Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Retargeting: Time to get creative!

Thoughts from Just Media, Inc’s Analytics Manager, Frauke Cast.

Re-engaging with your audience is one of the most successful strategies to drive a conversion. Today’s article on ClickZ points out a few rules we all need to keep in mind to ensure a positive experience for the user. Obviously, the risk of annoying the audience is high. In addition to frequency capping, opt-out icons and excluding already converted users, we also strongly encourage our clients to get creative with their messaging. Change up the offer, build the message by sequencing different banners so your campaign becomes the online equivalent of lead nurturing, follow up after a trial sign-up to remind the user to purchase, send check out abandoners a new offer to encourage that sale. The possibilities are endless!

Interested in understanding more about how to integrate retargeting and other cutting edge digital marketing techniques into your media plan? Dick Reed, CEO of Just Media, Inc., put together a road show to explain what can be done with data pixels, impression bidding and audience targeting. Please contact me, Frauke Cast fraukecast@justmedia.com or Dick directly dick@justmedia.com for more information and to get on the tour. Each event is personally tailored to your needs. It’s one hour, a whiteboard and an open mind!

Online Data Tracking could use a cleanup, but it’s nothing to be scared of.

Just Media’s Media Planner & Buyer, Kevin Flint, gives some thought to arguments surrounding Online Data Tracking and its wider implications.

There are a lot of scary stories floating around out about advertisers’ use of online “tracking cookies”. These include the announcement of Microsoft’s default “Do Not Track” setting in its latest browser, Internet Explorer 10. As well as recent developments in Europe that are moving to thwart advertiser’s use of cookies.

Marketers and the online advertising industry are up in arms for fear that our industry will be utterly destroyed. Privacy advocates and tech pro’s seem to think it’s a slam dunk of good over evil. (more…)

Is Facebook really a strong ad platform?

This week I was interviewed by Martin Giles of the Economist for his excellent article about the Facebook IPO.

This subject is by no means small beans for online marketers because the reality is that Facebook is indeed one of the most powerful platforms for consumer marketing that exists today. Why do I think this?

Well, firstly a Facebook page is uniquely an environment where the content has been written specifically by, or for, the individual user who owns that page. It’s highly personal and therefore some of the most powerfully engaging content a user will experience on the web. Placing an advertising message in such highly prized content almost guarantees it gets noticed (provided it’s made relevant, which is sadly still a problem advertisers have not solved in most cases on Facebook)

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Google gets a dose of media reality

I sometimes joke with the Just Media team that media planning could be done by a bunch of trained monkeys. It’s one of the reasons clients are always trying to pay us peanuts for our services!

Indeed in this modern economy of cost cutting and service justification it’s often the impression that agencies like ours that only do media planning and buying (no creative work) are a luxury item that can be replaced, in many cases by clients doing the work themselves. Well for once I have to send my thanks to Google for proving to all that it’s simply not possible to replace hard working media professionals with automated systems and algorithms.

The news Google has pulled out of trying to sell traditional media like print and radio was somewhat of a surprise to me I have to say. I was quietly concerned that potential cost savings offered by media bidding models would attract significant attention and dollars out of the hands of professional buyers, like us. I thought, foolishly it seems, that human input into this process was so devalued by many that a new “agency” model was being created – indeed that was the stated goal.

However the reality is it’s actually getting harder than ever to be in this business. The knowledge required is so much greater than just 15 years ago when I started on the agency side (where I moved for ad sales). Obviously the web has lead to much of that – it’s a media vehicle with almost unlimited options and the ability to combine pretty much every other media type within it (print, radio, TV, events, face to face meeting, out of home – all is replicated in the digital world). However as we have seen even radio, a media format that offers so many similarities with online as regards buying (small standardized ad units, solid audience demographics, calculated values of spot rate based on target reached) it’s really not that simple. Especially complex is the evaluation of the performance metrics so beloved by Google algorithms and also the “human effect” of bias ingrained in most radio advertisers who like to speculate on what times and stations their target is listening rather than using simple mathematics to calculate a reach/impression/value matrix that builds a plan based on desired response.

So thank you Google – for once you have helped prove we still do have a place in this world and that my team is not in any immediate danger of being replaced by chimps and gibbons.

Social media and linear metrics

I read with interest this article on the problems marketers are struggling with in relation to the use of social media at the recent DMA conference.

This highlights well the existing problem faced by social media and indeed online media in general as we move into 2008. The “Google effect” means that marketers are now expected to provide clear performance reports showing that dollars invested can track directly to specific actions – ultimately sales – for every online campaign.

But as we all know, advertising and marketing does not always line up in this way. Social media especially is not set up to work in this way. Even a strong interest from users may not result in any direct measurable sales and in many cases the campaigns are about users enjoying some kind of brand experience rather than a straight ‘click, review, buy’ model.

So finally online marketers are being asked the same questions that traditional media has suffered from for years…prove this is working !!

It’s interesting the article makes reference to seeking out the help of academics. I have no doubt the future for social media campaigns, online brand campaigns and traditional media in general will be measured by clever statistical analytics of: Y% change in brand preference = x% increase in sales. Until this is done no CEO/CFO is going to get the answers they now want. They are also unlikely to back ‘brand campaigns’ the way they used to without a second thought.

