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Marketers Seek Extra Edge to Go Viral
William Launder / The Wall Street Journal / August 25, 2013
More Are Paying to Buy Space for Sponsored Content on Websites
With brand marketers creating more subtly promotional online videos and blog posts than ever before, some are trying new ways of turning their efforts into viral hits.
More marketers are starting to buy space on websites for their so-called “sponsored content”—brand ads disguised as stories and blogs—using the same kinds of automated trading platforms and other ad technology typically used for display ads. It is a more aggressive effort from past strategies of placing a story or video on sites like Facebook and hoping consumers share it with their friends.
“You can only get so far through self-promotion,” said Steve Sachs, a former Time Inc. executive who last year became chief executive of OneSpot, an ad technology firm. “Marketers are realizing you also have to pay for distribution.”
Take Spectrum Brands Inc., home of Remington razors, which early last year started hiring bloggers to create stories and videos for the Web, like “How to Get Perfect Curls” and “Get the Right Swimsuit for Your Body.” Spectrum hoped the articles and videos would “go viral,” getting picked up by Web surfers and shared through Twitter and other social media. References to the Remington brand were embedded in the content, ensuring it would help promote Remington-branded products ranging from blow dryers to body shavers.
(The Wall Street Journal is a paid subscription website)