Convention Coverage Could Boost Blog Traffic, Ad Rates, and Awareness
Could blog convention coverage catapult the so-called blogosphere into mainstream consciousness? Greater awareness of blogs has already boosted site traffic and ad prices for the personalized publishing niche of Web logs.
The volume of ads is huge right now,” boasted Henry Copeland, CEO of the blog ad network, Blogads. He claims that total ad revenue collected recently on five separate days, each individually equaled all of last year’s total ad revenue. Traffic to sites in his network has doubled in the last three months, too, he adds.
However, Copeland is not sure that it’s just the convention press credentials that have spurred heightened interest in blogs among advertisers. Advertisers flocking to place blog ads lately, have not focused specifically on blogs run by official convention bloggers; rather, a general rise in media coverage of blogs has produced a rising tide that’s lifted all blog boats, Copeland said.
Over 30 bloggers have been awarded coveted press passes for The Democratic National Convention (DNC), beginning today in Boston; and 10-20 will receive credentials for The Republican National Convention in New York in late August.
“We pushed up ad prices,” comments self-described professional blogger Jesse Taylor, who runs the Pandagon.net blog with Ezra Klein. However, the recent rate increase was less in response to his DNC press accreditation and more a means of wooing more serious advertisers, and allowing for less ad saturation on his site. When MediaDailyNews interviewed Taylor on Friday, he imagined that convention-related interest from advertisers would start over the weekend. Pandagon.net’s premium ad slot costs $100 per week; other site placements go for $50 per week.
Taylor contends that if the blogs themselves become the “big story” during the DNC, there will be a “more dispersed benefit” for blogs in general, in terms of raised awareness, traffic – and by extension – ad rates.
Criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt has experienced more interest in her Talk Left blog from advertisers since she was anointed with press credentials for the DNC. “And I raised the prices,” she noted.
Several bloggers, including those not covering the Democratic convention, have recently bolstered ad rates about 50 percent for the next two weeks according to Blogads’ Copeland. “They’ve raised prices not to profiteer, but to control supply and demand,” he clarified.
Markos Moulitsas Z?niga hasn’t experienced much of an ad grab on his Daily Kos blog since his DNC press accreditation. Then again, his blog has been booked solid for weeks in advance for the past two or three months. When MediaDailyNews spoke with him last week, he conjectured, “If there’s going to be bigger interest, it will happen in the next couple days;” that’s when he expected stories to run based on press interviews he’d given. The Daily Kos charges up to $700 per week for a single ad.
On average, the blog garners about 150,000 visits each day, Z?niga says. He predicted that during the Democratic convention that number could increase to 200,000. “I’m expecting a half a million a day by the time the election rolls around,” he prognosticated.
Besides extensive convention attention from C-Span, CNN, The Fox News Channel, and MSNBC, television coverage of both conventions promises to be light. Folks will have to hit the Web for broader coverage. CBSNews.com will provide some, as will America Online Inc., which will offer live and on-demand video for broadband subscribers, news, and commentary from ABC News, and interactive polls and message boards.
Blogs could pick up the slack, albeit in a manner unlike that of mainstream news outlets. Although he acknowledges that people privately have worried about the lack of blog filters, Brian Reich, editor of Campaign Web Review, and the director of Boston Operations for Mindshare Interactive Campaigns opined, “It’s time for some new voices.” Reich will be distributing convention Web video content and organizing chats with congress people on behalf of the democratic convention.
There are no stipulations regarding what is covered by DNC-accredited bloggers, according to The Daily Kos’s Z?niga, who commented, “I don’t think the bloggers would have put up with that. We would have blogged it and made them look like idiots.”