nextMedia 2015: The Future of Content and Commerce: Part II


The Branded Content Boom

Branded content is a fusion of advertising blended in with editorial content. Simply put: branded content is telling a story where it’s better when the brand is in it.

Branded content can be difficult to make the direct connection to sales – but it delivers deeper brand experiences in the long run.

The trick here is a deep level of finesse – because nobody wants to be marketed to – you want them to just enjoy the content formulated around the brand, because it gets people talking and sharing. Calls-to-action towards a purchasing decision however, are the quickest way to kill the content, because at the end, users feel like they’ve been tricked. While CTA’s are a pinnacle point in marketing strategies, they can sometimes do more harm than good when placed in the wrong location.

GoPro are absolute wizards at branded content, because of their pragmatic approach to creating and sharing user-generated content that makes you love the world – extending far beyond the lines of where their product ends.

The Brave New World of Video

“Don’t just stick to what’s safe – take risks, because you never know what will happen.”

When will we stop viewing YouTube as a flash in the pan experiment? This is a tried and proven model where YouTubers use their channel as the show – and they are the broadcaster. The problem is that we still treat YouTube like TV and look for a video to go viral – you’re looking at the key performance indicators (KPI) wrong. Look beyond the impressions and likes – use video as a shareable piece and look at how much time are people spending with your brand in an authentic way. Sharing video content is a form of self-expression. Remember: everything must have a direct link back to your overall marketing objectives.

“I want to see something you guys think is cool and share it with me.”

The demands of the customer are increasing. The gap between expectations and capability are expanding – and something needs to happen. We all know that mobile is the first screen – but there has to be plans to adapt and be integrated to all platforms as well, with interactivity being a driving force here. This extends to the dominant coalition of a company with 59% of executives wanting to see video than text. It’s all about understanding your audience and addressing what they’re looking for.

Take in this example.

When Comedy Central were preparing for the transition in Daily Show hosts, they found there were a lot of Google search queries asking questions about who Trevor Noah really is. A part of their campaign to reach a broader and potentially younger audience, Comedy Central created a video campaign to answer each of these questions in humorous short video clips unrolled on YouTube.


A common misconception is regarding the video length. It’s not about how long the video is – it boils down to how entertaining it is and does it deliver value? Now in terms of Facebook videos, there are 8 billions daily video views – so you have what insiders call “a 3 second audition,” to capture attention – otherwise viewers are off to the next one, especially considering that 76% of people discover a video on Facebook. An important piece of knowledge regarding analytics is that because of Facebook’s new auto play function, it counts as a view even if people browsed over it for a second, whereas YouTube does not take this approach. So again, it goes back to what you deem a successful campaign, and what metrics are you aiming for.

The Impermanent Internet

Monetizing micro content on exploding platforms like Snapchat haven’t exactly panned out as quickly as advertisers would have hoped for – but it does leave the door open for massive amounts of possibilities. Instead of attempting to make the distinct connection to your ROI, it should be viewed more in terms of brand awareness and the entertaining value of your content that brings viewers back for more. It doesn’t always need a link directly to your bottom line. Enhanced analytics haven’t been fully unveiled yet on Snapchat and Instagram – so just enjoy the content around your brand, because it gets people talking and sharing.

For Snapchat content, there has to be a visual promise immediately to get the idea and core concepts across fast – seeing as our attention spans have diminished especially on these micro platforms. Snapchat is booming and becoming a branded environment because of it.

The shift to mobile has already happened – and is essential to every marketing depository – any marketer worth their weight in billing should know by now. We’ve long since entered the golden age of content on mobile devices. Mobile second screening is now creating a double time for content, where tablets, televisions, mobile devices and laptops are used interchangeably.

Above all else, the underlying power of the nextMEDIA conference provides you with a plethora of tools to launch your brand to greater heights and even inject new life into your side passion project. The creativity and flow of new perceptions leaves you beaming with this indescribable aura of inspiration.

Even though we’re firmly embedded in this digital age, life doesn’t come with a remote – you need to get up and change it yourself.


Mike Valenti

About Mike Valenti

Skiing, content and tomfoolery are my three main ingredients in life.

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