Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Well ... If He Has Advertisements From Acura, It Must Be Good!

The Last Psychiatrist, a blog that I admittedly don't know much about, is making an odd claim:
Acura is having a 24 hour promotion to coincide with the release of its new car, hence the ads you see today on my site.  The ads mean money, of course, but I sent the note with some pride.
The ads signify a form of success, that my blog is Acura-worthy for advertising.  Never mind if that's true-- that word "signify" indicates something else going on:  I'm judging the quality of the site by the ads on it.

The writer also suggests that Google, through its AdSense program, earlier retaliated against him with ads for unflattering products after a critical post.

My blog is less than a month old and doesn't attract many visitors yet. By this line of reasoning, Google shouldn't put ads here promoting its Nexus One, which the company (at least) will argue is the best phone known to man. Instead, I should get the ads for the Motorola Rokr and the Ford Edsel.

The writer goes on to argue that ads for more prominent products will also increase the prestige of a site, enticing more loyal readers who will stay longer and click more ads:
It's only a few hours into the Acura ad campaign, but I can tell you the trend: it hasn't increased the number of hits to the site, but it has changed the click through rate.  About 10% more people by this time have clicked through to read posts (in other words, fewer people landed on the homepage and left without clicking on a post.)  I am amazed at this result, but there it is. The presence of an ad for Acura enticed people to stay awhile.
Bigger websites out there should take note.  If you run a stock advice site, make sure your ads are from the big brokerage houses and banks, simply because it looks like they endorsed you.  And if you really want to look like a professional, dump the Etrade ads and get WSJ or Goldman Sachs to advertise with you.

He ends this line of thought by suggesting that perhaps bloggers should even pay to have display advertisements. Or even run fake ads for notable products.

I don't have the blogger's figures, but I would bet that the 10% increase in clickthroughs is the result of a small sample size (it's a 24-hour campaign) and is probably just a fluke.

In advertising, context is much more important than prestige. A motorcycle magazine full of ads from prestigious bridal companies is just as useless as the reverse. Also, to attract a lot of Acura ads, it would be logical to write a lot about Acura.

I'm assuming that AdSense runs ads anywhere that means a minimum quality. I briefly dabbled with the other side of the advertising equation, AdWords, and there is no option that says, "Do not display my ads on crappy blogs" (though you can exclude certain URLs one by one).


Josh said...

Sounds not only like a speciously reasoned hypothesis, but also like the author is prone to conspiracy theories ("Google gave me 'bad' advertisements because I spoke ill of them"). Of course, I only sport ads for Rolex, Beluga Caviar, and Lamborghini.