Thursday, November 30, 2006

Comatose Keyword Management Strategies

I'm over in London today meeting with our UK team as well as some clients that we've recently signed and who were previously using an SEM firm who in turn used idBay uddyBay (and you thought I only spoke two languages). For all the bravado and swagger with which said SEM firm/bid tool carries themselves across the UK and European search market, what I learned was shocking if not for the fact that I've seen it a hundred times.

So we went into the client's AdWords campaign and look at what reports had been run in the past, and it quickly became clear that the advertiser's "buddy" had never actually run either an impression or average position report.

This, folks, is proof positive that said SEM was neither looking at or making use of the data needed to model cost, revenue and volume trade offs for the advertiser's search campaign.

This *should* be shocking, but the reality is it's what we see 50-75% of the time in the States and 90%+ in Europe. SEM's here have had such an easy living the last few years that they've never actually had to build or do anything of value. Agency rebates from the SE's have, in and of themselves, made agencies look good.

As I told an unfortunately sparse crowd at SES Paris yesterday, European advertisers' revenue growth and margins from search *will* start to plateau in the coming months and quarters, and that will force advertisers to cast a more critical eye on their SEM providers and keyword management technologies.

Put another way, if your investment manager didn't look at the trading volume, 50/200-day moving averages or historical earnings reports of the stocks he bought for you, you'd either fire him or go broke.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Qui va au CNIT pour SES Paris?

De 1995 a 1996 j'ai travaille pour Netscape a Paris; j'etais charge construire une equipe de televente, former les commerciaux dans de differentes pays europeens, remplir le fax avec du papier, tous ce qu'il fallait pour aider a l'effort commerciale.

Maintenant 10 ans plus tard, j'irai encore au CNIT, mais cette fois-la pour SES Paris. Est-ce qu'il y parmi vous qui iront aussi? Si oui faites-moi contacte pour qu'on puisse se voir la-bas!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Measuring Radio - What Google Needs

There's much speculation going on right now that Google will buy a sizable amount of radio inventory (perhaps from Clear Channel) that they will then offer to advertisers via AdWords. Clearly, Google is trying to take the great radio ad deployment system they acquired in DMarc and encourage advertisers to start using AdWords/DMarc as their web-based online & radio deployment system.

The first problem with DMarc (and SpotRunner for that matter) is that today the only thing an advertiser can easily measure is radio/TV impressions. Whereas AdWords measures billions of search & content impressions to within +/- 0.01% accuracy, radio measurement is currently more like +/- 5% accuracy. To those in the high-end ppc management space, you'll recognize that +/-5% is not nearly good enough to optimize against. To be clear, the impression measurement problem is an industry problem, not just Google/DMarc's. While it may be easy with DMarc to measure both the number of times a radio ad aired and the markets it aired in, measuring the number of people who actually heard the ad is currently impossible.

[For those interested in the topic of accurate radio impression measurement, I wrote about Project Apollo and the Arbitron Portable People Meter back in March. Likewise, I wrote last month about the growth of Quick Response codes in Japan; to quote the article I read on the topic, QR codes "codes are a similar to bar codes except they are square, look a bit like an ink blot and contain much more information."]

More problematic still is the fact that there's no reliable, accurate way to measure radio ROI. Sure you can use a distinct 800 number, but that doesn't give you the equivalent of keyword-level ROI data ("speaker-level data" anyone?) that advertisers need in order to actively participate in the radio ad auction that Google would love to power.

No speaker-level data = no granular ROI measurement
No granular ROI measurement = no active auction participation
No active auction participation = no radio advertising efficiency
No radio advertising efficiency = no benefits for radio stations

While Google's involvement in radio will bring new, more analytical advertisers to the medium, the ROI feedback loop that has powered the growth of search advertising will continue to be noticeably absent until someone gets ubiquitous distribution and consumer use of a free PPM-like device out there.

For those of you in the VC/startup community, that, my friends, is huge market opportunity begging for a creative solution.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Searching for Votes

No, I'm not asking for you to vote for EF for any industry award. Rather, I'm letting you know how I'll be voting in next week's California elections:

1A -
1E - NO. Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention are the responsibility of local and federal gov'ts, not the state.
83 - NO. California already has some of the most aggressive laws in place to deal with sex offenders, and this one is too expensive. Keeping track of sex offenders FOREVER will cost way too much money.
84 - NO. Again, Flood Prevention should be paid for by local and federal gov'ts, not state, and this one would cost taxpayers $10B = way too much.
85 - YES. While liberal pediatricians want you to believe that pregnant minors risk bodily harm from their families when coming forward with pregnancy news, I firmly believe 99% of parents will do the right thing if confronted with such news. In any event, the government is the last entity I want getting overly involved in teen pregnancy. Parents are parents, and this proposition takes away parents' ability to fulfill their obligations to... parent.
86 - NO. Studies have shown overly taxing cigarettes leads to lower overall tax receipts. Let's focus on lowering govt spending, not increasing taxes.
87 - NO, NO, NO, NO.
88 - NO. I'd prefer to put my own money to work in education locally where I can have more of an impact where I feel it needs to be felt.
89 - NO. Given that the media is already in the clutches of the Democrats, I don't want that unlevel playing field used to Democrats' further advantage.
90 - NO. The cost exposure of this proposition is open-ended, something we should always avoid.

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