Posts Tagged ‘digital marketing’

Google Gadget Ads

September 19, 2007

Google has announced a new advertising program: Google Gadget Ads, or, as Advertising Age put it, “AdSense, Now With Widgets.”

A little over a week ago I posted a quick entry about a new advertising program Google would be announcing. My post was almost all hyperbole, and as the days passed I lost my excitement. First, because I thought maybe it was just my geek side getting riled up. Second, because the news was released a few days after I thought it would be. But now the day has come and the more I think about it, the more I believe that if utilized to its fullest potential this addition to AdWords could eventually change the face of the web experience. Why?

1) Widgets enrich the web experience. Now advertisements don’t merely have to be flashy .swf files (ha! sorry, I couldn’t avoid the pun) or moderately interesting video ads (please don’t misunderstand me: there are some incredible flash and video ads), but rather ads can exploit the immense functionality of widgets. Imagine an ad for the newest pop musician that has tabs with YouTube videos, song previews, and a list of the most recent print/web news stories about that particular musician, all of which can be viewed without leaving the web page.

2) Widgets can instantly monetize advertising for companies (and increase instant gratification for the consumer). Because the placement of these ads will be powered by AdSense, we can assume that they will show up at (somewhat) relevant sites. Reading blogs about the upcoming season of Heroes? Maybe there is a widget ad on the blog your reading that displays current prices and the time remaining for EBay auctions for the season one DVD’s of ‘Heroes’. Or maybe you’re using Yelp to find a good Thai restaurant in your neighborhood. What if there is a widget ad for a Thai restaurant (that has rave reviews on Yelp) through which you can place your dinner order and have it delivered in the next thirty minutes?

3) Widget advertising has a social component: for instance, the widgets can be pasted on someone’s MySpace site, outside of Google’s normal distribution (if I understand the model correctly). That means you have guaranteed distribution through the AdSense network (where appropriate), but also the possibility of distribution through social networking sites, meaning the chance to spread your widget virally. And if you’re spreading things such as, say, a widget that searches and books Kayak flights among travel enthusiasts… then, wow.

I graduated with a degree in English, but I must say this: Don’t tell me that’s not hot.


Maintaining Brand Identity, Part The Second

August 16, 2007

The post One Lovely BlackBerry Ad Equals One Lousy Web Experience by Matthew Roche got me to thinking about times I’ve experienced similar disappointment. It is already one helluva an experience protecting brand identity in the onslaught of MySpace, Facebook, and the blog universe, but it seems we are doing ourselves a tremendous disservice by ignoring the steps we can take to ensure successful branding in such a disparate environment as the web. A while ago I posted the entry Maintaining Brand Identity in the MySpace Madness, and I think that web design (in addition to targeted placement) can be another part of the solution to protecting the character and reputation of your product within the realm social media.

Although it’s difficult to measure, we know that branding has an impact. Consider a recent study that demonstrated a(n unsurprising) correlation between the McDonald’s brand and childrens’ opinion of food. How do you translate this effect to the web (the study showed that television sets augmented the preference for McDonald’s)? The realization that Design Is Identity. This means that from beginning to end, from advertisement to conversion, your user must have a seamless experience despite the difficulty in implementing such a goal. Why is this (costly and time-consuming) goal so worthwhile? I witness first hand the frustration and confusion that results from one company having an important piece of information that another company needs but but won’t get; this breakdown is simply a lack in communication, but it’s a problem that can manifest itself on the web, like with what Matthew Roche shared.

Investing in great web developers and designers who, with the help of other key members, can execute a vision from start to finish will become more and more crucial as the checkout register increasingly becomes a consumer’s mouse click. Losing money directly at the point of conversion because of confusion or dissatisfaction in the web experience should be nothing short of unacceptable. The added benefit of a seamless experience is that the web participation becomes an opportunity for effective branding, an opportunity that, in many instances, can outlast the 30-second commercial (in more ways than one).

Now excuse me while I rethink my career and seriously consider becoming a web design genius.


Daniel at OM Strategy (thanks for the comment!) has a post that is particularly relevant to this topic, but developed along the lines of usability and the web experience. Great stuff… so read or perish. Just kidding. But not really.

Quick Lists 7.21.07

July 31, 2007

Two lists I recently found that may prove quite useful:

  • The Five Biggest Website Mistakes – If you’re redesigning or in the process of launching a new website, these five points make a good overall checklist.
  • Seven Deadly Sins of Writing for Social Media – Whether you have a blog or use other social media in your strategy, it would be useful to consider these seven points. In the comments section I also discussed the possibility of another rule: “Brace Yourself”. It’s a difficult road to walk when participating in something that is ultimately out of your control.

Once Again…

May 22, 2007

… let’s take a moment to remind ourselves: know your audience. It doesn’t hurt to repeat: know your audience. Know your audience. Know your audience. Know your audience.

I came across an article from the New York Magazine titled “Publisher Struggles to Get Anyone to Notice Its Innovative Gorilla Marketing.” Evidently to coincide with the release of author Steven Hall’s novel The Raw Shark Texts, Canongate (the publisher) created an alternate reality game that utilizes MySpace, YouTube, etc. So far, not many people have noticed (or cared). Publisher Weekly reported that booksellers are even handing out cards to customers to generate interest. Since I am not familiar with the book, I may be wrong, but it seems that the market for which this book would appeal does not overlap with the market of people interested in these types of games. For instance, it was sci-fi fans and movie buffs that made the A.I. campaign/game ‘The Beast’ so popular; a group of fans even formed a network called ‘The Cloudmakers‘ to solve the mystery of Evan Chan’s death, a network that at its peak consisted of approximately 7,000 people. I doubt high(er)-brow, contemporary fiction readers spend much time on MySpace, or would want to slog through that and other websites to complete this new alternate reality game.

So again: know, remember, keep in mind, always be aware of your audience.

When Marketing Meets Cutting Edge Technology

April 19, 2007

In school one lesson was hammered into my mind to no end: correlation does not equal causation. Now, let us apply that to advertising.

For decades, advertisers could only correlate spikes in sales with ad campaigns in traditional media outlets, i.e., a major record label places ads for a new music release in magazines across the country and they cross their fingers hoping for a response; when they get one they could only (vaguely) correlate the campaign with the sales. Now with the growing sophistication of online marketing technology we are one (giant) step closer to the causation equation: for instance, not only does Yahoo know which ad on which site lured you in to buy the new Modest Mouse album, but by the end of the week you may start seeing ads for booking that hotel room in Xiamen, China, that you’ve been putting off (like Gord Hotchkiss recently did). Utilizing these capabilities, along with ‘stacking’ ad campaigns through multiple media channels, grants a greater chance of conversion and allows you to measure what worked and why.

It seems the internet has the potential to become a marketer’s dream-come-true: measurable results at your fingertips. Yes, take a moment to reflect on the possibilities… now wipe that bit of drool from the side of your mouth (and also remember the debate about the ethics of being so sneaky).

Finally, visit iMedia Connection for wealth of advice of how to implement these strategies (no, I wasn’t paid to write that).