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Stop Paying For Traditional Advertising

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traditional advertising

Everyday I come across companies that are spending tons of money on advertising that is yielding them subpar results. This then makes them believe that advertising does not work. What’s the problem with their strategy? They are using traditional advertising in places where their consumers’ attention is not.

The shift towards digital consumption has significantly grown over the last few years, where most things can now be done on the Internet. Most of our social interactions and the way we consume content is largely taking place through mobile devices as a result of convenience and flexibility. The answer to many of our problems can now be resolved at the touch of a button. Catching up with friends, shopping, binge-watching a TV series, reading the news, or learning a new skill can all be done through mobile device and social apps. Companies that have not innovated themselves to a digital platform are being eliminated by those that have. Of course, not everyone has adopted these mediums as their go-to, some people still rather get their news from a newspaper, or catch up with an old friend at a coffee shop.

However, it is evident that our attention is leaving traditional mediums and continues to shift to the new digital space. So my question to you: if we are spending so much of our time in this digital space, why are we still trying to build businesses and sell products in the old traditional world? Why are big corporations spending their large marketing budgets on expensive traditional advertising when they can be spending a fraction of the price to advertise where our attention is? Not only does the digital world have our attention, but it is cheaper to advertise on, you can directly target your audience, and we receive insightful data that cannot be obtained through traditional forms of advertising. I will really be focusing on Facebook Ads because that is where you can currently find good value right now.

ATTENTION

When it comes down to it, marketing and advertising is about communicating a message to your target audience in the most effective and efficient way possible. It’s all about finding where your consumers are spending most of their time and figuring out how to position yourself in that space.

Billboards are meant to grab the attention of the bored passenger who is staring aimlessly out of the car window and to get glances from the driver. However, this was created when our attention was in the traditional world and before this digital space existed. Today, we have mobile devices that connect us directly to the digital world whenever and wherever. We are no longer bored staring out of car windows, we are on our phones.

Even TV commercials have become less effective than they used to be due to the digital world. We have the ability to stream shows and movies online with no commercial breaks, or we can record television programs that we are interested in seeing to watch at a later time. Much like the billboard, TV commercials were designed when this digital space was non-existent and the only way to ‘skip’ through advertising was by changing the channel. We are no longer consuming television in the traditional scheduled way. Instead of having to pay attention to that commercial we can skip through it (if it’s recorded), we can change the channel, or we can turn to our devices to distract us.

It has become so easy for individuals to be absorbed by their mobile devices whether at home or on-the-go. While this distracts many from traditional advertising, it opens up a whole other realm that holds strong potential when one’s attention is primarily shifted to the digital space. Not only does it allow for a sense of immediate connection, such as real-time conversations on social media during a live award show or sports game, but it is a space that holds opportunity for companies to target users at the right moment.

TARGETING

Digital takes targeting the right audience to an extreme. Unlike traditional methods of print and TV advertising, Facebook, for example, gives companies the upper hand in narrowing down where advertisements will be seen. You have the option to define your audience through key demographics like age and location, or through interests, likes, and/or groups they are part of. With Facebook Ads, you have the ability to showcase your ads to valuable consumers, target those who are interested in your competitors, and even those that work at Company X. This is killer for B2B! If you have a B2B company and know exactly which companies would benefit from your product/service, you have the option to run ads against the employees of that company. There is even the advantage of having creatives positioned differently for Company A and Company B, a strategy that can be worthwhile if done correctly.

One trick that I like to do is that if I know I am going into a meeting with said company, I will run ads against them so that they will become aware of our company and what we provide for our clients. By doing this, I am attempting to sell my services before I step into that meeting and I hope they walk into it already knowing they want to work with me.

PRICING

If you are paying for traditional advertising, you are most likely OVERSPENDING. While these forms of advertising are losing consumer attention, the prices do not reflect that. Digital is a great place to advertise because there does not necessarily have to be an excessive amount of overhead costs like with print and billboards that will cost you material and labour.

One number that I find absolutely insane and a great way to gauge ad value is through CPM (cost per thousand impressions). To advertise on TV you will find yourself paying approximately $25-$30 CPM, while a good chance of that can be saved with Facebook Ads ($5-$10 CPM).

For about one-third of the price, the same audience size can be reached with a more targeted approach. It is important to take advantage of these low costs on Facebook while they last and have your advertising budget used to the best of its potential.

