Content marketing as we know it has reached its peak, and things are about to change.

The quality of content being created is at its highest, but the syndication and effectiveness of the content has become the most bottlenecked area due to the vast amount of it.

Everyone is looking for a method to create targeted content that audiences are searching for, through the right channels/publications which allow transparent measurement with positive ROI. Tough ask? 

One distribution option many brands probably haven't considered is influencer content delivered using programmatic out-of-home ads, which can be used to drive very specific actions among a target audience.

Here's more on how it works...

Definitions

Definition of content marketing by the CMI:

“Content marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking in all the places they are searching for it. It is the effective combination of created, curated and syndicated content.”

Definition of influencer marketing by John Hall on Forbes.com:

“Basically, influencer marketing is about providing product context and expertise through an inspirational person.” 

If we merge the two, we get somewhere close to Programmatic Influencer Content Marketing: “Programmatic influencer content marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking to a specific customer, in a specific context through an inspirational person.”

Remember that, it’s what’s next – but it’s a mouthful...

Where is content moving towards?

Some enterprise-level businesses are now realigning their content efforts - more so internally - to focus on their current audiences. For example, Unilever recently announced that it is creating a brand-led content studio internally. 

U-Studio has been established to create content sought out by consumers that meets an immediate need related to a brand or product. 

The interesting part that I took from this announcement is the types of content that U-Studio will be creating - commonly-used content marketing material:

  • How-to videos.
  • Infographics.
  • Ratings and reviews.
  • Editorial.
  • Product information.
  • User-generated content.

Why content marketing is becoming static and dangerously close to not evolving…

Through a generic content marketing approach, the content types mentioned (infographics, editorial, etc) would be created and then syndicated online. This is very one-dimensional. 

Unilever could make a large push after the creation of this unit to robustly develop its content efforts into a more integrated programmatic approach that will attract a much wider audience. This is where out-of-home ads could come into play.

For example, one of Unilever’s brands, TRESemmé, has just launched a new product range – Beauty-Full Volume. 

Instead of working with a few bloggers or vloggers and have their reviews distributed to their audience and reviews syndicated online, a much wider approach could be taken which would significantly enhance the reach of this content and drive serious results. 

This wider approach incorporates programmatic practices, and most importantly digital out of home (DOOH). Below is an example of how you can forecast eyeball capture from advert screens to shop location:

Why programmatic offers a new opportunity for influencer and content marketing

Working with bloggers and vloggers is hugely beneficial, more so with a wider distribution remit. TRESemmé will have its own personas for the typical customer/user and through using this information it could identify the right influencers. 

Below is the process that’s needed to run a successful, and targeted DOOH campaign:

For example, let's figuratively say that Jane Smith (random person) is an influencer for TRESemmé’s targeted audience.

A new approach could be to work with Jane Smith on a wide content campaign for the launch of the new product. 

The types of content that could be created for this launch are exactly those that U-Studio is designed to create. The syndication of ambassador/influencer led content is heavily limited to owned and earned channels, but being smart through paid channels could unlock large potential. 

By locating where TRESemmé’s audience largely hangs out in London, you could then repurpose this content.

Through digital billboards, the brand could run campaigns showing the influencer and new product with a '50 metres to your nearest Boots’ call-to-action, pushing the target audience to a store where they can buy this new product.

Alternatively, you could also include a unique coupon code for stores on the advert that appears on billboards to have a much more accurate measurement of performance of campaigns. 

This part of programmatic is called digital out-of-home and is geared up to target a specific audience through traditional advertising techniques; digital billboards, rotating banners at train stations, etc.

Furthermore, if you were to launch this campaign with a challenge or user-generated content element, such as showing before and after pictures of your hair with this product, you could push this through targeted billboards where you know the audience are located at times they will view this content - commuting, lunch hours, and so on. 

Through Bluetooth, we could even then begin to identify who went into the store from a nearby ad, not directly attributing it to that, but dig into data insight to see if there was an increase when adverts ran at times those personas were nearby. 

Testing the resonance that brand ambassadors have is always tricky, but if you have more than one, rotating these adverts could prove useful in knowing which has the most reach with your audience and drives sales.

Similarly, using different competition ideas to decide which has the most potential for audience self-involvement, you would then be able to roll this out through owned channels such as social and by a blog.

Alternatively, or as well as, we could also identify national papers, magazines or specific niche websites (fashion, sport, etc) where the audience spend their spare time through tools such as Global Web Index, Comscore, YouGov data and others.

Using these publications, we can then begin to create campaign specific creative and push another portion of people through to the campaign content through these avenues. Due to the granular detail that can be used to target audiences through SSP and DSPs, these visits would be hugely valuable and most importantly, measurable. 

This more detailed targeting element of programmatic is becoming much more granular making it better for brands and advertisers. A recent example of this is the partnership that The Guardian, Eurostar and iProspect have begun in order to create an inventory that drills down to demographic, interest (luxury travel) and persona-based (business decision makers) targeting.

This is a very specific audience that Eurostar can really tap into and drive much more relevant traffic.

Is this restricted to influencers?

Definitely not.

Some of the best online campaigns are ones which involve real people in real situations. Using the before and after images in the TRESemmé example, a simple advert image could be created showcasing real examples on billboards with a similar call-to-action, which could have potentially greater impact. 

This programmatic approach with a designated hashtag could be part of a much wider campaign that has blogger challenges, infographics, how-to guides and editorial, all part of the more traditional content marketing approach. 

However, with this targeted approach in the out-of-home environment, a campaign will be able to reach a much larger number of eyeballs with real value associated to it through measurement of product performance.

For more on this topic, see:

James Perrott

Published 18 November, 2016 by James Perrott

James Perrott is Strategy Director at Zazzle Media and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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