Category Archives: advertising

DAA Chicago Symposium 2013

Connecting the Dots: Optimizing the Customer Experience in an Omnichannel World

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
10:30 – 12:00pm Student & Entry Level Primer
12:00 – 1:00pm Registration, Networking & Exhibit Browsing
1:00 – 5:30pm Symposium
5:30 – 7:00pm Cocktails & Reception

The Mid-America Club
200 E Randolph Drive, 80th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60601


Control Your Ad Preferences 2012!

Updated for 2012 and just in time for the Holidays, its Control Your Ad Preferences 2012!

Don’t be a cafone and block ads or delete your cookies…forget what the privacy fanatics and content freeloaders say. TOTSB’s handy reference of major ad control settings panels is here to help. In our continuing effort to ease the privacy data paranoia and highlight consumer control, here is where you can adjust most if not all digital advertising preferences. 2

Overview for 2012
Overall, controlling your ad preferences has gotten easier. It is much simpler to do than correcting information on your credit report. What is interesting is that not all of the tools out there allow you to opt-in as in some cases you might be opted-out through no direct action on your part.

LIMITATIONS: As with all cookie-based systems they are susceptible to cookie blockers, changing computers or delete the NAI opt-out cookie.

Global Cookie Managers
These services have emerged as a one-stop shop for consumers.
  1. PrivacyChoice – Very easy to use and includes Yahoo, Bizo, BlueKai, Exelate tabs (definitely easier to use since 2011). Individual publishers can skin this with their ad partners.
  2. Network Advertising Initiaive (NAI) – The industry’s solution and one of the earliest efforts to give consumers control. If you really don’t want ANY display advertising tailored to you, set your opt-out centrally and then get lots of irrelevant ads – enjoy. In 2012, they made it easier to see the opt-in list compared to opt-outs. However, it is easier to opt-out than it is to opt back in.
  3. TrustEWas new in 2011 as an opt-out approach and competitive to NAI. It has more participants than NAI. Not a bad approach but seeing tracking technologies like Adobe Omniture included here is interesting.
  4. PreferenceCentral – Rub by email house Unsubcentral – looks interesting but not sure what control this really provides yet (no change form 2011)
Specific Advertising Provider Preference Managers
The data providers of the world mostly work behind the scenes but have a variety of services for consumers to control their advertising.
  1. Blue Kai – by far the most interesting with a new interface. Plenty of behavioral ad targeting fodder in here. Also, you can really see the presence of offline credit ratings companies busily creating a whole new revenue stream off of you; interesting that because it is just as creepy yet harder to see. Still, Blue Kai stands out as offering a benefit to charities.
  2. Exelate -They changed the URL in 2012 and improved the interface. Offers many interest categories that can are based on behavior but can be edited.
  3. Lotame – New URL! Fairly innocuous interest and sub-interest categories with observed behavior.
  4. Bizo – Known as the B2B player in the digital advertising data business. Nice approach actually.
  5. Safecount –  from the DynamicLogic (WPP) family comes a totally different approach; with no behavioral segments but plenty of ad creative and sites you’ve been to; no interest preferences here. Actually shows you the creative units.
  6. Amazon – pretty simplistic control over personalization of Amazon ads.
  7. Blue Cava – mobile targeting manager. 
  8. RapLeaf – Opt-out and preference manager; associates to an email address.

Major Consumer Portals
Where people get their email 24×7 and store their personal life’s electronic communiques all for free…somebody has to pay for this storage and bandwidth. Thank you advertisers. Note, these email portal systems are more persistent than anonymous cookie-based platforms since they require users to authenticate. At the same time, they tend to be the most advanced.
  1. Google – Comprehensive and interest-based; no observed behavior included (yet). There is also the Google Dashboard. which offers an integrated way to manage all your Google services – including your search history. Must be signed-in.
  2. Microsoft – Another comprehensive list of interests; no observed behavior.
    Must be signed-in.
  3. Yahoo – Offers a fairly deep interest profile; no observed behavior. Their Ad Interest Manager currently only allows 7 category opt-outs – seems like an odd limit on something that makes the advertising more valuable.
  4. AOL – Pretty simplistic; shows what categories you are in but no control here yet.
  5. AT&TNEW! Control panel based on observed interests; a little clunky but editable.
If anyone has any other suggestions for the above list, please comment or drop TOTSB a line!
Also, in case you were looking for a Flash cookie control panel to view and/remove such locally stored objects:

Last, don’t be evil and enjoy your new Google Toilet ™!

