Friday, August 31, 2007

Blogs and New Advertising

What do they say about the road to hell? It's paved with good intentions? My intention was to post sooner - a briefer hiatus, so to speak - and with no excuses - here goes.

This article* by Adrienne Fawcett from MediaPost - Marketing Daily caught my eye the other day. Call me a sucker for a good headline. Someday I'll be able to write one :)

8 Of 10 Americans Know About Blogs; Half Visit Them Regularly

Eight in ten is a whole pile of people - just like the picture over there. And 50% visit regularly - that's pretty amazing. Admittedly, its rare that I talk with anybody who doesn't know what a blog IS but it seems we are still in the early phase of what a blog can DO. We discover as we go - the stream ripples and rolls. And, of course, there are as many "whys" to blog as there are people. Here are excerpts from her article and my reactions:

"The high awareness is surprising given that blogging is an emerging media outlet," says Tom Mularz, senior vice president at Synovate eNation, which conducted the online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults. "The segmentation on awareness and usage, and on people having their own blogs, is driven by age, with obviously younger people more active in blogging." Nearly 90% of 25- to-34-year-olds know what a blog is, compared to 64.5% of those age 65-plus. Similarly, 78.4% of 18- to-24-year-olds report they have visited a blog, compared to just 44.7% of older Americans.
Not sure I agree its "obviously" younger people "active" in blogging - although I'm closer to 65 than to 34 so everybody's younger. I'm just being a little picky with words today. What IS obvious would be blogs are transforming communication and conversation. Which is what good advertising and marketing should be about.

Almost half of the respondents said they visit blogs to be entertained. What types of entertainment have they given up now that they are reading and writing blogs? Any emerging media poses a threat to traditional media, but at present, 87% of the people who read blogs said they don't spend less time with other media now that they're reading blogs. Of the 13.3% who do say they have ditched old media habits, newspapers, television and magazines have taken the biggest hits.
This makes confusing sense. I'm a little surprised at the almost 90% of blog readers spending the same amount of time with other media? Are people sleeping less? There are still 24 hours every day - right? And the low 15% who've ditched traditional media. Much of what we in the newspaper business tend to hear is just the opposite - high percentages ditching at a more rapid rate. This is today's good news - tomorrow might be different. Will reading blogs become a habit? A ritual for future readers?
Ad spending on blogs is still in its infancy....a recent study by Nielsen BuzzMetrics and Nielsen's BASES research division found that new products with higher ad spending on traditional media tend to generate greater buzz in the blogosphere. But the eNation study, conducted in late July, shows there is real potential for ads on blogs. Among people who have visited a blog (485), 43.2% said they have noticed ads on blogs, and three out of 10 people in this group said they have clicked on ads while visiting a blog. Among the youngest consumers, a whopping 61.2% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they have noticed ads on blogs.
My initial impression is that ad delivery online must take a different form quickly. What we see today on blogs (and websites) seems to be not so cleverly disguised subliminal messaging. Does it really sell anything OR is the network (community) we associate with more the influence than the ad? I'm leaning toward hearing about a product or service from someone I trust being the "close" of a sale. Here seems to be the real potential and not a banner ad. I believe blogs - and those who blog - help in this step toward a making a decision.

Some advertisers are trying to slip brand names in through the blogosphere's back door by recruiting bloggers to write favorably about their brands. Recently, a rep for Marvin Windows and Doors sent a flattering (exact replica) e-mail to several house-bloggers (including this reporter at The Fixer Upper House) to "better understand how Marvin can better interact and inform you as a home remodeler and blogger." She offered to provide "how to" tips and recommendations along with updates on company innovations and products. The company's "end, end goal," the rep said in a follow-up note, is to expand "Marvin's footprint as an expert in windows and doors." She teased at the potential for future promotions and advertising, but added, "That's really several months away."
Some organizations see the potential in building the conversation. Note how the representative says future promotions and advertising are several months away. We are still trying to figure this whole thing out. The future is huge.

So who's blogging? Eight percent of Americans have their own blog. "That's high, given that blogging was unheard of a few years ago," says eNation's Mularz. It's also surprising that more women than men are bloggers (given that men tend to dominate the computer/tech fields). Nearly 14% of men versus 20% of women have blogs, eNation reports.
To contact Adrienne - go to her blog. She's a friendly sort and responded promptly to my email.

I remain conflicted with online advertising. There has GOT to be a better way.

* need registration to view - its free. Just depends on how many registrations you want to juggle. Which brings up a whole other topic - for a later post.

6 comments:

David Brazeal said...

Bob, I'm with you -- there's got to be a better way than traditional online advertising.

I think the answer for most organizations is that the Internet allows them to engage people directly, rather than piggy-backing on someone else's content. Advertising stood alongside, but was completely separate from content.

Now, content isn't what someone else creates as a vehicle for our advertising. It's what we create ourselves as a form of online advertising.

Bob Glaza said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, David - nice to meet you. Is what you are saying that online advertising is an expression of what we - the content creators - find valuable? The blog becomes the place for the ad. That really fits for a personal blog.

An organizational blog is a bit trickier. I need to think about how it works. The effectiveness seems diminished by the sheer number of potential organizations that blog.

Lewis Green said...

Bob,

Sorry, but I don't believe that 80% of people know what a blog is or that 50% visit the regularly. Geez, something like 20% of us can't even find the U.S. on a map, let alone find a blog.

I would be cautious about using these kind of numbers to determine whether we should invest in online advertising. Instead, I want to know who is visiting the place where I plan to advertise and what they look like.

Bob Glaza said...

Thanks Lewis - as always your comments help me inch toward closing loops in my thinking. Its a good example of how numbers can fool you. It caught my cautious eye right away.

I continue to remain skeptical...its way too early and I'm amazed at the number of people sinking real dough into any online advertising. But I'm often accused of being a dinosaur.

Sports Picks said...

Thanks Lewis - as always your comments help me inch toward closing loops in my thinking. Its a good example of how numbers can fool you. It caught my cautious eye right away.

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