Native advertising is easily the hottest topic in digital media in 2017, so I thought it’d be interesting to share with you a true success story from the Nordics.

VG is a Norwegian newspaper, part of Schibsted Media Group, with the most daily readers online in the country. Just over two years ago, we set up VG Partnerstudio as an answer to our advertisers’ ever-growing need for content marketing.

There are two important things to say at the outset.

First, we built VG Partnerstudio using the infrastructure, resources, and technology VG and Schibsted already have and constantly evolve.

Secondly, we built it around a clear philosophy: We would never compromise on content quality or profitability. We wanted VG Partnerstudio to deliver great value to the advertisers, while at the same time offering a great user experience.

VG Partnerstudio has met advertising client needs without compromising on quality.
VG Partnerstudio has met advertising client needs without compromising on quality.

In just over a year, this brand-new start-up managed to create a highly successful, profitable, and award-winning business in a downward-shifting advertising market.

Considering its short existence, VG Partnerstudio is already generating significant profit for VG. In 2016, we generated revenue of US$5.53 million and this is expected to grow to US$8.8 million in 2017.

Financial success is only one part of the story though. At VG, click rates and time spent on VG Partnerstudio-produced content are head-to-head with editorial content, and sometimes even outperforming it.

Many times, VG Partnerstudio has held the No. 1 position for “most clicked” on VG’s front page. The most-read VG Partnerstudio article generated 600,000 pageviews, meaning 10% of Norway’s population read it. The editorial department has gone as far as applauding VG Partnerstudio at staff meetings on multiple occasions.

Several customers of VG Partnerstudio also increased their ad spend in VG and other Schibsted Media Group publications as a result of the partnership. In fact, VG Partnerstudio has acted as a catalyst in strengthening VG’s strategic relationship with top advertisers in the Nordics. Many customers have been so satisfied with the results, they have returned for new projects multiple times.

VG Partnerstudio has not only driven successful change, but it has done so in a challenging landscape. Creating new business opportunities in a highly competitive market is difficult enough, but VG Partnerstudio has created a sustainable business model for VG. Its rapid success will hopefully inspire and lead to even more innovation across Schibsted Media Group.