Does brand loyalty come from family word of mouth?

During nearly 20 years of marriage I think on two or three occasions my wife and I have discussed the laundry detergent that she uses. As a pragmatist, I have often come across less expensive generic detergents, which she refuses to use. I can’t even get her to try anything else, even once! She is a die-hard Tide detergent user and she would never ever consider changing brands. Upon closer investigation I discovered that she inherited that brand loyalty from her mother. I don’t exactly know how, but there is no denying that her mother’s recommendation is stronger than any suggestion that I can ever make. I need to find out if my wife’s 7 sisters also have the same brand loyalties. That would be an interesting question.

My company, FamilyLink.com hopes to become the leading developer of social networking applications for families and for genealogists. My background is in subscription marketing. I co-founded Ancestry.com in 1996 and it approached 1 million subscribers in the next 10 years to its massive genealogy database library. And now WorldVitalRecords.com has passed 25,000 subscribers and our rate of growth is increasing.

But as everyone knows, most social networking sites are free (Ryze.com was an exception, and it claimed to be the first profitable social network, back in like 2003) and rely on advertising revenue to grow. In order to generate advertising revenue from our family apps and widgets, and from our own social network (which have attracted more than 2.3 million users in the past 4 months), it will be useful to understand what brands and products are used based on family recommendations.

So yesterday, we asked some of our customers what brands they are loyal to because of their mother. Here are the top 28 responses:

1. Tide
2. Ivory
3. Clorox
4. Campbell’s
5. Crisco
6. Dove
7. Crest
8. Kraft
9. Comet
10. Quaker
11. Hellman’s
12. Dial
13. Palmolive
14. Colgate
15. Arm and Hammer
16. Heinz
17. Gold Medal (flour)
18. Dawn (dish soap)
19. Oil of Olay
20. Folgers
21. All (laundry detergent)
22. Wisk
23. Kleenex
24. Windex
25. Jello
26. Clabber Girl
27. Cascade
28. Ajax

Tide actually had more than twice as many responses as the next highest, Ivory. So the brand marketers there must have been doing something terribly right all these years.

I heard a projection at CES that 1.2 billion people will be using social networks by 2012. And since so many people try or buy products and services based on word of mouth recommendations, and since we hope to have tens of millions of families using our applications, we will invest a lot of time and energy into understanding how viral marketing (or what we called “genetic marketing” back at MyFamily.com) works within families–both within nuclear families as well as extended families.

I need to make it clear that our survey was not scientific. We got about 1,000 responses in a day. But with our reach growing larger every month, we will use surveys and quizzes to become experts on family word of mouth.

If any of the brand managers of the brands listed above (or any other major brands) want us to do some research for them and discover the genetic marketing quotient for their product, we’d be happy to work something out. We have a Facebook audience of ~2.3 million users and a genealogy audience of more than 500,000 monthly visitors.

Does Genealogy Pay? It Does Now.

A fun and potentially rewarding web site for genealogists is being announced today. GenealogyPays.com features a trivia puzzle that someone will solve for a cash prize of up to $30,000. But in order to solve the puzzle, visitors will need to keep returning to the site to uncover new areas of the puzzle that have been purchased by advertisers.

So many genealogists have invested all their spare time and money on family history over the years. Now one of them gets a chance to win it all back!

Advertisers win because large numbers of genealogists will find this site not only fun (and possibly addicting, as visitors will want to be the first to solve the puzzle) but also one of the best sites for discovering new genealogy sites. Just look at the initial slew of advertisers. I think Dan Lynch, the founder of GenealogyPays.com, will end up selling links to virtually all the major companies and societies in the genealogy industry, because no one will want to be left out of this site that has so much traffic potential.

I hope to have our FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com ads live by next week, well before the formal July 1st launch of GenealogyPays.com. Dan is a close friend of mine, but he is making me pay for my ads just like everyone else! He knows I won’t be able to resist getting in on this very interesting online promotion and watching new visitors discover our genealogy web sites all year long.

Quantcast getting better and better

I’m a huge fan of Quantcast. I’ve blogged before that it may be the best free tool for online marketers.

And now it’s even better.

Two weeks someone showed me that whenever you are looking at a web site, to see how much traffic it has, that there are two arrows that PREVIOUS and NEXT, so if you are looking at the 100th most popular web site, you can click on NEXT and see the 101st most popular.

