Money & Business

Australian Ad Coalition Looks to Balance Native Ads, Quality Content

By / Aug 19, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

With brands seeking to get more return on their ad spend by expanding into so-called native advertising, two Australian ad groups are joining forces to ensure the trend doesn’t backfire on them. The goal: to better define “premium content.”

Native advertising is the hottest—and most controversial—thing in the ad-supported publishing industry at the moment.

In Australia, though, ad industry groups  have a message for brands eager to pay media outlets to publish their sponsored content: The lines between advertising and journalism may be blurring, but quality journalism still matters and should be protected.

Last week, committees at two of the country’s advertising trade organizations—the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Media Federation of Australia—formed the IAB-MFA Agency Advisory Group (IMAAG), which aims to reduce overlap between the two entities on an issue near and dear to both. IAB represents publishers, and MFA represents media agencies—but both have an interest in protecting the quality of the products that advertisers attach their brands to.

Among IMAAG’s goals are establishing a relationship between the interactive publishing world and ad agencies, tackling issues such as online traffic fraud, and defining online premium content. (That type of content does not include BuzzFeed listicles, according to one industry commentator.)

“[I]f everything goes down the quick, snackable in-and-out news path, then our opportunity to grow digital revenues, to work with clients on digital marketing spends will decrease,” said GroupM Chief Investment and Intelligence Officer Danny Bass, speaking to the mUmBRELLA blog. Bass will lead the new advisory group.

He noted that the current publishing landscape makes it difficult to fund the kind of journalism that people want to read.

“We acknowledge to run a newsroom is expensive. It’s very expensive to have investigative journalists, etc., and that has to be funded by advertising as well,” Bass said. “It is important to us to ensure quality journalism still exists and creates compelling content that drives premium and quality websites, because there is an interest for us and our clients as well.”

Bass sees IMAAG’s role as a “conduit between the IAB board members and the clients,” making clear to businesses the kind of content that deserves premium placement so that both advertisers and publishers get the best bang for their buck.

Has your organization taken a dip into the native-advertising pool? If so, how are you ensuring that you’re providing good opportunities for advertisers while ensuring the value of your content for readers? Give us your take in the comments.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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