New ad formats are constantly in demand for brands and agencies alike. Agencies need to show their clients that they have their finger on the pulse of the latest ad technologies and placements. Advertisers must consistently deliver innovative solutions to capture consumer attention. Yet over the last few years there has been an increasing propensity to create technologies that focus solely on consumer engagement rather than those that drive traffic to brand websites. It’s a trend that’s clear to see in Vibrant Media’s revenue figures. Once almost exclusively supplying traffic-driving campaigns to brands across the world, Vibrant’s content marketing and engagement formats have grown to account for a significant amount of revenue in both Europe and the U.S. These CPE ad formats collate and curate brand content, and give consumers a choice of rich media from branded interactive units, which include videos, games, articles, images and social media profiles.
But the rapid adoption of these formats is not just new tech for new tech’s sake. The brands that require engagement formats often have complicated messages to communicate or perhaps don’t have an online destination that’s particularly entertaining. That is likely one of the reasons Vibrant has seen more business-to-business campaigns buying into engagement ad formats recently. Engagement formats capture attention, and encourage consumers to spend time delving into the brand, so that they can discover more about the advertiser. These formats establish the brand’s desired relationship with their consumers. Such relationships build trust and loyalty, and they also offer the best prospect of creating brand advocates, which is something of high importance on social media.
Consequently, the creatives behind engagement campaigns have developed compelling and entertaining content to be distributed at scale around the web through native ads. As more advertisers have recognised that consumers react well to branded content, they have invested more in it. What’s more, is once the engagement campaign is over, brands can extend the use of that high-quality video, editorial, and image content across other channels like their corporate websites and social media profiles.
Consumers’ positive response to branded content has seen more advertisers turning their own websites into hubs of articles, videos and images to inform and entertain consumers, rather than just performing as ecommerce or brochure sites. This is one of the reasons that cost-per-click (CPC) traffic driving campaigns are seeing a resurgence. CPC has always been Vibrant Media’s cornerstone business but what we’ve seen recently is that brands have been investing a lot more into their websites, and have created valuable destinations for their consumers.
Some brands have even developed news rooms for content professionals. Brand journalists create editorial news and feature articles, image content, and videos. Some of the content is directly about their own brand and products however, much of the content is each brand’s response to the cultural and world events that their consumers connect with – fashion, music, sports, celebrity culture, relationships, health, comedy, personal finance and more. By monitoring what attracts and retains their consumers’ interests – and responding in kind by producing even more engaging content – these brands develop a deeper relationship with their target market.
Historically, the challenge for many brands that wanted to drive traffic to their sites, was a lack of qualitative innovations in traffic-driving formats. Brands and agencies often feel obligated to rely on standard IAB banners even though research shows the majority of these ads are never It’s time for a new range of CPC formats. These formats must be inspired by the success of the best engagement formats; must be consumer-centric, user-controlled and responsive; and must be placed appropriately at native and highly viewable points of the consumer’s content experience. Ensuring contextual relevance will also continue to connect consumers directly to the high quality content destinations brands have been building. Great digital marketing engages consumers, encourages interaction, and attracts consumers into visiting brands’ own environments. Both engagement and traffic are needed to build the optimal relationship between consumers and brands.