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Placement Really Does Matter

Placement Really Does Matter Staff

At AD:TECH Chicago earlier this week, aQuantive, Inc.'s Atlas DMT released research demonstrating the impact of paid search listings rank on traffic and how marketers can better model and forecast paid search campaigns.

The study found that overall, advertisers should expect about a 10 times difference in potential traffic between the top and 10th rankings. The research further revealed significant differences across the two leading search providers.

On Google, for example, the amount of potential traffic drops more than 40 percent between the No. 1 one ranking and No.2. This statistic supports marketers willing to pay for the top position.

At Yahoo!'s Overture, the drop in potential traffic is more gradual across rankings one through four.

Atlas DMT used data from Atlas Search to analyze the performance of hundreds of millions of impressions and clicks for tens of thousands of keywords.

"Just like any other marketing channel, success for search is about balancing cost and volume. Understanding those trade-offs is the focus of this research," says Young-Bean Song, director of analytics and the Atlas Institute, Atlas DMT.

The insights from the research are expected to be used to inform strategic decisions for search marketing campaigns and tactical executions for specific keywords. In addition to paid search, the principles of the study also apply to paid inclusion and natural search.

Atlas' advice for marketers based on the data:

  • Model your search campaigns based on cost, clicks, conversions and rank. The data presented here provides a key component in modeling campaign performance. To model traffic overall, you can look at last month’s average rank, clicks, and conversions to obtain a basis for projecting the overall potential of your campaign.

  • This research has focused specifically on traffic. To build a complete picture, you need to also understand conversion rates. The Atlas Institute is also examining the relationship between rank and conversion rate. Those results will be published in a separate analysis, but make sure that at a minimum you are tracking your conversion rate by search engine.

  • Look at your own data. While this aggregated data revealed a fair amount of consistency in how impressions and CTR drop by rank, each industry is different. Overture and Google distribution also change over time. To obtain the most accurate numbers for your specific situation, you should perform a similar analysis on your own data.

  • Manage CTR in all engines. A 10 percent improvement in the CTR of a listing is a 10 percent increase in clicks. In Google AdWords, improving CTR has the added advantage of decreasing your cost per click (CPC), since Google factors CPC into its AdWords rankings.

"Paying for the number one ranking may not be the best strategy for all advertisers," says Song. "For some marketers the cost of traffic associated with the top ranking may be too high. On the other hand, some marketers are foregoing the top spot, without really knowing how many customers they are losing to their competitors. Most advertisers don't know whether they are paying too much, or needlessly missing out on sales.

How can such a difference be explained?
Contrary to what we usually see in other sectors of activity, the technical choices that are made to design and capitalise on the sites of sports manufacturers are all very different.

The geographical location of the site's web host is essential in order to be effective in China. This is not the case in Western countries, which benefit from a state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure. China is an immense country, technologically separated into two zones, the north and the south. Each zone is served by a specific network operator, and the network connection between the two has not been sufficiently optimised. This characteristic creates a disparity in performance for internet users, depending on their location.

Where Nike and Adidas err, it is not through a lack of means, but simply because of their global technical strategy as opposed to Li Ning's local technical strategy.

In fact, Nike offers a homepage hosted in China that is quite effective, but then, all the sections and online services are hosted in the United States. It's the same diagnosis for Adidas, except that its websites are hosted in Germany.

Each player has integrated content acceleration (Content Delivery Network or CDN) on a worldwide scale, making it possible to deliver content to the points closest to internet users. However, the solutions that have been implemented rely on Western players that are unable to service China properly.

As a result, their performance is not as good as that of the local competition -- Li Ning, hosted in China, with technological choices that help it to deal effectively with the technical issues of the internet in that country.

Another element is the design of the pages on the site. Too many sites use graphics that are elegant but too bulky. They do not hesitate to use flash technology, for example, to make a site look more dynamic.

The "heavier" the page is, the longer it takes to load, and the more it will be subjected to variations in performance linked to the telecom operators' networks.

It is precisely according to this second set of criteria that Li Ning makes a difference here as well. By choosing a simple, streamlined graphic design, the manufacturer succeeds in limiting the number of elements that internet users are obliged to load on their internet navigator, thus accelerating the display speed. Contrary to this, Puma has a homepage that is seven times more voluminous than Li Ning's site.

