Category: Advertising

3 of the Best Ways to Market During the Holidays

As consumers, we are primed to spend during the holidays— from holiday gifts to party planning, and deciding which businesses to invest in for the upcoming year.

This influx of demand for products and services is a spectacular opportunity for marketers to tap into a new consumer base that has yet to discover what their brand offers. This is also one of the most profitable times of the year for companies, which is why a strong marketing strategy is crucial. Data-driven marketing can result in a surge of customer following, thereby amplifying sales and brand awareness.

So what are the best strategies to implement during this festive time of year? Here’s what you need to know.

3 of the Best Ways to Market During the Holidays

Make a Connection with Your Audience

I think we can all agree that the holidays are an emotional time – so it is vital to connect with your audience on an emotional level. Once you do this, sales or digital traffic (website, social media, etc.) will follow. Time to gather the troops and brainstorm on how your business can tug on those heartstrings, just a bit!

Extend a Kind Gesture

Up next – the holidays are meant to bring out the goodness in everyone – peace on earth, goodwill toward men; all that jazz – so you could consider doing giveaways for your customers or advertise that a percentage of all proceeds made during a certain period will go towards a charity or cause. A kind gesture that will most definitely strike a chord with your consumers and show that there are people behind the business.

Consider the Customer Experience

While many consider this time of year as one of the most magical seasons, there’s no denying that it also carries quite a bit of stress with it. Therefore, it seems prudent to make your customer’s experience with you as stress-free as possible. For example, a lot of businesses have implemented a personality quiz on their websites. This helps customers narrow down the perfect gifts for their loved ones – this small website feature significantly diminishes stress amongst consumers, which in turn reduces stress for us. Win-win situation, if you ask me.

Finally, you need to optimize for mobile users. A lot of consumers prefer to use their smartphones to shop, so it’s imperative to ensure they’re being engaged. Push notifications are a phenomenal way to update clients about holiday offers, giveaways, etc. All you have to do is find the platform that best suits your business, and then decking the halls will be a piece of cake.

Optimize Your Online Presence with King and Columbus

We hope you enjoyed learning about three of our favorite marketing strategies for the holidays! If you’re excited to learn more about how you can implement a data-driven marketing strategy for the upcoming new year, contact us today at King and Columbus for your free business evaluation. Happy holidays from our team to you! We can’t wait to help your business grow in 2022.


Are you looking for more helpful ways to optimize your marketing strategy and website? Read our blog on Google Analytics vs. Google Tag Manager!

6 Strategies You Need After the End of Third-Party Cookies

Cookiepocalypse – The Impact of Google Losing Third-Party Cookies 

Why Is Google Losing Third-Party Cookies? 

2021 was a roller coaster for advertising. At King + Columbus, it certainly kept our team on our toes, but we enjoyed the challenge! 

From the start of 2021, the California Consumer Privacy Act put major limitations on Facebook Advertising; this change made businesses’ ability to track and target their consumers difficult. Additionally, the release of Apple’s iOS 14.5 software update presented unique challenges; this change prohibited certain types of data collection and sharing unless users chose to opt into tracking. As more people downloaded the update, more people opted OUT of tracking. The result was a severe limit on ad personalization and performance reporting. 

As they say, everything happens in threes! Next, Google officially announced that it won’t use third-party cookies in Google Chrome in 2023. Google Chrome made up more than 56% of the web browser market in late 2019. Because Google Chrome accounts for more than half of all global web traffic, the impact will be monumental. Google stated that their decision was “subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).” In other words, they are caving to regulatory pressure. 

The Context 

Google has found itself between a hard chocolate chip and tough cookie dough. If they cut off third-party tracking, it harms other advertising companies and could potentially increase their already dominant presence in the ad space. If they don’t, they will most likely come under fire for not protecting user privacy. No matter which way Google chooses, they most likely will be attacked by regulators, privacy advocates, advertisers, publishers, and anyone else that uses the internet. 

