Microsoft Continues Push to Defend Value of Display

25 September, 2008

MSA - new logo

It may appear at times that the AdViking crew are a bit all over the map in terms what we blog about and what we champion – direct response, conversational marketing, ppc, branding, display, search, etc. All I can say is this is healthy – debate and dialog is a good thing, I don’t need to defend it.

This past week Microsoft continued its solid defense of the value of display advertising with a renewed push. How? Well Microsoft’s Young-Bean Song (a guru of online advertising analytics) began a speech at the MIXX conference in New York earlier in the week with a beer analogy (more here at wp)… We like beer analogies. Anyway, he talks about Corona, but we can substitute this for Guinness or Stella or Heineken, saying if they could measure that last interaction a consumer has with that brand before they buy beer well then they might “put all its marketing budget into neon signs at pubs.” Or t-shirts. We all know that this would be stupid. We know advertising works in a more holistic and less black & white way.

old school - last click wins

For example on your way to a pub you may see a sign for Guiness on the bus and you may remeber a great Guiness TV ad. And then you’ll think ahh I am going to an Irish pub so why don’t I order Guiness. You get the idea.

Well a lot of online advertising (especially paid search or CPC based models) works by just giving credit to the ‘last click’ and thus we (advertisers and marketers) are ignoring all the other touch points when calculating the overall ROI (return on investment) of our online marketing mix.

Instead, in  a nutshell, what Microsoft Advertising is saying is that advertisers should be smarter than that and look all the data they can when analysing online ad spend. Based on some studies that Microsoft has done using real data  – advertisers can be ignoring as much at 94% of the online data points and only looking at 6% of the data when calculating ROI. That sounds like a step backwards to me!

new school - engagement based ROI

Microsoft Advertising have developed an entire reporting standard to help advertisers called Engagement Mapping. Check it out.

Yahoo! Launches Transformative Digital Ad Platform

25 September, 2008

No time to comment on this yet… Some stuff here on AdWeek and here. Agree with JB don’t buy it as a revolution.

Full PR here:

Yahoo! Launches Transformative Digital Ad Platform

San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News First Customers to Go Live

NEW YORK, Sep 24, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Emmy(R) Award nominee and Golden Globe(R) Award winner Jon Hamm of AMC’s original drama series Mad Men(R), today joined Yahoo!’s Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang, President Sue Decker and Executive Vice President of Yahoo! U.S. Hilary Schneider for the 5th annual Advertising Week conference in New York to announce the launch of APT from Yahoo!. Formerly known as AMP!, APT from Yahoo! is an intelligent innovation in online media, a digital advertising solution that streamlines the process of planning, buying and optimizing display advertising. APT is designed to simplify the process of buying and selling ads online while connecting all the market players — publishers, advertisers, agencies, networks, partners and developers — from a unified platform to do business more efficiently and effectively. The platform is rolling out as planned in phases beginning with publishers the San Francisco Chronicle of Hearst Newspapers and San Jose Mercury News of MediaNews Group.

“The advertising landscape has changed dramatically since the days when Don Draper was roaming the halls of Sterling Cooper,” said Jerry Yang. “While Mad Men celebrates the Madison Avenue of 40 years ago, APT from Yahoo! clearly represents the future.”

As a Web-based solution with the potential to allow unprecedented ease of cross-selling across the largest open network of publishers, advertisers, ad networks and agencies from a single integrated interface, APT is a single platform for connected digital advertising, including ad serving, ad network and ad exchange. It is designed to streamline advertisers’ ad-buying process for multiple accounts across multiple publishers, and enable creative testing and campaign optimization. It is also intended to help advertisers precisely yet easily identify audiences through geographic, demographic and interest-based targeting while enabling publishers to better monetize their content as well as making better connections across the Web.

“One of the major benefits of APT from Yahoo! is the fact that it’s an open system, designed to enable advertisers to reach their audiences in their favorite places across the Web, and publishers to monetize inventory across the broadest possible demand channels,” said Sue Decker. “As we transform the advertising marketplace, we’re excited to have key members of the Newspaper Consortium, the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News, lead the way in this historic journey.”

