Monday, April 26, 2010

Finally Craigslist got updated by someone - filters, better search, easier

Great mash-up by someone who cared about Craigslist - very useful new features!

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Listing Agent
Give Fugly Old Craigslist An Extreme Makeover

For all its utility and ubiquity, the most popular classified ad site in the world is a big, honking mess.  Yes, we’re talking about Craigslist, which still bears a design ethos and user interface that comes straight out of a garage circa 1996.

Now, thanks to a unique mash-up called Craiglook, you can enjoy Craigslist with all the bells and whistles that web 2.0 has made standard.

The site, which is not affiliated with Craigslist, uses Yahoo Pipes and Google Maps to upgrade the existing Craiglist postings.

Unlike Craigslist, Craiglook automatically tracks your location and finds listings within a 250-mile radius (though you can also refine your search by zip code and city). It also displays the subheadings of major categories, such as vacation rentals under the Housing section and appliances under For Sale.

The best part is that the search results include a summary of the listing and a thumbnail photo, which makes sorting through potential purchases much easier. (When you click on an item you’re interested in you’re taken to the actual Craigslist page of the item, so contact is made the usual way).

The site also allows you to save your search options, storing the information in your user profile.  There are also options that allow you to sort search results by price point, location and whether or not the posting has a photo.

Until Craig Newmark decides to hire, you know, a designer or something, Craiglook is a great alternative to the site it improves upon.


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Butterfingers Likes Big Butts As Much As Burger King Likes Square Butts - AdGabber

A little racy - surprising for Nestle. Curious what the Facebook conversations around this one will be and how Nestle will react.

Posted via web from digbits's posterous

Book recommendation: The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History (9780385529914): Gregory Zuckerman: Books

This is a fascinating read about how John Paulson successfully bet against the collapsing mortgage market. It's by far not as straightforward a story as one might think and full of interesting revelations (e.g. the fact that some banks were both losing and gaining billions by being on both sides of the trade). Must-read for Finance people but also interesting for people who want to look a little deeper into the mortgage mess and the current SEC allegations against Goldman Sachs.

Posted via web from digbits's posterous

Thursday, April 15, 2010

tag: marketing How much is a Facebook fan worth? (Updated)

Update: Vitrue published a blog post explaining some of the methodology. My reactions after the original post. 

Brands have rushed to attract fans on Facebook in hopes of grabbing up consumer mindshare for a bargain. But when it comes to estimating the value of such efforts, they're shooting in the dark, given the embryonic stage of Facebook marketing and lack of data. Wednesday morning, Adweek tried to address that by publishing numbers from social media consultancy Vitrue, which put a price of $3.60 on each Facebook fan. AllFacebook and AllThingsD have parroted the number. Precision makes for great headlines... the only problem is, the figure is highly dubious.

First of all, Vitrue didn’t publish the study at all, and makes no mention of it on its website, which suggests these are back-of-the-napkin figures(**see update). Adweek’s Brian Morrissey didn’t respond immediately for comment on how he obtained the figures, but I’ll update the post if I hear back.

Second, Vitrue makes money by managing companies’ campaigns on Facebook. If it can make brands feel better about investing in its services, that’s money in the bank. This is not exactly an impartial source.

Third, it seems Vitrue could have easily produced more accurate estimates that would yield a lower value. Here’s how they got the figure (bold is mine):

The firm has determined that, on average, a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year.
The company's findings are based on impressions generated in the Facebook news feed, the stream of recent updates from users' networks. Vitrue analyzed Facebook data from its clients -- with a combined 41 million fans -- and found that most fans yielded an extra impression. That means a marketer posting twice a day can expect about 60 million impressions per month through the news feed.
Vitrue arrived at its $3.6 million figure by working off a $5 CPM.

