Posts about Ad

A new kind of advertising

Gabe Rivera has created a new kind of advertising for TechMeme, which he explains here and here.

Simply put: He takes feeds of the latest posts from sponsors’ blogs and puts that in an ad box on Techmeme. That’s their ad. It’s brilliantly simple: dynamic advertising controlled by the advertisers, who will make their ads — their content — relevant to the readers who see their feeds on Techmeme.

I talked with Gabe about this at a conference months ago; he has put a lot of careful thought into the idea. I like it. It’s relevant; it’s human and not automated; it’s appropriate to the form. And it pays. Gabe is charging $4,500, $3,500, and $3,000 respectively for the three month-long spots (I’ll save you the cipherin’… that’s $132,000 per year). For the advertiser, that works out to a $5-8 CPM, which is good. I’m not sure there’s much difference in the first versus third position. And I think there is an opportunity to put more advertisers in the box (cookie me and show me different advertisers’ blog posts on different visits). But I think this works and I’ll be eager to hear the sponsors’ experience.

I’d love to have a such a unit here.

Killer local advertising

The Journal writes a good primer on marketing online via blogs and search and such. Buried in there is a gem of an anecdote that shows why newspapers and yellow pages are in deep trouble with local advertising — unless they find new ways to serve them and compete with Google:

It’s hard to engage in any public relations, of course, if the public doesn’t know you exist. In early 2004, Kenny Kormendy says he was on welfare and struggling to make ends meet as a taxi driver in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He had tried to reach the public through typical means, such as ads in the telephone book or handing out cards at the airport, but says there “were so few calls, it was unreal.”

Mr. Kormendy was decent on computers, he says, and so he built a rough Web site for his company, Gopher State Taxi, figuring travelers coming to town might locate him when searching for transportation. But he never popped up front and center in search-engine results until he stumbled upon Google’s AdWords service, a cost-per-click advertising program that rotates advertisements on the right side of Google’s search page based on the specific keywords a user types. He decided to give it a shot.

It paid off. In recent months, Gopher State Taxi has routinely popped first on Google’s sponsored link for core keywords, including: “Minneapolis, airport, taxi.” Mr. Kormendy says his business has grown to a network of nearly three dozen cabs and he is off welfare. He estimates his total payout to Google is about $175 to $205 monthly, based on how many clicks his ads get. “People with cellphones on planes can find me,” he says. “Almost every time I ask someone, they tell me it was on the Internet. And nine times out of 10 it’s from Google. I don’t have $50,000 to compete with [bigger taxi companies]. But with what I create off the Internet, I can blow them away.”

Increasingly people turn to the Internet instead of phone books or newspapers to find restaurants, office-supply vendors or any kind of service. In addition to advertising opportunities, companies including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit are tailoring their search products to include maps, narrowed neighborhood searches and storefront images to court small businesses with local audiences.

Lipstick on a . . .

Henry Copeland is amazed: Estee Lauder is buying blogsads.

I was invited in by one of the Lauder brands about two months ago to talk about blogs and I pushed them to advertise out here. I’m not saying I caused this buy (and besides, because I’m sadly not in the Blogads pool now, I’m not even getting the ad myself). But I did see that these people were vitally interested in figuring out how to build a relationship with customers via blogs.

Henry is quite right to be amazed because the cosmetics industry is perhaps the last to embrace online, let alone blogs. Cosmetics are pure brand: smoke for the mirrors, advertising in a bottle. They bought slick, fashionable magazines because they wanted to be slick and fashionable. But now even they are realizing, I think, that their brands live not on pages but with people.

What a friend we have in…

Jesus has a MySpace account. He lists his hobbies as “beard care, extreme waterskiing” and his favorite film as “The Life of Brian.” Last I looked, poor bloke has zero friends. In fact, He needs to advertise for them. But does He pirate videos?

Stand up and be counted…. and counted

The Audit Bureau of Circulations — the agency that verifies the copies sold by newspapers and magazines — just announced a new effort to combine print and online audience numbers.

But their logic is off. The Times says that for their first test case, Advertising Age, they “arrived at a figure by combining the publication’s print readership with a day’s worth of its Web site traffic.” The Times also reports that newspapers say this isn’t accurate because it doesn’t account for people who read both the paper and its online site. And I say that measuring only one day is ridiculous, for as many studies have found, very few people come back to online sites every day (and the truth is that they probably didn’t read papers every day, either; it’s just that they were delivered every day). If the goal is to measure total audience — total reach — then this will inevitably fall way short.

I toiled for way too long on the ABC committee that first tried to measure online (I suffered through endless meetings debating the question, ‘What’s a page view?’) As it turned out, advertisers didn’t really care about auditing the audience of online sites — and thus publishers didn’t want to pay for the service. Advertisers care only about auditing their own flights of ads; the wanted to verify that they got what they paid for. And that makes sense. For in an online site, you don’t really care how big the whole site it; you care about how many people your ads reach how many times.

The ABC and other old media players keep trying to use old math with new media. It won’t compute.