Friday, March 31, 2006

New Numbers Support the iPod Effect...BtB Marketers Should Take Notice

This survey has some nice numbers, showing upward growth in the use of online videos. This is not just a consumer play. Focused BtoB use of online videos, podcasts, vidoecasts, etc. can be very helpful to companies.


Consider online video for:

  • Customer support
  • Thought leadership outreach
  • Channel programs
  • Educational efforts
  • Internal communications
  • Product demos
  • Tradeshow support

We are not suggesting that BtoB marketers spend all their budget on video usage, but it's something one should at least consider in the marketing mix. And when you do think of how one video could be reused in other ways and channels. This will make you look like a rock star!

Have a read...

66% of Those Web Viewers Also Watch the Ads

March 30, 2006

By Kris Oser

NEW YORK ( -- Although the number of consumers watching video online routinely is low, that number is growing, and those consumers are engaged with video advertising, according to a new study by the Online Publishers Association and Frank N. Magid Associates.

According to the study, 5% are viewing video daily, 24% view it once a week and 46% are watching once a month. Video news clips are the biggest draw. Some 27% of viewers watch news clips at least once a week, followed closely by 26% who watch funny videos at least once a week.
“You will see the volume of use rise as more content is made available,” said Pam Horan, VP-marketing and membership at OPA.

High advertiser demand Even though advertiser demand is high for a medium that reflects the emotional appeal of TV ads, many consumers are still not aware of video online.

Media buyers note that until consumers are viewing video as often as they do other content, planners cannot be certain how much of their marketing budgets to set aside for video. The video arena is so volatile that estimates of video ad spending ranges dramatically from study to study, with one projecting spending of $657 million in 2009, and another study projecting $2.5 billion in 2010.

It's a rich environment for advertisers, the study found, with online video advertising being viewed regularly and leading to specific actions. Of the U.S. online population, 66% percent have seen an online video ad, and 29% have acted on what they’ve seen. Visiting a Web site is the action that ranks highest at 31%, while 8% are actually driven to make a purchase. Video ad watchers generally prefer short ads, but 39% said they watch ads lasting longer than 30 seconds.

Home viewing vs. work At home, 39% watch online video at least once a week, compared with 19% who watch at least once a week at work.

Because there is yet no reliable or well-known video search engine, half of consumers go to a specific Web site to find clips, with a majority (58%) relying on two to five sites. Another popular way to find video is the way everyone found anything online in the Internet’s early days -- surfing the Web -- according to almost 48% of video viewers.

The research was conducted in February. Researchers interviewed 1,241 Internet users representative of the U.S. population, aged 12 to 64.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Like Ma Bell, I’ve Got the Ill Communication

Bloggers Note: I want to be clear that in no way is this posting meant to blame ANYONE at ANYTIME. This post is not me venting, complaining or yelling. It is simply a fascination that people trained in the art of communication (yes it is an art, or so say my diplomas) continue to provide and receive misinformation.

It baffles me how common it is for “experts” in the field of communication to get/give the wrong message. Today was an example (albeit minor) of confusion between my office and a reporter. Somewhere along the line a national survey was misconstrued as a local survey and exclusivity turned from “give me a head start toward breaking the story” to “you have to hold the news until next week or I’m not running it.”

For those of you who jump to thinking it’s just my communication I would point to the countless maladies that have spawned from miscommunication. The most recent, egregious example of such was the Sago Mine tragedy. To recap, a high-ranking, credible official said that all but one of the 13 miners trapped underground had survived. The report led to joy, unbridled celebrations of friends and family, and evocation of the term miracle. I went to sleep that night knowing that against all odds 12 miners had survived. I woke up the next morning to a stark reality, 12 miners had died.

How does this happen? How does someone, undoubtedly trained in the art of communication, report such horribly inaccurate information? I say undoubtedly trained because anyone from the Governor’s office who was privy to the fate of the miners is someone who has gone through media training at some point in their career.

I’m not playing the all too (in)famous “blame game” that has seemed to pervade politics. I’m simply shocked that this could happen.

How are we as communicators supposed to convince business prospects, colleagues or students of our industry’s worth if we continue to do that which our services are intended to correct…miscommunicate (yes, I am aware that’s not really a word, but it illustrates the point nicely).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Steve Smith's Views on Podcasting are Worth Reading

It seems to us that Steve makes some great points in this article (as does Arc Worldwide). Although still mostly consumer-centric BtoB marketers can learn from this article.

Meanwhile, Back in the Podcasting Lab...

