29 September 2005

Blog Ads Are Cheap, But Don't Overlook Their Importance

From MediaPost's coverage of OMMA East:

"Brian Clark, the CEO of GMD Studios, recounted a campaign that his agency ran for Audi, titled 'The Art of the Heist.' Just one-half of one percent of the media buy budget, Clark said, was spent on BlogAds -- a firm run by panel moderator Henry Copeland, which sells ad space on some of the highest-trafficked blogs. Those ads, Clark said, ended up accounting for 29 percent of the traffic sent to the campaign's landing page."

It would be great news for the nascent blog-publishing industry if this meant that Audi's blog ads experienced click-through rates that were 58 TIMES better than other online ads. But it's more likely that Audi just paid BlogAds prices that were 2% of the rates they paid elsewhere.

But all this focus on efficiency & click-through rates misses the bigger point. Advertising isn't about reaching people cheaply, it's about reaching the ones that matter -- prospective buyers & people who might influence those buyers. And Clark made this point as well:

"If you're afraid of what users are going to say [in comments on the blog sites where you advertise], there are two strategies: You get involved in the discussion, or you stick your fingers in your ears and pretend it doesn't exist. People are talking about you whether you're listening or not."

As a veteran tech marketer once told me: Branding happens; the question is whether or not you want to have a role in shaping it.


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