Authenticate Your Marketing: How to Imbed Substantial Text Ads within Content


Authenticity is a peculiar thing: marketers believe that it has something to do with one regular Joe telling another regular Joe to take some sort of action, where the action will benefit the company the regular Joes are talking about. But, in a recent analysis of an 11-week online marketing campaign for a cable network, we discovered that authenticity can also mean straight-to-the-point communication between marketer and consumer.

For example, the copy that yielded the greatest interaction and response (click-through and comments) were the copy messages stating exactly what the marketer wanted to say, in a normal tone, in any context. “Roundabout” or overly-enthusiastic copy barely registered. And announcing to audiences that the message is a paid advertisement (read: encroachment) in their media environment with a useful (read: spam) message did indeed have a negative impact.

Google proved — or made possible — the effectiveness of text ads. But imbedding (text) ads within content has traditionally taken the editorial perspective that it isn’t editorial, but advertising, which harm editorial image, offend consumers, and ultimately assures that your brand of content is ignored. Our analysis demonstrated that a majority of 43% noticed our client’s copy (on blogs, forums, and chat rooms), with at least 15% stating their intentions to do what the copy asked of them (requesting more information by visiting a website or tune in to a program.)

Of note is that just 3% of those who made a comment to our copy felt our copy was spam (out of nearly 75,000 consumers who offered over 3,100 distinct interactions), with an equal 3% announcing how appreciative they were for now being informed through the copy.

The real secret to being authentic is to either a) provide a consumer forum on your own highly-trafficked site and as an administrator, offer information (a la Google’s own Blog which makes announcements different than their official press releases) or b) empowering anyone, not just “trendsetting influencers” or even fans, with information you’d like conveyed.

To understand this second tactic better, a little advanced psychology is required: what the marketer is doing is paying (or in a more sophisticated scenario, trading with) a user for access to the targeted communities that user frequents. (Employment of that frequent user by a third party is the loop-hole). Direct payment, however, isn’t necessarily the only asset a marketer has to leverage, but rather the opportunity for the user to garner attention or the spotlight amongst the community they frequent.

In other words, everyone wants to be the influencer, and because the lifespan of an influencer isn’t as long-term as researchers believe (1), anyone can be an influencer during a short-life span. And what they require to be an influencer is information that’s relevant to everyone, but only they possess and (are encouraged to) release on their timeframe. That information comes from the marketer.

It is, in fact, beneficial to the momentum of the campaign to have new influencers take over where old ones left off since the old influencer risks becoming “tired” or “passed his prime”, as all fads do.

There are several variables that you should take into consideration during your utilization of effective copy within content, discussed here:

Length of campaign and critical dates it crosses
We strongly urge one-month long campaigns (2), preceded by a month or two of audience cultivating (or teasing) in order to achieve the maximum impact from your marketing investment. This cultivating permits the marketer to learn of conflicting product/service launches, to counter consumer confusion from a pre-existing product or service already on their radar, and to plan for those periods where there are dips in response.


  1. This is interesting. I’d like to see a bit more about the product and the extent of user involvement. As Al mentioned, consideration of the target is very important. As an extension of that, an understanding of the product and desired action is also very important. To that point, the ‘…the most effective copy was the longest…’ may not be appropriate for all products or services and the corresponding desired action. Is there more info on the impact of these other factors on the effectiveness of the campaign?


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