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Key Differences Between Content Marketing and Native Advertising

Posted by Quiana Wright & Chris Finan on March 2, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Though both content marketing and native advertising are useful components of an integrated marketing strategy, these two terms are often used interchangeably to describe the same thing. However, there are distinct differences between the two, and it's important that marketers understand how these concepts differ in order to use both of these tools as effectively as possible.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is defined by the Content Marketing Institute as "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action." Content can be text, video, graphics or almost anything else that can be displayed on a screen, and it's used to reach consumers in an effort to drive organic pageviews and conversions. Content is usually hosted on a company's own website.

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Topics: Native Advertising, Content Marketing

2016 Digital Marketing Trends: 5 Predictions for the New Year

Posted by Joseph Naylor on February 17, 2016 at 9:51 AM

Digital marketing trends can be difficult to forecast day to day, let alone for an entire year. New platforms and companies are driven by the changing preferences of the continuing influx of new users. The risk of jumping onto what may be just a passing fad, however, is offset by the knowledge that failing to adapt your marketing tactics is never the strategy for customer retention. These five digital marketing trends will continue to dominate in 2016 and will be an important part of any marketing portfolio.

1. Content Marketing

Back in the day, brands merely posted a few coupons and engaged with any random audience, and then their content would practically share itself. Consumers today are savvier and more discerning than ever. Creating content with a focus on SEO (rather than actual human readers) can cause content fatigue, which makes it tough to attract, let alone convert, potential customers. Particularly when you consider the trends to follow, brands that will break through will be the ones that continue to find relevant ways to talk to their customers. KFC has done this with clever, viral videos, but it also works for smaller brands, like Intelligentsia Coffee.

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Topics: Video Advertising, Website Design & Development, Native Advertising, Content Marketing, Integrated Marketing

New FTC Native Advertising Guidelines: 3 Things You Need to Know

Posted by Chris Finan on February 10, 2016 at 10:37 AM

Right before the 2015 holiday season, the FTC released new native advertising guidelines. These new regulations may sound restrictive initially, but they're really just building on existing recommendations, moving toward the goal of transparency in native advertisement. Here's everything you need to know about these newly released guidelines.

Ads Clearly Labeled

The goal of the new FTC guidelines is to help marketers ensure that consumers recognize a native ad as an ad. The FTC recommends that all ads be labeled as advertising using a font that is different from the surrounding content, and that the text's shade should stand out against the background.

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Topics: Native Advertising

Banner Ad Best Practices for 2016

Posted by Zuri Stanback on February 8, 2016 at 11:26 AM

Though the death of banner ads was predicted long ago, 2016 is set to defy expectations and actually be (and you'll have to pardon the expression here ) a banner year for banner ads, as display advertising is set to eclipse search advertising for the first time ever in the U.S. According to eMarketer, marketers will spend more on banner ads than any other type of digital advertising this year. In order to fully take advantage of this blockbuster year for banner ads, take a quick look at some banner ad best practices for 2016.

No Flash, No Problem

Though Flash was an essential plugin back in the early 2000s, times have changed, and Flash is getting more outdated by the second. Almost every one of the major desktop browsers has stopped natively supporting it. These browsers' users now need to manually enable the plugin to view Flash content. Though nearly one in 10 websites still uses Flash, according to Web survey site W3Techs, Ad Age reports that if all the major browsers were to disable Flash suddenly, roughly 84 percent of banners across the Internet would not be viewable on desktop browsers. To avoid issues with Flash's decline, marketers should switch over to HTML5 as soon as possible to ensure that their banner ads are viewable for all browsers in the new year.

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Topics: Premium Display and Banner Ads, Video Advertising, Native Advertising

Native Advertising and Content Marketing for Health Care Companies

Posted by Quiana Wright on November 2, 2015 at 9:57 AM

For many people, the world of health care can be complex, confusing and maybe even a little frightening. But in today's online age, new opportunities exist for health care providers not only to reach out to potential new patients, but also to help them feel more comfortable. You can do this by engaging directly with them via content marketing and native advertising. These tools can be game changers — helping to form the backbone of a marketing strategy that will grow your practice in a lasting way.

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Topics: Native Advertising, Content Marketing, Healthcare

Digital Marketing Trends That Will Define 2015

Posted by Joseph Naylor on January 20, 2015 at 10:17 AM

Every year is marked by huge innovations and emerging trends that change the digital marketing landscape. With 2014 in the rearview mirror, it's easy to look back and see that many of the changes that altered best practices were forecast in 2013 and even earlier.

Although new trends have dramatic implications for how marketers do business, savvy professionals don't need to feel blindsided. The top digital marketing trends for 2015 have already taken root, and there's no good reason to be skeptical about their bright futures.

By accepting the changes yet to come and planning to attack these trends head-on, marketing departments can get a nice head start on their competition. Here's what to look for this coming year.

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Topics: Digital Marketing Strategy, Video Advertising, Native Advertising

The Future of the Paid Post: 3 Predictions About Native Advertising

Posted by Selena Lawson on August 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM

The New York Times launched its paid post offering, their version of native ads, just over a year ago. As Contently reported, Times readers are spending roughly the same amount of time on advertiser-sponsored posts as they do on Times' news stories — and in some cases, even more. This spike in sponsored content engagement is a big win for marketers. So, what will the future hold for native ads? Here are three predictions on how paid posts will mature.

Paid Post Measurement Will Get Serious

One of the biggest complaints about paid posts was the lack of measurement. But this is changing. The conversation about results from native ads has shifted from revenue generation to engagement/brand awareness. Ad Age points out that the Online Publishers Association uses time spent reading paid posts as a "key barometer" to measure their effectiveness, along with web traffic, social media ranking and volume of comments. Digiday checked in with top publishers about their preferred measurement criteria, and surprisingly, click-through rates were not at the top of the list; instead, they were more concerned with whether readers of paid posts shared them across social media channels. As the medium matures, marketers and publishers will continue to refine the measurability of paid posts and find more ways to link revenue generation to engagement.

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Topics: Digital Marketing Strategy, Native Advertising

Is Native Advertising the Right Choice for Your Business?

Posted by Selena Lawson on June 25, 2014 at 11:25 AM

As a marketer, you've been hearing the pros and cons of native advertising for a few years now. There's no doubt native ads have a strong foothold in today's digital marketing strategy. The Interactive Advertising Bureau disclosed that 64 percent of marketers will execute budget spending on native advertising within the next 6 months in a report at Forbes. Additionally, AOL UK reported that a full third of its revenue in 2014 will come from this form of advertising.

Defining Native Ads

The first iteration of native ads began cropping up in 2011. Facebook was a trailblazer with its sponsored stories. These were ads crafted to look like any other status update or Facebook post according to Ad Age. There has been backlash against native advertising that is not clearly labeled as such, but with the right labeling, native advertising can be a strong tool for a business.

Today, native ad articles take many forms, but the basic intent is the same: The marketer gets the attention of a target online audience by providing content that's wrapped within the context of the user's experience.

Native ads are found on websites and on hit television shows, such as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, according to MediaDailyNews. They can be found among features in The New York Times, The Atlantic and Forbes. Even video games are jumping into the fray according to a sponsored post on VentureBeat.

Here are some questions that will help you determine if native advertising is a good use of your digital marketing budget.

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Topics: Digital Marketing Strategy, Native Advertising

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