Curns’ Ad Links for 29 September 2010

Curns’ Ad Links for 28 September 2010

Curns’ Ad Links for 27 September 2010

Last Week In Digital Advertising #6

It’s not surprising to have heard a number of suppliers at last week’s ad:tech conference bemoan the technical confusion arising from our industry: which technologies should be adopted and what can they do for their businesses? At least one mainstream publisher suggested there were simply too many technologies around and there wasn’t enough time to evaluate them all.

Ah, I know what you’re thinking. Somehow we missed each other last week. But I was on holiday in a place that was, blissfully, somewhat disconnected for me. Still, the last week was frantic. Back from a break and straight to Ad:tech at Olympia: it’s the trade show to connect the London digital advertising industry. It is, apparently, where ‘the online marketing and advertising community will gather together’ to reveal the latest trends and market figures, share best practices and address industry challenges. The main challenge I learnt: buy more comfortable shoes! And for those heading to this New York’s Advertising Week, remember your ‘phone charger.

As I didn’t do the paid-for conference I didn’t get to see the good folks from Twitter talk. There was much buzz about that but surprisingly light Twitter talk on the official #adtechuk hastag. I think it needed promoting a little better. But, of course, there was a social media buzz last week helped along nicely by Google telling us ‘Social recommendations can revolutionise online advertising‘. If you see my Twitter feed then you’ll know I am a big social media fan and I do think ‘social’ can change advertising but putting Twitter feeds into ads may not be the way (I know, it wasn’t the only thing they suggested).

eConsultancy is reporting some IAB research that tells us ‘Publishers get the short end of the stick with ad-supported content‘ and suggests publishers would do well to both look at their ad-revenues and cost structures. I don’t think any publisher needs telling this. It’s been true for many years that publishers are struggling with ways to properly monetise digital content. Nonetheless, I was surprised by the paragraph,

According to the IABUK’s study, “if those services that are currently provided for free were to be charged for (at a level that generates the same amount of revenue as ad-supported services), 40% of current users could stop using the internet.”

Really? Stop using the internet or just those services which have decided to charge? The devil, as always, is in the detail and that’s perhaps one to look at in more depth another week. Staying with the publisher business, in a tweet from the Ad Trading Summit, Improve Digital’s @janneke_improve reported “Large publishers will win unless niche publisher are able to monetise audience which makes a lot of sense to me.

Of course all publishers are looking at how their future digital advertising may play out. I would argue that putting a price on the right content may well work for some print publishers. There are lots of examples where it is working and scarcity will always be paid for. Didn’t Sky Sports show us the way?

As an aside, I wonder what Sky make of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, TalkTalk, BT, Arqiva, Channel 5 joint venture for on-demand television services being branded YouView. Personally, I think it’s a really smart name but I can imagine some trademark lawyers had much fun (and decent bonuses) clearing it. The partners in the venture were, no doubt, intrigued to read research from Dynamic Logic telling us that ‘TV commercials repurposed as online ads perform less well on many metrics than videos especially developed for the online space’. I wonder how many created-for-television ads are run by those companies on their sites versus copy created especially for an online audience? I’d wager there’s more research on this to come as the survey also suggested television copy performed better under some circumstances. How are creative and planning-shops to use this do you think?

In other news, is the EU really cracking down on targeted advertising or are they making some sensible privacy suggestions? As we have noted before, privacy is key and I’m sure we, as an industry, can achieve the right balance. Perhaps noises-off (from Brussels) will get the industry there a little more quickly. The EU is also reported as having suggested that the use of Flash cookies for some purposes as illegal under European law. Clarity on this matter is, surely, a good thing and I’d be interested in seeing a proper ruling, if anybody has one.

This week, privacy was cited as a reason some people are choosing not to opt-in to SMS/MMS advertising. Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Direct Marketing Association found, ‘64% of those surveyed did not want to opt-in to SMS or MMS because they thought they may have to share personal details’. The research also noted that 75% of respondents said, ‘they would be happy to opt-in to such services, given the right incentive, such as attractive offers, money off vouchers or priority service from a brand’. I wonder how good the offers would have to be to get that many people opting-in to more than a minimum of brand communications this way? Surely, just a few become intrusive very quickly.

