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Author Topic:   Internet Advertising
NEWSFLASH
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posted March 31, 2006 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Ad Buyers Jumping Through Hoops For CBS Over Webcasts

One of the primary advertisers on CBS's webcasts of the March Madness basketball games has called the five million visits chalked up over 56 games "absolutely outstanding." In an interview with the online edition of Business Week, ad manager Dino Bernacchi said that the webcasts, together with TV ads, increased traffic to a Pontiac site by at least 10-15 percent. Advertisers said the audience was about twice what CBS had promised. Meanwhile, Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, forecast that "next year, the audience will be bigger, because broadband video is a maturing medium." CBS said that the semifinal and championship games this weekend will not be shown on the Web.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted May 18, 2006 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
One billion people have Internet access 50 minutes ago


More than one billion people in the world have access to the Internet, with a quarter of them with broadband, or high-speed connections, according to a survey.

The report by the firm eMarketer said the milestone of one billion was reached in late 2005, and that nearly 250 million households had broadband connections.

The firm estimates that of these people, 845 million use the Internet regularly.

The United States is still number one in terms of numbers of Internet users with 175 million, and broadband households, 43.7 million.

In terms of regions, however, Asia-Pacific has the largest number (315 million) and is the largest broadband center containing nearly 40 percent of the world's broadband households.

Latin America was the fastest growing broadband region worldwide, achieving 70 percent subscriber growth, the survey found. But it had just 70 million people online.

Europe had 233 million people online and 55.2 million broadband households. China had 111 million users and 34.1 million households with fast connections.

The report was based on a number of industry surveys and data from the International Telecommunication Union and Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

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fred
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posted May 25, 2006 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
NET SENSE
Google's video exchange ambitions
Commentary: What will tomorrow's ads look like?
By Bambi Francisco, MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:02 PM ET May 25, 2006


SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Google is trying to get everyone -- and I mean everyone -- to create video advertisements.
In fact, if you're a job candidate seeking to get hired by Google, you might consider creating a video ad about yourself and bid against other marketers to place your smiling face on those gazillion blogs and publications that write about Google.
Yes, my friends, the possibilities of what video advertising will look like tomorrow, and who will be advertising are scary, exciting, on the verge of ridiculous, potentially profound, and almost limitless.
Mighty Google Inc. (GOOGgoogle inc cl a
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GOOG ) will take whatever people are willing to produce, as long as it's the power broker between video advertiser and audience.
As early as Friday, Google Inc. will be letting anyone -- from Coke, General Motors, to your local plumber, physician, and you -- create an advertisement no longer than two-minutes and upload it onto the search engine's site. You must become a Google AdWords client (takes minutes to sign up) before you can submit a video ad by uploading it onto Google. As an advertiser, you can then bid to be placed across online publications -- like niche blogs -- that might find your video relevant.
The video ads can be placed on Google's Blogger properties, but not on Google's other properties, like its search site, which don't provide the same contextual environment that blogs or news publications do, according to Gokul Rajaram, director of product management at Google.
Rajaram is particularly excited about inspiring the world to solicit something, or more precisely -- anything -- in the form of a video advertisement. For instance, if I had property in Lake Tahoe, I might take my relatively cheap video camera and create a video to showcase the property and upload it onto Google and target lifestyle blogs.
Google has been testing this service since late last quarter, said Rajaram. Essentially, it's too early to tell just what's working. For instance, Google has only collected between 1 and 10 video ads from the dozen advertisers, such as General Motors and Paramount, it's working with.
Some interesting tidbits from Rajaram include the fact that while Google has limited the video ads to two minutes, those submitted have been as short as 30 seconds and as long as 1-1/2 minutes. Additionally, viewers have typically watched 75% of the entire ad, he said. Google would not disclose how many video ads were clicked on, however. Some video ads that worked include a movie trailer, like the one created for Paramount's "An Inconvenient Truth." This was placed on blogs that focused on environmental issues.
Google's ad video project has had mixed reviews across the Web, with many skeptical about the viability of video commercials. Skeptics say, "We didn't watch them on TV, why would we watch them on the Web?"
Fair enough. But for those who have any doubt about how much video advertising will be created and viewed, think again.
Videos will come from people and places unimaginable. Are we going to see passionate college students create ideological campaigns and target political blogs? Will Swedish nannies start creating ads about their services and target blogs that only attracts readers who can afford such luxuries? If the potential salary covers the cost of their ad spend, which it might, why not? Last year, I predicted that users would be creating commercials. With that creative power in their hands, anything is possible.
Here are a few of my observations about Google's video advertising for AdWords and video ads in general:
-- I expected more. When I heard that Google had a video-ad product, I expected it to be a sophisticated self-service video-ad auction service, whereby advertisers could bid against each other to place their ads on videos. Think of it as AdWords for video. But Google doesn't have such a product. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said to me a couple weeks ago that if someone were to invent such technology, Google would take a look at it. There is such a company, actually. Booyah Networks, based in Boulder, Co. has created a self-service, automated auction technology for ad placement in videos. To me, a self-service automated system where advertisers can select the video inventory and bid to be placed in that inventory is far more interesting than what Google announced. To be sure, video inventory is scarce these days. But I'm sure it will be overflowing soon enough, and we'll recall these quiet days with nostalgia.
-- Nonetheless, video ads will be popular with advertisers. They're another vehicle in which a marketer -- large or small -- can get a message or its brand in front of an audience. Having created videos for MarketWatch since 1999, I know there's demand. If a marketer makes a creative, entertaining, informative and engaging enough ad, such a video ad would certainly be embraced by certain bloggers. And, such video ads would get viewed because of the content, I'm sure.
-- Video ads will also be popular with publishers. Will video ads be clicked on less, thus resulting in lower payments to publishers, who make more money when click-through rates and cost-per-clicks are high? It doesn't matter. Because the video ads are mixed in with text and image ads, if certain video ads are clicked on less, they will rotate out. Some ads are also bought based on a cost per impression (CPM) basis, so it doesn't even matter whether viewers click on these ads or not. The bottom line is that the advertisement that is displayed will theoretically be the one that produces the most money for the publisher.
-- It's not perfect. Google doesn't allow publishers to decide which video ads can go onto its site. "A team of humans" at Google will review the videos, said Rajaram, who suggested that Google might consider letting publishers view the video ads down the road. Without this option, Rajaram knows the video ads might not be popular with certain publishers who want to ensure that video ads are compliant or just plain in sync with their site's image. Then again, publishers don't have a say in what image ads go up on their site. And, since the videos don't automatically play, they're as imposing as an image. Since the vast majority of AdWords' clients get image ads, presumably that means publishers are OK with not seeing the images before they're displayed. An AdWords client can choose to block an advertiser, however.
-- Google is adding liquidity to the marketplace for video advertisements by allowing advertisers place their video commercials on the blogosphere, where there is inventory. The production of entertaining and news-related videos is in its early stages. For now, video inventory is scarce. That's why the cost to advertise on videos produced by professional media can be anywhere between $20 and $100 per CPM. It's cheap relative to TV prices, but higher relative to other advertising options on the Web. Google is charging between $5 and low-double-digits per CPM for video ads. In many ways, if advertisers can't get their ads on precious online video content, I'd imagine paying a relatively cheaper price to get it on Google's network of blogs may be worth it.
-- Google will no doubt jump onto good emerging ideas -- even yours -- that involve video too. Rajaram excitedly talked about the possibilities around the aforementioned video resumes. HireVue.com is already doing just that. It's a job hiring site where candidates can upload video resumes. In many ways, HireVue can be more successful in this marketplace than Google since it's far more focused on the employment service and this one business. Google is far too distracted to win in this area, in my view. Moreover, job candidates might only be willing to pay for clicks from a certain potential employer to look at that video, not the whole world. No doubt, Google could be a force in any vertical, especially if it dumps all these video ads into its Google Video Store.
The nature of video ads will change. I just spent a good five minutes watching rejected Fandango bag video advertisements on Google Video. They came as a necessary dose of comic relief for me, during the typical hectic work day, though perhaps mildly distracting for my coworkers who heard my faint giggles. These advertisements, much like some I watch on television, are entertaining. Television ads never lacked entertainment quality. What most television commercials lack, however, are familiar people to identify with. By that I mean that commercials should be ongoing stories or dialogues about the people behind the message or company. In my opinion, ongoing snippets of people behind companies might be the type of commercials that'll work on the Internet. I talked with Stephen Houghton, director of marketing at Clif Bar & Co., about this. Houghton talks about Clif Bar's online marketing initiatives, including a video of the company's founder and owner Gary Erikson walking around the company's offices.
This video -- uploaded on YouTube -- wasn't a commercial in the traditional sense, but it resonated with consumers. Houghton says creating a video ad for Google video ads isn't a priority. You can watch the interview here.
Also watch my interview with VideoEgg co-founder Kevin Sladek. Sladek talks about how VideoEgg's technology is helping companies like Time Warner's (TWXtime warner inc com
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TWX ) AOL build user-generated video uploading services to compete with YouTube, Grouper, and Google Video and News Corp's (NWSnews corp cl b
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NWS ) MySpace. VideoEgg is one of the emerging video-related Internet companies that allow people to upload videos quickly. Yahoo's (YHOOYahoo! Inc.
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Get up to 50 free trades at TD AMERITRADE.YHOO ) Bradley Horowitz has suggested to me that a user-generated video uploading service would be consistent with Yahoo's social media strategies.

