13 Clever Gift Ideas For Coworkers In 2021

Shopping for coworkers is tricky, especially when Christmas comes around. With so many people to buy for already, the people you work with probably aren’t your top priority. Chances are, though, all you need is some inspiration.

HOerwin56 / Pixabay – Valuewalk

Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and moreCheck out this round-up of 13 great gift ideas, including funny, thoughtful, and personalized gifts for coworkers.

Personalized AirPods Case

If your colleague already has earphones they love, then a personalized AirPods case is the perfect gift. Available in sophisticated color pallets and with beautifully inscribed initials, they show a genuine and personal touch. Buy these monogram leather cases in a range of shades to sort your shopping for the whole office.

Desktop Tetherball

Bring a sense of fun into the office by gifting your coworker a desktop tetherball set. It might seem like a simple gift, but it has the power to improve even the most boring working days. Plus, you might get to take part in any desktop tetherball tournaments that take place during lunch.

Desk Fan

There’s always someone in the office who can’t keep their hands off the thermostat. You can help to keep them cool with a desktop fan. You could even consider buying it in your coworker’s favorite color if you wanted the gift to be more thoughtful.


If you know anyone who struggles to focus when they’re in the office, noise-canceling headphones could help. They’ll allow your coworker to keep their head in the game even when the workplace is bustling.

Coffee Hamper

There are probably a few people in your office who can’t go a day without coffee. So, they’ll surely love a coffee hamper. With a range of exciting coffee blend samples and other treats, a suitable hamper will be a hit with your coffee-loving colleagues.

Portable Keyboard

Many offices have shifted towards more flexible working arrangements. So, why not give a gift that will make that shift a little smoother? Portable ergonomic keyboards that fold away are easy to store, transport, and connect to any device. As such, they are ideal for colleagues who work outside the office more often than they used to.

Storm Glass

Desktop storm glass clouds are fascinating things. These little glass clouds contain a special liquid that reacts to changes in the atmosphere. They also brighten up any desk. So, they’re great for anyone interested in meteorology or a love of all things quirky.

Wireless Phone Charger

Offices always seem to be flush with tangled wires. To ensure your colleagues’ chargers don’t get lost in the chaos, gift them wireless phone charging stations. There are plenty of eye-catching ones that make great presents, including stylish wooden wireless chargers.

Back Support Cushion

Most workers who spend their days hunched over a laptop will deal with work-related back pain at some point. If you know of anybody already struggling, they would probably benefit from a back support cushion. While they’re maybe not the most exciting gifts, they’ll certainly appreciate the thought.

Monogram Laptop Case

For coworkers that lug around their laptops all day, a monogram bag for their laptop is an ideal gift idea. With a personalized case, they’ll never be in doubt about which laptop is theirs. And, they’ll look far more professional and trendy, too.

Digital Photo Frame

Digital photo frames are great workplace presents. Ideal for coworkers who miss their families or want to remind themselves of a recent vacation. They’re easy to upload and display high-quality photos.

Fidget Cube

Far from being just for kids, adults can benefit from fidget cubes, too. During stressful workdays, this six-sided sensory toy gives workers an outlet for their anxious energy. So, it can improve focus. If there’s anyone in your office who struggles to keep their mind focused, it’s likely to be a well-received gift.

Monogram Leather Notebook

A leather notebook with monogram initials is such a thoughtful present. Classy, personal, and valuable as well, there are sure to be plenty of people in your office who would love a monogrammed notebook. Buy them in your coworkers’ favorite colors for the best-monogrammed gifts going.

NEW Advertising Benchmarks for Home Services in 2021

NEW Advertising Benchmarks for Home Services in 2021

Even with the millions of households in the US, the market for home service businesses is a saturated one—making paid advertising an essential marketing strategy for plumbers, roofers, landscapers, and more who want to compete.But to get a true measure of success, it’s important to know how your ads are performing with respect to other businesses like yours. With benchmark data, you can answer questions like:

What’s a good conversion rate for home service ads on social media?
What’s the average click-through rate for home service business ads?
What’s a good cost per lead for home services advertising?

To help you answer these questions, WordStream and LOCALiQ have partnered up to provide advertising benchmark data for the home services industry.

For eight different home service subcategories, we’re sharing key metrics for search, display, and social ads, including:

Average click-through rate
Average cost per lead
Average conversion rate
Average monthly budget
Use these averages to see where you stand in your ads’ performance and to inform your home services marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond.

Home services advertising benchmarks: search advertising

Average Cost Per Lead
Average Click-Through Rate
Average Cost Per Click
Average Cost Per Call
Average Monthly Spend
Air Conditioning Services
Air Conditioning Sales
Heating & Furnaces
Roofing & Gutters
Pest & Rodent Control
Pools & Spas

The search advertising space is notoriously competitive for home service businesses.

Across all categories, the average cost per click ranges from $2.94-$9.03, while the average cost per lead ranges from $29.08 to $101.49. For both of these ranges, the Pools & Spas subcategory was at the low end with Roofing & Gutters at the high end.

Average click-through rates range from 2.87% to 5.71%. The highest rate going to Pools & Spas, the lowest to Plumbing.

Overall, each of these subcategories has high engagement with their ads at a relatively low cost per lead, with respect to the overall return on investment from their search advertising campaigns. For example, the average plumbing job totals $175 to $400, which would be a return on investment of 257-717%. 

Home services advertising benchmarks: display advertising

Average Cost Per Lead
Average Click-Through Rate
Average Cost Per Click
Average Cost Per Call
Average Monthly Spend
Air Conditioning Services
Air Conditioning Sales
Heating & Furnaces
Roofing & Gutters
Pest & Rodent Control
Pools & Spas

For any industry, display ads typically have lower engagement rates than search ads, and we see this in the home services benchmark data.

