C V S Sharma
GM and Country Head, Tribal DDB India
We have advertised on blogs to some extent. For instance, advertising campaigns for MSN and Reliance Mutual Fund were extended to blogs. We don't contact the blog publishers directly, and most of the ads are done through Google AdSense.
Indian blogs are still at the evolutionary stage. Abroad, blogs have almost 50 million hits per month, whereas in India the figure is just around 3,000 to 4,000 hits per month.
Although the current revenue from advertising on blogs is negligible, this segment can't be ignored. The focus on blogs is entirely content-oriented. Blogs are also a good example of two-way communication.
The viewer response to advertising on blogs would be higher than the traditional medium. In blogs, the ads will be looked at by serious surfers. As bloggers are increasing in number, India is slowly and surely catching up! In the future, newspapers may source content from blogs only because of the quality.
Advertising on blogs hasn't taken off in India the way it has in the West. Indian advertisers are very reluctant to put their money into blogs right now. Also, if you were to compare the number of page views of an Indian blog to a US blog, it is much lower.
I would say the main reason blogs are not that popular is due to a lack of awareness among the general public. If you were to compare, people in India took considerably longer to adapt to e-mails than did their European counterparts. Similarly, in due course of time, when the market matures, blogs in India will see more action.
Earnings from blogs form a very small part of the revenue today. However, I am sure this will change in the future. While blogs have the advantage of being able to connect to the right people, they also have the constraint of not being able to reach remote audiences. Here, the traditional medium still has an edge.
Rajiv Gopinath, Media Director, Madison Media
Blogging in India is still at its nascent stage. The amount of advertising happening online is also not high across Web sites. Rediff and Yahoo! are among the few major names in online advertising. Besides, how many serious Indian blogs do you know of? I, myself, am familiar with just eight or ten. And even these blogs have a diverse audience.
Bloggers are an intelligent lot who don't surf the Internet for information alone. It's possible that bloggers may find advertising to be some kind of intrusion on their space. So, we need to understand the pulse of the audience before we advertise.
Also, the kind of advertisements made for blogs will have to be very interesting; conventional ads may not appeal to the visitors or bloggers themselves. The ad should be of such a quality that it should be capable of turning the discussion on the blog to the advert itself. Now that's a real challenge! Ad networks in India also don't have a lot of blogs within the network, and therefore there is a problem in terms of the supply of contacts in this area.
I am sure the option of blogs holds a lot of promise, but I would personally be more interested in using blogs as an initial step in any ad campaign, and then continuing with the regular media that are currently in use.
Advertising on blogs in India is not popular at all. I have yet to see private companies and multinationals approach bloggers individually. The only advertising that's popular is Google's AdSense-a unique programme that's caught the eye of the blogger.
Anish Sood, Blogger (www.anishsood.tk)
I don't have any ads on my blog since I don't need any funds. I gave up the idea as I felt the ads would clutter the interface of my blog, which I wanted to keep slick and clean. However, the only option I had earlier was AdSense. If I receive an individual offer again, I will certainly consider it.
Blogging is newer than other forms of media, and yet has picked up very fast. When you have blogs with about three to five thousand readers per month, it makes sense to advertise. I feel advertising on blogs is the cheapest method of advertising to a specific audience. Pay bloggers even Rs 1,000 a month, and they will gratefully put up your ad.
It's a good medium for advertising companies to exploit, but sadly, they are yet to get hold of it. Advertising on blogs is extremely lucrative, as readers begin to trust a blogger.
Rohit Gupta, Blogger (www.desimediabitch.blogspot.com)
India has 1.7 per cent Internet penetration, so potentially 18 million bloggers, but in reality there are a few thousand blogs so far. Advertising on blogs is still based on automatic services. However, the potential of blog readership is far more than most leading newspapers.
My blog has Google AdSense and Amazon referrals. The software selects what ads to display based on the blog content, for instance C*S*F (Chiens Sans Frontiers): http://desimediabitch.blogspot.com. We are giving away our AdSense earnings as cash for blogging. Being inexpensive, blogs are turning to be attractive for advertisers, and, you pay only if someone clicks on your ad, so your budget is never wasted on what eyeballs the blogger 'claims' to attract. Each and every cent spent is accounted for. Can a print or outdoor ad offer such an honest deal?
Blogs hold potential for future marketing, as product advertisers can communicate directly with customers, bypassing middlemen. Word-of-mouth and other direct media also come into play. A Google ad can come up anywhere on any blog, based on Google's automatic algorithm that selects the ads for bloggers who subscribe to its revenue programme. As time passes, the accuracy of this target-practice becomes more and more efficient.
As told to Preethi Chamikutty