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indiedan
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posted June 27, 2006 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Studios Increasing Ad Spending on the Web


Several critics have observed that it's really not necessary to sit through 2 1/2 hours of Superman Returns in order to see the best special-effects sequences. Most of them have been squeezed into the trailers, which can be viewed on any number of websites. On its website Monday, Advertising Age observed that while the movie studios have increased their advertising on the Internet to $40 million from January through May (versus $35 million during the same period a year ago), many have discovered the numerous free outlets for their latest trailers. "This is turning out to be a huge boon to the movie industry because it's a relatively cheap way to drive awareness levels, which does translate at the box office," Exhibitor Relations chief Paul Dergarabedian told AdAge. "Websites also have a great deal to gain by providing the trailers since they help drive traffic to them."

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fred
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posted July 16, 2006 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
The first ever banner ad...
http://www.clientwell.com/blog/?p=7

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NEWSFLASH
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posted September 19, 2006 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Yahoo sees weakness, stock tumbles
Online media giant's CFO cites softness in auto and financial advertising; Google shares also hit.
By Paul LaMonica, CNNMoney.com editor at large
September 19 2006: 12:54 PM EDT
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The online advertising market has been red hot this year but the chief financial officer of search leader Yahoo! said Tuesday that demand was weakening a bit as the economy shows signs of slowing.

Sue Decker, Yahoo's CFO, said that due to some softness in online advertising, she expected Yahoo (down $3.49 to $25.51, Charts) would report third-quarter sales that are in the lower end of the guidance that the company gave investors in July.

Decker said that softness in auto and financial advertising was having an effect and that it was uncertain if this was just a one-quarter phenomenon or part of a broader trend.

Shares of Yahoo sank nearly nearly 12 percent on the news, and shares of rival Google (down $16.86 to $397.83, Charts) slid about 4.5 percent, both in active trading on Nasdaq.

Decker made the comments at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York.

Auto makers GM (up $0.25 to $31.73, Charts) and Ford (down $0.17 to $7.65, Charts) are big online advertisers and both companies have had high-profile struggles lately.

A slowdown in the housing market could also be having am effect on advertising demand from mortgage lenders.

Yahoo is in the process of updating its online advertising platform. The new technology, code named Project Panama, was originally supposed to be rolled out during the third quarter but Yahoo announced in July that it would need to push the launch to the fourth quarter.

Some investors feared that the delay could give rival Google a chance to increase its lead over Yahoo in search advertising.

A number of institutional investors at the conference said they were surprised by Decker's comments.

"The weakness that Yahoo's seeing may be specific to Yahoo and is not indicative of an overall slowdown in online advertising," one said.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted October 30, 2006 01:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
BBC Employees Battling Plans To Sell Ads On Website


Employees of the British Broadcasting Corp. are circulating a 10-page petition condemning proposals to sell advertising on the BBC News website, the New York Times reported today (Monday). According to the newspaper, although the ads would be seen only outside of Britain, employees warn that it could place the publicly supported broadcaster on "a slippery slope" towards becoming a commercial broadcaster. One website employee employee warned that if advertisers wind up underwriting the Web content, "There has to be a chance that advertisers wouldn't care about us doing stories on poverty and African politics, they'd want us to do more stories on Madonna and Kylie," a reference to Australian-born British pop star Kylie Minogue. The petition campaign came as a strategy paper from Accenture, the world's largest management and technology consulting firm, was released noting that the BBC could earn as much as $200 million annually from international online advertising. Britain's Guardian newspaper, which reported on the Accenture study, said that foes of the ad-supported Internet plan are expected to launch a newsletter and a website of their own to raise awareness and drum up support for their opposition campaign.

