Obama only spent $23K on Google Ads?
Wow - this guy is fired up; can't say I don't blame him
Very interesting - for a future blog on facebook, linkedin, time spent blogging
Good search score card
(FYI - SORRY ABOUT THE TYPO IN THE ORIGINAL TITLE. I WAS IN A HURRY)
So I was checking on my favorite company to rip on Vomit..erg I mean Vonage and I stumbled across this brilliant flash ad execution from Scottrade (BTW - for those of you keeping score from home Vomit, uggh I did it again, Vonage closed at $2.40 today). Why was this ad so brilliant from Scottrade? Simple. It was a combination of using ticker targeting available from Yahoo! and then repopulating the banner ad with a recent chart plus Scottrade research. Freaking brilliant to add in the research (VG is below its 13 day moving average. This bearish sign is even more significant because the moving average is also trending lower).
Sure ticker targeting is like so 1990s, but you don't see a lot of Financial Services companies using them. We did at CSFBdirect circa 2001 and then Harrisdirect after that, but you don't see a lot of it. However, there is a lot more to love about this execution than just ticker targeting.
1) It is on THE MOST COVETED financial services page on the internet - The Yahoo Quotes results page
2) Scottrade already has a button which will do the heavy lifting for conversions but this unit will help build awareness about "being smart" about trading via Scottrade.
3) Combining real time research provides value via the banner ad and makes it smarter which ties in with their ad campaign
4) When I clicked on the ad and reached their landing page it carried through the same ticker symbol with the same research. It also seems that the click thru had a PointRoll redirect in it which must be the technology they are using for the ad.
Anyway, you can tell that I L-O-V-E this execution and it is similar to an idea of mine using ticker targeting with real-time research. Sadly the companies I presented it to didn't bite on the idea for whatever reason, probably because they don't advertise a lot online. The only negative I have with the execution is the boring (really boring and bare bones) landing page. Sure it carried the information through, but the page is too white.
All and all a nice execution on the most coveted as well as most competitive page on the internet. Way to go Scottrade.
Well I'm back from vacation and sadly I had a good week in traffic even though I didn't post. I have a lot to read via my RSS feeds so I have a lot of catching up to do. However, there were two subjects that really caught my eye in the limited time I've had to pound through a week's worth of feeds.
One of them is the big deal a lot of people are making with regards to whether Republican Presidential candidates will skip the upcoming YouTube/CNN Republican Debate. So far, only John McCain and Ron Paul have agreed to participate and people wait to see what Romney, Rudy, and others will do. You can see from my two link posts from July 27th and July 29th that it is getting very heated as to why people think they should or should not skip the debates. You want to know what I think?
Anyway, I don't think Republicans are behind the times unless you think online marketing only means Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. I do think all should participate in the debates even if they get asked strange questions from the YouTube community. As Bruce Springsteen found out in 2003 when he first did a questions and answers with his fans (see post continuation), they may ask ridiculous questions like boxers or briefs, but these are still your fans and you should interact with them as often as possible. That's the only way to take their pulse on what's important to them.
A bunch of articles and good blog posts came out in the last few days on Google. Here's quick run down on my favorites before I dive head nto this post.
Let's start with that last bullet about Google's focus on political marketing. As the article points out they are hiring for both helping campaigns and committees to use Google as well as trying to influence Government policy. Both of these require people, especially in DC where face to face meetings are more important than electronically communicating or via phone. The management assigned to each vertical (I've used plenty of Google teams but mostly finance and politics) is focused on educating marketers in each area, especially the ones that are slow to market. These new market entrants require some hand holding and Google is only too happy to help, provided you spend some minimum amount ($9k/mo?). Also, this education is a prime example of why I save some of my own Google tricks for myself and my clients; I'm concerned they may fall into my competitor's laps.
