A Conversation With BuzzLogic II: Monetizing the Buzz
Back in April we wrote about BuzzLogic, a San Francisco-based company whose web based app finds out where particular topics are being discussed throughout the blogosphere and online news media.
This takes form in a dashboard that includes an overhead-map-like interface, showing all the inbound and outbound links to various sources of authority on a given topic. The goal is to show users who are the top “influencers” in a given topic or product category so they can join, or advertise near, those discussions.
For the better part of the past few years, the company targeted PR firms and other entities that wanted to know where conversations were happening around the products and companies they represent. But as we predicted eight months ago, the company recently integrated SEM campaign management. The idea is that you can use the buzz tracking as a starting point to target contextual ad placement around influential bloggers.
Bringing Google Into the Mix
To do this, the company integrated Google AdWords’ API directly into its own work flow. So after determining where conversations are happening, advertisers can create text ads that will land in those locations. This can also include tracking conversations about competitors.
“Let’s say your Microsoft and you’re marketing the Zune [portable music player],” posed BuzzLogic CEO Rob Crumpler, whom I met today at the company’s hip SOMA headquarters. “You can find out where discussions are happening about scratches on an iPod screen, and then target your advertising in those places.”
This of course requires that the blogs in question have Google ad inventory (if they are AdSense members), but the system filters out those that don’t. To capture a greater share of the total SEM market, it will look to create similar integrations with the other major SEM platforms, according to Chief Product Officer Todd Parsons, such as YSM and Microsoft adCenter.
The target categories for BuzzLogic are things such as gadgets and consumer electronics where there is a clear interest on the part of advertisers to get in front of engaged users, and to which there is a great deal of “ink” devoted in the blogosphere. In the future, other avenues could include niche categories, according to Crumpler, where there are also engaged users (more qualified traffic), such as skiing, scrapbooking, fly fishing, etc.
So what is the local opportunity here? Could there be a way to provide buzz tracking for SMBs interested in reputation management and ad targeting at the local level? To reach SMBs, this would probably have to be bundled with the products of a WebVisible, MatchCraft or Marchex, each of which offers a different formula of local SEM services including geotargeting and campaign fulfillment.
This would also require pinpointing where the discussions that affect commerce are taking place at the local level. One answer is that they are packaged in a different form; instead of blog content, the buzz is scattered across various review sites such as Yelp.
This makes it harder for BuzzLogic to get its arms around sources of buzz in the way it does in the blogosphere. But given the size of the local advertising pie, it’s a challenge the the company is starting to think about.