Is Your Business Using All That Amazon Advertising Offers?

Remember that phrase – “Follow the Money?” With over 300 million worldwide active customer accounts, Amazon has a deep understanding of how shoppers engage with products and brands as they discover, browse, and purchase online. Advertising through Amazon’s targeting data can help businesses reach customers at every stage of their journey, and Amazon allows for several different ways to target consumers while showing them different types of ads, in various locations. So, let’s go ahead and unpack this Amazon advertising box.

The real power of Amazon is being able to use the massive amount of data that Amazon has accumulated about its users, and then target those same Amazon users while they’re off Amazon. Think of your own consumer behavior. When you know what you are looking to purchase, you go to Amazon and search for it, add it to your cart, and then you’re done, so you’re not spending too much time on the actual website. With Amazon targeting, you can reach that same user when they visit other Amazon owned properties such as, Amazon Freevee, and Fire TV, and also on thousands of other websites and apps that Amazon has partnered with, called Amazon Publishers.

Along with the different places where ads can be served when utilizing Amazon as an advertising platform, Amazon allows for different types of ads to show to consumers such as display ads, video ads, and OTT ads. Not only will your ads run on Amazon-owned properties, but most will run on what we call Amazon Publishers – thousands of websites and apps that Amazon has partnered with to reach their users (CNN, TBS, A&E, fuboTV, AccuWeather, US Weekly,, to name a few) These can be display, video, or OTT ads.

OTT has really taken off because the way that people consume TV and video content is changing. Nowadays, you can watch your favorite show on your time compared to 15 years ago when you had to drop everything you were doing and be parked in front of the TV if you wanted to catch your favorite program. More and more US households are becoming “cord cutters” and those households are growing while traditional pay TV households is now below 50% and declining. With Amazon OTT, because you are targeting by behaviors, products, or from your customer list, a lower frequency of seeing an ad has the same effectiveness because it’s a targeted audience. Linear TV is more of a shotgun approach where you are reaching the masses, where Amazon OTT targeting is going to be a rifle approach because you are targeting people more closely.

Speaking of targeting, lets break down the different ways that a business can utilize OTT ads through Amazon:

  • Amazon Behavioral Targeting- Showing a display, video, or OTT ads to specific consumers based on their Amazon purchase history, searches, and browsing, across (display only), Amazon owned properties, and across Amazon Publishers.
  • Amazon Product Targeting- This targeting strategy is a little more precise than behavioral targeting we are building audience of people who have searched, browsed or purchased specific products on and then show them a display, video, or OTT ad on (display only), Amazon owned properties, and across Amazon Publishers.
  • Amazon Custom Audience Matching and Lookalike- Utilizing a list of customer emails or addresses, we match them to Amazon users and show a display, video, or OTT ads across (display only), Amazon owned properties, and Amazon Publishers.
  • Amazon Retargeting- Following people after they leave a business’s website and showing them a display, video, or OTT ads across (display only), Amazon owned properties, and Amazon Publishers.

Digital Education Series: Understanding Facebook & Instagram


Are you ready to learn some tips and tricks for maximizing your Business Page?  When it comes to social media, specifically Facebook & Instagram, you may be asking yourself the same questions as others…

“When is the best time to post?”

“How often should I post?”

“Should I be boosting my posts?”

“How do I interpret my analytics with my Business Page?”

“What more can I be doing to drive business with Facebook and Instagram?”

“Can I even reach my target audience with Facebook?”

Facebook is STILL THE #1 Social Platform for US Adults

Most small businesses have a business Facebook Page but don’t understand the wealth of information you can get from Facebook about people who interact with your page.  Facebook analytics are referred to as “Insights” and you can access this data right from your business Facebook page.

We can show you ways to interpret your analytics, all the Facebook and Instagram ad types, and the whole suite of Facebook advertising platforms.  Digging into your “Insights” gives you demographic and geographic information to tailor your posts and advertising.

Did you know that you can even see what your competitors are doing and keep “watch” of their pages?  Load your top competitors and see what type of posts THEY get the most engagement with – now that gives you a bit of a competitive advantage.

Click here to view the recorded webinar from our Digital Education Series hosted Wednesday, April 22, 2020

We understand that you may have more questions on how to implement Facebook and Instagram into your marketing plans.  We are available to answer your questions and walk you through understanding Facebook Insights and Advertising.

