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Ignored Every Time You Walk Into a Room? Try Something Else, Then.
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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That’s exactly what brands have done. After realizing that few consumers were paying attention to their traditional web ads, they’ve changed tactics. They had no other choice. Between 2000 and 2012, for example, the click-through rate for banner ads fell from 9% to 0.2%, resulting in 99.8% of them being ignored, according to Publigroup.

Consequently, brands have gone native, and they’re doing it brilliantly on social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Houzz.

According to BIA/Kelsey, more than $4.6 billion was spent on social media advertising in the U.S. in 2012; 35% of that was spent on native advertising.

BIA/Kelsey forecasts social media advertising will balloon into an $11 billion market in 2017, with native advertising representing 42% of that ad spend.

Consumers are lapping it up

Savvy consumers will know they are being manipulated, but some may enjoy receiving deftly targeted, relevant, and timely "information" that satisfies their need for consumer goods, services, and news that fulfills their desires.  

Formats include promoted videos, images, articles, music, and other media. The common thread is that it all needs to be engaging, clever, and directed to be effective.

Nearly every social media channel now offers promoted content, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Houzz, and LinkedIn. Today, there is a plethora of platforms from which to choose — whether your client is B2C or B2B.

Along with the digital team, it will be the PRs who will research, source, and create much of this content.

Do use images and video

According to Publigroup, visual content is the top form for sharing on the social web, with a retention rate reaching 65%, compared with only 10% for text-based information share. Since its launch in October 2010, Facebook-owned Instagram has 150 million monthly active users (as of Dec. 2013), posting an average of 55 million photos per day, attracting 8,500 likes per second.

Pinterest is equally successful.

Both sites are built on imagery, one of a brand’s most effective forms of content.

There are some excellent examples of native advertising and content marketing all across the web. Go ahead and Google native advertising examples and enjoy. But do know that you’ll be lost in motion for a while — swimming in a minutia of facts, advice, and gossip, paid for and supplied by some of the world’s most iconic brands.

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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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