You are currently browsing the archives for June, 2009.

Harvard Business Blog on How Michael Jackson Became a Brand Icon

Michael Jackson

Start early, die young and a few other things in between. So says John Quelch at the Harvard Business blog. Huh.

Nielsen Says Teens Spend Less Time Online Than Grown Ups

Teens Not Online?

This is certainly surprising (from ):

“Nielsen says its latest study debunks the idea that teens spend huge chunks of time glued to the web. According to the report, , young people are watching more TV than ever and spend less than half as much time online as the average internet user.”


2009 Ad Spending Expected To Be Down 5.1%

Yikes, that’s an ugly trough representing 2009 US ad spending by the top 100 spenders.

2008 v 2008 US ad spending

Two-thousand eight was no walk in the park — down 2.7% for the year, and down 3.8% if you just count measured media like TV and print advertising — but even in last year’s tough climate 50 of the top 100 brands increased their media spends. Some of the strongest brands, in fact, increased investment to gain share against competitors seeking to conserve cash. As every business person knows (but few have the stomach to actually do it), aggressive market leaders tend to become during bleak economic times.

“Among the big gainers was Walmart Stores, which boosted estimated total U.S. ad spending 15.9% to $1.66 billion. The giant discount retailer turned recession into opportunity; measured media spending on its flagship Walmart chain soared 66.4%, making Walmart the nation’s fifth-most-advertised brand.”

ZenithOptimedia forecasts an 8.7% decline in overall US media spending in 2009. Wow. Count on a banner year for dominant players beating up on the industry wimps!

Times are less bad for digital. Back in April eMarketer lowered its estimate for , to $24.5 billion, which would still be 4.5% better than 2008.

More at .

Facebook Emerging As Search Challenger to Google?

Ok, the 184 million searches on Facebook are still less than 1% of Google’s 13 billion. But shows a 5% jump for Facebook over its April numbers while Google remained flat.

Comscore search queries Apr and Jun 2009

As more internet users anchor their web sessions with Facebook, and as those users and their friends use status updates to share news and other content, Facebook search might ultimately be a better mousetrap since it filters search results by content your friends have already vetted. When it comes to all the world’s information, less can often be more.

From :

“Today, the Google-Facebook rivalry isn’t just going strong, it has evolved into a full-blown battle over the future of the Internet — its structure, design, and utility. For the last decade or so, the Web has been defined by Google’s algorithms — rigorous and efficient equations that parse practically every byte of online activity to build a dispassionate atlas of the online world. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions a more personalized, humanized Web, where our network of friends, colleagues, peers, and family is our primary source of information, just as it is offline. In Zuckerberg’s vision, users will query this ‘social graph’ to find a doctor, the best camera, or someone to hire — rather than tapping the cold mathematics of a Google search. It is a complete rethinking of how we navigate the online world, one that places Facebook right at the center. In other words, right where Google is now.”

The humans versus the bots.

Media's Always Been Social, Now It's Just Social At Scale

“Media hasn’t become social. It always was. I talked about the latest Dukes of Hazzard episode with anyone who would listen in 1980…. The difference now is that media is social with SCALE.”

Right on. That’s from Pete Spande at Continuous Beta .

The Economist Bucks Trend: Print Revenues Up

Overall revenues for Q1 are up 17% and operating profits up 26% over Q1 2008. Online helped, with pageviews up 53% and online ad revenues up 29% — meaning either CPMs or sell-through rates (or both) are down. The bigger driver, though, was increased readership of the print magazine (and some layoffs).

“The company’s release says those increases are the result of print-circulation growth. The mag sold an average of 1.39 million copies in the second half of 2008, a 6.4 percent rise over the previous period — but the truth is that profit increases wouldn’t have been possible without having cut some 130 people.”

Full story at .

Readers Spending Less Time at Top Newspaper Websites

From PaidContent :

“Time spent on 17 of the 30 most-trafficked newspaper websites fell last month, while the rest of the sites had minimal, if any, gains, according to Nielsen Online data cited by E&P. On average, papers keep their readers for roughly seven minutes. Among the biggest news organizations, the, the number-one website by monthly traffic, is still the leader: It kept readers for an average of 28 minutes per visit last month — but that’s a full minute less than the same month in ’08.”

John Dvorak's Take on Twitter as Journalism

“Undecipherable noise in the crowded darkness. Twitter.”

Here’s his full post at Marketwatch.

We're Such Irrational Creatures; or, The Reason to Invest in Brands

In David Pogue’s glowing review of the iPhone 3G S, he reminds us why creating a passionate — and irrational — love affair between our brands and our customers is more important than selling them on the rational merits of our product and its price, why direct-response advertising alone can’t succeed without brand marketing. Here’s how he describes the pre-3G S models of iPhone:

“Your emotions were swept away by everything Apple does so well: beauty, polish, elegance, simplicity and the thrill of interaction. (Those were not, ahem, phrases typically used to describe existing cellphones.)

“Meanwhile, your brain kept waving its little hand in the back of the classroom. ‘But the camera’s terrible!’ it would say. ‘It can’t record video! There’s no voice dialing! No copy and paste! The iPhone can’t even send picture messages — even $20 starter phones can do that!’

“But 21 million iPhone sales later, it’s become clear that the heart usually manages to shut the head up.”

The heart doesn’t operate in a vacuum, though; it’s only a handful of inches away from its more rational sister organ. I mean, the original iPhone had to work through some very left-brain pricing snafus. The right answer for marketers, especially as they shift more dollars to online, will require a balance between sparking an emotional fire with customers (the specialty of brand advertising) and delivering the goods at the right time and right price (the realm of direct-response marketing).

What’s equidistant from Madison Avenue and Mountain View — Topeka, Kansas?

Most iPhone App Developers Don't Make Money

Tech Startups 3.0 from a small survey by UK-based game consultant Adam Martin that suggests most iPhone app developers don’t make much money.

Pull My Finger iPhone App

“Martin surveyed 100 development teams, received 85 usable responses, and found that 52% of the developers had earned less than $15,000 for their efforts and 33% earned less than $250.”

While his data set is small, I support his sound advice to aspiring app makers — given the poor odds of making a lucrative living as an independent iPhone app developer, “don’t quit your day jobs.” It’s much better advice than the NY Times a few months ago in its article “The iPhone Gold Ruch.”