Empower Launches “Giving Back is Not a Trend” Campaign
This Holiday Season Empower is Bringing New Life to Old Trends for a Good Cause

CINCINNATI – (November 29, 2022) – Giving back is not a trend, but it should be. On Giving Tuesday, Empower is launching GivingBackIsNotATrend.com to bring new life to old trends for a good cause.

Planking, Harlem Shake, The Dress, Ice Bucket Challenge and The Egg…

Empower invites clients and trendsetters alike to enjoy reliving some trends from the past decade—trends people may or may not admit to participating in—with its retro tote bag collection. All proceeds will be donated to an associated charity.

Action For Healthy Kids®
Harlem Education Activities Fund
Dress for Success®
ALS Association®
Feeding America

Throughout the holiday season, Empower will launch 72-hour flash sales celebrating trends of the moment uncovered by its proprietary trend-identification tool CultureTapSM.

Empower’s President and CEO says, “This year’s holiday campaign is a fun way to give back to meaningful charities while indulging in nostalgic trends that helped shape pop culture and social media over the last 10 years.”

Empower’s CultureTap platform uses data visualization to help brands engage in culturally relevant moments in real-time.  Leveraged by clients like GNC, RoC Skincare, Skyline, Rust-Oleum and O-Cedar, Empower provides Creative at the speed of Media. The CultureTap team analyzes engagement and optimizes to deliver the best media performance. Empower also uses its own content studio to develop and execute creative concepts for clients.

Visit the website or Instagram to purchase the retro tote bags.



About Empower Media 

America’s largest woman-owned media agency

Our advantage is simple: Clients first – not shareholders.

From the day we opened our doors in 1985, Empower has always challenged the media status quo.

Empower is a highly awarded and respected media agency. We are a multi-year recipient of “Agency of the Year” from MediaPost and Campaign US with honors from Ad Age and Adweek.

Our senior and experienced integrated team of Communications Strategy, Media Innovation, Media Planning and Buying, Creative, Marketing Scientists, Influencer Marketing and Data-Analytics work in collaboration on our client’s business daily.

Empower’s client tenure rate is unmatched–3X the industry average. Our clients include Tempur Sealy, Wendy’s, Brooks Running, Fifth Third Bank, Gorilla Glue, O'Keeffe's, E.W. Scripps, Jack Link’s, VTech, Bush Brothers, Zaxby’s, GNC, Famous Footwear, Ashley, LIXIL, O-Cedar, Rust-Oleum and RoC Skincare.

Empower Media is woman-run (67% female) and woman-owned – making it the largest woman-owned media agency in America.

Our offices are in Chicago, Cincinnati, Atlanta, New York, Houston and Palm Beach.

Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and online.

Meta’s New Standards for Performance Marketers
September 13, 2022 – Meta Executives, industry titans, senior performance marketers, and select Meta Business partners gathered in Meta’s Headquarters in Menlo park to educate, inspire, and prepare for the future. The crux of the summit was focused on how performance advertisers can act on growth opportunities emerging within what Meta’s deems as the ‘world’s greatest ad platform.’

New Beginnings

Its no surprise the pandemic changed things and drastically altered consumer behavior. Net new DTC strategies emerged from the empty stores across the globe and online shoppability became a major lifeline for brands looking to make it. Talk about collapsing the funnel.

In a separate, but concurrent, timeframe, Apple announced and implemented its App Tracking Transparency framework which severely limited the data that Meta could harness from its users. Given that these signals were the lifeblood for the platform’s algorithmic effectiveness, this update drastically limited the way Meta could now target, optimize, and ultimately measure out on performance.

The below product updates and execution standards reflect a reaction to this major transcendence and a re-writing of a playbook that became seemingly obsolete overnight.

The Future of Product

With cookies deprecating and new technology emerging, Meta has shifted focus from cookie-based signal strategy to harnessing the power of AI and machine learning to fuel the future of its ad platform. Machine learning thrives on automation, leading to increased consolidation within the Ads Platform to allow Meta to maximize its ability to be personalized – all without using personal consumer data.

The most immediate representation of this is the Meta Advantage Suite. This rollout is a simplified version of campaign objectives drastically consolidating sub-variants to overarching objectives from awareness through conversion, with a post-conversion option coming in months to come. This reflects the not so gentle nudge advertisers can keep expecting towards giving Meta the keys to the car, while advertisers control the destination.

As short form video takes off and platforms like TikTok keep growing, Meta is also keen for advertisers to embrace this shift as well. Their short-form and vertical video product, known as Reels, is their counter to TikTok and they are heavily shifting users to engage across their feeds. Advertisers should expect increased ad inventory to accompany this shift as 20% of time on Instagram is already spent on Reels with Facebook seeing slower, but inevitable growth, towards this placement as well.

