Since Bluetext’s founding in 2011, the agency has experienced stellar growth in size, expertise, and creativity. So much so that our brand and logo were beginning to feel tight and outgrown. Some healthy self-reflection left us realizing an evolution was necessary.
Watch our brand evolution
With our clients, we often consult on the pros and cons of a brand evolution vs. revolution. For Bluetext an evolution meant keeping the core aspects that defined our brand, like the name, logo symbolism, and obvious color choice. Anything other would run the risk of appearing like an IHOB-level stunt. We love the name and meaning behind Bluetext. Just as when you apply a link to text the color changes to blue, applying Bluetext to your brand becomes the digital doorway to your brand. It highlights our digital focus and positions the agency as ambiguous to the multitude of services and specialties we offer. Aside from that, the name “Bluetext” is internally joked to be rooted in our project managers’ love and developed muscle for hyperlinking, which we cannot confirm nor deny.
Even with the core ingredients solidified, so many elements were up in the air for modernization. Bluetext’s creative director, Kevin Galligan, led the charge with a redesigned logo to inspire the complete CVI & eventual website design.
Some key principles to remember during any sort of brand development are:
- Be associated with something
- Protect your identity
- Consistency is key
- Never say no to evolving
For Bluetext, our brand identity centered around our logo icon, which previously formed the lowercase ‘b’ and ‘t’ of the wordmark. We had become associated with this symbol, often adopting a shorthand abbreviation of BT, diving into the straightforward angles as a reminder of our values. But as the agency has grown, we felt it only fair the logo should grow up too. In this evolution, we were careful to guard our brand’s identity and legacy, but apply stylistic tweaks to elevate the core designs. The lowercase style was replaced with a sentence case and a new font. The logo icon was upgraded to symmetrical angles that matched the new custom lettering, but still preserved origins within the ‘B’ and ‘t’ angles.
Minimal doesn’t mean simple. The evolved logo is intentional down to every angle, which becomes leveraged throughout the pattern systems of the CVI. Leaning into our core logo symbol, the outlined shape became a pattern system repeated across our website & collateral. The most noticeable change to the brand was the color shift from a light blue to a rich cobalt blue. In the spirit of consistency and honoring the name ‘Bluetext’, a blue-based palette was adopted. But monochromatic does not mean monotone. Our creative team took this rebrand as an opportunity to surge new energy into the secondary color palette choosing energetic aquas and navy tones, complemented by cream, white or black.
As a brand development agency, our evolved brand identity has made us all the more energized for the coming new year, and inspired to do the same for our clients. Could your company’s brand use a little glow up too? Whether you’re ready for an evolution or full revolution, check out what Bluetext can do for you.
So far in this series, we have examined PLG as a concept, how it can be cross functionally implemented and why – when done right – it can be the right go-to-market strategy for your business. However, without a way to measure the success of your product led growth strategy, there is little to be learned and applied to your strategy moving forward. This is why establishing key short term and long term metrics and achievable KPIs is a crucial step in your PLG strategy. You are likely already tracking at least a handful of following key metrics, however establishing standard goals and benchmarks for your team to strive for when wading into the waters of PLG will provide valuable insights and allow you to make adjustments down the line to enhance your go-to-market strategy.
David McClure outlines the key metrics in his model known as AARRR or the term he coined, Pirate Metrics. This simple model evaluates each step in the user journey to identify any opportunities in the user lifecycle and finely hone in on where improvements need to be made.
- Acquisition: First thing’s first – you have to drive users to the product. Whether it’s an app or a website, developing a strategy to get users in front of your product through tailored channels is the first step to reaching revenue. Typically the channel strategy at this awareness stage varies by audience. For example, while it may be best to focus on social or SEO optimization for B2C audiences, B2B audiences may expect and prefer to see content marketing – also with a focus on SEO – or Event marketing at specific conferences or trade shows where they can be introduced to your brand and your product.
- Activation: Once you drive traffic to your product, the next challenge becomes making the conversion. This is where content and UX come together to drive users to take action. There are endless possibilities for how you can target even the most niche audiences – this is why collecting data through A/B testing of specific copy, design or landing pages can aid in the pursuit of a higher conversion rate.
- Revenue: there are various ways to track revenue, like average contract value (ACV), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), average revenue per user (ARPU). The revenue phase of the Pirate Model can also include upsell strategies for premium product features or add ons.
