How Agencies Can Grow Through Strategic Partnerships

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12 Ways We Can Help You Fast-Forward Wins


  1. Pricing Insight
  2. Research
  3. New Biz Clout
  4. Increase Agency Value


  1. Revenue Sharing Options
  2. No Minimums
  3. No Incremental Labor
  4. Protect Accounts


  1. Performance Expertise
  2. Analytics Suite
  3. Extend Service Offering
  4. You Win – Then, We Win

We Are Built To Be An Extension Of Your Team


We are bold strategic advisors

Obvious answers usually aren’t going to Fast-Forward things, so we go deep to find the correlations and opportunities that can help us drive better results.


We are fueled by data, driven by insight

Our business intelligence group mines your data and ours, not simply to plan, but to adjust in real time as market conditions evolve.


We are capable of planning, buying and optimizing from national to hyper-local

We make it simple for brands to drive results regardless of the selling environment and company marketing structure.


We work in agile communities of specialists

We don’t work in a traditional media hierarchy. We’re organized in communities of experts that create a virtuous cycle of improvement and position us to swarm to client opportunities.

Draw on Our Research Tools

We invest over $1 million annually in the media industry’s best research tools, which help to define and drive our media recommendations.

Leverage our Partnerships

Our media expertise has enabled our agency to partner with the best names in the business, like Google, Facebook, Yext, Dataxu, Microsoft, Snapchat and more.


How We Can Partner

3 Pillars

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Traditional Digital Analytics

2 Engagement Options

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Full-service execution Consulting

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The agency landscape has changed dramatically as a result of numerous challenges across the marketplace. Learn more about how we’re filling the gap for agency partners that have found themselves with limited media and research capabilities. In this episode of Fast-Forward the Conversation, VP of Business Development Fabio Ramos and Planning Strategist Misty Castellanos join President Zac Keeney to discuss the value Mindstream can provide not only to agencies but to their clients as well.



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Meet the Mindstreamer – Amelia Monroe

She oversees the execution of client campaigns, leads a diverse team of specialists and drives year-over-year performance improvement. An adventure tri-athlete and lover of many outdoor hobbies including sailing, camping and hiking, meet Account Director, Amelia Monroe.

Based in our Cedar Falls, Iowa office and an agency veteran of seven years, Amelia has established herself as a team leader dedicated to client and teammate success. She collaborates with cross-functional internal teams to ensure we provide the highest quality of service, campaign management and operational execution to agency clients. She also focuses on establishing a deep level of trust with the client as a foundation upon which successful campaigns—and growth—are built.

What Amelia likes best about her job is partnering with clients to take on new challenges and help them meet their marketing goals. “I try to avoid my relationship with clients feeling like a traditional client/vendor relationship. I like to see myself as an extension of the client’s marketing team. This allows me to always focus on what is best for their campaigns, and I am excited to work at a company that encourages those client relationships.”

As a former radio DJ, Amelia knows the value of communication. In fact, communication is her top recommended focus area for anyone wanting to pursue a career in this industry. “Never underestimate the value of good communication. Consistent, clear communication with your team, your client, and your vendors is so valuable and appreciated. As the industry constantly evolves, good communication will never go out of style.”

Armed with a master’s degree in Marketing, Amelia pursued a career in the advertising and media industry because she loves the speed and flexibility of digital marketing. Seeing campaign results almost in real-time is really exciting to her. “I knew it would be a good fit and I’ve loved working in the industry.”

When Amelia first began her career in digital marketing, it was challenging to convince clients to take a risk and try something “new.” But, as the landscape evolves with new platforms, technology and a multitude of other changes, she notes, “It has been exciting to see digital marketing become the new normal.”

An avid reader both on a personal and professional level, Amelia is inspired by and follows the work of several successful women. She looks up to Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, co-founders of theSkimm, as well as Beyonce for her brand strategy, creativity and dedication to giving back. Amelia is also inspired by Rosalind Brewer, the new CEO of Walgreens and first woman to lead an S&P 500 company.

