The price of three Daily Mail native ads: $50,000 and a guarantee of 30,000 views

Daily Mail Australia commercial editor Anne Shooter has revealed the online publication charges advertisers $50,000 for three sponsored stories with each “guaranteed” to attract 30,000 views.

She told Mumbrella during a hangout to discuss native advertising the publication can offer such guarantees because of the placement of the story and the quality of the content together with strong headline and images.

“That is why it is premium content…. people will click on the story,” Shooter said, adding that readers have no problem with clicking on content that is sponsored.

Native advertising has split the media with some viewing it as an opportunity to monetise their platforms and audiences beyond display advertising, while others fear it compromises editorial integrity of publications.

Shooter said the Mail differs from some publications, who recruit separate teams to produce sponsored content, by employing their own journalists to write native ad copy. She described it as a “far more effective way of producing quality content”.

“I don’t want a team of advertorial writers. I need proper journalists who would normally write for the site to be writing this content,” she said. “We ask them to do it in their spare time so it doesn’t conflict their other roles.

“That is what makes it such a great proposition. It’s great for the brand because it is truly fitting in with the rest of our content and that is what they are buying – good quality editorial that they are sponsoring. That is the way it ought to be done.”

Freelancers are also used and commissioned in much the same way as for non-sponsored content, she added.

“In some ways it is no different at all. They are great stories that happen to be sponsored,” Shooter said.

She said she remains a journalist more than a commercial manager, arguing that for the content to be “engaging” and for it to comfortably slot in with the rest of the content “it needs to be looked after by a journalist”.

“We really do produce content which is the kind of content that we would write anyway except that it’s in line with something that a brand wants,” she said. “I think that monetising content is fantastic and I don’t feel compromised at all.

“It’s a modern way of getting people engaging with ads.”

Asked if journalists may feel compromised about writing sponsored content one day and then potentially faced with covering a negative story about the same company the next, Shooter said: “I would hope that all of our journalists have enough integrity that they would not allow that to happen. I just don’t think that it’s an issue.

“We are really clear that we would never run anything that is editorial that did not deserve to be there. I don’t think there is any blurring.”

Shooter, who was appointed to the management team of the news site last year and is responsible for making sure native ads on the site are both editorially engaging for readers and commercially useful for clients, stressed the Mail retains control over the stories and emphasised the copy is clearly marked.

“It’s very different from advertorial. Instead of control lying solely with the advertiser and everything being written by the advertiser and in the client’s tone of voice, it’s written in our tone of voice,” she explained. “And we get the sign off. Clients have to take a leap of faith and trust that we will do the right thing by them to make sure the content…is going to be engaging for the reader.

“I have to be very persuasive with the brand that we work with….to make sure the content doesn’t become advertorial.”

Shooter said some “old fashioned journalists” find the practice “a little bit unusual” and admitted she would feel uneasy if the content was not marked.

“It’s a fascinating way of getting people to read about what brands are interested in,” she said.


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