Facebook Is Now Directly Competing Against Premium Publishers For Branded Content Budgets – And They’re Winning!

September 14, 2017

Branded content continues to be a major area of revenue growth for premium publishers. Over the past few years, we have seen many of our premium publisher partners across the world build sophisticated, and thriving commercial content businesses. Most publisher organizations have everything they need to succeed. Quality writers, premium brands, trusted environments and engaged readers. But, what could go wrong? Increased competition! And, not just from other publishers.

While recently visiting one of our publishers in Sydney, a story emerged that highlighted the increasing dominance of Facebook in all aspects of marketing. Our publisher’s sales team was shortlisted down to the final three in a pitch for a major retailer. The goal of the campaign was to run a series of custom branded content pieces and the shortlist consisted of two top regional publishers and Facebook.

Confident that Facebook was more focused on delivering lower funnel marketing objectives, the publisher felt that they had a 50/50 chance of winning the business. They were wrong. The announcement came a few days later that Facebook was the successful vendor. It also emerged that Facebook partnered with a major Australian production house to create the content assets.

Its official – Facebook has entered the branded content arena, now directly competing with premium publishers on agency RFPs. The formula for a successful branded content campaign: awesome content plus scaled and targeted distribution? Well, maybe not…

There is one essential objective that should be considered when buying a branded content campaign: engagement! While social distribution will no doubt offer massive reach and superior targeting, what the brand is truly looking for is consumer engagement with the content. The goal of branded content should really be centered on increasing brand awareness. And, this can only be achieved by delivering meaningful engagement.

It’s important to note that while both publishers and Facebook are selling ‘views’ as their cost model of choice, not all ‘views’ are created equal. We see a clear chasm between quality and non-quality traffic sources:

Low-Cost Distribution:

Quality Distribution:

At Polar, we’re ringing the bell to help our publishers grow their branded content business, but doing it in a way that actually drives value for brands and consumers alike. Here are some top tips to ensure buyers understand the value that premium publishers bring to the table:

  • We have loyal and engaged readers
  • We know our audience and how to talk to them
  • We offer controlled, premium environments
  • Brand safety is number 1

Happy Selling!



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