As for Reebok, its homepage is also very heavy, consisting of a large number of elements to display, some of which are small flash animations that cause a slowdown -- "clots" in the network that prevent any new objects from displaying as long as they haven't finished loading.

Li Ning's many victories in the gym have helped him become a celebrity. These victories have also taught him that, in order to be the best, one has to know how to make a difference.

Twenty years after retiring from sports, Li Ning has not forgotten this experience, and has managed to bring it to other fields of endeavour. His company's website has benefited equally. Clearly making a difference, the website helps make Li Ning yet again a gold medal winner in his category.

Christophe Depeux is general manager, IP-Label Technology, Asia Pacific. This article was written in collaboration with Alain Petit, L'Atelier BNP Paribas.


Coca-Cola's recent ad campaign, "Come Together," is the brand's attempt to appear health-conscious, highlighting diet soda and calorie labels on cans to encourage reasonable portions. The campaign appears to be purely a political move, as Coke continues to come under increasing scrutiny for its part in America's obesity problem.

This ad can also be seen as response to Alex Bogusky's "The Real Bears," an ad he did for the Center for Science in the Public Interest that depicted the horrendous health consequences on a family of soda-guzzling polar bears. Some call Bogusky himself hypocritical with his recent shift from brand advocate to consumer advocate -- others just call him awesome. Bogusky responded to Coke's recent move with this tweet:

According to Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, "They're trying to stem the tide of criticism by taking a page out of crisis control 101, which is to pretend like they're concerned about the issue. If they were serious, they would stop advertising full-calorie drinks, charge less for lower calorie options, and stop fighting the soda tax. They're just running feel-good ads aimed at neutralizing criticism."


Back in 2011, Lowe's decided to stop advertising on a TV show called "All-American Muslim" after a conservative Christian group complained, calling the show "propaganda" that "hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." The brand faced immediate backlash upon the ad withdrawal, with critics calling the move an act of bigotry and -- worse -- an act of agreement with a hate group. More likely? Lowe's panicked.

Some argue that Lowe's has every right to spend its advertising dollars where it chooses, and perhaps those people are right. But this knee-jerk reaction didn't bode well for the Lowe's brand image. Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb touted the company's "long-standing commitment" to diversity and pulled the ads only after the show became "a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives."

Suddenly there were many complaints from a variety of perspectives, Lowe's? Nice try. Thanks for playing.


This campaign for Clorox Green Works is an attempt to make green products more approachable by mocking green freaks, but many have found the campaign just plain insulting.

"Green seems to have become a status symbol," Green Works brand manager Shekinah Eliassen said. "It's like you have to be 100 percent committed to being green or not green at all -- and that's where a lot of people have been turned off by it."

While we can admire Clorox's attempts to dispel myths about what it means to be green, or to make being green more mainstream, this particular tactic just painted the brand as hypocritical. These dimwitted green housewives are such a turn-off that viewers don't even want to see the deeper message. It's just not wise to make fun of environmentally conscious consumers when you are trying to sell a product on its green appeal.


Burberry is a multinational brand whose global marketing campaign revolves around being a "luxury brand" with a "distinctive British" appeal. Yet its claim to high quality clothing "Made in Britain" is a total sham. Only two Burberry factories remain open in Britain, for the sole purpose of tightly clutching its decaying image of British-made luxury. All other manufacturing has long been moved to China.

In her article for The Guardian, Carole Cadwalladr wrote, "The £4 polo shirts [made in China]? They're now retailing on Burberry's website for £150. That 'Made in Britain' appeal? It commands a premium of £146 a pop accrued from the fact that Burberry kept two British factories open."


"It's very sad that an event that celebrates the very best of athletic achievements should be sponsored by companies contributing to the obesity problem and unhealthy habits," said Terence Stephenson, a spokesman for a U.K. doctor's group, referring to Olympic sponsors McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Heineken. This type of outrage over inappropriate Olympics sponsors is nothing new, but McDonald's was especially hurt last year when it dropped to the very bottom of a brand reputation tracker monitoring Twitter sentiment toward the 25 official sponsors of the London Games.

