Company Headlines

Facebook Faces Social Advertising Lawsuit

Posted May 3, 2011 by admin @ 5:24 pm

Facebook Social Ads

Facebook finds itself confronting yet another lawsuit. This claim alleges violations of relatively obscure New York laws involving the privacy of minors. The Plaintiff seeks class action status as well as a portion of the site’s advertising revenue. Apparently New York law demands that marketers obtain parental permission prior to utilizing a minor’s name or likeness for commercial purposes.

Facebook’s “social” advertising platform inserts friend’s names into ad copy to achieve higher click through rates. These displays don’t feature profile pictures; however, the site incorporates the names and profile pictures of users who “like” business pages. Users may access these fan lists at any time. The suit alleges that since there’s no opt-out mechanism in place to disable this function, parents have no control over their children’s information or image.

While the monetary reward seems small at this point in time, class action status would likely increase the financial stake exponentially. Before passing judgment on the social networking giant, remember that social ads are restricted to users’ friends lists. Consequently, social ads stem in part from user generated content. Instead of worrying about these promotions, concerned parents should keep track of the individuals their children communicate with online. Kids should not be talking to strangers in the first place; their cyber circles ought to consist of peers, relatives, and select trusted adults. As long as their preferences remain age appropriate, there’s no harm in teens letting their classmates know where they buy clothes at the mall or which gaming system they’re addicted to.

It seems as though these parents are missing the point of joining Facebook altogether. Part of the allure comes from sharing personal preferences with others, especially for young people. Tweens and teens view brands as integral aspects of their identities. In essence, becoming a “fan” of a page is akin to self expression. These likes collectively form a unique persona that reinforces offline interaction. Becoming a fan of a band, movie, store, or clothing company solidifies a teen’s place within a particular clique, such as jocks, skaters, preppies, etc. Though disabling public proclamations of allegiance compromises the delicate nature of teenage social status, parents can always control their kids’ clicks. In the end, parents, not Facebook, must take responsibility for their children’s behavior.

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Favicons Alleviate Cyber Security Concerns

Posted May 2, 2011 by admin @ 5:36 pm


Advertisers Enhance Listing Legitimacy Through Branded Search Results integrates Favicons across an array of products, services, and brands. Associated advertisers gain instant brand recognition by presenting the familiar logos consumers know and trust alongside sponsored text ads.

Los Angeles, CA (PR WEB) May 2nd, 2011 –– Consumers often avoid online shopping for fear of falling victim to cyber crimes, such as identity theft and fraud. Online advertisers confront this problem on a daily basis. Many customers browse through their inventories without ultimately converting despite enhanced security measures. AdMedia’s introduction of Favicons into search results promises to lend advertisers the credibility they need to turn digital window shoppers into satisfied customers.

When users search for products and services on AdMedia brands (, such as, or publisher sites within the company’s network, they now see advertisers’ logos alongside sponsored links. The logos solidify an advertiser’s authority in the consumers’ minds, which increases click through rates and boosts sales. Favicons also bolster branding efforts at no cost to the client. Other leading search engines currently rely on general related images.

Users appreciate the ability to instantaneously verify a link’s trustworthiness without having to navigate away from the results page. This improves their browsing experience while protecting them from scammers and spammers. Naturally, the aura of advertiser authenticity benefits AdMedia Publishers as well. Users are more likely to return to sites that obviously partner with reliable marketing professionals.

For more information contact: Allen Steinberg, SVP of Business Development Phone: (800) 296-7104 Email:

Live Favicons on

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Persuasion Profiling & The Future of Advertising

Posted by admin @ 4:27 pm

Internet marketing affords advertisers a host of opportunities for creating content designed to appeal to specific individuals. This kind of targeting exposes the limitations within other mediums, such as television, print, and radio. While demographic data exists with regards to viewership, these broad trends reveal little about particular audience members. As such, it’s difficult to measure a campaign’s effectiveness. Online ads deliver instant data with respect to user response i.e. clicks as well as conversions; however, improvements in this arena are always welcome.