Groupon vs. Advertising? Response to Bernhard

Of course, I disagree with Eric Bernhard’s simplistic view of advertising posted on TechCunch.

It echoes the obsession with media decisions that are simply easier to measure (vis-a-vis conversion rates) alluded to in my prior post about defining viewthrough. Rule #1 of analytics: Just because it is easy to measure doesn’t mean you should – although there are some cynical arguments about job security.

Effective advertising is dangerous as Jeff Molander put it, but potentially very powerful – it always has been as it continues to evolve. Unfortunately, executing and measuring advertising is *much* more complex than pushing a button and signing up for a Groupon promotion: there are media choices to plan and buy as well as serious creative and messaging decisions.

Compare that to Groupon’s appeal: “No one makes it happen faster”,”savvy young audience”,etc…

Sales pitch aside, Eric is onto something deeper in his primal mistrust of brand advertising. The perception that a Groupon is inherently less risky than advertising alternatives is actually a clever meme that is apparently being well-tapped by Groupon’s sales force and marketing. 
That a business can actually tangibly see people (customers as they are buying) coming in the door (profitable transactions or not) is new, powerful and real. Less easy to measure is the long-term impact of this Pavlovian bell. Naturally, business owners assume some will be sticky to make up for the price-sensitive deal shoppers. Basic accounting should clue the business owner in as to the actual cost of the promotion.
Meanwhile, it is just not that easy to measure the impact of branding on an ephemeral mass of people that didn’t come in – to the point about conversion rates. 
What is going on here? Game Theory proves over and over again that most people are VERY risk-averse. Ultimately, if we reframed the opportunity instead by offering each of the $20K advertising deals for FREE to business owners – what do you think their response would be? 
Many will prefer take the certainty of free advertising over a specific and likely loss.

Interactive media and partipulation

Advertising practitioner, political consultant and author Tony Schwartz coined the term “partipulation” – wherein you could heighten the involvement an individual has with any given commercial if you got them to participate in their own manipulation. The idea was not to tell the viewer something new but harness existing feelings; this would help the viewer to feel they’d reached any conclusions of their own volition; similar to Al Ries & Jack Trout’s positioning ideas.

Streams Online Media Development’s Amazing Virtual Subway Game* applied this premise to an online game for Subway Restaurants in 1996. Players assumed one of several characters and racked up points eating sandwiches before their soda ran out. The players scores were publicly posted much like arcade video games high scores.

Though Tony Schwartz passed away in 2008, partipulation is alive and well today.

* The Amazing Virtual Subway Game was created by Streams on behalf of Hal Riney Heartland for Subway; Flash programming was done by Stone Interactive.

Well, How did they Get Here?

For those who know me, the notion of online media measurement and Internet ad performance has been an interest since the Web 1.0 days. With the 1995 launch of Lilypad by my old firm, Streams Online Media Development, we set out to offer the industry and our clients tracking software that could tell just how people were finding their Web site. Heck, I wrote what we found in the Lilypad White Paper.
Good News
I recently saw a demo of a very promising service that tracks latent branding (viewthrough) from online publicity sources. The methodology makes sense and that means it is now possible to see, how they got there. It is also patent-pending.
Using this novel approach, accountability and quantifiable results is no longer then domain of paid online media. Earned and social media can be monitored and probably in your existing site metrics tool, too. Yes, you read correctly: view-through from unpaid mentions – regardless of source and sans le click. Whether from news stories, Facebook, Twitter, long-tail blogs or YouTube video AND without the user clicking on a parameter-embedded hyperlink (old 80% reliable). The same methodology could also validate paid media placement in some situations.
End-to-End Attribution?
With this novel and unprecedented solution, the most measurable and accountable medium will better allow apples-apples comparison’s of media effectiveness spanning paid marketing channels: affiliates, search, display email and of course offline measure engagement, conversion events, etc…It then becomes potentially possible to view the various touchpoints and even optimal sequence that bring consumers to make purchase or other tangible decisions.
The Winners will be savvy public relations/media relations firms with an online bent and corporate PR departments and even the cottage industry of social media experts…assuming they are delivering results. The Losers will be ineffective providers and probably search gurus.
Why? The real rainmakers will finally have definitive quantitative proof of the value of their efforts…those living off the last click…not so much.
Analytics teams should brace themselves for having more on their plate.

