A Look at the New YP.com Print Advertising Campaign

YellowPages.com has recently rebranded to YP.com and it looks like they have started to promote the new brand in print publications. I found a full-page ad in the latest print issue of Entertainment Weekly. The magazine covers everything related to entertainment (movies, television, DVDs, music, videogames, etc.) in the United States. You can see their 2010 media kit here.

As the YP.com launch press release stated, “This new brand will be the focus of a multi-media national ad campaign, “Click Less. Live More,” to debut this month. Produced by San Francisco-based Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners, the campaign is based on the foundation that the YP brand knows that there is something bigger than just the words that are typed into a search bar. With the YP brand, consumers can experience more, do more and ultimately live more locally. ”

The ad copy in the Entertainment Weekly ad reads “YP believes in the power of rock ‘n’ roll” with a shot of a crowd at a concert. A search brick pre-filled with “Concert Tickets” in the what field and “St. Louis, MO” in the where field appears at the bottom of the ad.

Additional elements include:

  • The YP.com logo along with the new tagline “Click less. Live more.”
  • A “The new YellowPages.com” line to let people know of the brand change
  • A communication line located below the search brick “Fewer clicks to local search, reviews, maps and tickets”
  • An invitation to try YP.com on mobile “Use YP.com on your mobile”

I had a couple of reactions to the ad. The first is more of an insider reaction. The choice of St. Louis in the “where” field is amusing because it’s where AT&T Advertising Solutions (who manage the AT&T Yellow Pages and owner of YP.com) head office is located.

The second was about the choice of query terms. “Concert tickets” is not an easy category because it’s time sensitive and it’s dominated by a few huge players like Ticketmaster. My search results expectations were as follow:

  • I was expecting to see Ticketmaster close to the top in the listings.
  • I was expecting a list of ticketed shows happening in St. Louis today.

Here is a screenshot of the results I saw (you can also see the actual search results on the site here):

  • Ticketmaster is listing number 14 (way below the fold). They also appear in the “Sponsored Web Results for Saint Louis Concert Tickets” section on the right-hand side.
  • I don’t see a list of today’s St.Louis events (so, no instant gratification). There is a Zvents box on top of the results (good idea!) but I have to do the same search again (bad idea).
  • The first results are very relevant (the first three are St Louis Rams Ticket Office, St Louis Symphony Orchestra, St Louis Blues Hockey Club) but I still wish I would see related events attached to these listings.
  • There’s a few non-relevant travel agencies at the bottom of the results page (starting with result number 20) but they don’t impact too much the relevancy of the results.

What it means: here’s what happened. The product team focused on the “what” and the “where” (which is the bread and butter of directory publishers) but they forgot about the “when”. I blogged about the “when” a few months ago. It’s a direct consequence of the real-time Web and it will be the next big tsunami to hit the Internet. The “when” can be concert tickets but it can also be “specials” and “daily deals”. With many directory publishers entering the group buying space, they all will need to get better at embracing the “when” in their main search results.


Online Video Ads: Are We Trying to Replicate the TV Business Model?

A new Forrester report (as discussed on NewTeeVee) forecasts online video advertising spending in the U.S. will reach $7.1 billion in 2012, an incredible 72% CAGR for the next 5 years!

forrester video advertising forecast 2007-2012

NewTeeVee adds: “Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk praised the emergence of “customer-centric” ad formats like the overlays used by VideoEgg, YouTube and others, which, rather than forcing an ad in their video streams, allow viewers to decide if and when to pause a video to watch an ad.”

That same report indicates that “spending on social media (…) will grow to $6.9 billion as marketers understand how to use and measure this channel.”

What it means: every time I see reports forecasting the enormous growth of online video ads, I get the feeling that this growth will be mostly driven by the desire of current TV ecosystem stakeholders (networks, media placement firms and advertising agencies) to replicate the existing TV business model. I’m not totally convinced consumers will be well served by that new medium unless precise targeting technologies are developed. Nonetheless, I definitely expect that the two darlings of online advertising in the next five years will be online video ads and social media advertising.

Meta-Praized: Google, Portals, Publicis/Digitas, Real-Time Local Inventory, Social Networks Privacy, Blake Ross, Mozilla, Digital Sales Boost Music Industry

Meta-Praized is a collection of links & stories we’ve “dugg” on Digg.com in the last few weeks. Feel free to add us as a friend: PraizedDotCom .

Rising Demand For Online Advertising Could Surpass Supply (McKinsey Quarterly)

Catching up on my backlog of reading material, I just found this interesting analysis in McKinsey Quarterly (registration required):


“McKinsey research finds that bottlenecks in supply could limit the pace of online ad growth and raise prices over the next 24 months. The study also suggests that a dearth of ad agencies that can manage both traditional and digital campaigns could further slow the shift in spending to online ads. ”

Here are the best excerpts:

Video Ads:

“According to many of the video suppliers we interviewed, very little unsold advertising capacity remains today. Assuming that marketers don’t increase the number of ads they place in each video stream, the maximum supply of video ads is currently about $600 million a year—far less than future demand, which we expect to reach $1.4 billion to $3.2 billion in 2007.”

Paid Search:

“The situation is similar for paid search. Annual growth in the overall number of searches is slowing, from 30 percent in 2004 to 20 percent in 2005. Without significant changes in consumer click-through rates or in the prices advertisers are willing to pay, we estimate that the maximum current value of paid-search advertising is about $7 billion. Meanwhile, our analysis (…) suggests that advertisers will want to spend $9 billion to $12 billion on paid search in 2007, up from around $5 billion in 2005.”

Banner Ads:

“Although the inventory of banner ads—$4 billion to $8 billion—appears more than sufficient to accommodate the likely demand of $2.5 billion, advertisers probably won’t be interested in much of what’s available. The complex task of spreading media spending across thousands of small Web sites, many with different ad formats, means that advertisers tend to return to heavily trafficked sites, where supply is at a premium. Even on the big portals, marketers are leery of having their ads placed near consumer-generated content that might be objectionable. In fact, advertisers currently direct 96 percent of their spending for online display ads to pages that represent just 30 percent of overall Web traffic. ”

Additional findings:

  • “Most advertisers expressed frustration at the small number of ad agencies with the skills to manage both traditional and digital campaigns. Many advertisers have no choice but to employ separate agencies and to coordinate cross-media efforts themselves, which makes it more challenging to manage—and evolve—their marketing mix.”
  • “The absence of a widely accepted independent metric for digital media (such as the NielsenTV ratings) makes it difficult to compare the results of online campaigns and to measure their impact—an uncomfortable fact for marketers considering major spending reallocations.”

What it means:

1) This analysis supports the need of traditional media to capture more traffic within their network of sites in order to fulfill the growing appetite of advertisers.

2) It also shows us the opportunity in video ads. It seems like there’s a massive gap between supply and demand in that ad format (not surprising given the popularity of TV advertising).

3) It also shows us the opportunity in the Long Tail of advertising, which might explain the rise of blog ad networks like Federated Media and B5 Media.

4) As the study says, “audiences and vehicles are highly fragmented” I wonder if fragmentation and lack of inventory in local online ads prevented the segment from growing as fast as people expected in 2006?