Week in branded content: 10 June

This week sees River bolster its management team, Apple's iOS 5 offers a long awaited boost to magazine publishers, content sharing accounts for 10% of all online traffic, a larger strategic branded content program is needed around video content, and why global brands must look beyond English on Facebook. 

When Story Worldwide's Digital Archaeology took place in the UK last year it received much acclaim, and it has been taking place in New York this week. The exhibition brings some of the internet's earliest and most influential websites back to life in an interactive exhibition giving visitors the opportunity to surf 28 websites abusing original hardware and software corresponding to the period of each site's launch. A few weeks ago it was announced that Story Worldwide had teamed up with Google to curate the exhibition. Virtual visitors can also view the showcase online and vote for their favourite site. 

While this week has not seen many new magazine launches, things are buzzing over at customer publishing agency River which announced a raft of new appointments to its management team. Adrian Odds has joined as Business Development Director, Rachel Webb has joined as Account Director across the NBTY portfolio, Lucinda Lane has joined as Acting Publisher across the Superdrug portfolio and Siriljya Nawalkar has joined as Group Account Director and Publisher for Weight Watchers Magazine in the UK and France. 

Apple announced their new operating system iOS 5 earlier this week at their Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco which includes new features that offers a long awaited boost to magazine publishers. Among the new features and updates is the release of Apple's central Magazine Newsstand. Magazine readers will now be able to locate and purchase their newspapers and magazines from a central newsstand, see new issues from outside the app and be able to save them offline when they become available. To find out how your clients and other publishers might be able to take advantage of the new features check out Stonewash DD&AG's article

Speaking of Apple; the Financial Times has become the first major newspaper to launch a web app that has been designed to bypass Apple's iTunes and Google's Android stores

Meanwhile Sappi, the leading producer of coated fine paper has entered a second decade if its renowned and impactful design competition - Ideas that Matter - by giving entrants enhanced opportunities to submit their work throughout the year, and revamping the competition's online presence. 

A recent study by ShareThis has found that content sharing now accounts for approximately 10% of all traffic on the web, with one source standing out above all others: Facebook. 

The data shows that the popular social network produces 38% of all sharing traffic, which is slightly more than bookmarking services which account for 34% of sharing traffic. Given the numbers it will be increasingly difficult for marketers and content producers to ignore sharing as a traffic source. However to get the most out of sharing, one must understand the audience and ensure that the content is relevant for the network it is published on. 

For those working in the customer publishing industry it comes as no surprise that content is crucial for brands that want to get ahead online, but what about real-time content? Speaking at the Conversational Marketing Summit in New York, Brian Wallace VP, global digital marketing and media at Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry and Shiv Singh, head of digital at PepsiCo, both said that marketers have to get into the content businesses - both BlackBerry and PepsiCo are now looking to real-time, relevant content. In the article on Media Post, Wallace said: "With the advent of third-party sites hosting branded content [e.g. Facebook and Twitter], owned content has exploded for us. [BlackBerry] will reach 60 million people with this alone." While Wallace said he's in the business of managing "an ever expanding premium content network," he added that a lot of the content is generated by people talking about brands, not by the brands themselves. As a way to distribute and syndicate content for free, from a network perspective, he said that this user-generated content creates a vastly larger network of consumers. However, Wallace also suggested that a brand's premium content network is an untapped revenue stream. 

The fashion industry has long been a fan of branded content, and this week Fashion United reported that in the new digital era editorial content is now moving to third party sites. It noted that digital media is changing how editorial content is put together and presented, and that "where social media once saw designers and fashion firms alike scrambling to put together their own branded content on their web sites and attract a flock of followers that way, now the future of digital marketing seems to be to transfer this content onto third party sites - be it online sites, blogs or most importantly Facebook." 

The power of online video is constantly increasing - YouTube recently announced that 48 hours of video are uploaded to the Google owned channel every minute. However with more brands and videos fighting for people's attention, "a brand can no longer just develop online video content, wrap it up in a paid media plan and launch it upon a target audience with hopeful expectations," Media Post noted. A larger strategic branded content program is needed around video content which includes:

1) Thinking as a publisher
2) Curating the content to add value
3) Develop content for a community
4) Create excitement by using "live" content - bring the brand to life by allowing the live audience to participate and watch the branded content come alive 

If you are interested in how to use YouTube as a potential engagement platform, take a look at these interactive brand campaigns as selected by media blog Econsultancy for some inspiration. 

Luxury brand Louis Vuitton has partnered with five London arts institutions to launch an online hub, REcreative, for its Young Arts Project. The community will feature content and access to the arts world for young people, as well as act as a platform for them to share ideas, showcase their work and promote it too leading artists and critics. 

Elsewhere, influential parenting site Mumsnet has partnered with Vodafone to create a free iPhone app for its forums section of the site ‘Talk', giving parents debate and support on the go. As the most active section of Mumsnet, Talk receives 25,000 posts a day, and this move comes as the site looks to extend its business model into other areas, such as a launching a series of parenting and lifestyle books. 

In social media news, Helen Edwards has looked at the link between Facebook likes and commercial value in her column on Brandrepublic. Edwards noted: "With brands such as Coca-Cola and Red Bull building up nation-sized fan bases [on Facebook], there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to persuade marketers that this is a smart thing to do. A fact-based argument for the link between 'likes' and sales, however, is proving more elusive." Edwards continued: "Attempts by digital research firms to put a dollar value on a Facebook 'like' swerve alarmingly from $3.60 to $136.38, with the debate foundering on the extent to which the Facebook endorsement adds to the value of people who were evangelists already." So are ‘likes' the best way to measure success on Facebook or is it time to fully branch out to sentiment and level of engagement as well? 

And finally, on the topic of brands and Facebook, Wall Blog has pointed out that as the world's population is increasingly making Facebook part of their daily routine, global brands must look beyond English and address their existing and would-be followers intelligently and in their own language. Otherwise they are in danger of missing the potential language can deliver them. Have you invested in a multi-language tactic to take your brand further in the social media world?

Posted in CMA news
10thJun 2011

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