‘New Media’ Presentation for ECMTA Spring Summit

April 24, 2008

I’m speaking in a bit. I don’t read off my powerpoints when giving a presentation, so you’re probably missing 50% of my presentation by reading the below doc., but maybe you’ll still find it useful.

Scripps Reports Q1 2008 Financial Results – Growth at Shopzilla

April 24, 2008

As I’m at the ECMTA conference in New Orleans and SingleFeed is in the midst of an awesome release, I don’t have time to dig into the numbers, and I won’t be able to listen to the conference call live.

Here’s the press release.

As for Scripps Interactive:

At the company’s Interactive Media division, which includes online comparison shopping services Shopzilla and uSwitch, first-quarter revenue grew 23 percent to $77.5 million. Segment profit for the Interactive Media division was $21.0 million compared with a slight loss during the same period a year earlier.

The Interactive Media division’s first-quarter growth is attributable to improvements at Shopzilla that have resulted in the business being able to cost effectively increase and monetize user traffic and increasing energy switching activity and significantly lower expenses at uSwitch in the United Kingdom.

During the prior-year period, Interactive Media segment profit was reduced by about $15 million due to a combination of factors including leadership transition costs at Shopzilla and increased marketing expenses at uSwitch.

It’s nice to see Shopzilla in a positive light again:

“We also saw strong growth at our Interactive Media segment, thanks primarily to Shopzilla’s improving ability to efficiently monetize its growing levels of user traffic.”

Segment Summary:

Interactive Media revenue was $77.5 million for the first quarter compared with $62.9 million in the first quarter 2007.

Segment profit was $21.0 million compared with a segment loss of $381,000 in the first quarter of 2007. During the prior-year period Interactive Media segment profit was reduced by about $15 million due to a combination of factors including leadership transition costs at Shopzilla and increased marketing expenses at uSwitch.

Comparison Shopping Engine Presentation for ECMTA Spring Summit

April 23, 2008

I’m speaking in a couple hours. I don’t read off my powerpoints when giving a presentation, so you’re probably missing 50% of my presentation by reading the below doc., but maybe you’ll still find it useful.

Negative Notes on Ecommerce – Piper Jaffray’s Comments on Google’s Earnings Call

April 22, 2008

In Piper Jaffray’s April 18th 2008 Industry Note on Google’s Conference Call, Aaron Kessler and crew point to the following negative remarks from Google:

On its conference call, Google indicated that it is seeing signs of slowing in U.S. eCommerce. “I think in general we saw in Q1 a bit of slowdown in retail, some postponement of budgets.” Google’s comments confirm our recent eCommerce survey, ComScore spending data, as well as SEM data which suggests slowing eCommerce growth in the U.S.

The note also mentioned a recent SearchIgnite study, but I’m waiting to review the whitepaper myself before adding fuel to the fire.

ad:tech: New Laws of Ecommerce Marketing are the Old Laws

April 22, 2008

This was a solid panel and deserved more than my feeble attempts at live blogging.

Moderator: Bill Tancer (Hitwise)
Panelists: Natalie Long (REI), Peter Brumme (Intuit), Monty Hudson (Revenue Science), Joey Wilson (Sapient).

Here were the big bullet points from the panelists:
-Don’t confuse the new tools (social networking, for example) with new laws. [Monty]
-Don’t assume what worked yesterday will work tomorrow. Continue to test what you already know. [Peter]
-Allocate appropriate resources to maximize current relationships before trying to pursuade someone new. [Peter]
-The conversation with the customer doesn’t end when they click submit. [Joey]
-It’s almost universal that there’s more to be done. [Companies] are leaving things out there when the relationship has already been made. [Joey]
-Each step of the conversation can be optimized. [Joey]
-Give your customers the tools they need to connect with each other. [Natalie]
-Customers want more out of their brands. [Natalie]

I love hearing marketers talk like this. While I see the potential in companies twittering and setting up Facebook profiles, these new activities shouldn’t replace continued testing and optimization of high ROI marketing campaigns. If we’re still saying that 1-3% conversion rates are good, then there’s a lot more to be done to optimize the checkout process. If merchants are still not effectively building a relationship with their current customers, they shouldn’t be aggressively courting new customers through an exciting new blogging strategy…although it might make sense to have an exciting new blogging strategy or social networking strategy to strengthen current relationships.

