Brands are acting more like publishers
2013 is shaping up to be the year of content. If this year has taught brands and agencies anything, it's that consumers want to interact with companies in ways that don't feel like advertising. It's no secret that the industry average CTR is dropping. Banner advertising is losing its effect on consumers. Marketers know that their strategies need to evolve to remain relevant and to interact with consumers effectively. Already, brands like American Express, Lowe's, Sears, Kraft, and General Mills are trailblazing really interesting and natural-feeling content marketing initiatives. Brands are looking and feeling more like publishers in the way that they approach advertising. In fact, their approaches don't feel like advertising at all, and that's what consumers like about it. 2013 solidified the idea that content marketing is going to become a standard practice.
Big budgets are being allocated to produce viral videos
From the Carrie coffee shop prank, to Unilever's "Project Sunlight" campaign, 2013 has been a year in which brands are finding themselves in the viral video spotlight. There's no doubt that every brand wants its content to go viral. This year we saw brands funnel huge amounts of money into video productions to achieve long-term brand perception. Short term ROI is great, but brands are sending a message to consumers (and the marketing community) that allocating big budgets and investing in projects that may not see a short-term return are still very valuable. Although online video is not new, brands are starting to invest more capital into creating video content that is interesting, clever, and achieves high views.
Sarah Fay, chairman of the board of governors for dmg events, speaks to iMedia about how brands are evolving into content producers and why it will only grow in 2014.
Agencies still value paid media and display advertising
There are still many agencies that value paid media and display. In 2013, we heard a lot of discussion about how banner advertising is obsolete. However, despite all the conversation, advice, and thought leadership, agencies have continued to buy display. 2013 has shown us that while paid media has its problems with proving conversions and actual consumer intent, it's still a very important tool in the marketer's belt. 2014 might prove to be the year where agencies hold onto display advertising, but buy and execute in a much more programmatic way. Programmatic buying frees up a marketers' time to invest in more creative endeavors. The industry may hold on to paid media in the same degree it does now, but its methods might drastically change.
Brands not producing content are starting to embrace native
Not every brand has jumped on board with content marketing. Some of them can't afford it, and others simply don't believe it will produce the kind of return they need. However, even brands that have shied away from the content game are admitting that it is going to be a critical part of their strategies. Native advertising is growing as a viable option for brands that cannot (or will not) invest heavily in content marketing. Native placements produce effective engagement rates for brands, and marketers are starting to embrace it. 2013 saw many brands produce at least one native placement, and in 2014 it will only get bigger.
Sarah Fay ends our conversation by explaining why marketers still see paid media as important to their strategies, and why native advertising will be a critical element for brands in the coming year.
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