Following its partnership with ecommerce site Wayfair to reinvent TV shopping, A+E Networks is diving deeper into incorporating branded content with its broadcast programming with a new partnership with publishing giant Hearst. This deal allows brand marketers to work with the digital divisions of Hearst magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Elle to create branded content to be aired during commercial breaks on A+E’s cable networks and digital properties. The network is also planning to open up its “enthusiast” blocks, which are hours of themed programs A+E launched this summer, for brands to sponsor.
What Brands Should Do
This partnership provides a new distribution channel for the branded content that Hearst is creating for marketers, which currently lives on its own sites and on social platforms. As we pointed out in the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016, branded content serves as a good way to engage increasingly ad-avoidant consumers, and more brands should take advantage of this opportunity to reach fans of A+E shows. For example, to fully engage its target audience, a fashion retailer may sponsor a fashion-themed content block on Lifetime and punctuate it with branded videos on hot fashion trends created with Elle.
Hearst is no stranger to vertical video, as it has several subsidiaries, including Food Network and Cosmopolitan, running Discover channels on Snapchat, where vertical video is the standard format. Now, the publisher is working with select brands to create vertical video ads for its mobile sites. The new ad units are available on all Hearst sites and delivered via Hearst’s own Media OS platform. Ralph Lauren is the first brand to run a vertical video ad on Hearst sites.
What Brands Need To Do
As media consumption on mobile continues to grow, vertical videos are quickly gaining legitimacy as they incorporate viewing experiences native to the mobile platform. Snapchat, which propelled a number of brands including Coca-Cola and Dunkin’ Donuts to create vertical videos, says that vertical video ads have up to nine times more completed views than horizontal video ads on its app. Now, as Hearst brings vertical video ads from apps to the mobile web, it is time for brands to adopt this emerging mobile ad format and create videos that keep up with the changing user preference.
Brands are always on the lookout for ways to increase content, and with the rise of digital publications that search has expanded widely. So widely, in fact, that some brands, like Estée Lauder, are looking to professional publishers for content, in this case for its digital magazine on the Flipboard app. Hearst worked to bring original and recycled beauty and lifestyle content from Elle, Marie Claire, and harper’s Bazaar in order to create the magazine. In total there are 20 pieces of content that will fill the magazine until October, and the rest of the content is links to articles from Hearst properties and other sites. Though it’s not the most built out magazine, it points to the importance brands are placing on digital content, and what lengths they are willing to go to ensure that they maintain their digital image.