Category Archives: Video

Mixpo Refocuses on TV-ad Based Marketers

The small business market is always attractive to vendors in terms of volume, but many give up in frustration because of its fragmentation, low margins and high service needs (and churn.) Many of these vendors typically seek to move up the value chain to medium and large sized businesses. With these, they get both larger contracts and more security.

Among these vendors re Seattle-based Mixpo, the online video specialists that track video effectiveness and embed actionable information, such as click-to-call and email buttons.

The 30 person company started three-and- a-half years ago with the idea that many SMBs would use online video as a new channel for advertising. But the company is now squarely focused on working with larger companies that basically want to extend their existing TV advertising.

“There is a fundamental reason to move up-market – it is so simple to put ads together and easily customize campaigns for creative versioning,. ” says CEO Anupam Gupta. An auto manufacturer, for instance, could quickly create local versions for 2,000 dealerships. “They can promote their sale next weekend,” says Gupta.

Gupta adds that “we’ve learned that customer segmentation is really, really important. The common base is TV ads. But we (use online to) get people to engage; to do things they can’t do with TV,” such as order brochures or click to call.

Mixpo has not only focused more on larger advertisers, but it has also started working closely with agencies and marketers, in addition to media partners such as Comcast and Belo Interactive, who remain an active channel. “It is strategic for us to expand into the demand side,” says Gupta, who notes that more than half of Mixpo’s revenues now come from agencies.

In talking with agencies, Mixpo focuses on how to use video to drive awareness and create more engaged users. “You can use it all the way down to a direct response campaign,” he says. “That’s not SMB.”

Hot categories for Mixpo currently include automotive, political and entertainment. “Political is huge,” says Gupta. “They get video. There is lots of advocacy work.” On its site, Mixpo shows success stories for tea party candidates such as Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN)

Entertainment mostly consists of “tune in” advertising promotion TV shows. A number of local TV stations and cable franchises are utilizing Mixpo services for their websites. “They can change the content very rapidly based on day of the week, time of day, or whatever audience they are in front of,” he says.

Ultimately, Gupta says the most successful Mixpo campaigns are run by those that have video assets (especially TV); a time sensitive element (i.e. political campaigns); or some interactive needs with their advertising (i.e. coupons).

The transition to an agency-focused approach has also changed the competitive parameters for Mixpo. Previously, when it was focused on SMBs, it competed largely with companies such as TurnHere and Jivox – both of which still report strong results in their sectors, and have evolved their own strategies. But now Gupta feels that the company competes mostly against companies doing rich media campaigns, such as is EyeWonder and Gannett’s Pointroll. It also competes against companies engaged in dynamic ads, such as Tumri.

Google’s Wojcicki at IAB: Display ‘Has to Be’ One of Largest Ad Markets

Google VP of ad products Susan Wojcicki told IAB’s Leadership Meeting yesterday in Carlsbad,CA that “the display industry is one of the most innovative parts of the Web right now,” and “will be one of the largest ad markets, if not the largest. It has to be,” she added. “Everything is moving online.”

Video, social and mobile will each play a major role for the growth of display ads in Wojcicki’s vision. “Every campaign will have desktop, mobile, video and social elements,” says Wojcicki, a core member of the Google leadership team since the company’s inception, and a leader behind the integration with DoubleClick, which was acquired two years ago for $3.1 Billion. She also noted that all display should be integrated with other ad types across the board to boost yield management.

“Video….will be one of the largest industries for us,” adds Wojcicki. “It could be one of largest segments for display. And social too. Over time, everything is social. We haven’t even figured out how social will play in different ad segments across web.”

Indeed, Wojcicki notes that “ad models aren’t clear in the new online world.” But she expects volume for display to grow astronomically, in part, as Google moves buying to its auction process. Using auctions have boosted display sales by 130 percent, she claims. Ad syndication will also be vital for publishers, as we have seen with projects such as Citysearch’s CityGrid . “Rather than having everyone come to your site, it will be your content and your ads everywhere.”

