Geofencing The Key To Get Your Advertising Message Into Queens Campus

For years one of my biggest challenges has been find a way satisfy the very large appetite of my clients to get their message into Queens residences. Historically the university has put up as many road blocks as possible to make sure this doesn’t happen. The school sorts the mail to ensure flyers and other direct mail pieces do not end up in students mailboxes, they do not allow local newspapers into residence, heck you can’t even leave material in the lobbies in hope that they may pick it up on the way out. The only way to reach students at Queens especially those in residence is to buy an ad in one of the university newspapers with the most popular option being the Queens Journal. Well up until now! Let me introduce you to geofencing which is a serious game changer for me to change this trend and I will explain why. Sure you can restrict traditional media from finding it’s way on campus but you can’t take mobile devices out of the hands of students. I would argue that most web browsing by students would be done from a mobile device which makes this form of advertising even more effective. They live on these things.

For those of you new to geofencing it is a location based mobile marketing platform using GPS technology. So how this would come into play at queens is we simply punch in the residence addresses and various landmarks around the campus. We then target a radius around that location with your message for example 1 km around each address. When students use the internet from their mobile device or tablet your ad will come up on millions of websites within our network. We sell this based on impressions and track click thru’s just like a desktop campaign. The timing couldn’t be better, as long as you book before August 31st this platform is half price at $10 per thousand. You could run 50,000 impressions in September for just $500. (Yes we can easily serve these up with this platform)

Hopefully if you are an advertiser and you want to reach Queens students you are as excited about this platform as I am. It only took me 23 years to figure out a way in but thanks to technology it’s better late than never.

Follow me on Twitter @GeoffJosey


Why Every Realtor Needs A Metroland Audience Extension Platform

If you are a realtor or mortgage specialist in my region and haven’t reached out to discuss an audience extension campaign it’s time you do. If someone was to tell you that you could target potential buyers currently in the market for a home I am sure you would say yes 100 per cent sign me up. Then if they told you you could do this for $200-$350 per month I know you’d be in. But for some reason you aren’t none of you and it baffles me. I am going to take this time for a bit of a sales pitch so you can get back to me as to why you are not marketing yourself in this way. To make it easy lets use the market I live in Kingston as the example. When a user looking for a home in the Kingston market comes on to to look at listings (which many people do) we take a cookie from that user. This allows us to follow that user as they surf the web. So as they leave Homefinder and go to sites such as the weather network, CBC, Kijjiji, the Toronto Star etc we follow them with your ad. What makes this so powerful is we know they are looking for a home in Kingston so why not introduce them to your inventory? You could have 20,000 monthly impressions on your ad for $340. To me that is a very low cost with a very high ROI given that we know the user is currently in the market. If you do not fully understand what an impression is get in touch with me and I will bring you up to speed. So now you have it and hopefully I hear from you soon so I can introduce you to this amazing online marketing strategy.


Audience Extension – Retargeting 101

I have spent the first 20 plus years of my career selling print media and more specifically flyer distribution and direct mail campaigns so introducing my clients to audience extension or re-targeting has been a natural for me and something that even the online virgins have no trouble grasping when properly explained.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this type of advertising this is how it works at least in my world; When users come on to Metroland sites such as,, any of our news sites, automobile sites etc we pull cookies from users so we can track their browsing history. By doing this we are pulling a demographic profile which we will use to serve up targeted online ads paid for by our advertisers.  We pull data such as event goers, bargain hunters, automobile shoppers and the list goes on and on. In the online marketing world this is referred to as re-targeting.

Now that we know what is being searched for online the hard part is done and it gets pretty easy from here. We simply follow users as they leave the Metroland website and venture on to the World Wide Web. This is what we call audience extension. Because we know what is being searched for online we follow users with ads pertaining to their interests. An example would be if someone from Kingston comes on to Homefinder (our national real estate site) and is looking at homes we know this user is in the market. Once they leave Homefinder and venture on to the internet we will follow that user onto the web with a local real estate ad driving that user to a local agent’s inventory. So the next time you are online and are wondering how does my travel agent know I am thinking about booking a trip to Vegas (Yes this happens to me) , In a nutshell you are being stalked by advertisers who want your business.