Urban Wallpaper: Digital Signage and the Rise of the Fourth Screen @ ad:tech

April 17, 2008

@ Ad:tech. Will be taking notes from various sessions. These are just ‘live blogging’ notes, not direct quotes…

PM – RFID will be important – mini-cooper/crispin campaign.
J – I belive people with affinity cards – they are talking about putting rfid chips in there.
PJ – a little scary for some people. you know where i am and i drove 80mph to get to the next toll

question: cost model with selling adverting. by cpm? different pricepoints for elevator vs. taxi
PJ – we do get sold by CPM. often times we get compared to traditional out of home. i could pay $2 for traditional vs. i’m giving you targeted. it becomes more valuable. we don’t have problems getting the cpms. we’ve seen that the cpm model is generally acceptable.
PM – Avenue A razorfish will buy CPM all day long
-PJ – out of home video advertising bureau has good metrics. OVAB.org – good studies.

question: you say you know your audience. are you finding that the guys who want to advertise are local businesses? who is advertisng in those elevators?
-PJ – 90-95% of our ads are from national advertisiers. they see our audience of being very valuable. the economics of local doesn’t work right now.

question: what value numerically can you place on ‘captivity’
M – each digital playspace network carries a different value. in the back of a taxi cab, you’re wathcing tv. it’s as captive as u can get. some of the other networks – take arenas (screens adjacent to concession stands) – not as captive, but you have 50 people deep. 2 feet away in elevator.
PJ – 6 inches away. more captive helps you improve the perceived value.

question: does nike have a roi model?
PH – just looking if we are doing the right thing. asking peeps as they come out of the store, did you notice the network. well, duh, of course nike is going to do this is the reaction. we’re not selling ads, so roi isn’t as important. we take content that already exists and repurpose it. it’s about gut. we will promote some products, but we don’t measure lift. we try to do what we think is right.

question: one of the big headlines that’s brought attention is nbc/abc with outernet. does nbc have intent to get more skin in the game from acquisition or from the financial risk pov?
M – we do own a lot of digital out of home assets. the newborn channel. we’re building screens for new trains that will be installed in ny. strategically evaluate the right places to invest. constantly evaluating new acquisition channels. when appropriate we’d take ownership in these platforms. to date there are a handful that are doing well in digital out of home and there are plenty who don’t. i work closely with the peakock equity fund.

question: have any of you seen minority report type of stuff?
PM – gesture to power interface. a company called ‘i gotcha’. microsoft surface – most sophisticated multi touch screen. we’ve announced in the last couple weeks to deploy surface touch screens in att stores to do comparison shopping. we’ll be able to play with this in 3 mnths.

PM – true media (eye tracking)/video mining – gender, height, weight, et.c do we run into a privacy issue?
-J – no.
-M – military was looking at eye gazing technology to detect suicide bombers. then retailers started to use it to figure out what shelf people were looking at.
-J – we’re going after suicide shoppers now vs. suicide bombers (lol). there are so many diff data points emerging here. the reality is that no one thing is going to work here. it’ll be modeled out. data repository – get lots of stuff in different ways and something will come out. and it will get better and better. it’ll put a lot of pressure back on tv. if we start elevate the standard, what happens. we’re taking clicks, pageviews to another level
-PM – digital at home is opt in, but if i have to ride the elevator, so it’s not really opt in. and if you are applying thought reading technology (ha ha), isn’t that invasive?
-PJ – elevator dynamics is a little awkward. how people engage in an elevator. people appreciate having something to do.

-PM – how do you measure?
-PJ – ROI is key. if you’re going to put dell.com/elevator, it’s not going to work. i have some lcients that have complex models. they know where thyey are running and where the lift is. they have a stringet process they are putting us through.
-PM – what was their process to develop/come to these insights (time of day, lift, etc.)
-PJ – they are taking more of a global view, we ran these spots in chicago with some type of promo – they will run us in markets with nothing but captivate. we do recall studies extensively. miller brown. it’s amazing the results you can get vs. other media/tv. 50% of the time, peeps are on the way to their offices. we kknow peeps use internet at their offices.
PM – how are you structuring your investment in this that it will pay off one day
-M – one of the first stops of a digital singage network is funding. and they need contnet. our contnet has to bring value to the user. that we’re not the annoying news. do advertisers see value. can we measure it?
-PM – my advertiser is the cleint. i need to understand the value to the audience for my brand and i want to measure it. they are connected, right?
-M – ad recall studies are really the holy grail today. if you can show brand lift, that’s great. also tech enhancements. at gas pump, we know how many peeps pick up the handle to pump gas and how long they pump for. correlate the length of the visit to the income

PM – we have a digital signage campaign in play right now for hotels.com in cleveland. it’s a game. if you can figure out the word scramble, you can text the message and see the result up there. if it’s idle, it’ll run static hotels.com ads. our htoughts at avenue a, this was the coolest thing we had ever seen. we couldn’t believe it when we put it out there and only saw 2 interactions per day with 2 interactions per user. are we making assumptions about users?
PJ – the things that rate highest are word of the day and trivia. they want to be entertained with something a little different. as opposed to just giving them the stuff that they had heard in their commute or read in the wsj. 62% of the people who ride the elevators look to captivate as their news of the day.
-J – I think it’s generational. It’s by age bracket. we found that the older you were, the less likely you’d be to do anything. 4,5, or 6 to one. in retial outfits for teen girls, they interact well. we’re trainign a group of younger peopple to do this, but we’re not going to see the shifts for a while.
-M – the value prop is always important
-PH – 6yrs ago 14 peeps in the audience. now we’re here at ad:tech. none of us have the magic formula. w’ere learning everyday. this medium has to be a focus if you wnat to do it well. it can’t be an afterthought. it is a specific delivery mechanism.

