Two Birds, One Stone Enable viral distribution of your widget through Adobe’s new Distribution Manager

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 21, 2009 at 11:39 am

adobe logoThe goal with any widget is viral distribution.   The more sites that feature your widget, the better.

Until now, Adobe hasn’t had a hand in the spread of the applications it helps create (the majority of widgets are built in Adobe Flash).   But all that is about to change with their new widget monetization platform – Adobe Distribution. This platform offers free and paid channels for distributing your application across social networks, mobile devices, desktops, and personal sites.  And it does it in a pretty unique way.

adobe distribution manager

When a publisher elects to share a widget in the Adobe network, Adobe offers up your widget as a suggestion (i.e. a promotional widget). The publisher then has the option of sharing one or both.  You only pay when the widget is successfully installed on another site.  For example, the publisher embeds your widget on his Facebook page.  And unlike other ad networks where developers and publishers are expected to meet in the middle, Adobe handles the introductions.

To get started, you will need to sign in with your Adobe ID and install the Distribution Manager application.  This is the main hub for managing your widget campaign and where you grab analytics and reporting (e.g. widget views, unique users, social metrics, and revenue).  When creating a new campaign, you will need to provide your widget’s embed code, the ActionScript version, and a thumbnail preview. You’ll also need to create a campaign budget and identify target markets.

Again, you only pay a flat fee (from $1 and up) when the widget is installed, which means the actual sharing of your application is free.  Publishers are paid based on a CPM model, so they’re given a cut of the action too.

Developers will need to add a sharing menu to the application (supported extensions for Flash Professional, Flex Builder 3, and Dreamweaver) to enable viral distribution across the network.

Distribution Manager comes hot off the heels of Adobe acquiring Omniture. They stand to gain from both subscription services for the tools used to create widgets, and advertising revenue from their distribution.

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Round and round Promote your business locally with MerchantCircle’s Answers & Neighbors

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

merchant cirlce logo

We believe it’s important to establish – and maintain – a presence on the various online business directories. Consumers turn to sites like Yelp and MerchantCircle, because they trust recommendations from other consumers.

For the most part, these conversations happen organically.  Consumer A writes a review of a restaurant.  Consumer B reads it and makes a reservation.  When you, the business, have an opportunity to be apart of the conversation, you should take it.

Merchant Circle recently introduced two new features, Neighbors and Answers.   On the surface, both appear to be geared toward the consumer, but we see them as excellent marketing tools.

Answers lets consumers post a question, and merchants offer advice.  For example, if you’re looking for a personal trainer in Miami, you can post a question about beach workouts.  A local trainer can respond with tips, but really, he’s establishing a connection with you and promoting his own services.

Neighbors is a social network within MerchantCircle.  Consumers can follow a business and receive updates on promotions and events.  There’s no mistaking the Twitter feel here, but Neighbors lets consumers keep an eye on their favorite merchants without leaving the site or sifting through tweets.  For example, a coupon for a half-price manicure at my favorite nail salon is automatically deposited in the coupons area of my profile, where I can easily retrieve and print it.

With over 20 million unique consumer visitors a month, MerchantCircle has already arrived.   The service is free, so there’s really no reason not to register your business.  Features like Answers and Neighbors are just the cherry on top.

merchant circle answers

MerchantCircle was created with the small business in mind. The service offers a free web page listing, blogging and email newsletters, and a local business social network, which connects you to other businesses in your area.

Most businesses are struggling to find a way to use social networking to their advantage. Here's a way to connect one-on-one with a customer when they actually want more information about your products and/or services.

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  Queen Bees Let influential teens socially market your products with Trendsta

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

trendsta logo

Teens and Tweens are a notoriously tough sale.   They rely on the influence of their own crowd, and no matter how hard advertisers try, they’re always behind the curve (that’s so, like, 5 minutes ago).

If teens are your target market, check out Trendsta.   Trendsta is a new advertising platform that takes a unique approach to cracking the teen circle of influence.  They put products in the hands of those deemed “cool” and leverage their powers of persuasion across social networks.   Trendsta already counts Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Penguin Books, and Delia’s among their advertisers.   On the Trendsta site, you’ll see conversations ranging from Microsoft Zune to SNL skits to the latest song from a band you probably never heard of.  But that’s the point, right?

Picture 3

So how does Trendsta find their influencers?  Initially, they randomly selected 50 social networking profiles (teens with networks of 600-700 people), but the current model qualifies teens on-site with a “Trend Test” (i.e. how cool are you?).   Trendsta scans each applicants Facebook profile for:

  • The number of friends they have
  • How many people comment on their status
  • How many people write on their wall
  • The number of social interactions they have

If you pass the test,  you’re eligible to become a member of the community and receive free products from advertisers.

Skeptical of the Trend Test’s validity?  Consider this.  During Trendsta’s initial testing,  they were able to follow and measure 14,000 brand-related conversations that started with the initial 50 participants.  I’d call that pretty darn influential.  Advertisers can monitor the same social conversations and measure their Trendsta campaign through a personal dashboard.

Brand communities are nothing new, but Trendsta maybe on to something here.  Instead of fighting the fact a group of 16-year-old girls control your brand image, embrace it and use it to your advantage.   The site is still a little sketchy on the details (mostly contact so-and-so for more information).  Seeing how I am neither a teen nor cool enough to pass the Trend Test, I can’t demo the product either.  ::Sigh::  It’s like high school all over again.

It's estimated that teens are responsible for $190 billion in sales last year. Pretty impressive when you consider minimum wage is $7.25/hour, and the average weekly allowance is $10-20/week.

Teens have learned to block out aggressive advertising tactics. Can you blame them? Go-to sites like MySpace are plastered in products.