CONVERSIONS + ANALYTICS

Traditional advertising is measured through audience measurement systems and is not as in-depth as digital advertising. Traditional efforts focus on brand awareness with a possible call-to-action, while digital ads have the ability to make better conversions due to convenience. With the click of a button you can send consumers to a product on your website or to sign up for an upcoming event. This allows consumers to remain connected with your company almost instantly.

The insights provided by Facebook Ads allows for user interactions towards advertisements to be tracked (based on the specific CTA being measured, e.g. downloads, signups, purchases). While traditional methods provide you with statistics on average viewership of particular content, Facebook Ads only charge you for what you receive. If your ad is viewed 1,000,000 times, you pay for 1,000,000 impressions, whereas on traditional if a magazine on average sells 100,000 magazines, you pay for that even when this issue only sells 39,000 copies. The same goes with analytics retrieved from video ads. Video analytics provide you with concrete and valuable data that can show where your viewers drop off (such as in the first 3 seconds), giving you the opportunity to address the problem at hand. You have the ability to test your ads for relatively cheap and can identify what needs to be fixed. Don’t blow your budget on something that may not produce quantifiable results.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Advertising campaigns done through social media connects the audience to a brand’s page. You not only get to capture attention from your target audience, but, if done properly, this will turn them into loyal followers. It’s harder for traditional methods to directly and easily convert consumers into followers and retain that same audience in the long run. By using digital, advertising to a target audience is more than getting your company’s name or product at the surface. The next step relies on the company’s responsibility to provide valuable and informational content on their socials to keep their followers interested and establish a meaningful connection.

Having a strong social media presence alongside digital ads gives your company a more reputable presence. Customers or potential customers choose to follow you on your socials where it is not forced or expected. Instead, these customers see the value in your brand/company and make the decision to reach out to you (even if that reaching out is a simple like, share, or comment). This kind of engagement is crucial in building sentiment surrounding your brand in the digital world.
Don’t get comfortable doing things simply because they worked in the past or because they are considered safe. I want you to be able to recognize overpricing and attention shifts so that you will be able to identify the next best place to advertise and not get stuck in the “old ways”. One day, our attention will start to shift away from digital and I’m sure there will still be people paying to advertise there. Always look to the future and play the long game.

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Depop: Etsy’s $1.6B Ticket to Access Gen Z’s Market

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Depop is the home to progressive and diverse finds when it comes to fashion. However, is that why Etsy bought it for a dazzling price of $1.625 billion? Perhaps it’s one of the reasons, but that’s not the end of the story. It all comes down to the target market.

Depop and Gen Z

If you’re wondering what Depop is and why on earth it’s worth more than $1.6 billion, then you’re not alone. To give you a quick overview, Depop is a startup eCommerce marketplace for fashion. It’s a place where people can buy, sell and discover unique items. Let’s say if Instagram and eBay had a baby, it’s probably similar to Depop. 

Depop makes it its mission to provide a “community-powered” fashion ecosystem to its consumers. It’s a brand that is kind to people and much kinder to the planet. Aside from being an online eCommerce site, it has become a community. It managed to evolve into having a community that’s creative, diverse, inclusive, and progressive.  

The fashion eCommerce has over 26 million registered users hailing from 147 countries. It’s a marketplace where 90% of active users are under the age of 26. So yes, the majority are Gen Z’s. The most popular categories found on the website are vintage, one-of-a-kind clothes, Y2K, and streetwear.

Etsy, for $1.6 billion, gambled on the booming market for second-hand goods. Not only that, it gained access to Depop’s young and fashion-conscious audience. This scenario is an excellent example of how much brands are willing to pay to enter the Gen Z market. 

Why is Gen Z’s Market important?

Currently, Millennials and Gen Z’s dominate the rank if we’re talking about online consumers. Although Millennials now sit at the throne as the most extensive consumer base, change is inevitable. As Gen Z’s grows old, they will slowly surpass millennials as the largest consumer base. By 2026, it’s expected that Gen Z will entirely surpass millennials. 

Aside from its huge market base, Gen Z’s are considered ethnically diverse consumers. Also, they’re the most educated generation which explains why they always doubt brands. Gen Z values authenticity, transparency, and being unique. It’s the generation where they’ll research everything about your business before purchasing. 

It makes sense why $1.6 billion is spent to acquire an active marketplace with existing Gen Z users. Let’s take it as a shortcut to access the soon-to-be primary consumers of the world quickly. Aside from their extreme distrust of unknown brands, Gen Z’s are known to value brands that show authenticity.  

So now, it’s obvious why brands go through extreme lengths to secure their market base for the long run. 

