Case study: Fairfax for the future

With a media landscape ever-more fragmented and competitive, Fairfax Media is rising to the challenge with an approach that puts the customer at the heart of everything it does – introducing total audience delivery and an integrated marketing team.

Fairfax Media faces the same challenges as all media companies. Everyone is competing for the same thing: attention. Along with the speed at which technology is developing, this means media spend is fragmenting at a rate not seen previously. Rather than splintering that further by highlighting the number of different platform options available, Fairfax focuses its solutions on the total audience it is able to deliver to advertisers across its titles and platforms. 

“It’s about turning the conversation around, listening and responding to the challenges advertisers face within their specific industry and competitive environment,” says Pip Simeon, Fairfax’s customer solutions marketing manager. “Then we provide solutions that serve the right messages to the right people, at the right time. Importantly, it’s about making this process as frictionless as possible to enhance the experience our customers have when interacting with us.” 

To better support its commitment to customer experience and a total audience offering, Fairfax has completely reorganised its marketing function this year, moving from divisional, publication-based teams to a single nationwide marketing community. This new team comprises specialists in their areas of marketing expertise, creating efficiencies and smoother lines of communication with customers. Regional teams are in place to maintain important local community relationships and a dedicated customer solutions team is charged with creating and delivering solutions to address advertiser needs.

Moving on from order-taking

Advertising solutions have moved on from the time when media owners simply took orders for display space or offered branding opportunities synonymous with traditional content sponsorship (aka advertorials). Today, Fairfax is able to draw on the strength of its journalism and combine that with innovations in ad units and native content, as well as search engine marketing and other digital solutions, to ensure it offers advertising solutions grounded
in audience benefit and the
client’s needs.   

A 2012 case study on a Fairfax Media campaign for a major partner, which combined branded content with display advertising, showed that this approach can deliver great results. Most significantly, the campaign delivered a 17 percent lift in online awareness, compared with display ads only. 

“What we found with this campaign, and others like it, is that when you combine a dedicated content initiative with display, it engages readers on several levels. One really enhances the other,” says Simeon. 

Fairfax’s other new offerings include tools to disseminate advertiser messages. The product development team is constantly working on new ad units to improve both the reader experience and the success of the campaign for the customer.

Gone Native

Native advertising is a mobile advertising format that delivers sponsored material into content streams. The sponsored material inherits the design treatments of the property it’s published within, with minimal differentiation. Its intent; to minimize the intrusiveness inflicted by current forms of mobile advertising, especially those that not only detract from, but often also disrupt users’ online experiences.

Sponsored material delivered natively provides an avenue through which to drive qualified engagement, thanks to the use of creative content creation. It’s a format designed to decrease friction as well as the length of a user’s journey through the acquisition funnel.

The Cuisine: How to Cook app was Fairfax’s native advertising delivery pilot. With the objective to spur downloads, the ads appeared across Stuff’s iPad app. And the results were heartening, achieving a click-through rate of 8.89 percent – far above the industry standard of 0.77 percent. Overnight, Cuisine: How to Cook became the number one paid app, and top grossing food app for the iPad, and number three paid across the entire store – leaving Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay’s offerings in its dust.

Stuff certainly delivers on the promise of a large audience, with over 1.5 million unique visitors each month – but it’s also a credible platform. That means native advertising in this environment not only drives new visitors to a site, but is also trusted enough by visitors that they will happily click-through to purchase.   

An early native test for the Mighty Ape e-commerce store generated more transactions than its usual mobile banner advertising activity. “Comparing the two side by side, the difference in performance of the native campaign was clear to see,” says Simeon. “The native advertising drove four times the amount of new traffic and doubled the number of conversions than the mobile banner advertising alone.”

Fairfax for the future

One thing hasn’t changed at Fairfax, and that’s the commitment it has to high quality content creation – and that’s set to continue thanks to the thousands of cumulative years of experience of its 700+ journalists. With a customer-centric philosophy and innovative new tools on offer, Fairfax is set to connect with and solve the advertising needs of its customers for a long time to come.

For more information, please contact Pip Simeon at pip.simeon@fairfaxmedia.co.nz or 0275 467 733.