VIEQUES, PR – Social media has caused a shift in advertising.  Whereas the advertising experience used to be one-sided, with brands simply pumping their messages out to consumers, now, brands are able to become part of the conversation and actually interact with and engage their customers.  On a panel at the Beet.TV executive retreat  last month, digital consultant Ashley Swartz sat down with Digitas SVP and Managing Director Stephanie Sarofian to talk about this trend.

Sarofian explains that native advertising gives "space for a brand to become a commentator."  Incorporating video, photographs, written word, tools and utilities that already exist in the space of the social web, brands are able to become a part of the conversation that’s going on online, not only about their specific brand, but about news, causes and other issues related to their industry.

She also talks about Digitas’ Brand Live offering, a service that Sarofian describes as "part technology, part process, and a lot people," which operates 24/7 to help brands monitor everything that’s happening online, determining what’s relevant and interesting for consumers, and using this information to respond and engage.

In the interview, Sarofian also talks about brands movement away from seeking out "viral videos."  She says, "Our clients are at a point where they know better, they’re not asking for viral videos. They still use buzz words. They still want their return on investment to stretch. They’re looking for us to create content in any form that they can use over and over again, that they can see that return. They still want that reach, they still want that scale."

Megan O’Neill

Beet Retreat 2013