Thank you and we are here to be a partner for all your digital marketing needs.

Digital Education Series: Google Analytics Guide to Your Reports


Google Analytics is a website tracking tool.  It adds a small snippet of code that is placed on all pages of a website and gathers detailed statistics about a website’s traffic, traffic sources, measures conversions and sales.

Learning how to use the data from your Google Analytics allows you to understand your customer better, what attracts them to your website, and how you can use the data to better market to new potential customers & clients.

There are 5 Reports we recommend you become familiar with:

  1. AUDIENCE OVERVIEW REPORT – This report gives you basic information about a website’s performance and traffic.  Within the Audience Overview Report, there are a few key stats you want to look into: USERS (how many unique visitors came to the website over the period of time you selected); NEW USERS (the number of visitors who came to the website for the first time); SESSIONS (how many times the website was visited); NUMBER OF SESSIONS PER USER (the average number of Sessions initiated by a User); PAGEVIEWS (the total number of pages viewed); PAGES/SESSION (average number of pages viewed during a Session); AVERAGE SESSION DURATION (average amount of time a person is on your site); BOUNCE RATE (how many people looked at one page and left); % OF NEW SESSIONS (what percent of visitors were new versus returning visitors)
  2. AUDIENCE BENCHMARKING CHANNELS REPORT – You can use this report to show how your website traffic compares to other’s in the same type of business, and where that traffic to your website is coming from – called “channel” (i.e. search engines, social, other websites, etc.)
  3. PAGES REPORT – This report gives you information about a specific webpage’s traffic and that page is performing
  4. AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS OVERVIEW REPORT – This report will give you information about the demographic makeup of visitors coming to your website
  5. AUDIENCE INTEREST OVERVIEW REPORT – Of these people coming to your website, what other interests and/or websites do they have interest in as well

Click here to view the recorded webinar from our Digital Education Series hosted Tuesday, April 21, 2020

We understand that you may have many more questions on how to implement this data into your marketing.  We are available to walk you through your Google Analytics, help you get a better understanding of how your website is functioning, who your visitors are and where they are coming from.

Thank you and we are here to be a partner with you, and to help with all of your digital marketing.


Digital Education Series: SEO and Google My Business


During these uncertain times, we know many of you have questions…

“What should I be doing to promote my business online?”
“Do I need to continue making posts about my business even if I’m closed?”
“If I mark my business temporarily closed will it diminish my search engine ranking?”

Google has implemented many new features that are specific to the COVID-19 crisis.  These enhanced features are designed to help your business communicate any temporary or new changes due to Covid-19 restrictions.  Most, if not all, businesses have experienced some type of disruption or change during this current climate.

Bay Area Digital Solutions is here to walk you through the ways of what you can do to enhance your SEO and Google My Business listings.  You will walk away with tools to help navigate your online presence during this critical time and thereafter.

With internet usage up 70% since the start of shelter in place restrictions, businesses are looking for ways to continue reaching consumers with digital marketing.  We invite your to take a moment and listen to what we have to share about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google My Business Listings.  You will leave this webinar with a list of things you can easily do to help communicate with your customers.

Click here to view the recorded webinar from our Digital Education Series hosted Monday, April 20, 2020

Thank you and we are here to answer your questions about Google My Business and SEO.  As A digital marketing agency in Sonoma County, we are here to help youand be a partner for all your digital marketing needs.

Digital Spending is Still on the Rise. Are you in?

It has been reported that digital ad spending is up by 18% year over year and will continue to rise. Why? Because it works!

Some of the businesses that continue to soar in this space are retail, automotive and on the heels of these businesses are financial and travel.

It is forecasted that in 2020, financial services digital spending will surpass automotive.

Mobile marketing is driving digital ad spending within the financial sector as they continue to target millennials specifically on mobile devices. Video marketing is a close second on targeting strategies.

A couple of digital strategies we find to be a “go-to” are:

Mobile Conquesting
We cannot live without our mobile devices and if you are trying to target consumers during their busy lives and drive visits to a store or business this is the way to go.

There are so MANY video options now with YouTube, OTT, Video pre-roll, Facebook and more. This is a great solution for brand awareness and creating the need for your client’s product or service.

