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2012 Outlook: Advertisers focus on true engagement online with branded content;by Krane Jeffery, Head of Yahoo! Studio UKPosted: 13th of April, 2012
2012 Outlook: Advertisers focus on true engagement online with branded content
02-04-12 by Krane Jeffery, Head of Yahoo! Studio UK
2012 is in full swing now and we’re starting to get a taste of what advertisers are really focusing their marketing budgets on and what their priorities are for the coming months. In the digital space, true engagement seems to be the target. Consumers are looking for richer content and want to be entertained, informed and educated online. They’re expecting far more from advertisers especially with the explosion of social media over the last few years. With this in mind, advertisers are looking at branded online content solutions to fuel engaging conversations around their brands.
Fuelling true engagement with branded content
Yahoo! Studio works with lots of leading brands on solutions that deliver both personalised and contextually relevant branded content to the right audience in meaningful numbers. This reinforces brand perception through the creation of engaging and creative campaigns. We’re definitely seeing a trend of advertisers spending more on these types of campaigns to gain true engagement with their target audiences and less on traditional formats.
A recent example includes Canon's EOS Adventures campaign across Europe that aimed to appeal to entry level DSLR camera users. Their fully branded ‘Essentials of Photography’ area on Yahoo! News provided expert advice and tips on how to make a start with DSLR photography and included fun videos and a competition which both educated and entertained their audiences. Users were also encouraged to engage socially via Flickr where their photos could be uploaded and reviewed by photography experts. The Canon site attracted over 2.7 million visits, where users spent an average 4 minutes online and uploaded 83,000 photos tapping into Yahoo!’s community of users that have a strong sense of affiliation to the site. The branding was not simply dropped onto the site, it was an integral part of the content and tailored to what our viewers wanted to read.
The growing relationship between Social Media and Branded Content
As advertisers pile more and more investment into building their presence on social media channels, there’s a constant need to keep the conversation interesting and relevant. Giveaways and competitions are always good performers because everyone likes something for free but I think that relevant, useful, fresh and entertaining content creates more meaningful engagement. Why? Because everyone likes to interact with content that feels relevant to them. Branded content gives advertisers something to talk about that’s relevant to their audience and when integrated with a social campaign can help increase reach. Features such as Social bar can help drive up user engagement by recommending an advertisers’ content on Facebook. Whilst the advertiser’s existing Facebook community can be driven to the campaign site for more fresh content.
The increasing use of video content
So much has been written about the proliferation of video consumption online but it’s a reality, and growing exponentially. The added benefit of video to the advertiser is that it is a far more emotional medium - you can convey so much more in a piece of video than you can in standard display formats like banners and MPUs. There is a huge opportunity here to target what we call people ‘video snacking’ – casual browsing, users looking for short form video content.
That isn’t to say ‘if you make it, your audience will come’, as the rules of online content dictate what you publish must be either entertaining or educational to gain a truly dedicated audience. An example of the latter is the partnership that Yahoo! France did with car manufacturer Dacia. The branded area on Yahoo! Actualités (News), called ‘Vos meilleures idées’ (Your best ideas), is filled with crowd sourced tips, ideas, plans and experiences on how you can live a better life and it’s presented predominantly in video format. This type of campaign can also help brands achieve real community interaction.
Overall, we’re seeing brands focusing more and more of their budgets on premium branded content. These campaigns tend to run for longer periods of time and aim to truly reinforce the brand messa