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This week Clair and Bruce are joined by Craig and Jonathan to discuss all things social media as well as John Oliver’s recent critique of native advertising.

This week we discuss our favorite and least favorite modes of communication, Orange is the New Black, streaming, and preview new fall TV shows.

Helping our friends at the IAA get the word out. The call for entries begins today!

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Using Vine for Brands

Clocking in at just six seconds, a Vine can make the old-school elevator pitch seem like a doctoral dissertation. But creative companies are finding a way to pack a lot of marketing muscle into the looping videos that are easy for both customers and brand-builders to create and share through social media. And some innovators are taking the video-sharing service, launched by Twitter in January 2013, from the smartphone to the big screen.

In September, Dunkin’ Donuts aired the first-ever television ad made completely from Vine video during ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, the Monday Night Football pre-game show. The ads mimicked game replays and featured Dunkin’ drinks as players.

“I think that was an interesting and first-ever use of Vine,” says Ekaterina Walter, cofounder of Branderati.

It was also effective, with Dunkin’ Donuts representatives telling Walter each  #DunkinReplay Vine delivered as many impressions as a comparable TV spot at a significantly lower cost.

“So they found that it was a very high ROI,” said Walter, author of the upcoming book, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.

It was also a great way to squeeze in a marketing message in context and without really interrupting people’s viewing experience. The short video segments also fed viewers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for video content. To mark its eighth anniversary in May 2013, YouTube announced users uploaded 100 hours to YouTube every minute. And statistics collected by The 7th Chamber in fall 2013 showed five tweets per second contained a Vine video link.

“The attention span of an average customer is shrinking,” Walter said. “And so I think what’s happening is the shorter and more impactful the segments are, the more interesting and effective they will be.”

Vines that encourage interaction are one of the best ways to break though the marketing clutter. In one example, Urban Outfitters teamed up with Converse in a contest offering a cross-country trip and other prizes for Vines that creatively answered the question “Where do your Chucks go?” in six seconds or less, inspiring consumers to create their own content.

Other effective Vines offer viewers visual demos that show them how to do everything from clean rusty knives (as seen in Lowe’s Fix it in Six series) to mix the perfect Cuba Libre (as seen in Bacardi’s Six Second Cocktail series).

“People want videos that are useful and entertaining, and they want to know how you cater to their interests. Try a “how-to” or demo of your product – or present something interesting related to your brand,” said Eric Hinson, founder and CEO of Explainify, which creates brief explanatory videos. “This should go without saying for all social media, but don’t try to hard sell your products here.”

It may also be worth mentioning Vine viewers should probably complete the Lowe’s how-to before concocting cocktails.

The Benefits of Native Advertising

Native advertising has been garnering a lot of attention lately because it can provide value to an interested audience, with your publishing partner performing the heavy lifting to drive traffic to your content.

Native advertising ties your brand to your publisher’s audience, so it gives you a way to target a specific demographic where they already are consuming content. Your content’s job is to be engaging enough to entice readers to click, providing a return on your investment and giving your publisher an incentive to support future campaigns.

Initially, it was thought that branded content had to look like the surrounding news content and downplay the fact that it was created by a brand. However, it’s very likely that consumer don’t care; some are even more willing to click when they realize it’s an ad, according to University of San Francisco law professor David Franklyn.

For most native ads, 33% of readers say they don’t mind if it sponsored and about the same percentage are more inclined to read the content, according to Franklyn.

A willingness to click on these ads means your target audience cares more about the content you’re delivering than who authored it. It’s the title that draws in your reader, not the “sponsored” or “brought to you by” label. Readers are provided a value from quality content, and the association with the publisher builds credibility for your brand. 

To get the most out of native advertising, stick to established best practices:

  • Be transparent. Transparency helps build trust with your reader and this trust extends to your brand and your products.
  • Tell a story. Using a native ad on a site your audience already likes is a way to offer them relevant content that enhances their browsing experience. This isn’t a unit that provides a message with just a headline and image, so the entire article needs to tell an engaging story.
  • Help, don’t pitch. Native advertising often focus on solving a problem, but you’ll need to resist the urge to make it a full-on product promotion. Discuss the solution and provide a link to your site at the end. A sales pitch could turn readers off, while explaining how to solve a problem builds your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Repeat. Native ads work best if you consistently provide quality content and build an audience. Find what works for your industry, whether that’s infographics or best practice lists, and create that content for the main problems in your industry; address one problem per post.
  • Develop metrics and standards. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your native ads, work with your marketer and publisher to determine what KPIs you want to track. After that, clarify the editorial standards of your deal so you can craft content that best drives your KPIs and keeps you in line with the publisher’s content, since they best know their audience.

Native advertising gives your company a chance to show off its knowledge about a particular subject and engage potential customers in a space where they already feel comfortable. Quality content that addresses customer problems and expands their horizons can be one of the most powerful inbound pitches in your repertoire.

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