October 18, 2001
Instant Messaging may be a new advertising frontier.
A lot of adults are still a little unclear about the value and pervasiveness of Instant Messaging (applications like AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, and MSN Messenger). But ask a teen about IM and you’ll discover that this is an essential part of the Net for them. (For those really not in the know, Instant Messaging or IM allows you to chat with “buddies” via a small application that is always on in the background when you are online.)
An interesting company called ActiveBuddy is getting a lot of press lately for their IM “bots” that allow companies to deliver marketing messages and content via IM. I suggest we keep an eye on ActiveBuddy and the use of new online technologies as ad-bearing vehicles.
The Internet continues to intersect with the “real” world in strange ways.
This article on Wired News explains the strange story of a small group of people with too much time on their hands creating a cult around the idea that Bert from Sesame Street is evil. They built parody sites, photoshopped images of Bert at the JFK assassination, standing behind Hitler, corrupting his poor pal Ernie at a strip club — you get the idea.
Someone decided to put Bert and Osama bin Laden together in a photo. Which is where the story turns bizarre. It turns out that bin Laden sympathizers have downloaded pictures of bin Laden from the Net to create posters to use at protests.
So when the media showed up to take photos of the protests, they captured the “Osama and Bert” images on the real world posters of bin Laden supporters.
What is truly strange is that the “Bert Is Evil” creator has decided that this was too much and he’s closed his site. Of course now others are taking the previously removed content and reposting it. And heated discussion has broken out in this subculture about what should be done.
The battle to use mass advertising metrics online continues.
Tom Hespos’ ClickZ article about the New York Times offering “session” ad buys rather than impressions is very interesting.
Basically I’m against mapping frequency, reach, GRPs and other mass ad concepts onto the Internet because they were initially created as crude approximations to overcome the lack of exactness that the Internet should provide marketers with. I’d rather see us use DM pricing models for most online advertising.
Still, I do understand that some marketers want to use the Internet as a branding tool and studies have found online ads are in fact an effective way to brand. So the NYT new model of allowing one brand to “own” a session (one unique user travelling through five pages of the NYT site) offers a unique way of measuring the “brand exposure” provided by the site. Since ALL ads the user sees on ALL the pages of a given session belong to one brand, it is hard to see how the user could miss the message.
It’s also good to see that publishers have not given up on innovations that aren’t anti-reader (see previous anti-pop-up ad rants).
Word of mouth is a powerful tool.
Last week I posted my “Big Red Fez homework” comments on the AIMS Discussion List (see below for BRF details). I included an Amazon.com associate link so that I could track the effectiveness of my recommendation.
Here is how we did in the three days after the posting was published:
1. ADL sent to 3200 AIMS members includes link to Godin book.
2. 49 people clicked on the link (5 people clicked more than once).
3. 21 people bought the book and downloaded it.
4. To date no one has sent me their homework.
That means I had a 1.7% clickthrough, and a 43% buy/browse ratio. Not bad I’d say. I made US$2.02 in referral fees by the way.
The IAB has published a useful guide to some of the more common industry terms.
You can find it here.
October 14, 2001
The e-Book version of Seth Godin’s new book “The Big Red Fez” inclines me to give all imho* readers some homework:
1. Buy the Big Red Fez e-Book through Amazon.
You should do this for three reasons: a) to experience online shopping via Amazon.com — some of you STILL haven’t done this, b) to experience an e-Book (yes you can print it out, but use Adobe eReader to understand the e-Book concept), and c) it only costs US$2 (no shipping or customs to worry about).
2. Read the book:
The book provides a screen capture of something that either impressed or irritated Seth on one page, and his analysis on the opposite page. These real world examples are very powerful and many will leave you shaking your head at how any company could be so bone-headed.
3. Think about YOUR site:
Now turn this new found knowledge on your own site. I’m sure if you can look at YOUR site with the same critical and customer focussed eye that Seth would, you’ll find MANY things you could easily improve on your site.
4. Report back:
Tell me what you found wrong on your site, what you did to fix it, and what the results were.