Longevity is key, but it will cost you

custom-studios Keeping it separate - WSJ's content arm Custom Studios.

AdAge made some interesting observations in a piece about native advertising. It spoke to MediaRadar, which specialises in media sales intelligence, to hear what it had gleaned from its 1,600 customers regarding attitudes to online native advertising.

There was one standout fact: it found that the longer a content campaign ran, the more likely it was to succeed and have a positive yield.

The reason for this is that a six-month campaign, for example, will give the content producer time to adjust the creative depending on response factors such as dwell time etc.

However, a campaign of this length is likely to come at a cost. Publications in the upper echelons, such as the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, can charge hundreds of thousands of pounds for native advertising slots on their websites.

A six-month campaign on a top site can cost nearly $500,000.

Yet the customer was happy to pay. MediaRadar found that renewal rates averaged around 72 per cent when the campaign had run for at least six months. When it was shorter than this the figure was closer to 32 per cent.

At the same time, the content was not designed to grow sales but own the conversation. In other words, to build the brand.

What does this mean?

It is clear that with the advent of ad blockers there is a perception among publishers that revenue can be generated from native advertising/content marketing. We have been predicting that development for some time. And we are not alone.

But the view on longevity is a correct one. By looking at the analytics and dwell times, content producers will be able to create something that the reader genuinely enjoys and finds useful.

Whether it will fall in line with the publication’s editorial standards remains to be seen.

Yet the idea of using analytics to evolve and define editorial content is quite a powerful proposition. We have often said that content marketing needs to emulate journalism. Let’s be honest, most editorial teams don’t look much further than impressions and uniques. And they don’t go on to use that information to create better stories.

Publishing has struggled with online revenue models. Yes, the Times is just about breaking even with subscriptions but there needs to be a separate way of bringing in the money.

One question is whether it will damage the perception of the publications concerned? As a result, many publishers are creating separate arms to deal with this, such as the Wall Street Journal‘s Custom Studios.

It has been said that content marketing needs to learn from journalism. Maybe it should be the other way around.

Longevity is key, but it will cost you is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.

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