Daily Beast Expands Lifestyle Coverage As Sponsored Content Takes Off

Daily-Beast-sponsored-contentThree years ago, The Daily Beast had no sponsored content business. Now sponsored content accounts for 90% of its revenue. Plus, overall revenue is up 90% year over year.

Buoyed by the success of its sponsored content business, the news analysis and opinion site is expanding into two new lifestyle verticals: style and food & drink.

While the two areas align with The Daily Beast’s readers, they’re fertile ground for content marketing, too.

Denim brand Mott & Bow served as the sponsor for the style launch, for example, while Neiman Marcus and David Yurman will also advertise in that section. The “Drink + Food” vertical plans to tap into liquor marketing budgets.

One reason The Daily Beast has succeeded in creating content for advertisers is its ability to do more with data than its competitors. Using proprietary technology that analyzes reading behavior on the site and trending topics on social media, The Daily Beast picks story ideas that are likely to resonate with its audience. The tech, used on the editorial side as well, also predicts how the story will perform.

The tech “helps us better understand our audience and what behavior they have,” said Daily Beast President Mike Dyer.

The content prediction tech also taps into parent company IAC’s massive trove of data. Its reference sites, including About.com, tracks fluctuations in content being searched that can translate into ideas for sponsored content or stories

Besides data, The Daily Beast tries to offload some of the advertiser burden of executing sponsored content.

“The part [of sponsored content] that still needs work is the chain of delivery, from the brand’s decision to employ content as part of the marketing mix all the way through the measurement,” Dyer said.

To solve that pain point, The Daily Beast offers to manage and coordinate all of an advertiser’s sponsored content campaigns.

“A publisher is better suited to wrangle publishers than a brand is,” Dyer said. “We like to call it the ‘lead publisher’ model vs. the ‘lead agency’ model. We don’t have to run it all, but you can use our insights to work with other publishers.”

The sponsored content isn’t written in house but by one of The Daily Beast’s 3,500 freelancers. While some publishers built teams of in-house talent, Dyer said this outsourced strategy allows The Daily Beast to call on “the most influential experts” for a particular piece.

By pursuing sponsored content, Dyer expects to usher in a world where all three parties – publisher, advertiser and user – receive a mutual benefit, a common argument in favor of sponsored content.

The Daily Beast’s growing traffic numbers might bear that out. The site doesn’t use paid acquisition, and traffic is up 23% this year. It attracted 21.5 million unique visitors in May according to comScore data.

“We are bullish on where content marketing is headed,” Dyer said. “The further we get into marketing tactics that serve peoples’ interests vs. interrupt them, the better advertiser performance will be and the better off publishers will be.”

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