If Online Ad Targeting Works, Does More Targeting Work Better?

target roi A former colleague at Forrester Research recently published a study that described his view of the future of online marketing. The study is available to Forrester clients only, but the crux of the argument is laid out in a blog post: Why Google - Not Facebook - Will Build The Database Of Affinity. The author, Nate Elliot, describes large media companies building a "database of affinity," which he described thusly: Recently we described an idea called the database of affinity: A catalogue of people's tastes and preferences collected by observing their social behaviors on sites like Face [...]


7 Common Pitfalls Of Google Display Network Campaign Management

Test new approaches as often as Beckham changes his hair style! The Google Display Network has been around for a long time now, yet marketers continue to make many of the same mistakes over and over again. Here are seven common issues that can arise when running a display campaign if you don't stay on the ball. 1. Unnecessary Pausing Of Keywords You notice that your display campaign has suddenly started spending a lot more money and your cost-per-conversion has tripled. What's the first thing you look at? A lot of people would tend to go straight to the keywords (if targeting contextually) and try to pinpoint the highest spending term to either lower [...]


Unstructured Data In Display: Cut Through The Fog To Provide Insight

In my last article, I talked about the importance of unstructured data for optimal performance in display advertising. This time, I’d like to bring that conversation full circle and explore another aspect of what unstructured data provides in spades: insight. While performance is typically the primary way of measuring advertising efforts, insight about your specific buyer is undeniably the best way to kick-start that performance. So, while advertisers find themselves in a foggy haze of excess information, clear and accurate insight becomes invaluable. Here’s a look at how unstructure [...]


Fresh Out Of The Oven: Contextual Tastes Way Better Than Cookies

In recent years, using cookie data in behavioral targeting strategies has been heralded as a game-changer by online marketers. A large part of this attention is focused on data management platforms (DMPs) that enable behavioral targeting through the use of cookie data to categorize a user's website activity and optimize ad buying. Although this has led to noted improvements in ad effectiveness for national campaigns, we posit that locally-targeted ad campaigns with strict geographic limits do not see as much of a benefit as from other targeting techniques, such as page-level semantic analys [...]


The Highs & Lows Of Search Retargeting: Version 3.0 Is Here Already

I know this industry evolves fast, but damn! Just 18 months ago, most media planners and search marketers had not heard of search retargeting, and already we are in what could easily be called version 3.0. With the agency hat back on (for today), we look at whether this tactic is living up to the growing hype. When the principle was first explained to me, I was running an agency display media team at a search agency that was focused on direct response clients; I was therefore interested in tactics that involved precise data points as a way to focus on user intent. Search retargeting seem [...]


Twitter Promoted Tweets: Scandal Or Big Yawn?

Twitter's rumored Promoted Tweets are now official, launching only a day after the very similar TweetUp launched (will that be DOA?). Promoted Tweets has two phases, which might be described as an AdWords phase and an AdSense phase. The AdWords part is what is launching first. Marketers buy keywords (for now on a CPM basis) and their ads show up at the top of Twitter searches as sponsored tweets. It's paid search. And I can see the future SMX Advanced panel now: "Best Practices for Twitter Search Campaigns." Apparently Twitter has "huge" search volume, according to COO Dick Costolo, tho [...]


VigLink: Fire & Forget Solution To Turn Outbound Links Into Affiliate Earners

VigLink is a new service with venture capital backing from Google that aims to make it easy for publishers to earn through affiliate programs. It promises to turn any outbound link on a web site into an affiliate link after the installation of a small bit of JavaScript code. VigLink is in the news today primarily because the company has announced that it has closed a round of seed investment, for $800,000 in total. From the press release, funding sources include: Google Ventures, and individual investors including LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman, longtime Google executive and current LinkedI [...]


Micro-Hoo: The Details Emerge With SEC Filing

First to pounce on the SEC 8-K filing by Yahoo was PaidContent, which provides an extensive bulleted list of many of the deal terms not revealed last week during the frenzy of conference calls and articles that followed the official announcement of the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal. CNET also writes about selected aspects of the deal contained in the filing, specifically an "escape clause" (termination) for Yahoo (see below). And the AP has a short piece on how the deal terms require Microsoft to hire at least 400 Yahoo employees. Here are some verbatim excerpts from the SEC filing: Negotiat [...]


Behavioral Targeting Under Fire As ISP Backs Away From Tracking Subscriber Activities

Privacy is dead, get used to it. In the effort to rescue display advertising from its historically dismal performance and so-called "banner blindness," behavioral targeting (BT) was born a few years ago with Tacoda. It has both increased in popularity and infamy since that time. Consumers prefer more "relevant" ads but they also dislike being tracked. That's the paradox and the problem with BT. Here's the issue in a nutshell. According to a March 2008 survey by Truste (written up in MediaPost), "nearly three out of four people, or 71%, said they realize that companies track their Web browsin [...]


Don’t Automatically Dismiss The Content Network!

If you are like me, when you implement PPC campaigns one of the mental notes you have in your checklist is to go into the Campaign Settings for each campaign and prevent your ads from running on the content network. It turns out that this might be a mistake. At the recent SMX Advanced event in Seattle, I sat in on the Amazing New PPC Tactics panel. It was a good panel overall, but the one thing I wanted to highlight was the presentation by David Szetela of Clix Marketing, as David explained how to do content match marketing effectively. Understanding the problem The problem stems [...]


