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Note to Recruiters

Its never a dull month, some recruiter will call you for the next best job. So much so one likes to listen to opportunities and explore them…there are times, after the moment of excitement there is period of long silence. The difference between a recruiter and a salesman is – one is after your talent (so to say); the other is after your money. Net Net they both are trying to convince you to do something you were not thinking of…

While, they are an important part of any business. I think they need to follow some ethics in the way they behave :

1. If you shortlist someone – keep the conversation ‘followed up’ – never let it fall. You are portraying your company’s image here.

2. If someone has interviewed with you – let them know what happened.

3. If the interviewee denies your job offer after 3 rounds of interview; don’t be pissed you…remember you also denied someone after 3 rounds of interview (rather never got back to them).

Every job has pressure, and I only want to highlight the importance of courtesy in the process…hope you guys take due note.

This post stems from a recent client conversation; where they were focussed on ‘timespent’ on their website!

We all know that the idea of buying media online is to drive traffic to the website and now more recently to facebook page to bring interaction. However, if we step away from CTR, CPC and Impressions, etc to take a Brand view of the the entire user experience online….how about a metric like ‘brand exposed value’ – which stems beyond the actual web destination of the brand.

if web is to be treated as one medium and compared to a TV – the challenge has been to find a unique metric which makes the comparison easier…so frequently you can’t really compare a CPC buy to a TV buy or a Print buy….however here is what I am thinking.

If we sum up the time that a user is exposed to a ad unit of a brand online before it reaches to the brand website; we can accumulate the time the user is exposed to the brand messaging online. ofcourse, this can be easily attributed to – banner buys, home page takeover, mastheads; search ads, video ads; etc.

Now if we know how or approximate time spend across each of the vehicle – we can equate the user experience in terms of time – which further elaobrate – by increasing this time exposed result in helping brand uplift?

So for argument sakes, a media plan includes the following elements and I’ve assumed some time that your brand is exposed before the user jumps to the next best thing online :

Media Buy Location Creative Type Est. Time   Expose (MM:SS)
Masthead Top of YouTube Rich Media Banner 0:05
Youtube Brand Page Video Content 2:00
Yahoo Mail Exit Animated Img 0:08
Google Search Result Text 0:05
Youtube In Stream Video Content 0:30
AdMAx Network Expandable Unit 0:20
Email In Box Emailer 0:40
Brand Site Microsite Microsite 3:50
Total Brand Exposed Value 7:38


If I add the spend values for example, it may translate into something like this:

Buy Est. Time   Expose (MM:SS) CPC CPM CPV Earned Value
Masthead 0:05 $10.00
Youtube 2:00 $50.00
Yahoo 0:08 $5.00
Google 0:05 $0.90
Youtube 0:30 $0.80
AdMAx 0:20 $7.00
Email 0:40 $20.00
Brand Site 3:50 $80.00
Total Brand Exposed Value 7:38 $173.70

Well the concept is very rough at the moment; but if someone really wants to justify time spent on their website – we should also look at time exposed of your brand on the internet/web as a medium before they engage with your brand destination…

Give it a thought and see if it makes more brand sense or ….

If you were an MBA student today and wanted to be a marketing manager in the near future – you better gear up to the changing terminology of this skill set. While marketers are still grappling with below the line, above the line, digital, non digital, traditional, etc. this new level of marketing terms are very different…

I personally think, this requires a shift in the way marketers look at ‘digital’ as a platform; not to forget it has taken a light year for marketers to understand placements online vs placements offline – and still a lot of them buy on a per site basis – coz its easier to understand and explain to top bosses.

All performance/audience/re-marketing requires a fundamental shift in thinking of marketing – you need to jump out of your ‘brand manager cum marketing manager’ suit and get into a business driver suit. All these forms of marketing focus on one thing alone – business deliverable = bottomline.

When working on  either of them – you need to understand that you are targeting an audience and not the site – so your TG 20-50, Annual Income of more than $100k needs to translate into came to my site but didn’t order or came to my site browsed for long or interested in vaccuum cleaners; it can be anything.

