Six Apart Selling Sponsored 'Conversations', Sprint Is First Advertiser

  |  May 12, 2010   |  Comments

Ad product aims to help brands engage blog audiences by asking good questions.

Ads with social components built in are easy to spot these days. Facebook's Engagement Ads, Twitter's Promoted Tweets, and Federated Media's "conversational" ad network are all examples. This week brings a new entry to the field, courtesy of blogging platform Six Apart.

Six Apart has developed an ad format that uses sponsored questions to help brands engage with blog audiences. Called TypePad Conversations, the product consists of a module that publishers can embed on their pages and use to spark conversations with readers in a sponsored format. Reader responses appear on the individual sites where the module is hosted, and can also be aggregated in a hub on the advertiser's site, Facebook page, or standalone destination.

The key selling point for advertisers, according to Six Apart CEO Chris Alden, is the new ad product that lets advertisers foster real conversations on a large number of sites while also being easy to buy. Ads are sold on a CPM basis, and bloggers get paid the same revenue share they would for Six Apart's regular display ad sales.

"It's more than a standard IAB format," Alden said. "We're trying to give advertisers high engagement without being overbearing. No one's been able to do that with a large number of blogs."

San Francisco-based Six Apart's ad network reaches approximately 90 million U.S. unique users on thousands of sites, according to April data from comScore. Its mass reach approach is different from competitors like Federated Media, which reps social ad inventory on a more select list of between 150 and 200 sites and reaches approximately 35 million U.S. uniques.

Sprint is the first advertiser to embrace the format, asking questions designed to spur discussion about mobile phones and their role in our lives. Six Apart mobilized a group of influential blogs to participate in the Sprint campaign. They include JessicaGottlieb.com, BettyConfidential.com, and Geekweek.com.

Though the campaign just started, engagement seems to be happening already. Yesterday on JessicaGottlieb.com and BettyConfidential.com, two sites geared toward women and mothers, Sprint sponsored this question: "Do your kids respond better and faster when you text or call them?" Replied one reader, "My daughter loves to leave me voice messages and usually only texts me when she wants to buy something!"

But as with any ad that tries to provoke discussion, there's the chance of backfire. So it should come as no surprise that the tenor of Sprint's early TypePad Conversations is not always kind to the brand.

Take the responses to this perhaps overly-specific question from Sprint: "If you could connect up to 5 devices at a time using just your mobile phone, how would that change how and when you access the internet?"

Of the 13 responses posted since the question went live, most are perplexed or dismissive. "I would not have any desire to," said one. "I've got a Verizon MiFi, which does the same thing without the phone part," said another.

sixapart-convo.jpg Follow Zach Rodgers on Twitter at @zachrodgers.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Sales Planner
      Sales Planner (Verve ) - New YorkAbout Verve   Verve is the leader in location powered mobile advertising. We manage one of the largest mobile...
    • Systems Analyst/Support
      Systems Analyst/Support (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreIRIS (Increased Revenue Intuitive Software ) is proprietary software that helps marketers...
    • Client Services Support Specialist
      Client Services Support Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - Delray Beach OVERVIEW:  This position requires a highly motivated and resourceful individual...