Hey online media community…this problem is only going to get worse before it gets better. As you start pulling higher percentages of media dollars away from traditional media you better start getting ready to answer these types of questions more frequently. Online can no longer hide behind click rates and cpc’s. The questions will now get more demanding and we as an industry have set ourselves up to fail by relying on linear numbers to set expectations.

Thanks goes to Google for helping educate executives just enough to become a right royal pain in the backside!!

“linear ROI” – defined (by me) as the directly measurable link between ad and action, typically through a click on an advertisement and subsequent activity on the client website.

“Non linear ROI” – defined (by me again) as the indirect action or responding to an advert – such as hear radio ad…go to store and buy product or engage in online social media activity and three weeks later buy product via online store.

“Google effect” – defined (by guess who) as the expectation by executives that all online media activities will be able to demonstrate a tangible linear ROI metric or clearly defined performance based metric. This effect has resulted from the original pay per click search model, so strongly championed by Google, which has set unrealistic expectations as to what web based marketing campaigns should always be delivering.

Is there room for remnant bid model in B2B print space?

Most people have heard me bang on about how much I believe in print media for achieving certain campaign goals. However as print budgets gets squeezed and issue sizes drop, I like many, have concerns about readers continuing to find sufficient content to interest them.

Just looking at a few of this weeks IT publications, we see page counts of 64 pages for Information Week, 60 pages for Network World and 64 pages for eWeek. Each publications had approx 28 pages of advertising so they all fell into the range of the classic B2B mix of 60% edit for 40% ads. Only adding ads will allow more content to be included.

How can these numbers be increased? And more importantly how can smaller advertisers (or even some of the larger ones) be encouraged to do more than they do now? Is the time ready for a bid based B2B print ad model?

Currently a vast majority of the advertising comes from an increasingly smaller pool of companies. IBM for one still does large volumes, as does Microsoft. Below this there’s obviously brands like Sun, HP, Dell, our client Fujitsu, Juniper, Epson and Canon. There’s even a page from Google in one of the magazines (if ever there was proof that print works this must surely be it).

But here’s the rub…where are the smaller companies, the guys who would be print advertisings “next generation”? I suspect they are hand strung, unable to get the print budget past the CFO or at least unable to secure sufficient budget to make a sustainable print campaign work…

For these companies a bid model might be the answer. An independent third party could auction off pages on a blind basis across a range of IT publications. There would be a min bid price and any bid higher would immediately get access to higher circulation magazines and better ad positions. It might be somewhat random in nature but it would certainly allow a more adventurous marketing exec or agency account manager to add more pages into a campaign at lower investment levels. It would be easy to do in today’s digital production market as ads could quickly be uploaded to publishers a few days in advance of print deadlines. Adding pages, even randomly, increases reach and frequency – both essential for a strong campaign.

What’s more it could also open up the PR/advertorial side of things. Imagine being able to quickly post case study intros, white paper summaries or even product announcements on relatively short notice into a few magazine templates at a fraction of the cost of a traditional high profile ad. Smaller vendors would jump at the chance.

Downside for publishers? Well erosion of rates might be one worry although by making the bidding blind, advertisers will always want to ensure they are present in their core magazines. Bidding also gives publishers more price control over positioning issues and in some cases might actually help lift rates when they regularly sell out. More importantly it may just enable them to cultivate a much more integrated approach. Combining this with a similar bid model for excess online inventory and you start to get some very interesting models indeed. Publishers could even have a published open pricing (like the “buy now” on eBay) so advertisers can see min entry costs of a particular issue should they chose to take that option.

Impossible? Don’t bet on it happening any time soon, but never say never in the publishing world. There’s still enough excess space to make this a possibility and it might just allow the print format to remain viable a little bit longer and draw in a new batch of active advertisers. Marketers simply need to allocate a “print bid budget” something that’s now a more comfortable concept in this Google branded world.

Recognizing great work

So like many I’m a sucker for a good campaign and as a professional of the industry (and frustrated creative director since here at Just Media we do, well, ‘just media’) I do recognize excellence when I see it.

Today I’m congratulating the folks behind the new Guinness campaign. I came across this as an in-banner video on the Newsnow football (soccer) feed. Obviously well targeted to male sports fans (high likelihood of drinking beer in pubs) it immediately caught my attention.

The ad shows a classic build on the old Domino tumbling game that most guys are sure to have played when they were kids (probably girls as well but I have not checked this fact). In this version the ‘domino’s’ consisted of books, cars, fridges, wardrobes and other assorted items. Apparently shooting this ad, which also featured as a TV spot was the most expensive in Guinness history.

Once I clicked on the ad it took me to a game where I was offered the chance to win a sold gold domino if I solved 11 clues. OK so I’ve only had time to solve four so far but I’m already hooked.

Here’s the really clever stuff. These clues include a search feature which drives you to Google results. The agency has bought keyword ads which are the path to the results. In one case it links to You Tube where the clue is hidden in another video.

It’s rare to find a creative so well leveraged across different media types, much less for the team behind the game to spend the time to build out a complex solution encompassing the latest web technologies both in terms of ad creative, and integration into the campaign. The landing page also features great flash creative work.

In a word this brilliant campaign shows just how sophisticated marketing programs are now becoming and also show why both media and creative agencies are working harder now than ever before to create truly unique and multi layered programs.

Hats off to the media and creative teams working on Guinness. I for one salute your endeavours…

Oh by the way did I mention the viral aspect of this ?????