Results tagged “Content Marketing” from IABlog

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At a recent IAB Town Hall gathering supported by the Content Marketing Task Force and Social Media Committee, members met to discuss the rise of visual content marketing as part of the digital communications mix, focusing on the animated GIF.

In an entertaining presentation titled “Moving the Needle: The Power of the Animated GIF for Publishers & Advertisers,” Tumblr’s Creative Technologist Max Sebela presented the history and significance of the GIF as a file format—including its decline in popularity and recent resurgence as a prime communication tool, plus best practices and the “secrets” behind a great GIF. 

“GIFs were the first file format to give color and personality to the Internet, and they’re experiencing an exciting renaissance as an instrumental force in content creation, consumption and cultivating culture on Tumblr and across the web,” said Sebela.  “We’re seeing a pivotal shift in marketers embracing the animation platform to tell compelling brand stories, connect with consumers, and drive engagement and earned media.”

Members were invited to share their perspective on the GIF format as part of their content marketing mix.
Animation credit: Tumblr

Buzzfeed, arguably one of the most prolific GIF users in the publishing world, added:

BuzzFeed2.gif“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF is worth 10,000. GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.” -Joe Puglisi, Senior Creative Strategist, Buzzfeed

“People scroll past hundreds of images everyday on the internet without batting an eyelid. An animated element goes a long way towards bringing an idea to life, and turning an ordinary static image into an extraordinary, eye-catching concept. GIFs help us trim the fat and highlight the core emotional truth behind an instance or idea.” -Will Herring, Senior Creative, Buzzfeed


Animation credit: Will Herring, Buzzfeed

According to Sarah Wood, Co-Founder and COO of Unruly

“The GIF has been re-energized as a format, likely tied to the success and emergence of “sugar cube” content on Vine and Instagram Video.  Portable, postable nearly everywhere, featuring fast load times and quirky, jerky looping “video,” the animated GIF, like Vine, is a content gateway.  GIFs and Vines are both low cost forms of content creation that require the barest of tools and enable a new army of content creators to express themselves.  The limitations of these formats only add to the creativity required to make awesome content.  As short as a couple of seconds, the animated GIF broadens the dimensions of the video content spectrum, followed by Vine at 6 seconds, Instagram Video at 15, all the way to the 2-5 minute social videos we’ve seen trend on the Viral Video Chart.  Animated GIFs and Vine require zero budget—and highlight the democratization of online content.  Brands of all sizes can easily use these formats to drive their social conversation with custom content to win the hearts and minds of consumers, and get their feet wet before expanding to longer forms of video.”

Ahalogy’s Raman Sehgal, VP of Client Services, was quick to point out that Pinterest now supports GIFs and offered this suggestion to marketers looking to take advantage of this new content on the visual discovery platform, “When pinning, always remember the consumer context.  Pinterest is not just a social network, but a content discovery tool.  Marketers need to make sure their pinned GIFs add meaningful value for a user, and are in the right brand lens.  Many of our brand clients treat GIFs on Pinterest not as ads, but rather as inspiring short-form stories.”  See an example here.

Demand Media has a dedicated GIF offering for their clients, says Christine Fleming, Senior Director of Content Strategy and Monetization:

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“The intent of our animated GIF offering is to have the best of both worlds: the instructions and the visualization of those instructions, all in one, without having to go back and forth between an article and a video for example.  We’ve seen an increase in CTR (as compared to related articles and videos) by adding GIFs to related content alongside articles.  We create content that meets the needs of people in their everyday lives, so this it’s a perfect format for step by step tasks that require in motion visual instructions, like cooking or fitness or even making a clothespin earbud holder!” 


Animation credit: Demand Media

Lastly, Business Insider shared an example of how they are incorporating GIFs into editorial content to help bring stories to life. Emily Allen, SVP Ad Strategy added, “They’re great for showing short snippets of video and are much more convenient for the reader.  GIFs are more dynamic than photographs.  They offer the same effect as in the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter - except without the magic.”  

From advertising to sponsored content to editorial usage, it is clear that GIFs are an exciting and powerful element in the visual content marketing toolbox for publishers, marketers and agencies alike.  IAB will continue to host sessions where members will share their content marketing best practices for industry gain. 

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. 
She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst

Content Marketing is assuming an increasingly large role in the digital campaigns of both B2B and B2C marketers, and is providing digital publishers with a potentially rich source of both revenue and content. However, there is substantial confusion about the concept, due to a multiplicity of definitions, marketing platforms and strategies. To help publishers navigate this promising but complex field, IAB recently established the Content Marketing Task Force.

