native advertising/content marketing

Why Content Quality Matters So Much in Native Advertising

  • Yoori Hwang (Myongji University) and Se-Hoon Jeong (Korea University)

Practitioners who develop native advertising campaigns should pay close attention to where they place mentions of their brand. This empirical study found that a poorly written article that is associated with a brand message will lead to negative perceptions about both the brand and the credibility of the news source.

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Editor’s Note – A definition of content marketing: creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience. The Science of Engagement – Content Matters – presented by Andrew Tenzer, Head of Global Research BBC Global News Ltd.

This original research focused on content marketing was presented by BBC Global News at the Audience Measurement (AM) conference held in June.

The approach: digital consumers of English language international news age 16+; six markets (Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, US, Canada and Germany); quantitative survey + facial coding + implicit response testing.

Among the key takeaways:

  • There is heightened engagement where brand involvement is fully transparent
  • Properly executed, content marketing is trusted and persuasive
  • It can have a powerful emotional impact on brands
  • Referencing the brand within the narrative works harder for the advertiser

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Majority of Native Ads Lack Transparency – via WSJ (source: OTA: Online Trust Alliance)

Native advertising—content designed to mimic a website’s editorial look and feel—is a fast-growing area of the ad business. Native ad spending in the U.S. is expected to top $8.8 billion by 2018. Its growth is being fueled by brands and publishers who are seeking new ad formats that work better on mobile and outperform banner ads.

A recent study of native ads that appeared on the home pages of the top 100 news websites in April found that 71% of the ads failed to provide adequate disclosures and transparency, making it difficult for readers to discern between an ad and actual editorial content, according to Online Trust Alliance, a nonprofit based in Bellevue, Wash.

OTA said it did the assessment to give guidelines to advertisers and publishers, in the hopes of “fostering industry self-regulation.”

Access full article from WSJ

Branded Content Scores Better Than Pre-Roll – via MediaPost (source: Nielsen)

The Nielsen analysis says digital branded content generated an average of 86% brand recall among viewers, compared with 65% for a pre-roll ad.

The lift in brand perceptions was higher across other key performance indicators — affinity, purchase intent and recommendation intent. Furthermore, brand content marketers that work with publishers in a partnership saw a brand lift that was 50% higher on average than those marketers that distributed branded content on their own.

Access full article from MediaPost

Deconstructing Branded Content

Jess Halter – Senior Research Analyst, IPG Media Lab

Kara Manatt – VP, Consumer Research Strategy, IPG Media Lab

Branded content is very effective, and it’s even more effective than traditional video ads. They looked at the best practices for creating branded content and deploying it. They worked with 50 brands across 19 industry verticals. “We surveyed 14,780 people to learn what branded content is across the globe, how to deploy it, and what to take into account when creating it.”

The first thing they needed to do was come up with a working definition of branded content: “content that lives on its own, produced by and for the brand, as opposed to content produced by someone else than the brand affixes itself to.”

They recruited participants in 10 different countries and randomized them into a single test cell.

  • Control (stand-alone content with no brand mentions)
  • Standard Video ad
  • Branded content

“We conducted a broad and deep test,” said Manatt. First they wondered, “Do consumers even know the difference between branded content and traditional video ads?”

They created a Content Marketing Score. Participants were asked to rate the video (scored 13%). People see branded content differently—and consider it to be less a form of traditional advertising than traditional video ads. This was a prevailing attitude in Asia, Europe, and Latin America but not the Middle East.

How is branded content different?

Both standard video ads and branded content were considered marketing, but branded content was viewed differently and seen as more entertaining, uplifting, educational, novel and exciting.

Consumers view branded content differently from traditional marketing, and are more likely to characterize branded content in one of the many forms it can take, such as a how-to video, a sponsored show, a brand promotion or entertainment.

How do you optimize branded content?

Branded content was created with the consumer mind-set and provides what consumers want and need to hear. “When you’re providing education to consumers,” said Manatt, “it also makes them think more favorably about your brand.”

How branded content is perceived by country:

  • Europe: Provide relevant information
  • Asia: All about exciting content
  • Latin American: Inform with humor
  • Middle East: Difficult to move purchase intent. It’s a less mature market.

Their advice? “Make that connection with your brand really strong.” Even though content with high branding was perceived as a product pitch, it was still considered more informative and equally trustworthy. Branded content inspired a level of trust.

They encouraged brands to try a lot of different strategies:

  1. Spend the extra money to make high quality content—it’s worth it.
  2. Don’t be afraid to incorporate branding, especially for high consideration brands.
  3. Branded content is more than providing entertainment. Provide valuable information to your consumers.
  4. Location, location, location. Place content on premium sites.


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2016 Predictions and Trends

For the First Time, Advertising To Surpass $500 Billion In 2016

IHS analyst Eleni Marouli predicts 2016 ad spending in this Media Post article by Laurie Sullivan.  “Advertising to Surpass $500 Billion in 2016” includes the prediction that advertising will rise 5.7% and video will become the new mobile. Initiatives around measurement in the advertising industry are also discussed by Sullivan.
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IoT Will Become Omnipresent in Our Lives

Chuck Martin’s 2016 IoT predictions for Media Post include an extensive list from a variety of cited sources.  Beacons, wearables, encryption technology, smart machines, and more are presented in, “2016 IoT Predictions: Big Data, Beacons, Wearables, Security.” 
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Fewer but More Creative Ads in 2016

Matt Sweeney, CEO of Xaxis North America, presents six of the top trends that will impact advertising in the year ahead.  In this article for Campaign Live, “Better Creative, Fewer Ads: 6 Trends That Will Define 2016,” Sweeney predicts that ads will be more relevant and less intrusive.
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Native Advertising: FTC Guidance and IAB Concerns

