Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard or read something about Facebook being the best place for a business to advertise. Those saying this a scam artists who sprinkle in a few “gee that makes sense” bits of information to make people think that Facebook has some magic formula for advertising. The keyword BS used to pitch Facebook as the Google killer is “demographics”.

It has been shoved down our throats for decades that demographics produce better ad results. Television, radio, newspapers all pride themselves on their demographics, and there is tremendous value to demographics. Running a tampon ad in Men’s Health isn’t going to fair too well. Running an advertisement for a$100K Lexus in Double-wide Quarterly is probably not going to perform well either. So, the Internet scam artists use this concept to prey on unsuspecting victims at Internet marketing seminars to get people to buy into the hype of Facebook.

The reality is that search behavior is the best indicator of a person’s interest in a product or service NOT whether they are 50+, own a home, have 2.5 kids, or make more than $250K/year. Still, people buy into the hype around Facebook because it has beat out Google in visits finally. Still, Facebook advertisements are passive, not active. You have a lure someone into being interested in something you have to sell rather than them going out and search for you.

I’m going to take this one step further and just analyze my own advertisements that I see on Facebook vs. other websites, like (which has absolutely no demographic information about me other than my zip code). My Facebook ads are predominantly dating website ads. At the time of this blog, my Facebook relationship status is single. If I were to change that, I would receive more Mafia Wars ads instead of dating website ads. I’m not saying these ads are worthless. Online dating is bigger than porn now, so it makes sense that I’d see a myriad of dating website ads on my Facebook pages when I am listed as Single.

What ads do they display on for me? The Buffet of Buffet ads for Las Vegas! I was just in Vegas for a trade show. I visited several websites related to Vegas while searching for a hotel to stay at. Am I going back to Vegas right away? No. However, I remember the Buffet of Buffet advertisements in Vegas when I was there, and I sure will be tempted to get this deal next time I visit (probably in about 4 months). That’s good advertising!

We are one step (or should I say 10 miles) closer to getting all Star Treky up in here! So, I have an idea for a movie if anyone wants to steal it from me. Not like I’m ever going to have to to write the thing.

The basic idea is that teleportation is now the preferred method of speedy transportation. Well, one major problem… That cuts into advertising! There’s no more sitting in a car, bus, train, airplane, or boat, which means no more radio advertisements or inflight magazines! So, some evil corporation comes up with a way to manipulate the information stored in the brain to include subliminal advertisements for their product. Obviously, it has to be some sort of pharmaceutical that would then make the people more susceptible to advertisements from the evil corporation!

Mashable posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article with the title “Facebook and Others Caught Sending User Data to Advertisers” (Mashable’s Title, not WSJ). Talk about a sensationalized headline!

The issue at hand here is what Web nerds know as the HTTP_REFERER, which is part of the HTTP headers that your web browser sends to every web server during every single request made to that web server. The HTTP_REFERER header has been around LONG before facebook was even an idea, long before myspace ever existed. It lets the current page request know the page the browser was on prior to the current page. This is valuable information for a lot of reasons, not just because websites want to know where their clicks are coming from (but that’s not what this blog article is about).

WSJ’s “investigative” report claims the following

“For most social networking sites, the data identified the profile being viewed but not necessarily the person who clicked on the ad or link. But Facebook went further than other sites, in some cases signaling which user name was clicking on the ad as well as the user name of the page being viewed.”

The problem with this statement is that is clearly make Facebook out to be some advertising hoodlum with no regard for the privacy of it’s users when that is hardly the case at all.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the 50 foot Facebook URLs like!?ref=logo/photo=1627836127y/pages/Dinosaurs/75183307096?ref=search&sid=704807817.2984144529..1&v=wall

Well, apparently I like dinosaurs, and I did a search for dinosaurs while I was visiting a friend’s wall. So, Internet advertisers now know that I like dinosaurs and they also know my profile! So, if they make up a profile and become my friend, they will then be able to harvest my “personal” Facebook information to find out that I don’t just like dinosaurs.

