First of all, Thanks to Dan Greenberg, CEO at Sharethrough, for hosting the jammed-packed Native 2015 conference on native advertising last week in San Francisco. Nothing new or revolutionary coming from the day but many, many reminders that we continue to grow, productize and re-imagine what has been around for many generations – advertising funded content creation. As the pioneers for native content we are building industry guardrails reinforcing core ethics while leveraging all of the new technologies and brands celebrating great storytelling, dynamic design, and captivating copywriting.
Here are my 5 key takeaways from the conference:
1. MOBILE. Our mobile devices will continue to immerse themselves into the human condition. More and more, mobile devices will act as our conduit to the world – commerce, relationships, news and information, health & wellness, career, life … BUILD CONTENT FOR MOBILE AND LEVERAGE ALL OF ITS BENEFITS.
2. IT’S NOT ABOUT SELLING PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. All great brands sell on emotion, passion, dreams, and promise. GoPro’s Senior Vice President of Media, Zander Lurie sells the human spirit – riding a wave, cycling through the mountains, jumping off the cliffs …. User generated content democratized by social celebration and sharing. Brand as publisher model drives 2.0 billion in sales of cameras. Native content is not about selling products but rather enhancing the user experience authentically and credibly.
3. THUNDER LIZARDS … HEAR THEM ROAR! These are mutated ideas turned into companies that build from disruptive and passionate innovators. Like Godzilla, Thunder Lizards eat their competitors and break down existing infrastructure, leaving a massive path in their wake. Legacy brands beware. Thanks to Mike Maples, the entrepreneur and helper of start-ups at FLOODGATE for the view from Silicon Valley. I am waiting for our King Kong to arrive at Time Inc!
4. NATIVE CONTENT IS JUST BEGINNING. Chris Hercik, Vice President at Time Inc.’s Native Studio and Alison Lange Engel, Vice President, Global Marketing at LinkedIn both referenced the importance of maintaining existing legacy business (print ads and ‘banners and buttons’) while building native capacity for the future. Print still maintains a healthy lead in revenues at Time Inc. while banner business at LinkedIn is still crucial for their business success.
5. INTEGRITY. As the pioneers of native content, we have an obligation to our customers … no, not the advertisers who are paying for it but rather the readers, viewers, buyers, bicyclers and businessmen … Tell the stories, share the images, conduct the research, and make them laugh, think and act. But do it within the brand guardrails of our distribution channels. And build it with integrity, trust, and authenticity.
Finally, I want to congratulate BuzzFeed and Friskies for their award winning video. My perception of cat videos on BuzzFeed has forever changed. And, thanks to BJ Fogg from Stanford for his quick tutorial on the Fogg Behavior Model: Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger.
Newell Thompson from Time Inc. is one of many great experts and keynote speakers at the Native Advertising Days conference, October 19th – 20th, 2015 in Copenhagen.