At Yahoo, Using Searches To Steer News Coverage

“Algorithm as editor” is the phrase coined to describe Yahoo’s unique new way of delivering news content to its readers. It’s a reversal of the previous “top down” method of news delivery in which editors looked at the stories of the day and decided what was important for the masses. Now, the masses (through their searches of the day) are determining what news is delivered.

This “news democratization” has been taken a step further by Yahoo, who’s introduced a news blog that relies on search queries to guide its reporting and writing on national affairs, politics, and media.

Of course, search-generated content has been growing by leaps and bounds online. Yahoo recently purchased online news company Associated Content, which was based on this model of journalism based on current buzz.

To make it work, Yahoo has taken its search analytics, which track phrases and topics that are gaining popularity across its network, and is now using that to drive what stories its news coverage teams (editors and writers) will cover. For now, this is happening on the Yahoo blog Upshot, whose staff of two editors and six bloggers is covering news in near-real-time based on the trends.

This more direct approach to appealing to its audience’s wishes, in terms of what types of news they’re interested in, may pay off for the search-engine gone news outlet. As a bonus aside, this type of content delivery also focuses advertising in such a way that it becomes a powerful draw to ad buyers.

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Is Mobile Marketing Viable in a Recession?

A new study on consumer response to mobile marketing suggests that the market may not be ready for the new technique, even if the technology is. While mobile marketing is definitely going to be a part of the future of marketing techniques, it may not be wise to put all your eggs in that basket while consumer spending is still way down.

The recession is going to make mobile marketing much more difficult for several reasons, one of the most important being that it’s going to be hard to judge the effectiveness of a campaign when consumers don’t have money to spend, period.

A campaign that might be very effective when consumers are doing a little better may tank when they don’t have extra cash to spend on luxuries, and that misinformation is going to mean bad money thrown after good.

Keep it simple
The best strategy for the moment, the study concludes, is to keep it small and convenient without breaking the bank. Make sure your website is mobile-optimized and get included in mobile searches, but campaigns like mobile video are best left on the back burner until the economy takes a turn for the better.

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Is Facebook Growing Up Too Fast?

Facebook is signing up nearly a million new members every day, has over 70% of its users overseas, and is a favorite time-killer for everyone from soccer moms to tweens to working professionals to college kids to the elderly.

It links people in ways that were never conceived of before, and it targets advertising so precisely that buyers are seriously getting their money’s worth. So it’s doing great, right?

Maybe not.

Facebook started as a tool for college kids. Indeed, initially to sign up you had to have an email address with an educational institution’s .edu. As it’s expanded, Facebook has been trying to keep up with the needs of tech-savvy youth as well as the seriously not-tech-savvy older generation – and it’s losing people at both ends of the spectrum.

Facebook may find some restitution in being useful as opposed to being trendy. Twitter is already becoming tiresome to many, but Facebook has continued to grow and expand as it helps families keep in touch, business entrepreneurs interact and even connects people who have been far-flung by major events such as the Holocaust.

We’ll see if being useful will keep Facebook afloat while the next trends come and go.

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Retailers Personalize Consumer Email

The retail industry is using e-mail to personalize its messages to consumers.

“It’s not just putting the consumers name in the subject line. We want to speak to the customer in a more intelligent way,” said Ryan Phelan, director of email marketing for Sears Holding Corp.

Marketing additional services
More companies are realizing the value of integrating the personalized message through all channels of communications. Retail marketers create an individual customer profile based on customer purchases.

For example, if a customer buys a new flat-screen television, a mobile message containing information about how to sign up for a warranty could follow.

Sears’ coupon campaign
Sears took steps to promote its new e-mail program by running a coupon campaign offering customers who signed up for the program a coupon for 10 dollars off their purchase. Since starting the promotion last June, Sears has experienced 50 percent increased participation in its e-mail list.

The takeaway from this trend is that there are many effective, newer means of reaching target markets in a highly relevant, personalized and cost-effective way.

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Ad Week Tracks 30 Years Of Ad Spending

On its 30-year anniversary “microsite,” AdWeek tracks ad spending from 1978-2008.

Here’s what we can see:

• Television has had its ups and downs but is decidedly up over 30 years (about 7 ½ times up)

• Newspapers up and down, and up about 3 times overall, but down for sure in recent years (over the past decade)

• Magazines just slightly higher than flat over the entire 30-year period

• Internet tracked only since 1998 and only one direction (up) with the exception of a dip in the 2002-2003 period

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More U.S. Homes Going Wireless

A new study by Nielsen Mobile says that over 20 million U.S. households rely solely on mobile phones from home landline service. The findings suggest one in five U.S. households could be wireless by the end of this year.

Reducing household spending. Is there any surprise that so many are choosing to go wireless at home considering the current economic climate? Consumers are using every strategy possible to reduce overall household spending. The desire to trim away excess expenses is spurring this trend.

“Landline wireless substitution may be just the start,” says Allison LeBreton, Vice President of client services for Neilsen Mobile.

“As wireless data networks improve and speeds become more and more competitive with broadband, some consumers may cut the Internet chord as well, favoring wireless data cards and other access through carrier networks.”

Who’s going wireless? The Nielsen study revealed more important information to consider:
• The U.S. households most likely to abandon traditional landline phone service tend to fall into a lower income category. 59 percent have household incomes of $40,000 or less.
• Small households, with one or two residents, are more likely to eliminate landline phone service.
• Major life events like moving or changing jobs are directly linked to the decision made by a large number of households to rely only on wireless phone service. It is estimated that 31 percent of those who left landline service moved before doing so. 22 percent made the choice after switching jobs.
• Consumers who chose wireless phone service over landline service tend to use mobile phones 45 percent more per phone, and wind up saving around 33 dollars per phone.

