Thursday, 18 June 2009

lies damned lies and online statistics

When i first started in digital media everybody talked in hits, this then moved to page impressions and then to unique visitors and there is has stayed for a number of years. The common theme to this is quoting the largest possible number to business owners or advertisers. However that number has never truly reflected the engagement with an online offering.

The problem with online traffic is that is is now vast, think of the page impressions Facebook alone generates. But what is the value of those impressions? This growth combined with the recssion has caused the decline in the channel sell of online inventory reducing ad rates significantly.

Simon Waldman from Guardian Media Group has recently openden the loyalty debate once again. In simple terms if you have 100 people visit your site every day and spend an hour on it you have 100 monthly unique visitors. If you have 100 people visiting your site for 2 mins every day for a month you have 3,000 monthly uniques. One is clearly a bigger number but which in effect is more valuable to the site owner and the advertiser?

Right now we are all still chasing U/V's but it was not long ago it was page views and i suspect we will see another change in the next couple of years.

Friday, 12 June 2009

explorer 8 versus chrome battle of the tv ads

Microsoft and Google are now using TV ads to push their respective new browsers Explorer 8 and Chrome. For those who have not seen these ads, and they are not on in the UK yet, these clearly show the releative positioing of the two options.

For my money Google just win it on creative merit. What do you think??



Iphone and the Tube Strike

As i have written on here before i am in the middle of a trial of an iphone and have become a complete convert. However despite my almost evangelical zeal for the phone i did manage to become every so slightly annoyed with it while in London on Wenesdays tube strike.

On the train on the way to London i knew that the strike was on and that the inevitable would happen and all the buses and cabs would be packed. So resigned to walking an hour from Liverpool Street to Covent Garden for a meeting i planned to route into my iphone. Having found the route functions on the phone it duly plotted a course which i could take by foot, car or public transport. I then thought that it would take me GPS style to my destination. Unfortunately it did not seem to do that

To be fair the GPS did always tell me where i was and the mapping was very good however there was one thing that beat it. When i got to the station i was handed a map, an old school printed map. It was the map that i used to get to covent garden not the iphone.

Despite this slight knockback in my affections it still remains an amazing bit of kit and the slight disappointment with the mapping was not so bad when i used Streetview on the way back. Certainly with the announcement of a compass in the new version the mapping and GPS will only get better and the rumoured tie up with Tom Tom will strengthen Apple's position in the smartphone marketplace.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Flogos of desire

Although the property market looks like it is starting to turn itself around in a similar style to the Exxon Valdiz, my marketing options for are limited due to budgets. This is a reality for most marketeers as we have to look to make more effective use of the budgets available to us whatever industry we work in.

I am long enough in the tooth to remember the last recession and having to work with tight budgets and i am a firm believer in how this can be a good thing. Since the last recession the media options for marketeers has increased exponentially giving more ways to spend your budget. Unfortunately this makes it harder both to get your message across to a confused and media swamped consumer base and also harder to justify which areas to spend on. This current recession has taught many marketeers the back to basic principles of spending on things that can deliver results and more importantly that can prove they are delivering. The whole PPC market and indeed online advertising world is based on this.

Despite this however i still occasionally see items of desire and Flogos are just that. Flogos are promotional logos made from a combination of soap and gas normally helium. When inflated they float up to heights of 5,000 feet and last for 30 to 40 minutes before dissolving into thin air. Mercedes, Disney and McDonald's have supposedly already used them send their names up in lights.

Yes its a fad and yes a little bit silly but sitting here in Norwich the thought of hundreds of branded flogos flying over the city does bring a smile to my face.

To see them in action go here:

Friday, 5 June 2009

Norwich Union to Aviva its all in a name

Norwich Union has now re-branded its UK sites to its new worldwide brand Aviva. This is another step on the journey as it re-brands all its various worldwide brands under the single Aviva moniker. As part of this it is attempting to manage a common approach to managing all its online assets worldwide. This encompasses 28 countries and more than 50 million customers. The online re-brand is probably one of the most important parts of this re-brand due to the high use of the internet for insurance purposes from research to purchase.

The big problem Aviva will have is the change of domains. No doubt behind the scenes there will have been lots of people with Gant charts, visio drawings and scraps of paper trying to make sure every page has been migrated, the right re-directs all all in place and fingers crossed. I also suspect that to counter act any negative effect of changing the main domain with natural search Aviva will have considerably upped its PPC activity against core terms to negate any potential traffic loss.

