More Brands Are Using Anonymous Apps To Market Their Product

Young businesswoman pressing colorful mobile app icons with boke

Christopher Heine wrote a piece on Ad Week about the increasing ad campaigns on anonymous app platforms. The article looks at some of the big brands that are advertising on Whisper and Secret.

As more and more people access at least apart of their daily online experience through mobile, brands are going to want to be on there. All the talk about new gtlds vs .com etc… This is where people should be spending some of their time, following what is going on with mobile and apps. I am not talking about domains going away or anything like that, it just makes sense to understand what is going on and keep up.

From the article:

Incognito apps

It seems counterintuitive that advertisers would be interested in anonymity-based platforms in an age of Facebook hypertargeting. But is the latest in a string of brands to bet on incognito platforms such as smartphone app Anomo.

When Anomo’s 300,000 users this week begin to post the hashtag #Vegas, a native-style ad will appear. “Traveling here is about having an experience you cannot get at home,” said Dustin Robertson, CMO at the Sin City bookings site. “So much of our traffic is coming from mobile that if we can get into people’s phones, that’s a market we are willing to pay for.”

Read the full article here

Virtual Reality Could be the next big thing in Advertising

Cotton Delo published an article  on Ad Age that looked at Virtual Reality and its role in advertising. Virtual Reality got a big boost with Facebook purchasing Oculus Rift, the deal closed a couple weeks ago and for a good read on the deal check out The Guardian and their story “Facebook closes its $2bn Oculus Rift acquisition. What next?Social network completes deal announced in March, so what does the future hold for its virtual reality division?”

I personally was involved with a Virtual Reality company back in the late 90′s, they were publicly traded and my company was doing some consulting work. Back then there was a lot of hype and most of it centered on gaming, Dave and Busters was introducing VR related games and their was a lot of hoopla. I can say the biggest buzz came in the field o sex, I remember the CEO of the company I was consulting telling an audience, you will one day be able to use Virtual Reality to have sex with your favorite celebrity such as Pamela Anderson. It has been a good 18 years since that speech and I am not sure anyone has made much headroom with that, although some keep talking it up.

The Guardian has a good article here that takes a look at the last 20 years of Virtual Reality.

So Ad Age is looking at this from advertising point of view, looking at who will be the first adopters and what consumers can expect.

From the article:

Imagine Budweiser taking you behind the plate at the World Series or Pepsi giving you a virtual front-row seat at a Beyoncé concert.

But since marketers still need to provide the hardware, their efforts are currently confined to experiential marketing at large events, like the South by Southwest interactive festival and the Detroit Auto Show. However, the pace of innovation is likely to accelerate as new uses emerge—if, of course, more eyeballs migrate to VR technologies.

That may start to happen soon. Research firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts that manufacturers of VR and augmented-reality hardware—including smart glasses and head-mounted displays—will generate $1.06 billion in revenue globally by 2018.

Thanks to Coke
Virtual reality could be transformative for the ad industry. Instead of interrupting people with ads, marketers could sponsor virtual experiences people actually seek out. But first, the ad industry has to understand this new playground.

The Oculus Equation
The details of Facebook’s plans for an integration are still unknown, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg has conveyed in no uncertain terms that his vision is to use Oculus’s tech for social networking—and that his company is making a bet on the next emergent computing platform after mobile. (Which would you prefer: hanging out with your faraway friend in a virtual environment or keeping tabs on her via her occasional status updates?)

“Oculus has the potential to be the most-social platform ever,” Mr. Zuckerberg said when announcing the deal in March. “Today social networks are about sharing moments, but tomorrow it will be about sharing experiences.”

Read the full article here

From a domaining standpoint, names like, are registered for some time. has been regged by a company using VR for another reason since 1996. was regged in 2013 and has been registered since 1999.


The other side of Click Fraud

Krebs On Security took a look at the practice of click fraud that depletes a competitors ad budget. The practice is to run up the costs and maybe get them to blow their wad early in the day. I have spoken to people over the years who certainly felt their AdWords campaign was a waste of time and money. While many focus on click fraud on the AdSense side, it seems that the AdWords side is also a big problem.

From the article:

Today’s post looks at a popular service that helps crooked online marketers exhaust the Google AdWords budgets of their competitors.

