The Transformation of Native Advertising with Data and Analytics



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“Content is the easiest and most scalable way for someone to exchange value for time.”

Eddie Kim, the Cofounder and CEO of SimpleReach, helps publishers, agencies and brands understand what content is resonating with customers and how to distribute it most effectively. In his company’s analytics, he has seen countless times that the best way to bring clients to a potential customer is using content.

Forbes utilizes an “always-on” model that allows marketers to publish unlimited content as they see fit. This approach, referred to as native advertising and content marketing, creates an audience by building a body of work online. The arena is growing, with an estimated $60 billion to be spent on native advertising in 2016, according to Forbes VP of Ad Products and Strategy Ann Marinovich.

The strategy differs from traditional advertising, and the industry has seen a growing need for measurement and transparency on how native programs are performing. Conversations are increasingly focused on understanding what exactly a product is delivering, and data and analytics is key to that story.

Traackr is an influencer management system that helps brands and agencies curate relationships in online media and has recently partnered with Forbes. Pierre-Loïc Assayag, Traackr’s CEO, has observed a clear change in the content of the message itself.

“Brands have shifted from pushing a specific product on customers, to having a conversation about brand purpose,” he explained.

One challenge with content strategy is the urge to see immediate, specific ROI metrics within a few days of the content’s publication. Both Assayag and Kim agree that while this need for rapid, specific data has carried over from more traditional marketing and advertising, it must be carefully applied when leveraging native advertising.

“We tend to want to go very quickly into the ROI for every action, but that’s typically an error,” cautioned Assayag. “When you start looking at content, think of it as a body of work, and evaluate whether you’re successful on everything you’re doing at once.”

“This is an idea fundamental to content: there are winners and losers,” Kim agreed. “If you produce a hundred articles, some will take off, while some won’t perform. It’s hard for a lot of marketers and advertisers to think like this, but it’s true for any publisher on the planet—a handful of hits drive the traffic and make the majority of revenue.”

Moving forward, Assayag sees an opportunity to involve influencers more directly in the content itself and in the ways brands communicate overarching values—a strong case for bringing influencer marketing and content marketing together.

In Kim’s view, it will be increasingly critical to centralize data moving forward. Publishers will play a key part in helping people understand how to create content across a wide variety of platforms.

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