Google is also working to create a seamless purchase process. “The buying process for display and online inventory is really difficult,” she notes. “Inventory should be frictionless when you are buying it. Everything should be online. All creative should be checked automatically. With these principals in place, “there should be hundreds of thousands of display advertisers,” she says.

Along those lines, DoubleClick has rewritten its buying program for publishers using Google technology. “It is one of the largest integrations between Google and DoubleClick,” adds Wojcicki. “It is faster and fixes a lot of issues.” The program has also been well tested, with more than 500 hours of User Interface time to “get it right,” she says.

All-Star Lineup at Marketplaces 2010, March 22-24, San Diego

Marketplaces 2010 takes place just 7 weeks from now in San Diego (March 22-24). We are putting the finishing touches on the program, and have added MANY exciting new speakers in just the past few weeks.

The event is totally dedicated to the higher value/conversion/engagement ethos of vertical media. For sure, this isn’t one size fits all of newspapers and Yellow Pages anymore (but then again, these traditional media are rapidly verticalizing too).

Featured sessions include 5 big keynotes; Mike Boland’s Mobile Vertical Superforum; a preconference session on the Tools of Marketplaces, including experts on search, video, enhanced calls, online scheduling, promotion and classifieds.

We also have cutting edge panels on new directories and city guides; small business marketplaces; vertical ad networks; vertical search; content aggregators (a great session with CEO Rick Blair); and local retailers and marketplaces. To top it all off, there is a special “making money” session with Classifieds Master Tony Lee, Chief Alliance Officer of Adicio.

Our keynoters include:
* Jon Brod, EVP, AOL Ventures
* Jay Herratti, CEO, Citysearch
* Andrew Mason, Founder and CEO, Groupon
* Sam Sebastian, Director, Local & B2B Markets, Google
* Craig Smith, CEO, ServiceMagic

The Mobile Vertical SuperForum has eight great speakers:
* Sam Altman, Cofounder and CEO, Loopt
* Alec Andronikov, CEO, MoVoxx
* Craig Hagopian, President, LocalAdXchange
* Scott Jampol, Senior Director of Consumer Marketing, OpenTable
* Steve Larsen, CEO, CallSpark
* Alexander Muse, Cofounder, Big in Japan (ShopSavvy)
* Eric Singley, Mobile Product Manager, Yelp
* David Sturtz, Cofounder and CEO, RepairPal

Other featured speakers include:
* Ethan Anderson, Cofounder, RedBeacon
* Jeff Beard, President and GM, Localeze
* Rick Blair, CEO,
* Reed Brown, President and CEO, Matchbin
* Jim Delli Santi, Cofounder and CEO, AlikeList
* Craig Donato, CEO, Oodle
* Todd Dubner, SVP, Development, NCI
* Jennifer Dulski, CEO, Center’d
* Sean Fox, COO,
* Jordan Glazier, CEO, Eventful
* Krista Glotzbach, VP, Marketing,
* Martin Herbst, GM, Kijiji U.S., eBay
* Greg Isaacs, Exec Director and GM, AT&T Interactive
* Jaan Janes, CEO, Pulse 360
* Joelle Kaufman, SVP, Marketing, Adify
* Warren Kay, VP, Local, Fox Audience Network
* David Kidder, Cofounder and CEO, Clickable
* Tony Lee, Chief Alliance Officer, Adicio
* Colin Pape, CEO,
* Ben Saren, Cofounder and CEO, CitySquares
* Julie Smith, Group Product Manager, SuperMedia
* Mat Stover, CEO, Local Matters
* David Vazdauskas, President, Local Thunder

Do you think it will be a great conference? Do you think you can do major business? Please get more info here; or sign up to register here. Rates are better in advance than at the door.

