Super Affiliates in Highly Competitive Markets – Pubcon Boston 2006

This post was unpublished, from my trip to Boston in 2006 – I think I lost the connection and it just saved to my Blogger account previously – only remembered it was there today.  This was a great post – so enjoy (if only with a pinch of salt) :

Ziv Dascala takes the Podium for this session with his presentation. This was a very good session. Ziv is from Oron Online. I’m not going to bother with the others guys here, this was the pick. What makes an online market a highly competitive one?

1. Follow the money: (High volume demand) x (high margin per sale + cross & up sales opportunities) = large profits

2. Many vendors compete for the same customer

3. Vendors offering are commodities

4. Surfers are searching for information before the “buying” activity Understand the REAL value of a customer

  • It is not just the sales amount!
  • Know the profit margin per sale
  • Figure out the profit in the cross and up sales
  • Understand the customer lifetie value
  • Understand the potential customer lead value opportunities

Know EXACTLY what the maximum amount companies are willing to pay

1. Bid to be 1st in the top 5 most important terms of the industry

2. Send the traffic directly to the best known branded vendor site

3. Figure out the conversion ratio

The affiliates pre-dance

  1. Close special deals with all the vendors
  2. Avoid deals with income spread over a long period
  3. Prepare a HUGE list of related keywords to grab
  4. Prepare a MASSIVE amount of content on the subject
  5. Use PPC campaigns to understand the most effective landing pages

The Dance

  1. Target huge list of related keyword with different domain names, pages and content
  2. Constantly issue press releases
  3. Spread free articles with reference to your sites
  4. Discuss your offering in online public and private forums and blogs
  5. Buy traffic from other affiliates, offer more than what they get from the vendor
  6. Buy other affiliate and informational sites on the subject
  7. Let the vendors competet between themselves on improving your special deals

The post dance

  1. Charles Darwin: Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest
  2. Your target is to control most of the SERPs (directly or indirectly) and push your special vendors deals
  3. Vendors visibility on the SETPs becomes much more dependable upon your traffic
  4. Payouts from the vendor increases all the time, since you keep the vendors compete visibility on your controlled online properties
  5. You keep doing the ROI calculation constantly, it all comes to how much do you get paid for each visitor to your site !

Shift of Powers

  1. Intially : You were working as a marketing arm for the vendor
  2. Mid term : You and the vendor are working hand in hand to get more clients and split the revenues
  3. Finally: The vendor is working for you as an oprational sales and fulfillment on a “cost”+ basis.


PPC Engines & Programs – Pubcon Boston 2006

Search Engine PubCon

Self introductions:

Jed Nahum – Product Manager for MSN Adcenter
Michael Levine – Director Strategic Channel – Overture
Frederick Vallaeys – Product Specialist Google
Chrysi Philalithes – VP, Global Marketing & Communications – Miva

Jed takes the podium for MSN:

MSN adCenter Update:

Fall ’05
Live in France & Singapore
US pilot began (invitation only)

Feb ’06 – US Pilot 2nd phase begins
Feb 18th : New UI
Increasing rotation away from Overture
April 19: New Release

Early Summer ’06 – US Launch

Audience Intelligence Drives ROI (and here, I think MSN Excels!! Pun intended!)

Learn About Your Customers -> Connect via Rich Targeting -> Refine Your Campaign

Jed discusses a quick case study about “Bleach” on which the product was mistaken for an Anime charactor, called Bleach.

Some of the functionality he discusses shows huge promise for the future of search.
By breaking down the demographic to it’s target demographic – we can increase the effective value per click.

Your Goal: ROI

According to Sacerdote & Co., the first adCenter customer satisfaction survey reveals MSN traffic is converting equally if not better than Google 80% of the time. This is backed up by WebSideStory.

Fun with Audience Intelligence

Here he shows some nice slides about how much younger women and older man search for the red sox, as opposed to an even distribution.

Wrap Up:

Learn More :

MSN Blog
WebmasterWorld
adCenter Blog

Next up is Michael Levine from Overture.

Achieving Search Marketing Success

He queries the room to get an idea of the demographics.

Agenda

  • The online Opportunity and Yahoo!
  • The Power of Search Marketing
  • Making Yahoo! Search work for you

Internet usage continues to grow, users expected to double by 2010. He’s now showing lots of graphs – nothing bloggable but very interesting. Media is allowing you to choose your target audience.

Frederick Vallaeys takes the podium next with a presentation from Google. He’s moving fast, so I have to type very quickly, and he’s using slides.

