Category: Ad Networks

A Slight Problem With Ad Exchanges… (warning NSFW)

The idea of Ad Exchanges (Right Media, DoubleClick Exchange, etc.) makes a lot of sense – especially for smaller players who manage display media in-house or independently from an agency. Lately, it seems that several agencies (and Yahoo) have been experimenting with Right Media to get ahead in the CPA view-through game. For example, if client “A” is judging the success of a campaign on conversions, low-cost, remnant inventory on Right Media will give the program significant reach. With a view-through window of 30 days, latency conversions become a numbers game and the cheaper the inventory, the better (note: this is much more likely when the pricing model is CPA based).

Most legitimate online ad networks offer marketers a quality guarantee when it comes to publisher content and ad placement. However, one apparent problem with Ad Exchanges is that there aren’t as many checks in place to ensure brand-safe venues. In an open market, anything is game and with thousands of options, most agencies and marketers do not have the time to sift through all of the options. Similarly, Marketing.fm raised this question last year when we discovered embarassing brand placements within various User Generated Content publishers. Below is a perfect example of how a blind buy across Yahoo’s Right Media can lead to highly controversial ad placement on

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What is your Internet Strategy?

I hear this question get asked a lot at various shows, groups, and in work environments. I used to hear this question asked when I worked at a large ad agency myself. These days I am working in the world of search engine marketing, so by the time a client reaches me, they are already well aware that the Internet is not just another “channel” they should be considering.

I recently read a great post over on the newly launched ideasonideas which got me thinking about how large advertisers handle this very question.

I agree with much of what the article says, and think the problem lies within the initial “split” that occurred in the late 90′s and early 00′s when big ad agencies developed Interactive Departments that had little or nothing to do with the bulk of the planning and advertising that went on.

The question for this century, or at least 2008, should be:

What is your Marketing strategy?

This should encompass ALL FORMS OF MEDIA AND ADVERTISING.

There no longer is any such thing as having an offline strategy and an online strategy.

These two groups are now more connected then ever. Doubt it? Try to find me one single advertiser that does not have ANY listings on the web or has zero listings come up on a search engine.

Offline advertising influences online communities, interactions, and even behaviors. By not monitoring these sources you are missing out on a large discussion of your brand and or company.

It appears the folks at ideasonideas “get” this synergy – but I agree that it is difficult to explain it to the “rest of the world” (read: big advertising agencies).

The advertising agency model of the future is a hybrid of what exists today.

There is no way to predict what the future advertising agencies look like, but there certainly are parts that exist today that are not going anywhere;

1. integrated account teams that understand all media
2. Planning across all departments
3. Allowing TWO WAY communication to happen as part of the message
4. Accountability and metrics will remain paramount
5. Change will continue

Those are just a few of my thoughts of what will continue, but I know there will be more. Number 5 above highlights the most important issue that all marketers, even those in the hip interactive agencies, must recognize and always remember to look at things from a different angle sometimes.

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Yahoo! & Blue Lithium: Another Acquisition?

I heard a recent rumor that Yahoo! may buy 3rd tier ad network Blue Lithium (maybe even as soon as five days from now). Has anyone else heard this?

Jerry Yang must have caught the acquisition bug.

[tags] yahoo, blue lithium, acquisitions, marketing, interactive advertising, ad networks, marketing.fm [/tags]

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Social Networking Platforms

As the social networking platforms continue to evolve, more third party developers are jumping on board to develop applications.
As TechCrunch puts it:

This can make your head spin a bit – Facebook is now widely considered a platform, and now Super Wall is a platform on top of a platform. It’s a good thing I guess that no one is slowing down long enough to really think too hard about how quickly the online world is evolving.

Essentially this means social networks such as Facebook are allowing third party developers to build in functionality that they may not ever add to the system to make the user experience more enjoyable, shareable, viral, and useful. Not all of the programs fit this profile and many will fail. Others, such as Lookery, are devoted towards creating ad networks on top of these systems.