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indiedan
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posted February 08, 2007 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Local TV Websites See Big Boost in Revenue


The websites of local TV stations saw their revenue rise 41 percent in 2006 to $399 million, the Television Bureau of Advertising said Wednesday. A study by the group found that much of the increase came at the expense of local newspapers and "yellow pages," which saw their share of advertising revenue fall in 2006. Seventy-two percent of the TV ads employed video (versus 32 percent of newspaper ads). The TBA forecast that online revenue for local-TV websites will jump to $618 million by the end of this year.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted March 13, 2007 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Web Credited for '300' Triumph


Viral Internet marketing was likely responsible for the astonishing success of Warner Bros.' 300 over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times indicated today (Tuesday). The newspaper observed that the movie, which earned nearly $71 million over the weekend, originally got a big push at last year's Comic-Con convention in San Diego when the movie's visuals excited attendees. Berge Garabedian who runs the fanboy website Joblo, told the newspaper that many websites like his began hyping the movie. "Everybody was talking about it," he said. Warner Bros. then developed a MySpace page for the film, including a feature upgrade on the 300 site that permitted users to store 300 photos on their profile. That "stroke of genius," as the Times referred to the photo ploy, resulted in billions of ad impressions and 8 million viewings of the trailer for the film. 300 went into the record books as the third-biggest opening of an R-rated movie in history (after The Passion of the Christ and The Matrix Reloaded). It was also the biggest opening of any film debuting in March and he biggest IMAX opening.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date): 1. 300, Warner Bros., $70,885,301, (New); 2. Wild Hogs, Disney, $27,601,291, 2 Wks. ($77,016,616); 3. Bridge to Terabithia, Disney, $6,779,315, 4 Wks. ($66,934,360); 4. Ghost Rider, Sony, $6,670,463, 4 Wks. ($104,012,146); 5. Zodiac, Paramount, $6,641,870, 2 Wks. ($23,595,973); 6. Norbit, Paramount, $4,278,099, 5 Wks. ($88,295,349); 7. The Number 23, New Line, $4,082,292, 3 Wks. ($30,233,459); 8. Music and Lyrics, Warner Bros., $3,744,084, 4 Wks. ($43,761,368); 9. Breach, Universal, $2,505,640, 4 Wks. ($29,021,080); 10. Amazing Grace, Goldywn, $2,478,036, 3 Wks. ($11,392,034).

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indiedan
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posted April 13, 2007 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Google Agrees to Buy DoubleClick for $3.1 Billion
By DENNIS K. BERMAN, KEVIN J. DELANEY and ROBERT A. GUTH
April 13, 2007 5:54 p.m.

Google Inc. reached a deal to purchase Internet ad-services company DoubleClick Inc. for $3.1 billion, marking one of its biggest acquisitions.

The price represents a stunning change in valuation for the company, given that it fetched $1.1 billion in 2005, and has since sold off parts of itself to other parties. Among others, Microsoft Corp., had been vying for control of New York-based DoubleClick, which is controlled by San Francisco private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

Even as the Internet economy enters its second decade, the price shows just how valuable key market positions can still be. In adding DoubleClick, Google pushes deeper into the business of placing, or "serving" the electronic advertisements that dot Web sites. But it will also complicate Google's already fraught relationships with Web publishers, who often rely on Google for advertising revenue and traffic, but fear that Google's ever-growing market power may somehow crimp their own growth plans.

In addition to ad-serving infrastructure, DoubleClick brings a vast list of relationships with Web publishers and advertisers that Google can try to exploit to improve its online ad offerings farther beyond the small text ads that it places alongside search results. Customers include Time Warner Inc.'s AOL and News Corp.'s social networking site MySpace. The company also runs a service called Performics, which among other offerings, works with advertisers to help place ads on Internet search engines, such as Google.

