The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The DVR and Its Effect on TV Advertising Recall, Do Your Commercials Stand Out?


DVRs and TV Advertising RecallOr does that really matter? More on that later. First, I’m a big DVR user and have been one for a number of years. I bought my first TIVO about 5 years ago, quickly added a second, and then moved to the Comcast HD DVR last year. So, I read an article in late February about a study conducted by General Electric’s NBC Universal to document the recall power of TV commercials when DVR users were whipping through them at 6x speed. In other words, do you recall an advertisement as you are fast forwarding through commercials on your DVR? By the way, that’s exactly how I watch the shows I record. In addition, if I choose to watch a live show, I just start watching the show 15 minutes in (for a 1 hour show) and then I can still fly through the commercials. Now back to the testing. The following quote is directly from the Wall Street Journal article:

Tracking biometric measurements such as eye movements, heart rate and sweat, the study found that the ads people concentrated on the most and recalled the most shared several traits. The most successful ads concentrated the action and the brand's logo in the middle of the screen, didn't rely on multiple scene changes, audio or text to tell the story, and often used familiar characters. People were also more likely to remember an ad in fast-forward mode if they had seen it once before live.

Glenn’s translation: A big static logo in the center of the screen. ;-)

Uh, tracking biometric measurement?? OK... The most successful ads didn’t rely on audio to tell the story?? The more I think about this topic, the more I think that this entire study wasn’t necessary. I guess it was for networks trying to hold on to TV advertisers at all costs, right?

Paging Dr. Gabe… Dr. Gabe Please Come to the Living Room:
So, I decided to conduct my own study. That’s right…and without biometric measurements, my heart rate wasn’t monitored, my eye movements weren’t scanned, and my sweat glands weren’t checked! I flipped on my TV, drilled into my recordings, armed with a high tech toolkit for a high tech doctor of technology (a pad and pen) and started my first show. My goal was to fast forward through each set of commercials at the highest speed and see which ads I could recall. That is, if I didn’t go into convulsions first! :) Since every study needs a name, I am calling it “The Strobe Logo Study” conducted by Glenn Gabe, Technology Scientist at Large. ;-)

Without further ado, here are the results! I will also give my quick analysis of the results following the data.

LOST on ABC (Probably my favorite show right now...)
1 Hour in Length
I started zipping through the commercials at the highest fast forward speed. Believe me, the highest speed is darn fast…each segment of commercials was over in a few seconds. I remember seeing a flash of the Wendy’s logo (centered on screen), an Applebee’s logo and a Dunkin Donuts logo (both also centered on screen). More on ad positioning later. Each was up for a flash…probably a quarter (1/4) of a second. Also keep in mind that the three logos I remembered are big brands that have been advertising for years. This obviously helped with my recall of their ads.

The Sports Reporters on ESPN
30 minutes in length
The only advertisement I remember seeing was CDW. I saw this logo twice during the show and for a little longer than the logos in LOST. This intrigued me, so I rewound the show a little to watch the CDW ad. It ends up they sponsor the show (see, I didn’t know this because I never watched it in real time!) So, as a lead into the show, they have a voiceover say, “The Sports Reporters is sponsored by…CDW”. This takes a few seconds, which leaves their logo on-screen longer. I saw this twice during the show when whipping through it on my DVR. This is an interesting note for TV advertisers. Also, the logo was centered on the screen, an important factor during my scientific study. :)

American Idol on FOX (like I had to tell you…)
60 Minutes in length
I remember seeing a Citizens Bank logo (I think) and an Infiniti logo. And, maybe…just possibly… a Lowes guy. Then again, it could have been a 7 Eleven guy or Wawa guy. I told you…it’s darn fast! Any quick movement or elaborate camera angles looks like a blur in fast forward. It makes sense, though. The common thread for TV commercial recall was becoming apparent. Any commercial that ended with a large logo centered on screen had a chance of recall (unless I blinked during the 1/4 of a second!)

