Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mom’s Got Poker Skills: Publishers Get Into the Game

LM Comment: “Advergaming” continues to show strength as an effective way to connect with the over-50 segment.

September 23, 2009: summarized from min online -- Still think gaming is for social shut-ins and pimple-faced teens who converge at Comic-Con and midnight releases of Halo 3? Then you may be missing out on a boatload of traffic and revenues, said panelists this week at OMMA Global in New York. In a playful panel entitled “Grandma’s Got Game: Can Casual Gaming Deliver Real Revenue to Mainstream Sites?” publishers and game providers agreed that games aimed at all demographics have become traffic and cash cows for non-gaming sites.

“We saw games inventory double,” said Kyle Lewis, general manager, AARP.org. Lewis admits that his own sales staff was a bit overwhelmed and he was taken aback at the level of usage and ad opportunities that the site’s games section opened up for the company.

Almost all of AARP’s gamers are over 55, but they show remarkable hang time and loyalty. Gamers in sites like AARP.org will see advertiser messages as pre-rolls before game play or as banners during play. Given the amount of time people spend playing a titles, “It’s really a branding opportunity,” says Lewis. “We are able to say to pharmaceutical or packaged goods advertisers that this is an opportunity to capture your intenders in an environment where they are open to advertisers.”

All of the panelists agreed that the casual gaming market for the over-30 segment is going to grow quickly in coming years. The aging demographic in the U.S. guarantees that several generations raised on digital gaming will bring these habits into middle age.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/ipYgh

GameLogic Announces New Tournament Poker System, Poker Play

September 23, 2009: summarized from Business Wire --GameLogic, Inc., a provider of interactive marketing services for the U.S. regulated gaming industry, announced its newest product, Poker Play, a tournament-based poker system specifically developed for regulated U.S. casino and lottery operators.

Poker Play, coupled with the GameLogic’s existing product suite, will deliver targeted real time offers to drive on-line engagement, loyalty and on-property participation to a younger adult player demographic. GameLogic’s existing network of clients will provide critical mass for a vibrant and all-live-play environment, while retaining unique branding for each individual property. Poker Play is a turn-key solution that can be run as members only, free to play, advertising sponsored, or as advergaming.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/JuYhx

Social Net Ads: Fewer Clicks, More Engagement

September 27, 2009: summarized from Ad Week -- Conventional wisdom holds that social media advertising does not perform nearly as well as ads running on non-social sites, at least by standard measurements like clicks.

That's true, according to a new study by social ad network Lotame, but it misses an important distinction: the same ad placements on social sites can draw far higher levels of engagement. And that's an increasingly important point for brands.

Lotame examined over 100 rich-media campaigns it ran during 2008 and the first eight months of this year on sites like Bebo, Flixster and The Huffington Post. It compared the performance of those campaigns in aggregate to the industry standard measurements published by Google ad serving unit DoubleClick.

It found that click-through rates for ads on social sites were lower than the DoubleClick average across all ad sizes, formats and types of advertiser.

The good news for social sites: While users are unlikely to leave the site and visit advertisers' venues, they are more likely to interact with some aspect of ads. Such interaction can include playing videos or expanding the ad messages on-screen. For example, the completion rate for in-page videos was 68 percent on Lotame compared to 62 percent in the DoubleClick sample. Expandable video units showed similar results.

The differences were more apparent in interaction rates. Lotame's figures showed double response rates in expandable units, both with video and without, and for in-page video.

"It's a difference in the way users in that space interact with ads," said Lotame CEO Andy Monfried. "It's weird to assume they're not interested in ads because they're on social media sites. Advertisers need to treat social media in a different fashion from other forms of online media."

Monfried is not alone in his contention that current modes of measuring online ads fall short, particularly in social media, where users are spending lots of time. Companies like Videoegg are pushing a cost-per-engagement model and Betawave touts time as a measure of attention. Even former Internet Advertising Bureau chairman and CNET founder Shelby Bonnie lamented the state of metrics in a recent blog post that called for the industry to "kill the CPM."

Read more at: http://bit.ly/5WQfU

15 Email Design Tips

LM Comment: Some ideas to keep in mind.

September 25, 2009: summarized from Smart Biz -- Designing an effective email is not difficult, but it has a few unique aspects that should be considered in the design process. Regardless of design however, the message should be clear, simple and easily identifiable. The following tips are basic reminders for good email design.

1. Do not use too many or too large graphics in your email marketing. Ideally, you would have about 60 percent text and 40 percent graphics in your emails. It is never a good idea to send an email that is one giant image. Keep in mind that many email clients have images turned off by default.

2. Use the HTML alt tag for important images. Not only does the alt tag display text while images are loading, you can use it to describe the graphics.

3. Provide a link to allow people to view your email as a Web page. Some people just prefer to look at things in a browser and your HTML email may not render well in every email program out there. Many Email Service Providers (ESPs) have a standard mail merge value such as {{{browse}}} for viewing emails in a browser window.

4. If you do use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), keep in mind that email newsletters only supports inline CSS. Ideally, you would stay away from CSS altogether in your email design as some email programs will jus strip it out.

5. Be sure to send a text version of your email along with the HTML version. If you create both an HTML and a text version most ESPs will send the email as a multipart format, which means that the text version will be presented to those services and programs that cannot handle HTML. It is good to remember that some email programs and mobile devices can only handle text emails.

6. Do not rely on background images. There is no guarantee that your background images will display properly on all the different email programs, and if they are stripped out, they may alter your message.

7. Since you are designing for email programs and mobile devices, be aware of file sizes of images. You do not want to bog down your emails with large image file sizes.
8. To accommodate as email programs and mobile devices try to limit your email width to no more than 600 pixels.

9. Avoid things like flash, java script, etc., as many email programs do not support these things properly.

10. Tables are important component of email design and have made a comeback as email marketing has grown. Make sure to use the table attributes to maximum advantage in your email marketing design.

11. If you do use tables, keep it simple with a two-column table with a row across the top. Email programs are not as sophisticated as web browsers so avoid complex table layouts.

12. Your company name should be apparent in the "From" address, subject line, and content of your email. This decreases the chances your email newsletter will be mistaken for spam.

13. The law requires either a physical address or P.O. Box in all email marketing emails. Be sure to include this in every email you send. Most ESPs will not allow you to send emails that do not comply.

14. Make sure your subject line is relevant and avoid over hyping with all CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation marks! Email receivers and spam filters have come to automatically associate these things with spam.

15. Test your emails against a list that includes a variety of email clients, such as Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, and so on. Do this as a quick test before you send out your production email to make sure everything looks all right.

Keep these tips in mind, paired with compelling and relevant information and offers, and the result will be a solid and successful email.
Read more at: http://bit.ly/ezvZ1