How can we best educate for America’s future? The question at the heart of this Atlantic article drove 40 thousand social actions, making it the most shared sponsored post in October. This month’s rankings were filled with a mix of established content powerhouses like Forbes and Buzzfeed, as well as new publishers like Slate, who cracked the top 5 for the first time.
The October report features a spotlight on Marriott’s original brand content, a zoom-in on the Real Estate and Automotive verticals, and sharing data from the brand labs at Mashable and The Huffington Post. To find out the hottest brands in content marketing and the full list of publishers in the top 5, download the complete report here.
The New York Times, Facebook, Kraft, Virgin Mobile, The Onion, OMD, Buzzfeed, Sharethrough, Huffington Post, Mashable, and many others all come together in only one place: The Native Advertising Summit. The upcoming Chicago summit is going to be phenomenal. No other way to say it.
As it gets colder in the Midwest, some people tend to shy away from flying into Chicago. That will not be the case this November, as several hundred digital advertising executives from around the world meet to discuss what the future of media looks like. The Native Advertising Summit Summit Series, which has already made stops this year in New York & Atlanta, will swing through the Windy City on November 12th.
Listen, we understand that their are a ton of advertising events every year, and we also understand that many of them are an endless precession of mildly relevant panels. And we’re sure you understand that some events are just too good, too timely and too fun to miss.
As a preview, here area few of the segments that we are looking forward to in Chicago:
1) The Dollar Shave Club – “Don’t Say the V Word”
Michael Dubin, CEO & Co-Founder of the DollarShaveClub will highlight how his company produced and promoted their extremely successful branded video (nearly 12 million views), and his thoughts on how every brand can create great content.
2) Panel: The Evolution of the Modern Internet
Participants from Sharethrough, Buzzfeed, OMD, Complex and National Public Media will discuss the visual and structural shifts we are seeing on the internet. From the growth of feed-based layouts to the growth of brands creating meaningful content, how will publishers keep up from both a design and advertising perspective?
3) The New York Times Presents
Meredith Levien, The New York Times VP of Advertising, will discuss how everyone can be great storytellers. As the former head of advertising at Forbes, she is sure to bring great insights from both the creative and distribution sides of the coin. Her presentation will conclude with a Q/A, so be sure to come prepared!
4) The Onion Presents
Honestly, how could you not be excited about an Onion presentation? From the publication that brought you stories such as “Kitten Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day” and “Study Reveals: Babies Are Stupid”, we are confident that their President, Mike McAvoy, will deliver a humorous and engaging 20 minutes.
Look out for these and more in Chicago, and let us know what you are excited about.If you are interested to attend but are being fashionably late in registering, we completely understand, but this party is just about full so go do it right now.
Sharethrough President Patrick Keane appeared on Bloomberg TV again this morning to discuss the recent Time Warner Cable-CBS dispute. On “In the Loop” with Betty Liu, Keane discussed TWC’s decision to cut access to CBS Corp.’s programming in major markets like New York and LA. The continued transmission-fee negotiations between the companies has implications for the advertisers as well as the consumers in these markets. But, Keane remained confident that the standoff will be settled before the kickoff of football season and the CBS ratings have not been drastically hurt by the blackout. Watch the full video clip here.
Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” Heineken’s “Dropped,” Vitamin Water’s “Make Boring Brilliant”—some of the year’s most successful campaigns have leveraged everyday people instead of paid actors to star in their content. From staging surprising pranks to spontaneous travel experiences, unscripted events often conjure a hilarious and surprising human effect. Below are three reasons brands have been trending toward the commoner.
It could be you
If great advertising is about creating an emotional connection with an audience, what better way to get the audience to empathize than by allowing them to imagine themselves on the screen? Candid, unscripted content with people off the street will always be more relatable than a celebrity touting the value of a product. One of the best parts of campaigns like Coke’s “Smile Back,” is they bring excitement to the everyday. “Where will happiness strike next?”
It doesn’t feel like an ad
Viewers hate to feel like they are consuming propaganda or being told how to think. Content with everyday people interacting with products heeds the ultimate storytelling adage: show, don’t tell. When advertising feels like content, like an experience, it will be gladly shared across social platforms because it adds value to the consumer. From the brand side, creating content that entertains and engages is the holy grail.
