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Posts Tagged ‘native advertising’

Is The Banner Ad Making a Comeback?

ft smart matchMake way for better banner ads — The Financial Times rolled out “FT SmartMatch” last week after a trial period. The ‘content matching service’ weeds out semantic relevancy between editorial content and ad creative, making sure that advertisers show up where it makes sense.

It’s pretty sophisticated, as Jon Slade, FT‘s commercial director for global digital advertising and insight, explained to me.

First, they audit editorial content to rank and weigh it, semantically. Then, they do the same with advertiser’s content — their website, their videos, their white papers. The third step is about creative — if there are 500 pieces of content, they create 500 pieces of ad creative. Lastly, comes what Slade calls the “special sauce” where an algorithm knows how to link the two pieces together. Says Slade:

It’s two fold benefit. We not having to place 10,000 ads, we’re only placing an ad when there’s a good match. So its much more efficient, click through and engagement rates are about 10 times more than the standard.

It’s more than efficient, I like that it’s not about going native and making the content look like editorial — it just situates similar things together. Slade is interested in moving towards more intelligent advertising, too. And he doesn’t think banner ads need to go anywhere:

There’s the idea that the banner ad is dead. We just think it needs a bit of love… advertisers are very sophisticated in their targeting,  but still applying the one creative message across all of their audiences. We think that’s not making the most of the opportunities that digital can offer.  So the creative in banner advertising needs a little bit of love and secondly, the placement needs to get smarter. Making sure you’re in the right environment is still important in any media buy.

Be on the lookout for better banner ads then, journos. Smart Match is a product of the FT‘s partnership with Smartology, which provided the technology for it. Smartology is making their rounds to other publishers, too, so it’s not exclusive to FT. What do you think about automated advertising?

Which Native Ad Formats Work Best According to Publishers?

bfnativeAccording to a new collection of data from Marketing Charts, online publishers are seeing blog posts, articles and video as pretty effective means of native advertising.

Hexagram and Spada surveyed more than 1,000 publishers, brands and agencies (most from the U.S.) asking their thoughts on which types of native ads they perceived as having the most success online in terms of engagement and monetization, and they found that 58 percent of publishers say blog posts are the most effective form of native advertising. Fifty-six percent say articles work best for their publishing platforms and sponsors, while 53 percent of news outlets think videos are the most effective way for their native advertisers to campaign for their goods and services alongside other editorial content.

Thirty-four percent of publishers report that sponsored Facebook posts are most effective, with infographics coming in at 31 percent, and tweets at 23 percent.

So why have publishers embraced native ads so much? Eighty-five percent say it’s all about the cash — they “feel that native advertising offers them a new revenue stream” and that “an average of 20.4 percent of their revenues derive from these campaigns,” Marketing Charts wrote.

Because publishers are incentivized by the cash flow, native ads aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, I kind of think they’re just getting started. The Dallas Morning News is implementing them. Texas Monthly does it. Slate. The Washington Post. The Atlantic. BuzzFeed. The AP. Forbes. Seriously, just get used to it people.

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Changes Come to The Dallas Morning News. Will They Work to the Paper’s Advantage?

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 9.33.45 PMJust over the last couple of weeks, The Dallas Morning News has announced that they’re ditching their paywall altogether AND that they’re introducing native advertising on their web product.

First came the news that Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton, also a former DMN reporter, broke about the paper’s upcoming advertorials: “Our approach is straightforward and low-risk by serving up original, high-quality content in a contextually relevant environment sponsored by an advertising partner,” read a press release from the News.

The News‘ official explanation of the jump from traditional advertising strategies to the much-debated but increasingly popular digital native ad plans describes that its first experiment with native ads was a success (This consisted of a story run alongside the DMN’s entertainment content on the GuideLive page called “5 ways to create perfect pumpkins without carving,” written by a local candle vendor, but it appears like any other DMN editorial.)

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Should We Do Away With the Comment Section?

Once upon a time, I believed comment sections were content, too. And on some sites, I liked to read them. But now, Gawker is putting native advertisements in them and I think we should just do away with them. Yes, just get rid of the comment section.

It’s actually a very interesting move. Gawker sites have a huge, vocal following. There’s no reason they shouldn’t monetize that by putting Bill Nye in the Gizmodo comments.

There are actually very few online pubs and blogs that have good comment sections. Most online comments are not useful and often just plain old mean. I cheered when the Huffington Post announced it was no longer letting users comment anonymously. But if you take away the anonymity, maybe it’s best just to do away with them all together. It’s becoming more and more of a hassle — create an account, sign up for the newsletter, add an avatar — to comment anyway.

I used to believe that comment sections were a sign that the internet (back when it was called ‘the net’)was democratic  and a place for the open exchange of ideas. But now it’s about fighting with a troll about politics, or writing tangents to news stories that you should just post to a blog. You know, be productive, ‘own what you think.’

I feel like the comment sections should be the most authentic part of the webpage. But if even they are sponsored and –coming soon, right? — focused on going viral? Get rid of them altogether.

If you have something to say in response to a story or want to laud a writer – take it to Twitter. Write an email. Get your own blog. Just don’t do it in the comments.

Native Advertising is Not the Future

The Online Publisher’s Association released a study on native advertising this week that pretty much validates everything we (or I, at least) thought about native campaigns  for news publications these days.

1) Native Advertising is Not the Future

OPA President Pam Horan spoke with me over the phone and says that what the study really surfaced is that native advertising “is really an outgrowth of the custom and integrated marketing that OPA publishers have been leveraging for years.” The thing is that now marketers are coming to publishers, the experts in content creation, for the “skills, content assets, infrastructure that are necessary to create effective native solutions.”

Based on their survey of publishers, the study reveals that native solutions aren’t for every publication, or for every campaign. “There’s a place for it, but I don’t think we’re moving away from banner advertising…publishers know their audiences better than anyone and they know what’s going to drive engagement.” Horan says.

Lesson: If you’re publication is going native — you probably need a really good team in the newsroom to help create and oversee the process.

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