Archive for the ‘branding’ Category

Death of Microsites: Rich media can do better

March 3, 2008

Is there an end coming to the use of Microsites? Just think of the time and resources dedicated to generating a decent microsite, and then think of how fast people forget. I can think of a couple decent examples in the past that gained some viral traction, but not many. I must admit, I have been a big fan of microsites, but I am beginning to question myself as I have seen some good rich media ads that can act as a microsite and drive traffic back to the corporate domain. Some argue they are great for branding, I argue people forget the one off domains and remember corporate domains much more. If there is something compelling on the corporate site, there is nothing wrong with that, corporate sites can have fun too.

Ads now have the ability to collect email addresses, do commerce, and promote contests that microsites used to be vital for. If a company truly needs a microsite, think about hosting on the corporate domain and dedicating a small amount of real estate on the home page to drive traffic to the “site”. An average TV viewer has a better chance at remembering a corporate domain, than some randomly generated domain just for the campaign. Don’t just go building a microsite because that is what was done in the past. I ask people to stop and think about what the lifespan of the microsite will be and what they will need to do to keep the campaign alive.

Instead, look at spending money on a quality rich media campaign with all the functionality of a microsite in the ad itself. Once the campaign is over, you can pull ad. You can also design pages on MySpace and Facebook if the audience is right to support the campaign, once again, much less expensive than a microsite. Marketers have so many technologies available to them now, but they must know what to use and when.


Widget – Make sure there is good content

February 25, 2008

I have been interested in widgets and how marketers will use them in the future. After seeing this Kimberly Clark widget, I am a little concerned that marketers don’t know what to do with them so that they are maximized. Just putting some random things in a widget and hoping for adoption rate is not enough. It is most likely that brand ambassadors will be the only ones who adopt the widget and post it on their personal pages, not the average Joe. Therefore, there must be a payoff for them and their network that visits their page.

Pay per interaction video ads

February 21, 2008

Just as I had briefly mentioned about ads being sold on engagement, VideoEgg offers a pay per interaction ad model. It’s not excatly the same as paying a varibale rate depending on level of interaction, but it is a step closer. Rates range from around $.20 to$1 per interaction. They are defining an interaction where a user mouses over and the flash video clip loads.

As marketers still try and find a scalable branding solution online, performance based models dominate the online spend. This enables marketers restrained to only doing performance advertising like CPC or CPA to now look at video advertising. It will be interesting to see how this sticks and if large brand marketers adopt this model as it reduces their risk from the traditional CPM model.

Microsoft has been the first large advertiser to work with VideoEgg and the AdFrames product. They are currently paying less than $.50 per interaction. That is probably a lot better rate than they are paying for CPC terms.

when offline looks good but doesn’t work

February 13, 2008

I saw an intriguing ad this morning on public transport. I was two seats away from an ad that was facing my direction (probably 15 feet) and thought it was an intriguing image. However, when I look at offline advertising, I want to know what it is for and where I can find more information. Or at least see who it is promoting and be able to use my own devices (internet) to find out more.

Since I work in marketing, I walked over to the ad before I got off to see who it was for and what the VERY VERY small print said. The ad was actually for the peace corps, but I literally had to be on top of the ad to see the phone number and url I they were directing me to.

This was the kind of advertising that looks real good compared to other ads that I see of mass transport, but I don’t believe it is nearly as effective as some of the other ads that are only a few words with a large call to action. I believe that branding is important and sometimes the call to action is not as important, but one must consider where this ad will be placed and how it will be viewed. Not everyone who sees this ad will be in the seat right across from it, others like myself will be a few seats away and have a hard time seeing who its for (sure it would have been damn near impossible for someone with poor eyesight).

Offline marketing needs to learn from the use of CTA’s in online marketing. I see a lot more direct response advertising online than I do in traditional media, and I laugh when I hear someone say they want to track traditional media with online metrics. As soon as I give some ideas or suggestions about copy and size and Calls to action they immediately argue it will be ugly. Fair enough, don’t ask to track like online metrics then.

Very large brands can get away with “branding” like the peace corps ad I saw as I probably would have recognized a McDonald’s arch, a Nike swoosh, or Verizon check. The rest of the brands, they are just wasting money on ads that look good but are hard to read.

