There’s lots of great content marketers and departments out there today. In fact, from SMBs to the enterprise, content marketing adoption is over 85% for both B2B and B2C. There’s lots of highly skilled digital advertising professionals, too. Last year alone, according to Recode, online advertisers outspent television advertisers by $40 billion.
So why is it that content marketers and performance advertisers don’t combine their efforts more? Some obviously do with mixed results. By 2020, according to Adyoulike, native advertising globally will surpass $85 billion. In addition, according to eMarketer, 87.7% of native advertising will be purchased programmatically by 2020 in the US.
Generally, content marketers are considered the creators of top to mid-funnel content and performance advertisers focus on distributing landing pages at the bottom of the funnel. Up until recently, the technology used to distribute and amplify for these two groups have been different. For example, a marketer wouldn’t promote a blog article on PPC or display and a marketer wouldn’t promote a coupon download with a native advertising network on a cost per click basis. (At least I hope they wouldn’t).
So, the reason that these two groups haven’t worked more closely together isn’t complicated. Content marketing in its current form didn’t start to take on mass adoption for most industries until around 2010. Performance advertising has been around since the late 90’s and had over a 10-year head start to mature, build processes and build special teams. Generally, those teams didn’t include content marketers. The same held true for most content marketing teams – they lacked a performance marketer. The technology the two groups used, and their goals, were very different in most cases, too.
The bottom of the funnel, for the most part, was siloed away from content marketing at the top and middle of the funnel when it came to paid content distribution. With today’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, both groups can use one engagement-driving distribution platform to promote the entire funnel of content online, from top to bottom.
Not only can they use one platform but gain machine learnings at each stage of the funnel that makes the other stages of distribution even smarter and much more efficient. It would also allow organizations to combine the paid media spend from both groups to get the most efficient engagements at each stage of the funnel. The bulk of which, now, goes to the bottom of the funnel.
An AI layer that’s sits over the entire funnel of content for distribution can do things no human(s) can do. For example, AI can create tens of thousands of permutations of ad units in minutes to swiftly test headlines, images and other aspects in real time. This allows for the fastest optimization and the most efficient budget allocations.
The buyer’s journey doesn’t need to be separated into different departments anymore. While it’s certainly traditional, that reality is changing. All the projections show that budgets from the old interruptive forms of digital advertising are moving more native and up-funnel. This just reflects that change is on the horizon. AI will help accelerate these trends and bring performance advertising and content marketing together.