Thought Leadership

IAB Content & Native Advertising Conference: Content is Digital Marketing’s Glue


August 21, 2015

By Gareth Shaw

Earlier this month, I presented at the 2015 Content and Native Advertising Conference in London where we dug into the idea that ‘content is the glue that holds together digital marketing.’

The significance of data and audience becomes apparent when the right content, right person, and capability to change content dynamically come together. A recent focus group led by the IAB Content Marketing showed that users want three things: context, relevance, and clarity.

As we discussed at the event, content marketing and native advertising will drive a new era of engagement. We recently released a survey with Digiday that polled over 500 brands, agencies and publishers to see how well we understand the slight differences between content marketing and native advertising. The survey explored how they are different, what objectives each meets, and application strategies. Our findings led them to determine that content marketing is the ‘message,’ and native advertising can serve as the ‘envelope it is delivered in.’

Brands, agencies and publishers have agreed that both are important. Content marketing and native were listed as the top strategies brands and agencies expect to shift more budgets to in the next two years. Display and search growth will still be relevant, but their growth rate will slow as new approaches that allow brands to drive better engagement with their audiences become more prevalent. In order to flourish in our ever evolving digital ecosystem publishers will need to adopt and make these solutions available to meet buyer demand.

At PulsePoint, we believe that engagement metrics will soon replace click through rate, and that advertising technology will fuel a new era of engagement for content marketing and native. This message is one that resonated strongly with IAB attendees. The growth in content marketing and native advertising usage has been fueled by brands desire to drive deeper connections with their audiences in a more engaging fashion, which is now possible programmatically, bringing both scale and data that can be used for targeting and ROI analytics.

As PulsePoint and Digiday’s 2014 research has shown, that 83% of those in the industry believe that content marketing will go programmatic by 2017. In fact we believe that through our new Content Marketing Platform meaningful content distributed programmatically both when and where consumers are ready to connect with it is now a reality.

We were excited to show the audience results of an early case study conducted with Columbia Sportswear, who leveraged our new Content Marketing Platform in a closed beta. The case study shared the challenges of managing the targeting and distribution of custom content, delivering content to the key demographics appropriately at scale, and fully comprehending which content, formats and channel’s drove the best engagement. The results that Columbia garnered speak for themselves: 226,27 brand engagements, 46,801,366 total impressions delivered, 989 hours, 73% of cumulative time available for audience to engage, 3x long spent on Columbia’s content, and their videos views increased 225% since the start of the campaign.

It’s exciting to share new insights and campaign examples that point to the future of content marketing. In the end, the attendees walked away with three main insights: content marketing and native advertising are great mediums to deliver engaging messages; engagement metrics will soon replace click through rate for upper funnel campaign objectives; and content marketing and native are going programmatic to apply targeting, scale and performance optimisation.

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