Brand Intelligence – Tips for blog advertising

A digital newspaper noticed yesterday that a blog campaign started two days ago had zero reactions. When starting a campaign on blogs, companies should know and track some key aspects when targeting Romanian blogosphere.

Here are some things from a presentation I’m working on, called “Brand Intelligence at work”:

10 TIPS  for companies and advertising clients:

1. – BRAT is the only INDEPENDENT organization with a mandate to audit and measure Romanian Internet traffic and audience.

2. Always ask for traffic data – you’ll find out that the Internet long tail theory is applied to the most blogs – this means that 20% of their traffic is captive audience while 80% is search engine. There are cases where that 80% is generated by tags like “Mircea Badea”, adult entertainment or popular Google keywords. Most bloggers avoid to provide audited third party data ( Analytics) and therefore, you should avoid them.

3. “A” bloggers – there are no “A” bloggers in Romania because the audience on 90% of the blogs is quite niched and limited; the most influential bloggers are public figures since their message spins 360 – Catalin Tolontan, Mircea Badea, Cabral or Dani Otil are such examples; their traffic is usually very high and they generate hundreds of comments and can deliver good results for campaigns.

4. Ethics and responsability – when talking about safe advertising and brand protection you should always look for blogs that have just the right content. The bloggers above are experimented journalists and can help you in delivering a very good campaign for the products.

On the opposite side are the bloggers covering “tabloid” subjects and from time to time, have negative comments about many products and brands. The good news is that their audience is limited but the bad news is that if you try a campaign, it can be considered more like a “bribe” and you risk to be “exposed” online. It happened this week with a PR agency. You also risk that the bloggers will post negative posts about your competition and this is not ethical.

Last but not least, make sure that your company values allow you to advertise on blogs. I know cases when the marketing managers had to face serious issues because the company had lots of CSR projects but they tried to advertise on a blogs that promoted light racial discrimination (against gypsies) or adult materials.

5. ROI – Return On Investment – Make sure that you work with your media agency when planning a blog campaign. Your agency can plan in small details everything and has the experince to look for SATI or advanced advertising solutions.

Please note that only few bloggers deliver campaigns using 3rd party adservers. This way you can control duplicates, trace banners and clicks. There wes a case when a blogger posted a banner on his page and at the end sent a report based on his thoughts.

6. Payment and money – again, make sure that you work with your media agency because can offer you the right price for the exposure and they know the laws and can handle payments in a discreet way.

There was a case when the client worked directly with the blogger. The blogger went public one day and talked about the budget, the results and confessed that he tricked the government and did not pay taxes. The company was embarrassed because the competition find out the results and the budgets and because they are a respectable tax payer and this behavior was not ethical.

7. Decide the right partners for your campaign – work with your webdesign agency on your website and your banners but involve your media agency when setting up the campaign. The webdesign agency guys tend to tell you they know best and they are good at everything but only your media agency can negotiate the best deals and has the experience to work with big volumes.

More important, your media agency will track and monitor every step and every day of the campaign and will help you receive a full trusted report at the end.

8. Trust the online environment – this medium is 100% measurable and can provide you advanced data and research results. Of course, if you work with your media agency – they usually have study cases, have the experince and work with all the online advertising suppliers on the local market (INTACT Interactive, ARBOinteractive, MediaProInteractiv AdEvolution, Boom, etc).

9. The biggest mistake in planning – rely only on blogs – I always suggest 360 campaigns. Use TV, use radio, print, ooh and Internet for the best results. If your budget is limited and you’re going to do only online advertising, try to split your budget on several websites and communities. Blog advertising should be only a small percent of your online media budget since their traffic represents a small percent of the online universe.

10. Treat bloggers like journalists – although they have a small audience it is important to have the right attitude – I know that your PR department is sometimes terrorised. It is highly recommended that an experinced PR proffessional should handle bloggers and a media agency should handle online advertising on blogs.

10 TIPS for bloggers:

  1. Learn how to love brands. Negative comments will attract negative readers;
  2. Seek professional representation – Work with an agency, sign a contract, use a professional adserver;
  3. Enter SATI – money will come when you’ll provide the right audited figures;
  4. Publish your traffic data – your traffic and your audience is very important for the advertisers;
  5. Define standard advertising positions on your website;
  6. Learn about IAB standards and try to implement them;
  7. Never badmouth your competition;
  8. Don’t copy of follow bloggers that say they’re “big”. Usually they are frauds;
  9. Make sure you are in a RATE CARD – the clients  lose too much time to contact you, ask for prices, negotiate, etc;
  10. Ethics and responsibility – this is the only way to gain trust in every industry.

Brand Intelligence at work

As a client, you should always be concerned with your online presence. There are specialists that can locate and report in real-time  threats of brand risk, vulnerability, brand damage and brand abuse on the Internet. Of course, Romanian Internet locations of brand risk can be dealt with because the law protects your company.

Unauthorized copyrighted materials and logos can be removed from websites with a simple ISP request but in some cases you might have to handle negative associations or other type of manipulation. This will require a very good PR team and legal interventions from your lawyers. There were cases when bloggers published unverified informations about company stocks or events, fake photos and fabricated materials – you should be advised that in all these cases, your online PR agency, your advertising agency, media agency and interactive agency are there, at your service.

Keep in mind two things:

1. FREEDOM OF SPEECH is a fundamental and very important part of online culture and this is why you should let professionals do their work.

2. You’ve read all this data on a blog 🙂