Yesterday (yes on a Sunday), I received an email from a client. She was alarmed to read that Google is actually blocking ads from being seen. As a relatively new ThriveHive client, she was concerned that her digital display campaign would not reach the audience intended.

What is this all about? Last week, Google actively started blocking ads. What really happened is that the Google Chrome update that rolled out at that time included an ad blocker preventing some ads from being served, or seen by the audience. And with Google Chrome’s market share in excess of 60%, this means that more than half of any average audience might be affected.

Why is Google Chrome blocking ads? Isn’t that a little counter productive? Actually no! Google is in the business of making money. And they know well that online display ads are money makers. But they also know that ad blocking is a growing trend in the US. In fact, eMarketer predicts that by the end of 2018, nearly 30% of all web users will have some sort of ad blocking installed and in use. And by installing its own tool, the public may be less prone to installing some other type that might pull users away from its own browser.

There is another reason why Google is doing this. By forcing this issue, Google is actually helping police the internet. The basis for Google’s ad blocker (it’s actually a filter that will affect websites that allow four types of desktop ads and eight types of mobile ads that violate the standards established by a group called the Coalition for Better Ads.

So do I have to fight with Google to make sure customer ads are seen and not blocked? In a word, no. First of all, it’s a good thing for all of us, as digital experts, to know what constitutes an ad that might risk being blocked. Basically, this constitutes full-page pop-ups, blaring video pitches that start automatically and large ads with unstoppable countdown clocks that obscure the content you actually want to see. In short, this means that ads need to be designed well, rather than simply blaring out at the user. And because the Internet enables so many ways to “take over” a user experience, making sure that impacting that experience is done in a way that is not obstructive to the user is pre-eminent. So consulting with local businesses about what constitutes a good ad, is simply our job. And you also have ThriveHive behind you to back up your position.

What do I have to do? For the most part, ThriveHive has been in front of this for a while now. Since 2016, they have been utilizing a “Creative Audit” before any display ad goes live to a demand-side platform, (i.e. OnTarget). This creative audit reviews the ad, and insures it avoids restricted content, and functionality. All OnTarget orders are put thru this audit. In addition, all GateHouse and OnTarget templated creative options will conform to the standards observed by the Coalition for Better Ads.

Utilizing Audience Packages, and Audience Plus Packages, in addition to all the new ad templates being rolled out is the most effective and time efficient way to offer local businesses excellent creative service. And this will also guarantee ad functionality passes the test.

So what does this mean to me? Remember I started out by saying that I, personally, received an email from a client calling the ad blocking to my attention. This means that small businesses are being made aware that this is now a part of the internet. This client was concerned that the ad campaign we recently built for her would be blocked from the audience she wanted to reach. It will be easy for competitors to suggest that our digital display campaigns are no longer effective because of this. What we have to know is that GateHouse and ThriveHive are ahead of the curve. We are on the client’s side and are making sure that their marketing message is in front of the audience intended, unobstructed. And we need to be able to articulate this to  clients, which is exactly what I did!

As professionals, and digital experts, we need to be aware of what is going on. Local businesses will hear of the  growing trend of ad blocking, as they will hear about many emerging technologies and will want to ask us about them. This is our chance to flex our professional and digital muscles. Being aware of industry trends is kind of our job, because our client’s welfare is our job. They have questions, and we should be the ones to have the answers. Putting ourselves in that position will mean a guaranteed chair at the table the next time the customer wants to discuss the welfare of their business.


Quote(s) of the week

 “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
-Michael Jordan

Your MOM Knows Best 

  • BTB (Before The Blog) editions of the MOM online newsletter are now available on the About page, available from the menu in the upper right hand corner.
  • Check the menu in the upper right, it’s an easy access for reports and contacts that you will need to keep handy. These will be updated as we go, but you should be able to find links, names, and phone numbers that you need on a regular basis. Depend on MOM as your in-house directory.Your MOM knows all!
  • Want to follow MOM to be the first to hear about weekly updates? Just follow MOM and you’ll receive an email notification every time a new update of MOM is published. If you are a WordPress user and are logged in, just click the Follow button in the admin bar. If you are not a WordPress user, or are logged out, just click the Follow button in the lower right-hand corner of your blog’s home page.
  • Give MOM some feedback, rate any post, or leave a comment.
  • And your MOM is everywhere, available on ALL devices…desktop, mobile (Android & iOS), and tablet.
This is your MOM, at least at work that is.