- Retention: User conversion is immediately followed by the retention phase – you want the user to continue to come back to use your product and take additional actions. Staying in touch with your users through various CRM channels and retargeting strategies can keep users engaged in the product and remind them to continue that relationship with your product. At the end of the day, in a PLG strategy, the product itself should drive retention by delivering an excellent user experience.
- Referral: Your current users can be your greatest asset in the pursuit of new users. Not only can they tell you what you need to know in terms of their behavior and interactions with the product in the user lifecycle, but they can also be a bridge to other users similar to them. Referrals from existing users can be a powerful tool particularly when there are incentives to bolster referrals.
In addition to the phases in the AARRR model, there are many other metrics that can be leveraged to evaluate your product and the user journey.
- Stickiness: The rate at which users return to the product. This helps to examine the value you are delivering by looking at how often users come back.
- Product Adoption Rate: This measures the rate at which users transition from new to recurring users. A high product adoption rate is encouraging, as it confirms that users are not only trying the product, but continuing to use it.
- Churn Rate: This is one the most important metrics to take note of when it comes to PLG – it evaluates the number of users that essentially quit your product. Keeping the churn rate as low as possible should be the utmost priority of a product led company.
- Product Qualified Leads (PQLs): A PQL is a user who has interacted with your product and taken an action indicating they will return to the product again and will continue to be a likely customer in the future. Becoming a PQL requires an action/conversion point and A/B testing can be a valuable tool in establishing the most effective strategy for those desired actions.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): this refers to the expected revenue to be made on a customer and their lifetime interaction with your product
- Time to Value (TTV): The TTV is the amount of time it takes from the first interaction with your product to the moment the user is able to understand and reap the benefits of the value your product delivers. A higher TTV can result in a higher churn rate as users want to quickly get to the benefit of what you are offering.
- Expansion Revenue: Any of the revenue made from a user beyond their first purchase can be considered expansion revenue. Upselling your users on additional premium features is a way to grow your expansion revenue. While growing your user base is crucial, your existing customers are a massive opportunity when it comes to cross selling and upselling products.
Product led growth relies on the intrinsic value that your product delivers to its users and an effective GTM plan to make sure it is put in front of the right audiences. Even the best products require some strategic thinking when it comes to driving users down the funnel to take action at that conversion point. Having the ability to evaluate and track users in their interaction and lifecycle with your product is essential for a successful launch and a successful future. Being armed with insights through these powerful metrics will help to fine tune the user experience and enhance revenue generation down the line. Learn more about how Bluetext can support and track your PLG strategy.
Product-led growth (PLG) strategy is at the forefront of a massive shift in the software purchasing process. Read our most recent blog in this series, PLG Series: Product User POV, to determine if your company is ready to put end users in the driver’s seat. For companies looking to make this shift, consider the steps it will take to get there, which will require two major stages of transformation: the evolution of the product, and the evolution of the organization.
Steps to Becoming a PLG Company
Evolution of the Product
PLG strategy hinges on end users being thrilled by the product the company offers. How can organizations create a thrilling software experience? While it may seem like an oxymoron, thrilling software is possible. It starts with prioritization of design, empathy, and frictionless touchpoints with a combination of user journey mapping, user testing, and intelligent data implementation. The end-user experience is what sets a working product and a great product apart. The product needs to serve as a solution to the user’s troubles, not just a jumble of benefits and features. The user journey is top of mind for pioneering PLG-focused companies, rather than the specs and selling points of the product itself.
A good example of this is the onboarding process for new users. In demonstrating software products, the demo should be focused on helping the user achieve their goals, not showing off features of the software it’s trying to sell. Product-led growth really means user-led: anticipating their needs, reducing their friction, and providing ongoing support to create a joyful, exciting user experience with the product. In the PLG model, product enjoyment leads to subscription sales, additional referrals, and customer retention. When shifting to a product-led growth strategy, companies must create sticky products, which capture user interest by delivering consistent value and compel users to use them more regularly.
Evolution of the Organization
To become a PLG company, the organization must first be willing to turn away from sales-led and marketing-led growth strategies. Instead, the business structure has to support the ability to move faster, more collaboratively, and with more complex dynamics. Collaboration and inclusivity are more than industry buzzwords; they actually can make or break internal strategies. To pull off the rate of product improvement necessary to keep pace with competitors, a PLG-focused company has to run as a democracy, taking input from a diverse group of stakeholders from a variety of different teams. Marketing, sales, CS, design, and engineering teams, for example, will all need to weigh in to make decisions that result in the best product and end-user experience.