Imagin retail marketing on steriods when it comes to these forms of marketing. In a shelf of the retail it is almost difficult to identify which section the consumer spent the most time browsing; bringing that categorization power to the web and via your website – you know exactly where all the user went, expressed interests or already owns of what you sell…this opens the door of engaging them again in the web’s ocean. so this user can be reading news, planning a travel or just reading blogs; once they have come to your site – you can still deliver the message…

Performance Marketing : focuses on driving only key business results. Applicable to those who provide ability to transact online or built a complex attribution matrix which says – the user came to my site and downloaded a brochure which means there is a probability that the user may or may not be interested in what i have to sell. Its a far fetched notion for many traditional marketers – who like to stay away from complex metrics…but for hardcore onliners – this is the day they were waiting for. Performance marketing should be inheritant in your marketing plans….but unless you are part of a nible flexible team – then only you can go ahead…else wait for management approvals.

Audience Marketing / Re-Marketing : are well established terms in the industry now…but marketers need to change their mindsets around it and start to think beyond sites. Audience are on the internet across the internet – find who you want to target and deliver your marketing message. This requires a against gravity brand definitions to understand. Unless you don’t get this basic premise – forget about it.

Net Net – if marketing is going to change – these are some of the ways it will…understand the easiness of this change – yet it is so complex to accept 🙂


While managing B2B campaigns are a big challenge in the search marketing space, over time we’ve learnt that using Remarketing – we can address the challenges rather quickly. What are these challenges in the online space:

a. Audience differentiation between consumer and business audience.

b. Common web destination for both consumer and business.

c. Limited traffic or premium prices on niche sites.

d. Same keywords on search for consumer and business products.

If you run campaigns on search and on the Google Display Network, you are likely to be familiar with the remarketing feature or audience targeting feature available. By advertising on mass keywords and selecting topics of interest to your audience the first step involves collecting the audience data that you will want to build your remarketing list on. Secondly, you;ll want to setup your site and tag it in such a way that each product/service bucket can be easily identified and you are able to setup the audiences lists clearly. Third, ensure your campaign runs across 3-4 weeks.

With the data collected over the course of time, the next advance step to take is to start using your remarketing lists. These lists will help you identify where all the users have landed on your site, which product/service interest them the most, and if at all they have taken any action on your site (if you are doing conversion tracking). Setup unique creative messaging for your audiences in the list, and start serving them ads across the network.

The entire learning process is estimated to take place any where between 1 – 2.5 months. At the end of it, you will have a solid database of your target audience and you will see your ROI only go up (provided you keep your list fresh – as audience interest will change).

So, while the travel guys have really used remarketing brilliantly – the B2B guys can use it to take their digital marketing plans to the next level. I’ve not seen many other brands or businesses in asia really take advantage of this feature.

Use it – you won’t regret the change.

I recently received this post card from my credit card company, encouraging me to use the contact-less payment system on all my future purchases as select outlets and a chance to with $10 shopping vouchers! Provided I remember the long short code to send to get the voucher with so much details! Ya, right – perfect example of a failed communication.

a) I won’t carry this posted card where ever I’ll go.

b) The merchants won’t encourage me to pay via PayPass.

c) I will never remember to send “MC <space> Receipt Amount <space> Receipt Date in DDMMYY format <space> Last 4 digits of card number <space> NRIC or Passport”.

So here is what you can do and its simple. As MasterCard you can print a QR code either on the receipt of the Vendor or on your card charge slip and quite comfortably integrate information that is required for the user to punch in via the sms (with an exception of the NRIC / Passport #). And it can look something like this:

When you scan this QR code, it will automatically open your Message Application on your phone with the prescribed text. If this  can be generated via the MasterCard payment gateway – everything can be automated – all the user then has to do is – scan the code and SMS AWAY!

I bet you never thought of that!

If you started working on search campaigns in early 2000 – you will know how difficult it was to really-do-real-time-optimization of your search campaigns. Your clients were jumping on your head with a gun ready to be pulled when you should them the change log with few bid changes…and you wished there were automated tools out there…Few hardcore search agencies went with developing their own tools using APIs; while few opted in to use some 3rd party tools. I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to pretty much most tools that are out there for bid management.

As a search marketer – how frequently do you think you should optimize your bids?  and that’s a trick question.

