The Blurred Lines between Native Ads and Content Management System

As publishers are increasingly offering native advertising as a key advertising format – that is, sponsored posts that integrate the brand promotion of advertising in a more natural content format – the technology behind the process is quickly evolving. Today’s publishers are looking for solutions beyond their content management systems to offer better promotion, targeting, and advanced features like frequency capping. Some are choosing outside solutions, while others are hacking their own content management systems to develop and augment the functionality needed to expand the power of the CMS. Here’s a closer look at what publishers need to keep in mind when making important technology decisions.

When Your CMS Isn’t Enough

Content management systems are essential to managing the overall flow, positioning, and promotion of content on a website. But the needs of publications that are promoting editorial vary somewhat from the needs that publications have when promoting native advertising.

There are a number of features required for how advertising is managed – for example, ensuring a certain number of impressions or setting a cap of the number of times specific content is served to individual readers – that traditional content management systems don’t have. If advertisers are demanding access to these features or looking to invest with publishers that can offer them, relying solely on your CMS can be a strategic disadvantage when seeking to grow your revenues.

Advantages to Using the CMS

While many publications are looking for functionality that exceeds what their CMS can deliver, they’re also unwilling to sacrifice the capabilities that it does have. Promoting advertorial content is different that promoting banner or text ads, for example. Publications can take advantage of some of the inherent tools and features of their CMS to get better traction and analytics for their branded content.

For example, analytics can help publishers understand how branded content is performing vis-à-vis broader editorial and point to potential improvements that add to both advertiser ROI and the reader experience. Specific tools such as built-in SEO, social media marketing, and other specialized editorial functions can be a huge value-add for advertisers.

Finding the Middle Ground

Publishers are going in several different directions with their decisions about content management and native advertising. Some are opting to keep all of their content and advertising capabilities in one content management system, and highlighting the benefits of the CMS as a boon to advertisers.

Others are looking to augment their existing systems with add-on capabilities, either custom-built or third party products. Finally, a few are opting for serving all branded content through an advertising serving system.

Choosing What’s Right for You

There are several factors to consider when developing the strategy for your own site. One is the volume of branded content that you’re currently publishing and what kind of additional features or insights your advertisers are requesting. Another is understanding the capabilities of your existing content management system. Finally, budget and the ability to integrate your system with other programs also plays an important role.

Have you thought through your technology choices in terms of how you handle your sponsored content and other forms of native advertising? If not, advances in the technology make this topic well-worth revisiting.

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