The resulting company structure is often at first more difficult and complex than legacy structures, but it has proven the best way to organize a company that prioritizes the quality of the product for the consumer experience. When scaling, the first thought may be to attempt to grow teams through hiring to accommodate for better, quicker, product improvements. That process tends to be time-consuming, costly, and inevitably leads companies to fall behind their faster, leaner competitors who are prioritizing employee growth, flexibility, and collaboration. As a step toward this organizational transformation, it’s important to break down silos to stay communicative, informed, and aligned across teams.
After going through the transitional phases outlined above, the real work of a product-led growth company begins in harnessing value from the Freemium to Premium chain.
Capitalizing on the Freemium to Premium Chain
For a PLG-focused enterprise, after creating the best possible product and putting the organizational systems in place to support the development of increasingly spectacular products, the value in the product-led growth model comes from encouraging the following: Product adoption, Customer Loyalty, and Advocacy. This growth can be reaped from the Freemium to Premium chain, composed of three stages:
A frictionless entry point for users, leading to customer acquisition.
The user’s first interaction with the product should be personalized, delightful, and convincing. A free trial or demo experience allows users to self-educate about the benefits of the product and its ability to solve their needs, rather than having to deal with a salesperson or middleman to handle the transaction. This freemium experience can come in a couple of different forms: a reduced features version, a reduced capacity or usage version, or a reduced support version.
There are a few reasons as to why the free trial method is the best entry experience for customers seeking software solutions. First, the software is an intangible object and can be difficult to adequately describe with marketing lingo; it’s better to give users a hands-on experience that shows (rather than tells) the product’s benefits. Second, free trials reduce the fear of committing to a purchase, so users can explore the software offerings without concerns about getting locked into a subscription. Lastly, observing or collecting data during a demo experience allows you to gain valuable feedback on the product at hand. By seeing how end users experience the product designed for them, you can get a realistic sense of their positive reactions and friction points in order to continue improving the product offering.
Features located behind a paywall, leading to expansion.
The free trial leads the process by introducing the user to a must-have technology (where they’re reaping actual value), and the paywall follows by scaling up the pricing for the software as usage or benefits increase. After an opt-in free trial, a good conversion rate should be around 25%, and that rate jumps to 60% for opt-out free trials.
The product-led growth strategy for conversion is simple: freemium users are enticed to subscribe to premium accounts when they enjoy the product. To encourage subscriptions, it’s important to remind users of the benefits and product features. In addition, putting a clear time limit on the length of the trial creates a sense of urgency for freemium users to switch to premium subscriptions. Trial period expirations can help push users to take action, for fear of losing out on the benefits that they’ve come to appreciate while utilizing your software throughout the demo period.
Valuable integrations, leading to retention.
While gaining initial subscriptions is important, PLG strategy necessitates that these users continue coming back to the product. Ideally, each time the user utilizes the product, they should have a better and better experience. The PLG model will not work successfully if the company’s product becomes outdated or uncompetitive. Users must not only fall in love with the product but stay enamored. This can be done by continually improving the existing user experience, or by building out additional features and benefits to the product. However, if exploring the latter, keep the user journey segmented so that different audiences are still able to find the most relevant solutions quickly. As the product grows to encompass more features, the UX designers should ensure that the additional capabilities don’t cloud the interface to make it confusing or overwhelming.
For companies in the software technology space, shifting to a product-led growth strategy could lead to a better experience for customers and keep the enterprise at the front of the competitive edge. If you are interested in learning more about how Bluetext could use marketing tactics to help reposition your brand as a PLG-focused business, contact us.
Companies are able to expand with efficiency using the product-led growth (PLG) strategy. In a PLG model, the product is the main vehicle for acquiring, retaining, and expanding customers, and these end-users are now in the driver’s seat. This means the road to success is paved by the experience your product provides.
The PLG strategy sets new standards and expectations for companies based on customers’ wants and needs. Consider a PLG model for your company as you strive to meet the following characteristics:
Your product offers a fast, unique, and effective solution.
It is crucial to think about how your product can not only become a leader in conversations but also garner positive experiences for your customers. The focus should be on real people, with real problems so you can promote active solutions that help customers achieve daily tasks. In today’s world, there is no shortage of companies creating products. That means there is a lot of competition out there, and customers have no problem ditching your product if they can get a faster, more efficient solution to their problem somewhere else.
The user quickly realizes the benefit of the product.
People want immediate gratification and will give up quickly if a product is more work than help. So, meet users where they work. A customer should be able to understand and integrate your product into an existing workflow without any major hurdles. Your product should deliver real value that has strong viral potential, and continue to bring value to its users.