NEW-Save the Date

CNC Q2 Kick off set for March 7, 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM. Location TBA, please reserve this time and date on your calendar.

UPDATE! Sales Focus Turns to Hoops!!!

For those that still need details on providing fantastic ad value to their local businesses, plus an opportunity to win tickets to the Quarter Finals in Charlotte, check out the Promotion section of today’s MOM.


UPDATE!-Get Your iPads Ready!

Get ready to make your presentations using your iPad. During the months of February and March we will provide tips, and ideas to help you deliver professional looking recommendations to clients. Are you using your tablet daily? 

Don’t forget about the Tablet Reimbursement Form. This is your chance to get top of the line tools adding to your success.


UPDATE! Internal Sales Calendar

  • This is an INTERNAL calendar, to be used for scheduling sales activity and planning. Customer facing calendars are being prepared quickly.

UPDATE! O&O Sell-thru…70% Goal

  • Sell thru report for CNC sites is available, check the AdOps page from the upper right corner menu of this blog.



UPDATE!-February Digital Updates from GateHouse and ThriveHive, recorded

The monthly GateHouse/ThriveHive Digital Rollout webinar will take place later this week. If you have not registered yet do so TODAY! Two dates to choose from…

  • Thursday, February 22nd from 1pm-2pm EST
  • Friday, February 23rd from 10am-11am EST

Register today on the TH training website

NEW! Google Infographic, Technology (B2B and B2C)


  • Consumer Tech shoppers consult over 11 sources for information before buying.
  • SEARCH was reported as the MOST USEFUL SOURCE of information.
  • B2B TECH SHOPPERS rely on the Internet to make purchase decisions over any other source.

This graphic is available for download on the drive, here

Google Infographics are available on the ThriveHive Training website. 

These graphics are great to add to any presentation that fits the category. Clients love the information, and this is a great way to give all presentations a professional look.  

UPDATE!OnTarget, Lower Minimum Entry, New Service Levels 

OnTarget is now available for as little as $100 a month. Of course this means a lower number of impressions, but a smaller targeted campaign may be just what a local business needs for a short period of time. Service levels available with various levels are different so you will want to pay close attention to what is included with each level.

We have extracted the OnTarget training from the January roll out and uploaded to the drive. Save this short OnTarget presentation to your version of My Drive and keep it handy, print it out for reference. Every one of our clients can likely use a good targeted campaign. This is a great opportunity to flex more of our digital muscles for our local businesses.

Events & Promotion


  • Tax Prep Sweepstakes
  • College Hoops
  • Batter’s Up ENC Power Hitter Promotion-Wood Ducks Tix

Reach out to Alissa about anyone you have in mind!


College Hoops

Basics about this promo:

  • 1 Title Sponsor, 4 Co-Sponsors, multiple Basic Packages available!
  • Category Exclusivity for sponsors (i.e. only one mattress store, one light store, one painter, et.c)
  • Will be shown during the 2018 Home and Garden Shows in New Bern and Jacksonville in March
  • For ENC and Wilmington
  • Audience is homeowners, renters, people looking for home improvement

UPDATE-This Is Big! 2018 College Hoops Challenge

With thousands of people watch March Madness… why not give our advertisers a taste of that audience?!

Consumer Side

  • High Engagement
    • Over 17 Million viewers for NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship
  • Participants make a bracket. Can re-enter on 2nd and 3rd round if bracket busts
  • Prizes for consumers: PS4 Pro, $1 Million cash prizes, and FatHeads

Advertisers Win too!

  • Each advertiser gets paired with a team
  • If team makes in each round, they win more advertising
    • Round of 16 – Eighth Page Ad
    • Round of 8 – Quarter Page Ad
    • Semi-Finals – Half Page Ad
    • Runner Up – Full Page Ad
    • National Champion – Double-Truck Ad

NEW! Advertisers will also have the chance to win great Tournament Tix!

