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Online Advertisers – Get Free Advice From Google

The Google AdWords blog had a post today that caught my attention. The AdWords Optimization Team is accepting requests from advertisers who want feedback on their campaigns. Simply fill out a request form and tell Google about your business and advertising goals. It doesn’t say how many campaigns they will do (this isn’t the first time) or for how long, so apply right away.

The Google team will review your website, campaign structure, ad text, and keywords. Here’s the best part – they promise to get back to you within 10 days with your own customized recommendations. Even if you’ve already had the team look at your campaign you can request assistance on another. For now, the service is available for advertisers in the U.S. and Canada, for campaigns in English. If you’re running AdWords go sign up. I wonder if they have a similar service for AdSense.

Microsoft Wants 30% of Search, 40% of Web Ads

Well, if you can’t be #1, then you should probably do like Microsoft and aim for being “one of the top two” (aka #2). Reuters reports that Microsoft is looking to knock one of their competitors (you know, Yahoo and Google) out pretty soon. Microsoft’s President of Platforms and Services Kevin Johnson, speaking at a UBS investor conference, is aiming pretty high in his three- to five-year plan for the company’s web advertising prospects.

Reuters cites Microsoft’s acquisition of aQuantive, announced in May and completed in August, as evidence of how serious they are about online advertising.

Johnson called Microsoft’s plan for web dominance the “10, 20, 30, 40″ plan. If all goes accordingly:

  1. 10% of all Internet page views will be MSN.com and Windows Live email
  2. 20% of all time online will be spent at Microsoft website
  3. 30% of Internet searches will be performed on Microsoft/Live
  4. 40% of Internet and digital ad dollars will be paid to Microsoft

Trade Shows Go Virtual

Companies like IBM, Cisco, and others are taking their trade shows and conferences virtual. Some, like IBM have used the virtual world Second Life for such events, but virtual trade shows take it a step further. Also, the events are more professional and created for a business environment – there are no actual avatars. However, you can upload a picture, chat with booth representatives, and attend sessions.

Businesses of all sizes are trying out the concept. According to Tradeshow Week magazine, mid-to-large-sized companies spend about $550,000 every year on trade shows.

Online Video Ads: Relatively Less Annoying

At OMMA Video, Dynamic Logic’s Research Director, Kara Manatt, released the results of a study on consumers’ responses to various online advertising, MediaPost reports.

In a survey of a representative cross-section of 950 Americans, participants were asked about their views of various online advertising media. The break down:

  • 55% took a “strongly negative” view of pop-ups and pop-unders.
  • 31% were strongly negative on online video ads. (As MediaPost notes, “That’s an easy win against infamously annoying ad formats.”)
  • 27% took a strongly negative view of “advergames.” (Which, I think, would have been higher had they known what the heck you’re talking about. C’mon, taze the gnome games are less annoying?)
  • 21% were strongly negative on skyscraper ads.
  • 18% had a negative view of banner ads.

How Advertising Works Our Nerves (In a Good Way)

At last, neuroscience is applying itself to understanding how that extremely artificial endeavor — advertising — engages our basic biological instincts.

Two pieces of science news will interest marketers. First, the more we can anthropomorphize products, the better we like them. Second, advertising can take the place of real memory in our beliefs about a product.

It seems that dancing raisins, talking cars and the Geico gekko — but probably not subservient chickens — can actually change consumers’ perceptions and attitudes, according to Pankaj Aggarwal (University of Toronto) and Ann L. McGill (University of Chicago).

This Science Daily story says that we’re more likely to positively evaluate an anthropomorphized item.

Free Wall Street Journal Online Access Coming

Rupert Murdoch plans to make WSJ.com free to increase readership and generate far more in advertising. Right now the site gets 1 million viewers and Murdoch hopes to see it go to 15 million. For now a subscription just to the online edition is $79 for a year.

The site is has already added social media – or at least one element – along with RSS feeds. You can submit stories to Digg via the “Digg This” link at the bottom of each story. And you’ll be able to read the entire article, free and with advertising, when it’s linked from Digg.

Online Ad Revenues, Retail Up

Here’s one story that makes at least one major search engine happy: the IAB announced yesterday that online advertising revenues continue to climb, setting a new record in Q3: $5.2 billion. This number is up 25% over the same period last year.

Online ad revenues have risen all year: in Q1, they were at $4.9B and $5.1 in Q2. Each of these record-setting periods has contributed to increasing the total year-to-date by 26% over this time last year (YTD). This also means we’re on course for the first $20+ billion dollar year.

eMarketer reports that this development is chiseling away at offline media’s budget share: they project that 7.4% of advertising dollars this year will go to online media. They report that television, newspapers and radio have taken the hit the hardest: all those media have lost their share of advertising dollar spent (comparing Jan-Jun 2007 to Jan-Jun 2006).