Interactive Advertising Leaps Forward With ‘Wizardly’ Technology…

MEDIA: Advertisers Find Creative Ways to Extend Their Mobile, Online Reach

Marty Graham, a freelance writer for the San Diego Business Journal (SDBJ) and very nice woman I should add, wrote this oddly named article that was published on May 31 in the SDBJ printed publication. I will share it with you below but I just wanted to make a few comments. When Marty interviewed me for this article, I had really no idea of the title and what she was trying to accomplish. I asked but it was left rather vague and that she just had some questions regarding interactive advertising and really what differentiates Jacob Tyler as an agency in this space. We spoke for about 30 minutes and to be honest, I see a lot of the conversation in the body of the article. Regardless, the article doesn’t really deliver a focused strategy for the reader. Frankly I would consider it something to be read by a “C” level executive just learning social media basics. As well, I question a few of her comments… Here’s what i mean:

Marty states that Geary Interactive “impressively appears as the second listing on an organic Google search”. I am curious as to what search she is referring. We pride ourselves on our SEO capabilities and yes…while I may be biased, I think we are the best. However, I would like to know what search Geary placed second rank over Jacob Tyler. I am not saying this can’t happen, but I do feel Marty needs to be more clear to her readers. In the sentence (bolded below), she mentions the San Diego Agency “impressively appears as the second listing on an organic Google search”. I would like to know what search she is referring to. I did a search for two different key phrases and didn’t see the results she mentions. In fact, in both cases, Jacob Tyler ranks over Geary. Oh…and yes, for those of you in the know, I did make sure I was searching in a mode that ensured accurate results. Please see my blog titled “Why Google search results can be different on different computers” for more information. See the images below.

SEO San Diego
SEO San Diego
SEO San Diego

Now…keep in mind, this is NOT a slam against Geary Interactive. They are a well respected advertising agency in San Diego and frankly, I respect them. I will say though that if I set my mind to a key phrase that Jacob Tyler wants to own, we will own it and they WILL be below us in organic rankings. Don’t believe me? Search for yourselves and please feel free to comment on the string you find that we are ranked lower. Okay…but back to the point which is I really feel Marty had been more specific on the keyword string she was referring to in her article so the reader can understand. As I see it, we are impressively above them on the page…always.

Marty also mentions Geo-Targeting as it MAY be the next big thing. Really? I think a little more research would show, especially with the 100% per month growth of Four Square that mobile marketing on this level is definitely something that all agencies should be preparing for in their services répertoire.

I’m frustrated and I could really go on and on about this. Regarding the article and title, as a reader I am left disappointed. I really have no clue of an end result I am looking for and I am wondering what creative ways we are extending our mobile reach. Social Media? Mobile Marketing? Geo-targeting ads? These are all buzzwords that the novice business owner may perceive as brilliant and innovative. However, these strategies are imperative to building brands and I feel that more information should be given as to how to go about utilizing these techniques.

My suggestion for the next “interactive” and informational article is to give real-world tips for the executive and team that are in the trenches dealing with the day-to-day issues of marketing via social media, eblasts, youtube, and other viral methods.

Here is the article that was printed.

Interactive advertising, the latest iteration of promoting products and services that relies on real-time feedback, is one of the rare industries that is not only surviving but thriving in these recessionary times.

It’s thriving because it stays on top of the trends driving our lives: the newest technology, including the iPad; the explosive growth of so-called social media; and the zillions of ways that our behavior is measured, from retailer “club cards” to GPS in our phones and cars.

The challenge for advertising agencies is to stay up-to-the-moment with new ideas and fresh media as well as constantly changing consumer information. Advertisers have to be more involved with their marketing.

“Advertisers have less control over their message and have to work to control overall your brand and your company, making sure that you’re doing a good job of presenting yourself,” said John McKusick, head of business process optimization at Geary Interactive — a downtown San Diego agency that impressively appears as the second listing on an organic Google search. “It’s transitioned to social media, you find things by searching there and by your ‘friends’ letting you know. Things are viral now.”

Technology Drives New Ad Strategies

Interactive by nature, the advertising industry’s model changes constantly as technology, activity and what insiders call metrics — the measurement of what people actually do on Web sites as shoppers, friends and commentators — race ahead of them.

