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DME14: BuzzFeed and native advertising: Whatever you do – don’t trick the reader

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DME14: BuzzFeed and native advertising: Whatever you do – don’t trick the reader

BuzzFeed now reaches 150+ million unique visitors monthly, and Hayward was at DME to answer questions around leveraging social in digital advertising.

How do you see native advertising evolving in short and long term?

Hayward: I was speaking at Ad Week here in London last week, and innovation came up as a topic, as in; what is innovation. I said I think innovation is a word used by people who aren’t. It’s the same with native advertising – lot of people talk about it, but don’t necessarily mean the same thing. I think it’s doing something that’s clearly marked as a branded story, but doing it really well. I think there will be a split, I think those who somehow try to disguise the fact that it’s sponsored will struggle with their business.

You’ve had lots of success with Facebook – what advice would you give on how to keep up with their changing algorithm?

Hayward: Facebook changed their algorithm in December, so that it’s no longer enough to get people to like your post, now you have to get people to share in order to rate high. You need to show ongoing relevance, which comes back to spending time, not only on creating great stories, which you do anyway, but also on figuring out why someone would share them. For example, if you are creating hard news, focus on scoops, or with lifestyle stories, think about how you can do them with a local focus, which creates identity, and thereby makes them more likely to be shared.

What should we avoid in terms of shareable content?

Hayward: The biggest mistake is trying to trick social. We’ve created massive scale, and great business, and now all these new companies come along and think posting an enticing headline alone will do it. Remember that Facebook’s objective – and Google’s – is to do what benefits their consumers. So keep creating really good stuff, and think about how you can get people to share it, not how to “work” Facebook or Google.

You’d potentially make a lot of money by placing just one banner ad on each page, will you never do that?

Hayward: No – is the short answer.

Follow the conference on Twitter at #DME14


Cecilia Campbell's picture

Cecilia Campbell


2014-04-09 07:13

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