Your product is flexible and customizable.
Your product needs to provide metrics that allow you to adapt to user behavior to provide continuous added value. Customers want their lives to be as easy as possible, so it is important to continue innovating and adapting. Enabling users to get creative and adjust the product to benefit how they work, will prompt continued internal optimization of your product and provide limitless growth opportunities.
Develop a strong user community.
Connect with your users, but also provide an environment and positive experience that will prompt users to build their own communities within their workforce through self-serving promotion. This free promotion of your product is a highly effective way of getting additional users to adopt your product. They have a foundation of trust with their peers and fellow co-workers that translates to the product and fosters long-term, loyal relationships. As more and more people test out and use your product, it becomes essential to run those users’ businesses.
Monetize after you deliver value.
Be strategic with your pricing and how you present high-value features. Users need to trust that it will benefit them and improve their workflow before they pay. Being flexible with pricing and basing it on usage will also make it easier to scale.
PLG creates happier, more satisfied customers, who in turn become promoters for your product. This cycle both benefits your business and the customers as it pushes constant innovation and optimization for your product.
If you’re looking to take your business performance to the next level, contact Bluetext.
The way that users engage with technology has dramatically changed in the last decade. As SaaS companies are stepping up their game to meet these demands, users are met with an abundance of software available at their fingertips to fulfill their every need. Tech-savvy people are seeking software that is more beautiful, more powerful, and more affordable than ever before. The patience for dealing with clunky designs or a challenging user experience has completely dissolved. Now more than ever, businesses are recognizing the value of leading with a great product and user experience in order to generate growth. Enter Product Led Growth.
Product Led Growth
Product Led Growth is a business strategy for companies to use their product as the primary driver for customer acquisition, retention, and expansion. Imagine a pancake house that is famous for its pancakes. You hear about the pancakes, try them, love them, and tell all of your friends to try them as well; thus, the cycle repeats itself. The restaurant’s main goal is to create an unforgettable pancake that keeps customers coming back; they don’t have to prove or tell anyone that they have amazing pancakes because the product speaks for itself. Businesses that have adapted Product Led Growth strategies are thinking about how they can put their product at the forefront of every step of the customer journey–the foundation is having an amazing product with exceptional focus on the user. People hear about it, they test it out, they start using it, and all of a sudden it becomes a necessity to run their business. This type of strategy fosters company-wide alignment across teams around the product as the single most important source of long-term, scalable business success.
Product Led Growth allows for a significantly lower cost to acquire customers because existing users are promoting and selling the product simply by enjoying using it. Unlike sales-led businesses, which aim to get a customer from point A to point B in a sales cycle, product-led businesses turn the typical sales paradigm on its head by allowing customers to try their product for free, through a freemium or free trial that eventually becomes a subscription or an add-on purchase. Some of the most successful companies implementing the Product Led Growth approach are Slack, Dropbox, and Zoom, just to name a few.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of a company that has mastered the PLG strategy is Slack. By creating a completely new way for teams to communicate with each other, Slack leads with a product that is widely beneficial to almost any business, unique in its offerings, and initially free. Customers start with a free sign-up process with frictionless onboarding and are met with a superior customer experience throughout usage. Slack swiftly slides in premium plans for users to expand the scope of the platform after they’ve already started using it.
The company boasts over 12 million active daily users, with 156,000 businesses subscribing to the app and a profit of $292 million in 2021. They’ve also uniquely branded themselves with quirky and fun features that cannot be found on traditional messaging or communication platforms. By bridging the favored aspects of modern communications, like the iPhone emoji, the swift speed of the classic IM, and even conferencing abilities of Zoom, they’ve made a one-of-a-kind product that adopters find irreplaceable. It’s the kind of app that sells itself; you hear about it, you try it, and soon enough you’re using it every day. Slack is an excellent example of a company that leverages product features and usages as its main driver for acquisition and retention.
Next up, we have Dropbox. With sales that have surpassed $1 billion in less than ten years, Dropbox has a clear and undeniably successful product-led growth strategy. Dropbox’s product-led strategy succeeds in two crucial areas. First, Dropbox has developed a user-friendly product that satisfies market demands by making file sharing simple and convenient for end users. For users, the platform is intuitive and easy to set up, and accessible for recipients regardless of subscription status. Second, the platform encourages users to convert non-users by passing along a referral link that subsequently increases their storage credit. This recommendation strategy has allowed Dropbox to gain new clients while improving the satisfaction of current ones.
