All Advertising Online Should Be Performance Based

March 11, 2008

There, I said it. All online advertising should be performance based, period. For years I have been working with clients, and agencies alike all trying to make sense of their ROI online. At first we had the CPM model. During my time at Mediaplex, before it was a Valueclick company, and before the Ad Agencies saw them as a threat to their own in house media planning and buying teams, CPM was king. There were a few (to state mildly) issues with buying ads in a CPM scenario back then. Each third party ad server thought they were tracking impressions appropriately. Why was this a problem? Because if you’re an advertiser in 1999 and your using (for example) both Mediaplex, and Doubleclick to serve your ads, you may be paying $.33CPM for one and a $.44CPM to another. This may seem like pennies, but when you’re dealing with billions of impressions, the dollars start to ad up.

Back then this was OK….well sort of…that is until guys like Adam Gerber at The Digital Edge (Y&R) would start to ask questions about the impressions that he was purchasing on behalf of his very large, very demanding clients. I can recall Adam stopping me in the halls of the Digital Edge shoving a finger in my face, and saying “I want answers”….well the reality was that I had none for him. We didn’t really know if an impression was served or not. We could only assume based on certain variables. We could provide reports, but we could track that back to a sale. Some of the campaigns were strictly branding campaigns, which is great, but branding for who, how were they measured? Obviously this was a very qualitative not quantitative approach.

Then came CPC, and all was good in the world. Or so we thought. That is until fraud started to pop up.

Now we have CPA, or CPL, and this is the only manner in which an advertiser can actually track conversions. Why are you advertising online? To generate a conversion, whether it be a lead, or a sale…performance is the next step in the evolution in online marketing. Even in a branding exercises you need to track the conversions. If a click on a banner lands a user on a landing page, you want them to take action, not just view your landing page. If they view your banner, really how much “branding” is occurring? How can you quantify that? You can protect your brand by demanding you work with a transparent network, or you can protect yourself from fraud by demanding that you will only pay for a conversion after you’ve been able to confirm the pixel that’s fired, but you really can never quantify online advertising unless it’s performance based.

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Interactive Agencies

June 25, 2007

While I was out in San Jose for the Internet Retailer show, I spend some time with Zenith Optimedia. We had a great meeting discussing where AzoogleAds may fit into their media buys on behalf of a few different clients. The main theme of the conversation centered around what the media planners had to do in order to make working with Azoogleads make sense for their client. They were intrigued by the fact that everything we do as a company is performance driven.

What does that mean to your advertiser? Essentially what your looking at is a risk free endeavor (hard to believe, I know). But think about it, don’t you agree that this is the direction all online advertising has been heading?

Back when I was at Mediaplex we were selling CPM to large agencies on behalf of their clients. This didn’t work because the media buyers had to show ROI. This was difficult because they couldn’t quantify an impression. There are numerous limitations to tracking impressions as we all know (caching etc). Then there was a move to CPC, and this too had it’s limitations with click fraud etc. The natural progression has led us to CPA advertising, where the “A” can be anything that advertiser wishes it to be. It can be a lead, or it can be a sale. All we have to do is place a pixel on the confirmation page. This way we can track the conversion on behalf of the advertiser.

Sometimes this doesn’t really work for an advertiser. Sometimes the advertiser may have too many SKU’s, and working with us will only make sense if they are using us to drive leads for something promotional, like a sweepstakes.


When Google said NO, discovering opportunity out of adversity.

March 14, 2007

About 5 months before Google went public, I had a very interesting experience. I had been working at AGA, a creative design agency that develops catalogs brochures etc. AGA is a great company, and I loved working there. I had just come back from a phenomenal year in London that had been hugely successful for me as well as the AGA. I came back thinking I could conquer the world (in my mind I had).

My first order of business when I got back to NY was to get my life back in order, and try to recapture the life I had before I went to London.

That wasn’t going to happen. Things got better! I met my (now) wife Laura!

Things were looking great for me. I was at a job I loved, met a great girl, and I had just started interviewing at GOOGLE! Wow! I thought I was a shoe-in. Three years earlier I had worked in the interactive space at a company called Mediaplex. I yearned for those glory days of the Internet. I missed the face paced environment, and the speed of light business that occur ed. I have a Masters of Science in Direct Marketing from New York University, international sales experience, and all the confidence in the world!

I spent a long time preparing for my interviews, and thought that each time I met with the team at Google, that I was certainly going to get the job offer. There was even a series of odd coincidences that I thought pointed directly to my getting an offer. I ran into an old college friend at my first interview (actually DURING the interview)!

I was sitting with the HR person, when her paper blew off her desk (they had a great deck at the former Google offices). When I got up to get the paper I saw my friend! She was just as shocked to see me, as I her! We exchanged pleasantries, and she wished me luck! WOW! If they highered Meghan McGarry, and she and I went to the same school, Loyola College in Maryland (even if only for a semester, because she transferred to the University of Connecticut)! Well… this was EASY!!

Not so fast. I had just started the arduous task of numerous interviews at Google. They don’t get the creme of the crop for nothing. They take their time, review, and review, and review. They taped my sales calls with them to analyze my pitch. This was not easy for me. I felt as if I had been “out of the game” for a bit. The sales process at AGA was much slower, and things were NOT closed over the phone. I was the king of face to face meetings.

After my first few interviews, I even found out that the woman that had been organizing all of my interviews at Google (Sandy Feigenbaum) was a college friend of my wife Laura! At the time Laura and I had just started dating, were in the midst of falling madly in love, and I had mentioned her to Sandy on more than one occasion (before I even knew that they knew each other)! Another odd cooincidence in my favor!!

Long story short, after 7 interviews, two taped over the phone (apparently the final taped call was a tie breaker between myself and another candidate), I was not offered the job.

This was the BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY CAREER!

If I had not been turned down by Google, I would have not been where I am today. Currently I am the Director of Sales, Northeast Region at Azoogleads, Inc.

I have had such a phenomenal time at Azoogleads. I was the 3rd person to be highered in the NY office, and we currently have close to 40 people in that same office! My thoughts are always on the positive, and my life is abundant. For a long time, I held onto negative feelings about my experience with Google. Now I can look back, and say that they had made the right decision. Before coming to Azoogleads, I made a brief stop at Responsys. I was selling software, and was working from home for a short period of time. I grew tremendously during that job, and I feel that I needed to mature as a business person. I have been lucky to have met the people I have since my Google experience, and I hope that this story can inspire others that may not see the “silver lining” of a seemingly bad situation.

Have a great day everyone!

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought”
-Buddha