The Media Kitchen’s Matt Borchard, Digitas’ Michael Fasciano and Dave Weiner from Pepsi dropped by Outbrain HQ for a candid discussion on the buzziest topic in digital: native advertising.
Our very own Kodi Foster, Senior Director of Brand Initiatives, led our intrepid panelists through the sometimes confusing world of native advertising, content marketing, and the spaces in between to discuss the value of owning and disseminating content.
The panelists generally agreed that content marketing is the sustained effort and discipline that requires brands to not only work like a publisher but also perceive themselves as such, shifting mindset to take responsibility for creating great content on a consistent basis. Native advertising is an instance or function of that mindset.
But why should brands bother?
What is the point of all this content marketing stuff if ROI has been so hard for marketers to define up to this point?
According to Borchard, “We’re not selling a product, we’re selling thinking,” a fundamentally different approach to digital that’s powering the shift in focus from paid → owned → earned media to owned → earned → paid.
The opportunity content affords brands to actually influence the lives of online consumers, at a time when banners are in steep decline, is a huge part of what makes content so appealing in the first place.
“Engagement is the key performance indicator,” said Fasciano. “Engagement is how you know you’re providing value to consumers.” How brands define engagement and the KPIs they put in place is up to them, but from Weiner’s perspective, speculating on the metrics before executing the content is counterproductive to seizing the moment. “Start with creating the content first, then the measurements will fall in line… your audience will tell you if it’s working or not.”
So what are some of those barriers to entry?
“The quality of your content has to increase with the quality,” said Borchard. Neglect of either can see a brand erase the goodwill and content equity it’s produced far more quickly than the time it took to gain a following.
So is every brand really a media company in the native age? They are if they want to stay relevant to online consumers.To be notified of future events, sign up for the Content Conversations mailing list. For information on past events, visit our Meetup page.