You should now understand the basics of audience extension / retargeting. There are many different ways to do this such as running a campaign pulling cookies from users that visit your own website and follow them on the web in an attempt to close a customer who is already looking at your product or service but what I like about our platform is we are bringing new customers to you much like a direct mail campaign. Because we are targeting a customer who is looking for a product or service we know you provide, means that the click thru rates are going to be higher than that of a general impression campaign and the clicks you do receive are all high quality and the likelihood of turning these clicks into sales are very high. Simply put it is a more valuable click.

If you are looking at adding audience extension to your online footprint and you are a local business you can have a solid program for $300 – $400 per month. This shouldn’t be the only thing you do but I highly recommend that this type of marketing should be part of your marketing mix that includes print, content marketing and even mobile marketing.

Follow me on twitter @geoffjosey

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Online Advertising Click Thru Expectations

It is no secret that digital advertising is on the rise and traditional print is not. It hasn’t happened yet but slowly but surely my digital sales are gaining ground on my print sales such as newspaper display and the direct mail product I manage FlyerMail. Out of the 80 to 100 advertisers whom I manage their digital platforms 100 per cent of those were exclusive print clients in the past. This is good news in the sense that I am keeping these dollars away from digital competitors or at least getting my share. This becomes more important as print budgets get cut and businesses  allocate that revenue to online advertising. The challenge I have is virtually all of my clients had never spent a dollar online before I converted them.

There are many digital platforms at Metroland Media but one of the most popular for new advertisers wanting to get their feet wet in the digital world are online display ads. The most popular online ads for first timers are the big box, double skyscraper and leaderboard. Your digital advertising rep can show you examples on their tablet. At Metroland we sell impressions. These aren’t expensive  a local customer can purchase 20,000 impressions per month for as low as $240. Being so inexpensive makes this type of advertising very easy to sell as it fits most advertising budgets. One of my greatest challenges is managing click thru expectations due to platforms such as google ad words and other pay per click services. Impression advertising is much more than this but this all too often seems to be forgotten. (Read my blog “It’s about more than just the click).

So what click thru rate should you expect? From everything I have read the average click thru rate in Canada is .09 per cent.  So this means if you run a campaign at 20,000 impressions per month you would receive 216 clicks on 240,000 annual impressions. Not bad if you consider the campaign just brought 216 people to your store which in the digital world we call a website. My clients running campaigns on the Metroland network generally receive a click thru rate between .2-.5 per cent. This is 2-6 times the industry average pretty amazing right? It is but for first timers I spend a lot of my time educating  that their campaign is performing very well. The initial client reaction is usually the same “240,000 impressions and only 500 clicks?”  I then explain that their ad appeared on webpages 240,000 times and 500 people clicked. Where else can you track an ad campaign like that? Maybe coupons but no other traditional media can.

Whether you are a first timer or already advertising online please be realistic with your expectations. Remember every impression counts in the advertising world and if your program is performing at or above the national click thru average stick with it. Be consistent, change the call to action from time to time and this type of advertising will become an important part of your marketing strategy. Give it a year and you will see results with a decent ROI.

Follow me on twitter @geoffjosey

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Is Cross Border Online Shopping Becoming Canadian Retailers Biggest Threat?

With Black Friday just around the corner and Remembrance Day behind us Canadians are now approximately 2 weeks into their annual 6 week holiday spending spree where we spend more than we earn. Traditionally what this has meant is that retailers ramp up their advertising dollars increasing their digital, print, radio and television media buys in order to ensure they get their share. For the most part these ads are designed to drive foot traffic into retail stores. This is after all part of the Christmas experience which many of us curse and yes some actually enjoy it. This trend is slowly changing with the emergence of online shopping. There is even an online version of “Black Friday” dubbed Cyber Monday which falls the Monday following Black Friday. This is a good thing in the sense that it does drive people away from their computers and mobile devices for at least one day as shoppers know that another mega deal shopping day is right around the corner which they can do from home.

