I’ve been trying to push media companies for a long time to expand their reach and targeting by putting together and selling ads on selected networks of blogs. The Washington Post is doing it; Steve Rubell does a good job of explaining what’s up. WKRN in Nashville, under the guidance of Terry Heaton and the leadership of Mike Sechrist did likewise sometime ago. Others are coming.
It is a win all around: The advertisers want someone to help them get into this strange world of blogs. The media organization wants to expand its reach and targeting (the Post — like every single newspaper, magazine, and online media company I know — needs more traffic and is thus seeking growth in technology, business, health, automotive and travel), establish a new relationship with the bloggeres, and make money along the way. The bloggers want to get money and promotion. A virtuous circle if there ever was one. Bravo to the Post.
GoogleMaps is offering local merchants the chance to add free, printable coupons to their listings there. Google will make money later by offering with keyword search ads. And they’re priming the pump with ValPak coupons.
This is a stake in the heart of local newspapers. Mind you, most of these small, local merchants never could afford to advertise in newspapers anyway because they are too big, too inefficient, and too expensive. But one of the promises of online was the opportunity to go hyperlocal — not just for content but, importantly, for advertising, to be able to target ads so finely and to eliminate the costs of sale and production so that these small guys could finally advertise with a newspaper company. That was one hope papers had for replacing the advertisers who have disappeared in classified, thanks to the internet, and retail, thanks to consolidation, Wal-Mart, and the internet, too. Strategically, some on the newspaper business understood this. But tactically — take it from me — it was nearly impossible to implement because newspaper business people are incapable of thinking small. They’ve spent so many years just maintaining big accounts that had nowhere else to advertise that they don’t know how to replace them with hundreds and then thousands of smaller accounts.
We tend to concentrate on the editorial side of newspapering when we lament the lack of progress to update the institutions. But editors are catching on. The problem is that publishers often are not. And they don’t have bloggers and consultants and professors and other obnoxious people pestering them at every turn. They just keep going to golf tournaments while Google steals their business. It’s time to pester the publishers. Wake up, gentlemen: You have a new neighbor.
LATER: And here‘s Peter Krasilovsky on the Google gambit.
ZDNet undercuts Google’s assertion that its ads are useful and uses this blog as an illustration.
Ad Age reports that McKinsey is singing a requiem for TV advertising:
McKinsey & Co. is telling a host of major marketers that by 2010, traditional TV advertising will be one-third as effective as it was in 1990.
That shocking statistic, delivered to the company’s Fortune 100 clients in a report on media proliferation, assumes a 15% decrease in buying power driving by cost-per-thousand rate increases; a 23% decline in ads viewed due to switching off; a 9% loss of attention to ads due to increased multitasking and a 37% decrease in message impact due to saturation. . . .
According to the report, real ad spending on prime-time broadcast TV has increased over last decade by about 40% even as viewers have dropped almost 50%. Paying more for less translates into a much higher cost-per-viewer-reached — a trend also true in radio and print.
And how stupid are the advertisers who kept paying for those increases? Well, Ad Age points out that Bob Garfield’s chaos scenario is at work: The new media aren’t ready for dollars shifting from old media. Shame on us. Ad Age continues:
Thank a combination of older technologies such as cable, PC computers, cellphones, CD players, VCRs, game consoles and the internet, along with more recent ones — PDAs, broadband Internet, digital cable, home wireless networks, MP3 players, DVRs and VOD– for those changes. And teens foretell an even more radical shift in future media consumption, the report points out: They spend less than half as much time watching TV as typical adults do. Teens also spend 600% more time online, surfing the web.
According to Forrester Research’s most recent North American Consumer Technology Adoption Study, people ages 18 to 26 spend more time online than watching TV and are adopting new technology faster than any other generation. Because of that, they tend to be more receptive to blog, podcast and mobile-web ads.
If we can give the advertisers what they want — measurement, verification, data — their money will come to us.
I happened to have been at the ad conference two years ago when the then-Chrysler (now-Wal-Mart) marketing exec Julie Roehm first pushed the idea of a transparent ad auction for TV time. It may have sounded like a pipedream to some marketers and a nightmare to the networks, but now it is happening. And I have to love the fact that the most expensive, powerful media in the world will now be sold on eBay. And Google and Spotrunner are selling it, too. The creators of the new e-Media Exchange are making noises about this not being the end of TV upfront. But it is. This is the end of control by scarcity. TV time is just more advertising, now, and the days of raising rates even as audience shrank are over. Now the market will set the price. Watch out, Hollywood. (More in AdAge here.)
I am ceaselessly fascinated by Matthew Hurst’s visualizations of the blogosphere. Today, he views the blogosphere as, yes, a sphere; this map happens to put this blog at the center and shows links to both the tech and socio-political continents.
By the way, it’s called a hyperbolic projection — perfect for a guy who traffics in hyperbole, eh?
I think Hurst is on the brink of something bigger: using the relations among blogs to better map the content of blog and, in turn, the content they look at. This isn’t the semantic web. It’s people organizing the web into topics by their interest and relationships. And knowledge of those topics and the relations around them will be valuable for everything from search engines to social networks to advertisers. Once this is understood better, there is less reason to create closed networks — from a TV network to MySpace — and more opportunity to find the networks that already exist out in the world.
ABC’s experiment with streaming shows online worked. Ad Age says tomorrow:
ABC’s streaming-video experiment earlier this year on ABC.com will become a real offering in October, according to Anne Sweeney, Disney Co. co-chair-media networks and president of Disney-ABC TV. The network said the experiment was a success for advertisers given that research showed users had 87% recall of the advertisers involved. (Average recall of advertising on TV is about 24%.) Each program that was streamed was supported by a single advertiser.
That’s an amazing ad story. Linear TV should kiss its ass goodbye.