Wednesday, 30 May 2007

TV That Cures

Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis and Procter & Gamble are behind a TV station focused on informing audiences about their drugs. The European Patient Information Channel (Epic - get it?) would be a IP based and an interactive TV channel funded by the companies featuring health related health news and content. The core would be detailed messaging from drug companies about their specific products.

More here from The Guardian...

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Online Lead Generation

Online lead generation was by far the fastest growing category of online ad spending in 2006, with a 71 percent year-on-year growth. While all the hype and clamour is around search or the future of display advertising, online lead generation has an ace card that none of the others provide: explicit permission. Permission for the advertiser to retain my contact details and get in touch with me for future marketing purposes. Relevant, permission-based communications that cut through the clutter....

Friday, 25 May 2007

30" Google

Google has announced a beta program for the buying, selling, measurement, and delivery of television ads underpinned by a digital workflow process. Certainly, a logical extension of their foray (yet to be proven as a resounding sucess) into the world of radio... More here.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Marketing & Technology

Maybe I am on to something here...

Publicis acquires Digitas for $1.3 billion
Yahoo! acquires Right Media for $680 million
Google acquires DoubleClick for $3.1 billion
WPP acquires 24/7 Real Media for $649 million
Microsoft acquires aQuantive for $6 billion
And (on the smaller side), AOL acquires Adtech and ThirdScreenMedia
Microsoft acquires ScreenTonic

Seems the connections are getting thicker...

Friday, 18 May 2007

Learning From Yahoo Answers

Using an approach similar to that of the popular Yahoo Answers (I use it almost constantly and am amazed by the quality of responses I get), Bazaarvoice has launched its new Ask & Answer product. The moderated service uses the power of social search to keep visitors on a site rather that researching a question elsewhere - or to have them come back to check on the status of a question they posed. Customers who leave an email address will be informed that their question has been answered. The service sits alongside more conventional product information and allows visitors to ask specific questions such as, "Will this plant grow in Texas?" and to get answers from other customers with direct experience. Sounds like an interesting way to increase the pitiful commerce sites conversion rates of around 2.6%...

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

What Are You Looking At?

Eyebox2 is a camera that monitors eye movements from as much as 10 metres away, previous solutions have been much more limited in range and therefore effectiveness. The camera, developed by a team from Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, will allow intelligent billboards and supermarket shelves to check for themselves if they have caught your attention. The really smart ones could perhaps do something about it if they haven't...

Monday, 14 May 2007

Behavioral Targeting & Jean Cocteau

What on earth does Jean Cocteau have to do with behavioral targeting? Read on.

As the founder of my company, Lester Wunderman says – the beauty of the Internet is that it connects advertisers with customers directly – evolving targeting techniques are making this more of a reality day by day. I spent a few days recently at ad:tech in San Francisco. In all, I attended 8 or nine panel discussions on various topics around marketing in the online world. The one theme that kept coming back to the surface was that of behavioral targeting. As defined by Wikipedia:

Behavioral Targeting is a technique used by online publishers and advertisers to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns. The idea is to observe a user’s online behavior anonymously and then serve the most relevant advertisement based on their behavior. Theoretically, this helps advertisers deliver their online advertisement to the users who are most likely to be influenced by them.

To underline this, consider the difference between behavioral and contextual targeting - Behavioral considers how someone acts not just once but over an extended period of time and, as such requires a collection of data and the construction of a progressive profile based on that activity. Contextual targeting on the other hand involves showing someone an ad that is relevant to what that person is doing at that point in time. This is the way Google’s Adsense product works – it displays an ad relevant to the page on which you find yourself with no regard to where you came from. In a straight comparison to search data – and what John Battelle famously called “the database of intentions”, behavioral targeting by its very nature creates a database of attentions…which we can interrogate to help us uncover our prospective customers’ mindset and motivations and therefore engage with them in a relevant and meaningful way.
Within behavioral targeting itself there are two possible approaches; extended content targeting - an advertiser will be targeting a prospect who has looked at a particular type of content (i.e. a review of the latest Ford crossover vehicle) by presenting an ad to that person when she on a different type of content (i.e. a banner for the Ford Edge on the New York Times site). The second type, purchase intent targeting, - more truly behavioral, used when an advertiser identifies somebody within a purchase cycle. They are looking for someone who is actually researching a product or talking about buying. Think of this as climbing the sales funnel to identify prospects as they approach the point of purchase. This is an interesting way to take advantage of a much broader reach, because sites like automotive are quickly out of inventory.

Understandably, there are privacy concerns around doing this type of targeting. The industry is trying to minimize such concerns through education, advocacy & product constraints to keep all data collected non-personally identifiable.
Furthermore, overlaying behavioral targeting with other types of segmentation could be problematic – if you have a specific demographic or geo that you want to focus on, then you could seriously limit your exposure. Another possible weakness is around working out what content should be targeted - Because I read an article about driving in the Swiss Alps, is that an indicator of my desire to visit Switzerland or to buy a car? And how should similar content on different websites be categorized? Does it mean the same thing if I read an article about crossover vehicles on as it does when I read a similar article on the New York Times site?

All of this brings me back to the second part of the title – Jean Cocteau the French poet and sometime Boxing manager once said:
“Les miroirs devraient réfléchir plus longtemps avant de renvoyer les images “
(Mirrors should reflect longer before returning our images). The quote seems perfectly appropriate for the future of behavioral targeting as a discipline and the way advertisers should approach using it…..

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Behavioral Targeting For Avatars

Inworld Advertising Network and German targeting specialist have got together to demonstrate real-world behavioral targeting capabilities on the Second Life platform. Depending on the interest-profile and journey (path) of an avatar, personalized and relevant ads are shown immediately on billboards. A couple of privacy issues perhaps but then again it's an avatar and not a person, right?...

More here

Friday, 4 May 2007

Technology, Insights and Sanjaya

BuzzMetrics (recently fully acquired by Neilsen and merged with NetRatings - another story for another day) studied the phenomenon that was Sanjaya. According to Max Kalehoff, here's what they did: “We took a sample of all the blog posts about American Idol over a week, then focused on keyword Sanjaya, then mapped out all the most closely associated words and phrases, based on proximity, frequency, and contextual relevance.”

And the results.....

(note to my kids - see, I told you I was in a cool industry)

A New Search Interface

Do we really need one - or is the stripped down search box that Google provides the absolute best answer? There are a couple of different ways of skinning the search cat and one that I particularly like is Quintura... Quintura has a visual search capability which reminds me of the Visual Thesaurus of many years ago (Which, in my humble opinion was an example of Web 2.0 way before its time). I like the combination of searching and browsing that the cloud interface encourages...