Now, we’ve talked about Borrell Associates research numbers many times over previous weeks, noting in particular their research suggesting a bumper cash bonanza ($16 billion in 2011) for local (digital) advertising. Well research firm BIA/Kelsey thinks that is a little conservative. They suggest that local online already has 15% of a $133 billion local market (predicted 2010 numbers). eMarketer reports, ‘By 2014, BIA/Kelsey expects nearly one in four local ad dollars to be spent on digital’ which is pretty impressive, don’t you think?

As with other editions of ‘Last Week In Digital Advertising‘, this week’s scan of the digital advertising news shows that the industry has come a long way but also has a long way to go. It’s not surprising to have heard a number of suppliers at last week’s ad:tech conference bemoan the technical confusion arising from our industry: which technologies should be adopted and what can they do for their businesses? At least one mainstream publisher suggested there were simply too many technologies around and there wasn’t enough time to evaluate them all. We did hear that a data-driven display market is inevitable (so, you’re sunk if you don’t have your privacy in order) and brand safety is paramount (to both advertisers and publishers, who don’t want the wrong advertisers compromising their content).

As with any other modern business, it seems transparency is the key.

Curns’ Ad Links for 24 September 2010

Curns’ Ad Links for 23 September 2010

Curns’ Ad Links for 22 September 2010

Last Week In Digital Advertising #5

Video is, of course, a popular digital advertising topic. It’s rapidly evolving and we’re seeing good adoption from those of us watching to those buying & selling the space. My new favourite website name, newteevee, quoting ComScore, reported that 1.4B minutes of live online video was watched (in the US) in July. That’s an impressive 600% growth, which Business Insider happily charts for us.

Last week’s Last Week felt a little like a bumper edition because there seemed so much I didn’t have space to mention. One item stands out and deserves a mention. The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) extended its existing self-regulatory rules for digital media to cover advertisers’ own websites and advertiser controlled marketing communications in other non-paid for space, say the UK IAB. That should be welcome news to marketers because a few rules are good boundaries, aren’t they? The move got a lot of coverage but it struck me there was little mention of the fact that ASA already has a remit in the digital space and I would have been interested to understand what they had discovered as they’ve been following a digital path.

Rules are good but, perhaps to contradict myself a little bit, I can’t help but agree with Tim O’Reilly, CEO of O’Reilly Media, who, in the light of the Federal Trade Commission’s discussions around privacy regulation, is quoted on internet.com saying,

“I’m really worried because it’s so important when we enter a new technological era to realize that there will be mistakes,” O’Reilly said. “It really worries me when we see this rush to criminalize mistakes as we are starting to enter a new world that we don’t fully understand.”

So, somewhere we’re looking to find a balance. I was particularly impressed on Friday by a post of the Ghostery blog being particularly open about their privacy policies and why they’d like us all to opt-in to a data collection exercise, “Ghostery is free to use, but it’s not free to maintain and make better. We’d really like you to participate in GhostRank, because it’s safe for you” and they go on to explain their data collection policies. The main point: collecting the data supports this free tool. Ghostery, if you don’t know, is a nice little browser plug in that tells you what tracking pixels, beacons and other such things are on any given web site. It’s very useful and I’m more than happy to send them some data in return.

I’m not sure I’d heard of Borrell Associates until last week (when I quoted their report that predicted a rise in online display targeting) but they continued to get coverage for their work this week. I noticed brand-e.biz picked up on the video aspect of their report, noting that the “streaming video format is expected to continue its dramatic growth, increasing more than 60% to $5.6 billion next year”.

Video is, of course, a popular digital advertising topic. It’s rapidly evolving and we’re seeing good adoption from those of us watching to those buying & selling the space. My new favourite website name, newteevee, quoting ComScore, reported that 1.4B minutes of live online video was watched (in the US) in July. That’s an impressive 600% growth, which Business Insider happily charts for us. Meanwhile in the UK, the IAB reports that almost 50% of the media buyers polled in a recent survey stated they planned to spend more money on Video On Demand over the next six months.

