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Paid Blogs - a Good Idea for Marketers but Is It for the Consumer?
Paid Blogs - a Good Idea for Marketers but Is It for the Consumer?
By: iMedia News Bureau
Marketers have shown great interest in online properties like blogs and videos off late. Paying for Social Media mentions and sponsorships has become a popular marketing norm. According to most of the advertisers, a paid blog is a great marketing tool for word of mouth and people do not even realize, that it is paid or another form of advertisement only. Bloggers receive cash, free products or other compensation for a product in case of a brand mention.

Over a period of time this practice has evolved into a new business formula for most of the bloggers, where in they try and improve the brand image or influence people's buying decision over a blog, tweet or a facebook status. In Q2 2011, social media advertising company IZEA surveyed marketers and publishers about their preferences for such practices and the value they place on certain sponsorships. The survey found that 48.8% of marketers have used a sponsored blog post, while 32.5% said they would use it, and 39.4% have sponsored a tweet, while 35.6% said they would use that social media sponsorship. Additionally, only 23.2% have sponsored an online video, but 50.2% said they would use such a social media sponsorship.

Blogs and video uploads were considered to be a ‘job’ out of ones will to update and inform the large number or netizens or simply to have their say, but these sponsorships have given them another possibility to showcase a truly commercial idea which is primarily focused on making money.

Further the survey states that these marketers are carefully monitoring these mentions and measuring how well they influence sales and business results by looking at quality and sentiment of content, cost-per-click, shares, cost per acquisition and more. Quality of a post was the most important measure of success, with 80% of respondents saying it was very important or important. Only 5.9% said it was not important. Clickthrough rates were also important or very important for 74.9% of respondents. Only 4.3% noted clickthrough rates as not important. After measuring these activities, marketers put a monetary value on the different types of social media sponsorships. Blog posts and videos were the mentions with the most value, calculated to be $114.71 and $112.46, respectively, while Twitter edged out Facebook. Tweets were valued at $63.64, compared to $55.16 for a Facebook update.

Companies even pay their bloggers to rectify their image against a genuine negative tweet or post online. Considering the monetary aspect, bloggers need to show greater responsibility in mentioning these brands on social media. People read their opinions and based on these opinions, take a call to action. Although there should be stricter cyber laws enforced on all of these independent identities so that the consumer does not get misled.