As a first step, the Task Force was charged with developing a Primer to define the various components of the marketplace. This Primer has now been completed, thanks to input from the nearly 50 Task Force members, including publishers, both legacy and digital-native, and technology providers active in this space. 

The Primer’s objectives are fourfold:
a) To eliminate confusion by providing alignment among competing definitions, marketing platforms, and strategies
b) To provide accurate, timely information about Content Marketing
c) To offer guidelines on conforming to editorial standards and identification of sponsorship
d) To address the need for clear disclosure to consumers and businesses

contentmarketingprimer-screenshot.PNGWe believe the Primer will help IAB members grapple with the issues and maximize the opportunities of Content Marketing. Because Content Marketing is a very broad term which encompasses a wide range of platforms and strategies, we felt it very important to promote understanding of what its purpose is, and how it differs from advertising.  We also wanted to clarify how marketers and publishers can avoid potential pitfalls by establishing guidelines for clear disclosure. Fellow co-chairs reflect on the importance of this primer:

Content marketing has the potential to be a substantial, long-term solution to many challenges publishers face with respect not just to revenue but satisfying audiences with the kinds of valuable content and experiences they’ve come to expect. Publishers have worked tremendously hard over the years to gain the credibility that they have with audiences.  Our goal is to lessen the likelihood of that happening with clear guidelines and best practices for working with their advertising partners on content marketing initiatives.
- Lisa LaCour, VP, Global Marketing, Outbrain

As marketers look to unlock the full value of their content assets and pursue even greater levels of engagement from their media investments, paid content distribution will continue to grow.  It’s through this primer, with support from the industry’s leading practitioners, that the IAB looks to shine a light on this dynamic and evolving space, and provide guidance and best practices that will ultimately help shape its formation.
- Chris Schraft, President, Time Inc. Content Solutions 

So, what is Content Marketing?

Recognizing that Content Marketing is a very broad term which has many competing definitions, the Primer offers this general statement:

                  “Content Marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and 
                   valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target 
                   audience.”

It further notes that content marketing differs from advertising and other promotional vehicles because its intent is to provide entertainment/information that stands on its own merit - a “pull” strategy that enhances the consumer’s attitude towards the brand, rather than a “push” strategy with a specific call to action.

Within this overall description, the Primer shows how content marketing can work across the several platforms of owned, earned and paid media. Publishers have the opportunity to capitalize on all of them in a number of ways, both as distributors and as suppliers of content.

The Primer also provides marketers with an overview of the varieties of content - original, repurposed, and curated - they can use in their content marketing strategies. Each has its advantages, as well as complexities that require consideration. Sophisticated marketers will want to experiment across the spectrum.

The Need for Transparency and Disclosure

This Primer is clear that the key to the continued growth of Content Marketing is strict adherence to the IAB dictum that “Disclosure is not an option but a requirement.” The Primer states that content marketing efforts should always be clearly disclosed to the consumer as such, irrespective of whether they are paid units, third-party paid links or social-media endorsements. 

Specifically, regarding the subset of Content Marketing known as Native Advertising, the IAB Recommended Native Advertising Disclosure Principles, as outlined in the IAB Native Advertising Playbook states:
                                     
                   Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to distinguish between what 
                   is a paid native advertising unit vs. what is publisher editorial content.

In sum, Content Marketing represents an important strategy for marketers to engage their audiences in new and exciting ways, while offering publishers the opportunity for new revenue streams. By helping to reduce confusion about terminology and establishing guidelines for meeting editorial standards, the IAB’s new Primer will, it is hoped, help this industry reach its full potential.  Moving forward, according to Susan Borst, the IAB Director of Industry Initiatives, the Task Force will focus on additional topic areas related to content marketing such as the importance of social media and measurement.

About the Author
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Andrew Susman

Andrew is the CEO and a co-founder of Studio One and co-chair of the IAB Content Marketing Task Force. Previously, Susman was an executive at Time Warner and Young & Rubicam. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Advertising Educational Foundation, and Business for Diplomatic Action. A native of Missouri, he is also a certified sharpshooter and is a major supporter of the ASPCA.


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IAB Goes Native

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“Native advertising” is one of the most confounding phrases to captivate mind-share in the digital marketing arena. We all know that marketers are excited about it, but the ecosystem has yet to come up with a concrete definition of this buzzworthy approach to interactive advertising.

The confusion has reached a fever pitch, with Rob Macdonald, Vice President of Business Development at m6d finally writing down the words that so many have wanted to say…

“Please Obi-Wan Rothenberg, you’re our only hope!”