ILM:09: Keynote from NBC Local’s Brian Buchwald

NBC has redefined its “core” to fully leverage key forms of online and offline media, and has consequently seen its reach boosted astronomically, even as individual elements such as the TV stations decline in overall figures, noted ILM:09 Keynoter Brian Buchwald, Executive VP, Local Integrated Media and NBC Everywhere.

While media companies (and their associations) have previously tried to kluge their online and offline numbers together to mask declines, Buchwald makes the case that radio, PC, mobile and TV really are complementing each other based on different day parts and accessibility. Consumers seek mobility and a seamless content experience,” he says. But TV still owns the evening. “It is increasingly about escapism.”

Buchwald also makes the case that consumers are increasingly “poly local.” They grab local information about their own community and others from a wide range of media. “The distinction between national and local is eroding,” he said. “There are thousands of places I can go to in LA to find out what’s going on in New York. Given the circumstances, it is up to local media to redefine the local experience with deep context. “Local matters less unless there is pull for me in the local community.”

“Local lifestyle needs are under-served,” added Buchwald. NBC’s answer is to “explore areas of high interest and low satisfaction. What people want in San Diego is different than in New York City.”

NBC is especially orienting itself around “social capitalists” between 25-44 years old, with high social demographics. They enjoy “discovering new content, their love for the city and being a key influencer that makes up the pulse of the city,” said Buchwald. “They love to try new thinks, and what’s new. Anything that keeps them ‘in the know’ is a keeper.”

Online, NBC is taking this guidance and building out NBC Local. The company has dedicated 140 people to the division, up from 20, and include a wide range of “functional experts,” including ex-staffers from other prominent media properties, such as The New York Daily News and Valley Wag. “People who actually get it.”

NBC is also negotiating partnerships with valuable content providers and curating unique information and stories from reliable sources. “We understand what we need to own and what we do not.” The ultimate goal is to build “families of products, rather than focus on a single property,” he said.

“Local online is a highly immature space,” concluded Buchwald. “We are a huge work in progress. Echoing others in the room who said that the era of any one company dominating local is over, Buchwald added that “we’re all in this together. It is a very, very nascent part of web. Nobody has yet conquered or mastered it.”

ILM:09: SMBs Benefit from More Competition to Google, Search Preferences

Yodle CEO Court Cunningham says that a major shift is occurring in SMB marketing as Google starts to give preference in rankings to merchant sites rather than to directory listings. “There are many, many more merchant sites” than there were a year ago, he noted on a panel at ILM:09 that also featured WebVisible CEO Kirsten Manger and LA Times Senior Director of Sales Andy Vogel. “That’s a potential threat to people who are directory oriented, while it is a boon to people producing rich media like Yelp and others.”

It is also shows a shift to third party sales sites as possible substitutes for directories – or so third party sites hope. It is especially important as small businesses shift a disproportionate amount of their spending on marketing from traditional media to the Web as the economy recovers.

The sales challenge, however, is that many SMBs don’t always fully understand what their expectations should be and continue to churn at uncomfortably high levels. WebVisible CEO Kirsten Mangers cited an “inflection point” in month four of a contract. Once an SMB reaches it, their churn level is likely to dramatically reduced among SMBs.

Mangers also noted that SMB sales is positively impacted by the diffusion of Web-based technologies. “Whatever happens in national will make it to local in the next eighteen to 24 months,” she said. Video, for instance, has arrived in a major way. SMBs get a five to thirty-five percent lift in conversions by including video with their website.

Yodle’s Cunningham echoed Mangers on churn issues. “After six months, people are very, very loyal. Customer lifespans may be three or four years,” he said. And they should be loyal, he says, since third party sales groups do so much for SMBs. “They need the power of our ten person marketing department,” and so forth, he notes.

Cunningham and Mangers also said the search environment is getting more competitive and probably cheaper, as Google gets more competition from the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft Bing. Mangers noted that the efficacy of Yahoo is up 123 percent from last year as better technology has been applied. With relevance up significantly, “we can spend more money on Yahoo,” added Cunningham.

