The 3 KPIs That Drive the Success of Bauer Media’s Native Ad Studio

Bauer Media's Abby Carvosso manages a sales team of 180 people. Here are the KPIs that matter for the company's Native Ad Studio 'Adventure'.
KPIs

This article is part of a series of interviews that NAI has conducted with the directors of publishers’ Native Ad Studios around the world.

Please reach out if you want to add your Native Ad Studio to the series.

Today we speak with Abby Carvosso, Group Managing Director, Advertising at Bauer Media in the UK. Abby manages a sales team of over 180 people. The high number of sales people make sense when you consider that Bauer Media reaches over 25.7 million UK consumers across multiple platforms such as radio, magazines, digital, TV and live events through entertainment brands including heat, Kiss, Grazia, Empire, TV Choice, Take a Break, The Debrief, 4Music, Bella, Magic and Absolute Radio.

Bauer Media UK is part of the Bauer Media Group, one of the world’s largest privately owned media organisations, with businesses in over 20 countries.

In 2015 Bauer Media founded its Native Ad Studio ‘ADVENTURE‘. It’s described as a “cultural creative agency” with the ethos — stop interrupting what people are interested in and become what people are interested in.

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What is the background for building the Native Ad Studio?

ADVENTURE is the home of all our creative commercial work. The team, and all those that contribute to it, report to me as Group Managing Director, Advertising, Bauer Media.

Our mission is for the consumer to see as much value in commercial content as editorial content so we work collaboratively on campaigns with both commercial and editorial teams. We combine audience insight with editorial instinct to create commercial content that works seamlessly alongside editorial, speaking directly to the audience in the right tone of voice for them.

Do you have editorial guidelines for ADVENTURE?
All of our brands follow editorial guidelines when it comes to creating native content. Regarding labelling, it’s important for us to make it clear to consumers when we publish sponsored content by marking it ‘brought to you by’ or labelled as ‘sponsored content’, maintaining our credibility and the trust of our audiences.

We are mostly concerned with brand awareness, dwell time and engagement.

How do you label native advertising?
The type of labelling depends on the level of partnerships with the brands; if it’s an advertorial, the brand is typically more visible than in pure native where the brand is much more integrated with the editorial content.

How do you measure the effect of native advertising
How we measure effectiveness differs according to the campaign and its objectives, but we are mostly concerned with brand awareness, dwell time and engagement.

How do you price native advertising?
Pure native is a premium product in terms of cost, the time it takes to produce, the access to our brands and our editorial talent, the insights into our audiences and the high-value ad environment it appears in – therefore the price is higher than for traditional advertising.

What are the factors you consider when pricing native advertising and reporting on campaigns?
The exact pricing depends on all those factors as well as how long the campaign is running and the number of platforms, as well as its degree of complexity.

It’s important that our clients understand that we have expertise in both editorial and commercial across influential audience groups – we know how to reach them drive action with our content. All of this put together means we can deliver genuine cultural impact and create meaningful campaigns that resonate with the audiences we serve.

Commercial Content Partnerships 

Publishers are struggling to renew native advertising campaigns, but according to Abby Carvosso, Adventure has several long-term partnerships such as Wickes’ six-year partnership with Absolute Radio and Three’s work with KISS around the Snowbombing Festival.

She agreed to share to other examples of what successful content partnerships look like at Bauer Media.

CASE STUDY: KISS, heat, The Debrief, Grazia and Boots

The background

Boots’ key objectives were to boost their credentials and awareness and change any perceptions of Boots being irrelevant or too expensive amongst their key audience of women aged 16-34.

Boots wanted to be seen as the natural destination for all beauty needs and the place to go to for inspiration and expertise. Using our multi-platform brands, our editorial endorsement and our talent, we created a unified campaign that would deliver rich content experiences appealing to the young, female, beauty-focused audience. We also wanted Boots to use native advertising for the first time, to allow them to get even closer to the audience in a real, honest and fun way.

The campaign
Our idea was to create a partnership between Bauer’s editorial and Boots’ expertise that would deliver advice and inspirational and expert content from the people who understood them best.

Across a six-month period, the multi-platform Bauer content aimed to inspire and surprise the audience with the range and affordability of Boots beauty products, whilst creating a call to action geared at browsing and treating at payday. In addition, to cement the partnership, Boots had ownership of The Debrief (Bauer Media’s first digital-only brand, ed.) hair and beauty channel for the duration of the campaign, and we created a beauty product franchise across Grazia, UK’s first weekly glossy magazine, and heat specifically for them.

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The franchise offered our beauty experts’ endorsement from across the business to be harnessed to back into their beauty range – the first time this had ever been done.

• Print involved a series of monthly ‘pay day’ partnerships across Grazia and heat where, with Boots, we bought the audience our ‘pay day picks’
• Radio was focused around key payday timing and was split between co-branded spotlights and airtime. The spotlight copy highlighted seasonal trends and beauty finds, whilst driving listeners online to view expert advice from our talent on the digital hub
• TV used a panel of Bauer talent and Boots experts to bring the in-store experiences and advice on offer with Boots to life via informative ‘vloggers’ style spots
• Home page takeovers and run of sites ran in bursts to serve a dual purpose of driving product purchase directly via Boots.com and showcasing video content as a driver through to the central hub

The results
• Eight out of 10 respondents took some form of positive action
• 63% vs 30% industry standard of returning visitors on the Boots hub
• Two mins 12 secs dwell time – higher than the one-minute industry standard
• Three in five respondents remembering seeing the campaign

CASE STUDY: Grazia and River Island

The background
Grazia worked with River Island to drive awareness of its new SS16 seasonal collections, boost brand credibility and drive purchase intent through a series of native content stories. Tapping into Grazia’s fashion obsessed audience and using Grazia’s distinct tone of voice, native content was written and created by our editorial team, allowing River Island to fit with graziadaily.co.uk just as a piece of editorial would.

The campaign
We produced five native content articles to inspire the Grazia audience with key wardrobe trends, linking them all in with River Island’s SS16 collection. We also created GIF guides that were focused on how to mix and match with accessories and shoes. This combination ensured we showcased a wide range from the River Island collection in an engaging and relevant way.

All the activity was supported with weekly newsletters, as well as native and social traffic drivers optimised across the Bauer Women’s lifestyle portfolio, to drive viewers to the native pieces.

Screenshot 2017-07-06 11.17.01

The results
• The campaign generated 1.8m native impressions across the Bauer Women’s lifestyle sites, Grazia’s Facebook and Twitter feeds – this exceeded the benchmark by 16%, with an average click-through of 2.84%
• The average dwell time across all articles was 1 minute 37 seconds
• Total views across all articles: 21,000+ (exceeding the benchmark by 43%)

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