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Effective Online Advertising

Over at ReveNews, advertising impresario Brian Clark has the scoop on effective ways to advertise on blogs and build buzz for your campaign. (He's talking Audis, but the rules apply to politicians.)

First, he gets into the question of why blog advertising has a ripple effect far beyond the initial clickthrus.

People tend to blog about what they see on other blogs they read: the percentage of blog readers who actually also have blogs might surprise you. Call it nepotism, call it a connected community, call it a global feedback loop, call it influencer marketing. So your bonus ripples are that you start seeing blog entries describing the experience of having discovered the campaign (testimonial meets fresh incoming hyperlinks) that typically start with a description of where they heard about it. Which frequently starts with where exactly they interacted with the part of your marketing campaign that sucked them in at the beginning.

The point? Well, as the advertiser you can help along the viral spread of the buzz - by introducing blog readers/writers to other blogs talking about your campaign. Cue Brian:

Instead of linking to the campaign directly in the text of the ads we instead used pull quotes linking to other people's blog entries about the campaign. It raised eyebrows from some of the sites we linked to, but it also produced more traffic than most of "direct link heavy" ads we ran in the sequence -- about the same number of clicks through BlogAds audited links, fewer clicks in the referrer logs from the sites we were advertising on, but a surge in traffic from the particular blog entries we were quoting and linking to.

Of course, you have to actively manage the campaign. And a big part of that is continually adding surprise and discovery to the process. Most blog ads run for 1-2 weeks, and never change up the creative. But blog readers are an addicted bunch, and they'll tune out pretty fast once a ad achieves wallpaper status. Again, Brian:

The other core piece of advice when working with a community advertising format like BlogAds: the longest we let a creative run on the Heist was 4 days (and that's because the response on that one was exceptionally good.) Usually, we switched out the creative every other day (which meant we had 22 different creatives over the space of 3 weeks) in order to provoke fresh curiousity as often as possible. Which is a big reason why the campaign-wide yield of even small seeding efforts is so good (because we're actively working against the "burn out" of the "exposure effect".)

Now, who wants to talk about starting some buzz?