Blog


Native advertising news and updates from the team behind Respond, the native advertising platform.

Comment

Time is right for native

From The Drum:

Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp is creating a new eight-person team specialising in developing native ads. 

Unveiled to staff in an memo from chief content officer Norm Pearlstine and executive vice president Mark Ford, the Time Inc. Native Group will work side-by-side with editorial staff. 

Also included in the memo was Chris Hercik, creative director of the Sports Illustrated Group, who was named VP of the new team. Hercik commented: "Creativity is agnostic, as long as it is mutually beneficial to the brand and the advertiser." 

The ads, which are designed to closely resemble editorial content, have come into criticism from editorial purists, but with the native ad business projected to grow 23 per cent this year Ford insisted: "We're not trying to trick people. We're just trying to create great content."

Comment

Comment

Upworthy finds native ads often outperform editorial

Upworthy says posts from advertisers get more attention than editorial posts.

I can't imagine editorial teams will be pleased to hear this, but it speaks to the power of a good native campaign - from AdAge:

"Three months ago the first major brand advertising campaign appeared on Upworthy, a mix of paid and curated posts promoting Unilever's Project Sunlight initiative. Now Upworthy is saying content from advertisers -- in the form of what it calls "promoted posts" -- regularly outperforms typical editorial posts on the site."

 

Comment

Comment

Banners get no love at Cannes as native rises

From Digiday:

The beleaguered banner ad has been a whipping boy at Cannes this year, despite still being a workhorse for so many who abused it.

Hating on banner ads is hardly new, but the digital media industry, including publishers that use them, made a particular point to denigrate them at Cannes this year. And the yin to the banner bashing’s yang was a love fest for native advertising, in all of its hard-to-define forms.

“Banners are a huge part of our business. There’s nothing wrong with them. But I’ll challenge any reader on this: Name one memorable banner campaign since banners were invented,” said The New York Times’s vice president of branded content Sebastian Tomich.

His comments came just moments after he and Times executive vice president Meredith Levien presented the paper’s portfolio of impressive native ads, including the headline-grabbing piece it created for Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.”

“Native does have the power to bring memorable, digital-first advertising,” Tomich added.

Comment

Comment

Content that readers find valuable

Ultimately, advertisers’ and publishers’ goals are aligned: to produce content that readers find valuable. Truthfully, neither party has vested interests in seeing this fail. Publications and sponsors would want nothing less than for native ads to go the way of banner ads.

As more and more publishers adopt native advertising, they will build out talented “branded content teams.” At the same time, advertisers’ marketing messages will evolve to focus less on aggressive short-term sales and to think about the bigger picture — the ideas and values they want to communicate to customers. In theory, this will lead to better user experiences because customers do not want to be sold products, they want to be sold a lifestyle.

Comment

Comment

Orange Is The New Black: Native advertising comes of age

Online audiences are oohing and ahhing over Netflix’s New York Times branded content on women inmates, tied to the hit series Orange Is the New Black.

While this is one of the first pieces created out of the Grey Lady’s T Brand Studio, Netflix isn’t new to the native advertising. And a source close to the situation told Adweek that Netflix was looking to ramp up on native ads/branded content because it is pleased with the outcome of the NYT effort as well as a recent initiative with Wired. A sponsored article with the tech-focused magazine on TV viewing habits was also lauded for editorial content.

Comment

Comment

Study: Native ads 2.5x better than programmatic at meeting digital branding objectives

A new study by Millward Brown has found that native advertising is considered by media buyers to be more effective for digital branding than any other advertising or marketing channel, except social: 

When asked what ad types “meet their digital branding objectives,” those surveyed—who could make multiple selections—answered with the following frequency: social (51 percent); native (46 percent); email (36 percent); paid search (23 percent); mobile Web (23 percent); “emotionally targeted” in-game (20 percent); mobile in-app (20 percent); programmatic (18 percent); regular in-game (14 percent); text messaging (12 percent); and ads purchased directly from websites and blogs (11 percent).

