Ad Blocking Is On The Rise



There has been an increasing amount of conversation regarding ad blocking over the past few months. Ad blocking, for those unaware, is when online users utilize plug-ins and tools to prevent advertising across multiple platforms, including websites and social media. The debate recently took centre stage as Apple launched its new iOS update, effectively allowing mobile users to block all ads on the iPhone’s default browser Safari (if they choose to do so), which currently supplies roughly 55% of all mobile web traffic worldwide.

So what’s the issue at hand?

Well, blocking revenue-generating advertising can be disastrous for brands/entities, like The New York Times or Mashable, who make considerable amounts of capital from ads. It can also affect marketers on a smaller scale, as ad blockers could influence the display of ads, across Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and other advertising networks. This means that advertisers/agencies with any active campaigns could potentially be affected by increased adoption of this type of software. You can see how effective these blockers are below.


Should we freak out?

Not yet. Much like the Google mobile-geddon episode we talked about earlier this year, this only pertains to mobile traffic, and to those who choose to enable ad blocking. Thus, depending on your market/industry, you may notice a small difference, or you may not. As well, Apple has already discontinued/removed some ad-blocking tools from its store as they violated privacy issues and did much more harm than good.

Google has realigned its billing structure, and will no longer bill for ads that are undeliverable due to ad blocking. This will help ensure that you can still get the results you’re looking for with your current budget. Also, there are measures you can take to make sure your ads are whitelisted, which means that ad blockers will allow them to display.

Advertising is a good thing, but only when done properly. This whole issue presents an optimistic outlook for the future of mobile advertising, as advertisers are now forced to integrate more creative solutions into their marketing strategies that will deliver better overall experiences. For now, though, it’s business

Home Buying Is Becoming Increasingly Digital


I’ve spoken in the past about how eCommerce is the future of real-estate transactions. In fact, many of the new initiatives that BAM is currently working on are helping to make choosing a home and lot online even easier by integrating real time builder site plans and sales systems into the online experience. The goal is to eventually facilitate an entirely online sale – and that goal looks as though it will come to fruition sooner than later. I gave some great examples of online home buying in an article last year.

In the meantime, there is a cool new tool that is taking some of the manual paperwork out of the purchasing timeline for homebuyers. It’s called DealTap, and it’s making the entire process of buying a home digital through the use of a cutting edge application that runs on smart devices. The tool allows realtors – in real-time – to quickly deploy/amend offers, grab signatures, track and manage multiple deals and more. Imagine easy chat-like negotiation, on the spot. This saves time and makes the process smoother for all involved. It’s currently the only tool available that offers this fully digital experience, but with every changing habit of the marketplace, it’s unlikely that it will be the only one for long.

The world is becoming increasingly digital, and it’s only a matter of time before the real-estate industry is fully immersed in the vast array of interactive new technology being introduced into the market, including virtual reality, paperless transactions, and – of course – online home purchasing.

Personalization: The Key To Increasing Email Engagement


Over the past decade, we’ve seen an enormous growth in the overall usage of e-communication for, well, pretty much every industry possible. In fact, popular eblast management tool Mailchimp reports that they have over 8 million clients who collectively send billions of eblasts monthly – and they are just one of the many services out there. The question is – are your eblasts working for you? Here’s a great starting point: Mailchimp reports a benchmark for real estate of 22.11% as an open rate, and 2.22% as a click through rate. If you’re not achieving results as good as this, you’re likely off the mark and will want to rethink your strategy; however, if these numbers seem to be in your ballpark, you may be wondering how you can take your campaign to the next level. The answer may simply be to get more personal with your audience.

