GourmetStation Blog - Ad Blog Campaign (4)


Gourmet_station_ad2_12_04 GourmetStation's blog ad campaign is a week into the 2-week campaign. Although we had a few challenges with the administrative end of Blogads (up loading graphics and payment system; since each ad had a different promotional, tracking code we couldn't purchase in quantity) it was not a complex process.

So in the sentiment of my new direct marketing pal, Bob Bly, have we seen ROI? No, not yet. In fact, the click throughs have been disappointing.

TowleRoad is pulling in the most hits. Could be that the ad for this blogGourmet_station_ad_12_04_2 (graphic below) is targeted to the audience.  At $85 it was our most expensive buy. 

A Small Victory is coming in with the second highest hits. Perhaps winning the 2004 Best Weblog - Best Culture Blog category will drive more traffic and someone will click and buy. By the way, the very creative I Blogger "song" is worth a visit. And much better than the "My Top Posts of 2004" lists that seem to be making the blogosphere rounds.

Betsy's Page and The Food Section are pulling some and then it's a bobsled ride on an icy hill from there. GourmetStation Holiday Campaign is also running on: Socialite Life, The Hedgehog Report, Cathy's World, Home School and Other Education Stuff, A Full Belly, Professor Bainbridge; the evangelical out post and Lip-Sticking

As Donna, GourmetStation's prez says, let's see what the next week brings . In the meantime, we'll tweak the text. Could be as another new blogging friend, Robert  Scoble, keeps reminding me we're 6 months to a year too soon. But gosh, darn we really want this to work...now!


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This is interesting. The blog that has the highest priced ad is getting the most clicks. It's also...in the group, I think, the most edgy blog. This experiment is very important to all of us...those showing an ad, and those not. We owe you and GourmetStation a great deal for conducting the experiment online and sharing the results. My unqualified opinion is that they will do much better at Valentine's Day. This is a terrific gift for that special occasion...so much better than flowers! Hello...are the guys and gals listening?

Posted by: Yvonne DiVita on Dec 14, 2004 3:13:45 PM

Interesting report, Toby, thank you for posting it!

In a subsequent test, I'd love to see the creative engage more directly with the sensibilities of targetted blog(s).

As you noted, the best clicks came from TowleRoad, where the ad creative gave a nod to the blog's gay readers. Next time, let's nod harder...or wink or nudge or cajole!

The creative for the other blogs could have run anywhere on the Internet. As we discussed before the ads ran, what makes each blog unique is its personality; blogads do best when they engage blog personalities.

Great blogs inspire strong group identities. These groups see the world through a certain set of eyeglasses. They speak in certain codes and fixate on certain issues.

So ads ideally show the advertiser (and the product buyer) to be one of "us" rather than one of "them." Show some friendliness towards a blog's sensibilies and two good things can happen. Readers click AND clickers have positive disposition as they engage your offer.

Here's a thought experiment that pushes this strategy to its logical (and profitable?) extreme.

Every marketer dreams of having a product that appeals to everyone; but most of us would be very happy to sell to 20% of a given marketplace. Consider, for example, Volvo, which sells roughly 100,000 cars a year in the US. What if, rather than simply observing that Volvo drivers tend to be Democrats (65/35), Volvo sought to align itself as THE itself Democratic light vehicle of choice by running ads exclusively in Democratic venues and discounting Volvos to key Democrats?

If a Volvo became an identity badge for Democrats, Volvo might lose 35,000 yearly sales to Republicans, but how many sales, out of the total US sales of 17 million a year, might be gained?

Of course, this is untenable for two reasons. Volvo is owned by Ford and Ford seeks to appeal to Republicans too. And Ford Inc has Republican shareholders.

But what an established, publicly traded company like Ford can't do, a privately owned upstart with a clean-slate brand CAN.

Consider the success of Ben & Jerry's. Heck, if frozen milk can tap into a political sensibility to grow a brand, anything can. Ben and Jerry were happy to forgo ambitions for a certain large market segment, the apolitical ice-cream consumers they could never realistically win anyway, to absolutely own another segment that was reachable.

So let's bring this back to Gourmet Station. I'd love to see a package of ads that appeal very strongly to a particular sensibility and run on key blogs. Gun-rights activists? Girl-scout troop leaders? Bush-detractors? For Gourmet Station, what sensibility is the analog to the eco-liberals Ben & Jerry won over?

Therein may lie a gourmet recipe not only for a great blogad campaign, but for long-term company growth.

Posted by: henrycopeland on Dec 16, 2004 10:18:45 AM

There is a problem with BlogAds in that there is no "split-test" option. Which is an important feature for advertisers in being able to rapidly construct WINNING ads.

I would be curious to see what a text ad would do.

The ads are pretty, but short on benefit laden copy. There is nothing compelling me or asking for the click-through.

The customer always ask "What is in it for me". And frequently "advertorials" pull better because they offer a promise to the prospect.

I am sure Bob Bly would concur. I am one of his AWAI copywriting students. ;)


Jason Cain
Kennesaw, GA

Posted by: Jason Cain on Dec 17, 2004 10:00:48 AM

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