Break Those Old Media Buying Habits

There’s nothing wrong with being a creature of habit — unless you’re a media buyer, that is.

Buyers and planners tend to return time and again to online advertising strategies they know well. As this affords the ability to use past learning to establish future efficiencies, the approach has produced many an effective campaign.

Depending on the nature of the client, though, it could also be selling them short. There are a lot of exciting new opportunities worthy of exploration. Many of these are similar to more traditional marketing methods, so they don’t require a huge leap of faith.

If You Like Paid Search, Try StumbleUpon

Most marketers already run paid search advertising campaigns. Objectives may include generating additional site traffic or producing sign-ups, downloads, or sales, but most likely they involve promotion of an activity on an advertiser’s site.

If that’s the case, consider an addictive little tool called StumbleUpon. A social bookmarking service, StumbleUpon introduces Internet users to relevant sites they can bookmark and share with friends. After installing the tool, users click on a custom toolbar to meander through the Internet. The service chooses sites based on topics of interest and user ratings of the sites viewed via thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons.

StumbleUpon marketers don’t pay for clicks but for site visits — with pricing starting at $0.05 a pop . They can also cap their daily traffic and ad spend. Instead of delivering text ads to consumers, StumbleUpon delivers the advertiser’s entire site. You pay for your site to be included among those shown to users, targeted by topic of interest, a history of preferred site types (a form of behavioral targeting), or demographic registration data.

According to StumbleUpon, entertainment and content-rich sites achieve the best results; the site must approve all potential advertising submissions. Consider it in particular to promote client microsites, blogs, and viral campaigns.

If You Like iVillage, Try Glam Media

Glam Media launched just a year and a half ago, but already it ranks among the Web’s top sites for women. In March, comScore ranked the site second, behind women’s content stalwart iVillage. It also landed on the comScore Media Metrix Top 100 Web Properties list, with 10 million unique monthly visitors.

A self-described Web 2.0 new media company, Glam operates like an ad network, selling placements on fashion and beauty properties. It differs from an ad network because the majority of these sites are consumer-generated blogs attractive to active consumers and powerful influencers.

In addition to selling standard display units on its sites, Glam produces advertiser-sponsored integrated content for the network’s portal, The company also works with its bloggers to create product reviews. Glossy product spreads are designed to help launch promotions, grow brand awareness, and drive trial and purchases.

An iVillage for Generations X and Y, Glam has much to offer advertisers in the fashion and beauty categories, particularly with its integrated content opportunities. As appealing as its social media angle is, however, marketers should approach additional offerings like revenue-driven content creation with caution. Just as corporate blogs can go terribly awry if they aren’t clearly marked as such, encouraging bloggers to praise products advertised on the site might not sit well with consumers expecting unbiased reviews.

What exciting new Web services and tools have made their way into your marketing budget? Write to me with your favorites for a future column.

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