Majority of Publishers Use Their Own Editorial Staffs to Produce Native Ads

Author: Greg Dool

So, you're a reporter. Can you code?

Just exactly what it means to be a magazine journalist in the 21st century is a question that seems to be posed quite often in this industry, and no two answers are generally the same. Regardless of who you ask though, one universal truth permeates: you need to wear a lot of hats.

From national titles like Forbes and The Atlantic to regional players like Cincinnati magazine, classical reporting and editing skills, often times, are no longer enough. Journalists need to be tech-savvy, capable of thinking across platforms, well-versed in social media and video editing, with the ability to fact check and copy edit on the fly.

Now, add to the list native ad production.

Over two-thirds of magazine publishers leverage their own editorial teams to produce native advertisements, according to a study from FIPP and the Native Advertising Institute.

Of 140 magazine executives surveyed around the world, 68 percent report that their editorial team produces native ads, more than twice as many as the 31 percent who say they use an in-house native advertising studio, and nearly three times as many as the 24 percent who use a separate native ad team to produce sponsored content. Far fewer publishers make use of an external agency partner (12 percent), or an advertising agency (six percent).

Sales staffs are similarly being asked to take on new responsibilities. Only 14 percent of respondents report having a dedicated sales staff for native advertising.

If that lack of separation between church and state ruffles your idealistic feathers, you're not alone. When asked to name what they considered the biggest threat to native advertising, respondents cited a "lack of seperation of the editorial and the commercial side" as the number one concern, followed closely by poor client understanding and a lack of engagement from readers.

Those concerns should only become more pressing as time passes. Despite being a relatively new format, 52 percent of respondents say they already offer native advertising, and 79 percent expect it to take up a higher share of overall advertising revenues this year than last.

Fortunately, most publishers appear to be adhering to the already well established guidelines from agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which seem to value transparency and labeling above all else. Only 11 percent of respondents to the survey say they don't label native advertising, although another 24 percent report marking native ads with only "a different look and feel."

Author: Greg Dool

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