Here’s How One Marketer Made Google Mobile Ads Pay Off

From my blog The New Persuaders:

Amid widespread concerns that mobile advertising may never work as well as ads served to people’s desktop and laptop computers, several companies are attempting to prove the naysayers wrong. Facebook partners piled on earlier this week with studies showing the social network’s mobile ads produce way more clicks and revenues than its desktop ads.

Now it’s Google’s turn. This morning it’s trotting out, along with updated mobile search ads, a case study of how T-Mobile last year used Google mobile search ads to try to get more new customer activations to its cellular service. Kari Nicholas, T-Mobile’s director of media, said in an interview that the company aimed to do that by making it easier to sign up online or reach them via their existing mobile phone to visit nearby stores.

The main goal, given that most people doing a search on T-Mobile or other more general wireless-related words such as smartphones or 4G are likely to be well down the path to getting a new phone or service, was to guide those searchers quickly and easily to the nearest store. So the campaign served separate ads to mobile users, automatically showing both the nearest store on a map and a click-to-call button. The company also served different ads depending on whether the person had an Android or an iPhone or was on a particular service such as Verizon or T-Mobile.

The results: In one month, the campaign attracted 162,000 people to T-Mobile’s website. The mobile search ads tied to a person’s location got a lot of clicks–a 13% click-through rate, which is orders of magnitude higher than standard display ads. And the ads also generated 20,000 phone calls to stores. …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

By the Numbers: How Facebook Social Ads Paid Off for Two Brands

From my blog The New Persuaders:

With its IPO quiet period shackles off, Facebook has been pumping out the case studies and numbers, hoping to counter the constant drumbeat of stories about how its ads don’t work. It’s releasing a few more today, a couple of them focused in particular on how paid ads can supplement the free pages that some brands like GM believe are all they need on the social network. They also indicate that Facebook ads can help drive actual sales, not just a higher propensity to consider a brand or a purchase.

These numbers are from Facebook, so judge them in that light. But they’re also from the brands themselves, which are often wary of releasing data like this that might help competitors. So they’re worth paying attention to.

Videogame giant Electronic Arts had built up a Facebook fan base of 1.5 million by last October, when it was readying the launch of Battlefield 3. At that point, EA spent $2.75 million on Sponsored Stories, which are ads that highlight people’s Likes and comments on a brand to their Facebook friends. In this case, the ads led people directly to online ordering sites.

The result: EA reckons the ads resulted in an additional $12.1 million in game sales. So for each dollar EA spent on Facebook ads, it generated $4.38 in additional revenues. …

Read the complete post on The New Persuaders.

Is the Online Ad Industry Too Obsessed With Technology?

From my blog The New Persuaders:

When two data collection companies you’ve barely heard of, Epsilon and Acxiom, are named by the trade magazine Advertising Age as the top ad agencies in the country, you know technology has arrived as the key driver of advertising innovation. But not everyone thinks that’s such a great thing for a business whose purpose, at some level, is still to elicit in human beings an emotional connection with brands.

The issue was explored in some depth at two panels at a recent Google online advertising event for advertisers, agencies, and publishers. The discussions, lively at times, shed some light on when technology is the answer and when it’s the problem for marketers as they try to reach consumers in new ways.

On the first panel, which looked at what’s needed for the rapidly emerging ad tech ecosystem to serve advertisers, agencies, publishers and ultimately consumers, were moderator Terry Kawaja, CEO of boutique investment bank Luma Partners; Omar Tawokol, CEO of ad data firm BlueKai; ex-agency exec Greg Stuart, global CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association; Kurt Unkel, president of the digital ad buying unit of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi; and Shishir Mehrotra, VP of product management at Google’s YouTube. Here (paraphrased in some cases, with a few comments of my own in italics) is what they had to say:

Q: How do we get to $300 billion to $400 billion in display ad revenues? Is the fragmentation of media that media people worry about actually a way we might get there? …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

Marketers, Get Ready: ‘All Advertising Soon Will Be Digital’

From my blog The New Persuaders:

The constant battle between TV viewers who want to watch their favorite shows when and where they want broadcast and cable networks that want to maintain their lucrative linear-TV business model is just the tip of a digital media iceberg. Fact is, people want to view all kinds of content, whether it’s TV shows, movies, games, or blogs and magazine stories, wherever they want. Inconveniently, that’s not necessarily on media companies’ own websites, where they make most of their money from advertising.

As a result, marketers and publishers alike are gradually realizing they need to reach people through their advertising on whatever site, app, or device they’re using, not just where they’d like them to be. At a recent event held by Google’s DoubleClick display-ad business, a couple of prominent online media executives said they’re well on the way to doing just that.

On the stage at the Google event were moderator Terry Kawaja, CEO of boutique investment bank Luma Partners; Neal Mohan, Google’s vice president of display advertising; Weather Channel (and former adman) CEO David Kenny; and Disney Interactive Media Group Co-President Jimmy Pitaro. Here’s what they had to say about how they’re dealing with the challenge.

Q: Is a $200 billion display ad prediction [made by Mohan last year] just wishful thinking?

Kenny: It’s not wishful thinking at all. The mistake is in assuming it’s in advertising units that exist today. The $200 billion could be $300 billion or $400 billion if it’s more of service to the consumer.

