Thursday, September 24, 2009

Changes In The Media Landscape

I have a huge list of things that I want to write about but the simple truth is that there are not enough hours in the day to do all of them. So in going through this extremely long list I realised that at least three of the items fitted together into a nice three-in-one post. So here is a little snap shot of three of the most important changes that I feel have gone on in the media landscape in the last couple of weeks.

Google's Display Ad Exchange

After much speculation and talk following Google's purchase of DoubleClick (two years ago!), it has finally happened - the Google Display Ad Exchange has launched. Coupled with the usual over-exagerated boasts, Google tell us that the system "will change the way advertisers buy ad space". The move represents one of the most open challenges that Google have made against Yahoo! and Microsoft's display ad marketshares. Up until now Google had relied on its Display network to counter both YAhoo! and Microsoft's display offering, both of which were real 'display' networks.

Having said that, the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange is modelled directly on the AdSense and AdWords systems. Neal Mohan, vice president of product management at Google, said "the exchange is a real-time marketplace that will help publishers, ad networks and agencies buy and sell display space. We want to democratise access to display advertising and make it accessible and open, like search advertising. By bringing publishers and advertisers together in an open marketplace in which prices are set in a real-time auction, the Ad Exchange enables display ads and ad space to be allocated much more efficiently. This improves returns for advertisers and enables publishers to get the most value out of their online content."

Facebook's Beacon Is Gone

Folling the $9.5m settlement of a class-action lawsuit launched against Beacon, Facebook has finally confirmed it will completely shut down the advertising service. Although Facebook has been gradually phasing out the system, it has continued to be used by a number of websites up until very recently. The service, which was originally launched in late 2007, suffered from immediate controversy by utilising the browsing habits of its members while they were on other websites.

In December 2007, very shortly after launch, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, issued a personal apology for what he called "lots of mistakes in the way the system was handled". In reality, the whole system was a complete PR disaster. The web virtually exploded with concerns over Facebook invading the privacy of its users without their prior consent or knowledge. The result was that Facebook introduced more controls and ultimately made the system opt-in for members.

The settlement itself, which is still pending approval, will also pay $9.5m to create a foundation to fund products that promote online privacy, safety and security. Facebook has said that "we look forward to the creation of the foundation and its work to educate Internet users on how best to control their privacy [and] engage in safe social networking practices."

Web Metrics Reinvented

When it comes to digital audience measurement there are only two options: comScore or Omniture. So the news that these two rivals are planning to launch a single, combined digital audience measurement system is absolutely huge. The companies have revealed that they hope to design a platform that will bring more clarity and confidence to the online advertising market. Essentailly, the system will give both websites and advertisers a unified source for measuring how many visitors hit their sites, how often they visit and exactly who the visitors are.

Specific details of system are as of yet unavailable, however industry experts predict that it will most likely combine Omniture analysis tools and comScore's internet user panels. The question remains however of how exactly they will gather their raw data set. In the past, the two companies have almost always shown different sets of data due to the fact that they have always set out to achieve relatively different goals. This is the main area that it is hoped will be addressed, and that the current disparity between the companies will be resolved.

Interestingly, last week also saw Omniture in the news as it was taken over by Adobe for $1.8 billion (£1bn). Adobe has said that the deal will ultimately help digital marketers increase their ROI through a more accurate measurement system. As any Digital Marketer will tell you, flash is fantastic for (pardon the pun) flashy "nova-style" microsites (short lived, hyped up and ultimately forgettable), but an absolute nightmare for longterm projects due to the inability of search engines to truely index the flash contents. A recent takeover may spell the end for this, however.

1 comment:

Monica said...
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