PM – so many discrete venues have so many discrete audiences. how do you do it?
M – take lessons from the internet. in the early days we started doubleclick and tested. we’d change background color of a banner and get 337% more clicks. it’s a relatively cluttered environment, it’s not very static.
PM – but it doesn’t sound like a shout loudest environment
M – but there’s a process. how to get someone engaged to beging with? it can be something catchy. the color. then the contnet. then make it catchy. how do you attract, keep and engage the audience. nobody up here will claim to have the answer right now.
PH – we haven’t done much surveys or studies. our gut tells us it’s enhancing the in-store experiences. very much design/merchandising. we don’t do ads.
PJ – but you know your audience really well.
M – where nbc & captivate – to build the credibility – to get someone to look at it for the first time, you need someone credible up there. ocntent plays a critical role. the lieklyhood of ad recall will be high.

PM – nbc is building a network of out of home screens. what do they want?
M – let the audience dictate it. it depends where you are. in a cab, you want to see cnbc. if you’re in a maternity ward, it’s parenting info. consistent theme is customized content. we’ve been launcing lots of campaigns iwth sms engagement. we’re changing our programming to meet the needs.
PH – speaking as a retailer. in the retialer space. you’ve got the consumer in your house…you have an opportunity to talk more about your brand messaging. to help them find their ways around their stores. hd and lowes are considering adding digital signage. you can help your shoppers beocme more efficent, build your brand, cut preceived wait times. terrific opportunity to promote marketing campaings.
PJ – if i choose to engage with it, i expect it to entertian me. P&G: make your life a little easier. what we try to do is make the 2-3mins we have with you in an elevetor a little more informative.
-M – we have 5000 taxis in nyc with nbc content. the fact that there’s an off button – 93% of consumers that did shut it off (and only 10% did shut it off) turned it back on after 30 seconds.

-J – this is place based media and the character of every place is diff. in the dr. room, i have peeps who come in and wait for 30mins 1-2x per yr. vs. someone who is in transit who does it 300 days a yr and had 30 secs.
-PM – how do you get consistency across the network?
-J – the question is what works in all areas? video doesn’t work everywhere. the most common denomitor – text, no sound. that’s the type of creative that works across everywhere. that’s where you start and then you add diff things along the way.
-PJ – we used to get pushback – we want sound. we want 30 secs, not 15. now the advertisers have adapted. SeeSaw has done a great job of standardizing. advertisers are getting better at creating their contet in different forms.

-what does the best type of content for the fourth screen look like?
-PH – we’re now in 300 locations. didn’t know what we were doing when we started. we promote the brand at the point of purchase and we enhance the brand. there is no advertising.
-M – i couldn’t agree more. it’s tough to determine the right content. easy to understand what’s wrong. if it’s not customized, it’s not going to be the best fit. if we just took leno and put it ad gas pumps, it’s not going to work for the user or the advertiser. must know the audience at each of these locations. what is it that will bring a smile to someone’s face and get them to recall.
-PJ – from the content perspective how to you balance info vs. advertising vs. content? the audience drives the content. we feel we build a relationship over time with the peeps who ride the elevator. the audience exists for people who view the 4th screen. we know where they are. unless you’re going to take the steps up 15 flights, you’re going to see us. not just demo, but psychographics. at captivate we have over 50 diff contnet proviers. team of editors who cull through the contnet. we balance ads w/ contnet in that they share the screen at the same time. example: orbits – ties into travel related conent.

PM -as late as last yr, the majority of conversation resolved aroudn the 3 screen environment – pc, tv, mobile. summer of 07 attended conference – digital signage, digital out of home, so new we’re all struggling to define it. gas pump screens, taxi cab tops, screens in conventions, fast food. these all qualify. the screens can now behave interactively thought phone & touch. from an advertising perspective, it allows us to do new interesting things. these are now becoming real world banner ads. they can change by dayparting. really on the cutting edge.

(PM) Patrick Moorhead – National Manager, R&D Advanced Marketing Solutions, Director of Emerging Media Avenue A Razorfish ($750m in annual billing)

(M) Mark French – General Manager, Senior VP, NBC Everywhere, NBC Universal
(J) Jeff Dickey – Founder, Business Development, SeeSaw Networks (called himsleft doubleclick for digital signage – exchange type model for people to buy and sell)
(PH) Pat Hellberg – Director, Nike Brand Content Studio, Nike, Inc.
(PJ) Paul Jankauskas – Senior VP, Advertising Sales, Captive Network (screens in high rise office towers. owned by gannet)

Ad:tech Mood

April 16, 2008

Quick note to say that the mood here is exceptionally upbeat.

As most of you know, I’m part cynic, so I’ll say upfront that I think part of the upbeat nature comes from the fact that the people in the booths are sales people and need to sell sell sell, so things will look artificially rosy.

However, there’s just a good vibe – not just in the over-sized exhibit hall, but throughout the Moscone Center.


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