Are You Young or Old? Rich or Poor? Your Tech Reveals All…

Want to know if you’re rich or poor? Young or old? Here’s a way to tell that’s easier than profiling yourself on RealAge or auditing W2’s.

1. Do You Search Facebook or Google Plus?

Use Facebook to search? You’re more likely to earn less than $100K and be old. Use Google+ for search and you’re more likely to make more than $100K and be younger. Don’t shoot the messenger here (for he is older and poorer than you think). Shoot comScore instead, and recognize that this is perhaps more indicative of the “early adopters” of Google Plus, who are perhaps largely both young and rich (a lucrative target market). Haven’t heard of Google Plus? You may be dead.

2. iPhone or Android?

comScore’s San Francisco office exclusively uses iPhones, and its New York office is littered with Androids, but those searching on these devices are fairly similar in demographics. So this doesn’t really say as much about you as you’d like to believe. Still using a Blackberry? Save your upgrade cash for a funeral plot.

3. Use Bing? Yeah you’re old with kids

Sorry. You’re more likely to be old with kids. Sure this is 2-year-old data, but the only thing newer about Bing is that it’s better at travel searches. Now get back to work. 

4. Do you accept mobile coupons?

If so, you’re probably 18-34 years old. If not, you’re probably older. If the mobile coupon is for Depends, just keep moving like a horse, and piss wherever and whenever you like.

5. Read TechCrunch or CrabbyOldFart?

Yeah, I’ll let you guess on that one. If you’re still using your hotmail or aol account, I’d like to welcome you to your first “blog” and encourage you to upgrade your 56K modem.

Shit no I'm not surfing on this bitch.

Are Video Preroll Ads on Rise or Decline?

Yes. Video prerolls are both growing and declining. The good news for viewers is that we saw fewer prerolls. But we saw more “polite prerolls” (option to escape) in Q1 2011 as reported by AdoTube/eMarketer. Since this doesn’t include YouTube data and presumably a small sample of total online-video ad streams it does need to be taken with a grain of (Morton’s: when it rains it pours!) salt.

Viewers will appreciate fewer prerolls (as reported by AdoTube), and advertisers will enjoy more "engagement" models
This "Right Guard" ad begs for engagement. Did you notice the "close" button?

Forget prerolls, friends. The increasingly competitive ad networks have a whole sleuth of weapons in their online-video ad formats that range from the innocuous “polite pre-roll,” to a bit more ominous names like in-stream takeover, ad selector, in-stream skin, inside-out roll, interactive overlay, video-in-video, interactive gaming overlay, data entry and capture, branded player, over the top, and beyond stream. I believe that Seroquel example, placing a “reminder” ad without “fair balance” adjacent to depression content is (shhh) a violation of FDA guidelines, but I digress. ANY of these ad-format names beats the “fat boy” branded by Point Roll.

Take a look at some of the bold “engagement” formats presented in AdoTube’s ad-format gallery and you’ll see why viewers are, according to eMarketer, about 30% likely to engage in an ad… even when not forced (hence the term “polite”). You’ll also see that it’s often not clear there’s an opt-out available.

The eMarketer report, titled “Options for Online Video Ad Viewers Leads to Higher Engagement” is encouraging. With online video being one of the leading (if not #1) fastest-growing portion of a marketer’s “media mix,” advertisers will want and expect formats that achieve their goals: from branding to engagement. This chart is important to viewers because it shows that “cost per impression” remains the dominant percent of spending. In “cost per impression” (often called CPM, or cost-per-thousand), the advertiser simply pays a few bucks to reach 1,000 eyeballs without much accountability.

"Cost per impression" still leads, but more interactive "engagement" ad formats are increasing (Brightroll Data)

While few of us welcome more aggressive online-ads, this also substantiates a business model to fuel the medium’s growth. While it’s easy to complain about intrusive ads (especially as the pendulum seemed to swing dangerously to the advertiser’s benefit in the past year), it’s a vital element to online-video’s maturity. If the advertisers don’t get what they need, friends, we won’t be seeing our content for free.

There are three ways to increase “engagements” in this online-video advertising medium, and I’ll list them from best to worst in order of sustainability: novelty, creative and targeting:

  1. Novelty: A new ad format generally enjoys a period of high engagement that’s deceptively high. We’re curious about what the ad does, and may not realize we’re engaging, so it’s not necessarily suggestive of purchase intent. In early February, a debut YouTube customer of YouTube’s “skip this ad in x second” preroll told ClickZ he was seeing a 30% engagement rate. That’s far higher than we’ll see as a norm, and a tribute to the novelty effect.
  2. Creative: Great creative always wins, and this is a fairly enduring trait. While overall engagement might slip when we’re “numb” to an ad format (like monkey-shooting banner ads, or even the “InVid” format that creeps up on YouTube… the best creative wins the best attention, engagement and results.
  3. Targeting: Ultimately the most sustainable and important characteristic of a high-engagement online-video ad is its ability to reach the right target. I can engage in a tampon ad, but it’s not going to sell more maxi’s. But if I get a rich-media ad over (or adjacent) to my valued content, then we’ve got a win-win-win (advertiser, publisher, viewer). That’s where we can expect Google/YouTube to be better in the long haul, but it appears the sophisticated advertiser networks are ahead. These ad networks marry data from a variety of sources to serve ads invisibly on the videos across a variety of websites.

