The Time is Now for SEM.
As the economy enters a seemingly deep recession, marketers are beginning to see their dollars cut. With those cuts come hard decisions regarding advertising. TV, Radio, Print, Direct, and Online among others, will all likely be considered. This leads to a discussion of which, if any, forms of advertising are recession proof. It is our opinion that Search Engine Marketing is best positioned to be ‘recession proof’. Google, which relies on text advertising for the bulk of their revenue, reported revenue up 31% compared to 2007. Yahoo, on the other hand, which relies heavily upon display advertising, reported a 64% drop in profit and plans to cut at least 10% of its staff. Meanwhile, the other forms of advertising (radio, TV, and print) are seeing more budget cut. While cuts in marketing are painful, Search Engine Marketing offers several benefits that other forms of marketing do not. It is completely transparent, trackable, and contextualized to what the user is looking for. Instead advertising broad, SEM allows companies to filter right down to the user. Structured around the action of a user typing in a unique keyword that you bid on, SEM allows you to only pay when a user clicks on your ad. Being able to track every dollar and calculate ROI insulates Search from the other forms of marketing that invest more in brand awareness and interaction than they do with hard sales.
-Jeff Lawrence, Online Advertising Director, HEILBrice
Netflix Not Just For Snail Mail.
One of the longest-awaited partnerships in home video finally appears to be ready as Netflix and TiVo Thursday unveil a plan to offer customers films on demand via the Internet. By early December, following a technology test, Netflix will stream any of 12,000 movies and TV shows to its subscribers who also subscribe to TiVo — and have a Series 3 or high-definition DVR connected to broadband. “In terms of two long-standing brands coming together, this has great significance,” says TiVo CEO Tom Rogers. They planned a similar service in 2004; Mike Ramsay, then TiVo’s CEO, resigned from the Netflix board to avoid a conflict of interests. But studios refused to license films, fearing that it would hurt DVD sales. Since then, “We have a great head of steam on those content rights, and we’re trying to get our streaming software in every Internet box,” says Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. His company has separate deals to transmit films to equipment made by LG, Samsung, Roku and Microsoft’s X-Box. The service has few recent hits: Studios offer films for streaming after they’ve run on premium channels including HBO and Showtime, although Netflix has a deal to offer some films licensed to Starz.
Merger Making Cents.
Yahoo and Time Warner’s AOL unit continue to discuss a possible merger, a person familiar with the talks told Reuters on Wednesday. The two companies are looking at each other’s books to figure out how much money they could make together and where costs can be saved. While noting a deal was not imminent, the source said the two companies have engaged in “meaningful” due diligence about a possible combination for the past couple of weeks. Talks began several months ago, when Yahoo was looking for an alternative growth strategy to fend off a $47.5 billion takeover bid from Microsoft. One possible scenario is Yahoo would fold AOL’s content and advertising business into its own operations, and Time Warner would get a stake in the combined company. Integration concerns would likely revolve around how to fold AOL’s advertising network into Yahoo’s operations, choosing whether to keep separate portals and email services, and squeezing out cost savings by reducing duplication, one former AOL executive said on condition of anonymity.
Strangest Media Opportunity of the Week: The Outdoor Beard.
In all ways but one it was your standard billboard, one based on Diet Mountain Dew’s “Surprising Facts” TV campaign, in which we learn, among other things, that ferrets attack more people than grizzly bears and that the yo-yo was invented as a weapon. In the billboard, we see a man and a comely woman in an office situation, with the words, “Attraction makes beards grow faster.” That’s the surprising fact. But more surprising to Los Angeles motorists tooling past the Hollywood & Highland Center is that the man’s beard appears to be growing. And indeed it is. Every two weeks or so more hair is attached to the man’s beard. “Because it’s in such a busy area, we wanted more than just a plain two-dimensional billboard,” says Peter Kain, creative director. “Part of creating the campaign was digging up surprising facts. The beard fact we had for a while, and this was the best opportunity to use it.” The board went up in August and will stay up until the end of the year. Other markets are being considered.
Sources: Media Post 10/27/08; Advertising Age 10/27/08; Research Brief 10/27/08; Media Life 10/27/08, photobucket.com 2008, USA Today, Reuters