Lessons from 2010

2010 has been a massive year of both ups and downs for me which has lead to some significant personal development. As I take a leap forwards into come new challenges I thought what better time to compose a very brief list of some lessons I’ve learned in the year past.

Professional Lessons

– A campaign not working is not a failure as long as you learn something from it
– Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean it will work, just because something didn’t work doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea
– Take holidays – for years I put off taking trips because I didn’t want to fall behind on work, but nothing leaves you more hungry to do good work than a little time away
– ‘No’ is not a dirty word – If a timeline is unrealistic at least suggest a more manageable solution, don’t just say yes
– Low cost, High Quality, Fast delivery – Pick 2
– Anyone can be insightful, often without realising it. The secret is to listen closely enough to hear the verbal diamond in the rough.

Personal Lessons

– There is no such thing as a black and white situation – only varying shades of grey
– While it’s important to speak your beliefs it is more important to listen to those of others
– Exercise really is enjoyable – everyone wasn’t lying to me for the past 23 years despite what I previously thought
– If you want something in life take it. Don’t wait for the ‘right time,’ it may never come
– In 12 months everything can change – Last year my dad spent about 6 months in hospital undergoing chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant. The end of December see’s him 12 months cancer free and he is currently back at work full-time and looking more healthy everyday.


2010 – The words list

I’m not normally one for new years resolutions however this year I have decided that I am going to take a few steps to increase the level of positivity in my life. One of these steps, in order to improve the quality of my thinking and the level of positive vibes I push out, is that I am going to aspire to use certain words more frequently and not use other words (those that strip the user of power or impede creative thinking) at all.

Words to strip from my vocabulary

not my fault
have too

Words to use more frequently

great work
thank you
I love you

Advanced media attribution; A should-be-standard practice

For the last few year Ad Server providers have been working to improve their ability to attribute the contribution media placements make to an acquisition in a more detailed and accurate way.

For those not in the media world, at current the standard way to measure online media is through a ‘last cookie wins’ model which means that the last ad unit to be seen or clicked get the acquisition. The problem with this method is that a consumer will generally neither interact nor respond to an advertisement on the first interaction.

In traditional media we deal with this by booking media that follows our target demographic as they watch TV in order to reach the maximum average exposure volume. The problem we face with online media is a self imposed one, we have made ourselves too accountable. With TV (for example) it is perfectly acceptable for us to say that we reached the audience an average of (x) times stretched across 2 stations because we know that they have very similar audiences. However (in the majority of cases) when it comes to digital we are treated in an overly DR way, which in term impedes our ability to truly achieve maximum ROI. For example:

Lets say a large portion of users read the review section of SMH.com.au then research on IMDB then either click on an ad or proceed directly to QuickFlix. Now in a standard (and most commonly set up) ad server the acquisition would belong entirely to IMDB and if we were assessing the value of the media we would see only this final figure. The joy that advanced attribution models bring is that we are able (within the tracked cookie window) to trace the path the user took, in terms of their ad exposure. We can then dissect this data by applying different values to different media placements (e.g. a large OTP is worth 5 while a 468×60 is only worth 1 due to clutter) and we can then break out the value of the acquisition accordingly. In this way we may find that (in the above example) SMH.com.au actually more value than IMDB because people also go to RottenTomatos.com and then convert, but in this instance the acquisition goes to SMH because we are not running media there.

The primary challenge faced in making advanced attribution models the new standard is a lack of simplification, that is, that all ad servers deliver different data when reporting in this manner and the data is often extremely complicated to understand when in its raw form (indeed most ad servers charge you for the service then deliver an edited report). Once we have a more precise consensus as an industry around what exactly we expect from this tool we can expect to see significant progress.

If I were to make one honest prediction for a trend to watch out for in 2010 it would be for Australian agencies to start making a concious effort to increase the usage of attribution modelling across clients.

As technology currently sits advanced attribution reporting is the best way we have to understand the immediate impact and uplift that brand media has on performance/acquisition media placements.

I am interested to know, if you work in digital media (of the strategy/planning/buying/implementation variety) are you using advanced attribution reports at all? and if so who do you use and how do you find their offering?

An Alternative to 2009 Predictions

As the new year starts the blogging world is a flurry of predictions for what’s to come in 2009. So instead of attempting to compete with the thousands of experts and analysts I’ve decide to take a cursory glance forward a little further to 2010 and to ignore trends, fads and markets and ask a more personal question. Where do you see yourself in 2010?

Obviously a lot can change in a year and so I don’t want to pretend anything is set in stone. I simply want to know, right this second where do you honestly believe you will be come January 2010?

Personally, I am hoping to have moved into an Account Manager role (I am currently a lowly under-paid Account Coordinator) and be one year further through my studies. If I am still with my current girlfriend (which seems likely) I will probably have moved in with her, perhaps around the city or maybe North Sydney. I am hoping to be playing gigs with a band of some description and will have a decent tan for the first summer in 4 years (okay so maybe the tan is just wishful thinking).

Now its your turn.

So where will you be?