One of the more well-known forms of online ad fraud (a.k.a. “click fraud“) involves Google AdSense publishers that automate the clicking of ads appearing on their own Web sites in order to inflate ad revenue. But fraudsters also engage in an opposite scam involving AdWords, in which advertisers try to attack competitors by raising their costs or exhausting their ad budgets early in the day.

Enter “GoodGoogle,” the nickname chosen by one of the more established AdWords fraudsters operating on the Russian-language crime forums. Using a combination of custom software and hands-on customer service, GoodGoogle promises clients the ability to block the appearance of competitors’ ads.

“Are you tired of the competition in Google AdWords that take your first position and quality traffic,?” reads GoodGoogle’s pitch. “I will help you get rid once and for all competitors in Google Adwords.”

The service, which appears to have been in the offering since at least January 2012, provides customers both a la carte and subscription rates. The prices range from $100 to block between three to ten ad units for 24 hours to $80 for 15 to 30 ad units. For a flat fee of $1,000, small businesses can use GoodGoogle’s software and service to sideline a handful of competitors’s ads indefinitely. Fees are paid up-front and in virtual currencies.

Read the full article here

New Stealthier Ads Are A Big Hit For Google


John Koetsier wrote a very interesting piece on Venture Beat on how the new look of Google ads is boosting click through rates. Back in March Computer World explained,

Google is testing some changes to the way it displays search results, including a tweak to how it presents paid links that could throw off unsuspecting users.

Paid links in Google’s search results are marked today with a yellow shaded background. Under the experimental layout, which is being widely tested with users, a small yellow button that says “Ad” appears in front of paid links instead.

Now the Venture Beat article took data from a study conducted by Adobe, that shows the change has worked and it should be good news for the company ahead of its quarterly earnings report due out today.

From the article:

The data is in, and Google’s new stealthier, blended-in, less-obviously-an-ad offerings have boosted clickthroughs tremendously: They’re up 20 percent just in the last quarter. That should be good news for Google when the company reports Q2 earnings tomorrow.

A massive Adobe ad study of over $2 billion in ad spend shows that not only are clickthroughs up, so are costs: CPCs rose slightly by four percent over the same period. In contrast, Yahoo/Bing search ad CPCs declined.


“Mobile and tablet are having an impact there,” Adobe director of product marketing Tim Waddell told me yesterday. “Not to mention the switchover to Google’s new ad types … going away from the different background colors.”

Google Ads used to be obvious, with a different background color than the rest of the page, which clearly highlighted them as commercial content. At the beginning of this year, however, Google changed its format, giving ads the same white background as the rest of the page and replacing it with a substantially smaller “Ad” notification.

Read the full article which contains some interesting charts comparing the results here.

Google Releases Data to Help With Adwords Confusion


Google has released a couple pieces of data over the last two days that are worth reviewing for those who use the Google Adwords product.

Google released a white paper to try to dispel some myths when it comes to the subject of quality score. As Ginny Marvin pointed out on Search Engine Land,

There has always been a healthy amount of debate over the importance of Quality Score as an indicator of Google AdWords success and the amount of focus that should be devoted to it.

Today, Google issued a whitepaper called “Settling the (Quality) Score” to help advertisers use Quality Score to guide optimizations. Will it settle the debate? Maybe not, in fact it may just spark more conversation, but if you’re involved in paid search at all, you’ll want to check it out.

Google describes Quality Score being like a “warning light in a car’s engine” as opposed to being a “detailed metric that should be the focus of account management.”

In other words, it’s a signal not a KPI. It’s a mash-up of expected click-through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience, but, as we know, the score we’re shown isn’t the actual score given at any moment during an auction. The score we see represents overall performance in the auctions.

You can view the white paper here

Today Google released a video on the AdWords auction and Ad Rank, this is the scoring system that places ads in the order they appear. The video shows that Google uses a second price auction. I think this was helpful for someone like myself who has spent a limited time running an adwords campaign. It can be confusing/frustrating when you don’t see your ad and not sure why.


Ginny Marvin noted:

It’s no coincidence that two resources — the Quality Score paper and this video — are being released in short order. The company started an initiative, spearheaded by Matt Lawson, Google’s Director of Performance Ads Marketing, to provide more resources and best practice overviews with advertisers than it has in the past.