The average CTR for display ads ranges from 0.09% to 0.27% (compared to 2.87% to 5.71% for search ads).

But that doesn’t make this campaign type any less valuable. Not only do display ads drive brand awareness—which is especially important in such a highly saturated market—but they also improve conversion rates on your other advertising channels.

And given the average monthly spend on display campaigns for home service businesses, we can see that this is a relatively small investment for something that can have such a big impact.

Home services advertising benchmarks: social ads

Average Cost Per Lead
Average Click-Through Rate
Average Cost Per Click
Average Monthly Spend
Air Conditioning Services
Air Conditioning Sales
Heating & Furnaces
Roofers & Gutters
Pest & Rodent Control
Pools & Spas

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube may not be the first that jump to mind for home service business marketing—until you think about how many homeowners use videos and photos on these platforms to get ideas for, troubleshoot, and fix things in their homes.

For home service businesses advertising on social media, the average CTR ranges from 0.96% to 1.79%, with average cost per click ranging from $0.92 and $1.92.

Additionally, many of the subcategories we analyzed see a promising cost per lead, especially when compared to the average yield of $175-$400 per job that was mentioned above.

Improve your home services advertising results

Advertising costs and ROI will vary according to whether your business falls under plumbing, HVAC, pools and spas, landscaping, or another category. Costs will also vary within those categories depending on your budget, location, and other factors.

But with these home services advertising benchmarks, you can still get a general idea as to where you stand in relation to other businesses like yours, and identify campaigns that should be harnessed and those that could use some improvement.

You may also be interested in these real estate advertising benchmarks.

Data sources

This report is based on a sample of 4,595 North American-based LOCALiQ client accounts in the home services vertical who were running search advertising, display advertising, and/or social media advertising between May 1, 2020, and June 25, 2021. Each subcategory includes at minimum 10 unique active clients. “Averages” are technically median figures to account for outliers. All currency values are posted in USD.

Are you Prioritizing Your Financial Goals? Here's Why You Should and How to Do it

Even if you don’t write them down, you probably have some financial goals — you know, save for a vacation, push money into a college fund, shovel money toward your retirement. Even if you’re not normally goal-oriented, it’s to your advantage to put a lot of thought into how you’ll prioritize your financial goals.Having a goal can even help you get excited about your future financial possibilities. In fact, a survey by Lincoln Financial Group showed that 46% of savers say they were excited about having enough money during retirement. On the other hand, a total of 35% said they were scared to save for retirement. Let’s go over why it’s important to prioritize your financial goals and why you should do it.What Does it Mean to Prioritize Your Financial Goals?What does it even mean to prioritize your financial goals? Prioritizing those goals involves tackling your finances in an order that makes sense. For example, let’s say you have high-interest credit card debt. Ideally, your priority shouldn’t involve saving for a trip around the world when you haven’t paid off your credit card debt. (Anyone guilty?)It means that from paying off debt to tackling retirement savings, you make the best, most logical choices as you go. Why it’s Important to Prioritize Your Financial GoalsIt’s important to prioritize your financial goals because among the hundreds of choices you have about how to allocate your money, why not be intentional about it? For example, let’s say you have $10,000 burning a hole in your pocket. You have so many choices with your money — buy a jetski, play blackjack in Vegas, invest it in an IRA, pay for a kitchen upgrade. The point is, what’s most important? How will that $10,000 most benefit you financially? Being intentional about how you allocate your money helps you figure out your larger financial picture.Prioritizing your financial goals can mean the difference between not paying off debt and getting rid of it forever. It can mean the difference between paying off your mortgage or keeping it around forever. It can mean the difference between your child taking out student loans — or not.How to Prioritize Your Financial GoalsSo, how do you actually prioritize? Many people aren’t sure how they should approach it or what they should do first. Let’s clear it all up.Step 1: Outline your goals.Make a list of all your goals. Even if you’re the type of person who spends most of your time “winging it,” you still have goals — you just might not realize it. Let’s take a look at some popular goals:
Get out of credit card debt
Pay someone back who loaned you money
Save for a down payment on a house
Put money into a retirement account
Save for a child’s college education
Take a dream vacation
Become completely debt free
Eradicate student loans
Pay off your mortgage
Put an addition on to your kitchen
Your list probably won’t look like everyone else’s — and it shouldn’t. Maybe you even put “pay for a divorce” on your goal list! (Hey, it’s possible!)Take an hour or so to jot your goals down and continue adding to the list. It’s great if you have a long list — that’s what you want.Step 2: Tackle high-interest debt.When you take a look at all of your financial goals, many experts agree that paying off high-interest debt should make the top of your list. High-interest credit cards can cripple you if you only make the minimum payments.For example, let’s say you have a $2,000 credit balance with an 18% annual rate. You only make the minimum payment of 2% of the balance, or $10, whichever is greater. It would take you a whopping 370 months — just over 30 years — to pay it off! (And that’s if you never added any more charges to your card!) Consider using the debt snowball or debt avalanche methods to pay off those debts. In the debt snowball method, you choose the debt with the lowest balance to pay off first. In other words, let’s say you have a credit card at 18% interest with a $15,000 balance and $20,000 in student loans with a 4% interest rate. You’d pay off the lower principal balance first — the credit card — while continuing to make the minimum payments on your student loans.The debt avalanche method says that you pay the debt with the highest interest rate first. In this case, you’d pay the credit cards first as well, at the much higher interest rate of 18%. Again, you’d pay your bills on time, but just focus on making the minimum payments per month.Step 3: Zoom in on savings.Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to save or pay off debt. In some cases, it’s smart to do both if you can afford to pay extra on your debt each month and contribute to a 401(k) or a 403(b) plan. You should contribute enough to get your employer’s match. The most common employer match is 50 cents on the dollar on up to 6% of your salary. Experts recommend contributing 10% or beyond, up to the maximum contribution limit of $19,500 in 2021.It’s also a good idea to take your retirement savings allocation and put it toward a Roth IRA. You must meet specific income requirements. In 2021, single tax filers must have a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of $140,000 or less and those married and filing jointly must have a MAGI under $208,000.If you have about a dozen savings goals, tackle an investment account next, particularly if you don’t meet the qualifications for a Roth. You could also adopt a Backdoor Roth IRA strategy as well. Put Your Financial Goals in OrderWhen you put your financial goals in order, you take care of your financial health. A little secret: Once you actually put together a plan, it’s easy to look toward the future with a positive outlook. You always feel better when you have a good plan, right?If you’re having trouble putting together a plan for your future, approach a financial advisor who is a fiduciary to help you. 

