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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!