Vitrue estimates the average annual impression per fan by taking the finding that "most fans yielded an extra impression," (over what time period?) and then multiplying that by 650, assuming two postings a day. Wouldn't it be more honest to take the average number of postings per day among Virtue’s client base? That would probably be relatively easy to determine. I'm sure most brands don't post twice a day and if they did, they would lose fans fast--at the very least, they'd lose impressions as users remove the brand's updates from their feeds.

Vitrue didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment (update: they declined to comment, and simply referred me to their blog post, twice). In the meantime, I’m assuming the average value of a Facebook Fan is a fraction of $3.60.


Update: Vitrue's post published later Wednesday morning indicates the company does intend this as a serious study, and not just a back-of-the-napkin response to Adweek... which means the flimsy math is even less excusable.

The post doesn't dispel any concerns over its methodology, though it does clarify what it means by "most fans yield an extra impression:

how many impressions can a single wall post receive? To our surprise we learned the average was approximately 1:1 (0.96:1 to be exact). This means our 1 million Fan Facebook Page can average 1 million impressions with a single post to the wall.
Taking that and multiplying by two posts a day is still unrealistic, for the reasons stated above. Vitrue could determine how much a fan worth is worth in reality. Instead, the company opts for an unrealistic theoretical extrapolation that yields a bigger number. That's a predictable maneuver from a marketing department, but it's surprising that Adweek and AllThingsD would give it so much play.


Another interesting data point - a Facebook fan is supposedly worth $3.60 - clearly you can't generalize this but there's some math behind it; Assuming an email address is worth between $0.50 and $5 depending on who/what/how, this appears to be in range.

Posted via web from digbits's posterous

tag: advertising Yahoo Scientist Questions ROI of Kardashian's Sponsored Tweets

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Yahoo Scientist Questions ROI of Kardashian's Sponsored Tweets

At Ad Age Digital Conference, Duncan Watts Explains His Model for Predicting Value of Influencers on Twitter

By Edmund Lee
Published: April 14, 2010

NEW YORK ( -- Stop paying Kim Kardashian $10,000 per tweet.

That's the recommendation based on the work of Yahoo's principal research scientist Duncan Watts, who presented his findings at Advertising Age's Digital Conference today.

Duncan Watts
Gary He
Duncan Watts
--> "If I had a fixed budget, I could get more value from a small amount of very influential [influencers], or a lot of smaller influencers, on Twitter," Mr. Watts said. "If you recruit enough people who, on average, influence just one other person, you could get a much better return on investment if you aggregated them and altogether paid them a tenth of what Kardashian gets."

It's timely research given Twitter's deployment of its business model yesterday, though Mr. Watts was clear his numbers were largely hypothetical. "I'm assuming a lot of things in this model," he explained, "but it's a good way of seeing what influencers on Twitter might be worth."

The insights grew out of Mr. Watts' larger work on social media, including an updated version of Stanley Milgram's famous test of the "Small World Problem." In the original test, Mr. Milgram concluded that, on average, two random individuals are separated by only six degrees of connections. Mr. Watts used e-mail instead of the postal service to test the theory, which led to a slightly higher number: eight.

But perhaps more enticingly, Mr. Watts also looked at a problem every marketer (and publisher) is currently trying to solve: How do you influence people online?

Testing rankings
To answer the question, Mr. Watts set up a web page of unknown music bands and purposefully reversed the popularity of songs as rated by the users to the site. He found that influence can indeed be engineered, as his experiment showed the more popular a song was ranked (however falsely) led to more downloads than it would otherwise have gotten.

"But the problem with doing that, we found, is the more you falsely rate, the less valuable the marketplace becomes," he said. "There were fewer overall downloads when you faked the popularity of songs."

Back to Twitter. "If you could imagine a platform that was ideally designed to identify influencers, it would be Twitter," Mr, Watts said. "This is not like Facebook. Twitter is a listening network, and it's also a talking network. Both sides are expressly interested in being influential."

