2010 Survival Guide: Agencies

2010 Survival Guide: AgenciesThe first step is admitting you are lost

Twitter will find a way to make some money -- from you. "Licensing tweets to search engines for inclusion in their results pages is just the beginning. Expect to see full-on ad placements embedded in the tweet stream," says Aaron Goldman, managing partner at Connectual. "And subscription fees for corporate accounts with more robust features."

Twitter's likely to become a top referring source of traffic for sites and brands that leverage it properly. "But when you conduct traffic analysis, don't be surprised to see those Twitter-based referrals driving a very tiny number of conversions. Twitter is a great branding and awareness platform, but unlike SEO, paid search, email marketing or even direct type-in traffic, the focus isn't about making an action happen," says Rand Fishkin, CEO at SEOmoz. "You're being mentioned in a stream, which brings different opportunities. The companies who figure that out early and take advantage will be the ones who benefit most from Twitter traffic."

Search is a neglected research resource, says Goldman. "Heck, Google can predict flu outbreaks before the CDC. Using this treasure trove of data just to maximize ROI only from search is a sin."

In organic search, the expansion of universal search will require a universal approach to search engine optimization. "As Google, Yahoo and Bing continue to integrate social media into their results in addition to other digital content, marketers will need to evaluate search metrics to and from those channels as part of their integrated online strategy," says Stephen Anderson, svp of search for AMP Agency.

"Agencies and networks will compete more and more as behavioral targeting becomes table stakes for all optimized ad campaigns. The ones that can prove value with new and better measurement, such as attribution, will win in the end," says Emily Riley, senior analyst, Forrester Research

"Traditional display ad networks will scramble to add video offerings as advertisers demand greater effectiveness than standard banners can provide. As a result, video advertising will begin to standardize more of its ad products, performance metrics and rates," says Michael Mathieu, CEO, video ad platform and network YuMe.

As online video expands off the PC and starts also being consumed on TV and mobile screens, online video companies will roll out new business models that involve paid subscriptions and more robust advertising experiences," says Bobby Tulsiani, senior analyst, Forrester Research

Marketers will increasingly leverage custom video experiences, synched ad units, HD video, and interactive content to create a richer, more dynamic ad experience. "There is a greater strategic and monetary imperative for leveraging video and many of the pieces are in place -- demand, audience, bandwidth, serving platforms, and analytics -- to maximize digital video performance in 2010," says Jason Tafler, CEO of PointRoll.

"The most successful online video initiatives will require seamless mobile distribution, deep social web integration and interactivity -- all keys to successfully reaching dispersed and social audiences," says Gannon Hall, CEO, online and mobile video platform Kyte.

"With the explosion of content syndication online and with viewers controlling where and when they consume video content, marketers will need to shift how they approach online video buying in order to achieve the reach, scale and price efficiencies they have grown accustomed to with TV," says Jayant Kadambi, co-founder, president, video ad network and platform YuMe.

VivaKi's Pool findings will be announced in February, and this, coupled with the standardization around video ad-serving, formats and metrics, will accelerate online video's share of media spend, says Matt Wasserlauf, CEO of Web video company BBE.

People are watching more TV than ever -- they're just not watching it on the boob tube. How will you track all the places where your video has been posted, shared and even remixed? While the concept of reach isn't irrelevant, it's vastly different. The key, says Matt Cutler, VP of advertising for Visible Measures, an independent, third-party video measurement company, is to measure new classes of behavior, beyond downloads and streams. "You have to first identify all instances of your assets and their derivatives, then sum all the behavior across all of them in terms of the actual performance of the campaign," Cutler says.

Android is poised to explode. With 18 new devices planned for 2010, Google's mobile operating system will become a key channel for reaching the global audience. But the iPhone/iPod touch will remain the best platform for in-app advertising in the u.s., according to Krishna of mobile ad exchange Mobclix.

With Google spending $750 million to buy AdMob, don't be surprised if rival ad networks such as Quattro Wireless, Millennial Media and JumpTap get snapped up by other Web giants anxious about falling behind in mobile.

According to the AdMob Mobile Metrics Report, ad traffic on its network doubled year-over-year, to 10.2 billion ads served in September 2009. This explosive growth means you need to answer these questions: What are the right metrics for a mobile campaign? Are they the same as for online? And how do I combine mobile with other metrics in an integrated campaign.

While the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau released measurement guidelines in late 2007, the doh ad networks preferred their proprietary methodologies. But at the end of 2009, 11 of the largest networks completed third-party audience studies using the OVAB guidelines - giving agency partners the ability to compare their performance.

The latest in the if-you-can-you-should measurement arena is Millward Brown's Dynamic Logic, which released a study measuring the effectiveness of creative in banner ads. Its analysis of 170,000-odd executions found that the worst-performing ads could hurt other brand metrics. The study found that something as simple as branding every frame of an ad could increase awareness metrics.

All the fancy analytics apps in the world won't get you the insights you need, according to Judy Franks, a former Leo Burnett exec who is now principal of The Marketing Democracy and on the faculty of Northwestern University. The problem is, the media landscape moves a lot faster than the data models. Instead of over-analyzing, Franks says marketers should focus on higher-level insights. For example, Nielsen's Three Screens Report provides a dizzying amount of data about digital video usage. The high-level insight, she says, is that, "People love good video content, and they'll take it wherever they can get their hands on it. But a computer won't tell you that, says Franks, "Insight needs to come from a human brain. It still takes a brave, bold and creative marketer to make the call."

Marketers will continue to identify ways to leverage social media as a way to complement email marketing efforts. "If you share good content in social media platforms, readers will likely sign up to be part of your email list moving forward, " says Eric Groves, senior vice president, global market development at Constant Contact. "Our customers are increasingly using Twitter and Facebook to promote their newsletters, share coupons, invite people to events, solicit responses for surveys, and to ask people to join their email lists."

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