News UK: ‘Native Ads Are Dangerous – Don’t Treat Your Customers Like Morons’

Kirsty Styles

Paul Hayes - News UKWhile native advertising is often hailed as the saviour of brand advertising in a mobile world, and is quickly becoming a favourite among publishers, Paul Hayes, MD of News UK Commercial, is not sold.

“I think native advertising is dangerous – don’t treat your customer like a moron,” Hayes said, speaking at The Economist’s Ad Week Europe panel on monetisation. “If they see through it they will never forgive you.”

He likewise shunned the programmatic model, seen as yet another bullet by many advertisers trying to do mobile. “Buying any audience as cheaply as possible – that’s not right either,” he said.

News UK, Hayes explains, is finding strength in its fully-subscribed model, present across both The Times and The Sun, with the latter now counting 117,000 paying customers. “Deduplication [of repeat users] is much easier. If the consumer consumes on more than one platform in a given week, that builds affinity and trust that means their commitment goes up. We can turn that into a currency that we can trade.”

News UK is about to announce a partnership with a major research house and another media owner outside the newspaper industry to work on a project that it hopes will create a 'universal tradeable metric' for cross-platform advertising. What clients want is simplification, he explained. “Tell me what the size of your audience is and how we can talk to them," Hayes said.

He admitted that companies like Google have created an environment where everyone using data needs to get better. “What was measured three months ago isn’t good enough. We [the newspaper industry] have a strong belief that we have to change things and we will.” But he actually hailed the era of “small data”, emphasising permission and value-exchange, based around an understanding of the data’s marketing purpose.