Hyundai sees biggest % lift from Super Bowl ad

February 8, 2008

Hyundai, the company that was in and then out and then finally in the Super Bowl saw the largest percentage increase in traffic to their site with the Hyundai Genesis ads. Hitwise reported that they saw a 1450% increase in traffic. To be honest, I am not surprised since I had no clue what the car was going to be called, therefore, I could not predict was the corresponding site. I was a little surprised to see that did not see a large spike in traffic % wise as well.

Anyways, whether I knew the car name or not, its good to see success from mainstream media driving people to the web whether there is a strong call to action or not. I do not remember the end tags of the commercial, and barely remember the ad other than it compared to size of BMW 7 series, but it appears that it spiked interest and drove people to the site. One must note that the chart below is based on percentage and not actual visitors, I would be willing to bet a large sum of money would come out on top of that list hands down.

The Hitwise report numbers are below, some interesting numbers are present.

Super Bowl Advertiser
Websites Ranked By Percent Change Based on
Daily Market Share of U.S. Visits
Advertiser Domain

Sunday % Change

Monday % Change
















Office of National Drug Control Policy



New Line Cinema






Under Armour



Bud Light
































Victoria’s Secret












Taco Bell












20th Century Fox






Vitamin Water






Note – the data is based on the daily market share of U.S. visits among all US Internet users from the Hitwise sample of 10 million U.S. Internet users. The Sunday percent change is based on comparing the daily market share of U.S. visits for Feb. 3, 2008 vs. Feb. 2, 2008. The Monday percent change is based on comparing the daily market share of U.S. visits for Feb. 4, 2008 vs. Feb. 3, 2008.
Source: Hitwise

Go Daddy gets Super Bowl ad right!

February 5, 2008

Not only did Go Daddy do their Super Bowl ad well, I said it was a good use of offline mainstream media to drive people to the web on my post Thursday the 31st. The banned “exposed” ad that played on the word beaver, was a a web exclusive ad and they used the approved Super Bowl ad to highlight they had exclusive content on their site. The “banned ad” strategy paid off for Go Daddy. Ad Age reports that they saw 2 million hits on the site during the Super Bowl. I can only imagine how many more yesterday morning as people strolled into work talking about various ads. CEO Parsons said in his blog that traffic 3.5x normal since the ad.

I saw the “beaver” ad and was a little surprised they even tried to get that ad approved, but hey, sex sells. Anyways, I think Go Daddy did a great job of using their $2 million dollar ad to drive people to the web. The numbers this year have blown away the numbers from the previous three years of Super Bowl ads. Parsons says this year has been a smash, amazing results with a fraction of the cost. Last year they had three spots and only drove 500,000 visitors.

This should be a wake up call to advertisers who say driving to the web is not a priority. Many say Super Bowl ads are only for branding, but I would argue there are only a select few brands that can place ads on the Super Bowl only for branding. Brands need to be more strategic with their media spends and make sure they now include an online component. Even my favorite ad, the Tide-to-Go talkingstain ad drove people to

Convergence vs. Divergence

January 23, 2008

I have begun reading “The Origin of Brands” by Al Ries and have been pleasantly surprised how well written it is. I am becoming a firm believer in his idea of divergence vs. convergence in marketing, and how if one wants to establish a brand, you need to find an opportunity where there is zero competition (create a new category). He makes it clear that most people in marketing look at solutions in convergent mentalities, but that is where they are usually wrong. I agree with that thinking, to create a new category and diverge away from the masses is a much harder thing to do, but usually the correct way to go if you want a long term successful brand. He lists several brands that have been successful in creating new categories as divergent thinkers, and list several brands and categories that continue to converge and suffer.

There is one area where I disagree with Ries about his predictions of success or failure, and that is about PDA/Smartphones. Granted, the book was written in 2004 and phones are not what they are today, but I think of my iPhone and how it has converged several aspects of my life and brought them all to one single unit (phone, internet, iPod, weather, stocks, camera). A recent report from Google stated, “On Christmas, traffic to Google from iPhones surged, surpassing incoming traffic from any other type of mobile device.” This goes to show, that even though it does not have the masses of other cell phones such as Treo and Blackberry, the users are using it for more than just a phone call.

This is great news for interactive marketers, as more phones enter the market with features that are actually used by their users, applications will become more common for these phones. As these technologies converge on single handsets, the amount of applications developed will increase, thus increasing the usage of the new PDA/Smartphones.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of ‘The Origin of Brands” as it has listed several examples and expanded my view on the importance of convergent vs. divergent thinking and how to market new products.