Most e-commerce sites currently rely on users’ browsing and purchasing patterns when it comes to recommending additional products. This model typically yields mixed results. It’s fairly easy to spot the gaping holes in this method. For instance, shopping for gifts skews the proposals towards someone other than the visitor in question. That renders this form of solicitation essentially useless in terms of initiating subsequent transactions. The problem resurfaces when multiple people utilize the same device. A family of four may own a single PC for the entire household, and each person likely seeks out different material.

Research suggests that instead of relying on browsing history, marketers should focus on psychological weaknesses. Advertisements generally pose a kind of persuasive argument, and the pitch’s power hinges upon the viewer’s vulnerabilities. Some find discounts difficult to resist whereas bandwagoning appeals to socialites of all ages. In the future, advertisers will be able to apply this kind of knowledge to achieve substantially higher CTRs. Of course, this analysis will prove invaluable in a variety of contexts. The political implications appear a bit disturbing to social scientists whereas privacy advocates decry this potential threat to anonymity. These naysayers envision an Orwellian nightmare, but this scenario bears little resemblance to reality. Persuasion profiling will be yet another tool for marketers to employ. Besides, over-exposure to a certain type of campaign would lead to desensitization. Marketers need engaged listeners, so they have no reason to exploit this technique ad nauseum. The idea that political candidates will be able to manipulate voters in this manner seems equally preposterous. Generating a large scale campaign capable of reaching millions of voters on a personal level would require an enormous budget. Additionally, drawing a parallel between online shopping and voting behavior represents a huge leap of logic. Political ads aim to influence actions months before they actually take place; banners induce short term participation via an immediate call to action. The distinction here cannot be considered subtle by any stretch of an overactive imagination.

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Smartphone Tracking & Mobile Advertising

Posted April 26, 2011 by admin @ 3:27 pm

Smartphones are quickly becoming commonplace gadgets these days. From corporate tycoons to tech obsessed teens, almost everyone owns or wants to purchase these amazing devices. The popularity of Smartphones probably won’t suffer despite the recent barrage of outrage over location based data collection. It seems that Google and Apple both track their respective consumers’ every move. While some feigned surprise over the revelation, this information shouldn’t really shock anyone.

A considerable amount of location stats stem from user generated interaction, such as mapping applications, search queries, restaurant recommendations, and the like. Of course, thousands of Smartphone users willingly reveal their exact GPS coordinates on Facebook Places and Foursquare, or simply post their whereabouts on Twitter. Perhaps consumers see a distinction between these behaviors and Apple’s. According to reports, Apple and Google maintain massive servers that stockpile user locations as frequently as every couple of seconds. Apple takes things a step further by creating files for individual iPhone users and storing detailed documentation of their movements without encrypting the data. This strikes privacy advocates as downright Orwellian, but both corporations gather these figures for advertising purposes and to improve the quality of their services. Companies need to know what’s going in order to deliver geo-targeted, relevant ads. Otherwise people would be stuck with ads that add no value to their lives. The logs also provide insight into dropped calls, internal/mechanical problems, and connection speed. Besides, what’s the harm in Apple knowing where you went throughout the day? Most people’s activities would be rather mundane, too monotonous to attract any interest. There’s no need to be suspicious, unless you’re doing something illegal or immoral.

Those bothered by the digital record keeping should probably read their mobile privacy policies in the future, preferably before joining a network. Apple released a public statement on this matter in June of 2010 and Google followed its lead shortly thereafter in December of 2010. Both companies should be lauded for their commitment to transparency, not criticized for their customers’ neglect. Additionally, it’s very easy to disable location tracking features on Smartphones. Manage the phone’s tracking capabilities through the settings menu. If you’re having trouble finding your way around, consult the owner’s manual or visit the manufacturer’s website for assistance. There are underground programs you can run that delete all the tracking data on your iPhone and computer for the truly paranoid.

UPDATE: Two plaintiffs in Florida just filed a class action lawsuit against Apple for iPhone tracking.