In fact, 64% of consumers will make a purchase after watching a branded video.

What does this mean for you and your business? That the timing is perfect. Annual planning season is around the corner and it is time to jump aboard and lay out a digital marketing plan.

Remember to think like a marketer, not just someone trying to sell a product or service.  Ask yourself what would the consumer do?

Start by asking yourself questions like:

How do you research a product or service?

How often are you online to purchase a product?

How often are you online to research a product or service?

How often do you stream video?

How many hours a day are you on your phone? Be honest.

Knowing the trends in digital and keeping focused on the customer journey is the key to planning an outstanding marketing campaign.

We welcome you to contact Bay Area Digital Solutions in Sonoma County and we will work together to lay out the most effective digital marketing plan to meet your goals in 2020!

How Accurate is your Geo-Fencing and Visit Tracking?

One of the most popular products that Bay Area Digital Solutions offers is Mobile Conquesting.  It is also one of the more advanced and sophisticated products because of all the shiny bells and whistles that it offers. With Mobile Conquesting, we can target consumers by online behaviors (people who have shown specific behaviors online or are in a certain demographic) and also by offline behaviors (targeting people by where they have been tracked with their phone recently, such as a location, business, or specific brand name stores).

That’s the first layer of Mobile Conquesting. With the second layer, we can add in all sorts of “geo” terms, like geo-fencing, geo-retargeting, and geo-retargeting lookalike, where we put a tight radius around an address to capture device IDs and serve ads to those mobile devices. While this is a really neat product, some people might question the validity of how a tight radius is determined. Is the advertiser going to have wasted impressions because the radius is cutting into the neighboring business? Are they counting people in the parking lot of the strip center that the business is located? Is the radius actually around that business owner’s location?


Let us break down the different methods mobile technology vendors use for geo-fencing businesses:

Radial Fence by Address – The most basic method of location-based geo-fencing is by placing a radius around a place’s address. Since addresses were built to provide directions to the location, many times the physical location is across the parking lot or on the street.  Research estimates that there can be up to 84% waste in targeting this way.

Radial Fence by Geo-Code – This method places a radius around the center of a business or location. Since most locations are not circular, there will inherently be waste. How much waste depends on the size of the radius.  Research estimates that there can be up to 75% waste in targeting this way.

Parcel Mapping -Also known as property mapping and tax mapping are maps typically built to identify property boundaries and is a popular data source for industries such as real-estate. Parcels can often contain many businesses in the same plot.  Research estimates that there can be up to 51% waste in targeting this way.

Polygon Mapping (This is the technology that we use with Mobile Conquesting) – Polygons are formed by tracing the store or place boundary based on satellite images and latitude/longitude and capture the precise boundaries of a location.  Percent waste = 0%

Now that we have taken a peek behind the curtain to see how geo-fencing is put into action, let’s talk about on-site visit tracking. Another one of the bells and whistles that business owners love about Mobile Conquesting is that they can see their return on investment.  We can show how many people saw their ad, and then physically came to their location.

How do we track the actual business and not surrounding areas?

In-Store mapping is the most granular polygon layer, serving to precisely map the outlines of the business or point or interest.

On Lot mapping is a polygon layer that separates a business from it’s parking lot.  In instances of a standalone business, this could be the entire parking lot.  For strip malls or adjacent storefronts, this will typically just be the area directly in front of the business.

Here is an example of an auto dealership polygon:

How visits are verified:

Once the location signal is matched to a place, the final step is determining whether a visit has actually occurred.  The following data is evaluated to determine whether a visit is deemed to be verified:

  • Store hours – How frequently does the user visit and for how long? What are the store hours and when did the visit take place? Only visits that occur during open store hours are counted.
  • Employee status – Understanding employee status allows (when people work and how often) allows the system to exclude employees.
  • Dwell time – How long did the user spend in the store? Dwell time is used to filter for inaccurate visits.
  • Speed – How fast was the user moving when he/she was tracked as a visit? If they’re moving faster than then the system’s average speed threshold, the visit is not counted.
  • Horizontal accuracy – What is the percent accuracy of the lat/long the system received? If the horizontal accuracy that falls within the polygon that is being tracked is not higher than the system’s average percent threshold, the visit is not counted.

This verification process means that the system has a 94% accuracy rate!

