Escape Room Challenge 2019

By | Click Blooms News, Inspiration | No Comments

At our parent company, Lever Interactive, one of our values is Seek and Solve. And while we certainly live this value everyday in our work, we decided to have some fun time and still live our values.

We headed over the Escape the Room in Oak Brook. We broke into two teams (because we like a little competition as well!). One group did the Jurassic Escape:

Team members (left to right): Danyl, Mike, Melanie, Lauren, David, Tracey, Bryan and Dan from their Jurassic Escape adventure.

The other team went on The Dig:

Team members (left to right): Chris, Scott, Jen, Emily, Carla, Amber, Blake from The Dig adventure.

We all had a fantastic time. We laughed, we worked together, we definitely seeked and solved. Unfortunately we did not solve enough and both teams ran out of time before we could finish that last puzzle! Uugh!

We highly recommend it and had a great time bonding as a team!

Video Marketing Changes in 2018 to Carry Forward to 2019

By | Click Blooms News, Google, Inspiration, Video | No Comments

While video has been a very powerful way to advertise, it was focused on driving mass reach, brand awareness and consideration. For those direct response advertisers, it wasn’t enough action.

But, in 2018 that began to change. Video is now a larger part of the whole consumer journey. Brands used video marketing in 2018 to both drive awareness and direct response. Want to know more about the shift, here is a snapshot of Google’s data.

Evolution in 2018

The reason video became more action-oriented last year is in large part due to an evolving consumer behavior. YouTube conducted UX research in 2018 and it revealed that people are not always looking for a passive viewing experience. YouTube discovered that many views crave something interactive.

Secondly, platforms have evolved in response to this new consumer behavior. Nicky Rettke, YouTube’s product manager indicated “Historically, video advertising hasn’t been actionable, optimizable or measurable against direct response objectives. The only way someone could ‘act’ on a video was to watch it.” But this changed in 2018. New video formats like TrueView for action allow marketers to optimize for a specific user action.

Lessons for 2019 Strategy

Right audience for action

The American Marketing Association indicates the average U.S. consumer is exposed to 10,000 brand messages a day. How as a marketer do you cut through all of that noise to make sure your video stands out.

An example is a luxury outlet whose buyers were impulse drivn utilized pre-roll video with a 25-second ad that gave the user an offer. If they clicked on a link, they would be taken to a landing page to utilize the offer. If they did not the offer was gone forever. The sense of urgency drove action and direct sales.

Right Audience with Multipurpose Creative

The best ad served to the right audience will not achieve much. An online home goods and furniture retailer used blended brand creative and performance formats utilizing clickable “Shop Now” calls-to-action which took viewers to their website.

They used custom intent audiences to reach people who had recently clicked on one of their product-related search ads. These viewers had already shown interest and with the video creative, they were able to realize a 3x return on ad spend over their other campaigns.

Repeat, Repeat and Repeat Again

Don’t stop with one impression, or try to mix in to many messages. The Google Pixel team in 2018 in their campaign that “Repetition does not spoil the prayer.”

“Repeating the message is the best way to move an audience from awareness to action quickly,” explained. Jabari Hearn, who led the Pixel campaign.

The strategy resulted in 20% lift in brand awareness and a 113% higher click-through rate to the purchase site than the average of previous campaigns.

Success in 2019

Video is a great way to see even further success in 2019. Share your feedback or your wins in 2018 that are guiding your 2019 strategy.

YouTube Viewer Behaviors

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Did you know that every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views? That volume creates a lot of noise, but Google has still found three distinct patterns of viewer behaviors. Here is what Google indicated was the most interesting in 2018.

Going Back to Basics

Life is crazy. According to the APA, 3 of 4 Americans say they have have experienced at least one stress (only one!) in the past month. With this in mind it isn’t surprising to see that people are looking for was to decompress, de-stress, unwind and simplify. Ironically, they are turning to technology to do just that. Watch time on YouTube of videos related to “relaxing” increased by more than 70% between July 2017 and June 2018.

In addition, subscriptions and viewership of “van life” channels and videos (which document people’s attempts to create alternative, minimalist lifestyles) reached an all-time high. Survival videos and primitive technology hit an all-time high this past summer.

Not big news that the newest generation of consumers (millennials and the like) put more value on experience over possessions. Marketers are making the shift from selling just products to lifestyles.

Searching for Inspiration

Easy to feel overwhelmed with so many options out there in the world. People are turning to YouTube for help and advice in narrowing down their choices. Watch time on YouTube videos on “which product to buy” doubled this past year.

