09/09/2013 10:22 BST | Updated 08/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Cracking the Content Monetization Conundrum

For brands looking to reach the large number of consumers online, it is not enough to simply place banner ads online and hope for click-throughs. It takes more than a thinly veiled sales message to engage consumers nowadays.

Micke Paqvalén, CEO and Founder, Kiosked explains why smart content is the key to successful monetization across social, mobile and the web

For brands looking to reach the large number of consumers online, it is not enough to simply place banner ads online and hope for click-throughs. It takes more than a thinly veiled sales message to engage consumers nowadays. At the same time, there's a surge in the amount of content available online today, especially when it comes to visual content online like images and video. Publishers are always looking to monetize without alienating audiences. In order to successfully advertise to consumers, content advertising must be targeted, unobtrusive and useful - whether the advertising is delivered via PC or mobile.

When it comes to online advertising, we're in the throes of what amounts to a mobile gold rush. As smartphone and tablet adoption rates increase, brands are increasingly putting mobile strategies for advertising in place. And it's no wonder that brands are honing in on mobile, given the recent news that Facebook's market value passed $100 billion amid optimism that social networks can continue to grow sales from mobile advertising. Last month, prior to the valuation, Facebook also said that promotions on smartphones and tablets generated 41 percent of quarterly advertising revenue, helped by new tools.

It's clear that mobile advertising holds revenue potential. For a while now, advertisers have been trying to crack the mobile space. However, as opposed to strictly speaking about mobile advertising as a standalone solution, we need to consider how mobile and content work together to drive engagement, click-throughs, and therefore, profit. There is still a long way to go for social platforms to effectively monetize their content completely.

Statistics reveal that Facebook is used by over 1.11 billion people globally per month, but at the moment brands are only scratching the surface of how to reach these users and engage them in order to foster brand loyalty, and ultimately make sales. Content-based advertising on social networks is still in its infancy and it's not enough to rely on sponsored posts alone to drive advertising revenues. In order to really move the needle, social platforms need to turn this content into a service itself by turning its existing content into 'smart content', where content in the form of everything from videos to blog posts become a useful and relevant shop front.

The fact that Facebook's value has surpassed $100 billion dollars reflects the focus the social network has attached itself recently to content monetization. Gaining revenue from mobile advertising and video ads across the social network's news feeds means that Facebook is maturing, developing away somewhat from purely networking functions. This is not a surprise however, as over the years commentators have regularly queried how the social network would be able to leverage its large user base and monetise.

Initially, the static ads based on users' profile 'likes' seemed to be Facebook's focus. However, this form of advertising hasn't proved optimal and Facebook has searched for other ways to monetise - increasingly, via the large volumes of user-generated content produced by its vast number of global users. By monetising the content directly, both on the site and via its extremely popular mobile app, Facebook has seen that content might just be the key to effective targeting.

'Smart content' is the crux of the next e-commerce revolution. This intersection of commerce, media and technology makes it possible to convert any type of content into smart content, including images, videos, live media broadcasts, maps and games on any device into a storefront - creating a world where anything you see can be yours. With smart content, brand marketers can meet people's impulses and deliver what they want to buy, when they want it.

Creating an engaging advertising 'experience' using smart content is an optimum way to monetize social platforms. By targeting shoppers with relevant, useful and non-intrusive experiences within the visual content displayed on social networks, brands can capitalise on both the user-generated content, as well as high engagement rates they provide. With instant access to new products at the click of a button, brands can create this irresistible experience for consumers. For example, imagine seeing a friend wearing a pair of jeans in a picture and being able to click through and buy them within minutes; this impulse across social is the future of shopping and smart content is the key tool to power it.