We are all about marketing, data, analysis, innovation and technology

Friday, November 13, 2009

Facebook Nearing the Finish Line

The October Compete.com and unemployment data are now in and guess what? Many of the findings in our previous blog entries regarding Facebook trends have been solidified even further.

The relationship previously identified between Facebook traffic and the unemployment rate has been only strengthened with the inclusion of the October data. As Figure 1 below shows, this month’s increase in the unemployment rate to 10.2% coincides with a similar increase in Facebook unique visitor counts. In fact, the correlation between these two metrics now stands at a whopping 98.2%. The relationship simply cannot be denied during this time. It is quite amazing.

Figure 1

By viewing Figure 2 below we can easily see that with the incorporation of the new October data, Facebook will, without question, actually surpass Google in term of visits by the end of the year (as predicted in our previous blog entry). And, shockingly they may even surpass Google regarding unique visitors even sooner than we could imagine (see Figure 3).

Figure 2

Figure 3

However, one may ask did this major increase in Facebook traffic for the month of October negatively impact some of the other engagement metrics like pages viewed and time spent on site? The answer is an astounding NO. See Figures 4 & 5 below. In fact, October represents some of the most significant jumps in these engagement metrics seen in some time.

Figure 4

Figure 5

Versus YouTube, we see Facebook pulling away at an even more dramatic rate in terms of engagement (Figure 6). They appear to be leaving YouTube in the dust.

Figure 6

There is no question that Facebook is on a roll. Please look for our next blog entry titled “And the Winner is…Facebook.”

Perry & Rhonda

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Google, Now YouTube

In case you did not read all of my last blog entry titled "Has Facebook Been Lucky" you probably missed the fact that Facebook has now overtaken YouTube on a key engagement metric -- average time spent per visit.

I realize both sites are different in terms of content and purpose but it is still an important event -- showing us that that Facebook has the ability to draw us into its grip for longer and longer periods of time per visit. YouTube, on the other hand, has been actually slipping regarding this metric over the past 12 months (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 - Average Stay per Visit, Facebook (blue) vs YouTube (green)

In addition, YouTube has also been losing the battle to Facebook in terms of attracting / growing its customer base. Note the unique visitor trend shown below in Figure 2. Facebook has surpassed YouTube as of February of this year.

Figure 2 - Unique Visitor Counts, Facebook (blue) vs YouTube (green)

And, in terms of raw number of visits by month, forget it. Facebook is leaving YouTube in its dust as we can clearly see in Figure 3.

Figure 3 - Visit Counts, Facebook (blue) vs YouTube (green)

Could it be that Facebook is rendering YouTube to be less valuable than it once was? After all, not only can we post our own videos and share with others on Facebook, we can do so much more!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Has Facebook Been Lucky?

After having written my latest blog entry on Google versus Facebook and my appearance on the CNBC show Street Signs I got to thinking. The question posed by observers at this stage should not be so much is Facebook doing all that they can to capitalize on the significant increase in traffic and engagement but rather why is it happening and, if more can be done to increase the traffic further or,…could the party all end tomorrow?

We all have to admit the trends I revealed in my previous blog (see Figures 1 & 2 below) are quite amazing showing that Facebook has already surpassed Google in terms of page views and is fast approaching Google in terms of unique visitors. But it begs the question why.

Figure 1

Figure 2

After careful investigation, Rhonda Drake, my business partner and wife, kept staring at the latter curve and thinking it looked familiar. A light bulb went off and she realized it looked the same as the unemployment curve. Upon further examination we determined that the correlation of Facebook unique visitors and the unemployment rate is close to 98%. You can’t get much higher than that. Take a look at the graph below (Figure 3).

Figure 3

You will also notice on Figure 3 that the steep increase in engagement begins to take place last year at the same time the bottom fell out of the mortgage lending industry in August and September of 2008.

So now the question is, does this make sense?

Remember, we must be careful at jumping to conclusions of cause and effect. As a reminder, see my previous blog entry title How is this Economy Impacting us Emotionally which was posted on March 11, 2009.

But in this case I think the connection makes perfect sense. As more and more people were being laid off last year and this year, they began to flock to social media sites, connecting with others and discussing issues and concerns.

What is also interesting regarding the Figure 3 data, is that as the unemployment rate has begun to flatten over the past few months (July – September 2009) so has Facebook’s unique visitor count. Coincidence? I am not sure.

When trying to assess Facebook’s engagement metrics such as page views per visit (or unique visitor) and average time on site per visit we notice a couple of things. First, the number of pages viewed per visit is going down. This alone might indicate to some that the engagement of those visitors is waning. However, when we go a bit deeper in our analysis and examine the average time spent on site per visit we notice a slight upward trend. So what does this mean? It means more time is being spent on fewer pages being viewed. One explanation might be the various games and other engagement tools that Facebook has been promoting. These games might be increasing our time at the detriment of going deeper on the site per visit. Is this a good thing? I am not sure. Does this yield opportunities with sponsors? That is for Facebook to decide. See figures 4 and 5 below for these data.

