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DIS: State of the Industry with MailOnline: Branded Engagement: Content Marketing and Beyond

DIS: State of the Industry with MailOnline: Branded Engagement: Content Marketing and Beyond



Marketers have long been embedding their brand into content experiences in some ingenious ways -- and with a wide range of results. Some brands are becoming adept publishers in their own right and ...

Marketers have long been embedding their brand into content experiences in some ingenious ways -- and with a wide range of results. Some brands are becoming adept publishers in their own right and tapping into the more trusted nature of valuable content vs. advertising copylines. But creating great content is not trivial, nor is building a loyal audience. MailOnline CMO Sean O’Neal presents the findings of the State of the Industry Survey and discusses how brands are thinking about content marketing in a way that achieves scale. He'll also explore best practices for measuring paid, owned and earned media value.
Presenter: Sean O’Neal, global CMO, MailOnline @MailOnline



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  • Thank you for tuning in to today’s presentation: The State-of-the-Industry Study on Branded Content Marketing.(we will begin in just a few minutes)If you experience any difficulties with audio…We will be taking questions at the end of the presentation so please submit them…I’m Sean O’Neal, Global CMO of MailOnline, and I will be your host today.
  • In April MailOnline partnered with Digiday to develop a market research study designed to help the industry understand the trends around Branded Content Marketing.
  • In today’s presentation we will cover the following topics:Defining what Branded Content Marketing isLooking at some industry best practicesReview the results of the state-of-the-industry surveyHone-in on some key insights and takeawaysAnd wrap up with a few predictions for the future
  • First, a look at how state-of-the-industry study was designed and analyzed.
  • Today’s top online marketing executives were invited to participate in the study.There was a total of 610 respondents.Of those, the majority were media buyers – 17% brands and 47% agencies - and the remaining 36% were publishers.Depending on how the respondents profiled, they were asked between 15-25 questions.The survey was in-field for three weeks and combined both qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Today’s top online marketing executives were invited to participate in the study.There was a total of 610 respondents.Of those, the majority were media buyers – 17% brands and 47% agencies - and the remaining 36% were publishers.Depending on how the respondents profiled, they were asked between 15-20 questions.The survey was in-field for four weeks and combined both qualitative and quantitative research.
  • So, what IS branded content marketing?
  • Well, we got a wide-range of responses to this question in the survey. But there were a few key definitions and characteristics that were pretty consistent throughout the responses.
  • First, content marketing is intended to take advantage of the one KEY difference between marketing and content – which is that consumers are more guarded against marketing messages. For this reason, many brands are becoming adept “publishers” of information and content, and tapping into the more trusted nature of valuable content vs. advertising.
  • And there are many “flavors” of Content Marketing. While it is not necessarily new as a practice – for example Advertorial has been around for years – there has been an evolution given the on-set of social media, particularly in the areas of Branded Entertainment and Native Advertising.
  • Native Advertising, simply put, adopts the appearance of the surrounding website or other content in which it appears; and seeks to be a seamless part of the content being consumed.  Here’s an example of custom content developed by Volkswagen for MailOnline.com, that is clearly sponsor-driven, but is “native” to the web site’s navigation.
  • And Content Hubs have been a popular flavor of online Content Marketing for years, and offer the opportunity for an advertiser and a publisher to collaborate on exclusive real-estate within the publisher’s site which can combine product information along with curated content from the publisher, as well as other interactive and social media elements. In this example, Olay collaborated with us to develop a unique destination that was featured as a content hub within our existing navigation.
  • So, what did we learn from our Industry Survey about SUCCESSFUL CONTENT MARKETING CAMPAIGNS?
  • The first attribute of great content marketing is that itdelivers more value to the consumer than what would have been delivered by either the marketer or publisher if the collaboration had not occurred. Great content marketing is self-selected --- consumers CHOOSE to engage.
  • The other attribute of great content marketing is that itgoes viral. The best content marketing is shared through social media. This greatly extends the campaign’s reach – and thereby increased ROI – for no additional investment.
  • One Best Practice when producing Content Marketing is “Be Appropriate”, which means1. Don’t oversell – consumers don’t want to be sold to; but everyone likes to buy2. If editorial is within a publishers environment, clearly mark it as ‘sponsored’
  • Another, very basic best practice, is to be relevant to the surrounding content and the audience
  • And ultimately, your content marketing should be informative and/or entertaining. Otherwise, why would anyone engage with it?
