Since Google's AdSense program (which places advertisers' search ads into content pages) was first launched almost five years ago, many search marketers have questioned its effectiveness. I remember seeing a room full of angry advertisers rip into Google at a Search Engine Strategies panel back in 2003 for the low quality and high prices of the clicks the program generated, and for Google's then-refusal to let advertisers separate their bids on AdSense clicks from their bids on search clicks. When we surveyed European search marketers in 2006, only 6 percent said that contextual ads had a positive impact on their search marketing efforts. We heard so many advertisers complain about the performance of Google contextual ads that I even once called AdSense a 'house of cards.'
Despite various efforts, in many domains and particularly amongst the emerging media, unified measurement standards are not yet in place that would allow media owners to present themselves to advertisers in a directly comparable, solidly measurable fashion across all of these disparate platforms, technologies and systems.
Everyone needs to understand what is currently being measured and examine how we tackle online measurement in the future. How should we measure online activity in this era of widgets, feeds, ajax and mobile interactions? How can we know what users' intentions and engagement are? What are the right measurements to evaluate this? Users, time spent, interactions, clicks, retention, market share, activity reports, brand perceptions, brand recall?
It looks like quite a few of our clients and colleagues will be there -- but if you're not yet registered, I know there's still time to get involved.
It's that time of year -- more research on measuring engagement is in order.
I've enlisted Suresh to help me work on the next report on engagement, tentatively titled, Measuring Engagement. I'll be posting more details here, and on my personal blog, in the coming months. But to begin, we need some help from you.
I recently reconnected with Corey Kronengold, who I've known for years, since he was at Eyeblaster. Corey now handles marketing for video ad network Tremor Media, and blogs at Online Video Watch. It's an entertaining and useful blog -- if you're interested in the online video space, you should go check it out.
I was just talking with Suresh Vittal on my team about how to project interactive marketer investments in technology. In some cases in the US Interactive Marketing Forecast, we include technology investments in our projections of marketer spend on a given channel (for example, email marketing spend includes investment in email message delivery). But for the most part, the IM forecast is based on current and projected media spend.
So the conversation Suresh and I had was to think through enough assumptions, to estimate how much marketers invest in technology.
Video-focused blog NewTeeVee offers its "Five Ways to Save Joost." The first idea (integrate Hulu) involves getting more content onto the platform; but all the rest are about making the platform available to more users (through podcasting, with a web-based client, with a Firefox plug-in, and by putting it on the Wii). Lack of broad accessibility is a fair criticism. After all, the biggest driver of online video consumption hasn't been broadband access, but rather the increasing availability of high-quality content. In Joost's case, they have some pretty good content, but it's not readily available as content from other online video providers; you have to download a client in order to watch. And with so much good content available elsewhere online without that hassle, I agree that they either need to find some seriously premium content, or make the content they have more readily accessible. (Or both.)
According to Nielsen, people use Facebook more at work than at home: Facebook was the 10th most-visited site in the UK in December 2007 based on Nielsen's Home & Work panel, but it's not in the top 10 if you look at just their Home panel. News Corp (including MySpace) ranks #9 in both panels.
We've just released a new report that forecasts the European mobile advertising market (which includes mobile display advertising and mobile search marketing, but NOT mobile messaging ads like SMS and MMS ads) will reach €1.3 billion in 2012. The biggest driver for the growth of the market will be consumers' increasing use of mobile browsing: we're forecasting that by 2012, 40 percent of Europeans will browse the mobile Internet on a regular basis.
The good news is, as consumer use of mobile browsing grows, many marketers are ready to spend: finding enough mobile ad inventory is one of mobile marketers' biggest concerns. Of course, it's not merely an inventory problem right now -- there are plenty of other problems that need to be solved as well. The mobile marketers we surveyed told us that finding more money for mobile ads was their biggest problem, many said mobile advertising CPMs were too high, and a huge number complained about the lack of mobile ad measurement as well. But we believe the growth of mobile browsing will solve the problems around low inventory and high prices, and measurement should also improve significantly as online adserving and measurement vendors continue to push into the mobile space.
The bottom line is, there's huge potential in this market -- but the industry needs to overcome quite a few obstacles before that potential can be realized. We think most of those problems will get ironed out over the next five years, and that the market will really start to grow towards the end of that period.