Hey, advertisers: When does 1 equal 8?

According to new research from Omnicom Group, one engaged viewer is worth eight regular ones.

The research seems to indicate that engagement really does move the sales needle. Not only does consumer engagement with media and advertising drive sales, but it can also drive sales more than media spending levels. Translation: even a relatively small media outlay might work wonders as long as the ads capture the imagination of consumers.

Three different financial services brands were tested and consumer engagement with media had three times the impact than sales media weight (GRPs) alone, and consumer engagement with the ads had an eight times larger impact on sales than GRPs.

Engagement with consumers must employ mixed models to really foster and maintain relationships. Brand loyalty is fast becoming a thing of the past.

For more on the study, click here.

More on ROE (Return on Engagement)

As we have previously noted, Return on Engagement is the gold standard of new media metrics. Ad agencies, marketers and media buyers are still trying to get their heads around the measurement tools for blogging and podcasting. It is going to require a fundamental change in the way they have always done business, but as a wise man once said, "If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got." That might be fine for some, but for those of you who are really looking to grow your bottom line and get ahead of the media curve, there are some exciting tools out there to take the guesswork  out of behavioral marketing.

Online behavior will always reveal something of a user’s passion. What you search for, where you browse, what you buy are not isolated behaviors. They form a unique pattern. One of the problems is, data crunchers try and force behavior into a pre-defined category, i.e. if you visit site X then you must belong to behavioral profile Y.

It is now possible, no, CRITICAL to customize segments for each advertiser. In our new era of user generated content or social media, people express their opinions and interests as well as talk about themselves.

There is a company called Lotame that totally gets this. Their flagship product called Crowd Control tracks, targets and pinpoints specific audiences. In essence, it makes sense of the chaos that exists in the social media realm and provides advertisers with important data that reaches the increasingly ephemeral online diaspora.

Lowest common denominator programming and advertising just simply will not get the job done anymore. We are all complex beings with multiple interests. Producers of online content figured this out awhile ago. The ad industry is now getting on board, too.

High speed growth of high speed

As more and more content aggregates online, there has been a concurrent surge in online penetration. According to a new report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, seven in ten Americans who go online from home now connect via high-speed lines. Almost half, 47%, of all Americans now have broadband at home, up from just 30% two years ago. (Amazingly, 29% don’t use the internet at all. It is not clear if that is a purposeful opt-out, or if there are other economic factors involved.)

All this contributes to the changing entertainment experience at home. Storage is always an issue with digital files since they can be such bandwidth hogs. The more you compress them, the greater the degradation of the image. But technology always catches up with technology. The day when what we enjoy on our home HD monitors is of equal quality to what comes in over the pipes is already here.

People don’t care where or how they get their entertainment, we just want it. The smart companies have figured that out already.

Mobile video and iPhones

I try to keep these posts short, mostly because I don’t like to read long blog posts online. In that spirit, this might be a two or three-part post.

Lost in all the iPhone hype, in my opinion, has been AppleTV. For content producers, I think this is the real killer app. The mobile research firm Telephia released a report that states 8.4 million people in the US subscribed to mobile video services in the first quarter. That is a 155% increase over 2006, but it only represents 3.6% of all mobile subscribers.

Watching any video that lasts more than 60 seconds becomes less about the content, however, and more about the experience. Is watching an iPod screen or telephone screen for 10, 30 or 60 minutes really the best experience? While there are certain circumstances where we make concessions (plane flights, commuting to work via bus or train, etc.), if you really want to dig in and enjoy some video, obviously this experience leaves a lot to be desired. This, I think, is where AppleTV comes in. While the major networks are continuing to lose their primacy in favor of podcasters, at the end of the day (literally), we all want to watch this stuff on the couch on our TVs. AppleTV makes this possible at a very high quality.

THAT is the killer app.

Our take on the iPhone

We get lots of questions about the iPhone: what do we think of it? Are going to buy one? What does it mean for cell phones in this country?

While 99% of the discussion is pure speculation until the phone hits the street on June 29, there is certainly tremendous POTENTIAL in the iPhone as a device. In the first place, the ability to have a great three-in-one device will certainly free up a lot of pocket or purse space. Everyone who has an iPod knows how great they are. Everyone who already has a Treo or Blackberry knows that the web surfing experience is not analogous to that of your computer. A phone, video iPod and powerful browser and e-mail tool could certainly be a welcome addition to those of us who wish all these things could be joined as one. The real proof will be in how well Safari works and whether it really does replicate the experience we all have when we’re online from our desktops or laptops.

Apple has a history of getting people very excited about products and, while there have been a few letdowns over the years, their track record has been pretty good. I heard one pundit refer to this as the "largest consumer product launch in history." Apple and AT&T certainly have a lot riding on its success, and naysayers will jump on the smallest glitch to say "I told you so."

