IAB in the News

Chat with Ben Osborne, NZ Director Brands & Agencies, Outbrain, on the topic of Native Advertising in NZ

Mon, 16 Nov 2015

Over the next couple of months, the IAB NZ’s Standards & Guidelines Council is out in the marketplace conducting a series of short interviews with key industry folk.

The concept is to ask the same four questions to a range of industry professionals working across agency, publisher, creative, and client facing roles.

We’re hoping to further the discussion and education around this topic.

It may identify a gap in thinking, perception and perhaps even process - and potentially help identify areas where the industry needs to work better together to help this category evolve here in NZ.

We caught up with Ben Osborne, NZ Director Brands & Agencies, Outbrain. Here is what Ben had to say.

1. Is Native different to what you've seen in the past?

Content discovery platforms such as Outbrain, have been involved in brands' native activity since day one. What's fantastic is we actually don't care about the format - whether it's native, owned or earned media. At the heart of it all, the ambition of content discovery is to bring the experience of a magazine to online. The sensation of flipping the page, that “what's next” moment. And so the idea of content discovery was born.

It's always about the story. That’s what really matters. In a world where human attention is a scarce commodity, the story is king. As long as it is interesting and adding value to the reader, it will earn their attention. Native advertising that is created based on this notion should achieve that.

We see it in action every day as more and more brands are amplifying their native content to reach an interested audience at scale, engage them and deliver their KPIs.

We see more and more agencies and brands investing heavily in native led campaigns because they recognise the connatural fit and value of that connection, and this is really exciting to see.

2. How is it a changing process?

Native advertising amplified via content discovery technology acts often as a 'trigger' and can influence change in the purchase funnel. Native, coupled with the nature of content discovery, allows brands to 'surprise and delight' the readers. Leveraging the technology, brands can now find interested audiences and invite them to discover information that they weren't aware of or didn't even think about - that's a great opportunity for brands in communicating product and services providing alternatives for the consumers. They can impact the consideration, change perception, and fuel the funnel with new prospects. Brands can actually optimise their native activity to achieve such goals- Outbrain recently released a new KPI optimisation tool that assists brands to achieve these objectives. With native, the challenge for publishers is to ensure the process for brands & agencies is as seamless and fluid as possible, and we feel our model is an exciting step forward for marketers in that direction.

3. How is this changing the overall landscape?

The big change that we see is that the format is dead.

Now with a blank canvas, creative agencies and content creators can bring their big ideas without having to cram a concept or idea into 30 seconds or 300x250 formats. Once again, it's the story that matters. Technology like Outbrain's allows them to guarantee that they can create their content with freedom and the audience will come at scale - and their content will create an impact as they can optimise toward any KPI that the brand has in mind.

In New Zealand brands and agencies are executing many amazing native campaigns and our industry here is all a-buzz about native, - we really get it. But for it to really take hold in NZ, what's apparent is there is a major gap here compared with other markets, and that gap largely is in resources. Marketers are starting to realise there needs to be a swingshift, and many have already begun to take a new approach in restructuring their departments and teams for this.

4. What is the feedback from clients?

We invest a lot in market education about content marketing. Our data plays a significant part as at the end of the day clients want to be informed throughout the entire process- from content strategy, content creation, content amplification, measurement and ROI. The data helps clients achieve their goals, and as a result the feedback is very positive.