Personalization is more than just using a tag to add a name to an email, it’s about building a relationship with your audience, and delivering customized content that generates engagement, clicks and – best of all – more qualified leads. There are a few ways you can do this. One is to understand the current status of your recipient. Are they a new recipient? Are they a long time registrant? Using a great database management system will help you to properly organize your registrants and build customized content around that. Another option is to track their experience on your website, and then use that data to help build personalized profiles. Having registrants fill out a survey during their initial sign-up can also allow you to further segment your emails. Ideally, based on the information you collect, you’ll send emails that contain content and messaging that speaks to their interests, which is more likely to keep them engaged than a standard email that you send to your whole list.

While it can be a bit more work to develop the variations of your campaign’s messaging and content for different groups, it definitely pays off. A recent personalized campaign we ran, which had only 4 different personalized groups, had an open rate of over 70%. The proof is in the pudding, personalization reigns supreme.

Mid-Rise: The Future Of Urban Development


As Ontario’s population continues to balloon, the province – along with developers – need to address the increased demand for housing, while also developing strategies to protect our greenbelt and farmland. The key is to work towards increasing population density in urban areas, with a creative blend of mixed use residential. This is something I’ve written about in the past. This need to intensify along major transit routes, and in pivotal areas of the city, is beginning to inevitably make way for an increase in the development of mid-rise buildings.

Mid-rise buildings offer an amazing number of benefits. For starters, they bring a neighbourhood to life by offering new retail and culinary options/opportunities on the street level. Offering shops and necessary amenities allows residents to become much less dependent upon vehicles, as does door-front access to transit. In contrast to many high-rises in the city, mid-rise buildings have family-sized living spaces, which make them attractive to families who may not be able to afford a detached, multi-room home in the city. Then there’s the sheer benefit of human scaled buildings that allow the sun to shine on the sidewalk – and the height of the buildings to comfortably complement the width of the street; however, the widespread embrace of mid-rise by builders in the GTA is not without challenges.

Key obstacles include: the cost of land, the lengthy – and expensive – development approval that closely mirrors that of high rises, and concerns from single-family residential homeowners. Some homeowners feel that the future of small local shops will be jeopardized, and that there may be a potential loss of privacy and sunlight as mid-rise buildings spring up next to their homes.

It is clear though, something needs to be done in order for the GTA to meet the goals set-out in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which sets intensification targets for urban growth centres and requires a minimum density to be achieved by 2031. Mid-rise buildings offer a viable solution to the population growth, while adding economic benefits and maintaining the charm of Toronto’s urban aesthetic.

Net Zero Homes in Canada


As the population in Canada increases, so do the demands for energy. For this reason, Canada (provincially and nationwide) has invested a lot of money in green, renewable energy. Unfortunately, this investment has yet to positively affect the wallets of Ontarians, who continue to experience rising hydro rates. Amidst the most recent increase, consumers are more concerned than ever with how much energy their homes consume; however, not as many people are concerned with the amount of energy their homes actually generate. Over the last decade, a number of products have made it possible to make our homes more efficient by lowering the amount of energy it takes to complete tasks such as lighting, cooking and laundry. The question is: how do we take that to the next level? That’s where Net-Zero building comes into play.

Net Zero is a building practice that uses a multitude of renewable technologies to build homes that consume either less or an equal amount of energy than they produce on an annual basis. Net Zero’s history in Canada dates back to 2004’s Riverdale Net-Zero project in Edmonton. To date, it’s not exactly a “market friendly” practice due to issues around cost, feasibility and the lack of a community-sized demonstration necessary to gain widespread acceptance by builders and buyers.

One project is aiming to increase the amount Net-Zero housing nationwide. The ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative is working with five homebuilders across the country to build at least 25 Net Zero homes. Mattamy Homes, Minto, Provident, Reid’s Heritage Homes and Construction Voyer, along with a number of partners and consultants, are aiming to complete construction by 2016, according to the initiative’s website. The project’s aim is to double the number of Net-Zero homes in Canada. But could it become a standard? As I’ve mentioned before, consumers generally aren’t willing to pay more for green features – regardless of the long-term savings potential they offer. If builders can find a way to address the issues around affordability, Net Zero will become a no-brainer.

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