Not everything should be advertised with cupcakes.
In my travels around the interwebs lately, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in online advertising: Cupcakes.
Today alone I counted 14 different online ads, for 14 different products (none of them cupcakes or even bakeries, by the way), which featured brightly coloured images of cupcakes.
Measuring advertising isn’t a new problem.
Social media hasn’t made it any worse.
When I was first working in advertising, I read a quote that’s always stuck with me, because I mostly think it’s true: ”I know half of my advertising dollars are wasted. I just don’t know which half.” The quote is attributed to John Wanamaker, the famous department store mogul – who died in 1922.
How do you know if your campaign is working? Evaluating the value of display advertising campaigns can be real challenge. "You gauge current campaigns against past performance or compare across multiple campaigns and advertisers within your roster of brands or clients" says Pamela Eng, Product Marketing Manager at Google.
Advertisers and agencies alike are looking for more data to answer the basic questions of "How do I know if my display ad campaigns are doing well?" and "Are there credible benchmarks can I use to compare the results on my current campaign?"
Not all online advertising networks are created equal.
There are hundreds of ad networks in Canada (or serving the Canadian advertising marketplace); thousands (and even hundreds of thousands) around the world. Some are huge and focus on a specific target audience, like Intergi; others, like Redux, focus onniche content with a broader range.
It happens every year: A huge amount of hype about all the fantastic Superbowl ads, one or two that get ‘banned’ (frankly, my advice to a client with a limited media budget would be to simply produce a spot that was so totally over the line that it got banned, like, ASAP – virtually guaranteeing a zillion views online without having to spend the GDP of Micronesia to put it on air) – and then…meh.
At first, this Snickers spot wasn’t grabbing me, either:
I don’t mind the premise of these Snickers ads – where a whining celebrity turns out to be a real person who’s just a little ‘hangry’ (that’s ‘hungry’ plus ‘angry’).
When was the last time you clicked the little RSS button on a blog you liked? If you’re like me, you probably can’t remember.
There are probably 3 reasons for this:
- Your RSS notification window is already filled to bursting with updates from blogs you liked in, like, 2008, but don’t read any more
- The 5 sites you do read on a regular basis are already bookmarked – you don’t need updates from them
- Your smart Twitter management means that you’re reading about stuff as it gets posted by people you’re following on Twitter – you don’t have to wait til one of your favourites gets around to posting something
Kroc Camen thinks
As the market matures, engagement
will trump CTR every time
It wasn’t so very long ago that the only metric everyone was talking about was clickthrough rates, because surely, if you could measure something (clickthroughs), they must be driving revenue.
But here’s an interesting factoid: I just spent 15 minutes looking for a credible case study tying clickthrough rates to actual revenue (for an advertiser, not a content provider), and came up with nothing.
Conclusion? Clickthroughs just aren’t cutting it any more. This article has some interesting ideas as to why that’s happened. (The one exception to this may be iPhone apps, which are currently generating some interesting revenue. But it’s still a nascent marketplace and I’m pretty sure we’re not getting all the facts.)
Because there’s a difference between ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’.
These days, more and more of us are getting our news online: A year ago, Pew Research reported that 61% of Americans got their news online at least some of the time; a recent study says that almost 50% of the 18-29s cite the internet as their primary – and increasingly, their only – source of news.
What is changing, however, is the use of social media in the whole ‘news’ landscape: In 2009, for example, Twitter emerged as a bonafide source of news, especially in regions where ‘free press’ is non-existent, or in up-to-the-minute local news (”Just saw a truck full of pigscrash on the highway, and now there are pigs running everywhere”).
Why is this such a big deal?
Because social media has more credibility than it used to.
By now, you probably know that Justin Bieber’s world domination started when he posted videos of his 13-year-old self singing into a webcam in his bedroom on YouTube. Usher saw the videos, signed Bieber, and the rest is David Cassidy-esque history. And Justin Bieber’s not the only one who started his career on YouTube.
That Fred guy even has a whole movie coming out.
2+ million views still counts as ‘under the radar’
If you’re not a big YouTube watcher, however, you may not know that YouTube has generated a whole lot of ‘celebrities’ – people who are famous on YouTube but who aren’t featured on the cover of People and Us magazine and aren’t household names.
I used to think “nexus” was a word I would only use in conversation with my Trekkie friends. But now, it seems we’re fast approaching a nexus point for online ad networks, and William Shatner is nowhere in sight.
Over the last four years, we have seen the birth and rapid assimilation of the advertising exchange across the industry. The ad exchange model, for those of you who are new to this, is a marriage of an ad serving solution for networks with a marketplace. This enables all advertisers and publishers connected to the marketplace to share both inventory and sales, thus increasing their reach and eliminating unsold impressions. The major players in this arena are Yahoo!’s Right Media Exchange and Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange.