Huffington's Formula For Ad Success: Marry Brand To Site

HOLLYWOOD, CA--Writer and HuffingtonPost.com founder Arianna Huffington has definitive ideas about online ad models. If marketing messages are presented as part of content, the brand and the site must be in sync to be successful, she said, speaking at the OMMA conference.

"What is interesting is to see how we can reach the public with messages that are not just interruptions but part of their consuming experience," she said. To illustrate her point, she cited a promotion her site had done with the Toyota Prius, asking users to post pictures of themselves with their hybrid autos.

At the same time, the promotion wouldn't have been scored if it wasn't targeted to HuffPo's green, progressive readers. "Provided it's organic, provided it's real, our users will accept it," she said. "If we were offered half a million dollars to do the same campaign for Hummer, it wouldn't work. We can only accept advertising that somehow matches our values if it's going to work."

And for online content to survive, it must be free and ad-supported, Huffington added. "Don't charge for it online--that's not the model that's going to work long-term."

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