Broadcast Engineering, a journal don’t tend to follow, reported, “The number of U.S. households with broadband service that watch full-length online video on the TV will reach 57 million by 2014, according to a new report from researcher In-Stat” which, if the trend is followed this side of the pond, is great news for Yahoo!, who – according to reports – plan to launch their Connected TV product in Europe at the beginning on 2011.

YouTube rolled out some new targeting features (basically a set of restrictions on age or page URL that will go some way towards helping brands feel safer advertising on the platform) and, by a happy coincidence, that TippEx bear ad (viewed on YouTube) went viral and managed to show that online/digital video ads can be so much more than running your TV spot. I liked it although I am not sure how it would stand up to repeat viewing.

Hearing that newspaper ad revenues have slumped isn’t really a surprise to anybody. In my opinion, a Newspaper Association of America report (quoted by Reuters) saying that newspaper “online revenue rose nearly 14% to about $744 million in the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago” can only be a good sign. If newspapers can, eventually, see a way through with digital advertising what will that mean for pay-walls? I read reports of a crack in a pay-wall on Friday. Is there more to come on that?

Borrell got another mention, over at MarketingVox, in an article that also hinted at the “commoditization of display advertising”. I think there is a real risk of that, but innovation remains great in the digital display business which should hold off any commoditization for a while at least. Picking up on the targeting theme that I had things to say about last week, MarketingVox noted that is was the technology – which of course, powers the targeting – that can drive display’s growth. I’m not sure it’s the most innovative thing I’ve seen, after all page-peels and interstitials have been around for a while, but I do like Undertone Networks’ PageGrabber format that they announced this week. Of course it’s not all going to be technology and big formats that get brands online. Zach Coelius, CEO of Triggit has a good piece on how to bring brand dollars online. Reassuringly, display ads are still worth buying (if you do it right) according to Mashable (The Future of Ad Agencies and Social Media).

In the section that’s never before been titled ‘stuff we didn’t know last week’, we discovered that women “deliver a 23% higher click-through rate than men, but after clicking, men follow through with an action” (Bizo via MarketingVox); 78% of millennial internet users engage with social media compared to less than 45% of their parents’ generation (Harris via eMarketer) and, a local UK stat, more than 30 million UK individuals now go online every day (ONS via eMarketer) but three-fifths of people 65 and older have never gone online. As part of a feature on Google advertising their own display business, we were told Google’s display network consists of over 1 million partner sites (New York Times). They may just need to grow that number as another chart-of-the-day told us that time spent on Facebook was greater than time spent on Google sites in the U.S. in August for the first time in history. That figure was helped on, no doubt, by news that older users have been rapidly adopting social media (Pew Internet & American Life Project via Adotas). Facebook’s growth would be appear to be unstoppable for now.

Finally, back to privacy. Ars Technica reported on another cookie type that’s not cleared by standard browser settings; this one utilising HTML5’s local storage options while, also on a privacy theme, Adotas ran an interesting piece on retargeting which did summarise part of the story they told with, “What actually seemed to creep her out was that Internet display advertising was effective”. Eric Picard, on iMedia Connection might have summed it up best with, “when we make them [consumers] feel like someone is watching over their shoulders as they do things online, make no mistake — they resent it.” And therein is, perhaps, a lesson for us all. Effective advertising is likely to get attention and that means we’d better be doing it properly.

Forty

There’s always a ‘they’ and, in this case, ‘they’ say life begins today. If that’s true then quite what the past forty years have been I have no idea. For some reason that I have yet to understand, turning forty is a point when people look back. They don’t do it so much at 39 and, I imagine, not so much at 41 either.

Beginning?

A 40-Yr CollageThere’s always a ‘they’ and, in this case, ‘they’ say life begins today. If that’s true then quite what the past forty years have been I have no idea. For some reason that I have yet to understand, turning forty is a point when people look back. They don’t do it so much at 39 and, I imagine, not so much at 41 either.

