University of California boosts engagement using native ads
August 25, 2014
The University of California has been testing native advertising on online magazine source Slate.com and has seen a strong response on social media with one story receiving more than 7,000 likes on Facebook.
Through the use of Slate’s internal agency SlateCustom, and native advertising platform Polar’s MediaVoice, the University ran a series called Breakthroughs, which aimed to raise awareness around research conducted on the University system’s various campuses. While native ads have been known to fit conveniently in between editorial content and not cause interruptions for the reader, Slate’s native programs have garnered encouraging results, while some campaigns have seen an average time spent per user of more than 3 minutes and up to five minutes on mobile.
“As CTR on display and revenue from it declines, native ads are a great new source of revenue,” said Tony Vlismas, head of market strategy at Polar, Toronto. “As the data shows, native is the fastest-growing digital ad medium.
“Publishers love it because it’s additional revenue; marketers love it because it’s a new vehicle to share their stories; and consumers love it because at the end of the day, it’s good quality content. It goes full circle because consumers then share the article, which brings earned media back to the publishers, which further amplifies the story of the brand.”
MediaVoice aims to seamlessly integrate with Slate’s CMS to pull custom content and then serve it using a double click ad-server, as well as a comprehensive set of reporting tools. These assets claim to allow Slate to drive more traffic through the execution of native distribution, view the response to these ads and see what is working.
By aligning branded and editorial content, feeds are more pleasing to the reader, and ads are less intrusive.
According to Polar, native campaigns have yielded a 33 percent increase in CTR.
“The catch is to make it a piece of content that readers will want to click and share,” Mr. Vlismas said. “It should be contextually relevant to the content around it, targeted to the same type of audience, and properly labeled so no one thinks they are being misled.”
SlateCustom claims to have delivered 100 million native ads in a 30-day span.
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York
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