“The Brand USA,” the new tourism marketing entity responsible for promoting the United States to world visitors, unveiled the USA’s first-ever comprehensive marketing campaign today during a press conference at International Pow Wow, the largest U.S. travel trade show held this week in Los Angeles. The campaign showcases the diversity of experiences available in the United States in a fresh and unexpected light, inviting visitors to “Discover this land, like never before.”
“Our goal is nothing short of rekindling the world’s love affair with the USA – the place, the spirit and the dream,” said Brand USA CEO Jim Evans. “We want to spread America’s message of welcome around the world and invite travelers to experience the limitless possibilities the United States has to offer. So we asked ourselves, ‘how can we best speak to multiple countries, across countless languages and cultures?’ We found the answer lay in the only truly universal language—music.”
The Theme Song
Rosanne Cash, daughter of American music legend Johnny Cash and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, has composed an original song, “Land of Dreams,” to serve as the heart of the campaign. Initial advertisements feature Cash playing the song under New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, accompanied by musicians from around the world. As part of its marketing efforts, Brand USA will extend invitations to musical artists from around the world to come perform their music in their favorite U.S. cities and towns, profiling their trips and favorite things about the USA online and through social media. A YouTube channel is live already, with just two in-house videos, but visitors will be invited to upload their own.
Brand USA, which created the campaign in partnership with JWT, the organization’s agency of record, will employ a fully integrated marketing strategy, using a mix of 60-, 20- and 15-second television spots, as well as digital, billboard and print advertisements and a robust online presence and social media strategy to reach potential visitors. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages will showcase country specific promotions and engagements and the newly re-launched website DiscoverAmerica.com will act as visitors’ information portal for trip planning. The YouTube channel is live, with just a few videos, including the promo spot
“Other countries around the world have prioritized tourism efforts for years, yet in the 236 years since the United States of America was founded, this country has never had a nationally coordinated effort dedicated to inviting travelers to come visit us,” said Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman of Brand USA’s Board of Directors. “That changes today. This new campaign will tap into an incredibly valuable economic resource – the millions of visitors who want to experience all that our great country has to offer.”
The first wave of advertising launches in-market May 1st in the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, with a budget of $12.3 million for the first three months. A second wave will follow in Brazil and South Korea, with several other markets to follow.
Brand USA was created as a result of the U.S. Travel Promotion Act, federal legislation passed in March 2010 which established a public-private partnership between the travel industry and the U.S. government dedicated to increasing international visitation to the U.S. through marketing and promotional efforts to drive job creation and spur economic growth. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average overseas visitor to the United States spends $4,000 per trip, and 35 incremental overseas visitors supports one new U.S. job.
International Pow Wow, which is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from April 21 through April 24, draws more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations and 1,200 international and domestic travel buyers from more than 70 countries. Together, these buyers and sellers will negotiate business that will generate an estimated $3.5 billion in future USA travel.
Nielsen has released some updated stats and an infographic on African-American consumers and mobile advertising. As of Q4 of 2011, half of black mobile users owned a smartphone (up from 44% in Q4 2010) and 58% accessed the mobile Internet, more than any other race/ethnic group.
Nielsen was updating data from its Sepember, 2011 “State of the African-American Consumer” report, which it compiled in cooperation with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the U.S. As Nielsen described, “This growing economic potential presents an opportunity for Fortune 500 companies to examine and further understand this important, flourishing market segment.”
“Too often, companies don’t realize the inherent differences of our community, are not aware of the market size impact and have not optimized efforts to develop messages beyond those that coincide with Black History Month,” said Cloves Campbell, chairman, NNPA.
Where to reach them?
Spot and search advertisers will want to concentrate on the eastern seaboard and south/southeast, according to U.S. Census data.
Among other findings by Nielsen and NNPA:
- With a buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually, if African-Americans were a country, they’d be the 16th largest country in the world.
- The number of African-American households earning $75,000 or higher grew by almost 64% between 2000 and 2009, a rate close to 12% greater than the change in the overall population’s.
- African-Americans make more shopping trips than all other groups, but spend less money per trip. African-Americans in higher income brackets also spend 300% more in higher-end retail grocers more than any other high income household.
