Publishers Say People Read Sponsored Content

A panel featuring large publishers at OMMA Native suggests that sometimes sponsored content draws more reader engagement than regular articles. Kelly Andresen, director of ad innovations and product strategy, at the Washington Post, for example, cited an educational series the CTIA ran including text stories and videos where people spent twice as much time with the content as the average unpaid article on the Post site. She and other panelists, however, emphasized that sponsored material needs to be clearly labeled as such lest they invite a backlash from users.

Publishers, which also included Yahoo, Microsoft and People magazine, are also extending native formats to mobile to better monetize inventory. People Magazine’s Anne Toal said more than half the publication’s traffic is now coming from mobile, where it sees more sharing of content. Yahoo introduced a new more mobile native unit last week, and WaPo’s Kelly noted the newspaper is now focusing on developing a native format geared to the lean-back experience of tablets. 

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