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This Week in Content Marketing: Native Advertising – Not the Savior Publishers and Brands Thought


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this first official podcast of 2017, Joe and Robert discuss the ad fraud “Methbot” issue and what it means for programmatic advertising. The boys rip to pieces a 2017 trends post, and then outline why native advertising is not the savior some experts thought it was – for either publishers or brands. Rants and raves include the history of video games and Generation Z.  This week’s TOM example: Purina’s Chase the Chuck Wagon.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on Jan. 2, 2017; Length: 1:04:50)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Methbot – an ad fraud scheme costs advertisers $3 million per day (11:03): Russian hackers are back in the news. Their target? 6,000-plus publishers, from Huffington Post to ESPN, and the brands that advertise on those sites, according to WhiteOps as reported in Advertising Age. Dubbed “Methbot,” the scheme involves the creation of a half-million fake users and 250,000 fake websites to mimic human behavior, duping advertisers into paying for impressions never seen by humans to the tune of $3 million to $5 million a day.

    Robert says the automated buying and selling of screen real estate immediately sets you up for fraud because no humans are involved in the purchase or selling. He shares that programmatic buyers will soon say enough is enough and stop making strategies involved with these exchanges because the discount is not worth it. I agree. I think we’re going to have to go back to the days of doing deals through real-life partnerships.

  • Technology trends that will transform content marketing (20:45): The year’s end leads to many forecasting articles. Robert and I have fun picking apart this one from The Next Web. Robert found one that might have some usefulness in 2017 that we discuss. But for the most part, we think the list is a bunch of hoo-ha (the second time I’ve used that word in recent podcasts). Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and virtual or augmented reality may sound exciting to CMOs, but successful marketers in 2017 will focus on getting really good at the basics. Robert also offers some comforting advice – don’t think your competitors are making great strides in these areas because they’re not.
Content Marketing: Forget About the 5%
  • ‘2017 is going to be a bloodbath’: Confessions from a beleaguered independent publisher (30:24): In contrast to most 2017 prediction stories, this one didn’t spray a lot of positive vibes. In Digiday’s anonymous confession series, a publisher for a pure-play digital media company shares her (or his) seething negativity about how the duopoly of Facebook and Google is killing publishing. I don’t see it as killing publishing at all, it’s killing the business model behind publishing. Robert asks: If companies believe this bloodbath will happen, which will be easier in 2017 – to rely on failing mid-level publishers to scale your content efforts or to compete with them and integrate media into company operations? To him (and to me), the answer is clear: “If you don’t have some of your marketing dollars put toward building a media operation, you’re missing the boat.”
If you don’t have marketing $$ put toward building a media operation, you’re missing the boat. @Robert_Rose Click To Tweet

2. Sponsor (39:46)

  • Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 events. Whether you are just getting started with content marketing or are looking to take your expertise to the next level, CMI’s portfolio of events has you covered. From our free virtual ContentTECH conference, to our strategy-focused Intelligent Content Conference, to Content Marketing World – the largest annual gathering of content marketing professionals in the industry – we offer a wide range of unparalleled training, education, and networking experiences. Check out all the events we have in store for 2017, and sign up for the ones that fit your needs.


3. Rants and raves (43:44)

  • Joe’s rant: Over the holidays, my son Joshua shared with me the story of the Great Video Game Crash of 1983. In brief, the home video game industry was $2 billion in 1982 when hundreds of companies eager for a piece of the pie rushed to be first to market with new video games, forgoing high-quality production. By 1985, the industry had dropped to $100 million. Nintendo – and a few other companies – survived and thrived by focusing on quality. It feels similar to what content marketing has been going through – from launching content factories where volume and speed were priorities to implementing a seal-of-quality process and creating stories worth telling.
  • Robert’s rant: Stop the nonsense of generational topics like the ones addressed in this article, How to Create Social and Marketing Campaigns for Generation Z, and Simon Sinek’s video about millennials. Robert doesn’t love the idea of looking at a cohort of individuals as anything other than a group of people with different tastes. He says we need to look at our strategies to figure out how to appeal to people and not look at them like alien races.

  • Robert’s rave: Even though he’s only about 60% of the way through Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World, Robert had great things to say about this book by Walter Kiechel. It explores the relatively new practice of business strategy and its origins. Not a business book, it’s a documentation of the story, from the evolution of management consulting firms to the birth of the internet.


4.    This Old Marketing example of the week (56:58)

  • This week, the example ties to my rant about the Great Video Game Crash (and also comes from my son Joshua). In 1983, Ralston Purina hired Spectravision to create a video game, Chase the Chuck Wagon. Consumers mailed in proofs of purchase to receive the game for their Atari 2600. In turn, Purina built a database from a content experience. But the game promotion wasn’t successful (though it is a highly sought collectible today). The rush-to-market bug bit Purina, as the game’s creator would later explain, “It took me all of three days to cobble this game together … I apologize for the weak game play, but I was rushed!”

Image source

For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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