Depop’s Business Worth

So far, it’s clear why Etsy bought Depop, especially if we emphasize the percentage of Gen Z users on the website. But it’s not enough to measure the scale of Depop’s business worth. 

Here are two key factors that can show at what level Depop’s is worth: 

  • Gross Platform Spend, 2020’s Revenue

In 2020, Depop earned $650 million and $70 million, respectively, each increasing over 100% year-over-year.  

  • Gross Platform Spend Trend, Historical

From 2017 to 2020, Depop’s gross market sales grew at an 80% annual growth rate. 

From the 2020s 70 million revenue, Depop is valued at 23.2 times compared to the previous year’s top line. It’s notable how Etsy sees Depop as a high-growth “SaaS business” instead of a consumer marketplace. 

Depop and Etsy

The majority of younger shoppers have been maneuvering the shift of resale on a broader note. Besides, according to GlobalData PL, 40% of shoppers under 24-years old have been buying second-hand fashion. This study explains why Depop, where they can resell unique items, is popular with Gen Z’s. 

Meanwhile, Etsy is widely known as a marketplace for handmade goods where you can buy vintage items. According to CEO Josh Silverman, the transaction is a way to deepen their connection with the younger generation. The company had $1.8 billion in cash, investments, equivalents, and balance sheet. It also had an undrawn $200 million revolving credit facility last March. 

Although Etsy has acquired Depop, the current chief exec of Depop is encouraged to continue running the marketplace. As for Etsy, it will remain in London and will continue its operations as a stand-alone marketplace.

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Penji Review: How unlimited is it REALLY? (+25% Promo Code)

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Move over Fiverr. Unlimited graphic design services are the newest alternative to hiring a graphic designer. But, these services bring up many questions. For example: How unlimited is unlimited graphic design?

We tried out one of the top services: Penji.

Like many of their counterparts, Penji offers graphic design work on a monthly subscription. We put their promise of fast turnaround, high-quality, and affordability to the test.

You can submit as many design projects as you want via their online portal, and they’ll complete your requests one at a time until your queue is complete. This type of service promises to be a great added resource for teams to improve productivity.

Does it sound too good to be true? We thought so too. So, we signed up to see for ourselves.

This article was updated on June, 2021.

Quick Summary

As with any service, there are pros and cons. To help with your graphic design hiring decision, we decided to condense what we found in a bulleted list below. Here’s a quick summary of our review of Penji’s unlimited graphic design service.

(Still wondering what “unlimited graphic design” is? We explain what it is here.)

Pros

  • Easy and quick to create design projects
  • Storage for all my requested designs
  • VERY fast turnaround on most projects. I expected just 1 draft in 24 hours but instead received 3 drafts. Revisions were sometimes completed the same day I submitted them.
  • Helpful features such as a revision tool, ability to invite team members, brand profile, and more
  • Upbeat and direct communication from everyone I interact with
  • A dedicated and responsive account manager who replies within a few hours

Cons

  • Can’t call or talk to designers
  • Best if you have design projects ready to submit
  • Not available as an app

Overall Experience

Penji’s “unlimited” design model is a great choice if you have the right expectations going in. The service is affordable for growing businesses and their output is reliable. However, if you’re expecting to be on-call or face-to-face with your designer, this type of service is not for you.

Compared to designing yourself, hiring freelancers, or using Fiverr, Penji is a much better service and value by a long shot. Their team of designers lived up to the promise and exceeded my expectations.

Thinking of trying Penji out for yourself? Here’s a special promo code for Owner’s Mag readers:

Use the Penji promo code “OWNER25” to get 25% off your 1st month.


PENJI FULL REVIEW

We put Penji to the test by signing up, requesting a design, and examining the results. Here’s how it went.

Final Verdict

We get it. You want to know how it went without reading all the mumbo jumbo.

All four projects were completed within two weeks and I was impressed with how they all turned out. If I had paid hourly or per project, these would’ve easily cost me well above $1200+ to get done, and probably taken weeks.

With Penji, it took just a few days and I paid a fraction of what I would’ve paid elsewhere. Definitely impressed with both the turnaround, quality, communication, and value this startup has to offer.

But Penji isn’t without its flaws. The service definitely isn’t for everybody.

Who would benefit:

  • business owners
  • marketers
  • agencies
  • creatives with consistent design needs

If you don’t have a consistent need, the bill will start racking up after a couple of months and you won’t see the value in the subscription.

However, if you do happen to fit their target demographic, then there’s no better alternative out there. The speed and quality of their work easily rival other services I’d ever used. For $399 per month, this is an absolute steal.