But in looking at influencers, Mr. Watts found that it's incredibly hard to predict who will be a major factor on Twitter, a conclusion that runs counter to the prevailing wisdom of social epidemics popularized by the book "The Tipping Point." While he acknowledges there are certain personalities such as Kim Kardashian who can potentially trigger a larger cascade of re-tweets given her large amount of "followers" ("Tipping Point" enthusiasts call her a connector), close studies of social platforms reveal that influence is spread more efficiently and more reliably when done through many-to-many connections, rather than through a few highly connected individuals.

"Most of them will send tweets, and no one else re-tweets," Mr. Watts said. "A lot of times, not that many people are listening on Twitter."

Hear that Kim?

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Interesting article about the effectiveness of Tweets. There's no clear conclusion in this to me as the author doesn't have any of the actual data - but the topic is an interesting one.

Posted via web from digbits's posterous

tag:video My panel on Digital Video Advertising at Digiday New York 2010

Email me if you want the short summary, otherwise enjoy watching!

Posted via web from digbits's posterous

tag: advertising Facebook Stealing More Share Of Brand Advertising -- At Expense Of Yahoo, AOL, And Even Google

Facebook continues to grow their brand and brand performance advertising revenue -  not surprising given their traffic patterns. I'd love to know how the click and response rates are on those campaigns!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: TBI Research <>
Date: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 9:36 AM
Subject: Facebook Stealing More Share Of Brand Advertising -- At Expense Of Yahoo, AOL, And Even Google

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Facebook Stealing More Share Of Brand Advertising -- At Expense Of Yahoo, AOL, And Even Google

Rory Maher, CFA:

Facebook is gaining an increasing share of online ad spend by major brands--at the expense of large portals like Yahoo, AOL, and MSN, say advertisers we've recently spoken with.


  • 100% Reach Blocks on Facebook (homepage takeovers) now cost almost as much as a basic homepage takeover on Yahoo and MSN.   Facebook is having some success getting large advertisers to buy these.
  • Brand advertisers are also starting to move more of their search budgets to Facebook self-serve this year.

This is clearly a positive trend for Facebook.  It's also bad news for the portals--Yahoo, AOL, and MSN.  To the extent that search spending continues to move, it's even bad news for Google.


Facebook defines a 100% reach block as:

"Reach blocks allow advertisers to reach all of a specified demographic on a given day.  Once a user sees the Engagement ad 5 times (the frequency cap), they will not see that advertisement anymore, and your remaining impressions reach other users in the target."

With a "reach block," advertisers can buy all the banner and video inventory on the homepages of users that fall within the targeted demographic.  Big reach blocks cost north of $300,000 per day.  Facebook would only say these campaigns are "not uncommon," which we interpret as meaning they are fairly common. 

However, more telling is the fact that the Facebook's reach pricing is now approaching basic homepage takeover rates for the big portals.  (To be fair, if special inventory is included, the portals can receive significantly more.)

Advertisers that have recently bought Facebook reach blocks include:

  • Starbucks
  • Cadburys
  • Little Debbie's


We noticed a small number of search advertisers starting to move budgets to Facebook's hyper-targeted self-serve about six months ago.  We have seen this trend accelerate in 2010.

Of particular importance is the fact that large brands are now slowly coming on board (initially, self-serve was mostly used by small local businesses). 

Ikea, Dennys, and World Wrestling Entertainment are large brands that have used the self-serve product recently.


Facebook is able to sell ad packages that rival those of the portals because it receives premium rates in return for the targeting it provides (double-digit CPMs in many cases).  In addition, the social network site is rapidly approaching the portals in terms of audience size. 

The site generates tons of page views per visitor, which enabled Facebook to surpass Yahoo in terms of total page views in late 2009.  However, it is also rapidly approaching the portals in terms of unique visitors.  If the trend in the chart below continues, it won't be long before Facebook commands an audience the same size as companies like Yahoo, MSN, and AOL in the US.

