Earlier this week, the makers of personalized news app News360 announced that they have launched their monetization efforts with a sponsored content program, where companies can pay to have their content promoted to relevant consumers.
Even before the announcement, CEO Roman Karachinsky had already been talking about his plans to bring advertising to the app, and News360 had already run a pilot campaign for Cincom Systems. Now it has launched campaigns for two new advertisers, marketing agency Edelman and fundraising platform Network for Good.
That’s not exactly a reflection of the success of the launch, since News360 signed up both advertisers before last week. However, together they suggest the potential breadth of the advertising program.
For one thing, Karachinsky noted that when he talks about sponsored content, he doesn’t just mean articles — video is also part of the campaigns. Moving beyond text does present unique challenges, Karachinsky said. After all, what News360 is touting to advertisers is its understanding of users’ interests and its ability to use its existing content recommendation technology to deliver ads that are relevant to those users. To accomplish that here required “a little bit more manual work,” Karachinsky said — specifically transcribing parts of the video.
Karachinsky also noted that since the Edelman “Smarter Fuel Future” campaign includes a potentially political topic, namely gasoline and ethanol, it can take advantage of News360’s ability to target content based on likely political affiliation. That means the sponsored content can be directed at readers who are more likely to be sympathetic to its message.
And while it’s too early to know the effectiveness of these new efforts, in the initial Cincom campaign, News360 said it delivered an impressive 12.5 percent unique click-through rate on the iPhone and 5 percent unique click-through rate on the iPad. Even though those are unique click-through rates (in other words, if someone saw a promoted headline multiple times before clicking, they still counted as one click for one view), Karachinsky said measuring the results this way didn’t make a huge difference compared to standard CTRs.