Last but certainly not least, we have Zoom. Unbeknownst to us at the time, a global pandemic created the ideal environment for Zoom’s product strategy to become a master class of the Product Led Growth model. Zoom continues to distinguish itself from its well-known competitors by putting the needs of its clients first and keeping its promise to offer a straightforward connection. By expanding on its PLG model, Zoom makes many of its essential capabilities freely accessible, putting Zoom in the hands of millions of customers who connect for work meetings, educational purposes, workout classes, and book clubs. Other premium features are further accessible through a paid subscription.
The bottom line is, Product Led Growth strategy is here to stay. It is challenging the traditional sales-driven growth model of software companies and transforming the way customers are acquired and retained. If you are interested in learning more about how Bluetext could use marketing tactics to help reposition your brand as a PLG-focused business, contact us.
There are no written rules when it comes to determining how to efficiently increase your company’s enterprise value. Unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all formula for enterprise success. Simply put, the strategy will vastly differ for every industry, sector, and individual company. That being said, marketing has been proven as a cornerstone of any effective business strategy and critical in raising enterprise value.
Your marketing strategy dictates the overall market’s understanding of what your business brings to the table, how you differ from your competition in the eyes of customers and investors, and perhaps most importantly, what the future holds for your business and how you intend to evolve as both the market and overall economy change. Whether your ultimate goal is to take your company public or take on capital investment in the near future, marketing will play a significant part in how you succeed. In this blog post, we’ll discuss tips on putting together a sound marketing strategy and how this can lead to an increase in enterprise value.
Understanding the Current Market and Its Needs
As you know, the competitive landscape is constantly shifting, and any dramatic change in the competition calls for change in your strategy. The first step to putting together an effective marketing strategy is to understand your company in its position within the current market. Customer tastes and expectations are constantly evolving, so being able to adapt to current market conditions is critical in today’s economy. It’s important to ask yourself: What is your value proposition against your competitors? Are you where you need to be to maximize value? Can customers quickly get the information they need and are questions and service issues resolved promptly? Ensuring you’re meeting your customer’s needs will set you up for long-term success and increase your value as not only a supplier but also in the eyes of any potential investors.
When Government technology giants Octo and Sevatec decided to merge, they tapped Bluetext to guide them through a brand evolution, aligning both company brand identities into a new cohesive corporate visual identity. We worked hard to understand both companies’ positions in the market and design a message and visual identity that aligned Octo and Sevatec’s legacies under one united mission from both an internal and external perspective, increasing the combined entity’s enterprise value.
Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy
While it’s important to understand the current needs of your customers, it’s equally important to take a look in the mirror and focus your marketing strategy on your company’s future goals, both in the short- and long-term. What are your business goals and objectives? Do you anticipate a significant capital investment raise in the next 2 years? Or 5 years? It’s imperative to make conscious, strategic decisions by beginning with the end in mind instead of simply letting tactics evolve.
When Arlington Capital Partners acquired three leading companies in the national security sector, they turned to Bluetext to develop and launch a new unified brand from scratch. In less than six months, Centauri was born. Following the launch of the brand and a successful integrated go-to-market strategy that included PR, digital advertising, and social media, the firm went on a contract-winning spree and in less than two years, was acquired by industrial engineering juggernaut, KBR, for $800m. With an understanding of Arlington Capital’s goals from the outset, focused on raising the enterprise value of a combined entity, Bluetext was able to build a comprehensive marketing strategy that achieved the PE firm’s wildest dreams.
In Marketing, ROI is Everything
Let’s be clear, marketing can be an expensive undertaking. When you think about the various marketing tactics you can choose to include in your marketing strategy, consider every channel including but not limited to: direct marketing, public relations, digital marketing, advertising and promotion, and trade shows. While it would be great to put a significant budget toward each of these channels, that just isn’t feasible for the majority of companies out there. Just like you would diversify your stock portfolio, you should also diversify your marketing efforts, especially when starting out. Be smart about where you decide to invest your marketing dollars but don’t be afraid to commit to a research-driven marketing strategy.