Portal Unique Visitors


Not everyone we speak with is throwing dollars at Facebook (though we suspect it won't be long before most online budgets incorporate the platform in one way or another). 

For example, one major agency that handles large consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) spending is not currently steering much of its online budget to Facebook, citing a lack of quality inventory.

In addition, GEs recent Healthymagination campaign put about 15% of its $80 million budget toward online spending, but none of it went to Facebook.  However, none of it went to the portals either.  Niche sites like Politico got the bulk of these dollars (which is more bad news for big portals).

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tag: marketing Free lunch on tax today

I love it how creative restaurant/ QSRs use their email lists to drive foot traffic. Energy Kitchen has done a nice job at this over the past year - including today's Tax Day Free lunch. Just don't try and order from their website, that experience is not the best...

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Month at BLT: 50% off drinks - Name our new restaurant - GO Burger

BLT does really engaging email campaigns - great example for a restaurant brand that is really leveraging social media and entertaining readers of the newsletter. See you there on Tax day!

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Why Google Sucks at Marketing | BNET Technology Blog | BNET

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    03/23/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Yet, the company has revenues of 24 billion dollars a year, and
    it's brand is the 7th ranked brand in the entire world with an
    estimated value of 32 billion (Interbrand 2009 rankings). I think
    it's rather absurd to suggest Google doesn't understand
    marketing - 24 billion dollars a year from ad revenue suggests
    they have a pretty good understanding.

    There is a lot of talk about the "failure" of the Nexus One, and
    yet, these freelance journalists fail to mention that the Android
    Platform growth is outperforming almost every platform
    (including the IPhone), and will next year capture around 19%
    market share.

    Google is not in the business of consumer electronics, and the
    Nexus One was simply a platform for the company to showcase
    the Android Platform, and do so in a non threatening manner to
    its hardware partners like Motorola, HTC, Samsung, etc. The
    fact that you can only buy it via their website suggests to me
    they are passively marketing the device, focusing more on the
    features and functions of Android, rather than the superiority of
    the device.

    People had criticized Android, because unlike the IPhone, it was
    a disjointed experience. The Nexus One is an Android Phone as
    Google envisioned, and it sets the bar at the same heights of
    the IPhone, where all Android partners are encouraged to follow.
    With HTC coming up with it's "sense UI", Motorola with "Blur",
    other partners with similar customizations, it was important for
    Google to showcase the platform as is, and what it's capable of

    The rest of the criticisms seem to be more directed at their
    business model of releasing beta products, apart from polished
    products, and then criticizing their lack of adoption. It seems
    like only yesterday when I was hearing about what a failure
    Gmail was, Google Chrome was, Google Apps were, etc.

    Chrome continues to erode IE's market share. Android continues
    to erode the IPhone's market share. Google Apps continues to
    erode MS's enterprise stranglehold.

    All this, from a company that doesn't understand Marketing.



    03/23/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    The ad business is mostly passively driven. Google has yet to break $1 billion in all of its other businesses combined. To put that in perspective, even an IBM or Microsoft -- hardly bastions of marketing excellence -- try to avoid businesses if they're not pretty quickly going to be a billion in revenue.

    Chrome has 5 percent share, the paid apps users are still probably under a million, its PR is poor, its marketing communications are poor, and it has bungled more product launches in more ways than pretty much any other company I can think of. You point to the Nexus One - they tried hyping that and the announcement clearly said what they were trying to achieve. They didn't achieve it.

    Financially successful? Yup - in exactly one thing. Out of that field, Google constantly trips and stumbles. If it wasn't for the cash flow that comes without them having to sell people, Google would be a small company.



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Another article I agree with.

    I put it down to the company not being hungry enough as all
    these initiatives are so small compared to their ad business. You
    can just see the board meeting, with the new product squeezed
    into 10 minutes at the end and given to the junior manager.

    When Apple launches something you can just feel that they've
    bet the farm on it. When Google does so it seems to be just
    another thing they've decided to get into.

