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Magna research: The do’s and don’ts of native and repurposed advertising on TikTok

By Michael Bürgi, Published by DigiDay

It’s hard to dispute that TikTok is currently the hottest social platform given its massive user base is on track to be about 750 million by year’s end, according to eMarketer (TikTok said its base is more like 1 billion).

But there are do’s and don’ts marketers (and the agencies that build and execute their campaigns) must pay close attention to, if they want to break through to the hordes of TikTokers sucked into its algorithmic maw of endless content.

Magna, the research and buying arm of IPG Mediabrands, sought to dig a bit deeper into what resonates, looking specifically at native advertising on TikTok, as well as ads repurposed from broader marketing campaigns on other platforms or media. The study, called “Understanding the Strengths of TikTok Ads,” was shared with Digiday in advance of its public release today.

Working with TikTok’s research team, Kara Manatt, evp and managing director of intelligence solutions at Magna, said the first “hard and fast rule” learned is that any repurposed ad needs to be converted to a vertical presentation, even if it requires redoing the creative.
“There was a huge difference in the performance of the same ad, depending on whether it was vertical or horizontal,” noted Manatt. Vertical ad recall hit 44 percent, whereas horizontal recall was 35 percent. More importantly, the study showed, purchase intent for vertical ads reached 8 percent, while horizontal achieved 3 percent. “That’s a very desirable impact on a metric like purchase intent,” she said.

Manatt pointed out that in many cases, marketers will need to factor verticality into the broader campaign because sometimes converting horizontal ads to vertical made them look “weird,” as she put it.
Generally, native ads performed better because they flowed more organically with TikTok’s user-created or creator-created content, added Manatt. Using beauty and entertainment clients she declined to identify out of client confidentiality, respondents to the survey found native ads “felt more like content,” she said. TikTok did not respond to requests for comment on the study.
Given its appeal to advertisers, how much is too much, even when it comes to native ads on TikTok? After all, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have gotten heat from their user bases about being overly cluttered with ads.

“There’s been a lot of discourse around how social experiences for users are feeling either really saturated or disrupted by ads,” acknowledged Sadie Miller, svp of social media strategy and partnerships at Magna sibling Reprise. “One of the things TikTok has a step ahead in, is that a lot of the ads that show up on the platform don’t feel like ads off the bat. [For example,] the virality of hashtag challenges — asking users to participate in a brand message — had never been done before. In essence, every participant was part of an ad campaign, even if it didn’t feel that way to them.”

Miller said TikTok’s appeal goes beyond just young audiences, and can help to connect with new audiences. It’s a major part of the consideration when launching social campaigns, having graduated from testing the waters last year.

“A lot of our brands spent 2021 testing it out,” said Miller. “Now we’ve established a great rhythm with brands on how to show up on the platform, which was one of the bigger hurdles” before, when brands used one creative platform to feed multiple social efforts.

Manatt went even further to point out that “anybody who’s really focused on new acquisition should lean into the native format, specifically…Native has the unique ability to cast a wider audience net, because it looks and feels like content. That’s exactly what we found with video completion — that people who have never purchased the brand before who are potential new customers, were more likely to watch the video with native versus repurposed.”

The study’s final learning, as Manatt saw it, was that brands that use TikTok in a native capacity have to prioritize the organic feel of whichever creator they are working through, and focus less on production quality. In other words, authenticity wins. “Brands have a tendency to want to make the creator do this high production thing that doesn’t even fit in with what their norm is right,” she said.

Read the Full Study

 

Read the Article in Digiday

ENTERTAINING AND AUTHENTIC TIKTOK ADS PERFORM BEST WITH CONSUMERS

New multi-market research by MAGNA, a unit of IPG Mediabrands, also reveals that repurposed ads can be highly effective on TikTok with the right guardrails in place

New York, NY – August 10, 2022 – Platform benchmarks matter, especially when it comes to advertising on TikTok, according to a new study by MAGNA Media Trials, MAGNA’s industry-leading proprietary research offering. The study, “Understanding the Strengths of TikTok Ads,” breaking today, determined that both native TikTok ads (videos custom-created for the platform) and repurposed ads (ads that are made for broadcast or streaming services but are repurposed for TikTok) drive positive brand favorability (8%), purchase intent (6%) and search intent (7%). Meanwhile, the study also showed that these two ad types are perceived very differently by consumers and require unique considerations to amplify effectiveness.

