Who Should Buy AOL?

Shar VanBoskirk

Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

Word is that TimeWarner is in talks with both Yahoo! and Microsoft about potentially selling AOL to one of the two. To be honest, I don’t think an acquisition of AOL gives either MS or Yahoo! the presence that a MS/Yahoo! marriage would build against Google. 

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"Digital" does not equal "interactive" marketing

Shar VanBoskirk

Sharvanboskirk
[Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

On a recent trip to Shanghai I attended a huge party for Adidas.  I was there with a friend of a friend who works for Ticketmaster and specialize in creating exclusive events and PR for brands, bands and celebrities.  Now this party was thumpin.'  On the top floor of a trendy Shanghai "loft" with a glass floor to see all the way down to the ground 20 odd floors below.  The room was chock full of people, and also huge digital billboards broadcasting Adidas commercials and branding messages.

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Forrester's B2B Survey: Web 2.0 and Customer Marketing

Laura Ramos

Lauraramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

For the past 3 weeks, Forrester has sponsored a B2B marketing survey on Web 2.0 and Customer Marketing Program Trends. So far, we have received 185 responses from marketers like you. I thought you might like to see a preview of one of the more interesting findings.

When it comes to Social Media use and Web 2.0, B2B marketers I talk with usually raise the topic of blogging. They want to know "who is doing it well?" and "what benefits have they achieved?" In the survey, when we asked "Which statement BEST describes your corporate experience with blogging so far? (Please select one response)," B2B marketers told us:

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Microsoft to Buy Yahoo!...Take Two

Do Interactive Marketers Actually Buy Technology?

Shar VanBoskirk

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. 

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How big a deal is affiliate marketing?

Shar VanBoskirk

When I kicked off the research for Forrester's 5 -year Interactive Marketing Forecast this past August, I had originally intended to also include affiliate marketing in the projections.  I got a great run down on current trends in the space from Steve Denton at Linkshare and John Ardis and Dave Osmon from Commission Junction.  However, in the end I ended up cutting affiliate out of the overall sizing for two reasons:

1) It overlapped with channels I was already sizing.  For many marketers affiliate spending includes a portion of their search marketing budget.

2) It is often funded as a channel effort, rather than as a media buy.  I also learned that for many marketers, affiliate marketing is actually a sales or distribution channel, rather than a medium where they can place ads. This made it not an accurate piece for me to include in the report, which I intended to match as closely as possible to the interactive channels that actually make up firms' interactive marketing budgets.

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Platform A: Too little too late for AOL?

Shar VanBoskirk

The online advertising world is abuzz this Monday morning about the press release from AOL which just crossed the wire.  Specifically, AOL announced that it will:

  1. Create a new online advertising platform, called Platform A, which will integrate the media and technologies across all of AOL's current ad networks including Advertising.com, TACODA, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast, and ADTECH
  2. Relocate its corporate headquarters to New York City

I see this announcement as further fodder for my argument that online advertising is trenching for a comeback, and moving forward will be the backbone of every marketing campaign.  Particular to AOL, I think this is interesting timing for a very aggressive move.  Leadership in the online advertising space was AOL's to lose 5 years ago and that is exactly what they did.  The decision to create an integrated marketing platform and locate themselves where the advertisers are is a great move, but is it too little too late?  Why now for AOL?  Why didn't they make a decision of this scale years ago before they fell into fourth place in the race?

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Yahoo!/Blue Lithium Further Validates Online Display Ads

Shar VanBoskirk

The announcment that Yahoo is buying ad network Blue Lithium comes at a ponderous time for me since I'm just wrapping up the research for Forrester's forecast of Interactive Marketing Spending and (report is due Sept 28).  Per that research, I'm finding that indeed interactive budgets are on their way up with marketers (still) most interested in search and (newly interested in) online video. Display ads continue to be a part of almost all online campaigns and yet no marketer has much to say about them.  Marketers and vendors alike have commented that display ads as a medium have undersold themselves since the early 2000s.  Basically display ads have capabilities that no marketer knows/cares about.  Or that has not yet been fully exploited.

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The Future: Immersive Marketing?

Shar VanBoskirk

I'm right in the middle of researching Forrester's Interactive Marketing Forecast -- our big sizing report which forecasts spending in different interactive channels five years into the future.  In addition to leveraging a quantitative study of marketers (which some of you helped with -- thanks!), I'm also conducting a series of interviews with media providers, vendors, agencies and interactive marketing experts to help me prioritize trends and build out an accurate market sizing. 

Last week as part of my research I spoke to Jim Nail, ex-Forrester analyst and current CMO of TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony and Jeff Lanctot, VP of Media and Client Services for Avenue A/Razorfish.  Both independently mentioned a key theme defining the future of interactive marketing which I've been noodling on since my conversations with them.  I'm paraphrasing a bit, but the theme is that of immersive marketing -- that is the idea of creating marketing programs that:

Create a cohesive and all-encompassing experience across any channel where the customer is.

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Lotsa Talk About SEO Best Practices

Shar VanBoskirk

I've had a number of recent client inquiries about search engine optimization (SEO), so I thought it would be worth sharing some of the best practices I've assembled.

First off, just a little color on the role SEO is currently playing in the search marketing landscape.  I always recommend investing in SEO before paid search because it: 1) http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,39441,00.html one-time investment (although you'll have some cost for ongoing maintenance of your site once you get it optimized) that continues to pay off for years and 2) It takes a few months to get your site optimized and start seeing results.  So get your SEO started, buy some paid search ads to drive immediate traffic and test keywords, and in 6 months or so, you should have enough data and experience to have some pretty good integrated SEO/SEM programs running together.

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