Recent Articles & Press Releases

IAB Releases the Content Marketing Task Force Primer

Content Marketing is assuming an increasingly large role in the digital campaigns of both B2B and B2C marketers, and is providing digital publishers with a potentially rich source of both revenue and content. However, there is substantial confusion about the concept, due to a multiplicity of definitions, marketing platforms and strategies. To help publishers navigate this promising but complex field, IAB recently established the Content Marketing Task Force.
As a first step, the Task Force was charged with developing a Primer to define the various components of the marketplace. This Primer has now been completed, thanks to input from the nearly 50 Task Force members, including publishers, both legacy and digital-native, and technology providers active in this space. 
The Primer’s objectives are fourfold:
a) To eliminate confusion by providing alignment among competing definitions, marketing platforms, and strategies
b) To provide accurate, timely information about Content Marketing
c) To offer guidelines on conforming to editorial standards and identification of sponsorship
d) To address the need for clear disclosure to consumers and businesses
We believe the Primer will help IAB members grapple with the issues and maximize the opportunities of Content Marketing. Because Content Marketing is a very broad term which encompasses a wide range of platforms and strategies, we felt it very important to promote understanding of what its purpose is, and how it differs from advertising.  We also wanted to clarify how marketers and publishers can avoid potential pitfalls by establishing guidelines for clear disclosure. Fellow co-chairs reflect on the importance of this primer:
Content marketing has the potential to be a substantial, long-term solution to many challenges publishers face with respect not just to revenue but satisfying audiences with the kinds of valuable content and experiences they’ve come to expect. Publishers have worked tremendously hard over the years to gain the credibility that they have with audiences.  Our goal is to lessen the likelihood of that happening with clear guidelines and best practices for working with their advertising partners on content marketing initiatives.
- Lisa LaCour, VP, Global Marketing, Outbrain
As marketers look to unlock the full value of their content assets and pursue even greater levels of engagement from their media investments, paid content distribution will continue to grow.  It’s through this primer, with support from the industry’s leading practitioners, that the IAB looks to shine a light on this dynamic and evolving space, and provide guidance and best practices that will ultimately help shape its formation.
- Chris Schraft, President, Time Inc. Content Solutions 
So, what is Content Marketing?
Recognizing that Content Marketing is a very broad term which has many competing definitions, the Primer offers this general statement:
                  “Content Marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and 
                   valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target 
It further notes that content marketing differs from advertising and other promotional vehicles because its intent is to provide entertainment/information that stands on its own merit - a “pull” strategy that enhances the consumer’s attitude towards the brand, rather than a “push” strategy with a specific call to action.
Within this overall description, the Primer shows how content marketing can work across the several platforms of ownedearnedand paid media. Publishers have the opportunity to capitalize on all of them in a number of ways, both as distributors and as suppliers of content.
The Primer also provides marketers with an overview of the varieties of content - original, repurposed, and curated - they can use in their content marketing strategies. Each has its advantages, as well as complexities that require consideration. Sophisticated marketers will want to experiment across the spectrum.
The Need for Transparency and Disclosure
This Primer is clear that the key to the continued growth of Content Marketing is strict adherence to the IAB dictum that “Disclosure is not an option but a requirement.” The Primer states that content marketing efforts should always be clearly disclosed to the consumer as such, irrespective of whether they are paid units, third-party paid links or social-media endorsements. 
Specifically, regarding the subset of Content Marketing known as Native Advertising, the IAB Recommended Native Advertising Disclosure Principles, as outlined in the IAB Native Advertising Playbook states:
                   Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to distinguish between what 
                   is a paid native advertising unit vs. what is publisher editorial content.
In sum, Content Marketing represents an important strategy for marketers to engage their audiences in new and exciting ways, while offering publishers the opportunity for new revenue streams. By helping to reduce confusion about terminology and establishing guidelines for meeting editorial standards, the IAB’s new Primer will, it is hoped, help this industry reach its full potential.  Moving forward, according to Susan Borst, the IAB Director of Industry Initiatives, the Task Force will focus on additional topic areas related to content marketing such as the importance of social media and measurement.
About the Author
andrews headshot.jpg
Andrew Susman

Andrew is the CEO and a co-founder of Studio One and co-chair of the IAB Content Marketing Task Force. Previously, Susman was an executive at Time Warner and Young & Rubicam. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Advertising Educational Foundation, and Business for Diplomatic Action. A native of Missouri, he is also a certified sharpshooter and is a major supporter of the ASPCA.


