May 29, 2004

Why Blogs and Advertising Miss Each Other's Boat

JOHN BATTELLE'S INSIGHTFUL ARTICLE Toward the Endemic: What's missing in PPC/Behavioral/Contextual Ad Nets has a lot to say about why advertisers and blogs just don't understand each other.

Something is lost when advertisers don't buy based on the publication. I'm not arguing that buying based on context or content isn't valuable, it certainly is. But in the long run, not considering the publisher's role devalues both the publication *and* the advertiser in the minds of the publishers' audience.

So what, you might be saying. Most major publications utilize both network-based and more traditional "display" advertising - look at the NYT or CNET or CBS Marketwatch. True enough - Martin mentioned yesterday that his "display" advertising at is up dramatically and starting to show real traction. (And, by they way, the NYT is steering clear of AdSense image, for obvious reasons....) But the real problem is with smaller sites, sites that can't afford to be understood or purchased any other way but through a network. Sites where there is simply too much transactional friction to make the advertising purchase worthwhile. Sites like....blogs, for example.

Advertisers can't grok all the blogs which might be potential fits for their marketing dollar. Besides the tedium of finding and evaluating them, blogs have no standardized marketing or advertising practices, so working with each is a handrolled labor of love.

Essential reading if you'd like to find a way to have an enduring relationship with advertising. Still, it led me to wonder if we are going to see it anytime soon without the creation of a whole new kind of salesman. As I remarked in the comments to this article:
I found this to be a valuable article with a number of insightful points. At the same time, the push towards "conversational" advertising leads me to wonder who there will be to bell the cat.

In my experience, ads appear in magazines not merely because there is a mystical conversation going on between the reader and the magazine, but because there has been a real converstation between an ad salesman for that magazine and a media buyer. And not just a conversation, but a relationship that has been built up from many meetings and conversations.

To whip out and old chainsaw, you can have the best product and the best ideas in the world but nothing happens until someone sells something. Who are going to be the salesmen for these micro-accounts? Good media salesmen can make well into the six figures every year. Who is going to actually do the legwork and make the phone calls and send the emails and present the numbers and demographics to make microadvertising work? Where's the living to be made?

It seems to me that if you can solve that you can solve the other. Perhaps it is some sort of media-buyer to media-placer situation that has to evolve. One person with the ability to place ads across a spectrum of small outlets with a "conversational" understanding of all of them and has gained the trust of a media-buyer to do this effectively. A kind of ubersalesman who has put together a big sheaf of like minded blogs/minipublications and sells the package. It seems to me that that sort of scaling is required.

Perhaps what we need is a new class of salesman: The BlogRep.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 29, 2004 7:45 AM
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