Swedish marketing weekly Dagens Media [not online] has done a survey among 50 marketing managers on large companies in Sweden, about how they rate different communications channels. They got to grade their willingness to invest in “untraditional” marketing channels from 1 to 7, the later figure representing the largest interest. Blogs are at the very bottom along with viral marketing (figures for 2005 in brackets).
Market PR 5.4 (5.3)
PR/lobbying 5.2 (5.1)
Internet advertising 5.0 (4.8)
Events 4.9 (4.8)
Search engine advertising 4.6 (3.8)
Email 4.1 (3.9)
Sponsoring 4.0 (3.8)
Action marketing 3.8 (3.6)
Advertorials 3.7 (3.1)
Web tv 3.4 (2.8)
3g/sms/mms 3.3 (2.6)
Own tv productions 2.8 (2.9)
Blogs 2.7 (-)
Viral marketing 2.7 (2.2)
It’s hardly a surprise that blogs rate low if you look at it from an advertising perspective. Marketing managers are sensitive to the environment in which their brand will be exposed and blogs are by nature difficult to evaluate unless you are very good at cherry-picking. But blog advertising can be inexpensive and have higher click-through rate than other online campaigns. A successful example is how Audi generated 85% of its traffic with the 15% of the overall budget it spent on blog advertising, during the Art of the Heist campaing.
Besides, investing in blogs can of course also include setting up your own corporate blogs. Instead, advertorials are on the rise [shudder] among Swedish marketing managers.
An interesting comparison can be made with this survey of US ad executives by the American Advertising Federation. The respondents “generally have a more positive view of user-generated content sites, like Myspace, YouTube and Facebook, than blogs”:
• While 24% have advertised on a blog and 7% plan to do so in the next year, 19% have advertised on a user-generated content site, and 14% plan to do so in the next year
• Blogs are considered to be relatively riskier than user-generated content sites, with 62% agreeing with the statement that “blogs are too risky to advertised with due to lack of predictability of the editorial environment,” and 53% agreeing with the same statement about user generated content
• 76% were concerned about “the ability to control brand/product image” on blogs, as opposed to 67% for user-generated content sites
• While 70% said that blogs are “useful for niche advertising, but will not have an effect on major accounts,” only 41% agreed with the statement when applied to user-generated content sites
• 91% said that advertisers “should exploit the viral marketing opportunities” of user-generated content sites, while 81% said the same of blogs
In my recent survey (pdf) of 700 Swedish blog readers, 34.2% said that they had ever clicked on an advert on a blog. With better targeting to niche blogs and more knowledge about creative execution, this share should rise.