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BluHorn TV – “5 Minutes With” with Ryan McDonald from Shade Digital

Each week on 5 Minutes With, our host Mike White talks to experts in the media world. This week, Mike talks to Ryan McDonald from Shade Digital. Ryan McDonald has managed advertising budgets over $2,000,000/month for large ecommerce companies, built lead generation programs, worked on political campaigns, grew local businesses & was a keynote speaker at a mobile conference. Now his talent & Shade Digital, are standing by to accept your company’s challenge.

Short company description: Shade Digital is an online advertising agency built with the struggles of the small business owner in mind.

In the Next 5 years, the biggest change to marketing will be what?: Continued automation in regards to algorithmic targeting with larger government interference in industry practices.

To learn more, visit https://shadedigital.com 

 

Mike White

Welcome back to Digital Champions on BluHorn TV. I’m Mike White and on Digital Champions we are scouring the country to look for the best companies offering digital services from social to paperwork and all the other good stuff. Right here in the state of Florida, we’re actually in Jacksonville, and in South Florida we’ve got Shade Digital. Joining us today Ryan McDonald. Welcome to the program.

 

Ryan McDonald

Yeah. Thanks for having me on.

 

Mike White

So talk about the services that your company offers for your customers.

 

Ryan McDonald

Yeah. So really what it boils down to is providing online advertising talents for the small business. So to give you an example. In a tight economy like there is today. It’s very difficult for a typical small business with a revenue between five thousand and two million dollars to be able to afford a true online advertising expert in-house. And even if they do how much work do they even have right if they are doing two million dollars in revenue their advertising budget might be I mean twenty thousand, fifty thousand in a year or something like that. It’s just not a ton of work for a full time employee. So what we do is we provide these online advertising expertise, Google ads, Facebook ads, Amazon ads, eBay. I mean if if there’s a self-service platform out there we’ve managed ads on it. So what we found is that a lot of these businesses don’t have the graphic design help in-house. So we brought on a graphic designer so we can actually come up with the creative as well as buying a naturally online advertising. And then finally we found that a lot of small businesses have let’s just say Web sites that might have challenges. Challenges at taking traffic and converting it into a leader or sales. So we’ve added that capability. Mostly what that boils down to is custom landing pages for our ad campaign. So not only can we bring on the traffic, which is one piece, but now we can influence the landing page or what the people see when they land on your Web site. And that helps a lot on the conversion rate aspect. So there are really two levers rippling here the traffic side and the landing page side. And we do have an affordable price point.

 

Mike White

What got you into this industry Ryan?

 

Ryan McDonald

Yeah it kind of boils down to what happened April 15th of 2011. At that time I was a professional online poker player and plan online poker professionally for a couple of years. On April 15th 2011 the Department of Justice along with the FBI seized the three largest online poker sites that serve the United States took everyone’s money that had money on there and I think was something like 2 billion seized maybe a little bit less. I have friends lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I myself lost a decent amount of money on that. And so really what that did is it forced me to start from scratch in maybe the worst economy since the Great Depression. Some of my friends moved overseas. Some of some of them pivoted into other industries. I decided to pivot into school. I immediately got an internship doing online advertising; online marketing it was an interest of mine. Using the Internet to make money I guess, this just being a different facet. As someone who’s always been obsessed with mathematics statistics etc.. And so yeah I just kind of worked my way up the ladder. Started as an intern and four and a half five years later I was a director level with seven employees under me managing two point five million dollars a month. And then I suddenly had this realization that I wanted to do this on my own, I wanted to be my own boss again kind of like I was back when I played poker and I felt that there was a disconnect in the ability of small businesses to be able to access top tier talent. I was working for a large company at the time. I started my own firm and you know we’re a year and a half into this thing. And things are going well so good times.

 

Mike White

You worked for the big agency helping clients manage millions of dollars. What do you see in the next three to five years as the biggest change coming up in digital.

 

Ryan McDonald

There’s two that I’m going to touch on. One is increase in government regulation. I think you’re going to find that as the government cracks down on social media networks and this is already start happening. You know it wasn’t that long ago where you could you know we’re Facebook ads was a complete wild west where you could like target individual people for an individual message and you know troll your roommates or troll a friend of yours using Facebook ads. And now it’s a completely different platform in some ways the targeting has actually regressed and gotten worse while the algorithms have gotten better. On a flip side we’ve also seen in the U.K, they just passed a law that banned gender normative behavior and creative. So which is a vaguely defined law’s and it’s a little concerning because I mean if you’re if you’re a hardware store and you’re showing a picture of a guy hammering something in with a hammer is that gender normative behavior. It’s a road full of landmines that some of these creative agencies have to walk down or in some of these places. So hopefully we don’t see legislation like that on this side of the pond but just know that some of these crackdowns are very vague and rather strange to be honest.

 

Mike White

Well Ryan thank you for joining us today on BluHorn TV. If you want to find out more about Shade Digital and Ryan’s company visit BluHorn.com. We look forward to seeing next time on digital champions on BluHorn TV.

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