Category Archives: Marketing Madness

Marketing Madness: 11/16/09

static 6A bunch of stories that I’m obviously not going to get around to writing anything longer than a sentence or two each about…


Brian Morrissey in Adweek covers new research from Publicis’ Performics shop that users of social networks may be more receptive to more traditional direct-response advertising than has previously been believed.

Morriessey also has a story about how offering a deal, something that’s been a marketing technique since forever, may also be a key to marketing via social media. That’s largely based on a look at what makes the most popular brand presences on social media platforms so popular.

Unsurprisingly, while consumers are usually labeled as afraid of behavioral or other targeting by advertisers, their resistance drops when they’re offered free stuff.

Joseph Jaffe labels 2009 “The Year of Nothing” in an Adweek op-ed. As usual, I don’t completely agree with Jaffe but love the guy’s willingness to throw dynamite into a crowd and say what’s on his mind.

Social Media

You can now cross-publish your Twitter updates to your LinkedIn profile. Proceed with caution, though, as LI has never been about status updates and is definitely more professionally-minded than Facebook or Twiter. So choose your cross-posted updates carefully.

A revised re-tweet structure is coming to Twitter. It got rolled out last week to a limited user base but was pulled for some more bug testing but has begun to come back to some accounts. I really like the way they’re structured since it allows for more easy viewing of meta-data around updates, but some people don’t like them at all. Those people are probably also Packers fans, though, so you need to take that into account.

Mack points out that Twitter’s traffic is dropping while’s is rising. As with all looks at Twitter traffic, though, it needs to be noted that many experience users migrate to apps like Tweetdeck and only go back to the site rarely. So it’s not a 100% look at popularity/influence.


Are people really willing to pay for increased access to content? Or are they more willing to accept it if it’s part of something they already pay for? The best analysis of the story that everyone’s been talking about is definitely on AllThingsD.

More rumblings about how those with a stake in Hulu are becoming discontented with how its succeeding while the original networks are seeing problems. This time the problems seem to be centered around how there’s no clear divisions between the network ad sales staff and the same folks at Hulu, as well as the usual issues with pay walls, audience siphoning and such. NewTeeVee and PaidContent have good write-ups/summaries of the article as well.

Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 8/7/09


With AMC releasing the “Mad Man Yourself” avatar creation tool the goal, as of these things are, is to get people to use the end result as their Twitter profile pic. That leads Brian Morrisey to point to profile pictures as the next great branding opportunity.

Interactive ads are being tested on television in an attempt to get the same sort of direct response and increased engagement rates that online ads are receiving. So there may not be more 30 second ads but those ads that are broadcast are likely to contain opportunities for people to get involved and respond to them.

Advertising spending may never reach prior levels since the entire equation has now shifted, with marketers looking for outlets that provide more bang for fewer bucks, so those that cost a lot may now be faced with an entirely different reality. Many of those dollars are now being used on social media campaigns.

New metrics from TiVo show just how much of the audience is lost during the commercial breaks due to fast-forwarding.

The FTC is looking to crack down on behavioral targeting, but it’s unclear how far they’re willing to go since being too harsh on the market could have a negative impact on the online ad market as a whole.

Right. Cause what we needed were more intrusive ads that can’t be closed when they get between the viewer and the content. That’s just what people have been asking for, except that it’s the exact opposite of that. and Hulu are taking opposite tacks in the search for online streaming video profitability. CBS is seeing what the absolute breaking point in terms of ad volume is while Hulu looks to limit the number but have those that do get included have more of an impact.


Arguments of Fair Use aside, the Associated Press is moving ahead with a plan to charge $2.50 per word anytime someone copies more than five words from one of their original pieces. That’s so wrong-headed it’s hard to enumerate them all.

Local news stations are putting their broadcasts on YouTube in an effort to, like everything else, reach the audience online without investing in a massive infrastructure itself.

YouTube has joined a Publicis-backed consortium of companies of all sorts called The Pool, the goal of which is to create ad format standards for online video.