Figure 4

Figure 5

To help better understand our increasing engagement findings, I decided to make a comparison to YouTube. And, the results are astounding. Facebook has actually overtaken YouTube as of June of 2009 in terms of time spent per visit. Facebook is now more engaging than YouTube. Wow! This is a major accomplishment. See the graph below (Figure 6). This makes sense is light of the fact that Facebook is designed to allow you to share content (including video) easily with your circle. No need to leave Facebook.

Figure 6

So will Facebook soon overtake Google in terms of unique visitors as the graph in Figure 2 might suggest? Or will it still be some time coming?

Based on our analysis it is not possible at this time to predict when, if at all, Facebook will overpower Google in terms of unique visitors. The relatively recent past is revealing a completely different pattern than the more distant past. As such it is hard to forecast the future. Is the economy behind this pattern as previously suggested? Very soon we will know the answer to this question. Hang on.

However, we do feel confident that we can predict Facebook will overtake Google in the number of visits by the end of 2009. See Figure 7 below.

Figure 7

Of course this assumes no major or unforeseen changes in our economic climate. :-)

Perry & Rhonda

Please note that all traffic data for this analysis was sourced using compete.com

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Google Vs. Facebook

I was reading an article the other day that revealed Facebook in the UK accounts for 1 in every 7 pages viewed on the Internet. I thought wow, I knew Facebook was big but did not realize it was that big. Then I wondered what this statistic is in the US. And, does Facebook in the US account for more or less of total page views than it does in the UK? I had to find out.

My research revealed some very interesting facts. First of all let me say, that in the US, Facebook accounts for a significantly higher percent of our total page views than in the UK. In the UK, Facebook accounts for 15% of the total pageviews (or 1 in 7). In the US Facebook accounts for, now get this, 1 in every 4 or 25% of our total pageviews. Unbelievable!

Google on the other hand accounts for only 8% of the total pageviews (or 1 in 12). See the figure below that I generated using data from compete.com.

Page Views: Google (blue) vs. Facebook (green)

Is this surprising? Not really. Facebook is, by design, much more engaging. So we should expect this fact.

However, when we look at total number of visits to these two sites, we notice that Google does have an edge as the figure below shows. But, surprisingly, that edge is quickly slipping away. Ouch!

Visits: Google (blue) vs. Facebook (green)

Even for the metric "monthly unique visitors," we can see that Google is also losing its edge here as well.

Unique Monthly Visits: Google (blue) vs. Facebook (green)

Do you think Google is a bit concerned?

I would imagine so. And especially now that Facebook is finally out of the red and making some money. Think about it. They probably have more information on what we as a society are doing, saying, and into than anyone could possibly imagine. We post it all. Facebook has the potential to become a major search portal and source of relevant and timely information. Of course this is assuming that Facebook has the appropriate tools and people in place to mine that data and make it useful. But of course that is a topic for a future discussion.

To play with these figures and create your own data, simply go to http://www.compete.com/ and sign up for a free account.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let’s make sure we are not putting Chinese citizens at risk in lieu of profits.

In case you have not heard, the Chinese government is requiring that all manufacturers of PCs being shipped to China be preinstalled with a software package designed to filter pornography and other content called “Green Dam” which is produced by Jinhui Computer System Engineering,

According to Zhang Chenming, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering, the concerns of Green Dam are overstated. He claims the software simply blocks pornography and can be deleted or turned off by the PC owners at any time.

Other sources outside of China are concerned that it is an effort for China’s government to take tighter control over the internet. Some suggest the software may actually allow the Chinese government to spy on the Internet user and tightly control content. I am not sure if this is true but it certainly seems highly likely given their recent actions in bringing down Youtube, Google and other social media sites and blogs during the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident.

According to the Wall Street Journal and other publications, PCs manufactured in China have already complied with the mandate and have preinstalled Green Dam. These include PCs manufactured by Lenovo, Inspur and Hedy.

U.S. based computer manufacturers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard are confused and are not sure exactly what to do at this stage. The mandate is for all PCs to have the software preinstalled as of July 1 of this year.

All I can say (and will say) is I hope Dell and the others examine the software more closely to determine exactly how it might be used against the citizens of China before they blindly install the software on their PCs. If in fact it is like Mr. Chenming has stated, then fine. If not, then we must be concerned with its intent and how it might be used to harm or oppress the citizens of China.

