Monday, April 02, 2007

Advertising looks to online future

Advertisers now spend more online than in the national press but the boom in digital ads has not run its course, says Paul Durman

NIGEL MORRIS, one of the most experienced figures in the online-marketing industry, likes to tell the story of what happened when his young children, then aged five and three, visited their grandmother.
His sons were watching a Scooby Doo cartoon on the Boomerang channel when they were called for tea.
As the children of a leading ad man, they were used to the latest electronic gadgetry at home — but there was no personal video recorder, such as a Sky Plus box, at their grandmother’s house.
Morris recalls the look of consternation on his five-year-old’s face as he realised he would not be able to pause the programme he was watching. He simply couldn’t understand “why he would watch something on a screen that he could not pause”.
Morris, chief executive of Isobar, an international network of digital-marketing specialists, is one of many who believes that youngsters growing up today will have a completely different relationship to TV and other forms of media.
Unlike their parents, the YouTube generation will not be prepared to sit back and simply consume what they are given. They will expect much more control — to be able to choose when, where and on what device they watch and read about the things that interest them. Their attention will be much harder to win.
“Television companies will tell you that kids are still watching as much TV,” said Morris, “but they’re not. Television does not have the emotional pull. Programmes do, the stuff they see on a screen does.
“But conventional TV — something that’s scheduled, that I sit down and watch at a time someone has decided for me, prepared to watch the ads while it’s on — they don’t get it.”
He continued: “You ask any kids, what would you rather be without: the TV or the internet? They will tell you, we’d rather be without TV.”
This generational change is one of the drivers behind the boom in online advertising, which last week passed another milestone. The latest figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), prepared in conjunction with Price Waterhouse Coopers, showed that British advertisers spent just over £2 billion online last year — overtaking the amount spent in national newspapers.
Advertisers are already spending more online than on radio (£582m), outdoor-poster sites (£932.5m) and in business magazines (£1 billion). But what is more striking is the continuing rate of growth. Online grew by 41% last year, and the IAB’s Guy Phillip-son is forecasting the sector to attract at least another £500m this year.
In contrast, the growth in other sectors is at best anaemic. TV advertising revenues shrank 4.7% last year, radio by 5.2% and press classified by 7.8%.
Even if these declines are exacerbated by cyclical factors, as many believe, the increasing importance of the internet and other forms of digital advertising is clear.
This was reflected in the recent souring of the 25-year relationship between Nike, the sportswear giant, and Wieden + Kennedy, the agency responsible for a string of memorable campaigns.
Nike wants a new firm to handle some of its advertising, partly because of a lack of digital expertise at Wieden. “We are looking for expertise in different mediums, different creative directions,” said Nike.
The move has sent a ripple of concern around the advertising industry.
Mark Beilby, analyst at Dresdner Klein-wort, said in a note last week: “Many traditional advertising agencies, with deep-seated expertise in television and print, have been slow to grasp the impact of the internet.
“Many agencies seemingly still do not have enough digital talent to meet client demand, and those that do often have kept the digital department separate from the rest of the firm.
“The real issue is no longer one of change from old to new media, but whether media companies are infusing digital into all aspects of their departments.”
The role of social-networking sites, such as MySpace and Bebo, is also growing in importance. (MySpace is owned by News Corporation, ultimate owner of The Sunday Times.)
The huge success of the current box-office smash 300, a gorily-told story of Spartan bravery, is partly attributed to Warner Brothers’ use of MySpace. The film’s MySpace page offered video clips and wallpapers — not unusual these days — but the real hook was a sponsorship deal that enabled the site’s users to store 300 photos, far more than previously. 300 took $70m (£36m) on its first weekend in American cinemas last month, a record for a March opening.
In Britain, the growth in online advertising is still being driven by Google, and search advertising more broadly.
What may not be so widely appreciated is the scale of Google’s UK business. With revenues of about £870m last year, the search giant makes more from UK advertisers than either Channel Four, Sky or Five.
Dave King, managing director of Eyefall, the search-marketing specialist owned by Engine Group, said: “There’s huge more upside. A significant volume of brands have yet to go through the learning process. Lots of clients would say search is absolutely new. We still see chief executives and marketing directors who are bowled over by the apparent transparency of this medium.”
The measurability of search-based pay-per-click advertising — the ease of calculating return on investment — is its great initial attraction.
But King said more sophisticated advertisers, such as Phones4u, were using search to complement television and press advertising. For example, he suggested, the mobile retailer might buy search terms such as “new Nokia handset” to maximise the impact of a TV commercial which interests viewers and prompts them to go online.
The growth in online does not necessarily mean that traditional media cannot hold their own.
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), publisher of the Daily Mail, last week published figures showing that advertising revenues at its national titles had grown by about 4% in recent months.
Peter Williams, DMGT’s finance director, said the Daily Mail’s 5m readers, “very targeted in terms of middle England”, were still a big attraction for “heartland” advertisers such as Marks & Spencer.
“To get to that volume of people in their marketplace online is still pretty difficult,” said Williams. “It’s going to remain so. It’s complicated to get to the same number of people by aggregating different web properties.”
However, the fastest-growing part of DMGT’s ad revenues — up 141% year-on-year — is online.
The group has bought Jobsite, Prime Location and several other recruitment, property, dating and car websites, and is investing heavily. “We expect to see substantial growth,” said Williams.
Some newspapers have been hit by the loss of recruitment and other forms of classified advertising. But there is confidence that they will continue to be a more attractive option than the web in display — the high-impact advertising that is important for brand-building.
Claire Enders of Enders Analysis, the media-research firm, said: “We don’t believe that display advertising as we know it will be kaput in 2010. It’s not going to happen.
“We’ve had five years of really fierce experimentation online. But there’s very little emotional response to online display. It’s still viewed as an experimental medium.”
Enders pointed to the difficulties that web firms, including Yahoo, MSN and AOL, have had in persuading their users to accept “prerolls” — short ads that run before, and finance, the video clip they wish to see. That difficulty suggests there is still plenty of life in the 30-second commercial, and in display advertising in newspapers.
That said, there is little scope for traditional media to be complacent. Enders expects that the revenues for television, radio and newspapers will each fall by about 5% this year, and will fall again next year. The proliferation of new digital radio and television channels will continue to cut slices from the advertising cake.
The growth in online display (or graphical) advertising — banners, videos, sponsorship and so forth — has lagged behind search. The improvements in broadband speeds and appeal of online video may start to change this.
“It would be fantastic to see the graphical side of things matching search,” said Caroline McGuckian, media director of LBi, another leading digital agency. “I fully expect the growth pattern to continue, but I hope and envisage that the shape of the growth will change. The graphical element will be driven forward more in the next couple of years.”
Glen Drury, head of Yahoo UK, said the increasing ease of using online video opened up the internet to brands that found it hard to use search. (Nobody searches for “tooth-paste”, he pointed out.)
Moreover, better targeting of ads using “behavioural matching” analysis is offering dramatically improved results. Yahoo has begun offering advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers who have in some way expressed an “intent to purchase”. For example, they may have searched for “BMW”, clicked on a car ad, or used the car section of Yahoo’s price-comparison site, Kelkoo.
Drury said the results were much better than when targeting ads by simple demo-graphics. “There’s a 56% uplift [in response rates] when you target by behaviour,” he said. “That’s enormous.” Another challenge, barely visible at present, will come from the mobile-phone industry. It may be hard to believe looking at most of today’s handsets, but faster connection speeds will soon make the mobile internet a reality.
Like Google and Yahoo, mobile carriers already have lots of information on their users that will allow for the efficient targeting of advertising. Combined with location data, mobile advertising is set to become an important adjunct.
The mobile carriers are also teaming up with the social-networking sites. Orange last week signed a partnership deal with Bebo, and Vodafone is already working with MySpace and YouTube.
Morris, who wrote his first research report on the internet in 1993, believes the move online is inexorable, and Isobar is well placed to benefit.
“The shift in the proportion of spend is going to be quite large,” he said. “Some big brands are still spending a tiny amount online, not using the channel in any way.
“But for a lot of clients that have made the move, it’s a vital business driver.”

