Consumers, Market & Content
Consumers have binary vision when it comes to ‘content’ and ‘advertisements.’ It is either content or an ad. Period! And this is across all mediums and platforms.
They value content depending on the uniform it parades in. For example: Let’s say a consumer sees a piece of content i.e. “How much should you insure yourself for?” If this content appears on a ‘neutral source” website of high pedigree like CNNMoney it is seen as informative. However, the same content – word for word, punctuation for punctuation – parading in a brand’s uniform e.g. www.metlife.com appears much more like a ‘sale’ rather than information. Note the content remains the same.
This behavior is telling of consumer perceptions on ‘where the content resides’ more than ‘what the content really is.’ And for marketers, perhaps the opportunity lies exactly where the challenge mirage appears. Singapore Airlines sharing a Lonely Planet piece of content about the 5 best summer destination holidays this year can add a very valuable engagement layer with its social audience. True, they could have published that content in their own skin or fully syndicated the content – But, it runs the risk of being seen by the cynics as “Singapore Airlines flies to these destinations….” and hence these feature as the best summer destinations.
So why are marketers and social agencies not hitting those ‘share’ buttons which feature in very prominent places on digital content assets?
That is because they realize that while most publishers have full control on the content, the advertising is less controllable. In today’s world, contextual placements and re-targeting are at their zenith. Therefore, it is very likely that the article shared by Metlife to it’s social base on “How much one should insure himself / herself?” will see a competitor ad like a AIG Life Insurance running through one of the many ad networks publishers have partnered with. That’s discouraging as no marketer likes being ambushed! Let alone, score a self goal!!! And not that this is done with an ambush intent. It is the very nature of today’s digital advertising that brings together a fantastic and unprecedented mix of context and targeting.
Most marketers say they would be encouraged to share ‘original source content’ should this challenge be addressed. Because, this third party content humanizes the brand they represent and drives up their engagement quotient.