Marketing Vs Ad Tech; Microsoft Aligns For Automated Selling, Facebook For Automated Buying

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Marketing Tech M&A

Investment banker David Clark discusses ad tech trends in a Jordan Edmiston 'Client Briefing'. He draws a distinction between marketing tech and ad tech, and writes, "Equally interesting to observe are the new 'industry' participants from outside the ad tech sector that are getting pulled closer to the digital event horizon. In terms of M&A activity, what we're seeing is ad tech M&A giving way to 'marketing technology' M&A. There is a notable cooling down of M&A in the ad tech categories of search and display services and tools, while M&A activity has heated up in marketing infrastructure, particularly for technology solutions that address the needs of global brand marketers and premium publishers (including ecommerce brands that operate as marketer and publisher alike)." Read more (PDF).

Automated Selling

In Adweek, Mike Shields follows up on a WSJ report that Microsoft Advertising is going through a round of layoffs and says, "According to sources, Microsoft has completely eliminated its mobile advertising team, with the exception of Jeff Plaisted, director of sales and strategy, mobile & Skype Advertising (perhaps indicated that Skype is about to take on a more prominent role in Microsoft’s ad strategy)." Shields hears others in the branded entertainment group are getting the pick slip as the moves signal Microsoft Advertising is pinning its future on automated selling. Read it.

Automated Buying

Cotton Delo reports in Ad Age that Facebook ad buying partners are being given access to new self-serve buying capabilities. Delo writes, "Starting today, Facebook will make premium inventory available through its self-serve Power Editor tool and to third-party Facebook ad sellers like Blinq Media, TBG Digital and AdParlor. These 'premium ads' are the ones that appear on the right rail of a user's news feed as opposed to a users' profile page. It's considered prime ad real estate because that's where users spend most of their time." Read more.

Tracking CPCs

Marin Software has culled industry observations from its clients' data in its Q2 2012 advertising report. A CPC observation: "Compared to ads shown on desktop and laptop computers, paid search ads on tablet devices continue to show favorable performance levels. The cost per click (CPC) for paid search ads run on tablets is 18 percent lower than that of ads run on computers. Also, the click-through rate (CTR) for paid search ads on tablets is 42 percent higher than ads appearing on computers." Good news for Google overall, according to Marin data, as CPCs were flat as opposed to Q1 when they were declining. Read more. And, download the report (pay with some PII).

Being Public

On The Motley Fool, Dan Newman looks at recent IPOs including that of mobile ad network Millennial Media whose value has been cut in half since it went public. Newman writes, "It seems that initial public offerings give retail investors like you and me a chance to buy into hype but fail to produce solid returns. But is that just anecdotal evidence? Are the number who get burned by IPOs just more vocal than those who win big? Unfortunately, no." He sees venture-backed companies as a red flag. Read more. The fact remains, these companies were able to corral a bunch of cash in an IPO for use in growing their businesses.

CPG Eye Tracking

There are lots of ways a test-and-learn mindset can influence retail experiences. WSJ shines a light on one of them in a story about CPG marketers' use of retina tracking in simulated store environments. "Kimberly-Clark's researchers used computer screens outfitted with retina-tracking cameras when testing the newest packaging for its Viva paper towels in 2009... Their goal was to find which designs got noticed in the first 10 seconds a shopper looked at a shelf." Real-world creative optimization! Read it (subscription).

Pinterest Buying

Are brands audience buying on Pinterest? Well.... seems like it's still a branded-content play- as Kellogg's brand-man-about-town Bob Arnold says, "While most of our brands are not in the recipe category, there are some – like Rice Krispies – that are. And for them Pinterest is really logical. Right now, Pinterest is really about branding and awareness around product information and recipes." Read more on Digiday.

Ads In The Search Box

Google is pushing search-as-you-Type to AdWords customers with e-commerce sites. It claims the predictive suggestions will move visitors to merchant product pages faster and create a smoother flow from intent to purchase. From the Inside AdWords blog, "The Search As You Type pilot is available to US-based AdWords advertisers for free, up to 25 million searches annually, after which licensing fees would apply." Read the post.

Data Pulpit

BlueKai CEO Omar Tawakol makes an appearance on Huffington Post touting something he calls, "data activation," a concept which he believes goes beyond addressable display solutions. He writes, "Banners are not the be-all, end-all of digital marketing. In many cases they are not even the centerpiece of your brand's marketing efforts. Banners are one aspect of what you do, and they should be informed by data, but you should also select a partner that will allow you to port that data to multiple places." Read it.

About Your Landing Page

Ecommerce web page/site optimizer Monetate provides a few tips on the Shop.org blog for retailers. Did you know... "Dynamic product badging is a highly effective tactic that most merchandisers still aren't using. It involves dynamically rendering badges or text on top of your existing product images. The idea is to highlight important product attributes, such as whether an item is 'New,' a 'Top Seller,' 'Staff Pick,' or 'Just for You.'" The secret sauce is in the messaging. Read more.

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