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What Brands Are Looking For In A Native Ad Partner

Jan 31, 2019

A handful of industry experts shared their tips for facilitating the best collaboration between brand and publisher on our Native Advertising Powerhouse Podcast. We’ve got the highlights for you right here.

Here’s their advice:

Show results

According to Tim Clark, Head of Native Advertising at SAP, showing a track record of results should be one of your first steps when you approach a brand. For SAP, he explains, this proof-of-result is essential to choosing a native advertising partner—and it’s safe to say, SAP probably not the only brand that feels this way.

“If somebody wants to approach me on partnering on some native stuff, I need to see results of that platform - what you’ve done for other companies and any sort of case study,” says Clark.

Another essential element, he explains, is being able to stand out in the industry. This means being able to demonstrate how your platform is different than others and how it will best reach the appropriate target audience and best serve - as well as fit with - the brand. Clark holds that proving this, too, is nested in prooving results.

“Make sure that there is some ROI attached to it somehow. We are not really attracted to technology for the sake of technology - or to publishing content just for the sake of it. We need to see results,” he continues.

RELATED: From Good Stories to Good Metrics: Measuring Performance with Native Advertising

Be sharp when answering to the RFP

The next tip comes from Melanie Deziel, Founder of StoryFuel, who has worked with multiple brands and companies in her role as a branded content consultant.

Her number one tip is to be sure to respond correctly to the request for proposal (RFP)

“What’s the key objective of the brand? What are they trying to accomplish? You want to take some time to think about budget and timing. What’s actually realistic to accomplish in this time period? Because one great way to lose business is to pitch something that doesn’t fit the budget or can’t be accomplished in the time span that you have,” she says.

For Deziel, focus on being realistic - given the budget, the timing and the goal of the brand- is key.

“If the brand is asking you to raise awareness about something, and you’re pitching them a sales-focused idea, you’re gonna miss the mark.”

In some cases, though, realism isn’t necessarily the best approach, explains Mary Gail Pezzimenti, VP of Content at CBS Interactive.

In some cases, it may be worth it to aim a bit higher, while also considering the initial request.

“I always recommend you respond to the RFP - exactly what they’re asking for - but also offer an idea that is out of the box and well beyond what the budget was. If you don’t ask for it, you will never get it,” she says.  

This might end up with you creating an even bigger and better campaign - both for you as a publisher and for the brand.

RELATED: How to Best Work with Agencies and Brands on Native Advertising Campaigns

Invest in great communication

According to Carla Johnson, though, all of the above is worth nothing if you don’t invest in great communication. Johnson, a keynote speaker and Principal at Type A Communications, who has worked with many brands throughout her career, believes that communication is at the heart of any successful collaboration.

“The biggest thing that it takes to get a good collaboration - which we don’t invest in - is just really really great communication. Sometimes - because we’re in this marketing and communication space - we assume that’s the case. But that’s actually the thing that I think we can sometimes be the worst at because we take it for granted,” she points out.

Instead of actually communicating, everyone just assumes that other people understand what they’re talking about – and vice-versa.

“Brands are assuming that publishers just know what they want, and publishers are assuming that brands understand their process and how it works and what can be done,” she explains and continues:

This is very often not the case, though. Johnson complains of a phrase she hears time and time again that she explains best sums of this communication divide:  “ Well if that’s what they wanted it, why didn’t they just ask for it? “

You may have heard that line before. Maybe you’ve even uttered those words. According to Johnson, though, those words are indicative of a lack of communication or a breakdown in communication.

RELATED: 5 Tips for New Project Managers on Native Advertising Campaigns

What can we take away?

There are many brands out there with different needs, wants and levels of knowledge about native advertising, the approach that works on one may not necessarily work on all of them. If you keep just three rules in mind though - Show results, answer to the RFP and invest in great communication - you’ll be sure to land more - and better - brand clients.

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Story by Jenna Mescon

Jenna Mescon is a former editor at Native Advertising Institute who is now a campaign and content lead at Novo Nordisk.

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