Blog warning for high achievers

Writing a blog could destroy your career, according to a survey of employers.
Bosses looking to recruit new staff increasingly search the Internet
before interviewing candidates, and take posting on sites like MySpace and YouTube
into consideration. Ever Googled a date?
That's exactly what management firms are telling their clients to do
before handing over any employment contracts.
According to website Viadeo, a quarter of Internet trawls lead to hopeful employees being rejected with bosses singling out posts or photographs of drunken indiscretions as particularly unimpressive.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Uptake of online recruitment by finance and legal professionals

Uptake of online recruitment by finance and legal professionals and how technology will change how they search in future

Our contributors tell us that online recruitment was used early on by finance and legal professionals and is now widely established. They tell us more about why, the current market and how the new challenges of technology will further change recruitment.

Rebecca Cole, Senior Account Manager at describes the current market for us: “2006 was a strong year for London’s finance sectors, with hiring following a steady upward trend. With the expectation that the economy will remain strong in 2007, a large percentage of the city’s employers are expecting growth in job numbers, as well as an overall increase in hiring activity. The ‘war for talent’ has been an issue which has long burdened many of London’s most prominent employers, and continues to face businesses as they look to source candidates from alternative means. Online recruitment has played an important part in simplifying the recruitment process, providing employers with the means to advertise roles to a wide audience at up to 85% savings on traditional advertising methods. Some niche job boards such as have worked towards creating a highly targeted audience of finance professionals, who are specifically looking for work within London’s financial markets.”

