BAM at IBS

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The BAM team was at NAHB’s International Builders’ Show® (IBS) in Vegas to explore the latest and greatest innovations in the building industry. The massive three-day event for industry professionals had an expansive sea of products, workshops and concepts designed to help enhance our business moving forward. All together, there were over 110,000 builders, general contractors, designers, flooring and remodelling professionals, and product suppliers from around the globe.

There were lots of really interesting exhibitors, and demos. We had a chance to check out an immersive virtual reality platform, which allowed us to explore an upscale loft using a VR headset. I’ve written about this in the past, so it was impressive to see it in action. As this year’s show shared a location with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, there was a ton of kitchen design and organizational elements on display, such stylish built in pizza stoves, and pot/utensil storage solutions. It was also interesting to see the way kitchen design on a whole was changing. It seems as though trends are leaning towards kitchens that have unique elements to them, rather than kitchens that look as though they were all made in the same place at the same time. An example is that rather than granite countertops, there is a rise in other materials, such as concrete, and more bold colours being introduced. On a whole, there seemed to be many home innovations that merely made people’s everyday lives better, and made their homes more functional. From window technology, standing dryers that let you hang clothes and press pants, dual washing machines that let you do two loads at once – to intelligent, smaller scale items, like wall plugs that have USB charging capability, and built-in night-lights.

We also got a chance to see lots of unique design and display options and meet with interesting suppliers. It was exciting to learn – and reinforce – that BAM was already on top of many of the current trends. It’s a testament to our innovation and a great thing to share with our clients, who trust our expertise. It was also inspiring to know that large portions of the technology offerings at the show were from Canadian companies.

It was nice to see so many of our Canadian friends in attendance. In fact, on the night that the BAM team landed in Las Vegas, we spent the evening with some great BILD members, including Bryan Tuckey and Paul Golini, who were celebrating the Canadian nominees at the National Sales and Marketing Council Awards.

Overall, it was a great show – and a great time. We can hardly wait until Orlando 2017!

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Facebook Lead Ads

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Facebook ads are an invaluable tool for any advertiser to have in their arsenal; however, it’s not ideal in every situation. Dependant on your project/client goals and the depth of available content, ads may draw an audience, but fail to convert properly. Facebook recently rolled out a fantastic solution, Lead Ads. These ads allow users to quickly and easily register without having to leave the Facebook platform – or even their timeline. This ensures that you’re capitalizing on initial interest, and not allowing any potential confusion on the website to sway the registration decision.

The ads feature a call-to-action button, which – when pushed – opens up a full-screen, pre-filled form. As the user is already logged in, the application knows their email, name, and location. There’s also the ability to add additional fields if you require more info. Once completed, the user can either visit the website or just close the form and continue their Facebook experience. This method does have the drawback of generating a lower click through rate, as users are only directed to the website once they sign up. Before setting up a Lead Ad campaign, ensure the potential results fit into your defined measures of success. At this point, the ads cannot be integrated into your 3rd party lead management system, meaning you’ll have to develop your process for gathering and inputting the sign-ups. They can be acquired under the publisher tools on your page, and downloaded as a CSV file.

The ads are currently only available for users who use Power Editor to create and monitor their ads, which means that it’s really for more advanced users at this stage. As well, carousel ads aren’t available with this feature; however, our contact at Facebook has noted that this is something that advertisers can look forward to soon. Early results from our campaigns – and case studies available from Facebook – show a very promising cost per conversion. It will be exciting to see how Lead Ads will affect advertisers, and clients, as it becomes more of a go-to ad unit on the platform.