Can I Do Digital Advertising for Cannabis?

For years we have been trying to navigate through the restrictions and limited targeting when it came to digital advertising for the cannabis industry. There are now a wealth of targeting options available that we offer, including Native Ads, Display Ads and Video Ads .

Do you want to reach people who are marijuana legalization advocates? What about people looking at both Leafly Reviews, and Weedmaps online or in apps? How about people searching general topics of marijuana? We have categories for that.

Another huge opportunity for targeting? Consumers interested in using Cannabis in place of over the counter or even prescriptions medicines for common ailments. Check out this Nielsen study showing just how interested!

We now have targeting categories to reach the exact audience you are looking for! Check out these options:

Headaches/Migraines; Pain Relievers > Headache/Pain Reliever; Headache & Migraine Medications; Headache and Migraine Sufferers

Back/Neck Pain; Back Pain; Back Pain Medications; Back Pain Sufferers

Head & Neck Surgery

Arthritis; Arthritis Symptoms; Arthritis Prescription; Osteoarthritis; Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications

Psoriatic Arthritis; Arthritis Medications; Arthritis Sufferers; Arthritis and Bones; Arthritis, Moderate to Severe

Daily Aspirin Therapy; General Aches and Pains; Pain Relievers

Feminine Pain; Menstrual Period & Ovulation; Menstrual Cramp Relief; Feminine Care; Feminine Products; Feminine Needs

Chronic Pain; Pain Therapy; Pain Relief

Alternative Medicine

Inability to Fall Asleep; Sleep Disorders; Sleep Aids; Sleep Medicine; Sleep Issues; Nighttime Sleeplessness

Treatment – Insomnia; Insomnia Sufferer; Insomnia Relief

Cancer; Cancer Pains

Smoking Cessation; Smoking Cessation Intenders; Smoking Addiction; Quit Smoking

Has Tried To Give Up Smoking In Last 12 Months; Trying to Quit Smoking

Now that you are armed with amazing targeting options, what products allow you to you run ads for cannabis?

Here are some fantastic options:

Native ads, ads that go across all devices and match the look, feel and visual context of the website or app where they are seen.

Artificial Intelligence is showing your display or video ads to people across all devices, using machine learning to target consumers based on who is engaging with the ad.

Keyword Targeting, showing your display or video ads on webpages that contain keywords related to your business, across all devices.

Behavioral Targeting, showing your display or video ads to specific consumers based on their previous on-line behavior, across all devices.

All-Device Geo-Fencing and Geo-Retargeting, drawing a virtual fence around an area or location and showing your display or video ad, to people inside that “fence” and continuing to follow them and show them your ads across all devices.

Video Pre-roll and OTT, where we use your :15 or :30 video to target people on thousands of websites that offer video programming including streaming across all devices, even Connected TV.

Also, keep in mind the benefits from doing an SEO Campaign to increase your visibility with Google and other search engines or Live Chat options as well.

When should you Geo-Target and when should you Geo-Fence and what is the difference?

There are several “geo” terms in digital advertising, and it can be complicated to determine which option is best for your campaign. With so many opportunities and choices it is important to understand the differences.

First let’s define our “Geo” terms:

Geo-Targeting (Geographic Targeting):  all digital ads are geographically targeted meaning we serve ads to specific geographic areas like a city, zip codes, or large radius around a location (several miles), etc.

Geo-Fencing:  serving ads to anyone possible, in a small, specific geographic area (i.e., a competitor’s location). We usually do this with our Mobile Conquesting product

Geo-Retargeting:  serving ads to people who were in a geo-fenced area and following them after they leave the geo-fence. This is done with our Mobile Conquesting product. (This is sometimes called Geo-Farming by other providers)

Geo-Retargeting Lookalike:  serving ads to people who were in a geo-fenced area and following them after they leave the geo-fence AND targeting their neighborhood. This is done with our Mobile Conquesting product.

Geo-Framing:  going back in time to an event and serving ads to people now who were at the previous event.

So now that we know more about the terms, how do we determine which strategy is the best fit?