To read more on this topic there are several recent links to the NY Times, Reuters and the WSJ you might wish to consider:

NY Times Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/09/world/asia/09china.html
Reuters Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5590ZX20090610
WSJ Article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124464392279802213.html


Monday, June 8, 2009

Interactive marketing spend takes a hit first time in 7 years

The numbers are in from the IAB and for the first time since 2001, interactive marketing spend is actually down versus the same point in time one year ago. But before we get all excited, let's look at the numbers over the past year in total.

To be fair, interactive marketing spend throughout 2008 has been relatively flat and now it has taken its first dip. The graph below from the IAB website clearly shows this fact.

Source: www.iab.net

And when we compare this trend for interactive marketing spend to traditional marketing spend, we notice about a year lag. Traditional marketing spend actually started to decline about a year ago when the recession first hit.

So does this lagging relationship of traditional versus interactive marketing spend make sense?

Let's think about it.

When the recession first hit about a year ago, the first thing to get cut was traditional advertising. Marketers were forgoing expensive direct mail acquisition campaigns in favor of cheaper email retention efforts. Additionally, needing to prove ROI to upper management, advertising dollars also began to shift from less measurable sources like print advertising to those more measurable like search.

Now, let's fast forward to today. The economy is still showing signs of trouble. Budgets need to be cut again. What's left? The answer -- interactive.

Will this drop in interactive marketing spend continue into the second quarter? Will Forrester's $26 billion spend estimate for 2009 interactive marketing spend be adjusted downward? I hope not. I guess we will all know in a few months.

Lets all keep our fingers crossed.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Interactive marketing spend on the rise

Forrester Research predicts major growth in interactive marketing spend. As the graph below shows, spend is projected to increase from $23 billion this year to over $55 billion by 2014. Wow, I guess the recession is over.



Sunday, May 3, 2009

Please keep internet ad spend in perspective

I know we are all excited about how video ad spend is growing quickly, but we need to keep it in perspective regarding all other advertising expenditures. I hate to tell you but digital video ad spend actually represents less than 1% of total ad spend in the US. In fact Internet ad spend in total (search, banner, video, etc.) only represents 17% of 2008 ad spend in total.

What is number one you ask? It is television of course coming in at 60% of all ad spend.

Total ad spend for 2008 was $136.8 billion dollars. According the Nielsen Co. and the IAB, $82 billion was on TV, $23 billion was on the internet and the remaining $31 billion was for print, radio, etc.

Regading the $23 billion of internet ad spend, $10.5 billion was on search, $4.9 billion was on banner ads and $.7 billion was for digital video.

Procter & Gamble is the number one advertiser for 2008. They account for $2.8 billion of all ad spend.

For the full Nielsen report see:

For the IAB report visit: http://www.iab.net/about_the_iab/recent_press_releases/press_release_archive/press_release/pr-033009


Thursday, April 30, 2009

How can it be that the WSJ increases circulation?

The Wall Street Journal must be doing something right. They just increased their circulation yet again. In fact they are the only U.S. newspaper among the top 25 to show growth in total circulation.

In the write-up below you will see this is a result of a good integrated approach: content, expanded coverage, mobile apps, web integration and yes even a glossy magazine.


Of course let’s not forget guys, the WSJ never had to deal with the major loss in classified advertising revenue like the local papers did a couple of years ago due to Craig’s List. So that certainly left the WSJ in a better position to deal with changes required to succeed in today's digital media world.

Congratulations WJS on another success.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Check those sources, please!

Let me tell you about something that happened to me yesterday. I was reading the latest article about a study of Twitter users on Media Post News.


In this article, it stated that Twitter users, according to the survey, are motivated by learning new things. Like you perhaps, I thought yes, that sounds like me. So I wanted to read more and even searched for the real source of the study and found it.

As I was reading the complete details of this study, I came across an interesting statistic -- the study said that the average tweeter spends 2.75 hours a day on twitter. Now I don't know about you but I thought that seemed awfully high and wondered immediately who they surveyed. So I went to the very bottom of the study to the "about the study" section and lo and behold I found my answer.

This study was not to a random cross section of Twitter users by any means. It was to a self-selecting group of Twitter users that responded to some tweets asking for participation in a survey. So in other words this study is to a sampling of "power tweeters." I hate to tell you, that negates the results for this survey. Bottom line here is we simply cannot use the results of this survey to make statements about all Twitter users.

Lesson learned: be careful reading all those statistics being tossed about lately based on studies being conducted. Check the sources carefully and how the studies were conducted.

For the full study see:


Sunday, April 26, 2009

1 out of 5 not tracking email campaigns

The latest results are in and nearly 20% of email marketers said they are NOT tracking their email campaigns. http://www.eroi.com/resources/eROI-Email-Analytics-Survey-Results.pdf

Wow, what a missed opportunity.

A traditional direct mail marketer would never think of not measuring the success of their promotions, so why would an email marketer not do the same?

Well, let me tell you...because they see no benefits in terms of cost savings. After all it is free to send out emails to your current customers right? Wrong!

Even though it is free to email your current customers remember the cost of sending an untargeted or in appropriate email is that of an opt-out. And there could not be a higher cost than the customer telling you to no longer communication with them.

So how do we track our email campaigns and what metrics do we monitor?

Well first you will need an email delivery program. Even something as simple as Constant Contact will do. http://www.constantcontact.com/ It does not have to be pricey. Such a system can run you as little as $150 per year. Once in place you will begin by monitoring the open rates and click rates. And with some simple key coding tricks you can even examine the results by various customer demographics and segments.

Once a customer clicks through to your site, you will use Google Analytics (which is free by the way) to help you monitor exactly what each visitor that "clicks through" is doing. For example, what pages they are viewing, the number of pages they are viewing, the time they are spending on your site, what they are downloading, etc. And again with a little work you can see how these metrics differ by unique email copy and offer approaches you might be sending them via Constant Contact. It really could not be easier. Even my cat Simon could handle it. You do not need an IT background. Trust me. And most importantly the time is worth it.

Keep in mind that getting it all set up is only half of the effort. The toughest part is learning how to assess your metrics to make good marketing decisions. Based on a report from the Web Analytics Association (WAA), 35% of companies are not happy with the overall application of web analytics for purposes of making strategic decisions. That is a high percent. Showing we have a way to go. But with a little patience and effort we can do it. http://www.clickz.com/3626084


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

86% of Marketers are Tweeting. Wow!

For those of you in disbelief when I tweeted yesterday about the latest stats from Comscore on demos of the current twitter user, here is the proof. Yes, here is why more people aged 45-54 are using twitter than those aged 18-24 at the present:

According to a new study by Michael Stelzner for the Social Media Success Summit 2009:
  • 88% of all marketers are now using social media to advertise their business.
  • 86% of marketers are now using twitter in particular to advertise their business.
  • Twitter is used by 94% of marketers who have been using social media for years.
  • 40% of marketers using social media are spending 10+ hours a week at it.
And, yes, I have to admit I am hooked on this social media thing myself. I spend at least 12-15 hours a week staying current with industry events, blogging and tweeting. I absolutely love it.


PS I am probably going to regret letting Rhonda (my wife) know how much time I am spending on these activities.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh, how search has changed over the years

Interested in learning how dynamic search has been over the past 10 years. Bruce Clay has an interactive flow chart that shows the relationship among the major search engines today and in the past.

Below is what it looks like today. Basically there are only two engines driving all search: Google and Yahoo. They feed most other search engines for both organic and paid search.

(Image Soucre: Bruce Clay)

Now step back in time 10 years or so. There were 100’s of different search engines around.

(Image Source: Bruce Clay)

Ten years ago, one would hire a firm to submit their website to the different search portals for indexing purposes. Why because there were simply too many and the submission procedures too varied.

Today of course that is no longer an issue. You simply submit to Google and Yahoo and you are done – assuming Google lets you in!

Also of interest is the fact that 10 years ago or more there were no standards for the various search business models and how they worked. Search was still trying to define itself. For example, goto.com was a strong contender in organic search back then but you had to pay each time your listing (not an ad) was clicked on. You paid more to be higher in the organic search results. However, keep in mind that back then we did not really use the words organic or paid search.

To use this really fun and interactive relationship chart go to: http://www.bruceclay.com/serc_histogram/histogram.htm


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Twitter has competition and it is called Flutter

If you have not checked out Flutter yet, I advise you do. They are a new site that only allows 26 characters per "flap" as opposed to twitter which allows 126 per "tweet."

It is a real time saver. Also they have some unique features that twitter does not.

To view the demo go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeLZCy-_m3s

What will they think of next!

PS the video is a mockumentory. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AOL about to be spun off on own

Very interesting finding.

Following up on my AOL story from yesterday, it appears that Time Warner is about to let go of AOL...now that it has direction and a new business objective.

To read the latest, see: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10213254-93.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5


Sunday, April 5, 2009

I was thinking about AOL the other day

I know it sounds crazy but I was thinking about AOL the other day...wondering what they have been up to.

For the younger generation, just so you know, AOL was once the online leader. They were the pioneer.

So what are they doing now? Anything up their sleeve?

Well, after some investigation I have found some very interesting things going on and being planned at AOL.

First of all, in case you have not heard, they just hired Tim Armstrong a former Google chief executive. Tim has been credited with building Google's search business worth almost $21 billion in 2008. Quite an accomplishment.

Tim is actually being charged with helping AOL develop their new "performance" based advertising model along with Greg Coleman, an old Reader's Digest ad guy that I knew from my days at the Digest. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/04/03/how-will-armstrong-fare-at-aol/

What you ask? Why in the world is AOL trying to develop a new advertising model when Google has a 57% share of all online ad calls? http://www.attributor.com/blog/google-ad-server-share-now-at-57-microhoo-less-than-15-market-share/

Sounds crazy doesn't it?