- There were 23.9 million active African-American Internet users in July 2011 – 76% of whom visited a social networking/blog site.
- African-Americans use more than double the amount of mobile phone voice minutes compared to Whites – 1,298 minutes a month vs. 606.
- The percentage of African-Americans attending college or earning a degree has increased to 44% for men and 53% for women.
Microsoft’s Peter Yang on the company’s Microsoft Advertising blog site described numerous changes in location targeting, aimed at improving campaign performance.
“To optimize targeting in the U.S. and Canada, we will remove about 10,000 cities from adCenter targeting in May. Because these cities have seen no measurable traffic, this change will have no negative impact on the performance of your campaigns.” Users targeting a city that will be removed are advised to update settings to target a city supported by adCenter to gain more traffic. The company offers a spreadsheet of those areas (see above link), which lists 10,807 locations, plus their alternates. Someone in Flordell Hills, Missouri for example will switch to nearby Ferguson.
In answer to some FAQS about the changes:
Will this change have any negative impact on my campaign / ad group performance?
No. You are likely to see an increase in impressions if you switch your targeting to a city supported by adCenter.
Do I need to make any changes for campaigns / ad groups that are targeting multiple cities, some of which will no longer be supported by adCenter targeting?
No. adCenter will simply remove the non-supported cities from targeting options and your campaign/ad group will continue to serve ads on other targeted locations.
When will this change occur in May?
Microsoft plans to remove the non-supported cities from adCenter targeting in mid to late May.
Will this change affect other countries outside of the U.S. and Canada?
No. In May, Microsoft only plans to remove non-supported cities in the U.S. and Canada from adCenter targeting options.
- Advertisers may want to target female sports fans more often, and through social media ads, reports ClickZ. In a joint study from Visible Technologies and Applebee’s (the casual dining chain), Visible studied 125 million social media posts over a recent three-month period, to find that 31% of sports chatter on social comes from women, a result which Visible calls "surprisingly strong" compared to past findings. Carly Wilcox, director of professional services at Visible, suggested that advertisers should take note that consumers (women in particular) are incrementally shifting in terms of where they spend their time and show their interests. Whatever they are consuming, be it sports paraphernalia or beauty products, “Women are powerhouse purchasers and the sluggish movement...to capitalize on such an active group is a huge oversight in the industry," said Wilcox.
- Comedy Central has announced the launch of “Comedy Central’s Indecision’ Election Companion,” an iOS-optimized election news and political humor app. The “Election Companion” app, sponsored by AT&T, is available now as a free iTunes download for iPhones and iPads and provides users with exclusive jokes, interactive content, photo galleries and second-screen experiences. The app delivers iPad and iPhone users exclusive politics-centric content through an iOS-optimized version of the “Indecision” blog; a photo gallery called “Snap Shots,” which captures the 24-hour news cycle in images and jokes; a 2012 Election Calendar; and an app-only exclusive “Peanut Gallery” commentary feature, which provides a second-screen experience for nationally-televised political talk shows, debates and speeches. The “Peanut Gallery” also includes exclusive live commentary from Indecision bloggers and special guests, and offers real-time interactive “Reacticons” for users to register their opinions. For example, users can post “Reacticons” such as “Cry-Baby,” “Dunce,” “Yawn,” “Knock-Out” or “Bulls#*!” to express their reactions as they watch candidates and talking heads on their TV screens. The “Reacticons” will then grow and shrink to reflect the Indecision community’s collective opinion in real time.
- Google, “undaunted by a short-lived  attempt to market and sell smartphones on its own,” plans to sell its own tablets in direct competition to the Apple iPad, reports the Wall Street Journal. Google will sell the co-branded tablets directly to consumers through an Apple- and Amazon-like online store. The move, speculates the Journal, is to turn around “sluggish sales” of tablets running Google’s Android platform.
Facebook Inc. is preparing its initial public offering for May, reports the New York Post, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Facebook halted trading of its shares on the secondary market this week, as it sets about nailing down its shareholder count, say the anonymous sources. Facebook filed for an IPO in early February, and the IPO is expected to raise as much as $10 billion and value the eight-year-old company at $100 billion. Facebook netted $1 billion in 2011 on $3.71 billion in revenue, and currently has 845 million users globally.
