Right now, at this very moment traditional marketing and advertising principles are being turned upside down. Think about advertising as we know it – brands spend millions of dollars to push their products out to the masses in the form of online display advertising. Sounds pretty normal, right?
Whether it’s display or print, advertising is becoming less and less effective. To adapt to the changing times, brands are now becoming publishers themselves. Instead of pushing content out to their target audience they have decided to incorporate a pull strategy and attract customers to them through quality content.
This is why the savviest brands such as Coca Cola, Kraft Foods, P&G, Microsoft, Red Bull, Kate Spade and other smart small businesses are spending their time and money developing content marketing strategies with the hopes that their readers will ultimately reward them with business and loyalty. They are building communities around quality content. Content marketing is also one of the most organic and smartest ways to brand your business and show your values to the world.
Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It involves providing value–in the form of content–to your target no strings attached. Instead of pitching your product or service, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. This strategy also builds your reputation as being a thought-leader in your industry.¹
There’s a reason that brands are allocating more and more of their advertising dollars toward content marketing campaigns and blogging. Traditional display is dead. How often do you click on display ads? Actually, I already know.
The likelihood of you clicking on a display ad is 0.08%. We don’t just ignore ads, we are blind to them. Actually blind to them. Eye scanning technology actually shows that we complete ignore display ads when reading. Actually, brands lose hundreds of millions of dollars advertising to people that never even see the ads because of bots and high bounce rates. (Markerly offers publishers and brands trackable ad impressions on display and content marketing. If you’re interested contact us.)
Not only are brands seeing lower conversion rates on display ads, but publishers are also suffering because their display ad inventory prices are dropping. Some publishers are trying to hold onto traditional display advertising by adding more “disruptive” ads that interrupt the viewing experience so that they can serve a higher number of impressions. We’re all familiar with the ads that just keep popping out of nowhere as we’re reading content like the disruptive video ad unit below.
Instead of piling on more display ads, the best brands and publishers are doing something proactive about this and that something is content marketing. Savvy brands know that they have to pull their audiences in with rich content experiences. Savvy brands want their target to seek them out–to come to them–and publishers are welcoming this new non-disruptive advertising to their sites in lieu of adding more display units because the ads are native to how a reader browses content and have a much cleaner look and feel. BuzzFeed is a perfect example. Can you spot the advertisements by Canon and Durex? These content marketing campaigns are native to the browsing experience and are non disruptive.
Consumers are welcoming this shift to content marketing as well. It has been slowly introduced and we are used now to seeing Facebook Sponsored Stories; Twitter’s Promoted Tweets; promoted videos on YouTube, Tumblr and Forbes; promoted articles like Gawker’s Sponsored Posts and BuzzFeed’s Featured Partner content; Sponsored Listings on Yelp; promoted images on Cheezburger; and promoted playlists on Spotify and Rdio.²
What do you think of content marketing and what are some of your favorite brands that are successfully doing it? We’d love to hear your thoughts!