In the media and advertising industry, challenges go with the territory. When asked about a challenging situation, Amelia said, “A big challenge for both agencies and clients is reporting on the performance of digital marketing campaigns. I’m so happy Mindstream Media Group is dedicated to providing automated reporting solutions for our clients. It makes my job even better when I can quickly pull up campaign results in an easy-to-understand dashboard to show my clients how we’re doing.”

We are grateful for Amelia’s leadership and perspective when it comes to helping clients succeed and grow.

An enormous part of what makes Mindstream Media Group successful is the collective talent and collaboration of its employees across the country. While we as an agency love to share stories about client successes, industry news and product updates on our MMG Blog, we also want to feature the actual people behind the work we are doing to grow client business.

 Our recent video series, Fast-Forward the Conversation, discusses the HOW behind supporting client growth through media strategy, with topics like shopper marketing, franchise work, QSR challenges, agency partnerships and more.

 We’re also now featuring a Mindstreamer (as we like to call ourselves) periodically to share their stories and celebrate the diverse people, backgrounds, interests and qualities that make us unique.

[Case Study]: Media Restructure Delivers 55% Lead Efficiency in Pandemic Year

The Graduate Management Admission CouncilTM (GMAC) is a global, mission-driven association of leading graduate business schools. They own and administer the Graduate Management Admission TestTM (GMATTM), the most widely used exam for graduate business school admissions. Mindstream Media Group has had the pleasure of partnering with GMAC for several years to hone strategic media initiatives that grow their business, even in spite of the difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic.


GMAC found themselves facing simultaneous challenges. The issue of potential MBA candidates opting out of business school to go straight to the workforce, combined with the increase in schools dismissing the need for the exam when recruiting new students, were already a trend impacting the business over the last several years; moreover, the 2020 pandemic caused all global test centers to shut down for months at different times as the virus progressed in each country. This resulted in a large decrease of their primary revenue source (in-person testing), considering at that point all tests were conducted in person.

These challenges needed to be overcome with less resources compared to previous years, due to the impact of the pandemic.


In order to solve these complex challenges, we gathered data and insights from previous years of campaigns and built a robust, yet lean, paid media funnel where the target audience (potential MBA candidates) could be nurtured through their journey from initial awareness and engagement, to the purchase of test preparation products, all the way through to the exam registration.

Based on the historical data, we completely restructured GMAC’s campaigns across all platforms involved, resulting in a channel mix allocation which included paid search, paid social and programmatic display. Creative focused on each step in the customer journey to resonate with users whether they had not yet considered graduate management education, were merely considering it or were ready to purchase study materials or register for the GMAT exam. Specific and measurable KPIs were identified within each stage to gauge campaign success.

The carefully planned funnel, along with remarkably close monitoring of data through our analytics technology and intel, allowed for agile adjustments on all types of allocations from channels, to creatives, to global regions, with the objective of maximizing the efficiency of every marketing dollar.


At the end of the most challenging year in recent times, the overhauled marketing strategy and implementation of the paid media funnel yielded extraordinary results. In 2020, there was up to a 55 percent improvement (decrease) in Cost per Lead and a 70 percent improvement (decrease) in Cost per Registration compared to the previous year (2019). We anticipate continued improvement throughout 2021 as well as funnel stage allocations are adjusted to fine-tune the structure.

55% YoY Decrease in Cost per Lead


70% YoY Decrease in Cost per Registration


Julie Slovin, GMAC Senior Director of Strategic Marketing notes, “The funnel performed so well that the performance gains that we saw this year I think were so significant that they sort of outweighed the market losses that resulted from the pandemic, from an advertising and marketing effectiveness and efficiency standpoint.” Click here for the full interview.




iOS 14 User Privacy Update: Impact to Advertisers

The core of Apple’s targetable ad system, Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is one of the most accurate means of tracking iOS users. This randomly-generated and generally anonymous tag allows advertisers to track and identify users as they interact with mobile advertising campaigns on Apple devices; however, it has come under increasing scrutiny amid consumer privacy concerns. As a result, Apple’s recent iOS 14 launch included a major privacy update that limits tracking across apps and websites. Designed to improve transparency and control, the new privacy features require users to opt-in to data tracking. This profound shift from the traditional model of requiring users to opt-out will affect all advertisers and every digital platform.

