Like most publishers, its in-house content shop has created editorial-mimicking ad formats for years, but in the last six months it has carved a totally new direction for creating commercial content and distributing it. Experimenting with new ad units which offer a richer creative experience while focusing on just serving contextually relevant native ads has seen client campaign results “rocket,” said Adam Harris, international creative director at Time Out. In the process, the publication has opened a promising new revenue stream for the business.
The publisher claims it can now charge premium rates and is predicting half its digital ad revenues will come from native advertising in 2016, up from 33 per cent in 2015.
“When it comes to programmatic in particular, class-one inventory isn’t being sold as prevalently as it used to be, so we have to look at other premium sources of revenue,” he said. “This could open a massive new revenue stream for us because we can charge more premium rates for native campaigns.”
A breakdown of its approach.
Contextual relevance over volume
About six months ago, Time Out began working with native ad supply side platform ShareThrough to run some experiments with existing clients Booking.com, Sony and eBay. By plugging Sharethrough into its ad server (it uses Doubleclick), it started serving commercial content that was contextually relevant to the editorial with its pages and the interests of the readers visiting those pages.
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