When done right, each ad type drives lower funnel metrics for brands and positively impacts long term branding. The study found that native TikTok ads tracked +6% in purchase intent (beauty vertical) and +6% in search intent (entertainment vertical) and +7% in positive brand perceptions such as “interesting” and “fun” for both studied verticals.

On the other hand, repurposed ads have the potential to make or break brand KPIs. Repurposed ads deemed high quality in creative quality show significant gains in memorability (+37%), as well as brand perceptions such as “relevant” (+25%), and “creative” (+24%), among others. Brand marketers can learn about empowering creative ideas and discovering the latest best practices by leveraging TikTok’s Creative Center.

Native ads, which look and feel like TikTok content, proved to be particularly effective at casting a wide audience net, with potential new customers viewing the ads for 27% longer than average. Ultimately, native ads prove to be uniquely effective for new acquisition, driving intent to search for the brand (+7%).

“It’s great to see the IPG network leaning into building more creative best practices on TikTok. The findings from this study clearly show that building assets for TikTok is the most effective, but also shows that when you get repurposed ads right, they can also be effective.” Said Jorge Ruiz, Global Head of Marketing Science, at TikTok. “This study brings brand new guidance on how to think about Native vs Repurposed ads, and also shows us something that is new in our learning agenda: how TikTok can also drive Search Intent. I am looking forward to seeing the IPG network deploy these learnings into their creative best practices across our joint clients.”

“Understanding the Strengths of TikTok Ads” surveyed 4,447 regular TikTok users in a mobile online panel across two markets (US, UK), to assess ads that appeared in a controlled TikTok environment. The participants were randomly served either control ads (public service announcements) or ads in the beauty and entertainment sectors, after which rating their assigned brand on favorability, intent to purchase and search, as well as other brand perceptions.

The report also defined specific guardrails for both native and repurposed ads on TikTok. The findings include:

Authenticity is Key for Native Ads: To optimize the power of TikTok native ads, brands should focus on promoting authenticity through their messaging. Inauthentic ads negatively impact the brand and are 19% less effective in driving purchase intent. When it comes to ad production, high production quality is not a necessity for native ads; instead, creators and brands should focus on embracing TikTok effects (e.g., transitions, music, voiceovers, etc.) endemic on the platform.

New Customer Appeal: Not only did non-past brand purchasers watch native ads for a longer period of time, but these ads also prompted them to view these brands as being more creative and fun, regard them more favorably and be more likely to search them up later.” For example, there was an 8% increase in perceiving a brand as fun after seeing its native ad for non-purchasers vs. prior customers, who registered a 4% lift.

Entertain and Story Tell with Repurposed: The strongest driver of impact for repurposed ads is creative storytelling. When good storytelling and creative quality are not leveraged, there is potential for significant loss in key metrics. As part of best practices, repurposed ads should be reformatted to fit the vertical orientation of the TikTok feed. Reformatting repurposed ads to vertical orientation increases purchase intent (+8%), as well as brand perceptions such as “relevant” (+7%) and “creative” (+3%).

“Marketers have a choice to either repurpose existing creative for TikTok or create custom, native ads. Our research found that both strategies can be effective, but best practices must be considered for brands to put their best foot forward on the platform,” said Kara Manatt, EVP, Managing Director Intelligence Solutions, at Magna Global. “When using native ads, authenticity is table stakes, so brands should thoughtfully choose creators and know that high production quality doesn’t necessarily equal authenticity. In turn, brands should lean-in to entertaining storytelling when identifying which ads should be repurposed for TikTok, making sure they alter video orientation to vertical for seamless integration.”

The full study may be found here.

About MAGNA
MAGNA is the leading global media investment and intelligence company. Our trusted insights, proprietary trials offerings, industry-leading negotiation and unparalleled consultative solutions deliver an actionable marketplace advantage for our clients and subscribers.

