most common action is a like.

        facebook insights

    • Visits:
      • Metrics: what sites are driving the most traffic to Facebook and what people do once they get there.
      • What it tells us: Where people are coming from and what information they are looking for.

        facebook insights

    • Posts:
      • Metrics: Shows which types of content performed best and when.
      • What it tells us: What kind of content we should be creating more of.

        facebook insights

    • People:
      • Metrics: insights into audience gender, age, and location, and which types of people engage with your posts the most.
      • What it tells us: Insights into who we should target for non-promoted posts and who we may potentially need to pay to reach.

        facebook insights
  • One Ring to Shortcut All

    Oct 16 2013

    While The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch was the talk of domestic media last week, a far more sophisticated wearable gadget hit the Japanese airwaves. "Ring" – a product currently in development by Japanese start-up,, is a straight out of science fiction wearable device which allows you to send commands to smart devices by making gestures with your finger. Control your music player, unlock the security gate, exchange your data – all with a simple gesture.

    Write "TV" in the air and flip your finger to turn it on

    Pay bills by drawing "$12" in the air

    Shake hands to share contact information

    When it comes to wearable gadgets, aesthetics are key to purchasing decisions. Ring's sleek and stylish design has a low profile and is likely to be adopted by both women and men. is planning to publish APIs to third-party app developers as well as an online store for applications and devices. The product is currently underway to be released in the U.S. and Japan in 2014.

    More about Ring and (*in Japanese)

    Hiroko Suyama - Art Director
  • Alloy Digital and Break Media merger: Bigger is better

    Oct 15 2013

    It's official. Yesterday, Alloy Digital and Break Media announced that the two companies have merged, forming Defy Media. Alloy Digital owns highly-ranked YouTube brands, including the comedy channel SMOSH, and brings a female audience to the table as well as a larger YouTube presence. Break Media is a leader in male-targeted content creation and distribution with a stronger off-YouTube audience. Both target the 12-34 year-old demographic that advertisers are clamoring to reach with digital content sites.

    While executives say Defy Media will be profitable from the get-go, combining forces will better position the company to make money outside of YouTube, which is known to take a significant portion of revenue from videos hosted on the platform. This 50-50 joint venture between Alloy Digital and Break Media will help strengthen their shows and brands through cross promotions and traffic driven to sites owned and operated by the newly merged company. With the scale of these two properties (representing more than 400 million video views a month), Defy Media is also hoping to be considered a digital alternative to television by advertisers looking to reach a young audience.

    Many analysts are predicting that this is the beginning of consolidation due to the cluttered and fragmented online video environment that both consumers and advertisers are having trouble navigating. Time will tell how things shake out.

    Tina Weinsoff - Integrated Media Strategist

  • Fans mourn together, light a candle with Vine

    Oct 11 2013

    Last night, FOX's hit TV show Glee said goodbye to one of its biggest stars in a tribute episode to late actor Cory Monteith. FOX turned to social media to encourage fans to mourn "Finn Hudson" together by setting up a microsite, a dedicated hashtag (#RememberingCory) and lighting a candle — through a tweet-able Vine link of a lit candle.

    While the 31-year-old Monteith is not the first actor to pass away at the height of his popularity, his death is one of the first in the social media era to be dealt with on-screen. And, as social media continues to break down divides between brands and consumers, Glee is allowing its fans ways to engage and share their memories of Monteith together.

    In addition to the candle-lighting Vine tweet, the "Remembering Cory" site has links to Monteith’s favorite charities, downloadable images of the actor to share and a behavioral treatment center locator for any fans who may be considering therapy. Monteith died from a drug overdose in July. For a show with high ratings and a huge social media following — allowing fans to participate in a virtual vigil along with the cast and crew of Glee was an innovative tribute to a beloved actor and character.

    Susan Shimotsu - Public Relations Specialist

  • Amazon's New Kindle Adds “Mayday” Help Button; Sets New Precedent For Customer Service

    Oct 07 2013

    Customer service rarely has a good reputation these days. Often, customers seeking service must slog through an FAQ page before they are able to find even the number to reach a real person.  Amazon is out to change that for their customers. Not only have they added a “Mayday” button to Kindle, the e-retail giant is on a hiring spree to shore up its customer service staff for the holiday season. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has always been vocal about Amazon being the leader in customer satisfaction “based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments.”

