You have probably heard a lot about weblogs, or blogs, in the past few years. Seems like each time we read the newspaper or watch television, someone is mentioning or referencing blogs.
Originally, weblogs were considered “personal journals published on the Web.” Many people rushed to put their thoughts and opinions, covering a whole range of subjects, on the Internet for others to read. As blogs evolved, some became more interactive, allowing for comments from visitors. And blogs can be just about anything! Politics. Sports. Entertainment. Technology. If you can think of it, there is probably a blog about it. (Ever heard of a blog dedicated to cuteness? Go visit www.cuteoverload.com.
Our view here at Strategic Insights is that weblogs present clients with two opportunities.
One is simply an advertising opportunity. Advertising on weblogs is becoming more and more popular. A number of advertising networks have emerged, fueling the presence of advertising on weblogs. In fact, the original and now largest advertising network is located right down the road from us, in Chapel Hill. Blogads, Inc. has over 1,100 blogs in its network. Other networks are smaller and more specialized……but are growing in importance and in number.
And steadily, the profile of the typical advertiser on blogs is being enhanced. In the old days of blogging, like last year, typical advertisers were t-shirt makers, authors, dating services, online gambling, and the like. Now, we are seeing that profile change to major car manufacturers, movie studios, television networks, cell phone makers and services, among others.
Clearly, the more prominent and established brands are feeling more comfortable advertising on blogs.
And why not?
Research from our friends over at Blogads has shown that bloggers and their visitors are indeed pretty fertile demographic territory. Educated. Salaried. Attuned to politics. Engaged in the community. Not a bad profile. You can bet the big boys are paying attention.
Granted, there are several pitfalls to advertising on blogs. The content on blogs can easily veer into the hyper-political, an area some advertisers may find a bit uncomfortable. Plus, comments on the advertiser and their product/service can seep into blogs, for better or for worse. Finally, an advertiser cannot be guaranteed on things such as preferred adjacent advertisers or product category exclusivity on blogs. In some ways, advertising on blogs can still be a bit like uncharted territory.
The second opportunity is for clients to have their own weblogs and connect these blogs with their regular Web sites. This could help position the client as an opinion leader is their area of a product or service. The client could control the agenda and direct it in areas of interest.
Of course, having a blog and being a good steward of that blog requires time, effort, and energy. But our view here at the agency is that consumer engagement in a brand and having consumers perceive you as an “opinion leader” of a certain product category is invaluable. It is an excellent investment in the long-term health of a brand.
We have done some research in this area just to see what kind of advertising is on blogs, what form it is taking, and just who is advertising on blogs. If you are interested in this research and its findings, please let us know.