One plus for Canadian retail is that many US online shopping sites do not ship to Canada which traditionally has benefited large retailers who do have a presence in Canada such as Old Navy. Well this has changed. Leading up to the 2014 holiday shopping season I was approached by a Canadian company called which in a nutshell provides shoppers with a US mailbox so you can shop anywhere in the US and they charge you $29 to ship to your door in Canada. What does this mean for Canadian retail? I am first going to provide a few stats to set up my stance. Canadians spend $15.3 billion annually shopping online. An ISPOS Reid survey found 82% of Canadians are making purchases online with an average annual spend of $954 annually per person. So you can understand the impact that companies like myUsAddress could have on the Canadian retail landscape as a significant chunk of this spending will be going south of the border. This isn’t all bad especially if you are a consumer; Big box retailers will have to increase their product line to compete and one would guess prices will go down. But there is a down side. If 82 per cent of Canadians are shopping online what does this mean for smaller local retail?  Many retailers such as those in downtown Kingston have unique product lines that separate themselves from the big box stores. Product lines that in some cases shoppers are going online to find, and often end up on international online shopping sites to place their orders as they do not realize that they could very easily just head downtown. In order to do this they need to know where to go and what is available. Many shop online for convenience but a significant chunk go online to find products they can’t find at home.

How can local retailers combat this inevitable change in consumer shopping habits? The first thing I would do is ensure that you have a suitable website that properly illustrates your product line. If it is in your budget invest in a site that allows customers to make purchases online just as easily as they can with the national retailers. If you shop around you could have a full functioning online shopping site in the five to ten thousand dollar range. This will allow your customers to make purchases just as easily as they can with the online superpowers. An example of a local company who has done a great job of this is The next thing I would do is embark on an online advertising campaign. Think about it these are online shoppers we are dealing with so the only way to really reach them is with an online campaign. While online shoppers are surfing national shopping sites such as Metroland Media’s and WagJag you have every opportunity to reach your local audience with an IP targeted impression campaign targeted to your local market with ads on sites just like these not to mention the 50 other sites you can target. You can purchase 20,000 impressions on the Metroland network for $300. If you feel you need a more targeted approach you can take this to another level and look at an audience extension or a retargeting campaign that reaches customers searching for your specific product line even if they go so sites not owned by Metorland. I would back this campaign up with a content marketing strategy such as our In Your Neighborhood platform to increase product and brand awareness. Of course a daily deal on a site such as WagJag is also an excellent option to bring people in.

If you take anything away from this blog it should be that online shopping is on the rise and isn’t going away any time soon. More Canadians are cross border shopping especially now that they can do it from home on their computer or mobile device. As a Canadian retailer regardless of your size you need to have a plan to combat this because if you do not your sales will start to decline and you run the risk dying a slow death as a business owner. Make sure you have a strong web presence supported by a digital advertising strategy so you can get your share.

Follow me on twitter @geoffjosey

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The Modern Day Print Advertising rep

Oh how the life of a print advertising media rep has changed. For the first 20 years of my advertising career life really was pretty simple. I sold one product which for most of that time was flyer distribution inside newspapers. I worked very hard, built up an account list in excess of 1 million dollars annually which is a lot of local flyer distribution. My job consisted of convincing local business owners as well as national agencies, big box stores, grocery chains etc that they should be distributing their flyers in newspapers that I represented and I did that job with much success. This is after all how I initially established myself in the industry. At the time I saw myself as a passionate, hardworking “flyer guy” and if you asked me then I would have told you that what I was doing was very complex and it was to an extent. Most newspapers did have specialists to deal with this part of the business and still do. I decided to move on for a new challenge and start my own company FlyerMail which provided me the opportunity to diversify myself by adding commercial print and graphic design to my areas of specialty. Again this seemed to be a huge challenge at the time but I was about to discover that my life as a print media advertising sales professional was about to drastically change with the sale of FlyerMail to a multimedia giant in Torstar.

