Posts Tagged ‘online marketing’

What’s up with the “click”

August 19, 2008

I am starting to get frustrated with the online focus of the click. Sure, it’s something that can be measured, and gives media companies something to show how great their site/network is compared to other properties. However, when it all boils down to it, a good “click rate” doesn’t guarantee any further action down the lead/sales funnel. Yes, it helps get the lead to the next step, but an impression can too. Just at a later more convenient time when the customer has decided to come back to the site on their own terms. Just ask anyone that has used an ad server and compares view-through conversions to click-through conversions.

I can’t click on a TV ad (yet at least) or on a newspaper ad but advertisers still spend more money offline than online, at least for now. So marketing directors can handle media without a “click metric” and it appears that social media continues to gain momentum without a resounding “click metric” in it, rather tracking conversations.

So as we move down the online marketing timeline, attribution will become the word that clients, agencies and vendors will be discussing. We all know that a majority of transactions still happen offline but online marketing can have a huge impact on that sale, it’s just hard to nail down the correct attribution. That is the answer that will be worked on in the future, not what small tweak to creative can increase a CTR of .3% to .35%. So click or no-click, attribution will become the metric that gets heads spinning and dollars shifted. Sorry Mr. Click, you had a nice run but it seams like it is going to be coming to an end.

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Banner creative: Be careful

May 29, 2008

Dunkin’ Donuts decided to pull a recent display ad as there were several complaints about Rachel Ray’s black and white scarf. Complaints stated that it was a religious symbol supporting terrorism and Muslim extremism. Dunkin’ Donuts pulled the ad stating “the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.”

One must be careful when we design creative units as this is a great example. A simple scarf in an ad, turns into a large debate over racism and terrorism. It’s no longer symbols and colors, as simple clothing accessories can cause quite a stir in the media world.

Eric Schmidt says online more analytical??

April 30, 2008

No kidding…. The Google CEO made this comment at the recent American Association of Advertising Agencies Leadership Conference in Laguna Niguel. This is a no brainer comment coming from the leader of the market leader in online marketing.Just consider how much more data is available through online marketing than traditional print, tv and radio. All this data allows technology firms to be close to the hip to agencies and media companies to provide analysis and reporting.

He predicted firms will look to hire new skill sets to maximize the ever growing potential of online marketing and the vast amounts of data that can be collected depending on the client and goal of the campaign. I see this as nothing new, as Curt Hecht made it clear at teh recent ad:tech keynote speach that Starcom has already made the transition to new skill sets and has Ph.D’s in their office providing analysis and recommendations for their clients. The money is in the data! No longer can agencies just say they provide creative solutions. They need to understand the data and be able to find interesting tidbits to make actionable suggestions. Clients continue to ask harder and harder questions that agencies must be able to answer.

So even though Eric said it, its nothing new. If this is news to agencies, they are in trouble!

Online branding can be done

April 2, 2008

In today’s “Around the net in online marketing: section two”, John Battelle argues that the web is lousy for branding initiatives. I would like to argue that point. I think the web can be used for branding initiatives if done correctly. Some of John’s points are very valid about the low click rates and typical direct response metrics tied to online marketing.

I believe branding can be accomplished with direct response marketing, especially with the economy entering a recession. Display ads don’t need to be amazing creative masterpieces, their goal is to drive a click to a landing page that the user can learn more or engage with the brand. Whats wrong with a banner saying click here to learn more from a top 20 brand? I don’t see anything wrong, and think Coke Zero did a great branding job online during March Madness with 100% online promotion.

Brands can go online and push promotions and differentiating factors on a CPC buy and only buy clicks from interested individuals where a TV or two-page print add is paid upfront. The risk is greatly reduced of looked at from a media viewpoint.

Brands that are willing to take the risk and use the economies of scale that the internet has to offer might become the big winners after the economy turns around and consumers are more confident and begin spending. The other large benefit the internet has to offer brand marketers is tracking and optimization. Print and TV can be targeted by publication and site, but not much further. Online marketing allows the net to be cast wide and far and then honed back in based upon results, oh yeah, creative can be tested as well.

