How to tell if your Native ads are successful

It is important to know that your native ads are successful

If you’ve been to a site such as Buzzfeed or Quartz recently you know all about Native Advertising. We’ve spoken about the topic a few times before but in a nutshell Native Ads is a web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. Native ad formats match both the form and the function of the user experience in which it is placed. One form of native advertising, publisher-produced brand content, is similar in concept to a traditional advertorial, which is a paid placement attempting to look like an article.

We’re big fans of the concept but recently questions have arisen about the effectiveness of Native Ads and whether there’s a decent return for advertisers beyond just the “cool factor”. There’s one major problem: if Native Advertising is the newest method of online advertising, what is the newest method of measurement?

Forbes, for example, is starting to give advertisers in its Brand Voice platform two new dashboards to provide better metrics. One will provide statistics for brand content, like top posts, pageviews, total visitors, repeat visitors. Basically, publisher metrics. The other is a social dashboard, providing data about how well content does on social networks from social actions to social referrals.

Other publishers running similar types of sponsored content are reporting to brands similar metrics, which are more akin to publishing measures than the typical brand measures like clicks, impressions, and lifts in consideration and purchase intent. Your average marketing manager is not used to gauging success in pageviews and shares.

BuzzFeed, perhaps the poster-child for the native ad movement, has been offering brands and agency publishing metrics for a while as a way to educate and soothe nerves. It gives them pageviews, top referrers, top search terms and viral views from its dashboard.

So far, so similar.

The American Online Publishers Association have done some interesting research on the matter with the following useful takeouts:

Measurement Metrics
Measurement Metrics
Marketing Goals
Marketing Goals

The future is bright for Native Advertising; we’re still waiting for a brave brand to do something in South Africa!


Monocle: a Native Advertising case study

From humble beginnings in 2007, Monocle Magazine has grown to become something of a media empire. Starting as just a magazine now the company includes a 24-hour radio station and a website. The company was founded by Tyler Brûlé, a Canadian entrepreneur, Financial Times columnist and formally founder of Wallpaper magazine. Described by CBC News reporter Harry Forestell as a “meeting between Foreign Policy and Vanity Fair”, the magazine provides a globalist perspective on[vague] international affairs, business, culture, design and fashion. Monocle are also one of the few media companies that get the concept of Native Advertising.

Monocle’s website contains magazine archive content that is only available to paid subscribers. It also contains films and documentaries that are available to the public, and a daily news bulletin, “The Monocolumn”, written by the Monocle team and their correspondents.

Interestingly, according to Brûlé: “We absolutely never, ever use the term native advertising,”, calling the expression a “bizarre, North American piece of marketingism.”

Despite the fact that Brule isn’t a fan of Native Advertising, he’s taken the concept to a new level. In a Linkedin blog post former PaidContent.org head Rafit Ali points out that Monocle is a leader in the concept of Native Advertising:

One of the examples Ali pointed to was a two page spread for a Hasselblad camera. The spread contained five striking photos of the camera and neatly laid out ad copy. (Sample line: “”A definitively luxury camera for professionals and amateurs alike – and perhaps even an astronaut or two.”) On the bottom, a simple “Hasselblad X Monocle” declaration let readers know the ad was a collaboration between the two.

The work was done by a team of six within Monocle that handles all of Monocle’s editorial design work as well as its native ad production. According to Brûlé, of Monocle’s 300 pages in its most recent issue, 60 were native ads produced by Monocle (though Brûlé prefers to call it advertorial).

If the company’s infrastructure blurs the church-and-state divide between editorial and sales, it’s by design. Editors accompany ad directors on sales calls. “I’m of the opinion that all good journalists are good salespeople too,” Brûlé said. While the ad team discusses pricing and tries to close the business, editors give Monocle’s potential clients insight into the publication’s editorial calendar and explain the reasoning behind certain editorial decisions.

All the ads are labeled vaguely – with the brand’s name, followed by “X Monocle” – but leave it to the readers to figure out what that means.

The financial benefits for a publisher such as Monocle are substantial. A recent Samsung campaign cost the company $1 million and Native Advertising makes up 25% of revenue per month for the company.