Now, I may be a dinosaur with my HTTP_REFERER knowledge, but links opened in a new window (which all Facebook ads do) NEVER contain an HTTP_REFERER. This would mean that this supposed gigantic privacy hOle is just that… a hole! It doesn’t even exist. WSJ could have just called me to get a verification on their “findings”, but they didn’t. Poor investigation WSJ!

Now, playing around with Facebook a bit, I notice that it opens a new window but has a URL from Facebook… OMG! Is this the smoking gun! Are we all doomed?!?!?!!! Here’s the URL that shows up from one of my ads on my profile:

Hardly mappable to any personally identifiable information about me, except maybe my personal taste in women 😛

Update: Even TechCrunch has jumped on this story, yet added no real tech information on anything. Funny that they can publish an article a few weeks back talking about how the scrubbed their logs for the HTTP_REFERER and found how little traffic Google Buzz sent them but aren’t intelligent enough to point out that links opened in a new window pass no HTTP_REFERER.

The moment I heard about Facebook’s “like” feature, I shivered. The idea seemed brilliant to someone at Facebook, brilliant enough to push it through testing and into release (for a company like Facebook, that’s a pretty big deal). This new “like” concept was going to revolutionize Facebook usage on the Internet! It was going to show up everywhere! The Internet was going to become a big giant like-fest…

Folks at Facebook and Interweb “pundits” chimed in about how Facebook was doing this to help generate greater interest in brands. It was designed to lower the barrier to entry (so to speak) for a consumer to brands establishing themselves on Facebook. The idea was that it’s easier to “like” a brand than to be a “fan” of a brand. How cute, right?

Lowering the barrier to entry for a potential customer seems like a good idea, until you do the math. Let’s say my business is paying 40 cents per click on Facebook. If the barrier is at the “fan” level, I will presumably receive fewer clicks, but they will be from “fan” level (potential) customers. Fans are more valuable than likes (I’ll get to that in a second). If the barrier is at the “like” level, I will presumably receive more clicks than at the “fan” level, but they will be from “like” level (potential) customers. This means that I will be paying more money to Facebook for a less qualified potential customer.

BTW, the above is not conjecture. A lower qualified customer is not as valuable as a higher qualified customer. Now, let’s get into the difference between a “fan” and a “like”.

The problem with this is that businesses don’t want likes, we want fans. The Los Angeles Lakers (replace with any sports team) don’t sell season tickets every year because of their likes, it’s because of their FANS! Lakers merchandise does sell to likes, it sells to FANS!

But not every business is sports team… Of course not.

Now, let’s replace the Lakers with perhaps a watch company 🙂

People purchase watches that they like, right? I mean, you go to a store and see a nice watch and say, “I like that watch.” You don’t say, “I fan that watch.” So, obviously my theory is broken, right? Well, not really because you still haven’t purchased the watch. Liking something is window shopping. We all see a lot of stuff that we “like” in the windows but never buy. However, when we really find a watch that resonates with us, we become obsessed. We become a FAN! We figure out some way to convince our wife or girlfriend that we NEED that watch. Just like we need season tickets to the Lakers (good luck with the waiting list)!

Getting back to Facebook… They just devalued themselves. They are providing a less qualified potential customer and no business in their right mind will pay the same for a less qualified potential customer than what it was paying before for a presumably more qualified customer. That being said, time will tell whether the potentials are less qualified or not. My prediction is that the potentials will indeed be less qualified, and this will make Facebook less attractive to advertisers (like myself).

The day I heard about the Sharper Image Bankruptcy, I searched Google for the term: sharper image bankruptcy. There was a Google Adsense ad for Sharper Image. At the time, I thought I should take a screen capture, but I didn’t. The next day, I came back and the ad was gone. Perhaps Sharper Image ran out of budget for the day, because the ad is back!

Based upon the blogs that I’ve been reading about not fulfilling on gift certificates and the obvious stiffing companies for millions of dollars, it is rather humorous that Sharper Image has an advertisement on Google when you type in sharper image bankruptcy. What makes it even funnier is that the ad claims: “Sensational service and totally unique merchandise”. I’ll have to tell that to my brother who got stiffed for his Sharper Image gift certificate this weekend while receiving “sensational service”.

Sharper Image BankruptcySee the screen shot yourself. There’s no way I was going to let this one pass me by a second time!

