Calculating Online Advertising Return on Investment

October 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been helping a friend write a business school case on his company. I haven’t done too much but it’s been fun to see the process. Recently I helped with an appendix covering the ROI calculation when dealing with online advertising campaigns. I thought I would include it here in case it might be useful for other folks.

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How sticky is your signup?

February 3, 2009 § 4 Comments

Nothing bugs me more than a bad signup process.  The signup should be viewed as your site’s sales process.  The ball is in your court to  close the deal when someone starts the signup.  Don’t blow it!  A few things I try to keep in mind when analyzing or building a signup process… « Read the rest of this entry »

Marshall Wace & TOPS

March 9, 2007 § Leave a comment

A post by Roger Ehernberg on Information Arbitrage led me to Marshall Wace, a hedge fund that, according to Wikipedia, is one of the biggest funds in Europe and accounts for 3 or 4 percent of equities traded in London (their logo actually looks pretty cool on their site). For several years, the fund has generated solid returns from the TOPS system (“Trade Optimized Portfolio System”), which “collects and evaluates investment ideas generated across the securities industry, so as to create optimised (sic) portfolios which have historically delivered attractive risk-adjusted returns.” It seems like they track sell-side research performance, put money on who’s hot, and pay the sell-side for performance. Although it seems like a simple concept, apparently MW is on the cutting edge with this and remains so today – no other fund advertises using such a system. However, the performance trackability seen in social web 2.0 sites Yardbarker and SocialPicks, which I have posted about before, seems to be similar. Like MW, these sites cut through the “noise” and allow individual investors & gamblers to put their money on the backs of those that are hot.

I like this trend towards performance tracking. I hate to say that its is a feature of web 2.0, but ever since PPC carried the day, there seems to be an increasing premium placed on noise reduction and compensation for value. This is definitely a good thing for those that add value and a bad thing for those that don’t.

Markets, markets, everywhere…

January 31, 2007 § 1 Comment

In the last 2 weeks or so, there has been a flurry of interesting niche sites on TechCrunch that have piqued my interest.

These sites let users either cash in on what they know, or protect themselves from what they don’t. They allow bets and hedges to be placed on outcomes that are difficult to predict and inherently create markets for information.

I have been thinking a great deal recently on the commoditization of information in the Google age. Information that is in the public domain is extremely useful, but also “worthless” in the sense that doesn’t really generate alpha. Roger Ehrenberg of Monitor110 and Information Arbitrage has had quite a few interesting posts on the value of unique information and the commoditization of information within the public domain. He has also based his business around harvesting and, in a sense creating, unique information.

As more and more information becomes free and accessible, more and more value will be placed on information that remains unknown. The sites above create a marketplace for slices of the 99% of the world’s information that is not searchable via Google. Some of these sites may face some rough sledding because their business models require volume and liquid markets to generate accurate and efficient prices. That said, the market value of anything is whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. Services that link parties that have placed disparate values on the same item (a la eBay) are the ones that create effective markets and generate real value for end users.

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