Friday, 12 October 2012

YouTube launch in depth analysis. Another move into the TV Ratings game as they move to become a TV broadcaster.

In a further step towards full broadcasting, YouTube has launched a suite of analytical tools.

They usefully, put a stronger emphasis on engagement of the viewer, concerning themselves with length of views. And we know, from recent Forrester research, that longer video versions are getting higher views (the average length of a YouTube video is 2 minutes 1 second).

You'll be able to see a detailed breakdown of click-thru rates and close rates for their annotations. You'll also be able to compare trends and patterns with two different metrics. Some design changes too making it all easier to follow.

These advanced measuring tools, allow publishers on YouTube to create better, more relevant video and allow advertisers the opportunity to better measure engagement. In a way, they're moving into the ratings system which we know from television.

The TV rating system (TVR) is largely based on old fashioned concepts, internet ratings are accurate and true (being based on actual views and actual clicks). The internet has a great advantage over other media as being very measurable in a quick way. YouTube, by putting these in place, is a clear indicator of its desire to become taken as a more serious broadcaster and media.

And I agree too.

YouTube has the opportunity to be recognised as the biggest global broadcaster and streaming the recent presidential debate live, is proof of that.

It's a great platform that can deliver great content.
And I've been saying it for years.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Facebook launch, Facebook Gifts. Buy a friend chocolates or a Teddy Bear with Facebook! A brand loses its way for short term money.

Facebook is really trying to raise its revenue.

If you're on Facebook, you know they'll alert you to your friends Birthdays so that you might wish them a happy day. Now with Facebook Gifts, you'll be able to buy them a gift straight from the page! (And Facebook will get a cut).

It will also include other event alerts - new job, anniversary, weddings, baby born and so on. Their focus is of course, on mobile, as they try many ways to monetise their mobile activity. Crass and cheap? I think so.

They'll also sell you digital cards, chocolates, teddy bears and have developed 100 retail partners. They include Starbucks ("give a gift of a free latte!" Jesus...), which itself has started selling newspapers in store thereby losing its coolness and Facebook Gifts are bound to affect sales on the likes of Amazon or Ebay. The person on Facebook who gets a gift will know straight away that it's on the way too.

It also means Facebook get more data (like credit cards) which they can use elsewhere and it will generate good margin in a gift business that's estimated at about 40 billion usd in the USA alone.

BUT - I do think there's a balance between brand values and revenue. As I've said, I think Starbucks are walking that line badly and I think Facebook now, is doing the same. Short term gain, long term loss.

It's making Facebook look less like a free, honest Social Media and more like a shop. Is this what happens when you lose your soul after an IPO? When financial pressures override brand values? And corporate accountants take over? It's an OMG moment.

Already it's becoming a bit uncool.
This will make it colder.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Forrester advertising online research just published. Massive growth and massive uptake on video. Video will represent 76% of all display advertising within 2 years!

There's a lot of research nonsense out there on digital advertising. All of it should be taken with a pinch but generally, it's useful in identifying a trend. The numbers might be overestimated, but the general trend is probably true.

if you're told it's growing by 60%, it's probably 30% - but it's definitely growing.

Forrester however, is one of the more reliable sources and have just announced their forecasts - and it's looking good.

US online Ad display will reach just under 13 billion usd this year and it will grow by 17% per annum. About 5 billion of that will be shared between Google and Facebook. CPM's will nearly double to 7 dollars at the cost of offline media which will continue to decline. However, a CPM rate of 7 dollars is low and being brought down by low-cost online media. Competition.

Rich media and video ads are by far, the most preferred formats in the US with static images (banners) declining rapidly at a -45% each year. Text based formats are still growing but according to Forrester, will be overtaken by video ads in 2014. Good news.

European digital display ad growth is slower than the US at 6 billion usd and growing by 13%. European companies are much slower Internet adopters than their US counterparts and generally more, "conservative".

They estimate in Europe, rich media/video ads will account for a massive 76% of all display advertising in 2 years. People are prepared to watch more long-format video growing at a rate of 32% over 18% for short form. While youtube is the king of short form, it seems that video is becoming more watchable as the quality improves.

In general this is encouraging.

