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This Week in Content Marketing: The Future of Television Advertising Is Native


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

In this episode of This Old Marketing, Robert and I discuss Facebook’s dominance in digital advertising and predict how it will fill the biggest gap in its business model: Content. Next, we roll our eyes at yet another prediction of the death of content marketing, but acknowledge the author’s point that influencer marketing is more important than ever. We then turn our attention to new research from Google that “proves” advertisers should spend a lot more on YouTube ads, and we praise NBC’s decision to incorporate sponsored content into its popular Saturday Night Live TV show. Finally, we’re disappointed with an opinion piece from HBR that laments the glut of digital advertising, but doesn’t offer a solution to the problem. Rants include two beat downs on questionable native advertising practices. This week’s This Old Marketing example of the week is from Schneider Electric’s Energy University.

This week’s show

(Recorded live April 25, 2016; Length: 1:01:55)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Facebook’s scary new world for media companies (6:23): Facebook has created a scary new world for media companies, according to Business Insider. Their distribution — which controls how many people see your stuff and thus affects how much you can command for ads — is now in the hands of Facebook and Google, which may control as much as 85% of online ad revenue. Robert and I agree that the missing piece Facebook needs is content; that’s why it’s aggressively courting advertisers to host their content on its platform. We discuss several ways Facebook could easily fill the content gap, and what this could mean to brands and publishers.
  • The death of content marketing – why brands must become cultural currency (14:59): Content is quickly becoming a commodity, warns David Armano. Because of this, it lacks cultural relevance to the audiences it’s supposed to influence. His solution? Brands should partner and collaborate with influencers in the niches they serve. In this way, they have the potential to make a bigger impact with customers who are members of these communities. Robert and I aren’t quite sure what Armano is trying to say in this article. Influencer marketing is very important today. But it has nothing to do with the supposed death of content marketing.
  • Google says YouTube ads are 80% more effective than TV (22:00): In a new report that is sure to anger the TV industry, Google says that YouTube ads were more effective than TV ads 80% of the time. Fifty-six case studies from Google and its research partners show that advertisers should be spending six times more of their budgets on YouTube advertising than they already do. Robert and I agree that this is a self-serving study with dubious data. But we believe brands ought to consider devoting a small percentage of their ad budgets for paid distribution of their digital content – or doing something more innovative than jamming their existing TV ads into YouTube pre-rolls.
  • SNL will decrease ads by 30% next season (27:28): NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) plans to cut about 30% of ads out of the sketch comedy show next season. In its place will be six pods of custom branded content per year, produced by the SNL cast. This is part of a move by TV networks to make the viewing experience more consumer friendly by reducing commercial interruptions and weaving in brand messaging that more closely resembles the content viewers tuned in to watch. Robert thinks this is a genius move by NBC. I predict this is what advertising will evolve into during the next five years.
  • Social cost of bad online marketing (33:43): Alexandra Samuel’s opinion column on points out that relentless advertising and marketing have polluted the web to the point where independent voices have been pushed to the margins. Robert and I agree that this article is too focused on Samuel’s wishes for a pure, altruistic online world, but doesn’t offer a solution. She also ignores the fact that content marketing, if it’s done thoughtfully and strategically, can share information and educate – without being obnoxious about it.

2. Sponsor (42:02)

  • Marketo: No matter what rumors you’ve heard – email is not dead! It continues to be a top performing marketing channel – as long as you stand out. Check out Marketo’s Highly Effective Email Marketing Lookbook to get inspired with nine new email types to stay front and center with clever, catchy, and bold content. Download the Lookbook here: 


3. Rants and raves (44:39)

  • Robert’s rant: Robert was recently interviewed by a newspaper for an article it was producing about the evolution of marketing. The interview went well, and covered a lot of great information. However, when it was published on the newspaper’s website, it contained a call to action at the end for the newspaper’s content studio. The reporter never disclosed to Robert that this article was actually a native advertising piece. That incident points to the need for full transparency in sponsored content.
  • Joe’s rant: A publisher friend of mine in northeastern Ohio was involved in the launch of a print and digital magazine. The publisher’s top management decided that it would run native advertising as if it was unpaid editorial, which violates FTC guidelines. I advised my friend against this decision and encouraged him to follow best practices for native advertising. The print magazine arrived this week, and sure enough, it contained at least 10 articles that appeared to be native ads. If the FTC decides to take action on this case, the brands running the ads will be at risk, not the publication.
Native Advertising Is Not Content Marketing

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (54:30)

  • Energy University: Ten years ago, Schneider Electric launched Energy University, a free online educational resource that provides an extensive library of training videos about energy usage, technical developments in various industries, management solutions to energy consumption challenges, and other energy-related topics. It contains almost 500 courses and has over 500,000 subscribers, who have taken over 750,000 courses since the website was launched. The courses are translated into different languages, giving Energy University a global reach. Its impact includes acting as a source of new business for the company, providing insights into customer needs in regional markets, helping Schneider recruit new employees, and, of course, educating people about developments in the field of electrical engineering. It’s an excellent example of This Old Marketing.


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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