To help mitigate its dilemma, Google started, whose goal is to “aim to create web technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers the tools to build thriving digital businesses to keep the web open and accessible to everyone.” Google claims that they are following suit with other browsers by eliminating third-party cookies. However, they worry about the immediate impact. 

Excited because we absolutely need a more private web, and know third-party cookies aren’t the long-term answer. Worried because today many publishers 

rely on cookie-based advertising to support their content efforts, and cookie blocking was already spawning privacy-invasive workarounds that were even worse for user privacy. 

Privacy Sandbox helps mitigate these issues and is developing technology to replace and improve web tracking and conversions. Google also stated, 

As our industry has strived to deliver relevant ads to consumers across the web, it has created proliferations of individual user data across thousands of companies, typically gathered through third-party cookies. This has led to an erosion of trust: In fact, 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms, or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to a study by Pew Research Center. That’s why last year Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies; it’s also why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. 

In other words, Google is willing to usurp the technology to lessen damage to its advertising platform and its users’ campaign performance. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The phasing out of third-party cookies is a lot to take in, but what does it mean for your business? Keep in mind that cookies are just one of many tracking technologies used by advertisers, and as mentioned, other browsers, like Safari and Firefox, already removed third-party tracking. Google does not intend to build an alternative to track individuals as they browse online but wants to replace the functionality of cookies with the technology created through Privacy Sandbox. This point leads us to FLoC. 

Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) 

Google sees the opportunity for advertising technology to lean away from third-party tracking and toward privacy-first tracking. Google explains that FLoC advertising technology may be the answer to eliminating cookies while allowing interest-based targeting and consumer privacy by tracking a user’s browsing habits and then placing them into various audience groups, or cohorts, based on their habits. Advertisers can then advertise to cohorts versus individual users. While Google has not shared what these cohorts are, we know that it will be a group of people with similar interests that businesses can target their ad campaigns toward. Google also claims that FLoCs are almost as good at producing results as cookie-based ad campaigns. 

FLoC can provide an effective replacement signal for third-party cookies. Our tests of FLoC to reach in-market and affinity Google Audiences show that 

advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising. 

Skeptics hold a strong argument against FLoCs: if large and small companies are bidding on the same cohorts, this move could likely push small businesses out of business and harm websites that rely on advertising revenue to survive. There’s no denying that this gives Google Chrome a lot of power over a substantial amount of advertising processes through its tracking and grouping of consumers into cohorts. When third-party cookies are removed in 2023, businesses that have collected and leveraged first-party data may be more capable of targeting ads than those that are solely dependent on Google FLoCs. 

What You Can Do 

1. Collect First-Party Data 

Now is the perfect time to amplify data collection efforts. One way to do so is by optimizing on-site experiences which make consumers want to share their identity with your brand. You can use enticing lead magnet tools, like pop-ups, that offer free and limited-time incentives. You can also offer free content and resources on your site as an incentive for consumers to sign up for your newsletter. Most importantly, don’t forget that looks can kill! If your site is not professional, intuitive, user-friendly, and visually appealing, consumers will be skeptical about sharing their information with you. They say data is worth more than gold, and mining your own data is certainly the case. Once you successfully convert users to share their information, there’s less of a need to employ Google’s advertising for customers to return to your site. 

2. Aim for High-Level Personalization 

Dedicated and returning consumers are the greatest. And, if you personalize product and content recommendations based on what they browse on your site, you give them a more personalized experience. You can understand how buyers navigate your site by looking at behavioral flow charts in your Google Analytics; this not only shows data on individuals, but also shows how customers flow through the site, what pages they spend the most time on, and what pages they drop off on. Understanding how buyers navigate your site allows you to enhance your pages, implement new features that improve the user experience, and increase overall sales. Similarly, you can use your opt-in database to customize your email and SMS campaigns. 

