Publishers’ Secret Weapon Against Facebook & Google: Brand Safety

By now, you know about the recent brand safety crises surrounding Facebook and YouTube, where brand ads were displayed alongside controversial or inappropriate content. There’s been no shortage of backlash. In fact, the anger among marketers was so great that YouTube lost five percent of its top advertisers before its most recent NewFronts course-correct instilled enough confidence in marketers to rethink abandoning the platform altogether. In the wake of this controversy, publishers are presented with a unique opportunity to capitalize on the increasing importance of brand safety and credibility. They’re now in prime position to attract advertisers over many powerful competitors. Publishers can lean on promises of brand safety to calm the nerves of buyers, and win business over the biggest social platforms. But what does marketing brand safety look like, exactly? What tactics and approaches can be emphasized? Here are the top ways that publishers can present themselves as
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Striking the Right Balance: 5 Tips for Success with Native Advertising

In September of 2013, the late David Carr, skeptical of the burgeoning native advertising tactic that was back then “all the rage,” wrote a column titled “Storytelling Ads May Be Journalism’s New Peril.” Three months later, the Times jumped into the fray. Today the company boasts a fully-fledged content marketing arm, T Brand Studio. Adam Aston, vice president and executive editorial director of the Studio, said when it was first launched, there was a sense of anxiety among the Times’ newsroom, as well as advertisers, that the content they created wouldn’t be up to par with its editorial content. “We were really mindful from inception to approach it as fact-first, narrative-first, with a strong story, strong characters,” he said at a recent panel event, hosted by MediaRadar in New York City, about the future of native advertising. “From inception, whether we were making the simplest stories we could
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Study: Political Native Advertising Can Be a Mine Field for Publishers

The following is a cross-posted guest post from the Native Advertising Institute. Journalism is in dire need of income these days. The crisis of the business model is caused by a fragmentation of both audience and content as well as competition from companies like Facebook and Google. As native advertising is maturing and is increasing in popularity, newsrooms are finding new sources of revenue. This is a positive development. Journalism gets funding and audiences are being exposed to content that is relevant and valuable to them rather than advertising that is annoying or irrelevant. However, the rise of native advertising has also been controversial. Worries have been voiced as to whether people are being tricked and that they don’t realize when they are being exposed to commercial or paid content rather than journalistic content. It might be easy to shrug off this worry by saying “people are not stupid” or even “does
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Univision’s plans for the former Gawker sites: A shared business backend, less duplication, and a push into TV

What exactly is Fusion? is a question many asked when the Univision- and ABC/Disney-backed television venture first launched, and asked again when it began hiring big-name journalists to helm its digital news arm, and again when the news site debuted in 2015. What Fusion wanted to be evolved yet again, as it expanded its target audience beyond “Hispanic millennials” to a multicultural demographic interested in everything, from heavyweight investigations to pop culture commentary to social justice issues to environmentalism to talking hot dogs. (Last April, Disney left the partnership.) Then, in August, another shift: Univision bought the non-Gawker sites of the Gawker Media Group for $135 million, adding popular sites like Gizmodo, Deadspin, and Jezebel. In the whirlwind months post-sale, as Univision tried to integrate these new sites with the specter of lawsuits still hovering, the company laid off 200 people, a significant number of Continue reading "Univision’s plans for the former Gawker sites: A shared business backend, less duplication, and a push into TV"

Native ads are still very confusing to many readers, a new survey suggests

Can readers tell the difference between news stories produced by a publisher’s editorial arm and the sometimes slippery — but often lucrative — native advertising that runs on publishers’ sites? Forty-four percent of people shown a native ad couldn’t correctly identify the company that had paid for it, according to recent findings released by the content marketing firm Contently in partnership with the Tow-Knight Center at CUNY and Radius Global Market Research. Fifty-four percent of survey participants indicated that they had felt deceived by native advertising before. And 77 percent of survey participants didn’t even identify native ads as “advertising” — describing it either as “editorial content” (34 percent!) or a hybrid (43 percent). (Contently has done similar surveys and found similar results: that people misidentify native ads as news articles). Focus group responses shed a little light on the nature of some of the confusion:
“I think
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As opinions shift, a new wave of cannabis-focused sites hopes more advertisers will loosen their pockets

For three years, The Cannabist, a promising digital project from the struggling Denver Post, has been covering the marijuana industry in Colorado, where marijuana for recreational use has been legal since 2012. In August the site attracted 885,000 unique visitors, making up more than 13 percent of the Post’s digital traffic. The development of the site was profiled in the documentary Rolling Papers. Still, there are businesses hesitant to advertise with The Cannabist. All of its advertising is paid with cash: Marijuana businesses looking to advertise are themselves often dealing only in cash, with few banks and credit unions willing to take on their accounts. And it was only this past fall that The Cannabist was finally approved to use Facebook’s ad platform. The restriction had hampered its growth, especially since the site strives to be national in scope. (Its presence is all the more impressive Continue reading "As opinions shift, a new wave of cannabis-focused sites hopes more advertisers will loosen their pockets"

Recommended content widgets still have major disclosure and clickbait problems, says a new report

“Promoted stories” have taken over the web. The widgets, which hawk dubious dietary supplements and a wide variety of clickbait, have become an unfortunate staple of websites — both news-focused and otherwise — thanks largely to the ad rates they pay publishers, which tend to be higher than standard banner ads. They are, to many, a necessary evil for publishers desperate for more revenue from wherever they can get it. But a new report shows that, while the widgets may be good for publishers’ bottom lines, they’re bad for publishers’ relationships with readers. ChangeAdvertising.org, a nonprofit focused on data and web ads, looked at the top 50 news sites for two days last month to get a sense of what their widgets looked like, and what users were likely to find when they clicked the stories those widgets promoted. Here are a few of its findings: Only half of the 312
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