Friday, June 13, 2008

DIGITAL ADVERTISING: On the brink of ad revolution.

DIGITAL ADVERTISING: On the brink of ad revolution.

Brand Strategy via NewsEdge :

The next five years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the past 50, according to a study from IBM.

It reveals that in the words of the managing director of a European advertiser: "We will see neutral evaluation of all media formats. There is no primary role for linear TV any more."

The research surveyed more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising executives from around the world. Saul Berman, one of the report's authors and global lead partner for strategy, change, media and entertainment at IBM Global Business Services, spoke exclusively to Brand Strategy about the insights gathered by his team and what extra information they've gathered since the report was published.

"We try to look at areas where we think there is a need for change in the way business is traditionally done," he explains. "We wrote about TV a few years ago because we believed that like the music industry, it was going to be threatened and challenged by new business models. We have seen that come true with video websites such as YouTube. We believe the same disruption is now occurring in the advertising space."

Change drivers

Berman's research suggests there are four change drivers shifting control within the industry.

Attention Consumers are increasingly exercising control over how they view, interact with and filter advertising. In a multichannel world, they are shifting their attention away from linear TV and adopting ad- skipping, ad-sharing and ad-rating tools.

"We're not going to tell consumers what advertising they're going to watch, where or on what platform. They will have control over that. They will choose whether or not to engage, participate, ignore everything, walk out of the room and how they want to pay for products in different ways," says Berman.

The study also reveals that people spend as much time on the computer as the TV, with 71% of respondents using the internet for personal use for more than two hours a day, compared with 48% watching TV for that time. Among the heaviest users, 19% spend six hours or more on the PC per day, compared with nine per cent who watch the same amount of TV.

Creativity The rising popularity of user-generated content (UGC) and new ad revenue-sharing models, amateurs and semi-professionals are creating lower-cost advertising content that is arguably as appealing to consumers as the material created by agencies. This trend looks set to continue: UGC sites are the top destination for viewing content online, attracting 39% of respondents.

"Increasingly, creativity will come from multiple places," says Berman.

"You'll see consumers creating their own ads for products and then being compensated for that. The content owner in the professional sense will also be more involved in the creative as ads become more embedded in stories.

"For example, we'll see characters in programmes representing advertisers or their messages."

Measurement Advertisers are demanding more involvement-based measures. Simply clicking on a banner ad is not enough; brands want to know how the audience engaged with the content. Two-thirds of the ad executives polled believe 20% of ad revenue will shift from impression-based to impact-based formats within three years.

Berman says: "Five years ago, you got paid for 'attention', whereas now you'll be paid for people's involvement in the ad message. In the future, you'll know who is watching the TV and who is skipping the ads. We'll be able to change the embedded advertising to suit people and consumers will be able to opt-in to choose which types of ads they want.

"People may get different rewards for watching content they're not so keen to see. For example, you might get fewer 'credits' for watching an ad about a new car than for something that's less attractive to you."

Advertising inventories New entrants to the ad market are making ad space that was once proprietary available through efficient, open exchanges. More than half the ad executives surveyed believe open platforms will take 30% of the revenue flowing to incumbent media (such as broadcasters) within five years.

"It's transparency," explains Berman. "This is about the ability to know what's being sold at what prices, to bid on that and be engaged in buying that inventory, rather than it being a closed process with limited access. That may go as far as the consumer engaging with what ads they're going to take and being involved in this process too."

Future models

There appear to be two key concerns for marketers here that will probably co-exist for the foreseeable future: the way in which consumers choose to watch, block or participate in marketing campaigns; and the openness of advertising inventories. The report sets out four possible industry models for the future:

Continued evolution

In this model, the one-to-many form of mass marketing (the brand pushing out the message to lots of consumers) still dominates. But the industry will develop in response to such issues as digital video recorder (DVR) penetration, the popularity of user-generated content and new measurement capabilities. Advertisers will allocate a greater portion of their budgets to channels typically used to build brands, rather than direct marketing.

Open exchange

The industry morphs behind the scenes with little or no consumer influence. Ad formats remain largely the same but advertising inventory is bought and sold through open exchanges, bypassing traditional intermediaries.

Consumer choice

Tired of intrusions into their time, consumers exert more control over the advertising they see and filter out. Formats are forced to evolve to contextual, interactive, permission-based and targeted messages to try to retain their attention.

Ad marketplace

Consumers choose their preferred ad types as they self- programme their media choices and get more involved with the development and distribution of marketing campaigns. Ads are primarily sold through open, dynamic exchanges so any advertiser can reach any consumer. As new consumer-monitoring technologies will be in place, consumer action drives product pricing.

