And it looks a lot like any other form of marketing, according to David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer, New York. “Before focusing on shopping, you want to focus on mindshare.”
Google recommended this approach to marketers earlier this holiday season, when they saw a mix of text search and branding ads driving response, according to a new media profile by BrandWeek.
The company that made its name with succint text advertising was advocating branding ads in most online advertising through late November. After all, they did introduce video ads and a type of banner it refers to as 'image' ad in May. A July study by Atlas Institute, Seattle, helped convince them that a mix of ads is effective.
The study found that the rate of conversion of 1.8 million users from Web surfers to buyers was 4 times higher when offered a combination of search and graphical ads vs. standalone graphical ads. Search ads alone are 3.3 times more effective than just graphical ads.
Marketers already knew that integrating your tactics works better than stand alone initiatives; branding ads are more emotive and immersive and help you build a platform for your more direct response ads driven by a specific promotion or pricing offer and designed to lead more directly to a sale.
The Economist has a more interesting take, one you may not yet be ready for. It reports on Google's alliance with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), a British pay-television company. In the article, which touts the future of advertsing as unevenly distributed -- Japan made advances via mobile phones; South Korea in the impact of braodband Internet connection -- for a glimpse at the future of advertising they send you to England.
The announcement made on December 6 opens Google the door to extend the partnership now offering search, email, video and advertising services to BSkyB broadband customers to the British giant's main television business.
Why Britain? I replicated the article's chart so you can see. In Britain 14% of companies' total advertising spending is online vs. an average of 5% worldwide, with a growth rate increased by 40% vs. 37% in America for the same period last year.
One of the catalysts pushing more advertisers online may no doubt be the advertising-free BBC.
Another catalyst described in the article is Briton's enthusiasm for fast, always-on broadband connections to the Internet for online shopping -- at the tune of 47% of households compared to 44% in America and 33% in Germany.
That Europe, the old continent, might be at a clear advantage in testing new advertising models is very interesting. I was already aware that Italy's mobile phone landscape is far more sophisticated than the one we have here -- no locked phones, you can buy minutes as you go, the calls you receive charge your plan with usable minutes, and so much more.
So much so that when you go to Europe, I recommend you buy yourself an unlocked mobile phone so you can use a local number to conduct your business over there and switch sim cards upon your return. If you're a frequent traveler, you will save yourself the aggravation of possibly dealing with American phone policies and fees.
And next year, a new mobile phone service aimed at young people called Blyk will be launched in Britain and then across Europe. Users will be able to earn airtime in exchange for receiving advertisements on their handsets. Now go on, tell them what you think about this service.
Italy has already done some of that in the last couple of years. Advertising over mobile phones is something that many of my friends are willing to receive for free minutes and other perks. And apparently advertisers in Britain, and I suspect Europe, more used to market segmentation, appreciate what these new technologies make possible.
While the United States are not so far behind Britain in the chart, I suspect that advertising subsidized mobile phones and plans are light years away on this side of the pond. I was taking a look at Blyk's blog and thinking that sounds more like science fiction for this marketplace. We know the future is on screen, we know that "for decades marketers have been dreaming of a medium that has the distribution effect of broadcast, targeting capabilities of direct marketing and interactivity found with the Internet."
I'm as curious as Antti Öhrling: are marketers ready? Are you ready?