Results tagged “Native advertising” from IABlog

8 Headlines For Digital Publishers To Ponder

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In a din of daily tweets, press releases and stories covering the media space, some stories deserve more attention than others. Here are 8 signs of the times that digital publishers should peruse and ponder as they head into 2014.

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1. ESPN mobile traffic eclipses its desktop traffic

It’s been widely anticipated that mobile will overtake desktop traffic for most publishers in 2014. One by one you see brands like ESPN announcing that this milestone has already occurred. Publishers need to be ready for the implications of a mobile first world. New ad solutions and new business models are required. If you don’t have a strategy for mobile yet (and you should), it’s critical you get one before 1/1/14.

2. YouTube announced that they are adopting Nielsen OCR as currency

With this move YouTube should be poised to capture a large amount of the volume of investment spent on video advertising since they are now being seen as more friendly by marketers and their agencies. Anybody in the video advertising space knows that transacting on Nielsen OCR or comscore VCE is not an easy proposition since it can result in serving ads against impressions that don’t count towards the advertiser campaign goals. YouTube’s move is a big signal that these forms of currency are fast becoming the norm.

3. Yahoo News hires Katie Couric and FOX Business News hires Maria Bartiromo.

It’s important to ask if Yahoo thinks Couric will drive more 18-to-34-year-old news hounds to Yahoo News? Probably not. However it will make it easier for Yahoo News to earn a place in the White House press corps, secure big news gets, and help to continue to position Yahoo as more than an aggregator. Ditto with Maria Bartiromo. Her presence may not drive immediate ratings or hurt CNBC, but it will certainly attract high level exclusives and in the long run, potentially switch momentum.

4. Rolling Stone announces Rolling Stone Country.

The expansion of Rolling Stone content into country music is a sign that all publishers (online or off) are looking at new ways to get into businesses that are adjacent to their core business models. Every publisher should be going through the same exercise and making similar moves into adjacent businesses. As other examples of this, CNN recently launched a platform to share Instagram photos direct from the field, called Scenes, and dozens of publishers are publishing their content directly through Flipboard. These are the kinds of innovations each publisher should be seeking out.

5. Google adopts viewable impressions as currency in AdWords. 

In August Google quietly announced that it was going to transact with viewable impressions. The current proposed viewable impression definition is still only a recommendation from the Making Measurement Makes Sense consortium made up of the IAB, ANA, and 4A’s. Google’s running ahead with what they’re calling ‘active view’ as a currency that viewable impressions are something that every publisher needs to pay close attention to because it is absolutely going to become table stakes for ad campaign budgets moving forward.

6. The FTC review of native advertising

When hundreds of people descended on Washington to attend the FTC’s review of native advertising it signaled not only that native advertising was big (eMarketer estimates say it’s a $2.36 Billion market) but that it’s something the industry needs to get its act together on and self-regulate. Publishers should go out of their way to make sure readers are not confused on the difference between editorial content and advertising content. Proper labeling is the key. If publishers label paid content as coming from an advertiser, there should be no more confusion. If they do that, there should be no more FTC hearings. The IAB recently released their native advertising guidelines which is a first positive step to tackling this problem/opportunity.

7. The Visual Revolution Summit

Early in December in New York City a first of its kind summit around the visual web occurred. The “Visual web” feels like it’s the new new thing. One only needs to look at the rise of Pinterest, Instagram, BuzzFeed, Tumblr and others to know that a picture is worth more than 1000 words. Publishers are actively redesigning for feed and gallery formats. Native advertising can be simplified with and an embrace of images over text is a way to communicate this. The emergence of the visual web is a big deal.

8. The Internet of things

While CES is only a few weeks away it’s safe to assume that the Internet of things is going to receive a tidal wave of attention coming out of this massive gathering in sunny Las Vegas. It’s hard to predict what digital publishers will do in this new ecosystem but it’s safe to assume that marketers will be looking for ways to bring their products and services into the home and workplace and non-conventional, non-media driven ways.