Discuss internally the pros and cons of each channel, especially in the context of your competitors, industry, and customers, both existing and future. Additionally, determine if you can handle the execution of these marketing channels in-house, or if it may make sense to hire a marketing agency like Bluetext to take some of the load off of your internal team. Most importantly, however, is to establish clear metrics designed to capture ROI for each channel you decide to invest in and keep your internal and external teams accountable to them. Diversifying your marketing mix is the best way to ensure you’re increasing your brand awareness across a variety of customer-facing touchpoints, which will lead to an effective increase in perceived enterprise value from an investor perspective.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. That being said, having a strong understanding of your market, customer base, and short- and long-term business goals will strongly inform your marketing strategy and put you in the best position to succeed in increasing brand awareness, customer acquisition, and overall enterprise value. If you’re in need of support in putting together a comprehensive marketing strategy or a marketing partner to execute an already determined strategy, consider contacting Bluetext. For more than a decade, Bluetext has helped companies and private equity firms raise enterprise value. We specialize in planning, developing, and executing effective brand transformations to exceed business goals, with our clients benefitting from our deep creative expertise, seamless strategy, and innovative way of problem-solving.
It’s 2022, and the term “gamer” no longer refers to teenagers playing video games in their parent’s basements. Gamers are all around us, thanks to the explosion of game formats, genres, and platforms. Roughly 40% of the world’s population admits to playing some kind of video game. The typical stereotypes of people who partake in this hobby are far from reality; 70% of gamers are over the age of 18, 46% of gamers are female, and only 2% play out of their parent’s basements (actually, we made that last stat up). Especially after the pandemic, the gaming industry has boomed and it is expected to keep booming. As online games continue to rise in popularity, marketers are recognizing the potential of advertising within gaming platforms, otherwise known as in-game advertising.
While players may have a knee-jerk reaction when they hear the term “in-game advertising,” the practice has proven extremely successful for brands. For example in 2009, Microsoft promoted Bing in a series of games, including NBA 2K10 and DJ Hero. After their first exposure to the ads, the percentage of gamers visiting and searching Bing increased by 108% according to Microsoft. Surprisingly, two-thirds of the gamers who visited Bing after seeing the ad were visiting for the first time. According to a recent study conducted by Vantage Market Research, the global in-game advertising market size is forecasted to reach USD 12.35 Billion by the year 2028. While in-game advertising (IGA) can include banners, video ads, audio ads, or mini-games, the most popular types of IGA are static ads, dynamic ads, and gamevertising. When it comes to reaching your target audience with in-game ads, the most important factors are picking the right format and gaming service to deploy ads on. Let’s quickly deep-dive into some of the options, and take a look at some of the games that reach wide demographics.
Video In-Game Advertising
It’s no surprise that video is a key format for digital advertising; dynamic, engaging content fits perfectly with what users now want to experience. When it comes to using video in games, there are multiple different ways to present short, impactful content. There are pre-roll videos, which pop up a few seconds before the gaming experience starts, and there are also rewarded videos that will give the player a reward for sticking around to watch until the end.
Native In-Game Advertising
Native in-game ads are arguably the most innovative in-game advertising formats of all. A brand’s key message can be directly integrated into the video game itself, creating a non-intrusive advertising experience for the user. For example, there could be an advertising banner in a sports game applied along the playing field, mimicking how the ad would appear in real life. This way, the user is exposed to advertisements in a way that does not pause or delay their playing experience whatsoever.
Audio In-Game Advertising
Audio is another form of advertising that has risen in popularity over the past few years. The music streaming platform Spotify recently released a study that showed that streaming from gaming consoles went up 61% in 2021, compared to the year before. High-tech gaming consoles such as Playstation and Xbox now include a dedicated music app, which is where in-game ads can be utilized. This format is another non-intrusive strategy that does not inhibit the game.
Picking the Right Game
From esports gamers to social gamers and casual gamers, the gaming target audience is highly diverse and offers great market potential to companies. The decision on whether to include ads is ultimately up to the game developer, so you’re less likely to see a promotion for Mountain Dew or Takis in big titles like Call of Duty or God of War. But smaller, independent games—especially those that utilize the free-to-play model—are likely to embrace in-game advertising. Here are a few options of popular video games that reach a wide demographic that could be a fit for your next in-game ad.
- Candy Crush Saga
- This popular mobile game has over 250 million users to date, with the average age range of players falling between 25 to 45 years old. The gender split is pretty even, with 46% of players being male and 54% being female. The most popular type of advertising within Candy Crush is a video and/or rewarded ads.
- FarmVille 3
- Another mobile game that originated through Facebook, FarmVille 3 is one of the top-grossing games amongst middle-aged adults, particularly females. In 2022, the third rendition of FarmVille reported over 200,000 downloads.
- Words With Friends
- A mobile game that has maintained popularity amongst older generations since 2009, Words With Friends has at least 170 million registered users.