Geo-Targeting allows you to layer specific consumer targeting like demographics, behaviors, and interests in addition to where the person is located. So we are using groups of IP addresses to determine location, and then adding in additional targeting options. Go with Geo-Targeting if a client needs to reach  specifics targets in a broader area, for example: “soccer moms who frequent Starbucks in zip code 90210.”  This can be done with any of our digital products such as Behavioral Targeting, Native Ads, Facebook and Instagram, Mobile Conquesting, etc.

Geo-Fencing is usually used when the geo is tighter, and you are okay with capturing everyone within the fence regardless of their demographics or behaviors such as what coffee they like.  Use this if a client has a request such as: “I need a tight geo fence around the arts and crafts festival located on 123 main street for 3 days this summer.”

Now for the other options and layers. Once you start with the Geo-Fence on our Mobile Conquesting platform, you can add options. Like, “Continue to follow everyone who was at the arts and crafts festival until my impressions run out.” That adds the Geo-Retargeting piece. We are following people (on their mobile devices) because they were inside that virtual fence.

If the client also wants to reach the neighbors of people who were inside the Geo-Fence, go ahead and add “Geo-Retargeting lookalike.” A great example here would be car dealerships. They might Geo-Fence their dealership as well as competitive dealerships, so they have the potential to reach EVERYONE inside those fences. Now, hopefully someone drives home with a new car. We are still able to follow them AND their neighbors (who likely now have “new car envy”) with an ad for the dealership. Not every client will need to add this piece, but when it makes sense it can be very effective.

Geo Framing works completely different. In this case we go back in time to an event that was missed. Let’s go back to the Arts and Crafts festival. Perhaps you have a client that is offering an Arts Camp late summer and they didn’t Geo-Fence the event. We can go back in time, capture the mobile device ids of people who were at the event, and then we serve ads to their phones and at their households on any device through their wifi connection. If the event is at least two weeks past but not more than six months, this is a great option to recommend.

One final note, although I talk about Geo-Fencing mainly with Mobile Conquesting, it can be done with our display exchanges as well. The difference is the fence is not as tight or accurate, think one mile vs. 500 feet.

If you need more help deciding which option is best for your business we can help, as a digital marketing agency located in Sonoma county, please reach out to us to schedule a capabilities appointment.

Social Media: When should you DIY and when should you enlist a digital expert?

There are absolutely times in life it is more cost effective to “Do it yourself.”  Before taking on a DIY project, consider if  you have three T’s, meaning do I have the tools, the training and the time. If all signs point to yes, go for it! All three must be in place and it is always important to consider the full scope of the project.

If you own a business, you likely do a lot yourself. Social Media is no exception and there is a lot you can do. However, there are also times it is highly recommend enlisting an expert who possesses the necessary tools and training in Social Media, the bonus is all the time you will save and potentially campaigns that deliver better results.First, why do you need Social Media. Why is Social so important? Social platforms help you connect with your customers in unique ways. You can use Social to increase awareness about your brand, and to boost your leads and sales. Over three billion people around the world are actively using Social Media every month, and it is a very important piece of your marketing puzzle.What are some things you can do on your own? Post and have a Social Media presence.   Through organic posting on your Social Media pages you can:

  • Create Awareness:  Who are you and where are you? How can people discover you?
  • Communicate:  Frequent updates and relevant content build your authority AND allow your personality to shine through.
  • Engage with Customers: Go live, post a series, do a “how to” video.
  • Support your followers:  Interact with customer comments, respond quickly to questions, be positive and helpful, listen to critiques, know when to take it to a private message.

How often & when should you “Socialize?” Hubspot offers some great guidelines:

Starting with Facebook, if you have less than 10,000 followers post once a day or less. In fact, Once you exceed one post, each post gets 60% fewer clicks per post. Does once a day stress you out? Aim for once a week.  If you have more than 10,000 followers? Posting 1-2 times per day leads to the most clicks. 32% more engagement when posting on Saturday and Sunday, and 18% more engagement when posting on Thursday and Friday.

What are the best hours to post? 9 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM. You’ll get the most clicks when posting at 3 PM and the most shares when posting at 1 PM. Keep in mind, this is a guideline and your business might be different!

Now let’s talk about Twitter. Aim for no more than 3-5 Tweets per day and Wednesday is the best day. Hours to tweet? 12 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, and 6 PM

As for Instagram, quality matters the most on this platform! 1-2 posts per day are fine as long as you’re capable of publishing content that provides value. If not, post less! When?  Monday and Thursday are best.  Hours?  Posting a video at 9 PM gets 34% more interactions, however anytime works except 3-4. Research shows it is best to post on Instagram during off-work hours than during the work day.

