It's Advertising Week in New York, and as they do each year the largest digital media companies have herded their top sales talent here to make the case for (what else?) more moolah. At sessions around Manhattan, but mostly clustered in Times Square, they are trotting out their latest ad innovations and premium video plans.
Yahoo Goes Deep With ABC News
At a press conference Monday morning, Yahoo unveiled a content partnership with ABC News. Among the deal's features: Good Morning America will move its official web presence to Yahoo.com; Yahoo will integrate more ABC News broadcast content; and the companies will produce co-branded programming with ABC talent such as Christiane Amanpour, George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer.
Separately, on Tuesday Yahoo is hosting press and VIP at its New York offices, where it is expected to unveil new video content initiatives. It's all a bid for premium online ad dollars, which still conglomerate largely around broadcast-quality Internet video.
Google Talks Up 'Enhanced' Search Ads
After months of focus on Google+ and new display advertising innovations, it was almost a shock to hear Google talk about its core business: search ads.
In a session Monday, two Google execs did just that. Nick Fox, VP product management for search ads, and Tara Walpert Levy, head of global search ads marketing, discussed features and adoption for ad types that go beyond the three lines of text many marketers still associate with a paid search placement:
-Media ads. These can include movie trailers and teasers for TV shows and video games. Media ads have been adopted widely, and were used in 35 of 39 marketing campaigns for major film releases this past summer, according to Fox.
-Product listing ads. Include photos and pricing information for a range of products.
-Enhanced mobile ads: According to Fox, 79 percent of Google's largest advertisers don't have mobile optimized websites. Aside from creating simpler user interfaces for smartphone visitors, he offered this advice to mobile marketers who wish to make full use of the capabilities of the devices: "Make sure it works with touch, takes advantage of location, or allows transaction. Make sure your keyword list takes advantage of things people are likely to search on."
Facebook's Carolyn Everson has perhaps the easiest job of any senior media seller this week. Consider these recently updated stats the VP of global marketing solutions shared yesterday during her presentation at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mixx conference:
-On a recent day Facebook's unique users surpassed 500 million for the first time. That's right: half a billion people visited the site in a single 24-hour period.
-Of Facebook's total monthly unique audience, more than 50 percent visit daily.
-Approximately 250 million photos are uploaded each day.
A big part of Everson's job is to push large brands to continue to experiment with Facebook ads - not just pages. To that end she described new features for brands, including an enhanced analytics dashboard for Pages and a new ad unit. She talked up ads with "social context;" from an ad buyer's perspective these are ads that target not only fans but their friends. Everson said buying friends-of-fans routinely typically increases reachable audience by 34 percent. And these people tend to be more engaged by virtue of their kinship to brand fans.
In the cases of Southwest Airlines, friends-of-fans were 165 percent more likely to visit the company's website than the average user with no link to the brand, according to comScore research. Direct fans were 362 percent likely to visit. Everson wrapped up by saying she evaluates sales success in terms of how many of her team have official employee badges at client companies. She said reps servicing Walmart and several other clients already do.
AOL Adds Video Content, HuffPo Heralds Traffic Milestone
AOL yesterday unveiled a slate of new original video series, and crowed that Huffington Post recorded more than 1 billion pageviews in August - the first time it has crossed that round number in a single month.
The video shows are heavy on content geared toward women ("Little Women, Big Cars"), though it also includes shows for men ("The Engadget Show") and teens ("CliffsNotes Films"). Some are already sponsored, and others are still seeking.
Separately, AOL has partnered with Vivaki to experiment with new video ad formats. The two will seek to build on the research conducted by the Publicis-owned digital media buying hub over the past two years.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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