It’s easy to forget that the classic Hallmark Hall of Fame was originally created to promote a brand of greeting cards. There are more examples, especially in the golden days of TV. Colgate Comedy Hour. Westinghouse Studio One. People had no qualms about mixing entertainment and marketing.
Digital branded content follows in that long line of non-traditional advertising. Today, we get advertorials, guest blogs and influencer posts. But the idea is the same: a company or brand puts money down to help someone create content that resonates with audiences, and promotes a product or service at the same time. This is what we define as branded content.
Transparency is Key for Branded Content
However, one thing modern marketers have to deal with is the saviness of their audiences. Younger Internet users, and millenials in particular, are extremely adept at seeing through promotional messages. And they do not like it one bit, trusting 90% of peer recommendations over 30% of traditional adverts.
This is why branded content creators have every interest to be open about their sponsorship. Influencers have built their careers on an authentic personality that resonates with their audiences. When people find out they have been sold something unwillingly, there tends to be a backlash, like when Youtuber Pewdiepie was found to conceal some of his branded content.
Although admittedly, it didn’t hurt his online presence too much, users may become suspicious when watching online video reviews. And their suspicions are supported by various consumer group watchdogs. There is now an increasing number of laws and regulations to insist branded content should be signified as such.
Authenticity and Trust
The counterintuitive takeaway here is that influencers actually benefit from being transparent about their paid content. After all, their followers or subscribers are smart enough to understand that they need to pay the bills, like everyone else.
And interestingly, the best influencers know exactly how to make this transparency work to their advantage. They tweak the message to fit their voice. They adapt the way they talk about your product. Even a bit of honest criticism can go a long way in helping sell your company or brand when using the #spon or #ad on Twitter and Instagram. Working with Join makes it easy for you to agree on hashtags that influencers use in a collaboration, because of the briefing template. Any additional perks or agreements have a special place in the briefing, and therefore in the contract. Interested in our way of working? Request a demo below this post.
Research by the Branded Content Marketing Association suggests that branded content is 24% more effective in influencing the purchase of products than traditional advertising. This is particularly true in the 18-34 age group, where users tend to react with more positive opinions and being overall more responsive to branded sites
Still, the word “influencer” can be misleading, as it implies some kinds sneaky marketing tactics. In reality, influencers are better at their job when they are transparent and authentic, and most surprising of all: the audiences appreciate them more for it. Honesty, it goes to show, truly is the best policy.