Archive for the ‘Performance-based media’ Category

Quiz: What tech entrepreneur are you most like?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I’m a start-up founder just like many of you, and there are days when I wonder if I’m the only one who feels, acts and thinks the way I do. But there are others that have gone before, and you might be surprised to see which tech founder you are most like. Take our quiz and find out your answer to the question: What tech entrepreneur are you most like?

Click here to take the quiz

(UPDATE: I’m going to ask you for an email address at the end of the process. I wanted to warn you up front so that I don’t catch you off guard!)

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Quiz Sauce logoOne erectile dysfunction viagra of the things that we’re working on at Pure Incubation is launching a variety of software tools for publishers aimed at helping them solve their most crucial business issues. (If you want to know more about those publishing problem areas, read this post.) We’re doing this through our Sauce Technology business unit, and today I want to introduce you to a specific application – Quiz Sauce.

The quiz above was built using the application – give it a whirl and let me know what you think. Here’s the link to take the quiz in case you missed it above – What tech entrepreneur are you most like?

Banners get a boost

Monday, December 15th, 2008

I give a lot of attention to performance-based advertising formats such as search and lead generation. While I’m bullish on both at all times, I especially think that they are easier to buy and defend in a bad economy. Today Fred Wilson over at A VC wrote this post about a comScore white paper that described the lift that is generated by display advertising (banners). This article is definitely worth a read.

Banners definitely provide a positive benefit for advertisers. (And this research certainly proves it.) Like television, billboards and radio advertising, they defintely promote brand awareness, and, based on this study, a lift in sales. But the issue still remains that without a research study like this one running to measure the effectiveness of a specific banner, it is impossible to measure its ROI. And in this economy, it doesn’t matter how many studies like these are released, marketers are going to be looking for 1-to-1, measurable ROI.

Boost

Photo by Travis Isaacs

My love affair with TweetDeck

Monday, December 8th, 2008

I joined Twitter for the first time in October 2007. My journey using the tool hasn’t always been smooth, as I’ve documented here, here and here. But over time, Twitter has become increasingly useful to me in my business and personal life. Last week, I started using TweetDeck, thanks to a recommendation from @jmeserve, and it has changed my Twitter life.

TweetDeck provides a clean and easy-to-use interface that allows me to read the stream of posts from my followers, as well as to monitor my @replies and direct messages all in one pane. More importantly, TweetDeck also allows me to create sub-groups of followers that I want to monitor differently (or more closely). This was a problem that I originally tried to solve by creating a second Twitter account, but I like TweetDeck’s solution so much better. Perhaps the coolest feature of TweetDeck is the TwitScoop interface, which shows me “what’s buzzing right now” using a tag cloud that highlights the topics that are getting the most buzz on Twitter at any given moment. Today I found out about the Chicago Tribune filing for bankruptcy, the fighter jet crash in San Diego, and the new Blackbird browser all from using this feature.

The best thing about TweetDeck, however, is how quickly it has made me more effective at using Twitter. Just today, I spotted a post from @garyvee in real-time, responded quickly, and got a fantastic plug back that resulted in 100 new followers in about 10 minutes. (See the string of messages, along with a screenshot of the interface below.)

Moral of the story? TweetDeck is a powerful business tool, and I highly recommend it. If you’re not using Twitter yet, get started today here and follow me at @mchang16.

GaryVee original message

Mchang reply to garyvee

Gary vee reply

And here’s the screen of TweetDeck – it’s a bit hard to see because the screenshot shrunk when it was posted, but the first column is the full feed of all the people I follow, the second column is my “must reads,” the third column is the TwitScoop and off to the right is my @replies.

TweetDeck Screenshot

You must make the move to measurable media today

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

With the economy in the tank, there are a lot of people who are understandably worried about their businesses and their jobs. Companies that rely on marketing for revenue are especially concerned; historically, marketing budgets are among the first to be cut when there is a downturn. In the dotcom bust early this century, the slicing of marketing budgets directly contributed to the demise of several publications, including one that I worked for at the time.

I have said this before, and I will say it again now – if you are a media company that relies on advertising for revenue, you need to start offering a performance-based, ROI-based media option today.

If you don’t believe me, let’s look to someone who knows something about online advertising – Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Google just announced their earnings for the third quarter of 2008, and in the press release, Schmidt said this:

“The measurability and ROI of search-based advertising remain key assets for Google.”

Measurablility and ROI-based marketing programs are what are going to be the key assets to get Google through the hard time. I say, why not follow the leader?

The markets are down (again) so let’s talk about marketing instead

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

My latest article has just been posted on The Industry StandardFive ways media companies can take advantage of the shift to performance-based media.