There's no doubt you're seeing sizeable shifts towards online advertising display, quicker than we thougth and that video is the answer. Although CPM's remain low, the volume will compensate for that.

VOD. If you haven't got it, call.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

BBC launch Iplayer Radio. Radio owners need to be aware and beware.

BBC, possibly the most regarded broadcaster in the world, launched its TV iplayer in 2007 allowing users access to its archived/live content and during the summer, it was used nearly 200 million times. Although, 90% of its listeners, watch live at the moment.

Year-on-year, the BBC iplayer requests have increased by a massive 56% on mobile and 300% on tablet. Oh ye of little faith in online broadcasting.

Now they've launched Iplayer Radio, by way of an App, allowing access to their network of 57 stations, live and on demand, across all devices. Mobile alone represents about 18% of its access but peaking at particular shows, to 30%. A massive audience and this allows users to easily switch between stations and therefore, retaining the audience.

Although state owned, BBC is free to air and more and more people are prepared to listen to global radio stations through streaming devices at home. Our house on Sundays, small example as that is, wakes to 'Radio Paradise' an American online station and 'Jones College Radio' from Texas, in Dublin. And of course, local radio has a key role but needs to get online in a serious way.

There is some talk, although a lot of doubt, that this may be a prelude to BBC launching a music download service too with the likes of 'Spotify'. Techcrunch have said it's denied and I'd trust that.

The app itself has some nice features - in particular a channel selector along the lines of the big old radio knobs which my Dad used to tune into 'Hilversum' (immortalised by Van Morrison), and foreign stations on an old wireless. A kick back that's nice. 

It also has an alarm to alert you to shows and an 'in depth' button that allows you go further into the content (archived shows for example). They're also offering "two way" conversions with the studio and redesigned homepages for each station. 

Radio owners need to be aware of this online competition and get into the space quickly. A lot of them "are there".... but simply.... because they think they should, rather than must. What's needed is a spirited attempt to gain audiences online over mobile Apps. Perhaps even an opportunity to come at this together rather than compete and giving audiences choices locally, on one App. Heresy or clever thinking?

Simple development of archive content, on demand music and features (like an alarm clock or trendy design) coupled with an Advertising campaign to promote their App, will pay dividends.

Their concern is that it might "bastardise" their existing offline listenership as the audience moves online. It won't, it will increase them - and anyway, a listener is a listener is a listener. Take them where you find them.

Because above all, if they do nothing, they're now in a hugely competitive space. As Zep says, "there's a lady whose sure, all that glitters is gold...."

Monday, 8 October 2012

Mercedes launch major online campaign in this weekend's X Factor. A big brand with a big budget buys into Social Media.

Last night saw Mercedes, putting millions into an online ad campaign, as much as they would with a traditional campaign in order to launch their new A class. The first big brand to do so.

In an attempt to attract in younger drivers to the brand research suggests the average Mercedes driver is seen as being 45+), it is the world's first video TV advertising campaign where the plot of the commercial is decided on Twitter (on hashtag youdrive). About 10m use Twitter in the UK alone.

The 60 second commercial went out on 'X Factor last night' which was about a rapper's attempt to reach a secret gig in a 'cat and mouse' way. Viewers were then invited to vote as to what the rapper should do next, by tweeting.

The votes were then counted instantly (as happens on Xfactor finals anyway) with the conclusion/winning commercial airing in tonight's show. It's a good attempt to re-position the age factor for Mercedes. Xfactor is the key Saturday night programme with an audience of nearly 9m and very much not the typical market for Mercedes.

Clearly too, the whole activity will be discussed on Social Media and thereby furthering the campaign. Plus it was supported by full page press ads under the slogan, "be a part of the experience" and a headline, "For the first time during tonight's X Factor, a TV Commercial you drive".

Nice idea too. Simple enough, but significant in the cross-over between traditional and social media. Important too, to see big brands dive into the space like Mercedes which will draw other car manufacturers into doing something similar.

So few brands have still yet to get their heads around the web.

Look at what Mercedes are doing and see how easy it is to be clever.
And because this type of activity is only starting, any brand who gets involved, will get the attention before the deluge.

It's a real case of first up, best dressed.