    I'm not sure, however, whether to put it down to incompetence
    or a longer game. When others fail, Google has a lot of bases
    covered in picking up the pieces.



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Two agreements in one day - I may have to rest and contemplate this.

    I agree that Google does well strategically in looking ahead and in patience and knowing that you can't always force results. But in terms of the communications part of marketing, they've done such a bad job at times that the problems are more than a long game, I think. Also, after a decade, you'd think that some of the other areas would have picked up more than they have.

    I also think you have a strong point in their not being hungry enough. There's so much money coming in that they can have engineers spend 20 percent of their time working on projects that interest them. That's a lot of throwing things at the wall and seeing if they stick, and not the sort of fundamental research that IBM or the old Bell Labs did, where you can get some remarkable and powerful breakthroughs. It seems more a cross between the two, like uncontrolled product development.



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Who's google?



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Google relies on user evangelism to spread the word, not
    marketing. They'll get better at traditional marcom when and if
    they ever have to.



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    robert.r.cathey, user evangelism *is* part of marketing, but I'm not sure that they're even good at that. Ad use has skyrocketed, but advertisers working in direct marketing are a pretty analytic and driven bunch. I think that other than search, it's been a miss, given that all the non-advertising business put together still doesn't hit a combined billion in business.



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    I find it amusing that Google Chrome is referred to as a failure,
    and yet it recently passed Apple Safari in market share and
    continues to gain while both Internet Explorer and Firefox
    decline. If Google Chrome is a failure after a year and a half on
    the marketplace, then what does that say about the marketing
    prowess of Apple and Safari?

    Google Apps is making slow but steady progress for a product
    that's only been around for a few years. Business are like
    herds, and they follow suit only when others have first blazed a
    successful (profitable) path. Such will be the case with cloud
    computing and Google Apps - adoption will be slow, but once
    critical mass is achieved at some point in the future, suddenly
    every company will switch over.

    As a company that has 24 billion in revenue, Google's goal in
    product launches are often to protect their business rather than
    "make a quick billion". That's why I believe analysts and
    journalists are often guilty of jumping the gun in prematurely
    declaring them a failure.

    By your same measuring stick, the Microsoft's Xbox and Bing are
    complete and utter failures, as they have cost the company
    billions of dollars and barely account for any revenue. Over half
    of Microsoft's revenue is made up of two products - Windows
    and Office. Microsoft, like Google, understand the importance of
    diversifying, as they are under assault from companies like
    Google and Apple. Their investments in the living room and
    search cannot be judged by your formula of quick revenues, but
    rather are strategic long term investments.

    The same holds true for Google. They are not launching
    products with the goal to turn a quick profit. I don't understand
    why this is so lost on analysts and journalists who don't
    understand that Google is not interested in the handset
    business, but rather in ensuring their mobile platform is adopted.
    They don't care if people are accessing Google services from a
    Motorola or a Nexus One, so long as they're not being redirected
    to Microsoft or Apple's services.

    A full on marketing assault could have increased sales of Nexus
    One, but at what cost? I don't think Motorola or Samsung or
    the dozens of other partners would have taken too fondly to
    that kind of approach. Instead, it's a showcase for the
    platform, to prove to people that Google Android can compete
    with the IPhone on features and doesn't require the window
    dressing that every Android partner seems intent on including.
    Additionally, those partners often sign exclusive agreements
    with carriers, further limiting the penetration of Android,
    whereas the Nexus One makes the platform available to anyone.

    Google's success or failure in this market should be judged not
    on the sales and/or success of the Nexus One, but rather the
    adoption of their platform. In that sense, you'd be hard pressed
    to convince me that Android is a failure without a future. Most
    analysts predict Android will surpass IPhone market share in a
    few years time, and RIM's sometime after that.



