At Sodahead.com, Advertisers Pay to Ask Questions

  |  February 18, 2009   |  Comments

Kohl's and the International Olympic Committee are among the brands using the site's question-based ad offerings.

Sodahead.com, a social media site that lets users pose questions to their peers, is using those questions to help its advertisers target offers.

The site, which has over a million registered users, announced a redesign last week to accommodate a new emphasis on news content. "We didn't want users to have a jarring experience of going to a stylistic site after linking from a news page," said Michael Glazer, one of its founders. The site, which was redesigned by Ideacodes, displays banner ads on the home page, along with new opportunities for ads "that are repositioned to pop out more," he said.

But the real advertising innovation from Sodahead is its ability to target ads to members based on their responses to questions. Recently, it helped Kohl's promote a new style of jeans by asking a question that prompted responses from potential prospects. "We asked, 'Are the Jonas Brothers the new Beatles?' and the ones that answered 'Yes' received advertising from Kohl's," Glazer said. He explained 'Yes' answers were likely to come from young women, Kohl's target audience for this campaign. They received e-mail, which asked a jeans-related question and provided a link to Kohl's Facebook page.

"They were targeting young females in the music genre, so we sent an e-mail that had to do with jeans," Glazer said. "They didn't know it was an ad, because it was like a standard question they often receive."

Kohl's paid set up and per-click fees for the ad, he said.

Sodahead also helped The All American Rejects promote their new album, "When the World Comes Down," by sending questions to the band's fans who are Sodahead members. Recipients could click through to the band's Facebook page.

The site has also begun a campaign for the International Olympic Committee that asks Olympics-related questions. The questions appear on the IOC Facebook page and Web site with questions "e-mailed to some of our users," Glazer said.

Feffer refers to Sodahead's model as "a new level of direct marketing." He said, "We're sending stuff to people not because they filled out a survey, but from their profiles, so it's highly targeted."

Sodahead is not the only social networking site to embrace question-based advertising. Last month, Facebook began offering marketers poll its users within ad units. Careerbuilder and Papa John's are two of the brands leveraging the new format to try and drive engagement.

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