All of this leads me to believe that branding campaigns can be successful online. With the technology of rich media banners placing TV commercials in a banner (Coke Zero lawyer campaign) to buying on a CPC or CPM below $1, online marketing offers brand advertisers a wide variety of options to pursue. I agree it does not have the cache of a Super Bowl spot, or a 1/4 page spread in the WSJ, but I can stretch the dollar a lot further and get more eyeballs and engagement with the brand than a traditional media campaign.

Overall, brand marketers need to be media cognostic and not worry about the media that is being used, but choose the right media for the campaign objectives whatever they might be. After all, GM would not come out and say they are shifting 50% of their ad spending to online marketing if I was completely wrong.

Google is the marketing version of the “closer”

March 31, 2008

As 2008 baseball seasons opening day has arrived, I feel it’s appropriate to link baseball and Google together. Many people give Google so much credit for being the ultimate direct marketing tool and greatest ROI marketing tool there is. Many of them are correct, but for Google to be that effective, it needs a mass audience to increase their awareness enough to go online and purchase. I see Google as the closing pitcher in a baseball game and other mass media as the starting pitcher and middle relievers who do a lot of the legwork, sometimes only facing one batter only to hand the ball and the “save” to the closer.

TV, radio, print, direct mail, display advertising, and all other mediums are the starting pitchers and middle relievers that do so much work to get the team in the correct place to bring in the “ace”. This for marketing in may eyes is Google and Yahoo. The mass mediums drive awareness and brands through the heads of individuals and when they are ready to learn more or buy online, Google is there to save the day.

Brands must make sure they have a strong closer (search campaign) to compliment their Cy Young (traditional media). They must also utilize technology to evaluate the starting pitcher and middle relievers to see their effect on the overall success, and not just give 100% of the credit to ace Google.

AOL uses Penguins to explain ad targeting..

March 11, 2008

AOL is using penguins to explain the ad targeting technology that happens online, as they say its technical and people don’t really understand. I can agree with that, a lot of people in the ad industry that are not in online media don’t understand, so if people in the same office have a difficult time, I can only imagine my mom and friends trying to contemplate. There was an interesting post on the New York Times article discussing AOL’s attempt explaining the ad targeting technology.

Unlike most people, I seem to be frustrated by how irrelevant to me the ads I usually get are, and have given up clicking them.

I actually want to buy things on the web and if there were a form I could fill out stating in what areas I wanted to see ads, particularly from small and foreign companies I might not be aware of, I would gladly do so. Most of what I am interested in (documents and books on the history of diamonds prior to 1980 for example) is pretty esoteric, but the probability of my actually purchasing, if not now, then in the future, is perhaps gratifyingly high.

What the web really needs is a good, and well-known “Target Me With the Following Types of Ads” site with a section for “right now” and another for “permanently until further notice”.

I think this is an interesting comment but would be much tougher to actually facilitate than some believe. He went on later to explain that the Millenials “get it” in terms of ad supported content, but I don’t think he “gets it” when it comes down to actual targeting. If we begin creating a master list where users could “opt-in” to types of ads based upon interests it would become a nightmare to manage.

Each small company would want a specific niche market to target and the list of approved ad segments would become enormous and unmanageable. Instead, we need to trust technology and explain to people that data collection is safe and the better we become at it, the better targeted the ads will become and the more pleasure they will enjoy on their preferred sites. I think we would also face the same dillemas we haev with email opt-in lists. Which list did someone opt-in to, and which did they opt-out of? Is there a master opt-out list or an individual opt-out list for each? Did I opt-in to receive small business ads, or opt-in to receive small business technology solution ads?

Another interesting point to me was that, the quote talks about his interests in books about the history of diamonds prior to 1980, well I’m willing to bet that sites that offer those kind of books are placing cookies on his machine and learning that his interests are around diamonds. Whether they are acting on that data, that is a different question, but I bet they are collecting it.

Once companies understand how to use this data, and it becomes economically feasible, I believe the quality of internet advertising will increase and users will agree that data collection is making a better online experience, with or without the help of penguins.

Online media data collection hits New York Times

March 10, 2008

There is an article today in the New York Times about online media and how they capture data. I think it is a little late in the game, as many people already know about cookies and online data collection. There is an interesting debate about these procedures as well, there are those that say it invades privacy and there are those that say its better for the consumer as ads will be more relevant.

