The Conference Scene
Rows and rows of booths and babes
Who are these people?
The last ad:tech was held not at a hotel but at the Moscone Center here in San Francisco. This is a big-time convention center, complete with $4.75 cookies at the snack bar. What struck me most about the exhibit hall was I was able to find all the familiar companies, the ones that have been exhibiting for the last five years or so, but I didn’t recognize any of the booth staff! Not long ago, you went to an ad:tech booth and the company’s founder was there, giving the demo. Growth is certainly upon us, and with it the flash and excellence of the big show. All the more reason to do your research before and after visiting the show floor, to ensure you make decisions about companies based on what they can actually do, besides giving you a free squishy globe and a beer.
YouTube on the rise
Pew says thirty-five percent
The latest Pew Internet & American Life study says over a third of the Internet population has created and posted content online. How cool is that? The study concludes the Web is becoming more social and more creative — exactly what people tend to need in their lives. The good news is the rise of consumer-generated media (CGM) is destined to accelerate. Thirty-five percent is a real market. It now makes sense to develop tools and services for people to express themselves online. As there are more and better tools, more people will be attracted to posting content online. It’s a virtuous cycle.
Yahoo plus eBay
Everyone angling for Google
Microsoft left out?
Not to mention Google and Dell teaming up. The Google search behemoth shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. According to comScore, Google’s search share has grown every month for the last nine months. Right now, there are two strategic imperatives: Google has to make sure it leverages its search traffic into other services, without ending up as yet another portal; and everyone else needs to figure out how it’s different from Google. Not better at search, but a uniquely different service. The numbers don’t paint a good picture for Microsoft, but all bets are on hold (literally) until its next OS ships. I know it’s delayed, but destiny delayed is not destiny ignored (sounds like a Yoda quote).
Searching for targets
They don’t watch television
But love their cell phones
I’m first to admit I haven’t been a big fan of mobile ads. The models seem contrived, experiences clunky, and consumers uninterested. But I’ve noticed a slow evolution toward some reasonable positions. The best insight I’ve seen is a recognition that kids don’t think about a cell phone as a home phone that can go anywhere (as I do). Rather, they think of it as its own device. As marketers understand the nature of that device, they’ll figure out how to appropriately market via this channel.
Word of Mouth
If broadcast won’t work
Better to let people talk
In their own spaces
Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) may have been last year’s dominant Zeitgeist, but so far this year the WOMM discussion has shifted. It’s moved away from a simple recognition of its existence to a more in-depth analysis: where did it come from, and where is it going? As to WOMM’s genesis (or rather to the genesis of the attention placed on WOMM), you need to see the growing frustration in traditional marketing channels. Clearly, there was frustration around television, but was that frustration alleviated by asking marketers to simply invest in a new channel?
“Did it work or not?”
Hardest question in the world
Or the next, best thing?
In the old days (the joke went), the best response to “What was the ROI?” was to squint over their shoulder and ask, “Is that Tom Cruise?” When the client turned to look, you ran out the side door. This clearly won’t work anymore. What’s more, there’s really no need to. Online advertising is working again. I heard about a 1.2 percent CTR (define) the other day, thanks to some great creative and a well-thought-out media buy. Consider the potentials if you start to use optimization services or behavioral targeting systems.
What’s more, the software to analyze results is becoming more sophisticated and integrated. That means all the disparate campaign elements, including CTRs, email opens, site traffic, and search behavior, can be folded together to get a real sense of the actual success of your spending.
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Meet Gary at Online Video Advertising Forum in New York City, June 16, 2006.
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