27 September 2005

Business Blogging Survey

According to Adrants the Guidewire Group (Organiser of the BlogOn conference) has joined up with content management company iUpload to survey businesses on corporate blogging and blogging strategy. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Blocking Unwanted Ads in Adsense

A post at REvenews suggests that the elevated limit of blocked urls (to 500) in Adsense, should almost eradicate unwanted ads.
REvenews further suggest culling the lower value ads to maximise revenue. This tactic is a little bit contentious as you maybe inadvertantly blocking highly relevant and optimised ads. Google have also voiced their concerns in a recent post at Inside Adsense, but then I suppose they would do, wouldn't they!!

Online Ad Figures Mean Good News For Blogs

According to a ZDNet article via Search Engine Watch Forums, the Interactive Advertising Bureau have annouced online ad figures for the first half of 2005:
"As of June, advertisers had spent $5.8 billion to place ads online this year, a 26 percent increase compared with the first six months of 2004, according to a new report. Overall, search ads accounted for 40 percent of Internet ad sales, in line with last year, the group said. Banner ads and classified listings were the next-biggest ad categories, attracting 20 percent and 18 percent of the spending, respectively."
This IAB news release offers more detail. The complete report will be available via the IAB web site next week.

26 September 2005

Ads on Flickr Cause a Stir

According to Adrants - Yahoo have begun using their recent purchase of Flickr to insert ads onto subcriber's personal pages. No surprise there then!
By all accounts it's causing a bit of stir amongst Flickr members, although I can't see they have much to complain about considering the service is free.

MSN Paid-Search Launched in France and Singapore

According to the New York Times Microsoft have announced the launch of it's very own ad service in France and Singapore. It has been imaginatively named MSN adCenter and MSN Keywords. According to Danny Sullivan and reported in the New York Times "They will definitely raise the bar on what Google and Yahoo have to provide." U.S. testing of adCenter is set to begin in October.

The Microsoft Press Release confirms that the new service will make it easier for advertisers to optimize their campaigns and reach a specific audience. The service is reported to include the following tools:

•Keyword Selection allows advertisers to indicate whom they want to reach based on geographic location, gender, age range, time of day and day of week, and suggests keywords based on the desired audience.

•Site Analyzer assists advertisers by suggesting keywords based on the content of their Web site.

•Audience Profiler provides advertisers with an expected profile of those customers who are most likely to search for specific keywords.

•Cost Estimator helps advertisers remain within their budget by estimating rank, traffic and cost per month per keyword.

•Campaign Optimization allows advertisers to respond quickly and decisively throughout the campaign to easily refine budget allocations and keywords, as well as apply targeting filters such as geographic, demographic and dayparting.

•Post Sales Audience Intelligence & Reporting provides advertisers with detailed reports on campaign performance and audiences reached including click-through rate, estimated position and spending levels.

(Via Paid Content)

23 September 2005

What Are Some Blogs About?

Ads On Blogs is currently compiling some pretty interesting research which will be ready for release in the next week or so. It should make interesting reading and may even put a few noses out of joint! Can't say much more than that at the moment.
However, I thought it might be worth raising a gripe I have encountered during the course of visiting literally thousands of blogs. The gripe is this - What are some blogs about?
I have pitched up to so many supposed A-list blogs and wondered what is meant to be the theme here? Where's the explanation for what this blog stands for? If there is an explanation it's quite often tucked away or full of self congratulatory techno blather. Give me a simple synopsis of a few words and I'd be happy. Whether these blogs are aiming for a subliminal experience of discovery I don't know. What I do know is that most people are time precious and want to know what a blog is about within seconds of landing on a home page.
Obviously I hope there's no confusion about what Ads On Blogs deals with. I know we drift slightly off topic sometimes but the clue is in the title!!

