Blogs have changed a great deal over the years and have came far from the private blogging we know it for. It still serves its purpose in airing an individual’s thoughts, views and life. Since its success with LiveJournal in 1999 till today, there are about 160 million public blogs in existence. And like all digital trends, blogs became a tool for advertising and marketing. From businesses to political figures, corporations and influential people have started their own blogs to engage with the public and establish an online presence. If you think about it, these blogs are a relatively cheap marketing and public relation tool for these personalities and organisations.

The setting up of a blog is basically free and the only costs incurred is probably just hiring someone to design the blog. Many companies have internal blogs on their websites while others set up their blogs on third party sites, like WordPress! The only challenge is to create content which will attract people to the website and encourage them to return for more. But what if the consumers know nothing about your blog?

That’s where blog sponsorship comes in. Your company blog may not have reached your audience but you could definitely count on the A-list bloggers to reach them. A-list bloggers need not publicize their vacancy for sponsorship; they are usually approached directly by companies or have a blog advertising company to manage the clients. The sponsorship could range from a banner on the blog to product engagement and review by the popular bloggers. All the company has to do is find bloggers that can relate to it’s products and have similar target audiences. These sponsorships are relatively cheaper than regular display advertising and companies can benefit from the affinity the audience have with the blog.

It is essential that companies and organisations invest in promoting their blogs in the initial phase to drive quality traffic to them. Then it should rest on captivating the readers in the long run.

Using what I learnt in one of my course subjects in university, here’s a few simple ways you can improve your blogs.

  • Update your blog frequently: No one follows a blog that seldom have updates. Its boring.
  • Break apart chunks of texts with pictures, videos or bullet points: Captivating the reader’s already limited attention is key.
  • Encourage reader participation and engage with them: Give your readers a reason to come back.
  • Provide fresh content or interesting insights: No one wants to read the same content from another blog.
  • Linking with other blogs that have similar content: Shows your blog engages the blogging community. Also improves your SEO.

When used intelligently, a blog is a great way to channel traffic to your company website or engage your target audience. Just remember, “Its not about being narcissistic, its about being a good story teller.

Do you own a corporate blog or know anything about them? Share your tips and difficulties with me! Leave it in my comments!

We are beginning to see a shift of media consumption from the TV and the computer towards mobile devices. Soon there will be more tablets and phones than there are PCs. Gone are the days where we will take the subway and see fellow commuters readings newspapers or magazines. Today’s image of a typical subway cabin is pretty much this.

But despite the rapid rise in mobile media consumption, the growth in mobile advertising spend is sluggish. Derek Thompson shared that consumers spend 10% of their media attention on their mobile devices and yet the medium only answers for 1% of the total industrial ad spend. The opposite can be said for print media, which only commands 7% of our media time but holds a whopping 25% of the total ad spend. This really emphasizes the potential of advertising on the mobile!

But the advertising on mobile has had interesting developments. We have seen really ground breaking innovations with mobile advertising over the past 3 years. One of which is campaigns that use a mobile device’s geolocation capabilities. There are thousands of ways advertisers can use geolocational capabilities within their ad campaigns. Like the MINI getaway case study I did, this Nestle ad campaign is another great example.

Another creative way of using mobile devices would be augmented reality. These either work with your phone’s GPS or an app that picks up codes to activate the 3 dimensional or dimensional augmented reality.

Marrying outdoor media and mobile is another interactive and fresh way of executing a campaign. Outdoor billboards can utilize a mobile device’s capabilities to allow consumers to interact with outdoor media.

Lastly, the use of QR codes, which are probably the easiest to implement. This is probably the best example of how QR codes can be creatively used for a campaign.

It won’t be long till we see new technologies that will change the mobile advertising universe. With technologies like the coming 4G networks that allow for fast speed downloads and 3D and HD graphics, the mobile landscape would become an ideal sandbox for advertisers to create interactive and creative ad campaigns.

What other technologies do you feel will surface? Share them with us and leave a comment!

Are the ads on social networks even remotely effective? That is the question often pondered on by social network users. We see them every day when we use Facebook, but how many of us take notice of them? Let alone click on them?

As you are reading this.. Without switching to your Facebook tab, try to recall an ad you might have seen.

It is no surprise that you’re having some difficulty. Social network ads are small and non-invasive compared to the regular animated flash banners we see on most sites. They are placed out of the usual reading pattern of users and consist mostly of a small thumbnail and text.


Unless you’re on Ren Ren, the Facebook of China’s youth, who have flash banners in close proximity to the social content. You’re unlikely to be paying attention to the advertisement’s message.