Dancing With The Stars on ABC
60 Minutes in Length
I’ll cut to the chase…I recalled 3 ads, Advil, Petsmart, and a Nivea product shot. Again, each logo was centered on screen and fairly large (and the Nivea product was also large and centered). Are you seeing a trend here?

Here’s an interesting side note:
When you watch a recorded show, it will abruptly stop at a random frame at the end of the show…which is rarely when it fades to black. Dancing with the Stars ended on a BBC Worldwide America logo. So, since my DVR stopped on that frame, I saw this logo for about 10 full seconds before it returned to my DVR menu. If you are still looking for ways to appear in a DVR world, this could be one of them. BBC Worldwide America was not an advertiser, but that spot could be opened up for advertising...

Conan O’Brien on NBC (Just a brilliant comedian!)
30 Minutes
I literally didn’t recall any specific advertisement… Not one. So, I went through it a second time to make sure my eyes weren’t just fried out of my head from the previous shows… Nope, not one ad, logo, brand, etc. I guess none of the commercials used a logo centered on-screen. Read on for my scientific analysis of my DVR study.

Is this what it’s come down to for TV advertisers?
Triggering convulsions in people to see if they remember a flash of a logo? Really? I know not everyone has a DVR (yet), but if this is the type of study we are conducting, then there’s something very, very wrong. I can hear the scientists who conducted the NBC Universal study now. {In my best European scientist voice} “Yes, it seems that even 1/8 of a second can impact your brand’s recognition in the mind of lowly consumers. TV advertising is still hugely powerful and we may turn to 60 strobe flashes of logos in the future versus 30 second spots. Sure, some people may be hospitalized from the flashes of light, but it’s all worth it if the Advil logo shows up, is recalled, and then helps the hospitalized person's family overcome its collective headaches by using Advil.” OK, I’m a bit sarcastic, but it’s hard not to be!

How To Really Enhance Your TV Advertising, ONLINE
When I think of the cost to produce high end TV commercials, then the cost for airing those commercials, and then combine that with the growing number of DVR users, it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to understand why traditional TV advertising is not in good shape. I’m not saying that TV commercials should go away…but I believe that you need to supplement your TV campaigns with other campaign elements to maximize exposure and engagement. For example, I always recommend adding an online viral component to your TV commercials. Have a micro-site or landing page to engage your brand and advertisement, to help with lead generation, to work in a contest, to spark user generated content, to add a blog, etc. and then utilize online marketing channels to drive visitors there. So, combining your high end TV commercials with a robust micro-site, and then utilize paid search, organic search, email marketing, social media, blogging, display advertising, etc. to drive people there is a smart way to go. Then you’ve got yourself a serious campaign, covering all avenues, and using innovative methods. Versus…trying to justify your TV commercials with “flashes of a logo” or what I’m calling “The Strobe Logo”. There is so much you can do online to enhance your TV advertisements, and at a reasonable cost. To me, it’s a necessary addition that can unleash the true power of viral marketing.

Now let me go put an ice bag on my eyes and give my poor DVR and TV a break! Until my next scientific experiment, this is Dr. Gabe signing off. Does anyone know a good eye doctor? Maybe I should get in touch with the people who went through the original study to see who they recommend!

GG

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, scientist, or PHD. Please don’t ask me for medical assistance or to conduct clinical studies. If you need assistance from a medical doctor, please consult your healthcare company for a referral. I am not authorized to prescribe medication, recommend time off from work, or advocate medical procedures. :)

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

WebmarkTrium™ Hits Market - Smart-Pill That Enhances Web Marketing Knowledge




WebmarkTrium™
Natural Web Marketing Enhancer

The easiest way to enhance your web marketing knowledge!

Need an edge at work? Want to become a web marketing guru fast? Easily digestible WebmarkTrium™ pills make it a reality!




