by HMH on Aug 14

Brand Bite – Apple’s Social Conservatism

Apple has notoriously kept its distance from social media. It has Facebook and Twitter pages, but they’re both blank. However, as of last week, Apple now has an Instagram account – and they’re posting to it. The brand has extended their ongoing “Shot on iPhone” campaign to the photo platform, using Instagram not as a way to introduce something new, but to expand on an already successful campaign that exhibits iPhone users’ impressive photos.

Apple on Instagram | HMH Agency

Brand Thought

Apple’s reluctance to utilize social media for its brand voice may stem from social media’s unpredictability. Apple is methodical and controlled in what it says as a brand, and social media tends to get messy. Using Instagram to exclusively share “Shot on iPhone” photos is a very controlled and conservative way for Apple to dip its toes in the social media pool. There is no gamble involved and the campaign to showcase users’ personal photos is already a social initiative to begin with. As an industry leader, you’d think Apple would be more willing to take some creative risks and fully dive in to the sensitive yet significant world of social media.

by HMH on Aug 07

HMH is Now Google Display Network Certified

Robb Beck, HMH’s digital campaign and analytics manager, has added another Google certification to our roster. Robb has just become certified in Google’s Display Network.  So what?

Google Display Network | HMH AgencyFor clients, this new certification means that Robb has proven his expertise in creating, managing, measuring, and optimizing complex display campaigns in the ever-changing digital landscape.  As more and more brands are advertising digitally, online advertising has become more complex, more expensive in some cases and definitely more competitive.  Brands need an agency who understands the digital landscape, how display ads are placed, which ones resonate best with consumers, and how to effectively measure their effectiveness.

Google provides one of the most up-to-date programs on navigating the new complex world of display advertising. Robb has not only honed his skills by learning from the leader, but has demonstrated his competency through this certification.

Lucky you, lucky us.

by HMH on Jul 31

Sun Blocks, Road Blocks and What to Do With Ad Blocks

It is estimated that currently 400 million people worldwide and 75 million users in the United States use ad blockers. That is a whopping one quarter of all Internet users that are blocking the ads that we put so much time, money and resources into creating.

In fact, some have called this the largest boycott in humanity.

 Cartoon | HMH Agency


With news of Google’s new ad blocking technology, this number will continue to grow, putting pressure on publishers and advertisers alike to improve user experience while also keeping content free.  So how do you avoid ad blocking for your campaign?

Start by not giving users a reason to block your ads in the first place.


  • Plan for ad units that users want to engage with such as rich media, video and native ads. Make the content meaningful, even enjoyable. Not annoying.  And give the users control.  Allow them to skip ads, play the content, turn up the sound, etc.
  • Avoid intrusive ads. Again, you want to create ads that enrich the user experience.
  • Target and segment your audiences better. Really try. Use research, analytics and insights to target your intended audiences instead of speaking to the masses.

Let’s face it, these tips are nothing new and really come down to Marketing 101.   But the truth is that great ads that reach the right audience at the right time get shared, talked about and remembered.  The ads that annoy or are bland are skipped, forgotten or just blocked.

Which do you want for your brand?

by HMH on Jul 24

How to Outsmart the Bots

Digital fraud is on the rise and it is costing advertisers in a very big way. The Association of National Advertisers estimates that non-human online traffic cost advertisers $7.5M at the end of 2016. Other ad verification companies estimate that this number could be much higher – potentially billions of dollars.

Bots | HMH Agency

In fact, CNBC estimates that businesses could lose $16.4 billion worldwide to online fraud in 2017.  And no, we are not talking about extraterrestrial traffic.  We are talking about bots, which waste about 20 percent of total digital ad spend. This online traffic fraud can come in the form of impression, click or conversion fraud.

Online advertising campaigns bought using automated or programmatic technology could see an increased level of digital fraud.  But, even buying directly from media suppliers could put you at risk.  So, how do you protect your media budget and the integrity of your analytics?

  1. Review your benchmarks and analytics regularly. Look for odd domain names and review irregular performance metrics like spikes in clicks, conversions, click-through rates, etc.


  1. And while we are on this topic, home in on your benchmarks and goals. Try to set goals outside of clicks and page views.  These can easily be skewed by fraudulent activity. Instead, measure KPIs such as time on site, engagement, etc.


  1. Choose your partners wisely. HMH partners with Sizmek ad service, which aids in ad verification and viewability. We also include IAB guidelines around compliance and privacy in all of our contracts. By doing so, we work to avoid fraudulency activity on the onset of a campaign and stop it in its tracks as soon as it crops up.  You should do the same.


  1. Work with media partners that you trust. (Or with an agency like HMH who has already made those connections for you).  HMH only works with vendors who are part of approved lists or are known sellers.

Now look at your media budget. Instead of chopping off 20% and throwing it away, take time today to employ some of these steps. Your budget will go further and your analytics reports will become much richer.  Happy media buying.

by Denise Hollingsworth on Jul 18

BRAND BITE — #BrandStoryInTheAir

In celebration of its 80th anniversary, Icelandair is taking flight attendant training to a whole new level. During a one-of-a-kind flight between London and New York, passengers lucky enough to be on board this exclusive transatlantic flight on September 8 will be treated to a live show performed by Icelandair staff. Three acts. One brand story. An unforgettable experience.


Brand Thought

Icelandair’s ‘theater in the air’ idea came about because they listened to their passengers. They gleaned a couple of insights through a customer survey. Insight 1: we get bored on long flights. (Okay.  That’s not all that much of an insight.)  And insight 2: the crew is the key to passenger experience. They were wise enough to connect the two and voila! An idea was born. That’s how it’s done.

by HMH on Jul 10

Lovable Logo for Livable Meck

Livable Meck Logo | HMH Agency

HMH was honored to work with local government organization, Livable Meck, on a strategy to develop a cohesive vision for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, as it undergoes exponential growth in the coming years. As part of the work, HMH developed a logo that symbolizes the voices of many coming together with one unified vision.

When we created the logo, we knew it was great work … and our belief has just been validated. LogoLounge, who sets the bar for logo trends each year, has chosen the Livable Meck logo for their printed 10th annual LogoLounge book. Only the best logos from across the nation are chosen for this honor. And although we’re proud of all of our logos, this honor just feels a little extra special.

Congratulations to the entire team who worked on this incredible project.

Don't miss the next big idea. Sign Up today for our monthly one idea email.