Webinar recap – How to Succeed in the World of Paid Content

Webinars help us stay on top of industry topics, trends, and best practices without traveling to workshops or conferences.  (Another bonus – they’re frequently free!)

One pitfall of webinars is it’s difficult to fit them into our hectic schedules. To help out all you busy people, each month we’ll attend a webinar and summarize the key learning points for you, so we can learn from industry rock stars together.

Yesterday, we sat in on New Age Advertising: How to Succeed In The World of Paid Content. Speakers included:

New Age Advertising: How to Succeed In The World of Paid Content.

Content is the new face of digital advertising. With this realization, brands jumped on board – creating, curating, and sharing content to capture consumer attention and drive brand interaction. There are limitless content opportunities – blogs, articles, infographics, webinars, print publishing, and today’s guest of honor – paid or sponsored content.

What is native advertising?
According to Peter Minnium of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), native advertising is a paid advertisement that is so cohesive with the page content, assimilated with the design, and consistent with the user experience that the viewer simply feels it belongs there. Native advertising doesn’t disrupt the user’s experience – this is key.

A study by IAB

Peter kicked off the webinar by walking us through an IAB study on consumers’ feelings about sponsored content. The study looked at three consumer groups – consumers who frequently consume business, entertainment, or general news. The study found consumers are well aware of sponsored content and surprisingly, receptive to native ads – 60% of consumers are more open to online ads that tell a story rather than ones that simply sell a product. In fact, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) of consumers feel that online advertising is necessary to receive free content online.

Consumers are more likely to have a positive reaction to high quality paid content. Brand relevance, authority, and trust drive consumers’ interest in sponsored content and increase the likelihood they’ll find it interesting. Content achieves relevance when it’s targeted to a specific kind of audience, fits in with the surrounding content on the page, and matches the editorial style and quality of the brand. Brands that share their expertise are considered authoritative. Content is authentic when it matches customers’ expectation of your brand and is deemed trustworthy and transparent.

A study by Vibrant Media

Helen Mussard then walked us through a Vibrant Media poll of 1,000 consumers in the United States, measuring whether consumers trust branded paid content as much as editorial content. The findings are much closer than you’d think – 35% of poled consumers trust editorial content and 33% trust branded content – only a 2% difference.

Transparency is HUGE with paid content. Consumers need cues they’re reading paid content instead of an editorial. Misleading consumers pretty much guarantees they’ll have a negative brand experience.

Do you have a content strategy?

Ryan Buckley of Scripted.com hammered home the necessity to have a documented process for content creation, curation, and distribution. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 44% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy and 73% of B2B organizations have someone in place to oversee that content strategy. A dedicated content manager is critical.

Content is king

Content competition is fierce – companies succeeding with content shift their focus from churning out mountains of low-quality nonsense to a laser-sharp focus on high-quality, relevant, and original content. At Whereoware, we’ve seen the power of targeted content first hand. (See how our client increased time on site 10x and pages visited 2x by offering relevant content to their audience here).

The findings of both the IAB and Vibrant Media studies hit home for us. Successful marketing and advertising campaigns don’t trick consumers into buying products. Smart marketers don’t spam, solicit, or batch and blast. They don’t capture lead information by being devious or misleading.

Instead, what we’ve seen work for our clients, is giving an audience reasons to want to interact with our brands. We employ data, marketing automation, and website personalization to creatively engage a client’s audience and deliver an improved customer experience. To echo the webinar speakers’ view on paid content – organizations and marketers must aspire to offer value relevant to their audience’s individual needs and be transparent in that mission.

Want us to cover a webinar for you? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Speakers:

HELEN MUSSARD: VP of Global Marketing, Vibrant Media
Helen Mussard is the VP of Global Marketing for Vibrant Media. With over 13 years of experience in marketing, Helen leads a team responsible for Vibrant’s marketing strategy, advertising, public relations and market research projects. Helen is a member of both the IAB’s native and content marketing task forces, helping brands to understand and operate in the new digital world. Prior to joining Vibrant in New York, Helen lived in London and Berlin working both agency-side and in-house for TV channels, government organizations and digital start-ups. Helen has a B.A. (Hons) in International Business.

PETER MINNIUM: Head of Digital Brand Initiatives, IAB
Peter leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He was formerly Managing Director of Lowe Worldwide, the global creative agency network, where he held leadership roles overseeing international operations. Peter’s passion is the intersection of creative ideas and technology and he is focused on fueling the full-fledged creative revolution that interactivity has long promised.

RYAN BUCKLEY: Head of Partnerships/Co-founder, Scripted
Ryan Buckley is Co-founder and Head of Partnerships of Scripted.com. Ryanholds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Still and always a Cal Bear,Ryan graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Economics and Environmental Sciences. He likes to dabble in PHP, Python, Rails, Quickbooks, and whatever else he needs to know to help run Scripted.