‘Publish awesome’ – native advertising

As the ex CTO of Shaw Media Ben Shaw set up a native advertising division and now with his WAN-IFRA hat on he gave a convincing run through of good practice. Most importantly of all was the insistence on making it as good as the rest of the content – or as Ben put it “publish awesome”.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | October 6, 2015

“The New York Times has its own T-Brand native studio and when Chartbeat compared five metrics for traffic, engagement, and visits, they found that in every category paid posts from T-Brand did better than those from advertisers, and if done right they could perform as well or better than editorial posts.”

Key to that is the idea of maintaining quality and keeping it clear about what is sponsored and what isn’t. Three clear rules emerged:

  • Don’t blur lines between editorial and native content or between editorial and native content teams – keep them separated.
  • Be transparent about what you do.
  • Publish awesome. Bad content will erode audience trust.

Shaw even pointed out that Forbes, where “over 30 percent of the total revenue comes from native” allows advertising partners direct access to the CMS.

Really good native advertising production comes about when you;

  • “Find your strength
  • Capitalise on video and social
  • Create smart offering packages
  • Execute well, and
  • Be prepared to push boundaries.”

The emphasis on video and social was repeated since for so many of us native means advertorial copy while Shaw’s preferred examples were videos from Volvo and others bringing out complementary messages in a highly shareable way.

To round off his conclusions were that for native to really work you need to “talk to editorial early, create a separate content creation team, clearly demarcate sponsored content, and create smart packages and charge for extras”


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