Well, not really as it turns out. It appears that AOL has been very busy aggressively purchasing content sites ranging from TMZ, FanHouse and WalletPop to name a few. In fact, the various properties they now own boast 73 million monthly visitors and a 21% page view increase this year alone. In fact they now own 100 different content properties.

So how are they getting the experts to help them manage the content of these properties you ask? Well, as it turns out they have been busy hiring executives and editors that have been laid off from the publishing world. They have been hiring reporters and columnists from publications like the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=103051

So now it all makes sense. AOL is building a network of content sites and as such obtaining a lot of eyeballs. They will have experienced editors and reporters manage these sites. And, they will have Tim and Greg sell the eyeballs using their new advertising model.

Sounds pretty smart to me. Will it work? I guess we will have to wait and see.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Are you ready for our digital future?

As an NYU professor teaching integrated and digital marketing, I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared for this new world that is emerging ever so quickly.

Before the recession began we were obviously well on our way to becoming more and more digital in how we communicate and conduct business. However, the recession has seemed to help propel this event even quicker.
  • We as individuals are flocking to social sites (excuse the pun) at lightening speed to make connections
  • Publications are shifting from print to "digital only" versions at an even faster rate
  • Direct mail quantities are decreasing rapidly while at the same time shifting customer communications to email. http://adage.com/article?article_id=135003
  • Cloud computing is becoming more and more mainstream as a viable business model. Even companies like SAS are testing the cloud computing waters.

I do believe the future will be brighter than we can even imagine. However, we must make it through this storm first. And what a storm it is. But most important we must all be prepared and trained properly for this new world once the clouds lift. Because once the sun shines again it is not going to be the same. Guaranteed.

These are exciting times, these are scary times. Still so many unanswered questions.

Those that understand the new dynamic role digital will be playing in our emerging economy will be the ones poised for success. You must be prepared for the revolution. Get proper training now to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

Luckily for you more and more options are becoming available to get the digital training you will need for this new world. And NYU is leading the pack. Check out the following two programs offered by NYU for more information.

Within the certificate program some classes, like my web analytics class, are also offered online for distant learners. But be prepared these classes fill up quickly and are often wait listed.

Be ready for the future guys.


PS Any questions about these programs offered by NYU, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at pd29@nyu.edu.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

YouTube is sugar and spice and everything nice

Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster conducted a study in February, 2009 and determined that YouTube is selling more in-stream advertising on more videos and attracting many new and substantial advertisers.

According to Rory Maher of paidcontent.org Munster surveyed the top 100 videos on YouTube for one week during the month of February and determined:

  • 72 percent of the ads displayed were in-video ads versus 52 percent in January and 63 percent in December.
  • New advertisers on the site included Verizon, Adidas, Xbox, Disney, Kraft, and Chevy – yes you heard it right Disney is now on YouTube!

Obviously since in-video ads typically have a higher CPM than the ordinary cost-per-click network ads, it represents some additional revenue for YouTube.

So why did it take so long to see YouTube become more aggressive in it’s advertising efforts? I am not sure whether the wait was intentional or not, but it definitely served a couple of very important purposes:

  • The wait allowed advertisers to become more comfortable with YouTube and how advertising would and could work within this environment.
  • Additionally, YouTube’s reluctance to pursue an aggressive advertising policy in its infancy got us, the users, even more hooked and therefore less likely to put up a fuss when being shown an increase in advertisements.

Again, was this wait intentional or not on the part of YouTube? You decide.

For YouTube, they have been slowly integrating in-stream advertising to the viewers to ensure we are okay with this practice for some time. They actually began in-streaming advertising in August of 2007. Initially ads were to show up no earlier than 10 to 15 seconds into the video and were only placed on videos made by content partners. A very smart idea...slowly integrating more and more ads into the mix within a controlled environment.

And now I just read they are testing bigger homepage ads – masthead ads across the top of the page. http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=135449

I say to YouTube, go ahead and make some money. You have earned it. After all where else can you or I see so much video content for free and upload some of my own videos to share with others? No place that I know of.

Hey, If Disney is ready to advertise on YouTube, then everything must be sugar and spice and everything nice.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I promise to keep the iphone in perspective

Sales figures were just released last month for the iphone. Did you know that the iphone now stands at 17 million in sales worldwide since its introduction? Wow!

I thought that sounded pretty impressive until I put it into perspective.

I know I think iphone users rule the universe and I am constantly pushing the iphone to my friends and colleagues but I guess I need to keep things in perspective.

Sorry everyone for being so pushy.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Time Inc., Plans a Customizable Magazine Test

As an old Reader's Digest guy, I must admit I am very excited by the prospects of this pending test by Time Inc. For this test they plan on letting us customize the content and advertising.

