4 posts categorized "Online Media"

10/29/2008 The Online Advertising Opportunity

So newspaper and offline advertising is going to contract and online marketing growth will expand, but more slowly. That doesn’t mean that online and digital folk should start patting themselves on the back and gloat that the tide has finally turned. The onus is still on us to up our creativity without losing our focus on dialogue and results.

Note that there are tons of sites that focus on showing off good Web sites. There are lots of media sites and pubs showing off print and TV ads. But I know of only one quality site dedicated to showing off good online advertising, Banner Blog. True, PointRoll and EyeBlaster do their best to highlight online ads, but since they’re selling, they feel somewhat biased.


What does that tell you? Maybe no one’s that interested in it, or the creative work isn’t worth showing off.

There are some great online ads out there, but not enough. The chance to tell stories, to engage in dialogue and interactivity, and to convert through that little space is where the opportunity lies today. But somehow we end up with animated billboards or worse.

We need to explore richer experiences within the banner or its expandable size. I’d like to see more sequential advertising, something I almost never see. I mean, even the old Burma Shave billboard example would be interesting to see online. Instead we’ve focused on ad network technologies such as retargeting to show us the same ad over and over and over again. As digital creatives, we need to add value to that technology, or else we’ll blow the opportunity at hand.

Maybe because I didn’t have a lot of online advertising opportunities years ago, I took each opportunity to create something unique in the banners I did work on. From dynamically sending up-to-the-minute weather reports to banners in 2004 to broadcasting live radio through them in 2007, each banner was opportunity to provide unique content, not just messaging.

It’s why my first Stowe banner was able to beat Web sites and microsites in the travel category of the MITX awards last year.

Just because online ads are small and weird sizes doesn’t mean we have the excuse to be boring. We have the technology to do whatever we want.

We have the next year of opportunity to raise our game.

10/27/2008 Newspapers ads down, digital adds up

I read in our local paper this weekend that Gannett Corp. (which owns our local rag and was actually started by its old publisher) announced that their earnings declined compared with last year. The publishing side of the business led the downturn due to sub par ad revenues. USA today saw its paid advertising pages decrease by almost 12 percent.

According to news reports, other publishers will show the same trend as Gannett. On the bright side, Gannett’s digital business was a clear bright spot, with properties such as CareerBuilder and PointRoll.

You might say that the ailing economy is the reason and you’d be partly right. But think back and look at the fact that we’ve had a summer Olympic and a presidential campaign this year, two great ad drivers.

It’s clear that news ads continue their decline, while online ads continue their ascendancy. Microsoft just reported that they expect a 10 to 13 percent growth in online ads over the next year.

All of that is good news for us digital marketers and worrisome for publishers. What businesses need, however, is not just a shift into online marketing but an effective engagement strategy when they do so. We need to help develop dialogue branding, the key advantage of the digital space, rather than repeating the monologue branding of yore.

That means that newspapers, agencies and clients need to get past the moving billboards and splashy technology that plagues the online channel and step it up a notch.

I’ve noticed that a number of local newspaper sites are offering things like peelbacks or images moving across the screen for free now. While those technologies look pretty cool and are fun to play with, they simply follow the pattern of intrusive advertising we’ve lived with for so long.

If I were Gannett, I’d integrate PointRoll into every single online newspaper I own. Make it part of the product and let businesses and agencies have a PointRoll specialist help develop the creative. I think they’d end up growing their online ad revenue by twice as much while providing advertisers with great results.

The online ad space has come a long way, but it’s still got a long way to go. I’ll be talking about some of the things we digital marketers should push for to make this happen.

09/25/2008 Faster than Bolt

Puma was quick to launch an online game challenging people to beat Olympic champion Usain Bolt in an online game at the Puma site. I like things like this because they’re
•    Quick
•    Easy
•    Fun

The visuals are pretty ridiculous, as is the concept, but I still had to do it three times. A good little brand builder.

I wonder if they leveraged this through expandable ads or social media. From a strategy and marketing perspective, it’s almost a crime if they didn’t.

09/16/2008 Who is this for, anyway?

We marketing professionals like to be in control. We like making decisions and hope that someone (our bosses, our clients) thinks we’re making smart decisions. We tend to make it about us, not about you.

But it’s not about us anymore (if it ever was). Those who ignore this run the risk of making some bad decisions.

A while ago, we rebuilt a simple e-commerce site, one that was working pretty well, to make it work even better. Then we ran into a traditional AD who, with support of the ECD, refused to make a “crappy” Web site. It wasn’t about conversions or customers or business goals, it was about making it look “beautiful.” It was really about putting it in the AD’s portfolio.

The beautiful site is up, and it’s doing less business than its predecessor. Guess if the client is pleased.

I’ve seen marketing directors pull the plug on campaigns because they couldn’t see the banner ad or Google paid search. Never mind that we geo-targeted the ads to a different area or that we targeted a different target demographic.

If we can’t accept the fact that it’s not about us, it’s about the customer; if we can’t give up our control fixation and give more control to the customer, we’re going to continue to waste marketing dollars.

And with Lehman Bros, AIG and the rest of the economy starting to tank, that doesn’t seem like a very smart move.

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