Branded Content vs. Traditional Advertising: The Pros and Cons

Branded Content vs. Traditional Advertising: The Pros and Cons

In today’s media-saturated landscape, it is safe to say that digital marketing has undergone a huge amount of change over the past decade. And let’s face it; Gen Z is set to become the most tech savvy generation so far, exposed to media since they were young, with a very deeply ingrained concept of what marketing is and how it works.

With such a tight grasp of marketing, however, advertisers have needed to change their approach, shaping their content in a way that consumers will effectively interact and engage with their brand. So where does this leave advertisers, and how has this evolution impacted the way they work? Here’s everything you need to know about the growing shift towards branded content, why it’s gripping audiences of all ages, and how it works alongside traditional advertising.

What is traditional advertising?

Whether you are on your way to work, going shopping, or sitting down to a quiet meal, it is likely you have come across some form of advertising – whether that be a TV commercial, print ad, banner advertisement, or a social media ad. This sort of content that directly promotes a product or service is sometimes referred to as traditional advertising, and it’s everywhere.

Some of the positive aspects of traditional advertising include:

  • Immediate impact. With traditional advertising, brands can create strong and persuasive messages that quickly capture viewer attention. This approach can be particularly effective for time-sensitive promotions or campaigns.
  • Wide reach. Traditional advertising allows businesses to target a large audience, making it a great approach for building brand awareness and reaching a large number of potential customers.
  • Brand recognition. Consistent exposure to traditional advertising can help build brand visibility and recognition. Seeing a brand’s advertisements repeatedly displayed across various channels reinforces its presence in consumers’ minds, increasing the likelihood of brand recall when making purchasing decisions.

However, a potential drawback of traditional advertising comes down to ​​a growing aversion to intrusive advertising, especially in the younger audience. For example, a UK study found found that 41% of respondents aged 15-25 had some form of ad blocking tool installed on their device. Plus, with streaming sites like Netflix and Disney Plus providing a totally ad-free viewing experience, consumers are becoming increasingly more “ad-blind”, and less receptive to these more traditional forms of advertising.

How does branded content work?

If traditional advertising incorporates more of a direct approach to marketing, branded content instead takes a more subtle and organic attitude to the consumer relationship. Branded content is concerned with creating valuable and relevant content which aligns with the brand’s values, target audience, and goals. The purpose of this is to engage and entertain consumers while subtly integrating the brand’s messaging or product within the content. Of course, one of the reasons branded content is so effective comes down to a marketing tool as old as time: storytelling.

Branded content can encompass various marketing strategies, such as podcasts, blogs, and social media content. For example, video production agencies like Perspective Pictures are often employed to increase awareness and tell captivating stories, using videos as a new platform to engage audiences.

Some of the pros associated with branded content include:

  • Shareability. When people find branded content interesting or informative, they are more likely to share it with their network, expanding the reach and visibility of the brand.
  • Specific Targeting. Through branded content, businesses can tailor their message to a specific target audience, ensuring their content reaches the right people.
  • Builds deeper brand loyalty. Brands can create content that truly resonates, fosters connections, and drives meaningful results.

It’s important to note that creating compelling branded content can be time consuming. From ideation and production to distribution and analysis, businesses need to invest in skilled professionals and equipment to deliver high-quality content consistently.

So, which is better?

In conclusion, as the digital marketing landscape continues to evolve, it would seem that the future of marketing lies in a combination of traditional advertising and branded content strategies. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each approach, businesses can leverage the immediate impact and broad reach of traditional advertising while harnessing the engaging and storytelling nature of branded content. A comprehensive marketing strategy that integrates both approaches will allow brands to effectively navigate the evolving media landscape and maintain relevance in the eyes of their target audience.