Charting The Content Marketing Landscape

What do stainless steel kitchens have in common with content marketing? They’re both solid classics that have recently become “must-haves.”

I began my career in content marketing with the creation of Studio One nearly 15 years ago, well before the category had its own moniker. Since then it’s exploded, and even I’ve had trouble keeping track of the new technologies, business models, companies and tools that have sprouted up. This is a complicated and highly populated landscape.

That’s why, last year, we developed the Content Marketing Landscape with the help of Terry Kawaja, founder and CEO of  LUMA. Our goal was to help untangle the confusion created by dozens of new content marketing companies, platforms, and tools.

Of course, innovations move quickly in this space. What was a comprehensive reflection of the industry last year is now incomplete. Companies have come and gone. New technologies and tools have emerged. Social media keeps growing as a content-delivery platform.

To encompass this growth spurt, we’ve updated the Content Marketing Landscape for 2013. And this year, we’re taking it one step further with a series of articles illuminating various sectors of the ecosystem. But first, I’m proud to introduce the new Content Marketing Landscape (see above).

What’s changed since last year? Here are my top three highlights: 

1. Marketers have more ways to reach consumers. The proliferation of technology has shifted content marketing from online-only to anywhere and any time. Marketers have never had so many platforms or technologies with which to reach consumers. Fortunately, the industry has responded accordingly. We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of technologies, tools and platforms to help content marketers deliver content across devices. I expect this space to continue to grow significantly in the coming years.

2. The idea of “content marketing” has expanded. Content publishers -- which include both traditional publishers as well as brands themselves -- have discovered new ways to reach customers. While many brands may have begun their content marketing efforts with an updated blog or video feed, today, the sky's the limit. Content marketers are using Vinesecards and even curated playlists to deliver content to users. Even the ideas behind content marketing have been extended to new business models. Take for example native advertising, which uses Web technologies to create new linkages between content and advertising.

3. The space has more offerings than ever. It’s a given, but it’s important: The number of companies in the content marketing world has grown significantly over the past year. In addition, the offerings from established companies have also increased. This updated content marketing landscape reflects the trend. Last year’s chart featured just over 90 companies, and this year’s version is nearly double that. We also decided to add a new category to the list to feature content management systems. It may seem like CMSs have been around nearly as long as those shiny kitchens. But since these tools are integral to many content marketing strategies, we felt it appropriate to give them a category of their own.

I look forward to providing more in-depth coverage of the content marketing landscape. It’s an exciting space with plenty more innovations to come.

Content Marketing: Matching the Message and the Brand - Studio One

Welcome Studio One, our newest MediaBizBlogger

Brand: Studio One

"Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising. Everyone tries the thing and never buys it again." – Bill Bernbach

Advertising legend Bill Bernbach said it numerous times, in numerous ways: don't rely on your marketing communications – advertising, in whatever form - to make a bad product good. It will only call unwanted attention to its defects.

This point was made again recently by Steve Olenski in In an article entitled "Content Marketing's Dirty Little Secret" he suggested that marketers too often jump on the Content Marketing bandwagon, expecting it to improve sales, without first making sure the product meets consumers' needs. The tendency is then to blame Content Marketing for the lack of success, rather than focusing on the product itself. He concludes:

Much like social media and any and all marketing "tools" that come along – content marketing is not a magic elixir. It will not cure all that ails you.