Joel Davis, Head of Marketing at agrees that online recruitment has never been more popular. He says that his site has seen online job applications almost double in the 12 months from 2005 to 2006 – last year they had over 1.8m applications to jobs on their network. He continues: “Evidence suggests we are not the only job site experiencing success, the industry as a whole is growing too: visits to sites dedicated to online career resources and training attracted 50m European visits each month in the third quarter of 2006 according to comScore Networks- up 11% on the similar quarter of 2005.”’s Business Development Manager, Brett Marlow cites examples of big companies involved: “If you look at our client base, which includes the likes of Egg, Abbey National and HSBC, you see the calibre of companies using online recruitment in this sector. They’re not daft and if they’re doing it, you can be sure other companies will follow suit. He says: “If you work in the accounting and financial sector you’re obviously intelligent and have an ability to think logically. You’re also very busy. Online recruitment allows people to apply for positions quickly and easily and at a time that suits them. It also appears to attract higher calibre applicants.”

Jessica Healy from says the site has been operating for nine years, which suggests the sector was an early adopter of online recruitment, and it is now very well established. Her statistics show that nearly half all accountants search the web for jobs: “There are approximately 220,000 qualified accountants in the UK, and we have 100,000 on our site every month, which suggests a huge proportion of accountants are using the web to search for jobs.” She says: “Accountancy as a profession lends itself to highly specific job search criteria as accountants usually have a very specific set of skills and job requirements. This makes it better suited to online recruitment, as candidates are more likely to find an exact match for their search online than they are in other media. Also, accountants tend to be an extremely online savvy broadband connected audience. According to the NORAS survey, 82% of our users have applied for a job online, compared to an overall average of just 72%, and 69% of our users have a broadband connection at home.”

Bernard Howard, MD of totallylegal and says both his sites saw traffic increase by 50% - a growth record that companies in any industry would be proud of. He adds: “More generally, the shift online has continued amongst financial and legal professionals – it is now the norm to look at internet recruitment websites for both active and passive jobseekers. And, more and more jobseekers are putting their CVs in our CV database, Recruit:Me. They trust the medium and they trust certain well established brands.” Michelle Jones, Managing Director of also feels online recruitment is extremely popular within the legal profession. She says there have been some changes: “There has been 1 new strong player in the legal jobs-board market over the last year, and we are aware of at least 2 other new boards coming into the space in 2007.” However, she says her site remains in the top 3 legal boards, carrying over 10,000 jobs from a variety of recruiters and law firms.

Joel Davis also points out how online recruitment is ideal for a global industry such as financial services: “Finance employers need access to global talent – something is able to offer. We’ve focused on making the matchmaking process between jobseekers and our clients as efficient as possible.”

Changing expectations of jobseeker and recruiters?
Brett Marlow doesn’t think expectations of jobseekers have changed in essence. “Jobseekers want a better job. They want something that offers a new challenge, promotion, more money or an easier commute. Employers want the best possible person to fill their vacancy. This hasn’t changed with the growth of online recruitment. Some things have changed though. Recruitment costs have come under increasing scrutiny as employers seek to reduce them and this has helped online recruitment as it is a much more cost effective way to advertise. People want things so much more quickly than before. If there’s a vacancy to be filled, the perfect candidate needs to be in place yesterday. Again, the internet allows for very quick response. I also think, because employers can reach more people through online recruitment, they expect to receive a higher quality of response and the feedback I get from clients is that this is the case, the calibre of applicant has risen when using online – either in partnership or instead of conventional recruitment channels.”

Bernard Howard believes expectations of jobseekers and recruiters have both increased. He says: “As recruiters considered their budgets for 2007 we’ve seen more and more emphasis on web advertising and a desire to try new things. As candidates look online in ever increasing numbers, recruiters not only want job postings but are also interested in how the medium can be used for branding. ‘What can we do that’s different? How can we be innovative?’ These are the questions that we are being asked and which we are finding answers to.” Michelle Jones says: “Recruiters have more choice of the boards they can use so clearly they expect a healthy return on their investment and if they don’t get it they will go elsewhere. This, coupled with providing attention to detail and excellent customer service is key to meeting client expectations. Jobseekers like to see a broad range of up-to-date roles that suit their skills and ability and to be able to tailor their searches to meet their needs. They are more aware of what functions are available on job-boards and their job hunting efforts are enhanced by features such as wish-lists, jobs-by-email and a CV database, boards that don’t have these will be disappointing their audience.”