The new privacy features include three policies for apps:

  1. Apps must submit information about their app’s data collection practices through Apple’s App Store Connect.
  2. Apps must ask users permission to track them across third-party apps and websites through Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) Framework. ATT is a prompt that will pop up asking users for their permission. The prompt will be configured by the app, not by the advertiser.
  3. Apps without user opt-in will need to use a new framework adhering to Apple guidelines which will restrict data, aggregate some data and cause delays in event reporting for advertising purposes. Each platform will have variances in the data they can capture and report on due to the limitations required by Apple’s new policy. Like the ATT prompt, the new framework will be implemented by the app, not the advertiser.

Each social platform will have a different approach for how advertisers should move forward. This is a massive industry change, and while the platforms have been able to provide next steps for advertisers, there are still unanswered questions. Below is a summary of how some of the most popular social platforms will address the policy rollout based on what we know today. Our social, planning and analytics teams are working closely together to assist clients through the transition.


Facebook has outlined an initial roadmap to help advertisers navigate impacted areas. Both Facebook and Instagram will be adopting Apple’s ATT prompt requesting permission to track and will also enact Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM). This will align with Apple’s policy which restricts, aggregates and delays data usage. These changes will impact Facebook Business tools and event setup, optimization, targeting and measurement.

ATT Prompt Implications

If a user opts in through the prompt, there will be no change in data use. However, if a user opts out, then Facebook will use AEM which will restrict, aggregate and delay event attribution. This will also apply to advertisers using the Software Development Kit (SDK) to track and measure in-app actions. If a person opts into BOTH Facebook and the third-party app there will be no change in data usage. However, if a user opts out of one or both apps, the conversion data shared through Facebook’s business tools may be restricted, aggregated and delayed. Facebook will be applying these prompts on all operating systems and not just iOS 14. If a user opts out, it could potentially exclude them from being included in a custom audience.

Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM)

AEM helps advertisers measure campaign performance while complying with consumers’ decisions about their data. Advertisers will need to prioritize eight conversion events per domain to collect data. If a user opts out, the highest ranked conversion event, per the prioritization, will be recorded. For example, if an advertiser has “purchase” as the top priority and “add to cart” as the second, when a user makes a purchase from an ad, only the purchase conversion will be recorded. As a result, campaigns will need to be optimized to one of the eight priority conversions.

Attribution Changes

On January 19, the default attribution window in Facebook changed from a 28-day click/1-day view to a 7-day click/1-day view. The 28-day attribution window will be accessible for past campaigns until the iOS 14 ATT prompt goes into effect. Although it will vary by advertiser, Facebook has stated this attribution change could cause up to a 10 percent decrease in conversions. Our social and analytics teams are working together to forecast the expected impact for each Mindstream client.


Until Apple’s new privacy policy is mandated, there will be no disruption or changes on Snapchat for advertisers; however, once implemented, Snapchat will be prompting users for permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies. The Snapchat pixel will continue to be supported with no configuration changes and should be compliant with Apple’s new policy by the time it goes into effect.

Snapchat will also support Apple’s SKAdNetwork, an API that helps advertisers measure the success of ad campaigns while maintaining user privacy. A closed beta was completed in the fourth quarter of 2020 and should be available soon. Reporting will be provided in Ads Manager and Mobile Measurement Partner dashboards.

Efforts are currently underway to create more, but two tools are currently available to help advertisers maximize their efforts using their own first-party data.

Snap App ID

The Snap App ID is a unique code that authenticates ownership of the app to ensure control and privacy of the data. It will unlock new features such as self-serve mobile app custom audiences, app re-engagement goal-based bidding, tracking toggle and dynamic ads with more coming soon.

Conversion API

The conversion API will allow advertisers to pass web, app (if Snap App ID is enacted) and offline events to Snapchat via a server-to-server integration. Depending on the information shared via the API, there are solutions for custom audience targeting, campaign optimization and dynamic ads.


Although Android audiences will not be affected, Pinterest does anticipate a decline in Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) available for measurement and targeting due to iOS 14; however, they do not expect any immediate impact on conversions passed through the Pinterest tag for web-based events. Rather than relying on IDFA, Pinterest is suggesting advertisers use emails for audience targeting lists. The Pinterest Conversion API or Conversion upload solution can also be used to pass mobile conversion events through.


