Recently in Advertising - Ad Networks

All In

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So it looks like I am having a frustrating run as an commerce consultant for a small brand come to an end. The client isn't happy - and I am not happy. The reasons are many, probably there are plenty of fingers to point, but the thing that phrase that keeps coming to mind is` "all in".

As in you have to be - you absolutely have to be all in if you are going to sell fashion (and many other things - everything eventually) online. There is no "let's try this", "let's try that" - you want to advertise online, you go to the top, Google. You want to use the Google system, you have to get past AdWords text ads and go all in for the Google Product Listing Ads. And then you have to go all in there - better photos, better descriptions, better prices! You can't sleep in online retail, because the competition isn't. You have to retarget - Criteo, Google, others - you don't like it? You think its creepy? So what - the other guys are doing it and they are killing you.

Don't post to all your social media channels everyday? May as well give up. Don't stay on top of new trends? Don't have all the latest market research? Etc. etc. etc. It never ends online. You can't use the bricks and mortar model at all - and you can't have a real physical store and just want to have a small presence online, unless you are prepared to only ever sell a little bit of whatever it is you sell and spend a lot of money doing it (there are some industry/business type exceptions of course but this post is really about global fashion).

There are lessons here for small brands and labels - don't compete against yourself is the number one take away for me. If you are small, and you already have wholesalers and retailers carrying your stuff, let them do the selling. You concentrate on making the best products you can make and building your brand - not stealing sales from your partners.

Anyway - an end of year rant... on to bigger and better things!

IAB Forum in Milan

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milano2010.jpgThe IAB is hosting a conference in Milan in a couple of weeks - I am hoping to attend and will blog from the event. My clients know that I have been pushing IAB standard sized ads forever, even though they always seem to push back...

Anyway looks like some interesting seminars and it will be great to meet some people in the business.

AdSense Newsletter "tip of the month"

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One of the things I am always going on about is using the tools that are out there. You can do a lot of pretty sophisticated things for free or very low cost. If you are an AdSense publisher, you should be getting their monthly email newsletter, which today contains this info about the new Google +1 button:

+1 Reporting is now available

In our last issue we told you all about the +1 button and how it can help you drive more and better qualified traffic to your site. This time, we're excited to share the new reporting tools Google has designed to help you keep track of your +1 activity.

The best place to find out how the +1 button is performing is in Google Webmaster Tools . You can get more information on how much additional organic search traffic the +1 button is bringing to your pages, how many times your pages have been +1'd by your users and demographic information for those users. If you haven't done so already, you'll need to verify your site on Google Webmaster Tools to get access to these features. In addition to this, Google Analytics is offering the new Social Plug-in Analytics tool. This will give you insight into the different types of actions taking place in your site once users reach it. You'll be able to compare behavior between users who +1 your pages and those who don't, as well as track other social actions and see which pages are driving the highest number of them.

It is good info, and stuff you should be on top of if you are running a web business, blog, or develop sites for clients.

France Calls Google a Monopoly

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So do I. The article makes the case pretty clearly - they dominant the market for search and search ads in France (and most of the rest of the world beside China), and their rules are arbitrary and sketchy. They need to be regulate, plain and simple. Google can make or break businesses - the power they hold is incredible:

Published: July 1, 2010
That conclusion is hardly novel, but the decision appears to go beyond any previous official ruling in the United States or elsewhere.

Interesting stuff for web junkies

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Quantcast (the web traffic/metrics company) isn't perfect (but it is free!) - we find it terribly under-reports our traffic (as compared to Google Analytics) - but they do provide some very useful tools and insights into demographic information, etc. that is very compelling, and we do have it installed on many of our sites, especially where selling advertising is important.

Something else they do is run a blog that deals with web traffic, and there is some really interesting and eye opening info on it. If you want insights into what browsers, OSs, and devices are being used to get to your content, this is a must read from time to time:

For example, the day the iPad came out, it immediately was responsible for 5% of all mobile web consumption... pretty amazing.

Ads Posted on Facebook Strike Some as Off-Key

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Ya think?

TECHNOLOGY Ads Posted on Facebook Strike Some as Off-Key By BRAD STONE Published: March 4, 2010 From mainstream companies to others that are more off-putting, advertisers on Facebook are a motley bunch.

There is a lot of crap on Facebook - they should definitely be paying more attention to this kind of stuff.

Lonely Planet's BlogSherpa and AdSense

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We are participating in Lonely Planet's BlogSherpa with one of our blogs, Florence Journal. I applaud LP for their efforts to reach out to bloggers and for making the relationship beneficial to us. The LP site has a lot of Google juice, a lot of traffic, and they let you show ads on pages they host with your content using your AdSense account. It is a very fair deal and we are happy to have been accepted in the program.

