We've heard for years that online advertising generally isn't credible, is an annoyance, and that people are becoming adept at ignoring it. The ideal, we've heard (and, admittedly, preached) is to engage people in conversations about your company.

Largely, I'd say that the reason for this is that advertisers are treating online advertising as they would print advertising, very little difference in format, except that it clicks through to a landing page.

IBM is doing something interesting with their online advertising though, which I thought would be useful to model if you're handling the advertising for a large company that often appears in the press: they're combining the credibility of PR with the control that advertising offers.

As you can see in the ad below (from the NYT online), the advert basically aggregates some recent articles about IBM:

IBM Advert

This innovative ad format takes PR and recycles it into a paid advertising that is quite effective. However it competes with more current editorial a reader is likely visiting the site to consume.

Like similar programs from Google, efforts like these unlock the hidden value in thousands of articles deep inside archives. It takes what's old and makes it monetizable.

Essentially they're turning archived content into a form of advertising that's more credible than static, generally poor-performing banners.


AuthorDave Duarte
15 CommentsPost a comment

We've just launched a little Facebook application for Quest Flexible Staffing Solutions called the "Work Personality Quiz".

It is a psychometric test designed to tell people their work personality type, and also open a channel of communication between the participants and . We took a real psychometric test, the type which Quest might use to screen job applicants, and adapted the tone of the questions to suit Facebook's fun social environment. We also designed cute cartoon characters to embody the different personality types. Once a person adds the application, and takes the 10 minute test, the cartoon character appears on their profile. The design is catchy, and the concept is designed to spread. At the end of the test, applicants can opt in to receive job offers from Quest based on their personality profile - which ties the test into a real-world benefit.

The three primary outcomes we sought in designing the concept were:
1. To position and brand Quest as an innovator in the Flexible Staffing Solutions space,
2. To generate qualified, interested leads for Quest jobs,
3. Give people an interesting work-related experience associated with Quest,

The outcomes have also been mapped to the 5 letters of QUEST - Questioner, Understander, Energizer, Soldier, and Terrier. There is also two rare secret characters which some people might discover to their delight, or their dismay.

We decided to go with a Personality Profiling application, because people on Facebook like to share information about themselves with their friends. This is intimate, and likely to be passed on.

The personality quiz is not only fun, but it is scientific and accurate. This, we believe, will get people excited about sharing the application, and seeing what the work personalities of their friends and colleagues are.

Facebook is not a space for business - it is a social space. Companies attempting to engage consumers on this platform need to be mindful of their tone - and balance the need to maintain professionalism, with the need to connect with people in that context in a personal way. This was an important part of putting the app together.
Checkit out HERE and let me know what you think!

AuthorDave Duarte
10 CommentsPost a comment
StavrosYou must checkout this stunning campaign by Nokia, called "Position Art". Oh my word, Max and I watched and laughed for minutes! Best of all, there's no Nokia branding on the site - it just so happens that the character, Stavros uses the N82 phone to create his art.

It asks people to participate in helping Stavros, a wacky egomaniac artist, to creae art in beautiful cities around the world, using GPS tracking and the landscape as your canvas.

Brilliant! It says exactly what it needs to, positions the phone as a powerful navigational device, and doesn't make me wary of being tricked or lied to with the usual big logos and condescending copywriting. I want an N82 now!

Thanks to Uwe for the heads up.

Update: Lol! Forgot to share the link... HERE!
AuthorDave Duarte
18 CommentsPost a comment
This is becoming an increasingly common question in meetings and marketing strat sessions that I attend, even among the traditionalists: "How can we engage the top bloggers in South Africa?".

So this post is for the SA Bloggers who would like to make some decent money from their blogs on the side. I know that this is not everyone, as there are some people who would prefer not to get involved with corporations or marketing. And yes, I'm aware that dollar-blogging has its critics.

