As published by our co-founder, “Native advertising is a form of paid media where the advertisement is relevant to the consumer experience, integrated into the surrounding content and is not disruptive.” The advertisement is in-feed and is relevant to the content on the page. As CEO of a native advertising platform, I’m seeing the native advertising industry experience phenomenal growth, especially on mobile.
When introducing native to your marketing campaign, you need a clear view of what you want the results to be. In order to succeed with your in-feed native ads, you first need to define what success actually looks like. What is the metric you are going to use to determine whether or not your native advertising is a success? For the majority of in-feed native advertising campaigns, key performance indicators (KPIs) typically fall into one or more of the below:
CTR: Click-through rates (CTRs) are often used as a KPI, particularly when it comes to programmatic native advertising.
Visits: Rightly or wrongly for many advertisers, the No. 1 criteria for success when they run native advertising campaigns is: How many visits did it bring to my site?
Dwell Time And Bounce Rate: These two KPIs often go hand in hand with visits as a measure of success. Dwell time is the measure of how long a visitor spends on a specific page, so it can be used — in a slightly crude fashion — as an indicator of whether someone read and enjoyed the content on the page.
Bounce rate, which is a key search metric, is the indication of what the user did after landing on the page. Did they click back or close the window, or was their interest piqued enough by this page to move along to other pages on the site? Both are metrics used to understand the stickiness of content and websites, and to tell if visitors enjoy these pages.
Engagement: This is a similar KPI to dwell time, but the process of measurement is very different. While dwell time is typically measured through the advertisers’ website, usually via Google Analytics, engagement is a metric that is usually measured via a publisher, native technology platform or another third-party ad-tracking tool.
What does it mean? It is a measure of how long someone engaged with your content. This could be how long, on average, someone spent reading your branded content published on a site. Or it could be the average length someone spent watching your brand video.
Shares And Likes: For many advertisers, native advertising is a tool to be used to generate shares of their content and likes for their pages. This is particularly true, though not exclusively, with social media advertising. For many advertisers using social media advertising, they are looking for as many shares of their content as possible — shares that hopefully translate into lots of likes for their social media profiles, and more visitors to their site. But, ultimately, shares equal extended reach for your brand’s marketing messages and increase the available pool of relevant customers you can engage with at any point in the future.
Sales And Leads: While soft metrics, such as engagement and visits, are very popular measures of success, native advertising is increasingly being used as a pure direct response marketing channel. For these advertisers, success is easy to quantify: Did I create any sales leads? Did I manage to generate any sales as a result of this native advertising?
Sophisticated advertisers increasingly use native advertising in conjunction with other forms of digital advertising for strong sales results. When combined with data, retargeting, cookies and attribution modeling, native advertising is a growing part of the modern sales lead marketing mix.
Challenges Of Measuring In-Feed Native Advertising
The onset of native and content-based advertising solutions has presented the industry with a complex challenge: How do we establish meaningful and consistent measures that underpin the digital trading environment and allow the evaluation of campaign effectiveness?
Using standard metrics will give you the numbers you want — the impressions, reach, clicks, etc. And through this, you will be able to show whether a native ad was successful compared to other advertising formats. However, I believe these serve as a reporting comparison but do not give full insight into the value of native advertising. How you measure a native ad should differ according to the campaign and its objectives and be tailored toward this.
In June 2016, the IAB U.K.’s Content and Native Council published its Content and Native Measurement Green Paper, in which our company weighed in, along with 15 other companies. If the paper has a conclusion, it’s that there is much work to be done to be open and transparent with all data points for consistent, algorithmic measures and techniques to be developed.
The point on which everyone agreed is that current digital trading metrics were only a part of the solution and that, as with traditional media, there has to be an investment in understanding how people behave with content-based and native advertising before establishing algorithms that measure those behaviors.
by Julien Verdier