@ pcAds: Branded Content Combs For A Multi-Screen Opportunity

As publishing and marketing fuse in to “branded content”, so advertisers’ biggest challenge apparently echoes media owners’ own – that is, pushing that content to the burgeoning array of new devices.

“The single largest challenge that’s going to face brands is that content can go everywhere,” Demand Media chief revenue officer Joanne Bradford told the paidContent Advertising conference, talking about Demand’s partnership with L’Oreal.

“Today you negotiate rights for a specific device. But, ultimately, you’re going to need to have it everywhere.”

L’Oreal media and integrated marketing VP Deborah Marquardt agreed. “Our challenge is always having enough (content) assets to be across all the different screens,” she told paidContent’s panel moderator David Kaplan.

It seems like a blessed position to be in. As the two disciplines collide and the sheer number of distribution opportunities explodes, Marquardt marveled at the number of people you need to keep in the loop to truly leverage everything”. “We are working on greater synergy, but it’s a constant work in prioress,” she said.

As Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) itself attempts to shake off the “content farm” tag with new lifestyle sites Bradford stressed areas created by “professionals”. It is perhaps arriving to the branded content trend sooner than some of its professional forebears – and is renegotiating what constitutes “content” versus “marketing”.

“At some point, in every video you make, you have to some (marketable) products,” Bradford said. “We’re sitting on these chairs right now – are they advertorial? With L’Oreal, we work out what products they have that we can use in that video, we make sure the talent has and uses those products. But it’s not a ‘L’Oreal video’, not ‘L’Oreal Brings You The Smokey Eye’.”

L’Oreal was Demand Media’s launch marketing partner for its TypeF site with Tyra Banks – a project that leverages data about readers through Facebook Connect and serves back content that’s customised according to readers’ own hair, skin and body type.

It’s here, in hard data about audiences, that opportunities lay for both marketers and publishers alike, Bradford suggested:

“The number one search is hair tips. Eighty-seven percent of queries go to that. They’re complex queries – the number one thing people look for is how to French-braid your hair.

“We have a bunch of great insights. Being able to create content around those insights at scale helps them reach their consumers in a way that is more connected,” Bradford said. “So we see a higher rate of return.”

Follow paidContent Advertising via our live stream and via Twitter, hashtag #pcads11.