In 2017, the Croatian content studio 24sata won no less than 11 Native Advertising Awards: 4 Gold awards, 3 Silver awards, and 4 Bronze awards.
What’s the secret to creating so many successful native ad campaigns? What did it mean for 24sata to win all those awards? And how have 24sata used the awards as a way to expand business? We asked Natasa Sudelija, Head of Native Advertising at 24sata.
Creating award-winning campaigns
You have to know what people want, what they are talking about, what are their worries and what they are interested in.
Where do you find inspiration for the native advertising campaigns that you create?
My university professor told us at our sophomore year: You are journalists, yes. But how do you become good storytellers? You have to know what people want, what they are talking about, what are their worries and what they are interested in. These are the stories they will read and these are the stories that will get you somewhere.
Her opening speech stuck with me to this day…and that is exactly what I do. I read and listen, a lot. Inspiration is everywhere.
Every story is worth telling. It just about finding the right angle.
How do you identify the (brand) stories that are worth to tell in native advertising campaigns?
Every story is worth telling. It just about finding the right angle. If you can’t find it – then you are not a storyteller.
Not every project can be #noshame, or “Shared dream” big (winner campaigns from 2017, ed.). Native advertising comes in different shapes and sizes – the most important thing is to fit the right product in the right format at the right time.
There is no PREMIUM native or BASIC native. Native is native. Sometimes we tackle big issues and sometimes we are helping people to choose the right dishwasher pill. Work is work.
Tips and tricks
Nobody was laughing anymore when they saw the numbers and engagement it produced.
In 2017, you won a lot of Native Advertising Awards. What’s the secret to winning so many awards?
Hard, hard work and I if you are lucky enough – open-minded clients. These clients trusted us to do what we do best. I remember I came to Pliva and told them that we had a new format #brandstory. It was something new on the market, custom made for the client but the biggest flaw was – we’ve never done it before. But they trusted me and my vision that this was the thing that was going to give that extra something to the campaign, and it did.
As for Shared dream and Videostar (winner campaigns from 2017, ed.) – people laughed at the notion that we are doing a YouTube soap opera or looking for the new YouTube star over a YouTube reality show. Nobody was laughing anymore when they saw the numbers and engagement it produced.
Take your time in writing the entry and producing a video. You only get one chance!
Which tips do you have for other native ad studios when making an award entry for Native Advertising Awards 2018?
1: Context is everything
2: Budget is not important, the story is
3: Good results won’t hurt
4: Take your time in writing the entry and producing a video. You only get one chance!
The benefits of a native ad award
It drives you, pushes you to do more and do it even better than before.
Why did you enter your campaigns for the Native Advertising Awards in the first place?
Honestly, I knew our campaigns were good but I wanted to see how good. It’s not a small thing to get this kind of an award. Its some sorts of a stamp of approval – you are doing it not well but the best (in the world!). It does something to your ego. It drives you, pushes you to do more and do it even better than before.
It’s an amazing feeling to be acknowledged by your peers for the work that you have done. That’s the best feeling in the world.
What did you expect to get out of it? And did it live up to your expectations?
First of all, it’s an amazing feeling to be acknowledged by your peers for the work that you have done. That’s the best feeling in the world. You know, I was just a girl working in sales that wanted to do native advertising when nobody knew what that exactly meant (a lot still don’t).
I had no formal education on the topic and was brand new at everything but I researched the hell out of it and learned something new with every article that we made (now that number is over 450). For me personally, it was a huge deal – It gave much-needed wind to my sails. At the end this was one of the factors that pushed me to write a booklet about native advertising – first ever in Croatia.
We gained credibility that we know how to tell their story and get them the results they wanted. To put it shortly – it’s like winning an Oscar!
What has it meant for 24sata to win those Native Advertising Awards?
Professionally it was a great accomplishment. That was the first year we applied and to get so many awards was beyond amazing.
It didn’t hurt us on the business side as well. We opened some new clients just on the count of the awards. Those were clients that were not doing native advertising before and this gave them a nudge in the right direction. Brands trusted us more with the concepts we brought to the table. We gained credibility that we know how to tell their story and get them the results they wanted. To put it shortly – it’s like winning an Oscar!
Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn – when we published our awards international publishers (beyond our region) and colleagues contacted us for our know-how.
How to use a native ad award
In what ways have you used the awards to promote yourself? And which results did it drive?
We send out a press release and got some media coverage in the region as well that lead other publishers in the region contact us to give them our story – what we did, and how we did our winning projects.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn – when we published our awards international publishers (beyond our region) and colleagues contacted us for our know-how and I have to say I made a lot of connections where I got an opportunity to share and exchange experiences with other colleagues around the world.
Awards speak for themselves – clients now more than ever see we know what we are talking about and we are the ones to get their message out. After NAA other nominations also came – Digiday, Webby, INMA.
Can you mention some of your most recent, successful achievements at 24sata? How and why were they successful?
An ongoing project that I am passionate about is with Heineken Croatia and the story is about sustainable development. Pliva is with us for another year and this time with the topic of oncofertility.
Also, we have the longest native campaign in Croatia that is still going strong with Addiko bank whose goal is to improve financial literacy amongst Croatians giving them real tips on how to manage their finances. That’s all I can say for now. Hopefully, we will win some more awards this year and get the chance to showcase our projects.