New dollar billWith the markets down 30% year-to-date and nations around the world joining the U.S. in an economic downward spiral, it might feel like anything related to the economy or spending money is bad news. But there are bright sides to any situation if you look at it from a different perspective, and this situation is no exception.

When the economy dips, and companies take a hit, one of their first budgets to be cut is often the marketing budget. Marketing can feel like unnecessary spending for businesses, and it’s easy to cut one month and then quickly pick up the next month again when the company is doing better.

During the dotcom bust of the early 2000’s, I was working for Publish magazine, a trade magazine/Website focused on “Internet communication.” That magazine, like many others (including The industry Standard) folded due to the bad economy and the cut that IT companies were making to their marketing budgets.

But those were the days before performance-based media. Google, the leader (and pioneer) of PPC and performance-based advertising, launched its AdSense program in October 2000, but it didn’t gain traction until 2002. At that time, marketing budgets were easy to cut because marketing execs couldn’t prove ROI on the money they were spending. But today, when $1 out is easily measured to x dollars back, I believe that companies that provide performance-based advertising options will be insulated (a bit) from the downturn.

This isn’t to say that companies will be entirely shielded. But when some amount of revenue is easily tied back to a smaller amount of spending, companies will not be inclined to cut that spending.

Dollar bill by reubenaingber

Online advertising moving to interactive & measurable formats

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

MeasureJust saw a story this morning about Carat’s advertising outlook for 2009. Even though they are revising their forecast down to reflect the weak economy, they are raising their forecast for online advertising from 23.3% to 23.7% in 2008. For 2009, they are predicting that online advertising will grow 18.6%, vs. earlier estimates of 17.8% growth.

The most interesting bit in the article, however, is this:

[Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of Aegis Media] said the growth in online’s ad spending share has less to do with the growth of consumer use of online media, and more to do with a secular shift within the advertising industry that is driving marketers and agencies toward media that deliver measurable returns on advertising investments.

“With search now central to the planning and execution of any campaign, online media brings a greater level of accountability not just to itself but to TV, print and other forms of advertising,” he said. “This is why we are predicting further strong growth for internet, even when advertisers are cautious in many of the other sectors.” (bold and italics mine)

This shift to performance-based media, sometimes called ROI advertising, is going to continue until most (if not all) advertising is based on performance metrics. Not only is search advertising going to continue its phenomenal growth in leading this sector, but lead generation is going to continue to grow quickly. Joining them will be other media that traditionally have not been measured but will move in that direction, including video and even print.

Marketers have always headed in the direction of measurable media programs. Just think of the 1-800 numbers that can be traced back to specific ads. With money tight, even more dollars will be adjusted to go to these programs that can prove they are worth the money they cost to run.

Photo by aussiegall

Consumers not the cause of Google's slide

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Google logoGoogle’s stock price is dropping, and people are freaking out. Yesterday’s stock price drop was in response to a recent report from Comscore indicating that January 2008 showed only flat growth year-over-year versus a 25% increase in Q4. This apparently is the result of lower click-through rates on paid search ads, and people are worried that this means that Google is exposed to a slowdown if there is a recession in the U.S.

The near-panic is somewhat understandable considering that the overall U.S. economy isn’t doing all that great, the tech folks are scared of another bubble, Microsoft is talking about taking over Google, Apple’s stock is dipping, and everyone is looking for someone – anyone – to believe in. Google has been the obvious choice for a long time, and no one wants the tech darling to falter.

But the thing that I take issue with is the notion that this decrease in clicks is a result of consumers clicking less because of a coming recession. These numbers from Hitwise show that there has been no decrease in overall search traffic to shopping sites – meaning that consumers are still clicking.

And if consumers are still clicking on search links, why would they suddenly not be clicking on paid search ads? Could this be because consumers suddenly have become more discerning about what is a “paid” result vs. what is a “organic” result? No way.

My question for Google would be about how much of this decline comes from the dip in clicks on AdSense partner sites. My bet is that the clickthrough rates have dipped significantly on partner pages. Why? Primarily because of the click fraud prevention that Google has been implementing, as well as the “accidental clicking” measures that Google took back in November.

Google click change

Remember, this was the second change that Google made to its ads; the company first changed the paid results on its main search pages in April, a move that many advertisers said led to a decline in the number of clicks, but not in the amount of revenue that they were earning.

And this might just be the bottom line. If there is no growth in the number of clicks, but revenue is growing, Google may have figured out a way to increase ROI for advertisers. Like this Businessweek article says, we’ll have to wait for earnings in April to find out for sure.

What is SEO?