They're not all bad guys

The corporate marketers that I've chatted to have done their research. They are clued up about the advantages, risks and best-practices around the blogosphere. They're not here to dictate the message, in fact they're looking for people who can maintain their credibility with their audience over time. i.e. people with opinions.

The Aggregators

Another thing that I've noticed at most of these meetings is printouts from Amatomu and Afrigator of the top bloggers in the various categories. One wise marketer even had a printout of the most active users on Muti!

So these things count, your rankings count.

Media Buyers

So how can you engage?

  • Well, obviously the first step is to get more serious about your blogging. Do it regularly and often. Choose good headlines and participate actively in the community.

  • Choose your subject carefully and stick to it. Media buyers are looking for relevance and a specific audience.

  • Use Google Analytics to track your stats. This is useful because it's a standard analytics package that media-buyers can use as a reference. You can also give them login access to view the information live and unedited, which increases trust.

  • Be professional. Brand managers typically don't want to be associated with crudeness, no matter what kind of traffic you're getting.

  • Have a rate card. Know what your real-estate is worth.

  • Don't use mainstream online media as a pricing reference, you can charge a higher CPM as a blogger because of the relationship value and feedback mechanisms offered by blogs.

Besides Advertising

There are other ways to make money from your blog:

  • Research: If you can help with surveys, or get comments and feedback from your users about a particular question, then this would perhaps be an even better investment by marketers. Good qualitative research doesn't come cheap.

  • Campaign Strategies: As experienced as these marketers are, the world of Social-Media and the blogosphere is completely new to them. There's much demand for people who can make this space simpler to navigate.

  • Reviews: You might not get paid to do reviews, but certainly a major perk of being a prominent blogger is all the gadgets and products you can get sent to try out - from cars to cellphones - review bloggers have it good. Sometimes they even let you keep it:)

  • Blogger2go: Writing for the blogosphere is almost an art. There's alot of other bloggers out there, so to get noticed is no small feat. Put on your taxonomy/folsonomy; SEO; Linking; SMM; ORM; CSS; HTML; Photography; Videography; Podcasting and Networking hats all at the same time, and get paid to blog for businesses.

  • The Indirect Approach: Even though I don't sell advertising on this blog, it is still a tremendous asset and income generator for me. I monetize my work here through the business leads it generates through people picking it up on Google, or readers in companies contacting me about work. If I have capacity I do the work myself, or if not I can usually refer these leads on to someone else for commission.

An Inconvenient Truth

Unfortunately, the sponsorship train doesn't stop for everyone. The reason that most companies want to get involved in the blogosphere is because of the viral aspects of it. i.e. They'd prefer to pay a few people, who would then inspire their blogger mates to write more about the company/product/service for free.

Will the Real ProBloggers Please Stand Up?

I know that there are people in SA making a healthy income on the side from their blogs, mainly off affilliate revenue, and a few advertisers. Are you also? Do you want to? What other advice would you give. Also, do you think this is bad for the blogosphere, or supportive?
AuthorDave Duarte
47 CommentsPost a comment
AdMobI just saw that AdMob recently served its 5billionth mobile ad. Wow.

What was extra-interesting is that South Africa is their second largest market globally. 15% of their ad impressions are served here - close to 70million a month.

The publishers in AdMob’s network have been categorised into five primary content channels. Of the five channels, ‘Communities’ and ‘Downloads’ far outweigh ‘Portals’, ‘News and Information’, and ‘Entertainment’ in terms of traffic. The traffic breakdown by channel is:

1. Communities: 45 %
2. Downloads: 44%
3. Portals : 8%
4. Entertainment: 2%
5. News and Information: 1%

The most popular channel, Community, contains sites that have aggregated user content in some form or another. These mobile sites may include discussion groups, mobile page building services, forums, or even dating sites.

I might be stating the obvious, but the prevalence of Community and Downloads at the top of the list confirms that people are still far more interested in using their handsets to keep up with their friends than they are interested in consuming commercially produced content on the small screen.
AuthorDave Duarte
3 CommentsPost a comment