Consumers have also been seeking out is very expansive, everything from beauty to travel. “Morning routine” videos where makeup and skin products are reviewed and applied have tripled in the past two years. Travel-related videos have also increased 41% in August and September this past year.

And finally, consumers are looking to YouTube influencers to provide some inspiration. But brand marketers do not let that stop you. 70% of shoppers say they’re also open information directly from brands.

Looking for Connection

Despite many people staring into their phones and being oblivious to things around them, many online video viewers are looking for a social experience and wanting interaction. As an example, 7 in 10 generation Zers say that watching videos help them feel more connected.

YouTube is a great way to showcase your brand, products and their value. Not only through organic views, but also paid YouTube advertising.

Consumer Insights of 2018 to Know for 2019

By | Google, Google My Business, Inspiration, Paid Search | No Comments

Google recently came out with some interesting consumer insights of 2018 that all business should be aware of for 2019. While there are so many various articles on consumer insights, we will break it down into the ones you need to pay attention to in this year.

Always Shopping

Did you know that 84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time, in up to six different categories. In fact, minutes before I started writing this blog, my favorite pen ran out of ink, and I immediately opened my browser to go to an office supply store and order a new box.

Also consider that in nearly one quarter of those shopping occasions, shoppers say they turn to their smartphone first. And nearly 9 out of 10 shoppers are not absolutely sure of the brand they want to buy when they are first looking for information on their smartphones, marketers who make the research process easier can be big winners.

What does this mean? It means being present and useful to shoppers along every touch point.

Nearby and Now

Customers want not only places but specific things near them and available now. In fact, “Near me” mobile searches that contain the variant “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown over 500% over the last two years. In addition, there has been a 200% growth in mobile searches for “open” + “now” + “near me.”

Things like having your inventory of products listed on your website, along with your hours. And don’t forget your My Business listing on Google complete with your hours.

More Research = Fewer Regrets

It isn’t always about buying things. Search can be used to find good or great experiences as well. People want to curate their experience before they go whether it is a vacation or dinner out.

In fact, the research is part of the process and helps to build anticipation before they leave their house. It also helps to reduce anxiety by working out details like prices, maps, parking, schedules, etc. One person Google spoke to directly said “I wanted to research so I wouldn’t have regrets.”


Shoppers are not letting price stop them. If they item they want is out of their price range, they are willing to look for something very similar but lowered prices. Mobile searches for “that looks like” grew by 60% in the past two years.

Voice Activated Speakers

A hot holiday item this past year was voice-activated speaker devices. In a recent Google survey of over 1,500 people, it was found that parents are power users and Boomers see the devices as “empowering companions” with potential.

For marketers, users who own these devices welcome brands as part of the experience. Users like to receive information on brands and products that are important to them, but also to order and receive those products.

As you head into Q2 of 2019, take these insights into consideration as you plan updates to your products, websites and marketing. Here is to a successful 2019!

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day – March 29th

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It is that time of year again. Spring has sprung and on March 29th National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day is observed. It is a day that honors all small business owners.

Small businesses are an important part of our economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States. These small business employ more than 56 million people. And together, these business create strong and more resilient local economies. Locally owned retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to their local economy than national chains.


National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day was founded by Rick and Margie Segal to honor couple like Rick’s parents whose successful hat shop opened in 1939 and grew into a 10,000 square foot and $2 million dollar clothing store.

How to Celebrate

Business Owners: Host an event to celebrate your success and thanking your customers for their support. Be sure to ask your customers to share their photos and experience on social media using the hashtag #MomPopBusinessOwnersDay. And make sure to give them a gift of thanks, reusable totes with your logo are a great idea!

Partner with other local small businesses to expand the event and make a day of it with multiple places customers can visit! And don’t forget to thank you very best customers. Make a VIP list of customers, provide them an additional gift.

Share your story! Why did you start the business? What has been your brightest moment in business? What do your customers mean to you and your family? Share your story on social media, your website, in person!


  • Visit your local business
  • Talk to the owners, get to know them
  • Post your experience on social media with the hashtag #MomPopBusinessOwnersDay
  • Buy something
  • Spread the word
  • Invite your friends, family, co-workers to join you

Everyone enjoy and celebrate National Mom and Pop Small Business Owners on March 29th. Share in the comments your ideas or how you will be celebrating!

