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

Speaker Q&A: At the Danish Benjamin Native Studio, they have a clear idea of how you best work with media agencies and brands on native ad campaigns.
brands native ad campaigns

It can be challenging for publishers and native ad studios to work successfully with both media agencies and brands on native ad campaigns. What’s the best process? Should the native ad studio do everything? How much does the brand have to say?

We asked Christel Rex Laugen, Head of Benjamin Native Studio and Maria Rossen, Content Creator at Benjamin Native Studio to give other publisher native ad studios some tips to a successful collaboration.

The biggest challenge is without a doubt to agree on the roles upfront.

What do you see as the biggest challenge when it comes to doing native partnerships with advertisers, brands and media agencies?

The biggest challenge is without a doubt to agree on the roles upfront before we begin the creative process and the execution of the native-campaign.

There has to be a clear understanding of who’s doing what at the media agency, the advertiser and the native studio – and who needs what information during what time of the campaign. It can be everything from who is approving what pieces of native-content, to who can sign off to an extra cost in the campaign.

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Another challenge is defining what role the agencies versus the advertiser should play. Not two agencies have the same process for working with their clients.

Some agencies want to have a lot to say in the creative process and some agencies are more interested in the campaign management, data and ‘Excel’ part of the campaign and leave the creative part of the campaign fully to the advertiser and the native studio.

The key to a successful collaboration in a native campaign is that everyone on board knows what to expect.

Doing a native campaign often have several parties involved – how do you get eg. the media agency, advertiser and editorial staff in sync to create an effective native campaign.

We make a clear agreement between all participating stakeholders in the campaign, that clearly defines every team members role in the campaign. Who is doing what and when?

The key to a successful collaboration in a native campaign is that everyone on board knows what to expect so there are no misunderstandings. We do this as soon as the deal is “signed” – sometimes even earlier in the process.

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We see a very big difference in hours spent on campaigns where we have clear roles and clear campaign planning and management and when we don’t. Fewer mistakes happen and therefore less time has to be spent on adjusting the campaign.

As a result of that, we now always make sure that everybody knows what to do. And believes us; we have tried not to have this structured.

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We also need to make the client feel safe and comfortable in the complex world of native advertising.

How much do you believe each of these parties should be involved?

We don’t think we can set a general standard for how the different stakeholders should be involved – every campaign is unique. We work with premium brands as well as minor brands and broadly within the lifestyle segment with fashion, interior design, beauty, health, fitness, cars and skincare. And we see very different expectations and demands from the advertisers and their agencies.

Some advertisers are doing their first native campaign EVER with us. Then it is our job as the native studio and publisher to guide them and help them on the way to a successful campaign. And to make sure that the stakeholders’ roles are defined and everybody knows what to do and when and what to expect during the campaign.

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That enables us to make a better campaign that runs smoothly – and ultimately results in satisfied advertisers and media agencies, that come back for more. If we don’t… we might lose the client. And even more importantly for the industry: they might never want to do a native campaign again.

So as a publisher we not only have a great responsibility in getting the best creative ideas and to create an effective native campaign. We also need to make the client feel safe and comfortable in the complex world of native advertising.

We hope everybody would do the same… That will ultimately help the entire industry.

We still meet advertisers who really want to do native – without really knowing what it is.

What would you want all brands and media agencies to know before they engaged in native advertising with a publisher native ad studio? What is the most important thing they should beware of?

In the perfect world – and hopefully the near future; to let go and trust us to do our best. We still meet advertisers who really want to do native – without really knowing what it is.

These cases always end with a frustrated client that don’t get the results from their native campaign, that they expected.

What is the key to a successful partnership – that hopefully will end up with more campaigns in the future?

Structure, leadership and creative mindset.

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We have built our talk on some confessions where we talk about the challenges and what we did to overcome them.

You are both going to be on stage at this year’s Native Advertising DAYS. Why should attendees absolutely not miss your presentation and your roundtable discussion about confessions from a native ad studio?

We will take the attendees on a journey that gives a unique insight in the first crazy 10 months of starting a native ad studio at a publisher – everything from the original thoughts on starting the studio, what did we plan, how did it go and what have we learned.

We have built our talk on some confessions where we talk about the challenges and what we did to overcome them.

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We will be very honest and also tell about the things that didn’t go according to plan – and how we tried to work through the rough patches and the difficulties. Because we believe firmly in learning from your mistakes.

If you want to talk with us about the pain points and don’t want to do it public you should come and meet us at our roundtable talk. We also hope that you will bring some of your pain points to the table.

Could you reveal one of the confessions that you’re going to talk about at the conference?

Of course…  a very interesting confession: WHO is the customer in your native advertising agency? Is it the advertiser, is it the media agency, is it the target audience (user/reader) or…?

And how do we navigate in this battlefield to ultimately please every stakeholder in the campaign?

Last year we went home from Berlin with a suitcase full of new input, leanings, research, contacts.

What do you look forward to the most at this year’s Native Advertising DAYS?

We are so excited!

Last year we went home from Berlin with a suitcase full of new input, leanings, research, contacts and great social interactions. We expect at least the same this year.

Meet and hear more from Christel Rex Laugen and Maria Rossen at Native Advertising DAYS 2018 in Berlin. Read more and get your ticket right here

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