Native News: The Respond Blog

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.

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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 Here’s what it says:

Visitors to 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.

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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, 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.

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Study finds native advertising does NOT make news sites less credible

The findings of this research do not surprise me, but it’s good to see it confirmed once again. In summary, native advertising does not make news sites less credible. In fact I would argue that interruptive and intrusive standard ad formats are causing damage to publishers’ credibility, but that’s another story.

From Nieman Journalism Lab:

Native advertising is providing an ever-larger chunk of digital revenue for publishers these days. But despite (or perhaps because of) the money, lots of journalists are still squeamish about the topic. They worry that, at its core, native advertising is about tricking your reader into reading an ad and thinking its editorial content. Why would a reader who feels duped by a news brand ever want to return to it?

That’s the question that led Patrick Howe and Brady Teufel of Cal Poly to publish a research paper titled “Native Advertising and Digital Natives: The Effects of Age and Advertisement Format on News Website Credibility Judgments.” Howe, an AP journalist turned academic, said he heard experienced journalists worrying about the declining quality of advertising and the potential ethical dilemmas of native advertising.

“When I would go and talk to people, particularly journalists, almost everybody I would talk to — these are your New York Times-reading, NPR-listening crowd — almost everyone was convinced that it would be a disaster because people would feel tricked, and that they would take it out against the news organization,” he says. “That this is dirty pool, and news organizations shouldn’t do it.”

And the results?

Howe hypothesized that there’s be a substantial gap between how younger and older readers viewed the credibility of the site — but that’s not what happened. “I was so surprised by that result that I ended up going back in a panic and checking all my coding,” says Howe. “I really didn’t think that made any sense to me at first blush, and I’m not sure I have a handle on the explanation.”

In fact, people in both age groups felt more or less the same about the credibility of the two sites, regardless of what kind of advertising it displayed. Young people were slightly more likely to recognize native advertising as an ad, but what they saw did not influence their judgment of the site. Older viewers, meanwhile, tended to find the news site more credible no matter what, suggesting that older readers of digital media are more trusting and less judgmental than their younger counterparts.

See the story in full here

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Condé Nast embraces native advertising

As featured in Digiday:

Some would consider Condé Nast, its lifestyle magazines fat with sumptuous fashion and beauty ads, an originator of native advertising — or at least advertising that blends in seamlessly with its editorial content.

But in fact, the publishing house has only just now embraced native ads in earnest. Its first corporate-wide native ad, for Pantene, is live on four of the company’s women’s sites (Self, Glamour, Style and Lucky), and a template for its men’s titles is in the works.

In going native, Condé Nast may seem, once again, a little behind the times. Rivals like The New York Times, Time Inc. and Hearst have been out with native ad offerings for a while. Condé also was slow to create standalone websites for its titles and embrace other changes that threatened its core business, like the rise of programmatic ad buying.

But Condé has rarely been a company to take a top-down approach, and Lou Cona, president of the Condé Nast Media Group, pointed out that brands at the company like Vanity Fair andWired have already been creating their own native ads.

“The individual [Condé] brands have been doing this for a while — this is the first time we’re doing it at scale,” he said. “It’s more important to get it right than to be first.”

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Linkedin goes fully native with transition from display ads to sponsored content

Marketing Week features an interview with global VP of sales Penny Price about this change:

Ex-Googler Penry Price joined LinkedIn in September as its global VP of sales, tasked with overseeing its shift from a display ad business to one focused on content marketing. This is powered by its recently launched native ads, which it calls ‘Sponsored Updates’, and which account for 13 per cent of its advertising revenue since they launched last July. Key to Price’s job is explaining that transformation and why companies should be using LinkedIn to build their brands and market to professionals, not just for recruitment.

Read the interview here.

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One second to impress: Julian Smith on why native advertising is the perfect fit for mobile

A great insight from Julian Smith, Head of Strategy at Fetch:

In essence, the idea of native advertising is of integrating a branded message into the content experience rather than interrupting or intruding upon it. And it’s something that is increasingly being recognised as suiting the confines and contexts of mobile usage perfectly.

It’s why, as we all spend more and more time staring at our smartphones, it’s gaining in prominence and industry buzz. In fact, it’s the mobile screen, and how we all use it, that is really fuelling the native advertising debate. That’s where it is increasingly manifesting itself.

As our mobile minutes grow, predominantly in social media conversation streams or in content feeds, it is native advertising, rather than classic banner advertising, that is starting to be seen as the more attractive solution for both advertisers and audiences.

Especially when targeting the younger, Gen Z demographic. While they are constantly glued to their mobile screens they will only give content the most fleeting of glances. As such it is claimed that you now have about one second to impress and impact this audience on their mobile screens. Which is why contextually targeted, bite-size, in-stream advertising content is looking like the best option for cutting through. [...]

My take on the debate is that, very soon, it will not be a brave client who forgoes traditional advertising formats for native, but a foolhardy one that doesn’t.

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66% of attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold

What other reason do you need to try in-article and in-stream advertising as a way to harness attention and deliver an outstanding ROI for advertisers?

Discover how Respond can help. Contact us now.

Stat provided by Chartbeat, a data analytics company.

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A wider definition of native advertising: beyond the news or feed integration

I agree 100% with this. From Campaign APAC:

Whether you’re a fan of the term ‘native’ or not, the social-media context for many is at the essence of the ‘native’ opportunity. Based on this social-only definition, according to BIA/Kelsey, native ads in the US will grow to $3.1 billion this year and reach $5.0 billion in 2017. (NB this is desktop and mobile—APAC and mobile figures seem difficult to find.)

But ‘native’ should enjoy a far wider definition than this, going beyond the news or feed integration example, instead looking at the ad portfolio more holistically encompassing for example branded content, high-impact custom ad display formats, unique placements, video, and data enriched propositions to the mix. They should all inhabit this ‘native’ space, and do so also co-existing with an optimum standard display and performance suites. For their part, eMarketer state that there was a 20 per cent increases in a more broadly defined ‘native’ ad space in the US in 2013, so there are US organisations investing in their future, however APAC publishers and other audience owners are lagging.

This portfolio approach, creating multiple tiers of both scarce and abundant ad product enabled through a single adtech platform holds the key, but it is without doubt harder to plan and execute. However make no mistake, this is the most important challenge to overcome today. Publishers need to be less focused on sell-through rates, and advertisers less focused on buying at price, with everyone instead making real effort to develop and innovate.

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Upworthy chooses native advertising, and says no to “expandable banner ads, homepage takeovers or garish advertorial content”

As reported by Ad Age:

The site has inked a deal with Unilever to help the company promote its Project Sunlight, what Unilever calls a long-term initiative “to motivate people to live sustainably by inspiring them to create a brighter future for children.” The promotions will include both native ads from Unilever as well as a special section curated by Upworthy editors that Unilever will underwrite. The content will highlight “children and adults working to make the world better and more sustainable.” [...]

“You won’t see expandable banner ads, homepage takeovers or garish advertorial content,” the blog post goes on to say. “You will see tasteful sponsorshops, clearly disclosed promotional content, and excellent curation around topics that both the brand and Upworthy believe in deeply.”

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