And it will surely not cover up the fact that your company, product, service or ware is simply not very good.

As Olenski himself suggests, the problem is not limited to content marketing, or social media – it arises in all cases in which marketing communications is asked to do a job for which it is unsuited – make a "bad" product "good".

This is, of course, overly simplistic. "Bad" products – meaning ones which do not meet consumer needs or desires – don't tend to last long in the marketplace, no matter how good their communication [some software monopolies perhaps excepted]. On the other hand, there are probably plenty of "good" products which may not be optimizing their marketing communications. Perhaps they are giving the wrong message, or telling the right one to the wrong people, or simply not emphasizing the product benefits that are most important to their customers.

In these situations a well-executed marketing communications program – be it traditional advertising, publicity campaigns, or newer forms including social media and online Content Marketing – can have a significant effect. Otherwise, sophisticated marketers would not be spending billions of dollars annually on them.

What can marketing communications properly be asked to do? The obvious list includes raising awareness, improving attitudes, promoting key product benefits, etc. But communication can be used in creative ways, especially by getting consumers to think differently about a product – without changing its attributes. For instance:

- Brand Repositioning – Sometimes a brand can be completely repositioned, not by changing the product itself, but via marketing communications (including advertising, packaging, and all elements of the marketing mix) to appeal to an entirely new audience.

o A famous example was the repositioning of Marlboro cigarettes from a woman's brand ("filter, flavor, flip-top box") to a manly product for rugged outdoorsmen (the Marlboro Man, complete with manly, exciting soundtrack from The Magnificent Seven) – without changing the product itself.

- Promoting additional usage – communicating additional attributes of a product beyond its primary ones

o For example, Arm & Hammer baking soda effectively increased sales by promoting its use in many situations beyond cooking, including removing refrigerator odors, and use as a toothpaste

- Liking the message/liking the brand – sometimes an entertaining or useful marketing message which consumers enjoy/appreciate can get them to extend their positive feelings to the brand itself.

o Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign helped a long-standing brand break out by shattering unrealistic stereotypes of beauty and connecting with millions of women on an emotional level

In other words, communications can increase sales by getting consumers to think about products differently – not because the product was "bad" to begin with, but because they may not have been thinking about it correctly.

Content Marketing can be especially helpful in this regard. Provided it is engaging enough, it's a format that can allow for extensive, in-depth presentation of product attributes. And in its online form, it's embedded in a communications technology that tends to be seen as (because it's used by) younger and hipper consumers than older media.

It will never make a "bad" product "good". But effective communication – including Content Marketing - can make the right people see how good it is for them. Which can make a "good" product "better".

Studio One is leading the content revolution by helping brands and publishers tell the right story, in the right way, to the right people. The company develops custom content marketing programs targeted to consumer audiences, helping build brand equity and boost sales. By identifying targeted head, mid- and long-tail sites -- audiences engage with the content in places that they naturally visit online. The model has helped Studio One build long-standing relationships with leading brands, like Procter & Gamble, Intel and Kellogg's.

To communicate with or to be contacted by the executives and/or companies mentioned in this column, link to JackMyers Connection Hotline.

What Every CMO Must Know: Test Vast Scale-Up in Owned Media


We are continuing this series of posts about restarting significant growth of mature brands in the U.S. The proposal is that it’s time for every CEO, CMO and C Suite to zero base their thinking on marketing in the U.S. They need to rapidly prototype alternative marketing mixes in small geographies using scientific design. Specifically, A/B/C testing in matched groups of cable zones in order to scale down testing costs so as to enable frequent definitive in-market “reality check” testing. It is this increased ability to test by the scientific means available (A/B testing as it is colloquially known) that will make the huge process improvement that marketing needs.


“Owned media” is the same as “custom content” is the same as “sponsored content” – program/editorial content created by or for the brand. Why would CMOs be thinking about vastly scaling up the importance of this stimulus type within the marketing mix?