3. Implement a Referral Program 

Once cookies are gone, retargeting consumers that did not convert on your website is one of the biggest features that will be hit. With that, it is more critical than ever to create more customer-based marketing strategies. Referral programs are a great way for users to share your business with their network for rewards. This keeps social media a hot commodity as the best platform for sharing. Leverage your dedicated customers to bring in new customers. By using your new referral pipelines, you can flesh out customer profiles. 

4. Set Up a Subscription Service 

As consumers, we love subscription services! And as business owners, we love them as a means of growing online revenue and first-party data. Subscriptions tell us what customers like and how often they use a product or service. You can also create numerous quizzes, questions, and other inquiry forms to improve the customer experience, all while you gather data. This is an excellent way to build customer profiles. 

5. Create Engaging Content to Stay on Top of SERPs 

Targeting users directly may be difficult, but one thing that remains the same is the importance of SEO. Online visibility through keywords is still the most direct form of marketing. One of the most important components of SEO is increasing visibility, which allows consumers to find your website when they search for something. Visibility is directly correlated with your ranking. Google still wants to be the top dog when cookies are all over, and if they feel your site best answers what customers are searching for, you will be rewarded for it. 

One way to increase your SEO is by creating engaging content that is filled with keywords that you want to rank for. The higher you rank for the keywords, the higher you show on Google’s SERP page. This is why your SEO efforts must be extremely strategic and effective. It’s important to note that this strategy takes time to show results, which makes it imperative that you put the work in now. 

6. Set Up Tagging 

Investing in a strong tagging structure helps make the most of data that consumers share with you; it also allows you to accurately measure your campaign performance. You must set up tracking for user behavior and another for conversions. 

One of the best ways to make sure your site infrastructure is implanting tagging to its greatest ability is through Google Tag Manager. Here, you can set up tags for user behavior. Once these privacy-first changes go into effect, you can keep your customized tagging of consumer behavior while also modifying the user’s consent preferences. 

For tagging conversion tracking, you should set first-party cookies in the same domain as your site. Tags for conversions should be placed sitewide on every page of your website; this allows tags to efficiently measure and enhance your digital campaigns. You can do this by using Google’s global site tag (for Google Ads, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, Campaign Manager 360, and Google Analytics) or with Google Tag Manager (for all Google and non-Google tags). 

Final Thoughts 

Staying on top of what Google is doing in response to phasing out third-party cookies is imperative for your online presence and the future of your advertising efforts. Now, it’s 

time to make a game plan in anticipation of 2023. If you are a current client of King + Columbus for web, SEO, and/or Google ads, we’re already hashing this out for you! However, if you are concerned about the future of your website, visibility in SERPs, or how you’ll bid and target within Google Ads, our team would love to talk with you! Receive a free consultation with our seasoned pros and we’ll come up with a sustainable strategy that is customized for you. 

Want to learn more about Google’s recent decision to phase out third-party cookies? Read our blog on four things you should know about Google’s cookie phasing out. 

Tips for Commercial Video in 2019

In an age where everyone wants  to avoid ads and commercials, the truth is that commercial video is engaging more people than ever before. Video can incorporate many types of content, such as graphics, text, voiceover and photos. All of these come together to create a medium that stops page scrollers in their tracks. Showing your product or service in action is the preferred way for customers to learn what you have to offer. Every business should be using video in some capacity to reach customers or clients. But what are the most important aspects to focus on when building commercial video?

Find the right platform

Between YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more, it can be challenging to create video that connects with the right audience through the right platform. In most cases, commercial video should be built with the platform in mind. Creating video ads for YouTube is entirely different from Snapchat. Users have different expectations for each video service, and the ads they find on that service should align with their expectations.

For example, Snapchat users aren’t expecting to watch a professionally shot and edited video on that platform. They come to see quick clips from their friends. Between viewing stories from their friends, users expect that ads will have the same look and feel. Knowing how to create an ideal snapchat ad is a useful skill, but the key is to never overthink it.

YouTube ads live on the opposite end of that spectrum. This platform is more suited for people that log on expecting to spend quality time with their viewing content. This environment is perfectly suited for YouTube’s ability to provide highly targeted ads on videos. It’s a more personal experience that requires a more professional touch. As a bonus, YouTube has added vertical video to its available formats for video ads.

