Content Discovery and Native Advertising tools - Technology Report
 

Content Discovery and Native Advertising tools - Technology Report

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We’ve been saying it for years now: What’s the point of creating great content if no one knows about it? ...

We’ve been saying it for years now: What’s the point of creating great content if no one knows about it?

If you aren’t going to promote it, your audiences will very likely never discover it—and you will have wasted the resources to create it.

New tools on the market help marketers get their content out to more places on the Web—places where audiences are already interacting with like-minded brands—to generate engagement that will (hopefully) result in more buyers, supporters, community members, etc. These tools include:

• Content Discovery Tools that help publishers by presenting semantically related content to online viewers (e.g., if you like this article, then you might like this article) and create ways for marketers to get their content “discovered.”

• Native Advertising Tools that provide opportunities to feature promoted (i.e., “sponsored”) posts in social media feeds or place long-form content contextually across a network of publishers’ websites.

From the marketer’s perspective, all of this is part of a promoted content strategy—and there is no doubt that it is one of the most disruptive ar eas of content marketing today. Traditional publishers are experimenting (some might say struggling) with various models of native advertising. Social media sites, in some cases, are betting their business models on the idea of seamlessly moving “promoted posts” into
the audience’s stream. Advertising companies are launching new “Google Ads for Content” types of models, where “related ads” for content appear seamlessly integrated into publishers’ editorial.

How To Read This Report

The profiles in this report are based on hour-long briefings that Content Marketing Institute conducted with the following vendors in late summer 2013:

Movable Media
Nativo
nRelate
OneSpot
Outbrain
Taboola
Zemanta

We have undoubtedly missed a few players in this initial report, and we will add and remove companies in subsequent versions. But for now, those featured in this report are the companies we at Content Marketing Institute are presently seeing most frequently in the marketplace.

We have purposely not ranked any of the solutions as “better” than any other because we are not looking to “grade” them. Rather, our goal is to provide a clear sense of what each solution provides and assemble a coherent stratification of the market for purchasers, investors, and those generally interested in understanding this space.

Nothing in the profiles should be read as a tacit endorsement or particularly pointed critique of any particular solution. Our aim is to provide an unbiased examination of the tools without making any particular judgment as to their overall value.

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Content Discovery and Native Advertising tools - Technology Report Content Discovery and Native Advertising tools - Technology Report Document Transcript

