Paid Distribution: What Is Paid Media?

What is paid distribution?

Paid distribution means using various platforms and networks to promote content. This sponsored material might appear in locations, such as a part of newsfeeds on social media sites or after articles on various publications. Using paid distribution might not be ideal for every business owner but you can leverage it to drive traffic to your site more quickly.

Creating content and a distribution system for paid media

Content is absolutely vital to the success of your site in the SERPs. You need to be creating new and unique content on a regular basis. There’s writing it, optimizing it, sharing it on social and other mediums and tracking it—but how can you maximize your content’s reach? In addition to SEO, a strong paid distribution system can bolster your results. Leveraging paid media will not only drive traffic to your site, but you can use it in tandum with other types of media like owned or organic.

Once you have produced high-quality, data-driven content using the concept of the marketing funnel, you need a distribution system that will get that content in front of the intended audience. Without a strong distribution system, it does not matter how relevant, insightful and engaging your content is, few people will read it. Content distribution is not about pushing your material in every direction possible, just hoping that someone will see the piece and respond to it. Instead, it is a process of learning exactly how to reach your prospective clients– where they are and the types of content they appreciate.

Say ‘YES’ to paid distribution

Paid distribution has begun to replace previous techniques, such as banner ads, in the minds of some. Marketers have realized that customers have little interest in engaging with flashing ads and are instead intent on self-educating, building relationships with trusted sources and remaining in control of the first portion of the sales cycle. One of the most important things to consumers today are their reviews. Statistics show that consumers are more interested in reviews than they’ve ever been before – good or bad.

Paid distribution accomplishes the goal of engaging potential customers while they are on other sites, while also bringing in leads through thought leadership and relationship building. There are a number of different options available for paid content distribution platforms that you need to investigate before making a decision to work with a particular platform. You will have choices both on various social media sites as well as through prominent publications with third party platforms.

Understanding your paid distribution options

Distribution networks

  1. Outbrain
  2. Nativo
  3. Taboola

1. Outbrain is a very popular paid distribution platform, as it works with a variety of high-value publications, such as Time and Slate. It provides recommendations to readers for more content on a monthly basis based on what they have read.

Marketers and readers themselves appreciate the efforts made by the network to control the quality of the content it promotes. Readers do not have to worry about being subject to spammy links, which in turn raises the reputation of the recommendations, encouraging more people to click. The platform claims to assist in finding a whole new audience that you wouldn’t have previously found.

Paid Distribution Provider 2

2. Nativo is a native-advertising platform. Native advertising describes taking content and sponsoring it on sites that are similar in terms of style and type of content. This system purports to generate up to an 82 percent increase in brand lift, but the system does have a reputation problem: many customers simply do not trust this sponsored or ad content.

A survey from Media Week states that 60% of people who click on banner ads did it accidentally and more and more people are using ad blockers each year. Currently, 25% of users have ad blockers which is up from last year. Nativo and marketers must work to conquer the distrust that seems to be hindering the full potential of this marketing style. Less marketing budget is going toward ads and sponsored content because more people are not trusting of it.

3. Taboola is similar to Outbrain in many ways, although it is slightly cheaper on average and works with different publishers. This site already provides video recommendation services. Overall, Taboola claims to provide over 300 billion recommendations to 550 million unique visitors each month. See the articles below and note the small “Promoted Links by Taboola” in the upper right corner.

Paid Distribution Provider 4

Social media distribution options

  1. Facebook sponsored posts
  2. LinkedIn sponsored updates
  3. Promoted tweets

1. Facebook sponsored posts. With Facebook Sponsored Posts, you can use the incredible wealth of data available through the social media giant to target people based upon precise criteria, such as their age, location and interests in order to gain visibility to your brand and website. These posts are also capable of being shared like any other type of post (to Facebook this is called a Boost Post) which means that promoting quality content can widen your audience even beyond your predetermined parameters.

You can set up your boosted post through Facebook Ad Manager or do it organically. Here, you can set the duration of the boost, how much you’d like to spend, conversion tracking options and more. You can target your audience by their location, whether they’ve left a shopping cart, etc.

Given the enormous audience available on Facebook, however, most brands find this to be an effective means of reaching their followers and growing their audience. Note the very faint “Suggested Post” in the upper left.

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2. LinkedIn sponsored updates. LinkedIn Sponsored Updates are generally significantly more expensive than Facebook, but they also offer a distinct advantage. Since this platform is geared towards professionals, you will be able to target readers based upon job titles and companies. This can improve your ability to refine your audience. You can leverage LinkedIn Sponsored content to drive leads, build brand awareness, target professionals and more.

The goal on LinkedIn is not to get broad audiences, but to get precise, narrow audiences of the exact people most likely to be interested in your content. See the “Sponsored” upper left.

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3. Promoted tweets. Marketers often like promoted tweets because they blend in with the rest of the Timeline. Although they are still labeled, they do not stand out as sponsored content, making them stealthier for many readers. You can also target people based upon what they are talking about, such as a commercial, in real time.

You can leverage Promoted tweets to drive traffic to your pages but you can also combine them with your Twitter presence to increase engagement and reach your audience. Using only promoted tweets can be dangerous, though. Be sure to combine your daily Twitter presence with your sponsored one so users aren’t intimidated by your ads.

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Maximizing paid distribution efforts

  1. Develop high-quality, data-guided content that you can be confident will engage your intended audience.
  2. Select paid distribution platforms based upon where you expect your audience to be. For example, if you are targeting millennials interested in TV shows, Twitter will likely be an excellent option. If you want your marketing article read by those who also read Entrepreneur, then Nativo might be a good choice.
  3. Set goals and budgets before you begin so that you can gauge your success and do not have to worry about using your entire budget in a single day.
  4. Use A/B tests to see how well different headlines and titles perform on your chosen distribution networks.
  5. Measure ROI through bounce rates, click-through rates, page visit duration, engagement and leads. See which types of content and which platforms are working best for you. BrightEdge customers can import the data as Paid channel and view in the Total Conversions by Channel reports. Use this data and information to optimize campaign performance.

Paid distribution can be an excellent option for many brands to help them get their content in front of the intended audience and attract the desired attention to the material. When used in conjunction with the rest of a developed distribution system, you can build an audience, increasing brand reach and awareness. This will lay the foundation for your organizational growth.

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