For App Install campaigns, Reddit will only target users who authorize Reddit to use their information for advertising purposes. For ad groups targeting iOS 13 or lower, Reddit will proceed with their current method for reporting. For ad groups targeting iOS 14 and above, Reddit will use the SKAdNetwork implementation. The internal team at Reddit is still evaluating how non-app install campaigns will be affected and what next steps should be.

The new privacy regulations featured in Apple’s iOS 14 will significantly impact advertisers’ ability to target campaigns to specific user groups. This combined with the phase-out of third-party cookies by Safari, Firefox and Chrome has created a challenge for digital marketers and marks the end of the way many measure performance. At Mindstream Media Group, we’re working diligently to identify alternative solutions, assist clients with configuration updates and define optimization strategies to ensure efficient campaign management.

Meet the Mindstreamer – Staci Eldridge

Caffeine in the form of a bean is her drug of choice and she genuinely loves cheese without discrimination. Not one to enjoy mundane and repetitive tasks, she’s excited by the ever-changing landscape of the digital realm and loves having the opportunity to continually learn and experience new platforms.

Meet Staci Eldridge, Media Associate and 5-year veteran of Mindstream based in the Cedar Falls, IA office.

As a Media Associate, Staci’s responsible for launching, managing and reporting on digital media campaigns. She was drawn to the industry by the enticement of being able to dabble with new advancements within digital platforms. Staci says, “There is more space for new media outlets within digital and being able to see how those work when they are fresh and throughout their journey to mainstream is really neat.”

I think we can all agree this industry keeps you on your toes, there is always something new or different to dig into, especially where digital media is concerned. It’s also fast-paced which Staci loves, “In comparison to traditional media, digital offers the ability to make instant changes in response to industry change or, perhaps, a change in the world such as a pandemic.  Virtually anything can be done in a moment which is exciting to be a part of.”

Speaking of change, Staci notes, “Either by choice or force depending on the situation, Facebook is literally constantly making updates and responding to the changing landscape of advertising.” Unfortunately, not all of the media platforms we work with are overly helpful in terms of trial and error with issues that arise, even those caused by a change made by them on the dev backend. However, Mindstream has a talented group of people that bounce ideas and experiences off one another and dive in to get results rather than backing down or giving up. Staci shares, “We as a whole have a drive to overcome the obstacle and find a way through. I value that in the MMG team.”

Social media is constantly evolving. As more and more new players jump into the game, space and ad inventory increases. Staci believes this increased opportunity for exposure across the board will allow brands to showcase their creative strengths in fun new ways.

To stay informed in such an ever-changing environment, Staci counts on TheSkimm for overall news, eMarketer and AMA. She notes that platform-specific newsletters such as Facebook for Business and Centro have been awesome at providing up-to-date information on marketing and advertising, even during 2020 in the face of so many unknowns. Of course she also reads the Mindstream blog and says, “It’s gucci ; 0” (Thanks, Staci!)

Her advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in this industry? “Embrace change and pay attention to details; even small details can make an impact in results.” Staci gets her attention to detail from her dad whom she credits for instilling her strong work ethic and dedication to service. As a business owner himself, he impressed upon her the importance of a job well done. “Do the work, do it right and care about what you do and the quality of your work…that is relevant no matter the job you are tasked with or the title you hold.”

When she’s not hard at work, Staci enjoys trying new things (not surprising!), reading, biking, trail hiking, traveling and anything outdoors or near a body of water which feeds her obsession for snapping sunset pics.

An enormous part of what makes Mindstream Media Group successful is the collective talent and collaboration of its employees across the country. While we as an agency love to share stories about client successes, industry news and product updates on our MMG Blog, we also want to feature the actual people behind the work we are doing to grow client business.

 Our recent video series, Fast-Forward the Conversation, discusses the HOW behind supporting client growth through media strategy, with topics like shopper marketing, franchise work, QSR challenges, agency partnerships and more.

 We’re also now featuring a Mindstreamer (as we like to call ourselves) periodically to share their stories and celebrate the diverse people, backgrounds, interests and qualities that make us unique.