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BizReport : Blogs & Content archives : July 28, 2016

Expert: Why branded content appeals to consumers

More publishers are partnering with brands to create original content. At Cannes this year, VICE Media's Shane Smith discussed the success of branded content in that it appeals to both brands and consumers. Like all promising forms of new media, the challenge for brands is distribution and realizing ROI from, what can be, costly investments. IRIS.TV has recently introduced a product that publishers have begun using to manage the distribution of branded content.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: While brands are increasingly looking to partner to create content to engage Millennials, how can publishers deliver guaranteed audiences to watch this content at scale while maintaining their editorial standards and trust with audiences?

Rohan Castelino, Director of Business Development & Marketing, IRIS.TV: As a publisher, branded content provides an opportunity for significantly higher revenue as brands pay a premium to access a targeted audience. For this format to thrive, you need both reach and engagement. Meeting those goals is a challenge, as more than just Millennials, viewers are becoming increasingly sensitive to disruptions to the user experiences such as load times on web pages (especially on mobile) slow buffering, invasive ads, or irrelevant content recommendations. Ad-blocking has been one response to poor user experience as much as anything. Branded content offers real promise as a win for advertiser, publisher, and user, but as an industry we can no longer take user experience for granted.

The most common entry-points to branded content has been on dedicated branded landing pages on publisher sites and social media. The former, while not invasive, is not an organic experience. There is a ceiling to the amount of viewers you will attract. Social media presents a mixed bag for advertiser. You will get the reach, but at the expense of direct engagement from your target audience.

Kristina: To your point on social, recent changes in Facebook's Native Advertising policy has thrown a wrench into the works of what has become a standard practice of publishers looking to make their guarantees. If publishers can no longer leverage social to service branded campaigns as they once have, what can they do?

Rohan: The pressure to fulfill campaigns organically is higher than ever, and it ought to be. Additionally, branded content is unlike the standard pre-roll ad formats of 5, 15, 30 seconds; there is no standard. Premium content is measured in minutes not seconds. If you make a user to watch a 2-5 minute video not of their choosing you may have a revolt on your hands. To help solve that problem we have worked with publishers to insert branded content mid-stream using our artificial intelligence engine. A user watching video players powered by our technology receive a continuous stream of personalized video. Our data has shown that a portion of users are super-users who watch 4-8 videos during a viewing session. These viewers are highly engaged and are essentially watching mini TV shows on the internet. By inserting branded video organically to these users mid-stream at different frequencies, our data has shown that they continue to watch at the same pace. Based on viewing patterns of the audience, publishers can customize the placement of branded video to maximize reach and engagement.

Kristina: In addition to organic lift in viewing what else can brand's gain from this form of distribution?

Rohan: When their content is distributed like content brands can learn more about what their target audience responds to rather than having to sift through secondary and tertiary metrics. In addition to brand awareness, they want to drive revenue, and gain prescriptive business intelligence in order to make actionable decisions to grow their businesses. Data-driven distribution of branded content that maximizes reach and engagement without disrupting the user experience is critical to the survival of this format. Brands and publishers should be careful not to squander this promising opportunity.

Tags: branded content, content marketing, content trends, Iris.TV

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