As the world of online marketing and advertising sinks the traditional form of television, print, and radio advertising, there’s also been a shift on the web that goes more in line with its “old school” counterparts. And that is content engagement advertising.
Television, print and radio are clearly defined channels of advertising. You pick up your favorite print publication and read or look at an ad. You turn on your television and watch an ad. You tune into your local radio station and listen to an ad. You do all this with some knowledge that someone is targeting you based off the content you’re reading, watching, and listening to at the moment. Same goes for the web; it has all these options and more, but sometimes on not so clearly defined terms when it comes to targeting advertisements.
Have you ever visited The Huffington Post? (If not, stop right here, click on the link, browse, then come back. I’ll be waiting.)
Their homepage tantalizes you with a variety of engaging content––video, print, audio––that’s sometimes crammed into one page! So, how do you digest all that content plus pay attention to the ads scattered around the page?
Traditionally, online advertisers would target who they want with the standard banners and boxy-looking ad that seem to catch your attention long enough to maybe make you click and pay attention to their message or buy into whatever they’re selling. To some degree, we’ve all become desensitized to this form of advertising, and those banners and boxes are just part of the backdrop that we hardly even pay attention to anymore. In industry terms we call this “banner blindness.”
That makes the job harder for marketers and advertisers to make their online ads more engaging, but there’s a solution: make the advertising part of the content. This is also known as native advertising; more and more brands are creating actual content––video, blog posts, audio clips, etc.––that promotes their brand or product in the context of what else is on the page.
We see lots of brands taking this approach now. If you’re a Buzzfeed fan, odds are you’ve run into branded content while browsing the site, including the popular Pepsi Superbowl Bingo post. Brands are producing more and more of this type of content both on- and off-domain to effectively increase engagement with their brand.
Once you create the content, think about how you’re going to effectively get it in front of the right audiences. One strategy is to do a paid media campaign with links to the content right in the ad unit, and there are several companies that offer native ad strategies to help you. The important thing to remember is to follow IAB guidelines and make sure your content is clearly labeled as sponsored––your readers will appreciate it!
The same thing goes if you’re a publisher. There are lots of native ad solutions to choose from that’ll strive to match your content with advertising when it comes to form and function. A more curated approach is followed by the biggest publishers today including the New York Times and Forbes, with several solutions in between. The key here is quality! Make sure you set the bar high when it comes to native advertising to keep your visitors coming back for more.
Is native advertising and/or branded content part of your content strategy? Post your comments.