5 Questions & Answers About the IAB’s Content Primer

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iab content marketing primerAs you may have seen today, the IAB released its official Content Marketing Primer to lay down some basic definitions and guidelines for this growing area of digital marketing. The primer covers why content marketing has become so popular, a basic definition, benefits for brands, publishers and consumers, how it works across paid, earned and owned channels and different types of content marketing.

This document which we were involved with producing (as members of the IAB Task Force on Content Marketing and participants in this effort) is an excellent starting point for building a common understanding of content marketing. After reading the primer, you may be wondering about a few other questions. Here are five key next-level questions we thought would be worth answering:

What’s driving the shift of marketing and advertising dollars into content marketing?

“With display ad response rates continuing their decline, marketers see content as a new hope for building relationships and engagement with consumers.”

In addition to changes in consumer behavior and fragmentation of media, marketers are less than completely satisfied with the traditional online advertising paradigm. With display ad response rates continuing their decline, marketers see content as a new hope for building relationships and engagement with consumers. Just like social, mobile, video and other new kinds of marketing vehicles, marketers are making important investments in content and paying close attention to which programs are delivering more value to consumers and to the bottom line.

Is content marketing limited to creating content?

No. Content marketing involves not only creating content, but also the many activities associated with targeting and promoting the content as well as measuring its business impact. For 2014 the most successful content marketers are striving to create holistic content marketing strategies that incorporate every aspect of building and executing successful content marketing programs that show a measurable return.

How do successful content marketers measure success?

The most successful content marketers, in addition to creating engaging content that consumers love, are focused on running content programs that drive real business results. While it’s possible to view content success through the lens of standard online traffic analytics, it’s even more enlightening and powerful to judge success by calculating the actual return on your content. Here’s a handy calculator to determine the return on your own content.

What does content marketing have to do with native advertising?

The two are highly related, since native advertising is frequently used as a mechanism to promote content. However, there are many examples of native advertising, particularly the types offered by social networks and mobile apps, that are used to simply promote typical brand and marketing messages – but in a more integrated format. Much of the direct overlap between content marketing and native advertising is based on native offerings from online publishers (as opposed to networks or apps).

“While it’s possible to view content success through the lens of standard online traffic analytics, it’s even more enlightening and powerful to judge success by calculating the actual return on your content.”

What role do agencies play in content marketing?

Agencies are becoming increasingly relevant in content marketing. Not only are they helping to build brand editorial strategies and create content based programs, but also increasingly media agencies are making content promotion part of their recommended media plans for brand clients. In addition, PR agencies are beginning to do more content creation for their clients as well as advise them on paid promotion of their earned media wins and owned content assets. In 2014, we expect to see even more agency involvement and leadership in and around content marketing.

What other questions did the IAB Content Marketing Primer raise for you? Sound off in the comments.