One of the benefits of native advertising is that the ad placements are usually placed in-stream, where they have a very high likelihood of being noticed and acted upon. The study found 37% of those questioned had concerns about programmatic due to banner blindness, which may help to account for why the respondents found native to two and half times more better at meeting digital branding objectives.

The company surveyed 300 marketers from Fortune 5,000 companies in 17 business categories. 

Comment

Comment

Quote: Judy Shapiro on the native advertising debate

"It is heartening to see that the native debate is forcing the industry to ask hard questions about the digital ad ecosystem. It is even more encouraging to see the innovation that is emerging as a result of this honest look at the effectiveness of digital ads. No doubt we will see wondrous new types of engagement or experiential ad units deeply informed by rich (not big) data and consumer choice thus saving digital advertising's soul from marketing oblivion."

- Judy Shapiro, CEO and founder of engageSimply, and chief brand strategist at CloudLinux

(via Ad Age

Comment

Comment

Quote: Richard Dunmall of Bauer Media on native advertising

“The relationship between content creation and commercialism is more blurred than ever but that’s actually quite exciting. 

“What we realised about our audience based on, surprise surprise, asking them what they thought ,was that they’re quite happy to have a blurred line between content and commercial provided there is a value exchange for them as individuals.

“Forms of branded content, and making sure that it is well known but also a more immersive experience, is key to our strategy and a big opportunity for us."

- Richard Dunmall, MD of advertising, Bauer Media

(via TheDrum)

MD: Richard Dunmall

Comment

Comment

Quote: Bill Bourdon of Bateman Group on native advertising

"The movement to publish branded stories across destinations ranging from Facebook to The New York Times, also known as native advertising, is drawing a lot of attention and ad dollars.

"Market researcher BIA/Kelsey estimates U.S. native ad spending on social sites alone will reach $4.57 billion by 2017, almost triple the $1.6 billion spent in 2012.  Nearly 75 percent of U.S. online publishers now offer native advertising, according to the Online Publishers Association and Radar Research.

"It’s safe to say that native advertising is exploding. And rightfully so: When done well, it affords an enormous opportunity for brands to engage with audiences in an authentic way. As a result, the potential for brand marketers and their agencies — both PR and advertising — is huge."

- Bill Bourdon, owner and general manager at Bateman Group, a digital communications and content agency with offices in San Francisco and New York City. 

(via VentureBeat)

Bill Bourdon, Bateman Group

Comment

Comment

Quote: Gary Rayneau of Dennis Publishing on native advertising

"Done correctly, done with integrity, native advertising is an extremely positive approach to marketing. It sets out to minimise consumer interruption and maximise consumer interest. If the industry gets it right, publishers will remain commercially viable, brands will be able to communicate with consumers in more engaging ways, and consumers will get more interesting content."

- Gary Rayneau, Head of Digital Sales at Dennis Publishing

Gary Rayneau: head of digital sales at Dennis Publishing

Comment

Comment

Quote: Paul Hood of Archant on using native advertising to get a better return for both publisher and client

“Display advertising remains the primary revenue stream for the site but we are less interested in relying on programmatic advertising where we can’t control the floor prices. It’s still part of the revenue mix and we are still open to it but we want to reduce reliance on it.

“Now we have introduced native formats, and we are testing and learning there. The term native is over-hyped, it’s just a response to what we have all been talking about – the fact that display ad yields have been commoditised by oversupply, so yields have been going through the floor.

“So unless you have audience and scale of gargantuan proportions it doesn’t work for you as you have to sell it cheap. If you’re not a scale player, which we aren’t compared to the likes of the Huffington Posts of the world, then if we sell it cheap we would just go out of business.

“Native advertising has just come about because there needs to be a stand-out point of difference for this commoditised, display advertising. There is an issue with banner blindness – people tune out to them when they clutter a page.

“We have found engagement on ads much higher when there are fewer of them on a page, which is why we have cut back on the amount of ad slots across our portfolio to around four per page. We are not interested in saturating our site with loads of ad slots that are sold via programmatic networks. Our approach is to go for the premium sell.” 

