You are currently browsing the archives for November, 2005.

On-Demand Commercial Watching

Now, this is cool — but will it work? Tivo is working on models for on-demand commercial

watching. Here’s the story at AdAge. The unanswered questions:

“But just what product or service categories will cause consumers to seek out information in a TV format? That’s one of the key questions the group is trying to answer. Also to be determined is the design and function of TiVo’s user interface; the service’s pricing; and what sort of data viewers are willing to divulge to marketers from whom they’ve received content.”

Math Behind Eye-Catching Ads

Two USC engineers have developed a scientific model that does the math on visual-communications elements that rise above the noise & catch viewers’ attention. See David Pescovitz’s Boing Boing post, “Mathematics of Surprise”.

From the USC press release:

Analyzing such a stream, researchers can isolate stimuli with visual attributes that are unique in the mix by breaking down the signal into “feature channels,” each describing a particular attribute (i.e., color) in the mix. Such features are called “salient.” Itti himself previously developed a measure of saliency.

A parallel analysis performs similar operations, but does so over time, not space, looking for new elements suddenly appearing. This approach is said to model “novelty.”

My highly unscientific interpretation: Refresh your creative often!

Battelle in NYT: Building a Better Bubble

Check out John’s op-ed in the NY Times. I sure hope he’s right! To this line, however, I want to add some thoughts:

“Recall that the demise of Web 1.0 was predicated in large part on the collapse of the Internet advertising business — people were spending millions buying billboard-like ads that, it turns out, nobody was paying attention to.”

The enormous flood of venture capital into early-stage start-ups certainly led to some stupid ad spending. Oh my, was there stupid ad spending! In 1999 I was at mySimon, a shopping search engine site. We sought to raise $13 million to invest in our technology and to expand our product and sales teams. I kid you not: the VCs wouldn’t give us $13 million — we had to take $25 million, because, they told us, we needed marketing dollars to launch ourselves as a consumer brand. (I would argue that in mySimon’s case, our investors were right. But that’s a longer discussion.)

The point is, there was too much money being spent too fast, and it led to tremenous waste. Some of those investment dollars and ad budgets enabled the launch of indisputably hare-brained business ideas. Others, some with good business plans, spent money unwisely because they felt the urgency of the mythic “first mover advantage.” Others got suckered into round-trip AOL “investment” deals, which pumped the ad marketplace with dollars Eliot Spitzer might call, um, illegal.

When the wasteful spending didn’t return revenues or profits quickly enough, investors stopped funding the ad-spending circus. I’d argue that the collapse of internet advertising in 2000-2002 had more to do with investors sobering up, and less to do with whether or not website visitors were paying attention.

Finally: TV Spots Catered to Our Short Attention Spans

From today’s Ad Age: Belgium’s OneSecond promotes their “one second” breath mints with one-second TV spots.

NPR's “Changing Face of TV” Panel

Today on NPR the “Talk of the Nation” gang discussed The Changing Face of Television. Panelists included: David Kiley, marketing editor for Business Week; David Zaslav, president of NBC Universal Cable; and Anthony Zuiker, creator of the CSI programs. One exchange in particular suggested that denial is alive & well in TV land. (I don’t have a transcript, so I’m paraphrasing.)

TOTN: “If you’re going to launch an entertainment franchise like CSI, don’t you need a scheduled, promoted, prime-time TV launch to create audience momentum?”

AZ: “Well, yes. Big entertainment programs will always start with broadcast TV.”

Hmm. That seems like a silly thing to say, here in late 2005.

43Folders: Blog-Loyalty Trend Continues

Survey results from Merlin Mann’s 43Folders readers are in, and we have another example of off-the-charts audience affinity. Sixty-eight percent (68%) read the site daily or more than once a day

. When I combine these loyal reading habits (content “consumption”) with their content “contribution” habits — 60% or Merlin’s readers publish their own blogs and 63% post comments on other blogs — I’m convinced the two are connected.

(Thanks, Seth, for helping me make the connection! See ChasNote 10/26/05.)

Other noteworthy 43Folders reader-stats for tech marketers: 42% are computer professionals or engineers and 93% are asked by friends & colleagues for tech advice.

Mossberg's Favorite Blogs

WSJ tech columnist Walt Mossberg lists his favorite blogs, WSJ. Engadget, Slashdot and FM’s own Searchblog made the cut. Congrats, John!

Big-Butt Advertisers Spent $94BB in 2004

According to Ad Age’s Global Marketing Report 2004, the top 100 advertisers spent nearly $100 billion in 2004. “That tally represented growth of 12.1% and the highest vista for the top marketers since their 2.6% decline through year 2001.” P&G, GM and Unilever lead the list.

Yup, let’s expand the media business down the long tail, but let’s not ignore the biggies in the process.

Blog Loyalty: Another Data Point

Last week Gadgetopia (a site associated with Federated Media) polled its 100,000 readers. The skew toward tech professionals (53% IT pros or engineers) and tech influencers (91% are asked by friends & colleagues for advice about technology) isn’t surprising, though it is a bit more pronounced than I guessed going into the study. More impressive to me, though, is the loyalty among these readers: 77% read the site at least once a day, 77% have the site bookmarked, and 70% subscribe to the site’s RSS feed.

This blog-affinity business (see ChasNote 10/26/05) is starting to look like a trend!

Blogs Waste 551,000 Worker-Years; AdAge, Much Less

AdAge has uncovered the secret explanation to stagnating US productivity: We’re all reading blogs instead of working.

If you REALLY want to waste some time, though, try accessing the article on the AdAge site. First I had to register, and then the site asked me to purchase “pay points” to buy access to articles. Pressed for time — what with all the blogs I have to waste time reading — I skipped the points-buying process…. Yet I somehow gained free access to the article.

Key findings:

U.S. workers in 2005 will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs….About 35 million workers — one in four people in the labor force — visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age’s analysis. Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks — blog readers essentially take a daily 40-minute blog break.

Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, blogs have become the favored diversion for “office goof-off time,” though he notes it’s hard to segregate blog time since blogs often bounce readers to professional media sites.

I’m imagining myself sitting around with the boys, just laughing our heads off at all the silliness we find in the blogosphere. Sites like Dane Carlson’s Business Opportunties Weblog, Steve Hall’s AdRants, Glenn Fleishman’s Wi-Fi Net News or Jeff Jarvis’s BuzzMachine. If the boss comes — Quick! — click on a link to a site published by a big media company!