We’ve been exploring more native and sponsored content for our clients this year and worked to find ways to make the native content measurable and valuable as a part of our media strategy. Until recently, there was a lot of ambiguity around the performance of native and we struggled to find ways to measure success. As vendors and publishers become more advanced on reporting metrics, we’ve become more confident in recommending native and sponsored content as part of the media strategy to build awareness and engagement with brands.
Native content is most successful when it does not disrupt a reader’s experience on a publisher’s site and has the same look, feel and editorial voice of the publisher’s premium original content. This has put a lot of pressure on brands to hire experienced writers and focus on good storytelling as opposed to marketing speak about how great their product or service is according to the corporate marketing department. Readers are sophisticated and can spot this fakery right away and publishers don’t want that content associated with their content and damage the trust established with their readers.
As publishers clamor for good content, brands as publishers can help fill the insatiable appetite for content on today’s Internet. It’s a win-win if executed well and provides an opportunity for brands to tell their story in meaningful ways that we can’t do through display, search and even some video.
We also rely on reporting to provide insights for the brand on the performance of the content. We want to make sure we’re providing good content that is consumed and not just floating around without any actions. We can measure time spent reading, how far down people scroll through the article, how many shares and earned reads we get as well as any interactions with the content images or video. These types of insights help us determine if our content is good quality and being read and shared.
This type of media isn’t right for all brands, but those with needs to tell their story and introduce new products, new ideas and new ways of doing things mean we have a way to introduce these ideas to market.