- Paul Hood, Digital Director, Archant London

(via The Drum)

Archant overhauls London24 digital media brand to cater for native advertising and signs Renault as launch partner

Comment

Comment

“Hey, did you see that awesome banner ad yesterday?” said no one, ever

I enjoyed this post by on Re/code by Zach Coelius, and I agree with every word of it:

This year is the 20th anniversary of the banner ad. In 1994, HotWired magazine invented the unit as a short-term solution for tiny cathode-ray tube monitors and the incredibly minimal websites of the era.

Two decades later, we still use banner ads.

Those of us in the ad industry ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

The banner has been dead as an effective advertising unit for at least a decade. Other than the ads on this page, can you remember a single banner you saw today? While it is easy to recall TV commercials from decades ago, banners are fully ignored and never remembered.

“Hey, did you see that awesome banner ad yesterday?” said no one, ever.

As a longtime member of the online advertising industry, I am embarrassed at our collective failure to innovate. The ad industry helps fund the free and awesome Internet we all enjoy, and by not improving on worthless ad units, we are stiffing funding for even more awesomeness in the future. Our failure hurts all of us.

Thankfully, some haven’t been silently accepting the tyranny of tiny little boxes, and they have been innovating with new ideas under the label of “native advertising.” Native is not a “thing” to be defined, but rather it is a movement of publishers, advertisers and technology companies independently innovating to discover ad units that actually work.

Native is producing content as ads, Facebook putting ads into the News Feed, Google search ads (the greatest ad innovation of our lifetime), Twitter sponsoring tweets, andpublishers saying, “Screw the little box, and lets make something that actually works.” Native is about experimentation, crazy ideas, failure, unscalable awesomeness and unadulterated creativity. Native is what should have happened 20 years ago.

The critics will tell you that native can’t scale. As usual, they are wrong. Google text ads scaled. Facebook News Feed ads are scaling. Promoted Tweets are scaling. When done correctly, native scales just fine. The great thing about computers is that we can build them to do just about anything, and scaling a few ads is really not one of life’s hard problems.

If we are going to fund and build the Internet of the future we all dream of, we are going to need to build a new model of advertising that actually works and that users don’t hate. So, rather than hide behind the lame excuses, the made-up lift studies, the same old bullshit hand-waving and the general complaining, let’s all agree that the time has come to think outside the little box.

All of us, whether we help build the Internet or just use it, have an obligation to make the Internet a better place, and by killing the banner ad, we will go a long way toward that goal.

Comment

Comment

Native advertising will bring a new era of great ads for the digital age

Fallingwater, a house designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934

Fallingwater, a house designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934

I loved this piece by Karl Greenberg in MediaPost:

The best native advertising should perhaps aspire to be the digital branding equivalent of Frank Lloyd Wright's “Falling Water”: it fits in without trying to conceal itself. 

The Grey Lady has something to say about that. Given that the New York Times has created highly engaging, sophisticated and aesthetically consistent marketing partnerships with the likes of Goldman Sachs and United Airlines, it has some perspective on what draws in an educated audience. 

At OMMA Native during Internet Week, New York Times EVP advertising Meredith Kopit Levien looked at where native has been, where it should be going, and what’s driving it there. 

She actually kicked it off with a screening of arguably the first and best branded entertainment exercise, the ’70s global Coca-Cola songfest, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." Said Levien, "The first song I ever loved was given to me and the world by a brand. It's an ideal representation of native ads before such a term existed." 

Native advertising, she said, exploits the form, factor, discovery mechanism and production values of the surrounding content, taking the shape of the storytelling around it and aspiring to similar engagement. 

That aesthetic will be at the center of the rediscovery of great ads for the digital age, something that she said hasn't exactly happened. Digital advertising, she asserted, hasn't yet been represented by ads like that Coke spot and the best of TV and print that came before it that are additive to the culture. "I want to argue that in transition to digital advertising much has been gained, but something else, a key element has been lost. Native has power to restore that." 

