Native Advertising: Soap Operas for the Digital Age
Turnbull says Hearst products like Esquire Weekly are geared toward the new generation of media consumers, which she describes as "tech-savvy, time poor but essentially curious and open-minded audience." Turnbull says digital content will be more actionable, which jibes with the goals of high-quality native advertising. "You can do more than just sit back and enjoy the editorial-now you can take action on what you've read, immediately. Everything we write about is actionable-a process facilitated by being on a digital platform. Buy the DVD, music or books we're recommending, book the restaurant or the movie we've reviewed, click through and buy the fashion we've styled."
Nelson of Slate thinks publishers should be very aware of the importance of analytics and its role in justifying native advertising as a viable revenue driver. "Metrics are not simply about clicks, page views or engagement. They need to be compared against site averages, industry averages, media, advertising and any corresponding brand lift studies in order to tell a complete campaign story. As the numbers justify the investment, native advertising will become more and more credible as an effective advertising medium. Ultimately, these analytics will also change the pricing model.
The strong relationship that publishers have established with an audience is the value marketers see in native advertising. "The advantage from a marketer's perspective is that native content is actively sought out by consumers where they already have developed a sense of trust," says Tom Coburn, CEO of Jebbit, an online advertising service. "Trust serves as an unofficial 'endorsement' from the publisher, which not only adds to the brand's overall credibility, but also helps build out an ongoing conversation with the consumer."
Coburn thinks that both publishers and marketers need to work together to ensure both the marketer's brand and the publisher's brand are properly served by native advertising. "Marketers must be keenly aware of which venues are appropriate for their brand, and which audiences will respond positively to this type of content. Editors need to have a sense of which brands are appropriate for their own channels and ensure they are maintaining the publication's voice and perspective uniformly." PE
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.