Marketers are doubling down on content marketing and leveraging native advertising to achieve scale as visual content marketing tactics evolve and the arms race rages to reach consumer engagement.
In a recent post, I described steps brands are taking to get the most out of their content efforts via Content Marketing Fracking and Closing the Social Loop. Native advertising is being used to capture the consumer’s attention and reach the holy grail of viral sharing.
However, it is not without controversy and brands are in a FOMO (fear of missing out) moment because fickle customers will start engaging with your competitors and then you are on your way out.
Promoting content is key to achieving reach but just buying ads, posting on Facebook and Twitter, social media optimization, and SEO is not good enough.
The bar has been raised high and brands must step up quickly with smarter placement, packaging techniques, tools, and partnerships.
The market is pouring $44 billion into content marketing and native advertising is looking to push past the $5 billion mark by 2017 with no signs of stopping.
There is a sea of companies providing tools and services galore engineered to milk and create meaningful customer engagement. What you chose and how you use it will your determine success.
What’s native advertising?
Native advertising is a big buzzword in the marketing circle. It’s an attempt by advertisers to garner engagement through contextual experiences in an ad structure that acts less like an ad and more like editorial content.
The goal is to create a great user experience to induce sharing, clicks, and comments, which drives greater feed interaction and amplified reach.
Native advertising has been embraced by the majority of publishers and major social network even with the measurement issues. Most are offering some form of basic native advertising. If done well, it generates the discovery of entertaining, informative, educational, or down right funny content that may have not surfaced otherwise.
With the tsunami of click fraud at an all time high, botnets are now acting like humans and programmatic buying is creating a race to the bottom.
Is there any hope for brand advertisers?
In the world of content marketing, robust engagement is alive and well. Brands are placing content as their top priority and using it as the key enabler for education, lead generation, and sales. John Battelle made a great point in a recent post and in some ways is a catalysts for native advertising:
“We buy audiences, but we aren’t buying the show they’re watching—we’re ignoring where that impression is served. This is nuts.”
Sadly, the native advertising we’re seeing is lots of smoke and mirrors and with magician tactics like “Top 100 Influencers”, “Top People”, “Top Sites” (social ego stroking) infographics, shocking images, over-manipulated viral videos, shocking headlines, and gamed wording, all in an attempt to make you think this is high quality, valuable content when it is just another attempt to drive you to look, engage, and share.
The FTC has cracked down on blogger product endorsements when they don’t disclose they are getting paid to distribute links, and Google has really gone after bloggers’ on the paid link side – so be careful on your content placement. Accepting payment for the rise of contextual content marketing in the form of native advertising will stay fairly lawless for now. BuzzFeed might not have invent native advertising, but they did sensationalized it.
The Native Matrix
A very cool matrix was created by Felix Salmon in an attempt to define the difference between PR, native advertising, brand journalism, content marketing, marketing, and blogging.