  • Content Discovery & Native Advertising Tools: An Analysis of Seven Solutions In A Disruptive Marketplace A S pe cial Conte nt Marketing Institute Tec hnology Rep ort ht t p ://co nte n tma rketin g in s titu te .co m
  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Where Does Promoted Content Fit in the Content Marketing Workflow?................................ 3 Funding is Strong................................................................................................................................. 4 How To Read This Report................................................................................................................... 5 Content Marketing Institute’s Take On This Space........................................................................ 5 About this Series of Reports............................................................................................................... 7 VENDOR PROFILES Movable Media...................................................................................................................................... 9 Nativo................................................................................................................................................... 12 nRelate................................................................................................................................................. 15 OneSpot............................................................................................................................................... 18 Outbrain............................................................................................................................................... 21 Taboola................................................................................................................................................ 24 Zemanta............................................................................................................................................... 27
  • Executive Summary W e’ve been saying it for years now: What’s the point of creating great content if no one knows about it? If you aren’t going to promote it, your audiences will very likely never discover it—and you will have wasted the resources to create it. New tools on the market help marketers get their content out to more places on the Web—places where audiences are already interacting with like-minded brands—to generate engagement that will (hopefully) result in more buyers, supporters, community members, etc. These tools include: • Content Discovery Tools that help publishers by presenting semantically related content to online viewers (e.g., if you like this article, then you might like this article) and create ways for marketers to get their content “discovered.” • Native Advertising Tools that provide opportunities to feature promoted (i.e., “sponsored”) posts in social media feeds or place long-form content contextually across a network of publishers’ websites. From the marketer’s perspective, all of this is part of a promoted content strategy—and there is no doubt that it is one of the most disruptive areas of content marketing today. Traditional publishers are experimenting (some might say struggling) with various models of native advertising. Social media sites, in some cases, are betting their business models on the idea of seamlessly moving “promoted posts” into the audience’s stream. Advertising companies are launching new “Google Ads for Content” types of models, where “related ads” for content appear seamlessly integrated into publishers’ editorial. Where Does Promoted Content Fit in the Content Marketing Workflow? In many cases, promoting content with tools like those highlighted in this report falls outside of the “traditional” content marketing workflow (see Figure 1 on p. 7). Quite often, these tools are not actually managed by content marketers themselves. Rather, their use often is part of a larger promotional/ advertising effort being executed by the brand’s media buying agency or digital marketing consultant. So, whose budget should be used to market the marketing? In many cases, the blog and/or social media team simply doesn’t have a promotional budget. Therefore, there is quite a bit of discussion about how to manage a promoted content strategy. If one believes that this is truly “advertising,” perhaps the funding should come out of the budget allocated to traditional media/advertising and be managed by the agency. If, however, the team that manages the content marketing process (e.g., the resource center, the blogs, or the online community) also is responsible for its success, perhaps a certain amount of new budget should be set aside to promote the content.
  • There are no easy answers to these questions—and much will depend on the organization and how advertising services are purchased. To be sure, as much as these solutions can help content marketers optimize and build their audiences, they also are services that can be viewed as “advertising media” best managed by whomever is strategically managing media buys for the company. One thing is certain: adding content promotion to your mix of media strategies requires new approaches to how you think of “buying media.” We discussed this in an August 26, 2013, post titled “Why Native Advertising is Neither” at the Content Marketing Institute website: “The point is that if we are going to successfully utilize contextually placed content to achieve a marketing result, we have to think about it differently than we would an advertisement. Engagement with the content may be all that we are looking for (though I’d argue that it shouldn’t be), but it’s certainly not an apples-toapples comparison between how marketers will measure traditional and native advertising. “I absolutely agree with proponents of the native advertising approach who say it can be beneficial to the consumer because it removes a layer (e.g., a landing page) from the consumer’s interaction with the content. That’s an important value. But it means that we, as marketers, must rethink what kinds of goals we want to achieve with contextually placed content. It is, quite simply, different than our goals with advertising.” —Robert Rose “Marketers who strive to attract new audiences via ‘related content,’ ‘promoted’ or ‘sponsored’ posts, or ‘native advertising’ would do well to make their content as engaging and connective as possible, without focusing directly on selling their product or service.” We are, no doubt, in the early stages of learning how to promote content to build an audience that ultimately serves a sales and marketing purpose. Much experimentation is in order to find the balance, the right roles, and the best ways to calculate just how much promotion is right and where it should be. But whether you call it promoted content, native advertising, or content marketing, the concept itself is not just repositioning advertising as something “new.” Advertising is designed to promote a product or service. Content is developed to provide valuable information, share insights, or tell a story. Marketers who strive to attract new audiences via “related content,” “promoted” or “sponsored” posts, or “native advertising” would do well to make their content as engaging and connective as possible, without focusing directly on selling their product or service. Funding is Strong Despite the uncertain future here, an enormous amount of venture money is flowing into this space. Of all the various technology areas we’re covering at Content Marketing Institute, the Content Discovery & Native Advertising space has received, far and away, the most interest (and money) from the venture capital community. These companies have (in some cases, quite literally) taken hundreds of millions of dollars of venture funding. And, as media budgets expand in this area, we certainly expect there to be large numbers of acquisitions and new entrants into the market.
  • How To Read This Report The profiles in this report are based on hour-long briefings that Content Marketing Institute conducted with the following vendors in late summer 2013:        Movable Media Nativo nRelate OneSpot Outbrain Taboola Zemanta We have undoubtedly missed a few players in this initial report, and we will add and remove companies in subsequent versions. But for now, those featured in this report are the companies we at Content Marketing Institute are presently seeing most frequently in the marketplace. We have purposely not ranked any of the solutions as “better” than any other because we are not looking to “grade” them. Rather, our goal is to provide a clear sense of what each solution provides and assemble a coherent stratification of the market for purchasers, investors, and those generally interested in understanding this space. Nothing in the profiles should be read as a tacit endorsement or particularly pointed critique of any particular solution. Our aim is to provide an unbiased examination of the tools without making any particular judgment as to their overall value. For each profile, we cover an overview of the solution, the specific challenge that each attempts to solve, and its pricing structure. Then, we cover the vendor’s approach to this challenge as it pertains to how a customer might utilize the solution. Finally, we provide a short history of the company and contact information. Content Marketing Institute’s Take On This Space This is an exciting time for the young companies in this space. The technology capabilities here are truly all over the map. There are ad-serving types of technologies that semantically analyze content and algorithmically prioritize “related” ads based on a feed from a customer’s blog. There are sophisticated workflow tools that enable users to insert long-form content into publishers’ websites. In addition, there are what might be best described as “services” with minimal technology components that simply help media buyers facilitate a “sponsored content” purchase. Regardless, our advice to content marketers is that as you begin to develop content promotion plans, test and use these services much like you would a media buy. Experiment with numerous offerings to see where you get the best results. You may find, for example, that one solution will be best for developing your present audience, and that promoting longer-form content using a “native advertising” solutions provider might be a better strategy for another part of the funnel. Certainly, some providers that promote content across a “network” of sites will have stronger partners than others for your particular audience.
  • These technologies are definitely disrupting the traditional publishing and advertising space. The entrepreneurs behind these companies are smart, savvy, and highly experienced marketers themselves. It will be interesting to watch how the space unfolds over the coming years. On with the content marketing revolution…. Robert Rose Chief Strategist & Report Author Content Marketing Institute Joe Pulizzi Founder Content Marketing Institute Download the 29-page guide that profiles seven technology solutions focused on helping marketers get their content discovered at sites other than their own. Each vendor profile provides a summary of the company’s offering, and highlights:  Problems the platform is designed to solve  Target market and pricing  How to work with the platform  The company’s origins and future directions DOWNLOAD About the Content Marketing Institute: The Content Marketing Institute is the leading global content marketing education and training organization. CMI teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling. CMI’s Content Marketing World event, the largest content marketing-focused event, is held every September, and Content Marketing World Sydney, every March. CMI also produces the quarterly magazine Chief Content Officer, and provides strategic consulting and content marketing research for some of the best-known brands in the world. CMI is a 2012 and 2013 Inc. 500 company. Copyright © 2014 by Content Marketing Institute. All rights reserved. Published by Content Marketing Institute, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparing this report, they make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this report and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for any loss of profit or other commercial damages, including, but not limited to, special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. Neither CMI nor Z Squared Media LLC has received any consideration, in any form, from any of the vendors for inclusion in this report.