It personifies the brand and the target
In Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” there is not a single mention of Dove or Dove products. However, after viewing the content, the viewer has a sense of what a Dove consumer looks like and believes in. These reality-based ads are stripped down of high-tech graphics or animations—they capture human interactions in a very accessible manner. The everyday people in the ads are a proxy for the everyday consumers of products. By not using paid actors in their content, brands are making the everyday consumer the hero.
This week has been full of high quality branded video from some of the leaders in the content marketing revolution. Vitamin Water partnered with the jokesters from CollegeHumor to produce a great addition to their #MakeBoringBrilliant campaign. A panhandler approaches unsuspecting subway passengers with what looks to be a traditional sob story asking for change, but instead takes the stage to brag about his recent life success. Hilarity ensues.
Other highlights from this week include a spoof from NBC, where Jason Sudeikis plays an American Football coach leading a British soccer squad, a music video from DirecTV, where the Manning brothers sing about the joys of watching football on their phones, and a collection of shareable race statistics promoting the recent film release of Fruitvale Station.
Watch the epic panhandler prank here.
Find out what happens when a Texas-born coach takes his expertise to a London soccer pitch here. These statistics about race were made into shareable postcards to pass on the knowledge.
The Manning brothers’ new music video asks the age-old question: Is your phone for calling or footballing?
Two big pieces of news prompted Sharethrough President Pat Keane to be invited to speak on Bloomberg TV yesterday. First, Nielsen released a study touting more viewership on Facebook than on network TV among 18-24 year-olds during primetime hours. Second, Facebook reported plans to start offering 15-second video spots to advertisers for as much as $2.5 million a day. The Nielsen-Facebook partnership is particularly of note as it will aid all internet video providers in luring ad dollars away from television networks by establishing single measurement system that compares TV audiences directly to Internet audiences. According to Cisco, the online video audience is supposed to double by 2016 to 1.5 billion. With the help of platforms like Sharethrough, online publishers can monetize their sites. The facebook Nielsen partnership will likely accelerate this growth and help marketers confidently invest more ad dollars in the digital video space. Check out Pat speaking on the topic here!
Last week the Online Publishers Association (OPA) conducted a study in partnership with Radar Research, which attempted to answer questions regarding the underlying approach to native advertising. There were several intriguing findings; perhaps the most telling was that 90 percent of publishers surveyed expect to provide native solutions by the end of 2013.
However, the one that stood out the most for us was on the definition of native advertising:
The top answers are encouraging, as they offer a similar definition to our “Official Definition” page. Here at Sharethrough, we have participated regularly in industry discussions about how to change the perception of native advertising from an industry phrase to a true media category. At our last two Native Advertising Summits, we have held panels (New York & Atlanta) specifically devoted to the topic of definition. In addition, our CEO Dan Greenberg is one of the co-chairs of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force, which has devoted much of their initial meeting time to the topic.
One clear delineation that we feel is important to make when talking about native advertising is the difference between sponsored content and native advertising:
Sponsored Content - For native advertising to work, advertisers must deliver valuable content that indeed deserves to match the form & function of a site.
Native Advertising – A form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.
Feel free to read more about it on the definition page, but here are a few examples to help showcase the difference:
Two weeks ago, Sharethrough held the 2nd Native Advertising Summit in Atlanta. With over 300 attendees and speakers from the top social platforms, advertising agencies, brands, and publishers, there was a ton of excitement in the room.
Our CEO Dan Greenberg began his welcoming remarks in tried and true fashion with a quote. Paraphrasing Silicon Valley godfather Paul Graham, he oriented the audience of publishers, platforms, brands, and agencies. “To build important companies, the best people live in the future and then fix its problems.” Thus began a day full insights, best-practices, and hypotheses for the future of Native Advertising. The Summit brought together industry leaders from Coca-Cola to Facebook to Gawker to discuss content marketing and distribution in the digital world. Below are some of the memorable quotes from the event, but to delve deeper into each topic, follow the links to the full videos.