Facebook and other social networks are looking at yielding some of their ad revenue to third party developers who can build and sell advertising delivery systems to others at a possible cheaper rate. One of the biggest problems to date with Facebook advertising has been its poor ad performance. This is definitely not to say advertising will stop, or even slow down on FB.

As the social networks become the new programming platforms this can mean many different things for developers and advertisers. How much of your resources should you devote towards building your functionality into someone else’s platform? What recourse do you have within this private space? Is having access to the millions of MySpace, iVillage, or Facebook users worth the resources? What happens if the system goes down?

Hopefully these questions will all be answered soon.

This brings us back to something Lee Jones wrote about Facebook almost one year ago comparing the big networks at the time – what is funny is that everything is still true!

While Facebook has not officially been sold, it still looks like News Corp. got the best deal in terms of price and overall reach. A lot can still change however:

1) NBC is revamping iVillage to be an all inclusive, NBC Universal-online destination

2) Yahoo! could purchase Facebook and take social networking to new levels

3) MySpace, although still the leader, could lose some ground if the other social networks develop dynamic and exciting new features.

It is fascinating to see the growth that these open systems are stimulating – I am waiting for some developer to build the first social networking program in top of the Facebook program. (hey, its now possible.)

[tags] myspace, facebook, social networking, AOL, ivillage, social networking platforms, marketing.fm, online advertising [/tags]

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Really Simple Ideas For RSS

RSS is here to stay (well, at least Google thinks so as evidenced by the purchase of Feedburner). I’m guessing that Google will do a lot for RSS – the integration of feeds on one’s personal Google homepage has already caused the use of RSS to grow exponentially.

Most importantly, the marketing potential for RSS is tremendous and to date, largely untapped. RSS is the ultimate “PULL” technology for the consumer. Here are some great services that are already available via RSS:

1) Travel: Kayak.com is brilliant. You can design a customizable RSS update based on your travel criteria. For example, I have customizable updates for flight routes that I want to monitor. When tickets from New York to San Juan, PR go below $100, I will be notified (and hopefully soon be on the beach).

2) Career Search: Indeed.com & SimplyHired.com: Each of these career-focused search verticals allow one to customize job feeds. For example, I received updates for all interactive ad sales jobs in New York City. RSS allowed me to monitor the latest opportunities in a highly manageable way. I was able to stay on top of the market extremely well.

3) Customizable Searches: Google Alerts for example allow one to be updated whenever a search term receives new relevant information. In my personal experience, I have found that Google alerts don’t work all that well and it leaves much to be desired.

Some ideas for the future?

Retail: Instead of signing up for annoying email updates from your favorite stores, sign up for RSS updates based only on the information that you want. For example, Banana Republic could offer customers RSS updates for upcoming sales or even updates based on customizsed preferences on a product, price, or seasonal basis. In theory, I could pick and choose exactly what communications that I receive. If a jacket I like goes below $100, I would get pinged. I’d prefer this over an annoying HTML email announcing irrelevant information (such as a women’s sale).

Let us know if you have any other ideas for RSS and how it can help improve information consumption.

[tags] marketing.fm, rss, google, feedburner, indeed.com, simplyhired.com, blogs, feeds, really simple syndication [/tags]

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Microsoft’s Purchase of aQuantive Raises Ethical Questions

Last week we discussed the ethical implications of WPP’s acquisition of 24/7 Real Media. Can a marketing services holding company maintain it’s integrity if it has interest in both the buy AND sell side of a media buy? Brands contract media agencies to represent their best interest right?

Microsoft’s purchase of aQuantive raises similar questions: how will Microsoft maintain the relative autonomy of media agency Avenue A Razorfish? According to Joe Doran, EVP of Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions:

Joe Doran: We do know people could say there’s a conflict of interest between us. We want to make sure all ad agencies understand we don’t want that to become a reality. We’ll operate Avenue A/Razorfish at arms length, make sure they have ability to drive the value for marketers and advertisers and remain independent.

Hmm. Should we take their word for it? Will WPP take the same approach?