Because when it is done right this form averages 6 to 7 times the ROI of paid media with an observed high water mark of ~50:1 over average paid media. This is backed up by findings from 28 studies done for large advertisers in CPG, auto, and consumer electronics, and in work done by Nielsen.


We’re talking emotion, folks – touching people’s hearts in a true way. Not all owned media achieve this; it’s all in the execution. Two companies that did the creative in most of this research are worth applauding: Andrew Susman’s Studio One Networks, and


Paid media do not generally touch hearts in the vast majority of cases. The folks who have achieved it in paid media truly deserve medals, such as Nick Pisacane and Al Amato at McCann and elsewhere (Nick and Al today). Apologies to the many other great creatives who have hit emotional home runs in their work and deserve mention.


Why does it matter? Can’t we sell humongous amounts of goods with pure persuasion? Absolutely, assuming the product really is better than its competitors and also competitively priced; otherwise straight persuasion vs. persuasion is a lot like WWI. Now you gain a few yards, now you are thrown back a few yards. What really differentiates brands today is that those who get it are taking off their masks and exposing themselves authentically, like people to people. And they’re taking care to behave well in society, making brands and companies into menschen, true grownups.


Bob Garfield’s latest book Can’t Buy Me Like , and Jim Stengel’s latest book Grow , are the new doctrine, although Bob goes a little far in suggesting, as he did recently at ARF AMS 8.0, that we can dispense with paid media altogether. I think he was just having fun with us.


Owned media is the ideal form in this new age of creating trust bonds among brands and people – which really means between people and people. It is reasonable to assume that with certain executions in each bucket, mixes with more owned media could out-ROI those with dominant paid media. The owned executions would be the ones touching people’s hearts or even just giving useful information in a frank human manner, both of which evoke the surprise gratitude response that is the key to the new marketing, IMHO. More on that idea here in my blog.


In a typical test reported in the 28-study compilation in Journal of Advertising Research 2006, a baby formula used owned media to extol the virtues of breast feeding, with over-the-top persuasion results, more than 7X TV 30s. In another case, Volvo with IAB found a six-fold increase in consideration of Volvo for next new car purchase for taking a PBS approach to sponsoring Yahoo’s coverage of the New York International Auto Show, the client’s researchers estimating a high double-digit ROI. The audience was reacting to the confidence and honesty they saw in Volvo showcasing all its competitors. In a third case where results were measured in the direct marketing manner, a course in photography given on the web yielded measured ROIs north of $50 sales per dollar of media cost.

Touching people’s hearts is not just the use of tearjerker content. There is a light but significant, even spiritual touch when people simply begin to show respect to one another.


Your agencies would love to bring you Big Ideas about owned media – just ask. And you yourself deserve to let your own creative chops bloom. Here’s a creativity optimization module you might find useful.


What’s the biggest hesitation CMOs and agencies have about owned media? It’s pull, not push. Therefore it’s low reach, huge impact, but on a small segment. Therefore: be the first CMO to invent “pod-able owned push media.” In another post I called these GRUs for Gratitude Reach Units. What can you put in a 30 that will not attempt to sell your product directly, and instead will delight/inform people in a way that will cause them to like and respect your brand?


Inform people about what? It doesn’t have to have anything to do with your product category, although potential content might divulge secrets to getting more value out of products, for example. It can be about a cause. It can be about training philosophies at the company. It can be a very short emotional drama, or a very short piece like the best of YouTube, high excerpts from stock footage around a certain message, Jittlov animation, fractals to music, beautiful faces, beautiful parts of faces, and on and on. There is no limit to what it can be. It is 30 seconds of pure entertainment as the gift from the brand to the people. Or information or infotainment or whatever you make it to be. This is a world class creative opportunity, CMOs.


Is it good if there is a deep metaphorical link to your brand? Absolutely. What is the most appealing aspect of your brand’s personality? That’s your theme.


