Rebecca Lieb: “Advertisers and Brands Need to Adapt to the New Reality”

Advertising used to be the boss of everything. Now it's the last piece of the marketing puzzle, says leading industry analyst Rebecca Lieb.
Rebecca Lieb

How is online advertising changing at the moment? What has to change for marketing to become more relevant to consumers? What are the best practices for executing a successful native advertising campaign?

We asked Rebeccea Lieb, leading industry analyst on native advertising, and the author of several books such as ‘Content – The Atomic Particle of Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Content Marketing Strategy.

Rebecca Lieb was a key note speaker at our Native Advertising DAYS 2016 conference in Berlin – sign up for notifications about the upcoming one in 2017.

Below are highlights from the interview which have been slightly edited for clarity.

Consumers are tired of interruptive push messaging
“Online marketing is changing very much in the direction of marketing as opposed to advertising. People, consumers, are tired of interruptive push messaging. I’m really seeing a decline in the use of – as well as the efficacy of banner ads. You know one big testament to that is they’re becoming cheaper and cheaper to buy, and if they were really working, they would become more and more expensive. So marketing means more consumer-centric messaging, more content-centric messaging and listening to the needs of the consumer before the desires of the marketer.”

Advertising is the last piece of the puzzle
“Advertisers and brands need to adapt to the new reality in many different ways. First they need to look at convergence. They need to look at the convergence of paid, owned and earned media. And increasingly paid media which is advertising, which used to be the boss of everything, is becoming the last piece of the puzzle. So rather than engaging with advertising agencies or people with media buying skills, [advertisers and brands ] have to first look to people with content expertise: People who are storytellers, people who can help consumers solve their problems and create narratives.

Only after they’re tested do you put the money behind them and then buy paid advertising

Only after those narratives are validated in owned and earned media — so in companies’ own websites and also on social networks — should those ideas be invested in. Only after they’re tested do you put the money behind them and then buy paid advertising. But paid advertising is increasingly less interruptive advertising. Native advertising, promoted social messages and other native executions are less interruptive and more considerate of the consumer and what they want, like and need.”

“Consumers hate ads”
“Consumers are being really difficult, because they can be difficult and they’re expressing what they always wanted to express which is frankly: They hate ads and they wish they would go away. And they can make them go away: They can block ads, they can skip pre-roll video, they can not click on banners, they can not recall banners. In fact Millennials — which is one of the most desired demographics to marketers — are the cohort that most ignore or block online advertising. We’re seeing statistics now like almost 200 million active adblock users worldwide. Consumers have really put a stake in the ground.”

Consumers are going to win the adblocking game
“I think consumers will continue to resist ads and we’re also seeing device and software manufacturers help them in their desires. So for example any Apple mobile device on iOS has ad blockers automatically built into it.

So consumers are going to win, they have to win and you know the goal of marketing is not to make the consumer hate you. The goal of marketing is to make the consumer like you. And if the consumers are voting for no ads, it’s critical to move marketing, to shift marketing over to channels that will be useful for entertaining or helpful so the consumers opt-in.”

Real-time marketing is getting critical
“A customer-centric approach is based not only on customer journey; where they are in the purchase funnel, what channels they’re using digitally, whether it’s a social network or a website or search or maybe online reviews. But increasingly things around the customer are getting more and more personal as opposed to personalised when customers exchange data with brands.

So for example if they have a loyalty number because they stay frequently at a hotel or fly an airline very frequently, you can then serve them personal information based on their past patterns of behavior their affinities as well as different considerations like the weather, is it a holiday? Is it an election cycle? Is it Christmas? Is it raining? And messaging can become more and more relevant in real-time. And real-time marketing is getting to be also equally critical.”

Too many companies are committing content marketing without a basic strategy
“My recommendations for really executing great native advertising is first; know what your strategy is, have a content marketing strategy, because native is all about using paid media to promote content marketing and too many companies are committing content marketing without having a basic strategy in place.

Please practice disclosure. Don’t ever deceive

And once you’ve chosen your messaging, your target consumer and your channel, please practice disclosure. Don’t ever deceive. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t reveal that this is a paid message. If it’s a good message customers are fully prepared to accept that, but without transparency and disclosure it’s an ethical breach.”

MORE VIDEO INTERVIEWS WITH NATIVE ADVERTISING PROS:
Google: Native Advertising Is the Future of Advertising
How Publishers Can Set Up Successful In-house Content Studio Teams
Clicks and followers are just vanity metrics

The 7 Steps to Creating Evergreen Content
The DNA of Native Advertising Success in 2017
How Native Advertising Can Help Extend Your Brand

“The Head of a Native Ad Studio Should Have an Editorial Background”
BuzzFeed on How to Make Native Advertising Go Viral
T Brand Studio on how they work with native advertising

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