The latest study on communications spending from VSS is out, showing that, with a couple of mild exceptions, most sectors are in a lot of trouble over the next five years. There are some bright spots but overall spending is not expected to rebound to previous levels.

The WSJ says it will no longer agree to “herd embargoes” – those where it’s one of a bunch of pubs the story is pitched to but have to remain mum about – but will still honor exclusives.

Social Media

One of the buried factoids in the EngagementDB report from a couple weeks ago is that Twitter is the most linked-to social network within marketer’s emails. That’s not that surprising considering that’s where everyone’s attention is right now, as well as the fact that those URLs are so short and pretty unlike the random number strings that some networks use., a URL shortening service I’ve been using with some regularity, probably won’t incorporate ads but it probably will launch a news service based on what stories are being submitted.

MySpace is reported to be launching its own version of a tool that would allow people to import their activity into their MySpace feeds in much the same way Facebook Connect does there.

Tom points out that RSS is still nowhere near mass adoption, with many people using it accidentally.

Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 7/31/09


The upfronts are finally beginning to move forward and the networks are finally starting to log some sales. It’s not like commercial time is flying off the shelf though, and the take for networks might be in the $1 – $1.5 billion range, down from over $9 billion last year – even though they’re not conceding as much on pricing as buyers were initially asking them to. Networks have still, though, only booked 25 percent of their inventory and the Fall season is only two months away. Declines in CPM rates have not been as great as buyers were hoping for but still more than the networks were angling for.

I actually don’t think the call by some publishers to do away with ad networks is about anything other than them wanting to stop blogging from being profitable, thereby eliminating the new media competition they see biting their heels.

Spending on word-of-mouth marketing efforts reached $1.5 billion last year according to PQ Media and is expected to grow over 10 percent this year. In-game ads also continue to grow.

The next big thing in the marketing industry is the connecting of consumer’s offline behavior with what they do online. All of this is over and above, of course, what people are voluntarily sharing about themselves on social networks and blogs.


The AP thinks its copyright infringement anytime there’s a link and a headline to its content, whether that means in a blog post or simply the results of a Google search. Rex Hammock points out why this argument is completely insane on a number of levels and Danny Sullivan realizes that, by this definition, the use of Google by AP employees means they themselves are engaging in blatantly violating copyright.

The idea of “nichepapers” makes a lot of sense, but mostly because that’s exactly what the blogs have been doing for years now. This model also kind of necessitates an aggregation system, either in the form of an RSS reader or something that looks very much like a newspaper, collecting the niche content in one place for people to sort through.

Social Media

NewsGator is shutting down their free, online RSS reader and recommending people switch over to Google Reader, making it easy for people to sync with that product. I used to use NewsGator and am disappointed to see it go since there were a lot of things about it people used, including its integration with Microsoft Outlook and such.

Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 7/24/09


With so much speculation about what the FTC will do and especially with BlogHer happening right about now, everyone’s writing about mommybloggers and how they deal with marketers. There are stories about backlashes, advice about making sure those posts are segregated and more. David Griner has a great post up about this issue that places it in the context of the entire marketing industry and its relationship with blog media. And Jeremy Pepper hits the nail on the head when it comes to being “that PR person” at BlogHer.

An op-ed in Mediapost makes the case for not considering online marketing with a completely different set of expectations than would be used for offline. Some good points in there.

A recent survey shows that it’s not that people mind online advertising, it’s that they’re honked off by ads that expand their screens, take over the page, are impossible to close and are otherwise completely annoying. Of course these are the kind of ads that have the best “branding” impact and are therefore always being sought by advertisers.

Search is expected to be the biggest growing online advertising medium despite some fears about its actual impact among marketers.

Online ad prices are ticking upward according to Pubmatic.


Over 1,000 publishers of all shapes and sizes have joined a consortium organized by Attributor that’s designed to track down mis-appropriations of their editorial content. The idea is that Attributor’s tracking service would find sites that are grabbing publisher’s material and contact not only the person running that site but also the networks that sell ads on that site and pressure them to give them, the original publisher, the ad revenue that’s resulted from the stolen content. The story is light on details as to how much content would have to be used to trigger an Attributor action. One paragraph? Two sentences?

