mobile Archives - Tan Media

engaging content student audience

Why engaging with students requires engaging content

By | Banner - Advertisers, Banner - Content Creation, Banner - Native Video, Banner - Reporting, Banner - True Native, Content, Content Marketing, Education, Native advertising

The shifting landscape

Declining application numbers have been a shock to the system across the higher education sector and have led to several major shifts. This year we witnessed a squeeze at the top, with the highest ranked 20 institutions competing for the brightest. Russell Group universities accepted ABB in the summer which had a knock-on effect right down the rankings and led universities to rethink their recruitment strategies.

Students are aware that it’s a buyer’s market, so are now shopping around, visiting multiple campuses to find the perfect university for them. Others are leaving it later to apply and some are waiting until August in the knowledge that even higher ranked institutions will offer places through clearing and confirmation.

Last year St George’s University became the first to offer medicine through clearing. This year, universities that used to mop up their last few places on results day, still had courses available days after to accommodate for late demand. Most institutions now offer a clearing open day to engage with students before they apply.

Making a first impression

The university is a unique institution, in that it’s marketing team must work to a particular cycle, communicating with a largely new audience each year. This presents a great opportunity to fine-tune your brand over time.

As a result, it’s crucial to make a high quality and lasting first impression with each student, each year. It makes such a difference if potential students understand who you are and what you’re all about before they are signposted towards course lists, prospectuses and open days.

student content

The power of your brand

With tightening budgets to work to, most unis are opting for high-intensity campaigns at key periods – January deadline, open days and clearing. This offers maximum impact and ensures that students are given every opportunity to register or apply. A downside of this strategy is that ads that feel transactional are less likely to influence students in making an important decision.

This problem is compounded by the intensity of competition for share of voice, making it hard to be heard above the crowd. Students are likely to see multiple university ads in a day, so how can any one ad stand out above the rest? Will students click on the first one they see? The most colourful? The most relevant? The most impressive stat?

Or will it be a brand that they have engaged with before and feel they recognise and want to explore further?

Education agency, SMRS, recently drew attention to the importance of brand in their HE marketing survey. 97% of respondents pointed to the increased importance of brand, above other recent impacts such as Brexit and the Teaching Excellence Framework.

student content

Being inspirational

When we talk about online brand engagement, we refer to the execution of meaningful, prolonged interactions with university content. Campaigns are often judged on the price of their clicks and the traffic they drive to a site, but this isn’t always the best way to build lasting and impactful brand awareness. Sometimes we should look beyond the click to really understand the results of a piece of activity.

We should consider the potential student’s experience and ask ourselves what students want from their interaction. If the aim is to win hearts and minds, we can’t be pushy, sending students to fill out a form without having something to offer. Universities are great at producing content but not so good at sharing it!

Departments, lecturers and student groups produce fascinating research every day and it’s exactly the kind of stuff that grabs attention and excites young people about getting stuck in and starting their student journey.

Be the one to spark that idea, that conversation, that inspiration, whilst quietly reinforcing your brand identity as an authority on the subject.

Engaging with a digital generation

The last few years have seen the rise of programmatic display ads which have led to campaigns that mine for direct response, opting for quantity over quality. At the same time, a digitally savvy generation has started holding advertisers to a higher standard. To have a chance of generating quality engagement with potential students, interactions have to become less transactional and more inspirational. To get engagement you must be engaging!

Say hello today


Need help with your campaign? We’re just a click or call away

Contact us

Decline in programmatic while mobile and native make big gains

By | Ad Spend

Programmatic ad buying fell by 12% in the first three months of 2017, versus the same time last year, new data from MediaRadar shows.

The numbers gathered from looking at advertising spending and buying patterns showed 39,415 advertisers bought ads programmatically in the first quarter, which compares to 45,008 in the same three months in 2016.

A lack of faith in programmatic buying has grown, thanks to concerns over fraud, brand safety and a lack of transparency in how ad prices are decided. This means companies and agencies are taking on more direct advertising, such as sponsored editorial or buying brand-safe PMPs (private marketplaces).

Advertisers worry about having little control of their ads

The main concern is that companies have less control over exactly where their ads appear when they are placed programmatically. Instead, a software-led process automates buying, placement, and optimisation via a bidding system.