Changes pages within a website, if you use the correct re-directs normally has a minimal impact on your natural rankings. However changing your domain can have serious implications if not thought through. The best example i have ever read regarding this is when econsultancy, a site targeted at digital marketeers especially search engine specialists, moved from to as part of a major relaunch of its site. It took 10 weeks for all their positions to come back so i hope NU sorry Aviva do not suffer the same fate.

If you want to read about the econsulatcncy migration and SEO nightmare this is well worth a read:

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Hay Literary Festival and the Sony EReader

In the Welsh county of Powys there is a small town that has two claims to fame. Firstly it has over 30 bookshops and secondly, because of that, it is the home of the world famous Hay-on-Wye Literary festival. At the festival, which finished last Sunday, you can wander between tents listening to a range of speakers from Stephen Fry to Desmond Tutu, Jeremy Clarkson in one tent and Harry Hill next to Bill Clinton in another. The festival is such big news now that its main sponsor is the Guardian and it has daily coverage of the speakers, debates and events on Sky TV Arts Channel

Of course a festival that can attract this level of heavyweight speakers also attracts a fair amount of sponsorship and one of the main sponsors this year is Sony. Specifically it is promoting its ebook reader the Sony Reader. This little electronic device can store up to 160 ebooks and, with Amazons Kindle reader, among many digital book readers available now.

Publishing executives are watching with keen interest the growth of e-book readers as unlike the internet where most content is available for free, ebooks are charged for. Yes the readers tend to come with a range of out of copyright texts but new e-books cost as much as your average paperback and many in the publishing world are looking at this as a whole new growth channel for the publishing world.

Imagine not having to worry about the weight and size of books when you pack for your holidays. All you need to do is download 4 or 5 or even more books to your book reader that is less than an A4 pad in size and pack that in your hand luggage. You are happy as you have less to carry and the publishers are happy as you have bought each one and they have not had to print them or distribute them so they make more profit. Now you can see the appeal for the publishers.

Its not only the book world that is getting excited. Rupert Murdoch recently announced that News International is going to spend time, effort and money to try and make people pay for newspaper content online. This will not be easy, but in America people seem to be happy to pay for newspaper subscriptions to read their paper of choice on the Kindle device. This has been so successful that Amazon has now launched a larger tablet version of the Kindle to make it easier to read larger formats such as newspapers. Whether this will take off in the UK remains to be seen but many in the UK are hoping it does.

Amazon’s Kindle is only currently available in the US which is why Sony are moving fast with its reader as unlike the Kindle it is not wireless and does not offer newspaper and magazines. The Kindle scores highly there, wirelessly updating itself while you are on the move. The latest rumour is that Apple is looking at a tablet rival which could become the publishing equivalent of the ipod.

Technology aside, whether people will convert and actually use them will be the main driving force for growth in this new market. As part of the sponsorship for Hay festival Sony is running workshops and panel discussions as well as a trial area for anyone interested in seeing them work. At the moment with the Sony device at £219 and the Kindle in the US at £310 price will also be an issue. However as more devices are launched and prices come down publishers of both newspapers and books are hoping this could create a whole new literary world and a nice revenue stream in the process.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Virgin media and the pg tips monkey

Sometimes if you cannot come up with a good idea of your own in marketing what you can do is steal a really good one and make it different enough so people think its your own. Unfortunately for Virgin TV Media it looks like they have tried this with something a little bit too iconic.

The two characters i most identify with on television at the moment are Stewie from Family Guy and the monkey from the PG Tips ads. Monkey is now in its second incarnation having been created to promote the now defunct ITV digital. At the time it was the best thing about the failed digital offering as anyone who purchased the service got a free monkey. When they went bust there was a brisk market for Monkey's on ebay. In 2007 Monkey was re-born, along with Johnny Vegas, after PG Tips paid the agency Mother who created the character for the rights to use him. Once again Monkey has become famous and i even have one hanging from my fridge.

Virgin Television is just about to go through a marketing re-vamp including a new logo and as part of this they have got the creator of Monkey to create a new character called Red. The new character is red, funnily enough, and imp like and surprise surprise made of the same knitted material as Monkey. Virgin will be using red in a range of idents and adverts to promote this re-launch and they have already announced it will be on Facebook, Twitter and have its own podcasts. So tick for covering all the expected social media marketing boxes but not for originality.

I may be hopelessly wrong on this but i was always taught that there is nothing wrong with stealing great ideas, just be careful about which one you copy.