Lastly, Influencers, now coined as ‘Creators’, are becoming a bigger and bigger part of advertising strategies and their growth on the platform cannot be underestimated. As the creator economy keeps booming, the efficiency of making content will keep increasing along with the scalability of the content being made. Brands will need to consider long-term investments with Creators as the term brand ambassador takes a whole new meaning and the sole reliance on creative agencies for content generation begins to fade.

Performance 5 Framework

Historically, Meta has been reluctant to provide industry benchmarks, general best practices, and overall broad guidelines for advertising on their platform due to the unique nature of each advertiser. This is what makes their new Performance 5 framework so refreshing. While their below ‘standards’ need to be vetted and tested against, its gives social strategy a much-needed initial framework for those going to market for the first time and best practices to challenge.

Account Simplification

Goal: Leverage simplified Advantage suite campaign objectives and keep spend in the learning phase below 20%.

Context: Removing unnecessary duplication of tactics will drive further efficiencies within the platform and allow for optimal usage of machine learning, so the majority of spend is going towards the top performing audience and ad combinations.

Testing Creators

Goal: Spend 10% of budget (or more) on Creators using Branded Content Ads.

Context: The creator economy is exploding with exponential growth happening year after year after year. In 2020, Meta saw a nearly 40% average sales lift and 19% lower cost per acquisition from Branded Content within direct response campaigns.

Creative Diversification

Goal: Test into Reels and rotate creative concepts, personalities, tones, and assets.

Context: Reels will start increasingly taking share from Feed and Stories placements. Testing your strategy early will allow for successful scaling and creative feedback as to what concepts will work the hardest.

CAPI Implementation and EMQ Scores

Goal: Successfully implement Conversions API and maximize Event Match Quality Score.

Context: CAPI is a necessary and fundamental next step into the cookieless world. In essence, this creates a pipeline from your website directly to Meta re-capturing signals lost by IOS14. The Event Match Quality Score (EMQ) indicates whether you have set up your information parameters correctly and the percentage of server events passed back.

Business Results Validation

Goal: Run at least 1 lift study per quarter.

Context: This is nothing new but a great reminder and audit item to ensure that ongoing tactics, optimizations, and testing strategies are actually helping you drive business. While this doesn’t need to be the primary KPI, these studies can help provide color to the standard MMMs, MTAs, and last click attribution models guiding business decisions which typically fail to accurate capture the true impact of Paid Social

(Extra Credit): Consumer Experience

Goal: Fully functioning site speed load times within 3 seconds.

Context: Despite the best campaign strategy, creative concepts, and testing plans, a poor consumer experience can devalue your investment instantaneously. Relevant landing pages, fast load times, and streamlined checkouts are crucial to a seamless consumer experience – even if microsites need to be created to accompany the campaign.

It will be important for advertisers to embrace and test these standards against their current strategies if they want to see the most efficient delivery the platform can provide.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Creative

Too often conclusions are drawn about campaign performance are paired with unclear explanations. Whether it is seasonality, poor performance audiences, increased competition, etc. the list goes on and on. While this may be accurate in some instances, most cases of performance can be tied to the quality of the creative. In fact, Meta estimates 56% of all auction outcomes can be attributed to the creative used in the campaign. It is the single most important factor that contributes to campaign outcomes and one statement can help shape your perspective:

“It’s not about creating the perfect ad – it’s about creating a variety of ads to reach people when they are ready to engage with it.”

The value in ad variety cannot be understated. It can also help with the ever-present challenge of ad fatigue in which Meta states a 60% drop in conversation performance can occur after 4 exposures to the same ad. It doesn’t require a high cost either. The aforementioned rise of creators can provide platform first creative at low costs and high variety, with authenticity that can drive higher lift than stills from the TV spot or the 1-2 planned assets for the quarter long campaign.

A New Reality (Literally)

We are entering into the third phase of the internet, and it’s likely to be here before we know it. Phase one consisted of accessing information across different desktop sites, blogs, and chatrooms. Phase two was born when the internet became mobile and user generated content across social sites started dominating daily use. Phase three will bring immersive and transitive experiences that can be shared with anyone, anywhere, and at any time with avatars becoming synonymous with our digital identity.

Of course, this is referencing growing VR/AR technologies and the beginning of the Metaverse. Meta is all in on the fact that the Metaverse is the next big computing platform and is focused on building technologies that enable connection there. But it’s not here yet and its not clear when it will be, which leaves some advertisers confused as to how to strategize and prepare for this new reality most of us don’t quite fully comprehend.