The mayor of London had this to say about the negative comments: "It's classic liberal hysteria about very nutritious, delicious, food -- extremely good for you I'm told -- not that I eat a lot of it myself," he said. "Apparently this stuff is absolutely bursting with nutrients." His comments were, of course, just fuel to the fire on social media, which got even worse when comedian Frankie Boyle tweeted: "Don't know how much sponsorship McDonald's paid for the Olympic mayor to be a f***ing clown."

Lord Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London 2012 organizing committee, defended Olympics sponsorships by fast food and soft drinks companies. He argued that the huge investment by brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's is essential to the success of the event.


Parent company Unilever came under intense social media fire in 2007 for the apparent contradiction found in Dove and Axe advertisements. Dove's campaign for "Real Beauty" is focused on self esteem and realistic body images for women, while Axe is famous for ads with half-naked, sex-crazed women. The most famous spoof was called "Talk to your daughter before Unilever does," which has now been removed from YouTube.

Vaseline, another a sub-brand of Unilever, more recently launched a Facebook app in India that allowed users to whiten their profile pictures. The app was designed to promote Vaseline's skin-lightening creams, which are increasing in popularity in India. Some claim Unilever's hypocrisy in cases like these is overblown, and that Unilever is just a parent company not responsible for the messaging of all of its separate sub-brands. But with critics increasingly leveraging social media and online conversations to put parent companies in the spotlight, Unilever won't be able to evade criticism with this excuse much longer.

Papa John's

Papa John's CEO John Schnatter gained attention last fall after complaining that the Affordable Healthcare Act would result in a 10- to 14-cent cost increase per pizza and would possibly compel the company to reduce employees' hours. "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart pointed out that the chain has been known to give away 2 million pizzas as part of a promotion during football season. Papa John's did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Countless internet memes like this one began to spread like wildfire:

A group that appears to be unaffiliated with Papa John's organized a Papa John's Appreciation Day on Facebook, so the brand is not without its supporters. Still, Schnatter's comments have now made him famous on social media as a hypocrite and a whiner.


After L'Oréal blew the whistle on rival brand Dior, the Advertising Standards Authority banned this mascara ad featuring Natalie Portman, on account of her eyelashes being airbrushed to artificial perfection.

L'Oréal is a frequent troublemaker with the ASA, systematically bending the truth in cases such as Cheryl Cole's false locks and Beyoncé's "latte" skin tint -- not to mention several ASA bans over the last few years on ads featuring Rachel Weisz, Christy Turlington, Julia Roberts, and Penelope Cruz.

But tattletale L'Oréal got its way this time, even though these types of complaints typically come from consumers, not brands. In this cosmetics catfight, neither party is innocent. In fact, the cosmetics industry banks on these kinds of tactics. So pipe down, L'Oréal. You're no hero.

Mazda/Universal Studios

For the film "The Lorax," based on the Dr. Seuss story, Universal forged nearly 70 different advertising partnerships to promote the film, ranging from Whole Foods to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But as if selling out this children's story of a creature who speaks up for trees and nature wasn't enough, the company also sold it out to an SUV.

The Mazda CX-5, which is not a hybrid but gets 35 miles per gallon on the highway, is apparently the only car to receive the "Truffula Tree Seal of Approval," according to the commercial. This hypocritical partnership caused an uproar from bloggers, YouTube commenters, online petitioners, and more.

Don Romano, Mazda's chief marketing officer for North America, said that the ad's intention is to challenge people's perceptions of what environmentally friendly cars can be. He emphasized that it is merely a first step, which seems to signal a new trend in low-effort (and low-impact) environmentalism similar to what we saw with Clorox's ad. "If people think that everything's going to change overnight, that's just naive," Romano said. "It's not going to happen that way. It's going to happen through incremental changes and constant improvement. I think Dr. Seuss would be quite proud of that progress and the fact that we're taking that step."


Here's an advertisement that provides a whole new way of looking at hypocritical marketing. In 2011, Patagonia placed a full-page ad in the The New York Times on Black Friday that told readers not to buy its products. The company then reiterated its message online on Cyber Monday by asking consumers to pledge to "reduce our environmental footprint."

