They met at an enormous conference in Berlin – the publishers, the brands, the agencies and the tech companies – to attend the world’s largest event about native advertising. What did they talk about? Almost only one thing – data. Spoon’s Malin Dahlberg reports from Native Advertising Days.
The big topic at Native Advertising Days was data. You know, the mass of digital information about you and me and everyone else who surfs the web. The digital footprints that we leave behind show us who we are, what we buy, and what we’re interested in.
Quality and quantity are still key ingredients in successful native advertising, but the time when brands and companies guessed what the readers wanted, those times are indeed over.
Here are five important takeaways from Native Advertising Days.
1. Ads or content? Both!
YouTube has two billion users per month, and everyone leaves a digital footprint behind. According to YouTube specialist Pia Gosh, that information can be used by advertisers to create more engagement and avoid the “Skip Ad” button.
“We can see that people are tired of ads and that they skip more of them, much sooner than before. How do you make sure they stay? Well, by creating ads that provide value for the viewers.”
The Brazilian furniture company Etna did exactly that. They asked themselves what their customers liked to watch on YouTube. The answer was music videos, so instead of your traditional ad – here’s quite the ingenious ”The beatbox catalogue”.
2. Inside the head of a picky generation
They’re born between 1996 and 2010, they have grown up with a smartphone in their hand, and they live in a world full of climate threats, wars, and crises – which they’re bombarded with through social media. Gen Z is also the biggest target group of the hip platform Vice.
Thanks to annual surveys and continuous research on the site, Vice has gathered vast amounts of data on this audience that help the company create the right content.
“To reach Gen Z, you must create the content on their terms. They have a well-developed BS detector and they demand that companies take a stand. Both politically and socially,” said Nina Kennedy, VP Media, at Vice.
When it comes to purchase decisions, a full 61 per cent say that they choose the company that take action to improve the world.
3. Follow the conversations – and join them
Verizon is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. In the portfolio, you’ll find MSN, AoL, Yahoo, Huffington Post and Techcrunch, to name a few.
Kenneth Landbo and Troels Ringsted showed how Verizon use AI to find the hottest topics on the web. The robot reads and filters through the information, until it serves up the topic clusters that engage people on both social media and news sites. It could for instance be about “sustainability” or “technical innovation.” As a brand, it’s about having the right angle that naturally places you in the middle of the conversation.
“Internet is a gigantic chat forum. If you get it right, people don’t mind commenting, sharing and spreading your content.”
4. Forbes message: “Never stop evolving”
Adam Wallitt at Forbes made a room full of publishers catch their breath as he told them about how the American business magazine has taken their native advertising to the next level.
Today, Forbes allows a few select companies with a purchase license to publish content directly to the site. No middlemen or editors. The company’s message goes straight into the CMS.
“Social media have given companies the opportunity to communicate directly with customers. That’s why their needs look different today, and if we don’t continue to evolve our offer, we will soon not have anything to sell.”
5. The myth busters
The Danish financial paper Børsen sells native ads, and they’re not satisfied with guessing. They got help from Neurons Inc, a company that combines eye tracking and brain electrodes to research how our subconscious mind reacts to content. The goal was to debunk a series of myths, such as “native ads work better if the readers think the text is editorial” or “people don’t remember the brand behind a native ad”.
Stine Bjerre Herdel was there to share the results from the research, and she could proudly debunk most of the myths.
“We saw, among other things, that it didn’t matter so much for the reader that the text was an ad. If they found the topic interesting, the same processes fired in the brain like when they read an editorial article.”
You can access the full research here.
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