Many Web publishers rely on ad-serving services such as DoubleClick's to insert ads on the fly when a visitor pulls up a Web page. Some advertisers and their agencies rely on DoubleClick to deliver their ads to be served up to the Web pages.

The ad-serving DoubleClick does would be an obvious complement to Google's push to sell more graphical and video advertising. Google currently serves ads for other publishers when it has sold the ads for them through its online advertising system, but generally doesn't serve ads that weren't bought through its system. People familiar with the matter say Google has been preparing a service that could serve ads on sites for Web publishers even when Google itself hasn't sold the ads.

The deal comes as Google also expand its ad-brokering services into offline media, such as print, radio and television.

The agreement marks the second time that Google has outdistanced Microsoft, which in 2006 beat out the software maker for a partnership in AOL. Some Microsoft executives are convinced Google is making such investments mainly as a defense against Microsoft and others.

Losing DoubleClick also adds a roadblock to Microsoft's goal of entering search and advertising areas that Google hasn't staked out yet. Doubleclick would have given Microsoft instant entry into the market for running ads on other companies' Web sites. Now Microsoft may have to build its own service if it decides to compete. That approach has proved difficult to Microsoft, which has poured money into its own search engine and online ad system to little success.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted June 07, 2007 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) today announced that Internet advertising revenues reached a new record of $4.9 billion for the first quarter of 2007. The 2007 first quarter revenues represent a 26 percent increase over Q1 2006 at $3.8 billion and a 2 percent increase over Q4 2006 at $4.8 billion.

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indiedan
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posted July 02, 2007 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Yahoo has announced the launch of Yahoo SmartAds, a new advertising platform that delivers tailored display ads to highly targeted audiences.

The new service automatically converts creative campaign elements and offerings into highly customized and relevant display ads by delivering ads according to the Web surfer’s age, gender, location and online activities.

An example given by Yahoo of the new service:

“If a user is browsing for hybrid cars in Yahoo! Autos and has selected San Francisco as their default location in Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo’s SmartAds platform can assemble and deliver a display ad in real time that showcases a hybrid vehicle from a major auto brand, as well as local dealer information and current lease rates….providing a relevant experience to the user and allows the marketer to reach a user who is likely to become a customer.”

Yahoo Smart Ads is the natural next step forward in contextual advertising delivery. The new service will drive new business to Yahoo, however improved targeting alone does not create a market leader; it’s only one part of the contextual advertising jigsaw puzzle. Scope is still Google’s key selling point; as long as Google offers a superior inventory, Google will continue to lead the field. Yahoo Smart Ads will drive further innovation in the space; Google is bound to offer a similar service in response, and ultimately this is good for all advertisers.

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indiedan
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posted July 26, 2007 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
'Simpsons Movie' Marketing Paying Off


Twentieth Century Fox's elaborate marketing campaign for its forthcoming The Simpsons Movie appears to be achieving the desired impact. Hitwise, a research firm that tracks Internet usage, said Wednesday that the Simpsons website was the second-most-visited broadcast TV website for the week ended July 21, accounting for 8.23 percent of the traffic. (No. 1 was NBC's America's Got Talent with 12.52 percent of the traffic.) Furthermore, today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times reported that 7-Eleven stores that were converted into Kwik-E-Marts for the month have been doing land-office business. Swarn Sahni, who owns the 7-Eleven franchise in Burbank, CA that now displays the Kwik-E-Mart signage, told the newspaper, "The Simpsons fans are spending money like crazy. ... I usually sell 800 hot dogs a week. Now I'm selling about 3,000 a week." He also said that the store had sold 57,510 "Sprinklicious" doughnuts since the campaign began. Moreover, an appearance by the Simpsons characters on the Tonight show Wednesday created a stir as Homer led off by asserting that NBC stands for Never Been Crappier and that owner GE "fill the air with more dangerous hydrocarbon emissions than Rosie O'Donnell." Meanwhile, a website set up by promotional partner Burger King in which users can turn themselves into Simpsons-like characters has drawn so many web surfers that the company is reportedly having to deal with a backlash from angered customers who have been unable to access it.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted September 18, 2007 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Converting clicks into customers


By Rick Sloboda


You've got plenty of traffic, but you're not able to persuade visitors to take action. It's a common and aching issue for many online businesses.

