November 6th, 2007

Ad Network Identifies Influencers

By Brian Morrissey
Adweek

Word-of-mouth tracker BuzzLogic is looking to turn its service tracking influential voices in the blogosphere into a media-planning tool.

The San Francisco-based company has created a tool that allows advertisers to seek out the most influential voices on particular topics, and then create a customized ad network to run messages on those sites through Google. It plans to add other ad network options, executives said.

“One of the challenges advertisers face is generating a list of sites to target,” said Rob Crumpler, CEO of BuzzLogic. “We’re finding where people are talking, where people are gathering, and where people are participating in specific conversations.”

In a test campaign, peer-to-peer lending start-up Lending Club used BuzzLogic to find bloggers influential on alternative financing issues or that have early-adopter audiences. The company ended up running ads on over 200 different blogs. Though it paid a higher cost-per-click price overall, Lending Club got better conversions from clickers on influencer sites.

While getting coverage on top tech and social media blogs was a key priority for the company, Lending Club needed to go deeper, CEO Renaud Laplanche said. “We know that’s the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “What we don’t know is the long tail and the smaller blogs that are not as prominent as TechCrunch and Mashable.”

BuzzLogic began as a tool for advertisers to mine online chatter about brands. It competes with firms like Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which shares a parent company with Adweek.

Crumpler believes such “conversational targeting” could prove more effective than the methods used by Internet giants by concentrating on context and behavior.

“It’s a bunch of town hall meetings happening at the same time,” he said. “We’re surfacing the influential conversations and identifying the opinion leaders driving those conversations.”

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