Optimize : Keywords

How we rank ads

Ad Rank = Max CPC x Quality Scrore

How to improve rank in paid listings:

Group Related keyword and create relevant ad texts
Use 2-3 creatives per Ad Group
Use Match types to your advantage

  • Broad Match is our default keyword type and wwe will try to show your ad for closely related queries
  • Phrase Match ensures the word order is matched and that we do not match related words
  • Exact Match gives you the most control but also takes the mostwork from you

Fred discusses some of the basic Google distribution channels and new Audience optimisation tools – where data is taken from ComScore, as well as Google Analytics.

Chrysi takes the podium now.

In 1975 consumers were bombarded with 512 marketing messages per day, that has grown to over 3000 in today’s modern world.

Consumers are now dividing their attention between multiple touchpoints, media, magazines, online, friends, etc.

Miva, Google, Yahoo! and MSN Ad programmes are different.

-Revise Keyword selection and creative accordingly

Advertise in mutiple markets
-Never translate!
-Understand cultural Nuances eg:
UK: Price Conscious
DE: Product Conscious

She moves onto a case study, and there is alot of quick slide flushing. I’m done now! Long blog!

Contextual Program Session – Pubcon Boston 2006

The guys on the panel are:

Yaron Galai –
Will Johnson –
Shuman Ghosemajumder –
Jay Sears – ContextWeb
Doug Perlson – Kanoodle

This forum turned out to be a big sales pitch from most of the guys.

Doug Kicks off…

Kanoodle offers sponsored links on some of the Web’s Best Sites (he puts up a nice picture of all the partners).

BrightAds – Monetization for Publishers

  1. First sponsored links provider to map by “Topic,” not keywords
  2. Utilizes combination of editorial mapping, behavioural data and page scan technology to provide greater relevancy than page scan alone.
  3. Ensures highest editorial relevance, which means more clicks and more revenue.
  4. Competitive Revenue-Per-Click (RPC): Average RPC in BrightAds network is over 0.70 cents

Flexibility

  • Can be listed on the same pages and within the same website as other networks
  • Allow you to choose the format that works best, including cookies and pops
  • We don’t tell you how to run your business

BrightAds Cookies

  • First of its kind program that allows publishers to generate revenue when web surfers click on Kanoodle’s sponsored links – even when they aren’t on the publisher’s Web site!
  • Non-competitive with ther programs
  • No creative interference

The 3 R’s

  • More Revenue
    • Multiple products mean you can generate more revenue from your pages
  • Always Relevant
    • Using a unique topic based approach, the right ads are matched to your content. Targeting by keyword and context alone has its limitations
  • True Relationship
    • Kanoodle is a true partner with people to talk to and work directly with you

What sites work best with Kanoodle?

  • Niche sites within certain key verticals
    • Areas like Finance, Health, Computing, Travel and Automotive monetize well with Kanoodle
  • Broad sites that span many topics
    • Kandoodle’s 15,000 topic taxonomy has ability to get as general or as granular as your site

What’s next? Building a better program…

  • BrightAds CPM
    • Sites over 100k pageviews can contact us about our beta CPM program
    • Approved on a case by case basis
  • Expanded Behavioural Program

Jay Sears from ContextWeb takes the floor:

Jay shows some slides from eMarketer on the growth of Contextual Ad Spending.

Since 2001, ContextAd is the only true Real-Time marketplace for buying and selling ads using patent pending contextual targeting technology.

  • Content from 50 of the top 200 comScore sites
  • Large pool of advertisers

The ContextWeb Difference

Monetize Dynamic content with Real-time indexing
Increase page yield with categorization and keywords
Maximize eCPM and monetization

Important distinction is that they use real time indexing, not spidering to detect the relevant ads for the content.

He is moving to fast, I can’t keep up! He is now doing a demo on their software.

Next up is Shuman from Google.

He speaks about the Internet Ecosystem and speaks about the virtuous cycle, where Users, interact with Publisher and Advertisers and vice versa.

How does Google help you meet your objectives?

Create content, monetize content and deepen engagement.

Adsense for Content: Better Ad Monetization

  • Uses combination of contextual-targeting and site-targeting to deliver the best ad for a page.
  • Uses click-feedback to deliver high performing ads
  • Large, comprehensive base of advertisers
  • Maximizes revenue by displaying relevant ads
  • Broadly used by publishers in virtually all business categories

Contextual Targeting: Intelligent Ad Selection

  1. AdSense technology understands the content of each page and dynamically matches ads to it – maximizing ad relevance and performance
  2. Link Structure Analysis of the web

Now he starts moving to fast, so I’m going to just add commentary from my perspective.