For publishers like the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News, APT is designed to improve monetization capabilities and increase advertising revenue with solutions targeted at accelerating the ability to take advantage of premium brand and performance-based advertising. Key benefits include:

— Fostering a more transparent marketplace through the ability to connect to new business partners for cross-selling;

— Providing ad selection and inventory management tools to match relevant ads to marketers’ target audience; and

— Allowing publishers to manage their own private networks.

“The Newspaper Consortium’s open, collaborative and exciting partnership with Yahoo! is enabling a crucial transformation in the newspaper industry,” said George Irish, President, Hearst Newspapers. “With this next-generation platform we can realize the powerful combination of Yahoo!’s technology innovations, national reach and partner network with the Consortium’s rich local content, sales forces and local market expertise.”

“When Yahoo! showed us the platform’s potential in February this year, the Newspaper Consortium was impressed by Yahoo!’s commitment and investment in a game-changing technology that would significantly advance our efforts to monetize the Web,” said William Dean Singleton, Vice Chairman and CEO, MediaNews Group. “Seven months later, I am very proud to announce that Yahoo! has executed, and we are jointly accelerating toward fully using the platform to aggregate inventory, target relevant audiences and drive revenue growth.”

Some of the initial capabilities featured in the new platform include:

— Guaranteed cross-selling with pre-defined selling rules

— Ad Exchange for non-guaranteed inventory

— Advanced audience targeting techniques based upon behavior and geography

— Inventory lookup and forecasting across individual and partner sites

— Creative workflow automation and personalization

— Powerful rate card tools for improved yield management

— Filters for better controls around creatives

— Flexible and powerful APIs

— Federated ad call to support multiple ad formats

Yahoo! has developed a systematic integration plan for adding other Newspaper Consortium partners onto APT throughout this year and into next year. APT is a significant component of the unique and deep collaboration between Yahoo! and America’s newspapers. Launched in 2006 with 176 newspapers across the United States, the strategic partnership to create one of the largest and most comprehensive advertising networks in the online industry now comprises 35 media companies spanning 784 newspapers.

Yahoo! will start to make the platform available to other parties including advertisers, publishers, networks and agencies in 2009.

Additional information on APT is available at For press materials including executive bios, APT screen shots and images visit

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) is a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo! is focused on powering its communities of users, advertisers, publishers, and developers by creating indispensable experiences built on trust. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. For more information, visit

The Yahoo! logo is a registered trademark of Yahoo! Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE: Yahoo! Inc.

Platform-A Jumps on the Ad Exchange Train

23 September, 2008

Thanks to paidContent we have been alerted here on AdViking mountain that  AOL is jumping into the ad exchange space with a major offensive. As I read this, I think it creates more opportunity all over paid search that for now is being ingnored for now (or given over to Google without mush of a real a fight) while everyone (MSFT, YHOO and AOL) are betting the farm on display.

The continued industry push toward exchanges all appear to play into Google’s hands nicely thus pitting bradning display CPM models vs. direct resposne CPC models. I like the idea of exchanges in principle but I can’t see any of them getting enough liquidity in the short term and I don’t see the long tail advertisers playing there much. I think you need that long tail to help buil out the market. Google AdWords is already the defacto exchange.

Right so how do we bring back the fun in the search advertising war? Well, only Microsoft with an alliance of uber publishers can make it interesting (my view is Yahoo! is done and AOL is already a Google shell). More on this drift in a future post. Please keep reading AdViking and send in your comments via blog posts, post cards or even bottles. 🙂

Minimum Bids… Going, Going… GONE

23 September, 2008

Google Has Ended (for the time being) Minimum Bids

Google Turns Around

Google Turns Around

In a move which has escaped much comment (at least on the blogsphere I frequent) Google has dropped Minimum bids. Previously, particularly on popular or competitive keywords, minimum bids meant that you couldn’t just bid a few pence and get an ad published – you had to bid what Google deemed to be an amount worthy of appearing on the esteemed search engine… but not any more.

The Logic For Minimum Bids

The logic seems to be simple – if you have businesses bidding £1+ on keywords, then why allow the user to click on a link for only 5p? Money lost I think… so, if the top bid is £1+, force all the others to bid say 30p to join the queue. More money to Google.

