Content and native conference - key takeaways

Amanda Crowley

Native is about delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time…which is ultimately the goal of all advertising. But what exactly is native and who’s responsible for it? Simply put, native is a way to seamlessly distribute content as a teaser for longer form versions that deliver a more immersive, and efficient, experience.

Below are some of the top takeaways from the Content and Native conference held on 7 June 2017 at The British Museum. 

Image is everything. Native ads make people want to stop and engage with a brand’s content. Shan Henderson, Director, Mobile at Yahoo UK, believes the most successful native campaigns are the ones that contain the brand’s logo within the first 10 seconds and include images of people. Additionally, brands should make full use of the ‘do more’ button, customise creative to reach various targets, provide useful information and include SEO-friendly elements like the product name. Perhaps most important of all – don’t take it too seriously so that the experience feels awkward for consumers.  

Headlines can have a big impact on brand objectives. Native is a great choice when trying to change perceptions, introduce a new product or promote long-term brand health. Within the native content sphere, video is the fastest-growing format. According to Ally Stuart, Managing Director, EMEA at Sharethrough, optimised headlines lead to better ROI and increased clicks (28%), read time (21%) and brand lift (33%).

Thoughtfulness is the new influencer. When trying to connect content to business objectives, there’s an increasing shift from influencer activity to thoughtful pieces. Whilst content is often distributed on a brand’s owned channels, it’s important for the channels to inform creative and data and insights should be used to define the user journey and distribution.  

Rework, don’t just repurpose. The majority of videos played on mobile are without sound – which isn’t a good user experience – so brands need to rework and produce original creative based on how content is consumed. 

Feed the craving. In a social world, the ‘feed’ is where people hangout – think modern day campfire – and 90% of social is in-feed content. Increasingly, a brand’s content vies for a consumer’s attenetion, so the best bet is to align the contest of the message with the user and channel. “Native’s value is its ability to effectively distribute and reach the intended audience,” said Dale Lovell, UK MD & Chief Digital Officer at ADYOULIKE.

Bait and switch. Good branded content is not click-bait, paid social in feed or a piece of content dropped into an article when you are trying to read something else. Matt Cory, Managing Director of Spark at the Telegraph Media Group, believes that to regain control of their content and boost engagement, brands should look to third-party platforms to achieve greater results and use meaningful metrics to prove the value of good branded content in delivering real sales effectiveness. 

Trust has never been more important. Good content reflects a brand’s identity and is both relevant and contextual. Faith in partnerships – from content creation to delivery – will keep the message on brand. Marketers need to time when selecting the right partners – agencies, content providers, etc. – and foster strong relationships to ensure your voice remains authentic.  

Start with insights but don’t ignore instinct. Use data, act fast, be brave and try new things – but speak up and voice your concerns about things that you don’t think will work. 

Get snappy. The key to creating ads for Snapchat is to be original and platform-appropriate. Milton Elias, Head of Mobile & Video at News UK and Sophie Tighe, Snapchat Editor, The Sun at News UK offer three tips for brands to keep audiences engaged on Snapchat: know them, inform them and entertain them; monetize without sacrificing user enjoyment and experience; advertise in a way that reflects audience behaviours and interests. 

Video is the new black. Antonia Kekkou, Group Social Media Insights Manager at L’Oréal, stressed the importance of investing in video, citing 73% of people go online via mobile and 80% of all mobile traffic will be video by 2020. Brand storytelling highlights mutual passion points with consumers and better connections through video distribution. Since 92% of consumers trust content shared by friends and family, influencers are used to help spread L’Oréal’s content – brand teams decide who they want to interact with, create a value exchange and then give influencers exposure to the right audiences for maximum impact. 


Written by

Amanda Crowley


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