If you’re looking to bring your digital marketing and advertising strategy to the next level, contact Bluetext. With award-winning creative services, video and digital capabilities the possibilities are endless.
There’s a reason why TikTok is the fastest growing app in America, and it’s not because of the lip-syncing teens or the viral dance moves. Users are drawn to TikTok for one primary reason: they love video. So much so that brands and companies recognize the power of audiovisual advertising opportunities and pump out more video content than ever before. But looking just beyond social media trends, video marketing remains highly effective across all platforms. In 2021, a study by Lemonlight found that 98% of marketers agreed that video would play an essential role in the upcoming years. In a media environment where consumers are constantly being bombarded by new information, it is absolutely vital that companies garner attention and engagement. One of the most effective means of capturing attention is through video marketing. Not only has video been shown to drive more engagement than any other type of marketing, but it can also be a powerful way to humanize your brand. Using eye-catching visuals, voiceovers, and music can translate your brand’s story and mission in a concise and memorable way. Producing video content may seem daunting, so here are a few key pointers to help break it down.
Different Types of Video Marketing
The most common kind of video you can produce is oftentimes referred to as a “spot”, and it entails any kind of advertisement that airs at a specific time. Businesses choose where and when they want their advertisement to appear, and the content can vary depending on the brand or product being marketed. Since spots are typically less than a minute long, brevity is the name of the game. The key here is to immediately engage your audience and get to the meat of your message within the first couple of seconds.
Videos for social media include anything that would be made and posted on a company’s organic social media account, or promoted through paid media placement. For organic social profiles, video content is often leveraged through temporary or traditional posts, while paid media promotion can target social media users with inline video ads based on profile data or website cookies. The content can vary, but the main focus for organic placement is to increase brand awareness and grow a social following. Putting some ad spend behind your video content offers more precise audience targeting, and offers opportunities for direct calls to action such as “Learn More” or “Sign Up”. Nevertheless, organic and paid social videos are typically short, with the exception of content for YouTube or Facebook, which is better suited for longer content.
The primary goal of this type of video is to help show off your company’s personality. These videos are an effective means to build trust between the company and its target audience, whether that be potential customers or prospective employees, by emphasizing core values and missions. These can include interviews with team members, clips of the office or events, or anything at all that shows what makes working at your company unique.
With a demo video, you have the opportunity to show off your brand and your products while teaching people how to use them. These are usually a bit longer and more detailed than the other video types mentioned, however, they should still grab the viewers’ attention. Product demonstration videos typically feature a charismatic host that speaks passionately about the product, but animated videos are effective as well.
Getting Started with Making Video Content
Okay, so now you know a few different types of video marketing, but where do you start? Although there are plenty of online sources for learning how to create amazing content on your own, it can be helpful to invest in a video marketing agency. This powerful method of marketing is not going anywhere anytime soon, so if you are interested in increasing user engagement, brand awareness, and conversions contact Bluetext about our video production services.
They say that fashion cycles every twenty years. If you walked out onto the streets of any city or by any trendy clothing storefront today, you’d probably see a wide array of neon prints, baggy denim, and those teeny tiny sunglasses that will have you seeing flashbacks to 2002. But fashion isn’t the only arena in which Y2K inspiration is making a comeback. From interior design and entertainment to digital design and branding, nostalgic nods to the early 2000s are making a resurgence everywhere.
In this post, we’ll be diving into the influence Y2K trends are having in the creative digital design landscape today. We’ll highlight what 2000s inspiration consists of, why it works, and how Bluetext can help make any of your Y2K design dreams a reality.
Defining the Y2K Aesthetic
In contrast to the clean and sophisticated, “corporate” feel that has dominated digital design trends in recent years, the Y2K aesthetic has a notably less-polished look. This was initially a result of the technical constraints of the early 2000s. However, graphic designers today (with access to significantly more tools and advanced software) are able to mimic the same decades-old vibe with new-life designs that look both tastefully amateur and purposefully quirky.
The original Y2K design aesthetic was a mish-mash of decades and inspiration. Cues from the 60s and 70s nostalgia were paired with excitement about innovation in tech and the growth of the internet around the year 2000. The result: dynamic futurism and playful interpretation of retro style that we can all recognize today as the Y2K aesthetic.
Let’s take a look at some of the main elements that characterized Y2K design and the trends that are currently making a comeback:
Asymmetrical designs with flat, analog user interfaces. Old-school-looking browser windows and translucent hardware. Deliberate glitches, pixelation, and an overall lo-fi look and feel.