Will this work? I don't know but this should certainly help determine future options for publishers. I am sure many publishers small, medium and large will be lining up to see the results.

This new magazine is called "Mine." And, best part is during this testing phase they are offering the publication for free. Yes you heard me right, FREE. Quantities are limited so sign up now. To subscribe go to https://www.timecmg.com/mine/ .

The only disappointment is that you have a choice of content from only eight publications. I was kind of hoping for more options. But, hey, this is only a test. If it flies I am sure more options will be available.

Could this be what the Publishers Clearing House "model" turns into? Instead of selecting magazines you want to receive from the stamp sheet you select content you want to be included in your very own personalized magazine. Might be pretty cool.

For more information on this "Time-ly" test go to: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-ap-made-to-order-magazine,0,7970503.story

Enjoy your free magazine,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Internationally Google is not King

Did you realize that Yahoo is actually the number one search portal in Japan, followed by Google?


In fact, Yahoo Japan receives over half of all searches and is growing.

Why you ask is that the case?

Some say Yahoo returns better search results than Google in Japan. Others say it is because Yahoo entered the Japanese marketplace earlier than Google. You do a search and decide.


UPDATE 03/18/09
A friend of mine that works at Ogilvy (Jorge Ruiz) just passed me this link to shed a bit more light on why Yahoo is number one in Japan. Take a look. Very interesting. http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/23/3-reasons-why-the-internet-in-japan-is-ruled-by-one-single-company-yahoo/

Monday, March 16, 2009

Is Yahoo Getting its Groove Back?

It seems most of the time any news about Yahoo is bad news. For example:

However, I have noticed over the past few weeks some good things being reported about Yahoo. It appears that Yahoo is becoming much more proactive instead of reactive. And, I am thrilled to see that.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I love Google but I would hate to see Yahoo go under. To have Yahoo fold would not do any of us good. Having these two face off is what is driving our digital experiences to new heights.

So, what is the good news I have been reading lately about Yahoo you ask? Well, three things in particular:

Yahoo shows search ads with video

Video content and play is at a all time high for the young age groups according to LiveRail. In fact 53% of those 18-24 say they spend more time per month watching online video content than watching TV. So to see Yahoo move in this direction is quite smart. http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1006881

Yahoo reverses its web strategy with web videos

Yahoo will once again begin creating unique web shows such as last years “The 9” which was sponsored by Pepsi. Again, this is a smart move on Yahoo’s part given those findings in the LiveRail report. State Farm will be the next company to sponsor a new web series.

Yahoo's newspaper consortium keeps growing

Be careful. It is not what you think. While Google has ended its two year effort to sell ads in newspapers (what a stupid idea that was on Google’s part), Yahoo is expanding its newspaper consortium. At present it has a consortium of 38 media companies, representing 793 total newspapers, up from 635 newspaper partners a year ago, and 176 at launch in November, 2006.

What is different with the Yahoo model? Quite a bit actually. Yahoo is not selling space ads but rather it is helping newspapers get more traffic to their Websites.

Good luck Yahoo. I hope I keep reading more success stories on your behalf. We need both you and Google.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Don't forget to tell Google your ad preferences

In case you have not heard, Google has just launched their new "Ad Preferences" service today.

What does this mean for you and me?

It means we can tell Google what types of ads we want to see on blogs, YouTube and the various content network sites. If you are not into all sports but only baseball for example, then let Google know.

Be the first to sign up. Look, you are going to see Google ads anyway, so you might as well let Google target you a little bit better.

Don't miss out. It's really a good thing for all of us and Google too.

To tell Google of your ad preferences, click on the link below.



Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How is this economy impacting us emotionally?

Curious as to the latest search trends or what’s on peoples minds these days.

Google Insight will let you determine just that. It is a great little tool I use often when doing various research projects for my classes at NYU or for my clients.

For example, with Google Insight, you can see the obvious seasonal trends in various search words like "roses" or "pumpkin pie." But more interesting is looking for new and unexpected search trends and the relationships between them.

Searches involving the words "bankruptcy" or "foreclosure" are certainly on the rise over the past 12 months as revealed by Google Insight. Not a surprise.

In addition, searches involving words like "budget planner" are on the rise. Certainly makes sense.

But what was a surprise to me was finding that searches on words like "divorce law" are dramatically down over the same time period. I would have thought that during these tough times, thoughts of divorce might have been on the rise. But I guess I was wrong. Perhaps these bad times bring us closer together. Is this a cause and effect? Maybe. But further research would need to be conducted before we can jump to that conclusion.

Google Insight also creates a heat map for you showing where in the U.S. the search terms are most prominent. For example, when you search for “personal bankruptcy” the Google heat map shows California, Texas and New York as the states searching those terms most. Pretty cool information. I am sure Obama, Clinton and the others in this last presidential race used this data to determine the various hot issues by state. Ya think?

