The Blog as a Strategic Marketing Tool: A Qualitative Study of Advertising Effects

Louise Marie Krohn Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose - The increasingly fragmented media has made the task of a marketer difficult. Blogs however, can help alleviate some of the concerns that come with traditional marketing. The purpose of this study is to broaden the considerations of blog advertising as a strategic tool to reach and influence consumers. Specifically, the study examined what differentiates blog ads from traditional forms of advertising, and identifies which product types that generate the most positive advertising responses among blog users. Method - The research is based on a content analysis of 10 in-depth interviews with experienced blog users. This is supplemented with 4 in-depth interviews, performed with 2 Social Media Experts and 2 representatives of Danish blog agencies. Findings - The study finds that blog ads are applicable for all types of products, when the ad is linked to an emotional appeal strategy and combined with the blogger’s personal angle. However, blog users express the most positive attitudes towards blog advertisements, promoting high involvement/transformational products. When blog users have a positive attitude towards blog ads, they are likely to adapt the blogger’s attitudinal position to the advertised brand. The analyses provides insights to the blog users processing sequence of advertisements, and finds that affective processing accounts for a large part of blog users total processing of blog ads and concludes that the sequence of responses to blog ads, involves a feel-think-do sequence. As blogs are found to support emotional communication, it is found that international marketers can use blogs to execute adapted advertising strategies abroad. Finally the study concludes that the strength of blog ads, includes the transformation of advertising messages to personalized communication, focused targeting,loyal audience and interactivity. The weaknesses include lack of control, the risk of bloggers creating negative publicity, on-going resource requirements and lastly, the difficulty in selecting the right blogger, whos profile and audience will maximize the effectiveness of the advertising strategy. Originality/value – The study contributes to existing research by proposing a definition of blog ads. It provides value that will benefit marketers, as well as firms who are interested in determining the potential blogs may offer them as a marketing tool, by helping them understand what motivates blog users to participate in a consumption-related blogosphere, how they (consumers) benefit from it and what influences their responses to blog ads.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages209