We’re constantly amazed by how awesome the Internet is…and continuously disappointed by how bad the ads are. Digital marketing has been dominated by ineffective banner ads for far too long, but it finally feels like the tide is turning.
The Wrong Tool for the Job
While the pace of innovation across the Internet ecosystem has continued unabated for more than 15 years now, somewhere along the way brand advertising got left behind. Sure, there’s plenty of smart companies trying to innovate, but the bulk of their efforts go towards incremental advances in “ad tech” that enable brands to better target the same old banner ads.
Perhaps Google’s success is to blame. Ever since Larry and Sergey struck gold by building the best Direct Response (DR) advertising solution the world has ever seen, the digital ad industry has been obsessed with finding the next intent harvesting goldmine. For digital marketers, it’s much easier to justify DR spend to their CMO’s because “last-click attribution” enables them to see where customers came from and measure return-on-investment to the penny. This has not only skewed online ad dollars to be disproportionately spent on DR, but it’s also made “click-through-rate” a far more important metric for branding than it should be.
While banner ads with the latest targeting are getting better for low cost DR, brands that have used this intent harvesting tactic to generate demand have been continuously disappointed, because it’s the wrong tool for the job.
In the traditional media world, brand advertising accounts for 61% of all ad spend, but on the Internet, branding only accounts for 23%. (Delloite TMT Predictions)
Marketers have clearly figured out how to find consumers who are already interested in their products and convert them online, but what about leveraging the incredible engagement happening on the web to build brand awareness and generate demand?
So What Works for Brands?
Back in 2008, while working at Federated Media, we had the opportunity to help Twitter develop their first-ever advertising partnership. We knew that a typical banner campaign was not what Ev and Biz (Twitter’s founders) had in mind, so we set out to find a brand that understood what was so unique and exciting about Twitter. We collaborated with Microsoft to build Exectweets, an integrated advertising program that didn’t just aim to capture the attention of Twitter’s rapidly growing audience, but also complimented the core service.
ExecTweets was a curation of the smartest Tweets from the high-profile executives who were early adopters of Twitter (e.g. Jack Welch, Steve Case, Richard Branson). What made Exectweets work, was that it didn’t interrupt the user experience, it enhanced it.
The lightbulb went off for us when we realized that on the Internet, advertising could be useful. When the right brand adds value to an online experience, it can be exponentially more powerful than anything that the old model of one-way advertising (print, TV, & radio) could accomplish.
nativ.ly helps brands (and their agencies) collaborate with Internet startups to build advertising that’s additive. We work closely with a select group of emerging consumer Internet companies (mostly up-and-coming websites and mobile apps) to help them develop Additive Advertising™ partnerships with the right brands.
We’re thrilled to be building a company that helps marketers develop native advertising that enhances digital experiences, because when a brand is integrated in a way that adds value to the audience, everyone wins.
If you’re a brand/agency looking for transformative digital advertising ideas, or a startup that wants to accelerate your native monetization strategy, hit us up, we’d love to help.