Advertising research firm BIA/Kelsey projects that U.S. companies will spend $136.2 billion on local advertising, between traditional, online and mobile ads, in 2012, reports eMarketer. That number will climb toward $151.3 billion by the end of 2016.
As we reported yesterday, BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik told Media Life that digital with its lower cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) makes sense for smaller businesses, as well as with its more targeted reach: a print ad in a local paper, or broadcast ad on a local news station, cannot target the 12-mile radius that a plumber may wish to reach, but targeted digital ads can.
Traditional spends will grow but in the low single digits, versus in the teens for digital. Still, with its lower percentage of overall spend, the overall spends will grow annually between 1 and 4%.
Though total U.S. local ad spending should grow slowly over the next four years, digital ad spending will grow by double digits, driven largely by social, mobile and video advertising. By 2016, the firm projects that local digital ad spending will tip the scales at $38.5 billion, more than 25% of total local ad spending, up from 16% in 2012.
“From 2010 to 2011, we saw a 2.4% decline in local ad spending,” said BIA/Kelsey CEO Tom Buono at the ILM-East conference in Boston on March 26. “We were projecting a decline originally, but it’s a lot more severe than we expected because of the economy. Therefore, in our projections moving forward, we’re less bullish than we were.”
Twitter with its new ad platform is attracting higher cost-per-thousand views (CPMs) than other social networks, according to third-party ad buyer TBG Digital. TBG surveyed data for 10 brands across different sectors, and observed some early trends for paid ads on Twitter.
TBG found that CPM for Twitter was higher in part because its ads are in-stream versus on the side (e.g., in Facebook), which is more attractive to advertisers. Also true, click-through rates in the news category were far higher on Twitter than on Facebook; though the categories of travel and consumer electronics saw higher CTRs on Facebook.
News is behind the higher day-time conversions for Twitter, which dominates in conversions from 6 A.M. to 12 P.M., and 8 P.M. to According to the research, conversions differed dependent on the time of day, with 6am-12pm and 8pm-12pm being the most successful on Twitter, the times of day when users are more hungry for information and news (see chart below).
Simon Mansell, CEO of TBG Digital, said “Facebook…tends to peak at lunchtime, when people are using it for their downtime.”
The U.S. has a relatively high cost-per-follower, but the click-through rate is below average.
Business, Consumer Press Success
min Online reported today that Twitter is no longer the domain of teen and celebrity chatter alone.” Twitter has just celebrated its sixth anniversary with 140 million users, an increasing number of which are B2B publishers. Four business titles, being Women’s Wear Daily, PRNews and Computerworld and PC World (two IDG titles) have reported substantial recent gains through Twitter. All of the titles make it a point to tweet continuously, with WWD posting about every half hour during the week and more frequently on the weekend; and PRNews topping 30 tweets per day.
Min also reported that among consumer magazine brands, RollingStone.com gained 126,886 new followers between February 22 and March 22, an 11.27% gain. Meredith's Parents magazine promotes its content with poll questions, e.g., "Did you give into co-sleeping against your will after Baby was born?" which has given the title a boost of 9.11% in new Twitter followers.
Self Service for Small Business
Twitter yesterday (March 27, 2912) announced that a select group of small businesses can begin using its self-serve advertising platform for promoted tweets and accounts, reported Mashable. Amex partnered with Twitter to launch the platform, offering both early access to Amex merchant customers and a $100 credit toward free advertising for the first 10,000 businesses to sign. A Promoted Account recommends a brand’s Twitter account to users with similar interests who do not yet follow the brand; and a Promoted Tweet places an existing tweet in search results. A small business pays when its account is followed, or when a Twitter user engages with the promoted tweet.
Advertising platform providers like Facebook and Google are “usually on the front line of the digital privacy debate,” observes paidContent. But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its long-awaited privacy report and recommendations called instead for tougher supervision on the data brokers who compile consumer data around shopping purchases, property records, court documents and so forth, then sell that data to third parties.
The FTC did not recommend legislation that forbids advertisers from gathering personal information, but praised the ad industry for its self policing (chiefly through new guidelines released by the Digital Advertising Alliance or DAA). FTC called as well for a “Privacy by Design” system making it easier for consumers to control their data; and praised Apple, Google and Microsoft for their various do-not-track and private browsing options..
