Friday, September 21, 2007

Finally we are getting somewhere, by Even Aas-Eng

Myspace has for the past six months been trying out their new ad platform customizing ads to their users based on their psychographic data. Myspace has an enormous amount of data about what their user do, what they don’t do, what they like, who their friends are, who’s their hero’s, what’s their previous responsiveness to ads and a lot of other things. All in all they are now offering advertisers a segmentation tool that we have not seen before.

Let’s walk around the mine field of privacy issues that surrounds this topic and talk about what this development means for the commercialisation of the web.

Three weeks ago I attended a seminar where Jack Myers spoke on the development of US online media prices. He told us that the average price per CPM had dropped significantly the last years. The reason for this being the abundance of online inventory (blogs,communities,chats,etc). The opportunity however is that with good targeting tools we should be able to segment that massive WWW and be able to show ads just to those people we want to reach. This will be positive for advertiser as their ROI will increase, it will benefit media companies as they will make more money on each user and it will benefit the agency scene as campaigns get more complicated and their competence is needed. It’s a win/win/win situation! Why this development has taken so long is beyond me.

We are really talking about a long tail tool here. Ad technology that incorporates user’s demographic and behavioural data will enable advertisers to utilize the long tail of websites. Media campaigns will turn extremely fragmented and complex but they will also be accurate and extremely effective. The technology enables us, human heads makes it a success.

Ad networks will be the big winners. Big pools of traffic gathered in Google adsense or at advertising.com will be split into countries, counties, cities, borrows, gender, age, income, education, professions, hobbies and sold to the highest bidder with a product that matches perfectly. Volume is key or volumes of niches are key, the ad networks have it. The person that I recently talked to in Norway that said she was sceptical to ad networks as a channel for advertising has tough times ahead!

Another winner will be communities. Think about all the info that you have added to your facebook profile. Your favourite music, movies, books, pictures, info about your travels, basically your entire life is there. What a potential advertising goldmine! Facebook is working on a similar product as Myspace and it’s my guess that it won’t take long before we can read about it in ad age.

Search is another interesting area. The logic behind search advertising is really what started this whole trend. Present ads that in some way match the search. Very easy to understand and very effective. Everyone that has Google toolbar have seen the search history box, interesting isn’t it? Don’t you think that your search log says quite a lot about who you are and what you do? Google hasn’t used this knowledge in their adwords technology yet (as far as I know!) but they will and when they do it will make search marketing even more effective.

This all looks a bit scary but it makes perfect business sense! The comforting bit for all users is that they will group us, they won’t come after us as individuals. At least not yet………