21 Unforgettable Advertising Slogans (with Takeaway Tips!)

21 Unforgettable Advertising Slogans (with Takeaway Tips!)

First impressions matter—especially for businesses. That’s why you double-check your subject lines more than your email. It’s why you put so much thought into your search ads. And that’s why you need to make sure you have a catchy slogan that engages your audiences and introduces your brand.In this post, I’m going to show you how to do that by looing to look at examples of enduring advertising slogans.

We’re going to cover:

What a marketing slogan is and who it’s for.
21 unforgettable marketing slogan examples and what makes them work.
Tips on how to draft your own catchy advertising slogans.
Let’s get started.

What is an advertising or marketing slogan?

An advertising or marketing slogan is a concise, catchy phrase used with consistency across brand and marketing materials to position the brand and foster recognition with a broad audience and affinity with a target audience. The audience of a slogan is key here—your slogan isn’t only for your target audience or your customers. It’s also how you want anyone to think of your brand.

That’s why a short, pithy statement works best. You can use wordplay, rhythm, and more to make a slogan memorable to anyone who hears or reads it. And you should use language and appeal to emotions that rally your target audience around your brand’s mission, purpose, or product.

Now, rallying makes sense when we think of other uses of slogans: political campaigns.

But keeping this in mind when you’re working on a slogan for your business can help. You want your advertising slogan to inspire something—feelings of belonging, confidence in your product, even a smirk at a clever joke.

Iconic advertising slogans we can learn from

If you’re looking to write or refresh your business’s advertising slogan, the best way to get started is to look at enduring, successful examples. That way, you can get a feel for what sounds good and works, plus start getting some ideas for how to capture your brand in a slogan. Here are 21 slogan examples that are so catchy, so memorable, that we couldn’t forget them if we tried.

1. Nike: Just Do It

This slogan is first for a reason—it’s iconic, and it’s everywhere. Nike uses this slogan on packaging, on clothing, and throughout its ad campaigns. This consistently helps with recognition. You only need to hear or see the slogan with the Nike logo a few times before they are linked in your memory.

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The origin story for this slogan? Not so nice. According to The Washington Post, in 1988, advertising exec Dan Wieden pitched Nike this slogan, which was based on the last words of a man convicted of murder. Morbid inspiration.

2. L’Oreal: Because You’re Worth It

L’Oreal’s slogan “Because You’re Worth It” turns 50 this year, and its inception has a much nicer story. In 1971, it was 23-year-old copywriter Ilon Specht at the advertising agency McCann who wrote the slogan for the beauty company.

Not only was it the first advertising message to highlight self-confidence, it revolutionized advertising.

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And the positive message L’Oreal uses here is still relevant and fresh. The phrase appeals to women’s self-worth with an empowering affirmation—even if it encourages us to act on that empowerment by purchasing beauty products. It’s a timeless advertising slogan, which might just be the best kind.

3. Maybelline: Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe It’s Maybelline.

Maybelline actually changed its slogan in 2016 to “Make It Happen,” but ask anyone today and the original still reigns. Talk about an enduring marketing slogan.

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This time, though, it’s the wordplay and not the brand message that sticks. The repetition here makes this an earworm—and that’s before you even hear the jingle. 

4. Lay’s: Betcha Can’t Eat Just One

I love that this slogan is a dare. It not only makes it clear that Lay’s chips are deliciously addicting, but it also represents the brand as active and engaging. Plus, it set Lay’s up for creative ad campaigns using this slogan. 

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5. Burger King: Have It Your Way

Burger King’s customer-centric slogan similarly invites the customer in by including the “your” pronoun. 

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But Burger King also positions itself as different from its major competitors—ahemn, McDonald’s—with this slogan by offering personalized service and customized fast food. (Check out this old Burger King commercial, it’s good for a laugh.)

6. Bounty: The Quicker Picker Upper

One way to nail your slogan is to add wordplay. The rhyme with “quicker picker upper” here is unbeatable. Once you hear it, the slogan never leaves your brain. And that’s good for Bounty, especially because it also managed to pack its value (picking up messes) and differentiate itself from the competition (doing that quicker).

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7. The New York Times: All The News That’s Fit to Print

This iconic slogan was first used in 1897, and it still appears on the front page of the newspaper of record today.

(Though I wouldn’t recommend putting your slogan in quotes. That could lead to questions of attribution, not to mention some clunky images.)

​More marketing slogans we can learn from

The rest of these slogan examples are more recent than the ones above, but are by no means less powerful. And hey, they just may be celebrating their 50 year anniversaries some day.

