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November 2007 Marketing Archives

Friday, November 09, 2007

AOL Goes Contextual With Quigo Buy

AOL isn't giving up the fight to remain relevant. The company continues its spree of advertising company acquisitions with contextual ad firm Quigo.

Quigo's AdSonar matches ads with the content of web pages, giving AOL technology that Google and others have had for years.

Rumor-starter Henry Blodget suggests Yahoo should buy AOL, but that's not likely to happen. Two companies that aren't in the lead from a technology standpoint won't be able to capture the top spot together. Yahoo has cheaper options if it wants to capture eyeballs and some ad expertise.

AOL and Google finally got their IM clients working together, which is better news for Googletalk users since AIM is the far dominant player.

Via : DM News

AOL Goes Contextual With Quigo Buy By John Gartner at 09:48 AM
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NY Law Could Nix New Facebook Ads

Facebook's new SocialAds may be illegal according to a New York attorney. The law prohibits use of someone's image with written consent, which could derail SocialAds.

There may be a case there, but the workaround is pretty easy. Facebook could just add language to its user agreement when people sign up for accounts that says that their images can be used in ads.

Using images as endorsements is a smart plan, but in the end consumers would probably tune out the ads after they've seen someone's picture a few times. Many people will likely opt out from having the products they've purchased made known to the world, but Facebook will still get a decent return on this scheme.

Via News.com

NY Law Could Nix New Facebook Ads By John Gartner at 09:30 AM
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wikis Get Conversational

Sometimes the coincidences are just spooky. Lately I've been thinking a lot about wikis and how to incorporate them into marketing and publishing platforms. This morning I awoke thinking that integrating discussion forums with wikis -- along with news and blogs -- were the missing pieces. Low and behold yesterday Wetpaint announced it had integrated discussion forums into its wiki platform.

Wikis are great resources for community members and for industry, but while they are evolving organisms, they don't reflect the flow of opinion and immediacy of what is happening in the world. Discussion forums (see the earlier post about Networked Insights) enable people to question and comment on things as they happen, or as they are enhancing their education about a topic. A vibrant community is what marketers want, and as long as they allow the wiki and forums to be uncensored, it serves the readership as well.

For an example, check out Wetpaint's PushingDaises wiki. Since the forums just launched yesterday there isn't much in the way of conversation, but the integration is well done.

Having a wiki about your brand and including topical information to match the reference materials provides a powerful communication platform.

Wikis Get Conversational By John Gartner at 09:13 AM
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Community Powered Market Research

Startup Networked Insights has launched a new online platform for building community around brands, with the twist that the conversation are automatically mined for market research data.

The company provides a turnkey community, and then extracts the insights from customer conversations. Network Insights says it creates a "network of networks" by analyzing the data about all of the topics of conversations.

This is a novel way of combining community with maket research. An advantage over traditional survey methods is that since the sum of the conversations are assessed in their natural environment, the customers' true feelings are likely more genuine and reflect a larger percentage of customers than if they were asked to fill out a sterile questionnaire.

However, building community may not work for all product categories (the customer quoted by the company deals in fine art, which people love to comment on), which limits this method of data collection. Also, if no one is talking about points that a company wants to know about, then there's nothing to analyze.

Market research should heavily weigh community input, and an automated way of parsing the comments can be an effective method. Of course so can blogging and reading the comments, but that can be too labor intensive for large communities.

Community Powered Market Research By John Gartner at 08:29 AM
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Marketing Lessons From the Campaign Trail

Howard Dean was the first to realize the potential of using the Internet to market a candidate. As we've learned organizing volunteers and raising cash doesn't guarantee votes, but it has helped several candidates who spent much less than their opponents to win.

Now political campaign strategists are taking what they've learned about the Internet and creating successful initiatives that can inform marketing professionals. Think about this: no one would believe that one day event celebrating a British revolutionary from 400 years ago would enable a Libertarian-leaning republican to set a record for raising money in a day.

Ron Paul managed to raise $4.3 million in 24 hours based on a campaign about Guy Fawkes, who outside of the U.K. is about as well known as, well, Ron Paul. It didn't spending a lot on keywords or a major banner ad buy to do it.

The takeaway here is to find a hook -- an event that preferably can tie into contemporary culture -- to do event-based marketing. A good story is interesting, but something that is timely can focus the audience and get the media's (including bloggers) attention.

From organizing bloggers to posting YouTube videos, campaign strategists are effectively using the latest web 2.0 tools to gain exposure. We should monitor their successes and failures for non-political marketing.

Just as buying TV time or getting the bloggers' ear doesn't guarantee votes, getting people to your website or to know your name doesn't guarantee that your services or products will start selling. You still need to have optimized landing pages and of course, something of quality to sell.

Marketing Lessons From the Campaign Trail By John Gartner at 10:27 AM
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Keyword Analysis for Smaller Marketers

AdGooroo has gone live with an competitive analysis tool that enables small (less than 5k per month in ad spending) to track keyword buys and search rankings.