Money can also be spent on other marketing products. “It is not a one size fits all approach,” said Cunningham. Search advertising doesn’t make sense for every restaurant, for instance – especially is acquisition ends up costing $30-$50 a pop. If they’re smart, they’ll take a coupon-like approach, he said.

The LA Times’ Andy Vogel, meanwhile, said his paper has been making a different kind of pitch to SMBs, mostly focused on its broad, increasingly involved, 92 percent reach, which includes the flagship paper and its related verticals, as well as The Tribune’s other area radio stations, ethnic media, community papers and local blogs. Vogel noted that ten of the 50 most read blogs in the U.S. originate from a LA Times Media Group Brand.

“We produce tons of hyperlocal content,” he said. Tribune’s community paper in Newport Beach, for instance, produces more content and has a higher level of readership than any other local media.

On a sales level, that will be reinforced in 2010, as the sites integrate advanced mapping and geo-spatial applications. A new iPhone app, for instance, allows users to create programs and sell ads on specific streets, all nicely plotted for advertisers. “Small things like that can help customers absorb it better,” he said.. The site has leveraged this capability by adding a “geo-proximity celebrity” watch that users can tap into to report sightings of favorite stars.

Vogel also says that Tribune sales efforts are triply reinforced, thanks to a recent restructuring. “We have a sales force that includes ‘hunters,’ ‘farmers’ and ‘customer service reps,’” he says. That means “we have three people always thinking about your business.”

Local Thunder Targets Local Ad ‘Click Thru Experience’

Small businesses often buy online advertising or email campaigns and then don’t know what else to do to capitalize on the effort. Maximizing online advertising for SMBs is the new orientation of Portland,ME-based Local Thunder, a four-year old services company that we last wrote about in April 2007.

Local Thunder originally was focused on partnering with broadcasters to sell SMBs promotional gift certificates and other parts of a “promotional stew.” But the company has since broadened its customer base. It is now working with advertisers in 27 markets in partnership with a variety of media companies. In addition to broadcast station groups, it is eyeing relationships with newspapers and media conglomerates.

The company’s efforts may be divided into two related areas, says President, David Vazdauskas, who assumed his post a few months ago after consulting with the company for three years. The first is to provide its media partners with a rich media showcase/directory for advertisers, many of whom did not even have a website when they first started working with the company. In addition to existing promotional features such has coupons, the ability to upload videos and “unlimited content” is especially popular.

The second area is to tie the showcases to the “click-thru experience” that many SMBs already get with Google, Yahoo, other search players and targeted email, “ says Vazdauskas. “The click-thru experience isn’t optimal,” he notes. Connecting the showcases “makes (SMBs) investment in local paid search much more powerful.”

The company’s business model is based on providing full-featured showcases for a set fee, which can then be marked up by its media partners. Vazdauskas says the partners are vital, since Local Thunder has no interest in having its own sales capability and would rather rely on local partners. He also emphasizes that the showcases are “not totally self serve.” It would be folly to force SMBs to fend for themselves if they are just getting started, he says. “We offer high service…’life customer’ service.”

Philly CBS Broadcasters Team to Power 120 ‘Digital Newsstands’

Seven Philadelphia CBS-TV and radio stations have combined their news resources to create a new Digital Out of Home (DOOH) News Network utilizing 39 CBS Always On “Digital Newsstands.” The Newsstands include HDTVs and a 24 hour news ticker.

The Digital Newsstands have been created in partnership with Center City Direct, a local marketing and technology company. It is a division of Alternative Media Holdings, which also provides DOOH services to retailers, office buildings and other street-level installations.

Stations included in the partnership include KYW-TV (CBS), WPSG-TV (CW), KYW-AM, WOGL-FM, WYSP-FM, WIP-AM and WPHT-AM. In addition to local news and weather, the newsstands will also feature tourist information. Ultimately, more than 120 newsstands are envisioned.

Thanks to TV NewsCheck for the scoop