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  Oh say can you see... Get a professionally designed, custom banner ad in 48 hours with PointBanner

Posted by maggie.hunsucker July 2, 2009 at 9:18 am

It seems every day some newfangled ad unit is being rolled out.  We’re not knocking experimentation, but leasing tweets or splashing branded wallpaper across a site is not a for everyone.
If all you really need is a banner ad in front of your target audience, why reinvent the wheel?  Try a service called PointBanner.   They’ve got one of the cleanest sales pitches we’ve heard in awhile – custom banner advertisements, 3 revisions, 48 hours, $49.
Unlike 99designs  and Crowdspring, this service is strictly banner ads and all design work is performed by PointBanner’s staff.  No competitions with mystery contestants; no you-get-what-you-pay-for business model.   Because you get 3 design revisions, you can actually work with your designer to get the  just right.   Point Banner also promises 100% custom work, so you’re not paying a pricey design firm or freelancer from Craigslist for templates.
Here’s how it works:  Submit a design request through PointBanner’s online system. You can choose a bundled package or pay the $49 fee for a single size.   Choose from rectangle, square, leaderboard, skyscraper, or full banner sizes (minimal upcharge of $5 for animation).  Then, give PointBaner your ad text, URL, and any special instructions.  Finish off by uploading your logo.  Within 24 hours, you will receive access to your PointBanner account (where all your ads are stored) and your first design iteration.
For local businesses or cash-strapped firms, this is pretty good deal.  You’re not paying for design services you don’t need or treking into unchartered advertising territory.
SECRET SAUCE
Banner ads usually run on a CPM ad model, which means you pay a set price for every 1000 impressions (i.e. you ad appears 1000 times).   With a $50 banner ad from PointBanner and a $50 ad run, you have a home cooked, digital marketing strategy for about $100.
TECH MORSEL
Now that you have a banner ad, you can distribute it through different ad networks.   You can use Google Adwords or targeted banner ad network like Adbrite, an idea we discussed in First Star I see Tonight.
RESOURCES
White Paper advertising

PointBannerIt seems every day some newfangled ad unit is being rolled out.  We’re not knocking experimentation, but leasing tweets or splashing branded wallpaper across a site is not a for everyone.

If all you really need is a banner ad in front of your target audience, why reinvent the wheel?  Try a service called PointBanner.   They’ve got one of the cleanest sales pitches we’ve heard in awhile – custom banner advertisements, 3 revisions, 48 hours, $49.

Unlike 99designs and Crowdspring, this service is strictly banner ads and all design work is performed by PointBanner’s staff.  No competitions with mystery contestants; no you-get-what-you-pay-for business model.   Because you get 3 design revisions, you can actually work with your designer to get it just right.   Point Banner also promises 100% custom work, so you’re not paying a pricey design firm or freelancer from Craigslist for templates.

Here’s how it works:  Submit a design request through PointBanner’s online system. You can choose a bundled package or pay the $49 fee for a single size.   Choose from rectangle, square, leaderboard, skyscraper, or full banner sizes (minimal upcharge of $5 for animation).  Then, give PointBaner your ad text, URL, and any special instructions.  Finish off by uploading your logo.  Within 24 hours, you will receive access to your PointBanner account (where all your ads are stored) and your first design iteration.
PointBannerPackages

For local businesses or cash-strapped firms, this is pretty good deal.  You’re not paying for design services you don’t need or treking into unchartered advertising territory.

Now that you have a banner ad, you can distribute it through different ad networks. You can use Google Adwords or targeted banner ad network like Adbrite, an idea we discussed in First Star I see Tonight.

Banner ads usually run on a CPM ad model, which means you pay a set price for every 1000 impressions (i.e. you ad appears 1000 times). With a $50 banner ad from PointBanner and a $50 ad run, you have a home cooked, digital marketing strategy for about $100.

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  Paper Trail Turn your industry white papers into targeted ads with LinkedIn White Papers

Posted by maggie.hunsucker June 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

linkedin_logoWe haven’t checked-in with LinkedIn for awhile (blame it on the general Twitter hoopla), but this white collar social network has rolled out some pretty decent ad offerings in the past.

Now they’re testing a new ad platform: LinkedIn White Papers.

Let’s face it. White papers are not light reading. If someone takes the time to find yours, they probably have a genuine interest in your company and products. That’s LinkedIn’s take and why they think white paper advertising has the potential to generate more qualified leads than traditional pay-per-click advertising.

Here’s how it works: LinkedIn will serve your ads to a targeted group of professionals based on your industry and objectives. Members don’t have to pay for the white papers, but they will be asked to fill out a form with their contact information, which is delivered to the advertiser directly. Currently, you have to contact the LinkedIn ad sales department to become a white paper advertiser (it would be nice to see this process automated if the platform really takes off). You will be asked to fill out an online form, specifying the type of ad unit you desire (leaderboard, wide skyscraper, medium rectangle), your budget, target markets, campaign goals, and general contact information.

Before you balk at the idea of paying to advertise what is often a free download on your website, consider the possibilities of white paper advertising. LinkedIn is offering niche advertising, a highly visible distribution channel, and qualified leads, including contact information. Would you rather pay $25 for one qualified lead or $1 each for twenty-five crapshoot leads?

According to Steve Patrizi, Head of Ad Sales for LinkedIn, we can expect more ad products and features soon. LinkedIn plans to launch a new service aimed at college grads.

LinkedIn caters to an affluent, 40+ market of professionals who are looking to further their career. In other words, their market share and ad strategy is quite different from Facebook or any other social networking contemporary. Their core business model is subscription-based, with companies paying $25-50/month for analytics, introduction services, and market research.

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  • adobe logo
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  • PointBanner
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