AdGooroo Express enables search marketers to track competitors' top 50 keywords and manage their paid and natural search efforts. For $999 per year, the service performs organic search rankings and trend analysis about campaigns. AdGooroo has taken technology from its $400 SEM Insight tool and scaled it down for smaller marketers, including identifying 35 common problems in keyword campaigns.

This new tool comes on the heels of Google releasing its own free Adwords analysis tool, appropriately titled "Keyword Analysis." Google's tool doesn't show competitive information, but it goes generate a quality score.

Keyword Analysis for Smaller Marketers By John Gartner at 09:43 AM
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Facebook, MySpace Growing Up With Ads

Congratulations Facebook and MySpace, your dual announcements about hyper-targeted ads is just what publishers and advertisers need. These ad services will let the generic platforms become vertical ad networks because they will parse profiles to target only matching consumers.

Consumers who like skiing, salsa music or rock-climbing will get relevant ads once the social sites are able to fill the pipelines.

Social Ads will show consumers what their pals are buying and include vertical categories. If Facebook is smart it will make its ad platform available to other publishers so that they too can serve targeted ads. Imagine if other media sites know what Facebook categories you fit into so that they can target you whether you are reading news or watching videos somewhere else. This could increase the CPMs net-wide.

MySpace similarly will make its user data available to marketers in addition to mining its own vertical categories.

No matter what they hope, many consumers will never join Facebook or MySpace, but the innovations that they are crafting and popularizing could benefit them elsewhere.

Facebook, MySpace Growing Up With Ads By John Gartner at 10:00 AM
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MS Home Server Marketing Missteps

Microsoft is continuing its two-decade push into the home entertainment arena by teaming with HP on a new "home server" for sharing downloaded content.

I'm happy to see more attempts at making it easy to share music, images, and videos throughout the home, including to the TV, but this product misses the mark as a mass media web content device.

Most consumers won't want to pay $600 to $750 and set up a server just to share photos around the house. Shouldn't Vista be able to do this on its own, why do I need another box? And I believe you still have to buy the wireless networking equipment separately. Also not included -- a way to share content with TVs. IF you have an Xbox 360 you can stream content wirelessly to it to share it with a TV. Great, more equipment to buy.

The home server also can't share recorded TV online (like Sling Media), which needs to be part of the equation. I want a wireless gadget that plugs into my TV to send content in both directions, not to become an IT department.

One feature that could come back to haunt Microsoft: each server "includes a free Windows Live Internet address to access the home server from virtually anywhere and share content with friends and family."

So photos, music, home movies, music, web video, and music can all be accessed by friends through the server. Microsoft (like Google and other online file sharing services) already allow you to share files through a password protected site, but now you've got a dedicated box to spread your music library around. If the music industry is going to hold ISPs accountable, why not go after MS for providing the hardware, software, and online service to stream music?

Via: Information Week

MS Home Server Marketing Missteps By John Gartner at 09:31 AM
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Personal Profiles Not About Facebook

Tim O'Reilly is partially right when discussing the need for open applications to access Facebook profiles (riffing on Mark Cuban).

We do need standard open access for anyone -- friends or advertisers -- to access the information about us online. But it is wrong to assume that Facebook should be the starting point.

Despite its current position as the "it" social networking company, we shouldn't assume the Facebook profiles will continue to be the most important description of individuals online. I say we go further and get Google, MySpace, Facebook et al to agree on a common format for storing personal profile information. This platform-agnostic data would include links to all social networking profiles and set the permissions for releasing information.

Advertisers would be able to create much more targeted ads if they had this information, and individuals would be able to blacklist any advertiser who abused the privilege. The ad industry could set guidelines for access to this data to prevent the inevitable ne'er do wells.

I'd be willing to tell advertisers my basic demographic information if they promise never to put ads in front of me or my email for dating services or feminine hygiene.  Let's let all of our social networks have access so that applications can be tailored to us, and allow us to control what advertisers can know.

Personal Profiles Not About Facebook By John Gartner at 09:41 AM
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TV Season Could Be Internet Casualty

How ironic -- the TV season is in jeopardy because of DVD and online sales of video, and the industry that might benefit the most from the writer's strike is online video.

Writers want to renegotiate the small residual payments they receive for DVD and Internet downloads/streams that they contributed to, as well as get a payment for video that is made available "for promotional purposes."

The networks have to figure out how to share the ad revenue from online video and be more generous than the small payments that they currently make to writers. But what should be paid to writers for clips of a show that don't generate any revenue directly? The contract with the actor's union is up next June, and the same issue of residuals and online payments will come up.

So with only reruns and even more lame reality series to watch starting in January, some folks are very likely to spend more time on their computers reading, listening to music and watching videos. Some of these viewers likely won't return to TV at all or won't spend as much time with the tube.

As Peter Ames Carlin of The Oregonian points out, original online content as well as Internet distribution are part of the biggest revolution in TV. From Joost to YouTube to Podshow  to blinkx to original series from Comedy Central and others, it is getting easier to find something interesting to watch online.

So the longer the networks and the writers' can't agree on residuals for online and DVDs, the more likely it becomes that people bypass TV altogether and do their viewing online or watch DVDs instead.

