Overview: What Do Advertisers Think About Native, Branded Content and Integrated Marketing?
Justin Fromm – VP, Business Intelligence, Advertiser Perceptions
Marla Newman – SVP, Digital Sales, Meredith Corporation
DJ Perera – Director, US Consumer Marketing, Boehringer Ingelheim
In today’s “attention economy”, advertisers are looking for every advantage to monetize eyeballs. While advertorials, sponsorships, and product placement are not new to the industry, they have become more popular as consumer ad avoidance increases. This presentation discusses the latest insights on advertisers’ attitudes towards native advertising, branded content, and integrated marketing.
Key findings from Advertiser Perceptions’ 2018 Native, Branded Content & Integrated Marketing Study:
- Lexicon continues to evolve in the market. This study defines: branded content as the content developed by the brand for distribution – includes content created by an influencer who shares it with their network or the brand’s owned networks; native advertising as paid ads that are very cohesive with page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior so as to appeal seamless to the viewer/user; integrated marketing as the strategic marketing approach of inserting a brand or brand messaging into content.
- Native is very much mainstream in the digital space: 66% of advertisers surveyed are including native regularly and consider it a key digital strategy. Forty percent of these native dollars are spent programmatically.
- Top reasons why advertisers use digital native/branded content: effectiveness at building brand awareness, influencing consumers’ perceptions of the brand, and enhancing the user’s experience and adding value.
- Top capabilities sought by digital advertisers in their native/branded content partners: ability to target the ideal audience, providing good value for the money, and audience composition.
- Top capabilities sought by TV advertisers in their native/branded content partners: ability to reach their target, providing content relevant to the brand, and audience composition.
- Biggest obstacles to using native/branded content: cost (which can be high with larger efforts and unclear on how it is all spent), too timely to create/distribute, lack of creative support, and scale/inability to distribute off-site.
- In 2018, 75% of advertisers find it very/somewhat important to retain ownership of publisher developed content.
Key takeaways from the panel discussion:
- Why native? Boehringer Ingelheim uses native in a different way that consumers may not be thinking of the brand. They found that just doing an ad will not resonate with the consumer.
- Ideal partnership: Boehringer Ingelheim wants ideas from their native/branded content partners that fit with their brand message (aligns with the stories told in advertising and elsewhere) and unique to the brand essence (not a generic story that can be also pitched to competitors).
- Two different approaches for brands in the same category: Meredith approached Boehringer Ingelheim with a custom approach for NexGard that honed in on what this brand represents – that it is all about being the best pet care (best medicine and experience), but also the only pet medicine in the category safe for puppies. Based on this key insight, Meredith created a highly successful native/branded content for NexGard focused on puppies. For the brand Frontline, which is also in the pet medicine category, but already has 90% awareness with a long history, Meredith crafted an idea that tapped into the playful side of the brand, instead of talking about what the brand does. When they tested the creatives for Frontline, the humor had the largest resonance.
Measuring Native – Data and Insights
Neuroscience of Native Perception
Pranav Yadav – CEO, Neuro-Insight US Inc.
Stephanie Fried – Executive Vice President – Marketing, Research and Analytics, Condé Nast
When advertising was first introduced in mainstream media, we consumed it as content. But as we grew used to it, our brains started to automatically block it out. We need to continuously come up with news ways of “tricking” the brain into making advertising seem like content so that it garners the same relevant attention. One such approach is native advertising. In this session, insights and best practices are shared from native and branded content case studies.
- Contextual relevancy can boost the effectiveness of branded content. At Bravo, TurboTax was integrated in shows with equal ratings; however, the integration was more impactful when placed through contextual matching. Analysis showed that there was 14-15% increase in effectiveness by putting it in the right media environment, especially when it was native.
- Branded content found to be more impactful than pre-roll, especially in insolation. To understand the value of native, Discovery tested the impact of branded content vs. pre-roll. A surprising finding was that both branded content and pre-roll fared better in isolation. The value of native advertising is that it should be well integrated so that it does not feel like an advertisement. The pre-rolls before native alerted viewers to the advertising intent. This suggests that frequency matters less than having a strongly branded message.
- Branded content seen on personal Facebook feeds found to be more impactful than content from friends and family. Condé Nast custom content shown to be 60% more impactful in Facebook feeds – seen as a “positive disruption.”
