If you’re not familiar with native ads, they are ad formats that essentially look like they’re an organic part of the publisher page. Most native ads are offered by news and content publishers and the ads themselves look similar to the articles on the publisher page. Native ads are not blocked by browser ad blockers and unless you carefully look for the word “sponsored” or “advertisement”, you may not even realize that these are ads. However, once you click on it, you are redirected to the advertisers landing page. Native ad units like the ones Times Colombia offers are often used for content marketing but can also be used for direct lead generation campaigns.
Times of India is not only the most widely circulated English language daily in India, but also the most visited news website in India with roughly about 100 million page views a month. Similarweb ranks it as #29 among all websites in India. To add to this, Times of India has also been tying up with other publishing houses to increase the amount of inventory they offer.
We started using the Times Colombia network a couple of years ago and were one of their key clients. We’ve seen the native ad network evolve over the last couple of years in a robust platform which gives good quality leads at a pretty reasonable cost. Here are a few things going for the network:
1. Audience Segmentation
Times of India being a news portal has a lot of data about various topics it’s users are interested in or are looking for. Similar to Facebook, this gives them a targeting advantage. For example, if you have a health-care product, you can target people who are interested in “Health & Fitness”. What this then does is that it shows your ads to people who have been to health and fitness pages across the Columbia network. This happens through cookies Times drops in their browsers. By showing your ads to targeted audience, you are lowering accidental clicks.
2. You pay per click
Most content ad networks charge per click which limits your risk. The cost per click you pay does change however based on your product or service. The more niche it is, the higher you are likely to pay. In our experience, the cost per click on the Times Colombia network is similar to what we paid on Outbrain or Taboola but the quality of traffic and the number of leads/day were higher.
Times Colombia has a self serve portal but for larger advertisers, its a managed service where an operations team helps you with setting up your campaigns and monitoring them, similar to most large ad networks including Google, Facebook and Linkedin. We found working with the Times Columbia team quite easy and were able to get compensation for inaccurate spends whenever it happened. Times Columbia also worked very well for us for lead generation campaigns for both niche and mass products.
3. Wide reach
As an advertiser, you want to use the 80:20 rule and work with 20% of the publishers/ad networks that give you 80% of the inventory. Times Colombia has a very large amount of premium inventory available on their platform and they are continuously tying up with more publishers in India to offer more inventory to advertisers. If I were you, I would bet on this network to be a significant share of traffic in the future.
Things to note while setting up your Times Colombia campaign:
1. Separate the budget for mobile and desktop – Mobile cost per lead numbers are generally higher thanks largely to accidental clicks and shorter attention spans so separate the budgets for mobile and desktop so you get enough desktop clicks as well on the Colombia network.
2. Target premium audiences and track lead sources – Target based on audience profiles that closely match your target group and track the lead sources that leads come from. We were quite surprised when we got leads from gaana.com and that led us to explore additional sites.
3. Create as many ad copies as you can – Native ad networks have a very fast creative burn out rate. Typically I’d advise starting with no fewer than 20-40 add copies and seeing what works.
4. Ad content needs to be very catchy but relevant – Since you are paying per click you want the ad content to be relevant but Times Colombia is going to display it on news and information sites so content which sounds like news article headlines such as “Ten ways to…” work really well.