Sure, it's a stunt. Patagonia is still in the business of selling clothes. The brand also highlights the sustainable, long-lasting quality of its products. But this startling ad sends a message that is much more effective than that of Clorox or Mazda. With brutal honesty, the company explains that the production of the jacket pictured is decidedly harmful to the environment.

The ad reads, "There is much to be done and plenty for us all to do. Don't buy what you don't need. Think twice before you buy anything...Reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace." Patagonia's campaign is all about the long-term. It's all about building an image of a brand that consumers can trust. And that's a strategy a lot of brands can stand to learn from. Honesty breeds loyalty.

Chloe Della Costa is an editor at iMedia Connection.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Not being direct

How often do you hop aboard the PC train? Being too politically correct or soft-soaping key issues is a practice we all succumb to at some point. There's a fine line in the workplace between being direct and being mean. However, the workplace could surely use more straight-to-the-point talk.

Shopkick's CRO Alexis Rask speaks to iMedia about why being direct is very important and being too glossy can be a real hindrance.  

Checking your phone

You're probably doing this right now, or are about to. It's painfully difficult to ignore your phone, but constantly texting, updating, or checking your device can create a culture of distraction. You're not completely focused while you continually glance at your smartphone. 

Steven Wolfe Pereira, CMO for DataLogix speaks about why this workplace habit must cease.

Checking your social networks

While we're on the subject of checking too many things, the office is plagued by personal networkers who are updating and posting in endless fashion. Put Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn away for a little while. Being a social media addict actually harms useful productivity (unless you're a social media manager.)

MaxPoint's director of shopper marketing Laura Rangel speaks to iMedia about why we should all sometimes give our social circles a break and concentrate on meaningful work.

Over-emailing & CCing too many people

There's a difference between keeping people in the loop and excessive email badgering of your coworkers. Email is a beast, and we all have a habit of CCing too many unnecessary people or sending too many updates. Use email sparingly and not at all if you are able to have a conversation face-to-face.

Patrick Cartmel, senior vice president of client service & strategy for HookLogic explains why email has gotten out of control.


Lastly, we are all brought up to think that multitasking is a virtue and increases productivity. However, being stretched too thin is proven to be a real block toward concentration and efficiency. A little multitasking here and there is fine, but dive deep and focus on one project at a time to really knock them out of the park.

Matthew Kates, VP of strategic services for HelloWorld speaks to iMedia about why we should all adopt a more concentrated mindset in the office.

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Article written by media production manager David Zaleski.

"Bored panel of professional judges" and "Yawn" images via Shutterstock.

Data refresh rates will shrink, preventing fraud

In programmatic, having a single platform that refreshes its data constantly is vital to preventing wasted impressions. Right now, the industry leading refresh rate is at one minute, and it has proven to be an exceptional tactic for protecting client media and interests. Other programmatic players will follow this lead. It's the best way to prevent ads from appearing on brand-unsafe environments. A consistent, short refresh rate of data helps scrub bad sites, leaving only optimal places for programmatic inventory to be served.

The myth that programmatic campaigns are untargeted will be dispelled

Programmatic is young and for many advertisers it's scary. This is mainly due to a few unfair and untrue myths that have arisen surrounding the practice. One of the larger ones states that programmatic inventory is remnant, untargeted inventory that is of low quality. This simply is not true. The more that this media execution tactic is utilized -- coupled with the emergence of industry leading companies -- marketers will learn that programmatic is high-quality and precisely targeted inventory. Key educators in the space will soon put this myth to rest.

One of these educators is Richard Russey from AcuityAds. He continues our conversation by explaining why a one-minute data refresh rate is so vital in this area and how targeting methods have evolved to produce exceptional results.

Mobile channel ROI

While it is tempting to double down on mobile ad campaigns, it is important not to neglect, or at least consider, other digital and non-digital channels that may warrant increased investment. For example, if you are an apparel retailer driving sales as a primary KPI, it is important to have digital coverage across affiliate, search, and display channels as consumers tend to enjoy exploring the various options and payment on desktop devices that may be limited on mobile.

However, if you are a CPG advertiser looking to drive engagement and/or shares, or a mobile game developer driving app downloads, an increased investment in mobile might make more sense. At the end of the day, take a look at your media plan holistically and let ROI dictate your investment. There are many marketers out there that jump on the bandwagon for the latest shiny advertising products out there, testing is good, make sure the channel pays out.

