Monday, April 23, 2007

Online content - big problems arise

Interesting article on eMarketing on the trouble with online video content search. In previous posts we have talked about the problems of searching YouTube (can Google make it properly searchable??). By far the highest growth potential for online content is seen to be short video according to an Accenture survey with the majority being user generated.

Meanwhile a Synovate survey found that the third most frustrating thing to consumers of this shift was the difficulty in finding what they were looking for (19%). Other concerns where it being too commercial, inconsistent and chaotic.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Online audience measurement


We have blogged here before about the problems of measuring an online audience. Traditionally it has been done via page views and often with the use of cookies (small tracking programs inserted on your computed by the servers of the sites you visit which track what else you look at). Interestingly the BBC has investigated the issue, covering recent reports from comScore and Nielsen NetRatings.

The traditional method of measurement has been page views which have always been a bit unbelievable and with an increasing number of PC users regularly clearing their cookies, there is every chance that these are being astronimically overstated. Another measure suggested is by taking a sample audience and scaling up their behaviour; in the same way this is done for TV and radio.

Possibly more reasonable but I would caution using it too precisely. When you are on time unmetered online access where is the onus to read only the pages which are open? I usually have a number of browser panes open at any one time, one of which is normally showing the BBC's news homepage, but I am not reading it all the time!

This is a massively important issue for media measurement and if users are to have faith in the metrics adopted then they must reflect the consumer out-take not the media output.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Google and the PR industry


Of all the organisations out there its probably Google that fascinates me most. It’s a kind of hobby reading about their latest moves, deals and products however I must admit to holding a modest amount of their shares (or stock) but if anything it’s just to add to the excitement of trying to work out what they are up to.

I think it relevant to mention that last year we dabbled in Adwords but found it expensive and have concentrated efforts on the ‘natural’ listings via an SOE initiative. I use the Gmail mobile and desktop which I think are great although I have not as yet parted with $50 for the full Apps product, although I think it’s going to be a great alternative to MS Office, particularly with the hoped for addition of the presentation module.

Back to my Google fascination, which really seems to stem from the conviction that they know something we don’t. I can’t put it any clearer than that. Perhaps they have too much power, maybe it’s a critical mass thing, but lots of their ideas seem odd with no particular view on monetarising the benefit. My gut however tells me they could end up taking as active a part in the UK’s PR provision as they do in advertising.

They are talking about customising your browser to only display ads related to products or services your have previously shown an interest in. If this is the future then its possible pages and content could also be filtered on a similar basis, or to show the stories of those who have paid the most money.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Online ads points way for PR

This weekend the Guardian ran a super article on the impact of the internet on advertising. Its relevance is so pertinent to PR in that these are shared methods of communication and as Credit Suisse recently said ‘money follows eyeballs’.

One of the most interesting parts of this discussion focused the concept of user solicited content and how this is enabling the internet to veer away from traditional media’s ‘pay and pray’ approach.

The consumer ability to distinguish between the ad and the editorial contents of the media in another area worth considering in greater detail in the future; enough to say the combine of PR and ads online are enabling great leverage to new entrants – without the infrastructure and cost of building a brand offline.

So where will consumers go in the future for information. Traditional media providers like the newspapers with an online presence will present one of the best routes to connect with a less specific audience which is associated with sites like MySpace and Facebook.

Finally what about justification online? A big aspect holding back the progress is the lack of good audience data. This month marks the first monthly data series specifically for the internet produced by Audit Bureau of Circulation. ABCe will be a welcome addition only if it sets a standard and becomes the currency of preference. Limits could come from a lack of scale to the analysis and over-complicated data streams.