Todd Krizelman, the CEO of MediaRadar, explained the decline was likely due to problems for companies like YouTube, but that the form of advertising was continually evolving. He expects to see new growth in programmatic buying, but a shift towards programmatic direct models.

Mobile and native formats saw the greatest growth overall

MediaRadar also found that high-CPM ads in mobile and native environments made the biggest gains. Native buyers were up 74% from 2016 to 2017. This is part of a bigger trend which has seen native almost triple since 2015. There were just 981 buyers in 2015, now there are 2,882.

This is because native has a click-through rate of up to four times more than non-native on mobile. People are also more likely engage with native content, as it is non-disruptive.

Overall, the top five sectors seeing success in buying native advertising were media and entertaining, professional services, financial and real estate, technology, and wholesale. The top five ad placers in the US for native were Secco Squared, Potential Investments, Answers Corp., NextAdvisor and JPMorgan Chase and the United States of America.

Video and specialist print ads also proved resilient

Video ads were also making money in the first quarter. Comcast, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Toyota, and Verizon all put cash into ads with video. On mobile, Brown-Forman, Time Warner, Anheuser-Busch, Simplisafe, and Liberty Interactive had the highest number of placements.

Traditional media forms continued to decline. Print ad pages fell by 8% against last year after a 6% decrease in spending, but regional titles and specialist publications were still successful.

These conclusions were drawn from a study of 266,324 advertisers and considered their use of digital, native, mobile, video, email and print advertising.

Say hello today


Need help with your campaign? We’re just a click or call away

Contact us
fake news

Why ‘fake news’ is good news for real publishers

By | Native advertising, Uncategorized

Probably already a frontrunner for phrase of the year, ‘fake news’ is the phenomenon everyone from politicians to publishers; tech companies to the man on the street, is talking about.

Whilst the blame for fake news has been laid squarely at the door of Facebook, indeed it’s forced the world’s biggest social media platform to fact check some of the content on its site, it has caused publishers to take stock and consider the quality of third party content on their own websites.

That content is invariably ad tech, from standard display units, to native advertising, video providers, and content recommendation. Are the ads being run trustworthy? This is particularly important in the programmatic age where they could have been served through a myriad of exchanges.

If not knowing where an advert has come from is a problem for publishers, the reverse is now true for advertisers – not knowing where your ad will actually be served has become a real issue. A recent Times investigation led to some of the world’s biggest brands pausing all programmatic advertising as their ads were found on websites apparently funding extremist groups.

Finding audience at the expense of losing control of the environment, suddenly doesn’t seem quite as smart.

Native: One size fits all?

Native advertising as a term encompasses everything that ‘mirrors the form and function’ of the property it sits on – from a promoted Facebook post or tweet to a sponsored article within the editorial feed, right through to content recommendation.

Because of this execution, trust has never been more important. And there lies the problem – how can a user uploaded misleading ‘get rich quick’ headline, clicking out to a dubious website be lumped into the same category as the lauded New York Times content for Netflix’s Orange is New Black?

Time to grasp the opportunity     

So where does this leave native advertising? There’s no denying how important it’s become for publishers – The Atlantic makes 75% of its ad revenue from sponsored content, Condé Nast Britain, over half of its digital earnings. But this is from high quality, clearly labelled articles – a world away from some of the clickbait washing around the web.

BI Intelligence estimates that Native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021. Whilst this will be led by the dominant social platforms, one interesting nugget is that:

“Sponsored content, which is categorised separately from native-display due to the direct relationship between publishers and brands in creating the format, will be the fastest-growing native format over the next five years.”

The renaissance of traditional publishers    

Traditional publishers have a challenge to adapt to the digital world, but the one good thing to come out of the past few months is that, in the words of Luis Hernandez, ‘…fake news is making real publishers look good’. Sites with paywalls like the NYT have seen a surge in subscriptions and UK national newspaper sites a 16% year-on-year uplift to 31.5m daily uniques (Dec 2016).

Why premium sites need premium ad tech     

So here’s the question for publishers: You’ve worked hard to build the trust of your audience. Why would you do anything to diminish that by running poor quality ads, clicking out to some questionable places?