Email is also a fantastic home for video marketing, and it is often overlooked.  Using video in email marketing can lead to much greater click-through and open rates, as well as increasing how often the video is shared among potential customers.

Utilize the right content

The quality of the video is only one aspect to consider when choosing a platform, though. Equally important is the actual content of your video. While customer testimonial videos work great on almost any platform, other types of content like informational videos don’t necessarily fit on a platform like YouTube or Snapchat. YouTube videos can be longer than most platforms, but viewers don’t want to spend too much brainpower on a video ad there. Video tutorials that explain a product or service will always find a better home on your website, where customers intentionally visit to learn more.

Traditional video ads focus more on marketing a line of products. But recent trends show that video marketing focused on a specific product can be effective. Because it is so important to instantly grab a viewer’s attention, video marketing should cut right to the chase. Show your audience exactly what they get from your business instead of leaving them wondering who and what you are as they click the skip ad button.

This is highlighted by a recent trend in film trailer marketing. Have you noticed that every movie trailer on the internet now has a 5 second highlight reel full of the best parts of the trailer your about to watch? While this might feel awkward in front of a trailer that you specifically choose to watch, it makes a huge different on services like Twitter, where you want to capture attention as people scroll through posts. Even though this specific tactic can’t be used for product videos, it is proof that finding the right way to quickly grab attention is very important.

Find the right tone

The most unique thing about video content is its ability to connect with our emotions far better than most still images can. The largest driving force in video sharing is emotional content. Research has identified that there are essentially just four basic human emotions. It doesn’t take long for viewers to understand that your video makes them happy, sad, afraid or angry. Once you know the best platform for your video and what content you are featuring, you can identify the best emotion to target in your brand marketing.

If you know your video is going to appear on social media channels, it might be best to showcase a lighter side to your company. You can build engagement and a personal connection through a happy tone. On the other hand, companies with an important message can utilize negative emotions like sadness or fear. This tone is often found in more traditional commercial video on television and in front of movies. Negative emotions rarely fit into viral content, but they can spur people to action when viewed in a more traditional format that can’t always be skipped over.

Get started with video now

Video marketing is the most important tool in a businesses’ toolbox in 2019. Understandably, it can be challenging to start making videos for your company without the right tools or skills. King and Columbus is announcing the launch of a new video package contest. The winner of the Bundle Up Video Giveaway will get a custom business photo and video package created by our expert team. Enter to win at

LinkedIn is becoming an advertiser’s best friend

LinkedIn is more than just a tool for professional networking and job seeking. The platform is also great for businesses looking to increase revenue.

Sponsored content has a valuable home within LinkedIn. This is thanks to recent changes made by the company that lead to “higher quality” clicks. LinkedIn is  focusing on helping businesses achieve their marketing goals. So what has changed and how can you maximize to your company’s benefit?

Campaign management:

One key change LinkedIn recently made to advertising campaigns is through mobile ads. When mobile users click on the “see more” option, ads with longer copy will now display the full text. This option previously sent users to a landing page or a lead generation form.
This change will allow for greater accuracy in your ability to measure campaign success. Click-through rates will now only reflect users who intend to follow a link within a digital advertisement.

Monitor success through Google integration:

Google Campaign Manager now accesses LinkedIn ad performance. The integration allows you to monitor ad success alongside other channels you might be using Campaign Manager to track. It can be very useful to compare your LinkedIn advertisement performance to your other paid campaigns.
Check out LinkedIn’s announcement post to find instructions for enabling Google Campaign Manager integration for your advertisements.

Carousel ads:

LinkedIn recently introduced Sponsored Content carousel ads. These advertising units can contain multiple pieces of sponsored content. A single carousel ad can feature up to 10 scrolling cards, allowing for a variety of visuals to engage your audience. Measure clicks and impressions individually by each card, so that you can see which visuals and stories work best. More than 300 advertisers tested the carousel Sponsored Content service and nearly 75%  saw a higher click-through rate than standard campaigns.

