Sound Alliance partners with Cheezburger, ups ante in localised ad serving
The World Wide Web is undoubtedly one of the strongest forces of globalisation, and has allowed Australians to see a world of content without having to get off their chair. For a long time, this has meant Australian eyes leaking overseas seeing international ads that weren't always relevant. Then came better targeted ad networking from major players like Google, and now it looks like we are finally heading towards true localised advertising. And it looks like Sydney digital media player The Sound Alliance is leading the way, announcing some big ad serving partnerships with over 50 global sites this week, including music taste maker Pitchfork and the famed Cheezburger network, which is responsible for those annoying or adorable 'lol cats' and 'Fail Blog' photos.
Marketing magazine spoke with co-founder and managing director of The Sound Alliance, Neil Ackland, about how overseas sites are getting wise to the potential of the Australian market, and how the digital outsourcing advertising world works.
"We're representing these sites in Australia. It's like a license agreement or network representation," Ackland explains. "We're selling ads on their behalf for Australian visitors. The reason we did that was we wanted to broaden our footprint beyond music. When we do our annual research, we find our target audience of 18-29 year olds are also passionate about travel, films, and restaurants. We wanted to broaden the portfolio of our sites."
Ackland says using local agencies trumps network advertising because advertisers actually get to know where their content is being served, and it keeps costs down.
"A lot of sites have deals in place with networked ads," he says. "The difference is we're going in selling by site, they know exactly where the ads are going to appear. A lot of the network buying takes the spray and pray type of approach, advertisers don't know where the ads are appearing.
International sites using local ad reps is becoming more common," Ackland continues. "There's quite a lot of sites that are quite niche, they haven't been able to invest in their own sales network. So we and other companies like us group them together and can sell across similar sites. It's definitely a trend taking off in Australia."
Sites like I Can Has Cheezburger and Fail Blog have to thank users for their success, simply providing a platform for user generated content on a theme. It's a model that is particularly popular across the internet, and it doesn't look like ending. Why pay when people will do it for free?
While The Sound Alliance employs many full time staff across its titles, it still benefits from voluntary contributors looking to make a name for themselves (much like physical magazines). Its popular music site Faster Louder chiefly uses volunteer contributors, and Ackland says there isn't disenchantment in the ranks about not getting paid. He says contributors see it as a brilliant opportunity to get their work published and refine their skills.
"If you look at it, they get a great opportunity," he says, "they get free tickets, free CDs, platform for feedback. It's a way for writers and photographers to improve."