Ad Trends and Setters

SAN FRANCISCO — Remember the dot-com era? Well, forget it. Online
advertising is hotter than ever if AdTech San Francisco is any indication.

The tradeshow and conference, held this week, was the largest in
its 10-year history, with over 300 exhibitors and more than 9,000 attendees, according to conference chair Susan Bratton,
.

“We are the health meter of the industry,” said Bratton, principal
of Cendara, a consultancy focusing on interactive marketing startups.

Search and affiliate marketing companies make up a large
proportion of AdTech exhibitors, but there are strong trends
emerging: Internet video; “wild” publishing; and advertising on social media.

The Internet as TV

Avant Interactive showcased technology that makes Internet video
clickable. Viewers can mouse over the video as it plays. The cursor
changes when it goes over a part of the picture that’s hyper-linked,
as related content appears in a box next to the video.

For example, on the site for UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model,”
viewers watching show outtakes and episodes can click to read bios of
each model.

In a 2005 NASCAR promotion by Coca Cola, race videos ran
in a branded player; clicks brought up stats and information about the drivers.

According to Dan Bates, CEO of Avant, viewers clicked 15 to 18
times on the NASCAR videos.

While marketers could use Avant’s V-Click technology to enable
viewers to buy products they see onscreen, Bates for now is focusing
on brand advertisers.

“Companies are using our product looking to engage users with
their brand rather than having people buy through the interface,” he
said.

“If you give them digestible content that enhances the medium,
you keep them clicking. Then we move into the commerce model.”

Place Shifting

Entertainment marketers have long used “wild posting,” hiring
crews to plaster posters on vacant buildings, construction sites and
fences.

In the wild publishing model, information and service
providers, such as mapping or weather services, let third parties
republish their information or use it to create mash-ups.

Now, content creators are putting their content up for grabs.

Mochilla unveiled its online marketplace for media at AdTech.
Mochilla lets content owners put articles, photos, audio and video
content up for sale. The video capability is expected to launch this
summer.

Web publishers can pay to license content or get it free
along with an ad.

While some magazines may worry about them cannibalizing their
publications, many are happy to find an additional source of revenue,
said Jason Oliver, vice president of marketing and product
development for Mochilla.

“Just because your content is on your Web site, your audience is
limited,” Oliver said. “We let publishers get their content out to
the long tail.”

Content owners using the Mochilla network don’t care
where their content shows up, he said, as long as they can generate
revenue from it.

Although Mochilla hasn’t lined up an ad networks yet, its content
partners include Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Fast Company, Inc.
and Entrepreneur Media.

Vintacom Media Group’s Relationship Exchange lets Web publishers
create niche dating services for their sites. For example, a cooking
blog could run its own personals for gourmands.

Vintacom hosts the service and shares revenue with the publisher.

Michael Tchong, principal of trend consultancy Ubercool,
said that place-shifting behavior, including RSS feeds, podcasts and
wild publishing, will make it increasingly harder to track who is
consuming content.

According to Tchong, “This whole control-freakism trend is turning
the American consumer into a picky and hard-to-reach target, and this
will offer obstacles for marketers.”

Social Advertising

Social media — blogging, personal publishing, photo and video
sharing services — is one such obstacle. Marketers are mystified
about how to reach consumers as they stop consuming content and start
producing it.

Feed advertising network Pheedo this week announced Ads for
Feeds, a service that lets RSS publishers insert ads into their feeds
and track their performance.

It’s available as a hosted service that
includes ad placement and an analytics package.

But the
differentiator is that publishers can use Ads for Feeds on any
platform, whether the blog is published internally or via hosted platform.

Shawn Gold, senior vice president of marketing and content for
MySpace, the sizzling social site that’s adding 250,000 new users a
day, said marketers should offer tools that facilitate “identity production.”

For example, electronics retailer Best Buy created a page asking
“What’s Your Student Style?” Visitors could join the community and
take a quiz to identify their styles.

“Take a sociological approach to content,” he said. “Understand
their core needs for identification and expression, and then address
those needs.”

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