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.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Events of the Last Week or So

Long story short...since a few of you have visited and seen no recent posts...I spent the last 12 days practicing my bedside manner. It left little time for posting. My bride of 15 years was admitted to the hospital through the ER. Surgery was mid-morning on 8.12. We sprung her yesterday and she's recovering due to the terrific care of nurses and doctors. Its remarkable how quickly the body figures out a way to heal.

It was 2006 when I resolved to learn more about empathy and succeeded to a small degree. But there is no way to feel the pain of a tube down your nose! What's hard still to explain is how exhausting it is to realize there is nothing you can do but be there.

I did read a few good books (ongoing). And the daily newspaper which picked up a couple of stories I want to share....

  • The WSJ online (newest paper in the media-wealthy Murdoch empire) ran a story on the 10 year anniversary of blogging. Here's a question - is 10 years of blogging equivalent to 100 information years or 100 information minutes? The observations on the status of web logs from noted personalities (though I'm not exactly sure how the hell Newt Gingrich got tapped) are the best part. But I'm a personality and opinion junkie :)
  • The death of Elvis in 1977. Where were you? I was cleaning bathrooms at local college with a complete Elvis maniac. Though I was not a huge fan at the time (since then I've grown to really dig his gospel renditions), it devastated her. Thirty years hence we have this story about the enormous money a brand generates. And the heartburn associated with the Kings favorites sandwich - the Fools Gold Loaf.
  • Charlie Rose is not TiVo'ed at my house so his website - in beta - shows the conversation skills many of us aspire to. Search for your favorite personality and see what they think.

My plan is to be a more frequent community contributor in the coming days.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Anybody ever change your Life view?

This post is titled with a question and ends with one. If you want to skip the detail - I know you're busy - cut to the chase and read the last paragraph.

Not that any of you should listen to a newspaper guy who decided to ride a bike 477 miles in the humidity of Iowa cornfields...but unplugging for a couple weeks does your soul a world of wonder.

No ipod. I lived like a pig - although the end of day shower was delightful - talking and eating my way across Iowa as part of a "carnival on wheels". Estimates to the number of riders go as high as 20,000 and I must have talked to 1/2 of them. Working on my social skills at every opportunity :) Thanks to each of you who stopped by while the "Gone Fishing" sign was out and left comments. You know that's what keeps One Reader and one blogger going. Special thanks to you who talked about me :). Judging from at least one post - and my email box - it appears the Age of Conversation is bolting its way into people's minds. Way to go AoC community!

Plugging back in is another story altogether. Something about the lows that follow the highs, I'm sure. Plus this thing called "work". They say the first step is the toughest so consider this return post my first step back to reality. Life was so simple for a week...wake up...pack up camp...toss my bags on the coffee...climb on the off the while eating...climb on the while some more...pedal some more...arrive in camp...have a beer...pitch my some some more...rinse and repeat...for 7 glorious days. Here's the photo album if you wanna check it out! Tags and titles soon to follow.

I made the acquaintance - and gained the friendship - of a terrific person and fellow blogger/writer/journalkeeper. Joe from Chicago - just another one-legged bicyclist - literally saved my ass with some well timed advice - combine this and this for soothing relief :). Joe's journal is need to register at to leave comments...but the most recent entry shows the determination it takes for this ride across the corn fields. His user info page tells the great story of his amputation. And this photo shows the famous dip in the Mississippi River 'tween Iowa and Illinois. Every once in a while I run across an individual who impacts my life more than they'll ever know. The impact is not particularly easy to verbalize. Definitely it becomes part of our shared humanity. It all started waiting in line for lasagna at the end of a 70 mile bike ride.

Can you write about a person who touched you in a similar way? Maybe you can't define the "how" - but its well worth trying.