Best Digital Campaign 2009

Not surprisingly , it goes to Tourism Queensland.

The internet was abuzz post the campaign breaking out.  For those not aware , the campaign essentially offers people the opportunity to come and be a caretaker of an island for 6 months and earn 105,000 USD during the period for essentially doing nothing beyond lazing and reporting to the world through video and imags. More details here.

The campaign got its official recognition through the MIXX Awards 2009 where it was selected as the Best in Show.

Any thoughts on what could have been India’s best for 2009?

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Small Publishers and Ad -Networks

I was recently going through a study conducted by Tyroo.com , which they have posted for public consumption here which attempt to bring into light how the small publisher market is operating with respect to India. While i dont deate the facts and fiures published , i was reasonably surprised to see the data skewed because of one issue which they did not mention or address , in my opinion, basis that , the study , atleast parts of it stand redundant.

If you go through the study , there are a few topics which are  totally off..

  • Do they prefer ad networks..and why?
  • Relevancy of ads
  • Revenue Preference
  • Payment preference
  • Reasons for preferring ad- networks

..They are off because the biggest reason for small publishers preferring ad networks is because they dont have a choice or any other options

Think about it , a blogger or even a few levels up is not going to have the resources to be able to put sales guys on the field to source advertising from agencies. One he cant afford it and secondly if he is small , chances are that the appeal of the website to the agency is not going to be present to begin with.

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Can Adnetworks be more exciting?

I was doing a lot of research over the last few days for a project, and being the net junkie that I am, a lot of it took place on the net.  While surfing, avoiding pop up’s, deliberate redirects and possibly every trick in the book for click fraud firms, I started to think about 2 words – advertising and internet.

In the Indian context I doubt whether anyone would oppose me if I said that Ad networks here are living and working with only banner ads, what I consider aging methodology. Banner’s, text ad’s, skyscrapers are slowly becoming and will die out as the preferred medium in the years to come, its already happening elsewhere. Why then are we so fixated on this format?

The answer has to be money and ROI eventually, everyone needs a return and turn over a profit as soon as possible, irrespective of the fund reservoir that they have, the fastest way to do this is to not actively be innovative but adopt and fight on platforms already existing in the market….and maybe that’s the problem, maybe that’s the reason for the clutter.

Saying one is CPM, another is a CPC is not good enough in my opinion. The inventory remains the same, its only the performance criterion which changes, and upping one level does not translate necessarily into better realization of goals.

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Networkplay and Gawker

Watblog ,today, carried an article on the alliance between Networkplay and Gawker Media and quoting it to be a steal as far as the advantage in terms of inventory acquisiton was concerned and implying that it wasa big step in the right direction.

I don’t think so and would probably care to disagree strongly at this juncture with that viewpoint. The fact of the matter is that Gawker is one ,of the many associations of sites , available to a smart publisher network manager. Firstly i dont see the connectivity between this alliance and Networkplay’s initial focus verticals which  are women and travel.

Secondly , having a 10% Indian footfall on a site which is ranked 4500 in Alexa is honestly just not that great. Leaving aside issues pertaining to the quality of inventory etc , the equation does not seem to allow for much even purely in terms of being able to achieve a deep inventory pool. While Alexa cannot be trusted , i can, thanks to having been in this role, gauge approximate relationships between rank and inventory , and it might be good at best,  but not exceptional.

Not only are there more site associations or large publishers , there are better ones as well and its not too dfficult picking them up as long as the pitch is right. Hey , its not too difficult getting them to switch networks either as long as the sensitivity to exectations caters to realization of issues which can be used against the existing network.

My apologies for not being more frequent with my postings. Thanks to everyone who wrote in – I shall try and pick up some of the topics suggested  , but i cant promise. However to all those who wrote about the Indian online space , rest assured that’s a topic i shall visit frequently.

Vertical Ad Networks Vs Horizontal – The Ongoing debate

There’s been some buzz now for a few months over Vertical ad-networks coming into the industry and the impact that they will create. It was , too obvious, that there will eventually be a confrontation between the networks already established in the Indian market ( read : Horizontal) and the new kids on the block like Webchutney’s Go-Sindbad and Divanation and it would only be a matter of time before the industry starts debating with respect to the pro’s and con’s of both , and media planners wonder which ones to go for.

For me , surprisingly i should add , it appears to be rather simple. The major driving force behind the argument for Vertical networks is that they contain sites which are similar in terms of what they are catering to i.e travel , the sites included in such a network would cater to hotels , air fares, train bookings etc etc , each with an individual objective but related to a larger singular category – the assumption being that such a vertical will thus offer the best exposure to a travel related advertiser given the relevancy which exists and since its so relevant , advertisers in turn would pay a premium which consequently would drive up eCPM’s for the publishers and everyone’s happy.

Sounds good for everyone , but unfortunately that’s not they way its necessarily going to work for a few reasons in my opinion.

1. What is so different between a vertical network and a horizontal network offering the same channel with equatable strength ? In some ways, a specialized channel for a horizontal is nothing but a vertical network in itself. All that a Horizontal needs to ensure is channel targeting and then add further targeting options.

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Ad network’s to get more money

There’s good news for ad-networks across the globe. A recent study conducted by Collective Media reports that 75% of the interactive agencies and advertisers who took the survey are looking at increasing their allocations to ad network by 5% while the remaining 25% said they would be looking at increasing it by 15%.

While the research is skewed towards the US , if trends are to believed then India should be looking at something similar. It will provide a respite while at the same time a further need for innovation within this domain in India. The Indian landscape is getting a bit crowded withe the number of players already on the scene though , all things taken into consideration, there are but 2-3 which can provide the scale and reach advertisers are looking for.

Komli to serve ads on Ebay India….. so?

Komli get’s eBay – one too many blogs were buzzing with the signing of the deal which allows Komli to serve ad’s exclusively on the Ebay India website for a year. Congratulations and wishes were pouring in from everywhere and people referring to it as a deal which will shake up the Indian internet scene and a move which was long overdue. One would have easily missed the few comments posted which spoke about having apprehensions on the tie-up.

What do i think? …..simply..what’s the big deal?

The fact that ad networks would be looking at signing exclusive rights to publisher inventory in this market is not an insight, its common logic. The problem has always been on the projections and the deliverables.

From Komli’s point of view they get a big brand to boast about in the market. Their transaction category gets a face lift and seemingly the ability to negotiate higher rates within that. ..at least that’s what they think. But i don’t see it happening that way. Ebay India is a very very poor cousin of its parent company or other regional specific sites , anyone who knows the domain would know this. The transaction volumes going through ebay here would be nothing compared to those in the US or the UK, and hence that many less unique visitors / registered members on the site. Ebay India quotes its community size in India at 2 million. I think it would be safe to assume that a good 20% or so would be inactive members , one time transaction type of members which would then leave it with around 1.5 million.

1.5 million is not big , its in fact pretty small and Komli would probably have sites within their kitty which exceed this size. 1.5 million visitors in turn does not translate into a huge number with respect to impressions. Couple this with the fact that the Indian side is not a very strong brand and what is one left with ? Continue reading