February 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
According to MediaPost’s Online Media Daily report this morning, John Battelle, at least, knew Google would run a commercial during the Super Bowl yesterday. It was a surprise to most of the rest of us. But it was a welcome surprise. All was right with the world for 30 seconds when Google showed-up still looking and acting like its old self – a search engine – back in the Internet neighborhood, in touch with its roots.
“Hey, look who’s here!”
“Hey, Ma, Google’s outside.”
(“Hey, don’t he look swell.”)
“Hey, don’t you look swell, Google! Where you been!? Come over here.”
“Hey, you look tan. Nice suit…where’d you get it? Paris? Hey, Ma, check this out…Look who’s wearing a suit from Paris!”
“Wait…who’s the girl? This girl with you?! You with him?!“
“HA HA HA!”
(“Bonjour? Is she French?”)
“A girl from France, Ma!”
“Geez, it’s nice to see you, kid. All we know is what we see in the papers, you know? Oh boy, the papers say some things, don’t they? We all know better, of course. We tell ’em, too. We tell everybody. Google never hurt nobody.”
“But, hey, look at you! A tan. And a girl from France! Geez. I never been to New York, let alone France.”
“HA HA HA. Laugh with me, you old dope! You lost your sense of humor?”
“HA HA HA!”
“It’s good to see you, Google. It’s good that you stopped by. Really good. Really good.”
(“Give me a hug.”)
“You stay in touch.”
“Do you hear me?! I’m watching you! You stay in t-o-u-c-h!”
July 15, 2009 § Leave a comment
After sounding off in this space recently about the myriad descriptions we have for online advertising (“What the heck is display advertising anyway? And who cares?”) it’s good to note that Interpublic’s Magna business unit is trying to bucket things along more sensible lines. Per the story in Media Post, Interpublic is proposing we regard online advertsing as follows:
1. Total Direct Response-based advertising, which includes search, lead generation and yellow pages.
2. National Digital/Online advertising, which includes rich media, online video, classifieds, emails, display and mobile
3. Local Digital/Online, which includes revenues from local TV, Radio and newspapers.
It’s not clear, but I assume Local Digital/Online is inclusive of all the advertising formats detailed in National Digital/Online.
The sensible nature of Interpublic’s initiative is the desire to catalogue spending by marketing objective, not creative format, or application. It is to try and see the whole of the online picture, not just the parts. The creative toolbox available to advertisers online is wonderfully diverse versus other media, but it is not the tools that should determine the job for marketers, as in “Should we use widgets? Why aren’t we using widgets? I want to see some widget uses!” So, it is almost impossible to see the big picture in terms of value versus other media by concentrating on what’s in the box. Interpublic’s break-out response to ad spend measurement may help us lift our gaze.
June 17, 2009 § Leave a comment
MediaPost reported on a study by Conde Nast and McPheters & Co. documenting that ads running on web sites with related content were 61% more likely to be recalled than ads running on web sites with unrelated content. This is not especially news, but it is always welcome news among publishers, on and offline, who invest considerable time and energy creating quality content for their audiences.
There was an interesting twist at the end of its report about the Conde Nast study, however, that MediaPost may have felt obliged to insert in the spirit of full-disclosure. I should do likewise. It’s truthfully more interesting (and bigger) than the news that the right message in the right place produces better results, which has been shown to be true since, maybe, 1517 when Martin Luther tacked his 95 Theses on the door of a church instead of a tavern. (One wonders if the Protestant Reformation would have got off the ground quite as well if patrons passing through the door were headed in for a drink instead of spiritual reflection.)
According to MediaPost, a Conde Nast study from earlier in the year (April, as I learned) revealed this about online advertising generally versus offline:
“According to data released earlier in the year by Condé Nast and McPheters & Co., nearly two-thirds — 63% — of banner ads were not seen by Web users. Respondents’ eyes “passed over” 37% of the Internet ads and “stopped” on slightly less than a third, McPheters found.
In contrast to online ads, TV and magazine ads generated a strong propensity to be seen and recalled, according to the research.
Full-page, four-color magazine ads were determined to have 83% of the value of a 30-second television commercial, while a typical Internet banner ad has 16% of the value.”
