New Article: What Investors Should Know about the Millennial Housing Market

An article for new Mammoth client Roofstock, a leading turnkey rental property broker based in San Francisco.

The millennial generation is considered a little enigmatic in marketing circles, and a considerable amount of research has been conducted to understand how they think, what they buy and how they live. The real estate industry is taking serious notice as well.

Read more here:


By |2018-05-11T16:12:51+00:00May 11th, 2018|Categories: Creative|Tags: , |

Beat the Ad Blockers: Spend Less on Ads, More on Content

Once you ignore something for long enough, it becomes invisible. This is what’s happening to online advertising.

With Apple’s iOS9 operating system’s installed ad blockers, most ads on any given web page — ads that businesses have paid to be there — are not visible at all to consumers. Some of these ad blockers replace the ads with something else. Others don’t replace them with anything, leaving holes or broken links on the page.

While most people have applauded these applications for blocking ads that pop up in front of articles or videos they’re trying to enjoy, we can’t forget that these ads provide the revenue to make the content available for free to that audience. Advertising will always be linked to subscription-free and low-cost subscription content platforms. It’s like death and taxes.

(What are the advantages of putting more of your ad dollars into content? Click here to jump ahead.)

Eliminating ad blockers might not make much of a difference, though, thanks to a new phenomenon called “ad blindness,” which occurs when people don’t even notice ads anymore because they’ve already ignored them for so long.

Plus, no one is clicking on these ads even when they’re unblocked. Display ads have an average click-through rate of .1%, and only 8% of all web consumers account for 85% of all ad clicks. On smartphones, 40% of all ad clicks are made by mistake. As a business, when you think about how much of your marketing budget went into that 15-second video or banner ad that’s either being ignored or blocked, it’s enough to make you a little sick.

This is why marketers are turning increasingly more to “native advertising,” which are ads that mimic the content already on the platform. An ad on a magazine site will take the form of a relevant article, while an ad on a retail site will take the form of a featured product. What’s the difference? The ad is simply conceived, developed and presented differently, but not in an effort to trick the consumer: Native advertising is basically content which is designed to be sought out, enjoyed and shared by your customers, not ignored.

According to Business Insider, native advertising spending will eclipse $8 billion this year. By 2018, it will hit $21 billion. Marketers are putting more money, effort and creativity into creating content that will inform, delight and inspire consumers, rather than presenting them merely with images and videos of models with products.

The Content Fix

What are the advantages of putting more of your advertising dollars into content? Here are a few:

  1. It beats ad blockers and ad blindness: When your “ad” is part of a site’s content offering, ad blockers won’t block it and consumers will not ignore it. Early research confirms that people look at native ads 52% more often than display ads, and they look at native ads 25% more than banners.
  2. More engagement: Someone looks at a display ad for less than a second, but they linger longer on content.
  3. More clicks for your money: Native ads get seven times higher click-through stats than display ads.
  4. It’s mobile-friendly: Content is more easily accessed on mobile devices, making it more likely to be looked at.
  5. It lasts and lasts: Ads get taken down over time, and they are almost never shared. Hosted content in the form of things like articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, slideshows, etc. can be found through search engines, shared and posted by your audience on their social channels.

This is not to say that display ads are dead or not worth your time. A good display ad campaign online can do wonders for building and reinforcing your brand awareness. Alongside it, a native advertising or content campaign can give consumers something that actually informs them about the need for your products and services rather than just showing them how great they look in photos.

Interested in learning more about how to develop and share content for your campaign? Call Mammoth at (540) 252-5122 for a chat.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00November 25th, 2015|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content, Creative|Tags: , , , |

New Article: Your Non-Mobile Website Is Costing You

In this month’s Blue Ridge Leader:

“The stats are real: 67 percent of people are viewing your website for the first time on a mobile device. For some potential customers, it’s a huge inconvenience (and sometimes a deal breaker) when they can’t find your products or location from a few taps on their phone. Almost 50 percent of e-commerce activity is mobile, and an increasing number of shoppers exclusively shop on mobile devices.

“What makes a website mobile-friendly? In a nutshell, it needs to be readable and clickable from a small, handheld screen – a mobile phone or a tablet.”

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00August 11th, 2015|Categories: Creative|

New Site Launch: Moo Thru Ice Cream

If you’ve driven from Washington, D.C. to Charlottesville via the James Madison Highway 29, you might have seen the big red barn in Remington, Virginia with the long lines of people out front. This is Moo Thru, a popular spot for locally made ice cream. We just finished building their new website, a one-page WordPress site that’s fully responsive, mobile-friendly, and built on a content management system (CMS) that’s easy to edit and update by the client.

Check out the new Moo Thru site and if you’re passing through Remington, stop by for some great ice cream.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00June 12th, 2015|Categories: Clients, Content, Creative, Design|Tags: , , |

Graphic Designers Are Fired Up About Ted Cruz Campaign Logo

The Business Insider politics blog recently ran a feature on Twitter reactions among the graphic design contingent showing a group largely dissatisfied (or, “flaming out”) over what someone produced in the way of a logo for the Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) campaign for president.

