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The online ad industry already has enough trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. They don't want President Obama making any more.
Speaking in New York this week, Obama reiterated his interest in fixing Wall Street. But a Senate bill being drafted to achieve those goals, known as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, includes a provision that would also extend the reach of the FTC on advertising practices.
A group of advertising industry advocates is speaking out to get the revisions — that Former FTC chairman Jim Miller says would be "like putting the FTC on steroids" — dropped. If they fail, the FTC will have jurisdiction over many more businesses. And fines may start adding up.
In the battle to follow consumers and serve them better advertising, behavioral tracking has been getting a bad rap. And as privacy and consumer advocates' concerns grow louder, regulators and corporations are listening (and changing their policies), which is also making anonymous tracking less effective.
According to a study by Scout Analytics out today, new updates to the Flash interface are making it easier for consumers to opt out of online cookies. That means that Flash, once seen as the barometer for following consumer surfing habits, is becoming less useful for tracking people online. And that is only likely to get worse.
Having a social media strategy is no longer enough in today's digital world. Companies need to prove that they are capable of making large corporate changes based on the new feedback they're getting from consumers, partners and clients.
At AdAge Digital in New York on Tuesday, many companies were trying to prove that they have internalized the lessons of social media. As Claire Huang, Bank of America's Head of Marketing for Global Banking, put it:
"Our digital team works with PR, which works with marketing and advertising. We're all one team figuring out how to work for our clients."
According to forecasters, digital advertising is poised to lead a rebound in the larger ad market. Revenue increases in the fourth quarter of 2009 are expected to continue. And according to the IAB, television advertisers shouldn't be concerned that the growth in digital will come at their expense.
So the inevitable is upon us; Rupert Murdoch has at last announced the final details of the Times Online pay wall, due to be implemented in June.
Whether you think this is a good thing or not for the news industry as a whole, it has certainly thrown up a compelling argument in its favour, in terms of digital marketing.
Comedic site CollegeHumor.com is known for pranking its friends and audience, but those jokes don't often involve free corporate publicity. Not so this week, when the site pulled an elaborate prank on New York, pretending that beloved West Coast burger chain In-N-Out would open a New York outpost this summer.
For those who haven't noticed, rumors are swirling that the internet is becoming a warmer, fuzzier place. This idea is gaining traction among the mainstream media, where articles extolling "The New Niceness" can often be found.
Anyone who's ever been involved in a flame war might find that hard to believe. And there are some corners of the internet that have not yet been enlightened on this new trend. As Chris Tolles, CEO of local news site Topix put it today at the BRITE conference in New York:
"Positive news doesn't sell."
In the ongoing battle to win over advertisers, Gawker Media has introduced a new metric to compete with unique visitors and pageviews: branded traffic.
And while tracking the number of people who search your brand may not be the most direct way to pitch audience numbers to advertisers, it does help prove how much leverage your brand has with a core audience. And in Gawker's case, it's an audience figure that's growing faster than uniques or pageviews.
With many high-profile cases of behavioural targeting going awry, too many digital advertisers are seeing behavioural targeting as the be all and end all of their campaigns.
As privacy debates rage in Congress, online advertisers are taking increasing steps to ensure that their business methods are as transparent (and blameless) as possible. One such move came today, with the announcement of new standard terms and conditions for the interactive industry from the Internet Advertising Bureau and 4A's.
The last update to the T&C's was made in 2002, and the online advertising business has changed a lot since then. The most important change today has to do with the ownership of user data online. For the last eight years, it has been unclear who is responsible for maintaining marketing data online, a vaguery that has caused much grief in the industry.
Advertising agencies may be shifting toward becoming one stop shops for online and offline advertising needs, but marketers aren't buying just yet. According to a new study from Forrester, only 23% of digital marketers think that traditional shops are capable of executing interactive marketing.
But digital shops aren't taking over the world just yet. According to the study, interactive marketers aren't ready to put their whole brand in the hands of digital agencies. Forrester says there is a "great race" going on between digital and traditional agencies to win the accounts and confidence of major brands. But the idea that there can be a one-stop-shop for all advertising needs may be wishful thinking as goals and channels diversify.