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.
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.
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.”