Still, maybe it’s not such a bad thing, this looking backwards. Perhaps looking back helps, as someone once said, refreshes the eye, “to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward”. Or perhaps it’s just what we do.

A potted geography would look like this: around forty years ago I arrived in this world in a place that wasn’t too far from the wooden planks that made up the place Wigan Pier would have been had it really been a pier. I was too early for it to have been the tourist attraction it became. As I entered the second decade of my life – around the point they thought they should have a pier tourist attraction and the moment the new romantics took over the music scene – you would have still found me in Wigan (where, I was reminded earlier this week, Spandau Ballet’s To Cut A Long Story Short was the first record I will admit to buying). We got used the fact Kajagoogoo’s Limahl, who was a local boy, was being played on the radio and it was somewhere around this time that I became fascinated by the voices coming out of the radio. By the middle of the decade we lived in Shropshire, where my first proper paid job was for BBC radio there, and by the end of it I was in studying in Scotland. At the height of the Britpop 90s I’d moved to London, trying to make advertising systems work, first for those voices in the radio box and then for the emerging online industry, and that’s where I’ve been ever since. I entered my 30s as we took in the new millennium, realised that I was lucky to live in the most vibrant place in the world, and was working with computing systems all days long. Like father, like son, huh?

The geography provides the markers on our own life-map but, of course, it’s the people who provide the highs (and, I guess the lows) which make up the contours on our map. And, while I take my moment to reflect I want to say ‘”thank you” to everybody who has made the last forty years so wonderfully rich.

When I was a child I imagined you would get to this point in life and you’d be able to write your own life’s acknowledgements, as though life was bound between two hard covers, but now I’m here I’m fully aware that it’s not the final chapter so the words won’t get written. Plus it’s hard. Of course, my family have been there throughout but I am not sure you can ever repay the debt that you owe them. But Mum, Dad and Jez have been there from the beginning (well, not Jez, he was some months later) and, while the bad bits are all me, they should get the credit for guiding my good points. Friends come and go in your life (and, thanks to the wonders of Facebook, they come back too). I don’t want this weekend to pass, however, without thanking all my family, acknowledging all those I’ve met along the way who’ve made sure this has been a blast and, of course, to Paul who – when I add it up – has been here for more than half of it and really makes it all worthwhile.

So, I’ll raise a glass to all of you. Here’s to whatever the next forty bring.

Curns’ Ad Links for 9 September 2010

Curns’ Ad Links for 8 September 2010

Curns’ ad links is a collection of links about the digital advertising industry; generally focussed on the display advertising market with an emphasis on the technology to deliver great advertising experiences.

Curns’ Ad Links for 7 September 2010

Curns’ ad links is a collection of links about the digital advertising industry; generally focussed on the display advertising market with an emphasis on the technology to deliver great advertising experiences.

Last Week In Digital Advertising #4

As somebody who works with the technology of digital advertising, it never ceases to amaze me when I see comments that suggest targeting is the next big thing online. Targeting – of all sorts and in many guises – has been possible for years (although clearly very disguised, as nobody seemed to know it was there)

Did you miss me? Go on say you did.

Last week was a bank holiday in the UK and we skipped ‘Last Week in Digital Advertising’ which just means that we should have more things to talk about this week.  If you’re outside the UK and you’re interested then I should say that bank holidays are really just public holidays with a fancy name. Originally they really were holidays observed by the Bank of England but are now much extended. And, as many of you think we take too many here in Britain (we have 8 of them), I’ll point out that we used to take more than 30. Of course I would have to have been alive in 1830 to get that many. Which I wasn’t! Amusingly, one of Britain’s newest banks doesn’t close on half of the bank holidays, so we probably should rename them.

Banks are, of course, a nice place to store some of that new digital revenue reported by The Rubicon Project (Digital Ad Spend Grows 47% In The First Half Of Year) or next year’s bumper cash bonanza for local advertising (Local online advertising market set to top $16 billion in 2011) that was covered by John Cook’s Venture Blog, which, in turn, was quoting a bullish Borrell Associates report.

