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Marketing on a digital canvas

July 2016

Aspiring to greatness

Marketing and advertising companies get paid to push envelopes, bringing new possibilities to life for their clients and their client’s customers. Global media agency  Canvas Worldwide aspires to deliver more. The company wants every piece of content it produces, each nugget of wisdom shared, to bring about something surprising, original and inspired.

Based out of New York and Los Angles with regional offices in Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta, Canvas Worldwide takes a no-holds-barred approach towards creating value, increasing revenue and impacting the digital world of search engine optimization.

“We live and breathe strategy,” says Steve Gibson, vice president group director of search at Canvas Worldwide. “We offer tactics, advice and services that companies can't necessarily do themselves.”

Unique origins

One of the unique identifiers about Canvas Worldwide comes from its humble beginnings. In 2015, independent company Horizon Media and a company backed by automotive leader Hyundai, Innocean Worldwide, combined forces to handle media duties for the carmaker's U.S. brands: Kia and Hyundai. Together, these two accounts spend U.S.$700 million on domestic ads annually.

In a lot of ways, you could say the same about search engine marketing. Google Ads and Bing Ads offer many similar features along with distinctive differences. Gibson, with his more than 17 years of marketing experience, sees value in both sides of the coin.

The Bing factor

What the platforms share in features, serves as evidence of the power of paid search. Where they differ sets the stage for seizing huge opportunities. For Gibson, he finds the nuances with Bing Ads particularly useful, which mandates his use of Bing as a core component of his pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. “Our clients get something out of Bing that they don't get in other places, and that is expandability,” Gibson says. “We can also call out various car models, which we can’t do anywhere else.” Similar to the experience of other agencies, Gibson also finds a much better price in terms of value, clicks and stretching marketing dollars. That helps him scale up campaigns. At the same time, due to the level of feedback he gets, he can also scale down if he sees less than stellar results.

When search engine marketing first gained traction, the only game in town involved desktop sites. With the advent of mobile sites, Google Ads and Bing Ads have had to up their game. One of the areas in particular where Bing Ads has managed to outshine all others comes from the platform’s ability to specifically target tablets and smartphones with bid adjustments. “The other engines have sort of combined all of those non-desktop sites into one,” Gibson explains. “I and a lot of others believe that switching between a tablet, a phone and a PC isn’t the same thing.”

For Gibson, such flexibility enables him to sculpt a campaign around a particular device. “More than 60% of the people that look at what we have to offer view it from their phone or tablet,” he says. “That becomes extremely important for so much of what we do.”

Search engine marketing should not be a question of “or” as much as “and.” That’s why Gibson employs an inclusive strategy, incorporating multiple paid search platforms to reach the widest audience and most varied demographic. “By using a different strategy with Bing Ads, we get wildly different and positive results,” he explains. “It's sort of a fight-the-power concept for us. It's another engine that has a great amount of resources — and makes our job a whole lot easier.”