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    mooks78, had Chrome been done by a small company, it would have been a success. Given the resources that Google has at its disposal, it's not. Google Apps still has a tiny number of paid users, though certainly more than in the past. Unpaid users - tens of millions. However, unpaid doesn't pay the rent.

    As for "quick" revenue, Google's been around for ten years. Plenty of time for some serious non-quick revenue.

    Xbox and Bing each does far more revenue per year (well over a billion) than all of Google's non-ad ventures taken together.

    I'm quite aware why Google wants Android spread about. I'm also aware that the Nexus One might have been the telecom equivalent of a concept car. But in that case, treat it as such and don't go to customers with all the problems that crept up. If a showcase, then do that and don't compete at all with vendors. If competing, then really do it. Don't sit in the middle.

    Also, I haven't said that Android is a failure. I said that Google sucks at marketing. The same used to be true of IBM, and it was worth far more at the time than Google is now. IBM overcame its poor marketing with a highly experienced enterprise sales force. However, Google is structured to wait for people to come to it. That seems a little odd given the speed of Internet-based business.



    03/24/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Ten years, and they've gone from a nobody to the seventh
    most recognized brand in the world with 23 billion in revenue and
    a stranglehold in online advertising. Microsoft and Apple, by
    contrast, have had a nearly 25 year head start. They're
    starting to diversify, but it's ridiculous how quickly products and
    services are deemed failures, considering they are early in their
    product cycles.

    In regards to Chrome, once again, it is the only browser gaining
    market share, while every other browser is losing market share.
    If you think that's a failure, then what does that say about
    Microsoft and Apple, considering the resources they have at
    their disposal? Comparatively, it is outperforming its rivals and
    continues on an upward trend.

    Microsoft's Xbox and Bing may be generating billions in revenue,
    but for every dollar in revenue they've made, they've cost
    billions more in expenses. Thus far, neither has proven to be a
    positive contribution to Microsoft's bottom line. It remains to be
    seen if Bing will ever make meaningful gains in market share at
    the expense of Google, whereas to date, it's been mostly at the
    expense of Yahoo. They've spent billions on marketing and
    branding, and yet the "decision engine" has failed to even take a
    percent of market share at Google's expense. I believe they
    lost almost half a billion dollars in the last quarter of '09 alone.
    Do you categorize that as saavy marketing?

    Google is taking the same long term strategic view with its
    investments in products like Google Apps, Google Chrome, and
    Google Android. The former is specifically a direct attack on
    Microsoft. You can complain about the lack of revenues, but
    what's more important to Google is how they believe this
    product is positioned to really screw over Microsoft in the not so
    distant future.

    Yes, you can cite all the users who generate little or no income
    for Google, but you fail to mention the fact that many of those
    customers used to pay tens of thousands of dollars to
    Microsoft. By ditching MS Exchange, MS Office, and in time
    Windows, you're striking Microsoft where they are most
    vulnerable, as those products account for over 80% of their
    revenue. We're talking about 33 billion in revenue - and even if
    Google doesn't make a penny, it's a disruptive service that can
    really stick it to their chief rival. It's the Art of War Sun Tsu
    style, not a service they're counting on to generate significant
    revenue in the near term. I don't really get why people can't
    see that.

    Back to the Nexus One, I don't understand why you say if you're
    going to compete, go all out. In this case, they don't want to
    because of the sensitivity of their partnerships. The Motorola
    Droid most recently outsold the IPhone, and Android doubled its
    market share in the last quarter while the IPhone saw a decline.
    Considering that Apple completely dominated the music player
    marketplace with the IPod, I'd say that Google has done a good
    job ensuring the growth of Android while stifling a strong rival in
    the process.



    03/25/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing


    Thanks for the article. I'm a big fan of Google's (despite the fact
    that they're everywhere) and I think that maybe one key point
    of differentiation in Google's marketing efforts would be the
    methods used to promote their free applications, and those same
    efforts (or lack thereof) behind the products they sell.

