Friday, January 30, 2009

Defining Engagement Through Strategy

It is possible that the debate regarding measuring engagement in the online world is a big waste of time because the answer is right in front of us. It's possible that Engagement is simply a strategic proxy for direct vs. indirect response.

I need to think this through some more, but the idea is that there is no true, immediate answer for the what engagement actually is. There is a direct line between strategy and engagement and that requires actionable intelligence to make it happen.

Just an idea. I need to bounce this around for a bit more. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Day The Music, Did Not Die

Some notes and figures regarding the state of the music industry and its digital impact (all pulled from the 2009 Digital Music Report):

  • 20% of all revenues in the music industry come via digital (source: PWC Global Entertainment and Media Report.
  • Interesting (and intelligent) quote: “ A big album worldwide will sell about seven million units but many more people will enjoy the album. This is about lighting up all these other consumers.” - Rob Wells, Senior Vice President, Digital, Universal Music Group International.
  • 95% of music is still being downloaded in an illegal fashion.
  • The US accounts for 50% of the global digital music category (go iTunes).
  • The #1 one downloaded single in 2008 was Lollipop, by Lil Wayne. He sold 9.1MM units.
  • Most industry execs foresee the growth of digital music tied to mobile platforms. I agree.
  • iTunes has sold more than 6 billion songs since launch.
  • 20-30% of MySpace traffic was driven to unique music destinations in the platform in 2007, and probably higher in 2008.
  • There are more than 1.8MM rock acts on MySpace Music, and more than 2.5MM hip hop acts.

That's just a summary. Lot's more to read.

People Are Buying Phones Fast!

These are some incredible numbers detailing how quickly people are buying smart phones...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Internet Unscathed

Here is some good news about the outlook of our industry!

Check it out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wimpy Marketers Got No...

According to this article, marketers have no stomach for risk right now.

I guess that depends how you read it. Some of them are actually getting better at thinking about new ideas. I don't know, i think maybe it's just Pepsi that has no stomach, which is explains why they're number 2.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Inovid Video Ads - Very Creative!

Inovid is doing some really cool things in video. Check out their gallery here.

I like these different formats and i think they are doing a really great job of finding new ways to do business.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Round-Up Volume 1, Issue 18: Explore Service and Take Action

With the historic inauguration of our 44th President, and subsequent re-swearing of the oath of office, we’ve officially entered into the future! One of the rallying cries of this fresh, new administration is of service and the responsibility of every American (every person, for that matter) to take action rather than just sit idly by and watch the world happen to them. Of course, when it comes to the Internet, this has been the modus operandi since inception. The Internet does not sit by and watch and nor do the citizens of the web! The Internet is a dynamic, fluid, rapidly evolving medium and this week we wanted to point out a number of cool sites and services that do just that; they allow you to take action and allow you to take responsibility. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Since all eyes are on the new chief executive of the United States, let’s shift the gaze slightly to EXECUTIVE MOMS ( Executive Moms is more than a newsletter and more than a support group, it’s a burgeoning community to provide resources and information for the fabulous women who balance both work and home life. The goal of the site is to help these motivated and much-loved women achieve success in both worlds by tapping into their peers. We all know how important these women can be, so it’s great to see this community thriving online!

Maybe you already have your home life balanced and you need to drive some more growth in your business? Advertising always comes to mind, and online video is the hottest category right now, but it can be expensive to shoot your own video ads, right? Well, the truth is it can be expensive unless you use SPOT MIXER ( Spot Mixer allows you to make your own web videos to be used on your site or externally as an ad campaign. You can mix and match in an affordable, creative environment to come up with the best reflection of your brand or service.

Since we’re on the topic of creating, why not check out MUSIC SHAKE ( Music Shake is a site and service dedicated to letting you explore your inner Timbaland or P Diddy. The site provides a suite of tools that allow you to make songs that can be downloaded as MP3’s or ringtones and shared with the world to listen to. They also highlight the recent works of others and you can listen, comment or exchange with the community. There’ve been many attempts to create this type of service in the past, but the folks at Music Shake seem to have gotten it right!

If you’re in the mood to take action and share your actions with the world, but you want things to be simple and easy, then check out TUMBLR ( Tumblr is a blogging-esque service that makes it easy to share what you want to share. You may be using one of the other blogging services (Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress, etc.) and you may not want to examine another one, but Tumblr is radically easy to use and it’s worth checking out. At the very least you can check out what others are creating and it could inspire your own creativity and action!

