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Native advertising is set to grow phenomenally in 2014.
The New York Times among many others has now embraced native ad formats. This has led an even bigger clamour among media analysts to predict big things for native this year.
J.P. Morgan stated last week in its ‘Nothing But Net’ report that “We believe native ads are quickly becoming the de facto ad format on mobile and increasingly moving into desktop”.
There is still a lot of confusion among marketers and publishers about what native actually is. Many people have tried to define it and enlighten us all on what native advertising is.
Earlier this year I was asked to speak at the Brighton Digital Marketing Festival and host the content session during the afternoon.
After some consideration on what to speak about, I came up with the concept of ‘The Content Cycle’ – a process that helps marketers ensure they have a really good content strategy in place.
The Content Cycle as a concept is based on the way we work with clients and construct digital marketing campaigns. However, the process can easily be applied specifically to the subject of online content.
This can be used as a process for your whole content strategy, or you can apply it to individual campaigns.
2013 saw many changes that affect the role of the SEO, most of which were instigated by Google. Some were good, some not so good.
The final removal of keyword referral data was the most obvious inconvenience for SEOs, but Google has also been busy tweaking its search results page, with more prominence for paid ads.
I've asked a number of SEOs for their views on the least welcome changes from 2013, as well as their hopes for the next 12 months. Please let me know yours in the comments.
Wikipedia has been one of the success stories of the internet, growing rapidly to become the de facto reference site for many people.
There are more than 4.4m pages in the English language edition alone, and it is still growing at the rate of 771 new pages every day.
How can its impact benefit digital marketers?
In this post, bear with me and you’ll get a couple of case studies and some best practice from brands using TV and promoted tweet tie-ups.
Before I give you the fun stuff, I want to say that best practice is all that matters. Ignore all the stats about engagement and sales uplift.
I don’t usually advocate ignoring stats, but as B2B marketing and service industries now pervade major cities of the developed world, we are awash with stats. And stats that claim to explain general concepts, such as generic increase in purchase intent after viewing a promoted tweet that references TV, are not helpful to you.
Yes, these stats succinctly explain the perceived benefits of advertising on Twitter, but like all data, it’s only that which directly pertains to your company that is of use.
There’s no point examining averaged trends when what you’re interested in is your business. Being blinded by amazing engagement stats will mean you don’t think properly about your campaigns. The last thing you want to do is drip out a poorly conceived set of promoted tweets and have faith they will deliver ROI.
The success of your marketing and advertising is dependent entirely upon detail; detail that’s way more granular than simply what channels you decide to advertise in.
Harper Collins and its business development team are a great example of how publishers are adapting to the business of content, not simply bound sheaves of pulped wood.
In an indicator of how service-based the UK economy has become, Harper Collins now sums up its business as following:
"We create bespoke content based on products and campaigns for our clients."
"We work with content, not just books, across print, digital, mobile and more."
"Our editorial expertise, content and creativity enable clients to communicate brand identity and values."
One of the areas of the publishing house where this is most evident is Harper Collins Children’s Books. I decided to find out more about its business model.
Last year, Coca-Cola launched the Journey website as its own media outlet, using an editorial, image-heavy format.
Fuelled by the brand's Content 2020 plan, the redesign was described as 'the most ambitious rethink of Coca-Cola’s web properties' since it launched the first website in 1995.
The company has gone from being declared 'creatively bankrupt' by a chief exec in 2004 to being named Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes in 2013.
In the late 1990s the Philadelphia Inquirer published a series on “the dramatic raid of Mogadishu”. It evolved into a book and a movie called, as you may have already guessed, ‘Black Hawk Down’.
The initial extended feature first made its debut in print, and was then pushed onto the website, where video, audio, maps, photos and related links helped bring the story to life. The site, which is still available online, looks like this:
This was one of the first mainstream media attempts to use the web to enhance long form content, and while the page might not look terribly pretty, all of the right kind of functionality is there.
Since then things have moved on considerably, and in an age of HTML5 I have seen some stunning examples of what can be achieved with online storytelling. Here are a few that are well worth checking out.
Let's start with the obvious...
Content is arguably the biggest trend to hit online marketing since the advent of social media, video and search.
Content is everywhere. And with content comes the opportunity for new, exciting, content based advertising models.
Enter native advertising. Find out what all content marketers need to know.
There are some words in the English language that have huge fluctuations in positive and negative connotations depending on the context in which they're given. For instance, calling someone 'mental' can have a huge number of meanings and implications.
'Cult' is another of those paradoxical terms. To some it sparks visions of watching DVDs of Monk or Twin Peaks, to others it suggests communes, chanting and tall stories of aliens and an afterlife paradise.
But ultimately, building a cult following for your online content is something the majority of businesses are after, whether they explicitly state it in their mission statement or not. "Creating a pattern of ritual behaviour in connection with specific objects", that's what we're all really doing isn't it?
Disclaimer: I hate infographics!
If not the medium, the execution is so often poor, as is the chosen subject. But I feel differently when it comes to brands. I’m interested in learning about brands and their activity.
So, I’ve collected 10 stellar infographics here for your viewing pleasure. They’re not all by brands themselves, but all include brands and their footprints.
They range from the mind-blowingly expansive (see the brands that own the brands) to the fruity and fun (see the Die Hard promotion).
Just click on each stub to enjoy the full infographic. Happy stat attack!
Before we get started, I have two apologies to make: one to every company featured in this blog post (my opinion obviously has little bearing on the success of your marketing efforts), and another for writing a post with a wholly negative premise.
In my defence, it’s often a lot easier to run your own emails against a checklist of ‘do nots’, as it arguably supplies some super-quick fixes.
Anyway, off we go.