    Google's track record for selling isn't great; Nexus is a great
    example. It seems to me that Google excels at creating buzz (or
    Buzz) around their "next big platform" or the "newest thing" but
    when it comes to selling, it doesn't seem like they can turn the
    switch to the "feature - benefit" sales model in a way that
    resonates with people who aren't familiar with Google.

    There's a difference between the way people in the technology,
    online, and advertising industries see Google vs. the way my Dad
    does. He doesn't understand Adwords, iGoogle, or comprehend
    the environment in which Google excels.

    He was buying a new phone and looked at the Nexus, Palm,
    iPhone, Android and others, read consumer insights, and
    watched the ads for 6 months before purchase. He bought an

    Why? Because they were able to "show" him how the iPhone
    would "uncomplicate," his understanding of technology,
    email on his mobile, etc., not make it more difficult.

    He was the CEO of a growing insurance company. He didn't need
    a Blackberry. He didn't need to be "up-to-date" on all the newest
    offerings, or tech-savvy. He simply needed to be given a
    "feature-benefit" analysis. He would then determine which
    product would work the best, provide a good ROI, and keep
    things as simple as possible for his employees.

    I think that Google often thinks that their omnipresence means
    that everyone understands, which is far from the truth. With an
    aging population, it's a lesson that they need to learn.



    03/25/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    jlo0312, your point is excellent and is part of what I meant by arrogance. There's the built-in assumption that everyone should come to Google and approach the world its way. However, the first rule of marketing is that you focus on what customers want and tailor your communication to their language. Ad sales have worked for them because it's a simple concept and people could take care of themselves through automated systems. But once Google has to explain the benefits, it falls ito a ditch. Also, notice that even as Google creates buzz, all that tends to be pre-release. Once the product comes out and details are there, things flop, like with Wave. Having tried Wave, I think it's innovative. But you have to wrestle to grasp the implications, and marketing should make that easier.



    03/31/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Google should contact Charles Atlas, Ltd. and do something with them. Maybe it would help their marketing! If you are reading this then the way to contact Charles Atlas is to go to their website at
    Enough said!



    03/31/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    Google seems to be fearful that any product marketing may
    take away from the Mother Brand (aka Google). Instead of
    fearful they should be obsessed with making sure that new
    products and extensions help build that brand. Here's a tip for
    starters: Stop inventing unrelated product names and start
    coming up with names that related back to Google for your
    phones, browsers, mains apps, etc... How about GooglePhone.
    Google Earth and Google Maps are good examples. Some
    skeptics may say this is not creative enough. I disagree. It is
    about building a brand strong so that the mktg dollars can
    work harder. For those of you still laughing about he name
    IPad, give it time. The name builds a franchise. Says what the
    product is to the consumer. If after all the product turns out to
    be good, the name will stick and no one will laugh. Well Apple
    will but for other reasons.



    04/01/10 | Report as spam

    RE: Why Google Sucks at Marketing

    garybrands, a good point for the physical phone itself. But I wonder whether Google wanted to draw less attention to itself every time a phone ran Android, so it could eventually slip in all the mobile advertising stuff. Not saying that it's right or wrong - just wondering. Also, even if they made it GoogePhoneOS, or something like that, they're still bad at getting messages across, so they'd have more fundamental work to do.

An interesting article that I agree with for the most part. Google as an excellent product innovator usually succeeds where the product is so unique that it will gain adoption (e.g. Adwords, Adsense, Gmail, Google Maps). In other cases, where the uniqueness is less defined, they often don't show the Marketing skills to get to higher levels of adoption (e.g. Sidewiki, Dodgeball, Buzz, Wave, DMarc).

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

AOL still generates half of their revenue from dial-up

How to make $1MM with your Ipad app in the first 6 months

Very interesting piece of research about the Ipad and early sponsors.

