Posted by Cognito on Thu, Jan 15 2015

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Sponsored Content: The Future of Advertising?

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It goes without saying that compelling content is an important factor for any advertising or marketing campaign. It can drive traffic back to a brand’s website, improve search rankings and SEO and get shared on social media. The heart of content marketing is the idea that a business executive or decision-maker is more likely to be interested in a brand that comes off as a subject matter expert in their field.

As such, native advertising (or sponsored content) has been a booming business in the past year or two, and will only continue to grow in importance. At a panel discussion this morning, GE and media site Quartz – which has a native-only advertising model – shared some findings from a survey they conducted of nearly 1,000 senior executives globally about how they consume content, as well as sharing some thoughts on sponsored content projects.

According to Jason Hill, Global Director, Media Strategy, GE Global Brand Marketing, content is merely “a byproduct of a brand’s expertise,” and that global executives have a large appetite to consume good content. The key to good content is to be relevant, have a high standard of quality and to be “in the right place” so it can be easily found by your target audience.

Learning how to market better to senior executives was the primary driver for conducting the study, which yielded several interesting findings. Firstly, mobile is king when consuming content for high-level executives; 61 percent of those who responded primarily consume news on their mobile device. Good content will also get shared; 91 percent said they would share quality work-related stories with fellow colleagues. Further, 86 percent of the executives polled said they were genuinely interested in content from brands, especially if that content is a reflection of the brand’s expertise.

Lee said for these reasons it’s important that brands have a large library of content at their disposal. In fact, he said GE at this point thinks of itself more as a publisher than a brand. One of the main keys to good branded content, he added, is for it to be as “journalistically pure” as possible, and seamlessly blend in with the editorial content of a website.

As this blending of marketing and journalism continues, the importance of high-quality, relevant content will only become heightened for brands. Traditional methods of marketing and advertising alone may not be enough to drive profitable customer action anymore. It will be interesting to follow the evolution of native advertising throughout the coming year.

Agency, Journalism, Marketing,
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