The real value for premium publishers is in running high quality, clearly labelled, stay-on-site sponsored content which maintains trust and delivers value to both the reader and the media owner.

Say hello today


Need help with your campaign? We’re just a click or call away

Contact us
Content creation

Why you can’t ignore native advertising on mobile

By | Native advertising, Technology

If there’s one thing marketers have to be very good at, it’s accepting change; because whatever we might like to think, it’s the markets that control us. As trusted advisers to those who employ us, the advertisers and brands, we have a duty to tell them that everything has just changed again.

The market no longer looks up it looks down.


Just a few years ago those people we want to target would be looking up at billboards, cinema screens, headlines and TVs. Now the research tells us we spend more time looking down at our mobile device than ever before. That is now the go to channel for answers and entertainment.

That shouldn’t surprise us because most of us now spend at least half our life actually in the virtual world rather than the physical world. Few jobs these days do not involve interaction with the internet in some form or another and increasing numbers find their entertainment and life partners there too.

Astronomic numbers

This year we have reached a milestone; today more people in the world access the internet via their mobile devices, phones and tablets, than any other device. According to US internet analytics specialists, comScore, accessing the internet via smartphones has increased by just a tad under 400% in the last five years and tablet access by a little over 1,790% in the same period.

Consider these stats from the same study: 13% of the total US population use their mobile device as their only internet access and, among those aged 18-24 years, 25% are mobile only. You don’t really need a statistician to realise that there is a bit of a trend happening here!

Native and mobile – the perfect partnership

Some advertisers seem still to be treating mobile devices as if they’re some sort of side show; but that not only goes against the message in the numbers it also misses a key differential in how we relate to the products in our lives.

While intrusive and disruptive display ads, banners and pop-ups may have worked pretty well on a desktop, they simply don’t cut it on mobile.  Screens are too small and users too savvy.

It’s not just about the size, it’s about the relationship between phone and person; it’s intimate, it’s their window to their other world, it’s their independence.

Native advertising has always been built around the understanding of the consumer, and native advertising on mobile meets the needs of both advertiser and consumer by respecting that differential and presenting content with non-interruptive execution.

Native advertising, by definition, mirrors the style and values of the site the reader has chosen to visit, so there is no clash between pure editorial and good quality. Because of this, native advertising on mobile results in a superior user experience, leading to greater engagement and consumer trust.

So just how much longer can you ignore it?

It’s time to discuss your opportunity to reach mobile audiences through native advertising, get in touch with one of our native advertising experts at TAN Media.

Say hello today


Need help with your campaign? We’re just a click or call away

Contact us
mobile devices

Native Content – star of the small screen

By | Native advertising

Ever since the iPhone was launched, people have been predicting the end of the laptop and desktop computers as we know them. This month the world moved a step nearer to that prediction as, for the first time, internet activity via mobile devices overtook that of their less portable brethren.

For adults that means 2hrs 26mins online via smartphone or tablet per day, against 2hrs 13 mins online via the desktop. Some would say that’s more of a draw than a whitewash; until that is, you look at the trends. Since 2011 that figure for the desktop has grown year on year by 3 minutes, or about 2.25%, while mobile online usage has increased by about 500% over the same period.

No Contest

Not, of course, that this is a competition; but it certainly is a challenge – especially for the creators of the content that all this online action demands.

Internet surfers today are very, very savvy and they know exactly what good looks like; some have been there right from the beginning and many of the rest think it’s always been here, like the land, sea and sky; a gift of nature. The internet today is like another place, a parallel electronic existence and, like any place, if it doesn’t look good then people just don’t want to come.

So how do you make something look just as good on a four inch screen as it does on a 48 inch screen, especially when the same visitor may view the same material on both extremes at some time during the day?

The worst possible strategy is designing for the big screen and just hoping most of the content can be seen on the mobile one. Nor do you want to design only for the small screen and end up with something that looks like weirdly out of scale on the desktop.

The bottom line of course, is that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution to content design. Anyone who wants a successful web presence must invest in a version optimised for mobile, desktop and all options in between; and that means intelligent design.

Think User

A small picture on a desk top screen is a small picture; on the mobile it would be a dot. Scroll on a desktop and you can scan the content; scrolling the same stuff on a mobile and it’s a blur followed by a migraine.