  • The rule is, “Great content marketing should be able to stand on its own!”
  • Well executed content marketing also enables a marketer to check off all three boxes of the modern-day media mix model. It used to be that the effectiveness of your advertising could be measured based on simple metrics, like reach and frequency, response rates, brand-lift, and/or simply sales-lift attribution. Media mix models plugged in data for TV GRP’s, print circulation, and online ad impressions to help determine if your media partners delivered and what you think you paid for.But we are living in an emerging social media world of  comments, shares and likes. MailOnline itself generates over 100,000 article comments per month on articles that are often shared virally to millions of new readers every week. It is crucial  understand if and how your marketing fits into these “conversations," but most media mix models are not designed to capture these "soft" metrics and therefore only reflect a (decreasing) portion of your true media exposure.  Each marketing effort must be evaluated using a combination of paid, owned and earned media values. What does this mean for the new age of media planning? There is a new emphasis being placed on “influence” -- or the likelihood of your marketing message to organically spread out from the audience you paid to reach to the audiences that they influence. Just like great content is socialized, so can great marketing can be socialized. But since consumers are more guarded against marketing messages, they need to be created and delivered in an authentic, relevant manner -- and drive consumer value. 
  • What are brands and agencies saying are their biggest hurdles are in executing successful Content Marketing programs? (CLICK)Of all the brand and agency survey responses, there were a few hurdles that were most common. (CLICK)First, most brands, and many agencies lack the resources to develop the content and the creative. Product manufacturers are not, by nature, content developers. Sure, there’s a history of legendary brand marketers like Unilever and Procter & Gamble who have created engaging content - but creating great content is a very distinct skill-set; one that a scarce few can claim. (CLICK)The second hurdle is distribution. Product manufacturer websites are typically not content destinations for consumers. Yes, most brands have websites, and many of them are extremely robust. But the volume of traffic reaching those sites is miniscule compared to the enormous traffic generated by the online publishing giants. (CLICK)And one of the top priorities is measurement. But interestingly, brands and agencies seem to be measuring their content marketing programs using different KPI’s.
  • When asked “What is your preferred method of measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing programs?” (CLICK) the #1 response for Agencies was “Brand Lift”, with 30% of agencies responses; and the #1 response for brands was “Sales Lift” with 32% of brand responses.
  • Other preferred methods of measurement include “Proven Reach to our Target Audience”, and “The Number of Times our Branded Content is Shared or Tweeted”.
  • And to highlight the importance of measurement, when asked, “what will drive continued adoption of branded content marketing?” both brands and agencies answered Performance as the #1 answer, by a factor of 2.
  • So how are marketers clearing these hurdles in order to make Content Marketing work?
  • The first place they seem to be looking is to their media partners. In fact, when asked “Where do you acquire your branded content?”, 71% of Agencies said they partner with the publishers that they are buying the media from. This tactic leads all others.
  • The survey data shows that marketers are partnering strategically with publishers who can complement them in the critical areas of content development and distribution. By collaborating with organizations possessing the resources to integrate brand content with editorial, the marketer can simultaneously increase the quality of their content while gaining distribution to an existing audience. And by partnering with publishers of socialized content specifically, marketers say they are enjoying the benefits of socialized marketing, among them:1. Scale. Earned media can dramatically increase the reach of your marketing efforts. In some cases, peer-to-peer sharing and distribution across social networks can deliver more impressions than the paid media plan, which are often times just as targeted. 2. Economics. If you are working with a content publisher, vs. paying a social platform for distribution, this sharing is essentially free. Down comes your effective CPM, up goes your ROI. 3. Effectiveness. Numerous studies show that marketing messages which are received from family and friends - particularly content marketing - breaks through the clutter and is considerably more effective. 4. Inevitability. Your marketing can, and probably will, go viral to some extent. So plan for it, measure it, optimize against it.  Today’s marketer is planning “influential” media. By selecting partners whose audiences are demonstrated to share, recommend, and socialize online media, you are planning for – and can therefore measure and optimize for – one of the most powerful media opportunities today.
  • All of that said, some marketers are leading the pack in the Content Marketing race – when asked “What prevents you or your clients from investing more in branded content marketing?” a whopping 24% of brands and 17% of agencies replied, “Nothing, we are fully committed!”
  • Now let’s take a look at some general trends around buying.
