Rich Search Ads Hold Promise, But...

[Posted by Neil Strother]

A quick note to say a new report is up regarding marketers experimenting with rich ads (images and video) in search: "Rich Search Ads: Too Early For Most Advertisers" (available in full to Forrester clients).

The promise of these newer search ads is greater user engagement while on a search results page. The user can view product photos, watch a short video clip, or get to detailed information quicker, such as an insurance rate quote. We like the idea. These richer formats can help facilitate transactions, as well as put brand elements at key decision points.

But the major search engines (Google and Yahoo!) have so far restricted access to these rich formats to a select few advertisers, and the formats themselves are still under development. Some early results have been favorable, but how these rich formats do over time is still unclear. For now, most search marketers can delay significant spending until more results are available and the buying process becomes more automated.

What do you think? Do rich search ads make sense for your brand? Will rich search ads become part of your future plans? Post a comment below.

Using Social Media To Create And Amplify Offline Influence

Marketers' Interest in Mobile Coupons Unabated

[Posted by Neil Strother]

Mobile coupons continue to spark interest among marketers and vendors alike. The notion of marrying digital coupons with cell phones is just too powerful, especially in a sluggish economy. The latest moves:

  • JC Penney is testing a new 2D barcode scanning system at its stores in the Houston area
  • HipCricket is introducing a new point-of-sale (POS) system to help simplify the redemption process for retailers and quick-serve restaurants
  •  M-Dot Network is promoting a new POS platform for retailers

These are all positive signs pointing to a healthy future for mobile coupons - which, as I said in an earlier report (available in full to Forrester clients), should be part of a retailer's strategy. But, admittedly, these are interim steps leading to a time when mobile coupons become much more common.

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Has Technology "Stacked" the Decks Against Marketers?

Riley, Emily I read the recent press release from Havas that they selected RFP and campaign management tool Traffiq to be implemented across their major US media buying offices. The timing for this news is pretty cool. I'm planning some major research around these kinds of technologies next month.

Many of you have read from my and Nate Elliott's reports and blog posts that the interactive marketers we recently surveyed don't rate their measurement capabilities very well. In many cases, we recommend some combination of human and technological expertise in order to get better at things like measurement. So often though, marketers are totally overwhelmed by the "stack" of different technologies they need to master in order to be fully functional. I'm planning to survey interactive marketers about the trouble with the stack, and plan to ask about the following:

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Disney Digital Books: Direct-To-Consumer Subscriptions, A Publisher's Wish Come True

Today Disney Publishing is announcing the launch of Disney Digital Books (, an online subscription service that will offer parents and kids Web access to Disney's library of children's books. A subscription costs $8.95/month or $79.95/year; subscriptions can be bought online or via gift cards that will be sold in retail locations. Initially, the site will launch with 500 books, and more content will be added on a weekly basis. (I asked whether Marvel Comics content, which will be available on the Sony PSP, would be available through the site and Disney said not at first, and it was too early to comment further.)

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Phonevalley and Microsoft Turn Up Mobile Marketing Heat

[Posted by Neil Strother]

Microsoft and Phonevalley - a Publicis Groupe agency - have announced a deal to push mobile marketing to new heights.

The deal calls for creating customized mobile ads, technology and metrics that will run across Microsoft's mobile Web properties (Bing, Microsoft Media Network and MSN). The packaged offerings will concentrate on six verticals: luxury, retail, entertainment, automotive, financial services and travel. The products will be offered in 14 global markets, including the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

This deal further binds a relationship between the software giant and Publicis. Just last month, Paris-based Publicis agreed to acquire digital agency Razorfish from Microsoft.

So, what does this mean? It is the type of focus the mobile market needs to attract more advertising dollars. Can this partnership truly move the needle? I think so. These two have the market heft to make a significant difference. Remember, Microsoft has a mobile search and ad deal with Verizon Wireless. The opportunity is there. Now they (Phonevalley-MS) need to execute and not screw it up. Google is ever lurking.

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The Video Contests Keep Coming

Lead Management Market Overview Published!

Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

Lead management automation requires a degree of process maturity
many B2B firms don't possess.  The result? In the market overview
report about this market, published today,
I found underachievement by vendors and users alike. While the benefits
of adopting lead management automation are clear -- successful
implementations enjoy more predictable deal conversions, faster sales
cycles, and real alignment between marketing activity and sales results
-- market penetration is low. We estimate that only 2% to 5% of B2B
firms have invested in full LMA functionality to date. 

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iRex + Barnes & Noble: New eReader Device Is Evolution, Not Revolution

Today iRex announced the launch of its first consumer eReader, which will be available for sale for $399 at Best Buy, Costco, and other US retailers this holiday season, with distribution in Europe coming in Q2 2010. The skinny:

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Mobile augmented reality

The pace of innovation is accelerating in the mobile space like never before and opening up new opportunities. Mobile has the potentiel to bridge the digital and the real worlds. Not a day without a new mobile augmented reality service or application out on the market. Of course, that's still niche but it clearly demonstrates the potential of the mobile platform.

If you disagree or if you don't get my point, just watch the video below

This video is not brand new and has already been seen close to 500,000 times. The service is provided by an innovative start-up that offers a reality browser available for Android. However, these types of applications are flourishing. See for example the Métro Paris application here or more recently the app here.


I bet the best mobile service at the next MWC conference in Barcelona will be a mobile augmented reality app or service. If you haven't submitted your service, the contest is now open at

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