While I'm personally not worried about Google hiring more people, I am worried about Google Print Ads. Sure, the process brought to you by Google is light years ahead of the paper trail, error riddled one used today, but I think print advertising in its current stale, static form is not worth a dime in advertising unless you are a local merchant focused on your territory. A national ad in the WSJ for like a $100K is to me an offensive waste of budget with zero accountability or reliability in generating results. To see how I really feel, visit this link where I was under siege from print agency folks for my attack on Ketel One. Google Print Ads in this current print advertising form is just the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic; sure, they'll get a share of the market which they don't currently have and that's good business, but really print advertising is a on the way to irrelevancy.
Having written all of this, I am VERY bullish on Google and can't imagine selling any of my stock for a while; GOOG would have to drop to $400ish before I'd even consider it. You see Google Print Ads, Radio Ads, TV Ads (which I'm sure they are working on), Google AdSense, AdWords, Video and Image Ads, Site Targeting, and etc have one common thing that their competitors don't have; the ability to scale all of these tools up or down to meet any sized advertiser.
The smallest $10 per day search marketer, if they are trained, can use advertising tools usually reserved for the big spenders. With your small amount of daily spend, you get EVERYTHING you need for your campaign, right down to post click tracking of your conversions. You can stream commercials, use targeting techniques to find your sweet spot, hand select websites, and build out your keyword list. Google gives it to you for pennies on the dollar and all you need to do is raise your mouse and search away to educate yourself or find one of their newly hired vertical sales specialists. That's why I'm bullish on Google even when they have a clunker like Google Print Ads.
Yes, I can't stand smokers on the beach, but it isn't because of the foul smell it causes or any health concerns. It is because these rude people are slobs. Who says that they can use the beach as an ashtray?
It is foul and disgusting. They flick their cigarette ashes into the sand and then leave their venom coated butts in the sand for kids to play with. Seriously, the smoke really doesn't bother me as much as these pigs dropping their dirty, disgusting cigarettes in the beach. I really wish the state would just pass a law outlawing this just because these people can't clean up after themselves.
We have relocated to our Jersey Shore Home. Yes I'm working from here (not posting as often) and was even in DC for meetings with the Pentagon Memorial Fund, John McCain 2008, and others but like everyone else on the east coast, I'm thinking about the beach, baseball, pools, and etc. You get the idea - it is SUMMER. What this time of year is not good for is advertising especially online.
I've been running online advertising since 1998 when I was with AT&T. You know when the worst months were for marketing AT&T service - July and August, not December. When I managed online advertising for the brokerage firm formerly known as Harrisdirect/CSFBdirect/ DLJdirect, it was even harder in the summer. The last things people talk about are stocks and bonds in the summer. Trading volume is much lower during the summer. So ANY online marketing plan I provide or campaign that I run has minimal volume in the summer; those that know me and work with me know that this is 100% accurate. That's why it should come as no surprise that the display ad campaigns that we are running, excluding Google, have been slowed down in the summer.
Summer months are good times to take a pause and evaluate. I wouldn't recommend shutting off advertising completely, but cutting back on the spend and analyzing your results is a perfect SUMMER activity. Another great SUMMER activity is to prepare for September and come out in a big way.
So there is no reason to get that excited about online ads not running in the summer, that's just smart advertising. Besides, running a banner ad on Drudge like Tancredo did is definitely ZERO cause for celebrating that they are running online advertising. Getting a link on Drudge is FANTASTIC earned media, using it for online advertising is not something I recommend.
We've migrated to our shore home and of course the house we have doesn't have TiVo which is quite a rude awakening for my kids, especially my daughter. She has never watched any significant amount of TV without the use of TiVo which has been in my house for like 4 years.
Just the other day, she missed a part of a cartoon and asked my Mother to rewind it. My Mom said we can't which was met with boos and hisses from the kids. Wow, imagine if they had to get up to switch a channel or watch only about 5 stations. Anyway, speaking of rude awakenings, we've also had to endure TV commercials and these are my observations.
And those are all I remembered even though I was forced to watch commercials for the past week. Nothing else resonated or caused me to take any action. Without TiVo I was forced to endure hours of crap and all I have to show for it is AT&T wasting dollars promoting phones that are sub par to the iPhone, Maytag ads for someone that doesn't need their appliances right now, a food additive to help meatloaf taste better (I don't need it because my wife's double secret meatloaf recipe is yummy), and Transformers. That's it. It's too bad the Maytag repairman can't fix what ails the vast majority of TV advertisers - go od creatives that drive action.