For the mobile it’s short sentences, clear graphics and, because it’s a little more effort to view because your audience might be walking, on a train or plane, or simply taking a quick time out at the work-station, the most important thing is engagement; you must engage to reward that extra effort.

Of course, guess what native content is really good at? Engagement. Native and mobile devices are perfect for each other; you’re not fighting the viewer for attention, trying to distract them, you’re the reason they’re looking, because you’re engaging, entertaining and relevant; just a little smaller, that’s all.

If you’re still asking yourself ‘what is native advertising?‘ or would like to know more about how a native advertising platform can help, why not get in touch and one of the team will be happy to help.

Say hello today


Need help with your campaign? We’re just a click or call away

Contact us

Mobilising native content

By | Native advertising, Technology

Native content and the smart phone, like Anthony and Cleopatra, or gin and tonic; somehow they are just perfectly compatible with each other.

It starts with the realisation that size does matter; smart phones are the most incredible development but you can’t get away from the fact that interacting with the small screen can be a bit of a challenge. So when you’ve found some really interesting content; perhaps you’re on the train home feeling a bit crushed and looking for some light relief; the last thing you want is an aggressive banner add popping out of nowhere blocking the very paragraph you were reading.

The problem with display ads is that they’re incredibly invasive, but then they come from an era of marketing history when the only thing that mattered was that you grabbed attention in the nanosecond of window that you had to get noticed.

Today’s consumer is a very different beast, as different as the media they have available to them. Today’s consumer has grown up to expect to have what they want when they want it. Which means that if they want to watch a movie on the bus, that is exactly what they will do, because they have the technology to do it; and if they want to read an article on the stresses of being a celebrity in the jungle or the desperate plight of those made in Chelsea then, again, that is what they will do.

Advertisers who send in the banner bombs to disrupt and distract will win no friends in their target market and are in danger of creating negative brand loyalty, a sort of anti-matter for brand growth.

Now, native advertising wouldn’t dream of being that pushy. Instead it sits on the library shelf, side by side with the editorial content, waiting to be picked up and sampled along with the other worthy content. It is great for the publishers because they appear to be giving even more value for the cover price, it’s great for the advertiser because they get some quality time with their market, and it’s great for the consumer because they get to watch quality content designed to be good on the device they’re using.

This is an incredibly exciting time for native advertisers. The challenge of developing high quality relevant content in so many different media, to be viewed on so many different platforms, has quadrupled both the contextual and the spatial dynamics of creating and delivering the message.

Even the message has changed, no longer an ‘invitation to treat’, to use the legal parlance, the promotional message in the native genre is much more an invitation to engage, the start of a relationship.

With the technical capability available in the digital world to measure and evaluate we have entered a time when we will be judging ads by the strength of their engagement, which potentially could track through the lifetime of a customer relationship. Brands that could achieve, via native content, a relationship resembling that between a series like Radio 4’s ‘The Archers’ and its audience could be on to a winner. It worked with Martini and Gold Blend on the television – it’s just a matter of rethinking the boundaries.

Say hello today


Need help with your campaign? We’re just a click or call away

Contact us

Eyeballing the natives – Why mobile needs native advertising

By | Native advertising, Technology

In a world that is changing as fast as ours, where everyday technology makes real the stuff of adventure comics fifty years ago, we can only wonder at what lies ahead.

Those of us who marvelled at the ‘communicators’ of Star Trek, those little flip top devices that meant you could talk to anyone anywhere, probably have one of the old flip-top mobile phones in a box somewhere. The skies are full of drones piloted by people sitting thousands of miles away, reminiscent of the forces of General Gizmo, and the bionic scanners of the Terminator are surely just an app or two away with the arrival of the Google Glass.

But although it would take a very brave futurist to say that any technology is impossible, the restraining factor is, of course, the rather more slowly evolving human race itself. As far as advertising is concerned, it rather comes down to what the whacky chaps in the Royal Air Force used to refer to as the Mk 1 Eyeball; which, to be honest, hasn’t changed nearly as much as the stuff it looks at.

