Branded Content

Controversy: The Future of Advertising is Native

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I have already detected the haters in the room. Those who despise Native Advertising because it blurs the line between journalistic merit and blatant product promotion.

‘Be transparent’, they say, while creative agencies get rich basing their work on Creative Directors whims that actually lost touch with the ‘Millennial‘ audience years ago. At the same time, clients feed the media machine more money to push out loud TV, print and digital ads.

Yet, across the World Wide Web, there are people, who create content about their passions. They did it long before advertising made them social media superstars. In comes thick and fast daily – oh the amazing things you can see on the Internet, that agencies only dream of creating.

The content creators of today no longer have to limit their ideas by stale agency terms, conditions or trading agreements. They are also not trying to be advertisers. Rather, they are documenting the experiences they have while exploring their interest, and based on the time they spend doing this thing, you could certainly say they are subject matter experts. Oh and they’re pretty influential in social media, and handy with Instagram or a video camera.

What the haters of Native Advertising don’t realise, is that this is the key to the future of advertising, and also the demise of the creative agency stronghold. Eventually all advertising will either be programmatic or native. People are hungry for content and informed content helps us make decisions. TV ads and other ATL media may help with front of mind, but do nothing to educate us on our purchase decisions. Once programmatic buying is active across all TV, Print, Digital and Radio, beyond reach and frequency, creative, nor media human resource will be necessary, beyond business science.

However, word of mouth has always been the most effective form of advertising.

The trusted advice of peers and subject matter experts is used everyday to help consumers make purchase decisions. And in Internet times, there are endless content creators, sharing information around a given topic.

Now I have just one question to ask the advertising industry; How can you claim that media and creative agencies can come up with a better idea to engage an audience, than those who speak with that audience everyday. Not only do they speak with them, they entertain, vlog, photograph and experience first hand every reaction and success. They are the ones who hold the content marketing key, and surprise – this is native advertising – and it’s set to take off in a big way.

In fact, Native Advertising has taken on different shapes in media for quite a while now– via Facebook and Twitter paid feeds, contextual advertising and if you think about it –Experiential Marketing was the birth of Native Advertising – where you enhanced or affected a person’s experience while feeding them positive subliminal messages from brand.

Ask a Content Marketer what they think of Native Advertising and you will get mixed reactions. – some will deny any association between the two techniques. Yet they are one and the same thing. Branded content – which is a form of content marketing – is really just a new development within the art of Native Advertising, and one that ironically our best practitioners are failing to, or simply refuse to notice.

Connected TV killed the EPG star

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Connected TV branded content on the rise in Australia

It’s no secret that over the last few years, the growth of Connected TV, Internet TV and Video on Demand (VoD) content has led to a decrease in real-time TV viewing. There are now more than half a billion connected TV devices in use around the world, and in the UK alone, connected Sky+ homes watch 33% more catch up TV and x3 more VoD than the unconnected Sky+ homes. In short, brands can no longer rely on live, TV advertising to reach their mass audience.

Conversely, in Australia, real time TV still remains popular, and sadly Netflix has yet to reach our shores, at least for those waiting diligently to obtain it legally. But things are about to change; this week Cricket Australia launched an Apple TV channel, giving fans access to extra content and information beyond the live matches. It is the first Australian sport to launch on the platform, following suit from the US, which has already launched similar channels for the NBA and NFL.

In a similar announcement, Mamamia Women’s Network, a runaway social success story, from Australian Mummy blog, to nationally recognised website that appeals to women 25-45, is soon to launch Mamamia TV. According to their editor-in-chief, Jamila Rizvi, the aim is to produce snackable TV-style content for the web. Rizvi claims that, unlike other media companies, Mamamia isn’t having to shift to understand digital or what women want out of content, as the network is already there. She said the extension of the platform to TV is due to demand; they now receive over 420,000 views a day on their site, compared to 20,000 views, 2 years ago.

On a larger scale, Vice TV is also making a splash globally and showing how brands that are willing to be reactive and involve themselves in topical news are met with likes, shares and mentions of their content across the web. Ultimately tbrands who use this form of advertising ensure their message has a much stronger, more organic impact, when compared to brands that spend high in traditional media and achieve reach with little reward.
Based on the Connected TV penetration globally, and the increasing demand for bite sized content, I predict that 2015 will be a key year for both the Global and Australian Connected TV industry and with it, will change the way brands can reach, engage and share content with their fans. In addition, the low cost nature of content production means integration of social campaigns within the TV content is relatively easy and a low barrier to entry for brands that otherwise cannot spend fortunes on traditional media.

YouTube will still be a cost effective way to upload and share videos, however partnering with smaller media brands, to introduce social campaigns via Connected TV platforms, where audiences already go to access short form content they love to watch, could present brands with new opportunities to engage in a social manner.