I know its shocking but companies have sworn that social media advertising actually works! Despite the recent GM Facebook ad campaign failure, big brands like Ford and Coke have found value in Facebook advertising and intend to expand its use of the advertising platform. Others like Joseph Perla think that Facebook ads are no different from a ponzi scheme. He and some others raised a compelling argument that the fat advertising returns posted by Facebook is not sustainable mainly due to the fact that the influx of advertisers it is experiencing is only going to be momentary. When advertisers both big and small have experienced Facebook and discovered that their ROI is abysmal, Facebook’s main revenue source will dry up and they would soon be killed by the next social network.

So who’s right and who’s wrong? Are brands like Ford and Coke enjoying a temporary success on Facebook? In my opinion, it depends on what your campaign objectives are. If you are looking to sell a laptop on Facebook, then you’ll probably get more sales going door to door. Facebook ads seldom work well if sales is your KPI and especially if your product costs more than a box of cereal. Apps, games and easily redeemed vouchers on the other hand seem to do better due to its relevance to social networking. The ads would work well if you are looking to raise the number of fans on your Facebook page, raising awareness or simply driving traffic. Here are a couple of tips for you to make the best out of social network ads.

  1. Social networks allow for ads to be targeted but ads have to be relevant.
  2. Ads have a tight character limit, so make your call to action compelling, clear and concise.
  3. Experiment and rotate creatives and copies to get the best click-through rate.
  4.  Have a strong value proposition to encourage users to click
  5. Due to its obscure location, ads should try to be as disruptive as possible. Copies like “EXCLUSIVE TO FB USERS” or “50% OFF”.

Click here to see examples of effective social network ads.

Though there is a huge controversy as to the effectiveness of social network ads, I (like many others) have personally had successful campaigns on Facebook. In my opinion, the results are really subjective and would depend heavily on your campaign’s KPI and creatives.

What do you think? Share your experiences with me! Leave a comment!

Old Spice, once a dying brand (because their core customers were actually dying), was associated with the seniors and was shunned by the young. But yet now it is hard to find a digital native that has never heard of Old Spice. Since its re-branding campaign that took Youtube by storm in 2010, the Old Spice Youtube channel has had close to 297 million views.

Th re-branding campaign featured former NFL wide receiver, Isiah Mustafa, as the Old Spice Guy. The campaign was a great application of  both video and social media. It captivated the audience with creative and spontaneous videos and gave personalised marketing through social media.

The ads had the winning formula, which made the campaign spread like wildfire across the Internet. Allowing Old Spice to become the top brand on consumer’s minds when it came to scented body products for men for the rest of that year. The buzz around the brand was astounding. But there were skeptics that felt the brand couldn’t maintain its position once the hype of the campaign died down.

Old Spice answered the skeptics with another Youtube and social media driven campaign in 2011 (if its not broken don’t fix it right?). They cleverly put a twist to the Old Spice Guy relationship with fans. Introducing Fabio, the contesting new Old Spice guy, asking Isiah out for a duel. Fabio is a long shot from Isiah Mustafa and is a tad bit thick-headed, though he does entertain in his own disturbing way. This entry of the ‘bad guy‘  rejuvenated the 2010 campaign in an uproar of support from Isiah’s fans.

(click here for a full list of Fabio’s ads)

The campaign saw the two fighting to respond to the Old Spice fans and ended in a challenge for the most number of votes (which was not really a challenge after all, since most people hated Fabio). The campaign ended with a face to face confrontation between Fabio and Isiah.

The revival campaign in 2011 was a success and it got the Internet buzzing over Old Spice again. Old Spice had the winning formula for marketing the brand and at a low cost too, due to the usage of Youtube to host their videos and responses.

They carried on their whacky and entertaining commercials in 2012 and hired a new spokesperson, actor and former NFL player, Terry Crews to promote their line of deodorant. The brand first introduced Terry Crews as its new spokesperson through creatively outrageous TV commercials.

These commercials were once again loved by the public and it spread through the social networks quickly. Just recently in August, Old Spice worked with online video player, Vimeo, and released an interactive viral video into the online social sphere. The video allowed viewers to use various parts of Terry’s body to make music after the advert finished playing. Viewers are encouraged to record and share their music with their friends (here’s why it became viral).

Wieden & Kennedy, the ad agency responsible for all these great campaigns from Old Spice, has won numerous awards like the 2011 annual Effie awards and the 2011 Adcolor awards.

