Henry Blodget and Silicon Alley insider have good commentary on how Google / Yahoo / AOL and Microsoft are grabbing ad spend away from the likes of Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, NYT and other TV, Cable, Print and Radio outlets.
The online companies, in other words, picked up 7 percentage points of market share in a single year.
Traditional media executives--especially in the newspaper business--often blame their current woes on "the real estate market" or "cyclical weakness." Economic weakness may be exaggerating the downturn, but it's not the real problem. Whatever weakness is hitting the newspapers is also hitting Google.
These trends are secular, not cyclical: TV networks, radio networks, and newspaper companies won't suddenly wake up one morning and find themselves back in charge. Individual Internet companies may screw up (see Yahoo/AOL), but if they do, others will rise to take their place (Google).
They have a spreadsheet that spells it out in stark numerical detail.
Microsoft AdCenter is launching ContentAds (a contextual / AdSense competitor ) later this month.
As I warned a while back, AdCenter's default is to automatically add content ads distribution to your AdCenter campaigns.
You can avoid this potentially costly situation by opting out.
We're excited to announce the release of the Microsoft Content Ads Beta to all U.S. adCenter advertisers on August 29! With this release, you can extend your advertising reach beyond search, and choose how your accounts are upgraded.
Choose how you want to upgrade
On August 29, you don't have to make any changes and your ad groups will automatically expand to hybrid distribution, meaning they will distribute to search and content pages.
You have to fill out a form so that your account can be "upgraded" without content ads enabled by default. Here's the message you get:
Thank you for completing the Content Ads: Upgrade to Content with only Search Distribution Active form.
Your adCenter ad groups will be upgraded to Content Ads, but Content distribution will be turned off at the time of the upgrade. If you wish to turn on Content Ads at a later time, you are welcome to do so. Remember that all new ad groups created after the upgrade will be set to hybrid (expanded to both our search and content network).
They certainly are going out of their way to make it hard to not be automatically in ContentAds...
Inside Facebook has a good live blog transcription of AppDevCon (a Facebook developer conference hosted by social media) in San Francisco today. There's a lot of meat on how advertisers / publishers will move into the Facebook system.
Random factoid: James Hong of HotOrNot says one of his team's Facebook apps (Pets,Moods,HotOrNot) is doing $1,000 / day with AdSense. He wasn't sure which one it was.
Marketing Sherpa has a great article on the top 10 reasons why Zappos online shoes is one of the biggest success stories in online marketing.
If you boil the 10 reasons down, it's basically: relentless focus on customers.
I'm going to excerpt a bunch:
Rather than putting the lion’s share of their marketing budget into advertising, Hsieh and his team have allocated an increasing amount of dollars into customer retention, including three key tactics:
When they first started to create brand awareness, they bought mass ads, including expensive sports stadium signage. But the tactic didn’t create enough conversions to justify either the often inaccurate response forecast or the unspecific ROI analysis once the campaign ended.
Until four years ago, they used drop-shipping quite a bit and suffered from the fact that 80%-90% of the product being displayed on the Web site was currently in stock. The data feeds going from retailer-to-manufacturer-to-fulfillment produced regular glitches in the pipeline.
“That means 10%-20% of our customers were finding out a couple days later that their item was out of stock, and they’d be extremely upset, creating a lot of negative word of mouth,” Hsieh says. “Drop-shipped orders were producing 25% of our revenue, and we walked away from it because we knew it was important to be true to our brand.”
Shortly after joining the company in 2000, Hsieh had his marketing team test discounts and ecoupons for six months. What they discovered was that these tactics attracted too many price-minded, one-time customers rather than brand loyalists.
“In terms of the three major areas -- service, selection and price -- you can really only offer two of them at the same time,” he says. “Our brand [niche] was in service and selection.”
“You have to avoid falling into the trap of a consultant telling you that, ‘If you spend a large amount of money with us, all of your problems will be solved, and you’ll never have to worry about this again.’ In the end, they are outsiders and do not understand your business as well as you do.”
Here’s the list they’ve followed:
Zappos has a unified vision - and it permeates their success (they will likely sell $1B worth of shoes in 2008). For example, you can see why they can have a large affiliate program - they pay a lot for that first sale, but the affiliates are doing the hard work of acquiring new customers. Zappos doesn't pay the affiliates much for the return business, because the customers remember the brand and go back directly.
There's more in the full article at Marketing Sherpa.
There are a lot of Star Wars geeks on the internet. There are a lot of Lego geeks. And of course, there is the overlap: Star Wars Lego geeks. It's as if the two largest rivers in the world (the Amazon & the Nile) met in the same estuary.
So me and my son are watching Revenge of the Sith on DVD. The opening has some very cool star ships with a big red stripe down the middle. When I'm putting him to bed, he's dreaming of ripping his Imperial Star Destroyer lego model apart and building a new model like the ships in the movie.
But I think I'll let my son work on his model without showing him the pix of these expertly built Lego Venator-class Star Destroyers. If I did, he'd probably lose motivation. Reminds me of a great Simpsons quote:
Bart: You make me sick, Homer. You're the one who told me I could do anything if I just put my mind to it! Homer: Well, now that you're a little bit older, I can tell you that's a crock! No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you. Bart: Gotcha. Can't win, don't try.
We wouldn't want that...