Speaking of taking action (again), if you’re actions keep you on the go, then you need to have some mobile apps to work with as well. This week’s favorite iPhone apps include USTREAM which allows you to access and post live video streams from your iPhone. QIK is another service that does something similar, but I had problems using it and Ustream worked right away for me.

And if taking action costs you money, then be sure to check iTunes to see if your bank has an iPhone application. BANK OF AMERICA and CHASE both have iPhone apps and a number of others are in the works, so soon enough you’ll be able to handle all your banking through your phone, no matter where your money is being held.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to take some initiative on your own and make things happen! Take action!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Recent Industry Stats

I recently read a report from ComScore entitled How Online Advertising Works. It was enlightening to say the least and it supplied lots of basic information that people are pining for. Here are some basic nuggets you might need to whet your appetite:

  • According to Doubleclick and eMarketer, click-rates on static display ads fell dramatically in recent years to average levels of only 0.2% in 2006
  • Rich media ads don’t perform much better, with a click-through rate of roughly only 1% in 2006,according to research from Doubleclick, eMarketer, Eyeblaster and ABI.
  • Recent research conducted by comScore on behalf of Starcom and Tacoda showed that average click rates on display ads in 2008 were less than 0.1%. Further Starcom research suggests no correlation between display ad clicks and brand metrics, and shows no connection between measured attitude towards a brand and the number of times an ad for that brand was clicked.
  • The research suggests that when digital campaigns have a branding objective, optimizing for high click rates does not necessarily improve campaign performance.
  • The comScore research also revealed that two-thirds of Internet users do not click on any display ads over the course of a month and that only 16% of Internet users account for 80% of all clicks.
  • ComScore’s research also showed that the demographics of clickers are skewed towards younger users aged 25 to 44 earning less than $40,000 per year. This is hardly an attractive target segment for most advertisers.
  • Even search ads, presumably the most effective form of online marketing, are only clicked on 4% of the time at Google, and 2% at MSN and Yahoo!, according to comScore statistics.

Its good stuff. Nice job ComScore!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Bull In The Heather

I forgot that i used to like this song.

I think I might be getting old.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I find myself posting to Twitter more than my blog now. It seems easier to come up with a short observation and to write some pithy comment in 140 characters rather than come up with something to fill the space here, but I also can't get rid of my blog altogether. It is still a creative outlet for me and hopefully it is still of interest to you. At least once in awhile.

This one is probably not of use to you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Best Work Is Done In A Recession

This is from my Mediapost Spin column two weeks ago, but the message is positive and I thought maybe you'd like to check it out, too!


It’s my first post of the New Year and I have to say I’m pretty optimistic! I know the economy sucks and I know that most media pundits are forecasting 2009 and possibly 2010 will be down period for everything, but I was thinking about it and I realized I think we do our best work in a Recession. I know I do!

I got started back in 1994 and 1995 in advertising and the pundits said the outlook was grim back then, but along came the Internet and opened a whole wide world of opportunity for those of us with some foresight and little tendency towards risk. A little company called i-Traffic became one of the early agency success stories and off we went! Then the bubble burst back in 2000 and our little corner of the world went “pop” again, all except for another agency success story called Freestyle Interactive. Now it’s 2009 and things are once again looking grim but once again I smell opportunity and it’s got me pretty excited!

Challenges are also opportunities and in order to succeed you have to have the right attitude. A down economy means that people are looking for new, innovative ways to achieve the success they had when things were easier and simpler. It’s easy to build a brand when you have lots of money to spend, but how do you build a brand when the money dries up? It’s easy to spread a message when you can afford to pay a small army to evangelize on your behalf or when you can buy ad placements and achieve a 75% share of voice, but fewer dollars translates to more creativity and more innovative ideas; that’s the opportunity we have again today.

It can be a hustle, and not everyone is built to hustle. You have to be willing to fail and you have to be willing to hear the word “no” a lot. You have to be willing to break some eggs to make that omelet and you have to be capable of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and starting over. These are all clichés, but clichés exist for a reason; they are all typically tried and true.

In a down economic climate where ad spending is in jeopardy, better deals can be negotiated and your dollar can go much farther. The current outlook suggests that CPM’s may still fall, or at the very least stabilize. They will not increase this year, and if you have money to put into the marketplace than you can negotiate some very interesting deals on behalf of your business. Additionally, you can negotiate stronger bonus weight and more integrated special opportunities and even free months worth of activity, thereby extending a campaign or filling in continuity efforts. These are very effective strategies for supplementing your standard impression buys and drive effectiveness where you may not have been able to do so previously.