Now for LinkedIn, 1 post per day during the work week and the best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from  7-8 AM, 12 PM, and 5-6 PM. It appears that business people are more inclined to read LinkedIn in the morning, similar to a newspaper.

Finally, Pinterest.  Users on Pinterest skew heavily female and 25% of users are active on this channel daily.  Saturday evenings are best especially 8-11 p.m. Some businesses have also seen a strong performance on the later side of Friday afternoon, around 3 p.m. Opposing many of the other channels we’ve listed here, evening commutes tend to be some of the worst times to post to Pinterest.

So there you go! Posting to your Social Media pages organically is something you can do (much like changing a light fixture) yourself or have a staff person do, and now you have some tips on times and frequency. When and why do you ever need an expert for Social? Advertising!

When it comes to placing your ads on Facebook & Instagram things get really complicated really fast and you will likely want to call in the experts.  Running ads on these platforms is more like re-wiring the room. Things can go south very fast if you are not trained and the results will not be as strong.

If you want to get the most bang for your advertising dollars and reach your exact target in your exact geographical area…Enlist the Bay Area Digital Solutions experts who are dedicated to maximizing your campaign and who live in Facebook and Instagram all day every day and bring the necessary expertise. You can do a lot on your own, but it is time consuming and it is important to consider what is your time worth? Read through the list in the graphic below.  Are you aware of these options?  Are you maximizing your ad spend?


Digital media is on the rise for 2019, are you ready?

Digital spending was up 21.9% in 2018 and is forecasted to grow an additional 18% in 2019.
Digital continues to climb, as consumer habits have changed and more activity is happening online and on mobile devices. The ability to speak to people where they are, with targeting messaging continues to get more sophisticated. Traditional media as a whole continues to decline, with TV and Newspaper taking the biggest hit. Broadcast TV and Cable TV is forecasted to decline by 4% and Newspaper is forecasted to be down 7%. Advertising dollars as a whole are forecasted to be up 5% in 2019, with the majority forecasted to go to digital.

Don’t let the digital dollars go past you. Make the wise move and pair the right digital channels to meet your marketing goals. It is important as technology advances that businesses make sure they advertise to not only the right audience, but to the right behaviors and targets. This is much easier to narrow in with digital.

New digital technologies are emerging daily. Some digital trends we see in 2019 that will continue to rise are Native Ads,Video Marketing and Mobile Conquesting.  Research is king online and 88 percent of consumers pre-research their buys online before making a purchase online or in-store.

If you want to reach new consumers in 2019, advertisements should look more genuine to the content people are searching and researching online. This is where native ads can come into play. Advertisers may think “breaking thru the noise” may be the way to go with digital, but actually consumers are getting smarter. Native ads are a refreshing approach that is less disruptive and more conversational than the in-your-face ads consumers have been trained to tune out. Native ads they can be targeting target to certain online behaviors, relevant keywords or with an email list. Native ads have proven to be a viable approach for such major brands like Airbnb, Amazon and Visa.

As consumers are getting smarter they also are getting a little lazy. The ease of buying anything from groceries to makeup online has seen quite a surge. Consumers are protective of their time and many would much rather watch a video than read an article or a blog. If you have made it this far in the blog, you may want to consider introducing video to your online media strategy. There are many platforms that utilize video from Mobile Conquesting, Facebook and behavioral targeting and more.
Another strategy to consider is Moble Conquesting. Because of how much consumers are using their phones for EVERYTHING these days, there is so much data to be had as well as the benefit to market to them on their mobile device. A recent study showed showed that 82% of smartphone users consult their phones on purchases they are about to make in-store.

While consumer behavior is evolving Mobile Conquesting is a great way to get in front of consumers who show current behavioral interest for your product or service. Plus, there are more reporting metrics available for Mobile Conquesting than most digital products. We can report on how consumers are engaging with these ads as well as if they visit your business.

Don’t be behind the times. If you need help with digital marketing in Sonoma County, we are just the team to do it.  Contact us and let’s get talking.  Move with the times and maximize your reach and frequency with digital in 2019.