Digital advertising is entering a golden era - Fairfax

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 14 December 2015

Most publishers have been eyeing off native advertising for the past few years, but Fairfax Media is looking to up the ante in 2016.

The publisher is looking to roll-out new offerings to bolster its native suite, which sits in its Brand Discover unit and commercial director for Fairfax, Tom Armstrong, told AdNews that while there are lots of conversations flying around about the effectiveness of digital advertising, for the publisher, native is set to be a massive growth driver.

“There’s a lot of talk about at the moment about fraudulent activity, viewability issues and annoying pop-up ads, but we strongly believe digital advertising is about to enter into a golden era. Well executed native advertising is going to play a big role in that - it’s a very exciting,” Armstrong said.

The publisher set up Brand Discover two years ago, and according to Armstrong it’s the fastest-growing digital advertising product at Fairfax. While he wouldn’t reveal any revenue growth figures for the unit, he explained that its new focus on ‘closing the loop’ with its native products is seeing its executions hitting brands objectives.

“Brand Discover is about driving engagement and awareness, and we’ve done that for over 40 clients now, with around 200 pieces of content,” he said. “The thing that really strikes us is the time spent engaging with a brand story is phenomenal - it’s minutes vs. seconds glancing at a banner ad.

“In some cases we’re seeing brand uplift metrics of over 100%. We’ve really started to invest this year. When we started out with Brand Discover they were simple articles and what we’re doing now is investing in a diverse range of products that actually match our editorial strategy.”

The publisher has gradually added offerings to its native product such as, adding booking functionality to its travel pieces, and email sign-ups, and white paper downloads to some of its finance pieces. It’s also preparing to allow advertisers integration with its data management platform, so the publisher can offer targeted and addressable native content solutions.

Fairfax native investment comes as The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Australia and The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) announced they have created guidelines around native advertising for both advertisers and publishers.

The two industry bodies created what they call the “Native Advertising Principles”, and Armstrong welcomed the move.

“We are pleased to see industry-wide guidelines which support our own code of ethics for native advertising. All our native advertising articles and promotional drivers are clearly labelled as "Advertising Content" or "Advertising Feature". This is to ensure our audience can make an educated decision on whether they engage with the content.”

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