Yesterday afternoon, gossip blogger Perez Hilton, with his 1.3 million followers on Twitter, tweeted the words, “Sponsored: I love to mix bright colors with classic styles to shake things up! Tweet style tips to #gapstyletips to appear on CocoPerez.com!” A cursory search on Twitter shows hundreds of users issuing tweets using the suggested hashtag. And if you visit the CocoPerez site (a female-oriented blog that Perez recently launched) you’ll find a kind of talk box aggregating all these tweets with the GAP brand prominently displayed on top.
Blogads CEO Henry Copeland told me in a phone interview last night that his company prefers this kind of community approach to sponsored tweets rather than simply having Perez blast out a single link to a sponsor (although he said that the advertising company is also selling more straightforward Twitter links).
“It definitely helps to have someone like Perez to tweet to spark the thing,” he said. “We also find that it can sustain itself because if you’re a reader of Perez Hilton and you see a box and right above that is a message saying tweet your dating advice” — another ad campaign run on Perez’s site — “then you’re very likely to do it.”
The effectiveness of the campaign, he said, often depends on the size of the box, where it’s located, and how it’s “modulated.” In that sense, the advertising, though tied into Twitter, is very reliant on Perez’s popularity on his blog.
Copeland estimated that Perez can drive about 20,000 clicks on a sponsored tweet if it’s worded correctly. He said that he’s had no problem selling the Twitter component in ad deals, but so far it’s only been rolled into larger advertising packages.
“All the deals that we’ve had Perez tweeting for have been part of six figure deals,” he said.
I asked Copeland about the new FCC rules being talked about that will force bloggers to disclose any sponsored word-of-mouth marketing campaigns.
“Frankly, I think we’ve been going overboard,” he said. “Every tweet has the word ’sponsored’ either before or after it, and I think it makes it pretty obvious. Basically a fifth of the message is disclosing … I certainly think it’s very imporatant to not only disclose, but to make prominent the fact that it’s sponsored.”
Blogads, a North Carolina company, currently represents hundreds of bloggers across all niches for advertising. So far, the sponsored Twitter campaigns have remained almost exclusively with Perez, one of the most widely-trafficked blogs in the Blogads network.