So I spend a couple hours scrolling through the 200 most popular web sites, looking for those that appeal to an the demographic our company is targeting. So I wanted to find very high traffic sites that we could advertise on, or partner with somehow.

I found a dozen excellent sites that I had not heard of before.

But now, on the Quantcast home page, you can now easily see the top 100 highest traffic web sites, and then the next hundred, the next hundred, and so forth.

I can’t wait till Quantcast allows you to enter in your audience profile and have it show you all the sites that match your audience that you should be advertising on, and then enable you to purchase ads quickly on those sites.

I wish Quantcast would buy the old Top9.com web site, with its thousands of helpful categories, and update it with their current data. Top9.com became one of the very popular web sites for marketers years ago. It was powered by data from PCData.com, then it disappeared. Here is a snapshot of Top9.com from the Way Back Machine.

When I worked at MyFamily.com and our properties were ranked us as one of the top 50 web sites in the world, we had plenty of capital to pay for services like Media Metrix, Netratings, and later Comscore. These services cost tens of thousands of dollars per year, but gave us tremendous insights into media buying and affiliate recruiting possibilities, as well as some competitive intelligence. I especially liked the reports on Netratings that could show us where our competitors were getting their web site traffic from.

A couple years ago I blogged about Five Things Most Entrepreneurs Can’t Afford. This was one of my most popular posts that year. The second item on the list was “third party measurement services” like those I’ve mentioned above.

Amazingly, Quantcast provides most of the value that these super expensive measurement services offer, and it is disrupting the industry at the perfect time–Comscore has filed to go public and Hitwise was just acquired by Experian for $250 million.

Quantcast isn’t going to make money selling their measurement data. Paul Sutter, the cofounder of Quantcast says that audience measurement is a few hundred million dollar market, but media buying is a few hundred billion. Quantcast is planning to help marketers reach their niche target markets through the use of their data. And I’m sure they’ll get a portion of the media buys, as marketers and web site publishers use their tools.

This is going to be very exciting to watch.

With Quantcast raising $5.7 million in venture capital in March, and with thousands of sites signing up for their free “quantified publishers” program, their data gets better and better.

Comscore has filed to raise $86 million in their IPO (see the Comscore S-1 ). I wonder how hard that will be given what Quantcast is now doing to the industry. I suppose Comscore could change its business model, and do the same thing Quantcast is planning to do. But it is always harder to steer a large ship in a different direction. So in the new world, Quantcast would clearly have the advantage since they’ve been designing this business model from the ground up.

Smart entrepreneurs will spend many hours mining the Quantcast data looking for marketing/advertising opportunities among the thousands of high traffic web sites whose demographics and psychographics match their own.

These are good times for entrepreneurs.

(One other fun web site, a mashup called Attention Meter, lets you see data from Quantcast, Alexa, Compete, and Technorati.)

Online video ad spend to grow from $410 million in 2006 to $2.9 billion by 2010

From E-Commerce Times:

Spending on online video advertising will soar throughout this decade with sales predicted to break the billion dollar barrier in 2008, according to a report released this month by research aggregator eMarketer.

This year’s outlay for Net-based video ads grew more than 82 percent over 2005, to some US$410 million. The forecast for next year’s growth is even higher: 89 percent, to $775 million, prevised the report, a copy of which was obtained by the E-Commerce Times.

It showed growth peaking in 2007, but sales continuing to climb for the rest of the decade, reaching $2.9 billion by 2010.

Does anyone know if there are any upcoming conferences that will focus on online video advertising, such as how to produce and place ads effectively? Who are the individual experts (speakers, bloggers) that we should be learning from?

22% of online advertisers also doing mobile marketing

I found this a little hard to believe–both the percentage of companies supposedly doing mobile marketing and also the overall advertising budget for mobile marketing.

From MarketingVOX:

A study this month from JupiterResearch found 22 percent of companies advertising online also are doing mobile marketing. Overall, the study predicted, mobile ad spending would more than double – from an anticipated $1.4 billion this year to $2.9 billion in 2011.

I have no doubt that mobile marketing will be a multi-billion dollar industry, but where is the $1.4 billion being spent this year?

At SES I attended a couple sessions on mobile marketing, and it seems so early, that I can’t imagine where the $1.4 billion is going.

Any thoughts from my readers?