I missed that story last time. It is clearly – sadly- the most newsworthy piece in the context of Conde Nast’s research. And, rats, if you sell online advertising. One assumes Conde Nast went to market with partners McPheters & Co. (and CBS Vision) to bring back answers in defense of print and afterwards went back to the well for news to support their digital team. Well, they got it: Content matters.
Thanks. Very interesting.
Frankly, however, I’m inclined to want to pay careful attention to those results reported again at the end of today’s story. I suspect they may be more right than wrong in regard to Internet advertising, the distribution of which has appeared – and continues to appear – largely indiscriminate despite improved targeting features. Most of those features are late to the game and still devoid of consumer partnership – meaning, consumers don’t get that the messages may be targeted usefully towards them; they just see the same @$%! advertising everywhere and have conditioned themselves to ignore it.
The “content matters” question, therefore, is quite possibly more important than what it has been shown again to contribute to advertising that relies upon it. In the negative sense, advertising (and marketing) that does not offer proper context to its targets and customers may be cheating the advertising body politic as a whole.
Interesting. This may be an acute side-effect of an Internet pumped-up on data hormones; though magazines, most of which are specialized, might also be vulnerable if they were to suddenly start mainlining data. Consider a Fortune magazine edition with no business advertising and a Parenting magazine with nothing but business advertising. The effect would probably start to chip away at the 83% value quotient that print enjoys versus the :30 spot. The rational basis for the advertising in both publications might be the consumer, but the consumer’s associations are with the media. Eliminate the associations and advertising stops being break-through in the way that data can enhance break-through. It simply breaks. It stops making sense.
Conde Nast’s research is telling us something we know. More importantly, it is telling us something we ought to know and perhaps do something about (quick).
June 2, 2009 § Leave a comment
Forbes.com released results from a survey of top marketers conducted in February and March that got very different play in the two places I saw it picked-up, thanks to my various news digests. The difference is interesting.
Adweek reported that marketers still regard the Internet as a direct response tool. Their piece was titled, “Most Marketers Ignore Brand Metrics Online.” Over at MediaPost, editors gave coverage to the Forbes study under the heading, “CMOs not satisfied with Ad Nets,” (meaning ad networks).
The results of the study, which polled 119 marketers, seem to imply that advertisers may retreat from using display advertising as a vehicle for direct response messages. They like Search and Email. Ad networks, as major purveyors of cheap, direct response display advertising over the past few years, get stuck in the cross-hairs of that change. Hence the varying treatment of the story in Adweek and MediaPost while the market figures-out what’s going on and who is likely to be affected.
I suspect that some of the ad network spin is coming from Jim Spanfeller, CEO of Forbes.com, who is a consistent spokesperson for brand publishers and brand advertising online, and a frequent critic of ad networks. Quoted in Adweek, Jim says,
“On the Web specifically, advertising has moved into more demand fulfillment as opposed to demand creation. That’s not really advertising. There’s nothing wrong with it. Doing search marketing and point-of purchase displays all works, but it’s not advertising. It’s not about creating demand and improving brand metrics.”
In MediaPost, he says,
“Ad network spending is all about demand fulfillment while direct-to-publisher display is much aligned with the traditional advertising goals of demand creation.”
Unfortunately, I think Adweek probably has the story line right in its title, “Most Marketers Ignore Brand Metrics Online.” But don’t just blame ad networks. The survey data has very little to do with ad networks. The survey data implies that Marketers still don’t respect the Internet as a branding vehicle and that makes all display advertising purveyors guilty.
Jim Spanfeller has the gumption, at least, to say “it’s not advertising” when he talks about the pervasiveness of what he calls “demand fulfillment” advertising online. I’m not sure I agree that it’s not advertising, but I take his point. Too bad we didn’t have Jim nearby when the industry as a whole was rolling-out its fulfillment value proposition in 1995 extolling the one-to-one results and risk-free benefits of online advertising.
The Forbes.com study shows, once more, just how ill-advised that positioning strategy was. We should hope that our ability to encourage brand advertisers to see the engaging and deeply relevant value of online media to audiences gets here before digital technology levels the playing field for all media, especially TV.