If we go back to our Star Trek inspired mobile for a moment, today’s ‘communicator’ does things that would make even Captain Kirk and Mr Spock gasp in incredulous wonderment. The smartphone is becoming (has become?) the very centre of our lives; our relationships are more digital than physical, our entertainment is on tap on the move, and even the one over-riding fear, that we might physically lose our phone and thus our virtual life, has been negated by ‘the cloud’ where we can store ourselves out of risk.

So, what has all of this got to do with native advertising, the exciting in-content advertising that is so rapidly making its mark? It comes back to the Mk 1 Eyeball and the size of the mobile screen. Banner ads really don’t work at many levels now but at the sub-laptop level they don’t physically work at all; and the more you make them flash, jump about or leap out of nowhere, the more you irritate the market you are trying to engage. Mobile needs native advertising.

Because native content sits as unobtrusively as possible within and alongside the published content, offering itself as an extension to, or a practical application of, the matters that have attracted the reader; there is none of the eye-straining conflict of ads trying to get noticed, like two year olds in a super-market.

The latest iPhone 6s are probably confirming that smartphones have gone as small as they can for comfortable vision, and the larger option suggests a bounce back to squint free viewing. But mobile, comfortably mobile, will be the certainty for the next few years; in other words, pocket sized and no more will be the upward constraint.

Native advertising and mobile communications are perfect partners; native offers comfortable communication while good native content is the bonus extra to editorial rather than, in the way of traditional advertising, the price of accessing it.

Say hello today


Need help with your campaign? We’re just a click or call away

Contact us

Remember – always take gifts for the natives

By | Native advertising, Technology

The native advertising consumers that is; those people who are increasingly the lifeline that is holding our media world together. While giving things away won’t necessarily stop your sales figures getting scalped, a little goodwill gesture can help you to bond with your readers and hopefully to encourage them to engage.

Because engagement is the real problem; without engagement you can talk until you’re blue in the face and nothing gets heard, you can have the most amazing offer since the beginning of mankind, but if there’s no engagement with the audience then it’s just so much hot air passing over the heads of a disinterested and distracted market.

Anyone who has watched their techno-savvy youngsters managing to watch American food eating contests on the telly, while engrossed in a movie on their tablet which they are simultaneously discussing with their friends via Facebook on their mobile, knows that getting engagement isn’t going to get any easier in the short term. The advertising world, and that includes native advertising, has to realise that the window of opportunity to win the hearts and minds of the people out there has come down to nano-seconds.  Read More

Make sure you’re on the right platform for the native gravy train

By | Native advertising, Technology

It’s hard not to be carried away by the incredible rise of native advertising as the promotional channel of choice. Consumers are rejecting the lure of banner and display ads in droves, with click through rates plummeting and advertisers wondering where to go next.

Those who have already dipped their toe in the native pool, providing content that consumers actually want to read rather than just trying to bludgeon them with a display ad, no matter how good a piece of creative work, have often found that the click-through-rate (ctr) rockets. The US display average is about 0.1% but some publishers are reporting rates even as high as 5%, with typical responses at the 1.5% level.

However, as the native channel captures the attention of the advertisers, so the publishers are starting to realise that native is not a ‘one-size fits all’ advertising solution. As experience grows it is becoming clear that native advertising is not about simply providing content matched closely to the publication values and consumer tastes; it’s effectiveness is also highly influenced by the platform that consumer is using.  Read More

Ignore mobile natives at your peril

By | Native advertising, Technology

In 2013 Morgan Stanley, one of the largest global financial services firms and people who know a thing or two about consumer research, predicted that in 2014 more internet activity would take place on mobiles than on desktop computers. The world did not stop turning but, for advertisers, maybe it should have done.

That is an extraordinary forecast given that internet capable smart phones did not even exist until 1999, barely fifteen years ago. Add to that the fact that global penetration for mobiles is now up to a staggering 95% of the 7 billion people in the world, according to Morgan Stanley, and it’s easy to see how the communications market is going to develop. Remember that in not too many years from now all of those phones will be smart phones.

Although these penetration stats are helped by the fact that it’s easier and cheaper in developing countries to leap straight to mobiles networks than evolve from land-lines, that does not change the underlying message. From now on the way to your customer’s heart is more likely to be through their mobile phone than their desktop.  Read More