Filed under: Company Headlines

Super Sized Advertising

Posted April 25, 2011 by admin @ 5:17 pm

Documentary film maker Morgan Spurlock tackled the mother of all fast food giants in his 2004 film, Super Size Me. In his third cinematic foray, Spurlock explores product placement and the prevalence of advertising in American society. Spurlock explains that he decided to delve into this topic because most consumers don’t seem to realize the pervasiveness of standard marketing practices. He cites television shows and other forms of entertainment as examples of subtle product placement. Many consumers don’t seem to grasp that nothing appears on screen by accident; every camera shot is choreographed to maximize revenue for corporate sponsors.

In order to drive the point home, Spurlock obtains the project’s funding from a host of well known brands, including Jet Blue, Ban deodorant, Mini Cooper, and Pom Wonderful. The plot follows him as he meets and mingles with various company executives in an attempt to reveal what goes on behind the scenes. In exchange for meals, accommodations, air travel, and other expenses paid, Spurlock turns himself into a walking promotional tool. A few so called alternative brands, 7th Generation cleaning products for instance, hop on the bandwagon as well. For the purpose of establishing a contrast, Spurlock travels to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The city deemed outdoor advertising, such as billboards, flyers, etc., cultural pollution. Surveying the ad-free urban landscape effectively illustrates the ubiquitousness of contemporary commercialism.

The film opens nationwide on Friday, April 29th, though on limited engagement. Obviously, Spurlock aims for comedic overkill, but there’s no harm in promoting transparency in the advertising industry. For instance, he reveals the amount of funding necessary to reach the big screen along with the negotiations that deliver financial backing. The information presented in the film likely won’t alter consumer behavior in the long run. Spurlock is really selling awareness, and marketing professionals should be able to at least laugh at themselves. As an executive pointed out on camera, Spurlock’s pitch reveals a profound sense of respect for the audience. No one pulls the wool over anyone else’s eyes, and notorious consumer advocate Ralph Nadar gives listeners interesting food for thought. Perhaps the most telling topic involves the degree of control the sponsors attempt to exert over the creative process. No one wants to have their brand tarnished on screen, but there’s really no need to demand limitless oversight. Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold educates the public and reminds those behind the scenes not to take entertainment so…..seriously.

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Advertisers Unleash Flawless Contextual Banner Ads

Posted March 9, 2011 by admin @ 2:38 pm

Engage Enlighten Evolve

Discrete Displays Help Publishers Monetize Content introduces to promote industry leading targeting technology. Network advertisers and publishers embrace updated marketing platform that combines contextual and thematic content matching with search engine retargeting.

Online advertisers typically rely on keywords alone to determine the placement of their promotions within a site’s content. Consequently, ads end up on pages where they don’t belong; irrelevant ads perform poorly and often yield a negative return on investment. Contextual offers a revitalized system that corrects this common problem. By considering an article’s theme along with appropriate keywords, Contextual’s model increases click through rates tenfold.

The finely tuned contextual banners also employ search engine retargeting, which incorporates consumers’ own keyword queries from Google, Yahoo, and Bing into an ad’s copy. Customers often find products and services through search engines, but leave before making a purchase. Search engine retargeting takes their exact phrase and uses it in appropriate ads throughout the Contextual network. Consumers notice the ads, recognize their own terminology, and respond to the tailored text.

Publishers appreciate the banner’s extensive customizable features. Contextual gives them the opportunity to select the banner’s size as well as the background and text colors. Completely transparent ads preserve a site’s appearance to the fullest extent. These aesthetic options conform to a site’s layout and require no modifications on the publisher’s part. Ads that blend in with their surroundings add value to users while providing a steady source of additional revenue.

