Category: Digital Media

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 ….


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…

Wearing my mobile marketer hat – the most common question is – what can we do on mobile or build me a mobile strategy.

Great stuff, will like and love to! but hold your horses. Mobile is far more exciting platform than ever before in the hands of a good marketer.

We all know what people do on their smart phones (the likes of iOS, Andriod and Windows Mobile platforms) and feature phones (the likes of Nokia, BlackBerry). There are enough studies to prove that mobile is all about – email, sms, calendar, games, apps, and ofcourse the phone itself…am not sure with the development of smart phones and cheaper data access have call time dropped…and sms’s and data usage has gone up.

But, this small chart will help you understand what all you can do in the mobile space:

Mobile Feature Brand Opportunity
SMS/MMS Missed Call SMS (Footer), SMS Spam, SMS CRM, Transactional SMS (Footer), Status SMS, Custom SMS Apps (SMS 2.0)
Apps In App Advertising via mobile networks, build your own app, games, branded environments
Call Tone Caller Ring back tones (branded)
Voice Mail Branded Voice Mail Greetings
Camera QR Code Scanner,  Photo Recognition Apps, Augmented Reality
Calendar Reminder Ads (via ad networks)
Screen Lock Screen Images or Wallpapers
Browsing Mobile Ads (via networks), mobile site
Alarm Give the user a custom alarm clock
Music Advertise in digital radio channels
Search Mobile search campaigns, mobile sites
Video Video ads via Mobile Ad Network

While the above list is not exhaustive, you can clearly see the opportunity that mobile has for your brand.

Google has put up an interesting video of what they see as user behavior on mobile (ofcourse it is hinting mobile search) :

But at the end of the day, all i can say is that mobile is going to be pivotal in the coming future. And, it is not very far away.

In Singapore, the IDA has already given a green signal for introducing NFC  (read PR article here)enable payment spots. So, mobile coupons can go that extra mile (i know most marketers hate coupons)

So what mobile marketing strategy will you deploy for your brand/product in 2012? will you invest ahead of the curve or just wait for case studies to be build on other brands before you can think of doing something on it…

If you’ve been running facebook ads for sometime now and are baffled with the CTR’s and volume of clicks that come from these ads – don’t be. Imagin facebook ads as a promoter in a crowded marketplace – who is distributing brochures/handouts to catch your attention. Your friend picked one (liked) – so you also picked (liked) one up; you may walk into the store (page) – feel its a good store (like/fans) – say something or try out new clothes and walk out…by the way we forgot about the promoter – how do we reward him/her who got the person in…

In the social context ‘CTR’ will misslead you since you will compare it with a display banner or a emailer or a search response…

Thus CTR is the wrong metric to apply to a facebook ad.

I am thinking, we should have a measure called ‘Conversation Impact Rate’ and/or ‘Brand Like Rate’..this helps you measure the response to your ads as well as what these ads are doing to bring in the social conversation important for your brand on your page. Even tab interaction can be added to these metrics. The metrics are beyond the click in social.

So evaluate your facebook marketing campaigns carefully, yes you might be targetting to the right demographic…but they behave different in social than on a marketing media channel…think about it…

As smart marketers we don’t like to put all our eggs in one basket and like to manage risk better. But in the attempt to manage risk – we make our marketing campaigns more data diverse with almost endless effort to collate data and make sense from it. With the digital media world shaping up faster than before, it makes all the more sense to start to consolidate your digital marketing efforts either in-house or with one (1) agency – this can either be your digital media agency or your digital creative agency or your social media agency or your PR agency…wow…isn’t the choice so easy to pick from 🙂

here are few reasons why you should consider consolidation :

1. Data Management : currently if you are struggling to get your agencies to report into one dashboard or even you internally trying to make sense of data from different sources. it makes all the more sense to conslidate your data reporting with one agency or use a tracking technology which is unified across the digital channels and each agency can report back into it. Thus to make the best use of rich data that your campaigns collect – consolidate your data!

