One of things I like watching on television are advertisements. What would be your favorite Advertisments? Mine would be the old San Miguel Beer Ads the featured comedian Bert “Tawa” Marcelo trying to get pay increase from Subas Herrero or Bert again trying to collect a debt from Bruno Punzulan. Then there is the Dragon Katol commercial that was viral – even before the word viral was used for such videos.
Today, the Internet has tons and tons of information. And in recent years as expected there has been an increase in the number of businesses and organizations using the web to promote an idea/product.
And in blogs and websites you encounter content made to introduce a product, enterprise and in some cases persons to people or prospective clients. Is this bad?
Lets go back to this question later. Some people call this pay per post – lets call it by its older name: advertorial.
WHAT IS AN ADVERTORIAL?
An advertorial is an advertisement written in the form of an objective opinion editorial, and presented in a printed publication—usually designed to look like a legitimate and independent news story.
Advertorials are advertisements that are designed to look like an article , a section or even a periodical (Newspaper or Magazine)
How does this differ from regular articles:
a. It may contain the following words.
- special promotional feature
- special advertising section
- Or even the name of the company/or business
b. It may also be printed differently
Advertorials could be printed as whole new sections or stories. Sometimes these can also be published as whole magazines – for example Airline – In Flight Magazines
HOW NOW WITH THE INTERNET
As you can imagine. With the dawn and rise of the Internet. It did not take long for advertorials to be present in all forms and manner of digital information/knowledge as posts or even as whole blogs.
Lets limit ourselves to blogs and posts for this discussion:
Advertorials exist in blog and posts. The question that rises what is the difference between an advertorial from a post? One way would be that the blogger gets directly paid for an advertorial. As opposed to a post written let say by a blogger who went to press conference or event. The thin line that seperated them is that (one) the blogger is paid and (two) the blogger is bound by agreement to write a post.
When a blogger attends a press conference or an event he has the option to write and decide what direction a post will take. I suppose this is number three difference.
Is this bad or good? And that is a tricky question. Lets go back to this later.
Lets look at a succesful online company that sells advertorial – an Advertorial network:
Like AdFusion – Earns money by placing custom-written articles out on its network for publishers to elect to pick up.
Then you have Newsforce Network tweaks pre-written advertiser content and then places it with editorial partners, much like contextual ad networks do. Newsforce uses also SEO or Search Engine Optimization Techniques to add value to the advertiser.
BLOGS, BLOGGERS AND ADVERTORIAL
Bloggers also get criticized for writing pay per post or writing posts that may even lean towards endorsement of a product and gets paid for it. An interesting case here is that of Chris Brogan who was criticized for writing a post about K-Mart, he was able to answer all questions head on
Chris Brogan in Advertising & Trust
Reading him answer the criticism leveled against him, for me, two important things that was said:
1. A blogger is the writer editor and publisher of the blog.
Lets leave that for a while and take a look at this survey commissioned by AdFusion:
“The national study of 1,074 adults, conducted online by Opinion Research Corporation in March 2009, was sponsored by Adfusion, an article-based advertising network, and a division of ARAnet”
Survey respondents rated their likelihood to read and act upon five types of online advertising: banner ads, pop-up ads, e-mail offers, articles that include brand information, and sponsored search engine links. Respondents said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to read and respond to:
• Articles that include brand information: 51 percent
• Email offers: 47 percent
• Sponsored search engine links: 39 percent
• Banner ads: 25 percent
• Pop-up ads: 13 percent
Further, when asked how frequently they conduct Internet searches for products or services they read about in online articles, half the respondents said “very frequently” or “somewhat frequently.” And again, young and high-income people showed their preference for online articles. Sixty-nine percent of 18-to-24-year-olds said they were likely to conduct a search for products or services based on an article, and 57 percent of those making more than $75,000 per year expressed their likelihood to perform a search.
Limitations of the Study:
1. Done in the United States
2. The survey presents the findings of a sample of 1,074 adults comprising 520 men and 554 women 18 years of age and older, completed on March 9-10, 2009.
Founded in 1996, ARAnet is a leading media company with two products to help its clients reach and win new customers, Adfusion and ARAcontent. Adfusion is an article-based cost per click advertising platform. It is one of the nation’s most dynamic online advertising networks, currently delivering billions of impressions monthly through a network of premium publishing partners. ARAcontent generates feature article placements in print and online publications that build awareness of and sales for its clients’ products and services.
NOW TO THE QUESTION ARE ADVERTORIAL BAD OR GOOD?
My point of view on the matter -
1. In terms of bloggers – disclosure is still important. Specially if you want to keep your readers. Other bloggers or writers my criticize you. They may disagree with you. Even search engines may penalize you. But only your readers will leave you. And (for me) it is important keep the trust of the reader with you. Onne way of doing this discolure – that must be crystal clear and simple.
2. The advertorial has to be entertaining, interesting, informative or all of the three combined and even more.
The bread and width of the digital and virtual world is big enough for an assorted array of bloggers or on-line media practitioners. As a friend once told me to each his own – as long as it does not hurt anyone its fine. The blogger is answerable only to his readers – they who vote with their feet. Unless of course the blogger thinks otherwise. And one must respect that stand.