“Advertising is publishing” was #2 on our list, “The Top 3 Ad Tech Themes from dmexco 2016”. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly that means and what publishers should do to ensure this new trend is a success.

Storytelling. Creativity. Emotional connection.

As tired as we may be of hearing these buzzwords, the role they play in ad tech has become apparent.

“Advertisers are becoming publishers” was something overheard at dmexco more than once. Throwing together catchy copy might work, but telling the user a story that touches them on an emotional level works even better. It doesn’t matter if it makes you cry, laugh, cringe or cover your eyes. If it gets to you, it gets to you.

Mondelez makes storytelling look easy

Case in point: Luke Aikins’ Guinness Book of World Record jump from 25,000 feet made major headlines and racked up close to 2 million views on YouTube. The jump — which Luke did without a parachute —was sponsored by Stride gum and marketed by Mondelez. As Laura Henderson, the company’s global head of content & media monetization says, they are committed to “making content that’s good enough to make money.”

In fact, Mondelez is betting on the idea that their innovative ways of connecting with people will eventually drive sales for their brands. The hype started way before the jump took place, and the company is embracing the hot creative storytelling trend. Their one-hour skydiving special certainly told a good story; everyone was tuned in until the end. You just had to know if Aikins would hit his mark or end up splattered across the ground!

Visual storytelling

Visual storytelling, which includes the use of video, branded images and emotional messages to convey a brand’s message, has been working especially well, and the trend is moving in this direction. Not only is visual content more understandable to users, but it’s been found to influence emotions. Moreover, adding visuals to content can increase views by up to 94%.

There is a definite trend towards storytelling in digital advertising, but what role does the publisher play in all this?

Jimmy Maymann from AOL hit the nail on the head in his dmexco session when he proclaimed, “Publishing is the new advertising.” Publishers have every reason to reconnect with advertisers and show them the ropes. After all, they’re the experts. Publishers should share their most successful storytelling techniques and give advertisers advice about how to best capture audiences. Moreover, they should be willing to share information about their readership so that advertisers can best target and create advertising content for their readers. Once they do, marketers will make better ads, users will be happier with their online experience, and, if everything works out well, both brands and publishers will win in the end.