The AP is also implementing a system to track its content online, one that’s based on meta-data. But, as that post points out, it doesn’t really solve the problems the AP has raised in the past.

The head of the FCC wants to revisit the rules for broadcasters relating to children’s programming. That should be a fun conversation.

I’m actually relieved by the idea that the editor of The New York Times website places stories on the front page based on their importance and not based on their popularity. Makes me feel like someone’s doing it right and not just chasing clicks.

Social Media

A new study of how Twitter is perceived by advertising professionals versus how it’s perceived by the general public…well…it actually winds up showing just what you’d expect, that ad folks think it’s a lot more useful than most people. But the opinions start to become more similar when the responses from the general public are narrowed to just those who already have drunk the Kool-Aid.

MySpace is launching their own webmail product, giving people an “” address they can create. I’m not sure what the attraction is going to be since you have to have an email address in order to sign up for MySpace, so all it really means is another inbox to check.

YouTube has expanded the availability of its Insight metrics so that video publishers can show off how popular those videos are.

Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 7/17/07


People are voluntarily sharing more information than ever before even as they don’t want advertisers mining their online behavior for the purposes of serving up ads, despite research that shows ad relevance – and subsequently click rates – go up as a result. That’s an interesting paradox of the current age that’s free of easy answers.

People say they don’t go online for product and service recommendations but frequently share their own experiences and recommendations on those social sites. That seeming contrary behavior doesn’t mean brands are free to not participate and in fact should absolutely do so if they wish to remain relevant.

More coverage of the “sponsored posts” issue, this time focusing specifically on “mommybloggers” – the favorite of PR people everywhere for their influence and social circle – and the way they interact with the brands that are keen to get their attention. All of this has prompted one blogger to call for a “PR Blackout” week among mommybloggers that would be free of sponsored posts, product reviews and other such material and instead get back to moms talking about their kids, marriages and other topics that the blogs are *supposed* to be about. Caroline McCarthy points out that a week is not exactly a major period of time and highlights other wholes in the entire frustrating issue.

Nielsen has expanded its web measurement panel to be eight times larger then it had been, allowing for a larger sample size of sites and behavior and hopefully resulting in more accurate results.

Stephen Baker at BusinessWeek takes a look at the evolving world of behavioral targeting in advertising and marketing.

Despite the availability and growing acceptance of other forms of metrics, a Forrester report says most online marketers are still dependent on click-through rates to determine success.


PaidContent rounds-up some of the thinking that’s been published about what to do with BusinessWeek in the wake of news the title’s publisher was looking to put it up for sale.

The editor of The Financial Times made comments expressing his belief that within a year most media organizations will be charging for content. He admits he’s unsure how the payment models will work from either the publisher or the reader standpoint but sees it as something that’s inevitable.

One initiative that’s leading that charge is Journalism Online, a company begun by media personality Steven Brill, that wants to create a single platform for multiple pubs to setup pay walls of some form. That group says it is getting close to launch but hasn’t released an initial affiliate list yet not because of lack of interest but because new pubs are being added so fast the list is out-of-date as soon as it’s updated.

Social Media

Fox Interactive wants to turn MySpace into an entertainment portal, according to reports. I’m confused as I thought that’s what it already largely was. Mashable thought likewise until it saw numbers from Hitwise that said differently. There also seems to be some lack of mission clarity internally.

I’m having increasing problems with companies that only respond to customer complaints when they’re being voiced on social networks and blogs while they still outsource and minimize the importance of their phone or other systems. The story of “United Breaks Guitars” is what’s got me thinking about this again.

Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 7/10/09


The New York Times advises that ad agencies need to drop their problems with internet companies and make friends if they want to survive. We would laugh in this day and age if we read about advertisers having problems working the television broadcasters in the 1950s and we’ll probably laugh at how much hand-wringing was done in the ad industry over the internet 30 years from now.

Intuit invites only a few select hardcore users of QuickBooks into an enthusiast community, but those people wind up providing a ton of content, recommendations and tips to others, an arrangement that allows them to run a high-quality site while cutting their own tech/customer support costs. That’s contrary to the conventional “let everyone in” approach some people advocate but it’s working for them so good job.

