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The Macroeconomics of Native Advertising

From the very first banner ad to the present day machine learning and programmatic media buys, paid media has seen many innovative iterations over these few decades.

This new media age has permanently removed the gatekeeper status of buyer-information from businesses and placed it squarely in the hands of households.

It used to be that if a consumer wanted to learn more about a brand, product or service they would have to contact the company and talk to a sales person. That person was the gatekeeper of the information he or she would allow the consumer to see in order to make a purchase decision.

In 2011, we learned from Google’s breakthrough research featured in Winning the Zero Moment of Truth that the majority of consumers spend time researching products and services on the web before they make a purchasing decision.

Google’s research was done prior to 2011 when smartphone adoption was relatively mild compared to where it is today. It’s reasonable to assume that ZMOT is even more pronounced in the consumer’s psyche in 2016.

That’s today’s reality, and, for the most part, brands around the world have accepted this as the new normal and are at some stage of addressing it in their marketing departments.

This model has a tinge of the pre-ZMOT world, where buyers were still beholden to brands for the information they sought. The difference here is, while consumers were clamoring for top-funnel content, brands prioritized the production and distribution of content towards the bottom of the buyer’s journey.

This was done when there was still a true content deficit at the top of the funnel for most industries. In other words, there was more people demanding problem-solving content than there was content to solve those problems on the Internet.

Most were only offered mid to bottom-funnel content by brands. Fortunately, brands weren’t the only entities that could publish content on the Internet. Households, professionals, and B2B consumers began expressing their experiences and expertise at the top of the funnel based on their experiences with brands, products and services.

From the very first banner ad to the present day machine learning and programmatic media buys, paid media has seen many innovative iterations over these few decades.

The introduction of the Internet to US households in the early 90’s has forever changed the media landscape and how consumers discover and engage with content.

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