Most importantly, get beyond the money and get into the fundamentals lines of communication. Marketing can be viewed very simply as making connections between a brand and its prospective customer. It can also be looked as a means of providing a solution for an existing problem. This time of year we see all sorts of ads running as solutions to your standard New Year’s resolutions (getting in shape, saving money, learning a new language). There are many ways to reach that prospective customer that don’t require a substantial ad spend, but rather a focus on non-paid or even non-standard paid media to meet the needs of the customer. Use Twitter and conversational media or use video in a new and interesting fashion! Think of the power of integration into a show by the host rather than the standard companion ad that may or may not be seen.

Everyone thinks they know what’s going to happen in the next few months but the truth is they have absolutely no idea. I say that you should stop listening to people like me proclaim that we know what ad spend is going to look like and instead focus your attention on how you can become more innovative. If you stop reading and start acting, you’ll probably do your best work. I know that’s my plan, and it’s proven to be successful in the past!

Here’s to 2009!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Top Blogs For Start-Ups (Last Year)

I stumbled onto this site that outlines lots of blogs to check out in 2008, and now that it's 2009 I figured I would get to them finally and see if there worth reading still.

Check out the top 50 blogs for start-ups last year!

Friday, January 16, 2009

No Line On Cory's Blog

The new album, No Line On The Horizon, from U2, is coming out in March. I'm excited and this video is a teaser of what we will be seeing...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sony's Flexible OLED Feature

I think this has some amazing ramifications on computers and mobile in coming years:

How can you not be at least a little excited about this one?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Are You Lost Watching LOST?

I know it can be very hard to figure out what's going on with LOST, but the new season should clear that right up (yeah, right).

This article from Entertainment Weekly is interesting to me.

I have been and will be a fan of the show through the end, but it also tickles my media bone because they do such a great job of using digital to foster buzz. The hidden videos, the alternative reality games and the fan fiction they inspire are amazing ways of resurfacing all that interest and intrigue that has been lying dormant since last season. Plus all the blogs and chats about what is going on have been re-invigorated as a result of the scenes and hints about the new episodes. I had not been thinking about LOST at all until the last few days and now I'm really excited. Time to go back and watch the last season again!

Lots of people are in the same boat as me, and we'll all be watching to find out what happens!

Cheers to LOST!

AOL Splits?

I thought AOL was now part of Platform A, so why are they changing names and re-ordering themselves? Isn't it hard enough to get people to understand Platform A without messing with the AOL brand, too?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sling No More

That can't be good. When your entire executive team walks out the door, how can your company proclaim to be on the right track?

Sling Media may not have been growing as fast as they wanted, but I felt lots of excitement around what they were doing and my gut was that their product has a future. I can't say I bought one or used their service, but the technology definitely has things going for it. Of course, the company is probably going to be changing direction with that news.

I guess we'll wait and see what happens!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If This Doesn't Make You Laugh

Then you should probably go back to bed...

Model Sues Google.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Round-Up Volume 1, Issue 17: New Year, New Gadgets, New Sites to Check Out

Welcome to the first issue of the Digital Influential’s Round Up for the New Year! 2009 promises to be an interesting year filled with change and also with challenges. With challenges come opportunity and the chance to try something new.

Speaking of something new, this week saw MacWorld and CES; two of the most buzzed about technology shows of the year and both at the same time (nice planning guys). MacWorld news was driven by what wasn’t there just as much as what was. What wasn’t there was Steve Jobs as he tries some succession planning. What was there was nothing really intriguing. Some new software and some new pricing models for iTunes. Not too exciting.

CES has so far seen a couple of cool new phones with the Palm Pre ( leading the bunch. We’re also seeing lots of convergence between the Television and the Web as well as the future of both with flexible OLED displays ( Just imagine when you can throw your laptop in your back pocket or fold it up for your carry-on.

Of course you didn’t come to read the Round Up for technology gadgets. You came to read about new websites and services that might be of interest, so let’s get on with it shall we?

With that buzz about TV and the Web, we decided to start out with something more old fashioned; books! Check out BOOKSWIM ( which is a NetFlix for books. It’s an online book rental service. Maybe your New Year’s resolution was to read some more? Then this is the right place to get started. No risk, little cost, easy delivery of all the best sellers to your door. Sounds good to me!

Maybe your resolution was to try out Twitter (not necessarily a good idea for those of you with an addictive personality)? Maybe you should start with TWITHORITY ( The only real problem with Twitter is that it takes some doing to find people to follow. Scanning the general feed can be a bit monotonous and many of the other Twitter-centric sites are poorly produced, but this one is a searchable interface and very, very simple. I’m a fan and you should probably try to tweet Twithority too (I love alliteration).

Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to watch less TV? If so, good thing the web isn’t TV! With all that spare time you can watch FANCAST ( Hulu is getting all the juice these days, but FanCast should be in that consideration. I can’t completely figure it out but it seems to come from Comcast and lots of the content is actually from Hulu, but why worry about the tangled web of video that it weaves and just watch some TV. Errr… I mean Internet Video! I just watched The A-Team. That can’t be a bad thing.

If you don’t have time to watch The A-Team, and if you can find it, maybe you should watch 5MIN.COM ( If you got that reference, bravo! If you already watch 5Min, bravo as well! It is what it says it is (thank you Coach Dennis Green); lots and lots of short form how-to video content. Its fun, it’s easy and it can pass the time until Lost goes back on the air.

As for the iPhone applications this week, I still can’t stop playing SCRABBLE, from EA and Hasbro. I finally caved in and started to use SHAZAM to identify music that I’m hearing. FLUTTER allows you to put MMS on the iPhone (a silly oversight on their part). FLIGHTTRACK is what it says it is; tracking for flights on your fone, err… phone.

That’s it for this week. Until next time… playoffs? Are you talking about playoffs?? (Sorry – I can’t stop laughing at all the Coors Light commercials during Sunday football).

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Does A Care Free Auto Purchase Signal The Apocalypse?

This to me feels like a sign of the apocalypse.

If you buy a Hyundai and you lose your job, you can return the car with no issues and they will take it back. It sounds like a move of utter desperation to me. Does Hyundai have sales problems that make them move to such a last minute offer?

The auto industry is just going to have to re-do quite a bit of its infrastructure. I really don't think they can survive doing things like this. The next step is to offer consumers to buy a car and return it any time for no reason at all.

I know there's a lot of debate regarding the auto industry and what will fix it, but my guess is they need to do a whole scale infrastructure shift to energy efficient cars and find a way to service them in the long term. I know that not everyone wants a fuel efficient, green car right now but they will. People are coming around to the idea and that is the inevitable future. Instead i see ads for such amazing innovations as a tool box built into the side of the new Ford F150. Is that really going to sell more cars??

By going energy efficient you would be planning on the future, and truth be told you should plan on selling fewer cars each year. Create some pent up demand for cars and you will likely see your brand re-emerge as a desirable brand. People tend to overlook what they know they can get at any time. There's no demand for the mundane.

Make limited editions and manage your growth rather than keep looking for year over year exponential growth and stop investment spending in products that have a finite life cycle. A new Hummer, anyone?

Of course, what do i know. I am just some lowly marketing guy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Interesting Prediction from Jon Fine

I recently got around to catching up on the articles I missed and this one from Jon Fine was interesting because of the last prediction regarding a shadow media industry.

I love predictions regarding media that refer to the ingenuity of the people involved. The whole reason our business has grown year over year, even in the face of 2-3 recessions, is because of entrepreneurialism. Jon is correct; there will be a shadow business, but i think he underestimates it. I think it is always there. There are always the folks who leave companies to start new ones and this recession is nothing short of an opportunity. The opportunity to explore new ideas.

Jon is a very good writer and I have had the pleasure of grabbing breakfast once with him, so i applaud the call out of the idea of a shadow industry.

The only one i disagree with is that will get sold by the NY Times. About is the only profitable portion of their business right now and I don't think they can afford to sell it off. It is what is keeping them afloat!

Happy New Year Jon! Keep writing the good word!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Merge My Reporting

When will Doubleclick and Atlas and the others start offering a unified reporting platform that marries together online, mobile, digital outdoor and TV? Will Doubleclick and Google figure it out first?

It's only a matter of time.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Regulatory Question

If the government is going to start getting more involved in regulating our online advertising business (which it appears it will), will they also be thinking about mobile?

Probably not - I am sure they will forget about that and leave it alone for awhile. Unless of course they are reading my blog and I just gave away the secret.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Will Nintendo Create A Cell Phone?

Why not, right? The idea was posed in a Mediapost article and I think it has merit. I wouldn't be surprised to see them come out with a handheld platform that combines gaming and telephony. Other folks are working on it, so why shouldn't they be doing so, as well?

They are are easily just as inventive as Apple. They are as well poised and Apple cannot be the only company that is known for innovative designs. There has to be more to the story. There needs to be some competition.

Could happen. Let's chat again in 6 months.