AS VIDEO PODCASTING AND CELL phone media evolve on parallel tracks, we are bound to see a lot of cross-pollination and kinships evolve between these platforms. As mobile video and 3G networks mature, we will see a lot of content launch across both handheld and handset media, perhaps in the same format and with the same advertisers. Personally, I think that audio podcasting is a natural for cell phones as well. The diminished audio capacity of most handsets and the short form, radio-like format of many podcasts are a good match. And so, many of the disciplines and early best practices in the emerging field of podvertising should be applicable across the range of mobile media (iPod, PDA, Playstation Portable, phone). Mobile marketers should spend some quality time in the iTunes podcast network and drink in the very fine ideas.

Shortly after my little rant a few columns back about the importance of brevity and frequency in mobile advertising, Publicis Groupe's Arc Worldwide issued its own tip sheet on podvertising. The company has what it calls a "consumer-experience planning team" and is creating Purina branded entertainment and informational packages for iPods and phones. I can already see some of these best practices in evidence on the iTunes podcast network.

For example, Arc recommends that branded content podcasts are best suited for high-involvement products (financial) or products that have high emotional involvement, like a pet care line. Companies like Deloitte have regularly scheduled audio podcasts of their research. Adobe gets tremendous visibility for its software products from an ongoing video tutorial series around its products that often float to the top of the top downloads list, right beside the grisly fun of Happy Tree Friends (sick cartoons) and Tiki Bar TV (a drunken sitcom). I think what is interesting about branded informational content in the podcast realm is that centralized and high-profile distribution mechanisms like iTunes and Yahoo's podcast networks, even Google Video, make it possible for companies to find an audience by slipping it into the same viral network as any other kind of user- or media-generated fare.

Arc recommends that advertisers stick to their brand essence when making these shows and focus on giving information the customers really want, not just product pitches. Most of the good branded content podcasts I have seen and heard don't actively push a product so much as satisfy the audience with real instructional media. Put that into the podcast network ecosphere and you really start moving toward on-demand advertising. In a move that bears watching, Dimension Entertainment just announced that it was creating a sort of podcasting channel for itself and the upcoming "Scary Movie 4." Clicking on a display ad will subscribe you and your iPod to a scheduled series of video downloads, clips, trailers, and such. If the content is good and fun, then users will stay subscribed to this podcast channel. and Dimension may be able to push down other offers and content over time. This anticipates a model that some mobile TV technologies make possible as well. Streaming TV and downloadable TV clips (a.k.a. "clipcasting") have no technical limits on the number of channels available to the end user. Some mobile TV providers are already planning to offer advertisers branded channels for their content.

Early pod and vodcasting already shows me that standard TV-style spots have negligible value. Arc argues that mobileportable "is not the medium to get salesy" but to offer a real "value exchange." While I do think that very short spots can be enormously effective in mobile, I can say from experience that TV spots are tedious here. ZiffDavis has an ambitious series of vodcasts, 1Up Show and, but they are overlong for the portable format (40 to 50 minutes) so they feel as if they really dream of being on cable. Moreover the commercial breaks are too long, and many have remained the same since the shows premiered months ago. Loyal viewers like me simply fast-forward through what have become irritants because they lack entertainment or informational value. How about touting the advertisers with a changing tech tip of the week or something that is in keeping with the currency and informational tone of the broadcast?

One of the last big pieces of portable media we need to work out involves interactivity and participation. There is a tendency in mobile media to fall back onto a broadcast content model, simply taking the one-way styles of radio and TV programming and squeezing them into the new format. Wisely, Arc suggests that podvertisers erect blogs or Web site companions to their mobile media to engage the customer interactively there. Good, but I think we need to go further and incorporate user voices into the downloadable media. ZD's is very good about making user mail an integral part of its show and talking about how audience requests and feedback are shaping its programming. Advertisers might consider pod ads that are constructed around customer feedback. Hands down, the best use of audience in a podcast I have seen is from the animation series "Channel Frederator." This anthology of cool toons puts up a small interstitial with an e-mail address and a phone number to leave voice mail. Sometimes the show asks specific questions, so the feedback is actually programmed. Excerpts from both the e-mail and voice mail become interstitials between the cartoons and it actually feels more like programming, as if it is a part of the flow of Frederator content, than it does a ghetto-ized user feedback section.

Podvertising is a superb lab for the ad formats we need to reinvent so that they accommodate and make sense within emerging platforms. The best early podvertising suggest that marketers shouldn't just be thinking about how they slip their pitches into and around short and portable content. Instead, they should be looking at what makes the mobile content itself compelling and create messages that look, feel, and interact in the same ways.