I hope they will keep the zany and creative ads coming! How about you? What do like most about the Old Spice campaigns? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing have been an essential part to online advertising in the past decade and are often thought to be the same. Both aims to help a site appear on the first page of search results. But are they one and the same? I hope after reading this blog post, you would be able to discern what is SEO and SEM on your search result page.

This screenshot would quickly help you differentiate between the two. The ads you see during a search would be SEM. They are always labelled as ads and appear highlighted in beige and on the side for Google search while the organic search results would be attributed to SEO.

SEO

To improve a site’s organic listing, site owners have to optimize their site’s link building and utilizing keywords throughout the site. This is all done on the website and it would need extensive planning so as not to commit keyword stuffing. SEO takes lots of effort and time for a site to climb the organic search listings but it is a more cost-effective way of bringing traffic and sustaining traffic to your site.

SEM

Think of SEM as a paid and easier way to appear on the first page of search results. Though it is not necessarily better than SEO, it is definitely faster in getting traffic to a site. SEM is faster due to the fact that you are paying search engines to place your site amongst the search results. SEM generally goes by a bidding system. You bid on the keywords you want by either placing a bid through the cost-per-click or cost-per-mille (cost per thousand views) model. The higher your bid the better your SEM ranking.

Ideally, SEO and SEM should be used together to ensure sustainable traffic to a site. Here’s how SEO and SEM can deliver optimum results for a site.

  1. A new site should start with SEO. When done properly, SEO should be able to maintain a sites traffic and would keep competitors at bay as SEO is not easy to replicate in a short time. Savvy users would prefer to click on an organic search result rather than a SEM advert.
  2. Once a site is search engine optimized, its is time to give the site launch a little push with SEM. SEM would increase the awareness of your site instantly and serve as an introduction phase to a site. SEM will also allow for better control over keyword associations and help build links to a site.
  3. Once the site has built sufficient links and have enjoyed substantial awareness, SEM can be paused and SEO can run its course to sustain the traffic of the site. SEM can be re-activated as and when traffic is slipping.

There are many creative ways SEO and SEM can be implemented. I have only managed a few search campaigns and would like to learn from your experiences. So leave a comment on your thoughts of SEO and SEM or share your search campaign experiences with me!

Have you ever watched a music video and while grooving to the tunes, suddenly feel like you are watching a scene from an advertisement? Well, your senses are not wrong because technically you were grooving to an advertisement. I personally think they did a better job in the past when they subliminally advertised to you in a split second. Lately, the product placements are just getting more and more invasive. The camera literally stays on the product for a good 3 seconds or more! Some even have a scene that looks so disjoint and forcefully stitched into the music video just for the sake of commercializing it. Maybe I’m just extra sensitive to it being from an advertising background but it really seems overdone. You’ll be the judge.

This first one is an example of subtle product placements that are almost unnoticeable. The videos get more obvious and absurd as we reach the last example.

Billionaire

I like how subtle the placements are in this music video. Though Mini has a lot of time on screen, it doesn’t come across as obvious and invasive. Vespa and Tuborg appear briefly in the music video as well.

On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez

The music video starts off with two painfully obvious product placements, BMW and Swarovski both appearing for 7 seconds! A more subtle placement of the alcohol brand, Crown Royal, appears at 2.33.

Where Them Girls At by David Guetta

This music video’s product placements are probably the most invasive. Its not about how long the products stay on screen. Its about how obvious the placement is. Right at the start of the music video you will see 3 full seconds of Ice Watch on David’s wrist. At 1.22, you’ll see Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play for a whopping 4 full seconds. You’ll see a couple of more shots of the ice watch when David is mixing. Then, comes my favourite product placement in the video at 3.10. A 3 second advertisement of the Renault Twitzy which looks so forcefully stitched into the video.

Telephone by Lady Gaga

I hereby crown Lady Gaga as the queen of commercializing her music videos. Though not as invasive as Where Them Girls At, Lady Gaga’s Telephone is laid with a total of 6 product placements. At 1.33, you will briefly see her beats earphones. I find this placement acceptable and subliminal to an average user. But the 2 second Virgin Mobile LG placement at 2.06 is unbearable if you notice how the hand actually holds out the phone so obviously. This comes back to haunt the viewer at 4.15. Then comes subtle Diet Coke placements in her hair starting at 2.16. HP’s beats laptop enters the fray at 4.23. Polaroid joins the party at 5.36 right smack in the centre on the video. Kraft joins last at 6.41.

Maybe we are to blame for all of this. With all our illegal music downloads, the music industry needed to commercialize and use music video like real estate. I guess we’ll have to get used to these placements if it becomes an advertising trend. If you have came across any other music videos with unbearable advertising, please share the youtube link in my comments!