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Emerging trends for marketers

Emerging trends for marketers

Excerpts and commentary compiled by the leadership team at Universal McCann’s Global Digital Communications Practice

Net video ads: attention vs. annoyance

Marketers and Web sites alike are struggling to bring to the Internet ads that resemble television without turning off viewers.  Spending on online video ads represents less than 4 percent of all Internet advertising and just 1 percent of the amount spent on TV, according to eMarketer.

But growth is expected - with the research firm forecasting U.S. spending more than tripling to $4.3 billion in 2011 - especially as more viewers embrace full-length TV episodes and other video online.  The challenge is finding the right formula - in the creative approach, the format or the frequency with which the ads appear - so visitors notice the pitches without getting so annoyed that they never come back.

Last Word: Online video content consumption will continue to grow at exponential rates for the next several years.  It is incumbent upon us as marketers to experiment with the most engaging and relevant forms of advertising to accompany that content.

Testing a variety of ad lengths, formats, placements, and technologies will lead to a more satisfying user experience – and ultimately a more impactful ad message.
Microsoft's rapt acquisition enhances ad offerings

Microsoft took another stride in its race against Google with the acquisition of Rapt, a company that helps Web publishers manage their advertising. Rapt produces software that creates a database of a publisher's ad inventory, whether they are self-sold or collected from ad serving networks. Publishers can also use it to track and forecast ad performance. Rapt will be added to Microsoft's Atlas Publisher Suite.

Last Word: Inventory management and impression forecasting are some of the most vexing challenges for web publishers today.  Through this acquisition, Microsoft will have an even more compelling offering to compete with Google/Doubleclick’s DART for Publishers solution.

By running the publishers inventory management systems, Microsoft would get a first-row seat in deciding who gets the ad call (which ad network) – potentially giving MSFT an advantage as it continues to grow its own online advertising solution.
China becomes largest web surfing country in the world

BDA China, a Beijing-based consulting and research firm has announced that there are 220 million Web surfers in China, a number which slightly surpasses the 217 million in the United States and makes the country the largest Internet-connected population in the world.  By the end of the year it is expected that China’s surfers will number as high as 280 million, a full 30% more than the same time in 2007.

The majority of Web browsing purportedly takes place inside Internet cafes; locations which may soon begin being require to register every customer so they can keep track on what each person accesses.

Last Word: Clearly the web represents a global audience – and it is critical that we leverage the scale and scope of our digital activities.  Partners that have a global remit and can harness the global power of the Internet will be our must valuable asset in the years to come.

Bill Gates predicts decade of convergence

The coming decade will bring even more advances in software and computing than the last ten years, bringing new ways to watch television, to use telephones and to input information into computers, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates predicted last Thursday.

Changes in software and computing over the next decade will be "very substantial" and will permeate all facets of life, Gates told a crowd of about 1,100 people during a Northern Virginia Technology Council breakfast in Washington, DC. Computers and software have changed how people take photographs and purchase music, but other industries will be affected just as much in coming years, he said.

Last Word: Talk about job security!

AOL to Acquire Bebo for $850 million

Despite intense pressure from Wall Street, slowed revenue growth and apparent management dysfunction, AOL continues to be aggressive on the acquisition front. The Time Warner-owned Web pioneer said that it has agreed to acquire Bebo, a fast-growing social networking site best known for its popularity in the U.K., for $850 million.

According to AOL, Bebo claims 40 million registered members worldwide, including a strong presence in Ireland and New Zealand. The site, which has a growing U.S. audience, shares several aspects of much larger rivals MySpace and Facebook, as users can create personal profiles, share photos and videos, listen to music and generally express themselves.

Last Word: Oh my. Before Bebo, AOL had a lot of work to do to ingest their other acquisitions: AdTech, Tacoda, Goowy, and Third Screen Media to name a few.  Adding Bebo to that list makes one wonder if they shouldn’t focus on their current integration challenges before adding additional layers of complexity. 

The race to see who collects the most “toys” continues in the digital publisher space….

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