- Different approaches work best on different platforms and channels. On mobile, more emotional, personal storytelling resonated, while on desktop, a more focused experience proved to be more engaging. On YouTube, more personal storytelling, use of influencers resonated, while on Facebook, more macro storying, how-to’s resonated.
Presentation not available.
Creating the Story/Ad Mix to Engage Consumers
The Next Native: What Does And Doesn’t Work In Integrated Advertising?
Lindsey Noble – Senior Research Manager for Market and Brand Research, BuzzFeed
Jonathan Steuer – Chief Research Officer, Omnicom Media Group
How do we better interact with consumers in an environment where 86% of people purposefully avoid advertising? Studies show that people understand and even welcome the advertiser bargain, but they react negatively to ads that interrupt and pull them out of their chosen content experience. In addition, eye-tracking studies indicate that our attention may have evolved to subconsciously avoid ads placed in “dead zones” on websites which have page structures wherein the ad is always in the same place and format. How do we make experiences that are less hostile to consumers’ brains? To explore this question, BuzzFeed and Omnicom Media Group, along with research partners Michele Madansky Consulting, Create with Context, and Research Now, conducted usability research (with eye-tracking), online quant survey research, and ad impact studies and behavioral analytics.
- Getting native ads right: match the look and feel of the content/platform (55% agree that it is important that native ads fit seamlessly into a website or social), do not interrupt (75%), be relevant to the consumer (62%), but clearly label that it is sponsored or native (64%).
- Avoid “dead zones”: 68% of ads in content zones are viewed, while only 37% of ads in dead zones are viewed.
- Native ads are welcome in social when consumers have the chance to give permission or when friends share it, especially in places that are most personal and connective. For example, 74% notice content in their social feed that their friends post from publishers.
- The survey found that consumers are: 12x more likely to “strongly agree” that they prefer native ads to traditional digital ads; 61% agree that compared to other forms of digital ads, native ads are more likely to grab attention; and 53% agree that compared to other forms of digital ads, native ads are more likely to drive action.
Are Two Messages Better Than One? How Brand and Acquisition Messaging Increase Conversion
Emily Freeman – Senior Insights Analyst, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
What happens when you mix acquisition messaging with brand messaging? To learn insights on the impact of using only acquisition messaging vs. using both brand and then acquisition messaging, LinkedIn conducted A/B testing for a client’s ad campaign. They found that those exposed to both brand and acquisition messaging were over 6x more likely to convert compared to those only seeing acquisition messaging. Brand and acquisition messaging together also drove higher Aided Brand Awareness (7%+) and Likelihood to Recommend (+33%).
- Different types of messaging serve different approaches, and can complement each other.
- In this case, acquisition messaging reinforced brand messaging which helped move the audience through the funnel.
- Maintaining common elements such as look and feel as well as tone across different ad messaging types is likely to lead to more synergistic effects.
- Running both brand and acquisition messaging at the same time would be interesting to test as it could maximize the likelihood of reaching people who are at different stages of the funnel with the right message at the right time.
- Future brand surveys with larger sample sizes could help confirm favorable impact on metrics such as brand awareness, and likelihood to recommend.
Alternative Approaches to Advertising
Breaking Through on Digital: Trust, Context & Storytelling
Christine Cook – SVP & Chief Revenue Officer, CNN Digital, Great Big Story
The philosophy that drives CNN’s Great Big Story is to feed curiosity, often through visually-lush, documentary-style storytelling. When producing branded content for partners, the same motto, style, and care are deployed. The following case studies illustrate how CNN and GBS elevate brand messages through their signature visually-rich, compelling stories.
- “The Words Matter” – 2018 Silver Cannes Lion Winner. P&G initially approached GBS with the seeds of the story. During the AIDS epidemic, P&G had found a niche with Peridex, a prescription mouthwash used to treat thrush in people suffering from HIV/AIDS. But despite selling to the LBGT community, P&G had no language to protect LGBT employees within the company. This 18-minute film portrays how Michael Chanak, who joined P&G during this time, became a vocal gay rights activist, and with the work and help from a small but determined group of colleagues, worked to change that. In 1992, P&G became one of the first Fortune 500 companies to add sexual orientation to its equal employment opportunity statement of diversity. This film not only told a history that many were not aware of, but humanized a brand’s long and ground-breaking legacy in supporting the LGBT community.
