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Advertising

Google Print & Google Radio Closures Are Unfortunate

News arrived yesterday that Google is shutting down their Print and Radio ad systems. It's unfortunate news for brand advertisers and the traditional media formats. Google Print & Radio An ironic tag-line for Google's Print & Radio Platform

With eBay / Kijiji and beRecruited, I was one of the systems' early advertisers... creating multiple campaigns that ran across dozens of markets' radio stations and newspapers. Google made it simple to craft campaigns, connect with the papers / stations and find talent to create the ad units. Google's traditional media marketplace was as simple as AdWords - but across a far more fragmented, complicated landscape.

I was always wowed by the technology side. But more importantly - it drove results.

Measuring conversion and ROI is harder (obviously), but advertising in Radio and Print (via Google) enabled reach across users that AdWords simply doesn't serve - either via audience or ad format.

On a higher level, this marks an important moment because we are at the intersection of traditional and online media. And as the newspaper and radio worlds struggle with the online shift (and business models) - this was an opportunity to have these worlds meet together. Sure there are tons of issues (fragmentation, pricing models, and so forth) - but simply put, Google Print and Radio worked. And that means I was willing to spend money (and continue doing so) and the stations / papers had access to new campaigns and budgets (without a sales force).

ESPN.com Wants to Make Sure You Know Valentines is Coming

I spend a lot of time on ESPN - particularly their mobile properties... which for big media brands - really are the best available. And while I have been critical of ESPN.com's relaunch, I respect their ability to land big advertising deals (though skeptical of the advertisers' results). Today's campaign is the most in-your-face yet...

If you have somehow forgotten that Valentines Day is on the horizon - ESPN and JC Penny are certain to make sure that you won't forget. After all, about 70% of the homepage is covered in Valentine's promotions. The ads are nicely aligned and build on one another (a major complaint of using AdSense or other contextual networks that result in disjointed units).

I hope that ESPN is getting a very solid CPM deal here, because as a reader, this is a major turn-off. I am all for advertising - particularly on great, free content. But at a point, two things happen:

1. You get irritated, and/or 2. It takes too long to get to the content

ESPN Valentines Day

I Guess iStockphoto is Going Mainstream?

iStockphoto is doesn't get much attention. It is rarely discussed on the big Web 2.0 blogs. It somehow is never included with other 'hot' companies like Digg, Twitter, Pandora, Wordpress, etc... despite having a large (and growing) userbase and a clear business model. And like the other companies I just mentioned - iStockphoto shares another common element: the content is amazing. I believe that digital media is predicated on the quality of its content. With great content not available elsewhere, you can build a business. It works for Wordpress. Twitter will figure it out. iStockphoto has figured it out.

Anyhow, this was sparked because iStockphoto has begun advertising... everywhere. And this isn't remnant inventory (or you'd see their banners on my blog!). My guess is that iStock is starting to test the waters with conversion-based advertising. Run across the internet for a couple weeks and garner enough impressions to determine whether it leads to conversions.

Crunch Gear iStockphoto

TechCrunch iStockphoto TechCrunch iStockPhoto Ads

Valleywag iStockphoto Valleywag iStockphoto

Widgetbox Introduces the Blidget Pro

Widgetbox has released the Blidget Pro product: the next generation of our successful Blidget tool. Also worth noting, it is our first subscription-based service ($3.99 / mo or $29.99 / year). The Blidget Pro is a far more powerful version of the Blidget - a tool that has converted nearly 100,000 blogs into widgets and served 2.3 billion impressions since its initial launch in 2007. It represents a major step forward – and the best way to give you a feel for its capabilities is with some samples (the full feature set is below). Please contact me if you are interested in learning more or how Widgetbox can help you and your company:

- Easily create viral, branded widgets without any code - Custom header, footer and/or body assets (jpg, gif, swf, png) - Tab integration for multiple feeds and formats - In-widget video integration for YouTube, Hulu and Vimeo (Hulu example) - New visual layouts (slideshow, brick-mode, headlines with images) - Custom widget linking (header, footer and/or body) - Premium promotion on Widgetbox.com -Widget analytics (installs, widget views, uniques)

Unfortunate 'Contextual' Advertising: Blockbuster vs. Netflix

One of the benefits of contextual, online ad systems is the automation. Add Google AdSense once to your template and you're set.