Too often, business owners impulsively throw more money into existing marketing campaigns, believing it's merely a numbers game -- i.e. "I just need more traffic and the sales will materialize." But one has to realize the simple fact that a zero per cent conversion rate means no sales, whether you're attracting 10 visitors a day or 10,000.

Presuming you're driving the right people to your site, Web site conversions can be boosted through various means, explained Yuval Karjevski, Senior Software Engineer at New York-based Reditus Solutions, which helps companies analyze their online performance in a bid to achieve optimal results.

"Site owners need to be aware of any usability, communication or process issues," stated Karjevski. "Even the smallest flaw can make a big difference to a company's bottom line."

He cited a recent homepage redesign for an e-commerce client in the eyewear industry. Just a few initial enhancements, including new links with more enticing calls to action, a best-seller product list and a 'hacker safe' logo, boosted the online retailer's conversion rate by more than 25 per cent.

Karjevski says online businesses commonly invest great amounts of time and money to attain growth, but neglect the fact that they might have fundamentally flawed Web sites.

"It's like pumping more air into a leaky tire," he explains. "No matter how hard you try, you're not going to get very far."

Web site conversion ground rules

Whether you're selling products or services, there are several basic Web site conversion strategies you can employ to help boost sales and maximize profitability from your existing traffic:

Metrics and analytics

Define your Web site's objectives. For instance, do you want to improve conversions? Increase your customer loyalty? Fine-tune your e-mail campaigns? Then focus on one element at a time.


Get the right tools in place so you can continuously measure results and gain insight into your visitors' behaviour. Google Analytics is a good starting point, and there's no cost to register.
Web copywriting

Feature concise and compelling web copy that clearly outlines the benefits you have to offer customers. If your product or service will make customers richer or healthier, tell them so, and explain how. Benefit-driven, relevant sales copy is the quickest and most effective way to engage online visitors.


Follow up the benefits with strong calls to action. You might be conducting business in cyberspace, but some ‘old school' rules still apply, including the classic, "ask for the sale."


Eliminate any remaining doubts or concerns by showcasing testimonials, guarantees and privacy policies. Special note: many consumers view testimonials as suspect, especially on the Web, so be sure to include full names, titles and business information to establish credibility.
Usability and design

Good design puts function before form. The most beautiful site on the Web might be nice on the eyes, but it's useless if it's not achieving its objectives. Ensure all your design elements promote usability to help users complete intended tasks. Frustrate your visitors and they'll take a trip to your competitors, in two clicks or less.


Your site's architecture and menus must be standardized and intuitive so users can easily find what they're looking for. Navigation should comprise categories that make sense, and not go too deep. If visitors need to take time to learn how to use your Web site, consider them gone.
Process

Clearly inform and instruct your visitors on desired actions and options every step of the way. Leave guesswork out of the equation.


Eliminate unnecessary steps in the checkout and payment processes. The fewer pages and clicks, the better. A recent Marketing Sherpa study revealed online shopping carts are abandoned almost 60 per cent of the time due to poor processes and designs. Meanwhile, web analytics service providers like Fireclick report cart abandonment rates as high as 82 per cent. That's a lot of lost sales for any business.


Offer customers as many payment options as possible, particularly those that are being offered by your competitors.
What should your conversion rate be?

If you drive the right traffic to your site, convey and offer value, and make it easy for visitors to take the desired actions, your business should be enjoying a respectable conversion rate. But what is a typical conversion rate?

It all depends on your business and industry. Following are some average conversion rates, compiled from Fireclick's retail customers, for a one-week period in September.

Vertical
Conversion rate (%)

Catalog
6.9

Software
3.9

Fashion/apparel
2.2

Specialty stores
1.7

Outdoor/sports
0.5

Electronics
0.5

All verticals
2.4

(Source: Fireclick Index)

Convert your current traffic

Convert prospects by eliminating resistance and roadblocks. Clearly tell visitors how they'll benefit from your product or service, ask for the sale and make it easy for them to take action.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted December 15, 2007 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message
Execs: Web Ad Spending Should Be Higher
By SETH SUTEL,
AP
Posted: 2007-12-14 13:51:48
NEW YORK (AP) - Online advertising jumped 25 percent this year, raking in a cool $20 billion, but Internet executives say that figure could have been even higher if advertisers had reliable and consistent ways to measure online audiences.

