Companies need balance for content marketing success

Marketers are unbalanced, says a new report from Altimeter Group. (Insert your favourite marketing joke here.)

But in this case, it’s not counseling they need, rather a change in strategy to accommodate the trend away from advertising and towards content marketing.

In Content: The New Marketing Equation, Altimeter analyst Rebecca Lieb, writes:

Marketers are reeling from the enormous demands that continually creating and publishing media places not only on marketing departments, but also on the enterprise as a whole. Due to shifts in consumer attention, companies are challenged to move beyond episodic, short duration ‘push’ campaign initiatives into longer-term, often continual ‘pull’ marketing initiatives that require new strategic approaches.

Rebalancing resources, and company culture, to supply a stream of targeted, high quality content, will give organisations a marketing advantage, argues Lieb.

Her report is based on interviews with 56 representatives of B2B and B2C companies, and you can read it below.

Top-of-mind websites in New Zealand

New Zealand website awareness

In response to the question "Please type up to 5 domain names that you have seen or heard of recently." Source: Colmar Brunton. Base: Weighted results representative of New Zealand's online population (n=1014)

Ask a New Zealander to name a website domain name, and here’s what you get.

Trademe.co.nz, the country’s most-visited website, is the domain most often mentioned by Kiwis, followed by facebook.com, google.com, stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz.

The information comes from the Colmar Brunton survey Internet Domain Names in New Zealand, commissioned by the New Zealand Domain Name Commission.

As such, it isn’t a fully random sample. Instead, the researchers chose half their respondents (n=508) to be people who own or manage a domain name, and the other half (n=506) to be those who do not own or manage a domain name.

Although the researchers do not comment on it in their summary, I’m guessing this over-represents domain owners/managers when compared with the population.

Nevertheless, the research does break out results for the two groups.

In the case of the chart above, the top 5 sites remain the same when only domain owners/managers are responding. For the non owner/managers, nzherald.co.nz drops to number six, being edged out by hotmail.com.

Among the other findings:

  • 15% of respondents didn’t know what a domain name was.
  • Most respondents felt there were already enough top-level domains available.
  • Two thirds of respondents would prefer to have a .nz domain for their website. (Or does this mean they would prefer to visit a site with a .nz domain? The wording of the research summary is ambiguous, so I am inferring a bit here.)
  • Domain owners/managers have higher acceptance of .com domains, but still prefer .nz
  • Slightly more than half of respondents liked the idea of having domains with no second level, as in mydomainname.nz. This is the system used in Canada and I suppose it might reduce confusion between .co.nz, .org.nz, .net.nz, etc. But I’d hate to contemplate another rush to stake out the new streamlined domains. Don’t we give the domain registrars enough money already?




Kiwi stunt promotes breaking news on the web

Click to watch video

From the breaking news battleground in New Zealand…

One of the country’s leading news websites, stuff.co.nz, drew a crowd in downtown Auckland last Thursday, causing pedestrians to look up, grab their mobile phone cameras and start clicking.

The publicity stunt (click the video above to watch) touts the site’s commitment to being first with breaking news, while looking very much like a breaking news story itself. And of course, it’s all captured on video, which stuff.co.nz is no doubt hoping becomes a viral hit. (That would be much more likely if the stuff people offered a video embed code.)

It reminds me of the days when radio stations battled for breaking news honours. Remember 20-20 News, 60-second updates and news hotlines with weekly payouts for the best tips? This stunt brings that sort of competitive tub-thumping to online news. All good fun, but will it change reader behaviour?

Stuff.co.nz is owned by Fairfax, which publishes several New Zealand newspapers and owns the trademe.co.nz auction website.

Delivering value to brand advertisers online

Joe Marchese at MediaPost explains why it’s so hard to get brand advertising onto websites at prices that will appeal to publishers.

…the issue with bringing branding online isn’t with the marketers and agencies, it is with the publisher side, maybe with some help from the marketers, of course ;-). Publishers can create “impressions” simply by adding ad units, but adding ad units don’t magically increase the amount of consumer attention in the world, or even on a given page. What publishers have that is of value to brand advertisers is consumer attention. In order to prove valuable to brand advertisers, publisher must find a way to share their audience’s limited attention with marketers in a FAIR exchange of value.

The question, of course, is how can online publishers increase advertising rates to make up for a reduction in impressions.