Of course, without being editorialized, there is always potential for conflicting or misplaced ads... which is exactly what I encountered while reading "Blockbuster aligns with CinemaNow in an effort to stay relevant" over at BoyGeniusReport. The post was fairly objective (even if calling Blockbuster a "stumbling giant") in it's description of Blockbuster's new on-demand movie download service. The only mention of Netflix was in the final line - briefly noting that Netflix too provides downloads for accounts over $8.99.

Directly below the article is a banner for... Netflix of course! And a $4.99 account at that - which wouldn't even include the on-demand service.

Not that it much matters - but these ads are run by Advertising.com

Blockbuster and Netflix

Google's New AdSense 'Scroll Through' Button for Graphics, Rich Media

This weekend, I spent time experimenting with Pligg and have Rankible.com to show for it... and while it's not much yet (!), it's already revealed quite a lot about Google AdSense. Yesterday I wrote about the growing rich-media inventory and today I noticed a new AdSense format. Below is a screenshot of a 728x60 leaderboard that has the standard "Ads by Google" logo in the corner. But above the logo is a carousel button to navigate forward and backward... almost like the scroll through buttons on text ads. But what's unique here is that the button advances to other graphical ads - and those ads are for the same company.

I can't figure out if this is a new treatment made specifically for single advertisers / campaigns - or if the intent is to roll the format out to all ad formats such that it can showcase more units more quickly. The challenge there is that the button won't always be compatible with graphical units (size, color, etc) and auto-scrolling through units would be far more confusing than with text.

The benefit to Google? More impressions. More real estate. And a lot more data on conversions and user interaction.

Google AdSense Next Button

Google AdSense Rich Media Inventory Growing?

Quietly, it appears that Google AdSense's rich media inventory is growing nicely... even despite the economic climate which has many online advertisers scaling down. I don't have any hard data to prove the point - but when you default AdSense to display image-only ads, you'll find that video and rich-media units are appearing more quickly and with greater rotation. Many of the ads are pop-culture focused (see the movie preview unit below) - which means that the ads rotate regularly as new shows, movies, etc are being promoted.

Although the screenshot below is at about a 50% size reduction, you'll notice the top leaderboard which is a GM / Google promotion that installs iGoogle gadgets. The "add to iGoogle" button pulses on mouse hover. It's a terrific promotion and the creative is superbly done - enticing users to engage with the unit and explore what the action does (in one case, "adding to iGoogle" and in the other, previewing the movie).

As a publisher, I'm excited about seeing richer, more engaging units on my content.... because, as a consumer, I prefer to see this kind of content.... consequently satisfying the advertiser and making him/her more inclined to grow their campaigns.

Google AdSense Promotion

20 Predictions for Digital Media in 2009

With the new year fast approaching, I've put together a list of 20 digital media trends I predict in the forthcoming year. I plan to write specific posts about each - so for now, these are just headlines: 2009 farmers almanac

- Digital Media properties will be significantly more aggressive with online advertising - ... Facebook in particular - iPhone Gaming Will Progress Beyond Novelty - Mobile Apps will find a price point beyond free or $0.99 - iPhone Apps become the MySpace of the music and movie industries: part of every marketing campaign - Android's popularity will require hit hardware... which will take longer than anticipated - Talk of an Amazon + eBay and/or Amazon + Netflix will surface... and make sense - Subscription services will become more common / popular - Online gaming becomes even bigger as people seek free entertainment; makes a dent on traditional video game industry - Acquisitions will be based on break-even and profitable start-ups - "Burn rate" will be the hot buzz word - The mantra "What's Old is New" will ring true - Some companies will distinguish themselves as winners during the downturn thanks to well-positioned services (The Ladders, BillShrink, etc) - In-Video advertising will grow... and begin to work - Video will grow further as people's appetite for online content moves significantly beyond 30-90 second clips - Several roll-ups of small/medium sized content players - A handful of Huffington Post Clones will emerge... successfully - Verticals with deep targetting will succeed... more than properties that are very wide but shallow - There will be a major winner in Behavioral Targetting and Cookie Exchanges - Major content properties (ie newspapers, ESPN) focus sites to push personalities atop headlines