Sponsored content. Native advertising. Content marketing. Call it what you want, but brands are recognizing that there is a new digital advertising medium that they need to be exploring.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal dug in to find out if the hottest trend in digital advertising was driving real value for brands and their findings were mixed. On one hand, there has clearly been a strong trend of increased spend on sponsored content and native advertising models. Brands are enthusiastic about the higher engagement times that successful content campaigns have seen, and are willing to try their luck with these new formats.
But on the flip side, the immaturity of this type of advertising has made it hard to determine what success looks like. Total clicks, engagement length, social shares and demographic data about the users are all interesting and relevant data points, but don’t necessarily tell the whole ROI story that a CMO is looking for.
The truth is, these formats are new and there are growing pains associated with establishing sponsored content’s credibility. But it isn’t any easier to measure the return on investment for traditional forms of media like billboards or radio advertisements. The data available on who consumes your content and for how long they engage is much richer and easier to measure on the web, which is why at News360 we feel like the sky’s the limit for sponsored content.
A few years from now, we will likely look back on this debate and wonder what all the fuss was about. Brands, publishers and platforms alike are still hammering out the details around the most effective ways to provide value to all stakeholders, and the next few years will be monumental for establishing the role of sponsored content on the web.