A Microsoft advertising executive lays out the case that the growth of the online advertising industry is largely dependent on the adoption of traditional media measurements like reach and frequency and a de-emphasis of hard metrics like click-rates. It’s an intriguing argument and one that I think is going to become more widely held as time goes on.

Amazon has applied for a patent relating to its Kindle e-book reader that could hint at plans for ad-supported versions of books being made available, possibly as an add-on to someone buying the physical version. It’s unlikely they’re going to go placing ads alongside paid-for electronic versions. That being said, no actual plans have been announced and it’s all speculation at this point.

Facebook is outpacing MySpace not only in visitors but also in its attractiveness to advertisersaccording to a new eMarketer study.


Time Inc’s Maghound magazine buy/subscribe/swap site is not doing so great – at least as measured by new subscriptions racked up – after a year of operation. Those within the company say that’s somewhat because they haven’t done much promotion while they work out the issues. I’d say continue with it and see if it works out.

The Associated Press and Media Standards Trust are working develop a standard for micro-formats for newspapers that will hopefully help their news stories appear higher in search engine rankings by maximizing the effectiveness of each story’s meta-data. This is going to be interesting to watch, especially when some of the more forward-thinking blog owners see what’s being done and adopt their own version of these standards.

Social Media

A recent survey by WorkPlace Media says only 43 percent of employees are actively updating the social networks they frequent while at work and even then most only spend a half-hour or so doing so. That’s good news for employers but bad news for advertisers looking to reach those folks during the day.

Sarah Perez writes about what FriendFeed could do to be even more useful in the wake of their announcement of real-time search functionality being added.

I agree that Twitter has to do something about the spam problem if it wants to continue to be brand-friendly, but not for the reasons laid out in this MediaPost article. If brands take to Twitter to attract an audience, they’re not going to want that audience constantly bombarded with messages to follow someone for hot pix in the wake of the official dispatches from a legitimate company. Forget advertising appearing on the pages, it’s the disruption of the stream that’s going to be the biggest problem.

Facebook has launched its first official widget, the Fan Box, that allows members to take their activity streams to their own sites. It’s an interesting move since the taking of that content off-site would seem counter-intuitive but also has some benefits for both the brands that are on Facebook and the social network itself, most of which are captured by Ian Schafer.

Marketing in Madness in 60 Seconds: 7/3/09


Display ads will come to Dish Networks in early 2010 thanks to a partnership between that company and WPP’s GroupM. That system will likely then be rolled out to DirecTV and possibly even beyond that as addressable ads continue to be all the rage for cable television.

Advertising executives have an idea of what the impact of DVR ad-skipping is having on their business but don’t know how to counteract it.

Digital College Network is a new start-up out-of-home advertising network that is installing screens that will display entertainment, advertising and other content on those screens, which will be placed in college bookstores across the country.

YouTube has introduced new overlay ads that can link to an outside website directly. Overlays were all the rage about a year and a half ago and it’s odd they waited this long to jump on this bandwagon.

A study done by a television industry trade group says that television is a more effective environment for advertising than the web, especially in terms of “emotional engagement.” I’m awash in shock.

Advertisers have agreed in principle to new self-regulatory guidelines that would give web users more control over behaviorally targeted online ads. The proposed guidelines from the AAAA would require ISPs, ad servers (including Google, Yahoo and others) and companies that make browser toolbars to get opt-in agreements from users before serving up such ads, though how that assent is given and to what extent it would be applied remains unclear.


The New York Times is dropping a restriction it had placed on member papers that content must appear in print first. Members can now post original NYT pieces on their sites before that content appears in print, a move designed allow those member papers to evolve to meet consumer needs.

Social Media

Flickr has made it easier to post the photos you upload there to Twitter.

Twitter has started the process of trying to copyright “tweet” in response to the wide-range of applications that use that word in their names. It says it won’t go after those currently using the word but just want to make sure that, since it’s so connected in people’s minds with Twitter, it’s not being abused.