- “The Magician & The Scientist” – For Intel, GBS created a story around the pioneering and idiosyncratic musician, Lee “Scratch” Perry to illustrate the synergy between creativity and science. Results: 7.5x Intel’s average engagement per post; 18x Intel’s average share per post; 3.7M Total Views; 3.7x Over-delivery of views.
- Origins inspired by Genesis – Genesis, a Korean car brand under Hyundai Motors, was about to launch a new line. CNN created an Origins channel on GBS as a major source of curiosity for people is on how thing have started. Genesis sponsored Origins stories through a year-long deal. The partnership grew to introduce the Genesis Student Film scholarship, to extend beyond the pieces that were produced and to inspire the next generation. Results: 63.3M+ Total Video Views Worldwide; 245+Press Pick-Ups; 2.03M+ Total Engagements; 90% of Video Comments were positive.
Customization for Partners Takes Center Stage on American Idol
Jerry Daniello – SVP, Integrated Marketing, Disney|ABC
Lindsey Albertson – Director of Ad Sales Research, Disney|ABC
Disney|ABC found that passion for content translates to elevated performance for brands, especially with the right combination between traditional and branded entertainment. The presentation discusses best practices learned from case studies of campaigns on Disney|ABC platforms.
- Custom content can help reinforce and amplify the brand message. Analysis of a brand’s campaign across TV + Digital (including standard ads, custom content, and in-show integrations) shows that exposure to custom content drove significant gains across all brand metrics.
- Content integrations can make commercials work harder. Analysis of a campaign with multi-episode in-show integration running across ABC and Freeform, complemented by standard media, shows that integration+commercial viewers rated the sponsor ad more enjoyable (+31%), interesting (+34%), and noticeable (+37%) compared to commercial only viewers.
- Content integration may enhance halo effects. Although the example was anecdotal, the presenters shared that they found that 80% of consumers saw the sponsored brand as having a sense of humor due to their integration in the comedy, Blackish.
- Results of American Idol’s sponsored partnerships with Zyrtec, Macy’s, Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3, showed: combined sponsors’ ad recall built over the course of the season and ended +10 points higher than the start; among those who recalled seeing the sponsorship, 71% said it made them more likely to shop or make a purchase; sponsors saw significant shifts in relevancy (+6%) and perception that the brands “help them be their best self” (+6%).
Fireside Chat: Native Advertising / Branded Content Success Stories
Monica Rustgi – Senior Brand Director Budweiser, Brand Strategy and Creative Development, Anheuser-Busch
Marc Rappin – Chief Marketing Officer, ARF
For Budweiser, the challenge isn’t awareness. The brand already has 90% awareness, and at one time, 50% share of the market. However, they’ve been experiencing sales decline for the last 30 years. How can they create meaningful content that will drive consideration? In the fireside chat, Monica Rustgi discusses how they use native advertising and branded content to help turn the tide in sales and brand metrics.
- Capturing moments: Traditionally, Budweiser has always looked to the Super Bowl to gain mass awareness, but then realized that they could do this for much cheaper throughout the year through native/branded content. For example, for 2016-2017, the year was mapped out with cultural moments that Budweiser could tap into and engage in, without disrupting. An example is Derek Jeter’s retirement last May (see spot: This Bud’s for 2, case study). This illustrates how Budweiser considers themselves as “a media channel for sports moments.”
- Avoiding test paralysis: Although they always test TV creatives with qual/quant, they do not test for native/branded content. Two years prior, they were in a “test paralysis.” Rather, they are consistently monitoring in a 24/7 war room. But as Budweiser tend to champion teams who are heroes, they feel that they are operating from a safe space.
- Balancing story and branding: Because everyone is already aware of the brand, the focus is on communicating the meaning – no need to push the product. Subtle integration works better for native/branded content.
- Attention is the true currency – this is the biggest issue top of mind in the organization. Everyone is fighting for attention and aware of advertising. As a brand, you need to be purposeful, understand the role of the brand in the world, and find ways to cut through beyond function. For example, at this year’s Super Bowl, Budweiser took a big risk by moving away from the classic Clydesdales to showcase Budweiser’s long-running program of bottling water in their plants during times of draught (Stand by You).
- Results: 20 states show growing share, brand metrics are going up, especially since they shifted from Hispanic-only focused campaigns. There’s now uptick across all demos and markets. Even though they divested the attention on TV (with max $100,000 on media), which lead to only 13% SOV on beer, they still ranked #1 in ad awareness, which indicates that the brand became more memorable through other (non-traditional) initiatives.