Interactive Promotions + Blogs = A Winning Combination

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blog_small.jpgThe explosion of social media over the past year has captured the attention of both advertisers and consumers. Marketers are now looking more and more at social media to help reach their target audiences. Advertising on social media, especially blogs has become very popular and there is now a variety of blog networks available that can help facilitate this process. However, the jury is still out whether any significant ROI can be obtained through this media channel.

Now that we’ve turned the calendar page into the second month of 2008, it appears that there are several trends pointing to the fact that 2008 may be the year promotional marketers and bloggers finally start to connect.

First off, blogs are very powerful because they allow millions of people to easily publish and share their ideas, and millions more to read and respond. They engage the writer and reader in an open conversation and are shifting the Internet paradigm as we know it.

Technorati is the recognized authority on blogs and they currently track close to 113 million blogs with over 175,000 new blogs appearing each day. Bloggers update their blogs regularly to the tune of over 1.6 million posts per day, or over 18 updates a second. Recent stats estimate that 39% of American adults regularly read blogs, which equates to roughly over 8.6 million readers absorbing user-generated content over traditional media.

Interactive promotions have also seen increased usage by marketers to not only drive traffic to their website but also to build their brand. Just take a look at some of the recent promotions that were associated with this year’s Super Bowl. Doritos executed its second annual Crash the Super Bowl contest in which they ran a :60 ad that consisted of a consumer generated music video created by the contest’s winner. Pepsi launched its biggest promotion ever with a Justin Timberlake ad promoting their new Pepsi Stuff loyalty program. Unilever’s Sunsilk hair care brand kicked off its Life Can’t Wait consumer-generated contest promotion featuring Madonna, Shakira and Marilyn Monroe. Plus P&G’s Tide brand created a My Talking Stain promotional micro-site that invites consumers to submit their own stain ad and play Be the Stain instant win game for chances to win.

Survey results released by Jupiter Research last year showed that when consumers were asked which where their top online activities, 50% of those answered participation in contests or sweepstakes. The only activities that scored higher involved email, search, product research/buying and online billing/statements. These further stats demonstrate even more the value of online promotions:

  • 80% of consumers have entered an online sweepstakes
  • 70% of consumers say they’re influenced by promotions
  • 68% of consumers actively participate in promotions
  • 88% are seeking out more promotions than they did last year
  • 81% of consumers say they have made a purchase due to a promotion
  • 89% of consumers like to receive promotional messages online, 47% in-store, 33% direct mail, 25% phone, and 6% via text message
  • Promotional incentives can more than double email open rates and improve click-through rates by as much as 1000%

Now while advertising on blogs has yet to provide measurable results for marketers, interactive promotions, such as online sweepstakes, user-generated contests and instant-win games, have supplied definitive results. These types of interactive promotions are one of the most powerful ways to motivate interaction on the Internet. By putting the right incentive in front of the right audience you can get then to act and once you have their personal information this then enables the start of a dialog for a permission-based, data-driven relationship thus allowing you to deliver personalized and relevant offers.

Interactive agencies, such as industry leader ePrize, are booming and are further proof that interactive promotions are successful. Last week ePrize announced their 2007 sales results in which they saw a 38-percent growth in net sales to $49.6 million. On top of that they added 174 new clients and launched 1,366 promotions nationwide last year, nearly 70-percent more promotions than they launched in 2006.

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