An interesting article from the LA Times called Virtual marketers have second thoughts about Second Life. It basically details some of the failures found from advertisers in SL including:
What does all this mean? Well a bunch of these companies just jumped right in and basically put up some virtual billboards, spent some money, and found out what a lot of us SL citizens already know. If you don't make products that enhance the experience or if you don't build a SL destination then guess what marketers - nobody cares. Seriously, the only benefit that some of these companies received was free PR, but that time is over. Let's take a look at the examples from the article from a SL citizen:
The only surprising company mentioned that closed up is American Apparel because as I've pointed out before there is a serious lack of decent men's clothing in SL. Sadly though I never found them when searching for clothing in SL, so perhaps that's where their problem started in the first place.
I get asked often enough from clients and business friends about marketing in SL. You know what I tell them:
If you can't build a product, make a destination, or develop a 3D execution of your brand you are wasting your time. So it isn't surprising that a lot of these companies closed up their SL shop. Marketing in Second Life involves using your imagination.
Yes, I'm borrowing a heading from Joe Jaffe who I've known a while ever since he profiled my Harrisdirect Direct Investors campaign and I've also been a faithful reader of his blog for a while. Jaffe wrote this post called Bloggers versus Bloggers which highlights some grief that the author of a corporate blogging book Debbie Weil is getting because she sent out emails soliciting comments on one of her client's blogs. You can read the post for Jaffe's opinion and follow what's happening, if that's what interests you, but one of the most important points he raises is towards the end when he says that she was completely transparent.
This got me thinking as to the differences between corporate/marketing bloggers and the political blogosphere. Corporate and marketing bloggers get so fired up about transparency, pay-per-posts when those issues are routinely ignored in the political blogosphere. Recently a bunch of fellow bloggers had to go out of their way when they accepted an invitation from Nikon to participate in their blogger program.
In the political blogosphere it seems to be common practice to just ignore or make one post about transparency and forget about it. Want to say something negative about a candidate because you are behind the scenes helping another - go right ahead. Get called on the carpet for making an erroneous post and never respond or offer a correction - that seems fine. A potential candidate like Fred Thompson blogs on Pajamas Media and Townhall and that seems to get him a free pass on those sites - that's OK too. Or how about my favorite when Townhall's Hugh Hewitt/Dean Barnett does any analysis on 2008 Republicans when Hugh is clearly with Mitt Romney and has written a book about him which if elected President would increase wildly in sales. Need proof? Check out this analysis on Q2 Fund Raising which really got me fired up; not because it was anti-McCain but because it painted such a rosy picture of Romney's fund raising when he had to loan his campaign millions of dollars. Finally, according to Michelle Malkin, The Daily Kos revoked Cindy Sheehan's posting privileges because she is exercising her right to run in opposition of Speak Nancy Pelosi.
After 20 months or so blogging and working in politics, it still surprises me how serious corporate/marketing bloggers take transparency and will jump all over a blogger or company like WalMart when they violate that, but when it comes to political bloggers it seems very common to do what you want without regard for how it looks. Marketing bloggers take time to cite sources or use credible metrics, but some political bloggers can make wild exaggerations based on one or two observations. I guess it wouldn't hurt to set your own ground rules and then try to stick to them, huh? That's why it is important to always keep in mind what a writer's blogging story is.
Thanks to Kate Kaye at ClickZ, she proves once again what you readers already know, John McCain has the best online advertising campaign out of any of the presidential candidates. This is contrary to other poorly informed bloggers who only look at their low traffic websites to draw erroneous conclusions. Kate uses a reputable source like Nielsen Net Ratings to show that the McCain campaign does value a sophisticated web operation. Besides the Nielsen data, I ought to know how we are doing since we run the online and search advertising campaign for them and it HASN'T SLOWED DOWN ONE BIT.