Targeted advertising:

A personalized experience is great for audiences, but privacy is just as important. Facebook has built a reputation for saving user’s personal information to generate highly targeted advertisements. While targeted ads can be great for your business, privacy concerns will turn your audience away. Testing users’ trust has led to a decrease in Facebook’s ad revenue.

User data privacy is not taken as lightly at LinkedIn, and audiences are beginning to understand that. Facebook confirmed that two-factor authentication stores phone numbers and then uses them in targeted ads. LinkedIn does not follow this practice.

LinkedIn’s ad targeting is only based on user’s actions and public information. Third-party data is not used in targeted ads. Easing the concerns of users will go a long way toward engaging them with your ads. A positive impression from your audience leads to increased ad revenue.


Want to explore more social advertising? Learn why Snapchat could be a good fit for your business.

3 paths to viral success

If you’re a small business, there’s about a 97.99% chance you’ve Googled how to produce content that will go viral. Probably recently – maybe even right now and that’s how you got to this page. What could be better than to have one of your marketing pieces connect to people on the level that they want to share it with everyone they know?

To do this, you basically need to make sure the content you’re curating is “share-worthy” for your customers. That’s the goal, right? You want to distribute messaging that people ultimately share with their networks, leading them back to your website to get the inside scoop on what you can do for them.

We’re not even going to front on the fact that we’ve spent a lot of time researching viral content marketing campaigns. By doing a deep dive into the mystery of viral success, we came out with these 3 takeaways:

  • Get personal with your audience. 80% of marketers say that personalized content has proven to be more successful than general content. At the core of a viral campaign you will find an emotional appeal that resonates with people. Create messaging that hits home with your target market, because the emotion evoked will determine the actions that follow. The goal is to reel people in so that they’re not only glazing over your piece, they’re engaging and sharing.

  • Connect people with what they care most about: themselves. People scroll through their social media newsfeeds on autopilot. The average person spends 12 hours and 7 minutes per day consuming media messaging. With so much clutter, it’s important to stand out with something that make folks think: It me. You want people to see themselves in your brand and product.

  • Create expressive messaging. Be as open, honest, and vulnerable as you want your customers to be when trusting you with their needs.

If you want your marketing message to go viral, one thing you can plan on is that it takes time to strategically plan and implement a viral campaign. Don’t have time to invest in the goal? HINT: Work with a team that knows the ins and outs of content marketing, and let them walk you down the red carpet to viral royalty.

Need help spreading the word? We can help with that.

3 Things You Need to Remember When Running Facebook Ad Campaigns

If you’re a community thought leader within a specific industry, you are constantly looking for the right customer audiences to target your messaging to. Where is the perfect place to find a niche group of people like that? One word: Facebook. There are approximately 620 million Facebook groups, presenting more than enough ways to gear ads toward targeted groups of potential customers.

Running an ad campaign is no doubt the best way to geo-target messaging and expand your reach. The process of actually running the ad is simple. I’m sure you can agree that the hard part is making sure the campaign is actually effective. The struggle can get real, so to make it easier, we narrowed the process down to the 3 most important components of a solid ad strategy:

Only make measurable changes to your ads. Your ads are going to change as you figure out what works and what doesn’t, and the biggest mistake businesses make is to change too many things at once (images, headlines, copy, etc.) without taking the time test each variable separately. By running different campaigns with single changes, you can track measurable results and make the appropriate adjustments. So, don’t even make one change unless you can absolutely measure its impact.

Use the Facebook pixel. We’ve covered this tool more in-depth in a previous post, and we’re back to say: please use this in your ad campaign. The pixel allows you to gather the correct data about your target consumers. To break it down, what can you track?

  • Opt-ins to company updates, newsletters, etc.
  • Product purchases
  • People who add a product to their cart and then abandon it

After several hundred conversions tracked by the pixel, Facebook will actually start targeting your ideal customers for you. Your ad campaign needs the pixel.

