The Death of the Click, Content Marketing Lessons From Exploding Sites and Facebook Takes a Shot at Google Live

We’ve rounded up some must-reads from the world of content marketing. This week we look at whether the click is a dying metric, content marketing lessons from two of the world's fastest growing websites and how Facebook just fired a shot across Google's bow.



RIP to the Click?

For many years now, the Holy Grail of digital advertising has been impressions. The thinking has been the more views, the better the advertiser does, the more publishers can charge. However, as AdvertisingAge notes in a recent piece, that model skews heavily in favor of the traffic giants like Yahoo. Smaller publishers are left to fight over what's left and, thus far, that has not been a profitable position.

That may all change -- and soon. Sites like The Financial Times, The Economist and even Upworthy and Gawker are exploring the value of time on site as a baseline metric. Rather than do battle in an arena that is decidedly slanted against them, they've decided to change things.

"We're definitely challenging the status quo," Jon Slade, commercial director of digital advertising and insight at the Financial Times told Advertising Age. "No one has come up with a new currency in digital advertising in -- a while."


Shifting to an emphasis on time allows smaller sites to maximize the value of their audiences and may ultimately represent a better deal for advertisers too.

To be sure, the idea has some powerful detractors. "Agencies are among the entrenched interests," Benjamin Zeidler, director-research and analytics at digital-marketing agency Tenthwave told AdvertisingAge. "They're good at buying ads. They know how to do it. It's probably scary to change the mode of how they do business -- how they sell it, price and benchmark it."


Whether the time on site metric takes root or not, one thing is clear: the days of impression as the lone standard are dying. 

"I don't think it will be one single metric," said Jonah Goodhart, CEO of Moat, an analytics firm. "This idea of buying media on the metric that makes the most sense for you is where we'll see the world going."

Learning From the New Kids

It's no secret that BuzzFeed and UpWorthy have enjoyed tremendous success of late. But what might be less obvious are the lessons that content marketers can draw from that success.

Jeff Bullas looked at what sets those two sites apart and came away with 10 lessons for content marketers. Some of his observations are as follows:

1. Don’t expect home runs every time

Bullas points to an Upworthy Slideshare presentation "that shows that only 0.3% of their articles reach the top level. Over 1,000,000 views!"



2. Stack images in content

Bullas notes: "This tactic is very effective because you are giving your article the best chance to resonate with your audience so it “has” to be shared."

3. Curate the best content

"Upworthy doesn’t try and break the news but is on the constant lookout for what works and then curates it. Curation is often underrated and should be an important part of your content marketing," Bullas writes.

(By the way, we agree with that last point -- and we even put together this handy infographic: 5 Reasons for Marketers to Curate Content.)

You can find the rest of his lessons -- including why one headline isn't sufficient -- on his website.

Facebook Steps Firmly Onto Google's Turf

Google's Double-Click program is the undisputed king of online display advertising, but now it has a real rival. Facebook unveiled a revamped Atlas recently -- and it's taking direct aim at the search giant.



Atlas, as Marketing Land notes, is an ad-serving platform that lets advertisers “create, buy, measure and optimize digital campaigns . . . across devices and the entire internet, at massive scale -- something that’s never been available before.” 

Atlas stands apart because it moves away from the use of cookies. Facebook's blog post announcing the new and improved Atlas touches on their rationale:

Until now, cookies have been the only way advertisers could attempt to bridge user behavior and campaign strategy. But cookies cover a shrinking set of experiences in an evolving digital reality.

Cookies alone limit advertising effectiveness – because they’re ineffective on mobile and suffer from degradation over time. Atlas unlocks new potential by using people, not proxies, to help advertisers succeed.

In addition to shunning cookies, the company said Atlas cures a major headache for advertisers.

“We’ve solved the cross device problem. Sixty percent of people use more than one device every day, a quarter use three or more," David Jakubowski, head of ad tech at Facebook, told Marketing Week. "In a world built around cookies, these are three different “people” making it a bit of guesswork. We’re solving that problem. Cookies also don’t exist in mobile devices the way they do on desktop: there are different configurations by operating system, whether in-app or on a mobile browser, etc."

The company says this new system will allow advertisers to make sense of online data in a way that lets them personalize ads with measurable results. Whether it works remains to be seen, but Google is officially on notice.

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