WSJ and FT on blogads
Wednesday, April 6th, 2005
Blog advertising got some nice mentions in the press earlier this month that I didn’t highlight. The WSJ included a nice graph of some data we provided and this overview:
For bigger advertisers, finding the right blog is critical, which is where Blogads.com comes in. Blogs that have been in existence for at least six months and have a dedicated readership can join Blogads.com’s database, which currently lists about 750 sites. Advertisers use Blogads.com to find blogs with suitable content (technology, media, fashion) or political slant. They can purchase ads through Blogads.com by the week or the month. Prices range from $10 to $3,000 for better-known blogs. Marketers can chose which sites to advertise on and bloggers can accept or reject the ads.
Henry Copeland, Blogads.com’s founder, works with marketers to create successful blog ads, which he says should be different from regular Web ads. “We just kind of shudder when we hear from an advertiser, ‘Wow, I hear blogs are cool and cheap, and I want to be on a blog,’ ” he says.
Instead, he advises advertisers to think like bloggers, and remember they are joining an ongoing conversation, incorporate links to other sites and use a voice that fits the blog’s general tone. Above all, he says, they should stop hitting readers over the head with giant logos. One good example he points to is an ad that Knopf, a publishing division of Bertelsmann AG’s Random House, designed for Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami’s most recent book. Rather than linking to a site that sells the book, Knopf’s ad joins in the spirit of blogging by quoting and linking to other blogs that discuss the book, such as MetaFilter.
And here’s what Aline Vandyun wrote the Financial Times on March 28:
If all goes according to plan, more than 1m Americans will soon be gripped
by the mystery of the missing car. The hunt for a stolen Audi A3 – a sporty
hatchback that will hit US showrooms in May – will begin next week with a
launch party in New York.
At the event, the thriller’s first scenes will be shot, with pictures and
clues about the theft then distributed on the internet. From there,
participants in the chase will use interactive tools to choose alternative
How will the publicity be generated? With the latest weapon in the ad man’s
arsenal – blog advertising.
Blogs, web logs or journals, which cover topics from politics to parenting,
have such enormous followings that marketing and advertising executives can
no longer resist advertising in them.
The most recent Pew Internet and American Life Project, which researches
internet use, found that 7 per cent of the 120m US adults who use the
internet have created their own blog. Assuming one blog per person, this
comes to 8m US blogs alone. The study also found that 27 per cent of US
internet users say they read blogs.
“It’s a brand new space, but when you get the right kind of messaging in
it, the results can be astonishing,” said Brian Clark, who has bought blog
ads for agencies Weiden+Kennedy and McKinney-Silver, including for the Audi
Blog advertising came into its own during last year’s presidential
election. For the first time, political parties had budgets and strategies
for online advertising. Recognising this, bloggers sold space on their
“Blogs themselves have started to realise the potential for blog ads and
much more space has become available,” said Michael Bassik, director at
Malchow Schlackman Hoppey & Cooper, which ran John Kerry’s online
He admits that a year ago he dismissed the idea of blog advertising. Now,
he has clients spending up to Dollars 15,000 per week on blogs. “You are
reaching a very actively engaged group of people, much more so than readers
of more general web sites,” he said.
Large companies such as Sony and Amazon have advertised on blogs, and the
likes of Nike and GE are also experimenting with the medium.
For bloggers, selling ads provides income to support their hobby or even
helps them make a living.
Blog ads are cheap compared with other forms of advertising. Blogads.com,
where ad buyers can take space on blogs, lists its most expensive placement
at Dollars 3,000.
This buys you a week in the top slot on dailykos.com, which claims to be
read daily by more than 400,000 “committed progressive activists”.
Demand this year has been higher than expected.
“March blog ad sales will exceed our best month last year,” says Henry
Copeland, director of Blogads.com. “We thought it would be the end of 2005
before we got back to (presidential) election levels.”
The United Church of Christ, a protestant church with about 1.3m members,
became aware of bloggers after two television networks, NBC and CBS,
refused to run a UCC commercial showing a gay couple trying to enter a
“We were impressed by the power of the blogs,” said Robert Chase, director
of communications at the UCC. “We decided to include blog advertising in
our next round of commercials. We have had such a great return that we will
now always consider blogs in any campaign.”
UCC spent Dollars 1m on cable televison ads and Dollars 15,000 on the blog
campaign. With about 74,000 clicks so far (the ads run until the end of
March), the cost per viewing of the ad was about 20 cents, Mr Chase said.
Blog ads clearly generate interest, but users say the ads work best if they
engage the reader. “In the blog sphere, a standard, loud ad is the
equivalent of yelling at a cocktail party,” said Mr Clark. “The ads need to
be designed so that the bloggers are part of the conversation.”
It is not yet clear if big advertisers will go beyond small-scale campaigns
and make blogs a regular part of their marketing strategies.
“It is still not for everyone, but it can, at the moment, work for
specially targeted ads,” says Alycia Hise, account director at TMP
Worldwide, which buys blog ads for her education clients.
In the meantime, bloggers should look out for a missing car.
The Audi campaign chase is about getting bloggers to think of an A3 next
time they want to buy a car. Not so different to other ads, after all.