Article

Eli Mandelbaum
Eli Mandelbaum 14 October 2016

It’s Time To Talk Branded Content

When you look up the term “branded content,” chances are you will find multiple definitions. Though it has become essential to a successful content strategy, we still struggle to define what it is and what it is not.

Even though it may never have one concrete definition, it is important for marketers to understand why it is important and what sets it apart from other methods of advertising.

Our most recent PluggedIn roundtable — a smaller, more intimate gathering — brought together various publishers and advertisers to discuss what branded content is and what it is not. The definitions and experiences varied across the board making for an extremely insightful discussion.

What It Is

If you want to create branded content, it must have a purpose. Part of what sets branded content apart from other forms of advertising is the fact that it tells a larger story. As Shachar Orren of Playbuzz shared, “If the content is compelling, people will disregard the fact that it’s branded. If you create an experience that people can’t resist, the fact that someone paid for it becomes less relevant.” The majority of our discussion about what branded content is and how it can be successful comes down to this point. Quality and relevancy are key — otherwise, you might as well stick to banner ads.

What It Is Not

At the start of our discussion, we posed this question to each participant. The first, of a wide array of about a product. Another point, adamantly expressed in our discussion was that branded content is in no way native advertising. Native advertising can be used to promote branded content, but it is largely focused on format as opposed to storytelling. was that it is not just another ad format — it is a strategic element of a larger marketing initiative. We also reflected on the fact that it is not free from influence and it is not necessarily content answers

The Purpose it Serves

Branded content is not limited to a single purpose. It can be used for lead generation, brand awareness, engagement, or all of the above. In fact, engagement became one of the more popular focuses in our discussion. Sharing a story that engages the right audience is the key to successful branded content. It is our way of forming a personal bond with consumers in a digital age.

How it is Measured

If you look at metrics that were reported on a few months ago, they may be very different than those highlighted today. In fact, three months was mentioned as the time it takes for the focus on metrics to shift. For example, metrics have continued to move from views to engagements and many are asking the question: “What is real engagement?” It may be easier to reach customized audiences, but the metrics and reporting still have some catching up to do.

In all of this, one thing was clear: branded content is working. That is why there continues to be an increase in budgets and resources allocated towards it. Though we may not have all of the answers, it is important that we continue to tell the stories.

What are you views on branded content?

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