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Chase Paid About $1 Million For Sponsoring The New York Times iPad App

Rory Maher, CFA:

Until iPad applications reach large audiences, initial sponsorships will remain fairly immaterial.  As a result, traditional media companies will need to rely on subscriptions to drive material revenue in the near-term (we don't see them making much money from subscriptions either).  Specifically, we made calls to various advertisers and found that:

  • The charter sponsorships much-discussed in the press are reasonably-sized buys, but still very incremental.
  • Agencies are taking a "wait-and-see" approach so if audience doesn't grow quickly the dollars will not continue to flow.
  • Consumer-Packaged-Goods advertisers are sitting on the sidelines and won't have much interest advertising on iPad apps until they reach sizable audiences.

All of this means traditional media companies will need to grow large audiences for their iPad apps quickly if the new device is going to drive enough incremental revenue to boost profitability.  Since we're likely years away from the iPad reaching a mass audience (if that ever happens), these charter deals alone will not be enough to revive most struggling media companies.


Here are the details of the Chase Sapphire charter sponsorship of the New York Times iPad app:

  • About $1 million.
  • Exclusive 3-6 month deal.
  • Part of a larger media commitment.

The sponsorship incorporates a number of different inventory, 100% share-of-voice, and some interactive features.

While this number is respectable ($1 million to sponsor an app noone has seen yet isn't bad), it certainly won't be enough to sustain any softness in print advertising during that 3-6 month period.  As a point of emphasis, the $1 million in sponsorship is equal to about 0.04% of the New York Times Company's overall annual revenue.


Agencies we spoke with said there is a lot of hype around the iPad and many of these initial sponsorships are meant to demonstrate their commitment to the iPad initiatives and the overall mobile space, not necessarily to drive strong ROI.  In addition, interest from clients has been very strong, with one agency remarking how it reminded them of the interest to get placed on AOL back in 1999 (of course, we all know how that ended).

However, agencies have indicated they understand these deals are not viable currently since the audience is very small.  Media buyers will be looking for significant audience growth the next year when considering further buys.


Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) advertisers need to reach massive audiences in single buys.  Agencies have indicated to us that until they can achieve this scale on the iPad, CPG advertisers will remain on the sidelines.  Some have indicated mobile ad networks are trying to incorporate iPad inventory into larger iPhone network buys, but this is in the early stages.

As a result, it will be a while before these large advertisers start to spend meaningfully on iPad applications.

To be sure, CPG is only 6% of total online advertising.  However, the largest categories - Retail and Finance (about 40% of total online) - typically buy direct-response inventory, and branding inventory to a lesser extent.  This would make CPG advertisers more meaningful to a branding buy (like those sold on iPad apps) than originally indicated in the overall IAB #s.

ad mix chart

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Facebook vs. United States - great info graphic by Mashable

Great to see that Facebook is much more diverse than the US population - and a lot more female too (not surprising considering that women tend to be more communicative than men.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Rewarding consumption at your competitors

Let me start by saying that this has to be one of the best ideas I’ve seen in ages.  I’m very pleased and very excited by this.

Gwilym Davies – you know, the current World Barista Champion – has come up with a rather splendid card: the disloyalty card.

The idea is simple:  If you go and drink coffee at 8 interesting, quality focused cafes around (mostly) East London then he will say thank you by making you a coffee for free.

(click to embiggen)

I just think this is brilliant.  There is no catch, it isn’t some cunning ruse to sell more coffee.  It might work if one roaster supplied all the places on the card – but there is a complete mix from Burgil to Union, from Square Mile to Nude’s in house espresso.  Gwilym just wants people to go and try coffee in different places.

This man is a great ambassador for coffee.

So swing by Prufrock Coffee in Present at 140 Shoreditch High Street, grab a card and then have a little tour of some great cafes around Central and East London.  There is one of the best baristas in the world at the end of it, waiting to give you a delicious drink to say thank you.  Superb.

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Sounds like a silly idea to me - unless you've partnered with them before. But it's an original idea for sure.

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