Ad Industry Roundup: Google 'Slap'; IAB; Conference Board; NYT-AfterCollege; ComScore

This story was written by David Kaplan.
-- The 'Google Slap': positive or negative?: The debate over Google's (NSDQ: GOOG) changes to its AdWords program continued to go back and forth last week. Bernstein Research analyst Jeffrey Lindsay believes the change will drive up pricing. But a Wired piece said that members were starting to complain that cost per clicks are trending higher, while conversation rates for those ads are heading lower. But Lindsay said the only ones getting Google's "slap" are low quality advertisers and arbitrage marketers off its search results pages by re-pricing many low-cost keywords used by these companies. While that is driving down paid clicks, it is also driving keyword pricing higher, putting Google in a better position. As for what Google is saying, an explanation of the service is on the AdWords blog here.

-- IAB UK: Online ad spend to surpass TV by next year: Online ad spending in the UK will overtake TV by the end of 2009, according to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau UK with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Advertising Research Centre. The report is a right in line with the one issued by GroupM earlier this year, when the WPP media agency said Sweden will be the first country to witness internet ads outpace TV this year, followed by Britain and Denmark in '09.  Online ad revenues in the UK were 2.8 billion pounds ($5.6 billion) in 2007, the IAB UK said. Web ads' market share last year was 15.3 percent, an 11.4 percent gain from 2006, though still behind press advertising at 19.9 percent and TV at 21.8 percent. More ad industry news items after the jump.

-- IAB seeks comment on new video ad standards: The Interactive Advertising Bureau has released of a set of preliminary Digital Video Ad Format Guidelines. The trade group is trying to devise guidelines and best practices related to linear video ads, non-linear video ads and companion ads. IAB CEO and president Randall Rothenberg said the timing for such an examination of the standards is right, since the space has moved beyond the experimental phase when the last digital video ad guidelines were instituted in 2005.  Comments can be made here until May 2.

-- Conference Board discontinues print help wanteds index: Speaking of online job postings As of July 1, the Conference Board will no longer publish its print-based Help-Wanted Advertising Index so it can focus solely on internet classified data. The reason: print advertising doesn't comprehensively capture changes in labor-market demand, the research organization said. The news comes a few days after the board reported the first year-over-year decline in online jobs postings for March.

-- NYT goes after post-collegiate job seekers: The New York Times Co (NYSE: NYT). struck an alliance with AfterCollege, an online career networks for college students and recent graduates. The arrangement will augment NYTCo's existing co-branded jobs site with Monster.com. AfterCollege's network lists jobs on the websites of more than 1,500 academic departments and campus student groups across the country. The deal is meant to capitalize on recruiters' demand for more niche-targeted job sites.

-- Online ads spur offline purchases?: A major retailer with $15 billion in annual revenues saw its U.S. sales rise 40 percent online and by 50 percent offline among people exposed to an online search-and display-ad holiday campaign promoting the entire company, according to a client study by comScore (NSDQ: SCOR). The study aims to prove that online ads can have a significant impact on in-store sales. Investor Fred Wilson is encouraged by the study's possible implications for the industry: "So when you buy advertising online that is generating a positive ROI just based on online conversion, you are likely to be getting an even better ROI that you think you are. It would be great to have some kind of closed loop tracking of the offline purchase activity. Maybe with mobile payments, we can get there."


By David Kaplan