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

SEOSearch engine optimization or SEO is the practice of trying to get your Web site to appear higher in a search engine’s organic search results for the keywords for which you want to be listed. The idea is that if someone is searching for a term that is related to your business, you want to be listed at the top of the search results page because that person will be more likely to click on your listing and come to your Web site. Organic search results are the “natural” search results, or the listings that are free. More about organic vs. paid listings below.

There are many factors that contribute to where sites are listed in organic search results – the combination of these factors is called the “algorithm.” Only some of these factors can be impacted with SEO tactics:

  • Domain name – If your keywords are listed in your URL, you’ll have a better chance of being ranked higher in the search results for those terms.
  • Duration - The longer your site has existed, the higher you’ll be ranked.
  • Content – If you have high-quality content on your Web site, and the content matches the keywords for which you’re trying to rank, you’ll have better luck getting listed. It’s also beneficial if your site has frequently updated content.
  • Metadata – This is data that allows you to describe your Web site with a title, description and keywords. Metadata sits behind the scenes on your Web page and plays a factor in organic search results.
  • Incoming links – If your site has a number of other sites pointing to it, the search algorithms will determine that it’s of higher value and will list it higher in the search results. You will get an even bigger benefit from incoming links if the text that links to you contains the keywords for which you’re trying to rank.

SEO may sound like a relatively simple concept, but there are SEO experts who execute these tactics full-time and trust me – it’s more complex and difficult than it sounds. This post is just meant to be a starting definition of the term, and not a how-to or training guide in any way. For that info, follow the resources links below.

One quick comment about organic vs. paid search listings: All the various search engines display both free and paid listings on their search results pages. For example, if you type the term “SEO” into Google, the results that you get back will be a combination of organic (or natural) search results and paid search results. The screenshot below has the paid search results areas circled in red.

SEO google search

Let me say again that SEO can be fairly complicated and I am just scratching the surface with this definition. I definitely recommend checking out some of these additional SEO resources:

What's next for Internet advertising

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Look into the futureGoogle revolutionized Internet advertising in 2000 when it launched AdWords and the pay-per-click (PPC) model. This program was ground-breaking not just because the small text ads that ran alongside Google search results were served up based on relevance, but also because, for the first time, marketers paid only for an action (a click on their ad) – they didn’t have to pay for the thousands of impressions that were not clicked. With AdWords, performance-based media was born.  

Once advertisers demonstrated that they were willing to pay for any click, it was a short leap to believe that they would be willing to pay even more to know exactly who it was that was clicking. Today, lead generation and pay-per-conversion models (Google calls this cost-per-action) have joined PPC as viable business models, providing even more information to marketers who are trying to reach their customers.

 

Lead generation and cost-per-action pricing models are already popular in the B2B world. In the IT market, for example, Web Buyer’s Guide, KnowledgeStorm and Bitpipe are providing lead generation services to the biggest technology companies, which pay anywhere from $20 to $120 per lead to reach the specific individuals that they think are most likely to buy their products.

The Internet advertising market is going to continuing to move from static advertising to performance-based media. According to the just-released IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, approximately 50% of 2007 second-quarter revenues were priced on a performance basis, up from 47% reported for the second quarter of 2006. Lead generation revenues accounted for 8% of the 2007 second-quarter revenues or $408 million, up from the 7% ($284 million) reported in the second quarter of 2006. Contrast those statistics with the fact that approximately 46% of 2007 second-quarter revenues were priced on a CPM or impression basis, down from 48% for the same period in 2006.

Performance-based media is the future. We have already seen the movement with traditional Web content. Blog content, podcasts and video are all moving toward incorporating PPC pricing models, as well. I think the next move for these newer content formats is lead generation and cost-per-action. Let’s take video as an example. Silicon Alley has a write up about how advertisers are starting to take video more seriously, but that CPMs are declining. There is a debate going on around how money is going to be made on video advertising – what kind of ads will be used, the length, the format, etc. Applying the move toward performance-based media, I believe that someone is going to develop a lead generation engine around online video that will provide advertisers not only with the information on what videos were watched and how many times, but by whom and what their demographics are. Web Buyer’s Guide has a product on the market that does this, and I think it’s just a matter of time until one of the major video providers offers this type of advertising package.

And looking even further down the road – what’s the next wave of performance-based media? Right now companies pay for leads, but what if in the future companies begin to pay only for customer acquisition, and after an individual makes a purchase the lead provider gets a percentage. A large percentage. Sound like the affiliate programs that are widespread in the consumer market? Sort-of. But what happens when the technology is developed for a video provider to track an individual from the first video that they watch that peaks their interest in a product, all the way to the buy, and the video provider gets a portion of the sale?

Now that’s performance-based media worth talking about.

Disclosure: I used to work for Web Buyer’s Guide.

 

~ Foggy Autumn ~