Areas for innovation

Berman suggests that for brand advertisers to survive in any of these futures, they will need to significantly adapt their attitudes. He sets out three core areas where companies need to innovate, regardless of which future scenario comes to pass.

Consumer innovation Brands will need to drive greater creativity in traditional ads while pursuing new ad formats across different media devices.

For example, companies should consider tactics such as campaign bleeds (combining programme content with ads to make the advertising more relevant to the programme) and micro-versioning (developing multiple versions of an ad to make it more personalised and targeted depending on consumer preferences, demographics and location).

They should also think about video ad flickers (speedy ads displayed for a very short time) and pod management (having the right number of ads appear in a commercial break 'pod' and paying careful attention to their order).

Adopting this approach means advertisers will need to make segmentation and personalisation paramount in their marketing. Everyone involved will need to collect and analyse data better to produce the relevant insights to carry out this scenario effectively.

"They need to give consumers more control and make this a two-way communication process," says Berman.

Business model innovation Companies will need to pioneer changes in how ads are sold, the structure and forms of partnerships, revenue models and reporting metrics.

For example, broadcasters, agencies and distributors could gain from impact-based pricing models, UGC ad revenue-sharing models and cross- channel sales methods.

Berman identifies three types of business-model innovation. The first is 'enterprise', where firms can become more specialised around their core competencies and look for other organisations to provide services and scale in areas that don't precisely fit their agenda.

The second is 'industry', where brands seek to change the whole industry's model, following the example of Apple, which has completely changed the way the music and entertainment industry operates.

Finally, Berman suggests brands can change their revenue models and how they get paid. Again, Apple is an example: rather than making most of its money on the music it sells, it makes its cash through selling expensive music players.

"I think we're going to see many more variations on business model in future," he reveals.

Business design and infrastructure innovation Brands will need to support the consumer and business model innovation by creating redesigned organisations and operating capabilities over the advertising lifecycle.

Berman says: "We think you need a more flexible, agile architecture. Also, you need to be able to use data. We think that's the golden goose; there's a lot of data out there. If we can start to analyse that on a cross-channel, cross-marketing-vehicle basis and apply analytics, we can get more bang for our buck."

But Berman warns that putting all these criteria in place and adopting a more open attitude will be useless without companies making sure new ideas come to form the root of their strategy, rather than just an add- on.

He sums up: "You need to embed these things deeply so they really make a difference to your marketing."

For more information on The End of Advertising As We Know It, download the report at

Copyright: Centaur Communications Ltd. and licensors

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Google Offers Glimpse Of Its Data

Google Offers Glimpse Of Its Data
The Wall Street Journal Blog
Google has taken a big step into the world of market research by
allowing users to see the numbers behind the popularity of any given
search term in the company's vast database. Users can see the numbers
and how they compare to other search terms at Google Trends, and then
export the data into a spreadsheet to compare with other data.

It used to be that Google Trends users could type in any search term and
get a graph showing how frequently that term showed up relative to other
terms, but the numbers were missing. Google has remedied that with
today's announcement. The Wall Street Journal uses the Presidential race
as an example: in mid-December, searches for "Ron Paul" outnumbered
"Barack Obama" by six to one, but now Sen. Obama is outpacing Paul by
eight to one.

The data in Google Trends goes back to 2004, and only reveals data on
the aggregate numbers of searches, not the searches themselves. Users
must be signed into a Google account to use the service. - Read the
whole story...

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Social network for people living with Crohn's Disease.

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Waterfront Media Snaps Up Netramind for In-House SEO

Waterfront Media Snaps Up Netramind for In-House SEO

by Tameka Kee, Tuesday, Jun 10, 2008 9:01 AM ET

Waterfront Media, parent company of Everyday Health, has picked up
Netramind, a search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine
marketing (SEM) firm. It's the online media company's second acquisition
in its quest to better monetize traffic to the 20 health-focused
properties within its Everyday Health network--the first being its
pickup of in 2007.

Although terms were not disclosed, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Netramind's
search technology and accompanying staff will be integrated into
Waterfront. The deal also creates Waterfront's first overseas hub, as
Netramind has a satellite office in Mumbai, India. Ani Kortikar, the
firm's co-founder and CEO, will join the Waterfront team as vice
president of search technology.

According to Ben Wolin, CEO and co-founder of Waterfront Media, the
rationale for building out the company's search practice through
acquisition (as opposed to simply hiring a search firm) was simple.
"We'd outsourced that function in the past, but couldn't pass up the
opportunity to bring in a team of more than 25 people to focus 100% on
our site," Wolin said. "To be able to build up the expertise and
competency internally instead of working in a client/agency relationship
was clearly a more valuable proposition."

Wolin said that in time, Waterfront would also apply the team's SEO
services to partner sites within the Everyday Health network, like the
official South Beach Diet site and Meredith's Diabetic Living magazine.
But the first order of business will be to start optimizing keyword and
content structures on the more than 300,000 pages of content on
Waterfront's flagship site,

With nearly 15 million monthly uniques, Everyday Health is the second
most heavily trafficked health Web site according to comScore, behind
only WebMD. But in an increasingly crowded market of properties like
Time Inc.'s newly relaunched and MSN Health, fighting for a
share of the health-conscious consumer's eyeballs (and the related ad
dollars) has become more challenging. Wolin said that having an in-house
SEO squad was just one more way for the Everyday Health network to
separate itself from the pack.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Marchex Takes On Google With Text Ad Network

Marchex Takes On Google With Text Ad Network

by Tameka Kee, Monday, Jun 9, 2008 7:45 AM ET

The latest entrant to the ad network fray isn't built on display and
rich media CPMs--it's all about selling pay-per-click (PPC) text ads on
a local, national and spot level. It's Adhere, a new offering from
Marchex, and it goes head-to-head with Google's AdSense.

Marchex's Adhere is a consolidation of two of the Seattle-based online
advertising tech and services company's subsidiaries, IndustryBrains and
Enhance Interactive. Industry Brains allowed advertisers to place
contextual ads across sites in verticals like home improvement, real
estate and business, while Enhance Interactive offered paid search
placement through partners like in-text ad provider Snap and AdBrite.
Adhere bundles those services with buys on OpenList, Marchex's roster of
locally focused Web sites to create a one-stop shop for local and
nationally placed paid search and contextual ads.

"We're a big believer in local. The OpenList network alone gets about 30
million unique visitors each month," said Leigh McMillan, vice president
of marketing at Marchex. "And we want to make it easier for advertisers
to make local buys and get national distribution with premium publishers
at the same time. You can buy TV in spot, national and local, so why not
text ads?"

While Marchex's Adhere is focused on text units, McMillan said that
there would be some display inventory. In the coming months, the company
also plans to integrate more of its VoiceStar call-tracking technology
into OpenList--which would add pay-per-call inventory to the Adhere mix.

McMillan said that brands like Roto-Rooter and Orkin would likely be the
prime targets for Adhere, as they need a blend of national presence and
local availability. "When my plumbing is backed up, I need someone local
to fix it," McMillan said. "I may know the Roto-Rooter name, but if I
search online, I'm trying to find the closest plumber to me." She added
that travel-related companies and brands that served different kinds of
products geographically were also likely to flock to Adhere.

As a text-based ad network, comparisons to Google AdSense are
inevitable. And while McMillan said Marchex had no illusions about the
fact that Adhere would be competing with AdSense for ad spend, the
company was confident that there is more than enough budget to go
around. "The brands we work with are saying we need more quality traffic
at volume," McMillan said. "We've maxed out Google and we need
additional ad channels."

McMillan said that it was a combination of those client requests and
shifts in the overall marketplace that fueled the development of Adhere.
"Marchex is a company that's been formed by acquisitions, so we had a
lot of assets spread out over different divisions," she said. "And we
wanted to make it easier for advertisers to do business with us across
all of our products and services--similar to what Microsoft has done
with Platform A."

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Healthline's Ad Network Goes Live

Healthline's Ad Network Goes Live

Monday, Jun 9, 2008 7:45 AM ET

Source: MediaPost (Tameka Kee)

Healthline Networks has launched the Healthline Media Network, a
semantically targeted ad network. The beta was announced in Online Media
Daily in March.

Initial sites within the network include San Francisco-based
Healthline's flagship site, Time Inc.'s, as
well as sites from the AARP and U.S. News. MyOptumHealth, consumer
health portal from United Health will be added upon its launch in the
latter half of this year.

The network will reach some 10 million unique users each month, but what
separates it from other health-focused ad networks is the semantic
targeted platform, dubbed HealthSTAT On-Demand. HealthSTAT (which stands
for semantic taxonomy ad targeting), pairs ads with content based on
concepts as opposed to keywords. So a pharmaceutical firm could specify
that a particular drug ad only run on pages that feature
depression-based content, while an ad for allergy medication could show
up on pages that feature symptoms like scratchy throat and watery
eyes--not just the term "allergy."

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