I know I work at FAST but FASTforward is much much bigger than what our company does and when you hear so many keynotes that are talking about the importance of the now of search and how it’s become the key to enterprise success, one can’t help and become enthused and in the end Get Religion about Search.
Below I provide some short summaries on the following topics:
- Vertical/Local/Ad Networks
- Microsoft acquisition of FAST
For further reading, the FASTforward blog has a consolidated and rich number of posts for more thoughts.
The validation of Vertical/Local/indy AdNetworks:
Elaborating on the stats that IDC provided in early 07 that 70% of searches in the US happen outside of GYM, Sue Feldman provided some stats that vertical sites, including those focused on Local, will have almost 3bill search queries in 2012, while Google will only have 250 million and in fact emerging AdNetworks will have more traffic than Google.
This is very exciting news and one that AdViking has been visioning for approximately 2.5 years.
To further validate this, there was a Local Search session where there were four customers of FAST (and more specifically of AdMomentum) who had exciting opportunities for each of their markets. What was exciting what that the customers were globally spread (Arab region, Chile, Germany and Ireland) and more so there were more customers in the audience doing the same thing in their markets.
There were so many great talks from speakers like:
- Andrew P. McAfee, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School
- Bjørn Olstad, Chief Technology Officer, FAST
- Don Tapscott, Chief Executive, New Paradigm, the Business Innovation Company
- John Hagel, Author, Consultant, & Co-Chair, Deloitte & Touche Silicon Valley Research Lab
- Safa Rashtchy, Financial Analyst, Entrepreneur, & Past Managing Director, Global Internet Media, Piper Jaffray and Company
- Susan Feldman, Research Vice President, Content Technologies Group, IDC
From doing a quick straw poll people said that the presentations by Tapscott and Feldman were highlight keynotes.
For me, a personal highlight was a fascinating panel with Olsted, Hagel and Rashtchy. It was so deep that I couldn’t take it in to repeat anything worthwhile at this point. A video should be available soon, so once that is, I’ll be back by more. One that that did stick was in response to the question “What is the last thing you changed you mind about?”; Olsted responded without missing a beat, “Microsoft!”
Microsoft, through Jared Spataro, gave a measured insight into why MSFT is acquiring FAST. He started the presentation with some anecdotes, including that a couple of days after the news of the offer was made, a NASCAR team approached them asking if they could actually have FAST sponsor their team!
The quick summary can be clustered under:
- What’s in it for Microsoft?
- What’s in it for FAST?
- What’s in it for Customers?
What’s in it for Microsoft?
MSFT has figured it out that the user experience of the future is going to be shaped by search. To that end that had begun their own initiatives and taking Search seriously, but on the back of a visit to Redmond by the CTO and CEO of FAST, they realised that by purchasing FAST they would be able to take an aggressive leap forward.
What’s in it for FAST?
FAST has visionary innovations, passionate people and best-in-class technologies that with the power of Microsoft will be able to bring all of that to bear in the world and therefore the technologies and innovations will be available to all.
What’s in it for Customers?
For this cluster, Spataro, elaborated on their strategy for Search and in particular spent time focusing on the Enterprise and how Sharepoint is appearing to be a wild shooting star (approx $1billion in revenues for 08). The key takeaway is that customers will get all that they are use to from FAST but backed by a trusted infrastructure vendor. I’m sure more details will be forthcoming at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2008
Couple of decent ad related posts worth checking out over on sister blog A Fuller View:
- Hard Times Ahead for Google? – well maybe – how will Google fair in a recession?
- Über Clickers Distort Click-Rates – interesting study on super clickers andthe impact on CTR
Have a great weekend – more next week for sure.
Two interesting moves in the online ad space to note.
FASTforward is the annual search-innovation conference run by FAST. This year it’s in Orlando and the key theme is User Empowerment, which ties into how through Search the user is in control.
There’s 1500 people here all talking about search, so after spending last week on mobile, I’m going to be pretty brimmed up on what I hear, think and see which I will post about.
Some of the keynotes are:
Unified Access is the Big Opportunity for Advertising
So, the gold rush is starting. That is, there is full realisation that (depending on whose numbers you read) there is about 1 billion people with PCs and 3 billion with mobile phones and as the handsets mature for a richer media experience, then you’re quids in if you’re acting now.
The big issue is lack of standards and multiple entry points to book the ads. I believe it was someone from WPP that talked about having to book ads with 6 different players in the UK to get any decent coverage.
To me, this spells a big opportunity and the race must be on to solve this issue. That is if someone can provide the interface with the appropriate tracking analytics over top of the various mobile advertising distribution points then they are one to a winner.
That is, something like Atlas which agencies are all ready familiar with is extended to provide mobile campaign capabilities then you’re laughing.
Ad Types and Formats
I asked a lot of people for their thoughts on this and the two primary use cases that everyone agreed on was:
1. Hyper Local – I’m here and need it now kind of search. This is where Location becomes of ultimate importance. This is a natural extension for IYPs, so an easy way to get coverage is to not bother building up an advertiser base but instead cut a deal with an IYP. This can also extend to various things like price comparison and Recs.
Formats could be various but I would lean to short texts ads linking to business pages that include some sort easy mapping access.
2. Killing Time – I’m on a bus, waiting for a meeting to start, etc. and want to kill some time. This is naturally the home of bigger brands and the like.
Some formats that I believe would work for this are pre and post video rolls, display and in-game/on-world.
Advertising – Lack of QR Bummer
One of the ad types and formats I’ve been tracking for a few years is those based around QR. I was hoping to find at least a few companies involved in this at the MWC but didn’t have any luck. The positive was that in my discussions most people also believe that QR is going to be big, in particular it’s going to be a great union with Outdoor (outside of Digital the only other growth area). In fact, some Telstra people confirmed they are actively working with this technology through their Mobile division.
If you haven’t been to MWC and you’re part of the advertising industry, you should plan to go next year. It’s invaluable spending some focused time looking at what’s likely to be an incredible growth area over the next couple of years.
One complaint is that the conference is too big and unwieldy now with lots of things that don’t cross over, it would be better to theme the pavilions better so more along the lines of:
- Front Office
- Back Office
So if you do go, it’s probably better to take some time ahead to plan your strategy to get the most out of it, but then again, most of experience is just meeting and talking to many people about what you’re seeing/they are seeing. And of course it being in Barcelona rocks.
Well, I now have one of previously mentioned bags – next is the puffer. Though we’ve got invites to the MSFT party tonight, so that should provide some interesting gear to get one’s hands on.
Getting some interesting themes, which I’ll confirm if they have stuck through the week.
From cruising the products pavilion I can confirm that LG and Samsung sure makes some sexy mobile phones.