Content Marketing: Embracing the New Paid Media

Content Marketing is the convergence and future of paid and earned media that is poised to have enormous growth potential over the next 5 years.  This advertising method is still very new and the industry is filled with confusing buzzwords:  native advertising, branded content, sponsored content, content marketing, advertorial, custom content…what does it all mean?
To help alleviate some of the confusion, we’ve assembled the chart below that attempts to explain the differences between these buzzwords and how they fit into the content marketing ecosystem:

 

Source: Digiday “Time to Define Native Advertising” by Josh Sternberg
Predictions:  What is the Future of Content Marketing?
As eMarketer reports, “Native Advertising: An Emerging Consensus for a New Kind of Ad, social networks, news sites, digital content aggregators and streaming media services are rife with ads that are integrated into the content experience.  These so-called ‘native ads’ are providing new ways for marketers to reach target audiences and new avenues of monetization for content sites that are under intense revenue pressure.”
eMarketer predicts that native advertising spending will hit 2.85 Billion by 2014.  Its growth potential follows the growth of display advertising year after year.

As display ads become more and more monetized and prices continue to fall due to RTB and DSP’s/Exchanges, publisher sites are constantly looking for new ways to generate revenue.  But they walk a fine line between adding values to their current readers and when the lines become too blurry, there is the threat of backlash and eventual erosion of their core audience.
Emerging Platforms and Publishers:  Who are the Leaders?
A few content distribution platforms have come to the forefront and promise to provide scale and efficiency for marketers: Outbrain, Taboola and ShareThrough.  nRelate has also entered the market recently and more are on the way.  Most of these platforms use widgets placed below publisher content that direct your attention to other articles “from across the web” based on your historical behavioral preferences and the contextual relevance of the article you just read.
Publisher sites like Quartz QZ.com (an Atlantic Media Group company) are ahead of the pack by building and integrating sponsored content into the site infrastructure seamlessly.  Check them out on your mobile device and you’ll see why advertisers keep renewing their contracts.
Recently, Ben Huh, CEO and Founder of Cheezburger visited our offices to give an overview of integrating brands and humor.  They have created a fusion of social sharing and humor to drive powerful brand advocacy for their partners.  This is simply another form of “advertising content” created by another entity on behalf of a brand.
Content marketing takes many forms and there will be more in the future as this new medium changes and evolves.  The biggest challenge for brands and publishers will be weaving that message into the consumer experience so it occurs as naturally and unobtrusively as possible.

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