The good news is that Sharper Image has resumed redemption of their gift cards. The bad news is that you need to read the details:

All Gift Cards, etc., will be honored for their full value with two conditions – (1) they must be redeemed in full in one transaction; and (2) customers must purchase an item that costs double the value of the gift certificate or merchandise certificate. For example, if a customer holds a $25 Gift Certificate, the customer will get the full value of the $25 Gift Certificate as long as the customer purchases at least $50 worth of goods. Partial redemptions will not be honored at this time. This is a purely voluntary program. Customers who do not wish to redeem their cards on this basis can retain them for future use, as Sharper Image is working diligently to be able to honor the cards without condition in the future.

On the other side of karma, Sharper Image has been delisted by NASDAQ, essentially placing the proverbial nail in the coffin. Without a print catalog (they didn’t pay their printer $6MM) and half the number of stores, Sharper Image really has nothing to stand on moving forward.

Brand Genius, Al Reis, sums up much of the failure of Sharper Image in his recent article on Ad Age. Goodbye Sharper Image, hello

One final word of advice to future marketers: If your company files for bankruptcy, remove your ads from Google and the other search engines for search terms that would include the keyword bankruptcy.

I remember the days when people would tell me that the Internet would make paper obsolete. Many people remember that from the late 90s. Of course, the last time I heard that was just a few days ago. It was interesting because it came from someone who was making a living in selling print advertising.

Much like the fact that we have not been replaced by robots or overrun by Damned Dirty Apes, the Internet has not completely replaced print. It has given many print publications a run for their money (mainly news circulars), but publications like Popular Mechanics continue to increase their subscription base.

I’ve been advertising in magazine over the past three years, fairly extensively, and I’ve noticed a very interesting rapidly changing trend. Three years ago, my print advertisements would have received 85% of all of our orders via the phone and just 15% via the Internet. My most recent advertisements pull about 65% from the phone and 35% from the Internet in the same publication. The URL for the advertisement is not any more prominent than it was 3 years ago. The market has changed.

Consistently, one of my most popular posts here on WordPress is a post the Gravity Defyer Shoes, which are only advertised in print. There are so many searches run on Google for people looking for the shoes that it took my post about Knight Rider Ratings to finally have a post that exceeds the number of hits/day that I receive about the Gravity Defyers.

Bottom line is that print is still a viable advertising method, but you need to make sure you back it up with a strong Internet presence. People see your ad, and they want more information. So, they check the web!

People have been telling me that I’ve been gifted with a great voice since I was a young child. I’m not talking about an American Idol kind of voice. I’m talking about speaking. I haven’t delivered a speech in nearly a decade. Outside of the interview of me by Dr. Joe Vitale about my advertising, I haven’t been doing much along the lines of speaking publicly. That was until this weekend…

A friend of mine, Doctor Nat (yes, a blond rocket scientist) has been working with a guy by the name of Scott Evans (he did the movie “Pass it On“) on putting together a workshop for inventors. The idea was to provide attendees with training and information that would take them from thinking about a product/service/business to actually brining it to market. Or if they already had the product… Make it a wild success. They got that and then some!

The weekend was packed. Non-stop, high energy from 9 in the morning to 11 at night the whole weekend. And there was NEVER a dull moment! To give you an idea about what it was like, here is the list of speakers:
Sarah Caldicott
Scott Evans
Dr. Natalie L. Petouhoff
Jeffrey G. Sheldon
Louis Foreman
Scott Painter
Gene McNaughton
Glenn Blake
Jace Souder
Mike Stuhley
Jared Tracy (me)
Mary Ligon
Darren Jacklin
Dr. Zonnya

That’s a great team of speakers! If you want to walk out of a weekend on fire and with knowledge that can be applied to your business, product, relationships, and life in general, it doesn’t get much better than what you see above!

I must admit that the best part of the entire weekend was when several people came up to me on a break or after the event and told me that what I contributed to them is going to make a significant difference in their business. That’s what it’s all about! And it felt every so great after having not done anything like that for nearly 10 years. I’ve been smiling from ear to ear ever since. I might have even been smiling while I was sleeping on the plane ride back to Los Angeles.