  • Advertisers get chances based on their promotion purchase
  • These prizes are worth $1000’s! Every business in our region will want to know more!



Ways to suggest use of tickets:

  • Incentive for their employees
  • Run an in-store promotion to give away to a lucky shopper
    • We can run a promotion to give them away for them
    • Great lead generation
    • High engagement
    • Increase social media awareness
  • They can use the tickets themselves to attend the exciting games in Charlotte, NC

Basics about this promo:

  • 1 Slam Dunk Sponsor, 4 3-Pointer Sponsors, multiple Lay-Up Sponsors available!
  • Large Audience engaged in promotion – they have a chance to win big ($1 million in cash prizes, PS4 Pro, and Fatheads)
  • Advertisers can win big too – National Champion will win a DOUBLE TRUCK!
  • Available for all properties of CNC

NEW-Power Hitter Promotions for Wood Ducks Tix

Series of baseball related promotions, different promotion monthly but one sponsor can take it all!

Reader engagement promotions…

  • April: Which stadium food are you?
  • May: Super Fan Photo Contest
  • June: Father’s Day Giveaway
  • July: Photo Contest (TBD)
  • August: Can we guess what baseball fan you are?

Information coming out soon, but don’t hesitate to contact Alissa right away to start discussing your prospects!

Tracking our progress…

  • All Promotions will have campaigns in Sugar CRM. The titles will go as “CNC 2018…..” Be sure to link any opportunities to those promotions
  • When entering an end date for an opportunity, be sure that you use the deadline for the promotion.
  • If you have questions, contact Alissa

Upcoming Shows…

  • Home and Garden Show, Jacksonville – March 10th & 11th
  • Home and Garden Show, New Bern – March 17th & 18th


ENC and StarNewsMedia reports are available on the drive

  • ENC and SNM Campaign reports
  • ENC and SNM Monthly O&O Audience reports
  • GateHouse inventory availability (all sites)
  • ENCO&O  Rich Media Calendars
  • ENC Front page sticky note calendars

See the Reports page, from upper right menu of MOM!


Borrell Research: Online Spending Forecast by Channel-2018

This is a repeat of a chart discussed during the 2018 kick-off meeting.

  • SEARCH-33%

This emphasizes the importance of the new spending levles available with OnTarget, more flexible, more affordable.

Also this raises the importance that the new Online Video product can play in our discussions with clients. The new product includes complete video production, something local businesses have been asking about often.

Here is a larger version of this pie chart, great for a quick presentation!


ENC Media Group Brochures

We have new ENC Media Group Sales Brochures that are available for all sales personnel. These great new brochures provide an overview of ENC Media Group, print and digital. As we continue to brand ourselves as a regional marketing powerhouse, this will help explain the overall capabilities and reach of our local properties, ENC Media Group, ThriveHive, and GateHouse Media.

StarNews Media brochures and regionally focused Coastal North Carolina Group brochures are currently in the works. Look for them in Q1!



Good To Know

  •  Google Chrome is now blocking some and impacting what sites may show ads. Google is doing its best to make the Internet a quality place (and safe place) for users. Check out how Google is doing this by implementing ad blocking, here from the Washington Post.
  • Tech Myths That Need to Be Blown Up. You can overcharge the battery on your phone-WRONG! You should dial down the brightness on your phone screen to save your battery-WRONG! The largest, most powerful phone is the one you have to have-WRONG! Want to sound smarter? Check out these myths that don’t hold water any more, from the
  • Facebook may be loosing traction as a source to news sites. The operative word here is “may”, but evidence from major publishers is showing that since FB has changed how it ranks posts that are not coming from your friends, Google is increasing its impact. We will keep an eye on this as it evolves, but the same might be said for local businesses, not just our sites. More on this at


 5MQ (Five Minute Quiz)

Deadline: Tuesday 2/20/18 @ 5:00 PM. Here is MOM’s Five Minute Quiz for today. Just offer your best answers, and we will review the results on the Wednesday Webinar.

This week’s 5MQ

Author: David Prizer

Digital media executive and thought leader, emphasizing local and small business strategies. 20 years of experience in metro and community markets. Still watching Seinfeld reruns and holding out for a Cubs-White Sox subway series in my lifetime.

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