Category: Interesting


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

Interesting?

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 ….

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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 🙂

 

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…

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…

I’ve always been interested on how brands start using the internet in India; and most websites they come up with I like to term them as “download wallpaper” websites – cause they didn’t offer any thing beyond that.

Sometime back in the history of time; I’d written a small white paper on “internet branding” which offered the much confused brand/marketing manager on how to step on the internet by designing what kind of website. And, that was a time when static websites was the way to go.

Today, Internet offers some level of maturity – but I see a long way to go. My colleague also discusses how FMCG co’s can utilize the internet better for their brand.

I’ve covered 3 websites here for different brands and how they match up to other style of making websites. Please note I am not paid by these guys to review their work and all opinions/thoughts are personal.

Johnson’s Baby

Babycenter.in

BabyCenter.in HomepageJohnson’s extensive baby product line and legacy of users give’s it a strong reason to be associated with a website to do with “Baby Care”.

The site is largely a replica of BabyCentre.co.uk but they are in the process of generating content for the site given different situation which exists in India.

I like the simplicity in the website – as it represents an Yahoo! Answers approach, no flash or background music to irritate you.

It attempts to answer key questions for to be parents; and offers top level Q&A for many frequently asked questions.

The brand element is a little weak beyond the website’s homepage; but I am sure these guys are working on it.

Brand Integration: 1/5
Design: 3/5
Usability: 3/5
Content: 2/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Lay’s

whatstheprogram.com

Firstly, this site was almost a week late before it came online & they kept advertising on the TV! Not a good thing to happen; cause I’ve seen a lot of traffic to micro-sites originating directly and followed by Google & other internet advertising efforts.

Whatstheprogram Homepage

This site has a nice look & feel, but the performance degrades across different browser a problematic area when it comes to usability. Also, it tends to be a bit noisy with it’s default background music. Overall the site performs well with the load time, but I wish it had some bit of flash optimization done to improve performance of the site. Else, it’s a good site – technically.

The site’s aim is to integrate with the larger brand message of “whats the program”(pronounced as whatz the prograamm”) promo – which intends to position “Lays” chips as a key ingredient to any “program” you make – which translates to – group activity, i.e. bunch of friends getting together to watch cricket on TV, so “sports program” to watch cricket on TV & Lay’s the perfect element of snacks. Sure, but the TVC sucks.

register_whats-theprogra.jpgSo what it takes to be part of the “program”? The signup page is a little tacky & you have to sign up even to subscribe to the newsletter! The sign up page also allows you to create your avatar; but I couldn’t see it appear after my signup page 😦 not even on my profile page 😦

The avatar are not customizable & the one’s on offer are just about ok & I don’t know why they have been randomized on display. Keep the 2 sexes in the same line! again bad usability 😦

I donno what is the purpose of asking “when was the last time you ate lays?” & that too as a mandatory field! is this a sign up page or a survey form? This is a clear sign of a traditional marketing manager being a part of designing the website. Seriously – this information is redundant. I’d rather send out survey forms to my users than ask this once & forget about it.

invite_whatstheprogram.jpgI explored “Entertainment Program” section; which lists movies & theater events taking place in select locations. Since, the site revolves around the getting friends together – you have the option of selecting an event & inviting your friends to meet up! Ok, point taken, 1. I don’t see the point of having static pages, 2. What is the benefit of using Lays website to invite friends = will I get a discount coupon for Lay’s Purchase? nothing of the sort.

I see a good possibility of integration Yahoo Local or tie-ups with some local movie theater for better online prices or even some sensible mash-ups! the potential is yet to be explored of this platform.

Also, the site doesn’t have a Privacy Statement! So, I really wonder how would they use the information I’d provide them!

I am happy with the design of the website with some teething usability issues – which I am sure they’ll resolve. But if they can’t keep the content live & latest = the site is bound to die. It’s a good integration of the overall website; but I’ll see how the site evolves in time.

Brand Integration: 5/5
Design: 2/5
Usability: 2/5
Content: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

TVS Apache

nowornever.in

This is one of the good bike sites around, and it brings in many factors of good site together. It has product content, community participating, offline ecommerce & little bit of fan site appeal.

tvs_home.jpg

This site also suffers from performance degradation across browsers & really irritating background music. Something most web designing company’s should now take into account – why put the music in the background! apart from adding on to the load time; it slows up the website. And the flash & html integration means – the music starts to replay on every page you load even if you decide to turn it off on the first page. Please get introduced to frames!

bike_cover.jpg

I like how the site integrates really cool bike merchandise – only problem is to buy the stuff offline. But you can buy tshirts, key chains, helmates, bike covers and whole bunch of other stuff.

I think they should tie up with ebay if ecommerce if coming up to be very expensive & cut the lag time to actually get these stuff moving. Seriously, if you are the site owner – get an ebay shop & start selling online.

The site has a whole bunch of improvement areas including content & engagement factors. The site comes very close to the “download wallpaper” kind, but I am sure TVS will bring in more aspects of the internet marketing tool kit & evolve this site.

Please seriously consider improving it – you have a great site going for yourself!

Brand Integration: 4/5
Design: 2/5
Usability: 2/5
Content: 3/5
Overall rating: 2.75/5

In the beginning, there was discussion boards & forums. Then came sites like Ryze.com, Hi5.com, Batchmates.com, and a whole bunch of websites to get people together.

