It seems we've taken a step backwards when it comes to online creativity. Not so much in terms of its excellence, rather its importance as a factor in online marketing. Certainly technology has made possible a vast array of online advertising units which provide advertisers and publishers the ability to tailor programs to marketers' needs. But what happened to taking advantage of online media's flexibility as it relates to creativity?
This ... this is amazing.
SF-based junior art director Bryan Denman and designer Ryan Teuscher built a flickr search bar for the advertising community. "It pulls in a flickr feed at speed (w/ some other tricks) so that an AD can quickly scour the site as a source for reference material," he wrote.
Play with it at Compfight.com. The super-fast search bar filters for images licensed by Creative Commons, among other neat tricks.
We queried "hamburger" just for kicks, and got a delicious-looking page loaded with hamburgers, hamburger restaurant signs, Ronald McDonald looking pensive, Paris Hilton eating a hamburger, and one lion.
Fighting to the end, Firebrand CEO Roman Vinoly shared his frustration over doubters of the ads-as-content concept with AdWeek, pondering, "Isn't it proven every Super Bowl and on lots of Web sites where people go? Isn't it proven by being one of the largest categories uploaded to YouTube? Is it that difficult to conceive that great creative created by great artists with all the money in the world could be compelling to consumers even though it's trying to sell a product?"
Making life easier for publishers struggling to keep up with the explosion of ad networks - now numbering over 300 - and the determination of which network will yield the best results, is the Rubicon Project. Launched eight months ago by Frank Addante, the company, today, announced series B finding of $15 million bringing its total to $21 million.
We've seen a demo of Rubicon and its really fascinating. For a publisher trying to best monetize inventory, Rubicon, in a nutshell, does exactly that. A publisher joins with Rubicon, enters relevant information of their site and, poof, relevant ads are selected from the 300 or so ad networks in the system.
Gawker Media, publisher of the famed Gawker, Defamer, Lifehacker and other blogs, has, over the years, experimented in various ways with generating advertising revenue. One of the tactics they put in place a while back was to forgo the use of ad networks to fill its unsold, remnant space and, instead, offer it to artists with its Gawker Artists programs.
Gawker Artists is a collection of Gawker-published artists who benefit from the wide reach of Gawker Media blogs, gaining awareness they'd otherwise have to pay for. You see, Gawker Media doesn't charge for the ad space or for the artist's appearance on in Gawker Artists website.
For you so-called PPC "marketers" who write "intuitive" ad text and bid just as intuitively (read: wastefully), a thoughtful guy named Ian Fernando put together a Google Docs tool to (quantitatively!!!!) determine who clicks on what keywords, and how keywords convert.
It is useful. So use it.
Read his explanation.
Now this is cool. We've already got contextual ads. We've already got behavioral ads. But we all know how much fuckery can sometimes come from those automated solutions. Wouldn't it be cool if the content of banners were matched to the content of the page by an actual, intelligent human being as opposed to a garbage in/garbage out, brainless computer?
Even though Facebook has backed off its Beacon advertising system which many people called invasive, a recent Computer Associates study finds Facebook still snoops into user's affiliate site activity. Computer Associates PestPatrol Research Engineer, writing on the company's blog said, "Facebook is collecting information about user actions on affiliate sites regardless of whether or not the user chose to opt out, and regardless of whether or not the user is logged into Facebook at that time."
Here's a handy video on Intimis PURLs -- personalized URLs that tell you more about your individual site visitors than analytics that normally just show you traffic and conversion number per landing page.
Put together by Proctor & Stevenson, it's damn informative -- but after the :30 mark we wanted to tear out our hair. It's to our credit that we watched the whole thing and learned Intimis can increase your hypothetical conversion rate from one in three, to two in three, without much increasing follow-up time.
Where's our spoonful of sugar, Intimis?
PS. We're also a little pissy about the comment spam you passed us in one of our company surveys. Not cool, Intimis. Not cool.
Did anyone really think they'd get away with plastering people's images alongside ads as mini-endorsements? 50,000 people didn't and signed a petition forcing the company to change is Beacon system so people have control over whether or not they participate in it.
Why, in the first place, they thought everyone would willingly become a buzz agent is mystifying. Is there a social network out there that can can the right mix of human interaction and capitalistic commerce?