Jessica Healy is convinced there is no question that online has the advantage over other media for both job seekers and advertisers. She says that: “GAAPweb for example offers advertisers a very large audience of qualified and experienced finance professionals, most of whom are actively seeking work. It is a much more targeted way of advertising than the more hit-and-miss print alternatives, which may or may not get the right ads in front of the right people. We also offer a range of additional products that ensure that the right candidates come across the advertiser’s jobs. On the job-seeker side, we offer a database of more than 7000 high quality jobs specifically in the finance sector, accessed via a very sophisticated search engine. This allows candidates to pinpoint the jobs that suit their specific requirements, rather than coming across ads in a print publication. Also, additional tools such as job alerts take away the hassle of job seeking, as candidates have simply to wait until the right job arrives in their inbox.

As the market matures, there are greater expectations on both sides. Jobseekers are now demanding jobsites that caters to their specific niche or sector, with tools, functionality and additional services appropriate to these specific needs. Recruiters too, have higher expectations, and are beginning to benchmark the ROI they get from each of the various jobsites. This pushes us to be increasingly innovative in how we attract quality candidates to our site, and maintain their loyalty once they visit us.”

Future trends
Joel Davis says that he sees four main trends emerging within the online recruitment space:

• “Niche boards will win the war with the professionals due to the superior connection they have with the audience. Generalist boards will still play an important role in the market, especially for job seekers in the earlier stages of their career as well as individuals looking to exploit their transferable skills across various industries.

• Community activity will grow: users see intrinsic value in having meaningful discussions with trusted like minded individuals. Community can play a useful part in the different job seeking life stages of users.

• Due to the convenient and discrete nature of the mobile channel I’m sure we will see a rapid adoption of the mobile channel by employees, employers and job boards over the next year.

• Multi-formats: blogs, podcasts, vodcasts are all being recognised as an e-recruitment tool and will continue to grow, not only from a social activity but to help recruiters and job seekers stand out from the crowd.”

Bernard Howard has been surprised at the slow uptake of mobile: “I expected 2006 to be the year mobile came of age. Indeed, every year over the last few years we have been told that this is the “year for mobile and the internet”. And every year it has all been a bit disappointing. The technology is now probably there but there has not been widespread uptake. I don’t think that 2007 will be the year for mobile but 2008 probably will be.” He says he is looking forward to: “A fully web enabled world where the internet and user tailored content is delivered through a multitude of platforms. The latest buzzwords – social networking, blogging, RSS, Web 2.0 – all really come down to the same thing – an internet world where users can have relevant content delivered to them (and often provided by other users rather than media owners) through a variety of media, as and when they want, to a device (PC, Mobile, TV etc) that they choose and customized for them. The challenge for companies such as ours is to harness the possibilities within this world – and that is phenomenally exciting and something to look forward to.”

Brett Marlow predicts consolidation: “In recent years, the online recruitment industry has consolidated as larger companies acquire smaller ones or outside investors enter the market. I think we’ll see this trend enter the financial sector in much the same way. We’ll see an increase in the number of larger organisations acquiring up and coming businesses, who’ve demonstrated that they’re stable, successful and have a business model that will generate profit. As well as consolidation I think we will also see more people using online recruitment. Time pressures, the amount and quality of jobs advertised, the immediacy and cost of finding a new position via the internet will lead more and more people to use it. Plus, as more people grow up with online recruitment, the more people will use it. At the moment, there are a lot of university graduates finding their first position via the net because the internet is a natural part of their life. As these people move up the ladder and new people come in, I think we’ll see online recruitment become the norm. We’re looking forward to growing the business, taking it to its next level whilst maintaining our position as the credit and risk industry’s only specialist job site.”

Our advisors agree that jobseekers have the power to change the future. Jessica Healy says: “In the heavily candidate-led finance job market, the job boards will have to be increasingly candidate focused in order to attract and retain candidates. We are excited about harnessing the emerging technologies to provide candidates with intelligent tools to make their jobs search more targeted and effective. We see this as the way we will differentiate ourselves going forward in an increasingly competitive market.” Rebecca Cole summarises: “The future of online recruitment rests largely in the hands of its jobseekers. Job boards, such as are continually developing new and innovative technology as well as providing additional career content, in an effort to ensure jobseekers use online recruitment as their primary method of searching and applying for jobs. With 62% of the British population currently using the internet on a daily basis, the future of online recruitment is looking bright!”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Check traffic

Handy site...

Google Analytics plugin

This is the first beta release of a WordPress plugin that can add Google Analytics to your website without you needing to code one single set of <>’s.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Page Rank Update or Export List History - PageRank - PR

Page Rank Update or Export List History - PageRank - PR
Bit of history on Google page ranking techniques and public updates...

time management skills training articles, techniques, tips and personal tools

If like me you always have too much to do and nowhere near enough time to do it (both in and outside of work!) the following link may prove interesting - time management techniques:
time management skills training articles, techniques, tips and
personal tools