  • When asked “Have you employed branded content marketing for advertising purposes in the last year?”, an overwhelming percentage of both brands and agencies replied “yes” – 70% and 77% respectively - clearly indicating that this tactic is enjoying great popularity.
  • And about a third of Agencies reported that 41% or more of their client base had utilized Branded Content in the last 12 months.
  • When we asked brands about their content marketing activities, 83% have used it for their website or email – but more interestingly is over 2/3rd have partnered with content providers to create and distribute branded content beyond their own websites.
  • And it seems to be working, particularly as a BRAND BUILDING mechanism. When asked “Rate the following tactics for their ability to achieve your branding objectives”, brands cited Branded Content as amongst the most effective, virtually tied with Video as a leading tactic.
  • Which might explain why brands are increasing their investments in content marketing. (CLICK)15% of their digital ad budget CURRENTLY goes to paid distribution of branded content – a significant slide of the pie! (CLICK)72% said their spending on branded content increased in the past year (CLICK) and 69% are predicting a budget increase ON TOP of that in the COMING year!
  • Of course, the data from Agencies validates what we heard from the Brands (CLICK)71% say their clients spent more in the last 12 months on branded content marketingAnd 73% say their clients’ spending will increase over the coming 12 months on branded content marketing
  • But why are they increasing their investment in this area? Here are some direct quotes from the survey.(CLICK)
  • But why are they increasing their investment in this area? Here are some direct quotes from the survey.
  • And some other interesting quotes from respondents…
  • So I guess it’s no surprise that, when asked “How important do you consider branded content to your marketing mix?”, 66% of brands and 65% of agencies described it as Very Important or Most Important.
  • And what of the buyers who haven’t yet tested branded content marketing?57% of brands surveyed said they plan to test in the next year…
  • … and 84% of agencies surveyed said they plan to test in the next year.
  • And who developed some of our respondents’ favorite Branded Content Marketing Programs?
  • This wasn’t an official contest or anything, but the brands that got the most recognition for outstanding Content Marketing programs include Nike, Dove, Pepsi, American Express, Evian, Red Bull, MasterCard, Coca Cola, Kraft and Oreo.
  • Now we’ll take some questions from the audience. Remember, you can type in your questions…
  • Thank you for attending today’s state-of-the-industry webinar on Branded Content Marketing. If you would like to receive a copy of the official whitepaper report, or would like more information, please visit us at mailonline.com/advertising

DIS: State of the Industry with MailOnline: Branded Engagement: Content Marketing and Beyond DIS: State of the Industry with MailOnline: Branded Engagement: Content Marketing and Beyond Presentation Transcript

  • In April 2013MailOnline partneredwith Digiday to developa market researchstudy.The objective was tounderstand the trendsaround BrandedContent Marketing.
  • TODAY’S AGENDA• Defining Branded ContentMarketing• Best Practices• Industry Survey Results• Insights• Predictions
  • 1%4%6%7%9%10%13%51%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%ProductionTechnology / OperationsStrategic PartnershipsCreative / DesignRevenue / Sales / Biz DevMarketingClient ManagementMedia Buyer / PlannerAgencies2%4%4%6%10%14%62%0% 20% 40% 60% 80%Strategic PartnershipsTechnology /OperationsCreative / DesignRevenue / Sales / BizDevBrand ManagementMedia Planning /BuyingMarketingAdvertisersAdvertisers & Agencies: Job Descriptions
  • A useful tool to create a brand image virallyand with buzz. / Advertorial / Connecting Digital to retail /whitepapers / Content created by the brand for any purpose. / Contentproduced by the brand of produced by the editorial services of a publisherthat is funded and directed by the brand. / The intersection ofadvertising and entertainment. / Descriptive material that supportsthe image a company is trying to portray. / Digital advertorial, where the linebetween edit and paid content are more blurred than in print. /Engaging rich media that featured the brand in a compelling story, acomplement to a good piece of narrative. / Generating your own content /gods gift to advertisers / The intersection ofentertainment and advertising reaching consumersduring engaged moments.
  • The differencebetweenmarketing andcontent
  • Great contentmarketingdelivers moreconsumer value
  • Great contentmarketinggoes viral
  • BeAppropriate
  • BeRelevant
  • BeInformativeEngagingEntertaining
  • Rule:Great contentmarketing shouldbe able to stand onits own.
