Archives for posts with tag: MSN

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By now, everybody knows that customers to Yahoo!, Facebook, Google, MSN, NY Times, WSJ, etc. are not the visitors. Advertisers are the customers. All these sites make money selling advertising. Over time we learned, placing ads on Facebook is much less effective than placing them on Yahoo!, WSJ or even MySpace.

How come? Wasn’t the narrative that Facebook knows everything about us? That they unlocked the gate to the holy grail of marketing? The frictionless sharing paradigm will lead us to the golden ages of marketing, including fountains of youth and unlimited budgets.

Right?

Right.

Think about what you do all day and what you share on Facebook. (Forget about the few exceptions that share everything.) I bet it’s less than 0.1% for 99% of all Facebook users. I would even bet it’s less than 0.001% for for 98% of all Facebook users. You do thousands of things today and you may share 1-2 posts daily, if you’re a heavy users.

Compare that to major sites. They’ve been around forever. Some, like Yahoo!, Google and MSN, have their own email product. You read news on Yahoo or MSN, never on Facebook. If you want to find a local movie, you visit Bing. If you want to see TV listings, you go to Yahoo! While so many people proclaim Yahoo! is already in the coffin and rotting away, have a look at the rate of interaction on some of their sections. More people search on Yahoo! than on Facebook.

Since Yahoo (and all these other major sites) are connected to massive ad networks and ad exchanges, they track what you like, what you do, where you live and understand more about your real digital life than Facebook could ever imagine. Google didn’t build Maps and Google Documents to help you through your daily life. They build all these tools to understand each user better.

Facebook doesn’t have acces to that information. Yet. That’s why I get these silly ads.

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I don’t care about any of these products. Ever.

This doesn’t mean the future is a black hole for Facebook. The future might be all rainbows.

The present? A different story. When brands tell me they want to increase their Facebook ad spending dramatically in the next 6 months, I wonder if it’s because the bandwagon is coming through their town or because they see real business results. Sure, there are brands that are successful using the Facebook ad project. The majority should be looking for other (“OLD”) targeting tactics to get good results in the short-term.

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Yahoo!, the last traditional media company, is in deep trouble. Just like AOL, MSN and Forbes.com – dinosaurs founded in a time where media agencies had to manage scarcity. The Yahoo! Homepage used to be part of a digital media plan just like buying commercials during the NFL season for beer brands. Two things changed: ad networks, DSP’s and ad exchanges changed the focus of media agencies from placement buying to audience buying. And, more importantly, people are less interested in reading professional content and pay more attention to content created by their friends.

What is Yahoo’s response to a changed marketplace and customer behavior?

More content, more video, more, more, more. I wonder if Albert Einstein’s “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” has become Yahoo’s mission statement. More is not the answer. Traditional media companies will never be able to compete with the amount of content created on Social Networks, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Blogs, sites, Tumblr, etc. I’m not predicting the death of Yahoo!, nothing ever dies. VCR’s are still flashing “12:00” in millions of households, papers are being delivered to millions of door steps each morning and millions of faxes are being delivered each week. It took decades after the telegraph

was invented until the last telegraph was sent. (January 27, 2006, to be exact.) Yahoo! will be around for a long time to come. More irrelevant and less valuable by the day.

The demise of Yahoo! points to an important development

Online advertising is in the middle of a radical evolution but the majority of agencies/brands are acting as if it was still 2005. During that period, the majority of digital marketers were complaining about silos and the fact that they were cut off from the traditional campaign. Digital advertising had no place at the table and was not more than an afterthought: “Make sure the banner ad looks like the commercial.”

The disconnect is now between display advertising and social media

I see more integration between TV/Print campaigns and Social Media compared to Display Advertising and Social Media. The challenge is that Display Advertising continues to be deeply anchored in the world of Direct Marketing, creating a massive disconnect between that display advertising and Social Media. When your goal is to convert prospects into leads, a Social Media integration seems nothing than a silly distraction. Or, is it?

We’re reliving 2005 in the display advertising space: SEM/SEO is always at the table, Social Media the hot new toy and display advertising was relegated to the basement and algorithms.

What is the remaining value of media buying agencies?

The agency role in this new ecosystem will be re-evaluated by brands. The main challenge for media buying agencies will be their unique value proposition. It used to be access, buying power and custom tools. That competitive advantage is slowly disappearing because content created outside of traditional media properties gains importance and relevance over time.

The secondary challenge is the lack of trusted measurements. Ask 100,000 marketers about trusted and reliable measurements and you will get 150,000 answers. Is it impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement, connections – what the hell is it? It’s a lack of industry leadership but also a lack of confidence by agencies based on the fickle brands. “Oh, you focus on conversions? Sure, we can do that.”

Sorry, I don’t know the answer. I just have a lot of questions.

The marketing landscape continues to evolve rapidly. We’re still trying to answer the questions of 2005, while our clients expect us to answer the questions of 2012. As a industry, we need to find better ways to measure, to attribute and to communicate our value proposition to clients.

The conference season is upon us. I hope we can spend less time talking about case studies and acting as if we knew the answers. Instead, let’s ask more questions.