About the Author
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Peter Naylor is the IAB’s first Publisher-in-Residence, providing thought leadership and critical industry insights on the most important challenges and opportunities facing digital publishers today. Until recently, the digital media pioneer was the EVP of Sales for NBC News Digital. Prior to that, he oversaw advertising sales for the company’s entertainment and sports digital properties. Naylor was Chairman of the IAB Board of Directors from February 2012 through February 2013. You can reach him on Twitter @prnaylor.
 




Content Marketing is assuming an increasingly large role in the digital campaigns of both B2B and B2C marketers, and is providing digital publishers with a potentially rich source of both revenue and content. However, there is substantial confusion about the concept, due to a multiplicity of definitions, marketing platforms and strategies. To help publishers navigate this promising but complex field, IAB recently established the Content Marketing Task Force.

As a first step, the Task Force was charged with developing a Primer to define the various components of the marketplace. This Primer has now been completed, thanks to input from the nearly 50 Task Force members, including publishers, both legacy and digital-native, and technology providers active in this space. 

The Primer’s objectives are fourfold:
a) To eliminate confusion by providing alignment among competing definitions, marketing platforms, and strategies
b) To provide accurate, timely information about Content Marketing
c) To offer guidelines on conforming to editorial standards and identification of sponsorship
d) To address the need for clear disclosure to consumers and businesses

contentmarketingprimer-screenshot.PNGWe believe the Primer will help IAB members grapple with the issues and maximize the opportunities of Content Marketing. Because Content Marketing is a very broad term which encompasses a wide range of platforms and strategies, we felt it very important to promote understanding of what its purpose is, and how it differs from advertising.  We also wanted to clarify how marketers and publishers can avoid potential pitfalls by establishing guidelines for clear disclosure. Fellow co-chairs reflect on the importance of this primer:

Content marketing has the potential to be a substantial, long-term solution to many challenges publishers face with respect not just to revenue but satisfying audiences with the kinds of valuable content and experiences they’ve come to expect. Publishers have worked tremendously hard over the years to gain the credibility that they have with audiences.  Our goal is to lessen the likelihood of that happening with clear guidelines and best practices for working with their advertising partners on content marketing initiatives.
- Lisa LaCour, VP, Global Marketing, Outbrain

As marketers look to unlock the full value of their content assets and pursue even greater levels of engagement from their media investments, paid content distribution will continue to grow.  It’s through this primer, with support from the industry’s leading practitioners, that the IAB looks to shine a light on this dynamic and evolving space, and provide guidance and best practices that will ultimately help shape its formation.
- Chris Schraft, President, Time Inc. Content Solutions 

So, what is Content Marketing?

Recognizing that Content Marketing is a very broad term which has many competing definitions, the Primer offers this general statement:

                  “Content Marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and 
                   valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target 
                   audience.”

It further notes that content marketing differs from advertising and other promotional vehicles because its intent is to provide entertainment/information that stands on its own merit - a “pull” strategy that enhances the consumer’s attitude towards the brand, rather than a “push” strategy with a specific call to action.

Within this overall description, the Primer shows how content marketing can work across the several platforms of owned, earned and paid media. Publishers have the opportunity to capitalize on all of them in a number of ways, both as distributors and as suppliers of content.

The Primer also provides marketers with an overview of the varieties of content - original, repurposed, and curated - they can use in their content marketing strategies. Each has its advantages, as well as complexities that require consideration. Sophisticated marketers will want to experiment across the spectrum.

The Need for Transparency and Disclosure

This Primer is clear that the key to the continued growth of Content Marketing is strict adherence to the IAB dictum that “Disclosure is not an option but a requirement.” The Primer states that content marketing efforts should always be clearly disclosed to the consumer as such, irrespective of whether they are paid units, third-party paid links or social-media endorsements. 

Specifically, regarding the subset of Content Marketing known as Native Advertising, the IAB Recommended Native Advertising Disclosure Principles, as outlined in the IAB Native Advertising Playbook states:
                                     
                   Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to distinguish between what 
                   is a paid native advertising unit vs. what is publisher editorial content.