You can dig into the report to see where Nielsen thinks we are running our banner advertising, but what should be clear is that with this report and what CNN reported on the iCrossing search study, we are not only embracing online advertising but doing much better than our competitors. And, if you think the recent changes on the campaign has hurt the results, THAN YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Since the changes from yesterday, our results have skyrocketed and not spun out of control as some in the blogosphere who have ulterior motives would lead you to believe.
From an industry perspective, I wish the other campaigns would jump in a little more instead of relying on the same old advertising techniques or high PR value tools like MySpace or YouTube. Don't get me wrong, I think it is awesome that campaigns are turning to YouTube to have a conversation, but I've yet to see any quantifiable data that they are turning these people into serious campaign supporters (ie - donate time or money).
As you can also see from ClickZ, Romney decided to dip his toe into the online advertising water, while the Clinton campaign stopped running banners ads; in fact, I've yet to see any real paid search activity from her team in a while. The Clinton move is a little perplexing given all of their money. I guess it is possible she is running some, but I spend A LOT OF TIME searching for ads as I run McCain's search campaign and her ads just don't pop up. Yes, that's a little unscientific, so unlike other bloggers, I'm given you a fair warning that I could be wrong, but directionally even if she is running some I still should see some ads given her campaign cash on hand.
Anyway, I really enjoy these studies from Kate/ClickZ as well as other companies like iCrossings because they use scientific methods to actually measure what is happening. It isn't an uninformed opinion from a bunch of political bloggers who want nothing more than to pursue their own agenda.
Yes. It is big news if you are a publisher or website owner. Pageviews as a metric are dying. Sites are now into video streams, interactions, social media which translates into time spent on a website so the big measurement companies like Nielsen have announced that they are no longer ranking sites by pageview and instead are ranking based on time spent. According to the same article, here's what changes when you move to time spent instead of pageviews:
From a marketing POV, I'm not sure how much this helps you. If you were just ranking publishers to include in your media buy based on pageviews you were doing a poor job anyway. Personally, I've been using time spent on a website and their user profiles for years so for me this doesn't change much. Plus, you need to know how a site converts or generates whatever actions you need so knowing pageviews never really helped anyway. Time spent, activity, content, user profile, audience duplications, and uniques were always more important measures anyway.
For now, the industry moves in the right direction - away from measuring eyeballs and into time spent. Personally, I'd rather see some combination of user interaction with time spent so sites that people use as wallpaper can be separated from sites that people truly interact with.
So, we've relocated to the Jersey Shore for a while and I got to thinking about the last time I was down in our Avalon house while I was still with Harrisdirect. In the summer of 2005, HD really started to turn the business around as our trade volume was going up as well as our new accounts. Right before my vacation, we were tipped off that we did very well in SmartMoney's annual broker survey and we started to make plans for new creatives. You see the brokerage community lives for these annual surveys.
When I waled walked in the door and attended my first director meeting with the executive staff at DLJdirect, we were just given the nod as Barron's Best Discount Broker and our Chairman, Blake Darcy declared that we need to really "pump this up in our marketing because the last time we won it, it really increased our new accounts." This of course was early 2001 and the internet was a lot different back then. Anyway, I can't remember if our sales increased or not because I was in the thick of a battle with AOL regarding our finance buy and when we won SmartMoney's award for best Discount Broker it was only a few weeks away from the E*Trade acquisition announcement so the results we had post that would not be a fair analysis.
Every year and multiple times per year, our PR department as well as marketing, legal, trading, operations, and etc got really charged up to participate in these surveys. We'd pick a few and then spend a lot of time filling in surveys and working the PR game with these magazines. It seemed like an awful lot of work for what we thought were big results. Fast forward to 2007 and I'm not so sure how valuable they are.
A couple of weeks back I saw a giant ad in the WSJ for TDAmeritrade announcing that they had won Barron's award for 2007 best discount broker. Then I didn't see any more ads that proclaimed their dominance, but they did put a small button on their landing page. Anyway, not trying to make fun of TD because I think it is great that they won, but really what's it worth now?