Explosion in Readership Spells Good News For Blog Advertising

Some interesting info from Business Blog Insight on the explosion of blog readership which should be music to the ears of advertisers and bloggers alike.
"Internet Tracking results indicated in the first quarter of 2005 nearly 50 million blog readers a 45% increase since Q1 2004. " The interesting part for advertisers is that these readers predominantly comprise affluent Americans earning in excess of $70K and above.
According to Business Blog Insight there are some other juicy marketing facts released in the ComScore Blog Report
1. Blog visitors are 11 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have incomes of $75,000 or more.
2. Blog visitors are 30 percent more likely than the average Internet user to live in households where the household head is 18 to 34 years old.
3. Blog visitors are 11 percent more likely to access the Internet (from either home or work) using a broadband connection.

Will Blogs Make The Press Release Redundant?

Interesting post at Search Engine Journal on how blogs are becoming the tool of choice in manipulating PR exposure.
E.g: "Yahoo has taken a more intimate approach to announcing new product offerings from Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Search and Y Search Marketing on the Yahoo Search Blog" The beauty of this blog in particular is that it allows interaction between reader and publisher, something that is becoming increasingly restricted on some of the bigger blogs.
Others who have joined the bandwagon are Ask Jeeves Blog and MSN Search’s WebLog often using the blog as an alternative to a standard press release.
Personally I am finding the utilistaion of blogs in PR, marketing and advertising fascinating. Developments seem to be occurring at break neck speed and I'm holding on for the ride!!

Blogger Tool For Adsense

Problogger picked up on a new Blogger tool for adding and blending Adsense into your template. It also allows users to preview before going live with their ads. For further info see Blogger Help : How do I put AdSense on my blog?

Maximise Your Blog Advertising Revenues

If you're interested in maximising your blog advertising revenues it might be worth considering some of the new gizmos Google have in their toolbox.
1. Recognize traffic trends on your site with Urchin.
2. Have some video content with Google Video.
3. Embed Google's interactive maps using Google Maps API into your web pages with JavaScript.
4. Help people discover more of your web pages with Google Sitemaps. Which apparently helps improve your site’s representation in the Google index.
For further info on Google's growing list of gizmos take a look at the publisher tools site.

22 September 2005

Business Week Wins Best Google Blog Search Review

If you want to read a nice succinct review of Google's Blog Search go no further than this one by Stephen Baker at Business Week. It pretty much encapsulates all the pluses and minuses without the reems of techno jargon I've seen on other sites. (Via Micro Persuasion)

Million Dollar Blog Advertising

They say the simplest ideas are the best and they don't come any simpler than this one. According to Problogger a young enterprising guy in the UK has set up a blog entitled the Million dollar Home Page in an attempt to raise some money for his university tuition.
Quite simply you buy advertising on his home page in 100 pixel blocks at $100 each. $74,000 dollars worth of pixels have already been purchased out of the million available. Judging by his blog the growth in traffic has been phenomenal and a little tricky to cope with.
Personally I think Darren Rowse of Problogger ought to consider this guy as a guest contributer to the "six figure blogging course"! Alternatively he should consider setting up his own course named "six figure blogging in six weeks"!!!

Targeting High Value Adsense

If you're struggling with your Adsense revenues it maybe worth considering which ads are the most valuable. But how do you target higher value ads ?
Diane Massy confirms in her recent post that "there is no information provided by Google on what advertisiers are paying", but suggests using the Overture/Yahoo pricing tool as a comparison. She explains "Type in a keyword or phrase and the tool lists the advertisers using that word and how much they have paid."
Using this information as a guide to what's going on at Google can enable some subtle tweaking of your blog to accomodate words that attract the higher value ads. I guess the health warning with this is that you shouldn't implement this strategy at the expense of your content. As with SEO it's all about striking a balance.

21 September 2005

Blog Drives Business at English Cut

As we reported in our business blog success stories on the 15th September - English Cut is making waves and a mention in the New York Times to boot!
Specialising in bespoke tailored suits for the rich and famous including Prince Charles, Bryan Ferry and Graydon Carter, English Cut had some pretty good material (Apologies for the pun) from which to create a business blog.

