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AOL Signs Online Advertising Deal with Verizon

Last week they were suing each other, this week they’re signing a big advertising deal. Time Warner owned AOL has signed an exclusive online advertising deal with Verizon.

AOL will manage the account through their advertising subsidiary, Platform-A Advertising. Verizon will use Platform-A’s sales force and for the bulk of their online and mobile phone advertising.

The deal includes managing Verizon’s display and mobile advertising network. The two companies are involved in a recent lawsuit. On Monday, Verizon sued Time Warner Cable (which owns AOL) over false advertising for their FiOS high-speed Internet service.

In the past few months since Microsoft made their intentions to buy Yahoo known, the online advertising industry has been a saga (like a soap opera!).

Yahoo’s Quality Score Change Effective Next Week

At the end of February Yahoo! Search Marketing announced that minimum bid prices for ads would not be set. Instead the minimum price you pay for each click would be based on value and quality. The changes start next week and will be gradually rolled out.

That means the automatic 10¢ minimum bid will be discontinued. Minimum bids will vary rather than be set. Instead higher quality ads will start paying less per click. If your ad is low quality your minimum bid will be higher. So you can’t buy your way to the top, you have to earn it – with clicks and a valuable landing page.

Improving the quality of your Yahoo! ads, and make them more relevant to searchers, will get you better rankings and you’ll pay less too. Yahoo followed Google’s lead last year when they introduced the concept of a quality score.

Throwing Up Online Ads to See Which Ones Will Stick? Not For Long

By Michelle Greer.

33% of consumer time is spent online, and yet internet advertising only accounts for 7% of advertising spending. Unfortunately, these users often have the attention span of a three month old golden retriever when it comes to online advertising. Advertisers have to think smarter to capitalize on this untapped market.

How are ad networks making sure that ads actually connect to the products and services they want to buy? Here are just a few highlights from the Rubicon Project’s report “Q1: Ad Network Landscape, Trends and Outlook”:

  • Ad networks are shifting to cost-per-action and cost-per-engagement model rather than charging for impressions.
  • Behavioral targeting methods are being deployed, which can modify what ads show up based on previous click and browsing behavior.

Breaking: Yahoo Testing AdSense for Search

goohoo logoIn an announcement made just moments ago, Yahoo has formally decided to try a limited test of Google’s AdSense for Search program in their search results. From the release:

The test will apply only to traffic from yahoo.com in the U.S. and will not include Yahoo!’s extended network of affiliate or premium publisher partners. The test is expected to last up to two weeks and will be limited to no more than 3% of Yahoo! search queries.

In response to speculation earlier today, Business Week’s TechBeat pointed out that “Analysts have long pointed out that Yahoo could jack up its profits overnight by outsourcing its search advertising to Google, which generates much more revenue per search than Yahoo. Indeed, such a deal has been rumored for at least the past year.”

Online Searches for Auto Insurance Quotes up 35%

comScore reports that more people are searching for auto insurance quotes online. It also looks like people are more influenced by paid search than natural search results. The queries for auto insurance quotes were up more than 35% in 2007.

There were nearly 9 million search-referred auto insurance quotes made in 2007. More than one-quarter of were made through a search engine. The overall growth for online auto insurance queries increased only 15%.

If you’re in the auto insurance industry, here is some advice: rather than advertise your company name, like “Geico” use generic terms, like “car insurance quote.”

  • For paid search, branded terms didn’t lead to completed quote applications (19% did) compared to generic search terms (33% completed quote forms).
  • In the organic search, generic also led (22%) over branded (11%).

Online Ad Spend a Sign of a U.S. Recession?

I’d like to ask you a question.

Does the growth of online advertising spend in the U.K. versus the U.S. confirm that our economy is in/heading for a recession?

According to a new study (via ClickZ) internet ad spend in the U.K. grew by 39% in 2007. In contrast, internet ad spend in the U.S. grew by just 25%–still impressive, but way behind our English cousins.

I know what you’re thinking. The online advertising channel in the U.K. must be immature compared to America–after all, they only spent $5.5 billion compared to our country’s $21.1 billion.

In reply, I’d point out the spending on a per capita basis (I know Jordan will be proud of me):

  • U.K. online ad spend = $90 per capita (total U.K. population approx. 61 million)

Yahoo Developing AMP Advertising Platform for Publishers

The NYT has early details of Yahoo’s new online advertising platform designed to allow publishers to sell demographically targeted ads on their own sites and Yahoo’s content network. The new system is being dubbed AMP.

With AMP, a newspaper ad sales representative working with an advertiser, like a car dealer, would be able to easily see the ad space available on not only the newspaper’s site but also Yahoo and other Web publishers’ sites. The sales person could slice that inventory by demographic profile to, for instance, aim ads for a new hybrid S.U.V. to females of a specific income and age group. The system will help streamline a manual and time-consuming effort, Ms. Schneider said.