In sum, Content Marketing represents an important strategy for marketers to engage their audiences in new and exciting ways, while offering publishers the opportunity for new revenue streams. By helping to reduce confusion about terminology and establishing guidelines for meeting editorial standards, the IAB’s new Primer will, it is hoped, help this industry reach its full potential.  Moving forward, according to Susan Borst, the IAB Director of Industry Initiatives, the Task Force will focus on additional topic areas related to content marketing such as the importance of social media and measurement.

About the Author
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Andrew Susman

Andrew is the CEO and a co-founder of Studio One and co-chair of the IAB Content Marketing Task Force. Previously, Susman was an executive at Time Warner and Young & Rubicam. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Advertising Educational Foundation, and Business for Diplomatic Action. A native of Missouri, he is also a certified sharpshooter and is a major supporter of the ASPCA.


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The just-completed IAB MIXX Conference & Expo 2013 themed “Advertising is__________?,” explored the changing definition of advertising, with the two days focused on showcasing competing points of view, highlighting their differences, and looking for points of commonality. As part of this debate, the IAB convened a discussion on “Native Advertising: Fact and Fiction,” with the similar goal of creating a framework for understanding this hot new concept.

This session complements the work of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force, a group of companies 80+ members strong who are working to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s “native” landscape. This prospectus, targeted to advertisers, publishers, and ad tech providers, will provide a focused, guiding light to the industry while being broad enough that it can expand over time. In addition, it will provide a basis for further IAB initiatives in this space.

While the Task Force plans to publish their work in the fourth quarter, the IAB MIXX session attendees were given a sneak peak and chance to comment on the Task Force’s early findings. A panel of industry stakeholders led the feedback: Task Force Co-chair Patrick Albano, Vice President, Sales, Yahoo!; Steve Kondonijakos, Sr. Marketing Director, Federated Media; Stacy Minero, Leader, Content Marketing, Mindshare; Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman; and Geoff Schiller, Chief Sales Officer, Hearst Digital.

The session kicked off with a discussion of the duality of “native advertising,” with the concept encompassing both an aspiration as well as a suite of ad products.  On the one hand, we all aspire to deliver “paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated with the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”  On the other, tactically, advertisers must use ad products to achieve this, and the IAB Native Task Force has identified six categories commonly used today in pursuit of this goal:

1. Search Units, e.g. 
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2. Promoted Listings, e.g.:
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3. Recommended Content Units, e.g.:
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4. In-Feed Ads, e.g.:
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5. In-Ad (IAB Standard) Units, e.g.:
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6. Custom, e.g.:
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The group discussed at length the core dimensions of ads that feel native, including form, the extent to which the ad fits with the overall page design; function, how well the ad matches the editorial feel of the content in which it is nested; and technology, the degree to which the viewer can treat the ad like they can any other content on the site.  Amid a spirited debate, consensus is emerging that you can achieve a native experience through three, two, or even one of these, depending on the site, brand message, and audience mix. 

There was a great deal of enthusiasm in the room about the unique benefits that the advent of “native” has brought to display advertising. First and foremost, display advertising has been freed from the “ad ghetto” of the right rail and leaderboard to which it has long been confined and now has license to settle anywhere on the page. The horse is now out of the barn, and advertising will not be forced back into solely those positions. A corollary benefit of this move is getting advertising into the user’s natural activity stream—where print and TV advertising have always been. Allowing the viewer to interact further without leaving the site is much preferred to clicking through to a new website.  Finally, “native” is decidedly and overwhelmingly a form of brand advertising, a category that display has long fought with marginal success to conquer.

The lively conversation provided useful feedback to the IAB Native Task Force. Audience members encouraged the IAB to find the right balance between standardization and customization—giving enough firm guidance to help make the market, but not too much to stifle it—while best practices around disclosure were also highlighted as a need. 

Have we answered the question, “Native Advertising is__________?” The IAB Native Task Force and feedback for the IAB MIXX session clearly show that there is real agreement around what it is not: a single, uni-dimensional ad product. Rather, it is an end goal—an aspiration—that folks seek to attain via a number of paid advertising tactics. The IAB Native Task Force will absorb the advice and carry forward the enthusiasm of the IAB MIXX session as it works to publish the IAB Native Prospectus that details these principles in the fourth quarter.

About the Author
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 Peter Minnium


As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.