 

Windows Are Getting Smarter

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We’re indeed living in a smart world. From ultra-intelligent phones, intuitive lighting that patterns itself to our lifestyles, and new-age home monitoring and heating/cooling systems, the market is ripe with a vast array of game-changing automation solutions. This trend is showing no signs of slowing down, and the newest thing to become smarter is something that many of us may never have considered – windows. Windows serve a vital role in our everyday lives, even if we never think about it. They’re a barrier to the elements, hold in heat and cool air, and provide natural light in our living and work spaces; however, they don’t always work the way we need them to. At certain points throughout the day, they may provide disproportionate amounts of light, causing potentially uncomfortable shifts in temperature, and rendering certain areas less than ideal for periods of time. Imagine having windows that adjusted to fit your needs, and worked in a way that is conducive to the lifestyles of those in spaces they service? Thanks to the well-funded start-up View, smart windows are becoming a reality.

View, which recently added over $150 million to their already large $500 million investment, is making dynamic glass powered by a sophisticated intelligence engine that responds intuitively to outside conditions, day or night. This type of customization and optimization of light helps to reduce glare, make the most of the daylight and provide energy savings. As well, you can reduce electricity usage by roughly 20% annually with these windows – huge savings. The windows can be controlled, monitored, scheduled – and audited for efficiency – from anywhere in the world, via a mobile app, which reduces reliance on individuals having to be physically at the location to make necessary adjustments. It also provides benefit to companies with more than one location, who may want to monitor or control multiple areas/spaces remotely.

Without a question, smart windows are a logical evolution. It’s interesting to imagine what other types of intricate “smart” development we can expect next. Perhaps, smart water modulation systems that monitor water usage? Regardless, smart windows are an excellent addition to every green developer’s arsenal, and it will only be a matter of time until they become widely available on a smaller scale/consumer level.

BILD Award Submission Season Is Upon Us

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I’ve said this before, but as good as winning feels, it’s also great to share our successes with others. The BILD awards is an annual opportunity for players within the GTA building and development industry to be recognized alongside their peers and awarded for their excellence in various categories such as Home Builder of the Year. The winners are announced at an exclusive gala with nearly 1,000 of the GTA’s biggest builders, designers, renovators, and sales and marketing professionals under one roof – If you’re in our industry, it’s the place to be. Here at BAM, we’ve started to map out our submissions for the upcoming BILD Awards – and man, are we ever excited!

We’re especially thrilled because this year BILD has made some changes to their awards, including the addition of Excellence In Marketing, and Innovation In Marketing awards, amongst a host of others. There is also a revamped Best Digital Campaign award, which encompassing the full scope of digital projects from design to results. If you’ve been following any of our clients over the past year, you’ve probably noticed the strong focus we’ve been placing on digital innovation – everything from interactive site tables to personalized website experiences. So, as you can imagine, we’re looking forward to showing off the fruits of our labour.

It’s always an honour to stand behind our clients at the BILD awards, and 2016 will be no different. Hopefully, we’ll be sharing the stage with them next April.

 

Instagram Advertising Is Here

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It’s no secret that the landscape of social media has become increasingly visual. So – not surprisingly – Instagram has become a behemoth, with a community of more than 400 million active users. When it sold to Facebook back in late 2012, advertisers were excited about the potential for advertising; unfortunately, the gradual rollout of advertising has only been available to large brands, and at an extremely premium price. This was, in essence, to help create some order around how to implement targeted advertising without turning off the user base. Well, Facebook officially announced that it was opening up the platform to all of its current advertisers, regardless of size.

Built right into the current Facebook advertising platform, brands and marketers can now simply select their connected Instagram account as one of the assets when creating their new ads. The ads, which are specifically targeted and appear in a users Instagram timeline, allows the use of a ‘learn more’ button (or similar call to action) and also supports both video (15 seconds) and multi-image carousel ads. Users can then click the call to action button to visit the brand/product online – a feature that wasn’t previously available.

It remains to be seen if this move will open a floodgate of Instagram advertising, and how users will ultimately interact with the ads on the platform, but it does present some interesting new opportunities for brands and agencies to reach new audiences with clever marketing. It will likely also prove to be a great way for builders – and realtors alike – to market new homes to potential buyers.

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