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Google Wastes No Time – Introduces Google Ad Manager

On the heels of completing their acquisition of DoubleClick this week, Google is releasing the beta version of Google Ad Manager. It’s a tool for advertisers to manage their ad campaigns. DoubleClick has similar services which Google will continue to support however they will not be free.

Essentially with this tool small businesses can optimize and manage their ad inventory and see how its performing. And it will display Google AdSense as a default for unsold ad space. It will track different types of advertising including: display, search, affiliate, rich media, and video advertising.

Google Ad Manager is a free, hosted ad and inventory management tool that can help publishers sell, schedule, deliver and measure their directly-sold and network-based ad inventory. It offers an intuitive and simple user experience with Google speed and a tagging process … providing detailed inventory forecasts and tracking at a very granular level, Ad Manager helps publishers maximize their inventory sell-through rates.”

Yahoo Expanding Its Online Advertising Efforts with Apex

Yahoo has been making announcements left and right this week, from Yahoo Buzz to opening its search results. They’re continuing their news-dominating sweep this week with an announcement about a new online advertising platform, called the Advertising Publishers EXchange, or Apex.

Don’t worry, Yahoo isn’t aiming too high or anything. Yahoo President Sue Decker told the IAB that they’re only “trying to revolutionize the online advertising industry.” Oh good. It’s not like Ms. Decker has never said anything unfortunate before.

Decker describes the exchange:

We are building a cutting edge ad platform that runs across all formats, whether it is search, display, video. It is capable of harnessing the power of Yahoo and the power off Yahoo. But it will also take advantage of emerging formats like mobile, all in an easy to use system.

Real Geek Becomes Internet Rock Star

36 year old geek Jonathan Coulton got sick of coding, he wanted to sing instead. He was a typical geek – no doubt working in a dark cube decorated with action figures and empty pop cans.

His diet was full of caffeine and junk food. He didn’t shave (which hasn’t changed). Then he decided to follow his dream of being a rock star – albeit on his own terms.

Now he makes a living from his very plain blog, selling music and performing. More than he did programming. Notice his branding is true geek – it’s authentic and despite doing little actual marketing it’s working.

I’m afraid as I write this that it could start a revolt and we need programmers! The saving grace is most would never actually appear before a group of people, let alone a team meeting.

Obama Steps Up Online Advertising on Campaign

Barack Obama set a record in January by raising the highest amount of any candidate in a primary race. Online advertising may have contributed to his astonishing success. He raised $36.8 million last month compared to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s $19.7 million. Obama beat his staff’s projections of $32 million.

Unfortunately the reports I read don’t break down how the funds came through except to distinguish between individual and corporate donations. However, there is some data about candidate’s focus on raising money through display advertising.

Since January 2007, presidential candidates launched 277 million display ad impressions. And like in the primaries, Obama has taken the lead here. According to research by Nielsen Online AdRelevance, Barack Obama ran over 70 million display ads in January. Contrast that with John McCain’s 19 million display ad views.

Why You Should Ignore Most Link Requests

We all get these emails: the link requests. Even if you’re all for paid links, you have to admit that most of the the generic link request emails floating around are a pretty poor investment—permanent links on interior pages with a low, one-time payment. I’ve gotten offers as low as $10 or $20. Rather than reply with “No, thanks, I’ll just keep my eyes open for loose change,” I usually ignore them.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger gets his fair share of these proposals. He actually takes the time to reply that he’s not interested. Today (tomorrow, actually, but it’s just that whole international date line thing) he posted not just the initial email but a long conversation from a would-be link seller. Over the course of more than two weeks, the seller insistently emails Darren more than ten times. Darren’s consistent reply: “Sorry, not interested.” From the exchange (these are the 9th and 10th emails in the conversation):

Newspapers Herd Together for Protection Against Google

Have you ever watched a herd of buffalo or deer?

Ever seen hundreds of small fish school together and move in one fluid movement?

As you may already know, they do that in order to protect themselves from a single large predator. It often works, as the predator will mistakenly believe the prey is too large to consume, or get’s blocked out by a massive wall of bodies.

There’s a new herd on the traditional media landscape.

Four large newspaper companies–The Tribune Company, Gannett Company, Hearst Corporation, and The New York Times Company–have decided there’s safety in numbers and so have joined forces. Between them they’re creating quadrantONE and each will allocate a portion of its online advertising space to the new company.

As the NYT reports:

Why Branding Campaigns Can’t Rely on the 6% that Click Display Ads

Starcom, Tacoda and comScore’s “Natural Born Clickers” study suggests that advertisers looking to increase their brand awareness should dump click-through rates as a measure of success.

The study found that, when it comes to display advertising, 50% of the clicks come from just 6% of the total US online population. And while these 25-44 year olds spend four times the amount online compared to non-clickers, they earn less than $40k a year.

What does this mean for advertisers who buy display ads for branding purposes? Don’t focus on the click!

Further preliminary Starcom data suggests no correlation between display ad clicks and brand metrics, and show no connection between measured attitude towards a brand and the number of times an ad for that brand was clicked. The research presentation suggests that when digital campaigns have a branding objective, optimizing for high click rates does not necessarily improve campaign performance.