Lon Otremba, the CEO of Bidtellect, a native advertising platform used by marketers, stepped back to offer his thoughts on how native advertising and content marketing will evolve this year. Otremba suggests four trends he feels will become commonplace in 2017:
Marketers realize that connecting with consumers through content is often more effective than advertising: Smart brands now know that when consumers engage with their content, they engage with their brand. Content drives more impactful engagement with consumers, and ultimately greater ROI on media spend, than traditional display advertising does.
As marketers increase their focus on content marketing, they’ll turn to native advertising as a key content distribution strategy in 2017. These connections with content don’t have as limited a shelf life as a display ad or even a 30-second TV spot. If the content’s good enough, consumers will even engage with long-form branded content.
The shift toward native will accelerate in 2017 as budgets increasingly move away from traditional display. Content marketing, and using content to deliver brand engagement, is the future of advertising.
Optimizing landing pages is a new focus: From now on, the focus will be on what happens after the click. In 2017, we’ll see a real shift toward optimizing the content we consume post-click. Marketers won’t only look at pre-click optimization; we’ll see genuine landing page optimization for content marketing ,which I believe is a far superior focus than optimizing ad placement.
Large brands will develop content marketing initiatives in-house: Major brand marketers have already moved toward this trend, and are beefing up programmatic and content marketing efforts in-house. They’re combining and integrating these efforts.
What does this mean for the advertiser/agency relationship? There will be pressure on agency media units to develop creative content for their clients in new and innovative ways. There will also be pressure on them to use increasingly sophisticated technology to produce ROI and value for their clients or they’ll lose them.
Great technology won’t overcome bad content: Digital advertising has been plagued by bad actors, diminishing the overall integrity of advertising. The existing issue, with “fake news” inundating the online content ecosystem, is the latest example --and one that’s extremely detrimental to the relationship between consumers and brands if it’s not addressed properly. Marketers, publishers, and technology companies will continue to collaborate in 2017 to create quality content and advertising. We can’t leave everything to technology alone. Industry stakeholders (publishers, marketers, and agencies) have a responsibility to produce and distribute truthful and valuable content.
Consumers are being duped, but they can also see when they’re presented with credible, relevant, and valuable content. If native content is strong, consumers have demonstrated they’re interact with it.
Tobi, perhaps digital display advertisers will embrace "native ads" or "content marketing" this year, perhaps not. However I doubt that this applies to branding advertisers who state their case to the public via TV ads, radio commercials and print ads and even those using digital video ads. Already there has been a softeneing in the amount of ad dollars flowing into product placement deals on TV shows. While this is not exactly what digital means by "native" or "content" ads, the core idea is similar---integrate your brand and/or a brand message into program content so viewers will see it---invariably in a positive light--- rather than zapping your conventional in-break commercials. Many advertisers have been hit with major price hikes by the product placement sellers and are having difficulty defending such buys on an ROI basis. It will be interesting to see how this develops in digital and whether the results in terms of sales stimulation or other benefits are different...as they may well be.