Main criticisms are:

1. It looks like a burning flag
2. It looks too much like the Onion logo
3. It looks too much like the Tinder logo
4. It’s predictable
5. It’s boring

“SO MUCH needs to be said about this,” Debbie Millman, chair of the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York, told Business Insider.

“I think the logo is terrible, for two reasons. First: Really? He’s running for President and this is the absolute best he can come up with? It’s so ho-hum, it is so predictable and boring, that the immediate impression it projects is YAWN. Second: So the flame includes a burning flag? Isn’t that illegal?”

Whatever your take on the logo itself, you have to admit that it does sort of look like a flame. Throw in the American Flag imagery and you’ve got a burning flag. Or a flag that is a flame, meaning that it could burn something. It’s fire, basically.

Debbie Millman makes a good point, however, about the predictability. Imagery is shared, consumed and regurgitated so rapidly and widely these days that something as seemingly simple as a logo can have huge implications for your marketing campaign. When choosing a designer, you want someone who has the vision to think these things through before your audience does it for you.

This is one of those cases when “group brainstorming” might come in handy in a design review.

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00April 3rd, 2015|Categories: Creative, Design|Tags: , , |

New Site Launch: An Upscale Salon for Dogs

Dog owners in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Middleburg, Virginia, tired of dropping their dogs off at depressing places for dog grooming now have an upscale alternative. Mammoth has just finished work on their new, fully responsive website.

Check out the Studio Grooming Salon site here.

By |2015-02-12T14:36:38+00:00February 12th, 2015|Categories: Clients, Content, Creative|Tags: , , |

How’s Your Social Marketing? Grade It!

Social media’s big advantage over traditional print media is the ability to gauge metrics, i.e. crunch the numbers and learn if all those hours spent on Twitter and Facebook are attracting customers. But this capability is in some ways a two-edged sword: Online media metrics can also point out if it’s not working.

Whether you’re a marketer or a small business owner, you might want to do an extensive audit of your website and social networking accounts to make sure your time in front of the computer is maximized.

This is easily done. Google products (like Google Analytics) allow you to access and download reports on web traffic, subscribers, keywords and other ways people are accessing your web site. You can print charts and graphs to gauge traffic, repeat customers, geo-data and more.

Even better, and slightly more fun to play around with, is HubSpot’s Marketing Grader, which works very simply: Just enter your site url and generate a report that grades your site’s accessibility, set-up, SEO and popularity, among other things. This free product also give suggestions on where improvements can be made. Of course, the most extensive reporting must be purchased, but there’s enough free material to satisfy casual users.

If that one doesn’t help you track how your social networking is helping your website, here’s a list of 25 website grader tools that should help.

[I originally wrote this post for ReachFactor, a real estate reputation marketer.]


By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00February 5th, 2015|Categories: Brand Marketing, Content, Creative, Social Media|Tags: , |

Here’s Why People Aren’t Opening Your Emails

A lot of work goes into your email campaigns, from the brainstorming to the writing to the graphics. Sadly, many people on your mailing list won’t even see them because not enough thought went into one simple thing: your subject line.

If you haven’t signed up for Sidekick (a great email application that helps you organize and track your correspondences) I highly recommend it. This week, they are promoting research about email open rates and insight into why certain emails get opened and others don’t.

A few of the figures:

40% of emails are opened on mobile first – where the average mobile screen can only fit 4-7 words max.

33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone.

Emails with “You” in the subject line were opened 5% less than those without.

Emails with “Free” in the subject line were opened 10% more than those without.

There’s a lot of helpful data here to help you craft better subject lines. It’s important, however, to track your usage over time and pay careful attention to your metrics. Also, don’t forget your content marketing strategy, because you want people to have something to read when they open the message.

For example, email subject lines with “Alert” get opened more often, but if you use the word “Alert” excessively in your campaign the word might get worn out with your audience. The Internet can grow wearing of things quickly. For example there’s 18.7% decrease in open rates when the word “newsletter” is used in subject lines, which probably has to do with the fact that it is not only obvious but has been used too much.

On the other hand, words like “Video,” which also gets a higher open rate, can be used freely, since they describe specifically the content in the email. Also, video is a much bigger draw than text, so video will always get people clicking.

Source: Sidekick

By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00January 8th, 2015|Categories: Content, Creative|Tags: , |

4 Biggest Trends in Key Sales Markets: September 2014

by Brandon Barker

Before you decide where to put your advertising or investment dollars this month, it would help to know where the market’s headed, right? Consumer trends are constantly in flux, so what’s the best way to find out how your customers are really feeling?

It’s simple—ask them.

SurveyMonkey Audience—a powerful online tool aimed at targeting specific survey respondents—has partnered with investment research firm Blueshift Research to deliver free reports tracking on consumer trends affecting the marketplace. For our next installment, we took a look at key sales markets both from the online world as well as the brick and mortar world.

Here are the 4 biggest consumer sales trends of September 2014.

Click the link above to view our original article at Survey Monkey.


By |2017-06-11T22:05:50+00:00October 9th, 2014|Categories: Brand Marketing, Creative|Tags: , |