Using data in all sorts of ways when creating native advertising is the way forward for the industry, says David Landes, former head of commercial content at The Local Europe and current content director at content agency Tale.
The native Advertising Institute interviewed David Landes when he attended their Native Advertising DAYS event.
“The Local is a digital publisher and we produce English-language news for an audience that is a mixture of people who know English better than the local language in the countries we cover.
The Local has been doing sponsored content since way back in 2010. Already then, we had clients who were interested in trying to reach our readers in a bit more intimate way. And in 2014, we launched the client studio.
I was the editor of the Swedish news site at that point and I was pulled over to help launch this. Since then, it’s grown quite a bit.
We structured the client studio really to mirror the newsroom. We built a sort of a newsroom for our clients, basically. But I should point out that we don’t have any of our news journalists working on the commercial content. We have a separate team of journalists for that.”
“Most of the output that we do are articles, which is what we do normally. But we also do events, surveys, videos, and things like that. Really all native.
What we’re trying to do is help bring our clients closer to our readers. We have a kind of different audience as we sit in Stockholm, but have editorial desks in different European countries. But we really have readers all around the world because we’re producing content in English. That sets us a little bit apart.
We’re doing news and information that’s locally relevant, but for a global audience.
The key for us to make that work is that we really know our audience. We’ve been doing this for a long time, so we know what they’re interested in and we know what their challenges are. When we speak to our clients, we can help weave them into some of the conversations and challenges that our readers are already actively seeking information on.
Relevancy is key. Not only understanding the audience but understanding where we can get messages from our clients to overlap with what our readers want to read about.”
“Native advertising has come a really long way in a very short time, but there’s still a long way to go. Seeing what people in the industry are saying, it’s clear that data is kind of the watchword.
I feel that we at The Local do a very good job with the data that we have. But I’m always thinking what more is out there? What other types of data points should we be collecting? Both to tell us how we can improve our content and how we can help deliver more insights to our brands.
We talk about storytelling in native advertising and that’s really when you’ve put together a good story and readers are engaging it feels really good. We do that with words. But what I really want to work on is trying to find the story in the data.”
“What’s going to help raise the bar for native is learning how to tell stories with all the data that we create and that is created on digital platforms. Both for how content is produced, distributed, and the kind of feedback and relationship that we can have with our advertisers.
Data is fascinating because packaged and analysed in the right way, what you can learn from the data is what readers respond to and what they don’t respond to. It gives you thoughts about where interesting angles for new stories might be that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
We use a lot of data from our editorial side to keep track of what our audience is interested in. So it’s not only looking at data for how our campaigns perform, but it’s also looking at our channel overall. What is moving our readers? Where are their interests? What kind of inspiring stories, and new angles, and ideas, and pitches can we come to our clients with, based on what we know our readers are already interested in?
It is using the data to connect readers and the advertisers. And we become that sort of that bridge.”
“Some of the challenges that I spend the most time reflecting on are how we can structure our work to meet the different levels of engagement and understanding about native advertising and content marketing from our clients.
We have some clients who are very savvy, very hands-on. And then we have other clients and prospects who are a little unsure about where to go. That puts different demands on our team in terms of how much guidance and education that we need to offer them.
Part of it has to do with just our own work processes. But also to know how we can be advisors and really help take those clients who are still a little bit further down on that path and move them forward.
Because we believe so strongly in the power of native advertising and great content. And it pains me when I see opportunities that are lost simply because there’s a hesitancy or an uncertainty about what you can accomplish with good native advertising.”
Want to become a native advertising expert? Join Native Advertising DAYS 2018 in Berlin!
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