Instantly increase your knowledge of:

* Search Engine Optimization
* Paid Search
* Social Media
* Word of Mouth Marketing
* Buzz Marketing
* Conversion
* Web Analytics
* Flash and Rich Media
* and dozens of other web technologies!

Please view important safety information before taking WebmarkTrium™.

4 out of 5 doctors agree that taking WebmarkTrium™ along with hiring a highly skilled web marketing consultant can lead to increased profits, likelihood of promotion, increased athleticism, and a longer, happier life.


WebmarkTrium™ is 100% Lactose-Free
and is the First Organic Web Marketing Enhancer
WebmarkTrium™ is Manufactured Without the Use of Animal Testing

-----------------------------------

Important Safety Information:

1. The most common side effects of WebmarkTrium™ are bloating, wheezing, cramping, and dry mouth. Less commonly occurring reactions include blurred vision, double vision, and severe headache.

2. WebmarkTrium™ may lead to excessive use of banner advertising, including animations that take over a visitor’s entire screen. Please see weatherchannel.com for examples.

3. Some patients saw decreased search engine rankings, increased search engine penalties, and even search engine banishment in severe cases. Please see Google's Webmaster Guidelines for more information.

4. In some instances, patients experienced hot flashes, profuse sweating, and severe chest pain, especially when taken in conjunction with decreased organic search rankings (Please reference item #3 above).

5. Some delusional behavior may occur, such as believing that Social Media alone will make or break your business. If this occurs, drink 8 tall glasses of water, throw out WebmarkTrium™, and read professional web marketing blogs until symptoms subside. Then reference this primer on SMO for more information.

6. If WebmarkTrium™ is taken on an empty stomach, it may cause excessive frequency of email blasts with poorly crafted subject lines, lack of text content, and ridiculously bad offers. In some cases, abysmal Open, Click Through, and Conversion rates were seen in patients who refuse to scrub their lists.

7. In aggressive marketers, WebmarkTrium™ has been known to cause hostile and frequent spamming of social media sites, which may cause retaliation in the form of attacks on the patient’s website. WebmarkTrium™ is not responsible for server downtime, negative blog posts, or threats from social media users (especially digg users).

8. WebmarkTrium™ may cause extreme nervousness and jitters, especially when accompanied by executive team meetings where patients are required to explain web marketing results. We recommend breathing into a paper bag, drinking exorbitant amounts of green tea, and doing yoga prior to the meeting. If all else fails, try telling jokes in order to deflect any severe criticism and/or termination.

9. Patients may experience feelings of desperation, which may lead to skewed web analytics reporting, especially when reports are generated after failed email campaigns. (Please reference item #6 above.)

10. WebmarkTrium™ has been known to cause duplicate content issues, temporary redirects, extreme use of session variables, and cloaking, especially when taken while implementing website redesigns.

11. Your doctor may choose to start you on lower doses of WebmarkTrium™ if there is a history of unethical use of Word of Mouth Marketing, including paying others to buzz about your products, not revealing the relationship, or in severe cases, faking your own identity and blogging about your own products in a hope that it will drive sales. WebmarkTrium™ may enhance the feeling to conduct unethical WOM.

12. May lead to decreased quality scores, low ROI, and increased click fraud in patients that began the use of WebmarkTrium™ prior to understanding how paid search actually works.

13. Taking WebmarkTrium™ while visiting YouTube may result in the launch of dreadful web video campaigns, shot by a “buddy you know”, with no script, bad actors, horrible lighting, bad audio, shaky footage, and the use of copyrighted music. In some cases, lawsuits follow quickly and aggressively.

14. WebmarkTrium™ may cause some patients to hire agencies based solely on name versus skill-set and actual results.

15. The combination of caffeine and WebmarkTrium™ may cause sleeplessness and fatigue, primarily after launching poorly crafted web marketing campaigns. This was followed by excessive nail biting, fainting, and bouts of nausea.

16. WebmarkTrium™ may also lead to a strong denial that a patient’s products and pricing are actually competitive when all information collected by analysts point to a bad business model and a sinking business.

