I will gladly pay you Tuesday for an advertisement today. Well, make that four months from Tuesday. That's no problem, is it?
As the Feds bail out the banks, the advertisers have apparently decided their agencies are banks. At least, that's how they're treating them when it comes to payment terms. Both the Wall Street Journal and Ad Age are taking a long, hard look at the story today.
It seems many agencies are willing to go along with advertising on the installment plan, forced on agencies by enormo brands such as GM and Anheuser-Busch. Reportedly, GM, whose brand portfolio includes Cadillac, Buick and
Pontiac, has offered to pay ad production firms half a TV spot's
production costs 60 days after the first day of shooting, and the
remaining half when the ad is finished.
When Wenda Harris Millard talks, the industry listens. As well it should. One of the smartest, and most formidable executives in interactive advertising, Wenda is co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, following top executive positions at Yahoo, Ziff Davis Media and DoubleClick (to name but a few). Credentials don't get more impressive than her résumé in interactive advertising.
At her keynote at the IAB's annual summit in Orlando this weekend, Wenda called for a new era in online advertising; one in which measurement, metrics, analysis -- in short, the science bit of the advertising equation, take a back seat the art part: big ideas, killer creative and "the sizzle, not the steak."
Her plea is very much in line for her exhortation last year at the same event, when she called on marketers "not to trade our assets like pork bellies."
In chart after chart, the numbers kept falling off a cliff. In delivering ComScore's "State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy through January 2009" report today, Chairman Gian Fulgoni didn't mince words. His references kept returning to the fact that the numbers have never looked this bad.
But ecommerce could be worse. A lot worse. It could look like traditional retail.
ComScore's panel (rather than survey) data indicate a drop in year-over-year online shopping in the critical fourth quarter of 2008, "The first time we have seen a decline in the eight years that we have been tracking quarterly," noted Fulgoni grimly. Any bumps in spending he attributes to an increase in gift card redemption - rather than actual buying - over the holiday season.
Spending drops were greatest more or less where you'd expect. Luxury goods were hit hard, as was entertainment spending. But there was also a steep 30 percent decline in spending in sectors such as office supplies as businesses cut back their budgets.
Usually, it's the contractors who bid on home improvement and remodelling jobs. Retail giant Sears wants to turn that process upside-down with ServiceLive.com, which just launched in beta.
The model is actually more LendingTree.com than eBay. Homeowners in need of improvements can look over a list of approved contractors. They select apprpriate candidates, then post a description of the job they want done and what they're willing to pay for it. The first contractor to accept the deal gets the gig.
The beer run ran its course, but it was an interesting - not to mention expensive - experiment. Anheuser-Busch has finally pulled the plug on Bud.TV, the online beer video destination featuring original humor content.
The announcement follows on the heels of news that Adidas plans a very similiar venture.
Launched to great fanfare and media attention just after the 2007 Super Bowl, at a cost of some $15M, Bud.TV featured an unbranded mix of humor and reality original content targeting just who you'd think: a young male demographic. Anheuser-Busch had hoped for upwards of 2M unique visitors per month, but a cumbersome registration process, intended to weed out underage traffic, proved a formidable stumbling block. All too often, legal age visitors were blocked by the process.
Social and viral media expert Dan Zarella has posted the results of a fascinating study: the numbers and semantics behind getting Twitter followers to ReTweet tweets, thereby amplifying and expanding upon messaging by using Twitter's built-in viral aspects.
Few marketers will be surprised by the fact that a simple call-to-action matters. A lot. Simply adding the phrase "please retweet" just plain works much of the time.
Zarella's semantic analysis of what gets ReTweeted reveals the following:
- Timely content is often ReTweeted
- Freebies are popular
- Tweeting about Twitter is effective
- So are lists
- People like to ReTweet blog posts (he doesn't specify if this refers the original tweeter's own blog, but irregardless - Twitter users are also highly active in the blogosphere.)
Oh, and don't forget to mind your manners. Requesting a Retweent politely and remembering to say "please" ups the ReTweeting odds by nearly a 6X factor.
There's something almost portentous about the news coming out on Friday the 13th, not to mention the day before Valentine's Day. Microsoft, following Apple's lead, will open its own line of branded retail outlets.
Microsoft briefly had a San Francisco store during the dot-com boom, which quickly folded. Apple Stores, meanwhile, are prospering and flourishing. Openings in new cities are eagerly anticipated events on the scale of major rock stars coming to town: people stake spots in line a day in advance, often spending the night on the sidewalk in anticipation of the doors opening. If Apple introduces a hot new product like the iPhone, the whole process repeats.
Here in New York, our three Apple stores are must-see tourist attractions. And they're bound to be bustling on Valentine's Day tomorrow - I keep seeing articles in mainstream media citing Apple stores as one of the top places to meet members of the opposite sex.
It's not easy to get multiple large trade orgainzations on the same page, and to speak with the same voice, but that's exactly what the major US trade orgs are doing in the face of potential federal regulations governing behavioral advertising practices.
The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have banded together (along with the Better Business Bureau) "to develop a cohesive and far-reaching self-regulatory effort for interactive advertising."
Once a gold-standard best practice, is double confirmed opt-in for email marketing programs now "outdated" and a "terrible idea"?
Email marketing veteran (and, full disclosure, personal friend) Bill McCloskey thinks so, and list a myriad of scenarios that can go wrong when marketers take this virtuous path.
I'm hardly unbiased when it comes to confirmed double opt-in. When the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sought recommendations for CAN-SPAM legislation back in 2003, I testified in Washington on the virtues of confirmed double opt-in.
Plenty may have changed in email over the past six years, but not that part.
Let's look at Bill's fallacious arguments.
Thanks to growing adoption of the iPhone and other smart mobile devices, an increasing number of Americans are logging onto WiFi networks to access the internet on the go.
Growth is heaviest in the heavily metropolitan West and Northeast sections of the country, together with Texas. California led the way with 18 percent of usage, followed by New York with 14 percent and Texas with 8 percent.
The findings come from mobile ad network AdMob's Mobile Metrics Report.
Worldwide mobile ad requests increased 8 percent month over month in January to 6.8 billion, led by double digit growth in Western Europe and Asia, but ad requests remained flat to negative growth in most of North America.