Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bulletin Bored?

You know how, when you go to eat a restaurant in a smaller town -- or you go to the laundromat -- there aren't just fliers about area events posted, but business cards thumb tacked to a cork board? Or when you go to a bodega -- or convenience store -- and there's a random stack of business cards for the local house framer set by the register? Sometimes, those are left by guerrilla marketers. And sometimes, they're conscious marketing placements by the proprietors.

What if the business card -- that ubiquitous calling card for proprietors everywhere -- became the standard format for advertising? Enter the Bla.st Notice Board. This online repository of business card-sized ad inventory "made by some guy in New Zealand" shows promise... if not just as a visual archive. I get the sense that the ads aren't business cards per se, but card-sized ads, but I love the idea of a scattergraph of business cards -- scanned just as they are -- online.

According to the launch news release, Bla.st is the "first online visual advertising directory of its kind" -- bringing the neighborhood notice board to the Web.

We'll have to see how it develops!

Click Fraud Fodder

There've been a ton of solid click fraud stories published in major magazines and periodicals in recent days. While I continue to think that the very notion of click fraud is more worth our pity than our panic, I hope that these features help coalesce an industry approach to the topic that's not overly reactionary.

BusinessWeek's cover story is a good reintroduction to the issue. And the New York Times takes a just-as-incendiary look at the aspect of online advertising.

My concern is that these problems are easily solved -- technologically, if not culturally. Even though people will come up with workarounds as fast as we come up with solutions, how is this different than phishing and other things online marketers and communicators have encountered?

Yes, there's money at stake. Yes, measurement and accountability are important. But why hasn't this come up in regards to... say, traffic? Traffic used to be the linchpin of online performance.

Now, perhaps the ads are?

In Fast Company

This week's guest host at FC Now, Fast Company magazine's team blog, is attracting some attention! AdJab's Chris Thilk picks up where Jim Gilmore, author of The Experience Economy leaves off in the blog, commenting on the connection between funny adverts and the customer experience.

How well do your ads reflect what it's like to do business with your company?

Think about it. Are your ads true?

(Full disclosure: I cofounded FC Now. I had no hand in Gilmore's guest hosting.

Spend Thrash!

Despite Yahoo's recent announcement that ad sales were slowing, Net advertising hit record levels for the first two quarters.

Others are saying that a slowdown is coming -- although there are conflicting reports (as in I feel conflicted; growth is slowing, but we're still growing to record levels -- and that if it does, it won't just affect Yahoo. That's not much of a surprise, given the impressive growth in recent quarters.

How long do you think things will slow? Leave a comment and weigh in.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Root of Ad Ills?

Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein points his finger at what he thinks is the cause of many of the challenges -- and changes -- in the creative side of advertising:


What do you think? Is he on the mark -- or out of line?

Online Media Plan for Change

Ari Rosenberg proposes his three-point plan for improving the state of online advertising in Online Publishing Insider today. His points are sound.

  • Get rid of ads that float or pop
  • Don't launch with sound unless people turn it on
  • Stop calling people "users"

What would you change?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Robots Rule

Man, I love this TV ad made in part by Sway for Hyundai. It's equal parts I, Robot and Drumline. More, please!

Moving Ad Units

The Google AdWords team is experimenting with ad placement. Continuing to improve the algorithm that determines which ads are shown to which Web browser, Google is checking whether a person tends to click on ads -- or not.

And if they tend not to, Google downplays the ad positioning. That's an interesting approach... What do you think it means for online advertising? Don't folks want their ads to be more noticeable, not less?

Plying Gamers

Not only do active video gamers play more video games than the average person -- natch -- they also tend to consume more media in general. According to a study done by Universal-McCann, gamers spend more time online, watch more DVDs, and are more receptive to brand messaging.

Maybe it's because their geeks and fans -- and geeks and fans tend to seek out more information about the things they're interested in... as well as more ways to experience it?

Getting Engaged

Are you measuring engagement as you gauge the success of your ads? A recent Advertising.com survey found that most advertisers are -- but that what's used to determine engagement can be wildly divergent.

When asked which among a given list of factors should be considered when defining engagement, most respondents felt that engagement could be measured through metrics with which they are already comfortable, such as conversions and lift in brand impact. Interestingly, time spent with an ad and time spent on the advertiser's site were the third- and fourth-ranked factors for defining engagement. This low ranking reveals some incongruity, as the majority of respondents see engagement as a way of getting consumers to interact with a brand.

Do you measure engagement? How?

Walking with Wall Street

The Wall Street Journal is planning an ad-supported mobile service slated to debut later this year. While the paper currently offers a subscription-based mobile service, they plan to experiment with other models, as well.

The reason? Even though ads are up in most cases, the company is still not performing to meet expectations.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Speak Softly

Were I to tell you that online advertising was on the wane, you might dismiss me out of hand. But when Yahoo CEO Terry Semel tells a bunch of Goldman Sachs conference goers that ad growth has been slowing, it can cause a crisis of confidence.

Following some recent remarks, Yahoo's share price fell more than 10 percent. It'll be interesting to see what impact it has on the industry in general.

Watch what you say, eh?

Product Abasement

Is MasterCard's sponsorship of the ABC Family movie Relative Chaos brilliant or baffling?

Perhaps it's neither.

PQ Media's Global Product Placement Forecast 2006 indicates that worldwide spending on product placement increased to $2.21 billion last year -- a 42.2% increase.

That said, how effective is product placement? Does seeing Barry Sobel drink a pepsi while in green face make me want a Pepsi? How interesting is that question?

Methinks David Goetzl protests too much.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Ryze of Advertising

Want to promote a new product or service offering? Lest it be said, join Ryze, the business-oriented social network service.

One recent post helped reintroduce a New York-based design firm.

While Advercise cannot in good conscience recommend joining solely to post such messages, the service is a useful tool for active members.

I'm Sorry; I Have a Short Code

With the proliferation and fragmentation of media touch points, consumers are becoming harder and harder to reach effectively. Marketers, brands, enterprises, ad agencies and content owners have recognized the absolute necessity of cutting through the media cacophony to find ways of engaging their audience in an informative, interactive, and entertaining way.

One such way is the shortcode, SMS-speak for direct-response email address, keyword, or URL.

In this informative PDF file, Michael Becker, EVP Business Development, and Michael Ahearn, Senior Director of Marketing for iLoop Mobile Inc. spell it all out...

...in short form.

One Magazine I'd Like to Read

The most recent email newsletter from the Mobile Marketing Association trumpets the availability of the International Journal of Mobile Marketing, which you can subscribe to (PDF) for a measly $45 an issue or $75 a year (two issues).

The world’s first journal dedicated to mobile marketing is tasked with helping the industry better understand the emergence of the mobile channel and its use for marketing.

Sounds like it's worth flipping through!