Blogs and Blog Advertising
Should Blog Ads Be a Part of Your Current Marketing Plan?
While some signs look promising for this online ad medium, this type of marketing still has not proven to be an extremely effective means of acquiring customers. On a cost-per-click basis, the risk is, it's difficult to manage this form of advertising to a target cost-per-acquisition. Furthermore, blogs offer unique challenges in the areas of branding and control. Many blog ad networks have little control over the content on pages where ads are displayed. While the larger players, such as Google and BlogAds, claim to have sophisticated technology that scans the content of blogs to ensure their quality, they also acknowledge that the systems are not infallible. This provides a risk that many brand-conscious advertisers should not take.
Budgets may be better spent on proven tactics such as search, affiliate, media buys and e-mail marketing. For the majority of e-commerce companies, blog advertising should not be a part of the current marketing plan. It's wise to monitor the blog advertising space for future opportunities that may arise in a year or two.
However, blog ads may offer a unique opportunity for e-commerce companies with niche products and audiences. This is because a greater chance exists of finding a relevant blog to advertise with, given the vast number of topics. Successful blogs develop an extremely loyal user base. They also can dominate search engine results for niche keywords and phrases as a result of the increased content produced by bloggers. This wealth of content is looked on favorably by search engines when they determine keyword ranking based on Web site content relevancy. Online marketers who sell niche products should look to test this medium as a way to hit their elusive target audience.
Paid search marketing pioneered the concept of displaying ads next to relevant content, and the results have been extremely successful. Blog advertising will continue to grow slowly this year if for no other reason than the fact that search marketing budgets are increasing at a much faster pace than search inventory. Marketers who have found success with search will be looking for alternative vehicles that can deliver similar results. Blog advertising still is too young for most e-commerce companies to benefit. However, this could change by the end of the year if a growth spurt even close to the one search marketing experienced occurs.