In recent times, the advertising industry has started to look more closely at the relationship between paid media and "owned" media or content.
Can they work together? Is one better without the other? Well, a lot of these questions were explored and answered by new research revealed this week by content marketing agency Seven.
The research was conducted with 71 members of advertiser body the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), representing an annual UK adspend of more than £10 billion.
Members were questioned on their views on content and their perception of consumers' views on content, as well as ad spend. The research also surveyed online a representative sample of 2,000 British adults sourced and validated by YouGov, on the role different media channels play in their lives.
One stat that jumps out of the research and spells good news for all in the content marketing industry is that £4 billion is now spent annually on owned media in the UK, equating to 21 per cent of brand comms budgets. It also shows that the four most used marketing channels (by volume of marketers using them) are ‘owned' - websites, email, branded social media platforms and search engine optimisation.
To further emphasise this point, the research revealed 96 per cent of brands have used an owned media channel or format this year and 85 per cent tend to agree or definitely agree that brands have a greater opportunity than traditional media owners to be innovative with content.
So, good news for owned media. But how can owned and paid media, the ‘converged media' approach, work for brands?
This shows that both paid and owned media have their place and video is an interesting example to prove this - YouGov research shows people are just as likely to find original branded videos from paid media as they are owned, demonstrating that the two are not in competition, but in fact can work well together. The use of video is definitely on the up, with 56 per cent of brands now using original, branded video content, making the channel more and more prominent.
There has also been an increase in brands having a strategy for video, with 81 per cent already having one or planning to implement one, as well as a six per cent rise in video spend by senior marketers from last year to this, with a forecast that it will increase another 10 per cent next year.
Importantly, this leaning towards video is echoed by consumers, with over 40 per cent able to recall, on prompting, seeing a specific original branded video online.
What else is owned media good at? While consumers use paid media to make themselves aware of brands, they overwhelmingly choose content-led websites and emails as the preferred way to compare, select and purchase products and services, as well as to stay in touch with brands, for verticals including travel, retail, automotive, finance and telecoms.
So there is an increased appetite for investment - and innovation - in content marketing, but the key is that a converged approach to media ensures a consistent experience whenever people encounter a brand; where paid media makes promises, owned media helps keep those promises. In effect, content delivers authenticity and gives consumers reasons to believe advertising claims.
In conclusion, whilst not a match made in heaven, paid and owned media work well together from the start of the customer journey right through to conversion. Brands can ensure their own channels and content are valuable in their own right, whilst complementing their paid media investment.
This blog was originally posted on Brand Republic, you can read it here