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Diversifying Your Native Advertising – How Media Companies Can Identify a Target List of Advertisers

Native Advertising has exploded, and companies are on the hunt to find more native advertising dollars. In fact, Business Insider predicts that by 2021, native advertising will make up 74% of all ad revenue. It’s no wonder companies are hopping on board.

Native ads typically appear as “sponsored” or “paid” posts because the content is native to the environment in which it appears, but backed by a brand or advertiser. This type of content is becoming the “new normal,” as the battle for consumer attention heightens. Consumers are becoming ad-averse. However, consumers are welcoming ad content that provides value and suits the interests and environment of where it is featured.

How Can Advertisers Stay One Step Ahead?

While native advertising is a lucrative new income source for many, it doesn’t come without challenges. The products or brands included in native ads must resonate with the chosen environment’s target audience, integrate seamlessly, and add value. To fight this challenge, the brands and the publishers which they partner with must take a data-backed approach to native advertising.

Publishers armed with data such as which brands have a strong affinity and will resonate most with their audience will have an easier sell to advertisers. The question is HOW can they gather this data and understand their audiences, and their affinities, intimately?

How-To Identify a Target List of Advertisers

We used Affinio to answer this question.

We analyzed the audience of a well-known publisher based in New York City. The Affinio algorithm analyzed its audience of 11,200 individuals and their millions of connections, and then segmented this audience into 12 interest-based clusters, based on their shared interests and affinities. These clusters are shown in the below audience visualization. These are the individuals attracted to, and finding value, in the publisher’s content.

Inside of this audience, we see that Foodies is one community that is passionate about the publisher’s content. Using the Affinio Interests tab, we can immediately see all of the accounts that they are influenced by and derive value from. Affinio users can search by categories such as brands, celebrities, etc. In this instance, we are looking for brands relevant to this audience.

By clicking the Brands category, we see a list of relevant brands to this target audience. We can even break this down further by clicking on categories such as Airlines, Fashion, Retail, Electronics, etc. Affinio uses a custom score, The Relevance Score, which is a calculation that measures, from 0-100, those interests that are most likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, audience size, and the number of clusters members who already follow the account. Any score above 17 is considered highly relevant to the audience. By sorting by the Relevance Score, media companies can ensure they are selecting native advertising opportunities that will resonate with their target. The higher the Relevance Score, the stronger the connection the audience has with that particular brand account.

Brands such as Whole Foods, The Brooklyn Brewery, Starbucks, and Etsy, are highly relevant to this media company’s audience and would be a viable, data-backed native advertising opportunity for the publisher to explore.

Why Take an Audience-First Approach?

By leveraging affinity data, publishers immediately have a target list, of brands their audience cares about, based on relevance, that they should be contacting and offering native advertising space to on their site. With this data, publishers can prove why their advertising space is an ideal place for select brands to reach ideal audiences.

In essence, to create authentic, non-intrusive native ads, both brands and publishers must first start by understanding their audience. With Affinio’s segmentation, companies have access to audience insights such as the audience’s interests, passions, and beliefs. Audience insights should be the driving force in content creation and brand positioning so that the likelihood of providing value to the readers and advertiser increase.

Let’s make native smarter.

Interested in Native Advertising? Check out our interview with Jesper Laursen, founder and CEO of the Native Advertising Institute, “The Business of Native Advertising: Emerging Trends, Media Landscape, and Disclosure.”

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