Wireless versus landline phones. Wireless mobile phones aren’t for every household, and some consumers will always return to landline services because they are part of a bundled service they want to receive like satellite television or pay-per-view. And sometimes they will continue with what they know which continues to be the landline.

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Vuitton Launches Television Campaign

High-end fashion and luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton is set to launch its first-ever television advertising campaign on February 15.

The 90-second spot, which was shot in Spain, India, Japan, and France, features average people unlike Vuitton’s print media campaigns that star such notables as Mikhail Gorbachev, Andre Agassi and Catherine Deneuve. The television ad will be aired on cable and satellite television channels and in movie theaters across the globe.

While Vuitton has always been a well regarded and known name, the company has not until now developed a television campaign. The overall objective of the ad is, of course, to promote the company’s brand. “It is supposed to touch our clientele and views in ways that perhaps other media will not touch, Louis Vuitton Marketing Director Pietro Beccari said. This is a way to say Louis Vuitton is different.

Beccari also said that the company believes strongly that the television advertising will assist in reaching new audiences in China and other Western countries.

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The New Face of Multi-Channel Retail Marketing

In today’s highly competitive and rapidly changing retail environment, it’s more important than ever to utilize a multi-channel direct marketing program to maximize sales across retail platforms. There are several proven and evolving marketing models that are being employed by savvy retailers, who understand how to optimize retail sales through direct marketing. We will explore some of these strategies, so you can consider how they can fit into your marketing mix.
Many online retailers are utilizing a combination of offline media including, infomercials, direct response television, print and radio to drive online sales. This type of direct marketing campaign is often referred to as a drive to web campaign. Online retailers are finding that consumers, who initiate a search online, after being exposed to an offline ad, are converting into a sale at a much high rate than those who come to their site through an online media channel. Many online retailers are deploying a paid search campaign that runs simultaneously with a DRTV campaign, in order to capture consumers who initiate a search after viewing a DRTV ad. At the same time, they are also implementing an SEO campaign, to help move up their site organically in the search listings.
Hybrid Campaigns
Another multi-channel retail marketing approach is a hybrid drive to web/drive to retail campaign, to increase both online and store traffic. Frequently, a multi-channel direct response ad campaign is used with this approach. Various media channels need to be tested to find the ones that deliver the optimum ROI. Offline media and online advertising, including paid search, email marketing, affiliate programs, behavioral/contextual and demographic targeting, and rich media can all play a role in a successful multi-channel direct marketing campaign. Social networks and blog networks are newer online mediums being explored by more progressive retailers. Remember that messaging needs to be consistent throughout the various mediums to maximize the impact of the campaign.
Understanding the Target Customer
In today’s more competitive retail environment, it’s increasingly important to understand who is your target customer and to make their retail experience both online and at the store level memorable and enjoyable, in order to increase your sales conversion rate and customer retention. Try to create a retail shopping environment/experience that is easy to navigate, appeals to the target customer and engages all their senses. Remember that online the consumer is always one click away from leaving your site. Retailers also need to understand the lifetime value of their customers and employ customer retention strategies to create customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
Multi-channel retailing is much more complex today, since it often takes place on several retail platforms, in order to gain the optimum results. Direct marketing programs need to be customized to reach target customers in a range of mediums and the shopping experience needs to be tailored to appeal to the target audience. Employing these strategies in your retail-marketing plan will help ensure a more successful 2008 for your retail business.

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Infomercial Media Buying

Infomercial media buying is a specialized type of media buying. Infomercial time is sold in thirty-minute blocks on both national cable and satellite networks and on local broadcast stations throughout the U.S. Infomercial time is generally available when regular programming goes off the air during the overnight and early morning time periods and during the morning and afternoon on weekends. Infomercial time is priced based on the size and viewership of the station or network and the size of market where the station is located. The most expensive infomercial time periods are on major cable networks on Saturday and Sundays.

Since there are thousands of local broadcast stations and hundreds of cable and satellite networks, in order to buy infomercial time successfully it’s important to work with a seasoned infomercial media buyer. An experienced infomercial media buyer knows the stations and networks that perform best for certain categories of products targeting particular types of audiences. A knowledgeable infomercial media buyer also knows how to negotiate the most favorable rates for their clients. For example, the rate card for an infomercial time slot might be $1,000, but a savvy infomercial media buyer may know that particular time period is only worth $500 and will be able to negotiate a substantial level of savings for a client’s infomercial campaign by utilizing this type of knowledge and expertise.

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Exposing your target audience to your ads and url

The iProspect study noted that all ranges of age, income and online tenure reported that conducting search engine queries has become more important to their use of the Internet over the last year. Since users report that the activity of searching is growing more important to them, then businesses need to make sure that their website is found by searchers. Exposing your target audience to your ads and url in multiple mediums will enhance their ability to find your website.


Not surprisingly, television drove the highest percentage (37%) of online users to perform searches, according to the iProspect study. Even in today’s more fragmented media environment, the power of TV remains strong and the influence of TV on online purchase behavior is growing. We have found that anywhere from between 30% to over 90%+ of customers make their purchase via the web, when they are offered both an 800 number and a website in a direct response television ad. Why is this happening? Many consumers feel more comfortable making a purchase via the web than through an in-bound telemarketing service. Also, over 50% of people are simultaneously surfing the web while watching TV, so it’s easy for them to log onto your site when they see your TV ad.


The bottom line is that if you’re not using a combination of TV, print and radio and online ads to reach customers, you’re missing a huge share of potential revenue. Infomercial companies that rely solely on one advertising medium are missing the mark. It takes a combination offline and online advertising to make a true impact on today’s consumers. So leverage your marketing dollars by using the synergy of DRTV and online ads to maximize the impact of your campaign. When you do, you will see your company’s bottom line results improve

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