Weds. Signal: It’s Ad Week. What Does That Mean, Anyway?

Google’s new “Lightbox” ad format.

In today’s Signal: Advertising Week is in full swing and fixed on tech – which still confuses ad folk; Google’s new Lightbox ad format promises increased engagement; Microsoft is “re-imagining the portal experience”; the largest social media platforms aren’t necessarily the best; the Internet is where the media jobs are; through its own consumer study, L’Oreal finds that everything it thought it knew about people is not true; and more.

To the links …

Advertising Week Kicks Off with Focus on Tech (NYT) Move over, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, this year’s Advertising Week, which began on Monday, welcomed a few new sponsors  — Adobe, Amazon, AMC Networks, Machinima, Pandora, Premier Retail Networks, Telemundo, Time Inc. and Twitter — and will feature a trade show called Advertising Week Experience, which is being billed as a technology showcase.

Google Announces New “Lightbox” Ad Format: Advertisers Only Pay When Users Expand The Ad (TechCrunch) Internal tests at Google found that the smart hover feature of its new Lightbox ad format eliminated nearly 100% of accidental expansions and increased engagement by 6 to 8 times over standard click-to-expand ads. The new ads can include a variety of content, including YouTube videos, games, photos, and more. Plus, an extension to mobile is in the works.

Microsoft Weaves MSN Portal With Windows 8 Platform (AdAge) The new MSN Web portal design, shown off at IAB’s MIXX Conference and Expo in New York City, includes colored tiles similar to Windows 8, Windows Phone and the Surface tablet. Microsoft’s president of web services Qi Lu also unveiled new looks for Bing, Bing News and MSN Money, and took the opportunity to restate Microsoft’s commitment to the ad business.

Brand View: New Social Platforms to Watch (Digiday) The biggest social media platforms aren’t necessarily the best ones for your business. Digiday asks a few content, brand and social media directors what they’re keeping their eyes on in the social media space.

L’Oreal: Ads Matter Less (Digiday) Insights gleaned from a study L’Oreal conducted with Tremor Video are reshaping how, where and why, and with whom the beauty brand does business. L’Oreal is focusing more on content now than ever before, because, according to CMO Marc Speirchert, there’s nothing more powerful than a great story, well told.

Internet is Second-Largest Media Employer (AdAge) One in six people employed in the U.S. media industry now work for internet-media businesses. The only U.S. media sector with more employees is newspapers. But in the past year papers have cut an average of 1,400 jobs a month while internet-media businesses have added an average 400 jobs a month.

People Spinoff Uses Twitter Wallpaper as Ad Space (AdAge) When People StyleWatch, the fashion and shopping spinoff of People magazine, turned the background of its Twitter page into an ad for Jergens Daily Moisture people noticed, and Twitter responded. Through a spokesman, the company reiterated that the background space “is the user’s to customize,” and encouraged users to be clear if they are promoting something in that space “for money or other consideration.”

Forecast: Internet to Grab More Global Ad Share (PaidContent) The Internet will attract 16 percent more advertising dollars through 2013, while newspapers and magazines will lose two percent of their ad money, according to ZenithOptimedia’s latest forecast.

Bravo Report: How Networks, Advertisers Can Turn Smartphones, Tablets Into Profit (Exclusive) (TheWrap) Bravo TV and Latitude Research have conducted a study of the viewing habits of “multi-screeners” and found that not only does advertising across all screens increase the effectiveness of the advertisements, but also smartphones can actually help prevent viewers from missing ads.The bad news for both advertisers and networks, according to The Wrap, is that “those using multiple screens are also more likely to look away from the TV, a phenomenon the research describes as ‘attention shifts.’ People using three screens as opposed to two shift their attention nearly twice as much.”

Ad-Supported Internet Contributes $530 Billion to the U.S. Economy (AdAge) A study by Harvard Business School researchers that was commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau found that the ad-supported Internet ecosystem directly employed about 2 million people in 2011, up from about 1 million in 2007, and is also “indirectly” responsible for another 3.1 million jobs at companies that service the businesses at the core. Among the fastest growing company types were ad networks, exchanges, analytics firms and digital ad agencies

Facebook Mulls Selling Premium Business Services (CNBC) Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg sat down with Julia Boorstin to discuss where FB has been and where it’s going. Sandberg admitted that she is “disappointed and really surprised by what happened in the IPO,” and added that the company has been “rolling out products pretty aggressively” and, above all else, has started to focus more on monetization. “I think what we’ve done since the IPO is continue to really focus on building that business,” she said. “And I think we’re executing better and better.”

Michael Wolff: What Ad Biz Needs Are Writers (USAToday) Michael Wolff believes that there is a severe lack of writers in the ad biz. “The historical partnership between graphic designer and copywriter has, more and more, become a partnership between project manager and programmer, or videographer and editor, or media buyer and researcher,” he writes. In his eyes, if someone has to write an ad, rather than conceptualize, produce or program it, that person’s career in advertising is going well. So, he pitched an idea to USA Today editors, and they bit. The paper is now offering a million dollars in free — yep, free — advertising pages if you can fill a blank page “smartly,” and spell out your idea with “cleverness, wit, style and economy of words.” Brilliant!

Dennis Crowley To Advertisers: Foursquare Is ‘Pretty Much Open For Business’ (TechCrunch) After working on its ad products (read: the company’s merchant platform) for 3.5 years, Foursquare is starting to monetize. Despite the delays, Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley believes that the company has a big advantage, because it isn’t trying to make money from ads that consumers try to ignore. Instead, it’s monetizing through discounts and specials, which some users call “my favorite part of the app.”

The Long Goodbye? (AdWeek) Microsoft claims to be very serious about advertising, even in the wake of missteps, but the ad world isn’t so sure. Doubts have only grown since the company’s recent broad-based retrenchment and the noticeable talent drain.

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