17. If a patient is new to web marketing and doesn’t understand blogging, WebmarkTrium™ may lead to anonymous blog posts, the faking of identity (infiltration), blog spamming, and other naughty things people shouldn’t do.

18. In “flavor of the month” patients, WebmarkTrium™ may lead to allocation of budget and resources to web video campaign of dancing dog with product dangling from collar. We are not responsible for web video campaigns that tank, injury to animals as the result of WebmarkTrium™, or for customer backlash. Patients are on their own if this occurs…

19. In clinical studies, no difference was seen in patients taking WebmarkTrium™ versus placebo.

20. We cannot guarantee that WebmarkTrium™ will actually increase your web marketing knowledge.

21. OK, don’t use WebmarkTrium™.


I'm Glenn Gabe and I approved this message.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

CD Sales Declining - Why a Drop of 20% in 2007 Should Not Be Surprising


CD Sales Drop 20% in 2007
I've been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now, but work has gotten in the way! :-) In late March, it was reported that CD sales were down 20% from a year ago. Hold the phones! CD sales are dropping? What! Why would that be. Ok, you can probably tell I'm being sarcastic... I know this has to be reported, but did anyone think it was groundbreaking news?? This is part of a 7 year slide, that by the way, will not slow down...at all.

Music Sales and Systematic Automation
So, why is this happening? To me, it's a form of systematic automation. Technology advances and products and/or services that were once used now become obsolete. Consumers can now buy the 3 songs on an album that they like and let the other 12 hang in bad-song limbo (like they should). Let's face it, the concept of a "cd" or "album" is dead. I, along with many others, knew this was going to be the case in the late nineties when Napster hit the scene and people started downloading full albums at a time, not songs, but albums. Yes, it was illegal, but that didn't stop anyone at the time. The recording industry should have embraced the technology instead of fighting it, but that was a long time ago...

Some Music Sales Perspective
Based on my post so far, you might think that everyone is downloading music, but let's not jump to conclusions. Over 85% of music sales are still CD's. This is probably the 40+ age group that still doesn't fully understand what digital music is all about. My father in law (59) thought that the quality of an MP3 file would be much less than a CD. So I quickly took out my ipod and saw his eyes light up when he heard the first song. This age group will learn, just like they learned to use a computer and access the web. My father (69) now browses the top travel and real estate sites on his Dell laptop. Enough said. The 85% of sales from CD's will decrease drastically over the next several years. Why in the world would you buy a CD when you can just purchase the songs you like?? I don't. It's just an education issue. Consumers aren't stupid and once they learn that they can spend $3 versus $15, they will...

1 Billion...
Now let me introduce a staggering statistic. There are still an estimated 1 Billion songs traded illegally each month on the web. That's 1 Billion songs. (Note, I am now pointing my pinky at my mouth like Doctor Evil from Austin Powers). Let's translate that number into potential revenue. If even 5% of those songs were downloaded from a paid service like iTunes, that would be ~$50,000,000 in revenue per month. Yes, that's 7 zeroes and a lot of money.

Stop Complaining and Embrace the Technology
Instead of sitting and complaining like the recording industry has done over the past 7+ years, they should get creative and think of other ways to generate revenue. The genie is out of the bottle... Actually, the genie is out of the bottle, took a flight to Key West, and has been hanging out at Sloppy Joe's drinking tequila shots by now! The recording industry needs to embrace technology and change with it versus fighting it. And by the way, movies are next...

In Closing
So, as I download 6 songs this morning from across 4 albums on iTunes, my 12 year old neighbor is probably downloading 50 illegally, his mother is probably jotting down the 2 CD's she wants to buy today, and the 72 year old woman that just walked by my office window muttered, "So, what's an MP3?". The recording industry needs to see all 4 of these situations as business opportunities and they will be in a much better place than they are now.

Long live digital everything!

GG

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