Rob really did include that line in a comment he wrote on a recent Digiday piece - but in all seriousness, the sentiment is in keeping with a widespread outcry from our members.

Native advertising is gaining in popularity, but stakeholders need to coalesce around definitions and best practices, if we’re going to be able to drive the native movement to scale. The confusion and chaos must be eradicated, and the first step in IAB forging a path in this direction is the development of a new IAB Native Advertising Task Force.

The group had its first meeting earlier this week and a number of key concerns were immediately raised:

•    How do we distinguish between native web advertising and its mobile brethren?
•    Is native allowed to be disruptive?
•    How can we clearly delineate between native ad content and pure editorial?
•    How do we define measurement and metrics surrounding native?
•    Where do ad creatives fit into the native mix?


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Even with disparate voices in the room - many of them in senior leadership roles - common goals quickly began to take shape.

First and foremost, the task force will aim to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s “native” landscape. This prospectus, targeted to advertisers, publishers, and ad tech providers, will need to be clear enough that the industry has a guiding light and broad enough that it can expand over time—while also providing a basis for further IAB initiatives in this space.

And, speaking of further efforts in the space, IAB has also kicked off a new Content Marketing Task Force, which may—or may not—be seen as an umbrella for or a cousin to the Native Advertising group.


taskforce3.JPGSo, light sabers aside, IAB is jumping into the fray. Debate, consensus and more debate are surely to follow, but we plan to be at the center of the conversation, providing a clear road ahead for these two vital advertising concepts to evolve into strong players in the digital marketing arena.

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst.

The advertising ecosystem today is inventing smart, unique campaigns that use the latest interactive advances to engage consumers. The results are powerful.  With audiences bombarded by marketing messages in every medium, advertisers are pushing the envelope to get attention and creating a truly dynamic marketplace as they surprise, delight, and win followers.

In response, we’ve added seven new categories to this year’s IAB MIXX Awards to make sure the best, most forward-thinking work gets noticed. Through the global IAB MIXX Awards, the IAB recognizes the talent that crafts this innovative, leading edge and high impact creative. The new categories give the digital industry more opportunities to showcase how brands and agencies move their business - and the advertising industry - forward.

Iab-mixx-awards-2013-logo.jpgBranded Utility
A successful branded utility campaign has the power to embed the use of the brand into consumers’ everyday behavior—Nike+ FuelBand, the 2013 IAB MIXX Awards Gold winner in Digital Integration—is the perfect example.  David’s Bridal recently got media attention for its app that lets brides make wish lists, interact with bridesmaids, keep track of their bridal purchases, plan the wedding party, show her current mood through an icon, upload images, log-in via Facebook and send invites to friends through the social network.  Those newlyweds might then move on to using the Chip It! app from 2012 IAB MIXX Awards’ “Best in Show” winners Sherwin Williams and McKinney that lets you match real world colors with paint colors. 

Content Marketing
Content marketing is increasingly recognized as a new channel for brand marketers.  At least two major agencies recently announced new units devoted to helping clients with content marketing development.  American Express is well known for its “OPEN” Forum dispensing advice of all kinds to small businesses.  Lincoln Motor Company’s “Lincoln Now” site features content that celebrates design, technology and art, and in the process, the company’s 90-year history of making cars.

Augmented Reality
Augmented reality campaigns take advantage of consumers’ addictive smartphone behavior by creating often game-like apps that communicate brand messages in clever ways.  How do you get an adult audience to rekindle their love of Lucky Charms cereal?  This year Lucky Charms agency Saatchi and Saatchi created an augmented reality app that sent customers on a “Chase for the Charms,” complete with a $10,000 “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow.

Custom Mobile Rich Media Display  AND IAB Standard Mobile Rich Media Display

With mobile advertising skyrocketing by 111% in 2012 as reported in our recent study, brands are out to take advantage of the landslide shift of eyeballs to mobile. Major publishers like USA Today, New York Times, ESPN and more are hosting rich media ads on their mobile apps, and platforms like Google, Twitter, Facebook and Pandora are drawing huge mobile audiences.  Last year the IAB established its first-ever mobile ad standards — the Mobile Rising Stars.  Agencies are expressing great creative ideas through these new formats with great consumer and business effect.  For example, Dunkin’ Donuts and Celtra used Facebook for a mobile ad using rich media and HTML5 to let users customize their perfect drink.