Yahoo Contextual Ads To Power “Ads For Adobe PDF”

Yahoo, Adobe team on PDF ads from News.com reports Yahoo and Adobe are working together to put contextual ads in PDF documents. Over at the Adobe Labs, you can find a new product named Ads for Adobe PDF. Yahoo will be powering the ads within PDF documents that are contextually relevant to the content within the PDF. If you produce PDF documents and want to monetize them with relevant ads, this seems to be the product for you. To get ads on your PDF documents, you will first need to be approved for the beta. To sign up for the beta, complete this form. Then you apparently upload your PD [...]


Facebook Tripartite Ad System Launched: Facebook Pages, Social Ads, & Beacon

Facebook has launched a new Facebook Ads program offering three major products for advertisers: Facebook Pages, a way for businesses to build branded pages on Facebook to connect with their audiences; Facebook Social Ads, an ad system allowing Facebook users to be targeted by demographic interest, and "friend activities," and Facebook Beacons, allowing activities at sites off Facebook to flow back in. Facebook Pages allow brands to have profile pages on Facebook in the same way that people have them. (see Coca-Cola's screenshot from ZDNet) with marketing messages, games, video, et [...]


BuzzLogic Introduces “Conversational Ad Targeting” On Blogs

BuzzLogic started out offering analytics to identify the blogs that were having the greatest influence on particular topics or "conversations" online. Now the company is moving into the online advertising space. In a new product extension, BuzzLogic is enabling advertisers to target text or display ads on any blog within the Google AdSense network. Marketers with existing AdWords accounts may create ads within BuzzLogic for the particular sites where the "conversation" about a product, service, or brand is happening. This capability doesn't exist within AdWords/AdSense itself. BuzzLogic has [...]


Superpages Rolls Out Video Advertising Nationally

Local search and directory provider Superpages has announced video advertising on a national basis after a several-month test in selected U.S. markets. All the major U.S. yellow pages advertisers are now offering video advertising, though all are in early stages of rolling it out. To my knowledge, Superpages is the only performance-based model where bidding would be involved. Superpages is charging advertisers a one-time $990 production fee and a small monthly recurring fee to have a video icon associated with their listings. For each consumer stream/click, advertisers would also be charged [...]


Blinkx Offers Video Ad Widget, Does Partnership With Social Search Engine Eurekster

On the heels of yesterday's Google AdSense video announcement, video search engine Blinkx has announced advertising for video using its "AdHoc" contextual ad platform. The difference is that the AdHoc contextual ad widget works with other video players embedded in third-party sites. As explained by the press release: Based on Blinkx’s ground-breaking AdHoc platform, the new widget places unobtrusive, highly-relevant text advertisements against embedded video from popular sharing sites such as YouTube, GoogleVideo, and DailyMotion. Blinkx will share 50 percent of the revenue generated fro [...]


State of the Contextual Nation: Why New Google Won’t Be Like New Coke

Was "Classic" Coke so much better than "New" Coke? It sure was in the real world. Why mess with a good thing? A favorite formulation turned out to be, well, still a favorite in spite of a more modern, "scientific" formulation. Google creates products that are a lot more complex than a soft drink. When all is said and done, I think the latest-generation product development protocols are going to have to lead to significant shifts in how advertisers interact with online ad platforms like AdWords. In the short term, for example, many of us have preferred "classic" Google AdWords Content Tar [...]


Microsoft Scores Video Game Ad Deal With EA

Microsoft, EA sign sports game ad deal from Reuters reports Microsoft signed a video game ad deal with Electronic Arts. Microsoft will feed EA's games, such as Madden, NASCAR, Tiger Woods, NHL and Skate, with advertisements. Cory Van Arsdale, chief executive of Massive, a game ad company Microsoft bought last year, said, "The real issue here is that we're making a network play. If I just had 'Madden,' while great, it would be of limited value to advertisers." EA is the number one independent video game maker. The video game ad market in 2005 was only $50 million but is expected to grow to [...]


How To Optimize A Contextual Search Advertising Campaign

The major pay per click engines, such as Google and Yahoo, include two different types of distribution: On their own search engine result pages, and on content pages elsewhere on the web. These two types of advertising, while often lumped together under the pay-per-click (PPC) label, are very different. Advertiser's ability to control these networks and consumer's interaction with these networks are completely different. Hence, they should be treated as completely separate types of distribution. It's easy to visualize the search network. Advertisers choose relevant keywords and then bi [...]


FAST Buys Recommendations Engine AgentArts

Enterprise search provider FAST Search & Transfer has acquired personalization platform and recommendations engine AgentArts. The technology will be folded into FAST's various enterprise search offerings, which include a range of site search and monetization options for online publishers. The company also has a mobile search partnership with InfoSpace. FAST has positioned itself as a complete platform to help publishers of all stripes essentially compete with Google and avoid dependence on AdSense and other third-party contextual ad networks. [...]


InfoSpace Introduces Video Search On Dogpile, Blinkx Offers Contextual Ad Targeting For Video

InfoSpace has introduced video search on its Dogpile search engine through a partnership with Blinkx. Search results are identical to those found on Blinkx, which is also providing video search for other engines and portals, most notably Ask but also Lycos and ChaCha. It also provides some video search capabilities for Microsoft as well. Video search has moved from the realm of novelty to a much more important and mainstream function on major search engines. In fact it's now "table stakes" one might argue. While most engines maintain a separate tab or link for video search, Google and Ask ha [...]


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