That being said, it is new and they are trying to keep up. There have been a lot of questions on their list from people struggling to grasp how to integrate AdSense into their BlogSherpa accounts. I wrote the below to help out any people having trouble with the set up:

Log into your AdSense account - you'll see your publisher ID in the upper right hand corner - make sure LP has this number.

Click the "AdSense Setup" tab, and then click "Channels". Under the "AdSense for Content" tab, click "URL channels" and then click "+ Add new URL channels" and enter (this step just sets up your tracking so you can see if people click on your AdSense ads on the LP site).

Finally, click on "Allowed Sites" on the right hand side of the main menu tabs - if "Allow any site to show ads for my account " is selected, you are fine. If "Only allow certain sites to show ads for my account" you need to add the LP URL in the field below.

That's it - just make sure LP has your correct Publisher ID. Sometimes you won't see ads from Google in a spot where you expect for a lot of reasons - your geographical location, your time on the site, your browsing history, etc. It doesn't mean other people are not seeing them. That is why setting up the URL channel is good so you can see the stats for your ads on the LP site.

Hope this helps everyone a bit.

Using press releases to increase organic search

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There is a good article up on the increasingly relevant WebProNews site about using press releases: How Press Releases Can Be Great For Search

It includes this handy list, which should be indispensable for all web marketers:

- Business Wire
- PR Newswire
- PRWeb
- 24-7 Press Release
- PR Zoom
- PR Leap
- I-Newswire
- Webwire
- ClickPress
- PR Log
- eReleases

Web ads and how you see them

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This article starts with the question:

"Do you think you're more likely to look at an online ad if it contains 1) a picture, 2) an animation, or 3) just text?"

I knew the answer - but you should check it out yourself. The story is nominally a review of "Eyetracking Web Usability" by (the somewhat controversial) Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice (I say controversial because some people out there don't buy his "science" of the web and how sites should be constructed, etc.).

It continues:

Then there was the result that most surprised the researchers: Text-only ads received the most looks. Part of that might be b ecause we accidentally think text-only ads are part of the information we're looking for. But as Nielsen explains it, the nature of the Web itself might be coming into play, as well. Unlike television, which is a passive medium, the Web is all about taking action

Read more at:,8599,1936426,00.html

Hat tip to Ruth at St. John Spice for pointing this article out to me.

How To Spam Facebook Like A Pro

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This recent article from TechCrunch, "How To Spam Facebook Like A Pro: An Insider's Confession", is really amazing - especially the fact that you have an insider admitting to the massive fraud that is possible for savvy criminals to perpetrate.

I don't think the general public realizes this kind of stuff goes on, and if there are any government or enforcement agencies out there who should be involved they are massively behind the curve.

And the author makes some spot on comments that you most likely will never hear in any mainstream publication, like:

"Here's what ad networks struggle with--to either run what ads make the most money or else be forced out by other ad networks willing to be shadier than them."

It will be interesting to see if the article sparks some debate/action in the online advertising world.

Massive Click Fraud Ring Shut Down

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This is the kind of story that people selling on-line ads don't want you to hear - especially Google: Massive Click Fraud Ring Shut Down.

It is a little light on the details, but unless you have your head in the sand you have to realize that this is happening on a massive scale.

Condé Nast Closes Gourmet

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And so it begins:

Gourmet magazine, which has celebrated cooking and travel in its lavish pages since 1941, will cease publication with the November issue, its owner, Condé Nast, announced on Monday.

It looks like these executives are starting to get it. These things (the ad revenues they were used to getting) are not predicted to come back any time soon - and so these dinosaur magazines are finally closing.

I don't want to revel in their demise - it can't be easy if you are an employee - but this has to happen. I think things like this will be felt in the job market for years and keep the unemployment rolls higher than most people think for some time to come.

A point I keep coming back to is that they should have been figuring out what to do on the web and taking it more serious since the get go. Now they have dead and dying brands and are playing catch up with bloggers!

Murdoch - still doesn't get it

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Excellent article in Vanity Fair about Rupert Murdoch. The most interesting insight is how he is mostly responsible for driving the price of news down in the first place (through his ruthless business practices with his newspapers) and now he is the last man standing in wanting to charge for news on line (good luck!).

I have no sympathy for Murdoch - he is a dinosaur and a terrible kind of capitalist to me - he would and has done everything for a dime. To see him miss so big with the Internet - and to see him still struggling to make sense of it still is fine with me.

More Advertisers Turning To Internet

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A report that seemed obvious to us:

The majority (92%) of advertisers are using Internet advertising in their media campaigns followed by print advertising at 88 percent, according to a new LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll.

More on Internet Advertising

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