As newspaper and magazine marketing channels decline for print advertisers, and television spots transform into advertisements on YouTube and within streaming apps like Hulu, the marketing world is turning itself inside out to find new solutions to old problems.
How do they reach their audiences now? What’s the best way to hit the mark in a world where smartphones and social media reign supreme?
The Pros and Cons of Digital Advertising
Digital advertising has been a double-edged sword from the beginning. Potential customers figure out how to block ads or work around them faster than new technologies to push marketing messages can be developed, creating an expensive game of cat and mouse. More recently, sponsored content, also known as native advertising, has become a popular notion for marketers.
According to the New York Times, traditional publishers like The Atlantic generate as much as three-quarters of their ad revenue this way. Slate, the New York Times and many others rely on native advertising to recapture income lost from an ever-shrinking print advertising base. However, since many use Facebook as a platform from which to launch these marketing messages, it may not be long before advertisers themselves are getting into the ad game on their own.
Facebook is giving advertisers unprecedented access to information about marketing performed on their behalf. In addition to traffic figures and other related data, advertisers are also able to look into how much their publishers paid for their advertising spots. Since this is an area that publishers typically price up in order to help widen their thin margins, it may spell trouble for native advertisement. Facebook is also encouraging advertisers to boost their posts themselves, instead of having their publishers do this on their behalf.
The end result may be a massive change in how Facebook handles these native ads, or it could become a fierce competition between publishers and advertising agencies that now have access to the same platform. With the battlefield this even for the first time, it’s hard to say who will come out on top. The little guy with a limited budget, but a creative bend, pitted against the well-funded giant who may not be able to move quickly enough to adapt to an ever-changing advertising landscape will be an interesting war to watch play out.