If you can’t afford the complex 3rd party tools, I think the Google automation tools are a big-big-relief. And, it works. You can know more about it here :

The beauty of this tool is the simplicity in application of logic and bid rules. Here is a quick evaluation of what Google Automated rules do for you and do not do as compared to other bid management tools in the market :

Feature Google Automate Any 3rd Party Tool
Rule based Bids Yes Yes
Ad Activation Yes No
Keyword Pausing Yes Yes
Ad Pausing Yes Yes (Not All)
CPA Based Bid Mgmt Yes Yes
Budget Changes Yes No
Hourly Changes No (but can be done) Yes
Multiple Search Engine No Yes
Search Funnel Yes No
Create New Keywords No Yes (Not All)
Custom Programs No Yes

Google won’t want to kill the tools out there, but with DoubleClick opening up to other search engines it will soon become a key contender in the bid management space. I can say out of my experience that the Google Automated rules are a breeze if applied correctly and really does wonder to your account – no need to upload/download keywords/ads into a3rd party tool. and, if the website you are driving traffic to is using Google Analytics – the scenario becomes even more favorable.

Incase you contest that Google cannot do dynamic page based keyword generation or ads and you have to go via the API to build it. Well, Google recently introduced ‘dynamic search ads‘. Its a bit different than traditional automated ads; but also works very well. Still in Beta, but am sure the end result is going to be again – simple & useful.

All in all – Google is out there to learn from the tools and deploy…and they will continue to co-exist until such time.

With the recent Google Algorithm change termed as ‘Panda (release 2.5)’, there is again a huge buzz on who is going to win the search ranking battles and this time it is serious as compared to the previous changes.

The new algorithm rewards ‘fresher’ content over ‘older’ content, which is quite contrary to previous Google search ranking methods, where it preferred an older site to a newer one. This clearly shows that Google is now putting a lot of emphasis on ‘real time search’ and ‘real time update’.

Some recent finding and impact show:

  1. Google rolled out a “freshness update” that impacted 35% of queries.  And according to Searchmetrics, the SEO visibility of jumped 27%.
  2. This algorithm change impacted 35% of searches, which means changes that are significant enough that an average user would notice. Using that same scale, this change noticeably impacts 6 – 10% of searches, depending on the language and domain you’re searching on.

Google says, the following content will the most impact due to this algorithm change:

  • Recent events or hot topics. For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current events like [occupy oakland protest], or for the latest news about the [nba lockout], you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old.
  • Regularly recurring events. Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [ICALP] or an event like the [presidential election]. Without specifying with your keywords, it’s implied that you expect to see the most recent event, and not one from 50 years ago. There are also things that recur more frequently, so now when you’re searching for the latest [NFL scores], [dancing with the stars] results or [exxon earnings], you’ll see the latest information.
  • Frequent updates. There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [best slr cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [subaru impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information.

Implications for Marketers:

  1. If you thought SEO and Content Strategy was not important – your site is going to loose ranking and visibility on the search engine quite rapidly.
  2. Finding fresh content to show up on core sites is going to be a challenge – which will drive more social lead content strategy.
  3. Search & Social are going to be pivotal in future search marketing approaches.

there can never be the correct choice in this given scenario; think of them as ingredients to a good marketing campaign – not independent channels of communication. coming from a day long client meeting – it was no surprise that everyone was confused and looked at other brand as examples of what to do…yet the conclusion was – let’s revisit this seperatly.

deviating from analytics and site level information – these choices are important to make in your overall marketing play.

i think for them to really delivery value – we have to move away from tactical approach and get strategic with these digital channels. Remember POEM? – Paid Owned and Earned Marketing – framework. Implement that (beyond your PPTs).

Your facebook/google+ pages are your earned platforms (some term them as owned) – but i feel they are earned cause you have to get people to like you or add you to your circle and come back to talk to you about your product or your brands – in good or bad sense. use it wisely as your ‘crowdsource’ or as a window to direct customer woes to your care department. Measure it differently; don’t drive too much traffic to these pages – let them grow organically – you will know how much your brand can earn its customers. If you think your brand is not socially active – do a social audit before you decide to use the platform or not.

