This week there were some product announcements that sound pretty dull. New branded content tools and verified domains – Wooo! They really are interesting though, especially if you rewrite the headlines. “Branded Content Tools” becomes, “Many Influencers are Lawbreakers” and Instagram is Helping them Become Law Abiding.” We won’t tell you to “READ MORE NOW!” because data analysis tells us urgency doesn’t convert, but we’ll give you the satisfaction of sounding smarter to your colleagues when you’ve skimmed our summaries of what’s happening this week in the world of digital and social media.
My colleague Will Holden and I had a chance to attend the Denver Digital Summit last week to listen in on all things digital – trends, strategies, new tools and ongoing tactics. It’s great to see this Denver-based conference thrive and continue to grow each year, and while there was a ton of talk about Snapchat and other emerging technologies there was one constant theme from nearly every session I attended: Tailored user experience (understanding and knowing what your audience wants first and foremost) needs to be the focus needs to be the focus of every campaign.
Branded content or native advertising is nothing new: advertorials and infomercials have been around since the beginning of media.
The growth of digital and online media is further expanding branded content: sponsored posts, promoted tweets, fake news sites and search engine marketing are just a few examples. And now big news organizations are cautiously jumping into branded content, still trying to figure out the best way to co-mingle editorial with marketing.
PR Week, in its February issue, covered the topic, comparing Forbes’ position on branded content to BuzzFeed’s. Not surprisingly, Forbes has taken a more conservative approach to separating advertising and editorial, while BuzzFeed maintains that as long as content is properly labeled as advertising, then it’s fine.