What I Did Step by Step

Now, if you want to get into the meat of how it went, keep on reading for every detail of how I got from the sign up screen to the final project.

Signing Up For Penji

Signing up for Penji was a relatively quick and painless process. All of my questions were answered in less than 5 minutes by customer support via Intercom and another 2 minutes to complete the checkout process.

Communication with Penji’s Support Team

How fast and reliable a company’s support team is before you are an active customer is a reflection of what’s to come. If they’re unresponsive now, it will only get worse once I’m a customer. I reached out to Penji’s customer support team via their Intercom chat popup and got a response within 30 seconds, which is pretty good. I asked basic questions and the agent seemed knowledgeable.

Communication as a Customer

All communication is done online through Penji’s proprietary online portal. That includes revisions, feedback, and answering any questions my designers may have.

Communication with Your Designers

Penji assigned me 1 designer, Billie, and communication with her was easy. If you have used any messaging platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, or Discord, you’d be familiar with this form of communication.

Billie was responsive, attentive, and always seemed to have a positive attitude no matter how demanding my requests were. She had many questions about the projects, which I tried my best to answer as a customer. Though the back and forth took longer than I wanted, I realized she was just being thorough to get the design done right, which I appreciate.

Communication with Your Account Managers

They assigned me an Account Manager, Charmaine, who was very quick whenever I needed something. It usually takes just a few hours for me to get a reply via email from her. When I had an issue with one of the projects, she quickly stepped in and helped resolve the situation.

1. Choose the Right Package

All the packages are laid out with monthly, quarterly, and yearly pricing. Starting at $399 per month for the Pro plan, you’ll be able to make unlimited graphic design requests with a 24-48 hour turnaround. As your design needs grow, you’ll have the Team and Agency packages to choose from.

2. Checkout

The form is straightforward and easy to fill out. Checking out was a breeze and took about 2 minutes.


3. Submit a Design Project

Clicking on the “+ Create new project” button, I’m presented with a visual chart of all the design categories they offer. They offer an extensive selection of options and even the ability to request a custom project.

4. Fill Out the Request Form

Next, I filled out a short form detailing what I wanted them to design. For those of you who hate long forms, this one from Penji is easy to follow and doesn’t ask too many questions. Most of the questions are actually optional so you can be as descriptive or non-descriptive as you like.

My test projects

As a digital publisher, we produce content on a daily basis and always have a need for on-brand graphic design. I created several projects to test how well-rounded Penji is and how they handle both simple and complex requests. A simple banner should be difficult, but can they handle a complex infographic with lots of texts and imagery?

Here are my test projects:

  1. Blog Graphic: Best DSLR Camera Equipment For Beginners
  2. Custom Illustration: Best Vacuum Cleaner Money Can Buy
  3. Facebook Post: Isometric Tech Gadget Graphic
  4. Magazine Print Cover (Owner’s Magazine’s 2020 May Edition

Despite creating four projects, the entire process was quick and smooth. It only took a few minutes to create them and their internal platform was lightning fast. At this pace, I can see myself submitting multiple projects on their platform with ease.


Turnaround Time

I expected at least one draft the next day. What I didn’t expect were three drafts ready for review. To give you a comparison, most freelancers and design firms we’ve hired take several days to submit just one draft.

The designs were surprisingly good considering that it’s the first draft AND they had a 24-hour turnaround. After reviewing, I realized how they did it. Every project had a different designer. I wasn’t assigned just one designer. It was like having my very own virtual design team.

4. Requesting Revisions

Though the designs were good, I still needed a few revisions. The drafts were turned around usually the same day or by the next day. Their support agent actually told me it will take 24 hours to turn around revisions. The revisions that took 24 hours were typically much more involved.

Overall, revisions were quick. Most came back within a few hours after I submitted them.

My one gripe would be that I prefer to have some sort of real-time chat with my designer or at least have a Zoom call. That’s one thing I like about working with my freelancers. Whenever they were online, we could just have a back and forth conversation to get the revisions across. I can’t do that with Penji.

Built-in Revision Tool

Penji has a built-in revision tool that lets me click anywhere on the design to leave a revision. I found this incredibly useful as it enables me to pin-point what I want to change.


The Results

It took about 1 week to go back and forth with revisions and edits for all 4 design projects. At the end of the week, I received the final drafts for all three. Here are the results of the three test projects.