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IAB Goes Native

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“Native advertising” is one of the most confounding phrases to captivate mind-share in the digital marketing arena. We all know that marketers are excited about it, but the ecosystem has yet to come up with a concrete definition of this buzzworthy approach to interactive advertising.

The confusion has reached a fever pitch, with Rob Macdonald, Vice President of Business Development at m6d finally writing down the words that so many have wanted to say…

“Please Obi-Wan Rothenberg, you’re our only hope!”

Rob really did include that line in a comment he wrote on a recent Digiday piece - but in all seriousness, the sentiment is in keeping with a widespread outcry from our members.

Native advertising is gaining in popularity, but stakeholders need to coalesce around definitions and best practices, if we’re going to be able to drive the native movement to scale. The confusion and chaos must be eradicated, and the first step in IAB forging a path in this direction is the development of a new IAB Native Advertising Task Force.

The group had its first meeting earlier this week and a number of key concerns were immediately raised:

•    How do we distinguish between native web advertising and its mobile brethren?
•    Is native allowed to be disruptive?
•    How can we clearly delineate between native ad content and pure editorial?
•    How do we define measurement and metrics surrounding native?
•    Where do ad creatives fit into the native mix?


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Even with disparate voices in the room - many of them in senior leadership roles - common goals quickly began to take shape.

First and foremost, the task force will aim to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s “native” landscape. This prospectus, targeted to advertisers, publishers, and ad tech providers, will need to be clear enough that the industry has a guiding light and broad enough that it can expand over time—while also providing a basis for further IAB initiatives in this space.

And, speaking of further efforts in the space, IAB has also kicked off a new Content Marketing Task Force, which may—or may not—be seen as an umbrella for or a cousin to the Native Advertising group.


taskforce3.JPGSo, light sabers aside, IAB is jumping into the fray. Debate, consensus and more debate are surely to follow, but we plan to be at the center of the conversation, providing a clear road ahead for these two vital advertising concepts to evolve into strong players in the digital marketing arena.

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst.

I am not a native advertising expert, but I am an ad pro—and I know bad advertising when I see it. Just because an ad is designed specially to fit on a digital content page, I am not giving it a pass on quality. The truth is that most all so-called “native advertising” is crap.  To be fair, most all advertising is quality-challenged, including offline and on. This is the main problem we should all be working to address.

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How? Here are my three golden rules for all advertising, native or not. Respect this holy trinity to be effective.

1. Make it Relevant.  We know more about each specific page viewer and the content on that page than ever before, yet digital advertising feels even less relevant to me than traditional does. I know I will see car related ads in car magazines, but what ad content I can expect when online seems almost entirely random (I’m excluding the perversely persistent re-targeting which is rarely really relevant). While the potential for relevance is greater than ever, so too are the challenges given digital fragmentation.  It is hard, but difficulty is not an acceptable excuse.

2. Make it Great. Content is still king. We forget this way too often when mesmerized by our data and technology.  These things do not scale ads—great ideas do.  “Great” here can mean abundant utility, entertainment, or information, among other things. This is not a judgment call—an ad earns this grade if viewers interact with it and we have the ability to precisely measure this (and it ain’t via clicks).

3. Place it in the User’s Activity Flow.  And, the corollary, allow the same user interactions as on the content part of the page.  TV and print got this right from the start with ads integrated into the viewer’s activity stream. Commercial breaks and full page ads are known and accepted by consumers as part of the overall content experience. They may not be liked, but the value exchange is recognized by all.  In the digital world, it was decided long ago to put the ads on the periphery of the action. Also at present, viewers have extremely limited options to interact with ads on the page. The sole choice of click-through or not is hopelessly inadequate in this regard. We need to change this to allow users to do within the ads what they have become accustomed to doing outside of them. This is beginning to change with things like the IAB Rising Stars and is a major benefit of many other native ad formats.

Good advertising has the ability to transform businesses and transfix consumers—no matter what form it takes. Let’s move past debating the format and put our collective efforts on realizing the long touted, yet rarely delivered, promise of digital advertising by making better ads. 

About the Author 
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Peter Minnium

As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.