What's the Buzz?

BizReport.com says CBS is doing product placement in its shows, then selling the products on its web site. Arbitron says PC penetration is up in the home market, but usage is down (eMarketer has a summary of the Arbitron study). An Iconocast source suggests that usability, not price, is the major barrier to PCs getting into more than half of U.S. households.

All of which says to ClickZ Forum moderator Richard Hoy that PCs won’t be the way Internet content gets delivered to the masses. He thinks it’ll be some sort of TV/set-top box combo.

“Should we be taking notes from the likes of CBS and Home Shopping Network, who seem to have merged content and advertising into profitable direct marketing models?” asks Richard.

And who should respond to Richard’s question but Jim Novo, formerly VP of programming and marketing at Home Shopping Network (HSN). He predicts that e-commerce sites will soon be doing deals directly with TV networks.

“It’s easy for me to see a deal where CBS promotes throughout the day (for all of its programs) that you can buy ‘show-branded’ merchandise at AOL or Amazon,” Novo wrote.

Jim went on to say that TV is the most powerful commerce generation machine because of its tremendous reach, but the reach creates a customer-retention problem. At HSN, they mitigated the problem by communicating with customers offline, mostly via mail.

“So the killer lead-generating but generic television had a huge, customized, one-to-one back-end that continued personal relationships with customers,” he continued. “Given (how much cheaper and easier) this type of customization is on the web, a web-enabled TV model has got to make sense. The TV front-end/web back-end is going to be very important, regardless of whether it takes place on the same ‘box’ or not.”

Jim delivered a few “lessons learned from TV,” and concluded, “Web marketers are spending way to much time worrying about demographics and survey data and not enough time looking at transactional behavior.”

Celest Shrimpton chimed in, “If the television cable box and remote is designed with an easy ‘click and switch’ button to web surfing, why would anyone want to turn on the computer (just to surf)?”

Combining the two will be hard, she added, because people generally relate TV to relaxation and PCs to work. “I think psychology and free association are crucial in developing future tactics,” Shrimpton said.

I-Advertising on the Home Page

Over on I-Advertising, members are mulling the pros and cons of placing ads on a home page based on Duke Getzinger’s post last week. Duke’s thought is that most banners, when clicked, bring clickers to a page within a site versus to the home page. I-Advertising moderator Adam Boettiger, in last week’s episode, said an ad’s effectiveness depends on the site and the purpose of the campaign.

In a post this week, Phil Mowris agreed with Adam. If the goal is direct response, skip the home page. But if it’s branding you want, home may be where the heart is.

But wait, there’s more. How does your target audience behave? Do they all bookmark internal pages and never stray? How are they finding the sites they visit? And what sites might those be?

All in all, Phil said his agency has been successful “with all sorts of different formats and arrangements.” And yes, Melissa Parrish affirmed members of a site’s established audience absolutely do go to the home page. Lots.

How Bad Is It When It’s Really Bad?

Moderator Boettiger is looking for tales of woe from media buyers. He wonders: What are the pet peeves which place publishers on buyers’ excrement lists. What do buyers look for when they make a buy? Give him some “unbelievable but true” stories dealing with new ad sales reps or old ones.

Tales can be told anonymously, and there’ll be prizes for the juiciest ones. Sales reps are also invited to contribute if they have “critical info or tips to share.” Reach him at ab@eyescream.com.

Synchronized Marketing

Mike Huck asked I-Advertising what they know about offline promotions and the new buzzword, “synchronized marketing.” William Greene related his called it integrated marketing, “running the same campaign in our online marketing as in our direct mail.”

His result? “A 2 percent response rate in our direct mail campaign and a 20 percent response rate in our online campaign. The ROI for the direct mail was approximately 90 percent, while the ROI for the online campaign was approximately 7,500 percent.”

Online Ads on Blocking Software

The furor over ad-blocking software continued on Online Ads. Mike Gnitecki complained that the GNU free software mavens appear to be blocking the use of ads, and he wants ad revenue to cover his software development expenses (and maybe even make a little profit).

Not to worry, soothed Dana Blankenhorn. Ad-blocking software is used by a very small percentage of people, and blocking their access to a web site, as had been suggested earlier, “is shooting a squirrel with an elephant gun. I guarantee the public reaction against sites that did this would be huge — making the block-blocking counter productive.”

Of greater concern, Dana suggested, are the mental blocks that increasing numbers of users have about web ads. “We see the ad, but we deliberately don’t register it as we go about our business,” he wrote. “You can push your ad in front of us, but you can’t make us notice it anymore than you can make us buy from you.”

Search Engine Submission Software

Robert J. Woodhead, who runs a submission service, explained that a good service can make it easy to submit to all the major search engines (something that earlier posts had suggested be done manually).

“You won’t save much time the first time you use it, but you should re-submit your main URL every time it substantially changes on a regular basis, just in case one of the engines decides to drop your page. It’s also a good idea to submit all your key pages.”

If it takes a minute to submit manually to each of ten search engines, and you submit your top five URLs four times a year, that’s 200 minutes. It adds up. Robert went on to expound on other benefits of using a good search engine submission service.

Long Emails?

If you’re plagued by such, Debbie Martinez advises going to Internet Settings, clicking on Advanced Tab and increasing your Server Time Out settings. “Also,” she suggests, “remove the check from ‘Enable Software Compression’ in the connectoid under the Server Types tab.”

Sign Up

Join Online Ads at www.o-a.com, I-Advertising at www.internetadvertising.org and the ClickZ Forum at www.clickz.com/list/.

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