Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, July 30, 2021

I’ve been harping on this for a while now (since 2006, in fact), and now I find an ally in Sky Road Consulting’s Kevin Mannion: We both think that online advertising metrics are unduly obsessed with the actionable clickthru.

Advertisers know these things, yet because of the promise of clickstream metrics, they have continued to hope against hope that somehow their Omniture server logs, their agencies and their online publishing partners will show them the metrics that their advertising is indeed working…

Let’s stop the insanity of trying to make display advertising something it is not. It cannot even win when display advertising is the primary reason a customer goes to a site and buys something. Display advertising has always been aimed above the sales funnel — to attract people into a brand engagement that begins with awareness. Using online search to find a product is seriously down the funnel, and searching for a specific vendor is near the end of the whole process.

It’s pretty simple: An eye-catching online ad doesn’t need to generate a click to be effective. The numbers that ultimately matter are the ones that end up in the cash register, and that’s impacted by enough advertising wherever consumer eyeballs are trained. There’s a certain degree of imprecision in the big picture, even with ever-improving datamining; and that’s something that new-media mavens are going to have to accept, like it or not.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/30/2009 07:59pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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done garees
Combine sado-masochistic bondage headgear with the soft, comfortable fit of blue jeans, and you’ve got… Well, you’ve got a Wranglers ad that just screams “only in Japan”.

A muffled scream, by the looks of those masks. Good thing denim is a breathable fabric, or else the lack of air-holes for the nostrils might be a problem. Or not, depending on the kinky context. I also like how the mouth area is occupied by a back pocket with the Wrangler patch dead center, conveying the impression of an oral cavity. Not that I’d be brave enough to stick my hand into that pocket…

Just one more fashion-design observation, before my mind gets completely blown: Do you think there’s a zipper in the back of those things — standard sex-wear flourish — or, in keeping with the relaxed-fit motif, a button-fly?

Before you get too weirdly excited, the buzzkill: These gimp-inspired cowls are not for sale. I’m sure these print ad props are proudly displayed as conversation pieces in some studio apartment in Tokyo right now, though.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/30/2009 01:55pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, Fashion, Pop Culture
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If you’ve copied a chunk of article text off of Politico or the New York Daily News websites lately, you might have noticed a surprise: An accompanying “read more” hyperlink appearing at the end of that pasted excerpt (and it is just an excerpt, I hope — not an entire wholly-swiped article). That JavaScripted magic is courtesy of Tracer, an audience-participation measurement tool from start-up Tynt.

And it’s just the tip of the iceberg in what Tracer tracks:

In truth, it’s annoying, if not a dealbreaker, to find unwanted text attached to what you’ve copied. And the referral traffic from such links is, by all accounts, modest. But I’m much more impressed by Tracer’s backend, which allows publishers to see which pages — and, even better, which parts of those pages — are most frequently copied. In a creepy twist, Tracer also counts how many times text is highlighted on a page, even if the user never reaches for the ⌘ and C keys. (Or ctrl and C for PC types.)

I’m not sure precisely what that’s measuring, but it feels like engagement. Readers who are moved to copy a passage are likely sharing that content with friends — in an email as much as a blog. (I first discovered the “read more” link some weeks ago when a friend quoted a New York Daily News article in Gchat. “whoa,” I wrote. “that is weird! i could probably wring a post out of that. thank you!”) Dayton Foster, Tynt’s chief operating officer, told me that on news sites, widely viewed content like stories about Michael Jackson aren’t copied as much as less popular but more focused articles. “Niche stuff that’s really good quality will get copied the most,” he said. “Sports is a really great example.”

(And no, that blockquote above from Nieman Journalism Lab did not have a Tracer link on it.)

No surprise on that last bit. The big-big-big news is so widespread over numerous sites that people know they don’t have to do the keyboard-clicking gruntwork. But more targeted, unique content stands out. I’m betting that the sports example Foster is citing above is fantasy sports columns, which are so decidedly singular in tone and customized content that they prompt roto-heads to go the extra mile when disseminating (usually on forum boards, which flow better without links).

The stated purpose of this tracking is to lower page bounce rates and encourage referral traffic back to the original sites. What’s not mentioned: Plagiarism and digital-rights management. Obviously, that appended link is easy enough to delete, so anyone getting busted via this method would be strictly the low-hanging fruit of the content-theft world. It would be nice if it exposed blatant content-scraping bots and such; if it also appends that link to RSS feeds, it would help shut down those vultures.

Otherwise, it’s a harmless enough tool. I’m not going to be thrilled about doing a backspace-delete every time I copy a snippet of news-story text, but I can live with it; I probably fuss more with copy-and-pasted excerpts than most bloggers do anyway. It’s not enough to dissuade me from using that site, and I already link back to the article permalinks when I cite them. Actually, those Tracer-encoded links might even save me a step.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/30/2009 01:19pm
Category: Internet, Publishing
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