Google Adds To Content, Data Strategy; Buddy Deal Closes

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Google's Travel Grab

Google’s latest acquisition puts it even more squarely on the content side of the media business (guess we won’t hear anyone at the search giant say it’s not a content company anymore, right?). The WSJ’s Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Amir Efrati broke the story -- read it here. Of course, there is an ad component here, and it should benefit Google greatly. Online ad spending by leisure/travel marketers will grow 23.3 percent to $3.16 billion in 2012, according to eMarketer, and represent 8 percent of all digital ad dollars spent this year in the U.S. Google generates between $2- and $3 billion from travel ads alone. Bernardo Hernandez, a director of product management at Google, told the WSJ, "When you add information you can trust to phone numbers and addresses as part of the Google search experience, it enables users to convert their intentions into actions,” meaning that Google can close the loop around the industry’s marketing efforts, from content to search and display ads. Frommer is is a nice data play to mix with its ITA airline reservation software acquisition.  The GOOG wrapping up travel?

Buddy Deal Closes

Salesforce has sealed the deal on its acquisition of Buddy Media. In a blog post on the Buddy website, CEO Mike Lazerow appears rolls out some enterprise lingo, “Every chief information officer buys a CRM system. And every chief financial officer buys financial management software.  The chief marketing officer has never had a ‘must buy’ software category. This is changing.” Read it.

Ads in the Oven

Facebook users who are in a family way can now spread the news with a special “expecting a baby” flag  -- generating an intent signal for all kinds of things from diapers to cribs to nanny services. TechCrunch’s Josh Constin notes, “Facebook has offered an ‘expecting parents’ ad targeting option for about six months but it was essentially guessing based on what Pages you Liked and other options. Now it will have concrete structured data about who’s a parent-to-be, and can let advertisers accurately target them.” Read more.

When Not to Pivot

Ben Horowitz gives a first-hand account of two different “near pivot” chapters in his career -- first at Netscape, later at Opsware. Both are meant to illustrate that when “silver bullets” fail, often the only thing to fall back on is a whole lot of “lead bullets.” It’s a relevant message for ad tech, where flight-or-flight is a daily conundrum. He writes, “There may be nothing scarier in business than facing an existential threat. So scary that many in the organization will do anything to avoid it. They will look for any alternative, any way out, any excuse not to live or die in a single battle.” Lock and load.

Retargeting SMBs

Getting in the wheel house of a whole slew of companies including AdRoll, Google, Chango, Simpli.fi and others, local ads solution provider Reach Local announced its diplay ad retargeting solution for SMBs.  The release provides some colorful color, “ReachRetargeting combines two powerful targeting techniques, search and site retargeting, into one compelling product that puts an SMB’s brand in front of consumers repeatedly while they are making a purchase decision.”  Read it.

Facebook Amping Intent

Developer Naitik Shah announced new ways Facebook is capturing intent on the Facebook developer blog: “We created the Open Graph to help people express who they are through the apps they use. (...) Today, we're introducing explicitly shared actions to let apps notify us when a user wants to prominently share something like they would through posting it directly on Facebook.” More sharing data, better targeting - presumably. Read more.

End of the CPM

Yieldbot CEO Jonathan Mendez provides a display-centric take on new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s ascendancy.  He says on his personal blog, “The flag bearer of display advertising was always Yahoo. Their massive sales force stoked 15 years of equity into ‘the web banner.’ Yahoo arguably had the greatest hand in providing the economic foundation for the entire web for many of its formative years.  That is why nothing better symbolizes the collapse of that foundation better than Yahoo’s appointment of Marissa Mayer over Ross Levinsohn as Yahoo’s CEO.” Mendez sees a gravestone ahead for the CPM. Read more.

NBCU’s Online Gold

NBC Universal has gotten largely positive reviews for its coverage of the 17-day Summer Olympics in London, much of it for its huge amount of live online streaming. The numbers are in (read the release) and the network can be satisfied that the digital offerings did not cannibalize the TV viewing, as the London games were among the highest rated Olympics in history. Among the flurry of stats, there were 64.4 million live streams during the games, 353 percent more than Beijing, which had 14 million streams. But the big question yet to be answered was how much digital ad revenue did the network derive on the games?

Your Culture

On Union Square Venture partner Fred Wilson’s blog, Keep Holdings and former About.com CEO Scott Kurnit provides a guest post on the importance of company culture. He writes, “I think about company culture every day, but last week was especially poignant with About.com back in the news. We ‘pre-set’ the About culture on day one and it’s one of the half dozen reasons the company is around 15 years later after six CEOs, four owners and almost no investment for the last decade.” Read more.

Dynamic Creative Limits

On the Consultancy blog, MyThings CEO Benny Arbel provides his thoughts on dynamic creative in today’s real-time ad world. It’s no surprise that he’s a believer as his company provides retargeting services, but he says, “- dynamic data technology does have some limitations when it comes to creative, since direct response banners must be able to show hundreds of different products, title lengths and other unique messages and attributes.” Read the whole ball of creative wax.

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