We are a team of experts driven by results, integrity and inquisitiveness. We operate across five key competencies, supporting clients and cross-functional teams through partnership, education, accountability, connectivity and enablement. For more information, please visit our website: https://magnaglobal.com/ and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About TikTok
TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. TikTok has global offices including Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Media Contact:
Zinnia Gill
Mediabrands
Vice President, Global Corporate Communications
(646) 965-4271

Madison Avenue May Make New Push To Create Streaming Shows, Series

By Brian Steinberg, Published by Variety

Running traditional ads on streaming services like Disney+, Netflix and Amazon can be difficult. Some advertisers may choose a different route by creating some of the programming those broadband services use to get people to subscribe in the first place.
A new study from Interpublic Group’s Magna media-research unit and Amazon Ads found that consumers don’t seem overly concerned whether a TV show they watch is created by an advertiser or a more traditional production studio, so long as the content is entertaining. When asked why they chose to watch brand-funded entertainment, 59% of respondents said they found the show “fun to watch” while 45% “enjoyed the content” and 34% “‘earned something new.”
“It’s just like any other content,” says Kara Manatt, executive vice president of intelligence solutions at Magna, in an interview. “People watch it when it’s entertaining, and if it’s not entertaining, they won’t watch it.”

The findings may lend new hope to Madison Avenue, which finds itself with one of its main avenues of promotion — TV advertising — reaching fewer people, while many streaming services run significantly fewer ads, and, in many cases, none at all. Even those premium services that have started to run commercials — NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max among them — only stream a few minutes’ worth per hour, fearful of antagonizing consumers who move to streaming to escape the commercial interruptions that are a bedrock piece of the economic architecture of traditional TV.
Some marketers have already found a path to streaming venues. In February, tech player HP Inc. released “Unlocked,” a “mini-movie” made for Peacock that was centered around a team of data scientists trying to unlock great mysteries of the world. Nike helped produce “The Day Sports Stood Still,” a film about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on sports, for HBO and HBO Max that debuted last year.
When people discovered a marketer was involved in the creation of a program that proved entertaining, “most people said it improved their opinion of the brand or the TV show,” says Manatt. “That’s something that really surprised us.”

Advertisers aren’t just discovering the power of making their own content now. Madison Avenue has been at this for a while. PepsiCo in 2021 worked with Fox to craft a game show, “Cherries Wild,” and wove a plotline into the Fox drama “Empire” in 2015 that extended from an episode of the show into one of its commercial breaks. KFC recently created a short vignette that told a soapy story about Col. Harland Sanders — in the vein of a Lifetime movie (the ad aired on Lifetime).
The difference? On TV, many of these extravagant pitches appear during commercial breaks, or have to be carefully placed in a show so as not to interrupt the viewing experience. The streaming programs that advertisers create stand as choices alongside other dramas, series and specials.
“You can’t think about it as a brand. You just have to think about it as entertainment that happens to be financed by a brand,” says Brendan Gaul, , global chief content officer of Mediabrands, the media division of Interpublic Group.

According to the study, viewers prefer the brand-funded content to traditional commercials. are accepting of brand-funded entertainment vs. traditional commercials. And they indicated the advertiser-built programs spurred them to shop for the products related to them. More than half said they felt frustration when trying to purchase a product seen in a TV show, opening an avenue for advertisers to consider better ways to pair e-commerce options with streaming projects. NBCUniversal has already dipped its toes in these waters, and it’s easy to see why Amazon, a backer of the study, would be interested in such technology as well.

Read the Full Study

 

Read the Article in Variety

The Converging Worlds of Content + Commerce reveals the exciting potential of brand-funded entertainment, and how this format creates commerce momentum for brands

New York, NY -July 26, 2022 – MAGNA Media Trials, in collaboration with Amazon Ads and Mediabrands Content Studio, recently revealed a new study examining the strong potential of brand-funded entertainment. The Converging Worlds of Content + Commerce explores the emerging realm of brand-funded entertainment, and how this unique format can work in sync with various shopping options to optimize the consumer shopping experience. The study proves that content is supreme when it comes to TV show viewership, and that brands should not feel held back by their category when exploring the domain of brand-funded entertainment. In addition, the study provides a framework for the ideal path from TV content to purchase, effectively more seamlessly connecting content and commerce.

