Blogging is perhaps the ultimate offering of today’s technology to mankind as the fountainhead of human ego. While blogging has assumed ‘professional’ proportions abroad, in India, it has not advanced much beyond the ego pampering stage. exchange4media explores the blogosphere space to find out how this hugely lucrative medium can be tapped by advertisers.
Blogging is a personal space of self expression and ads making their way to blogs create the dilemma between freedom of expression and influencing individual choices. But what cannot be denied is that blogging as an offspring of social media is a very important medium with wide reach, impact and, most importantly, interactivity. This makes blogs the most viable space for marketers to reach their consumers.
Professional Blogging - What is that?
A simple Net search will give out all the answers to what is professional blogging, but the question is, why is there an overall ignorance about professional blogging and when will it catch up big time in our country?
Blogger and HR consultant Gautam Ghosh pointed out, “People have realised that having a free-for-all kind of blog is not really helpful if one is trying to build a readership in any sense of the term. I see a lot of professional blogs in India, but a lot of them are abandoned after some time. The big issue in my opinion is that people blogging professionally have high expectations without knowing what competencies are required to succeed as a blogger.”
Another blogger Rajiv Dhingra, CEO, WATBlog, felt, “Blogging can be rewarding and tiring at the same time. One needs persistence if one wants to make it a successful profession, as one needs to gain credibility as a blogger. We use our blog as the face of our company WATMedia. Our objective is to connect Web, advertising and technology in India and become a platform to do so eventually.”
Professional blogging is yet to gain popularity among netizens. But quite a few of them have realised the huge potential of the medium and have taken up social media and blogging consultancy services as full time professions. Getting linked to advertisers or writing ad posts is slowly becoming popular too. However, in India, blogging still remains mostly a socialising affair, where ordinary people write to get in touch and feel important, professionals (not professional bloggers) write to make their point, while celebrities write to build an image.
Shivanadan Pare, COO, Bigadda, said, “At Bigadda, we provide the teeming bloggers the platform wherein they can express themselves. Furthermore, Bigadda helps these bloggers reach across the growing four million users that we have by promoting them on the site and through other promotional forms from time to time. It is an extremely symbiotic relationship that we have with the bloggers, with no monetary element attached to it.”
Marketers and blogging
Now coming to the point whether high traffic blogs are considered as spaces for ads by marketers, some development in that field can be seen. Corporate blogging and micro blogging are gaining popularity with marketers. But the question is whether advertisers are thinking of running their ads on popular blogs.
Pare of Bigadda said, “Big B blogging on Bigadda has achieved a cult status in India today. In fact, it has paved the way for many to take to blogging. The importance and significance of SNS is rapidly gaining attraction from advertisers, and blogging is also not far behind, but it will take some more time. Big B’s blog, which sees three and a half million page views a month, has recently seen Reid & Taylor come forth and associate with Bigadda. For us, it is a strategic step towards offering high traffic blogs as an advertising option to brands.”
Celebrity blogs draw in the moolah, but do ordinary bloggers writing or talking about extraordinary stuff rake in the moolah too? It is assumed that people who are widely read or heard on blogs dedicate a lot of time on it. That puts them to the league of professional bloggers, where they need to monetise their space. But how do they monetise and where is the revenue?
Blogger Ghosh said, “In India, bloggers are not able to monetise as much as bloggers in the US, because the readership in India is quite niche and they are savvy in not clicking on the ads. Cost per impression advertising for social media publishers is not so well known. If one is able to build an audience that is a global audience (other English speaking parts of the world), then monetisation becomes easier.”
Ads have and will eventually make it to the blog space, but there definitely is a dearth of ad aggregators and blog ad networks to make the connect between the blogger and advertisers.
Dhingra of WATblog noted, “Ads are being targeted, but digital agencies still lack the expertise and knowledge of various niche blogs. Also, there is no Indian aggregator for ads on blogs.”
Considered a medium where the ‘bubble burst’ is believed will never happen, time will tell us whether blogging develops as a medium that will connect countless publishers, consumers and advertisers.