For more information contact: Allen Steinberg, SVP of Business Development Phone: (800) 296-7104 Email: allen dot steinberg at admedia dot com

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Pitfalls of Celebrity Tweets

Posted March 7, 2011 by admin @ 6:48 pm

The price for sponsored tweets keeps increasing, which signifies industry acceptance of this marketing method. Less than two months ago, Kim Kardashian reportedly earned $10,000 per paid tweet; today, the figure stands at over twice that amount. She makes a whopping $25,000 without lifting a finger as she doesn’t even write the posts herself. She’s certainly not alone in her willingness to exploit the micro-blogging site for personal financial gain. Celebrities ranging from Ashton Kutcher to Nichole Richie earn extra income by allowing ads in their Twitter streams. It’s exceedingly difficult to measure the effectiveness of such campaigns, but there’s certainly no shortage of eager investors.

Still, this strategy poses interesting ramifications for those willing to shell out the cash. Rapper 50 Cent repeatedly encouraged his followers to pour their resources into a bad investment. While his motivation didn’t stem from direct payment from the company in question, 50 Cent owns a significant number of shares in the business. As such, he indirectly profited from these promotions. Curiously, none of his messages contained any indication of their commercial nature. The tweets may not qualify as traditional advertising, and inadvertently exposed a loophole in Twitter’s identification system. Nevertheless, his actions violated federal law and the associated firm faces the threat of prosecution as well. Other stars involved in Twitter penny stock scandals include Carmen Electra and Shaquille O’Neal.

Conflict of interest issues aside, there are other potential problems involved with star powered promotions. Out of work actor Charlie Sheen publicly turned to Twitter with the intent to capitalize on the so-called “cash cow”. Sheen’s record breaking Twitter debut following a rash of incoherent interviews earned him a massive audience within less than a week. Since his every post seems to turn into a trending topic, advertising executives are quickly estimating the value of his endorsements.

The ample amount of followers likely feeds Sheen’s ego, but there might be a degree of miscommunication going on. Sheen’s antics provide comedic relief for many. In all probability, his Twitter followers are tuning in for a daily or hourly dose of crazy. In other words, the vast majority won’t take his advice seriously. The misinterpretation of his media attention undoubtedly benefits Sheen’s bank account, too, yet their value for advertisers remains questionable. Celebrity tweets represent unique branding opportunities, but what company wants to be affiliated with insane tirades or erratic behavior?

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In Skin Ads

Posted February 28, 2011 by admin @ 6:58 pm

Most marketers are familiar with the phrase “in-text advertising,” though the concept of in skin probably doesn’t ring a bell. New Zeland hipster mecca Superette teamed up with regional advertising giant DDB Group in order to generate a provocative promotional campaign. Superette’s pushing short shorts for both men and women, so they decided to make a lasting impression on local fashionistas. To get that message across in an unconventional manner, they scattered indented plates throughout various seating areas in a busy downtown shopping district. Unsuspecting leg barers taking a load off on a park bench or sitting at a bus stop found themselves stuck with advertisements literally embedded in their skin.

These temporary body modifications didn’t hurt anybody, but they certainly didn’t win any points in the tastefulness category. Though Superette claims the stunt targeted a unisex demographic that seems hard to believe. There are far more women than men walking around with exposed thighs; “branding” a woman’s leg is an obvious attempt to grab male attention. Additionally, younger, shapely women are more likely to wear revealing clothes. The ad placement reveals a deliberate attempt at exploitation.

Reputable online marketers constantly strive for so-called permission based techniques, such as opt-ins and privacy protections. Internet advertisers aren’t supposed to send someone an email without his or her consent, yet Superette is allowed to turn unsuspecting women into walking billboards?

According to their website, nothing’s beyond DDB Group. This statement likely reflects a willingness to embrace guerrilla marketing tactics. There’s nothing wrong with challenging conventions and breaking new ground up to a point. Still, their latest attempt to grab the headlines crossed the line. The old adage that there’s no such thing as bad press doesn’t apply in this instance. Implementing the idea probably cost a lot of money, and most of the impressions were more or less illegible. In other words, this stunt wasn’t really about getting a message across. It was the marketing equivalent of shock rock: juvenile, boring, and forgettable .

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Is Advertising a Substitute for Originality?

Posted February 22, 2011 by admin @ 3:48 pm

Marketing experts G. Michael Maddox and Raphael Louis Viton pose a radical theory in a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article. They contend that advertising budgets are nothing more than symbolic taxes that companies must pay to compensate for a lack of creativity. This scathing analysis reaches a hyperbolic conclusion, yet their rationale deserves further exploration.