2. Buying Efficiency : if you have one agency managing your online creative, banner buys, SEM, SEO, Social and Mobile – you suddenly have more negotiation power on your publisher deals – especially the one’s which involves long term tenancy on prime portals. This also benefits if your a marketing manager managing multple brand profiles – as all the brands can benefit from this buying.

3. Cost Efficiency : if you thought with multiple agency and multiple negotiated rates from 2% – 8%; gives you an average of 4% commission paid to different agencies – you are wrong. You are ignoring the value of the above two points – which together can make your agency commission look like 0% – purely because you saved over heads and have better buys than ever before! Sit with your CFO and you will notice the power of consolidation.

4. Happier Stakeholders : suddenly you have all the data answers that everyone in your organization was seeking. now that will earn you some serious brownie points. this all happens because all your data is with one agency or data source and it is now far more accessible than before. invest in a good data analysis tool – or build a dashboard with your web analytics or agency teams. it will cost a bit in the beginning; but the long term benefits are huge!

I think between the agencies – the thin line of service offerings will continue to grow even thinner. So i don’t think that 2012 – your organization will continue to work with multiple digital agency – as the months roll down – more and more organization will start to build their efforts to consolidate their media efficiencies…

Continuing from my previous post, I’ll focus on bounce rate and most advertisers wonder WHAT should be my bounce rate. So after looking at multiple data set here is what I think of – What is a good bounce rate or should be!

First thing first – bounce rate can be at a page level or at the site level – I’ve looked at a more granular level (page level) as I think every site has a flow so we need to ensure the performance at each of these touch points. Feel free to compare your site against this. No one to my knowledge has tried to do this compare table; but there is no harm :

Page  Best Bounce Rate Worst Bounce Rate
Homepage 40% 75%
Contact Us Page 70% 90%
Product Catalogue Page 30% 65%
Product Details Specs Page 20% 55%
Product Support Page 30% 70%
Contest Page 50% 90%
Contest Form 50% 95%
Contest T/C 70% 100%
General T/C 70% 100%
Overall 48% 82%

Few things to note with this table :

1. This is for a normal website not a micro-site or site made in flash. As site in flash with improper analytic implementation will give you data-heart-attack.

2. These numbers are averaged across a sample site data base of 100 (some which i’ve created some others have created).

3. As a guiding principle to make life easier anything above 50% bounce rate can call for worry due to poor site design; but if the site is meeting the objective i won’t bother with this metric too much; or may be it is your learning point.

Net net – a relative metric which compares performance in terms of content engagement – use it wisely.

Hope this helps 🙂

Its been 7+ years I’ve been part of this ever growing digital media space – while the industry spends have grown this side of the world is yet to grow with it from a ‘strategic usage’ point of view.

The heart of this thread is how is the CTR 0.06% (600 clicks of a million impressions) better than CTR 0.10% (1000 clicks of a million impressions) on the same website between 2 different creatives – is it a factor of the creative or bad/good media planning?

I still feel CTR is a double edged sword just like Compounded Interest Rates.

Most marketers will not look at the finer details of the media plan to see the efficacy of it – were weight-ages attached to the creative served, did the ad serving system auto optimize the best CTR ad, creative B was better than creative A in terms of getting the attention, did you buy too many impressions or too less?, was there more competition at the time the ads were served, and finer details list are long!

Marketing programs comprise of 3 different set of objectives – creative objective, media objective, and business objective.

CTR sits between Creative Objective & Media Objective and eventually impacts the business objective. And no one in my experience have correlated this relationship and derived a better marketing program out of it – cause it costs money!

Everyone will point the finger at the media placement for a poor as the creative costed a BOMB to make and no one will question it, it was suppose to work and was approved by the management! But, so was the media plan!

So coming back to 0.06% vs 0.10% : both are rate of response to the creative message that went out on the same media platform – creative B must have been more engaging for the consumer to click on, the message was more promising. What this means is that for the future the 0.10% CTR creative information can be used to make future creatives (i am sure the media plan will remain the same). Think over it – look at the recent media plans you’ve signed off – don’t they all look the same!

And best practices say – if your CTR is low change your creative!

Next topic – R for (Never Seen) Return on Investment (ROI)