“It’s all about using the same tools and playing by the same rules as our editorial operation.”
Mark Howard (Forbes), Defining Native
“The challenge with native is finding that sweet spot between fitting in and standing out.”
Patrick Albano (Yahoo!), Future of Native
“If somebody says we’ve gotta make a campaign go viral, it’s going to be a miserable failure because you’re setting it up from the wrong perspective. If you’re gonna make something go viral, make content that people want to consume.” Josh Cherfoli (Porsche), The Balance of Paid vs. Earned Media
“All our mobile and newsfeed ads are native. With 1.2 billion global users that’s basically the definition of scale.” JD Doughney (Facebook), Does Native Scale?
We are very excited to announce the launch of Sharethrough Mobile Sponsored Stories, a technology solution to power native ads across the mobile web. We’ve been hard at work for many months testing and iterating on this platform, aiming to deliver a product that will make a significant impact on solving the problem of mobile monetization and brand advertising on the mobile web. We believe that today’s options for mobile advertising don’t provide a user experience that matches the quality of the phenomenal devices we hold in our pockets, nor do they provide publishers with a simple way to integrate brands into their content experience. With the launch of this new Sharethrough offering, we believe that things are about to change. (See here to try it out for yourself).
A number of industry leading publishers, including PEOPLE, Serious Eats and Forbes, are already using the Sharethrough mobile platform to power native ads on their mobile websites.
Pepsi ®, one of our mobile launch brand partners, shared some thoughts on why Sharethrough Mobile Sponsored Stories is important to them:
“At Pepsi, we strongly believe in creating advertising that is genuinely entertaining and promoting our content through ways that are respectful to our audience,” said Josh Nafman, Sr. Digital Brand Manager, Pepsi ®. “Sharethrough’s mobile platform will help Pepsi reach audiences in a way that upholds our values of engagement and compelling advertising experiences. We’re excited for this new channel to connect with our fans on their mobile devices.”
We are also working with leading brands including Cruzan® Rum, Sauza® Tequila, and Pepsi. Both Cruzan Rum and Sauza Tequila will be using the Sharethrough mobile platform to reach engaged audiences for their entertaining video campaigns, including Sauza Tequila’s irresistible “Make It With a Lifeguard,” video series. “With Mobile Internet usage on the rise, Sauza’s excited to be one of the first brands to test Sharethrough’s Native advertising distribution method specifically in driving consumers to watch our ‘Make It With a Lifeguard’ videos,” said Lindsey Lewis, Brand Manager, Jim Beam Inc. We are thrilled to provide engaging content whenever and wherever our fans want.”
So how does it work? Sharethrough Mobile Sponsored Stories allow brands to promote their original content, such as videos, articles, posts, reviews and more, across mobile sites in a scalable way that respects and enhances the user experience of each site. Mobile Sponsored Stories appear as part of the stream of content within a publisher’s mobile site experience and are automatically updated to match the look-and-feel of the organic site content. This allows advertisers to promote their content in placements across the mobile web that feel native to each site they appear on.
How do you make ads look and feel native? Real Time Templating (RTT) a technology that Sharethrough developed, allows our advertising platform to identify the style elements of any webpage and match each ad to those attributes, in real time. Even better, we are able to match any future updates to the style template, so even if a publisher changes their design, your ad will stay consistent with the new style elements.
Are these ads effective? In a word, yes. The Sharethrough solution was built to work in a “scroll-centric” environment, it does not interrupt mobile site usage – which according to Forrester is users’ most frequently requested mobile ad feature. Our mobile ads are ideally suited to the smaller screen size of mobile devices, where there is less real estate for content and advertising to run adjacently. Sharethrough Mobile Sponsored Stories enables brand messages to stand out among the site content, with up to one-third of the entire screen dedicated to brand content.
Our Vision The launch of Mobile Sponsored Stories marks a big leap for Sharethrough and the native advertising industry at large. Our goal is to be the leading provider of native ad products across all platforms and to create technology that makes advertising better – today we feel just a little closer to that vision. If you’d like to learn more about our mobile advertising solutions, please click here.