The overarching guidance today is equal parts vague and simple: your metaverse strategy should align with your business strategy. This 1,000 foot view subtly suggests brands focused on growth and innovation should be looking for opportunities today, while more reserved and cost-conscious brands should delay investment until the space has seen further maturity.

Wherever your brand sits in the timeline, Meta provides the following proportions for web-based investment:

  • 70% towards building your current foundation with Web 2 technologies including optimizing consumer experiences so friction is present for evolved experiences.
  • 25% towards test and learn opportunities with AR including evaluating how AR fits into your customer journey and how the technology can provide true value to your customers.
  • 5% towards the exploration of emerging opportunities within the metaverse including digital product offerings and alternate worlds where consumers can engage with your brand.

Key Takeaways

  1. Embrace product updates towards machine learning, increased automation, and short form video with simplified campaign structure and creative versioning with Creators.
  2. Establish where your brand sits within the Performance 5 Framework and monitor performance quarterly with strategic measurement in place.
  3. Test where AR fits into your customer journey and how your brand can provide value.
  4. Ideate metaverse experiences that fit into your brand strategy and prepare internally for the resources, partnerships, or internal infrastructure needed to execute them within the next decade.
An Insider’s View from the OMMA Jury “Box”
So, you think securing an OMMA Award for your company and colleagues is unattainable and there’s just no way you can be considered.

Well, that’s just not true. OMMA’s judging panelists are eager to illuminate the positive impact the Online Media Marketing and Advertising industry has on our communities. It might help, though, to consider things from the judge’s viewpoint. So, let’s get to it… what goes through the mind of an OMMA judge …

Business Impact + Social Impact + Innovation + Humanness = A Winning Formula

This formula is top of mind in examining categories and key to selections. It held true across many worthy category winners such as Salesforce’s Force Multiplier podcast, with no less a goal than “solving the world’s greatest challenges.” They may not have fully achieved that goal, but they did deliver a top 5 global forecast and made a social impact.

Another good example was JanSport’s “Carrying the Load for Teen Mental Health.” Besides enhancing JanSport’s brand perception, it supported a key social need.

For innovation at its best, check out how Chipotle bent reality with the first-ever NHL mixed reality effort that won Content Marketing: Single Execution. You might see the future world in a different way.

The exception to the “winning formula” was the Best in Show Cheeto’s “Hands-Free Tech” campaign; amazing in so many ways but maybe the social component could have been more of a core part.

If Ryan Reynolds Is Submitting, We All Should Be

Reynolds’ MNTN agency won the Advanced TV category with Steve-O’s “Hot Sauce” submission.

What a coup for the judges to add this fact to favorite “two truths and a lie” ice breakers. MNTN’s submission was not done lightly. Custom video cuts, strong storytelling, and business results were all there. Their entry was looked upon as a refreshing break from others of a more generic nature.

Speaking of Turn-offs….

In opposition to the winning formula, judges had negative reactions on some entries. For instance, watchouts included.

  • Ensure a Human Lens: It is so much easier to make engaging creative than media. Media alone submissions often become very technical and obscure. The ones that spoke to things like audiences and consumer perceptions rose above the noise.
  • More Sales After COVID Is Not Differentiating: The pandemic was horrible, true. But taking credit for tripling sales once people could get together again skewed reality.
  • Make the Judge Believe the Impact: It’s hard to believe a 2,000% sales lift is real or meaningful. A judge’s take: either you’ve never had sales or whatever marketing had been done was bad.

A Submission Tip: Make Your Brief Standout and Easy for Judges

It’s not hard and can be fun. Make sure you check the winning formula and have those points in the brief. Use attachments wisely –a custom video or a few tight slides can do amazing things to bring the submission to life.

A Call to Action

Please submit! The work you do is important and impacts our society, and OMMA wants to highlight it and celebrate it. The competition is stiff, and while everyone can’t win, there are over 35 categories and at least three finalists in each category. Go for it!

So, there you go, keep these insights in mind, and you’ll make it easier for the judges to choose your submission.

2022 Holiday Shopping Outlook
Consumer confidence has seen improvements since the depths we faced this past summer.

What is still weighing on peoples’ minds (and pockets) is inflation and a tumultuous economy, as we enter into the critical retail days of Holiday shopping.

Will consumers hold back in their spending? How will consumers adapt and change their shopping behaviors? And how can brands adapt in this economic environment to bring value to consumers, rather than just succumb to the effects of inflation on their business?

In our Holiday Shopping Report, Empower’s Strategy and Insights team shares gathered intelligence, primary research findings and forecasts to deliver a POV on the state of consumers. This look ahead focuses on valuable growth principles for brands to consider as we close out 2022.

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