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Archive for the ‘Advertising Trends’ Category

Hark, the responsive ad, a profound failure of imagination

by Henry Copeland
Monday, June 24th, 2013

There’s been lots of talk about responsive design for websites. If you’re not following the discussion, here’s the gist of the argument for responsive design: publishers should offer readers the same digital content everywhere, just repackaged and reformatted for different devices.

Google is pushing responsive design hard, arguing that ‘optimized’ sites will serve readers better by offering a uniform content experience. (Cynically, one might argue that Google has a strong interest in pushing publishers to push the same content out across multiple devices in various formats so the task of processing and presenting this information is simpler for Google if it’s not different across multiple devices.) The responsive design approach is cheaper for everyone too, since it means publishers don’t have to rethink their content strategies for each new device, just the formatting.

Now advertisers are beginning to explore ways to make their ads responsive. Build one ad, then tweak it automatically so it can run on a half-dozen form factors — desktop, iPad, mini, iPhone, XX and other tablets. You can see an example of one such solution here:

The idea of responsive ads seems silly to me. Imagine trying to build an ad that would “resize” automatically to run on TV, radio, glossy magazines and newspapers. In theory, this might be possible. But this strategy would result in least-common-denominator content, probably just chunks of black and white text. Though even this dumbed down ad wouldn’t work on radio, so maybe a transmitter could be constructed that would turn “responsively” this text into morse code.

Trying to resize both editorial and advertising reflects a giant failure of imagination. Just as the best web sites live and breath in the many dimensions that were unimaginable in the monochrome and two dimensional world of newsprint publishing, the best tablet and mobile sites someday will embody dimensions and colors and experiential textures that aren’t imagined in today’s world of desktop publishing and reading.

By definition, the best ads won’t be responsive; the best content and ads will be unfungible across devices because they’ll embody features that are unique to each tier of device. With this philosophy in mind, Blogads teams are busy working on new ad units that will be uniquely effective on tablets, rather than just resizing versions of desktop ad units. Watch this ever-mutating space to see what we come up with.

Robots are 80% of Facebook ad traffic?

by Henry Copeland
Monday, July 30th, 2012

Limited Run, a company that helps artists and musicians sell products online, says that 80% of the clicks they bought through Facebook ads came from robots.

Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20% of them actually showing up on our site. At first, we thought it was our analytics service. We tried signing up for a handful of other big name companies, and still, we couldn’t verify more than 15-20% of clicks. So we did what any good developers would do. We built our own analytic software. Here’s what we found: on about 80% of the clicks Facebook was charging us for, JavaScript wasn’t on. And if the person clicking the ad doesn’t have JavaScript, it’s very difficult for an analytics service to verify the click. What’s important here is that in all of our years of experience, only about 1-2% of people coming to us have JavaScript disabled, not 80% like these clicks coming from Facebook. So we did what any good developers would do. We built a page logger. Any time a page was loaded, we’d keep track of it. You know what we found? The 80% of clicks we were paying for were from bots. That’s correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs.

When Limited Run tried to get more information from Facebook… silence. “So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t reply. Do we know who the bots belong too? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue. No. Is it strange? Yes.”

In the comments, the CEO of Yousites says the same thing happened to his company.

And here’s a deep dive into Facebook “likes” from bots, which concludes that “someone or a group of someones is utilizing bot networks and compromised accounts to sell actions in Facebook, and the voluminous Liking is a byproduct of attempting to randomize any patterns that would identify their core network or their customers.”

And while we’re on the topic of clickbots, don’t forget last year’s attack of the bimbots!

Blogonomics, ten years on

by Henry Copeland
Monday, May 28th, 2012

Ten years ago today, I posted an essay titled “Blogonomics: making a living from blogging.” Peering into the future of media, I argued that traditional publishers would soon be defeated by hordes of ad-supported bloggers.

At the time, both claims — that a) traditional publishing was doomed by people-published content and b) that blogging would be lucrative — seemed ludicrous. Shares in The New York Times were just a couple of months shy of their all-time high, $52. Martin Nisenholtz, then managing NYTimes.com, spoke for most media insiders when he dismissed the “weblog phenomenon” as nothing “fundamentally new in the news media.” (more…)

The top 12 best-of (and worst-of) advertising roundups of 2011

by Nick Faber
Thursday, December 29th, 2011

It’s that time again, when every media expert and opinionista looks back on the year’s advertising campaigns and lists the best, worst and/or freakiest. Or, in Vader Boy’s case, the most listed in year-end lists. Here are the top ad roundups of 2011, in no particular order. (more…)

Chrysler really loves hip-hop

by Nick Faber
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Chrysler’s Born of Fire ad, starring rapper Eminem, was an instant hit with car and hip-hop enthusiasts a like. The new 300 features speakers from Beats by Dre, lending even more hip-hop cred to Chrysler, and the commercial for it, which premiered during the NBA Finals, stars Eminem’s mentor and label-mate Dr. Dre.

Chrysler, the smallest of the Big Three, may be carving out its own niche with hip-hop aficionados. After Eminem spot premiered in February, the automaker had its best monthly sales total in three years.

Advertising with zombies: 19 campaigns featuring the undead

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
If you’re too slow to outrun a zombie, our app can help!

Is 2011 the year that zombies went commercial or what? Zombies are so prevalent in pop culture that you could say they’ve jumped the shark at this point. But not before eating the shark’s brains.

Here are 18 ads from this year starring the undead. As you can see, zombies are the new sex, in terms of advertising strange things.

1. Yoga Outreach



How do you market high-calorie food? Challenge your customers to eat it.

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The Stars of the DSRL

Are you familiar with the DSRL? It’s a marketing team of superstar athletes, comprised of Venus Williams, Eli Manning, Shaquille O’Neal, and Apollo Ohno. And what are they selling? Not Gatorade. Not athletic gear. Not even shoes. They’re selling Oreos. And they can lick the icing out of an Oreo cookie faster than you can.

Here are four food campaigns that dare you to eat. A lot. (more…)

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