We touched on this briefly with our post on Gawker about how it’s become toxic to advertisers as a result of the online behavior of their staff (and the site’s decision to write an article lambasting former advertisers), but Salon has provided us with another excellent example in why you need to choose where you place your ads very carefully.
Right in time for Veteran’s Day, Salon posted an article with the headline:
You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy
Maybe you agree with this sentiment. Chances are, your customers don’t. In fact, the article went over so well that the author ended up deleting their Twitter account, recreating it the next day, and deleting the new one within hours. I’m guess it wasn’t due to a flood of positive messages.
Why, As An Advertiser, Do I Care?
Salon is happy to get traffic, whether they are being lauded for their incredible story telling or due to hate clicks. They still make money. Large amounts of visitors also give advertisers the potential to reach a very large audience. However, advertisers don’t want the visitors to the site necessarily seeing their ads showing up on these types of articles because they may be tarred with the same brush.
— Rusty Shackelford (@rshackelford14) November 11, 2014
— Michael Pilla (@michaelpilla) November 9, 2014
— Bob Richards (@BobRichards57) November 10, 2014
I’m not saying that advertisers should never show up on Salon, Gawker or sites that pull in traffic due to sensational headlines. But you should be aware that there is a price to pay for the audience they can provide, and if your main client base is fairly middle of the road, you may end up alienating just as many consumers as you attract.