So what are the takeaways to advertisers, video sites and us viewers?

  • First, the options available to advertisers means that online-video ads will begin to get as aggressive as other forms of interactive ads. This has positive and negative effects, but as long as it’s targeted it’s sustainable.
  • YouTube, which reports very little about its ad performance, has not radically departed from its debut formats, with the exception of breaking its early commitment to make pre-rolls optional. Now most pre-rolls are mandatory, but we can opt-out of some after a few seconds (at which point the “opt-out” means the advertiser pays YouTube and the creator less).
  • Ads are a vital cost-offset for those of us that have been enjoying free video content for 5 years and would like that to continue without avoid pesky Hulu-like subscription models (unless a “value ad” bonus to the cable contract, assuming we haven’t “cut chord.”).
  • And finally, Morton’s salt can be trusted. Trusted I say.


Improve Your Friday With Batman’s Fake Shark

Are you enjoying your Friday afternoon? Well here’s my gift to you to improve it. Batman and Robin fight the fakest shark ever. Now a free piece of cheese for anyone who can find me a video clip of Batman telling Robin, “drunks are people too” as they decide to not toss a bomb into a bar.

No batman since adam west knew how to beat the crap out of a fake shark

Tell me, dear friends… Did Christian Bale ever kick a fake shark’s ass? How about Val Kilmer? Nope even Michael Keaton didn’t carry bad-ass shark repellent.

And I’ve always had a thing for Batman because he was the only super hero who had no magical powers. Just an assload of money and free time. And a sidekick, butler and city commission as his personal bee-atches.

New Storytelling Dimensions: HBO Imagine Raises Bar for Seven Echo & New Advertainment Models

Why is it that online video, while at least 3 years old, offers very little beyond traditional video that happens to be shorter and amateur driven? Certainly the lack of scripting gives us the sense we’re invited guests in the creator’s home, and we develop para social relationships because we can interact with them.

However very little, with the exception of “choose your own ending” has taken full advantage of the medium… until HBO Imagination.

Somebody call 911. Shawty's fire burnin' on the museum floor.
Somebody call 911. Shawty's fire burnin' on the museum floor.

While the site is slow, complex, and confusing, I give it 5 stars for pushing the medium to new levels. I’m at the beginning of my own journey, and I have a lot more to “unlock.” But I was impressed that I could watch an art heist from four different angles… trying desperately to be in the right place at the right time. If you’re inclined to wait for the slow startup time, please comment with what you thought was impressive (or not).

I’ve seen the criticism that it’s a one-trick pony; that I’m not likely to return. But that’s because it occurs on an island instead of embedded into places online where I spend time. Like YouTube (although it was a YouTube ad that finally took me there, after hearing about it several times).

As online-video gives storytellers new devices to allow the audience to explore various paths, the traditional online-advertising executions have some “catching up” to do. They need to explore storytelling and engagement like HBO Imagine, and not rely on typical “awareness to interest to conversion to purchase.”

Seven Echo

SevenEcho is one such company. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with founder and CEO David J. Russek through a mutual friend, and his vision is unsurpassed in helping entertainers and large advertisers weave mutually beneficial programs. The viewer can receive a customized ad based on product preference, and advertisers can embed their images in a show… then Seven Echo can swap them for another advertiser seamlessly. We meet at the home of Oscar Hammerstein and discuss our vision for this medium in the years ahead, and we both learn (although I learn more).

Ultimately, however, the distribution partners need to recognize the value to their audiences and sponsors. Many of these devices are not allowed on the #1 online-video sharing site, which is still relying on revenue from InVideo ads, banners, and homepage takeovers.

Imagine for a moment an entertainment experience customized to your region or story-telling preferences. Like a sexy blond as your hero? We’ll drop that in. Want happy endings only? Set that preference. Suddenly one story (albeit with lots of “branches”) is your personalized experience, and it’s ad supported because the ads are seamlessly integrated into the story.

This is the kind of initiative that should excite hungry entertainment companies and progressive advertising agencies with a desire to push the creative envelope and give their clients engaging rich-media experiences… instead of a traditional media insertion.

The Google Money Tree

My sister is doing a story on the Google Money Tree, and I thought I’d write about it — if for no other reason — to scoop her and her “big media.”

I hadn’t heard of it before, so I googled it. Seems it’s a scam that locks you into a regular fee, and cost you to cancel. In fact the FTC tracked it down (see official site). The scammers claimed they were with Google, and had a way to make $100,000 in a year. Of course they didn’t tell you you’d be charged $72.21 a month.

Since the Google Money Tree’s website is surely gone (or at least not spidered by Google), here’s all you need to know: The FTC charge.


You know, instead of trying to get rich from a Google Money Tree scam, I suggest just making a donation to me. You’re guaranteed to receive no service or product in return, but also be free from any scams, additional upsells, or life-time membership dues. Plus if you go for the most-popular “Gold” level plan ($20) you’re likely to receive good luck within 2-3 days.

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