The Converging Worlds of Content + Commerce shows that although there is high interest in purchasing products seen in TV shows, the current trajectory on the path to purchase can cause friction for consumers. In turn, this friction leads to frustrated consumers and a gap on the path to purchase. Forward-thinking brands should take note of these pain points and begin to think about how they can innovate in a way that would solve for this, which would have both short- and long-term positive implications for both the brand and consumers.

Brand-funded entertainment is fertile ground for exploration. Forward-thinking brands looking to optimize the consumer shopping experience should reimagine how they can synthesize their content and commerce experiences in a way that not only delights consumers but battles the long-held belief among marketers that these categories must be treated as mutually exclusive. Brand-funded entertainment is one solution that brands can leverage to bridge content and commerce. This study shows that audiences are reacting positively to brand-funded entertainment, especially among younger generations (e.g., adult Gen Z, Millennials). This positive reaction, in turn, fuels momentum for intent and purchase signals. Brands interested in bridging content and commerce should take note and decide if the brand-funded entertainment format would work for them.

“It’s a huge opportunity. Brands that are winning with today’s audiences understand that consumer brands are media brands. The opportunity to connect with consumers through content is far greater than the incidence in which consumers buy or use most brands’ products and services. If they create content that is compelling and has a direct connection to sales, it is a win-win for both the brand and audience.” – Brendan Gaul, Global Chief Content Officer, Mediabrands

“We’re entering an exciting period where there are incredible opportunities for content and commerce to come together to create a seamless and enjoyable experience for customers. The sky really is the limit for our viewers and brands when you have a modern broadcaster like Amazon Freevee that reaches a wide audience.” — Ryan Pirozzi, co-head of content and programming at Amazon Freevee.

Key Findings from The Converging Worlds of Content + Commerce include:
Content before commerce: Consumers do not differentiate if TV shows are created by a brand – what keeps them watching is the content itself. When asking consumers why they chose to watch brand-funded entertainment, 59% of respondents said they found the show ‘Fun to watch.’ Other top reasons why respondents chose to watch brand-funded entertainment was because they ‘Enjoyed the content’ (45%), and ‘Learned something new’ (34%).
Viewers are accepting of brand-funded entertainment vs. traditional commercials: Overall, consumers prefer brand-funded entertainment over the traditional TV ad format, with a higher index among those who primarily stream video content (+10%), compared to traditional pay TV viewers. Given the positive response to the brand-funded entertainment format, this is a prime opportunity for brands to weave themselves into culture, inspire motivation, and drive purchase intent among their audience.
Reimagining content to commerce experiences for customers: The existing path to purchase can cause friction for the consumer, as it relates to products seen on TV shows. Over half of the consumers surveyed said they felt frustration when trying to purchase a product seen in a TV show (52%). Frustration was especially felt among younger generations, such as adult Gen Z (+13%) and Millennials (+7%). This project has proven there is tremendous scope when it comes to reimagining the consumer experience, from brand-funded entertainment through to purchase.
The full study can be found here.

About MAGNA
MAGNA is the leading global media investment and intelligence company. Our trusted insights, proprietary trials offerings, industry-leading negotiation and unparalleled consultative solutions deliver an actionable marketplace advantage for our clients and subscribers.

We are a team of experts driven by results, integrity and inquisitiveness. We operate across five key competencies, supporting clients and cross-functional teams through partnership, education, accountability, connectivity and enablement. For more information, please visit our website: https://magnaglobal.com/ and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Mediabrands Content Studio
Mediabrands Content Studio (MBCS) is part of IPG Mediabrands, the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). MBCS is a media-fueled content practice designed to network and grow Mediabrands’ content and creative capabilities around the world. Strategically pairing new models of storytelling with Mediabrands’ global audience insights, MBCS develops and creates short – and long-form Original, Branded, Performance, and Campaign Content and provides a suite of entertainment solutions including media, talent, and production partnership development that powerfully grow brands. For more information about MBCS, please visit http://www.mbcsww.com/.

Media Contact:
Zinnia Gill
Mediabrands
VP, Global Corporate Communications
(646) 965-4271