By testing at low risk one can afford to test more of your creative ideas and your teams’ creative ideas. One does not have to shoot down freely as a result of thinking filtratingly about cost. Take the cost vise off your head and you will be free to think Big Ideas. Cable zone testing is an order of magnitude lower in cost than the old checkerboards of whole-DMA tests. Let a thousand flowers bloom (one of Mao’s better legacies). Guide ideas based on what you know about your customers and holdouts. Input that information to all creatives and widen your notion of who the creatives are. Clashboards may be the dashboard for creatives in painlessly ingesting gobs of information about prospects.


Better still, leave the copywriter’s prose exactly as it came out. Don’t edit it. Test that too. See if what the great creatives have been saying for almost a century might actually be true about hands off creative. It is so inexpensive to test and so expensive to not grow.



Bill Harvey is a well-known media researcher and inventor who co-founded TRA, Inc. and is its Strategic Advisor. His nonprofit Human Effectiveness Institute runs his weekly blog on consciousness optimization. Bill can be contacted at



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Google Warns Brands To Be Up-Front About Native Ads

Studio One CEO, Andrew Susman speaks to Mediapost about sponsored content and disclosure.

Ask marketers to describe the beauty of native advertisements, and most will tell you they work well because they don't look like ads. Just don't tell that to a Google employee. The company's spam expert Matt Cutts took to YouTube warning brand marketers and agencies they must make it clear to consumers that the native ad content they are reading is an advertisement.

Cutts points to several unnamed sites in the United Kingdom that he believes crossed the line.

In the video, Cutts explores the issues surrounding advertorials, editorial content, and native ads. "Advertorials, native advertising content or paid content hasn't been disclosed adequately, so people don't realize what they're looking at is paid [content]," he said. "We have had longstanding guidance since 2005."

One of the biggest issues that Cutts wants marketers to consider involves ensuring that the content doesn't contribute to the Web page ranking in the search-engine query. He says paid links should not contribute to PageRank, so be sure to use a rel="nofollow" tag when optimizing the content.

Some ad units are clearly marketed as native ads, such as Facebook Sponsored Stories or Tumblr in-stream ads that recently rolled out on desktop, according to Aaron Goldman, Kenshoo CMO. "He's talking about running ads and writing sponsored articles," he said.

Andrew Susman, founder of Studio One, said the content management company clearly identifies sponsored content. The Style Mom site's "The Style Glossy" page clearly identifies Pantene as the editorial content sponsor. "In many cases, native ad can be an updated term for advertorial," he said. "Advertorial, in my humble opinion, is worse than an ad. At least an ad says I'm an ad."

Content marketing creates media challenges. Susman said the media lacks standard Interactive Advertising Bureau formats. Distribution, search and social all need to work in concert. There are measurement challenges, such as measuring the impact of engagement. Plus, there are special creative challenges like weaving in brand equity without seeming like an advertorial.

"You can tell useful stories about a brand without overtly promoting the product within the content," Susman said. "Look what happened to banner ads. The industry made it so easy to buy and sell them that they destroyed the unit."

Cleaning Up Content Marketing

Andrew Susman is president of Studio One, a content marketing management company.

Low-quality content is a disease that has the potential to damage the effectiveness of content marketing for everyone, including the marketers who are executing it well.

Content marketing, well executed, provides great value to both brands and users. However, as Jack Marshall brought up in a recent Digiday article, content marketing has a major quality control issue. The problem is that when users click on what looks like a promising link, only to find it is just a disguised marketing pitch, they will increasingly turn away from anything that looks similar. In effect, they develop an immune response to all forms of sponsored content, no matter how good it is. They write of all sponsored content as being a waste of their time.

We have seen this problem before, the abuse of a marketing tool degrading its effectiveness. The rise  of so-called “content farms” led to the creation of Google’s “Pando” anti- linkbait  algorithm. The creation of spam led to spam filters. Overuse of telemarketing led to federally mandated do-not-call lists. In a cautionary note to “native advertisers” the FTC  ruled that Video News Releases (VNRs, essentially corporate press releases) that were once widely used in local TV news programs, must be clearly identified, which greatly curtailed their use.