As paidContent observes, the brokers like Lexis Nexis and Choicepoint fly under the consumer radar, but in many cases control far more data than do the Apples, Googles, Facebooks and Microsofts. But in many cases, the data companies control a far deeper pool of information.
FTC advocates a sort of online “do-not call list” among data brokers. To quote FTC’s recommendations: “To address the invisibility of, and consumers’ lack of control over, data brokers’ collection and use of consumer information, the Commission supports targeted legislation…that would provide consumers with access to information about them held by a data broker. To further increase transparency, the Commission calls on data brokers that compile data for marketing purposes to explore creating a centralized website where data brokers could (1) identify themselves to consumers and describe how they collect and use consumer data and (2) detail the access rights and other choices they provide with respect to the consumer data they maintain.”
So Google, Microsoft and Facebook (which the FTC refers to as “advertisers,” as opposed to platform providers), are now out of the limelight. But behavioral targeting is hardly safe. The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Self Regulatory Program, which the Alliance and member organizations announced in February, gives consumers the option to identify which companies track them, and opt out of that tracking; but critics charge that it is complicated, realistic for only the most tech-savvy consumers; and that behavioral tracking should be opt-in.
Short term, though, “the report does not appear to poise any immediate threat to the way that companies like Facebook, which rely on providing rich online platforms in exchange for personal information, do business,” paidContent observes.
Advertisers are still learning the social ad game, but as eMarketer reports, they are gaining confidence in buying display ads on social networks.
An Advertiser Perceptions survey revealed that fully 59% U.S.marketers and agencies plan to increase social media display ad spends (e.g., on Facebook, Twitter) over the next 12 months. In comparison, less than a third (31%) plan to raise display ad spending on ad networks and exchanges, while just 29% expected to do so on publisher sites.
Also true, the number of U.S. marketers and agencies that foresee spending more on social media advertising was more than double that for demand-side platforms (DSPs). As eMarketer describes, the complexity of purchasing inventory through DSPs and the inability to ensure brand-safe content placements are two contributing factors behind the could projected 14% of respondents that plan to decrease DSP budgets.
eMarketer estimates that U.S. online display ad spending will grow 24.1% in 2012 to $15.4 billion. This estimate includes banners, rich media, sponsorships and video purchased across publisher sites, networks, exchanges, DSPs, social networks and mobile.
Investment in paid advertising across social network sites, games and applications is expected to climb 43% this year, with mobile display ad spending jumping 80%. Still, overall spend in social and mobile display ads will be relatively low versus general display ad spending, so social and mobile have ample room for growth.
So, says David Hallerman, principal analyst at eMarketer, “Social display advertising’s relative underutilization compared to the rest of the web is encouraging marketers to ramp up their spending. Advertiser Perceptions found that marketers are eager to make social display ad spending a larger slice of the display ad pie. The company estimates that over the next 12 months, display ad spending on social networks will merit a greater share (27%) of total display ad budgets than traditional channels like publisher sites (26%), ad networks and exchanges (20%).
A new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) finds some bright spots in the newspaper industry. A few—but just a few—are achieving success with their cross-media revenue models.
“In general, the shift to replace losses in print ad revenue with new digital revenue is taking longer and proving more difficult than executives want,” wrote Pew authors Tom Rosenstiel and Mark Jurkowitz. They described the rate of contraction among newspapers as “alarming,” but chalk it up in part to “cultural inertia.” Most newspapers have put no significant effort into monetizing digital revenue categories.
PEJ surveyed 38 newspapers from six publishers, charting digital revenue and sales efforts. PEJ ensured that it covered papers of various sizes; because the majority of papers in the U.S. are small, PEJ included 22 papers with circulations under 25,000; seven with circulations between 25,000 and 50,000; and nine of over 50,000.
Of those 38 papers, seven reported declines in digital revenue. Among the laggards, one paper saw digital ad revenue decline by 37%, and another by 25%.
But one saw digital ad revenue gains of 63%, and print revenues by 8% over one year, while a second paper gained 50% in digital advertising. One of the top gainers chalked its success up to “smart ads” that targeted customers by online behavior—a practice that was rare among the remaining 37 papers. A second paper build a multi-million dollar advertising and marketing consulting practice. It sold not just advertisements, but ad expertise.