Hiring a mobile ad agency vs. in-house

Large brands entering the mobile realm often seek digital ad agency services to help them drive strategy, media buying scale, creative, and other projects. For many large brands, they hire multiple agencies that focus on a particular piece of the business due to the sheer scale of their marketing operation. These agencies regularly need to coordinate with the local client, country owners, and other agency partners to develop marketing budget allocations, new product release strategies, and execute ad campaigns.
In recent years, the advent of mobile specific agencies has pulled in big budgets to drive this mobile business. These new mobile agencies do raise a couple options for large brands:

1) Can I bring this mobile advertising practice in-house?

2) If I already have a full services agency (i.e., doing strategy, creative, social, and desktop media buying), do I need one specific to mobile?

The most obvious high-level answer to these questions simply comes down to whether your brand or agency has the expertise, resources, fiscal flexibility, and/or can hit the target KPIs to take on these services. Many brands have done a terrific job bringing some or all of their marketing services in-house, either from inception or over time to drive cost efficiencies (especially mobile-only brands). Other brands prefer to invest in agency partners to bring objective ideas and experience to the table. These agencies are also easier to decouple from if that partner isn't meeting their needs.

Brands toying with the idea of bringing their mobile media in-house -- or moving mobile media agencies services to another agency -- need to understand that mobile media has far more nuances than many other ad verticals. As such, it is important to treat mobile with the same sophistication as you would with other ad channels (i.e., display, social, search, etc.), especially if you have international KPIs based on site-side engagement, mobile purchases, or app downloads.

Some obvious examples would be marketers in the telecom space, like Apple or Samsung, who are selling mobile phones or VOIP (figure out term for this) services like saywhat or Skype. These marketers need to focus on targeting based on operating system, demographic, and/or service availability. Secondly, those in mobile won't have the luxury of being able to get accurate ad server reporting due to the lack of cookies available in mobile, especially when these campaigns drive to the mobile web. Mobile advertisers need to think about cookie-less solutions (e.g., Kochava, Ad-X, and HasOffers) that may incorporate SDK based tracking for mobile apps that generally use post backs, digital fingerprinting, or some equivalent. These tactics are a bit different than simply trafficking your display campaign via an ad server like DoubleClick.

International agencies may not always be the best options for certain markets as that agency's familiarity on local mobile publishers, creative, and billing practices (say in Europe) can be very different from standard practices in the local market. Secondly, a larger agency may not be able to give advertisers the kind of attention a smaller agency could. In some international markets, such as Brazil, brands have fewer choices as the local agency that builds the creative assets (that bills for it) has to be the same agency to run the media, due to local legal requirements. In many instances, the larger agency shops tend to fair well due to their local presence, product offerings, and overall global reach. Fortunately, the U.S. market is much more straightforward from a legal standpoint and allows for more competition.

Bottom line? Like in any good agency evaluation, size, and hearsay don't always reflect the reality an agency's skillset or quality. If you are let down by a poor agency, take the time to fully vet your options as opposed to jumping into another relationship that may only be moderately better. There is a lot of quality mobile-only and full service agencies out there that are hungry for the right kinds of mobile business. However, if a brand has full confidence in the above competencies, then invest in mobile advertising in-house.

Thomas Moyer is media supervisor at Aegis Dentsu Network.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Programmatic will move into TV and digital out-of-home

Programmatic will not just be limited to desktop display. Social, video, and search have all been tested and are currently utilized as high-quality, unique ways to deliver relevant media. Soon, we will see a day where television will be revolutionized and the idea of the "commercial" will transform. TV ads will someday be delivered programmatically. We are already seeing this huge potential thanks to experimentation being done on set-top boxes and with digital delivery networks. In addition, digital out-of-home tactics will evolve and be automated. Basically, if you can serve an ad to a consumer, the process that allowed it will one day be programmatic. Prepare now.

Richard Russey from AcuityAds ends our conversation by discussing the biggest mistakes to avoid in programmatic, and why being thoroughly educated in the space will open your company up to amazing opportunities.

Learn more about AcuityAds.

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