The Fallacy Behind Minimum Bids

Ah, but the rub is this… advertiser resistance and natural listings.

Firstly, with all the tools at their disposal, the bigger spenders know what they are prepared to pay for a visit. They were priced out and rather than doing as Google expected (upping their bids), they resisted such changes turned to other routes to market. Leaving popular search terms rather empty and without choice.

Secondly, because listings became more empty, the natural listings on the pages took greater clickshare.  And as these don’t provide income for Google, the revenues from advertising actually fell on a per page basis.

Surely Not a BackTrack?

Google has bravely taken the bold step of retreating, realising that people prefer choice, both in adverts as well as searches. I expect Yahoo to follow suit once they’ve sorted out catching up with Google on their most recent list of ‘mee toos’. MS Ad Center… er… I don’t think minimum bids is something they have the luxury of indulging in for the next few years.

So long Google minimum bids, I am not sure whether I’m going to miss you or not… must check my Analytics!

Microsoft New Advertising: Subtle or just Bad

6 September, 2008

This week has seen the Vista ad with Jerry Sienfeld and Bill Gates hit the airwaves.

There’s been a bit of debate about how Microsoft got the confirmed Mac extremist Sienfeld to appear ($10 million probably helps) but AdViking thinks that The Silicon Apartment is probably closest to the mark.

The ad follows the Mojave Experiment where people thought they were testing the next OS from Microsoft where in fact it was just Vista.

These campaigns are the first coming out of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the agency that was hired to make Microsoft hip.  Again, you can find plenty of negative coverage of the ads and AdViking isn’t quite sure what to make of it all, is it really suble and  CP+B are geniuses or is all just really really bad advertiing.  Current thinking is:

Forget really if they are good or not, the reality is that people are talking about Microsoft ads, so that’s got to be good…especially if you think the typcial chats are going:

  • Mojave ad:  It’s a trick ad about Vista being better than people think
  • Sienfeld ad 1:  It’s so random, barely funny and why aren’t they talking about Vista

Send and be damned

4 September, 2008

Communications is one description of what marketing agencies are supposed to excel at. Getting the right message to the right people at the right time. Selection of medium and then targeting your audience, reducing wastage…  you know this stuff, right?

We passionately believe that communications have the powers to transform our clients businesses.

"We passionately believe that communications have the powers to transform our clients' businesses."

Better check and see if your HR department knows it, or gets it. Adviking feels nothing but pity for all concerned here, as it’s a horrible mistake to have rubbed in your faces, but boy oh boy must those folks down at Carat be feeling squrimy.

Turns our their HR sent out a message to ALL EMPLOYEES (instead of the senior managers only) advising them how to communicate the forthcoming round of redundancies to their staff and to their customers. Oops.

Yet more evidence that email should be a targeted medium. Adviking wonders if this was merely a post-modernist approach to internal communications, but is scratching his head trying to work our what the hidden message might be.

Universal Groan Greets Chrome…

2 September, 2008
Google Chrome Suggested Logo

Google Chrome Suggested Logo

Time for a rant, really… it’s not as if Google could resist launching it’s own browser, in fact it’s been barely a secret for months… however we guess we’re not the only ones to give out a huge sigh of disappointment.

What is Chrome going to bring us that Firefox couldn’t, Safari could’ve and Explorer should’ve… ? Very little we expect…

Not content with it’s toolbar taking over the browser population, Google feels it must flex its muscles further and we have little doubt that it will quickly overtake Safari (one month), Firefox (one year) and perhaps eventually Explorer (5 years??) – but what for?

We suggest it will be a trojan horse (but not of the virus-carrying variety) to market and distribute all Google’s ‘Cloud’ services in it’s own managed environment…

I can hear the sound web designers and developers everywhere weeping into their Vanilla Lattes as they cope with yet another browser to deal with. I am sure Google will say that it’s compliant and the most accurate etc. etc. however the reality is that it will add further idiosyncracies and complexity to the design process.

Thankyouverymuch… but we’ll stick with Firefox, thanks.