In the past several years, native advertising has risen to the top of the online marketing conversation. And, for the most part, it’s done so because other forms of online advertising have failed miserably. But native advertising, for all its popularity and success, has brought with it a very dark side; the blurring of editorial church and state.
To some, this blurring is no big deal. To others – the smart ones, it is the downfall of society as we know it. Some approaches to native advertising have resulted in worthwhile, informative, education and helpful content readers can consider valuable. Other native advertising efforts – sadly, most – have resulted in poorly written, spammy, listicle, brochure-like content that irks, annoys and just plain sucks.
What if there were a way to do native advertising where the content used to advertise were truly native? And by that, I mean it was created irrespective of influence from anyone remotely involved with the topic on the content? In other words, it’s not an ad.
So if it’s not an ad, how, then, could it still be native advertising? Well it’s something different really; promoted content. Yea, yea. Promoted content is nothing new but a company called inPowered has added a bit of a twist.
inPowered marries brands with already existing, expert-written content that wasn’t created because some brand paid to have it created. You know, good old-fashioned editorial.
inPowered has a super fancy technology that seeks out and identifies existing content as it relates to any brand, product or topic and ranks the experts who wrote the content. Experts are ranked on consistency – consistent focus on a particular topic, depth – insightful, educational, helpful content that isn’t a regurgitated press release and validation – how often the content is shared. In all, inPowered tracks 50 million articles a month qualifying 50,000 subject matter experts across 10,000 topics.
Brands can then come to inPowered and be matched with the expert in their area of interest. That content is then connected to the brand with automagically created, programmatically placed ads which appear across ad networks and social networks.
In terms of success metrics and in order to weed out the clickbait effect prevalent in other promoted content models, inPowered ads only “count” and are paid for if the content the ads point to is actually read, measured by at least 15 seconds spent with the content, or shared out to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
It’s really a very simple and effective ad model. Basically, it’s an engine that identifies already existing content a brand would find beneficial, and gives that brand a mechanism to direct that content towards those most likely to act on the content.
Image credit: CC by Blue Mountains Local Studies