“Timing is everything,” said Mike ZeMans, chief experience officer of SiteLab Interactive Inc. “Some clients are very enthusiastic about shiny new objects. We explore how things correlate to the strategy — the business goals and how clients want to achieve success.”

The shiny new objects on the horizon are many – as the iPad breaks new ground with interactive advertising. Hewlett-Packard Development Co. L.P. and Dell are going to slide out their own pads soon.

The bigger screen and more wizardly technology, combined with the promise of geo-locating the user, will drive new strategies.

Charles Wiedenhoft, director of business planning and optimization at Red Door Interactive Inc., said he’s already planning for the changes coming with the technology.

“It will create a lot of opportunities in interactive advertising so ads like Wired magazine’s two-dimensional ads can be video instead of stills,” Wiedenhoft said. “Some of the iPad ads I’ve seen are very engaging, 3-D product views and live data from the Web.”

Advertising will have to be produced with efficiencies that let it work across a variety of media and platforms or it will become very expensive, Wiedenhoft noted. The continuum of mobile, iPad, computer and television platforms, banner and even print ads means a lot of shape-shifting and making buttons work across very different technologies.

Reaching Customers By Location

Geo-targeting may also be the next big thing. Imagine stepping out of a play at the Skylight Theatre in Balboa Park and finding a promotion for dessert or cocktails at the nearby The Prado restaurant on your cell phone, drawn to your phone by its location.

“The potential for tying geo-targeting with social media is enormous,” ZeMans said. “It’s a viable way of drawing and tracking people and getting them information and timely, immediately useful advertising.”

And the quest for brand presence on social media — the catchall phrase for Facebook, Twitter, photo sites like, the business connection site LinkedIn, and a dozen other relevant sites where people connect and share information — is growing like crazy.

“It’s rumored that Facebook will be compiling and sharing a lot more information with the Open Graph plug-ins,” Wiedenhoft said. “That’s another way to provide exposure. Any activity being shared on the Web site now can be shared on Facebook.”

The sites and the technology keep changing, and as they change new and previously unknown opportunities, methods and hazards are created.

“With each new advance and iteration, we learn how to make the most of it for our clients,” said Marlene Matheson, chief executive officer of SiteLab Interactive. “We’ve been beta testing for our whole existence.”

Online Ad Strategies Change Weekly

Like other interactive media, working the search engines for top placement and best response continues to change from week to week, as Google and other search engines continually change their algorithms and strategies for selling the ads that make them money.

Search engine optimization — using key words, analysis of what people are searching for and how they are searching, and relying on a myriad of paid and unpaid methods to draw customers to a business — is a process that’s constantly being refined and everything changes, from pay-per-click costs to that secret algorithm.

“We are really a results-oriented business and we realize this is about connecting with people and measuring the impact through metrics,” said Les Kollegian, chief creative officer at Jacob Tyler Creative Group. “Now you can see if you meet your goals by analytics — where they came in and where they exit, when they convert (which means engage in some measurable way) and when they bail. And if we can see where we can improve what we’re doing, we can do it right away.”

The biggest change in advertising is in what it demands of clients. While the costs of online promotions are lower than traditional media, the advertiser is going to have to participate in selling the business every day. And the demands on advertisers to participate in their promotions will only continue to grow.

“Marketing now involves everyone in the company,” McKusick said. “What is the CEO tweeting, what groups are your CFO involved in, what are your employees putting on flickr?”

The business’s culture becomes its marketing platform and that can mean putting personality on display.

Personality in Professional Messages

For David Contois, president of BluSkye Group, that means striking a balance between personal and professional information.

“Social media is about being social, whatever that means to you,” he said. “We’re all our own publishers now and the personality is an integral piece of marketing.”

Though promoting a business’s personality and products through social media, where a lot of people fill the space with food, travel, kids, dogs and chat, seems uncomfortable at first, the interactive professionals say it’s not just the future, it’s the present.

“If you’re doing it, it will be a benefit to your whole business,” McKusick added. “If your business is not ready to participate in social media, you’re too late!”