If you spent some time clicking on those names above or ran a Google search on those names, you would see that it is an extraordinary group of people. People who move mountains and make the extraordinary happen every day.

The best news of all… You are just as powerful, moving, inspirational, intelligent, and gifted as any one of the people on that list.

How can that be? Well, it is simple. You were born that way. And that is why all of us really are that great  😀

After having slept through most of the 2 hour premiere of the new Knight Rider on NBC last night, I was about to say it would have one season of life. That was until I paid closer attention to the sponsors: Ford and Microsoft.

The new K.I.T is a Mustang. Depending upon what happens to sales of the mustang over the next television season, we can expect Knight Rider to be back because Ford will be willing to pay for the show.

Microsoft has considerable interest in NBC (MSNBC). Depending upon how well Ford vehicles with Microsoft’s Sync system sell, you can bet that Microsoft will be willing to help pay to keep the show on their television partner, NBC.

In much more simple terms: Knight Rider is an infomercial for Ford and Microsoft. I’ve tried this before on a much lower budget when I produced a television talk show starring Christine Eads. It is a brilliant idea if sales pan out for Ford and Microsoft.

Is Microsoft on the verge of creating the modern equivalent to Soap Operas? Will we call them Sync Operas? Stay tuned to NBC and Knight Rider to find out!

Wiki projects have become widely used from sharing shopping experiences to the ultimate online encyclopedia. Something that I’ve been thinking about for a while is whether a business wiki a viable option. A business wiki would be for business professionals to share valuable business process knowledge to help others expand their business while potentially learning from others they would have never expected to learn from? Are executives and employees willing to share information that might potentially increase their competition?

Most of business is run on removing competition. Stifling competition. Killing competition. Keeping everything a secret. Keeping business knowledge scarce. What would it be like if that wasn’t the case? If there was a free flow of informations for companies to learn from past mistakes of other companies?

If your competition goes up, the only option you have is to innovate. Innovate your product. Innovate your marketing. Innovate your customer care. It would force your business to move forward, to always be looking forward.

I’m not suggesting that companies freely share their product ideas. You still closely guard company secrets like the formula for Coca Cola. What I’m talking about are business processes. For example, how to optimize your customer retention. How to improve your shipping department. I believe that the free sharing of this kind of information would spark a tremendous amount of innovation and improvements in businesses that would help revolutionize the way the world does business.

‘Tis the season for some news about Christianity. I was reading an article on CNN about the son of Jim Bakker (remember that swindler?)

I saw an ad on the side of the page with the headline: Davidic Christianity Christian Polygamy. The text ad read: Davidic Christianity seeks to fulfill the prophecy of Amos 9: 11-12 by… Perhaps it was my red-blooded American curiosity that got me clicking. I mean, David was hooking it up.

Now, typically, I don’t blog, bulletin, or otherwise comment on material that I don’t want to promote. After all, all press is good press. On top of this, I suspect that the folks at House of David Ministries paid good money for their ad on CNN. I’m now giving them additional value for their spend on CNN. But the message they are trying to convey is of great importance.

The folks at House of David Ministries claim that they are trying to convey a message of God. Please, by all means, read the article they have crafted about Biblical Marriage. This is slick idea! Hell, if God supports polygamy, I’m all for it. Any man stupid enough to try to take on fulfilling the needs of more than one woman deserves what he’s going to get. Then again, the “Biblical” concept of marriage is the transfer of ownership of the bride from her father to her husband. So, I suppose that there’s not a whole lot of focus on fulfilling any of her needs when it comes to “Biblical” marriage.

My personal favorite is the Conclusions section. Honestly, this is a rather well written article. Yes, it is filled with authentic Biblical gibberish. Yes, it is entirely too long for anyone in their right mind to read in a single sitting. In fact, I encourage you to read it over several bathroom visits. There are plenty of Bible quotes that truly prove that either (1) polygamy is established through the word of God to be not just acceptable but honorable *OR* (2) parts of the Bible can be used to support any idea someone can come up with.

Read Conclusion #8. The first 8, please, not the second. At the time I wrote this, there were two 8’s. Will the House of David Ministries change it by the time you read this? I’m not sure. I suppose it depends on how many people waste their time reading my blogs 😀

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