Future of Online Advertising

Cimg2337 I’m in New York today and tomorrow attending the Future of Online Advertising (FOOA) conference at Gotham Hall.

Online ad spend is still soaring which is creating many opportunities for marketers, agencies, and organizations across the spectrum. If they are plugged in.

Greg Stuart, co-author of What Sticks, led off this morning with a call for marketers to accept the burden of proving that advertising campaigns are actually working. A big key is having universal agreement on the goals of the campaign by all those involved – client, CMO, agency, media planner, etc. It seems rather intuitive, but it is remarkable how little this happens.

How are you going to measure success? Can everyone involved in the campaign give the same answer?

Ron Bellanger, VP of Agency Development for Yahoo!, was next up. A key example he gave was the Kelloggs Special K online campaign at Yahoo which has been measurably successful. You can check it out by gong to Yahoo and searching on “Special K” or just click here.

Bill Wise, President of Remix Media, the media arm of Right Media, talked about the changes in the way media is being purchased. Right Media is providing an exchange model with most transactions being automated rather than negotiated by two humans. With Google entering the radio ad biz, it’s likely that media placement is going to change substantially over the next few years with transactions being handled more like an eBay auction than a horsetrade.

Kim Malone, Director of Adsense online sales and operations from Google spoke about adapting online advertising models. The movement now is from selling ads on a CPM (cost per impression) or a CPC (cost per click) basis to CPA (cost per action). In this scenario advertisers will pay a higher rate, but only for leads that result in an actual transaction.

Then Brent Hill from Feedburner took the stage. Brent talked about the rapidly emerging world of ad insertion into RSS feeds. A few years ago RSS distribution was primarily the realm of bloggers. Now commercial media companies are distributing much of their content by RSS and even more recently, retailers are using RSS to disseminate information and drive sales.

All of this before lunch. I’ve got a bit more than sushi to digest today.

More on Change or Die

Here is one of the best pieces I've read lately about the rapidly changing world of advertising and the impact of new media on the world of consumer persuasion. 

"On Madison Avenue, Old Players Learn a New Game" is from NPR (National Public Radio) so you can read or listen.

Here's a clip from the very end of the story - "And that, says GE's Hu, is why agencies like BBDO must embrace the challenges presented by new media technologies, trying to stay ahead of the latest trends rather than waiting to see where they're headed.                         

"The biggest challenge is if you ignore it," she says. "If I were on the agency side, I would say the biggest challenge is that if you ignore [technological change], your client will find another agency who doesn't."

This four-part All Things Considered series, airing Tuesdays in May, looks at how digital media and the demise of the mass market are changing the advertising industry.

To me the key here is not to get too caught up in focusing on the technology, but rather focus on the new opportunities and possibilities enabled by the technology and fueled by the cultural shift as power is shifting from the big media companies to the consumers. 

You might also enjoy reading Chapter 10  (PDF) "Fix the Agency Mess" from Joseph Jaffe's book, Life After the 30-Second Spot.

Is Advertising Dead?

054 Paul McEnany has an excellent article at The Madison Avenue Journal about the current status of traditional advertising. 

"It's a brand new day for advertising, but more so, it's a brand new day for people."

If Roy Williams was right, a massive cultural shift began in 2003 with the end of the Age of the Baby Boomer.  You can read about it in his Monday Morning Memo entitled "Marketing in 2005 and Beyond."

The internet is allowing humans to make purchasing decisions the way they want to.  The "big bang" in consumerism has happened.  It's a world of freer-thinking individuals you must conquer, not a mass market.


Good Brochure Design

We've all seen plenty of brochures (and websites) that fail to accomplish their purposes.

Here's a pretty good article with tips on good brochure design.

5-Minute Brochure Design Trash Test

I think the creative process for every brochure (or website, etc.) needs to start with a purpose statement for that promotional asset.  Too many organizations waste money on creative projects that are designed to please "the boss" rather than accomplish their purpose in the marketplace. And it's almost always best for the purpose to be narrow and focused rather than broad and scattered.

Really good creative requires strategery - a well thought out strategy combined with effective imagery.  And strategy begins with understanding purpose... what are we trying to accomplish here anyway?  Then every element of that creative asset needs to be molded around its purpose, or eliminated.

Purpose provides a critical touch point in the creative process. 

I'm amazed I see it used so infrequently.

Mobile Search - The Next Big Thing?

From Advertising Age (Danny Sullivan) -

"It is clear that 2007 will be the year that mobile-search-query traffic grows substantially." That's what Google CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts during his company's earnings call in January. Schmidt hopes his prediction comes true, because mobile search could mean new revenue for the search engines. But are we ever seriously going to search while on the move?

We've certainly been told long enough that mobile search is the next big thing. Heck, Google rolled out its first mobile-search service back in 2000. Seven years later, it's finally going to happen? That long-promised reservoir of search queries will be tapped at last?

Complete article

Yahoo Moves Into Mobile Phone Ads

From the New York Times -

Yahoo is moving to secure a position on the next Internet battleground: Web search and advertising on cellphones.       The company plans to announce on Tuesday that it is creating a mobile advertising network that will allow marketers to place ads not only on its mobile services, but also on those of other online publishers. And Yahoo is offering tools to help publishers customize their content for easier use with its mobile search service.

Complete story

Burger King Goes to Church

048 Do you remember the old Burger King advertising campaign - "Have It Your Way?"

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church has done a great job of organizing and presenting six different options for visitors to use in accessing sermons on their website.  Several free options, a couple paid, but really a great job of presenting the content in a clear and intuitive way.  Doing this makes the content accessible to the maximum number of visitors in the medium they prefer.

Check it out.

My only recommendation would be to include a summary or description of each message that could be accessed by clicking the title or a "Message Summary" link.  Adequate product descriptions are a key to conversion rates.

OfficeMax Dumps TV in Favor of Internet Strategy

045 "Santa was good to OfficeMax.

The company -- which is eschewing TV advertising entirely -- took what it would have spent to make three 30-second spots and created 20 holiday-themed microsites aimed at catching a viral wave and touting its stores as gift-giving destinations."

Article from AdAge.

This has to make Madison Avenue nervous.  The staple of big-money advertising for years has been the 30-second  television spot.  Make and average product for average people and pump sales with TV spots.  That has been changing gradually, but now the cultural shift seems to be picking up momentum in the advertising world. 

One great aspect to this change is the shift from the importance of the medium to the importance and salience of the message.  Take a look at television advertising.  Companies spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars producing a 30-second spot.  Most of them are not memorable.  But, until recent years even a non-imaginative spot that aired often enough would create a bump in sales.

There's a shift of power taking place in the world of communications, advertising and media.  It's a trend and not a fad.  Intrusive advertising is declining in favor of advertising that people want to watch.  Companies who get creative like Office Max will rise.  Those who stick with the old models will decay.

OfficeMax has made a bold move here to say "screw television, we're betting our future on the web."  It will continue to be an interesting story to follow.  And, you can count on plenty of others to try to mimic their success.

Yes, Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin'.