Your ad messaging needs to effectively connect with users. Facebook’s newsfeed update brings the platform back to its core: connection. Facebook has never been thought of as a place for people to shop. Does that mean your company’s ads will be ineffective? No. It means they need to align with that main goal of connection. Giving value to your ads and the overall content strategy of your campaign will capture the right customers’ attention.

If your business hasn’t started capitalizing on the opportunities running a Facebook ad campaign can offer, it should start now. It takes time to test the success of a campaign, and not only will you be investing your money – also your time. When you’re spending money (and time) on something, don’t you want to make sure it’s actually working?

Tools we Love for Small Businesses

Let’s be honest – when you’re kicking a business off the ground money can be tight. Finding the right tools is crucial for your budget, as well as your productivity. As a small business ourselves, we have some stellar tools that we use on a daily basis, and the best part is that they’re all low-cost. Several of them are actually free. Check ‘em out:

All-star accounting:

Billing, invoicing and keeping track of payments is every small business’ least favorite part of the ride. Additionally, it can be a confusing process. We’re a huge fan of Freshbooks, which is a tool that makes numbers a little less daunting. With a premium yearly plan at  only $45 a month it’s affordable and works very well. Freshbooks covers all types of things you would need, such as invoicing, expense reporting, estimate billing and more.

Web and Analytics tools:

How is your business doing online? To make sure you’re on top of your web performance, Google Analytics is something that every business should have. Google also has an SEO tool for keywords called Keyword Planner. Moz Keyword Explorer is another tool we love to use to find the best keywords for business. If used correctly it can increase clicks and leads.

Do you ever find that you need a fun copy filler? Our web designer recommends this cute cat themed lorem ipsum generator that will definitely answer that need


Want to create amazing social images but have no idea how to use photoshop? Canva is a design tool that has preset layouts that will make this a super easy task. You have the option of selecting an existing dimension for your needs, or creating custom dimensions for a special project. Canva also has a selection of free images. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, Pixabay is a great image resource for free photos.

Sometimes when you’re editing photos, it’s difficult to know exactly what colors you’re working with. Image Color Picker will help identify the hex code to fix that problem. In terms of typography, check out TypeWolf. They have the latest typography trend as well as site of the day featuring trendy typography

Managing multiple projects can get quickly get complicated. A tool we love for this whether solo, or on a team, is Trello. It is free for the basic package and then just $9.99 per month for a small team. This is a small price to pay for excellent, on-track communication. For social media management, there are several amazing tools out there, but we are definitely team Hootsuite.It’s free for up to three social accounts and then under $20 for 10 accounts per month. Hootsuite helps you visualize your entire social calendar and schedule posts pretty far in advance. Want to know which platform your customers are coming from? Use bitly to create unique links for each platform so you where your customers are.

These are only a few of the many tools we love for small businesses. Do you know of any we left out, or that you love? Share in the comments! We enjoy learning new things just as much as you do.

Who Won the Super Bowl Ad Game?

We all know that the main event of the Super Bowl is the (sometimes) amazing and innovative advertising we get to see from brands making their mark during the biggest game of the year. The average price tag on a 30 second ad slot during the Super Bowl is $5 million, so the pressure is on to make the campaign a good one.

The star of the ad show this year was definitely Tide.  Proctor and Gamble ran an incredibly unique campaign that tied a variety of their products together with the Tide brand, and essentially made you think that every ad could be a Tide ad. They bought an ad in every quarter, kicking off with a 45 second slot and then 15 second ads for each remaining quarter. Their goal was for Tide to take over the Super Bowl, by asking viewers to question all ads they saw: is this a Tide ad?

The ad game was strong all around, so we couldn’t just pick one favorite! Check out the other winners in our book:

Touchdown Celebrations to Come: NFL

Good Odds: Toyota

Alexa Loses Her Voice: Amazon

Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice

Which ads stood out to you? Let’s talk!

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