In the multifaceted world of marketing, it is easy to get lost among great terms like advertorials, sponsored stories, content marketing and native advertising. Rightfully, our clients are asking: what’s the difference and which of these opportunities should we choose to promote our wine business?
When it comes down to defining these terms, it is important to take into consideration:
- Who is writing the content?
- What is the content trying to achieve?
- Where is it published?
Digital blogger Felix Salmon put together a basic but very useful chart defining native content, the “Native Matrix”. The chart on the right shows that according to Felix a basic definition can be made by who is writing the content. In this case, a piece written by an independent journalist for an editorial outlet would fall under PR, but when this piece is utilised on the brand’s website it becomes content marketing. Sponsored content and native advertising are content pieces written by the brand itself rather than an editor. Ultimately, he concludes that “… they’re all different flavors of the same thing: attempts by companies to get consumers to read things which the company in question, or its executives, wants those consumers to read. There are lots of different ways of trying to skin that particular cat, and none of them is easy.”
This takes us to the second point: what is the true purpose of native content or native advertising? Native content is supposed to engage the consumer with the brand and build trust often through affiliation with the platform where it is published. Native content does not aim to increase sales directly; instead it is created to be read, not only viewed and shared and therefore achieves greater exposure among the target audience. The content will be useful, interesting and highly targeted to the specific readership. Often it won’t promote a product directly but tell the story around it. This is perfect for the wine industry; we all know that the wine, region or the winemaker is the story by which the consumer engages with the brand.
So where do we publish content to gain the target audiences attention? For native advertising, publishing platforms can be split into two categories, open and closed. Closed native advertising is when brands create profiles and/or content within a platform, then promoting that content within the confines of that same closed platform. Think promoted Tweets on Twitter, sponsored stories on Facebook or in-feed ads on Instagram. The content visually appears to be identical with user content because it has the same format. Open platforms are defined by promoting the same piece of branded content across multiple platforms within native ad formats. These platforms are channels like Outbrain or Sharethrough.
We now know what native content is and where we can publish it. But does this mean that this is the right solution for your business? Is native advertising successful? How do we measure it? Native success can be measured by social media sharing, traffic data and time spent on the story.
The way we consume content is already well documented, however mobile continues to grow and the future of publisher’s revenue is well and truly linked to Native ads. The New York Times’ new mobile app only serves native or paid posts. News publishers are changing the page templates across devices to enable this change in content.
We could write another post on what does this mean in to a publisher’s integrity and editorial influence if it’s now virtually all paid for. But even here there is still a consensus that this content needs to be good. Guardian Australia commercial director Duncan Arthur notes that publishers “need to ensure content is as good as editorial”.
Either way native advertising and paid content is clearly with us, all be it slowly in Australia. 90% of US publishers offer native formats, whereas Australia lags behind at 10-20%, we are getting there.
Native content is the perfect tool for the wine industry, the ability to target your brands story to the correct segment of the wine drinking world allows you to hook into consumers at different points along their wine journey, build brand message and increase regional recognition. Think outside of traditional wine media. Online platforms, News Media and other lifestyle channels allow for a marketing mix of banner and native that can work effectively with semi-conscious brand recognition, solidified by native content with strong storytelling and editorial.