In an era where you have blogs and a lot of word of mouth, do you still need a seal of approval from a magazine? Sure they do a very thorough analysis, but wouldn't you rather see what your peers have to say? When you go to make a major purchase, don't you turn to Google first to see what is being said about a product? Perhaps you visit blogs and talk with friends about what they use or what their experience is with a certain product.
Seriously, what's the value of a magazine's or newspaper's product review? A magazine like Consumer Reports that does nothing but reviews is probably still valuable, but when a magazine or newspaper gives a review, how much do you rely on it to make your decision? Isn't Google a better barometer now? What's a company's Gcred?
As I was eating brunch at Yankee Stadium today (July 4th) before the Yankees lost to the Twins, I received a phone call from Becki Donatelli to tell me that CNN wrote a very favorable analysis of the search campaign that my Connell Donatelli team is running for John McCain. The article called Study: John McCain leads pack in online search campaign picks up on a report issued by iCrossing which you can find here. ClickZ also picked up on the study and scooped them a bit with an article written by Kate Kaye called Study: Edwards Search Campaign Lacks Efficiency, McCain's Is Strong. Highlights from both articles include:
I can't go into details on my search strategy, but if you are one of my clients than you know that you are getting the highest possible expertise in this area and if you are one of my Political clients, than you now have confirmed that we at Connell Donatelli are "The Political Search Gurus" and everyone else is just playing around in this field. A couple of other observations regarding these reports:
Anyway, good news on the Fourth of July. At least CNN, WSJ, and ClickZ are starting to notice effective uses of online advertising, especially something that is outside of MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube.
Reposted from my July 4th 2006 post because it was a damn good one.......
We've been TiVoing the Revolution on The History Channel and really enjoy watching it. One of the episodes featured the military campaign of 1776 and that's the one that got me a little misty eyed and I couldn't go to bed until it ended (yes I do know how the war turns out). You see, in the span of about 45 days George Washington and the Continental Army rise from the dead that was the falling of two forts in NYC/NJ to win the 1st Battle of Trenton preserving the Army and our independence.
The British and Washington knew how important the Continental Army was to our independence and without it, we'd go crawling back to Great Britain. Sure, the Declaration of Independence announced to the world about our birth as a country, but it is Washington and the Army that delivered it.
In mid-November 1776, Washington loses New York by suffering a terrible defeat at Fort Washington, losing almost 3,000 troops. A few days later Fort Lee falls to the same British Army of regulars and Hessian's, giving them the key to the lower part of the Hudson River and NYC (you do remember how important rivers were for travel and communication). Washington and what's left of the Continental Army retreat all the way down through NJ to PA. British General Howe doesn't pursue because as the History Channel puts it "Convinced that the Americans were thoroughly beaten and that the Continental Congress would sue for peace, Howe did not pursue Washington, but merely established several outposts in New Jersey and settled down in winter quarters to wait for spring." Total defeat of the Army and the surrender of the new nation seemed within reach. but Howe underestimated Washington's resolve and his ability to keep the end goal in sight.
As any American school girl knows, George Washington and the ragtag group of men and boys that formed the Continental Army re-crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776, not even 45 days after the defeat of NYC and surprised the Hessians in Trenton. The British lost almost 1,000 men and the overwhelming victory proves to the Continental Congress that the army can defeat British regulars and they therefore increased re-enlistments.
George Washington kept the Declaration of Independence from becoming just another piece of paper by keeping his eye on the end game. Even after suffering a terrible defeat, Washington was still able to shift tactics and bring home a victory. How many of us in our jobs, when a project goes wrong, could use this leadership lesson to keep our eyes on the end goal and fix a strategy when something does not go according to plan. How about if you are in a dead-end job and you are stuck for just a little while longer?
Or, as my friend Frank B. says, "when god gives you lemons, make some lemonade." That's exactly what Washington did in a span of 45 days to make sure the newly formed country saw its first birthday. And oh how that lemonade tastes with a couple of hot-dogs and fireworks.
I have so many good posts lined up in my head, but I know that my traffic will be terrible tomorrow. So, I'll make two for the holiday - one a personal observation and a post I made last year which I received a lot of great feedback on and cross posted it to Marketing Pros. Anyway, on to my personal Independence Day.