As somebody who works with the technology of digital advertising, it never ceases to amaze me when I see comments that suggest targeting is the next big thing online. Targeting – of all sorts and in many guises – has been possible for years (although clearly very disguised, as nobody seemed to know it was there). I’m never sure if it’s the publishers who thought it was too complex a-sell or the buyers who thought it too complex to plan but it’s been possible for a very long time.

Meanwhile, run-of-site display advertising is expected to drop by nearly 14 percent on a national and local level. “This early online format has simply been overshadowed by newer, more productive ad formats, and competition has pushed display unit prices down,” the report said. [quoted here]

Of course, it’s easy news copy and it’s hard to argue accuracy when so many people have been using ‘run-of’ advertising very successfully. Michael Nutley, in his Marketing Week column, repeated concerns among some brands and media owners that traditional media agencies aren’t taking full advantage of the complexities of the digital world.  So, if it’s true that “They’re not buying mass anymore; they’re buying niche,” as ClickZ reports Borrell saying, then I think it’s great for digital.

Blackberry maker, RIM, will have to dig deep into its bank account if stories suggesting it’s about to pay $500 million dollars for a mobile advertising company are true.  Readers will notice that mobile keeps cropping up because it’s either a genuine hot topic or, perhaps, we just continue to think it’s ‘hot’ because we all know there’s something in it. As if to underscore mobile computing is key, eMarketer surveyed a bunch of people (see, that’s the analyst in me) and found that 18-29 years old (the so-called Millennials) “were more than twice as likely to label cell phones a necessity” when compared against an older audience (their figures:59% vs. 29%).

Mobile marketing business AdFonic suggests the mobile ad industry needs to ensure that it’s matching the rest of online with transparency in advertising reporting (Transparency is key driver of mobile ad spend) – which is certainly true in a cross platform world. As an industry, transparency in what we deliver is important but, as always, there are challenges. The ad-operations forum at Admonsters noted that “[c]ounting discrepancies in impressions, page-views, and other visitor data impact every online tracking company, publisher, and marketer” which shows why we continue to have challenges building and integrating smart digital ad technologies.

There’s a lot to be covered when looking back at the last two weeks in the digital advertising world so let’s do some quick stats. Foursquare, the fashionable location-based check-in service, is now at 3 million users. TechCrunch thinks it will be a 4 million soon. I wondered, on Twitter, if we’re approaching a location advertising tipping point (don’t you love how social media allows you to reference yourself?).  Microsoft knows mobile is valuable and is reportedly digging into it’s bank account to spend $1billion promoting Windows Phone 7.  Keeping with a running theme in this column, NewTeeVee reports that almost half of all people in their survey (which was, reassuringly, global in nature and conducted in the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, Spain, Germany, Taiwan and China) watch online television content every week (although does go on to note the continued strength of linear television). The continued popularity of online television services may be a reason why the UK’s Channel Five rejoined the internet-connected television consortium that is Project Canvas.

Buzzword of the fortnight goes to ‘engagement’ which has become an oft-quoted, never-defined advertising measurement metric. It was reported that Twitter’s promoted-tweets advertising concept increased engagement by 50% (if engagement was measured by clicking and re-tweeting: so the click metric then?). For P&G, however, “engagement included watching an embedded video, playing a game or signing up for a newsletter”. In that previously mentioned Michael Nutley column we see that it’s a measurement that’s causing some concern amongst publishers and eConsultancy has a nice piece examining the engagement concept and trying to determine what it really means.

That seems like a lot for this week, doesn’t it? And I haven’t even ventured into the latest stories surrounding the privacy implications of digital advertising (Ad Firm Sued for Allegedly Re-Creating Deleted Cookies). Oh look how I squeezed that in. If only I was paying myself something for clever segues. I’d have a reason to visit the bank now. It is, after all, open today.

Curns’ Ad Links for 3 September 2010

Curns’ ad links is a collection of links about the digital advertising industry; generally focussed on the display advertising market with an emphasis on the technology to deliver great advertising experiences.

Curns’ Ad Links for 2 September 2010

Curns’ ad links is a collection of links about the digital advertising industry; generally focussed on the display advertising market with an emphasis on the technology to deliver great advertising experiences.