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Sharethrough ups the ante on the war on cheesy native ads with new Content Quality Score feature

It doesn’t take a vir­tu­oso art direc­tor to notice that some of the stuff that gets billed as native adver­tis­ing frankly gives native adver­tis­ing a bad name; the qual­i­ty, shall we say, is decid­ed­ly vari­able. But New York’s start­up ad com­pa­ny Sharethrough is see­ing to it that pro­duc­ers of top-draw­er spon­sored con­tent can rest con­fi­dent that their high qual­i­ty wheat will be prop­er­ly sort­ed from the cheesy chaff. And it’s launched a new Con­tent Qual­i­ty Score to fur­ther that end.

What counts? 

In a some­what under­stat­ed remark, Sharethrough’s CEO Dan Green­berg said that “a lit­tle bit of a bat­tle for the web” was build­ing up, with peo­ple like cre­ative art direc­tors pro­duc­ing seam­less and engag­ing native con­tent push­ing against less dis­cern­ing folk who are hap­py to stick the native label on bare­ly repack­aged stan­dard ads.

Sharethrough took up the native baton seri­ous­ly last year, even though it began life as a video ad com­pa­ny. Its new fea­ture is designed to encour­age top qual­i­ty native ads by mea­sur­ing their qual­i­ty and giv­ing them a score. But the con­tent itself doesn’t come under scruti­ny: it’s what peo­ple do with it that inter­ests Sharethrough, so the new Con­tent Qual­i­ty Score tracks all indi­ca­tors that sug­gest peo­ple have liked what they’ve seen. That means social sen­ti­ment, clicks, views and how rel­e­vant the piece was to cur­rent social media con­ver­sa­tions and news.

Qual­i­ty wars

As art direc­tors who vis­it these pages will be aware, Sharethrough’s NY neigh­bor Chart­beat is also offer­ing new met­rics to gauge native ad engage­ment, so the war on cheesy con­tent is undoubt­ed­ly firm­ing up.

Let’s take the exam­ple of a mar­keter try­ing to decide which of his or her blog posts lends itself most apt­ly to native ad pro­mo­tion. Sharethrough can show them what’s already caus­ing a buzz with con­sumers. And the Con­tent Qual­i­ty Score is now a fac­tor in Sharethrough’s Ad Exchange: the high­er the score (on a ten-point scale between 0 and 1), the high­er the pri­or­i­ty that adver­tis­er will get when bidding.

The score is present­ly a rel­a­tive­ly small influ­ence on the auc­tions, Green­berg con­fessed, but there’s no rea­son why that can’t be ramped up in the future.

He con­clud­ed, “This is about mak­ing the bet on con­tent being the inevitable future — or maybe not inevitable, but a bet­ter expe­ri­ence for consumers.”

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