    The “Mayday” help button is a new built in feature available on Amazon's new Kindle Fire HDX.  By default it lives on the device's home screeen and instantly connects users to live video chat with a HUMAN Amazon customer service representative.  You don’t even have to go looking for that pesky serial number buried under the battery – customer service instantly know what device you have and likely already knows your issue

    Amazon has blazed yet another new trail in the e-retail experience with the Mayday button following the surprising success of customer-centric Amazon Prime. As Amazon consistently works to optimize all steps in its sales funnel, it only makes sense that they would dedicate efforts to the customer retention level by providing a new and satisfying customer service experience.

    Will other companies start to follow Amazon’s customer-centric mantra and follow suit?


    Jessica Lee - SEO Specialist

  • Facebook Openly Targeting Business Customers with Free Wi-Fi Play

    Oct 04 2013

    Photo: Getty Images

    Today Facebook officially announced the rollout of a Cisco-driven Wi-Fi system called Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) for Facebook, which will allow businesses or venues to provide free Wi-Fi to their customers so long as they check in to the place on Facebook first. Several businesses have been testing the service quietly since January.

    This potentially transforms the social check-in by providing a service of universal value to consumers. Check-ins are otherwise incentivized by promotions specific to the location or the perceived social currency afforded by the check-in.

    This looks to be a good move by Facebook, which has endured critique for its other attempts at product development (Facebook Home, anyone?) and has been struggling to retain social media-wary users. This will certainly affect Facebook activity tied to CMX-enabled events and locations, which may lead to more activity on the app in general. (If you check in to Facebook to access Wi-Fi, why not browse your newsfeed?) This also represents a decision by the Facebook brand to openly move toward a more of business/retail friendly niche as opposed to attempting to be an omnipresent social companion. That’s what Instagram is for, and they own it, after all.

    The benefits to businesses include more access to (reportedly anonymous) data about the people that check in, and therefore the ability to deliver more targeted advertising. This will also likely provide incentive to businesses to evaluate their content strategy to account for an influx of people accessing the Facebook page from within their walls.

    From today's announcement, via AdAge: "Consumers connect to the network of a participating business, open their browser on any mobile device or laptop and a Facebook check-in page appears. After checking in, consumers are directed to the business' Facebook Page, where they can receive the latest information about the venue. Facebook provides aggregated anonymous insights about people's activity on their Page, including demographics such as age, gender and city. Businesses can analyze this data to better understand their customer's preferences and deliver targeted promotions—ultimately improving their advertising and marketing campaigns…Any business is welcome to use Facebook WiFi. You just need a router that supports Facebook WiFi, and a valid local business Page on Facebook."

    Finally, it will be interesting to see how Facebook-enabled Wi-Fi might be used to create interactive experiences beyond the local business or event angle. For example, Coke rolled out a pop up park in Amsterdam, an extension of its much lauded 2.0 vending machines. Add CMX for Facebook WiFi and a custom Facebook page and you have achieved what we marketers like to call a socially optimized interactive experience.
  • Chief Creative Officer Howie Cohen on how he's applied Phelpsian philosophy to a successful 41-yr marriage. (Tissues may be in order).

    Oct 03 2013
    The Monday Morning Meeting at Phelps this week featured heartfelt advice from Chief Creative Officer, Howie Cohen, who has applied the Phelpsian philosophy of open, honest communication, teamwork, and true emotional connections to 41 years of marriage, and counting. A copywriter to the core, Howie's advice was succinct but profound:

    Today, I was proud to announce that on this day, 41 years ago, my wife Carol and I said "I do" at the Plaza Hotel in NYC

    People ask, "What's your secret?"

    The best answer I can give is that we follow the Phelps model.

    There are no bosses in our relationship, no departments, and no conflicts of interest.

    Carol and I are a self-directed team in a full feedback environment.

    Truth is our highest value.

    Our core belief is that great marriages live in the heart.

    Which is why we’ve always made strong emotional connections with each other…every step of the way…along this amazing journey called marriage.

    Howie and his family, along the journey

    Happy anniversary, Howie!