Metallics and icy blues and purples. Neons and bright retro colors like orange and lime green. Funky gradients and intentional color clashing.
Iconography and Visuals
Use of low-res images. Decorative, clip art style icons and stickers. Pre-emoji emoticons and quirky 2D and 3D iconography.
Free-flowing type design using italics and default fonts like Times New Roman and Comic Sans. Blocky text and bubble letters. 3D effects and loud, bold types with thick outlines and shadows.
These Y2K-inspired design trends are showing up across the digital landscape- whether serving as high-level inspiration for visual identity and logo designs or as fundamental elements of websites and rebrands.
Y(2K) it Works
We aren’t just seeing this on our phones and computers – we’re seeing Y2K inspiration on our TVs, hearing it on our radios, seeing it in our homes and in art galleries. The cyclical nature of design is prevalent across all industries and trades, and when it’s everywhere, it’s trendy. This isn’t the first time our cultural zeitgeist is recycling trends of the past, either. Designers of past and present often draw inspiration from previous decades, reinventing them with contemporary, original qualities of their own.
Nostalgia (defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations”) is a powerful and valuable design tool. For those around in the late 90s and early 2000s, Y2K design can evoke a sense of relatability, sentimentality, and longing in buyers nostalgic about the earlier days. Or, for younger generations, Y2K designs can appease their fondness for an era beyond their own experience. Perhaps not for your overall B2B brand, but certainly for new product logos, campaign themes, or landing pages a nostalgic visual identity can create emotional connections with your audience. In a sea of corporate sameness, nothing catches the eye of middle age business audience like a memorable flashback to their younger days.
So, are you ready to add some Y2K spunk to your next design project? As a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in everything from website redesigns to entire visual identity overhauls, Bluetext has got you covered. Contact us today to learn how we can bring nostalgic, early 2000s energy to your next project in 2022.
Or maybe, give us a ring to really embrace the Y2K spirit.
In late 2021, Apple released its iOS 15 update with a pretty drastic change in browser layout, creating a ripple effect in website UX design. The beloved search bar on Safari had been moved from the top of the screen to the bottom. Many users, who are less familiar with the thought process behind UX design were left with one question. Why?
Well, according to MacRumors, the move was more functional than aesthetic. Think about how one naturally holds and operates a smartphone; usually held within the palm of the hand and touchscreen controlled by your thumbs from the bottom corners. Therefore, controls brought to the bottom of the screen are easier to reach with one hand. This feature also creates more space for users to focus on the webpage’s content.
Research confirms that “75% of users touch the screen with one thumb.” This has led UX designers to favor a thumb-driven design, placing the most important and frequently-used features at the bottom of the screen. This ensures easy access with one thumb.
Traditionally, many website designers place navigation in the top corners of the screen. While that works with a desktop device, due to the greater range of motion coming from the computer’s mouse, it does not translate that effectively to a mobile device. With the navigation menu being placed on the top corners of the screen, the range of motion that the user’s thumb has can restrict easy access to that navigation menu. Especially as technology evolves and mobile screens grow in size, users find themselves having to reposition their hands. This in turn slows down the user’s ability to navigate webpages and ingest content.
What’s the big deal? I just have to move my hand a little to be able to reach the top corner of my screen. The answer is simple: efficiency. Bottom menu navigation allows the user to accomplish tasks faster and with a greater level of comfortability, which really adds up considering that the average American spends 5.4 hours on their phones.
A lot goes into the design process, and it is not all about aesthetics. It’s about how the product functions. In today’s world, 55% of website traffic is generated using mobile devices, so functional and efficient mobile layouts for a website is imperative to the success of a brand. It is essential that UX designs make easy navigation a priority because the easier a product is to use the more often it will get used or recommended. That is why features like bottom navigation are so effective. Especially if it is designed in a streamlined way that makes content visible, clear, and simple.
As users experience the bottom menu trend, users will likely have to take some time to readjust. Looking ahead at UX design trends for 2022, there will be a continuation of the emphasis on overall usability, navigation, and aesthetics being driving forces for design. There is a desire to achieve a seamless experience, where user experience designers focus on the continuity and natural progression of connecting all the steps of finding a landing page to purchasing an item. It is imperative that functionality is favored, so it will be interesting to see more experimentation with navigation placement and overall screen flow on mobile devices in the future.
Does your website menu need a refresh? Contact Bluetext today to learn about our web and UX design services.