The Atlantic is using data to drive its native advertising strategy — focusing on how it can help brands understand how audiences engage with their content, Haley Romer, senior vice president/publisher at The Atlantic, shared at the 2017 INMA World Congress in New York City. 

“With our audience-first approach, we use a ton of data to help inform the creation of projects that we work on on behalf of brands,” Romer said. “So oftentimes we’ll start with what the brand is looking to achieve. We just want to understand what their value proposition is. And from there we will look to find some sort of insight, whether it’s about how our audience is engaging with content ... or it could be about the subject matter and understanding … what our audience feels about something specifically.”

What’s the “magic formula” when mixing the art and science of native advertising? 

“Creating a visually compelling story is really important in terms of driving engagement for an audience,” she said. “Having said that, it can’t just look good or sound good. It also has to mean something.” 

The Atlantic is trying to help brands understand what audiences are doing with the content after they’ve engaged with it. That focus is “really helping brands understand the ROI of the content that they’ve created.”