If you have not tried Google Insight take a look. I am sure you will find some applications in your work or personal life. Besides being very useful, it’s just darn fun.


Oh, and in case you were unaware, the CDC uses Google Insight to help them pinpoint in which states the flu is likely to outbreak based on searches and queries being made regarding symptoms.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Don't Toss Your Cookies

Wow, I just downloaded a great report from ComScore on the effect of cookie deletion on our user statistics. Unbelievable.

They estimate the following:

  • 30% of computer users clear out their cookies monthly
  • 12% of computers are set to reject cookies
  • An average of 2.5 distinct first party cookies were observed per computer per site

What does this all mean?

It means that our unique visitor figures are overstated by, now are you ready, 150%. In other words, those 1000 unique visitors are more like 400.

And, the number is even worse for third party cookies.

Please go to ComScore and download their free whitepaper. It is extremely well written and explains all the issues. For my web analytics students this is a must read.



Sunday, March 8, 2009

If you can't beat Apple, then join them!

I knew it. I just knew it. And remember, you read it here first (see my original posting on the Drake Direct page of facebook posted 2/11/09).

We all knew Jeff Bezos of Amazon was scared once Apple said they were going to start digitizing books for the iphone. For goodness sake, he was in NY the next day on a major PR campaign for the Kindle.

And, now less than a month later, he announced he is creating a Kindle app for the iphone. Wow!

How does that saying go again? Oh yes....if you are afraid you will not be able to beat them, then join them.



Gen Y Wants to be Behaviorally Targeted

You must watch this Ad Age video. It touches on Gen Y, the first demographic group to totally grow up in a digital world and the position this places marketers in regarding how much personal data we can safely use.

Very relevant given the latest FTC ruling regarding regulatory principals for behavioral advertising.

There are also a few funny moments on the video, like when Emily Riley of Forrester Research talks about Gen Y posting themselves doing things illegal things on Facebook and then how they go looking for a job.

All I can say is...the use and type of data available for the average consumer is changing and changing quickly.


Hope you enjoy to video.

Online self regulation for now, says the FTC

Did you see the new FTC report regarding online behavioral targeting and advertisting? For now we marketers totally lucked out. "Self Regulation" is being put forth.

I hope we don't blow it.



As of 2008, SMS Text Messaging Tops Mobile Phone Calls

Just wanted to share a link with you from Nielsen regarding the latest trends in mobile calls and texting. You will be blown away by what this report says:

  • There are now more text messages being sent on average each month than calls being placed (357 vs. 204) across all users.
  • Those aged 13-17 are sending an average of 1,742 text messages each month. Wow! That is almost 60 per day.
Can you believe it?



Let's not forget that Facebook is free

I hate to admit it but I am siding with Facebook on this "data usage" change they made in their Terms and Conditions this past week.


Why? Let's get real. Because they are letting me make these very postings on my business page for my students and colleagues absolutely free and with no real restrictions. And, they are also letting me maintain a personal Facebook account as well where I can upload pictures, video content and again for free. Wow, What a deal! And, to top it all off I can stay in touch with my friends regarding issues of the day, etc.

When I began using Facebook a few months ago, I looked at it as my responsibility to be careful regarding what I post and when -- fully realizing that it is in the public domain. Facebook is providing this service for us absolutely free with very few strings attached. Do you think they are doing it out of the kindness of their own hearts? Of course not. They are trying to build a profitable social network site. If they do not figure out a way to make additional revenue soon, (and of course in a way that does not alienate us or put us at risk) then I am afraid the doors may shut or they will start charging fees for certain features or account types. I don't think any of us want either, do we?

I don't know how to say it more clearly. It is a new world guys, so be careful what you post.

PS And just in case you did not hear me the first time...did I forget to tell you that Facebook is free.

Great SEO / SEM reference guide direct from Google themselves

This link is a great summary of all the SEO and SEM tricks that I teach in my "Web Analytics" class and it is straight from the horses mouth -- Google themselves. This two page summary written by Google covers:

  • Design guidellines such as text links, keywords, etc.
  • Technical stuff like why we should not use flash
  • Quality score guidelines and why we avoid linking farms, etc.
Learn what Google considers the hot topics for yourself.

Hope you find this link helpful.



And I thought the iphone did everything

You have got to check out this new phone called the Pomegranate NS08 mobile phone. It is sure to give the iphone a run for it's money. The link is below. You must check out all the features.




Thursday, March 5, 2009

The post office just dosen't get it

How can we make it any clearer to the USPS. The demand for their service is shrinking and it has nothing to do with the economy. Let me try to spell it out for them -- we are going electronic in terms of our communications. Therefore, Mr. USPS, it would behoove you to scale back, retool and staff accordingly just like any business does during changing times.

