Archive for July, 2007

Page views versus time spent — the Web marketing conundrum

For a while now, new media marketers have been vexing over various models of calculating their Web marketing ROI. 

Is time spent more meaningful a measure than page views?  But let’s say John Doe spends 3 minutes on a given Webpage, how do we know how many minutes (or more likely, seconds), he has spent on, say, a banner ad at the top, a video ad embedded onto the page, ads on the side bars, etc?  Or if he only focused on the article/text he was reading and managed to ignore the blinking ads?

 KD Paine has a take on this issue that is well worth considering.  Check it out.For all its limitations (which is closely tied to the nascence of the medium), my view is that ROI for online marketing is still more trackable than say, an ad placed on the newspaper.  We don’t even know if anyone encountered the newspaper ad, and often, all that we can rely on is what the ad sales person assures us is the circulation, readership profile, etc of the paper in question.


Update on local universities’ admissions statistics

In a rather stunning clarification, the Straits Times reported that the figures given in Parliament by its Minister of State was incorrect after all. A total of 4,218 places were offered to foreign students this year by the three universities here, instead of 987. This works out to 18 per cent of the 22,933 foreigners who had applied.

Notwithstanding, the point remains that the public would be better able to appreciate the numbers if they were also told of the Singaporean and international students who applied, how many did not meet the requisite entrance criteria in the first place. Well, I guess sometimes it’s not that the news makers do not want to reveal the full set of information, but that the right questions need to be asked.

Looking beneath the statistics – Local students given priority at state universities

Singapore’s news daily, The Straits Times, reported on July 17 that local students are “still given priority” for university. It provided the following statistics:

-Of the 28,000 local students who applied for a place last year in the three local universities, about 14,000 or 49 per cent were successful.

-But of the 23,000 foreign students who made an application, only 987 or about 4 per cent were offered places.

Ostensibly, it would seem that local students were indeed given priority (not that this is necessarily a good thing).

But there are some other factors that could account for this statistics. For example, could it be that of the 28,000 local students who applied, a significantly high percentage satisfactorily met entrance requirements, whereas of the international students who applied, there was a high percentage that failed to meet the requisite criteria. Thus, it is possible that it was not that NUS had accorded priority to local students out of some national policy, but that because of the relatively smaller proportion of international students meeting the entrance criteria, the statistics was in fact by default.

The public would be able to better appreciate the numbers if they were also informed how many of the local and international students who applied did not meet the entrance requirements to begin with.

What relevance does this hold for a blog focusing on public relations and reputation management? Well, first, providing a fuller, more transparent explanation of statistics is important from a credibility standpoint. One should not assume that the public will take flattering statistics at face value.

Secondly, the seemingly stellar reputation of Singapore’s state universities is oft-repeated enough in the local media that perhaps most Singaporeans take it as inviolate. It hence attracts students with high academic achievements. However, in the region and most certainly around the world, the local state universities may not enjoy as high a standing as there are several universities even in Asia that command a higher brand equity that Singaporeans are simply not aware of. Hence, the local state universities would not be the top Asian university that the best international students would apply to.

Leveraging new media to give a branding campaign that extra oomph – J&J’s Aveeno

I came across a fascinating case study that provided a model as to how new media could maximize the mileage of a traditional branding campaign.  When J&J wanted to launch its Aveeno brand into the uber competitive anti-aging arena, its PR consultants at Ogilvy PR knew that relying on traditional media outreach alone would not gain much buzz.  So, it engaged British artist Julian Beever (a.k.a. Pavement Picasso), known for his artistically complex, 3D-like street drawinings, to execute a “Fountain of Youth” in the heart of NYC.  It created a viral video and YouTube posting of Beever at work, and supported it with a Flickr album, blogger outreach, and other digital activities.  Click on the picture for Ogilvy PR’s case study.


Incidentally, Julian Beever was in Singapore in June 2007.  He was commissioned by Nokia to paint a “hole” in front of the entrance to a major local department store.  Ironically, for a new economy company such as Nokia, it did not seem to ride on new media to give its effort that extra oomph.  Perhaps this is where the marketers here have still a ways to go in harnessing the galvanizing powers of new media.

The Executive Blogger’s Guide to Building a Nest of Blogs, Wikis, and RSS

My friend Walter who often blogs about issues related to marketing and public relations (among other lighter moments of life) sent me this executive blogger’s guide from Ogilvy PR.

It is a sensible, down-to-earth guide drawing lessons from notorious examples of companies that failed to understand the bottom-up, galvanizing, and sometimes investigative culture of blogosphere (the humble bic pen and the almight Kryptonite lock, Mazada’s “crash”) as well as case studies of companies–even juggernauts such as Boeing, GM, and Sun, that have harnessed blogs to build communities around their issues.  Worth checking out (click on the picture below to open or download the PDF).


Flickr Photos


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