Advertising can be so boring sometimes. It’s far more engaging to create an advert that makes your prospective customers stop and stare while they try to figure out what it is you’re trying to market to them. Then the moment of realisation kicks in when they figure out what your product or service is and that’s when it gets stuck in their minds and advertising recall pays off.

Here’s some great examples on these two pages (link 1 and link 2).

My favourite I think has to be this one advertising a casino in an airport:

Widget spend to grow

March 19, 2008

Widgets are gaining some serious traction! U.S. companies have spent approx $15m on widget based campaigns in 2007 and that is projected to grow to $40m in 2008.

That spend reflects only 2.5% of the total amount that is projected to be spent on social network advertising in the next year. Now that’s quite low, I believe this is because so many widget campaigns have been so poorly executed in the past year and corporates are having difficulty seeing the potential ROI in comparison to traditional banner advertising and more brand led efforts (such as sponsored pages and profiles).

I stick by my earlier prediction that 2008 will be the year of the widget; if portability, engagement and usefulness are all kept in mind then a widget campaign can serve both branding and conversion. For more on my thoughts on widgets see this post.

For more on widget spend visit eMarketer.

Phorm; good or bad form?

March 17, 2008

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has come out as against the planned Phorm advert and tracking network today (more here from the BBC).

It was announced a couple of weeks ago that leading ISP’s were planning to use Phorm as a platform to serve up targeted adverts to ISP registrants. It’s been touted as a great way to provide more relevant ads to users and all the initial talk seemed like PR spin designed to mask any potential privacy issues.

Now at last the privacy issues are getting a good airing!

Personally I’m against my ISP using the data of my surfing habits for advertising purposes. I use my ISP for access to the internet, I do not expect them to share my data on surfing habits with anyone (unless asked to by the authorities…).

Other blogs are asking what the fuss is about this and comparing Phorm to behavioral targeting technologies in use on retail websites. I disagree with this completely as this is going to collect data at the ISP level and share it with any websites which serve adverts through Phorm, this makes it far more pervasive.

An interesting question has to be asked though; how does this differ to Google / Doubleclick? If Google starts to share behavioral search data with Doubleclicks ad serving platform isn’t that going to be similarly invasive to users privacy? Potentially; although at least we expect that from Google as an ad revenue based business…

Interestingly, the BBC has just published a story that states that the Foundation for Information Policy Research has claimed that Phorm could well be illegal. They believe Phorm contravenes the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), which protects users from unlawful interception of information.

This has the potential to get very interesting and could open up other networks and ad serving technologies to scrutiny.

A widgets masterclass

March 3, 2008

Here’s an interesting series of articles and audio/video from Business Week on the subject of widgets. The series is designed to help influence CEO’s as to whether it’s worth dipping your toes in the waters of widgets (I’m a believer so I’d say yes, go for it).

Building a brand with widgets gives a good overview as to why it may be important to your brand to embrace new technologies and distribution channels such as widgets in order to promote your brand and discusses the viral aspects that can make brands fly online.

Widgets: The future of online ads is a piece singing the praises of widgets and all they stand for. On the flip side Why widgets don’t work is a counterpoint playing devils advocate.

A widget mogul in between classes is about the up and coming Facebook app developer Ankur Nagpal who’s made six figures at the age of 19 creating apps for Facebook.

When Facebook ads flop introduces us to some of the many unused Facebook applications and gives reasons for their failure. What’s good about this piece is the fact that most of the apps are from large companies with mature marketing strategies and yet they’ve still got it wrong, should be a warning to us all.

The CEO guide to widgets is a podcast talking about the use of widgets for advertising on social networks.

Finally, Making money from widgets is a video interview with VideoEgg CEO Matt Sanchez discussing how to go about monetising the widget world.

Great series of articles, definitely recommend sending this to your CEO (or manager…) if they really don’t seem to get it yet!

Google losing some favour?

February 26, 2008

ComScore have released some data showing that clicks on ads on Google were down 7% in January compared to December and flat year-on-year (actually down 12% qtr-on-qtr).

This is pretty astounding news after the growth Google has seen in ad clicks over the last few years. The thought is that this isn’t anything fundamentally to do with Google or any competitor taking market share away, rather analysts seem to think this is a sign of the economic uncertainty we are currently seeing. Times are hard so people click less on ads….

What would be interesting is to see the search volume data alongside this click data to see whether searches have declined or stayed the same.

Needless to say Google’s shares have taken a bit of a battering today because of this.

Every click counts!

February 25, 2008

As we’ve all known for a long time measuring the success of online ad campaigns based on the last-click is not really representative of how engaging your advert or link is to users.

Finally Microsoft have announced a solution that may be the beginning of the end for these old advertising techniques.

Engagement Mapping will allow campaigns to be attributed to every click in the journey of a user, one suspects that means they will attribute percentages of sales to each click to end up with a weighted user journey.

This is good news and great progress but what is needed now is a tracking tool that will allow conversions to be tracked in this way across channels such as affiliates, paid search and banners and attribute sales correctly. Only then will online marketers really understand the ROI each channel is delivering.

But nearly…

Google has come in for the year at £1.3B of ad revenue from the UK alone. Estimates say that the TV channel ITV1 will come in at around £1.32B plus some £100M in sponsorship.

This is still pretty awesome from Google and they should take the lead next year as mobile expands and advertising moves to other platforms (and if they ever get DoubleClick properly into the fold).

More from the Guardian.