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December 7, 2013 Part 3 of our 5 day series on Native Advertising

Before launching a native campaign, it’s critical to define your goals. It could be something simple like increase in visitors, incremental leads, more fans on Facebook or social shares. As native advertising matures, marketers are looking for more sophisticated performance indicators.

Quantify the Results:

The Online Publishers Association asked 29 of member companies which metrics they measure the success of native ad campaigns with. While there wasn’t a clear consensus, more than half, or 57% are using publisher metrics for measurement. These metrics include audience engagement and time spent on the 2nd page as key performance indicators.

To measure the impact of your native campaigns, you’ll need to look beyond the simple metrics of time spent and audience engagement. After all, the purpose of native ads is to amplify your content, raise brand visibility and reach new affinity audiences.


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What Metrics Matter Most?

1) Content Engagement

Measurement of audience engagement can be achieved by measuring time spent on the promoted content page, pages per visit, unique vs returning visitor metrics and bounce rates. You can also rely on social interactions from this page; was it shared, liked, commented on, tweeted, stumbled or pinned?

An effective native ad campaign is heavily dependent on the content. Interactions with the promoted page will give you a clear view of the success of your campaign. Likewise, social interactions offer a quantifiable view into how your audience is interacting with your brand and the content.

Page interactions are often measured in time spent on the page, subsequent page views, site registration or email subscription. Social interactions can be measured in actions like retweets, replies, shares, likes, pins and shares.

A heavily engaged page shows you are reaching the right audience with compelling content. An ignored page warns of reaching a poor match between content and targeted audience.

2) Campaign Performance

Bring up digital ad analysis with a marketer and it won’t be long until they bring “CTR” into the conversation.

Measuring digital advertising is an imperfect science. It’s not always easy to measure the intent or path of the customer. Which means, marketers often rely of the humble CTR or click through rate, no because it’s linchpin of a metric. It’s just an easy one to capture and showoff.

To measure the performance of a native ad campaign, you will need to measure the actions of your customer. The click through rate of any given ad is a great place to start, but it will only give you a view of how strong your headline is. You’ll need to measure the response rate specifically from to the call-to-action, conversion rate, average order and time from click to purchase.

Best Tools for the Job

If you are placing native ads via an ad network or directly with a publisher, you will have access to your own campaign analytics. Here are a few examples:

Facebook sponsored posts performance report example:

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LinkedIn sponsored posts

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Outbrain dashboard example:

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Advertisers and publishers are quickly working their budgets into the new opportunities of native advertising. As a result, new measurement analysis tools are springing up.

“As publishers explore business models that incorporate native ads, they need analytics that will allow them to accurately evaluate the effect of the sponsored content has on their audience and the ROI for their clients,” - Sachin Kamdar,

Example of a report

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Search Insiders Summit is scheduled for this weekend—December 8-11. eZdia co-founder and industry leader Alok Jain will be joining the awesomely experienced Native Advertising Panel (check out the other panel participants here) to discuss “When Search Marketers Go Native”.

For the 6 days leading up to the panel’s discussion, we’ll be dishing up the latest in Native Advertising. Here’s our schedule.

Drop us a comment — What’s you favorite approach or tool to measure native ad campaigns?

Padmini Murthy

About Padmini Murthy

Padmini is a marketer, a mom and a musician (the 3Ms). She loves to read about new and emerging technology. She has successfully led marketing initiatives for mobile, cloud, semiconductor and now, eCommerce. In her last position as a marketing head for a mobile company, she helped the company triple their revenue in less than 3 years. She has several marketing publications and her case study on InfoSys and the challenge of global branding was published by the Harvard Business Review.


  1.  Henry

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