For those of us in media, advertising makes the world go round. For the rest of the world, advertising can be a nuisance, something to ignore or increasingly block entirely. A new report by PageFair reported that ad blocking grew 41% worldwide in the past 12 months, 48% in the U.S. alone. With this trend increasing, publishers and advertisers are facing a growing challenge.
Buzzfeed reports that The Washington Post is experimenting with what might be the most extreme of moves by blocking content from users who are using ad blockers. “Without income via subscriptions or advertising,” a Post spokesperson told Buzzfeed, “We are unable to deliver the journalism that people coming to our site expect from us. We are currently running a test using a few different approaches to see what moves these readers to either enable ads on The Washington Post, or subscribe.”
Meanwhile, ad blocking is one of primary drivers of native content even though sponsored content can be blocked by the most sophisticated ad blockers.
A Business Insider study anticipates spending on native to grow from $7.9 billion this year to a whopping $21 billion in 2018. With these numbers and the buzz surrounding them we should bear in mind that it’s really nothing new, we just called it “advertorial.”
It’s b2c that faces the greatest challenge. Creating unbiased native content for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is well-nigh impossible. But for b2b, creating content that provides insight into the strategies and tactics that help an IT executive better do their job is much easier. It’s a thin line, but one that both b2b marketers and publishers must walk.
Native content is a front line version of content marketing, bringing useful, engaging content directly to the right audience by taking advantage of a publisher’s built-in audience. It should therefore be driven by the same concepts. Jay Baer, author of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is driven by Help, Not Hype has good advice. “Make your marketing so useful people would pay for it,” he says.
Madison Logic believes that to create good content, marketers must resist the impulse to pushing the messages that are important to their own company. Take a customer-centric approach. Be sensitive to the kinds of questions your customer is asking and the challenges they are facing instead of focusing on sales. What is important is creating content that will be of value to your audience.
Furthermore, b2b marketers should take advantage of the best intent data, using it to reach not only the audience most receptive to your content, but those actively seeking content around your most important themes.
According to the PageFair study, 45% of users “expressed a complete lack of desire to view any advertising and wanted as many ads as possible removed from websites.” That’s a frightening number for any marketer. But b2b markers should take heart. The study was completed in conjunction with Adobe. It is itself content marketing and great content marketing at that.