Jon Stewart referred to this irony when signing off for the last time before the strike. He said that the Daily Show will stop production because of the strike, but you can watch all of the old shows online through a new archive.

No new Daily Shows! I guess my TV viewing time is now 2 hours lighter per week.

 

TV Season Could Be Internet Casualty By John Gartner at 08:33 AM
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Friday, November 02, 2007

DVRs, Broadband Boost Marketing Opportunities

While TV viewing hours are holding steady, the number of households with DVRs and watching video online is growing.

The number of households with Digital Video Recorders is now 20.5% , up from 17.2% in May 2007 according to Nielsen's National People Meter. The number of hours that TVs are on and that individuals are watching hasn't changed much, but DVR users are probably contributing as people with DVRs tend to watch more TV than before they got their devices.

According to eMarketer, 40 percent of all households with TVs will have DVRs by 2011, at which time marketing to people who like to skip past commercials will be crptical.
Most folks with broadband watch video online, and by 2011 two-thirds of TV watchers will be able to tune into Joost. This will further erode the TV audience as more selection and viewing on demand will obviate the need to set your schedule around TV. Online their will always be something on.

Where the eyeballs go the advertising dollars will follow, which will create new inventory not just for video sites, but also for all publishers since video sites will be competing for people by advertising throughout the web. So expect search marketing around video to become a key industry within two years.

DVRs, Broadband Boost Marketing Opportunities By John Gartner at 08:33 AM
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Search Engine Algorithms Promote "Old Boys Network"

SEO as a stand alone function is dead, according to SEM guru Randy Zlobec. Content optimization isn't enough on its own to achieve a high ranking as algorithms' weighting of linking is making and breaking websites.

Zlobec mentions the importance of links and being found by folks on Digg, Technorati, or StumbleUpon, or get an in with blogosphere so that top bloggers link to you consistently. But how do the people find out what stories to link to? By using search engines (or to a less extent RSS feeds), which limits the field. It's like the country club mentality -- if you aren't buddies with an existing member, then getting an invite is almost impossible.

So hasn't the blogosphere, with the help of search engines, created a barrier to entry that protects established websites? There is the occasional overnight success of a new website darling, but those are happening with less frequency. Linking should be part of the algorithm to combat publisher who write solely for SEO purposes, but it seems that the weight has been skewed towards popularity.

This is why people have been gaming Digg and others. If relevancy were foremost in the algorithms the system would be more democratic.

Search Engine Algorithms Promote "Old Boys Network" By John Gartner at 08:14 AM
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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Do Not Track List a Cop Out

Consumer and privacy groups want the FTC to enable consumers to sign up to a list that would prevent advertisers and web publishers to use cookies to track their travels.

While more disclosure and better technical solutions are needed, this proposal would stifle innovation and reduce consumers access to free content. A national call list would be hard to manage and limit advertisers' ability to introduce innovative programs.

Ad networks and publishers should develop standards that make it easy to opt out of tracking and make it very visible on their websites. Premium content could be blocked from people who don't want their movements to be tracked, which is a fair exchanged.
Standards so that browsers can work better with cookies are needed because today's practice of either barring all cookies -- some which can be helpful to consumers -- or constantly deleting cookies -- is too convoluted.

AOL has announced new technology that looks like a step in the right direction.

Targeted ads give consumers more of what they want. Getting the FTC involved would result in more generic ads, furthering consumers frustration and hurting the development of free content.

The threat of FTC action should be enough for the ad industry to work together on open standards and make it easier to opt out.

Do Not Track List a Cop Out By John Gartner at 08:18 AM
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Google Launches Social Free For All

Google is blowing open the doors between widgets and social websites (and blowing up interest in Facebook development) with its OpenSocial set of programming standards (APIs). OpenSocial enables embeddable widgets to talk with the sites that host them so that things like friends lists can be accessed by third party applications, according to
InternetNews.com.

In the fold are sites Ning, Orkut, Hi5, LinkedIn, iLike, Flixster, and Slide. Google has a way to go in recruiting partners (Flickr, Twitter, MySpace) if it wants OpenSocial to become an industry standard. OpenSocial could put a world of hurt on Facebook if developers decide that reusable code is more efficient than writing Facebook-only apps.

From ads to video widgets to news delivery, widgets are turning the web into one big mashup pit. Getting publishers to allow -- let alone encourage -- third party applications on its website and access to some of its data -- is a huge shift that is also irreversible. This openness can make websites more useful (aka sticky) if publishers buy into it, and is nothing less than a revolution.

Google also continues to improve its free applications, including IMAP support for Gmail and formatting features for Google Docs' spreadsheets. These apps can be part of the mashup mix -- enabling people to read Gmail or browsing their Reader feeds from within their personalized home pages on other sites. Being open goes both ways.

Google Launches Social Free For All By John Gartner at 07:56 AM
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November 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (14 entries) November 1-10
  • Week 2 (10 entries) November 11-17
  • Week 3 (6 entries) November 18-24
  • Week 4 (8 entries) November 25-30

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