Monday Signal: Digital Ads Are Dead. No They’re Not. Discuss.

The first banner, at Hotwired. Yeah, I was there.

Themes over the past few days include the death and revival of digital display, confusion over another piece of digital legislation (CISPA), and video, video, video (oh, and big data). To the links:

Small Screens, Big Dollars (NYTimes) Wanting a slice of the $70B a year that is spent on television commercials, digital media companies are now a big part of the annual spring Upfronts. Last week’s Digital Content NewFronts brought major players, including FM, to Manhattan for a series of presentations directed at encouraging Madison Ave. marketers and agencies to spend more money on digital ads. If you weren’t in attendance, you can grab a front row seat to the event, via Signal’s Live Stream of 2012 DIGITAS Digital Content NewFront.

Growth Hacker is the New VP Marketing  (Andrew Chen) The classic, non-technical role of the VP of Marketing is rapidly fading due to a new breed of marketer/coder hybrids called Growth Hackers. Growth Hackers are faced with all of the usual marketing problems and questions, of course, but they solve and answer not only using direct marketing disciplines, but also by relying on technical and engineering disciplines. This new role is helping to change the look and feel of entire marketing teams as we know them.

Buzzfeed’s Jonah Peretti: Display Dollars Aren’t Coming Back (PaidContent) Jonah Peretti, a founder of both the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, sees display ads as artifacts, relics from yesteryear’s Internet. He notes that instead of going to portals to find content, today’s readers are turning to social media for stories, and it would be in the best interest of publishers to pay close attention. But can the current infrastructure support Peretti’s belief?

How CISPA would affect you (faq) (Cnet) A primer for those wondering what’s really going on here.

For Display Ads, Being Seen Matters More Than Being Clicked (comScore)  comScore, Inc. and Pretarget released results of an online advertising study which found that ad viewability and hover time are more strongly correlated with conversions than clicks or total impressions. Kirby Winfield, SVP of Corporate Development at comScore, believes the study helps  illuminate several findings. “First, it once again demonstrates the perils of relying on click-throughs for measuring the performance of display ad campaigns … Secondly, it highlights why the viewable impression … is significantly more meaningful than the unvalidated impression. Finally, this study shows why other non-click metrics of engagement, such as interaction or hovering, may be much more important in evaluating campaign performance than the click ever was. It’s time to start measuring the impact of campaigns using metrics that really matter, not just the ones that are most easily measured.”  For more on this story, read this piece from Ad Age.

Fixing Ads for Digital Media’s Golden Age
(Digiday) A new approach to storytelling will allow readers to explore content in more fluid ways, says Matt Sanchez: “Today’s digital publishers are forced to contend with the legacy systems put in place by both the Web and print. From uninspired, table-like layouts on Web pages to the linear, one-dimensional experience of reading print on paper, these relics of digital publishing’s predecessors have created a media experience that’s a mess. It’s time to start over. It’s time to rethink the relationship between content, editorial design and user experience.” Amen, and where’d you get that idea, bud?

Bombs Away! Web Ads Miss Their Target, All the Time (All Things D) An example that an ad on the Web may do a better job of reaching its audience than, for example, a magazine ad, but that doesn’t mean it’s doing a good job.

YouTube Launches Advertiser Playbook, Gives Away $50 Million In Free Advertising (SocialTimes) To kick off the launch of Google AdWords for Video, YouTube is offering $50M in free advertising to help businesses enter the video ad world. Businesses that open a new AdWords account can receive a $75 credit, which can be used to reach new customers on YouTube for one month. The company has also released an Advertiser Playbook to teach advertisers the best practices and strategies when it comes to creating great content and building a YouTube audience. And, to recognize businesses that have fostered a culture of entrepreneurship on YouTube, the company has introduced YouTube Marketing Ambassadors, a group of outstanding organizations that have used YouTube to drive sales and grow operations.

Two Top Microsoft Advertising Execs Departing (AdWeek) A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed the departure of Richard Dunmall, VP of Global Agencies and Accounts (advertising). Meanwhile, Marc Bresseel, Microsoft’s VP of Global Marketing, is said to also be leaving the company. No confirmation that he plans to jump ship, however. Anyone paying attention knows that the company has had to endure a few high-profile sales departures over the past year or so, starting with Carolyn Everson jumping to Facebook in February 2011, followed by the exit of Jay Sampson four months later. Sampson ran emerging media sales for Microsoft.

Why Digital Ad Forecasts Are Irrelevant: The Future Is Not Display Ads (AdAge)  Because there is no such thing as display advertising on most of the platforms where consumer attention is flowing (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, for example), James Gross believes that digital advertising will go through a radical transformation in 1-3 years, making digital ad forecasts irrelevant.

Digiday Launches Content Marketing Unit (Digiday) Digiday joins the mix of companies providing quality content services for advertisers with the launch of its new content-marketing arm, Digiday Content Studio. The Studio will operate separately from Digiday’s editorial operations, using different staff to produce content for marketers.

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