Advertorials are long-form paid ads, presented as informative articles—hence the name, a blend of “advertisement” and “editorial.”
In past print and current online versions, they match the appearance, perception, and function of the media outlet where they’re hosted, so they don’t really look like ads.
Executed well, advertorials provide value to the target audience while also selling a product or service. They’re a content marketing play that borrows the credibility of the site on which they’re published (if they’re “native ads”) or promoted (if they live on other sites).
Perception isn’t always the same thing as reality, even when it comes to something as “objective” as your product’s value.
In fact, the perceived value of your product is fairly malleable. There are countless studies, as well as anecdotes, that support the notion that you can tweak small things to increase your product’s value perception.
You’ve spent hundreds of hours perfecting your product and countless meetings defining your brand. You feel great about your team, and it’s obvious to your customers that you care.
Yet, despite your best efforts, your competition gets all the buzz, and you struggle to stand out. Should you change your prices? Add a new feature? Raise more capital?
Before you go back to the drawing board, reconsider your product positioning.
If you’re Amazon or Apple—congratulations! You don’t have any credibility issues. Most of us aren’t so lucky. Almost all but the biggest of companies have an uphill credibility battle every time a new visitor lands on their site.
You don’t purchase products. You buy success, status, a lifestyle. Your purchases furthermore, are driven by subconscious perceptions and emotions.
Semiotics, the interpretation of signs and symbols, helps decipher those subconscious elements. While it has plenty of lofty, academic associations, it has practical implications for marketers, too.
Inbound marketing. Conversational marketing. The subscription economy. Growth hacking. Each term, now ubiquitous, had humble origins but a profound—and profitable—impact.
Plenty of us have witnessed a marketing campaign gone wrong. Remember that recent Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner trying to settle a Black Lives Matter protest with a can of Pepsi? I just remember thinking (as I gagged), “How did that actually make it to market?!”
Yet despite some major fails, marketing continues to be the differentiator that sets a brand apart within a crowded market.
Influencer marketing is the talk of the town.
Everyone from the scrappiest startups to the biggest household name brands are investing in it. But if you want to get into it, how do you do it right?
It’s cold. It’s undeniable. It’s absolute. It’s infallible.
Or is it?
As CROs we tend to boil the world of human behavior, intent, and action into neat rows in a spreadsheet. We weave our assumptions together with formulas in order to break down complex interactions into absolute spreadsheet cells valued by the number of the digits they contain.
It’s math. We can’t be wrong!
But we are wrong. We’re wrong a lot. Our entire existence is built around being wrong.
We want other people to like us. It’s a human desire.
We also want other people to like our websites. If, on our site, we come across as likable, we tend to become more profitable.
So, in conversion optimization, likability is an important and powerful psychological trigger.