Here's Gregory Huffstutter, ad man in the process of looking for an agent for his first thriller. - MJR
Thursday + Gregory Huffstutter = The Ad Man Answers The Ad Man Answers #2
Q: What's the advantage to Roadblocking versus buying several ads on the same station? Would you need to Roadblock several times to truly make an impact?
-- JT Ellison, Nashville
A: Roadblocking (see Ad Man Answers #1 for definition) is usually part of a larger media schedule – not a one-shot deal. Most stations won’t even sell you a Roadblock unless you’re negotiating several weeks of advertising.
Let’s say you’ve got a budget for a radio buy, and you could purchase either:
Option A - 100 spots on 5 radio stations (500 total spots)
Option B - 110 spots on 4 radio stations (440 total spots) with a week’s worth of Roadblocks during morning & evening rush hour at 8:10am and 5:45pm.
My pick would probably be Option B, even though the package contains 1 less radio station and 60 fewer spots. Roadblocks have the advantage of being ‘remote control’ resistant… provided you accurately predict the behavior of channel-surfers.
If this radio buy took place in LA, and your target audience was best reached by KROQ, the modern rock station, you’d want your Roadblock to contain:
KDLD “Indie 103.1” (alternative rock)
KYSR “Star 98.7” (adult contemporary)
KCBS “Jack 93.1” (adult hits)
All four stations have similar formats and audience demographics. So odds are good that a KROQ fan is going to flip to KDLD, KYSR or KCBS if they’re trying to avoid the commercial break.
The downside of Roadblocking is the annoyance factor. Not to mention the incremental cost (usually +15%). So my recommendation – assuming you have the budget – would be to run them a couple times a day for a week at the launch of your campaign.
Does Roadblocking work?
I ran one across 7 writing blogs for the launch of my column on Feb 1.
Participating websites: Newbie’s Guide to Publishing (JA Konrath), Tess Gerritsen’s blog, Anatomy of a Book Deal (Robert Gregory Browne), This Writing Life (Mark Terry), Killer Year, Murderati, Flogging the Quill (Ray Rhamey)
For the week before and after the Roadblock, Buzz, Balls & Hype averaged 309 page views per day.
Feb 1: 552 page views (+79%)
Feb 2: 504 page views (+63%)
Feb 3: 310 page views – back to normal
Nearly all the incremental traffic on Feb 1-2 came from linked referrals. The week before the Roadblock, I tracked the outside links to Buzz, Balls & Hype from the 7 participating websites. Those sites combined for an average of 3 links per day.
Feb 1: 189 links (+6200%) from 7 participating sites
Feb 2: 119 links (+3867%) from 7 participating sites
Feb 3: 54 links (+1700%) from 7 participating sites
JA Konrath and Tess Gerritsen kept the mention of The Ad Man Answers at the top of their blog for several days, which extended the life of the Roadblock. But by Feb 10, the links from those 7 sites were under 10 per day.
And that’s advertising in a nutshell. When it works, you can see a spike in traffic – no matter what you’re selling. But take your foot off the gas, and things will return to normal in short order.
With my Roadblock, I took advantage of the fact that fewer than 5,000 people are daily visitors of mystery author blogs. So getting mentioned in 7 websites at once made an impact within that limited pool.
But how do you break out and expand your reach beyond the hard-core writer/mystery fans? Stay tuned…
Thursday + Gregory Huffstutter = The Ad Man Answers
The Ad Man Answers #2
Gregory Huffstutter has been punching Ad Agency timecards for the past decade, working on accounts like McDonald’s, KIA Motors, and the San Diego Padres. He recently finished his first mystery, KATZ CRADLE, and has started the fun and not-at-all-demoralizing agent query process. The first 100 pages of his novel are linked here. For general advertising questions, leave a comment or send e-mail to katz @ gregoryhuffstutter dot com with “Ask The Ad Man” in the subject line.