Keyword & Site Targeting ads compete for placement based upon highest yield.

I can’t cover the rest of this session because my battery is dying! Sorry guys, I’ll post a link to someone else’s blog on this sessions – I see a few bloggers in the room.

Meet the Super Bloggers of Search – Pubcon Boston 2006

This morning’s sessions is “Meet the Super Bloggers of Search”, featuring Matt Cutts from Google, Robert Scoble from MSN/Microsoft & Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo. Brett Tabke from WMW is moderating.

Matt led the Google session yesterday, and he comes across as a really nice, down to earth guy.

Matt just took a swipe at Paul Gardi’s comment a few years ago to him, saying that PageRank is old technology – roar from the audience.

So the question is : “Where is blogging heading?”

The group census is that blogging is like a Genie, once it’s left the bottle – once you’ve had a taste of it, you won’t go back. So blogging is here to stay, obviously.

I’m going to paraphrase the comments from the panel here, so I’ll write this blog in the first person, although I’m taking what they’re saying and writing it down.

One of the things about blogging is that it tends to target smaller niche communities. Alot more people are going to be blogging, and a good source of traffic.

Blogging has changed the way people have communicated life within the company. Employees are alot more vocal on what happens within the company.

Sometimes it’s not worth bring up a public topic, when you know the person responsible for an issue. You can burn bridges if you’re not careful.

Another good laugh was the fact that when you leave a session, you read 4-5 different accounts of the same session – which leads to alot of PR nightmares. Journalists are looking at Technorati all day long, looking for a great new story.

Jeremy Zawodny also says that he found that ruffling feathers through his blog will get him better contacts internally anyways. Given that Yahoo is such a large corporate (10,000 people), it’s obviously difficult to locate the right person.

He also says that sometimes it’s difficult (red tape) to get something published on the company’s official search blog, so his blog is used as a quick outlet to market.

Blogger etiquette within companies is crucial to prevent employees from

I just asked Matt why he doesn’t use blogspot – he said that he can’t use categories, etc.
The funny thing is that none of these guys use their companiy’s blogging services.

More questions:

What keeps you guys going? Red Bull
What’s your motivation for blogging? Tapping into a whole world of people that talk about interesting things.

The guys go off on a tangent, rambling about how people who read their blog, interact with them afterward.

Someone was interviewing for a job at Google, and he mentioned Matt’s blog and mentioned that the guy interviewing used to make useful comments on his blog from time to time.

Roundup: Meet the bloggers – they want to meet you! Go introduce yourself!

Google Webmaster World/Pubcon Session

New Stuff from Google since the last Pubcon:

Google Calendar
Google Finance
Google Sitemaps
Google Analytics
Web Page Creator & Google Pages
Google Video, including Content from the National Archives
Mac: Google Earth, Dashboard Widgets for Mac (Gmail, Blogger)
Google Toolbar 4 (DIY buttons, email web pages, shared bookmarks)
Google Maps API 2.0
Traffic Power Lawsuit dropped
Refreshing Supplemental Results (at one Data Center, mostly Canada)
Biddaddy Data Center

Bigdaddy

Software infrastructure upgrade
Live everywhere now
Lays the groundwork for future improvements
Fresher indexing
Smarter Crawling with less bandwidth
Better Support for gzip encoding
Crawl Cache now, so that different Google bots do not duplicate spidering

Pubcon Keynote Address: Malcom Gladwell

I am actually sitting right next to Malcom Gladwell at the moment, who is the author of two great books, The Tipping Point & Blink. Brett Tabke, CEO of WebmasterWorld is doing the introductions, etc.

Malcom has just recently joined the ranks of bloggers, and graciously admits that’s he’s been behind the curve. He speaks about Jack Dempsey & George Carpentier, who were two boxers who slugged it out in New York a couple of years ago (1921). People from across the world came to see this match, and it was called the “Match of the Century”. RCA was a company that made radios, and although RCA at that stage was only news and classical music, and Sarnoff, one of the employees wanted to do the first Sports Radio broadcast. After a number a days of persistency, Sarnoff eventually convinced the grey haired men to let him do a Sports broadcast.

He eventually finds a kid to do the commentating on the match and somehow he obtains a radio transmitter, which he “steals” from the military. Sarnoff then calls all the radio broadcasting companies to distributing radio sets, because at that stage, it wasn’t a home device. Eventually the match went off without a hitch, and the radio blew at the 5th round, but luckily the match ended at the 4th round. That was the first radio broadcast which eventually tipped the world into Radio, up until then, people simply did not look at radio as personal devices. Sarnoff managed to build a community around the new technology, which was radio, at that point, an emerging technology. Nice analogy, Malcolm.

The problem that Sarnoff had in convincing his superiors was that they believed that the evolution of radio was not something that could happen overnight.

Malcom also goes into a quick sidebar about the how the Berlin wall fell down. It took a mere 4 weeks, where some people believed that it would take 30 years.

Malcolm emphasizes that we have to decouple the notion that to have a big effect, we need a large cause.

Why was this boxing match a catalyst for bringing radio to the tipping point? It’s because it reframes the technology – before this match, the Radio was merely a mechanism for bringing the news, not a source of live entertainment. At that point, the news was ubiquitous, as Newspaper companies publishes papers all day long and distributed in the street by vendors.
All of a sudden, the radio went from a source of news, to a source of entertainment. Malcom calls this active reframing, “reformative change”.

He says that if you talk to social change people, they say that the most vivid example was from the sixties, when people moved from using seatbelts 15% of the time, until 65% of the tim as it is today. The seatbelts advocates realised that government enforced seatbelt usage was being ignored – people didn’t like being told what to do. Eventually the laws were passed telling adults that their children had to be buckled up, which led to adults buckling up, not because the law said so, but because their kids said so.

The iPod, as Malcom discusses, was not the first MP3 players, and arguably, still not the best, however, what makes it so popular? Apple turned it into a fashion accessory, not a gadget, this led to a revolution overnight.

So the question is, how did Sarnoff, a 23 year old, pull it off? Well he had social power, connections, people he knows, etc. We as a society are obsessed with political power, etc.

I’m getting the feeling that this is a prelude to Malcom’s next book, Social Power (just guessing). This will probably cover social networks, etc. I remember him alluding to it in “The Tipping Point”.

He goes on to explain how certain people in societies have social power, due to the large social networks that they have. This people are connectors, and not because they necessarily have a large social network, but also a diverse social network.

We’re halfway through the session now.

He refers back to the Tipping Point story about Paul Revere, a man with extraordinary social power. Not going to rewrite the story here, read the book.

Malcom says that there is a growing trend of social isolation due to the fact that people are spending more time in their niche social circles. Teenage trends are indicating that teens are now more cutoff from adult society, however, if you look historically, teens are always unhappy!

There is another element of social power that Malcom discusses in Tipping Point, and that’s the Maven – brief notes here only, read the book – it’s great!

Why is it, when you lower the price in a supermarket that you sell more of it – when you have 500,000 items to track, how does the consumer know or care? Given the fact that when you buy something on special in a supermarket, you shop the sign not the price. People who stop buying because of prices increases etc, are called “Supermarket Vigilantes”. Interesting :-)

Malcom Gladwell walked into a laptop store (no, this is not a joke). He doesn’t know which laptop to buy, given that he doesn’t understand all the technology descriptions. You could ask the Sales guy to help…but they’re never around. And if you do find one, he was just a carpet salesman last week. You could read Laptop weekly, but if you don’t know anything to start with, that doesn’t help either. So what did Malcom do? He phoned his brother who quizzed him and then gave a recommendation to buy a Sony Vaio.

Unless you as a marketer understand that the underlying reason that he bought the Sony, was a relationship. If the sale director looked at the video tape from the store, he might be led to believe that Malcom wanted that particular laptop of his own accord, when in reality, he had no clue.

I personally use my cellphone when shopping, to check prices using the net and get reviews on books from Amazon, on the fly. I find it a great help, and has saved me many bad purchases. Ok, yes, I know, my relationship here is with the Internet, but I think you get the drift :-) .

Consumers cannot handle an excess of information very well, and upon this information overload, consumers do irrational things. Why are 401k signup rates so different from companies to companies? A researcher found out that the more fund options, the lower the signup rate! The more choices, the more the consumers decide not to make a decision, because they’re overwhelmed or unsure.

He goes into a quick discussion about German U-Boats & US Navy conflicts (WWII) and how long it took to make decisions etc, in the midst of battle. There was alot of information coming into different parts of the fleet, and there was no one communicating the information from different fleets based on German U-Boat movement. There were no Mavens and Connectors to help the captains in the field. The US Navy eventually put together a group of people to do this, called “The Tenth Fleet”, and the US Navy went from being at the mercy of the U-Boats to being the kings of the high sea.

Malcom ends that keynote saying that the key to change and evolution is through Maven’s & Connectors and embracing change.