One of the earliest examples of native advertising dates back to 1900 when Michelin published a how-to guide, including maps and hotel names, for French motorists. It was a big success right away, and the brand's goal was clear: get in front of more drivers, sell more tires.
Since then, the goals of branded content have become a little muddled and benchmarks of success haven't been clearly defined.
While some brands depend on publisher metrics like impressions and shares to measure success, others have found better ways to measure the impact of native advertising.
For example, Paul Josephson, vice president of integrated marketing at Thrillest Media Group, suggests that since every native campaign is different, performance metrics should also be different from campaign to campaign.
"The first thing we do is define our advertisers' objectives, Josephson told Digiday. "We ask the them whether they're focused on awareness, engagement, brand affinity, etc., and then tell them, 'Thrillest will be successful at one thing.'"
Similarly, Complex also defines the success of a campaign based on the advertiser's objectives. "The first question we ask isn't 'what is your metric?'" Rich Antoniello, CEO of Complex Media, told Digiday. It's 'what is your objective?' We'll recommend a completely different campaign for someone looking to build a social community, versus someone looking to start a conversation."
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