There are plenty of precedents for marketing abuses annoying consumers to the point that the government steps in. But even short of that, there are good reasons for the industry to deal with the problem of low-quality sponsored content head on. Marketers need to think about long term. For now they may be able to measure a rise in clicks, but they may be missing the more important measure of long-term damage to the brand as users associate a negative experience with branded content. Granted, some of the purveyors of low-grade content don’t have much brand image to be concerned about. All the more reason for marketers who want to get the most out of content marketing to find a way to dissociate their brands from the sludgy stuff.

The real issue is defining “quality.” There are many gradations between aviation fuel and sludge, and it’s hard to set objective standards. Unfortunately there is no magical review board to provide a “seal of approval” for quality branded content, so it comes down to marketers and publishers respecting their consumers. That means marketers need to commit to presenting only useful and/or entertaining content to their audiences and also clearly disclosing their sponsorship role.

If brands and marketers don’t start being more consistent in their production of valuable, interesting and useful sponsored content, then content marketing will become as exciting and useful as the banner ad.

Content Marketing: Who's The Boss?

Leading publishers and technology providers discuss innovative, collaborative content sharing efforts

While it is the year of data, mobile, and the snake, 2013 also continues to revitalize the age-old trend of content marketing and syndication. It seems these ideas are so old they’re new again.

John Deere has been doing it since 1895 with “The Furrow,” so what is making content marketing so attractive now to the modern marketer? While there is no clear cut definition of content marketing, I would put forth that it is content created by a brand, that even if the branding were removed, that the content would still be valuable and engaging to a reader. If done well, it creates positive brand connotation. And if we work with that definition, it makes sense that the modern marketer (much like the modern publisher) wants to get the attention of content-ravenous consumers, most of whom have one or more devices attached to them at any given moment with which to consume.


Last week, the IAB held a Content Marketing Town Hall to foster a discussion around both the concerns and opportunities publishers have in the content marketing and syndication space. The IAB AdLab was packed to the brim. Publishers came with some fears about brands honing in on the content business. To open the day, Andrew Susman, President & CEO of StudioOne and ICSC Board Chairman, reminded us with calming voice that, “Currently the industry sees branded content as a type of media buy, butactually it’s a type of content. If you bring audience to branded content - you get content marketing.”

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, delivered the opening keynote of the day, outlining the opportunity for publishers and brands to work together to deliver relevant content to consumers, whether branded or editorial, because, as Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy and Industry Development at BuzzFeed later noted, “Great content finds its audience.” So it seems that the name of the game is getting engaging content in a place where your readers will consume it, whether you’re a publisher embracing branded content on your site, or you’re looking to syndicate out your editorial content to brands. 

One concern did resound in the room around advertorial content. Should there be guidelines that clearly denote advertorial content? Do ethical standards need to be set for branded content and along with it, best practices on transparency and disclosure? Do we need to create sponsored content labeling conventions? And especially as automated platforms serve up content, how can we ensure that we’re seamlessly integrating advertorial content but not duping readers? The need to ensure will undoubtedly be an ongoing conversation within the IAB, among our membership, and in the industry as a whole.

Download Content Marketing Insights from IAB’s January 2013 Town Hall 

The IAB Content Marketing Town Hall was held on January 24, 2013. Moderated by Susan Borst, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB, the following industry leaders presented at this IAB member-exclusive event:

Amy Hyde, Product Strategy & Business Development R&D Ventures, New York Times Company