Either way, its nothing really new. As the Behavioral Targeting Standards Consortium has their first meeting next week, the policies of behavioral targeting are really just revisiting the standards of direct marketing. Since I have worked in direct mail and direct marketing, the online data capturing is really just a glorified direct marketing approach.

The NYT article talks about deals being based around the data, well isn’t list selection from the old direct mail days about data and selects? I really wish this issue of privacy would answered and we could move on to make online marketing more affective and accepted. Unfortunately, I think the article in the New York Times will scare more people away, than let them understand actually what is happening.

Like Mark Zuckerberg said, unfortunately companies need to sell ads to be supported. Consumers either need to let ads run, or start paying.

Initiative has a new buzz – Amphibian

March 5, 2008

The agency Initiative has a new “buzz” word for their client offerings. It’s “Amphibian” which relates to media living in and out of water or online and offline. This is nothing new in the advertising world as several people have discussed media neutrality or media agnostic approaches. When an agency meets with a client, they need to be able to have a knowledge of all media and make recommendations that meets the clients needs.

One problem with that is the traditional agency compensation model is flawed. Shocking! So is the whole pitch process. Seems like the agency model needs to evolve. Anyways, some agencies are so accustomed to media commissions that they struggle to push online or “fringe” media because it is new and different.

I hope this idea of amphibian marketing sticks, as it will bring some credibility back to agencies, but its nothing new. Media plans don’t need to worry about being offline or online, just inline with customer expectations.

Affiliate Summit

February 26, 2008

I was at the affiliate summit west this past weekend and had a great time. It is amazing to see how much the affiliate world has evolved into a technology driven industry. There are some definite growing pains in the industry as their is a lack of affiliate management talent and there are still some shady practices, but overall a growing industry. As I walked the exhibit hall, I realized there wasn’t much differentiation amongst several of the media networks. You stop and talk to one and can have flashbacks of the previous conversation. From a marketing standpoint, they stink.

Networks need to offer value and service, not just a we have x publishers, cause guess what, affiliates look at a lot of networks. I was impressed however with some of the technology from firms like Syntryx. Overall, it was a great conference and experience in Las Vegas. The highlight was The Ashley Madison Agency which is a dating site for married people. Their shirts read, “Life is Short, Have an Affair.” I have some issues with that, but guess there is a market for everything.

Rethinking Google’s ad spend in budget

February 20, 2008

An article today on imedia connection discussed how marketers often look at Google as the ultimate converter and spend a third of their online budget with Google. The article, written by and definitely biased to support Atlas argues their tracking technology is going to change the model of online tracking and advertising. That is great and all, but the technology and ideas have been around for awhile and it just takes time to reach critical mass and that still might not be enough to change the model.

I agree that Google probably gets a relatively large conversion rate due to other advertising mediums, whether it be print, TV, display, email, word of mouth or whatever but the fact is, search is usually the last touch point before a conversion. I thought about a baseball game and thought it was a decent metaphor for the scenario. Starting pitchers cost a lot of money and can usually get through roughly 2/3 of a game, then there are several changes in the 6th-8th innings depending on score, batter, etc. Then finally the closer comes out of the bullpen and attempts to close the deal. Google/Yahoo is the closer in this scenario. Companies need to use other mediums to raise awareness and “put them in the lead” for Google to be the last touch point and close.

I still believe a multi-channel advertising campaign is best suited and technology like Atlas provides a lot of value, but Google will always be seen as the closer. I think it is important to be able to track touch points, view through conversions, and frequency before someone converts as that data leads to better multi-channel campaigns. Companies also like to piggyback competitors ad spend and advertise exclusively on search thus reducing the marketing budget and becoming more profitable than their competitors who are using offline media to drive people to the web to use who else, Google, to find out their competitor offers a better product. Some affiliate portals are making a killing off companies who use offline media to drive interest and thus people go online to search for more info. Affiliates in the education space gobble up those leads and sell them back to the company that spent so much money on TV ads.

The article was a good read about tracking and the importance, but I disagree that the model is going to change in any time soon.