Contributing writer Steve Smith is a longtime new-media consultant and columnist, and current editor of Wireless Business Forecast for Access Intelligence at Contact him at

Source: Mobile Insider for Tuesday, March 21, 2006:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Unilever Hits The Nail On The Head!

On March 14 The Financial Times ran an article titled “Unilever team tasked to rethink advertising” that everyone at Arketi loved. We are excited to see a global brand like Unilever come out in such strong support for integrated marketing.

We were even more excited to see Alan Rutherford, Unilever's global media director, challenge agencies to bring “traditional media and digital and content and public relations all … under one roof under the agency side."

Always believers that we are smart folks, we are proud to say this holistic, discipline-agnostic approach to marketing is Arketi’s underlying tenet!

The full article is below...

Unilever team tasked to rethink advertising
By Gary Silverman in London
Financial Times
Updated: 1:10 a.m. ET March 14, 2006

Unilever believes that traditional marketing services agencies are "struggling" to keep up with rapid changes in the media and has quietly established new internal teams to help fill the void.

The consumer products group set up communications planning and digital advertising operations last year as part of efforts to respond to the declining impact of television advertising. Alan Rutherford, Unilever's global media director, on Monday said television now accounted for about 65 per cent of the Anglo-Dutch company's global advertising budget, down from about 85 per cent at the start of the decade.

This shift of emphasis has put a premium on "holistic" campaigns that make use of a wider range of marketing tools. But Mr Rutherford indicated that Unilever, owner of such brands as Dove, Lynx and Hellman's, was less than thrilled with the input it was receiving. "The ad industry is struggling at the moment in...pulling all the components of brand communication together," Mr Rutherford said. "There is a struggle to have traditional media and digital and content and public relations all brought under one roof under the agency side."

Mr Rutherford said Unilever was stopping well short of setting up internal agencies, but was trying to spur change in its outside agencies. He said Unilever had assigned six people to help work on devising integrating campaigns for leading brands. Five were charged with finding new digital advertising ideas.

"I think there is a disconnect between creative thinking and communications channel management at the moment," Mr Rutherford said. "I think this will help redress that disconnect on the agency side." Mr Rutherford's comments on the need for greater integration in marketing services echo those by Jim Stengel, global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble, the great US rival of Unilever.

Mr Stengel said he thought the job of media planner – the person who decides where to place advertisements – should be combined with that of creative planner, who helps decide what kind of ads to run. This has led to speculation that marketing services groups might combine their creative advertising and media buying arms, which were separated in recent years in the interest of efficiency.

Mr Rutherford said he doubted the big groups could "rebundle" such operations because the separation process is "so far down the line". Unilever's decision to set up internal teams was "one way in which we can take ownership" of the issue and "drive the new way of thinking and working".

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Watch This One: Consumers Would Watch Ad to Get Free Video Download

Most iPod users say they'd be willing to watch an ad in return for obtaining free video downloads, writes AdAge, citing a survey of iPod owners by Frank N. Magid Associates, which found that 54 percent of respondents would be more likely to purchase a video iPod if TV programs could be downloaded gratis, in exchange for watching a 30-second ad. Among those planning to purchase a video iPod, 72 percent said they would be more likely to download a TV program in exchange for watching an ad.

Interesting, but not to beat a dead horse, we think savvy companies will provide EDUCATIONAL content to iPod users in an effort to build thought leadership. Thought leadership - I give you knowledge you want and you give me credit for being smart – has a real impact on both B2C and B2B consumers. The 30-second advertisement has gong the way of the man in the gray flannel suit, does it really matter if it’s on a 1 inch by 1 inch screen or a 40 inch screen.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Online Search Hits All Time High

On March 3 we saw a trend that we are sure will continue.

On that day Nielsen//NetRatings, a global leader in Internet media and market research, reported that online search conducted across approximately 60 search engines in the U.S. rose 39 percent year-over-year in January 2006 from four billion searches to nearly 5.7 billion, the highest number of online searches to date.

More importantly, Ken Cassar, chief analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings said, “Web users are conducting more searches not because they can’t find what they’re looking for, but because search as a utility has become deeply ingrained into people’s everyday lives.”

We agree and are encouraging B2B marketers to jump into the search game sooner rather than later. Working to optimize websites to be search friendly, tweaking SEO efforts and even using pay-per-click (PPC) marketing tactics is the right thing to do right now. Even if a B2B marketer is just “dipping his or her toe” in the search engine game now is the time – and the numbers back it up.