For advertisers who understand the value of storytelling, native advertising is a content marketing solution that makes sense, and the ability to measure the success of native is critical.
Native ads are proven to lift brand awareness, but an Online Publishers Association survey found that advertisers also seek native solutions to increase consumer engagement, launch new products, generate clicks to the marketer site, build buzz and generate sales.
Measuring the success of native is an important piece of the puzzle for advertisers with so many goals in mind. They want to know if good storytelling that doesn’t directly promote their products or brands is powerful enough to accomplish their marketing goals.
But what are the marketer’s goals and what are examples of native advertising performance metrics that you should track? These should be defined early on in any native campaign. Do they want to establish themselves as the thought leader on a particular subject? Are they trying to build buzz around a new product launch?According to native advertising experts at Sharethrough, consumers look at native ads 2% more than editorial content and spend the same number of seconds viewing native ads. Sharethrough reports that many publishers are measuring clickthrough rates (CTR) for all digital ads, but measuring the native ads CTR is not as valuable as impressions and engagement when looking at native.
Because the form and function of native advertising mimics editorial content, it’s important to use many of the same content metrics you’d use for editorial content when analyzing performance. How much time did viewers spend engaging with native content? Did they engage with the content and share it on social media? Did they spend a long time on the page? Did the content drive a conversion such as an email signup or other action that connects the reader to the brand? These metrics are more meaningful.
Social shares, for example, are quantifiable but also provide insight into the value of the content, according to the Online Publisher’s Association survey. Each share exposes the content to a new audience, increasing its potential reach and engagement.
At Forbes, brands are given access to the same analytics dashboards that journalists use to track content performance. Examples of native advertising data includes pageviews, unique visitors, followers, shares and comments. Advertisers can use these metrics to determine the overall success of a piece of native content. Other publishers are offering similar metrics to marketers who understand the value of this kind of content engagement and can look past the sheer volume of numbers in metrics such as CTR.
At the beginning of the campaign, establish goals for both the marketing message and the metrics you’ll use to measure success. With these goals in place, you’ll be able to determine what success looks like for this specific campaign and how to measure it.