Get $200 in PPC (pay per click) advertising credits from MSN

My friend Dave Martin sent me a link to a Microsoft web page that offers $200 worth of clicks from MSN AdCenter if you sign up between now and January 15, 2007. There is a $5 fee to get an account.

MSN AdCenter Home Page
$200 free offer page

I would like to think that 1,000 of my readers will each pay $5 to get an MSN AdCenter account. Microsoft will make $5,000. And my readers will get $200,000 worth of free PPC.

Everyone I know should do this. And everyone should spread the word to everyone else.

I’m not the first to blog about this. A few others have already posted about this aggressive Microsoft offer.

Why people join social networks

From a MarketingVOX article:

Users join a social networking site to meet people (78 percent), be entertained (47 percent), learn something (38 percent) and influence others (23 percent), the study found.

The article also says that social networking members are becoming immune to advertising–they are influenced most by recommendations from others in their network.

Profile of a $3,000 TV advertising campaign

Interesting Inc. article about doing low budget TV advertising and buying remnant inventory from TV stations to generate new business for your company. The $3,000 brings in 100 calls (that’s $30 per call) and generated web site traffic as well.

All internet marketers may want to become familiar with all traditional forms of advertising and marketing, since Google is moving into all of them: print, radio, television. I’m sure they’ll do outdoor eventually too, and who knows about direct mail. Google is going into the $74 billion TV advertising market (read what CEO Eric Schmidt says about Google and television) and the $20 billion radio advertising market (they already spent $1.1 billion to buy its way into radio.

I wonder if Google Analytics will eventually try to integrate with all of these other advertising channels to provide ROI tracking for marketers on every campaign in every medium.

Jumping into Online Video

I wrote an article for Connect Magazine’s September issue about skating to where the puck is going, not to where it has been, and I specifically addressed online video. I encourage companies to rush into online video, to take advantage of this new trend, and gain a competitive advantage by being an early adopter.

There are so many ways to take advantage of the low cost of producing and distributing online video: marketing, PR, training, recruiting. The conversion rate of video can be much, much higher than of traditional online text or banner ads.

Yesterday at the Provo Labs open house, one of my friends told me that Current TV — the cable TV channel that plays only user generated content — is now paying producers of video content. Current uses its web site so internet users can vote on the best video segments. Then the company plays the best ones on its cable TV channel. This is a remarkable business model!

A couple months back Revenue Magazine had an excellent article written by its publisher about how affiliates are starting to use online video to increase conversion rates. That is the trend 10Speed Media is trying to lead.

It works! This past week 10Speed Media launched several test campaigns and achieved an overall result that thrilled me. Our team met yesterday and decided how our test campaign results are going to affect our strategy moving forward. The results suggest we should launch more campaigns (I think we have 35 more planned) so that we can determine which industries and merchants to focus on first.

Last week, a MarketingVOX article reported that at OMMA a panel of advertising executives agreed that 15 second online video advertisements are most effective.

Today, a press release reported on a survey of more than 2,000 consumers, which among other things explored the length of video advertisements they are willing to endure based on the size of the screen they are watching: cell phone, iPod, computer, vs. television. Here’s an excerpt.

For the first time consumer receptiveness to advertising by device and screen size was explored. Applicants were asked what the maximum length of an advertisement they

Google’s Incentive for Search Engine Marketers

I like Google’s Advertising Professional Program. By becoming a Qualified Professional, internet marketers who manage pay-per-click accounts for multiple clients can get $100 credits for each new client they set up — up to 60 per year.

This will certainly motivate search engine marketers to find more clients and get them set up with a pay-per-click campaign. Francisco Rebollo, the pay-per-click marketer who helps Provo Labs companies, is a Qualified Professional, and he has room for 1-2 more clients. If you are interested in his help, please send me an email and I’ll connect you with him. (Click on CONTACT ME on my blog home page. It still uses my old Yahoo email address, but it should get forwarded to me. My new address is PAUL AT provolabs.com. (I don’t use the @ sign because I don’t want to get spammed…)

Another Google program that cuts smaller companies in on the multi-billion advertising revenue stream that Google generates is the AdSense program. AdSense has helped hundreds of thousands of content sites who formerly had a very hard time generating revenue from their traffic.

Yahoo has its Publisher Network and MSN is apparently working on its ContentAds network for web site publishers.

Has anyone compared the results from AdSense with YPN and ContentAds? Please let me know what you’ve seen or heard.