Social Networking seems to be a new fad in the world of Internet in India. I just donno how many social networks I would want to be a part of. See below the new Desimartini Social networking site – cool advertising on TV; but where are the users!

But Fropper has also been online doing lot’s of ads!

Enough of advertisements. The best place for social networking which has 20% of Indian users is still Orkut! and it never advertised or gave away free ipods like Yaari.com did.

The bigger problems with social networking sites is the level of abuse that someone has to go thru; from spammed invitations to “hello, i want to be friends with you”. Am sure we know many female friends who get spammed day in and day out for friendship requests. We are yet to come of age (globally) to respect the other person or give them their space. So now there are dedicated websites for women users; such as GangofGirls & Zapak’s website dedicated to women – but are they really women online!

But I have larger question to ask people funding these activities = do you see breaking up on investments?

Social Networking boom in India reminds me of the time of Dot.com Bust; how many of us remember uthplanet (youth planet)? not many it got hit my the no user meteorite; and it doesn’t exist any more.

All advertiser or portal owners are focussing on the buzzing age group that India thrives on today; but offer them something beyond friends, chat, news, dating, & community. Seriously, it’s getting boring!

Here’s a list of social networking sites to be launched or to be launched that I am aware of:

1. Yaari.com
2. BigAdda.com
3. Desimartini.com
4. Fropper.com
5. Orkut.com (still the best)
6. indyarocks.com (my money on them)

Any one making a replica of Second Life????, Anyone?

With social networking catching every dot.commer’s imagination, it makes all the more sense to add business sense to it. After all business is all about networking.

I started business networking back in 2002 with Ryze.com; the site stopped to evolve & I joined Linkedin.com. But with the evolution of web 2.0 and ajax support interfaces, we are now talking serious business networking.

My first example here is pairup.com : the site works on a simple concept of sharing your contacts & travel plans. And if it finds someone you know in the same destination – it’ll give you an alert! I wish it integrated with Plaxo!

KLM is taking Flying & Golf to business networking. They have 3 sites dedicated for business networking and the common platform – Golf. Cause all high flyers play it! It just reverses the approach & tells you whom you can find where. Check out there sites > www.klmclubafrica.com or www.fbgolfclub.com or www.clubchina.klm.com

If travel portals are smart enough like Yatra which introduced Raahi to garner traffic – imagin the potential it holds for travel portal to build loyalty & networking capability.

I am sure we in India are still busy deploying Adsense to make money… web 2.o can wait!

This post emerges from the tiring & multiple attempts online media managers make to traditional marketing managers of how online media works. And, I’ve been challenged when a manager comes up to me and say target this search marketing campaign to 18-24, SEC A, Metros, with annual income of less than 5 Lacs. O.K – is it April fools day already & again?

As humans we are used to one directional messages when it comes from marketers, but with evolving human behavior & interactivity – we all want more – similarly we need to change the way we segment our markets more importantly consumers online.

India as it is has low internet penetration; where we know that 70% of the users are SEC A. It’s about time traditional marketing managers got realistic.

Interactivity doesn’t mean “download wallpapers” For heaven’s sake stop creating micro-sites with the lame purpose, no content and talk about interactivity. That’s a long way. And, a whole bunch of people agree with me on this.

First step to unlearn is to watch your own online surfing pattern (please don’t make it the gospel truth). Aggregate these patterns across people you know, take a comfortable sample size of 25 people & observe for a week or so. Now take your product/service & segment it given your sample size against online media; chances are 50% of the 25 people will fit into your target audience from the traditional perspective.

Your assignment now is to identify tasks or content consumed by your target audience & then build your online strategy. You’ll instantly see the connect with all the 25 people or at least 98% of them.

Read more before you talk internet jargon. There is a whole bunch of online possibilities which your brand has not discovered. Whatever happened to the spirit of Marketing!

Ok, we have seen many versions of online classifieds & new one’s keeping coming on board the Internet.

I recently came across a site which thinks it’ll take “ebay” go offline. Hmmm…ok…but ebay is an auction site, and yours is an offer website…where did we missed the “Bidding” part? Any guess’s?

First things first, the website layout can take a serious upgrade & they need to hire a usability expert. The site seems to have evolved from 1990 web development standards or someone who read HTML for Dummies way to hard. The site surely needs a serious upgrade!

Secondly, we did see a surge of such websites during the dot.com boom..but not many are around. Then came hybrids of loyalty programs, that also didn’t last long. So what is going to be unique is something I’ll wait and watch. I guess the city approach is good…but don’t know how many people are actually making the most of it.

I’ll cut a long story short, if you are in Bangalore check out > http://www.offersforshoppers.com/ and see if you can get yourself some discount coupons which can be redeemed!

Couple of weeks back I had posted that legal & paid content year is 2007, now with a recent report from SoundBuzz.com – I can take this as a vote of support from one of the industry’s largest digital audio distribution site. “Soundbuzz’s analysis further projects that the music industry will grow to Rs 4,100 crore in 2009 from Rs 1,450 crore in 2005”.

Digital Vs. Physical

Will it get real – time will tell 🙂