Whether you’re a publisher, agency or advertiser it’s time to jump on the Native Advertising bandwagon. If you start to understand how you are supposed to embrace it you would be able to drive clicks to your brand at a very acceptable CPC. It will definitely not be a perfect fit for most digital marketers, but there have been many who have done both successful sales and lead generation campaigns through this advertising medium.

The best way to know if it works for you is to read up on it, study it and implement a test campaign. You might just stumble onto your next best advertising medium.


What is an ad network?

As an ad network we occasionally get asked the question: “What is an ad network and why should our brand use one?” In this day and age where anyone with a vague level of literacy can become a publisher it’s important that the high quality publishers have an easy way to monetize their websites.

In essence with there being just too many websites out there for ad agencies to sit and listen to. This is why ad networks exist – so that agencies can buy huge amounts of advertising from a variety of websites all in one go. Ad networks are kind of like a supermarket of websites, which saves agencies the effort of having to go every individual website to know what they are about.

An ad network brings publishers and advertisers together

Think of an ad network from the perspective on an actors agent; they make sure the actor gets the best roles and the same applies to an ad network. This gives a publisher the opportunity to focus on their content rather than pounding the proverbial pavement in order to sell their site. Here at OfferForge you can even sign up to the network online without leaving the comfort of your chair. Publishers get easy access to the advertising collateral needed for their sites and can generate an affiliate marketing income right out of the blocks.

For an advertiser the benefits are fairly substantial as well. An established ad network with critical mass is a perfect vehicle to extend reach beyond what the top few properties provide. There is more to the internet than just a couple of key portals and a few top vertical content sites. In fact, the very essence of the internet is about fragmented sources of content. Not to say that top portals and sites don’t offer valuable advertising opportunities, they absolutely do. It is to say, that online marketing plans must extend beyond the top few to include the many other options that exist in order to fully maximize the opportunity that the internet offers. Ad networks offer un-duplicated, complementary reach to tens of millions of unique users, with inventory coming from unique sources through the aggregation of thousands of content rich niche sites. The quality of the sites that are working with the top ad networks has improved dramatically and most have adapted to brand requirements offering significant transparency. Furthermore, many of the niche sites within a network yield higher advertising impact as a result of less page clutter and passionate content interaction with the user. A typical consumer’s “favorites” list is made up of dozens of sites that touch their lifestyles and breed loyalty. The moral: target everyone on different types of websites.

The other benefit for advertisers: reducing waste. If you’re advertising on the top ten sites in your vertical you’re most likely going to have your target audience see your adverts on similar sites. This might be useful for getting your audience to see an advert but will eventually leave your audience with fatigue and indifference towards your brand. An ad network will spread your message across multiple sites using tracking technology to follow users through their online journey.

The big advantage of affiliate marketing as a way of lead generation or selling products online goes both ways. The advertiser ONLY pays for performance. This is different to having an under-performing sales person that you still need to pay a basic salary. Only when the successful leads are generated or the sales are made will the publisher get paid. The publisher only works through the one point of contact: the ad network. There is no need to try and follow up with loads of vendors on payments for commission earned. It is all done through a single interface. Affiliate marketing just works for all parties.

If you have any further questions contact us today for a smarter, faster way to get your message across.


Going direct to a publisher vs real time bidding?

As an advertiser does it make more sense to go directly to a publisher or through an ad network doing real time bidding?

Website publishers have it tough. They have a strong desire to increase their advertising revenue with as little headache as possible. For publishers needing a quick revenue solution, outsourcing the whole process to Google AdSense has typically been the easiest way to go. The problems with AdSense, however, are that it’s restricted to buyers on the AdWords platform, the revenue model lacks transparency, and the revenue yield to the publisher is low.

Ad networks like Offerforge.com

More savvy publishers often with larger amounts of traffic and higher revenue goals either turn to selling their inventory directly to advertisers through direct ad sales, or by outsourcing it to an ad network that handles it on their behalf. Direct sales usually require more technology, like an ad server, as well as people to handle ad operations (like setting up campaigns, updating creatives and managing clients).