Google Marketing Live – Register to Watch Live May 14th

By | Google, Inspiration, Paid Search | No Comments

Google Marketing Live – Google’s annual platform for agency and direct advertisers to hear about new products, expansions an innovations, will stream the innovations keynote. Register today and they will also be providing an additional eight hours of content.

Google Marketing Live is May 14-15 in San Francisco. The innovations keynotes will be streamed where 10+ new digital marketing products will be announced.

Plus tune in throughout the week and engage directly with product managers through a live Q&A, learn best new practices and get an inside look at how our latest products are developed.

Google Partnering in Mobile Industry to Modernize Mobile Messaging

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Google announced on Monday they are partnering with the mobile industry to “modernize mobile messaging” in order to deliver a better consumer experience with RCS business messaging. RCS upgrades SMS texting with branding, business verification, rich media, suggested replies and actions and analytics.

Millions of business today relay on SMS messaging which is limited to 160 characters and very few, if any, images and interactions. With more rich messaging experience, the tradeoff has been slower loading times. However, with RCS, you can deliver fast, branded and interactive experiences right to your customer’s mobile phone’s default messaging app.

Did you know?

  • 86% of smartphones will be RCS-enabled by 2020
  • Businesses will send an estimated 2.7 trillion SMS messages by 2022
  • Business messaging market is projected to reach $74 billion by 2021

So what is possible with RCS?

  • Create fully branded experiences that customers trust
  • Suggested replies and actions
  • Rich card carousels
  • Payments

To learn more about Google and RCS, check out their website.

Fat Tuesday, Pączki, Pancake Day – Celebrate!

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Depending on your background, one of these may mean something to you:

  • Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday
  • Shrove Tuesday
  • Pancake Day
  • Sledziówka or Pączki Day
  • Vastenavond
  • Carnival

These are all various names for the Tuesday before the Christian Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. This year that is Tuesday, March 5th. Why is this important for small business? It means a time of celebration before Lent.

Being of Polish decent it is Pączki Day for me. A delicious, wonderful, fruit filled Polish donut. Just like Pancake Day in the UK, where they also use flour, sugar, lard/butter, oil and such, ingredients during traditional Lent not used as often so it was a chance to use it and not waste it.

But what does it mean in more modern times? It is basically seen as a day to partake in things you wouldn’t normally on a Tuesday. We all have seen Mardi Gras. It doesn’t have to go to that extreme, but people dining out may go a little more extravagant in their meal, or might order the dessert. Many people give up sweets or chocolate for Lent, so get their last craving in. Others may give up spending money on clothes for themselves, so one last shopping spree.

It means many different things to people, but usually it is a day of indulging a little more. Whether you are decorating your store with beads, offering some extra sweets, have some fun and maybe reminisce with customers on their family traditions. I know I love talking with others about where they think the best Pączki is from.

College Basketball in March – What to Consider When Advertising

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Many people may not realize but the nickname of the men’s college basketball tournament in March is actually a trademarked name and cannot be used without written consent. Just like the big football game the NFL holds.

But don’t let that stop you from advertising sales, or other events or promos, just don’t use school or team names or the trademarked term for the tournament.

And be aware of the tournament schedule and how you schedule your events or sales. If your typical customers are huge basketball fans, do not plan your biggest event that coincides with the tournament schedule. Or, if you have the opposite, and your customers would appreciate a break from all the craziness, it may be an opportunity to schedule.

Other ideas include the opportunity to sell basketball related items. For example, if you are a bakery, sugar cookies decorated as basketballs might be a great for a tournament party. High end culinary store, find the best chip/dip combo to offer for your customer’s party. Pet store – I’m sure you have some basketball related toys for dogs to highlight! You may even have team gear for pets.

Be creative, have fun, just stay away from the trademarked terms!

Lever Interactive Presents Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

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Click Blooms is very proud in sharing our premier, enterprise level, agency’s video and blog post on Digital Marketing Trends for 2019 they recently put out.

The video highlights the discussion around data in 2018 and how some of that has shifted due to increase privacy issues. Brian Yaro, Director, Strategy highlights the importance of content, video and voice in 2019.

Kristin Kaplan, Director, Client Services, discusses the important of automation, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and they many changes and exciting capabilities they bring to digital marketing

Next, Emily Czachowski, Director, Media Operations, tackles attribution. A topic that has been discussed for many years, but with so many changes and under delivery of tools in 2018, lots of work to still be addressed.

And of course, rounded up by Lever Interactive’s President, Chris Gilmartin.

Head on over and watch the video and read the blog post. And don’t forget to use the comments to share your thoughts on 2019!