PEJ reported that the newspaper industry as “mature and monopolistic,” adjusting poorly to digital models. Digital is newspapers’ highest area of growth, but still provides nominal revenues. That is due in part to a lack of bandwidth in creating digital strategies. “We have all these [new] products we are working on that we believe are going to deliver results that are part of our sustainability," one executive told PEJ, "But we need to eat today."
So, companies that are struggling find themselves risk averse. "There might be a 90% chance you'll accelerate the decline if you gamble and a 10% chance you might find the new model," one respondent said. "No one is willing to take that chance."
Among other key findings:
- The papers providing detailed data took in roughly $11 in print revenue for every $1 they attracted online in the last full year for which they had data. That nowhere near made up for the 9% decline in print ads revenue.
- Only 40% of the papers say targeted advertising is a major part of their sales effort, despite the fact that targeted digital advertising is expected to dominate local digital revenue by 2014.
- The majority of papers focus their digital sales efforts on conventional display and digital classified, which are the largest categories but low-growth categories.
- Daily Deals accounted for 5% of digital ad revenue in 2011.
- Advertising on mobile devices accounted for only 1% of the digital revenue in 2011. Executives have faith in this meteorically-growing medium, but have yet to take advantage.
- Almost half (44%) are trying to develop nontraditional revenue from, for example, events; consulting; and selling new business products, but revenues are typically under $10,000 per quarter.
- Among the papers that provided data, the number of print-focused sales representatives outnumber digital-focused reps by about 3-1. This reflects the fact that print ad revenue, which is shrinking, still makes up the bulk of the overall revenue (on average 92% in our study's sample).
So as PEJ describes, newspaper execs are “still caught between the gravitational pull of the legacy tradition and the need to chart a faster digital course.”
One consideration: if digital advertising is so nominal a revenue source, advertisers may find they can negotiate for large contracts at medium-sized campaign prices. Newspapers are likely to respond positively to “walk-in business,” and willing to negotiate for the immediate cash influx.
Values—be they patriotic, self-indulgent, philanthropic, conservative, liberal, green—are key to ad targeting, and ones that Resonate believes it can measure. Investors agree: Resonate has just announced $20 million Series B funding led by Revolution Growth, a private investment fund run by AOL veterans, including Co-Founder Steve Case, former Vice Chair Ted Leonsis and former President of AOL Interactive Donn Davis.
Resonate uses its Insights Driven Media platform to target ads to web users based not just on their web habits, but on what they value, and their offline priorities. It will use some of the $20 million to market a new product that it claims will enable marketers and advertisers to understand the values and beliefs that draw customers and voters online, with what it claims is "unprecedented precision."
Resonate’s approach uses opt-in large-scale survey research combined with opt-in browsing behavior at the respondent level (i.e. single source data). From this, Resonate was able to target some niche voter segments, such as:
- independents who voted for Obama in 2008 and believe the most important issue when deciding whether to support a candidate is job creation
- Fiscal moderates who are persuadable on a flat tax
In terms of product, it reveals such insights as baby boomers being 17% more likely to be "green consumers" than the populace at large. All of this data is available from pollsters, likely, but Resonate has the opt-in at-the-ready pool of consumers and voters in place, plus mechanisms for pre-, mid- and post-campaign polling.
This fills a need in campaign strategy, said Revolution Co-Founder Ted Leonsis. “Social media has changed how marketers listen to their customers, but Resonate is ready to deliver something that Twitter and Facebook cannot…: values-based insights into why consumers buy what they buy, and why voters back the candidates they support. Take it from someone who has been involved with online advertising since its creation: the potential to hand that understanding to campaign strategists and corporate CMOs – and make it actionable – is transformative.”
Leonsis went on to say that “Consumers are people, and understanding psychographics – what people are thinking and feeling and tailoring messages and campaigns to authentic values – is a breakthrough, differentiated idea.”
Resonate’s client list includes big-ticket brands like McDonald’s, Estee Lauder, Coca-Cola, Merck and Toyota. It was founded in 2008 to develop a model for reaching online audiences and connecting consumers with advertising that interests them on both politics and products.