The downside to this process is that it’s very inefficient for both publishers and advertisers: it requires numerous manual tasks, such as negotiating and transmitting contracts, trafficking campaigns, billing, and so on. Despite these challenges, publishers continue to prefer direct ad sales for the simple fact that this yields the highest revenues.

There is a problem both with and for ad networks. For example, during peak advertising seasons like Christmas, the influx of advertising revenue, especially in the direct sales channels, creates lower volumes of inventory in the real time bidding (RTB) ad networks channel. In some cases, publishers effectively €œdisappear from the RTB ecosystem completely if their entire inventory gets pre-sold from direct deals. After all, display ad space is a finite and ephemeral commodity online.

That combination of lower inventory volumes with higher inventory prices forced marketers to drastically increase their bids in order to compete for what was available, making it challenging for many performance-based marketers to maintain their volumes and ROI. As an advertiser you would have found yourself paying similar amounts to the ad network as you would have going directly to the publisher.

Is the solution to be smart about timing of advertising buying or just to go direct to a publisher always? For an advertiser it’s much of a muchness and one has to wonder whether the publishers should make more effort to incentivise advertisers to their platform. Then again it’s a zero sum game without any direct solution. Advertisers need to be smart whether they use ad networks or direct to publishers.


Zurich launches CPC campaign

cost per click campaign for zurich

We have a new campaign called ZA – Zurich – (CPC). This cost per click campaign will run ads for a very respectable short-term insurance company.

Zurich is a short-term insurance company headquartered in Johannesburg and listed on JSE Limited.

Zurich offers insurance products and services that respond to the needs of individual, commercial and corporate customers. It has a network of sales areas and a series of service outlets across the country, and employs approximately 1 000 people.

For individual customers, they offer a range of products including motor insurance as well as home and accident insurance, also available in the form of the “Internet Monthly Policy”. They also underwrite tailored products such as “Collectibles” to protect collectors’ valuables, and more.

For commercial and corporate customers, they offer a range of insurance solutions, including specialty lines of business such as engineering, marine and risk financing. In addition to a range of products and services for business insurance protection, they offer tailored products such as “Collectibles” for retail, wholesale and manufacturing jewellers, diamond or art dealers, and more.

Payout for this campaign is R2 per click.

As an affiliate a good cost per click campaign running ads for a respected company is well-worth your traffic. Adding this into your ad inventory list will make it possible for you to monetize your pageviews effectively.

CPC campaigns are of great value to publishers as they enable you to drive clicks and get paid for it rather than hoping it converts further down the sales funnel. Other campaigns offer commission on lead generation or sales and they have good earning potential, but the cost per click campaigns are always good to have as part of your mix.


BetXchange launches CPM campaign

BetXchange cpm campaign launched

BetXchange has been in operation since 1988. Offering extensive betting facilities with regards to local and international horse racing and all sporting events.

BetXchange, regulated by the Gauteng Gaming Board invites you to join the summer action with two world class sporting events hosted in South Africa

South Africa vs Australia cricket – Catch the  titans of world cricket clash.  Australia have the momentum, they have the game time under their belts and they
possess a strong batting and bowling unit. The Proteas will be eager to begin their season strongly but the time it will take them to find their feet may just cost them the match.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge – Is an annual golf tournament played on the Sun City Gary Player Country Club Course which is situated in South Africa’s.  The tournament has unquestionably become the greatest showcase of golf on the African continent and is fondly regarded as “Africa’s Major”.

Played during the first week of December, a time of the year when both the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai have been concluded, the marquee names in professional golf consider the Nedbank Golf Challenge to be a year-end highlight, and despite the dates clashing with the Chevron World Challenge, the 30th Nedbank Golf Challenge attracted some of the biggest names in the game.

The earning potential of the this CPM campaign for publishers with high volume sites is really good. The campaign is paged on pageviews served, not clicks, sales or leads.

As a result BetXchange would get a lot of brand exposure and some sales, while you the publisher would get a chance to monetize your high volumes of pageviews.

Take advantage now and join the action by running BetXchange.