8. McDonald’s: I’m Lovin’ It

Like Lay’s, this slogan is also active. But McDonald’s puts the customers’ experience with its food front and center here: It’s the customer who is loving their hamburger or Happy Meal. Simple and appealing.

9. Taco Bell: Think Outside the Bun

A powerful advertising slogan makes it clear how your product or offering is different, and that’s what Taco Bell does well here. While most hum-drum fast food options are drive-through hamburgers, Taco Bell offers more.

It’s also worth noting that Taco Bell recently changed its slogan to “Live Mas.” Timeless slogans are ideal, but the option to change can be a good thing. With the rise of fast casual, there are more options than hamburgers and Taco Bell, and the company responded to that by evolving its brand and its slogan.

10. Goldfish: The Snack That Smiles Back

Goldfish are wholesome, friendly, and great for kids—which is mostly thanks to a smart branding strategy and the fish shape. This slogan anthropomorphizes the barely fish-shaped crackers even more definitively and makes them engaging as well as delicious. Who could say no?

11. Outback Steakhouse: No Rules, Just Right

Your slogan doesn’t necessarily have to speak to your product directly. Take Outback Steakhouse’s slogan, “No Rules, Just Right.” This evokes the hospitality you can expect in the restaurant, and it appeals to a rebellious, rugged attitude that just can’t be tamed by a Ruby Tuesday’s.

12. State Farm: Like A Good Neighbor, State Farm Is There

State Farm’s slogan does a great job of setting the tone for its customer relationships and making them not only positive, but appealing: This insurance company is as dependable, as accessible as your neighbor.

13. Toyota: Let’s Go Places

Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places” is an excellent example of a slogan that communicates the company’s value proposition. The benefit of having an affordable, dependable car is that you can use it—whether that’s to get home to your family after a long day of work, to travel outside the city for a weekend of hiking, or to a destination you haven’t decided on yet.

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With the structure here, Toyota emphasizes that it’s a two-way relationship. With the contracted “us,” the company subtly lets its audience know that it’s traveling together.

14. AirBnB: Belong Anywhere

According to AirBnB’s brand story, the company set out to revolutionize travel by allowing people to experience places not as tourists, but as locals. Staying in an apartment instead of a hotel lets you see different parts of a city; renting a house in the mountains instead of staying in a resort forces you to check out local grocery stores or farmer’s markets.

These nudges toward local living feed into AirBnB’s slogan: “Belong Anywhere.”

This simple, powerful statement captures the promise of staying in an AirBnB and, even more importantly, captivates anyone interested to give it a try.

15. Red Bull: Red Bull Gives You Wings

This slogan is a cautionary tale. Red Bull’s slogan is punchy and over the top, which is fitting for an energy drink with active consumers.

Unfortunately, this slogan also implies that the product will do the impossible and literally give you wings. The company had to pay out a settlement for the false claims about the marketing copy. A good lesson to keep your slogan memorable but not fraudulent.

16. Capital One: What’s in Your Wallet?

This credit card company’s slogan is catchy because it’s so simple: a question about what’s inside your wallet. This question is a great way to grab attention. We all carry around our licenses, credit cards, useless ATM receipts, a stack of random punch cards for coffee shops that we never remember to use in the first place—but maybe that’s just me?

By structuring the slogan as a question, too, Capital One is starting a conversation with its audience. This invitation is a great way to position the brand as a partner in a less explicit way than State Farm’s slogan, for instance.

17. Home Depot: How Doers Get More Done

Owning a home means pretty much giving up every weekend to chores. And whether it’s mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, painting the closets, or a bigger DIY bathroom upgrade, you can always count on at least two last-minute trips to a hardware store for supplies. Home Depot knows this, and that’s why it is referenced in their slogan.

Using “doers” here for their audience is an amazing way to capture the range of people in its audience. Doers includes the qualified contractors and builders, as well as the weekend DIYers, and that’s good for business.

​18. Apple: Think Different

When I was in high school, there was an American Eagle shirt that said “Be Different” that so many people I knew had. So many of my classmates wanted to proclaim how different they were in the same way—and I’m sure at the time I asked my mom to drive me to the mall to no avail, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that a desire to be different is universal.

Apple uses that desire with its simple, powerful slogan.

19. Pizza Hut: No One Outpizzas the Hut

This is an absurd slogan, and that’s why it’s stuck in my brain since I was reading books for stickers to get a free personal pan pizza. Does anything really call Pizza Hut “the Hut”? Doesn’t almost everywhere else have better pizza?

Whatever it actually means, the sentiment is clear: Pizza Hut is the best, and that’s often the takeaway you want from a slogan.

20. Papa Johns: Better Ingredients, Better Pizza

The repetition here does more than help an audience remember. It suggests a relationship that compares this pizza chain to its competitors: Papa Johns uses the better ingredients, so it’s Papa Johns who has the better pizza.

I’ll be honest: I don’t really need all the pieces of pepperoni on a pizza to be the same size in order to think it’s delicious. But it’s a nice message, and a memorable slogan.

21. Dunkin Donuts: American Runs on Dunkin

This might be my favorite slogan, and I say that with no affinity for Dunkin’s coffee. (Despite living in Boston for the better part of a decade, I still just can’t stomach it. But munchkins are a different story.)

The proclamation in this slogan is bold, and it’s clear. America relies on its coffee brand of choice, and it needs it to function. Plus, the internal rhyme with “runs” and “Dunkin” ads a sing-song rhythm to the phrase that makes it sound all the more appealing.

Now, to be clear, this is an exaggeration. But announcing that all of America likes your coffee and Boston Cremes isn’t making a fraudulent promise—it’s just being confident.