RSS Advertising Part II – The Wild West meets the Measurement Crater

Measurement…The Wild West

As prefaced in Part I, identifying and reaching an online audience can be a challenge – especially if you are after the evasive Techfluentials.
The reality is that right now, measurement is The Wild West of the online advertising industry. As marketers (gold-seekers) demand more and more accountability for their spend, software and media vendors continue the cycle of launch, failure and/or consolidation in a made scramble to sell the pick-axes to those after online gold.

By choosing to measure in-feed RSS advertising with oversold site metrics tools…it just make things even wilder. The reality is that there are serious technical limitations to consider when planning how to measure success at advertising to this target audience. Without proper planning however, marketers are left with a measurement gap of epic proportions.

First a quick primer to frame this classic situation. As a trained marketer, there are basically two different objectives of advertising and your ad creative typically can do one of the following well:

  1. Branding. In other words, making an impression and/or changing perceptions. Often very important but very difficult to accurately measure. For this reason, measuring branding is more complex and almost always requires either a custom-study or syndicated (shared, usually generic) sample-based research. Right now, ad effectiveness services like Dynamic Logic, InsightExpress, Nielsen and ComScore are not yet working with RSS feed networks. This means that qualitative audience research requires a custom study that is considerate of the RSS user’s environment – this may incur additional costs.
  2. Response. In the other corner is the quantitative measurement of tangible results such as sales, leads, impressions, clicks, time spent and the like. While it is much easier to technically measure the entire universe of such activities, in-feed RSS advertising success is a double-edge sword. Clicks (response) may be huge and the Clickthrough Rates great (relative to banners); with so much industry hand-wringing over declining CTR, clearly having a bounty of clicks is a good problem to have these days!

The Measurement Crater

For the purposes of this series, let’s say that you just want to measure response as the primary success metric for an RSS ad campaign. Unfortunately, if you or your client are depending on a JavaScript-tag based landing page tool to measure consumer response, you will likely experience something akin to this:

What happened? Wondering where did the clicks go? How many visits from’s RSS feed? Did they buy? Did they come back? Curious as to why you can’t determine what they did after they landed? As am I.

Newsflash: JavaScript tag-based Site Metrics have Limitations

Online marketers that are primarily interested in measuring response from an RSS campaign just found one. While many enterprise site metrics vendors brag about their simple, “just add our tag to your footer” implementation (Omniture, Google Analytics, Coremetrics)…if only it was that easy to get usable information.

The harsh technical reality is that JS tag-based systems require the browser to execute their special tag when the landing page is rendered. That is very different than server-side site metrics tools that track every access by definition. The main problem with relying exclusively on these tag-based approaches is that they cannot count accesses that originate from JS-disabled borwsers or altogether JS-incompatible applications. In other words, these popular site metrics tools essentially are blind to and ignore browsers and any traffic (including robots and spiders) that do not execute JS; I’m not going to get into the cookie deletion argument either.

Suffice to say with RSS advertising to Technfluentials, tracking non-JS accesses becomes your problem. To put it in marketing terms, here’s why:

  1. Techfluentials use standalone desktop RSS Feed Readers/Aggregators (non-browser applications).
  2. Techfluentials access the Web via mobile deivices in a browser environment that is even less likely to execute JS tags (my Treo 755p uses Palm Blazer 4.5, which offers the disable option).
  3. Techfluentials ALSO deliberately/religiously disable JS in their browsers (not to mention deleting cookies).

In other words, your most valuable segment is missing from the numbers. What to do about it?

To Be Continued…

RSS Advertising Part III – Solutions to this Mess