Clicks-to-Bricks
Retail brand marketers are using interactive in significant ways to drive traffic to their brick and mortar stores.  Macy’s created an all-purpose Black Friday app last November that enabled shoppers to preview and get push notification on Black Friday specials, create lists to share with friends and family, direct shoppers toward local store specials and preview exclusive items.  The app’s debut coincided with Macy’s holiday broadcast campaign featuring spots with Justin Bieber, Carlos Santana, Martha Stewart and Taylor Swift.  The IAB MIXX Awards honor not just creativity but impact and nowhere is ROI felt more immediately than in a retail environment

What’s next? We’ve added one final category to find out:

Can’t be Contained!  - Any execution so experimental and innovative that it defies categorization in the IAB MIXX Awards!
Technology is moving fast, and cutting edge agencies and brand marketers are keeping up with it.  “Can’t be Contained” offers agencies and brand marketers the chance to submit their campaigns using the latest most experimental, groundbreaking technology.  No doubt there are even more forward thinking digitally savvy campaigns on the horizon.

Learn more about the global IAB MIXX Awards at iab.net/mixxawards.

About the Author 
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Peter Minnium
As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.

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Content Marketing: Who's The Boss?

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Leading publishers and technology providers discuss innovative, collaborative content sharing efforts

While it is the year of data, mobile, and the snake, 2013 also continues to revitalize the age-old trend of content marketing and syndication. It seems these ideas are so old they’re new again.

John Deere has been doing it since 1895 with “The Furrow,” so what is making content marketing so attractive now to the modern marketer? While there is no clear cut definition of content marketing, I would put forth that it is content created by a brand, that even if the branding were removed, that the content would still be valuable and engaging to a reader. If done well, it creates positive brand connotation. And if we work with that definition, it makes sense that the modern marketer (much like the modern publisher) wants to get the attention of content-ravenous consumers, most of whom have one or more devices attached to them at any given moment with which to consume.

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CM Town Hall Kontera.jpgiabcmjoepanel.jpgLast week, the IAB held a Content Marketing Town Hall to foster a discussion around both the concerns and opportunities publishers have in the content marketing and syndication space. The IAB AdLab was packed to the brim. Publishers came with some fears about brands honing in on the content business. To open the day, Andrew Susman, President & CEO of StudioOne and ICSC Board Chairman, reminded us with calming voice that,iabcmforbes.jpgiabcmMinniumMartini.jpg“Currently the industry sees branded content as a type of media buy, but actually it’s a type of content. If you bring audience to branded content - you get content marketing.” 

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, delivered the opening keynote of the day, outlining the opportunity for publishers and brands to work together to deliver relevant content to consumers, whether branded or editorial, because, as Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy and Industry Development at BuzzFeed later noted, “Great content finds its audience.” So it seems that the name of the game is getting engaging content in a place where your readers will consume it, whether you’re a publisher embracing branded content on your site, or you’re looking to syndicate out your editorial content to brands. 

One concern did resound in the room around advertorial content. Should there be guidelines that clearly denote advertorial content? Do ethical standards need to be set for branded content and along with it, best practices on transparency and disclosure? Do we need to create sponsored content labeling conventions? And especially as automated platforms serve up content, how can we ensure that we’re seamlessly integrating advertorial content but not duping readers? The need to ensure will undoubtedly be an ongoing conversation within the IAB, among our membership, and in the industry as a whole.

Download Content Marketing Insights from IAB’s January 2013 Town Hall 

The IAB Content Marketing Town Hall was held on January 24, 2013. Moderated by Susan Borst, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB, the following industry leaders presented at this IAB member-exclusive event:

Amy Hyde, Product Strategy & Business Development R&D Ventures, New York Times Company

Andrew Susman, President and CEO, StudioOne; Board Chairman, ICSC

Asli Hamamci, Director, Digital, Mindshare

Bill Powers, EVP - Corporate Development, Swoop

Brett Curtis, Global Business Director, Thomson Reuters

Greg Cypes, Director of Product, AddThis

Hal Muchnick, President, Kontera

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

John LoGioco, SVP & GM, Outbrain

Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development, Buzzfeed

Ken Zinn, DVP of Marketing - Online Business Unit, Sears Holding

Mark Howard, SVP - Digital Advertising Strategy, Forbes Media

Michael Goefron, Director of Operations, Unruly Media

Peter Minnium, Head of Digital Brand Initiatives, IAB

Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder & CEO, Newscred

Skip Brand, CEO, Martini Media

Tim Clark, Corporate Blogs Editor-in-Chief & Social Media Strategist, SAP


 About the Author

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Julie Van Ullen

Julie Van Ullen is the Vice President of Member Services at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Ms. Van Ullen oversees member acquisition, participation, and retention programs. In addition, she works with designated member leaders to develop strategic, market-marking initiatives for execution within IAB’s Committees and Councils.

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