After I sold to Torstar I came back thinking that I would continue to drive FlyerMail for the new company which I did. I knew there would be some minor changes such as the format, design, new printer etc but overall I would be pushing one product. Sure there was the co-branding with an online flyer site in but for the most part my life would be the same. What had changed since my last stint in the industry was the business was no longer just about newspapers. In fact newspapers were no more than one of the many core products that I was expected to push. I was expected to push our many digital platforms which included content marketing, daily deal sites, flyer sites, impressions, IP targeting, take overs, audience extension, retargeting and this barely scratches the surface. There were magazines, newspapers, direct mail products and a heck of a lot more. What happened to the days when all we had to worry about was asking “do you want to buy an ad in next week’s paper?”  Well it was clear those days were gone. The message being sent was simple if our industry was going to survive we were going to be hitting the streets with a multimedia approach with a heavy focus on digital. So that’s just what I did. We were now packaging digital with FlyerMail which was a natural for me as we had a Flyer site ( and to be honest adding a measly $120 for the online portion on a $3000 direct mail campaign was easy. But I had so much to learn in a short period of time. I knew I needed to embrace the digital world so I quickly learned all about our content marketing initiatives (In Your Neighborhood) and I sold this is waves. I was shocked at how easy this was and how badly my clients craved this once I hit the street. And for $300 per month which included business profiles, monthly content, video production, online advertising, social media there was a lot of value for the price.  And guess what? About 80 per cent of these customers bought newspaper advertising as part of their annual contract. So we were using our strong digital platform to sell newspaper display advertising. What a far cry from the old days when we sold all print customers a $12 upsell on their ad to put the ad online.

My life as a print advertising rep has definitely evolved as now I call myself a true multimedia rep. It’s about listening to the customer and selling them what they need which for me is more and more becoming a digital platform whether on its own or part of a print buy. For print media reps to not only survive but grow they need to embrace this approach or very shortly they simply won’t exist. The days of “a half or a full page this week?” are gone. Listen to your customer and put them in the advertising product that will best suit their business even if that isn’t a full page in the local newspaper.

Follow me on twitter @geoffjosey

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Tis the Season If you work in advertising

So the kiddies are back to school and Halloween which is the second biggest holiday as far as retail sales are concerned is just around the corner but for an advertising rep regardless of what media you work for the Holiday season starts now. Selling a monthly direct mail product like I do I am always a month ahead so for me it is already October. For most reps in my industry they just sell for today. What I mean by this is picking up ads for next week’s paper, selling 50 more radio spots, locking their client down for another 20,000 impressions for this month’s renewal on their online campaign you get the idea. The Christmas holiday season requires proper planning if you are going to find success so you need to be thinking at least 3 months ahead. What most media reps will do is hit the street in November or even December and start selling their holiday promos such as special sections, holiday greetings, Boxing Day promos the list goes on and on. This is after all the busiest time of the year for the retail industry so you want to grab every penny you can especially since we all know what happens in the first quarter which begins in January. In order to get your fair share before the competition does you need to hit the ground running in the first part of September which is right now. The timing is perfect, the dreadful July and August in terms of sales has come to an end business is picking up and virtually all retailers and business owners know the cash flow is going to increase significantly. This is the perfect time to go out and get it. Top advertising managers who have known this for years start this process in the summer (July) when things are slow and brainstorm product ideas, prospect lists, deadlines, rate cards etc. So once September hits they have their plan in place all they need to do is execute. While their reps are on the streets selling their holiday advertising most other managers are just starting to think about Christmas with the plan of having their attack ready for the streets in November. Well I am sorry to say the big advertising dollars are already spoken for and all you are going to get are the scraps such as holiday greetings.

As an advertising rep you want to get a significant chunk of holiday budgets not the leftovers. How many times in November do you hear “this is a great idea but my Christmas advertising dollars are already spent”? Get out on the streets this week and start presenting your holiday promotions to your top customers with the largest budgets so you can beat the competition to the punch. And If you are a business owner and haven’t started thinking about your holiday advertising  you are about to as I will be knocking on your door this week.