Earlier this month, Upworthy – a curator of socially-conscious content – revealed native content was outperforming editorial content. The data was striking: Branded content received 3.5 times as many views, 2.9 times more “Attention Minutes” (an Upworthy-developed metric) and three times as many social shares compared to its in-house editorial content. All this for a site that launched its first formal native advertising campaign in April.
“Most reactions to that are ‘What? How? Why?’ said Ed Urgola, director of marketing and communications at Upworthy. “We kind of thought to ourselves when we saw that for the first time. First off, the selection bias is high. We’re picking the right campaigns for the right brands, giving them TLC, making sure they’re framed up properly, and with the same curators that work on editorial working with brands.”
Selection bias aside, getting native to perform well is a challenge for any site. For Upworthy, the stakes are even higher. The site does not run display advertising, so the site is monetizes its content through paid posts.
That may be one reason why Upworthy made the source code publicly available for its new metric, Attention Minutes, intended to measure total engagement instead of clicks and page views. It’s a metric designed for native, not display. (more…)