Battelle on Media Brands and How They Earn Their High CPMs

Great thought piece at Searchblog on the value of branded media online.

“Why is it that a brand marketer looking to reach college educated women, 18-34, is willing to pay $40 CPMs in Vanity Fair, but just $3 in an ad network?

“The first and most important reason is engagement — the reader of Vanity Fair is engaged in the magazine, and when she comes across that Lancome ad, the chances that the ‘between the ears magic’ will occur is far greater than at a random site run by an ad network. The second and related reason is creative — a two-page spread is simply a far more effective media vehicle for the brand’s message than the IAB unit.”

Overcoming these two hurdles comes down one thing: Marketers need to think like publishers. Publishers — a term I’m using here to include the creators of magazines, newspaper, websites and TV programming — are deeply committed to converting first-time trial readers or viewers into loyal subscribers or appointment-TV watchers; it costs far too much money buying audience, carriage and circulation (not to mention producing the content) to survive any other way. They must engage that audience. Marketers, meanwhile, recognize that it’s a waste of money to advertise with media properties that haven’t created engagement.

Marketers are also wasting money if they place advertising in high-engagement environments yet fail to provide creative that likewise engages the audience. The best TV commercials from the past six decades are 30-second and 60-second films that have overcome their miniature running times with brilliantly-crafted narrative arcs, evocative performances, catchy music and captivating cinematography. In other words, with filmed content. The creative units attached to online ad campaigns must move beyond call-to-action blinking banners. They need to become portals into content experiences that rival the great content at the best media sites.

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