Native Advertising - Time for Local Media Companies to Get in the Game

By Nancy Cawley Lane, President, Local Media Association

I’m surprised that more local media companies aren’t launching native advertising strategies. I suspect that will change in the next six-twelve months. 

BIA-Kelsey issued a report today that predicts social advertising will increase 79% in the next four years (from $8.4 billion to $15 billion). They believe that 2/3 of that will be in a native format ($9.4 billion by that time). 

JP Morgan predicted in their recent ‘Nothing But Net’ report that native ads will become the “de facto ad format on mobile and increasingly moving into desktop”. 

And eMarketer predicts that native advertising will hit $2.85 billion by the end of this year. 

We are starting to learn about some terrific native advertising case studies from local media companies in the U.S. and Canada. LMA has teamed up with BIA-Kelsey to bring these case studies to a one-day summit in Washington DC on July 9:

  • Deseret Digital has been one of the early adopters and this is now a seven-figure business for them. Furthermore, many of their native stories get higher or comparable click-through rates on their homepage than those produced by the newsroom. Todd Handy will be at the summit to share pricing strategies and the importance of analytics. 
  • The Elkhart Truth recently launched Flavor574 as referenced in a previous blog post. This product was created with native in mind but they take a different approach than most, especially when it comes to how the stories are presented and who writes them. Publisher Brandon Erlacher will share the details at the summit. 
  • The Dallas Morning News entered into a joint venture to create Speakeasy in the fall of 2012 and they now have a lot to share; perhaps more than anyone else. Speakeasy is an agency that focuses solely on content marketing with a heavy SMB strategy. President Mike Orren will share the latest at the summit. 
  • Paul Camp, Chief Evangelist at Content That Works, has identified three local media companies (including two broadcasters) that are doing interesting things in the native advertising space (some are clients; some are not). We will hear from the Quad City Times, Informed Interactive and Hall Communications about how local native efforts are working in their small and mid-size markets. 
  • Everyone is worried about the legal issues and NAA’s Paul Boyle assures me that “there are really no legal issues associated with native advertising – at this point in time. It is treated like all advertising. The advertising should not be false and misleading." Still he has some advice on how to be transparent and he will share that at the summit.
  • BIA-Kelsey is just getting ready to release their forecast for native advertising. Jed Williams and Rick Ducey will present in detail at the summit and will hone in on opportunity areas. 
  • R&D partners are rushing to provide quality tools and services to help local media companies in this space. Will Scott from Search Influence headlines the list of companies that will share their offerings during a working lunch. 
  • Finally, we know from a survey sent out to local media executives in December 2013 that only 19% had developed a native advertising business plan but 51% planned to sell native advertising in 2014 and 32% were considering it. LMA’s Amie Stein just completed a 25 page toolkit for native advertising newbies. It includes everything that you would need to develop a comprehensive business and marketing plan. It is fantastic and Amie will conduct a bonus two-hour session the day before the summit especially for those that are new to native advertising. 

We believe that local media companies can develop a sustainable business model around native advertising. It fits into our core competency unlike most other opportunities on the digital side.

Join us in DC for an insightful day that could have a six-to-seven figure impact on your business. As always, I promise ROI or your money back.

Details at: http://www.cvent.com/events/2014-native-advertising-summit/event-summary-5f465d73e6c64ef49f847df2168fe445.aspx

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