The marketer’s role in this is twofold: 1. Don’t force publishers’ hands by arguing both sides. Marketers can’t claim they value the opportunity to guarantee the delivery of a message to consumers, then when presented with such an opportunity, cite the lowest ad network CPM rate they have been quoted for negotiation purposes. 2. Build creative that is meant to be a contained brand experience/engagement. Engagements are not traffic generators. People don’t necessarily want to visit a brand’s website at the drop of a hat…

Marchese argues that publishers and ad networks need to do a better job of defining and delivering value for brand advertisers.

Online advertising on the rise?

TNS-MI ad spending Q1 2009

New research shows online advertising in the United States grew in the first quarter of 2009 by 8.2 per cent, apparently contradicting other research that shows online advertising declined by 3.4 per cent in the same period.

Writing at MediaPost, Joe Mandese suggests that different definitions and methodologies explain why the TNS MI results (in the table above) are more upbeat about online than those reported a day earlier by Nielsen.

Nielsen says its internet ad expenditure data accounts for, “CPM-based, image-based advertising,” and do not account for, “paid search advertising, text only, paid fee services, performance-based campaigns, sponsorships, barters, in-stream (“pre-rolls”) players, messenger applications, partnership advertising, promotions and email campaigns, or house advertising activity.”

That leaves out an awful lot, including some of the most rapidly growing areas of online advertising.

Mandese quotes TNS MI as saying online is the only major advertising segment to grow in Q1, while the overall media spend fell 14.2 per cent.

Charting the change in classified advertising

These charts, from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, really need no commentary and certainly won’t come as a surprise.

Percentage of adults using classified advertising websites

Newspaper revenue from classified advertising

Of course “classifieds ads websites” is another way of saying Craigslist, which had 42.2 million unique visitors in March 2009, compared with 53.8 million total unique visitors to classified sites.

For an equally dramatic chart of US newspaper ad revenues (not just classifieds) over the past three years, visit Alan Mutter’s blog.

Search marketer slams Canadian advertisers

Some harsh words for Canadian advertisers regarding their use — or non-use — of paid search:

Toronto seems to be the epicenter of the orifice that Canadian advertisers have lodged their collective heads in. The city doesn’t get it, the province doesn’t get it, the country doesn’t get it. When it comes to search, Canada (with a few exceptions) is clueless.

That’s from a Canadian, by the way. Gord Hotchkiss is president of search marketing firm Enquiro and he lives in the United States British Columbia. 

He’s been in Toronto this week for the Search Engine Strategies conference, but it sounds like he’ll be glad to get back across the border. He may be safer there too.

Perils of context-based advertising

I’ll never forget the day several years ago when Google AdSense first appeared on nzherald.co.nz.

One of our news stories that day was about a near-fatal shark attack in Australia. As soon as we switched on AdSense, pages carrying the shark attack story sprouted ads for cage-diving operators offering “swim with the sharks” experiences. If memory serves, we asked Google to bar those ads for a few days, and hoped we hadn’t offended too many readers.

You’ve probably seen or heard about other examples of bizarre and inappropriate context-based advertising.

One recent case involves the British website GoneTooSoon.co.uk, where people post condolence messages. Everything was going fine, until the webmaster decided he needed to earn some money and installed AdSense.

The tribute page for someone killed in a motorcycle accident began carrying ads for motorcycles. Even more offensive was an ad spotted by a user of the site, who wrote:

“Can you really trust a site which posts an advert of [the murderer] Ian Huntley’s biography – not only on my beautiful friend Ian’s site, but on a website that also has a memorial for [Huntley’s victims] Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman?”

Outraged, visitors to the site began removing their tributes and vowing never to return.

Following the uproar, the ads were removed. The site is soliciting donations to keep it free to access.

LiveDeal sold to online yellow pages operator

Online classified advertising network LiveDeal, Inc has been purchased by YP Corp, operator of “America’s local online yellow pages”.

LiveDeal will become a subsidiary of YP Corp, and current LiveDeal shareholders will receive shares in YP.

YP Corp says it plans “to use LiveDeals innovative technology platform to converge its four principal marketing channels directories, mobile services, classifieds and advertising/distribution networks into a first-of-itskind, hyper-local marketing solution for businesses and consumers”.

In the United States, where the term “yellow pages” is not trademarked, the livedeal.com site already carries such business directory listings.

Toronto Star publisher Torstar has held a minority stake in LiveDeal since October 2005, and the two companies operate the Canadian site livedeal.ca — without Yellow Pages listings — under a joint venture agreement. [In Canada, “Yellow Pages” is a trademarked brand name belonging to the Yellow Pages Group.]

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