1. Blog Graphic: Best DSLR Camera Equipment For Beginners

This far exceeded my expectations and will more than do for the blog I’m writing about DSLR camera equipment. I think most designers would probably just stop with 1-2 icons and graphics for this design. My designer decided to add the tripod, three lenses, drone, backpack, and a whole entire stage lighting kit.

I didn’t ask for those, but I’m impressed with the quality of the design. No revisions needed. I approved this project on the first try.

2. Custom Illustration: Best Vacuum Cleaner Money Can Buy

For this project, I asked my designer Kei to do a custom illustration of a man vacuuming his floor. He actually drew it up and sent me a rough sketch first before he started coloring it in. That was an extra layer of care and attention to detail I wasn’t expecting. Needless to say, I approved of his drawing and he delivered this draft the next day.

Revision

Everything in this graphic was hand-drawn and then colored digitally. Like the first project, I couldn’t think of any revisions except asking him to put the texts “Best Vacuum Cleaner Money Can Buy” on the graphic.

He went the extra mile and designed the text to fit the graphics. See for yourself above. It’s details like these that I would have had to harass my freelancer and he would try to nickel and dime me for every revision. Great work Kei!

3. Facebook Post: Isometric Tech Gadget Graphic

My designer Jave’s first draft amazed me because of how much detail he put into this project. I had asked for an isometric graphic with various tech products laid out on an isometric glass plane. I honestly thought my description may have been a bit too vague, but he understood my vision even better than I did.

4. Magazine Print Cover (Owner’s Magazine’s 2020 May Edition)

My designer Billie gave me 3 versions of the magazine cover. I don’t like version 1 at all. It looks too templated. I personally like version 2 and 3 and left revision notes accordingly. The coronavirus image was entirely her idea and I love it.

Revision

This project took a bit longer than the others because my designer Billie had questions and we had a lot of back and forth. I didn’t mind at all since she was asking good questions that I should’ve included in my design request. Overall, I appreciated the extra time she took to understand me and the project better.

About three days later, I received another draft which blew everything before it out of the water.


Reviews From Other Sources

Because you may not take our word for it, here are some of the most recent reviews from other sources:

Jan Kartusek

Jorge Vila

IM Nights

Disclaimer: we receive an affiliate commission when the Penji promo code is used, however, the review is based on our experience.

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Graphic Design Tips You Need to Know

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If you’re not putting enough effort into your visual branding, there’s a chance your brand would be defunct in a few year’s time. Sounds harsh? Well, think about this – research by Kinesis says 75 percent of consumers judged a brand’s credibility based on website design. That being said, it’s vital to know the best graphic design tips to keep your business afloat and thriving.

Stick to a Color Scheme

This is one of the most crucial marketing graphic design tips pros swear by. To create a strong visual branding, you need to pick a color palette and stick to it. Resist the urge to overload your scheme with too many hues. Otherwise, you risk making your visual look amateurish and tacky. 

If you’re having trouble picking a color scheme, consider color psychology. According to this field of study, colors can invoke moods or emotions. For instance, red signifies passion while blue channels peace and calm. Make sure to pick a hue that expresses your brand identity or what you want your audience to feel when engaging with your brand.

Use Fonts Wisely

Choosing fonts wisely is one of the graphic design techniques that separates pros from newbies. Without a doubt, one could get excited scrolling down a long list of new and cool fonts. However, too many fonts or using styles that clash against each other can wreak havoc on the visual. The rule of thumb is to never use more than three fonts in one design. 

Also, if you’re combining two fonts in one copy, they need to have contrasting differences. For instance, using one serif and one sans serif font is a go-to trick for many pros.

Negative Space is Your Friend

Negative space pertains to the blank area in the design that surrounds the text or image. One of the best graphic design tips for beginners is to embrace negative space and not crowd every pixel with a design element.

But what exactly does negative space contribute to a design? For one, it offers a break to viewers, helping them absorb info better. In addition to that, it also brings the viewer’s attention to the crucial parts of the design. That said, not using negative space enough or having too little of it can result in a visual that’s too “noisy” for the eyes.

Ask Help from a Pro

Sure, you can take a pseudo crash course of all of the graphic design hacks out there. But if you don’t have the patience to actually put them into practice, then they won’t help your brand in any way. 

If you’d rather focus your energies on other facets of the business, then it’s best to hire a pro to handle the creative work for you. Reputably designers know graphic design best practices by heart, and they can save you a lot of time, money, and effort. 

In the end, it’s not about how beautiful or trendy your graphic designs are. Instead, it’s all about making sure that your visual assets reflect your brand values and let them shine through in every design.

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