I had a great call with my friend Melissa G today and after I gave her the run down on what's new in my world, she said to me "You are never going back to corporate. You sound so happy and you are incredibly busy. It is good for you". It dawned on me that she is 100% correct. It is good to be independent, but I didn't always think so after ten years at AT&T and then 5 years at DLJ/CSFB/Harrisdirect. I couldn't imagine myself on my own for more than say 6 months; hence the reason for my boring website. So, what's been my secret? Well before I give some of that away, let's take a look at what I was afraid of...
TOP 5 REASONS I COULDN'T LEAVE CORPORATE AMERICA
All of those were real concerns and maybe a few of them still are, but that hasn't stopped me from being away from Corporate America for almost 20 months (During my last month at E*Trade I still continued to produce however, I realized that they were a dead end for me corporately. And I felt like a homeless citizen when I was in the office because I was laid off and people felt bad for me.)
TOP 5 ITEMS/EVENTS THAT HELPED ME OVERCOME THESE FEARS
You know what I learned after all this time? You do have friends in the real world even if it was a sales person who you thought was only being nice to you because you had money. If you have a skill that people need, sell it, sell it, and sell it again. Finally, it is perfectly normal in 2008 to work from home - you just have to be very disciplined to do it.
Are you looking for a little independence? Have you realized that you've been climbing up the corporate ladder only to find out it has been leaning up against the wrong building? This it is time to get up from behind your desk and break your supposed golden handcuffs and start your own career revolution. I did with a little help from my friends and family; who knows if I'll ever go back...
Yahoo announced today the launch of their new behavioral targeting platform called SmartAds that combines Yahoo's targeting capability with the chance to create on the fly display ads to the targeted customer set. All you need to do is provide Yahoo with your creative assets and segmentation criteria and they'll take care of the rest. Sounds too good to be true? No. Not really.
You see, I've been using Yahoo's enhanced behavioral targeting capabilities for at least 6 years and I've always had success with it. In fact, other than taking my own created list and having a publisher match it and then serve ads versus the matched segment, Yahoo's behavioral capabilities are the best around and that includes Google. A few of Yahoo's targeting services I've used include:
Literally, you name the segmentation and I've used them with much success. Yahoo's behavioral targeting has been my ace in the hole for years and I always make sure they are included in my media plans or I've composed the entire media plan from them.
How does it stack up against other targeting capabilities? Based on my experience, Yahoo is the best and that includes Google. And, if you couple on the fly creative development, Yahoo should have a bit of a hit on their hands except for one drawback. I saw no mention in the release if this will be limited to advertisers that spend a minimal amount on an insertion order.
Yes, the dreaded minimum on the IO. If Yahoo opens this up to any advertiser than they WILL have a big hit that will give them a considerable leg up on Google and other publishers. If it is limited to a minimum IO spend, than not as many advertisers will be able to experience it. Unlike Google's targeting which any size advertiser can experience, Yahoo's SmartAds will not gain as much traction in the marketplace.
Anyway, I'll check with my contacts tomorrow morning (July 3rd) to see what the details of SmartAds are. For the bulk of my advertising, I should be able to test it out especially when it finally rolls out to Finance. It should work great for the advertisers that are eligible for it, but unless it is opened up to any sized advertiser, it won't gain traction in the ad marketplace.
Yes. I wrote it. iPhone will be a great launch for Apple and be a problem for AT&T. Why - you can read my reasons in this post which all have to with AT&T's bad customer service, shaky network and the way they treat their customers. Plus, good old AT&T just loves to nickel and dime customers which surprise is new news to a bunch of iPhone hungry AT&T newbies.
You can see this engadget poll of the number of people that have had trouble with AT&T activating their phone (no surprise for people that have dealt with AT&T for a while). The poll is running at 38% of the people have problems. Finally, you can read more about problems if you hit this link from B.L. Ochman who has a nice summary.
I wrote it before and I'll write it again. iPhone will be a big deal for Apple and a big problem for AT&T.
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