The crux of their argument lies within the advent of social media as a means of interpersonal communication. Research demonstrates that people are more likely to purchase a product or service based on a friend’s recommendation as opposed to a company sponsored advertisement. After all, friends have nothing to gain by telling each other about useful items, cool gadgets, or tasty snacks. If anything, they stand to lose credibility should their suggestions prove ill advised. Social forces dictate sharing worthwhile tidbits because advice makes or breaks an individual’s reputation. Advertisers, on the other hand, aren’t interested in preserving their good names. Brand loyalty isn’t always their top priority and some products are intended to be fly by night gimmicks. Besides, no one holds marketing executives accountable for promoting inferior products. In many cases, the free market does not determine their success or failure because they aren’t pushing their own inventory to begin with. Basically, social networks give consumers the option of truly considering the source of an endorsement.

Maddox and Viton believe that companies with large advertising budgets should reevaluate their business strategies. They cite the infamous Super Bowl ads as a perfect example of ultimately wasteful spending. These primetime TV spots cost literally millions, yet the return on that substantial investment is minimal at best. Lots of companies don’t even bother trying to sell new stuff on game day; they simply toss the same old pieces into a funny package and hope that the punch line sticks.

Maddox and Viton correctly point out that the money spent on ads could be diverted into research and development of novel ideas. Nevertheless, their sweeping generalizations have limited applicability outside of Madison Avenue. Big corporations needn’t depend on aggressive marketing to get the word out, but small businesses get lost in the shuffle without a competitive adspend. Local mom and pops rely on word of mouth to a certain extent to stay afloat. Still, it’s never wise to depend on chatty customers alone. Visibility is a chief concern for independent entrepreneurs, which justifies supporting a steady string of advertising campaigns. Companies interested in expanding their consumer bases should take Maddox and Viton’s advice in stride. Innovation means next to nothing without brand recognition.

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Analyzing Video Ads

Posted February 18, 2011 by admin @ 1:28 pm

video ads

Video ads are almost as common as banners these days. Almost all of the professional videos on start off with an advertisement, though the promotions are rarely related to the content provided. This reflects the challenge of targeting within music that may appeal to a diverse consumer base. Nevertheless, video marketing is quickly turning into a dominant platform. Its rise in popularity merits further examination into the utility of this phenomenon. FreeWheel’s Video Monetization study delves into the matter and uncovers some surprising insights.

Advertisers have several options at their disposal when it comes to placement. For instance, pre-rolls start at the very beginning of a video whereas mid-rolls appear halfway through. Pre-rolls currently dominate the scene. Many simply assume that pre-rolls are better from the viewer’s perspective because they don’t disrupt the desired content’s flow. Additionally, pre-rolls complement short form content, defined as five minutes in length or less, due to time constraints. These pre-rolls tend to last for either 15 or 30 seconds. Given the prevalence of the 2-3 minute video duration, it would seem as though 15 second ads would yield higher completion rates. FreeWheel’s findings demonstrate the exact opposite. In short form content, 30 second spots perform better in terms of completion.

When it comes to long form content, which spans at least 20 minutes, mid-rolls deliver optimum results. According to FreeWheel, long form videos with interstitial mid-rolls generate the strongest achievements. However, this information may be a bit misleading and easily lends itself to misinterpretation. Overzealous executives should not start making 20 minute presentations when the usual 3 minutes will suffice. Expansive intervals usually indicate some form of entertainment, such as a television show or live music broadcast. While the data indicates that consumers are getting used to the idea of exchanging brief ads for free viewing, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll embrace a 30 minute product demo.

As for the ad’s content, consumers obviously respond to behavior based targeting. They’re also accepting and even enthusiastic about things that make them laugh. Humor is subjective, and can be hard to pull off. Creativity enhances audience appreciation, but being informative compensates for what’s lacking in other areas.

Filed under: Company Headlines
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