How to draft your own catchy marketing slogans

We just ran through a lot of unforgetting advertising and marketing slogans. These slogan examples are good for so many different reasons—they’re catchy or clever, they’re powerful or appealing. That makes this a great place to start for inspiration before writing a slogan for your business.

Here are the best tips based on the successful slogans we went through to help you get started on your own:

Plan on a project

You might stumble on the perfect slogan on your first try, it’s true, but it’s not at all likely. Instead, plan to get your team together and brainstorm, then draft and workshop some more. If these iconic slogans prove anything, it’s the power of the right slogan. It’s worth your time to find that for your business.

Start with your brand

A slogan resonates because it fits with the brand. Pizza Hut’s brand is playful, and its slogan is absurd. Apple’s brand is aloof, and so is its command of a slogan. When you start writing, keep your brand in mind. You want the slogan to match your brand’s voice and appeal to your audience, so brand alignment is key.

Be honest

You can’t overpromise in your slogan. Instead, focus on your product’s strength and what makes your offering different than your competition. Double down on that and skip any false promises.

Use emotion

The best slogans are memorable because the audience has an emotional response. You don’t need to be so heavy-handed as using words like love or smile in your slogan like McDonald’s and Goldfish, but you do want to pay attention to what emotional reaction you’re eliciting with words and sounds in your slogan.

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Keep it quippy

Our attention spans are short, and only getting shorter! Your slogan needs to be quick, and even better if it’s quippy. Whether it’s a clever reference, rhymes, or some wordplay, this will help make your slogan—and your business—unforgettable. 

Start slinging slogans for your business

Was that alliteration heavy-handed? Yes, it was. But it stuck out, and your slogan should, too, to make sure your business is memorable for your audience. So use these iconic slogans for inspiration, and follow the lessons we gleaned from them as you start drafting your own. Good luck!

Stocks Plunge Amid China, Fed and Washington Concerns

This story originally appeared on Zacks

After a couple weeks of sluggish trading and modest declines for the indices, we finally experienced a significant pullback on Monday that many investors were waiting for. Stocks dropped more than 1.7% to begin another busy week, which includes a very important Fed meeting and a debt ceiling debate in Washington.The NASDAQ plunged by 2.19% (or about 330 points) to 14,713.90. The Dow was off 1.78% (or about 614 points) to 33,970.47, while the S&P slipped 1.7% to 4357.73. Stocks are coming off two consecutive weeks of losses as the market worries about several factors, including the delta variant, rising inflation and whatever Chair Jerome Powell & Friends have to say later this week.It should be noted, however, the stocks came off their lows before the close on Monday. For example, the Dow was flirting with a 1,000-point plunge earlier in the session.Despite all the domestic concerns at the moment, one of the bigger problems today came all the way from China. Evergrande Group, that country’s biggest property developer, looks on the verge of defaulting, which has investors biting their nails over the possibility of contagion at such a tender time for the U.S. economy.Jeremy Mullin, editor of Counterstrike and Commodity Innovators, has been talking about Evergrande for the past week.“The Evergrande situation is accelerating, as investors are starting to believe that the Chinese property company will default. The prior thought was that the Chinese government would bail them out, but they actually want the housing market to cool. What better way to do so to let a bad actor fail?” said Jeremy.“Goldman thinks the contagion is limited to Asia, but notes there are downside risks to China growth in Q4 and into next year. The firm says an Evergrande collapse could be a headwind for global GDP.”Here at home, we’re getting ready for this week’s Fed meeting, which begins tomorrow and concludes with a statement and comments from Chair Powell on Wednesday. Investors want to know when they will start scaling back on the pandemic-era asset purchase program, and if the timeline will be delayed amid the delta variant.If China and the Fed weren’t enough, our friends in Washington could have a say in the market’s direction as the deadline to raise the debt ceiling draws near. The House will be voting later this week to keep the government funded past Sept 30 and avoid another shutdown.And all of this is happening in September, which always gives investors a sick feeling since it is historically the worst month of the year for stocks. So far, it’s living up to its reputation.Today’s Portfolio Highlights:Blockchain Innovators: The logistics industry has been a fantastic proving ground for blockchain technology. In fact, there’s a whole organization called the “Blockchain in Transport Alliance” (BiTA) with 500 members across 25 countries that encourages the use and adoption of this game-changing technology. One of those members is Covenant Logistics (CVLG), which is expected to generate EPS growth of 217% for this year on revenue growth of more than 18%. Plus, rising earnings estimates made the stock a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Dave added CVLG on Monday, while also getting out of Rio Tinto (RIO) after the name slipped all the way to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). Read the full write-up for a lot more.  Headline Trader: The NASDAQ 100 has dipped below its 50-day moving average and right into a “perfect profit-pulling opportunity”. But Dan thinks there’s more bearishness to come, so he decided to scale out of the triple short ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ (SQQQ) for more than 11% on Monday. The editor bought this hedge back on August 30 to protect the portfolio from an overbought situation in the NASDAQ. It has worked out just as planned so far.Commodity Innovators: The growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has made lithium a very hot commodity of late… and Jeremy expects that demand to continue. So today’s drop in the Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (LIT) provides a terrific opportunity to pick up this long-term play at a bargain. The fund tracks the Solactive Global Lithium Index. The editor added LIT on Monday and also got out of Lindsay Corp. (LNN). Read the full write-up for more.Black Box Trader: More than half of the portfolio was refreshed in this week’s adjustment. The six stocks that were sold included:• LKQ Corp. (LKQ)• PVH Corp. (PVH)• Toll Brothers (TOL)• Textron (TXT)• Levi Strauss (LEVI)• Deere (DE)The new buys that filled these spots were:• Alcoa (AA)• AutoNation (AN)• Olin Corp. (OLN)• Signet Jewelers (SIG)• Goldman Sachs (GS)• The Mosaic Co. (MOS)Read the Black Box Trader’s Guide to learn more about this computer-driven service.Zacks Short Sell List: This portfolio had three of the best-performing stocks on Monday, which makes sense on a day when the S&P plunges by 1.7%. The service is designed to take advantage of falling and volatile markets. The short in TripAdvisor (TRIP) led the way with a rise of 7.6%, while the shorts in Enphase Energy (ENPH) and JD.com (JD) advanced 5.25% and 4.6%, respectively. The weekly update for this portfolio is tomorrow.Until Tomorrow,Jim Giaquinto
Recommendations from Zacks’ Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks’ private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we’ve made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks’ portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we’ve predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to “test drive” Zacks Ultimate for FREE > >  Zacks Investment Research