Unlike traditional media, where each format has one main ratings provider - The Nielsen Co. for television, Arbitron Inc. for radio and so on - there are many sources of data on online audiences. And they frequently conflict.

Disagreement also continues over which criteria best gauge users' potential interest in a product or service. And the resulting data aren't easily comparable to ratings in other media anyway.

It's a "problem of plenty," as Manish Bhatia, president of global services for Nielsen Online, a unit of The Nielsen Co., told a recent conference on online audience measurement.

Web publishers are frustrated that the lack of cohesion is holding them back from capturing more of the $250-billion-a-year U.S. advertising pie, especially given the huge amount of time people spend online.

"This industry looks like it can't get out of its own way," said Steve Wadsworth, president of The Walt Disney Co.'s Internet group. "We need measurement of the audience and their use of the system that's clear, simple and actionable for a marketer. You need comparability with other media."

As Internet executives hash over clickstreams, page views and user panels, 2008 is sure to see even more evolution of the way online audiences are measured. Other media - including TV, radio and billboards - also are revamping the way they calculate ratings in response to pressure from advertisers trying to measure how effective their ad dollars are.

David Hallerman, senior analyst at research company eMarketer Inc., said many large advertisers remain shy of the Internet because of confusion over audience measures. Some also want to stick with video ads, which are still in their early stages on the Internet.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which represents more than 300 Web publishers, has called for Nielsen Online and comScore Media Metrix to undergo audits by the Media Rating Council, a process that is still under way. ComScore and Nielsen both still use panels, while Quantcast Corp., a relatively new agency, combines panel and Web-based data to produce ratings.

Resolving what to measure is as complex as deciding how to measure it. Some sites produce their own ratings based on internal server logs, on the theory that panel-based data understate traffic. But comScore says internal logs can overstate traffic when users delete identifying files called cookies from their browsers because servers think they're seeing a "unique visitor" each time that user arrives.

Counting unique visitors can also be challenging - and lose meaning - when an individual logs in to several different computers, or a family of six all use the same computer. "Page views," once a key indicator, haven't been since Ajax software let people view different elements on one page instead of going to a new page for each one.

From any vantage point, there's still no clear equivalent for reaching a potential audience of 18 million people around the country at the same time with a single ad on "Desperate Housewives."

"There aren't well-established, tried-and-true standards in the industry, which need to be worked through," said Jeff Marshall, senior vice president of digital marketing at Starcom USA, a major ad-buying agency. "The concerns are escalating as more and more of our clients are shifting significant amounts of money into the space."

Traditional measures may not even apply to the Web, some executives say, because the benefits the Web offers - most notably, the opportunity for users to click right through and buy the advertiser's product - aren't comparable to other media.

But Web publishers want to give advertisers some basis for comparison.

"Advertisers want to be able to understand that their online spend got this reach, and their offline spend got that reach," says Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO of Forbes.com.

Or, as Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, put it: "Marketers want to know, If I take $10 out of TV and put it into online, am I getting $10-plus back?"

Peter Daboll, a research guru at Yahoo Inc. who holds the title Chief of Insights, acknowledges that it's still a "challenge" to work through the various kinds of online data.

"We're not dealing with a perfect science here," said Daboll, formerly chief executive of comScore. "What we're trying to do with our advertisers is take some of the mystery out of this."

Indeed, advertisers are demanding just that.

Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, said corporate leaders have been ratcheting up the pressure on marketing departments to justify their ad budgets with hard proof they are generating business.

In response, TV broadcasters this fall started counting how many people watch commercials during a show. Radio ratings company Arbitron Inc. is rolling out a new electronic measurement system that uses a portable device to capture what stations people actually hear, instead of what they recall hearing. The system is running in Philadelphia and Houston, with nine more markets to be added in September.

And the outdoor advertising business will replace estimates of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in front of billboards with a measure that takes into account how visible a certain billboard is. The new measure will also include estimates of demographic data, something other media already provide.

Advertisers seem fed up with the adage that half their ad spending seems to work, they just can't tell which half.

"CEOs finally said, enough is enough," Liodice said. "We have to know with greater specificity what comes out when something goes in."

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