Q: It feels like the digital channel is still an adolescent. Isn’t a lack of new formats the problem? …

Read the rest of the post at The New Persuaders.

Google: Let’s Make Display Ads As Compelling As TV

From my blog The New Persuaders:

Google made a renewed bid last week to control much of the online advertising business it doesn’t already own with a revamped display ad buying system. At a semi-private event (livestreamed here) held by its DoubleClick display-ad unit, Neal Mohan, VP of display advertising products for Google, debuted the system to advertisers, agencies, and publishers.

Mohan also provided his perspective on what’s needed next to make display advertising easier to create and buy. His comments, which I ran out of time to post after the announcement, remain especially relevant today given Facebook’s announcement on June 13 that it would soon launch its own Facebook Exchange to allow marketers to reach audiences on Facebook for the first time using data they’ve collected about their browsing habits. That puts Facebook in more direct competition with Google for marketers looking to reach audiences online.

Here are the highlights of Mohan’s keynote:

Some 60% of the ads on YouTube are TrueView ads, for which advertisers are charged only if they’re viewed. That’s a sign of where display is going, toward measuring actual impact rather than theoretical impressions.

He says engaging ads such as larger display ads and those that are larger than the standard units are getting up to twice as much engagement. He thinks engagement rates, or the time people spend looking at an ad, should rise 50% in coming years.

To do that, he says, we need better integration across these tools and better measurement.

The first principle is that digital marketing should be as easy as “press and play.”

None of these tools has worked together very well. It’s like a stereo system used to be, with lots of separate components connected by a mess of wires. All of that has been replaced today by smartphones. In short, he says, that’s what Google wants to do with digital marketing. …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

Here’s One Thing Google and Facebook Can Agree On: Fighting Scam Ads

From my blog The New Persuaders:

Google recently has stepped up a drive to stop ads that hawk counterfeit goods or send people to sites that try to scam them or install malicious software on their computers. But up to now, Google and other companies from AOL to Facebook have attacked the problem individually, leaving holes in their defenses.

On June 14, the nonprofit group StopBadware, backed by Google, PayPal, Mozilla, and others, will launch the Ads Integrity Alliance to present a more united front to scammers and also educate policymakers on potential legal or legislative remedies.

StopBadware was formed in early 2006 as an experimental anti-malware project at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and since spun out into a nonprofit group. Executive Director Maxim Weinstein says bad ads are a natural extension of the mission, partly because malware often is distributed via online ads. “It’s a similar threat in that it undermines trust in the Web,” he said in an interview. “Those ads are what pay for all the services on the Web.”

Although Google and no doubt others spend millions of dollars a year to fight bad ads, scammers continually exploit automated and human safeguards and loopholes in site policies. “The more companies can learn, the better,” says Weinstein. “Once you get to a consistent set of principles, the bad guys find it harder to squeeze through.”

At least that’s the hope. …

Read the full post at The New Persuaders.

Facebook to Debut Ad Exchange in Bid to Boost Revenues

From my blog The New Persuaders:

Facebook will debut an advertising exchange in the next few weeks that will help advertisers target audiences on the social network in the same way they’ve been able to do elsewhere on the Web. That may help Facebook boost its revenues to counter worries by investors, who have knocked its stock down nearly 30% from its initial public offering last month.

The exchange will allow a select group of ad tech companies called Demand-Side Platforms, or DSPs, which gather pools of target audiences that advertisers can reach instantly through automated buying systems, to get access to such audiences on Facebook, according to spokesperson Annie Ta. They haven’t been able to do that before because Facebook only allowed them to target ads using its own data on posts or brands that users Liked or shared, or on information about themselves that the revealed in their Facebook profiles.

Using what’s known as real-time bidding on the Facebook Exchange, a travel site, for instance, could target an ad on Facebook for a discounted air ticket to Hawaii to people who searched for a Hawaii flight but didn’t buy a ticket, or an ad for a Honolulu hotel room to someone who did buy a ticket.

The main advantage for advertisers is simply being able to reach people when they are on Facebook the same way they reach them when they are surfing the rest of the Web. That’s potentially huge, because Facebook boasts nearly a billion active monthly users, who spend hours a month on the site. No longer will those hours be lost to advertisers. What’s more, recent browsing data may be more of an indication of intent to purchase a product or service than stated interests or Likes–or at least advertisers may think so–so the ads may be more successful than some of the targeting currently available on Facebook.

For Facebook, the move is likely to raise the amount it can charge for its nearly limitless ad space, which is widely believed to command relatively low rates. It’s not clear how much this will boost its revenues, but if the resulting targeted ads prove more relevant to users, prices should rise as advertisers will be willing to bid more for the space.

As AllThingD’s Peter Kafka points out, this is not the ad network that Facebook has long been rumored to be considering. That would run Facebook ads on other websites, like Google does with its lucrative AdSense network. But Facebook has steadfastly said it has no near-term plans for an ad network.

Of course, the more relevant those ads are, the more they could raise more privacy concerns for Facebook: Too relevant, and people might get creeped out. They can opt out of this targeting, but not through Facebook–only through the DSPs, which can be difficult to do. However, these ads also will sport the little “X” that lets you get rid of an ad, and clicking on it will send you to information that directs you to the DSP’s website to opt out.  Facebook itself won’t be building user profiles based on the exchange.

Read the complete post on The New Persuaders.


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