Microsite : should be banned; they are parasites which grow on web infrastructure. but if used wisely – can work awesumly as your .com sidekick. don’t build new microsites just for kicx or contests. we can debate over here on privacy, data ownership and brand guidelines. but don’t build microsites for just 5 more pages.

Rich Media Ads Units : they are great innovation of the internet advertisement world. don’t have time to build a microsite or don’t have enough content that might fit in your global website framework. use these ad units to feature your product, build some engagement so that users are involved in the brand experience. make is social and then drive them to your own ‘web home’.

Think of users as travellers – who go across many touchpoints online to know about your brand/product…but eventually come home to your website  to buy or get in touch with you. The other touchpoints are just tour guides which help them build faith in your offering and share the excitement with others. don’t use them once – but use them forever…people don’t like to see ‘404’ or ‘page not found’

with every possible corner of the digital world talking about mobile and increasing usage of such devices. brands and marketers need to start to think of how do they make their content available and attractive just as it is on the desktop devices.

whether it is making native apps for iphone or andriod devices or device agnostic HTML5 pages, it is calling upon all those who have built and sustain their digital presence to take a closer look. while most of the mobile still support earlier HTML standards, to over come limitations of non-flash devices; it is important to build sites which render the same way as they do online.

Is it the right time to start thinking of a migration plan – yes – if you operate on dated technology, and web contributes significantly to your business, no – if web never was your priority.

publishing houses need to take a special note on how best to make their content (their bread n butter) available on these devices – which not only benefits the reading audience but the advertisers as well.


Coming from an interesting afternoon at the Google Offices, which shared the vision and future of DoubleClick (previously known for being a tracking tool – now evolving to be part of the Google Stack – adwords, adsense, doubleclick, ga, etc); soon became a debate point for Demand Side Platform or DSP with the panelists.

Demand Side Platforms have been talked about in the last 5 years and now we are seeing some traction on someone somewhere putting the system to test. Here is what I think are the challenges in Asia and maybe some parts of it are global :

(I’ve put a score to see if it will impact the switch or not in the next 6 – 12 months).

1. Publisher Compliance : large websites are still going to ponder on whether to take up DoubleClick as a DSP Platform or build their own or use multiple parties to leverage on the network that it will expose to. I don’t think publishers will like to keep exclusivity. On the technology front – they still have lot to implement and ensure the platform works – everytime!. (Score :-1)

2. Technology Platform : there are going to be a surge of these and will add to the complexity of which DSP to tap into. So to manage DSP we’ll invest in building DMP. Never ending victious circle of technology. (Score: -1).

3. Inventory Sales Approach : every large publisher has a lot of way in which they sell inventory. Just like everything else – it is never sold to a 100%. Some publisher sell tenancy, some sell by day, and then there are a whole bunch of other ways in which they leverage relations to get benefitting agreements. (Score: -1).

4. Agency : while agencies uptill now have been the middlemen between the Client and the Publisher; this change will put them in the shoes of the publisher sales guy. This will require a significant shift in which agencies work with these publishers. So, eventually plans bought on DSP vs plans bought as per usual will decide which is the way to go for. (Score: -1).

5. Buying Approach : while DSP boast of audience buys and audience marketing. I don’t think the cost metric should be on a CPM or a CPA (A for acquisition). But a new buying currency needs to evolve which will be neutral across the networks – giving power to tap into global networks. I don’t have much visibility here – but i hope this evolves. Else no one is going to make the money!. (Score : -1)

6. Not all inventory will be on DSP : now this is the tricky one – which raises a lot of eye-brows. Then what inventory is going to be parked under the DSP’s….well only time will tell that. (Score : -1)

7. Client Side Understanding : yes, I want to ride the way, make my media buys more efficient, reduce my spends wastage. Sorry, this approach needs to make a significant shift on DSP. The only people who will fully try out this platform is going to be the ecommerce, and then subsequently the auto manufacturer, telcos, technology, finance. etc. (Score : 1).

Looking back up the post looks like a rant on DSP, but this is the future of media buying and planning. Though, its still in its nacent stages (and the score tallies up to – hold your horses) – data will become the new black and dictate business decisions than business guess’s.

Keep a close eye on this one…