When is comes to content these days, where does entertain and inform end and promotion start?
After over 20 years in media and tech I have seen a lot of shifts and changes. Over time the value the marketplace puts on the effectiveness of various forms of advertising and content continues to evolve.
Digital grew fast in the late 90's. For many years after, there were dark predictions about the fate of print publishers. And there was a lot of fear around declining value of professional journalists. This is because the web was growing and consumers now had the access and ability to create and distribute their own content.
Now years over 15 years later, there has been a steady shift back to the value of high quality content and journalism. There are two key factors.
The first is that due to technological advances, content is now mobile and people have become even more voracious consumers of content. Second, huge digital ad growth is leading to declines in the value of display advertising.
Brands are looking for better ways to connect with consumers. Companies now realize its important to provide valuable and helpful information to target customers beyond product information. And they know they need to provide it through high quality content.
Native advertising is also growing at a fast clip and to me, this is the online version of a print advertorial. Native advertising gives brands the ability to reach consumers while they are enjoying content. And it does not interrupt the user experience which means they will pay more attention to the message.
Research confirms that people prefer native to display advertising. That its effective in driving brand awareness and conversion. And it is becoming more popular for both publishers and brands. No surprise there!
With both native advertising and content marketing growing at the same time there is some confusion. It's confusing because people use content marketing to describe native advertising and visa versa. And we need to clear that up. There is a real difference between what is content marketing and what is native.
That difference is promotional language. Native advertising has promotion language. The purpose is to inform/entertain and SELL. Content marketing is customer service. The purpose is to inform/entertain and SERVICE.
They are both worthwhile and very effective. And they are different. Let's not confuse the two! Why? Because what you really want is to do both. If you confuse one for the other you might not use both of the most powerful ways to reach your customer. Right? Right!
It is common knowledge that the best branding is consistent. It has the same message whether it's on TV, in print, online or even a billboard. That has not changed. What has changed is that people want more than a great ad or advertorial. They want more information about brands and from brands.
Brand-related actions taken by consumers
This chart from Global Web Index proves it. So what are you waiting for? If you've started using native advertising I'm sure you are seeing better results than you do in display advertising. If you are investing in content marketing you will certainly build a deeper and better relationship with your customers.
If you are doing both. Congrats! This is the best way for you to maximize your ROI, build your brand and deeper relationships with your target customer.