  • HURDLESContentDistributionMeasurement
  • What is your preferredmethod of measuringthe effectiveness ofyour contentmarketing programs?#1 for Agencies:Brand Lift (30%)#1 for Brands:Sales Lift (32%)
  • What is your preferred method of measuring theeffectiveness of your content marketing programs?0%3%7%10%10%13%13%13%32%2%1%14%30%5%16%9%8%20%0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35%Downloads of our App or Subscriptions to ourRegular Content FeedShare of Voice on our Media Partners WebsitesThe Number of Times our Branded Content isShared or TweetedBrand LiftWere Just About the Thought Leadership SoWe Dont Measure ItThe Number of Times it is Clicked On orWatchedProven Reach of our Target AudienceClick-Throughs to Branded WebsiteIncreased SalesAgenciesBrands
  • What factors will drive continuedadoption?10%20%30%70%3%9%23%24%30%62%0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8None of the Above; Branded Contentis a FadDrive to Exhaust Every Means ofRevenue GenerationMarket AdoptionBanner BlindnessClient AdoptionPerformanceAgenciesBrands
  • 13%23%37%49%58%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%All of the AboveOur Entertainment DivisionThird Party Content ProducerThe ClientPublishers From Whom We Buy the MediaAgenciesWhere do you acquire your brandedcontent?
  • MEDIAPARTNERS• Content / editorial• Audience• Scale• Conversation• Social
  • What prevents you oryour clients frominvesting more inbranded contentmarketing?24% of Brands17% of Agencies“Nothing, we arefully committed!”
  • Have you employed Branded ContentMarketing for advertising purposes in thelast year?70%26%4%Brands77%19%4%AgenciesYesNoI dont know
  • Agencies: What percentage of youragencys client base included brandedcontent executions in the last 12 months?2%8%19%15%55%81-100%61-80%41-60%21-40%1-20%
  • Brands: Have you…8%14%28%67%67%69%83%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%All of the aboveSold advertising on your branded content as apublisher (e.g. created a content site upon which…Created branded content for other partners outsideyour companyPartnered with content providers to create brandedcontent for your companyPurchased placement for branded content as a formof advertisingDistributed branded content in digital media beyondyour own website or emailsCreated branded content for your website or e-mailmarketing
  • Brands: Rate the following tactics for theirability to achieve your branding objectives?9%14%17%25%25%25%26%0% 20% 40% 60% 80%DisplayMobileEmailSearchSocialBranded ContentVideoMost Important/CriticalMore important
  • Brands: Spending on Branded Contento 15% of Digital Ad Budget goes to Paid Distribution ofBranded Contento 72% of brands said spending on branded contentINCREASED in the past yearo 69% predict a budget increasein NEXT 12 mos
  • Agencies: Spending on Branded Contento 71% say their clients spent MORE in the last 12months on branded content marketingo 73% say their clients’ spending will increase over thenext 12 months on branded content marketing
  • WHY INCREASE?“My client is always seeking uniquebranded custom content opportunities thatwill make them stand out in themarketplace.”
  • WHY INCREASE?“We see results.”
  • WHY INCREASE?“Constantly looking ways to be moreintegrated in the daily life.”
  • WHY INCREASE?“It generally can be produced at lower costsand distributed widely for lower costs thantraditional media.”
  • WHY INCREASE?“Its easy to treat entertainment campaignsas content, and I believe the opportunitiesfrom partners to do that will increase andthe spending will follow.”
  • WHY INCREASE?“Consumers have more contentconsumption autonomy than everbefore, and if you want to actually reachthem you need to create value-addedcontent thats also discoverable.”
  • WHY INCREASE?“Necessary.”
  • Why will budgets increase?“It works, they likeit, it reaches morepeople on a differentlevel.”“viral opportunitieshave opened up what itmeans to advertise.”“Everyone wants it, its just aquestion of getting thebudget for it. And those whohold the purse strings arefinally coming aroundbecause the numbers arethere.”“This is anemerging andpowerful trend.Measurement isstill an issue... “
  • How important do you consider brandedcontent to your marketing mix?0%8%25%58%8%1%7%28%63%2%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%Not At All ImportantSomewhat UnimportantNeither more or less important thanany other form of marketingVery ImportantMost ImportantAgenciesBrands
  • 57% of Brandswho haven’t paid todistribute brandedcontent will do so inthe next year
  • 84% of Agencieswho haven’t paid todistribute brandedcontent will do so inthe next year
  • THANK YOU!Sean O’Neal, Global CMOwww.mailonline.com/advertising/whitepaper