Commentary

Why Brands Must Extend Content Marketing Into Display Advertising

Users love content. As a result, brands love content marketing.

However, there is one problem: How do brands find the scale and ability to reach millions of people with the content that they produce?

“Content plus reach” is the answer to the perennial problem of how to amplify content marketing programs that work. Brands must move beyond their websites’ domains to reach the full Web, both mobile and display.

From social media to blogs to their own websites, marketers are increasingly adopting an integrated approach to using owned, earned, and paid media, with each channel mutually reinforcing the others. Across all media channels, content is growing rapidly in importance.

In fact, research shows that B2B marketers plan to spend 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing this year, up from double digits in 2012. This increase comes as companies notice a consumer preference for original content over traditional advertising. While it is common for brands to develop content for their owned and earned channels, it is still virtually nonexistent in paid media, and especially in display advertising.

Why is the time ripe for extending content into display advertising? Why weren’t brands doing this before? The main reason is that recent advances in ad serving and content distribution technologies have truly opened the door for online advertising to be a viable channel for content marketing.

Display ads can now serve as content management systems (CMS) that act like mini websites full of functionality for users to engage with. This allows advertisers to view ads as vessels or containers in which to put content that is trending in the moment — breaking news, recipes, how-to articles, social media feeds, videos, store finders, maps, and more.

Content-rich advertising fixes the main issue with traditional display advertising — namely, that display ads are disruptive and force users to click through to another site in order to engage with a brand. This is a problem because, given the abysmal industry average click-through rates, it’s obvious that consumers do not like clicking on ads. Research conducted by comScore revealed that two-thirds of Internet users do not click on any display ads over the course of a month and that only 16% of internet users account for 80% of all clicks. 72% are not comfortable clicking at all.

By extending content into paid media, ads can be a dynamic vehicle for brand storytelling. Users will be able to engage with brands and have a memorable experience right in an ad itself. This approach aligns paid media with the new marketing values already being applied in owned and earned media to appeal to consumers, increase brand engagement, and overcome poor ad performance.

Instead of simply clicking through to a brand site or landing page, users can engage with brand content directly in an ad unit without leaving the site. This represents a powerful shift in the way brands engage with consumers — a shift that can’t be ignored as content marketing continues to grow in importance.

8 comments about "Why Brands Must Extend Content Marketing Into Display Advertising ".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, November 1, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.

    Re: "Research conducted by comScore revealed that two-thirds of Internet users do not click on any display ads over the course of a month". How is this even possible? I can barely go one day without accidentally clicking an advert. Casts doubt on all the figures here.

  2. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, November 1, 2013 at 11:31 a.m.

    No offense, but this is just more clutter screaming from the cheap seats. We keep trying to finesse a work product -- the ads themselves -- that no one outside of our industry even thinks about, let alone demands. Content marketing is best described by the original network radio concept, whereby single brand sponsors -- Maxwell House, Lifebuoy, Dodge, Mercury, Texaco, etc. -- produced their own content and shared the marquees with the likes of Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor. Back then, brands were gracious hosts, not the unwanted intruders they have become. More importantly, brands enjoyed exclusive exposure to huge audiences for hours at a time -- precisely why most of those great American brands are still around today and why, for example, the only brand that really scores in an NFL game is the NFL itself.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 1, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

    The more ads there are, the more there are to ignore. The cacophony of so many ads in so many places everywhere cancel messages as they fight each other for attention. They cannibalize themselves.

  4. greg obrien from Liquidus Marketing, Inc, November 1, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.

    Interesting article...much more eloquently stated than we at Liquidus have articulated. Here's an example of an ad that is "advertising" to the advertiser but "content" to the interested consumer. Essentially the ad allows the user to play a trailer of every TV Show that is premiering on CBS (post-expansion).

    http://preview.liquidusbannerlink.com/Default.aspx?TAG=Channel2TAG1&TID=41&PID=625&ED=0&L=1&Preview=1&BID=23986&w=300&h=250&CC=0

    Obviously this is a self-congratulatory point of view but I believe that this kind of ad could be done by almost any brand advertiser--though the cost of creating the content is (and will always be) something of a barrier. If the marketer can overcome the barrier ad designs like this allow them to export their content to the desired user where ever they currently are...rather than requiring that the user visit the advertisers site in order to engage.

  5. greg obrien from Liquidus Marketing, Inc, November 1, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.

    Pete from Triggered Media--with all due respect your comment indicates you havent reviewed the studies on which the statement: "wo-thirds of Internet users do not click on any display ads over the course of a month" is based.

    It was a significant study and no expense was spared in the process of deriving the data. Candidly, the data quoted in this article was from 2007. By 2009 the percentage of Internet users that had clicked on an ad (any ad) in the course of a month had fallen from 32% to 16%. The 2009 update to the 2007 study also showed that 8% of all Internet users accounted for 85% of all ad clicks...and that 16% of Internet users accounted for 100% of clicks.

    For the full story search on the phrase: "natural born clickers".

    The point the author is making is that, if the users are not going to click on the ads, then the content the advertisers want the users to see should be in the ads themselves. It's a point of view that has wide industry support.

  6. Tom Cunniff from Tom Cunniff, November 5, 2013 at 8:21 a.m.

    This is arguably the first display advertising methodology that fits consumer behavior *and* has the ability to scale easily. It unites brand, content and audience. I think the way Martini does it is particularly smart: http://martinimedianetwork.com/solutions/custom-content-units/

  7. Eric Steckel from Turnpike Digital, November 11, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.

    Greg O'brien - how has an ad like the one you shared performed for a B2B marketer? For example, how might it fare if the various videos were a "product overview" and a "testimonial"?

  8. contentsetter com from contentsetter, February 17, 2014 at 3:20 a.m.

    Great article.It is very useful my new content marketing business.
    http://contentsetter.com./

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