David Evans, head of data and insight at CNBC and board member of the inTV Group, explains why the subject of next week’s Twitter Q&A is so important to marketers.
Content marketing, native advertising, custom content, branded advertising – the number of terms brands are using to describe this form of marketing is growing almost as fast as the channel itself. Whatever you want to call it, branded content is a major fixture in today’s communications strategy for most consumer brands, big and small.
It is no secret that the attention span of a consumer is diminishing. In its session at Cannes, ‘3 Seconds to Win’, Facebook refers to research conducted by scientists in Canada identifying that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. This is seen to be as a result of the smartphone, with our ability to concentrate on one thing falling from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today.
And therein lies the reason for content’s rise. Good branded content is a great tool to engage consumers for longer – and is also a powerful way to surmount the growing issue of ad blockers. Content has the ability to entertain and inform in far more relevant and subtle ways than advertising. This, when created with the appropriate publishing partner, delivers added credibility and context. All of which gives brands the potential to tell a richer story that can sustain people’s attention.
No easy task
However, actually measuring its effectiveness is no easy task. There are three key issues:
1 – The industry is yet to agree on what defines engagement
2 – Branded/native content comes in many different forms – so a ‘one size fits all’ approach to measurement doesn’t work
3 – It is difficult to find accurate ways of measuring engagement
Branded content, by its very nature, requires an individual to spend greater time with it for any form of brand message to be absorbed. The content itself has to be compelling and the brand message is more subtle, all with the aim of building customer relationships.
“If an advertiser can’t measure the impact of their campaign, then it makes it harder for them to substantiate their budgets”
That being the case, the traditional measurements like click-through rates simply don’t work in quantifying the engagement effect of content. Time-based measurements are a useful proxy but reflect passive behaviour. There are more active measures such as hovering, scrolling etc along with shares, likes and referrals but if your objective is to get your target to view a two-minute video passive measurements might be better?
This is a huge dilemma in the world of branded content and one that the members of inTV are acutely aware of. If an advertiser can’t measure the impact of their campaign, then it makes it harder for them to substantiate their budgets.
This is why I am delighted to be taking part in next week’s Twitter Q&A with M&M Global along with 4 other specialists from different sides of the industry. If you want to find out the latest thinking about how to measure branded content engagement this is a unique opportunity for you to pose us the questions that you want answered.
To take part, please put 12.30-13.30 BST on Thursday 16 June in your diary. You will be able to follow the debate live on the day by visiting the home pages of M&M Global or inTV.
More importantly, though, we want your questions so that we have something to debate! Please start tweeting us now with the issues you want us to talk about, making sure that you include the hashtag #inTVinsights. We will be collating these so that we make sure we cover the major questions YOU want us to answer.
As a starting point, do you wonder what you should measure? Do you have questions about how to measure content across different channels? Do you want our views on last-click wins measurements? Do you wonder whether different content strategy objectives require different measurements? Are you struggling to evaluate return on investment from branded content?
Please let us know what your burning questions are ASAP so we make sure they are answered on Thursday (and don’t forget that hashtag #inTVinsights!).