Andrew Susman, President and CEO, StudioOne; Board Chairman, ICSC

Asli Hamamci, Director, Digital, Mindshare

Bill Powers, EVP - Corporate Development, Swoop

Brett Curtis, Global Business Director, Thomson Reuters

Greg Cypes, Director of Product, AddThis

Hal Muchnick, President, Kontera

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

John LoGioco, SVP & GM, Outbrain

Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development, Buzzfeed

Ken Zinn, DVP of Marketing - Online Business Unit, Sears Holding

Mark Howard, SVP - Digital Advertising Strategy, Forbes Media

Michael Goefron, Director of Operations, Unruly Media

Peter Minnium, Head of Digital Brand Initiatives, IAB

Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder & CEO, Newscred

Skip Brand, CEO, Martini Media

Tim Clark, Corporate Blogs Editor-in-Chief & Social Media Strategist, SAP


 About the Author


Julie Van Ullen

Julie Van Ullen is the Vice President of Member Services at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Ms. Van Ullen oversees member acquisition, participation, and retention programs. In addition, she works with designated member leaders to develop strategic, market-marking initiatives for execution within IAB’s Committees and Councils.

Here's The Entire Content Marketing World In One Bafflingly Complex Chart

LUMA Partners CEO Terry Kawaja — whose startup investment group makes those crazy-complicated charts describing the digital ad marketplace — has created a monster.

Recently, Studio One, a branded content marketing company, tried its hand creating one for its industry of publishers, ad agencies, aggregators and syndicators. "We liked the result so much we asked Terry Kawaja himself to improve it and endorse it, and he did!," an S1 spokesperson tells us. 


It's not an official "LUMAscape," but it's endorsed by LUMA. The chart was put together by S1 Marketing Director Arielle Der Hagopian and CEO Andrew Susman, among others.


Studio One Launches Content Management Dashboard Platform to aid brands in publishing branded material

June 11, 2012

As brands delve deeper into the content game, it can be difficult to manage and understand how to best leverage these assets. For many brands, content creation is relatively uncharted territory. Unlike publishers, who've become acquainted with the trials and tribulations of online metrics and data, marketers are faced with a challenge in tracking the performance of branded material. Studio One, a content creator and distributor, is aiming to jump in early and help brands navigate this new space with today's launch of its Content Asset Management Platform.

The dashboard can track each story and origin language (asmany global brands are managing and tracking content in multiple regions and languages), as well as socialengagement metrics and simple pageview statistics to help brandsunderstand how their content is performing. "We're not just creatingcontent in a vacuum," Studio One COO Devin Johnson told Adweek."We're seeing what is hot and what works. What CAMP allows us todo is organize the information and data that we are getting so thatwe can make good decisions based on the content we are creatingand reusing. Ultimately we want brands to invest in content and geta good return."

While CAMP is in its infancy, the creation of a content asset management dashboard geared toward brands represents the latest step in the growing trend of brands acting as publishers. Some marketers have been so quick to jump on the branded content bandwagon that they find themselves unable to manage and monitor the bulk of content they've put out. Johnson noted that "we've been listening closely, and this type of management system is what brands are asking for."

While Studio One boasts some large clients like Procter & Gamble and Intel, the question remains as to whether these blue-chip brands will find success engaging audiences with branded content, a process that sucks up considerable time and energy and one that is foreign to many legacy brands. If the current trend continues, dashboards like Studio One's will allow brands to adopt a plug-and-play approach to their content and obsessively track metrics in a searchable and accessible way. Yet many brands and advertisers are also investing heavily in the reinvention of the display ad, which could create some friction and confusion as marketers look for successful strategies for the Web.


March 19, 2012

Andrew Susman

Andrew Susman

Organization: Studio One

Studio One, one of the country's premiere web syndication services, delivers a broad range of content across multiple verticals. The content is sponsored by advertisers, but CEO and co-founder Susman insists editorial independence is the key to information that users trust: "A certain truism in an on-demand media universe is that no one demands more advertising. Content must not have any kind of hidden agenda from an advertiser or corporation in order for consumers to trust it." The model is "like an Associated Press, but supported by advertisers," and Susman’s been at the forefront of this content strategy since 1998. As content marketing heats up, we're watching Studio One for leadership in the face of competition.