Insights at SES New York

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Budgets for new media up in 2007

Emerging media such as mobile, video and social networks are getting more budget allocations this year, according to top media buyers in a session called "Where are you spending your clients' money?"

As agencies are faced with the challenge of how to allocate spending for these emerging channels and the more basic channels, it is important to look at the product or service that the firm offers and link that to where consumers are.

"Advertising media investment choices are driven by consumer and business priorities," said David Rittenhouse, group planning director at neo@Ogilvy, New York. "It's about targeting to your audience where they are. And the confusing part of that is that consumer media usage is in flux and ever changing. Key opportunities we're seeing [are] in channels like online video, microsites, podcasting and mobile."

Tessa Wegert, digital strategist at interactive agency Enlighten, Ann Arbor, MI, agreed that video is a market that is about to grow for online spending.

"One-third of the population watched online video last year and the expected ad spend for 2007 is $775 million," she said. "There is no shortage of potential in the online video space."

Ms. Wegert spoke of the potential of creating serial content for ads placed in free online television shows and movies that run in three or four slots during the program.

Robin H. Neifield, CEO of NetPlus Marketing Inc., disagreed with the influence of online video, emphasizing the importance in testing for all campaigns. She hasn't seen many proven results when it comes to conversion and online video campaigns.

However, Ms. Neifield did stress the emerging channel of mobile as offering great potential for direct marketing.

"Penetration is huge," she said. "Seventy-two percent of us have mobile phones and ad spending has a huge opportunity to reach this audience. But it is important to send the right message and focus on peer-to-peer communication and not to overdo it."

Podcast optimization

Amanda Watlington, founder of Searching for Profit, said to optimize for podcasts well one had to understand the reason why it's worth doing in the first place.

"The benefits of podcasting are many: They're easily indexed; it's a low-cost medium; and they add a human-relationship element to companies," Ms. Watlington said. "But they also require an ongoing commitment. This includes choosing the topic for each show selectively, using the right keywords and metadata, and getting it all into the audio, too."

Optimization requires adding unique titles, artists' or hosts' names, year, track or episode number, URLs and links to each show. It's also a good idea to add a description or abstract of the show on the show's landing page as it will improve the chances that the podcast will be picked up by the search engines.

"Use your podcasts to share interviews and [for] PR purposes," Ms. Watlington said. "You must aggressively seek listeners, so blog about your upcoming shows and use RSS feeds. Use your communication tools."

Daron Babin, CEO of Webmaster Radio, underscored the importance of using metrics provided by content delivery networks to monitor the effectiveness of your podcasts and also to be prepared to pay a premium for good statistics and podcasting quality.

"For effective monetization in podcasting, most of all look at your numbers that are helpful for generating revenue," Mr. Babin said. "Also consider ad insertion into your podcasts."

Rick Klau, vice president of publisher services at FeedBurner, which manages more than 100,000 podcast feeds, also emphasized how important it was for anyone producing podcasts to learn about the options and tools to optimize their shows.

"Not everybody, for instance, is using iTunes, even though it dominates two-thirds of the market," he said. "So it's important to realize that not everyone is listening to podcasts on their iPod and that it is important, for example, to pay attention to what other players require."

Mobile search

Panelists at a mobile optimization session yesterday emphasized how important it was to ensure that content is optimized for mobile search tools.

"There are currently 234 million wireless subscribers who are using the mobile Web while on the run," said Rachel Pasqua, director of mobile marketing at iCrossing, Scottsdale, AZ.

Ms. Pasqua said that site content should first address the needs of mobile users. Consider what is important to users in the mobile context.

Cindy Krum, senior search engine optimization analyst at BlueMoon Works, said that marketers should test their sites on multiple devices since there is no standard-size mobile screen.

"People don't have time to learn your site," Ms. Krum said. "Make sure nothing is more than three clicks away from the home page because the connection on mobile phones is slow."

Navigation should appear at the top of your home page, limiting the amount of scrolling that users have to do.

On the whole, assume visitors will be slow to scroll, said Gregory Markel, founder and president of Infuse Creative LLC. He said mobile search is supposed to take up as little time as possible.

Target non-click-through customers

Panelists at the "Advertising in Social Media" session talked about how marketers can successfully promote their brands and products in social media.

"There are five different kinds of people viewing your ads," said Bill Flitter, vice president of marketing at Pheedo Inc. "There's the uninterested viewer, the one who needs more information, the existing happy customer, the one who is too busy and everyone's favorite - the click through."

Most people target the click-through customer, but what about all the others? Other prospects have value as well, Mr. Flitter said.

The customer who needs more information can be asked to subscribe to information, read a review or speak to a happy customer.

The busybody can be given the option of book marking or even forwarding on the information to a friend. If this potential customer ever needs your product or service, he or she will have the option of going back to it.

The happy customer should not be left out, Mr. Flitter said. This individual possesses the power to advocate for your brand through experience.

"It's important not to leave anyone out and to give them all something to do," Mr. Flitter said. "Engage them all."

Nicole Bogus, leader of the gossip blog team at BlogAds, said that multiple links, strong images, faux video, hand-made feel and invitations to click are all good tactics of an ad.

"Its all about content rather than hard sell," Ms. Bogus said.

Video optimization

The market for online videos is booming. SES panelists said a whopping 123 million Americans consume videos online. Seventy-two percent of Americans watch news videos online. More than a quarter of that group is watching at least once a week.

Clearly, producing video content can lead to success - as long as your content can easily be found.

"Video pages are strong contenders in regular search results, thanks to viral-driven linking," said Sherwood Stranieri, search marketing director at Catalyst, Newtonville, MA.

Most video viewers and searchers are using YouTube, Yahoo Video and Google Video.

"A challenge in this area is the lack of a simple taxonomy and standards for producers," said Eric Papczun, director of natural search at Performics, Chicago. "In addition, search is too dependent on the text around video."

If you're producing video content, it is important to think like the video searcher. In addition, video optimization entails surrounding the video with HTML, creating video site maps, repeating video keywords and tagging files and scenes, Mr. Papczun said.

Searchable video content is key when building a video campaign, according to panelists on another session called "Online Video Advertising."

"Video is social, and with all social media people who are going to be successful are those that don't just market, but become a part of the online community and address the needs of that community," said Chad Stoller, executive director of emerging platforms at digital marketing agency Organic Inc.

Ian Schafer, founder and CEO of Deep Focus, said his agency recently partnered with video ad network ScanScout, which creates targeted ads in real time based on keywords, audio scanning and video image scanning.

These three components are key when it comes to searching for video content since user-generated video makes the Internet an endless sea of content.

Keywords should be incorporated with content, according to Dorian Sweet, executive creative director at interactive marketing agency Tribal DDB (www.tribalddb.com), New York.

"Using key language is important to getting the message out in any campaign, and with video it is important to integrate the visual language and the keyword language," Mr. Sweet said.

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