3 Clever Ways to Target Your Competitors' Audiences Without Search Ads

3 Clever Ways to Target Your Competitors' Audiences Without Search Ads

Using keywords to target other brand names, products, or services is one of the easiest ways to go after competitors in Google Ads. But targeting competitor keywords can get expensive. The good news is, there are more options we have than just the Search Network.

While Search will always have the deepest intent, there are some pretty specific targeting options we can use for other campaign types that also have deep intent. In this post, I am going to go over three ways you can reach your competitors’ audience without targeting their keywords.

Build custom audiences with competitor keywords
Build custom audiences with competitor URLs
Target YouTube ads on competitor videos
1. Build custom audiences with competitor keywords

As you may or may not know, custom intent and custom affinity audiences have been combined into one custom audience feature in Google Ads, which helps us to reach audiences more in line with our campaign’s goal type. It also helps us to run competitive ads. 

How it works

This strategy sets your Video and Discovery campaigns to appear in front of users who have searched competitor terms.

How to do it

Go to Tools & Settings > Shared Library > Audience Manager to create your custom audience.

Choose the option to target “People who searched for any of these terms on Google.“

The “on Google” part of this is key, because it means you are essentially targeting people who searched for any in a list of terms on Google properties like YouTube and Google.com. You read that correctly. Here is the exact quote from Google.

“Enter search terms your ideal customer is using on Google. Your ads will reach people who search for those and similar terms only on campaigns running on Google properties.  On other campaigns, the terms will be used as interests or purchase intentions.”

So now take your list of competitor terms and add them to your new Custom Audience. As an example, let’s say you sell laptops and Asus is one of your competitors. Terms you might add include: asus laptop reviews, asus laptop issues, asus i5 laptop, best asus gaming laptop, and so on.

If people have searched for these terms on Google and YouTube before, that is a much deeper intent than an awareness audience.

While custom audiences may not be as specific as bidding on competitor brand names on Search, we can still use them to get in front of a very relevant audience and sway their decision-making in your brand’s favor.

Notes on this strategy

What I do want to point out is that last sentence in the quote above.

“On other campaigns, the terms will be used as interests or purchase intentions.”

What this means is, this setting will apply to YouTube and Discovery campaigns because those are Google Properties. While you can use Custom Audiences for Display campaigns, Display placements are not Google properties.

Test them out for your Video and Discovery campaigns (Discovery now includes Gmail placements) to get in front of your competitors’ audience in a different way.

2. Create custom audiences with competitor URLs

Besides keyword or search term targeting for your Custom Audiences, you can also enter in specific URLs. This was a strategy I loved using in the Custom Affinity days, but it’s still available in Custom Audiences.

How it works

This strategy takes a list of all of your competitors’ URLs and makes an audience off of those domains.

How to do it

So what you’ll do is create a new custom audience and choose the “Include people with the following interests or behaviors” option. Below that box, you’ll then see “Expand audience by also including:” where you can click on “People who browse types of websites.

You can then select “People who browse websites similar to” and you’ll be given another area where you can add in as many competitor web pages as you want.

Continuing on with my laptop seller example, some URLs I added to this list include www.dell.com/en-us, www.asus.com/us/, store.acer.com/en-us/laptops, and more.

While this is not as exact as historical search term targeting, it does focus on a specific user behavior if your competitors have pretty similar websites. Use this strategy for a more top of funnel approach to make an introduction to users who could be interested in your brand’s products.

Notes on this strategy

It is important to note that this targeting works differently than adding search terms. We are not and cannot target users who actually visited the URLs you entered. You cannot do remarketing without having your tag on those URLs, and this is not placement targeting for the Display Network.

Rather, this setting tells Google to target your ads at users who visit websites similar to the ones you enter.

3. Place YouTube ads on competitor videos

This third strategy (one of my favorites) does involve placement targeting—placement targeting for YouTube.

How it works

This strategy puts you in front of your competitors’ audiences by advertising on their own YouTube videos. One of the best feelings I get in this industry is showing a client the placement report for a particular ad group and showing them what awareness, views, and conversions we’re getting from their competitors’ YouTube videos or YouTube channel.

How to do it

To do this, head to your YouTube ad placement options.

Continuing on with my laptop example, I typed in hewlett packard.

You can then target specific YouTube videos or target an entire channel if your competitor is showing up.

Notes on this strategy

If you do decide to run a managed placement ad group on YouTube, you should be aware of the fine print. If you’re targeting placements solely on YouTube or the Display Network, your ads will now be eligible to run on both. So still monitor where your ads appear in the placement reports to make sure your ads are staying on the competitor placements you wanted.