Our attitude is basically "wait and see." I seldom jump on the first version of anything, but if it even lives up to half of what they are claiming, I think we might witness a real sea change in mobile communication. And why not? Are any of us REALLY in love with our phones?

If you’re dying for more iPhone news, we suggest giving a listen to our friends over at ApplePhoneShow.com.


Many people fail in life, not for the lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.
Elbert Hubbard

It is critical to act deliberately within the field of feelings, thoughts, words and deeds. The clearer we are about our purpose, or where we want to go, the easier it is to get there and to actually know when we have arrived.

Technology let us down…but we’re back!

If you live by the new media sword…

Thanks to all of our subscribers who wrote in wondering why they had not received any e-mail from us lately. Seems as if there was a slight problem with our feed which prevented e-mails from going out. All is well now, but the problem came about at the worst time, so let’s recap:

We are proud to announce the launch of the Clearcast Digital Media blog en Español. Responding to the dearth of solid technology and new media communications information on the web, Fernando has taken matters into his own hands and is the author of a fantastically written, compelling and informative blog for those who prefer to get their info in Spanish. Please check it out and forward the link.

Also, we released another podcast episode featuring an absorbing interview with producer and webby award winner Chi Chi Pierce. She now teaches television production at a Turner Technical High School, and we spend some time talking about the role of new media across the generational divide.

Lastly, but not leastly, we have redesigned the blog to make it a bit more eye-catching. We hope you like it.

Please check in on the blog if you don’t hear from us for awhile. We try and post at least twice a week. And if you are not already an e-mail subscriber, go ahead and sign up. Same goes for our podcast- you can subscribe via iTunes. It’s all about staying in touch, and thanks again to those of you who wondered where we were. We haven’t gone anywhere, but sometimes the wires get crossed.

New media and education

On this week’s podcast, we are joined by producer and educator Chi Chi Pierce. Winner of a Webby award and an Emmy, Chi Chi now teaches television production to high school students. It is a  fascinating discussion about the different roles new media plays across generations.

We are also very proud to announce the launch of the Clearcast Digital Media blog en espanol! For those of you who wish to follow new media trends in Spanish, sign up here.

Better than a 30-second spot?

So, by now you have probably all seen the latest YouTube entry from Hillary Clinton spoofing the final scene of the final episode of The Sopranos. The point of it was to announce the winner of an internet vote sponsored by the Clinton campaign to choose the theme song for her presidential run. This might be a turning point in her campaign in terms of the use of technology to soften her image and present her in a more playful light.

Bill Richardson created an online ad campaign that was humorous and helped him to maximize an ad budget that is probably a fraction of the Clinton campaign.

The presidential candidates are beginning to tap the power of the internet to reach a broader audience. Could it be that they are realizing that maybe the medium is not the message, but perhaps the message is the message.

Well, they’re getting closer…

It was announced that CNN and YouTube will be sponsoring a Democratic debate on July 23 and a Republican debate on September 17 where all the questions will be taken from the YouTube submissions. While CNN will decide which videos get picked, the ancillary benefit to those interested in follow up is that the debate will no doubt continue for days afterwards online. Of course, the potential for mash up is there, too, since all the videos will remain on YouTube and can then be edited together with the candidates’ responses, creating a new "1984" style phenomenon.

Most of the candidates are still missing the point of how to use internet video to their advantage. To use a sports metaphor, they are still letting the game come to them, instead of taking the game to the viewer. Podcasting allows you to talk about yourself before people start talking about you. This is true whether you are an individual, a company or a candidate for office.

"Candidates are starting to recognize that the only way to fight the potential tsunami of voter-generated video is to produce lots of video themselves, " says Andrew Rasiej, a co-founder of the non-partisan website techPresident, which tracks the candidates use of technology.

As we have previously noted, the hang up is financial, but not in the way you might think. Podcasting is so efficient in terms of both cost and as a communications tool, it will emerge as the most important message tool of our era.

"But there is both a component of habit and a component of financial self-interest here among consultants here in Washington, which is, you know, once they say well, you’re right, you know, these ads don’t really matter and people aren’t really watching them and they’re skipping over them on their Tivos, and they’re not especially well produced and they all sound the same, and everybody’s zoning them out, and maybe this isn’t the best way to get your message out there – once they say that, they’ve just thrown away a pretty significant [LAUGHS] meal ticket, right?

Essentially, consultants keep driving up the costs of a race by insisting that it has to be fought over the air at high expense. The networks keep raising the money to astronomical rates for these ads, ‘cause they know that the campaigns are raising it, and the ad guys are making out like bandits. And I don’t think they’re going to be quick to tell anybody that that business model no longer works, but I do think it’s going to become apparent."

Source: On the Media-April 27, 2007