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Winning Consumer Attention: Amazing Content + True Native Distribution

  |  August 18, 2014   |  Comments

According to a session at ClickZ Live San Francisco, in order to win over consumers, marketers must produce quality, engaging content and utilize a true native distribution strategy.

Content distribution is always a hot topic - most marketers now realize the potential in getting their content seen and building an audience online - yet two out of three native advertising campaigns aren't successful, according to Chartbeat.

Chris Rooke, vice president of strategy and operations at Nativo, and Daryl Wong, media supervisor at Grey, delivered a great session at last week's ClickZ Live San Francisco in which they discussed the progress of native content distribution and explain the shifting landscape of digital advertising and online consumer behavior.

New Era of Digital Advertising

Rooke and Wong began by explaining how we're moving away from the days of more direct, interruption based marketing - ad click-through rates are flatling (0.7 percent on average) and video skip rates are skyrocketing (72 percent).

That means you need to be smarter in your approach, and more informative/useful in order to create engagement and provide real value to the consumer:

new-era-czlsf

Main Challenge Is Scaling Quality Content

Seventy-eight percent of chief marketing officers (CMOs) agree that custom content is the future of digital marketing. That's a huge sign of where things are going, yet custom content isn't always easy to scale - which means you need to have a clear process and idea on what your audience wants, and how you can deliver it to them.

Content Strategy

Within your content strategy, you need to consider what will resonate best with your users. Rooke and Wong recommend taking the Malcolm Gladwell approach and hitting the sweet spot between "last of the few," "power of context," and "stickiness factor":

content-strategy-czlsf
Having this target audience in mind will help you to set clear objectives, whether that's attention and engagement, discovery and awareness, establishing expertise/thought leadership, driving consideration/favorability, or customer acquisition/retention.

Ideation Signals

Once you know your target audience, you need to come up with great ideas which you can deliver on - this means you should understand and learn more about your customers to gain valuable insights, try digging into:

  • Client data - brand website data, client CRM data, client feedback/surveys
  • Twitter - hashtag trending data
  • Bit.ly - content consumption on-site, off-site, and look alike
  • Facebook - graph API analytics
  • Pinterest - insights API analytics

The next step is content production - and if you don't have an internal team; Rooke and Wong recommend outsourced to the likes of Newscred, Visual.ly, Contently, Poptent, Tidal, and ClearVoice.

Native Content Dos and Don'ts

The first challenge is always in knowing what audience works best for your audience. If two out of three campaigns fail, you need to learn from these mistakes. You want to take these learnings into your campaign setups and make sure you're in that winning third:

Dos

  1. Design a straightforward content strategy
  2. Remain consistent of the brand objectives
  3. Give prescience to what is amazing about your brand
  4. Be sure you are telling a story
  5. Test and optimize everything

Don'ts

  1. Re-purpose ad copy
  2. Create content of the sake of it
  3. Follow a formula
  4. Produce content in a VCR manual-esque manner

Paid, Earned, and Owned Media

Amplification plays a very important role in linking up paid, earned, and owned media:

paid-earned-owned-czlsf

Often, people create great content with a solid strategy and target audience in mind - but if the promotion is not executed effectively, then the potential is never reached. For best results you need your strategy, production, and promotion to work in concert - which means it needs to be integrated into your full paid, owned, and earned media plan.

True native distribution strategy should be contextually relevant and non-interruptive - this means that it should appear natural to the user as an informative story, not as an interruption-based advert.
See its positioning here across both desktop and mobile:

native-distribution

The other native tactics you could use include in-feed or stream ads (click out) and content recommendations (based on bidding algorithm).

Native advertising has a 15 to 45 times higher click-through rate (CTR) than display! This was the stat that I was most surprised by, although it does make sense - banner blindness means you really have to stand out and add value, which is what content is there for. Whether advertised or not, to have the biggest impact it needs to be able to resonate with its audience.

Other interesting stats included:

  • 80 percent of users view article previews
  • 18 times time spent on content - more than 90 seconds
  • 10 times engagement rates - less than 5 percent adjusted bounce rates on native landing pages
  • 76 percent recall the brand name and context of the sponsored content
  • 40 percent higher brand lift vs. banners
  • 50 percent higher purchase intent vs. banners

Rooke and Wong ended the presentation by explaining the campaigns they had run, targeted specifically to their customer demographics - this showed a 46 percent uplift in purchase consideration, 91 percent said the content was useful, and 70 percent were likely to tell a friend about the brand.

All in all, a very successful journey into the world of native content distribution!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is Managing Director of digital marketing agency BlueGlass UK. A highly respected blogger on search engine marketing and social media, Kevin also speaks frequently at leading industry events.

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