Target your competitors’ audiences without breaking the bank

Targeting your competitors’ keywords on the Google Ads Search Network can be effective, but it can also be expensive in some cases. These three low-cost options I gave you can be powerful ways to build awareness and attract the right user who may be interested in what you are selling. Test them out, and pair them with creative and landing pages that showcase why your brand is superior.

This Nonprofit Is On A Mission To Mentor A Billion Students Globally

This Nonprofit Is On A Mission To Mentor A Billion Students Globally

I scour the globe for stories worth reading about ventures that are a true force for good for humanity and our planet. That’s why I’m THRILLED to introduce Deborah Heiser, Founder and CEO of The Mentor Project™. 
Deborah Heiser and The Mentor Project’s mission is to utilize the world’s most precious natural resource.  Our experts in STEAM, law, business and finance are working to mentor the more than 2 billion students around the globe for FREE. Our mentors pass on their knowledge and skills to change the trajectory and global impact of the next generation.

Their impact to date? More than 61,000 online and in-person students have received free mentoring from experts across the United States, Argentina, Russia, and India. 
Let’s dive into the deep end. 

Diana Tsai: What’s the problem you’re solving? 
Deborah Heiser: We are creating equal access to world expert mentors for students around the world who would otherwise never have access to this kind of knowledge base. Our mentors go into schools, create online content, develop and mentor hackathons, develop conferences, pitch contests, podcasts, television, and mentor individual students virtually. We do this for FREE so all students can have equal opportunities for access to world experts.    

Tsai: What is the MEASURABLE IMPACT you’ve made to date? 
Deborah Heiser: We’ve served 61,000 students in 4 countries (the US, Argentina, Russia, and India). Half of our students are in underserved communities. 
A story I love to share about how our mentors and partners change communities: in Robeson County schools, one of the poorest counties in the United States, we partnered with Embedded Ventures, who donated  8-bit computers to three classrooms.  8-bit computer assembly instruction by Jenna Bryant as part of their technology curriculum. This live program was also live-streamed on twitch.  Following this, we partnered with Ad Astra to put in a National Stem Honor Society chapter to continue their growth in STEM. 

Tsai: Can you share some more stories of how you’ve transformed lives through your work? 
Heiser: During the height of the pandemic, one of our mentees had an idea to patent a door handle that did not require the use of hands to open it, was able to get a patent for his vision with mentors Jura Zibas and Bob Cousins.  Bob, the prolific innovator, and Jura, an IP Superlawyer, worked with this mentee for free on the necessary forms, the searches required, every detail needed to file for a patent.  A patent is out of the realm of possibility for most people, but because they worked each week with him for free, he could get a patent pending!  And, for a 16-year-old, this is a life-changing experience.  The world opened up for this mentee with possibilities, new confidence, and new skills.  He plans to apply for college to pursue his passions for technology and innovation.  

I also want to share a story about how our work impacts our mentors. Bill Cheswick, the “father of the firewall,” said to me, “ I want to go into classrooms to teach 4th graders, quantum mechanics.”  Bill, well-known worldwide, well-known worldwide, had time to mentor but couldn’t find kids to mentor for his world-changing cybersecurity work.  He simply didn’t have access to young kids.  Bill’s life changed as soon as he started going to school.  He went as often as schools could have him.  One school named the day he came in “Ches Day.”  He drove his Tesla from his farm in NJ to the Bronx, Long Island, and schools in New Jersey.  Bill became invigorated, productive, and excited to plan programs for elementary school through high school.   

Once the pandemic hit, he had to stop going into schools, but now that they are reopening, he is ready to hop in his Tesla to drive to North Carolina for some in-person mentorship in schools.   Bill is fulfilled and productive and knows his expertise is not being wasted, which has been transformative.  

Tsai: What motivated you personally to start this company/organization? 
Heiser: As an Applied Developmental Psychology and aging specialist, I came to think of mentorship from the mentor’s perspective.  Research shows that we are built to want to give back to others by the time we reach midlife (at the time we become experts).  Erik Erikson coined this stage in our lives Generativity.  In my coaching practice, I kept meeting people with expertise but without an opportunity to mentor.  A friend introduced me to Bob Cousins (the guy who patented how we use credit cards on the internet and was named 2020 Inventor of the Year), and he introduced me to countless innovators who also didn’t have access mentees. Bob and I founded The Mentor Project to connect mentors with mentees.   

Tsai: A little vulnerability – how do you take care of yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself for the world? 
Heiser:  I surround myself with people who are intelligent, generative, and supportive. Exercise has been the most helpful way I can release stress. I also joined a pickleball team.  

Tsai: Where do you see your organization in five years?
Heiser: I see The Mentor Project reaching a million mentees in 3 years and expect we will be in at least ten countries in five years.

Tsai: How can readers get involved / support/help? 
Heiser: Get involved by going to our website.  If you’d like mentorship, click our Ask a Mentor button.  Check out our website if you’d like to access our podcasts, video content, join a hackathon or conference.  You can apply to become a mentor by contacting us through our website as well.  Access our podcasts on all major platforms.  