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) plans to seek additional clarification from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the Commission’s recent Guidance on Native Advertising.  Brad Weltman, Vice President, Public Policy at the IAB, discusses his concerns in this IAB press release, “IAB Concerned About FTC Guidance on Native Advertising.”  While both organizations agree on the importance of clear disclosure to consumers, they disagree about other points in the Guidance. 
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Multichannel Online Behavior Can Predict Online Consumer Purchasing

This December 2015 article from the Journal of Advertising Research examines how consumer behavior across multiple online advertising channels can be used to predict conversions. The authors, Sebastian Klapdor, McKinsey & Company, Munich; Eva Anderl, FELD M, Munich; Jan H. Schumann, Universitat Passau, Germany, and Florian Von Wangenheim, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland, suggest strategies for advertisers to target individual consumers based on this research in this article, “How to Use Multichannel Behavior To Predict Online Conversions-Behavior Patterns Across Online Channels Inform Strategies For Turning Users Into Paying Customers.”
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MMA Issues Guidance Report on Mobile Native Advertising

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) released a “Guidance Report on Mobile Native Advertising.”  According to MMA’s press release, the report includes best practices and highlights the unique power of mobile native advertising. In fact, when optimized for frequency of exposure, mobile native advertising performed as much as 10 times better compared to mobile display advertising at a similar frequency. 

Referring to the research of the MMA’s Mobile Native Advertising Committee, the organization’s Chief Strategy Officer Sheryl Daija stated, “As a result of these learnings and the insights from SMoX, we know there is greater attentiveness to the content, creating a need for different rules and best practices to maximize the performance of mobile native advertising.”

The report provides guidance in the form of specific actionable steps for both marketers and publishers. In addition, the press release provides a link to download the full report.


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Branded Content Boosts Purchase Intent According to a Study by IPG and Google

High-quality branded content is effective at increasing brand favorability and intent to purchase according to a study conducted by IPG Media Lab and Google. This global study surveyed 14,780 consumers and included brands in 19 categories in 10 countries. Jon Lafayette’s article in Broadcasting and Cable provides some of the conclusions from this study.

Among these conclusions:

-The companies defined branded content as content that lives on its own, produced by and for the brand, as opposed to content produced by someone else that the brand affixes it to.

-Consumers found branded content more entertaining, uplifting, educational, novel and exciting than standard video ads.

-The study found that high-quality content led to a 10% greater increase in purchase intent, compared to lower quality content.

According to Kara Manatt, VP Consumer Research Strategy at the IPG Media Lab, “Our data indicates there are clear best practices marketers can take advantage of when creating and deploying branded content. Naturally, marketers spend more time and budget creating this custom content, so having these guidelines based on improving brand perceptions and driving purchase intent is invaluable.”

Among these guidelines:

-Mentioning the brand more often increased the perception that the content was designed to “sell a product,” but the information was still trusted.

-For high-price purchases, purchase intent was higher with more brand mentions.

-Placing content on a premium site can have a halo effect on brand preference and intent to purchase. The more consumers liked the site, the greater the impact the branded content had on those consumers.

IPG Media Labs and Google plan to continue studying branded content.

For more on this topic, check out the Advertising Tab in Morning Coffee.

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Content Budgets Rise as Measurement Advances-Nearly Half of Marketers Are Spending 20% More on the Discipline

Kate Maddox summarizes the results of a new report on content marketing by Forrester Research in this Advertising Age article.  According to the report’s author, Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester Research, marketers have increased their content marketing budgets and have been able to achieve bottom-line measurement of their content marketing programs.

Twenty-five percent of marketers increased their content marketing budgets by 30% or more in 2015 compared to 2014, and 47% of marketers boosted their content marketing budgets by 20% or more.

Skinner attributes the budget increases to:

-The shift from traditional to online media, especially by millennials.

-The use of self-directed research by customers during the purchasing journey.

-The need for valuable, relevant content due to ad blocking.

In addition to increasing these budgets, there is an increased ability to measure the impact of content marketing.

Seventy-five percent of marketers reported positive bottom-line results from their content marketing, including increased customer loyalty, and reduced marketing and media expenses.  In addition, 57% of marketers reported increased revenue and sales.

This article also presents the details of content marketing strategies by SAP and Lenovo. Metrics used by these companies to measure content marketing results include overall impressions and views, time spent engaging with the content, the number of leads generated and sales.

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Data is the Next Big Thing in Content Marketing

Alexandra Samuel, writing for the Harvard Business Review analyzes data journalism, which the author views as an important trend.  Data journalism draws on the growing availability of data sets and data analysis tools to uncover and tell stories.  Big data offers marketers the opportunity to develop data-driven stories involving new insights, to tell stories in a compelling manner, and to have the stories disseminated via social media.

However, Samuel points out that data visualizations driven by original data are rare.  While infographics are frequently used by corporations and marketers, these infographics do not focus on original data-driven content.

Benefits of offering data as a content marketing resource include:

-Increased traffic: data visualizations and reports are likely to be shared on social media.

-Value: by offering unique information and actionable insights, the company’s content will provide value.

-Authority: by offering a report or infographic with new information or key trends, the company’s expertise is highlighted.

-Learning: by releasing some of the corporation’s data in a form that readers can use to create their own charts or analyses, new insights may be revealed.

-Transparency: by offering information on the patterns revealed by consumer data, brands can help consumers feel more comfortable with the use of their personal data.

Samuel feels that some companies have successfully used their own data to drive original stories, such as OKCupid, General Electric, Kickstarter, and Jawbone.  However, the potential of data-driven marketing is not being fully utilized by most companies.

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