Don’t marketers hire agencies to make the best and most unbiased use of their media spend? Will that be possible if a brand’s agency is owned by a company who would like to spend as much of your budget on their services as possible? This is a very interesting turn for the Advertising & Media business and we’ll continue to watch it unfold.

Related Links:

Upfronts Give Way To Roll-ups

[tags] wpp, 24/7 real media, microsoft, aquantive, avenue a razorfish, media agencies, marketing.fm, marketing blogs, ethics [/tags]

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Marketing and Advertising Network Roundup

I have not done a roundup of the amazing writers that are all part of the Marketing and Advertising network in awhile and wanted to share some of the great content with our readers.

Have Blog, Will Mortify For Cheese » Coolz0r – Marketing Thoughts

Google Market Search Share Up to 65.3% » Virtual Marketing Blog

Google and Microsoft Eyeing Job Search » SearchViews.com

Roger Clemens Is No Longer A Player, He’s A Product » Small Business Branding And Marketing

If you are a marketing or advertising blogger I invite you to apply to the network today!

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WPP: Marketing Cannibalization?

Sir Martin Sorrell has a keen eye for acquisition (both hostile and friendly) when it comes to the marketing services industry. In the last year, Sorrell has taken an interest in online media & technology companies such as Wild Tanget, JumpTap, Video Egg, and most recently: 24/7 Real Media.

WPP’s strategy is remarkably different from other holding companies. As agencies struggle to meet the demands of new marketing, it appears that WPP is trying secure media outlets and for it’s client base in addition to it’s pursuit of interactive service expertise.

One might trace the roots of this investment strategy back to Sir Martin’s “Friend-Enemy” description of the Google-WPP relationship (WPP spent $200 Million+ with Google in 2006). As more and more media spending shifts online, Sorrell would like to squeeze as much as possible out of each budget.

As far as I’m concerned, this raises some serious ethical questions for WPP:

How will WPP’s media and advertising agencies make unbiased decisions when it comes to budget allocation?

While certain discounts will be undoubtedly be appreciated by clients, will the integrity of a brand’s marketing budget be sacrificed for the future success of WPP?

There is a reason that marketers contract media agencies to plan and buy: clients want expertise and relationship leverage in order to maximize the efficiency of their spend. If WPP purchases 24/7, will buyers still be able look at each and every ad network campaign opportunity equally?

Perhaps WPP should focus more on the evolution of some of its behind-the-times portfolio agencies (Grey Global Group?).

Related Links:

Advertising, Media & The Digital Revoultion

WPP: Group M Interaction Strategy Study, April 2007

[tags] Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP, 24/7 Real Media, Marketing.fm, marketing blogs, advertising, M&A, acquisitions, Ad Agencies [/tags]

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Yahoo & PayPal Integrate For Search Marketing

Yahoo announced a partnership today with PayPal to integrate the shopping system into their search ads. A sample is below:

Yahoo Ad

From Yahoo’s new PayPal site:

With the Yahoo! PayPal Checkout Program, a blue shopping cart icon appears next to your ad in Yahoo! search results. This can help your ad stand out, and let customers know you offer PayPal Express Checkout, from the brand known for security.

This is definitely an interesting move given that Yahoo had to respond to the recent Google Checkout initiative. Looking at the options on the table they could have either A – built their own system and hoped for global adoption B – purchase a smaller checkout system with a user base or C – partner with the largest checkout system, over 130 million users. Option C seemed to be the best option pairing up with PayPal. I will be watching this space closely to see how they integrate PayPal into the Yahoo search ads and what types of changes this means to advertisers. At the moment they are claiming that everything will be free which seems to be the offer de jour on the Internet. I am sure Yahoo has some brand name advertisers lined to test out and feature the new system and I will post more information when it becomes available.

[tags] search marketing, search engine marketing, Yahoo, PayPal, Yahoo PayPal, Marketing.fm, marketing, online marketing, advertising, SEM, Google, Google Checkout [/tags]

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