Learn more & take action: 

A Second Week of Declines as September Continues

This story originally appeared on Zacks

Any hopes of a positive week were dashed on Friday, as the September slump continued and left each of the major indices with slight losses over the five days. And now the market waits to hear what the Fed has to say in their meeting next week.The S&P slipped 0.91% today to 4432.99, while the NASDAQ was off by the same percentage (or nearly 138 points) to 15,043.97. The Dow declined 0.48% (or around 166 points) to 34,584.88.The indices actually came into Friday’s session with gains through the first four days. We enjoyed a decent rally on Wednesday (which has been rare this month) followed by only slight losses on Thursday. Even a mediocre advance could have sent investors into the weekend feeling pretty good, all things considered.However, the above-mentioned performances left the S&P and NASDAQ in the red by 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively, for the week. The Dow was pretty much breakeven, though technically off by less than 0.1%.  That makes back-to-back weekly losses for the indices, but the declines were much narrower than last week when stocks were down by more than 1.5%.We saw a good amount of economic data in the past few days, which continued on Friday with the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. The print came to 71, which was a bit better than August’s number but below expectations of 72.It was a similar idea to the CPI report on Tuesday and jobless claims yesterday. The results were slightly below forecasts but held up rather well, suggesting an economic recovery that’s staying on its feet though being impacted by the delta variant.Meanwhile, the retail sales data from Thursday was downright solid by climbing 0.7% in August, compared to the market’s expectation for a 0.8% slide.All of this stuff will be taken into account when the Fed meets next week. Investors will be watching for any announcements, or at least hints, on the central bank’s timeline for scaling back on its asset purchasing program. Has this recent data impacted their plans? We’ll find out on Wednesday.Today’s Portfolio Highlights:Technology Innovators: There’s a lot of open spots in this portfolio right now, so Brian added for a second consecutive session today. He picked up EchoStar (SATS) on Friday, a global provider of satellite service operations, video delivery services, broadband satellite technologies and broadband internet services for home and small office customers. The company has a great earnings history with an average surprise of 187% over the past four quarters, while rising earnings estimates pushed the stock to Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) status. Brian thinks the valuation is “amazing” and really appreciates the margins moving to a gain 2.1% from a loss of 2.2% over the past several quarters. Learn more in the complete commentary.Counterstrike: Streaming staple Roku (ROKU) beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 270% in its most recent report from August. You’d think that would mean good things for a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), but it has actually slipped almost 25% from that release. And its now down 35% from its all-time highs. That means it’s a good candidate for this portfolio. Jeremy thinks that ROKU likely bounces back to its 200-day at around $360 – $370, which would mean a 15% to 20% gain. The editor added the stock on Friday with a small 4% position, but plans to manage this trade and possibly add more if it comes down to long-term support around $250. “Don’t be surprised if this goes against us, the key will be managing this trade,” said Jeremy. Read the full write-up for more on this move.Value Investor: The portfolio got back into oil on Friday by adding Pioneer National Resources (PXD), as Tracey still thinks we’re entering into a multi-year bull market in energy. PXD is an industry leader in E&P and should be less volatile than smaller names. Plus, the company has one of the best balance sheets in the business. In fact, PXD’s free cash flow is so “tremendous” that it pays a variable dividend on top of its regular dividend. And, of course, it has all the good value characteristics. Meanwhile, Tracey has been patient with Fiserv (FISV), but she finally got rid of it today for a slight loss after pretty much running in place since being added in February. Read the full write-up for more on these moves.Healthcare Innovators: The top movers scoreboard was dominated by this portfolio on Friday with the top four names. Those winners were Twist Bioscience (TWST, +6.9%), Pacific Biosciences of California (PACB, +6.7%), Invitae (NVTA, +6.05%) and CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP, +5.9%).Headline Trader: “I suspect that the Fed will hold off on its announcement to pare its $120 billion monthly asset purchases until there are clear signs that the impacts of the Delta-dent are behind us.”This tapering delay should catalyze another wave of risk-on capital into public equities, especially if the averages continue to slip into the meeting.”Either way, I expect to see the market moving action next Wednesday afternoon (FOMC statement at 2:00 pm EST & Jerome Powell’s post-meeting news conference at 2:30 pm).” — Dan LaboeHave a Great Weekend!Jim Giaquinto
Recommendations from Zacks’ Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks’ private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we’ve made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks’ portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we’ve predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to “test drive” Zacks Ultimate for FREE > >  Zacks Investment Research

Peloton (PTON) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

This story originally appeared on Zacks

In the latest trading session, Peloton (PTON) closed at $103.42, marking a -1.43% move from the previous day. This change lagged the S&P 500’s 0.91% loss on the day.

– Zacks

Heading into today, shares of the exercise bike and treadmill company had lost 2.67% over the past month, lagging the Consumer Discretionary sector’s gain of 0.91% and the S&P 500’s gain of 0.01% in that time.Wall Street will be looking for positivity from PTON as it approaches its next earnings report date. In that report, analysts expect PTON to post earnings of -$1.15 per share. This would mark a year-over-year decline of 675%. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $802.71 million, up 5.91% from the year-ago period.PTON’s full-year Zacks Consensus Estimates are calling for earnings of -$1.98 per share and revenue of $5.37 billion. These results would represent year-over-year changes of -209.38% and +33.6%, respectively.It is also important to note the recent changes to analyst estimates for PTON. Recent revisions tend to reflect the latest near-term business trends. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company’s business outlook.Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. We developed the Zacks Rank to capitalize on this phenomenon. Our system takes these estimate changes into account and delivers a clear, actionable rating model.The Zacks Rank system ranges from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell). It has a remarkable, outside-audited track record of success, with #1 stocks delivering an average annual return of +25% since 1988. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate has moved 450.4% lower within the past month. PTON currently has a Zacks Rank of #5 (Strong Sell).The Leisure and Recreation Products industry is part of the Consumer Discretionary sector. This group has a Zacks Industry Rank of 35, putting it in the top 14% of all 250+ industries.The Zacks Industry Rank includes is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.To follow PTON in the coming trading sessions, be sure to utilize Zacks.com.
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Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Peloton Interactive, Inc. (PTON): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.