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BizReport : Advertising : October 03, 2006

What Is Surround Marketing?

Five years ago, the New York Times (NYT) introduced advertisers with the opportunity to spend ‘sessions’ with online readers rather than to approach customers on the basis of mere ‘impressions’.

by Angelique van Engelen

Today, the online advertising world is still going strong, trying to find the best quality page views, and the NYT-coined phrase ‘surround session’ has become an established term. But the technique’s effectiveness is not anywhere beyond unquestionable doubt. describes surround sessions as ‘advertising sequence[s] in which a visitor receives ads from one advertiser throughout an entire site visit’. The session model places emphasis on real interaction between advertisers and audiences. A quick search on Google news shows that the phrase is hardly in use in the online world. It appears that despite the NYT’s acclaimed success with the method, the online industry at large is adopting similar techniques, but in wildly varying versions.

The fact that the campaign is hardly still creating a buzz in the industry is both indicative of the confused state online advertising is in and of general doubts that the method is really all that more precise, according to professionals quoted in an article on The marketers at this consultancy however did underscore that the technique somewhat provides in a need, because it communicated to them in old fashioned media buying terms. “Another appealing feature of the session model is that it better reflects offline media buying and measurement than the current CPM model. [...] talking about reach, frequency and pages, traditional marketers are working with a language they understand,” according to the article.

The New York Times is eager to capitalize on every bit of information its online readers give it in order to further its and advertisers’ brand names. It goes to such lengths that it is held back only by government imposed rules on cookie tracking, for the protection of privacy of the users.

Tags: branding, cookies, online advertising, surround marketing

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