Sponsored articles are an “ancient” practice that has more than adapted well to digital, content marketing and native advertising favoring this type of practice. We see them on many blogs and webzines, but less so in press editions – however, this should not be long in the context of the challenge of monetizing journalism. How to successfully distribute your messages by this means of communication? The answer in this article…
Introduction to native advertising
Marketers are vicious. No sooner have consumers developed a kind of resistance and access to tools to block advertising on their screens, than they have found a new way of getting their message across to their targets. The “Native advertising” is a buzzword and a future monetization solution for publishers. So even the famous New York Times got involved and considers this type of collaboration with its partners.
The principle is simple. Native advertising consists in personalizing the approach according to the distribution method used to integrate it “naturally.” “The starting principle is that the context conditions the form so that theaudience be more receptive since the message is integrated in the consumption flow. The promise of this form of advertising is therefore to be more effective than traditional advertising levers.
On the web in particular, the click-through rate for banners fell from 9% in 2000 to less than 2% in 2012, and 99.8% of banner ads are ignored by users. IPG Media Lab recently conducted a study on a panel of more than 4,000 participants, demonstrating that native advertising was much more effective through its skillful integration (read more about the study).
Native advertising can be translated in practice by a very wide range of means integrate advertiser content into a potential communication device: sponsored articles, advertorials, product placement, integration into an application, etc.
Note that a distinction is made between the editorial and the sponsored article. The former views distribution as a pure means of reaching an audience, hoping they will be interested in the content. The second is more oriented towards the concept of native advertising since the article is written by the publisher. The latter is most apt to adapt the message to its audience; because of the consistency in style and the way you address your readership. Here are three factors that I think are essential to the success of your sponsored articles as an advertiser.
1: Treat each media as unique
In order to fully integrate your advertiser content into the reader experience, take an interest in who they are, and why you think they read precisely the communication medium by which you want to communicate: the tone used, the themes addressed but also the graphic style. Create a table with these characteristics and ask yourself the question if you are able to adapt the formatting of your message to this target so that it becomes attractive. The main thing is to answer the question: why do readers regularly go to this particular site? What sets it apart from the rest?
Trust the editor in its approach to the theme and prefer the sponsored article (written by the publisher) to the infomercial. The latter may give you more control over the message being transmitted, but will it really integrate well with the audience’s reading flow? Even if the editor ends up criticizing the weak points of your brand … So much the better: nobody is perfect, this will allow you to have feedback from a consumer, and this will engage readers more in the comments and will have more likely to be shared on social media.
2: Format your content
Once we have identified the KSF (Key Success Factors) of the media, we can adapt the content / message for the audience. In the example I came across a few days ago (in Business Punk, German magazine) this was the case visually but also in terms of tone and angle of approach. We therefore continue to read naturally without feeling attacked by this article which, ultimately, turns out to be an editorial advert.
This is where the reactions can diverge. Personally I said to myself “well done fellow marketers, you got my attention and it was informative. Some will be outraged by the subtle and Machiavellian maneuver of this global conspiracy of marketers seeking to exploit the proletariat of consumers. Everyone has their point of view on the issue.
3: Think about “after reading” – THINK INBOUND!
It’s nice to have a sponsored article, but you have to optimize the conversion rate of the visitors generated. Once your target has landed on your page, what happens? Instead of directing it to the home page, set up a personalized landing page and a call-to-action, which optimize conversion rate, reduce bounce rate and will allow you to collect data to manage your leads.
KING, yes but …
The great thing about the digital world is that the marketer can suddenly measure effectiveness through metrics like clicks on links or banners. Where it gets more complicated is that the effects of a sponsored article can ONLY be measured by click-through rate and generated traffic. Because in a logic of Content Marketing, try to measure a Short term ROI is not the right way to approach it (quote from Joe Poluzzi from Content Marketing Institute in his excellent book “Managing Content Marketing”).
The content (s) marketing should also be approached in terms of brand image, leadership and loyalty of your customers. This means that the most appropriate analyzes are (perhaps) to be thought of in terms of repercussions on e-reputation but also (and above all) to be measured with qualitative rather than quantitative analysis techniques. think experience user and branding rather than short term sales.
Once you have an idea of the effectiveness of your sponsored article thanks to the benefits generated and the qualitative data gathered, you can learn from it for your next campaigns …