Analytics & Workflow Tech Key to Streamlining Native Ad Programs

Native advertising is complex. It often involves multiple stakeholders, multiple forms of media, and multiple avenues for distribution. Plus, clients expect and demand thorough reporting on their campaigns in order to determine ROI and future spends.

Despite these challenges, demand for native advertising continues to grow, making it a growth opportunity that publishers cannot ignore. To better manage intricate client relationships and complex native ad campaigns, publishers should invest in technology that streamlines the process, said Michael Dolan digital strategist, client technologies at The Economist during Publishing Executive’s Native Advertising Summit in March. “I think one area where you can actually make some gains and make native advertising less complicated is with technology,” said Dolan.

Below are some tips about using tech to run native ad programs more efficiently.

To learn about the latest native advertising technology publishers are using, check out FUSE, an elite summit designed to accelerate the adoption of technology in media.

Ease The Distribution of Native Content

The Economist tackled the issue of managing large, multimedia native advertising campaigns by creating it’s own CMS for native content. “We built from scratch a centralized content management system for all of our commercial content programs,” explained Dolan. “We’re able to shoot things out and put up websites very quickly and customize them easily.”

Forbes, one of the earliest media players in the native space, took a different tact when it launched its BrandVoice platform in 2010, explained Forbes former VP of marketing Michael Monroe, who also spoke at the Native Advertising Summit. The BrandVoice platform required a complete retooling of the site in order to allow a select number of brands to post content directly to Forbes’ CMS. Six year’s later, this program has grown to include over 100 brands and contributes over a third of Forbes’ revenue, said Monroe. “The tools we use on the business side are identical to the tools we’re using on the editorial side. . . the fact that we’re all using the same platform has made for a very seamless experience for the readers and our clients,” said Monroe.

Use Data Analytics to Measure & Report Everything

At the same time that The Economist built it’s native content CMS, the publisher purchased software and tools to measure the performance of these programs. “Now, we’re able to bring the measurement of our content programs into one place, and understand how a client’s content is performing,” said Dolan “For example, we can let that client know, ‘You have a lot of fans in Australia. We’re under utilizing that.’ Or if we build an app, test it, and see it’s not working, then we’ll scrap it and go on to the next thing.”

Monroe advised publishing leaders to invest in software that can measure “every interaction” across the site. While an advertiser might not want to track every particular data point, publishers need access to this information to tell a complete story about how a campaign performed. “I feel that our partners find that extremely valuable,” said Monroe.

“Being able to centralize these things and look at them at one place, is a huge time saver,” concluded Dolan. “When you have so many different stakeholders internally involved in these, being able to actually sort of take the pulse of a program and measuring management from one place is absolutely critical.”


Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.