The content targets a high value niche and is rapidly creating a bit of a buzz around the art of bespoke tailoring. This strikes me as such an excellent example of how to utilise the power of blogs in promoting a business. It's subtle and easygoing with a refreshingly uncluttered feel.

Check out his most recent posts which are really quite fascinating:

1. Savile Row Who's Who. A brief introduction to the famous firms on Savile Row, so the first time you walk down it, you won't feel a complete stranger.

2. How To Spot A Drunken Tailor. The pubs around Savile Row that the tailors all frequent.

3. In Manhattan. Every three months, I visit my customers in America. This article explains the nuts and bolts of how Savile Row tailors generally operate on the other side of the pond. [NB: details of my next U.S. visit in October are here.

4. Why Use Thomas? What you're getting if you decide to have me as your tailor, as opposed to the other wonderful firms on the Row.

5. How To Draft A Pattern. Every bespoke Savile Row customer will have his suit cut from a unique individual cutting pattern, hand-drafted by his tailor. This article lists the three main techniques used on Savile Row, including "Rock Of Eye", which is my specialty.

6. The Three Main Fittings. A guide to the Skeletal Baste, the Forward, and the Finish Bar Finish i.e. the 3 main fittings needed for a Savile Row suit.

7. What If You Only Have £200? Classic tailoring on a limited budget: my advice.

8. Worsteds And Super Numbers. An article about the basic cloths used in Savile Row tailoring.

9. Mr. Cameron. An article about one of the greatest tailors of all time, the man who taught my teacher, Dennis Halberry, back at Anderson & Sheppard.

10. Mr. Sheppard's Shears. The story behind my pair of cutting shears.

I can only congratulate Mr Mahon on what is a wonderfully innovative blog topic and wish him further success in the future.

BBC Using Contextual Ad Headlines in RSS Feeds

According to Brian Morrissey of Adweek the BBC is launching a marketing campaign that streams headlines into RSS banner ads. The campaign will focus on the, Washington Post and various entertainment sites which will incorporate contextual BBC headlines as ad units.
Alan Booth controller of marketing at the BBC is quoted in Adweek as saying "Simply having a good message isn't good enough. We feel they're more likely to click through on headlines than if we just had a great slogan or piece of creative."
Gavin Marshall of Agency Republic who is running the BBC account is quoted as saying " already receives 50 percent of its visitors from the United States, with potential for growing that audience, particularly with foreign affairs at the top of the national agenda."
(Story via Micropersuasion)

20 September 2005

Alternative Contextual Advertising

If you're thinking about alternatives to Google and Yahoo's contextual advertising then you may want to consider Kontera. According to Revenews Kontera uses Adlinks instead of Ad units. These Adlinks "highlight particular words already in a publisher’s text and present ads in a floating tool tip, only when a user mouses over." This strikes me as an excellent way to minimize clutter on your web pages while maximising relevancy to content.
Joel Comm of Revenews has experimented with Kontera and has found revenues to be encouraging, although there seems to be some ambiguity about whether Adlinks on the same page as Adsense are in breach of Google's TOS.

18 September 2005

Blog Advertising Used to Promote TV

According to Marketer Today there have been reports of TV executives either utilising or considering to utilise blog advertising. VH1, TBS, and PBS are believed to have already experimented with advertising on various blogs to promote upcoming television programs.
A PBS publicist is reported to have said "There aren't a lot of places where you can spend $1500 - $5000 and get that much exposure and to such a targeted audience."
Marketer Today noted "A week of the most expensive ad space, the premium spot on Daily Kos, a weblog with political analysis from a liberal perspective, costs $5,000; in a recent week the site received more than 5 million visitors."
Given the attractive demographic of blog readers and relatively low cost of advertising inventory it seems likely that other networks will follow suit.
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