The latest digital marketing agency news is that there has been a faster growth of ad sponsored content than expected in 2013. In one year from 2012 to 2013 a 22.1 % boost was experienced and this growth is expected to continue up until 2017. Advertisers have spent $ 1.88 billion on sponsored content this year and this spending is forecast to increase to $3.08 billion by 2017.
So why is content marketing spending increasing?
One of the main reasons for this upswing in content marketing spending is the way people react to current digital ads. A finding which has been termed 'banner blindness' indicates that most people do not read banner ads online; in fact they often steer clear of anything which looks like advertising online. Obviously this poses a challenge for online advertisers or at least forces them to look for new ways to advertise online. The way in which advertisers have chosen to tackle this problem is by driving content marketing. People tend to fixate their focus on content and not on the side ads. For this reason advertisers are concentrating their efforts on creating content driven advertising.
But it is ethical?
A specific ad may or may not be ethical, depending on how closely it masquerades as content. I caution against going too far, because it can backfire and mislead users. Unethical ads will get you more fixations, but ethical business practices will attract more loyal customers in the long run.
A digital marketing agency needs to tread very lightly when using content to market products because if disguised too much as content it is misleading and therefore unethical. This in turn will have a negative impact.
There are countless sites which provide content online which appears to be valid information only to become blatant promotion of a product a few lines down. The typical response is one of irritation and then a judgement of the company and product being promoted. A company which provides valuable information regarding the products, both their own and their competitors, rather than attempting to promote the product through advertising disguised as content is far more likely to win consumer loyalty and brand credibility.