The shift to mobile and the need for a better business model are both making native imperative, per Levien.  "The disruption being caused by the shift from desktop to mobile is far more dramatic than any disruption that we have seen in recent years, including from print to digital. There is no concept of adjacency in mobile," she said. "The message needs to be right there in that same stream."

And, she said, for most of the web's history what marketers were buying from media companies was audience. Now they need storytelling tools. "Those are both things that premium publishers have in spades.” 

When a media company and marketer are sharing storytelling tools, anything you do to advance that platform and tools benefits everyone involved: marketer, media company and end user." 

Read the whole post here

Comment

Comment

Native ads on smaller screens mean business

This is a nice piece of commentary on native advertising in MediaPost:

As online advertising and content grows and merges into one—as Hulu’s collaboration with Chipotle’s did with “Farmed and Dangerous” –how it plays with advertisers and viewers will spell how it will progress.

You’ve got to give consumers some credit for knowing when they’re being sold.  Consumers must now be learning that all of life itself has become a stage for native advertising. There’s no free lunch. Never, ever.

Native does play well with a mobile advancing world, too. Though mobile users are apparently not averse to watching longer content on mobile units, small bursts of content obviously should have appeal. If you pair content with native advertising in one swirl and you’ve got a business.

Yahoo, which says half of its traffic is now coming from smartphones, is ready to get in the business of selling native on mobile, with a look and a feel that will seem enough like editorial to be agreeable to the eye and ear, and just distinct enough that a finicky, discerning consumer can tell what’s going on.

Read the rest here.

Comment

Comment

Salt Lake Tribune goes native

Terry Orme, Salt Lake Tribune editor and publisher, has just published an article about the arrival of native advertising on sltrib.com. Here's what it says:

Visitors to www.sltrib.com will notice something new starting today.

Stories appearing in different sections of the site will be labeled "Sponsored." When you click on one of these stories, the "Sponsored" label will appear above and below the headline.

These stories are paid content from advertisers and are not produced by Salt Lake Tribune reporters or editors.

Known as "native advertising," the strategy holds promise in boosting the revenue generated by newspaper websites. Advertisers like it because it provides a forum for them to tell the stories of their businesses, their products and/or their services. It is a tactic being deployed on many websites.

There is a print precedent for it, known in our business as "advertorial," or advertising that mimics a news story. When that content appears in The Salt Lake Tribune, it, too, is clearly labeled.

The important thing here is that readers know what is news, and what is paid content, or advertising. We are committed to clear designations on the sponsored stories, and our newsroom will not play a role in their production. Tribune reporters and editors will stick to the impartiality of news reporting.

This is a beautifully simple explanation for why native advertising makes sense for publishers, advertisers and readers.

Comment

Comment

How the Dallas Morning News made native ads local

As reported by Digiday, how one large local news site is making native work:

The Dallas Morning News offers an instructive case study in how to pull it off. In late 2012, the paper partnered with a local agency, Slingshot, to create Speakeasy, a standalone shop to create and manage local and national ad campaigns. Today, the shop serves 70 clients.

“Local advertisers are starting to understand what the role of a content marketing agency is,” said Grant Moise, svp at the Morning News with oversight for Speakeasy. “I think they all feel the stress to create the content that the digital universe needs.”

Newspaper print advertising tumbled 8.6 percent to $17.3 billion in 2013, according to the Newspaper Association of America. But A.H. Belo Corp., the parent of the Morning News,reported that its total revenue declined 1 percent in the first quarter versus the year-ago quarter, the lowest year-over-year decrease in six years, helped by efforts like Speakeasy. In all of 2013, Speakeasy and 508 Digital, its agency that focuses on SEO and related strategies, generated $5.8 million in revenue.

Speakeasy creates native ads that run on Dallasnews.com, like this one for a local restaurant, and branded content that runs on the advertiser’s sites, like high-end skincare company Jack Black or this one for American Home Shield, a home warranty company. An editorial team led by Stacey Yervasi, formerly of D Magazine, writes copy for advertisers, aided by a freelancer network.

Read the full story here.

Comment