Today in Social

My GigaOM Pro colleague Paul Sweeting has been writing about disruptions in the TV programming and distribution space, and how online video providers are pitching their wares to advertisers by stealing a few old-media tactics. Turnabout is fair play. Simulmedia raised $6 million more from existing investors to apply Internet-like targeting to traditional television ads. Despite the fact that interactive- and targeted-TV ads have had rocky starts, Simulmedia is worth keeping an eye on. Founder Dave Morgan has had Internet ad tech/ad network success (Tacoda, 24/7) and he’s hired plenty of data scientists to analyze information gleaned from settop boxes. AllThingsD says Simulmedia has pivoted, but it really hasn’t. Before selling its ad targeting technologies to brand advertisers, it experimented with lower hanging fruit – TV promotion ads sold to programmers – to prove its concepts and build a base. Sounds like it’s arming up to go bigger.

Today in Social

My colleague Paul Sweeting makes a strong case that Microsoft is in the poll position in the race for the digital living room. He outlines how Microsoft could be setting up a highly disruptive future pay TV offering. It’s a must-read. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft also has its eye on some other objectives. Right now, it’s creating a very carrier- and big media company-friendly model, somewhat in contrast to Google’s and Apple’s platforms. Microsoft could gain industry support and head off challengers trying to use living room platforms as a wedge versus Windows. (And there are plenty of other threatening wedges: tablet, phone, cloud.) Microsoft could build a supportive ecosystem with APIs and the “coolness factor” of Xbox, Kinect and voice services. That would be a big defensive win it could build off of. And then there’s targeted TV advertising….

Today in Social

Facebook recently started offering Like topic-based targeting in its self-service ad platform and via its advertising API. While its implementation seems simple, Facebook appears to be doing some data analysis to suggest related topics in addition to those an advertiser specifies, somewhat akin to paid search broad-match techniques. Such targeting and analysis could be applied to a Facebook Connect-based ad network that serves up ads outside of the Facebook site, should Facebook or anyone ever build such a thing. (Are you interested, Microsoft?) At the same time, comScore shows Facebook becoming an increasingly important site for video consumption. High-quality online video advertising inventory is valuable, though Facebook isn’t exploiting that opportunity yet, and its quality content is often fee-based.

Today in Social

The Wall Street Journal hears that Yahoo is preparing a hybrid content syndication/ad network product for third-party sites. AdExchanger thinks it sounds like a combination of Facebook Likes plus an ad network, but that doesn’t capture it, nor would such a thing exploit what Yahoo is good at. The Journal says sites would get a widget with Yahoo content personalized for the reader on the third-party site, based on contextual targeting of other content on the site and/or on behavioral targeting drawn from Yahoo’s data.  Accompanying the content on the widget would be display ads whose revenue Yahoo would share with the other site. There’s no info on how advertisers would purchase these ads. In theory, this sounds like a good offering, particularly for second-tier sites. Yahoo has plenty of quality content, is pretty good at lightly personalizing its own sites, and could offer a brand-friendly environment with the scale of a network – if enough sites sign on.

Today in Social

I’m a little late to this – tip o’ the hat to Business Insider for the link – but it’s a great conversation. I’m a fan of ad targeting, using social media Big Data for that purpose, and applying online advertising and direct marketing techniques to traditional media. To a point. This post by online ad expert Doug Weaver and this interview with Simulmedia’s Dave Morgan point out that you can get carried away. Too much targeting delivers unscaleable audiences and unnecessary complexity. One to one marketing isn’t really cost-effective for most products, not to mention its privacy baggage. And building something that media buyers can’t understand, or that demands they piece it together from ten different suppliers, is self-defeating.

Privacy Legislation’s Potential Impact on Online Media

Because the Kerry-McCain online privacy bill is watered down relative to prior proposals, it will face less industry resistance, and is more likely to be passed this year. That has far-reaching implications for online advertising and targeting.