We talk A LOT about the rise of social media and mobile-centric content, yet it seems marketers haven’t evolved their strategies to reflect this. In recent research – Native advertising: trend or future? – King Content conducted throughout APAC in conjunction with WARC, we found that 78 percent of marketers amplify article content, just over 50 percent are amplifying video and only 25 percent amplify infographics. Now let’s think about this; we know mobile and social are winners and drive results, we know visual content has high engagement and we know that video is now the top-performing content format. So, why aren’t we amplifying as much visual content as written content?
As our Head of Native Advertising Leanne Brinkies rightly points out, “There is a big opportunity for more immersive placements that use a combination of content elements to bring a story to life.”
So let’s explore those content formats. But before we do, let’s clear something up that I feel may be causing confusion. Native advertising is not just editorial content housed on publisher sites. It is video, images, infographics, GIFS, Vines, SlideShares and more, that are housed on many different platforms in-feed and in-stream.
Here are four forms of native advertising on social platforms to explore this year.
1. Facebook Canvas
This is my favourite release from Facebook so far. If you want to create an immersive content experience that doesn’t distribute user behaviour, then this is it. Canvas is a product tool in Facebook that allows you to use a combination of videos and multiple still images to tell a story. This is a really interactive experience that allows the user to take control of the branded content experience as they swipe, zoom and tilt to view panoramic images. Fashion and travel brands have jumped on this aesthetically pleasing new native format. My favourite to date is Discover Tasmania which takes you on a journey throughout the island with maps, beautiful images, panoramas of the landscape and videos.
2. Snapchat Discover
This Snapchat native ad experience is a very similar product to Facebook Canvas, except that it gets refreshed every day so brands own the spot for 24 hours. Burberry recently used this feature to complement its marketing efforts for the new fragrance ‘Mr Burberry’. It created a content guide and housed it on Snapchat Discover. It included videos, articles, interviews, styling tips and grooming ideas, such as a ‘stylish man’s guide to London’ with an interactive map.
3. Shazam video
In the past week alone Facebook has released two new video offerings – video discovery (a video browsing hub – sounds like YouTube to me!) and Live API ( live-streaming opportunities of a variety of devices and setups). Instagram and Twitter have also both increased their video native ad placements to one minute. Joining the video frontline is Shazam, which has created three video native opportunities for brands. The great thing about its offering is that it combines programmatic, video and mobile tactics to enhance the user experience. Film networks have quickly caught on to provide users content pre new film releases. The household brand Target has recently started to use it as way to convert customers while the brand is top of mind. Using Shazam’s visual recognition technology, users open the app, tap the camera and hold their mobile phones over the Shazam logo to initiate an interactive content experience. Featured products can be shared and bought there and then.
4. Tumblr take overs
Tumblr has had a rebirth in the past year and is now the #1 in user sentiment towards brands across social networks. It has 4.6 million active users in Australia and is growing rapidly. To extend its platform to brands it has created three on-platform native options, sponsored posts, sponsored videos and sponsored day. Brands trying to connect with a younger demographic are migrating their blog efforts to Tumblr with great success. Tumblr is a mix of blog content, GIFS, videos and images. (The latter is similar to Snapchat Discover and is an awesome opportunity for brands to provide a high-impact content experience and lead the conversation on a particular day that aligns with the brand.) Westpac has just launched a great campaign, using a great mix of content starring three Australian millennials, Hannah, Stef and Vanessa, who show us what it means for them to be Unstoppable in 2016 when it comes to their finances and living their lives. The campaign is designed to inspire others to follow their dreams by showcasing everyday Aussies who are doing exactly that.