Raising postage every other month will only exacerbate the problem. Don't you see? The catalog industry is already hurting and your pending increases in postage will only make matters worse. So, please get a handle on your current and future demand and keep costs in check accordingly.

Why didn't you see this coming? We have been and are continuing to go electronic in terms of communications and at an ever increasing rate. And, just fair warning, that pending postage increase will only make our demand for paper communications even less hence having the opposite effect you desire.

Hey but don't worry Mr. USPS, we will still need you to help deliver products, legal documents, and the like. And, good news is, that will be a sure bet for some time into the future until the teleportation device from the classic 1958 movie "The Fly" becomes reality.

Instead of crying to congress for a bailout, which is simply not justified, use that energy to understand your place in our future world and make sure you are prepared.

To read the brief click on the following pdf file from the DMA.



I love my iphone, AT&T and American Idol but...

...i don't know about this one.

Not sure if you all heard but AT&T got in a bit of trouble for texting people the day before American Idol's premiere on January 13, 2009.

On the 12th of January I received a text on my iphone from American Idol (AT&T is a sponsor) telling me to tune in tomorrow night for their premiere. As one who teaches integrated marketing courses and digital content at NYU, I thought "cool." I have to admit, I did not stop to think about their targeting of the message and if I was the right demo. Shame on me. I was just thrilled at getting a promotional text with my new iphone I got for Christmas.

Let’s now go forward two days to the 14th of January -- one day after the premiere of Idol. I was reading the “Technology Section” of the NYTimes.com page, when I noticed that AT&T was being blasted for sending out 75 million American Idol text messages. Again I thought “cool, I was the recipient of one of those messages.”

Then I thought wait a minute what is going on here. Should I be mad also?

In AT&T’s defense, they say they only sent the text messages to heavy texters or those that voted in the past.

This got me to thinking. Did I fall into either of those categories? Not really. And, let me explain why.

First, while I do watch Idol on occasion, I am by no means an avid fan. After all I am 47.

Second, I am NOT a heavy texter….yet. Give me time. I just got my iphone. I think I am on my way.

Third, while it is true I did vote before, it was season one and I believe it was on our land line and not our cell phone. (I voted for Kelly of course.)

So, AT&T and Idol lucked out with me given I live and breath this stuff. I wasn’t mad. However, they certainly made a few others upset and rightly so perhaps.

So the lesson here is target wisely and make sure our mobile messages are relevant.

Here is a possible select I might have suggested they test:
  • Voted in at least 3 of the last 4-5 seasonsror
  • Heavy texter and voted but not that frequently or recentlyor
  • Heavy texter and in the right demo, with the message clearly stating why they are getting this notice

In the mobile world we marketers should err on the side of being cautious. If we are not really sure, then hold off. We must remember that mobile devices are a bit more personal than a PC. A marketer’s message must be more relevant, timely and targeted….unless you are sending it to a professor at NYU named Perry.

The NY Times link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/technology/14idol.html?th&emc=th

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Apple Versus the Amazon Reader

It will be interesting to see who wins the electronic book wars. It appears that Amazon is a bit nervous about the future of their reader called the "Kindle." As soon as Apple said it was going to start digitizing (is that a word?) books for the iphone, Amazon was doing press releases selling the Kindle -- a kind of large clunky looking device if you ask me.

I have to be honest with you. I do not read books that often. I am too busy staying current with the industry news and world events. But if apple does start allowing us to read books on our iphones, I might just start reading a few novels here and there. Having a book right there to read at my ready while on the train into the city in the mornig just might work for me.

Let's be real... who needs yet another device like the Kindle in their backpack and on top of that a device that only does one function? For God's sake my iphone can even turn into a "level" for handyman projects.

I don't know about you but I put my money on Apple to win this one.

Times story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/technology/personaltech/10kindle.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

PS Can you tell I love my iphone?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Should newspapers be bailed out? I think not!

I cannot believe the story I just read in DM News (2/6/09) about having the government bail out newspapers. Yes I believe newspapers and other publications still play a critical role in our society and yes they do employ many people. However, that does not mean they are still playing as a significant role in our digital world as before, because they are not! The tides are changing quickly.


Regarding the automotive industry, I am not for that bailout either but for different reasons. The automotive mess is due solely to bad management and lack of vision. Making missteps in any business allows competitors to make their moves, which in turn creates more competition, and isn't that what makes the world go round?

To have the government bail out newspapers would have been comparable to the government saving the Underwood typewriter company (and other typewriter manufacturers) years ago because they were a major employer of many people and played a major role in how we once communicated with others.

Do I think newspapers will ever vanish totally like the typewriter? I am not sure. I guess time will tell.


Dirty Night Determinator

Hysterical link about a new mobile flash ad that Axe blasted to some young guys age 18-24. Take a look. Talk about targetting the message correctly. And wow was it effective.

See the results.


Hope you enjoy!